by Fisher Thompson


Car Bombs, House Bombs, Letter Bombs. Few things can be depended on like a good ol' bomb. Not like the old days, yesterday for instance. Death could be counted on to be not counted on. Used to be it was understood that Death, that black cloaked desecration, could be found snooping in the darkened corners, sniffing, investigating, moving with the utmost stealth until the faintest piece of evidence was given that the due time was upon the intended. Then Death would swoop in, neat as a dry martini, and shuttle you downstream in a narrow canoe, along red and gold rippled shores, to the lighted gate.

The pleasant whining of a mandolin will soothe the savage breast. Lots of soothing needed these days. No more time for tea and cakes and small talk and granny rocking on the porch swing passing the time of day. The world has become a perpetual war zone, with death dropping from the sky at random intervals. Even a task as mundane as gathering the daily mail is fraught with peril. Just the other day the man next door, a quiet man, received one whopper of a letter. Flattened him and his entire home in one devil's breath. Such an exhalation is best served cold.

Slouchman, ever paranoid, is tediously careful of his conquests, can never be too sure. Perfect opportunity for an assasin when your pants are pooled around your ankles. Hell, even taking a crap comes with a sense of accelerated fright.

Standing outside the door of Roxmoor Drugs he sees and old man tin cupping for change. Poor old sot. A baggy trousered youthful type comes strolling nonchalantly by, passes threateningly close to the old man and spits in his cup. No respect for the aged these days.

Slouchman mumbles under his breath, "I hope the dove of peace craps in your Coke, punk."

Slouchman wonders if he stands there long enough if he would maybe see the world tilt on its axis and go back to the way it was. Not likely. Nature does not reverse, only transforms. Better to hope for the second coming of Howdy Doody than hope for the world to turn back the wheels of the relentless clock.

The streets are lined with the usual armed patrol goons. Soldiers in battle gear, AK47s slung low, helmets snug tight, eyes flat and unresponsive to all around. These trigger happy Goliaths would blow him away if he sneezed too aggressively. No shit. Happened once just around the corner from here. Guy standing next to a military recruit caught a whiff of something, sneezed a thunderblast and caught a bullet to the chest. A recruit; just a little jumpy.

Charges were slow in coming. Eventually coming out that the soldier "acted appropriately. A threat is all in the perception. Not so much as a "Sorry" was proffered. National Security is at stake.

A few civil liberties rescinded, a few little lives lost, the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. Faultless logic. Yet in a world gone crazy the immaculately faultless is after all the most culpable. All for the greater good, all for one and one for all. Mount up D'Artagnan, Cardinal Richelieu is on the move and the kingdom is in dire need!

Corporate Kamikazes

Enron, World Com, Global Crossing. While the CEO, CFO, please-just-go corporate eunuchs volley the blame ball and pin their woes on such insidious characters as former "by the book" big-wigs, the shattered indexes offer a glimpse into hysteria fueled market swings.

With the economy showing forward movement, sluggishness is yet the byword among analysts.

For that reason alone Slouchman is glad to be in Turkey. The young females are in glorious abundance, displaying their wares, enriching the air with their euphoric scents. This is a gourmet treat to a seasoned aficionado; just what the doctor ordered.

Social courtesies are valued in Turkey, and Islamic conventions are observed by many. For example, it is offensive to point the sole of the foot toward another person, and it can be seen as an insult to pass an item with the left hand; it is best to use both hands or just the right one. Deference towards older people, or those with higher status, is customary, and it is considered disrespectful for young men and women to cross their legs in front of an older or more senior person. Public displays of affection are not acceptable. The word No can be expressed by either shaking the head or lifting it up once quickly.

The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music.
Bodies never lie...

(Agnes de Mille)

From early childhood, girls in the Middle East are taught the art of embroidery, using motifs transferred from mother to daughter down through the generations. As a child in Haifa, Hanan had embroidery passed down to her and her interest in it was still strong.

Echoing patterns that often date from antiquity, textiles and traditional costumes form a rich part of cultural legacies. And this is especially true with the Arab heritage. The children are taught appreciation for the intricacy and beauty of the dresses and jewelry and respect for the people who created them.

Turkish women do not take off their clothes in the bath; they wash their clothes on their body. Economy and modesty addressed in one simple movement.

Turkish currency - Liras. 50 000 Liras is not a big sum - it was less than a dollar at the time of our visit.

Turkey is a Muslim country, but in my opinion it is still more democratic, than, for instance, Jordan; of course this could be the result of travel impoverishment. Jordan is the only Muslim country besides Turkey I have been to. Or maybe it is because I spent most of the time on a beach. Anyway, you must remember that the difference in culture prohibits appearing in very short skirts around mosques, unless you wish to be gang raped by a group of stinking radicals.

People are very friendly and communicative. However, I was afraid to follow them when they invited 'to see my house'. Who knows what they are up to?

Turkish musical instruments (spoons, ouds, kemechis and mizmars.

bureks (sort of a deep fried cheese pie) were plentiful



Copyright 2007 Fisher Thompson 1