Sunday, April 24, 2005

A most Unusual Message

Note--this message somehow ended up in my inbox the other day, thought I would include it here for kicks. Go figure...

-------------------------------

On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 11:42:18 -0700 (PDT)
stevie@worlddogwatch.com wrote:
> Mitch
> this is Steve from World Dogwatch...I'm conducting a
> study
> comparing the dogs of Mexico and Cambodia, and i thought
> you would be an
> excellant contact(considering your experience in both
> lands).
> I need some of your acute observations...say, the #'s of
> tripod hounds(3-legged );the scratching habits (and
> frequency)of said
> breeds and others; diets; and general orneryness .
> I appreciate your cooperation, and you will be
> compensated for your help.
> Steve
>

On Sat, 24 Apr 2005 11:42:18 -0700 (PDT)
mitchellp@thirdworldcanineassistance.com wrote:

Steve--

Glad to hear from you buddy, did I tell you I got my Phd?
Did that online, was too busy in the field putting together the third world dog calendar which one of the local NGOs here is sponsoring.

To answer your questions briefly--

1) Mexican dogs have flatter heads, with their ears hanging lower and looser than their Asian counterparts. However, tits on the Asian hounds do drag longer and are often very knobby and scarred from friction with the ground.

2) The Cambodian dogs are generally well proportioned, whereas , as I'm sure you recall from our fieldwork, that the Mexican dogs often have a normal sized body but with exceptionally short legs which do not match its morphology. (Still trying to determine the evolutionary cause of this)

3) A great deal many more cases of dogs "attached" to one another here during copulation; they are conjoined and can not seem to separate easily (or at all!)

4( The Mexican dogs seem to be more expressive, often "laughing" or smiling as they trot along. The Cambodian dogs--conversely--are far more reserved and seem to bear a great deal more worldy concern in their demeanor.

Hope this helps. Gotta run though to Mondulkiri where we're investigating rural dogs body mass ratos versus their urban conterparts.

Cheers,

Mitch

Friday, April 22, 2005

He Knows When You've Been Bad or Good

Thus, as I rode my mountain bike (aquired for $30 from the bicycle market near the Capitol guesthouse) down the riverside, I had to make a U turn to head back to the Internet cafe--

A squat, dirty blue truck is backing up into my lane--

I swerve to avoid it. The mound of spindly construction workers assembled on top of the truck idly observe my maneuver, lazily lounging in the sun like toads.

As I depart, I recognize the faint strains of the tinny backup signal the truck is using:

It's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

Return of the Clones

Just received the clones of the tapes sent by G, they arrived safe and sound at my place here in Phnom Penh. Was the second piece of mail I received in two days, by God I'm starting to feel connected to the outside world again!

First package, yesterday, some CDs sent by a music industry pal of mine, and great friend and supporter, Jesper Kumberg in Gothenberg, Sweden. He'd seen the SVT broadcast of BOOKWARS a couple years ago and we've been in touch ever since.

Anyway, all I need now are some hard drives and a deck for a few days to load footage, and I can start cutting again. Buying the hard drives will just about clear me out money wise, down to the last penny to my name.

F_ck it. You only live once. Then again, anyone who wants to kick in some cash to help us along, just log into the Camerado website at:

www.camerado.com/popes.html

Your infusion of much needed cash will be most welcome...and of course, you'll become an honorary Pope of Camerado!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Back from Khmer New Year

Once I was heckled by parrots at the top of
a jungle pyramid
I slept that night in a black garbage bag
( I shit you not)
to keep the cold out

While I slept, I’d had a dream:
A priest wearing a leopard skin
Was standing over me
Performing some kind of ceremony.

A couple years later,
Walking through the forest of lights
In San Francisco
After being told by the Pacific Pioneer
Fund that “the board thought
your proposal for BOOKWARS
Is great, but we felt you’d have to be a genius to
Pull it off—we’ll have to deny you funding”
I wandered over to Carl’s Jr
And bought myself a cheap hamburger

Boy that burger was dry
from sitting under the Red heater lamp all day,
but it was still delicious

Then I went back to my residential Hotel
Where the crazy lady stalks the
Hallway with her fingers in her ears

Is she still there, I wonder?

In Kampuchea tonight, cyclo drivers sprawl inside their beloved contraptions
They stay like that til they wake,
flocked together under the smoky moon
Like skinny sheep
Or weird bony octopi, brown from too much sun,
Snoring in unison,
an orchestra of rattled chests
Their groans fit to pull stones
From the templed quarry
to the Holy mound of Angkor’s king.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

(((Retrograde in Kampuchea)))

Thoughts about girls in High School
Going up to the chalkboard and writing:
“Neal Young Rules”!

The first love is the one that carries all the
Monuments
which we strive to rediscover

One day there was a sudden shaking
We thought the boiler room exploded
But later heard it was an earthquake
“In Ohio?”

I think many a time about that
Algaed lake near Charlie’s farm
A place where I tented with an Italian Girl,
Met her later in Santa Monica
What I chiefly remember of her now
is her hat collection—

Anyway, Charlie always cooked up a storm,
fatty creamy Czech food
to put nobs on the knees and
hair on the neck

And the woods folded round us
At dusk, gently,
like a secret story
some manifold chirping thing

Everyone has their memories:

The bulging eyed carnie when we were kids
he who talked to us
about his
(fictitious, later learned) Chimpanzee, Shirley.

Getting shitfaced on the edge of town by the derelict quarry
or inhaling whippets in the cemetary under the Civil War
gravestones

Being a cheap intellectual--and fooling many (but not all!) the
clever New Yorkers

That is, becoming the endearingly coarse friend
of the more clever longtime folks who lived there:
Many Jewish or I-talian
Like Rich who lived on 5th avenue with his mother,
he starred in my rudimentary student films

He kept my suitcase in his mother’s place when I went
take a year off in my softmore year in college
I left with $350 bucks and a big swinging can opener
which I randomly pocketed as I headed out the kitchen
to the airport

Up North, on the way to see the hilltribe people,
Saw the muddy curled skin of an old 500 pound US bomb
(From the Secret War)
Lying casually along the roadside near the Khmer hair parlor,
The owner found it and neatly extracted its innards—
as if he'd used that same can opener

The skin neatly peeled open, it lay there in the sun:

A dragonfruit,
A tossed bananna
An overripe orange.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Khmer New Year is Coming

You can feel it in the air...you can see it in the smiling toothless faces of the cyclo drivers...you can sense it in the plump, taught booties of all the laughing girls.

New Years is nigh. Eager families loaf in front of the Royal palace at night, chewing seeds and eating roasted corn cobs. Monks chuckle as they glide past in their orange robes. Teenagers dance in groups by the riverside at night next to big boomboxes powered by car batteries.

There's an honest, authentic enthusiasm in the air: the people here haven't been trained to be cynical (yet?), and there is no such thing as ironic hipsterism--amongst the Khmers at least. (some expatriates and many of the plump NGO women in their early twenties have carried this sickness with them from their developed motherlands)

Thus this is a refreshing break from the usual holidays of the West: Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc...Christmas and Thanksgiving merging like two gigantic cities to engulf all the intervening weeks into a sort of diminished, flaccid, nervous "suburb"of holiday time.

Anyway, I've sent for the tapes of Susan Hero, and G will send them shortly. Thus, with a Firewire HD and some borrowed editing software, I can commence cutting the movie at long last.

Running on fumes money wise. I'have some residual cash in my Wells Fargo and Citibank accounts, but in a few months this will be absorbed by the bank fees alone unless it is replenished.

I have a roll of a couple hundred US dollars in my cupboard to carry me through, and I'm getting paid in cash from my teaching gigs and limited video jobs, so cash is King.

We'll see what happens, I'm putting out feelers to go work in Hong Kong or Japan if I run out of money. Also of course trying to get grants for various doc projects, but the grant racket is slow and chancy at best...still, given all this, my quality of life is better here than it has been in the US for a long time, and I'm enjoying this New World.