THE GRANDVIEW INN - The Boston Red Sox hit four home runs in one inning tonight against the New York Yankees.
George Bush Sr. was involved in the murder of John F. Kennedy, the Iran-Contra scandal, stealing two elections for his son, planning the attacks of 9-11, and on, and on.
I guess it just all depends.
Well, I'm sitting in the GrandView Inn somewhere on I-94 with my car headed toward Chicago. The sign says I am in Racine. I think they mean "racing".
All I see is The Ramada, Holiday Inn, a truck parking lot and well, cars, roads, gas pumps, big signs, people trying with all their heart and soul to get from wherever they are to somewhere else.
I got stood up tonight in Milwaukee.
I had a date at the Cream City Collective, supposed to read there, and nobody, not even somebody to open the door, shows up.
Being a big-shot author, well, it's not that. I mean, I'm this anti-war novelist author guy and here is this anti-war bookstore, with a vegetarian co-op food natural grind, pick and haul your own beans with your own donkey coffee thing across the street, and still I can't get somebody to come open the door.
I drove over here from Madison this afternoon.
I read in Madison yesterday afternoon at a bookstore near the University of Wisconsin.
Beforehand, I was lost, of course, and as an absolute last resort decided to ask for directions. I pulled into this big lot and drove up to this guy wearing an orange vest.
"Mulch?" he asked.
No, no effing mulch.
Where in the eff is Gilman Street?
He gave me directions, expertly, politely, as only a Madison resident could do.
After my reading, no, before, I go out walking around the "Designated Funk Area."
And it's EarthFest Day Thing, of course.
Every day is earth day in Madison.
There is a band up on this stage and, well, they all look like me, like they've been standing up there a long time.
I walk around and there are tables set up for fair trade coffee.
"You like solar energy?" someone asks.
Love it, just love it.
Fair trade coffee, sustainable agriculture, homemade sh*t of every phylum and fauna, and breasts. Every-effing-where.
The whole thing was put on, evidently, by WISPIRG. I know what that is, do you?
And, I'm walking around and people are laughing at me, gut laughs, some smiles.
It's my all-time best T-shirt ever that Bartcop.com sent to me for this tour.
It has an image of a scowling George W. Bush: Worst President Ever.
It is the best T-shirt ever. I can tell that. I know what is a winner and what isn't. This T-shirt is a winner.
Well, I read to eight people. That's not a bad crowd for me. I thought I was going to get skunked because at 2 p.m., when it was supposed to start, there were a bunch of chairs, but nobody to sit in them.
The way my "events" go is that I do my thing, my speech, which lasts about thirty minutes, then somebody asks me a question and I don't know the answer, so the people start discussing among themselves, which is fine with me. The people who come to hear me, even though there are not millions of them, are very smart. I've noticed that.
And after I speak, they often want the author to be The Author.
They might ask me, where do you think our country is, as far as on the path toward fascism?
And I laugh silently to myself because I know that I have no effing idea, and then I try to get them to talk about it amongst themselves, because I also know that's what they really want to do anyway.
See, if they came to see a real smart guy author man person like Ralph Nader, well, he would have sh*t to say, about every-effing-thing, and they could sit there and just listen.
With me, at my "author events," after I give my prepared speech, that's kind of it, show's over, anywhere a guy can find a quart of Old Style around here?
I'm okay with that.
I know what I know, and I know there is a definite limit to that, and so I stand in front of the group and let them talk about paradigms and para nickles and para pennies as much as they want, and I pay attention as long as I can, until my mind starts wandering, wondering if that was a Kwik Trip I saw over on Einstein Circle.
After my talk at Rainbow Books in Madison at 2:10 pm., I got directions from Allen Ruff, the events coordinator, raced to find a place to stay, made four [four] trips to the ice machine to cool down the remainder of my twelve pack from Grand Forks in the sink, rode the exercise bike, took a shower, then got directions from the person at the front desk who said she loved my T-shirt [Dude, I told you], back to the university area, cursed the low sun, and sweated myself into finding a parking garage with some room, then walked with my head down and my chunky legs just a churnin' over to hear William Rodgriguez in the Humanities Building.
Rodgriguez was a janitor in the World Trade Center when 9-11 happened. He was pulled from the effing rubble.
He is a very good speaker. And he admits that he looks and sounds like Ricky Ricardo, which he does.
He helped to save a bunch of people and he says he heard explosions in the basement before the planes hit, saw the vending machine guy walking out of that area with his skin hanging off his arms from the explosions - before the plans hit.
He conjectures that the planners didn't quite coordinate everything - the charges planted in the buildings and the planes hitting - exactly together.
He recently visited Venezuela, and was approached by an FBI agent in the hotel. The Venezuelan government then assigned five men to protect Rodriguez because they thought it just might be possible that the USA would kill Rodriguez in order to silence him, while in the meantime blaming it on Venezuela and giving the land of the free an excuse to invade and silence Chavez, who thinks Bush is the devil, which he is.
Anyway, Rodriguez had no visible protection in Madison on Saturday. He was headed to Peoria for another talk on Sunday. We owe him a lot. It is possible that the future of our democracy rides on his shoulders. No, not on his. He is doing what he needs to do. It depends on our response.
He is a hero. He is putting his life on the line by rolling his eyes when he hears the Bush government's conspiracy theory about what happened on 9-11.
As I was driving around trying to find a parking spot I saw all these people wearing red T-shirts.
I thought maybe it had to do with the Rodriguez event.
As I got closer I saw that they were University of Wisconsin T-shirts.
There was some kind of sporting event in some kind of humongous building, where most of the people on the sidewalk were headed. Oh, I thought, dumb guys. Not great T-shirts either.
It just depends.
Chicago: April 23, New World Resource Center, 1300 N. Western Ave., 5 pm.; 8 pm. Unitarian Church, Park Forest.
April 24, Revolution Books, 530 pm.; Barbara's Books, Halsted St., 730 pm.
www.amazon.com (search: Mike Palecek)