Tuesday, November 27, 2001

So my Attorney approached me one night, sweaty-faced and lips shiny and a-tremble. His cool was nearly cracked, but at least he had the good sense to come to me. It seems he killed a Chinaman and now there were agents after him. Could I help him?

See, we have this arrangement -- call it a pact or an understanding, if you will. Somebody needs a body hidden, the other will contribute as far as possible. Of course, this would vioilate the terms of the Bar, but so does killing Chinamen.

So I donned my gree psycho veteran army jacket and I told him not to worry. The agents -- crack assassins from Chunking -- were out in the alley. I had only a combat knife I got at a flea market and two bullets for my trusty Walther P-38. I stuffed the knife and the cannon in my jacket and got going.

I made it out to the alley, piss-scared and cursing the impulsiveness of my homicidal attorney. It was a rainy night. Streets were wet. Obligatory steam plumed out of unseen vents from subterranean recesses. There, off on my right, was a figure. It was an agent. I grabbed the handle of the hidden Walther and hoped there wasn't more than two of them...

(Yes, then I woke up..)

Thursday, November 22, 2001

Well, Captain Natty set me straight on the issue of abortion. Here it is:

>You're supposed to be studying and you're ranting and

(Clay Sails: Is this something unusual? If Captain Natty had been with me in College, he would know that ranting in place of studying is S.O.P. (standard operating procedure)

>Let me tell you Clay, you're shtick on
>abortion is all wrong. Arguing about what point at
>which a fetus is a baby is playing into the hands of
>the ignorant on both sides of the debate. It's like
>talking about whether drugs are in fact good or bad.
>Who cares? Morality and policy are like church and
>state. In fact, that's not even a metaphor it's a
>restatement. Anyway, policy should be made based on
>the best interests of society. Abortion is going to
>happen whether it is legal or not. The law is in place to ensure that safe abortions are available to
>everyone and not just rich women. Sure, there would
>be somewhat fewer abortions if it were illegal, but as
>I was saying, there would only be fewer among poor
>women. Drugs are the same. Clearly people do the
>same amount of drugs regardless of the legality of
>them. So, put down the crack pipe Clay.

Well, all detailed argumentation aside, when I'm done hitting the crack pipe I'll pass it on to the left. Oh wait. That's where it came from... ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving all.

[don't be polite: hit Clay Sails with everything you got. He needs to be shaken out of his post-90s (or Post-Wednesday) hangover. You'll find him vulnerable and amenable to all forms of disagreement at sailingacrossamerica@hotmail.com]

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Since I'm on a political kick, here's a bit more:

Clay Sail's politics as of November 2001:

Party Affiliation: I'm a sometimes Green, sometimes Democrat who hates the fact that the Left has been hijacked by knee-jerk pacifism, linguistics, and identity politics. The Left needs to get out of its 1960s reverie and get tough and focused like it was in the 1930s. We don't need merely to facilitate conversation about issues, we need to get organized and act. (Will somebody please let me know when this happens? I'll be drinking drip coffee in a silent coffee shop, waiting for the revolution.)

Issue Identification: Environmentalism is #1 in my book. The Greens have become derailed by the usual quagmire of unresolvable meta-issues (poverty, racism, etc.) Without a healthy environment, human rights become of limited value. Without resources, no economy can sustain itself. We must reduce our dependence upon fossil fuels (and thus despotic third world regimes). We must cease mowing down forests and putting up subdivisions. I'm in favor of everybody fucking each other as often as possible, but more importantly we must ultimately reduce the number of children in the world. Overpopulation is an unpopular but essential issue related to Environmentalism.

Guns: The Left needs to forsake its aversion to guns. It needs to get guns, get trained in guns, get trigger-locks on its guns, and stash its guns in the closet. Reactionaries and despots cannot be trusted to defend civil liberties. Lawyers and laws only work when everyone agrees to play by the rules. Do you trust the government? I don't. Do you trust your neighbor down the street? I don't. Take care of yourself. Be responsible. Don't expect to hold a teach-in when neo-nazis are dragging your intellectual ass out into the street for a lesson in baseball bats.

Butter: Lets get off of the whole margarine kick, ok? That being said, butter itself is highly overrated. Buttered toast is nasty. Wheat bread is even nastier. More guns, less butter.

Drugs: Many people need to take more drugs. Many people need to take less. 'Nuff said.

Abortion: It is amazing to me that pregnant women start treating their microscopic progeny as children (naming them, planning for their futures, etc.) and yet many of them deny that their fetuses are people until some arbitrary point in a pregnancy. Before that cutoff point, the organism is worse than shit -- it is a cancer inside a woman that must be forcibly removed by a doctor, scalded with saline, ripped apart by calipers, flushed down toilets. After that arbitrary cutoff point, it becomes the most sacred, the most protected, the most cherished thing in society: babies. Amazing. We've talked ourselves into terminating life as if it is just some unwanted growth on a woman's body (like a wart or a toenail). We even justify ourselves by suggesting that whatever baby would have been born probably wouldn't have been loved, and wouldn't have had a good life. Nice. I wonder how many people grew up in shitty environments and turned out to be worthwhile human beings. Probably most people over the course of history. That being said, abortion is probably an essential component of social engineering: it gives parents the ability to construct their futures removed from the irrevocable destiny of parenthood. So in sum, is abortion murder? (Yes.) Even in the case of rape or incest? (I hardly think it makes a difference to the victim of an abortion why he/she was victimized) Should it be outlawed? Probably. Do I care much? (Not really.)

Campaing Finance Reform: A thousand times, yes.

Bush or Gore: Gore won. Bush sucks but he's not as inept as he initially seemed (he's just more dangerous). Actually, I'd like to see Warren Olney for president. Or John McCain.

[Got a suggestion about where I can put my politics? Vent your true feelings at sailingacrossamerica@hotmail.com]

Monday, November 19, 2001

Solving the Afghani Imbroglio:

Several things have become abundantly clear as the Taliban evaporates. First of all, they are only part of the problem in Afghanistan, despite their odious association with groups like Al Qaida. The main problem at the moment is the resumption of ethnic tribal warfare that will likely subsume any efforts of the U.S. or the U.N. to broker a lasting peace (which will in turn continue to breed the conditions that allowed Al Qaida to flourish in the first place). The idea of creating a polyethnic, stable democracy out of the current (and historic) environment is a utopic dream no less unrealistic than the ninteenth century's nearby (if mythic) "Shangri La". In order for democratic institutions to give stability, there must be an agreement by all (or at least most) members in the society that pluralism is a strength, not a weakness. Womens issues, free speech, freedom of religion, ethnic harmony -- all of these things are unrealistic expectations (however moderate) in an environment that has known only extremes in recent decades. However, since such an arrangement does represent the interests of both the modern world (both Islamic and non), efforts in this direction must be made. If Afghanistan resumes the civil war that the Taliban had almost put an end to, if no multinational accord establishes a true democracy, this is unfortunate but not unthinkable. If the international community "abandons" Afghanistan again like it supposedly did after the war against the Soviets, nobody is to blame but the Afghanis themselves -- it is impossible to rebuild an internally warring nation from the outside.

(The issue of "abandonment" is problematic in the first instance: we gave the Afghanis the weapons they wanted to repell a foreign invader. The decision to "remain" and "rebuild" were not implicit in the International community's obligation (if such a community exists at all except in the mind of idealists and NGO's), especially given the climate of a world grown intolerant of the U.S.'s spectacular attempts at nation-building (see Central America, see Vietnam, etc.))

This time is different, however. The U.S. and its allies directly provoked the Taliban and further destabilized a fragile country. The reasons for this intervention are justifiable given the Taliban's direct support for the enemies of the U.S. (and indeed non-Islamist civilization everywhere), but the imperative to try to foster a lasting and useful peace in Afghanistan based upon values we claim to be universal does exist in this instance. Hence, we must try to get the Afghans to forge a democratic alliance there. We must use our aid and influence to bring the parties together. We did not "owe" the Afghanis our efforts after the Soviet war, now we do. Our self-interest has made them even more vulnerable.

Long-Term Fixes:

There are three systemic causes of the current "clash of civilizations" between fundamentalist Islam and the democorporate West.

(Yes, it is wildly un-politically correct to refer to this battle as a "Clash of Civilizations". Fuck correctness. The same people who advocate correctness have their heads so far up Noam Chomsky and Norman Solomon's respective ass's that in their eyes America itself will always be the real enemy and America's enemies will invariably be thought to be "misunderstood".)

I. The First Reason is radicalism vs. reactionism in the Middle East itself. Democracy has utterly failed in the region -- intellectuals and moderates have been driven underground or abroad. If recent Al-Jazeera polls taken of the "Arab Street" are correct, religious anti-pluralism has supplanted Islam's traditional emphasis on tolerance -- a hallmark of past epochs. But this extremism emerges because religion is one of the only forces in the Middle East capable uniting people who have been driven to poverty by repressive governments. No other forums of expression are sanctioned. From the Mahdists ("Dervishes") of the late ninteenth century, to the Iranian revolution of 1979, extremist messianic Islamist movements have provided outlets and support for people left voiceless and powerless by repressive governments (either foreign or domestic, or both). Islam itself is divided between those that would seek compromise with the forces of modernity and secularlism and those that would "return" to some mythical but seemingly purer state of existence. The regimes are generally motivated by international oil politics (necessitated by the world's increasingly untenable reliance upon fossil fuels), which enrich them and provides them with immense (personal) wealth. There are, of course, exceptions (i.e. Turkey) which do not fit this mold, but there is no need to elaborate on the particulars of the entire region when I am clearly going to great lengths to provide sweeping generalizations.

II. The Second Reason we are involved in this mess is because we lost credibility as a "neutral" power broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We (the UN, the British, the West) not only supported Israeli claims to Palestine initially, but have continued to do so despite our pretensions to neutrality. From an American perspective, support for Israel may have made some amount of sense in the context of the Cold War, but the Cold War is over. It is time to acknowledge that even if Israel exists in reality (and for whatever dubious reasons was created to begin with), the continued expansion of Israel via settlements on the West Bank is not legitimate. Nor is a West-Bank Palestinian "puppet state" subject to Israeli domination. If a "Two-State Solution" is the best we can hope for (I personally think a truly pluralistic, secular Israel that removes the second-class status for Arabs is the best idea) then let this new "Palestine" sink or swim on its own without Israeli incursions or meddling. Until this issue is resolved, Jews and Americans and "The West" will always be the scapegoats for the frustrations of Muslims and Arabs who do not have any hope for parity.

III. The Third Reason is the increasing organization and "internationalization" of the Islamic fundamentalist movements. This has come about through an increase in communications and media in the Muslim world, as well as a realization that many similar living conditions exist bewtween the Muslims of many nations (from Morocco to the Philippines). A "consciousness" developed that, rightly or wrongly, simply or oversimply, identified the oppression in many of these places with certain identifiable enemies: the U.S., the Russians, the Jews. Thus, after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, many foreigners joined the mujahedeen ranks in a sort of pan-Islamic movement. When the war ended, many of these fighters moved to other parts of the world to continue a struggle that had taken on international religious connotations: Algeria, Egypt, Chechnya, Indonesia -- veteran fighters have appeared throughout these regions and brought respectability and experience to the fledgling radical fundamentalist Islamist movements. As I write, a large contingent of these fighters are holed up in Kunduz in Afghanistan. They are resented by many Afghanis and will likely die horribly if they surrender. I say let 'em hang. As a bumper sticker Karim observed recently said "Kill 'em all -- let Ali sort them out". George Bush is the sheriff, the Northern Alliance is the posse. (For a more detailed explanation of this immoderate position, read on: It is from these ranks and not the Afghani Taliban ranks that the threat of international violence ala September 11 comes. We are all better off without such a violent (and effective) force arrayed against us, both for our own sake and for the sake of the future of the Middle East, within which these fighters have had an enormous destabilizing effect. Destabilization leads to more reactionary oppression, which precludes the possibility of genuine, moderate reform along the lines of democracy and human rights).

[If you want to cry about my characterization of your people, be they Americans, Jews, Afghanis, Muslims, Intellectuals, Oil Magnates, Palestinians, "Westerners", Homo-Sapiens, Lizardmen or otherwise, you'll find me at sailingacrossamerica@hotmail.com]

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Sombrero Woes

So I was kibbitzing with my attorney last night and one thing became abundantly clear: in the interest of facilitating my continuing state of bliss, I have an immediate need to travel in a southwardly direction and avail myself of a giant 4' diameter grass sombrero from South of the Border (North Carolina).

I was heedless of this desire the last time I blew through South of the Border, but my negligence can be explained by the fact that I was in the midst of a holy pilgrimage to Orlando to the newly opened "Holy Land Experience". The asceticism demanded by my impending rapture impelled me to leave every sombrero behind and concentrate on the task at hand: finding Jesus. Of course, that particular tale requires much ancilliary explanation to relate properly, but suffice it to say that neither me nor my attorney found Jesus (although we *did* find the true masters of the universe in the fish pond at the Delta Orlando Resort).

If anybody happens to be passing that way, wouldja mind picking me up my sombrero? Its the biggest one they got and has no decorations whatsoever -- just grass and air (like the Great Koi intended). The last sombrero I owned I bought with Matt Thompson's money in Tijuana in 93. The damn thing was pretty but much too small for my head (it also led to my direct humiliation in front of 65 people at a Johnston Center community meeting, but that, too, is another story).

Monday, November 12, 2001

I caught "The Man Who Wasn't There" the other night. I found it to be quite intriguing. The last line went a long way to explaining (and therefore justifying) the first 115 minutes. (Warning: what follows may spoil the movie.)

The main character is barber Ed Crane. He is an etch-faced, toweringly silent man. He gets involved in a murder [insert noir plot ala Coen Brothers]. In the end he goes to his death whimsical and curious about what being dead might be like. In the last line he wonders if he will be able to explain all of the things he's been thinking about for so many years. This is the key to Crane: while you stare at him being silent and reflective (wondering if he's just a simpleton), he is pondering things he simply does not have the language tools to explain. He tries to engage his brother-in-law in a conversation about the hair clippings in the shop but his brother-in-law shuts him down ("You're scaring the kid," the brother-in-law says.). Crane tries to tell his wife's lawyer Snyder that he killed Big Dave, but Snyder is only interested in the specifics of his case, not the big truth. Crane tries to get the Frenchman to comprehend the beauty of the piano girl's music, but the Frenchman can't see it (and the girl, who is the only one to recognize that Crane is an "enthusiast" mistakenly assumes he is interested in sex). Finally, in the flashback scene with Crane and his wife on the davenport, he looks like he's about to say something but his wife just takes a drink and tells him, pre-emptorily, to "shut up."

If the theme of the movie is contained in Snyder's simplification of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: that the more you look, the less you know, we are thankfully given a glimpse of the truth about who Crane really is with his final admission that there are so many things in this world that just don't have words to express them.

Thursday, November 08, 2001

I rarely watch tv. I'm not one of those people who just say I don't watch TV and I secretly do; I rarely do and rarely say one thing or another about it. TV is innane. TV is a shallow, vapid, trite, corporo-capitalist mind control device. It turns us into consumers. It makes us hate our bodies. It rarely addresses important issues and if it does, it addresses them too simplistically to be useful. It is a passive, anti-intellectual, activity.

That being said, Jerry Springer rocks.

Oh, wait, I know: Jerry Springer is no longer cool like he was when he first came to prime time (or like he was when he was on late night and wore a leather jacket etc.). But the few times I've caught Springer, or especially the odd 5 (o.k. 10) minutes here or there, absolutely rock. The guests are the freakiest, looserist, stankiest, nizzy-nastiest wierdooz around. If the rest of us are sheep, Springer's guests are our dingleberries. They are everybody's wierd cousin. Its pure, delicious, salicious, garbage. If TV is America'sT true passtime, and TV is forced to stoop low to entertain us, it might as well get as low as it needs to be to get my laugh. Enter Springer.

Last night at 2:00 a.m. I caught the end of a show to rival Springer. It was even funny in the midst of agonizing, maddening insomnia. "Rendez-Views" it was called. It was some dating show where people talked about a video taped date like it was a sports show. The host is a big funny-ass gay guy with nasty thick glasses. The people on the date were goofy and oddly compelling. The girl talked smack about wanting separate bedrooms with her husband and separate vacations and solitude when she watches football, and the dude just kept stuffing fries in his mouth. She wanted twins. He wanted 10 kids. She looked like Rosie Arquett with Julia Roberts buck teef and the dude was like William DeFoe with Rodney Dangerfield google eyes. The dude BADLY wanted some butt. The girl didn't give him any, but she said she might later. That's quality TV.

Contact Clay Sails at sailingacrossamerica@hotmail.com


Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Lets see, we dropped a few 15,000 lb "daisy cutter" bombs today, and half a dozen 2000 lb "bunker busters", all flown in from Missouri where our 'top secret' airplanes (each one costing the same price of a new AIRCRAFT CARRIER) are housed. Did anybody bother to tell the Pentagon that there are no daisies in Afghanistan? Shit, there aren't even any trees. That place is as barren as Telly Savalis' scalp after a month of Rogaine. (I guess they could drop a "poppy cutter", but then where would the CIA get its heroin?) And "bunker busters"? Don't bunkers require cement? The Afghanis live in huts made out of sticks and mud and yak dung. In my humble opinion, we need to drop a 350 lb "rosie o'donnel". Yeah, we'd only be able to drop one of them, but it would sure as shit send the Taliban flying.

Saturday, November 03, 2001

Alright, this appeal for advice came from Voulez_Vous to my sailingacrossamerica@hotmail.com account:


Dear Clay,

I need some advice. I did something *really* stupid the other day. I am


Don't be so hard on yourself, kid. Take my word for it, the best way to cover up for past mistakes is to make new ones. NEXT!!!

-- Clay Sails