Don’t take my word for this, it’s just something I heard on the BBC the other night. And it’s been bothering me, so I want to write it down.  This is the bizarre situation, as I recall what I heard:

Hershey, M&M/Mars, and Nestle have all been accused of taking advantage of child slave labor in Africa.  This has been going on for a while–children are being used as slaves on cocoa plantations in Africa–plantations that supply Hershey, M&M/Mars, and Nestle with cocoa for their chocolate.

Hershey, at least, has stated that it has begun moving away from this practice.

Yet here is the most disturbing part:

A large number of California residents has filed a class-action lawsuit against Hershey, M&M/Mars, and Nestle.  And a major law firm has taken on their claim.

And this is their claim:

They bought chocolate products from these three companies, without knowing about this child slave labor involved in the production of their products.  So these Californians feel they should be compensated for this.

As I listened to this report, I thought, ‘Wait a minute–this isn’t right.  Why should consumers of Hershey, M&M/Mars, and Nestle products in the United States benefit, financially, from child slave labor being practiced in Africa?  If these Californians sue Hershey, M&M/Mars, and Nestle, and win their case–this will do absolutely nothing to stop this abhorrent practice of child slave labor.’

In other words, the money that should go toward stopping the child slave labor in Africa will go into the pockets of California residents instead.

And that’s just wrong.

Again, don’t take my word for this–I’m only relating what I heard on the BBC a few nights ago.  But this is the situation, as I understand it.


The lock of error shuts the gate, open it with the key of love:

Thus, by opening the door, thou shalt wake the Beloved.

Kabir says: “O brother!  do not pass by such good fortune as this.”


(translated by Rabindranath Tagore)


I show up suddenly, in the sand, in front of Great-Great-Grandpa Mark Mayo’s house in Century, Florida–at the Mayo reunion in 1906.

Ha, ha, ha–I told them!  It’s just sand–no green lawn, you’re poor as hell!  Pardon my language–has the photograph been taken yet?

They just nod.

Good, at least I didn’t spoil it!  I wanted to upload the photograph on this drunken post, but my scanner doesn’t work!  You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?  I am naked, except for this pair of athletic shorts.  Again, I apologize.  But would you believe I’ve dreamed of this moment for years?  There is no time–it is a construct of man, who cannot comprehend eternity.  There is no space–it is a construct of man, who cannot comprehend infinity.  Would you believe those fools have yet to publish that?  That poem of mine merits publication on those two lines alone! And it is right on the money–not only have I traveled through time, but space as well!  Yes, I am quite drunk–again I apologize.  A few glasses of Guinness beer, and a lot more shots of Baileys Irish Cream, mixed with Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee–Irish coffee!  I know you haven’t heard of Starbucks coffee–but don’t tell me you haven’t heard of Guinness, and of Baileys!

I get to my feet.

Hello, Grandpa!  I say to the baby behind a bush.

And Great-Grandpa Wade, and Great-Grandma McCurdy!

And Great-Great-Grandpa Mark!  Thank you for serving your country!  My condolences for your brother Frederick–I understand he died from his injuries.  It is of you I spoke–being poor.  I told them most Confederate soldiers (then veterans) were poor–I was right.

Them–the ignorant Americans of the 21st century, who have more access to more information than their ancestors, yet are too foolish to make use of it!  Their ignorance is paradoxical–their apathy and complacency inexcusable!

I am your progeny, in Pensacola, October 2, 2015.  Appreciate your time–for I come from the end of the world!

And I fade back here, to this chair, to this desk, at this computer monitor–writing matter into antimatter, as I write in another of my unpublished poems.


RETURN THIS (CONFEDERATE FLAG) TO ITS RIGHTFUL PLACEscott-mayo-with-1st-confederate-flag-81




“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together

I’ve got some real estate here in my bag.”

So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies

And walked off to look for America.


“Kathy,” I said, as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh

“Michigan seems like a dream to me now.

It took me four days to hitch-hike from Saginaw

I’ve come to look for America.”


Laughing on the bus

Playing games with the faces

She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy.

I said, “Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera!”


“Toss me a cigarette, I think there’s one in my raincoat.”

“We smoked the last one an hour ago.”

So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine

And the moon rose over an open field.


“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping

“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.

Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike

They’ve all come to look for America

All come to look for America

All come to look for America.”


Paul Simon



My best friend ever, Mr. Vogel, was an immigrant from Germany.  He was born in 1900, and died in 1984.  He survived military service on the infamous Western Front–then came to the United States, married an American woman, and worked as a cabinetmaker until his retirement.  As you can probably imagine, Mr. Vogel had a lot of fascinating, personal stories to tell.  He lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before moving to the rural outskirts of Mobile, Alabama (that area now a part of the city).

Mr. Vogel once told me about how, when he lived in the German section of Milwaukee, the local newspaper was printed in German.  But he wanted to read only the English-language newspaper.  “Why?” other German immigrants asked him.  “Because I want to learn English,” he replied.  Mr. Vogel was an ideal immigrant–he insisted on learning the language of his new country, understanding the culture of his new country, and even taking an active part in the governmental process of his new country.

I was thinking of this story earlier–and I began to wonder: What about those other German immigrants who chose to read the German-language newspaper instead?

It is said that immigrants to the United States today are not like those of the past–that they are less inclined to learn English, to understand our culture, or to care at all about our governmental process.  But are they?  Are they really any different from most immigrants of the past?

Remember our European ancestors–immigrants to this land beginning over 500 years ago?  Did they have any interest in learning the languages of the Native Americans?  Did they make any attempt to understand the Native American cultures?  Did they care at all about the Native American governmental processes?  Of course not.  Generally speaking, our European ancestors–immigrants to this land beginning over 500 years ago–had a shared superiority complex.  And they we still do.

But back to immigrants of today: How different are they, really?  Are they really less inclined to assimilate into our culture–or do we just assume this, and treat them accordingly?

I remember the Mariel Boatlift of 1980.  Thousands of Cubans, released by Castro, showed up on South Florida shores.  Soon Spanish began to trump English in South Florida–and South Floridians blamed the Cuban refugees.  But were they to blame–or was the State of Florida to blame?

And now Spanish is offered as an alternative language by just about every American corporation–and even by the U.S. Government.  But again, are Spanish-speaking immigrants to blame–or are American corporations and the U.S. Government to blame?

Most recently, President Obama gave temporary citizenship to 5 million illegal immigrants from south of the U.S.-Mexico border.  Not only was this act unfair to natural-born American citizens, but naturalized American citizens as well (immigrants who had taken the legal steps to become citizens of the United States).

Yet instead of taking action against President Obama for this blatant abuse of power (arguably an impeachable offense), a large number of U.S. politicians and their constituents is determined to simply deport these 5 million people.  Why? Are they to blame for what the President of the United States has done? Wouldn’t it be much more “American” of us to guide these 5 million people through the legal naturalization process?

I’ve had very few negative experiences with immigrants–most of my negative experiences have been with natural-born American citizens whose families had been here for generations.

And I’m certainly no expert on immigration issues.

Yet I know this question is valid:

When our government–at the federal, state, and local levels–makes unwise concessions toward immigrants, legal or illegal, why should we hold the immigrants responsible?


Suzy Parker 1Suzy Parker 2Suzy Parker 3Suzy Parker 4Suzy Parker 5Suzy Parker 6Suzy Parker 7Suzy Parker 8Suzy Parker 9Suzy Parker 10Suzy Parker 11Suzy Parker 12Suzy Parker 13Suzy Parker 14Suzy Parker 15Suzy Parker 16Suzy Parker 17Suzy Parker 18Suzy Parker 19Suzy Parker 20Suzy Parker 21Suzy Parker 22Suzy Parker 23Suzy Parker 24Suzy Parker 25Suzy Parker 26Suzy Parker 27Suzy Parker 28Suzy Parker 29Suzy Parker 30Suzy Parker 31Suzy Parker 32Suzy Parker 33Suzy Parker 34Suzy Parker 35Suzy Parker 36Suzy Parker 37Suzy Parker 38Suzy Parker 39Suzy Parker 40Suzy Parker 41Suzy Parker 42

Maisons Chanel et Louis Vuitton. Automne-Hiver 1960. Mannequin : Suzy Parker. Photographie d'Henry Clarke (1918-1996), publiée dans British Vogue, décembre 1960, p.101. Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. Dimensions : 6 x 6

Maisons Chanel et Louis Vuitton. Automne-Hiver 1960. Mannequin : Suzy Parker. Photographie d’Henry Clarke (1918-1996), publiée dans British Vogue, décembre 1960, p.101. Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. Dimensions : 6 x 6

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UNITED STATES - JULY 03:  Fashion model Suzy Parker.  (Photo by Allan Grant/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – JULY 03: Fashion model Suzy Parker. (Photo by Allan Grant/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Suzy Parker 64


I saw it on a sign outside a church the other day.  It actually read, “FEAR NOT TOMORROW, GOD IS ALREADY THERE.”  And it gave me great consolation.



Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Matthew 23:24

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15

These are the days of miracle and wonder and don’t cry baby, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry.

Paul Simon

In 1910, in a nun’s nightmare . . . drivers talk on tiny telephones, and tap on tiny typewriters while driving–killing themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians, as a result.


Let me begin this post by assuring readers that in using the term, Goddamned, in its title, I am not, from any religious perspective, “using the Lord’s name in vain.” No, I am not using the name, God, lightly or meaninglessly at all–I am quite serious in using it.  Because if anything is damned by God, the Digital Age is; if anything is swallowing a camel, while straining at a gnat, the Digital Age is; if anything is Satan disguised as an angel of light, the Digital Age is; if anything is miracle and wonder which ultimately end the world with a whimper, the Digital Age is; if anything is industrial-scale slaughter on the world’s highways, the Digital Age is.

Yet I use Digital-Age technology to condemn the Digital Age.  Hypocrisy–or good-old-fashioned poetic justice?  I think the latter.  But you decide for yourself.

This Digital-Age technology–it’s like it wasn’t supposed to happen.  It’s like some traveler from the future, from another dimension, or from another solar system or galaxy caused it.  I grew up in the Space Age.  And that was the direction in which technology was moving–toward space exploration.  Then something went wrong.

One day, in my fourth-grade class, the teacher asked us what we wanted to do when we grew up.  I said I wanted to be a starship captain.  No one laughed–this seemed quite feasible.  Another boy said he’d like to be a trucker.  And the teacher commented that he’d probably be driving an airborne truck–that there would probably be flying cars and trucks by then.  And no one laughed.  This really did seem quite feasible to most adults, as well as children.

Even after the last manned moon landing, the Space Age continued–with the space shuttle program, and eventually an orbiting space station (all this Space-Age technological development despite the costly arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union).

Then NASA scrapped the space shuttle program–so U.S. astronauts would now have to rely on Ultranationalist Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime for transportation to and from the International Space Station.

Yet Space-Age technology wasn’t discontinued so much as it was replaced–by Digital-Age technology.  And a human species looking toward interstellar escape from its crowded, polluted cage found itself even more confined to its crowded, polluted cage–with the added torment of ever-increasing social chaos.  The Space Age, which was to free humanity, was replaced with the Digital Age, which further confined humanity.  Something went wrong–and this was it.

It wasn’t called the Digital Age in the beginning–it was called the Age of Information or the Information Age.  And it wasn’t such a monster, in the beginning either.

My brother Mike spoke favorably of compact discs in the early 1980s.  This was Digital-Age technology.  But compact discs were expensive then–compact disc players far more expensive.  We were fine with records and tapes.

Personal computers, in the late 1970s and 1980s, also used Digital-Age technology.  But I never had one of these–most people didn’t.  We didn’t need these.  We have to have personal computers these days, and this takes the fun out of them.  Before the Internet, we didn’t have to.  So computers were fun, and cool.  And we enjoyed watching movies centering around these fun, cool devices, like Electric Dreams and Wargames.

And we enjoyed playing the new computer games (later called video games)–away from home.  These used Digital-Age technology.  My favorites were Phoenix, Robotron, Time Pilot, Ms. Pac Man, and sometimes Defender.  My brother-in-law Tom introduced me to these games.  And my friend Joseph invited me to go along with him and his family and friends to play them.  We used to go to Chuck E. Cheese’s to play them.  The children would eat the pizza–we teenagers would play video games.

One evening there I really stole the show playing Robotron.  On one quarter, one game, I began racking up points fast.  And the other teenagers noticed, stood back and watched as I beat the high score.  I felt great–and was so excited that, when I got home, my dad asked what was wrong with me–asked if I’d been smoking marijuana, or something, in a strongly disapproving tone.  He rarely allowed me to be exuberant about anything.

We wouldn’t play video games at home–we’d play video games at places like Chuck E. Cheese’s, and at video arcades.  It was a social thing.  We didn’t sit home alone playing these–we got out among other people.

And something else: These games didn’t incite violence.  If we shot at anything, we shot at robots, warplanes, or spaceships.  We didn’t get points for killing other humans–we got points for saving them.  This was the case with Robotron.  This was even the case with Terminator 2: Judgment Day–we lost points if we shot other humans.

I remembered this with great concern as I saw one of my nephews playing Mortal Combat and other such games, years later.  You weren’t supposed to kill other humans–but these goddamned games rewarded you for killing other humans. And they still do.

The video game, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, followed the 1991 film.  By this time, Robotron had been removed from most video arcades, lobbies, and rooms–along with Phoenix, Time Pilot, and Defender.  (Sometime in the mid 1990s, I found a long-removed Time Pilot game outside a warehouse.  I asked about purchasing it.  I was told I could buy it for $400–but also told that if when the computer console broke down, I wouldn’t be able to order replacement parts because they were no longer manufactured.  I had $400, but chose not to purchase it for that reason.  Maybe I should have–I might have worn played it out in a day, or in a decade.)

By 1990, I learned of word processing in my Advanced Fiction Writing class.  This was Digital-Age technology.  My instructor had a word processor–some of the other students had word processors.  I couldn’t afford a word processor–I used my recently-deceased brother Mike’s electronic typewriter.  Yet this worked well for me.

The Internet was still a novelty in the early 1990s–most people weren’t online then.  As I recall, even the names Internet and Worldwide Web were used interchangeably.  Singles groups were still the thing, singles bars were still the thing–there was even telephone dating (although no one called it that).  I met a lot of single women through the Mobile Singles Line.  Mobile was one of many cities nationwide that had a singles phone line that was part of Call America Systems in Florida.  Most singles lines charged you by the minute–they were ripoffs.  The Mobile Singles Line–like all singles lines run by Call America Systems–had a flat weekly, monthly, or bimonthly fee ($20, $30, or $40 respectively).  I could call as many times as I liked, leave messages for as many women as I liked, and listen to as many messages as I liked.  Unlike the Pensacola Singles Line, the Mobile Singles Line always worked for me–I met a woman I’d end up dating, every time I signed up.  I couldn’t see the women over the phone, of course–but I could hear their voices, and I could make sure they were who what they said they were.

And letter-writing was still in style–I wrote single women all over the world, women whose addresses I’d received from International Pen Friends, a Dublin-based pen pal organization that would share addresses of members (with their consent, of course) for a reasonable fee.

In the mid 1990s, I finally obtained a compact disc (CD) player (a portable stereo with a dual cassette drive, radio, and CD player).  I even remember my first CD–Ray Stevens’ Greatest Hits (“The Streak” and “It’s Me Again, Margaret” were are my favorites–hilarious, timeless).  From there, I began building my CD collection.

And my parents got me a word processor on sale.  It was a wonderful device–no Internet connection, I didn’t need one.  It was wonderful being able to write and revise almost simultaneously.  And the Tetris game on one of the disks was a lot of fun too.

During this time I had a friend named Joe.  Joe was a very private person, with some interesting takes on life.  He was the only person I’ve ever known who didn’t have a telephone–he didn’t want to be bothered with constant phone calls. He laughingly told about how one of the guys where he worked had just gotten Internet service–how he was bragging about having AOL.  For a lot of people, Internet access was just a status symbol then–at least that’s how they came across to others.

And though Joe had a television, he rarely watched it–he spent most of his free time reading books.  He once said that television was the worst thing ever invented.  I hadn’t thought of that before, but I realized he was right.  Television did so much more harm than good (as it still does).  Yet looking back, television was the first worst thing ever invented–the Internet would become the next.  And cellphones and other such mobile devices would follow–in the most nightmarish way.




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