Tuesday, June 10, 2014


            We all know it’s time for the beach.
            What’s more fun about the careless abandon of throwing yourself, wet from the salty ocean, onto the sand, rolling around under the bright yellow sun. I end up resembling one of those pirate cast ways, sand in my beard, exhibiting odd beach behavior.  It’s no wonder the ancients believed the sun was their God.
            I once had a wonderful customer named Don, a jazz pianist and worldly soul, who would quietly order lunch at the end of the bar I tended in Boston. I asked him, in his wisdom, what he thought about the whole God thing. After all, he was 70 something and had been around the globe. He played juke joints in Barcelona and drank with Ernest Hemingway and Ava Gardner. I figured the guy knew his shit.
            I said: “Don. Talk to me. What about the whole God thing?”
          He shook his head, grinning: “I don’t know about God. I do know the sun comes every day. In fact, it has never not come up. Ever. That’s the most consistent thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Not God. That’s for sure. Not people. Not love. But the sun always comes up. I’d have to say I’m a sun worshipper.”
            I’m pretty sure I converted to sun worshipping right then and there. And last Monday was no different. After the long and dark winter we’ve had out here, that Vitamin D was desperately needed in my skin.  And as your dutiful bartender have explained many times before the whole system of getting to the beach here in New York City. We call it the Brighton Beach Adventures. It’s the nicest $2.25 subway ride you could ask for. Fast, too.
            The operation goes like this. We met up 10 am. I play the Father Figure Beach Nazi, wrangling the cats that are my friends together. Artists surely have a hard time focusing, especially at that hour. We get to the sand by noon. It’s bad luck if you don’t set your bare feet on the sand by 12. I’ve seen it happen.
            Then you break out the cooler with a collection of well-converted ‘roadies’. The cops don’t care what happens, just don’t be stupid. The Russians are out in droves. The locals are sunbathing. Kids are playing. The water is relatively clean.
            And appropriately, around 3pm, we head on down to Coney Island to drink at famed dive bar Ruby’s right there on the boardwalk. You’re back home by 5pm (and probably napping).
            Beaches are fantastic. Not only for the pure hedonism of that sort of life style, but it’s a helluva way to get to know people. I think something is essential troubled about people who don’t like the beach. I half grew up in Surf City U.S.A. and hated the beach (I was originally a pasty faced Rhode Island kid with a bad accent), and something surely was wrong with me. Maybe there still is.
            There’s several personalities that appear in the sun, drenched in sand, and any or all of these can be seen on Planet Beach.

            Beach Perv.
            Okay. Everyone, to some degree, is a beach perv. We are American’s, after all, which means we are repressed as all hell, so that amount of skin just on display can drive people wild. But there are limits. On a scale of one to ten, you want to remain around a 3. The ‘10’ types are the scary fat men with dark shades walking slowly down the sand. The ‘3’ types are casual observers of beauty.
            Somebody always is the beach perv. Next time it might be you.

            Speedo Guy.
            Wait a minute. Who says it was ever cool to wear speedo’s for a fella? I have yet to meet a woman that has openly expressed there’s some kind of turn on in seeing men’s packages proudly (or sadly) displayed. Gay men, sure. Straight ladies, I don’t know. If you know any of these women who do get turned on by it or might be one yourself, please email me. We can talk. You can be the one that stands out. Inside, you probably are a gay man. It happens.

Yoga Lady/Exercise Guy.
We’ll put these two in the category: “It’s cool whatever you do for self-improvement, but please do it somewhere else” mentality. Hey you, the guy with the speedos and doing exercises right by women and young children, please, need attention much. And come on sister, you know you got a nice air-conditioned studio somewhere in Park Slope where you can align your chakras. I’ve got nothing against Eastern Thought. If anything, I’m a Taoist. A Sun worshipping Taoist. Least to say exactly how many of Personality Number One’s you’ll attract. These two are exhibitions to a fault.
Talk about life in a glass house. A ‘lotion beaming on the skin’ house.

The Partiers.
Okay. I admit I fall in this this category (and a 3 on the beach perv scale: see above).
That’s what I think of when I’m on the beach. Relaxation. Boating. Eating cold melon in the sun. I have a friend who was so elaborate about his ‘catering’ he managed to smuggle out chilled papya with parmesean, blue cheese and water melon, rolled cold cuts. Perfectly cold temperature. Nothing is better at 3pm having this gentleman lunching on the sand. If this type of behavior is a crime, then take me to jail. I'm going to die by the beach.    
Nobody want to bother anybody. Roadies are essential, those Arizona 99 cent ones do nicely. Throw away your trash. Be cool. That’s all. If you act a fool, you deserve what you get. 
Street logic, son.

There’s a million of these characters, compounded that where I go is the next beach over from Coney Island, out there. To be continued...





  1. LOL. I remember the beach took some liking too at first as a kid. Wait...why does this have to be all salty? And it makes my eyes sting! But my favorite memories of it are jumping off of sand clips in Laguna (there's a classic shot of me doing this in my jeans overalls at about 5 or 7). But the ultimate was in Hawaii. I was playing on my boogie board in the Honolulu surf somewhere along that coast. I was probably with my friend Sean, a very effeminate son of a local surf teacher...his name escapes me. He was a blonde dude with an Italian last name, total extrovert. Sadly, many years later, I heard that Sean hated his dad and went on rants, and his dad killed himself because he was suffering from some incurable disease, I think by shotgun. Anyway, he taught surfing right on Honolulu beach. But I remember getting lost in euphoria at continually taking my little boogie board out there to catch waves, getting high on the vitamin d and endorphins. I would repeat this to a lesser degree at 12 or 13 in HB. But guess what...parts of HB will inevitably be underwater. The most conservative estimates place us at a global 10 foot ocean level raise. I looked it up on a Google site and it shows my little condo, the house I was first brought to when I was born, the house I most call home, will be ten feet underwater. So probably will be Edison. They will likely be bulldozed before that....before I'm guessing 2065. I remember when I moved out from AZ and visited the beach again, I was amazed at the pornography of it all. It was pretty euphoric. But Surf City will slowly recede back into the landscape of that community. Weird to think my little pad was doomed all this time. And yet people are still investing in marina revamps in Dana Point and elsewhere...banking that they will make tons of profits before it all has to be destroyed. That's capitalism.

  2. Boy did I get bad sunburns. Lotion? Yuck! And all this sand everywhere.

  3. Thing is, and I've been repeating this a lot, I feel like its a message from up on high. We will need a religious like conversion to confront fossil fuel and prevent mass loss of human life and needless suffering due to climate change. It will require a radical change of perspective, this environmental global shift in consciosness. I know we haven't renewed our friendship, which saddens me, but I do feel compelled to at least reach out to you, for some reason, and not in malice, but in good faith. I can imagine how hurt you must still feel. I stooped pretty low. So utterly out there. All the weird stuff that came out. Juvenile, deranged stuff. anyway, I seldom write much anymore, but I might try to throw you some of my good thoughts, and try to be positive.

  4. this is from an FB post: What happened to the "sweet men?' I awoke this morning and had a stream of thought which I will try to recount. Why is there so much sexist and misogynistic anger today? How can we remedy this pathological thinking and behavior? How did it all start? I know it can get really complicated, but there just has to be a way out. There is a vast hatred of feminism, usually by people who misunderstand it, but it goes much deeper. There is just ancient misogyny, not just in the US, but all over the world. I know things used to be a lot worse, even in the days of chivalry. Or the Victorian age. With the so called "sexual revolution," men were encouraged to embrace their feminine side. Later, there was blowback to this and men were encouraged to get back in touch with their masculine instincts. Nowadays, with the internet, people seem at a crossroads, and the ugliness is at an all-time high. There is a movement against bullying, but all our prominent leaders and politicians, or most of them, act like bullies. Would anyone honestly call any of our recent Presidents "sweet men?" They kill innocents. They lie. Sure, they may act like they are sweet, and fool a lot, even themselves, but they are not sweet people. They are vicious competitors and patriarchal beasts. Women may desire sweetness in a male partner, but also be attracted by a man who could kill on a whim, and that man may in turn consider himself sweet despite this quality. Likewise, sweet or sensitive men, spurned by women, may be driven into downward spirals of misogyny by all the vicious menist sites online, or just classical viral misogyinistic thinking that has been circulating for eons in religious and secular circles. Men may even not want to be considered "sweet" for fear of being seen as effeminate. In America in particular, many behaviors that are deemed normal in other cultures for men are viewed as effeminate or gay. Male boys are usually born sweet, yet so many are molded by abusive elders and peers to become brutes. Our culture has also become so militarized and warlike and Darwinian that sweetness is abhorred. I wonder if previous generations, like the so-called "greatest generation," had a particular subset of "sweet" men lacking in today's society. Or even going back further. Or is the sweet man to be a new compatriot to the feminist for the future betterment of humankind? Feminism seems to entail a concomitant change in male behavior. An evolution in consciousness. We men are blessed with sweet women, for the most part, in our environment. They have the greater capacity for it than us. We have to be proud to admit we are sweet, if we can claim to be, honestly, but also admit when we are wrong. And also admit the weakness in our own sex, to produce so much rage, violence, damage, etc. There's a lot of truth in that. Men are not necessarily the more evil of the sex. Deeming one sex more evil than the other is just blind prejudice. But we need to think more, and be more keen to erroneous thinking about sexuality and the passions it can evoke. More honest about beauty, chastity, modesty, promiscuity, respect, communication, psychology, maturity, romance, relationships and many other issues, as well as all the social ills that plague us and cause so much deep and profound suffering to so many on so many levels. We are still plagued by patriarchy, and we still have a long way to go.
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    Ashley Garnaas likes this.

    Mark Stuart Ekdahl Of course, I know there are sweet men everywhere, doing good deeds, but its like they seemed to be an oppressed minority or something, and the Klingons are taking over. We need sweet men in power, and not the pathological types who will revert to psychos on a whim. We need the real deal.
    June 3 at 6:38pm · Like

  5. A note in response to Andy Caffrey's link: That's a tragic story. I'm pretty disappointed myself. Why is America still such a laggard environmentally? Why is is so hard to get people behind environmental causes? What is the mental blockage? Sure, CA is making strides with wind and solar, but that seems to be the only good news. I still have a water waster toiilet in my apt, which I'm going to bring up with the landlord. I conserve water like a desert tortoise. The topsoil in Iowa and other places is half gone. The future of water is alarming. the President is still behind reckless oil consumption. His biggest failure is not churning out a big green revolution and green jobs program. We need to have lawn watering rules everywhere, not just Nevada. We need xeriscape plans everywhere, so that we don't have to water any of our property, unless we are growing food. We need to get fluoride out of the water. We are still producing gas-guzzling cars. We are not investing in all the new energy harvesting technologies sprouting up everywhere. People are still confused about...nuclear! (of all things nasty and abominable). I have lost my appetite for nearly everything they sell in a typical grocery store. I wonder if I have incorporated strange insect or fish DNA or whatever into my own body. Food prices are soaring. Zero Population Growth is never brought up. Energy efficient housing is underfunded. There are still leaky horrible houses everywhere. That's a great job market waiting to be created. Hell, why are there still fast food commercials? That should be ILLEGAL. People are being gouged by skyrocketing utility prices, not to mention TV and internet. What passes for meat is the carcasses of tortured animals. Our stores are loaded with milk and dairy products, and I just saw a sign on a Carl's Jr. saying it accepts EBT! WTF? There are not nearly enough recycling programs. We are all living on exorbitant amounts of energy that won't last, and disconnected from our food sources. We are fast turning into Dickensian England. And the progressive voices I befriend of become a fan of on facebook usually, to my dismay, have far fewer fans than I would expect (like Chris Hedges). Obamacare is a joke. People are too fat and polluted to even think clearly, and too overworked to participate in politics or communal life. It's downright medieval. The government is failing its people. I think Gar Alperovitz may be right that's its going to be like 30 years of a long slow turn around. No quick revolution. Little acts of sabotage or destruction of property will likely do nothing. Just piss people off. the more people see the obvious effects of climate change, only then will they be more willing to change and put pressure on the powers that be. Science and ideas don't phase them. Oil is the number one military asset, and has been for 150 odd years. But I'm not being cynical and saying we don't need to still protest and raise our voices and educate people. Its hard to get people off their addiction to money and an expensive life style, and look at the Earth and others in a different way. At heart, its like trying to convert someone to a new faith. You can often talk till you are blue in the face, maybe the best you can do is forward them literature, good essays and studies, and just say you hope they come around. As of now, we do have a minority of environmentally conscious people in politics--Kucinich and Sanders and Warren and Al Gore come to mind, but we need a tidal wave like they have in more advanced countries.

  6. cont'd: Our budget blows money on bailing out banks and corrupt companies, and doesn't invest in sectors that will save the environment and people trillions down the road. Which is fundamentally insane. Its truly insane at this juncture, right now, we aren't moving forward at lightspeed. But politicians don't know science, as a rule. And the people who really care, the luminaries in our society, can't seem to penetrate their little worlds and circles of corrupt advisors and walled cities. I don't think Hillary will do any better. Maybe it will come down to community activism, one city at a time, like Seattle raising the minimum wage to $15, Eugene outlawing neonicotinoid pesticides. Arcata banning fast food joints. Colorado housing the homeless, etc. etc. And I haven't even mentioned the prison industrial complex. Joe Arpaio is still in power. How insane is that? I was always taught to respect cops. They have to deal with the worst of human behavior. But everyday I see a post of another seemingly unnecessary killing or act of brutality. Its very scary. And prison sentences are incredibly hyperbolic and punitive. The gun culture seems to have forgotten that the west was won. They care more about selling them than teaching safe handling! Anyway, that covers my rant for the day.

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