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This a special issue, I
say, because your humble e-editor
Many moons have risen since we last met; and consequently, many of my readers have undoubtedly slipped away into the e-void. For those of you still out there, I present here a rather personal collection of photos I've taken since the last issue, as well as some un-photos I didn't take:
Click Here to look east from one of the highest peaks in the Gila Mountains. For me, to climb a mountain is a lot like employing that special, stock song one is fond of using in order to exorcise that other song that is stuck in your head. Curiously enough, shortly after I make it to the peak, I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Memphis.
Click Here to see a photo of The Flower Lady in Algodones, Mexico. When the evening light is just right, she looks like she stepped from a Diego Rivera painting. I see her nearly every time I go there -- which is often, usually two or three times a week, if for no other reason than to have a cheap lunch (three tacos pescados, fifty cents each, and a couple of Tecates, $1.50 each), at one of the plastic Pepsi tables outside Restaurant Yuma.
Click Here to see The Plate Merchant who sets up in the corner of the restaurant's plaza. I've never actually seen him sell a plate. I asked him how much for the purple one with the yellow stars. He said, "Fifty percent off. Only twenty dollars for you." I asked how much they were before the discount. "Fifty, sometime sixty," he said. I asked if I could buy it. "If you like," he said. He turned away and looked out into the street.
Here's an un-photo of me, my son, James, and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Shemaleiah, and others, stepping out of Palenque Bar/Arena, one tequila-soaked night during Carnival in San Felipe, Baja Norte. The bewildered looks on our faces are due to the fact that we had just witnessed our first authentic Mexican cock fight. Our "concierge," Gustavo (he's the brown one with the red, squinted eyes), explained that tasting the dead rooster's blood was considered good luck. When in Rome... Our good luck is that, so far, none of us are showing any symptoms of hepatitis. (Before any animal rights groups freak out on me, let me say that we turned down Gustavo's invitation to go watch pit bulls rip each other to shreds.)
Click Here to see why you should bring your hip-waders if you're ever to be in San Felipe after it rains.
Click Here to see a view of the San Felipe beach from the top of the lighthouse.
Click Here to see the dead shipyard from the same vantage point.
Here's an un-photo of me with Carlos and Alejandro, who joined me at the Pepsi table. We're talking about the US Border Patrol and their plan for dealing with apprehended illegal immigrants. Instead of just dumping them back over the border, the Feds now say it would be better to fly them back to their point of origin. My Mexican buddies think this is a wonderful idea. Carlos wants to get caught and visit his mother in Mexico City. Alejandro wants to see his grandmother in Guatemala City.
Hey, amigo. The first one's free.
Here's an un-photo of me watching Jesus get torn up by sadistic Romans. Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is being praised for its depiction of an authentic crucifixion. I won't go into all of the reasons why this is a crock of overripe manna (the carrying of the entire cross, the placement of the spikes, etc.), but the most glaring inaccuracy says much about our bizarre and hypocritical attitudes about sex and violence: Those condemned by Rome were crucified in the nude for maximum humiliation. Yes, we saw the flayed, bloodied body of Jesus as we've never seen it before; but, until we see the mangled, divine Unit swinging from atop Golgotha, no depiction of crucifixion can claim to be authentic.
Click Here to see Britney's Fall, a computer drawing I did (stole and altered, actually) one night after purchasing a hand-carved fish bone crucifix in San Luis de la Colorado, Sonora. Jesus doesn't look like He's hurting at all. In fact, He looks like the lead singer of a Eighties glam band; or, even more so, like Britney Spears, if Brit had a well-trimmed beard, and before the boob job.
Click Here to see The Cigar Guy in Algodones indulging with a Cubano. Everything that is bad for you is very cheap and easy to get in Mexico: alcohol, cigarettes, drugs (legal and illegal), prostitutes, hotel rooms. Any winter day you can find hundred of elderly gringos, packing cheap pills over the border by the bagfuls. A carton of Camels can be found for under $13.00. My favorite tequila blanco, Zapata, can be had for five or six bucks a liter. If you're feeling exceptionally self-destructive, you could buy a gallon of sugar cane alcohol in any of the many drug and/or liquor stores for just over a dollar. (I don't recommend it. James could give you some important background info if you're considering this.)
Here's an un-photo of me talking to Ranger Bob, a gun-tottin' federal officer in charge of managing the Barry M. Goldwater Military Reserve. He is saying that next time he catches me on the Reserve without permission, he will have to cite me for trespassing. He says he has to be tough with me, and hints that I'm on some kind of Border Patrol shit list for giving food, water, and rides into town to delirious, heat-stricken Mexicans I've come across in the desert. I later found out why he was so mad: I embarrassed him. The Department of Fatherland Security was in town, beefing up their chests and throwing money at the problem of illegal immigration. Later that night, I saw on the news that they were in the desert that day, testing their pilot-less spy drones, which will soon be patrolling these desert skies with electronic eyes, looking out for dangerous Mexican insurgents. They spied and swooped down on me -- neither dangerous, nor Mexican -- and caught me white handed.
Click Here to see a photo of a pair of makeshift shoes made of carpet and foam rubber I found in the desert. Write your own caption. The poverty and desperation of many of these people is heartbreaking.
Click Here to see one possible reason why some of these people -- who often make the twenty mile desert trek at night -- occasionally disappear without a trace.
Click Here to explore a century old gold mine.
Here's an un-photo of
me taking actual photos of some of my visual art work I've made since being in
the desert. Most were made from
scrap wood, a jigsaw, paint and wire. Click on the name of the work to see the
photo. They are presented here in the order they were created:
Here's an un-photo of me with a disdainful look. I’m getting a little tired of the misuse of the name “Steve” lately. “Steve” – a name I’m quite fond of using sometimes – has been thrust into the midst of the gay marriage controversy because of the adage tossed about by conservative Christian groups: “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” For one thing, any self-respecting gay man would go by “Steven” not “Steve.” Also, it seems to me that more lesbians are opting for marriage than gay men. Therefore, I propose the saying be changed to “God made Adam and Eve, not Eve and Arlene.” (Better yet, let's just all chill out.)
Click Here to see Shem chillin' somewhere in Mexico. One of my favorite photos.
Here's an un-photo of me working on my novel (yes, the same one I've been "working" on for years). It's totally experimental (I think), and necessarily time consuming, due to my insistence that the scenes and plot form naturally from the burps and gurgles of my subconscious, so to retain a surrealistic tone. I'm probably about halfway done with it. I've decided to print Part One, in which the main characters are introduced and the general mood is established, but before the real weirdness gains a toehold. Feel free to offer any constructive criticism; or, if you are a big time publishing magnate, feel free to send me a large advance. Click Here to read Part One (of what will probably be seven parts) of The Martyrdom of Magoo.
Click Here to see strangely human-like raccoon tracks by the Gila River. I see many tracks; never any 'coons.
Click Here to see an example of some of the very unusual objects that can be found just a few miles from my trailer. Large sections of the Yuma desert was once used as a bombing range. Signs on the border of the military reserve warn of the foolishness of touching such things.
Here's an un-photo of me shaking my head as I watch the network news. The FDA is warning the users of antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil and the like, that the drugs can cause suicidal behavior. This is the equivalent of labels on birth control pills with the warning: Caution, may cause pregnancy. I’m sorry, but I’ve yet to hear any credible opposition to the Dr. Stik cure for even the most treacherous of the blues: torch up a fat one and watch old Marx Brother’s movies.
Click Here to see a photo I took at my lowest point.
Here's an un-photo of me getting fired from a new, ultra-hip restaurant in downtown Spokane by the parent company's marketing director. A little over a year before this un-photo wasn't taken, I went to work there as a cook, hoping for a cushy, five or six hour a day job, so to leave time to work on some writing projects. It wasn't to be. Through a series of battlefield promotions, I quickly attained the position of general manager, ultimately working ten to twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Despite having to deal with the upper management equivalent of The Three Stooges, I and an excellent (though somewhat unorthodox) crew, brought food and labor costs to a point where we were actually making money. Moe's reaction to this was, of course, to fire me. Nyuk. Nyuk. (At least he didn't poke me in the eyes.)
Click Here to see a diagram of a "space" colony I invented late one night.
Here's an un-photo of me accepting an award from the Free and Accepted Masons of York Lodge # 234, Spokane, for lending a paw to the city's less fortunate. Though not a Mason myself (having accepted the Marxist axiom -- Groucho, that is, not Karl -- that I wouldn't join any organization that would stoop so low as to have me as a member), I nevertheless was allowed to witness the swearing-in ceremony of then-employee and long-time friend, Hariamus, to the position of Grand Poobah (though I'm almost sure that's not the official title). That's Hariamus, standing next to me, looking very suave and stately, handing me the award. (To be honest, this photo actually exists, but I look much too dorky to publish it here.) Look for the inevitable conspiracy theories concerning yours truly and my involvement in world domination schemes.
Here's an un-photo of me in Spokane being arrested for "drunk driving," thus thrusting myself into one of the most ingenious money-making schemes in Washington State history. I learned a valuable lesson from this: had I started drinking and driving only one year earlier, before the legal blood/alcohol limit was lowered, I would have been found sober as a judge (sic) with my .08 BAC. I also learned that if your friends tell you that you're a complete fool if you plan on being completely truthful at your court-ordered alcohol assessment, you should listen to them.
Here's an un-photo of me looking in the bathroom mirror, getting ready to go to work. I look very tired and burned out because, well, I was. I knew there was something that I really, really needed to do...
She tried to take me upstairs for a ride...
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