Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gilad Shalit’s alive

or at least that's the story cooked up by Egyptian security. Must be a big relief to Dad Noam, knowing that the bright-lights in Lazoughly, who couldn’t stop three Bedouins and a one-eared donkey from flattening half the Sinai last year, are whispering this sweet truth in ear of Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit.

For the love of Christ, these are people who can't find chickens that villagers have hidden under their beds (who knew they had beds out there? Must be making too much money). And now they want us to believe they have a handle on the mess in Gaza?

Maybe they’re better with things in cages.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to Saddam Hussein. Seems the guy’s ready for death, or says he is anyway. Given that he’s supposed to be hung sometime in the next month, that’s probably a good thing.

Oh well. Gerald Ford’s dead, and so is James Brown. As are a bunch of beardies who got their heads beaten in by State Security. And so, soon enough, Saddam will join them. But if Omar Suleiman says Shalit’s alive, then there's hope that things will all turn out ok in the end.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

As the rain comes down,

the shit rises up. Dips in the road have become vast bowls of shit soup, turds floating there like dumplings. I was in one of those Zamalek basha-bars earlier this evening, beering with Terence, who had a flask of something nasty under the table that he was slurping at through a plastic tube. He put a shot in my beer and it made my head spin.

“It’s the fucking brain drain man,” Terence was pulling at his mustache like he wants it out of there. “All the engineers are in Canada. That’s why the sewers don’t work.”

Why don’t the sewers work? Why do they back up and spread shit through the streets when it rains?

They don’t call it the Turd World for nothing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

George Bush cries

over spilled milk should have been the headline. Then I wouldn’t have missed it when GB I apparently broke down back on December 7th over the ruination of Jeb Bush’s White House chances by the increasingly petulant GB II.

The video is absolutely heart rending. The old man breaks down, holding the podium and sobbing as he reflects on the gubernatorial loss that put the smart son behind the stupid son in a game of dynastic leap-frog run amuck.

Here at Nation of Pearls we had a moment of silence for the old guy’s noble dream for the America his family has served so well, and so selflessly.

Perhaps he would take heart from a private viewing of the Sylvester Stallone’s comeback re-re-remake of Rocky. Hair plugged and dyed, nipples tweaked, chicken-neck nipped and tucked, pumped up, buffed up and sewn together with fishing twine, Christ himself only knows how the man gets up in the morning, Stallone, at 60 for God’s sakes, is “back in the ring.”

Honestly now, it’s like that scene in Fatal Attraction where Glen Close comes firing up out of the bathtub like Godzilla with a hangover to attack Michael Douglas, yet again.

Like they say down in Texas: it ain’t over till the old guy cries, and even then you gotta stay on your toes in case something nasty and wrinkly comes at you out of the bathtub.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The ol' Caddy

almost crapped out this morning, and in the nastiest way possible. There’s a broken sewage pipe somewhere under Kit Kat and as it splashed through the ankle deep shit-water the engine coughed and nearly died. Not so the half dozen teenaged football fans chanting in the middle of the road, waving their Zamalek team flag and blocking traffic even as the fecal matter of the neighborhood splashed over them. They seemed unbothered by the situation, but it gave me a pounding headache.

So, holding my nose and throwing back a couple of codeines left over from my last stop in Salt Lake City, I piled down into Beano’s for a coffee and, unusually, a scan through the news.

In Egypt, I saw, you have to be Muslim, Christian or Jewish. The courts say so. Bahai’s, Budhists, Zorastrians, Confuscists, Janists and the rest need not apply.

Up with the home team, and down with the rest, I thought as the codeine pressed back Saturday’s excesses and brought me a moment of startling clarity.

The politically-motivated hyperventilation in Egypt over the anodyne criticism directed at the seven women in England (eight if you count that tranny in Leeds) who wear the niqab, and the red-faced, fist-pumping idiocy that followed the circulation of a (fraudulently enhanced, let’s not forget) portfolio of mildly unamusing Mohamed cartoons, were diverting enough. Imagine what would happen if some western government came out and declared Islam a non-religion.

Maybe there’s a principle in there that one should analyze or attack or defend or something, but really, as long as they don’t throw their shit on my Caddy? They can do what the fuck they like.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Screaming Arabs

greeted George Clooney on his recent visit to Cairo, or so reported wordsmith Mirette Mabrouk, Head Capo at the Egypt Daily Gleaner.

Seems Mirette went running down to AUC with the rest of the ladies to check out the General Hospital heart throb, and the whole thing went to her head.

“The air trembled with full-throated, bloodcurdling screams,” she reports, all aquiver.

“If the Arabs had pulled off a few of those back in Andalucia, the Spaniards would still be speaking Arabic.”

Really now. Ouch. Ouch Ouch.

Rumors that she threw an item of highly personal underwear at Mr. Clooney have not yet been denied.

And meanwhile it seems that some wacky little man in London is claiming that the People’s Superhero Princess was not in fact mown down in the prime of her miracle-working career by a lethal team of MI6 agents and House of Windsor attack dogs.

Turns out the Royal Britney Spears wasn’t wearing her seatbelt in a car being driven at 100 mph through the middle of a crowded city by a squat little security man with 14 shots of Chivas under his belt and a couple of roofies cooking up his cerebellum.

Pity. She looked so cute in that mine-clearing headgear thing.

God knows I don't want to get into a scrap with a guy who puts Cutty Sark in his granola, but Hugh! For God's sakes lighten up on evolution. Pulling some of these fishes out of the pool could clear the water a little.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This is evolution,

the grim reaper trimming the toenails of our odd and wayward race like that Baghdad sniper videoed popping off Marines who weren’t keeping their heads tucked far enough into the Kevlar.

Which is what I was thinking this morning, waking up on the floor of the living room underneath the tasseled lamp that Roaul gave Sandy last year at Christmas, and which he kindly passed on to me on my birthday.

This is evolution at work: drinkers reproduce with other drinkers and produce more drinkers, for who else can stand their breath? Put up with their slobbering, jabbering, poking-about-in-the-sack excuse for sex at the end of another long evening out with Johnny, Jack and Stella?

But sadly, impotence and liver disease, the natural predators of the boozer, take their toll. Numbers are shrinking.

More cheerful news, though, for Iraq. If we keep the soldiers there for a few generations, they will gradually become stumpier necked because of the higher mortality rate suffered by the long-necked ones. A report I can’t now track down suggests that, because of global warming, these genetic changes are already in evidence after just 4 years.

And so to with the desk jockeys and the paper pushers. Lower mortality rates equal larger numbers, though a combination of low metabolic rates and unattractive hip-fat (so hopefully called “love handles” by a more optimistic generation) countervails. Nobody I know would intentionally mate with a teletubby.

The weak and the stupid will always outbreed the smart, and the brave are more often killed in action than the not-so-brave. It’s just how it is.

It’s time to give away that lamp. Who has a birthday coming up?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Honestly now Mr. Clooney,

asking Suzanne Mubarak and her balding scionette to do something to help out in Darfur is like asking the Japanese to run Greenpeace.

The last time these boys put their pea-brains to solving a Sudanese problem, they went at a bunch of refugees like a liquored up Canadian goes after a baby seal on a lonely Saturday night.

Seems meanwhile that the bright lights at the White House are staying up late figuring out ways to make the mess in Eye-rack worse. Well, another 40,ooo heavily armed teenagers should do the trick nicely.

"Such a proposal, military officials and experts caution, would be a gamble," observes perspicacious hack Julian E. Barnes in the LA Times.

Yes, Julian, it would be a bit of a gamble. A bit like pouring gasoline on a grassfire in the hopes that it will somehow put it out is a gamble. A bit like jumping off the Golden Gate bridge because there is a chance that you'll learn to fly before you hit the barge is a gamble. A bit like giving Jimmy Mubarak a nightstick in the hopes that he'll stick it up his own ass is a gamble.

No wait. Scratch that last one.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh no!

This is truly the end of civilization. Cherie Phonebooth Blair posed nude. Jesus titty-fucking Christ, the horror of it all. Just say no. No no no no. No. And one more time for good luck: no, Cherie, keep them covered.

Meanwhile, it has been shown that Indian males fail to meet internationally established penis-size standards. Who saw that one coming, huh?

I don't think that you have to be washed out, inebriated and smoking up behind the wheel of a large, American built automobile (see Hugh's freaked out rant below) to see the connection between these two items.

Stayed tuned.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

There was this Truth

doing the rounds for a while that Cairo policemen have at one and the same time the highest lead levels and lowest sperm counts in the world. An occupational hazard. It was a tempting truth. It explained so much.

Cairo traffic is where we go to dig snot out of our noses until it’s time to honk. Once in a while we move our cars around like the pieces in an anarchic, and brutally slow, game of checkers. I have taken to sipping absinth and smoking a joint while I drive. It passes the time. It gives me insight.

Stands policeman there in an orange safety vest, making like a zoo-bound proto-human, up on its hind legs doing embarrassing things to its genitalia while the girls giggle and the guys look away. Once in a while it blows a whistle.

Interesting that Mohamed Sharaqawi knew he was in shit when he heard the policeman radioing ahead to keep the Garden City light clear. He had just been dragged into a car and the cops weren’t letting him see where they were taking him.

Then the policemen at the Kasr el Aini police station did something embarrassing to Mohamed’s genitals. It was, I’m sure, no big surprise to him: Egyptian policeman are getting to be known for touching men in embarrassing ways. Foreigners have been known to askfor it (and give a little tip), and Egyptians … well, I guess Mohamed was asking for it too—all that public “I want my rights” stuff. Might as well have held up a sign that said “sodomize me.” But it can hardly have been pleasant.

Which brings us to taxi-driving Emad, beaten, held for a week back in January and then sodomized with a broom handle. In the video he doesn’t seem to be having much fun either. Lots of screaming and trying to get away. And the policemen there like little boys with a frog.

But leave that aside a moment. Let’s think this through. Notice, again, the traffic angle. A taxi driver. Beaten to intimidate other drivers maybe? Or as punishment for a traffic infraction? A closer investigation might reveal that he was in the Garden City intersection that day back in May when they were transporting Mohamed, his face jammed into the crotch of some officer of the law, to the station.

On the other hand this could be something separate—a crackdown on changing lanes without shoulder checking or failure to stop at a red light; a traffic management initiative implemented by people with massive amounts of lead attacking their brains.

Or maybe this is a question that defies logical analysis, no matter what quantity of high grade weed or low-test gasoline you feed your grey matter. Maybe it’s just time to go down a police station with some friends—Bulaq al Dacrour would be a good place to start—and drag a few of these mofos out into the street and run them over.

Friday, December 1, 2006

I only give to beggars

when I’m good and pissed, and they’re doing pretty good these days.

Rolled through the door and bellyed up to the keyboard here—squint eyed desperate. Bled white by the night, stinking of paint thinner Scotch. Clutching at door handles. Horeya, Stella Bar, the Port Tawfik. The Greek Club? Who knows. Piled back home through this sprawled out busted city in a flat tire taxi, seat spring fucking me from behind and the dashboard trying to sit in my lap. Across a bridge, sodium streetlight necklaces glowing in the black of the Nile, cars parked half up on the curb and guys fishing. Rods balanced on the green railings.

And someone in the back singing Jerry Lee.

“…drunk drunk drunk keep a’screaming for more,” singing for the mullet-cut Imbaba boys in their Chinese made acid-wash jeans and the middle aged fishermen. The offal sellers and the taxi drivers on their smoke break. At three startled teenagers, who yell something at us that makes the driver wince.

“The thing is—you know what the thing is?” This was Terence talking, jammed into the middle of the back seat, arms spread wide like he’s going to wrap them around the whole car. “The thing isn’t that this country lacks democracy. Thing is that it has too fucking much democracy.” He folded his hands neatly in his lap. Laced his fingers together. “Needs a leader who can lead. Kick these fuckheads into shape. Organize.” Terence has a huge white mustache that sticks out beyond his cheeks. We do not, as a general rule, listen to what Terence has to say.

We were sitting at an intersection in Zamalek, gridlocked into stasis there. Everyone honking. Fretting. Going exactly no place.

“Can’t organize a fucking intersection, let alone a country. Jesus.” Terence was wanking at his mustache.

There’s old woman there who sells Kleenex. She’s got these big google-goggle glasses and a cane. She was knocking on the window. Face pressed against the glass staring in at us like we’re a bunch of fish in bowl. Drunk fish, cavorting sweaty in our over-warm little tank, banging against the glass and knocking over the little plastic diver guy.

I rolled down the window and paid over the odds for a pack. Seemed the least I could do given the state of the traffic.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ahmad Maher

is out on the town, according to the back page society coverage in the Daily Gleaner. Maher, last seen being carried out of a mosque somewhere that we don't talk about (much) under a hail of shoes, was attending a vampire wedding at the Semiramis Intercon.

Meanwhile, quote of the day honors are handily wrapped up by Nicholas Negroponte, the guy pushing that $150 laptop business. Complaining about how the focus seems to be on the computer and not the aims of the project, he said: "It's as if people spent all of their attention focussing on Columbus's boat and not on what he was doing."

Columbus set out, on the basis of a wholly fatuous idea of how the globe was constructed, to open up a trade route to a country he didn't understand let alone know how to get to. Unsurprisingly, he got lost. Along the way he mutiliated passengers to keep them in line. He opened the door to genocidical exploitation. But then his sponsors made a whole lot of money (in the medium term) so he became a hero.

Is he sure that he wants people paying less attention to the machine and more to where it's going?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The ringing in my ears

turned out to be Saturday night calling to say hi. A trunk call from a bar somewhere.

I was headed down toward the Semiramis for a triple-espresso and a criossant, head splitting down the mold-line. Panadols about as effective as an Egyptian traffic cop.

Cattle trucks parked in rows as usual by the Mugama, wall-eyed faces peering down through the grills at the passers-by. The basha-officers sitting at a broken table in the shade behind, on the blocked off sidewalk. Legs stretched out. Talking on their mobiles and making noises at the foreign girls.

Back in August, when it was hot as hell, you could smell those trucks—smell the sweat and unlaundered uniforms ten feet off. Now at least, with the cooler weather, you can get past them without having to breathe through your collar.

This is what defeat looks like—soldiers of a broken army paid by the winners to stay home and make sure the civvies stay in line. A rent-a-cop army parked in the shade, a “domestic use only” sticker on its forehead.

Or maybe that’s just Saturday night talking.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dear God,

a bunch of grown men are calling each other sissies in a fight over what they are going to force their women to wear.

Is this how you saw it unfolding when you put this place together?

There is a dead dog on the sidewalk by the bus stop. It's the white one that used to hang around the fuhl stand wagging his tail and nosing at the customers. Must have got hit on the road and crawled there to die. He's laying there like he's asleep in the sun, and he might be, except he hasn't moved in three days. And he's getting larger.

Maybe when they get this scarf business settled, they could send someone over to give him a little funeral.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Woke this morning

to the sound of the mosque up the street. To the ashcan death-rattle of Chinese-made rectifiers cranked to 11. To a mucusy throat clearing scrawled across the morning quiet. Mango leaves rattling and the beer bottle shaken off the bedstead and the cat gone, then, howling, tail bottle brushed.

And then the word of God made public.

Praise Him clutching the porcelain bowl, humping its coolth as dawn spreads her pink across the river. Ask His forgiveness head buried in the fragrant spew of Johnny Talker and last night’s all you can eat sushi mistake. Thank Him when silence returns.

Today, later, when I've sobered up a little, I'm going to start a blog to tell him what I think of things.