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Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Your Welcome Inn. He has been to jail a few times "on a bunch of stupid shit, nothing serious." Once he tried to steal expensive violins from a van. He threatened to cut his girlfriend's head off, put it in a paper bag then leave it on the porch. "But he was just talking shit," the female bartender explained. "He's harmless." He's been arrested and fined for "just weaving on the sidewalk, you know, drunk." His longest stay in jail was two years in Easton. We got to talking about the election, then 9/11. "The collapse of the Twin Towers was definitely fishy," he said. "Steel doesn't melt at that temperature, and not that quickly. A steel building can't collapse like that, not from a fire, and not that quickly. No fuckin' way, man!" People in Bethlehem should know how steel works, I'd think.

He showed me ten dollars' worth of lottery tickets. He's been buying about $50 a month for five years. Winning $5,000 once, he took $500 to Sands Casino, played Texas Hold 'Em and won $2,500 more, but as he was about to cash his chips, a guy sitting next to him said, "Man, you just got here. You should play at least three hours. That's my rule. I always play at least three hours." He continued, and lost everything.

He's going through some shit with his current girlfriend, so the bartender counseled, "You should move out. I have a room upstairs I can rent you. Want to see it?" "How much you're asking?" I chimed in.

"$125 a week. It's a nice, big room, and all the utilities are included. Heat too. You'll have to share a bathroom, though, and a kitchen."

"What about noise?"

"Well, yeah, it will be noisy. You'll be living over a bar!"

"I lived over a bar once, and it drove me fuckin' crazy!"



MonkeyMuffins said...

"People in Bethlehem should know how steel works, I'd think."


no doubt this pseudoscientific brand of knowledge is analogous to the way television meteorologists know how anthropogenic climate change works:

Why Don't TV Meteorologists Believe in Climate Change?
Climate scientists agree in vast majority that human-caused global warming is occurring. But most U.S. weather forecasters don't.

for those not so easily ensorcelled:


i hasten to add i sincerely love and respect Linh Dinh's writing and photography—slivers of solacing sanity in a culture of make believe—but i think it's important to speak truth to easily debunked, counterproductive, misinforming, conspiratorial dead ends.

but, push comes shove, such fences should not stand in the way of Solidarity as Collapse continues its inexorable trajectory.

most of us, sooner or later, will be domestic refugees struggling to survive the nightmare of the amerikan dream.

i recommend reading, Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl, as a way of preparing for The New Normal:

If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.

A man's concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.

To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy.' But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.' Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.

Linh Dinh said...

The 11th Anniversary of 9/11 ~ Paul Craig Roberts

Anonymous said...

I lived next door to a bar once and it drove me crazy and the only way that I would live above one is if I were dead.


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I lived mostly in the US from 1975 until 2018, and have returned to my native Saigon. I've also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six collections of poems, with a Collected Poems soon to be released from Chax Press. I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in Tokyo, London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.