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Tuesday
Mar262013

Big Game, Little People

Centuries earlier or later depending on reference points along Time’s thin line on an event horizon as infinity and eternity played post 9/11 dirges, fugues, and blues with a full orchestra in the pits Ahmed resumed his story in the Sahara.

“Fate bites you when you least expect it,” he said waving his hands like wild kites. “Her appetite is insatiable.”

Leonardo was so far removed from 9/11 reality he took no possession of the event. He read Ahmed’s open palms and eyes. Leonardo’s facility for unspoken tongues was legendary. It was all body language and he was fluent in every language. Gestures were a work in progress. Gestures used people.

Ahmed described airplanes and two tall towers. “I’ve read Superman by Nietzsche in Arabic. He said 'God is dead' and God said, 'Nietzsche is dead.'"

Ahmed waved his arms like a Moroccan eagle condemned to freedom yet a prisoner of the sheltering sky. He raised a hand indicating height and smacked his flying hand into his stationary hand. The impact echoed across caramel dunes. He smiled through black teeth. His dark eyes held all the world’s secrets.

Leonardo had no idea where, who, how, why, or when Ahmed received his information. Perhaps from slave and gold trade caravans, perhaps through osmosis.

“Yes,” Ahmed said, “2,974 people from 80 countries died.”

“I see.” They were just two nomads in the desert. They did not talk about Being and Nothingness. They tweaked reality by breathing.

He handed Omar’s book to Ahmed. “Have a look-see.” Ahmed read Tifignagh words.

“He was not as surprised, stunned and scared as all the well meaning myopic tax paying, allegiance singing populace would have the world’s citizens believe in their us or them attitude. He knew they’d be catapulted into a new heavy deep reality, grounded fast, sifting soil, searching for answers, breathing through death masks, deconstructing and revising history while pleading for meaning to their existence. Postmodern dialectics.

“Now they had to figure out the big answer to the big question. Why? It’d keep them busy for life. Their children taught them to ask why? Being extremely impatient and under extreme pressure to be successful in their all-consuming reality, they became extremely frustrated with the “why” question from their children. Parents wanted to be the boss, the grown-ups in complete control. They figured they had all the answers.”

Whoops!

“In the BIG game people with a long history rolled their dice when it was their turn to play and everyone had to go back to the start. They had to read the rules. They had to read the small fine print. The details they casually accepted carte blanche, data they skipped because they didn’t think it was important, the stuff made in Hollywood, the fictional entertainment stuff with happy endings. They were well conditioned to violence, sex and reality television. Now they digested so-called reality television in real time." 

ACIN

Thursday
Mar212013

Curveball

Media's running stories about falsified intelligence after 9/11 leading British and American politicians to believe Sad Man had WMD. We know he didn't.

The pretense of believing faulty intelligence led to the invasion of Iraq. Politicians and media pushed it down gullible throats 10 years ago. Choke choke.

Cost? $1.7 trillion so far. Estimates of $6 trillion over 40 years. 

190,000 dead Iraqis, aid workers, security forces, journalists and insurgents. Millions displaced.

4,500 dead US soldiers.

Curveball, Wikipedia

An excerpt from A Century is Nothing, Subject to Change (2007, 2012).

Curveball came in for short relief. “I know where it is.”

“Where what is?” asked Bumsfeld.

“All the Iraqi mobile labs full of toxins and nerve agents.”

“For an alcoholic spy and fabricator you have a lot of nerve,” screamed the Tenant (CIA). He used to be Lew but now he was just a plain Jane Tenant from a housing project. He was on a speaking tour making big bucks when it happened after his slam dunk fell well short of the net.

“Look,” said Curveball. “I gave German intelligence the high hard stuff. But they don’t understand the American pastime. They said I was past my prime. They co-opted me with women and booze. A hell of a lethal combination, let me tell you. They grilled me over a hot flame. I became a double agent. I was beside myself.”

“Yeah, sure,” said Bumsfeld, “a classic case of split personality, bi-polar disorder and your mother wears combat boots. Anyway, then we distort flimsy evidence from a worthless intel source saying the dictator is an immediate and direct threat to our national security. He’ll attack us in forty-five minutes.”

“But,” said Resident President, waving his one-way tickets to Argentina, “that won’t give me time to finish reading the story about goats to the elementary kids.”

“No butts sir,” said his spokesperson. “You’ll just have to skip a few pages.”

“Isn’t this strategy too vague and deceptive?” asked a garbage collector.

“Vague and deceptive shit happens all the time,” said the man cracking his cool whip. “What planet are you from, amigo? We have the national media eating out of our filthy hands with all this flag waving patriotic bullshit. So, we con the world with these fictitious stories about the dictator being a threat to us with his weapons of mass distraction and start a war to remove him from power.”

“Brilliant,” said a very rich civilian military contractor from Texas. “What then?”

“It’s easy. We know the dictator’s been bluffing all along to maintain his power base. Just ask Curveball here when he sobers up. He’s never had weapons of mass destruction except for the munitions and sarin gas we gave him to support his eight-year war with Iran and commit genocide against the Kurds, but the world doesn’t know that unpleasant fact. His military will collapse like a house of cards. We send in, what, maybe 150,000 military forces, - mostly young, poorly trained national guard units from America’s middle and lower class mind you - take some losses sure, but that’s the price of doing business right, while we establish a quasi-official coalition government with us in total control of everything.”

“What about the local people?” asked a relief worker.

“Screw them I say. We’ve liberated them from a dictator for God’s sake. They should be eternally grateful to us and get down on their knees in desert sand thanking us.”

A public relations flack had an idea.

“For propaganda purposes we’ll let them form a provisional government so they’ll be distracted and think they have real input in how their country is going to be run. It’s like we’ve controlled Kuwait with our remote for years. They increase oil production when we tell them and they shut up when we hit the off button.”

“When do we get the contracts?” asked an oil man from Texas washing his bloody hands.

“All in good time. Rebuilding the oil industry will be tied into larger deals. We’ll start you off with easy contract stuff first: mail delivery, detention camps, prisons, roads, schools, building hospitals, and supplying food to the troops. That will keep your people busy for what, 5-20 years, easy.”

“Sounds great,” said the contractor. “This is going to make a lot of my friends very rich.”

“Hey,” said Hally Burden, “war is good business. Politics is business and business is politics.”

Monday
Mar182013

On an Irish Bus

I turned the mirror toward them. The women looked into gleaming glass. They saw their past, present and future lives all rolled into one powerful flash of light. It was a vision reflecting their joy, sadness, regrets, hope, charity, wisdom and love. The looking glass showed them their birth, middle age and death.

They saw An Gort a Mor, the great hunger and sat back sucking air.

Carrigart was the edge of their world.

“I see,” Mary said, looking up and straight into my blue eyes. They reminded her of a snow leopard, a wild, sharply focused nocturnal predator comfortable at higher elevations existing in an independent, solitary way.

“Then,” I said smiling, pointing to the red typewriter, “I download the images into this,” sliding the talisman mirror into my pocket.

“Of course, it’s a manual. They don’t make them like that anymore. Better than staring at a small screen full of radioactive electrons and clicking on a mouse.”

“I should say not,” Mary said. She preferred lead sharpened to a point.

I was trapped on an endless ride to the edge of my life. More questions. Where was I from, what’s America like, why did I leave the land of milk and honey as locals so well put it. On and on. Was I married? No. Did I miss my family?

“No, not really. My grandfather, named Malarkey, immigrated from Sligo during the famine, married Hanna Haley in St. Louis, ended up in Colorado Springs where my folks were born and my rudimentary research at Dublin Castle indicated genealogical records burned in a Sligo church fire years back.”

So much for hard circular factual data.

“My family, while emotionally cold, distant and abusive yet well-intentioned, kind and loving were dysfunctional, trying to understand my vagabond spirit nature. They had no choice in the matter and by now they’re used to receiving strange word-strings full of mysterious symbolism and tragic truths from diverse twilight zones. I transmit between crystals and gringsing decorated with universal binary codes.”

“Really now?” said Mary.

“Yes, I gave my folks a world map for their anniversary. They loved it, inviting friends, neighbors and strangers over for trivia games using postmarks, stamps, decals, flotsam, thread, needles, bark, cactus fiber, beads, charts of tributaries, topographical maps, animal skins, hieroglyphics, and Tibetan prayer wheels with Sanskrit characters.

“They caressed burned broken shards of Turkish pottery, Chinese bamboo brushes dripping blood, torn out pages from esoteric Runes, Paleolithic fertility symbols, vitreous unusual writing, and one of my favorites, a Quetzalcoatl image full of written narration based on the oral performances of Central American myths.

“Fascinating,” said Deirdre.

“Yes, I gave them Olmec nahuales shamans containing animal powers dating back to 1200 B.C. speaking their wisdom. They blended the spirituality and intellect of man with the ferocity and strength of the Jaguar to create their nahuales. Their soul required an animal medium to travel from the earth to the heavens and into the underworld.

“Additional cultural reminders were beautiful blank black mirrors. Some displayed faces others contained scripts written backwards with stories of people, geographies, forbidden objects, and a box called Pandora.

“This was one of their favorite things. They never knew, from one exploration to the next, what they’d find in the box I sent them from the journey. One realization they experienced with Pandora was how they behaved differently listened more, spoke less, almost as if they were communicating via telepathy or kinesthetic dimensions, within the exotic flow of spirit energies bathing them in a crystal light. They slowed down.

“Yes, they didn’t know what to make of it whenever something mysterious, fascinating, and totally intriguing reached them from General Delivery far away from their daily existence working to pay for a house mortgage, car, food, terrorism insurance and child care.

“You don’t say,” said Mary. 

Excerpt from Subject to Change, A Century is Nothing.

Thursday
Mar142013

Ministry of tourism

Welcome to The Ministry of Tourism in Kampot.

It's near The Ministry of Fear and The Ministry of Truth

You can't miss it.

It's next to The Genocide Museum. S-21. 

2,000,000 skulls are waiting for you.

They are delighted to have company in their silent vigil. 

Colonial French buildings will delight your memory of commercial conquest.

It's all a facade.

Kampot is a sleepy little southern river town.

It is famous for pepper. Pass the sneeze please.

Quack-quack.

Hold hands. Relationships are precious. Life is short. 

Let's have a look-see.

Monday
Mar112013

Chinese Appliance Factory #8

Good afternoon students. My name is Mr. ON.

It rhymes with song gong, long gone.

         It is 17:10 p.m. If it was 18:01 p.m., I would say good evening, however it is still afternoon. It is late in life. Class meets twice a week for two hours. Show up on time, do your assignments and stay awake. Nothing more. Nothing less. Simple English is good.

         We are gathered here today in the glorious Chinese Communist Party Peoples’ Appliance Factory #8 to begin our simple English lessons. Your supervisor informs me you are here by choice and chance. You have the choice. This is your chance. Am I clear? Do you understand me? Choice and chance. 

         Now. I know. Most of you have been working in the factory since dawn. It is the end of another long mind numbing grueling tedious day down on the killing floor. English has brought us together. You face unique and amazing challenges to acquire a foreign language. To use said target language with meaning. To maybe baby become fluent. It will require your undivided attention, focus and electrical energy.

         You will practice speaking, reading, listening and writing. These are the four basic skills.

Output: Writing and speaking are active.

Input: Reading and listening are passive.

Learning is a never-ending process. Many of you will die before it’s complete.

        Learning occurs in the context of task-based activities. In other words you learn by doing. You do and you understand, as we say, said, did, done.

         We will cover, in exhaustive detail, four important appliances and their English A/C-D/C lets see connections. They are: washing machines, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens.

         These machines are now essential in everyone’s life. You know this because it is your job to put them together. It’s like English. Putting words together makes a phrase. A short, simple sentence. Some have meaning and some are gibberish. Many words are composites of useless idiomatic semantic syntax that is not the same as income tax however both are expensive.

         Write this down.

         English in. English out.

         Open your head, heart and mouth. Eat English.

         Please open your creative notebook. Using a simple writing tool like a pen or #2, get the lead out fast pencil I want you to consider the following questions. Answer them using basic English.

         How did I get here? ______ 

         Why am I here? _____

         Am I a machine? _______

         Am I a tool of the factory? _______

         What is my motivation to learn English? (Secret answer-MONEY)

         No money, no honey.

Here’s the equation. No English = no job. No job = no money. No money = no food = starvation.

         Your supervisor has instructed me to motivate you. She expects me to motivate you to arrive on time, complete the assigned tasks, and pass the exams. Her management style ordered me to use fear as a form of discipline with you.

We are all well aware how the power and threat of fear motivates humans in our society. If I fail to motivate and pass you I will be executed. Survival is my fear-based motivation. You WILL pass because my little short life depends on it.

         Fear is a funny word.

Fear of starvation. Fear of poverty. Fear of losing face. Fear of failure. Fear of humiliation or shame. Fear of not meeting family expectations. Fear of speaking in public.

         Fear of  ______  (free choice).

         Thank you for your short attention span. Next lesson we will discuss parts and functions of a washing machine cycle with elocution about a Turkish woman using sharp word shears down on her killing floor.