Friday, May 25, 2007

More From Mike Palacek

Excuse me, aren't you all just hired killers? ... Go wait in that foxhole. We'll tell you when we need you to kill somebody."
--Bill Hicks

Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek


It's Iowa.

This column is being brought to you today by Left Behind adult diapers.

Are you a questionable conservative Christian? Is there a chance the Rapture might not include you after all? Has your hand been where it should not have been? Then maybe you had better get yourself a twenty-four pack of Left Behind, available in red, white and blue, in all sizes.

Left Behind … cuz you're not really sure, are you?

Well, you might have heard that my recent American Dream Book Tour Across The USA only made it as far as Boston.

Or, more likely, you have no idea who the fuck I am.

Well, see, I was on this book tour ... and I wrote a column along the way ... and someone asked if I would continue the column.

If you go to my website you can find some links that will explain how I could not get into Canada and am trapped in this hell hole called America until I can find a retired Episcopal priest to smuggle me into Winnipeg in a gym bag; and you can see how I did not make it to my "event" in Providence because I was too busy puking beer onto the front lawn of the First Congregational Church in Madison, Connecticut; and how in my big debut in New York City — nunca, nuncio, nuance, nuns, nadir, Nader, no one, nonce, nix, nadia,
no-effing-body came to my reading.

And other stuff.

And so instead of shunning the John Denver songs on my iPod because they made me homesick, I cranked "Christmas For Cowboys," did a U-Turn in the Crowded Fucking Food Store parking lot in Brockton, Massachusetts, and headed the Honda for home, hugs and handshakes.

And so I am.

Writing this column again.

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend.

You think we have enough military holidays? Flag Day, Armed Forces Day, Loyalty Day, Love It Or Leave It To Beaver Day, Siddown, Kid Day, Dead Guatamalans Day, Dead Lakota Day, Dead Phillipino Day.

I do.

Think we have enough. One is too many. The military sucks. It takes money from the poor, from people who should get it, and goes to people who are slaughtering in the name of American business.

Eff the military.

I can see some people joining the military, thinking they are helping people, helping save the world. That's because they are stupid. They are not stupid on purpose, but because others have made them that way on purpose. The stupid ones have believed the lies of others. I was once the poster boy for stupid. I would have gone to Vietnam, for sure, if someone had told me to. I would have done anything to make people
like me, run wind sprints at six in the morning, mow the lawn at midnight, barbecue old women and babies.


I wouldn't go now, if I had to. I'm not that much smarter now, but a little. It doesn't take much to get from where I was to where I am now, or to get smart enough to say no to the United States of America.

In this column I'm going to include pieces from my books.

That’s the plan.

And then people will go to my website and buy my books and there will be people at my “events” on my Spring '08 Tour, and then I will be popular enough not to have to write a column.

I will be able to sit in my living room, on my sofa, with a yellow and red afghan pulled over my head, a famous author.

That is true. That is the plan.

This is from "Looking For Bigfoot." LFB is published by Howling Dog Press of Berthoud, Colorado. The publisher is Michael Annis. I have exchanged hundreds of emails with Michael over the past few years. I have never talked to him on the phone, or in person.

Bigfoot is the story of Jack Robert King, an Internet radio host who broadcasts from the farm house on The Field of Dreams movie site in eastern Iowa. Jack wants to know the truth about America. He's tired of Frosted Flakes and he's tired of lies.

This is Jack, talking from the microphone in front of his computer, looking out at a corn field through the window in his junky broadcast room or studio. I hate the word study, but maybe that’s what it is.

Here’s Jack.


"Nope. Iowa.

It's Iowa, where everything good is bad.
All the good stuff about this state is sour, bitter, spoiled.
Because this state is for the war. They support the troops, the war.

They kill children and anyone else who gets in their way as they drive to Hy-Vee for the special on iceberg lettuce.

And so all the ice cream and lollipops and hayrack rides and painted ponies are for shit.

Somebody needs to bomb Iowa.

Somebody needs to send fighter planes and cruise missiles down main street — put giant craters in the outfield grass — down the perfect streets and avenues where all is faux sweetness and light. Children bouncing to and fro.

Wiener dogs yipping in rhyme.

While on the other side of the world the streets are ripped apart, as well as the children and the dogs.

We think those ripped apart children are fine.

We think we have torn the hearts and stomachs from those children for their own good.

The electronic time and temperature sign at the Iowa State Bank says ‘We Support Our Troops.”

Every other car has a yellow sticker on the back that says we support those darn troops fighting over there for our daggone freedom.

Don't you hate those message signs in front of Iowa churches?

So trite, so patriotic.

These people are not Christians.

They have about as much awareness of who they are or where they are going as ants to a picnic.

They march to church each Sunday thinking the feast is meant for them, when they are merely pests.

Folks in Iowa will grumble all day long about a two-penny hike in the price of gas, but a $40 billion bill for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq don't even get a mention at coffee.

The stupidity of Iowans cannot be accurately measured with today's technology.

If we did not use that $40 billion to kill children in Iraq and Afghanistan we could have great schools, hospitals, railroads, health insurance, candy for supper — whatever we want.

But instead we bomb kids.

Pro-life fanatical parents bombing kids so that their own children can't have a new school ... “


Join me next week on “Is This Heaven,” when our sponsor will be Depends, battleground undergarments for real men.

Are you going to have it blown out of you? Or you are going to blow it out of someone else?

It just depends.

It's a crap shoot.

You can rely on Depends.

Available in camo and hunter's orange.

Okay, then, seeya next week.

This is Iowa.

Where our only complaint is that at the end of the day our mouths hurt from smiling.

And ... where all the lawns are mowed, the bank accounts are balanced, and the cars are shining brightly.

Adios, amigos.

— Mike

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Working Class Music

Lyrics and poetry are closely related -- this piece speaks to me.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The American Dream Book Tour & Protest #11

"There are things we don't or can't understand. A reasonable man, a healthy man ... a sane man ... when he encounters the inexplicable ... forgets about it."

— Maurice Minnifield, Northern Exposure

Buffalo University, Buffalo, New York
— Nancy Pelosi is hot.
I have noticed I am surging toward old-guy status. Women who used to be the principal or someone's nice grandmother on the porch in the blue flower dress down to her ankles now kind of get me going.

Oh, God.

Nancy is on C-Span right now, talking about stuff.So was the woman running for president in France just a minute ago. Lots of stuff.
You should have seen this debate between the two candidates for president of France or whatever they call it, premier, general secretary, bunga-bunga-something-something.

They were really going at it, discussing, arguing. It was not controlled. There were no microphones in their ears or packs on their backs where smarter people told them what to say.

They say America is a model for democracy for the world.


I used to think Hillary was hot. I don't anymore. I don't know why. Things just kind of cooled. Nancy has just said we need to rebuild our military.

She still looks pretty good to me.



I am staying in this effing guest house on the campus of the University of Buffalo, The Center For Inquiry, in Buffa-effing-lo. Not bad for a guy who graduated 283 out of 289 from Norfolk High School in 1973. Well, it's not a chauffeur and caviar on Ritz crackers, but definitely I'll take it.

I drove this morning [Wednesday] from Pittsburgh. I am from Norfolk and I have not travelled all that much, so please excuse me.

I don't know, it's just exciting to see some things. I was traveling today on the Blue Star Memorial Highway.

"Dedicated to those who fought for ... blah, blah, blah" ...

Oh, God, did I fall asleep for a moment there?

How many of these effing things do we have around?

A whole effing-bunch.

Methinks we protest too much.


"Anyone STUPID enough to join the military ... ought to be able to."

— Bill Hicks

I think we know the military is bunch of hired thugs, paid killers, that do not protect us, but rob and rape and kill in order to secure markets for American business, and we build all these memorials — like someone who has just committed some crime just keeps on talking and talking, because he knows as soon as he shuts up, he is going to be found out.

I don't know. Or else they are effing heroes for killing millions of people and making sure that we are able to gamble in the casino of our choice.

Well, for those who didn't know — everybody but me — western Pennsylvania is hilly and there are vineyards and shit.

And Niagara Falls billboards.

I am on Interstate 90, which goes all the way back to Sioux Falls, which is near my home. When I was in prison in Texas in 1986 I used to look out over the prison yard at night and see the full moon and reassure myself by thinking that Ruth was seeing the same moon, even though it seemed we were not even inhabiting the same world, we were so far apart.

Well, Interstate 90 runs all the way back home and so maybe I'm not so far away.

"Correctional Facility. Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers."

I pass that sign somewhere headed toward Buffalo and I cross myself.

I used to cross myself when I passed a Catholic Church. My mother did that and so I did it. But it was pretty stupid.

However, crossing yourself when you pass a prison makes a little more sense.
There is so much evil and suffering inside a prison that it makes more sense than doing it when you pass in front of Sacred Heart Church.
The prison is more holy. Not because of it being a prison. But because of the suffering.

I find my way into Buffalo, Main Street, Talking Leaves Books. I shake hands with Jonathon, the owner, with whom I have exchanged emails for the past one hundred years trying to set this up.

I read and then go over to Buffalo University.

David Mussella directs me to The Center For Inquiry.

He parks at the edge of the lot.


If they bomb us, at least I'll be able to get to my car.

Bomb? Who? Why? While I'm here? Big bombs?

Maybe little, teeny-weeny bombs?

David says the center is about secular humanism, which pisses some people off.
I don't really know what secular humanism is, but I don't mention it, because I have heard they have this private guest house I get to stay in. And there's more to it than that, but I kind of lose interest.

David shows me inside and introduces me to Joe Nickell.

Joe takes me to his office as I listen for bombs. He immediately begins to tell me that he is a paranormal investigator.

"I'm not a believer," he says.

In what?

His small office is packed with green blow-up alien dolls, voodoo figure things with things sticking into them, bigfoot foot plaster casts, leprechaun posters. There are caps from "Unsolved Mysteries."

"We have a laboratory."

There it is.

Joe tells me right off that he does not believe in ghosts because, "where does the brain go."

I'm like, I dunno.

He says that Hilary Swank is starring in a new movie based on his work.

"It's a terrible movie, though," he says.

I tell Joe that I've probably seen him on TV. He says that could very well be true — and he has written twenty-one books.

There they are.

On the desk is a magazine: Fatima Mysteries.

What about Roswell? I ask.

Military balloons.

No alien bodies. Hoax.

He also implies that those who believe the Bush people were involved in 9-11 are also quite delusional.

I shift my feet, stand up straight.

That makes me feel a bit unsettled. I don't want to be wrong, a fool.

I believe in Bigfoot, UFOs. I believe Bush did it.

But ... you know ... it's not about that, is it?

What it is, it is.

I really believe that.

The truth is what is important.

It is not important that certain beliefs be sustained, regardless.

The truth.

In debates, UFOs, Bigfoot, starting wars.

I am in favor. I vote yes.

Show me where it shows that Dick Cheney did not kill all those people in the Twin Towers and I'm heading home this morning, back to Iowa, to sit on the patio and pet my cat and sip beer from a quart bottle staring at my lovely wife mowing the lawn.

That night [Wednesday] I was part of the Literary Cafe at the University of Buffalo. It's a regular thing where people get together to read their poems and stuff. Mostly it's writers reading to each other is what I figure.

It is damn hard to get anyone else to listen.

But still, it's good. For one thing, it's good to know these people are out there, writing their poems. They are like the monks in a monastery, praying, and having that praying somehow help us all.

I really enjoy the chance to read. There are about twenty people there. I have developed the habit of counting people so that I can report to Ruth how many were there. I'll find myself in a men's restroom on the Interstate thinking, one, two, three-four, five-six-seven — this would make a pretty good crowd.

The podium has a lamp on it. There is [are?] cheese and crackers in the hall.

Before I read I was nervous because there were so many people and Joe Nickell, the debunker guy — who is also a good poet — was in the audience and practically everything I talk about is about ghosts and spirits and little green leprechauns flying big white planes into buildings.

But just before I walk up there I realize, I like this shit.

I like doing this. I still get nervous. I am still maybe not real great at it, but I think I have good material and maybe I'm learning how to deliver it.

I think we have a history of being lied to by our government. I think we have too many war memorial highways for no good-goddamn reason.

And I can't make myself forget about it.

— Mike

Next stops on The American Dream Book Tour & Protest Across the USA

May 3, Rochester, NY, Drinking Liberally. Monty's Korner, 8 pm.
May 4, New York City, Bluestockings book store, 7 pm. [172 Allen
Street, Lower East Side]
May 5, Staten Island, ETG Cafe, 3 pm.
May 6, Providence, Rhode island, AS220 Performance Space, 8 pm.

The American Dream Book Tour & Protest #10

"I opened up my eyes, took a look around. I saw it written across the sky. The Revolution Starts Now."
— Steve Earle

— "I don't like today's world."
"There's going to be two kinds of people — rich people and poor people."
I was sitting in the Joseph-Beth bookstore in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, scanning through John Updike's book "The Terrorist," cozied up in a soft chair, kind of listening to these three older people. Older than me? I'd sure like to think so.

I then went and put some more quarters into the meter so the Pittsburgh police don't hide my car.

Then I walk over and sit next to the fountain out in the little plaza outside The Cheesecake Factory in this square on Cinema Drive. I watch some kids get wet and then walk over to Claddagh Irish pub. It's not like the Irish pub in Kansas City, more like the one in Cleveland, trendy, lots of shiny wood, brass. I'd rather be in the K.C. bar, which was a dive, maybe the ultimate dive bar. You could picture Irish revolutionaries, fighters, drinking in that bar. Not here.

That's just me.

At Claddagh's I meet with Dave and John and Halley.

Dave is from Boston. He says caah and baah. I have never heard anyone say caah and baah in person. I have never been anywhere. I think it is pretty cool. I try to get him to say more things.

What's in the sky at night? Peanut butter comes in a ...?

He tires of my game.

Halley drove One Hundred Miles to see me. I shake her hand, maybe three or four times before the night is over. She is a carpenter. She has Band Aids on at least four of her fingers, robins-egg blue maybe.

Dave and John talk about politics, presidential candidates. Dave went to CMU, Carnegie Melon University, studied engineering. He admits to being a geek.

They — we — talk about the various Democratic candidates. I don't have much to offer. The subject doesn't excite me.

I would be for any candidate who would get us out of Iraq yesterday, initiate a brand new investigation of 9-11, and investigate the present administration as regards to possible war crimes: lying to start a war, torture, secret prisons.

Investigate the death of Paul Wellstone. Point me toward the candidate who will do that.

Otherwise, the whole thing is pretty boring, more interesting to watch the Cubs and Pirates on the TV above the expensive bar counter. 5-2, Cubs.


On the way to Pittsburgh from Indianapolis, I came through Wheeling, West Virginia.

Tell me if you know — wasn't Wheeling the hometown of Chris Stevens of Chris in the Morning on KBHR radio of Cicily, Alaska on "Northern Exposure."

Well, there was a detour on I-70 that took us right through downtown.

Wheeling is a Wow-Town, at least for me — the old buildings, the trees, the hills, the history that I can only imagine quickly in my mind as I try to keep up with the maroon car that I think knows where we are going.

It reminds me of Lead and Deadwood, South Dakota, built into the hills.

Well, I did make it to Pittsburgh and that is another Wow-Town.

Maybe it's because I just haven't been anywhere, but I think you would also agree, that coming out of the Fortt Pitt Tunnel and then boom! there is a big bridge, a big river and boom! the skyline of Pittsburgh, all right there. Like plowing into an I-Max Theatre.

You want to come back and do it again and again, just to see that view, but you can't, there are one million maroon cars behind you that don't care about your Iowa license to drive slow. You have to keep going.

Or die.

And so I keep going and, of course, I miss my MapQuest directions by one turn, but that is enough to put me smack-dab into rush hour traffic, then try to find a place to turn around in Monroeville [the shocks?], then I go past the immigrants' rights rally, and then I pass it again and again ... and again, and I am starting to get to know these people ... and finally pull over and ask this British guy and this Hispanic-looking woman for help who are very intent on finding a parking place and get to the rally, but they do find time to tell me where to go.

I find Hot Metal Street.

Turn right, miss my next turn, and I go up and up and up.

Pittsburgh is hilly. Did you know that? And the streets where I am are very tight.

I am panicking, as I do when I think I am lost in rush hour in a big city that I have never been in and I might die soon because I cannot find a fancy Irish bar.

My brakes feel squishy. Does that mean my brakes are going out? My clutch? Pittsburgh is the end of the line. I am dead. Oh, geezuz-god, my brakes are squishy. I will die.

I am again in the black neighborhood. In almost every city I visit I either miss my turn and go to the black neighborhood, or my reading is in the black neighborhood.

I like it here. I calm down. I wish I had some excuse to walk up to someone and listen to them talk about their day.

I ask directions once, from a guy walking down a hill.

... I almost make it.

I seek directions again, from a woman in front of what I would guess is a project. She is very kind, she turns and points, tells me to go to Josephine Street, then to 26th, down the hill, "you can't miss ..."

No, no, don't say that!


I later try to ask directions from a white young man walking intently down the narrow sidewalk.

"Fuck you."

From the truck turning the corner: "Wake up, buddy!"

Dude. I'm doing the best I ... fuck you, too!

I find the rich Irish bar and a parking spot and put in dozens of quarters even though the police don't check meters this late in the day. If I don't put dozens of quarters in, I will die.

And so now I can relax. I know where I need to be. I have time. I go to the bookstore to look around, relax, find a restroom. Rest.

There are escalators in Joseph-Beth, just like in the Rochester, Minnesota Barnes & Noble, very cool.

I look around. I can't really afford any of the books, but I look.

And it seems like they don't mind, so I grab "The Terrorist," and go find a nice place to rest for just awhile. There is a restroom up the escalator. I'm good.

I know it's just me, and I'm not well-read enough, but I don't see whatis so special about Updike's book.

And I read one called "Absurdistan" somewhere else and on the back cover they have blurbs from the Washington Post Book World and ten other newspapers that I could not get to look at my books if I included a staah in a jaah.

"The Terrorist" is okay, but it's not one of my books.

Sorry. I really believe that.

My books should be in these places.

They are just as good, better.

Why they aren't here, I can only say has to do with the structure of the book industry, which I probably don't fully understand.

I'm as good as Updike, as anyone, but no agent or major publishing company would give me directions out of town. Of course I would say that, right? What it really has to do with is story and characters and pacing and lots of stuff, right?

Okay, if it does, fine. But I really don't get it. Maybe smart guys get it. I do not.

Okay, I don't die.

I park. I live. I put hundreds of quarters into the meter.

And I go talk to the Democrats.

They are gracious. They have allowed me to meet with them.

Of course I am grateful.

But I don't see any hope in the Democratic Party.

I ran for Congress in Iowa in 2000 as a Democrat. I won the primary and received 67,000 votes in the general election on an anti-military, anti-prison, pro-Hispanic immigration, in a very conservative district.

But that's not what Democrats generally do.

Usually they stick their finger into the air, judge the wind, and run thataway.
Rather than looking into their hearts and then walking confidently out the front door, no matter which way the wind is blowing.


And then they die.

— Mike

Next stops on The American Dream Book Tour & Protest Across the USA

May 3, Rochester, NY, Drinking Liberally. Monty's Korner, 8 pm.
May 4, New York City, Bluestockings book store, 7 pm. [172 Allen
Street, Lower East Side]
May 5, Staten Island, ETG Cafe, 3 pm.
May 6, Providence, Rhode island, AS220 Performance Space, 8 pm.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

May Day 2007 around the world

The website LabourStart contains links to many new stories, in various media sources, about May Day demonstrations and related labor actions yesterday, from all over the world, here.

I found the above linked page by going to the LabourStart main page, then in the website's search engine (upper left on the main page) I typed "may day" and selected Current News.

As I'm always reminded this time of year, when I read the May Day news reports from around the world, we are not alone.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May Day

In honor of our Worker's Holiday --

the pennywhistler's tune

follow me down
         the green road
the day is rising
        a field of song
the high round ring
        of silver bells
where the stream falls
        by the broken wall
the gray road rises
        the high round field
to the rim of the earth
        we carry our feet
the shadowed trees
        that whisper your name
a dance and a game
        and the wind flows low

the stars are rising
        a moon of song
on the red hills
        in the silver light
the child's name
        is the hope of the earth
come follow me down
        by the silent mill

through the silent night
        we carry our song
a whistle a dance
        with the ghost of hope
our feet on the road
        the wind in our hands
the voice of the leaves
        is a river of dreams

together we circle
        by hand by round
by heart by truth
        our children sleep
in the bright red dawn
        let our song rise free
now sleepers awake
        now sleepers awake

-- Lyle Daggett

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The American Dream Book Tour #9

"Is it too much to ask?
I want a comfortable bed that won't hurt my back.
Food to fill me up.
And warm clothes and all that stuff.
Shouldn't I have this?
Shouldn't I have this?"

— Mary-Chapin Carpenter


A fantasy football team.

Killer Giant Ballerinas.

I am in Indiana, drove today from Cleveland to Bloomington's Boxcar Books, now headed toward Pittsburgh.

Yesterday I was a guest of the Cleveland Drinking Liberally group at Sullivan's Irish Pub on Madison Avenue. I met Frederica and Dan, parents of Leonardo, eleven months old today [Monday]. Leonardo was born in Italy and has been in this country for two weeks. She is a doctor, he a "computer geek."

As we slowly make our way out of the bar, on the fancy wood flooring, past the cheering staff of Sullivan's Pub, Frederica and Dan point out to me things about Italy and the United States and democracy and stuff that make me think.

How do I find I-70? Is that east? That west? Is this my nose? My ass?

Yeah-yeah, says Dan.

I love that yeah-yeah. I started hearing it out this way. I'm going to keep listening for it.

The day before, I met with a Drinking Liberally group in a very northern suburb of Detroit, Ortonville. I stayed with Ron and Nancy Wasczenski.

Well, I pulled up, into the long drive, the woods, the very nice house, with equestrian barn things around, affluence. I did not feel like this was my place. Remember, my comfort zone is sitting on the sofa with a yellow and red afghan pulled over my head.

Well, I got settled and the guests filtered in, sampling the horse douvers.

I was nervous, wondering how this would ever work. But when it came time for me to speak I stood in front of the hundred-foot-wide TV in the downstairs recreation room with the bar and did my thing.

I talked about how Bush did 9-11 and the troops are just serving the empire and about sending a crossed-out tax form to the IRS before I left home.

Thank you for your time. Shuffle the papers.

Any questions? Comments?

Pause. Silence. Thousand one, thousand two.

"Have you seen the video Loose Change?" someone said.

I breathed.

And we were off, talking about conspiracy this and controlled demolition that and had a great time.


Marianna, who is a native of Montreal, and used to teach at the Flint performing arts high school, and now is a liturgical music planner for a local Lutheran church, said one of her students was a brother of Osama bin Laden.

Marianna would like to be a freeway blogger, she scoots over toward me on the sofa and confides, but she is afraid of being deported. I had mentioned during my talk my previous difficulties in getting into Canada. I wonder if I put up a sign against Bush I could get deported to Canada.

No. That's not how it works. You are a dumbshit.

Yes. That's true. I'm sorry.

Doug, of Marianna and Doug, used to work for GM. He is now an antique dealer and does not miss GM.

He talks about how when you close a certain foreign car door, when it gets close to being closed, the car kind of takes it from there.

With a GM product, Doug says, it's "bam-bam-bam", okay, that fits now.

We all laugh. Doug makes us laugh a lot. He is a good guy. These are all good people now that I don't have to talk and can just sit and listen.

Doug knows Michael Moore, went to school with him, they were in chess club together.

Doug and Marianna have funny stories to tell about traveling in Europe, boating in Prague, shit like that.

Doug also works each week at a soup kitchen in downtown Detroit. He mentions the meth addicts that stop by.

"At least we're doing everything we can do."

Before they leave for the night Marianna takes my email address and says they might be able to give it to MM in L.A. sometime.


The Killer Giant Ballerinas are Ron's fantasy football league team.

KGB took the league championship last year.

Ron — Waz — is a modern renaissance man. He has a nice house, family, property. He is an accountant. Hockey referee. He is also an artist, a liberal, maybe bordering on radical. On his wall are original charcoal works of art: Mark Fidrych, the Big Red Machine, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart.

He is compassionate, passionate, connected.

Someone who could run for office, network with the local Democratic Party big whigs, and also hoot and holler and get home late from a Black Oak Arkansas concert.
He is a Michigan boy, played hockey, football, eats McDonald's by the bucket full, can drink beer with either hand. Knows all the eff about Chomsky and Zinn and whatever else liberal crap you got.

He lets me into his home to talk about my books, talk bad about George Bush, drink his beer, eat his shrimp. He cares. He's trying. He's doing good things. He's going to do lots more good things.

He says that he met Joe Wilson of Valerie Plame Wilson at some function.

Joe said: "There are no tinfoil hats. These guys can do anything."

Do-do. Do-do. Do-do. Do-do.

I am impressed, but I'm glad to be gone.

I'm always glad to be gone.

Remember my comfort zone? I always feel lucky to talk to the people I meet. I don't know what they think about me, but I am happy to be able to say what's on my mind.

And I'm also always very happy to get back into the rusty, brown Honda and put on the headphones and dial up the Dixie Chicks or Steve Earle to celebrate the freedom of the road, being alone, on the way, going somewhere, else.

Well, I took I-75 Sunday through the heart of Detroit, past Comerica Stadium.
I was able to get the Twins-Tigers for a short time on my headphones.

I can't help but stare right and left at the city, at the neighborhoods.

Poverty is interesting. Affluence is boring.

I wonder about what goes on in that house, down that street, in that park. I drove around Kansas City in the black neighborhood I was going to read in, Milwaukee, Minneapolis. I just don't understand why we allow poverty. I just don't get it. Some people live in these types of neighborhoods and we all just accept it. I remember doing a story on Mexicans in Minnesota who lived in a goddamn compound, like a prison camp, for a portion of the year, just to work for one of the canning companies. Geezuz-eff! What is wrong with us?

Look out for the big-effing truck.

And I want to write something that saves all the poor people.


I know they don't need me.

I still want to write that novel.

A good book could bring George W. Bush to his knees.

A novel has the potential power to save the world.

It does.

Maybe not my novel.

But maybe yours.

Think about it.

Today I drove from Cleveland to Bloomington and got skunked at Boxcar Books. I was headed to Pittsburgh this evening, stopped on the Interstate somewhere. I can only hope I'm out of Indiana.


It was one million degrees in Bloomington this afternoon.

The drive from Martinsville down to Bloomington on 37 South is really pretty cool. The trees are beginning to bud. I used to rely on Ruth to tell me things like that. Now I have to notice that shit for myself.

I spotted a Big Red Liquor store. Reminded me of Nebraska.

Oh, God.

I think all the fervor spikes the temperature a bit.

There was this billboard promoting the upcoming National Day of Prayer, May something-or-other.

"Americans Unite In Prayer."

Nah. Eff that.

Unite toward what? More war? A longer wall along the Mexican border?

Big Red Boo-ya?

Instead. Put George W. Bush in D Unit behind the walls in Terre Haute Penitentiary for lying to us about WMDs and getting 3,500 Americans killed, for murdering Paul Wellstone, and for attacking his own country on 9-11-01. And give him a fourth count for just being a dumb-eff.

Praise the Lord. Pass the red T-shirts.

I went walking around Bloomington before my sucky gig at Boxcar Books.

It was another funky area, like in Madison, Ann Arbor, Lawrence.

In all these towns I like to take a little walk if I can, because I will never-ever see any of these places again. Ruth has assured me.

And so I wore my "Worst President Ever" T-shirt over to the Universityof Indiana campus and walked around.


Nah, just some old guy with no job walking around where he doesn't belong in a black T-shirt on a scorching hot day.

But, back here in the hotel zone on the interstate, wherever I am, the woman who took my money for gas said her boyfriend would like my T-shirt and where did I get it. Then the woman who checked me into the motel said, "I like your T-shirt."

God Bless Indiana, I think.

— Mike