Friday, April 28, 2006

Cursula's Rabid Rabbit.

I was trying to relax in my Suicide Tower apartment when there was yet another racket out front, loud knocking on my neighbour's front door that wouldn't let up. I knew Cursula was hiding in there but she knew an admonishment when it came knocking and so was not answering.

I'd stupidly left my front door open to catch a breeze and thus a disembodied voice whined into my apartment, "Could you please help!" I asked who it was and was told, "the RSPCA. We've heard your next door neighbour has a rabbit in her flat which she is treating cruelly, can you tell me anything about it?" "I dont know anything!" I yelled, but the guy persisted, "You've got to do something about it, such cruelty can't go on!" "Look buddy, it's got nothing to do with me. You're disturbing me so please go away!" "But I'm from the 'prevention of cruelty to animals society', it will be on your conscious if you don't do anything to help rescue the poor creature!"

For the zillionth time, I lost the plot, "Listen mate, do you know how much disturbance we get here? The cops, ambulances, the fire brigade, social workers, Catholic nuns and Ice zombies, brawling Kouris and drunken teenage gangs! Now it's the RSPCA! Gimme a break! Fuck off!!!" I heard a gargle of dismay and footsteps receding and returned to the pleasure of reading my book.

Cursula next door not only filled her flat with trash from the dumpster, thinking it's her duty to rescue all unloved consumer garbage, but to compensate for an unloved life, she also runs a menagerie in the junk jungle. She tried to keep a wallaby but it was taken from her and returned to the bush, and losing our beloved Teddy the cat, she's adopted a budgie and a rabbit to run around in all the piled up garbage. I guess this pleased her for the animals have turned the flat into a compost heap, her mulching down with all of it, the rabbit gnawing, shitting, strewing old lettuce leaves about, fungus sprouting from Cursula till she looked like the Swamp Thing. Even when she got moved up to the suicide tower while 'Big Brother' renovated her kitchen, the only thing she took with her was the rabbit, which apparently gnawed all the new furniture and shat all over the temporary flat, and let the bureaucrats know what filth we her neighbours have had to put up with over the years, for armies of mice and cockroaches are forever on the march into my abode direct from her door.

She is so partial to her heaped up rubbish that even when given an ultimatum by 'Big Brother', "It's the trash or your kids, make the choice!" she chose all her precious mess of junk and the State took her kids from her and put them with the grandparents. Obviously, she's mentally challenged. The poor creature's in this sado/masochistic relationship with her boyfriend, Bawl, who relishes verbally abusing her, cursing her vitriolically 24/7 which she laps up like a sponge, used to it from a life-time of abuse, it makes her feel wanted. Thru the thin walls I hear a constant dirt opera sung to much tinkled guitar playing as Bawl is an ex-junkie musician, "You lousy fucking slut! You dirty no good low-down cunt! You sleazy, drug-fucked brainless cow, why do I put up with your rotten existence? Get that rabbit out of my arse!"

"Oh Saul, dont speak to me like that. I'm trying hard, doing the cooking, paying all the bills, and you just sit there playing your guitar, you won't even fuck me any more! Do you want tomato sauce on your sausage?" Such absurd cursing and wailing flies out her open windows and echoes up thru the whole apartment block, making everyone aware of the Bride of Frankenstein and her Lurch boyfriend living down there in the basement next door to me, for all their saccharine "Hellos" to the people passing by their door, pretending they're normal people who care about others' happiness, in reality they couldn't give a shit, they just want to get stoned, fuck and play godawful music to the rats and cockroaches.

They totally don't give a flying fuck about their neighbours trying to live quiet lives, like me. With all the variegated dirt-operas warbling, screeching, hollering and yammering around me, I rarely get the contemplative rest my monk-like nature seeks in the Himalayan cave of my basement apartment at the Northcott Housing Ghetto. Aint it a dirty shame?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Misadventures in the Industry of Dying.

If I could concentrate on my writing I might get published and perhaps earn money that way, but I've got the dreaded "writer's block" and the flake's shakes and so I turn to quicker, more regular methods of earning cash, such as geriatric nursing. Gerontology is a science as complicated and earnest as any other, only there is an urban myth that mostly burnt-out nurses enter the field because they can get away with murder, doing as little as possible for their patients are going to die anyway. This is a drag as old people deserve better.

I believe I'm a caring and brainy person, finding the science of aging interesting and challenging, but Jack the Rapist and Jill the Torturer are more likely to get the milch-cow shifts as they're experts at smarmy smiling and sucking up to the bosses, whereas I've often got the ironic smirk or the terse critique and can't stand kissing arse. I'm hoping one day to publish a book entitled, "Misadventures in the Industry of Dying", full of bitter, satirical anecdotes of all the of death-pits I've worked in across Sydney, surely a fascinating subject for contemporary, aging society to dwell upon.

Today I went for a job interview that I'd noticed was advertised for many weeks, the DON ringing me 3 times and begging me to consider it. I should've been warned but I thought I'd travel out to the edge of Sydney to eyeball the joint and meet the boss face to face. I got off the train and wandered up the Pacific Highway, used car lots on one side of the road, used people lots on the other, nursing homes lined up for as far as the eye could see. I laboured way up a hill till I came to a dilapidated mansion, with a fancy name, The Bonnie-view Palace, emblazoned on the front.

Inside the Federation-style edifice I was greeted with the musty smell of old age and creaky decor. Made to wait outside the Matron's office, I got nervous as I viewed the crowd of ancients in their wheelchairs in the day-room, staring wistfully into space while huge-hipped, vast bottomed assistant nurses cooed sweet nothings into their wrinkled ears, ""Excuse me, sweetheart, while I shift you over a few feet. There you go, darling, that's your diversional activity for the day." I shuddered, compassionate but terrified, thinking, "If this is old age, nogod save me from it!" Finally the DON, (Director of Nursing), came out to shake my hand, a giant of a woman, squeaky clean and blow-dried perfect; the DON's job of managing the whole shebang is a tough one and they need the build and hide of a rhinoceros to keep the entropic show on the road. She led the way into her office and introduced me to her deputy, another type-cast slave at the conveyor-belt of death, a female ogre who does all the bitch work with the underlings so the DON can keep up the saccharine smiles.

Without further ado I proceed to interview them, discovering that it's a 55 bed house, two floors, with one assistant for the lone RN, downstairs and up. It's an 8 hour shift with 4 rounds in the night, at 12, 2, 4 and 6 am, with the RN running between the floors changing incontinence pads and turning Pressure Area Care residents, no other real nursing procedures like medication or dressings, just glorified nappy-changing non-stop. I've got 2 University degrees and not one subject dwelt on the specifics of cleaning up shit. This was a private, profit-oriented concern where the RN was expected to do the job of an assistant wiping ancient bums all night as well as have the life and death responsibility for 55 patients so the owners could save and make money.

It was all too much backbreaking drudgery for this old curmudgeon as it did not pay enough, plus too far to travel for the pleasure of being a slave, an hour and a half on the train to get out there, so I knocked the 2 biddies back, much to their displeasure, and was shown the way out. "What's the workforce coming to, when a good job goes begging", they frowned telepathically at me. That job's been available for months and nobody else wants it either, and as such is a good case for bringing in a third-world worker who will work under tougher conditions for lower pay, and they're welcome to the job. (I feel sorry  for the oldies who will thus get unsatisfactory care.) I'll hire on with an Agency, get twice the pay, less responsibility, (because there will be two RNs) and half the drudgery, assistants doing most of the shit-work, me the Reg nurse doing the science. Yes, I'm a fussy fuckwit, with no cause to complain, but nursing does make for a fascinating story, so I'll continue with my anecdotes on the "Industry of Dying", as nobody else seems to have the nerve or the quirky eye for it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hardcore High in a Hardcore World.

 It seems with every passing generation the inebriated party-stakes get more and more hardcore. I'm a survivor of the ancient era of psychedelics, LSD, I even roamed all the way to Goa, India, in the early '70s to indulge in mass intoxication fests, crowds of naked, dread-locked hippies dancing ecstatically around a bonfire on Anjuna beach, tripping out of our minds on personal vision quests, hallucinating as if we were sitting on flying carpets, seeing gods in the clouds, drinking from holy grails and wielding magic swords that cut the real world asunder.

The fabric of the mundane universe totally fell away, disintegrated, leaving only our fantastic minds open to imagined worlds which we then skipped thru like children chasing the Pied Piper, some of us being flung into the bonfire, or over cliffs, or into the Arabian Sea, so 'out of it' were we. Yet I made it thru many such pagan initiations, dancing with such exultation, I thought I was a god flown down from the heavens. Yes, I was a fucked-up drug addict and I kind of went mad, and never did come back to earthly reality in all these many years, but it was fun, total mind-boggling fun.

Then the potency and novelty of Acid wore off, the back-yard chemists lost the recipe, lost the plot, lost their freedom with cop crackdowns, and the generation of 'flower children' grew old and tired, making way for the next wave of drug addicts, the ever-hungry, smacked-out heroin desperadoes. Nasty world history whacked the alternative lifestylers over the head, the latest attempt at Utopia got defeated and only the unconsciousness of nodding off could dull the pain. Then in the mid 80's Ecstasy hit the party scene, MDMA, love and uninhibited pleasure came back on the dance floor, and one's brain seemed to touch heaven for a few fleeting hours again.

And I went back to Goa, where the Trance music scene took flight, crowds of freaks stomping, shimmy-shaking, arms flailing, flesh quaking, and nectar dripped down from the skull and the entire mob melted into one vast, quivering, jelly-legged amoeba. These were the best times of my life, beyond all others, beyond the fucks, the scams, the stunts, the prizes, I look back on my dance nirvanas as the best that life gave me. Nirvanic dance crowds were the new Utopia, where all were one interconnected life-form and true democracy ruled, fat or thin, black or white, rich or poor, on the dance floor nobody gave a shit, delirium swept away differences and dancing made the body/mind fuse with the universe and forget all the troubles of modern living.

Now in the 21st century the thrill of Ecstasy seems to have worn off, the next wave of youth has known more cruel truths about life and history and wants their kicks with a harder core. So we get the party drug GHB, Grievous Bodily Harm, a more intense euphoria, faster dancing, more cutting dislocation with reality, and the chance that the dose might in fact kill you, adding a kind of frisson to the experience. And why not? Here at the end of history, where a nuclear bomb or biological weapon can wipe a city away in seconds, why not live fast, die pretty?

I myself have grown old, weak-stomached and jaded, even panadein-forte is too strong and makes me vomit. I can't bear the idea of having my consciousness swept away and my reality spun out of control, I prefer to remain sober, it's like a natural high or I settle for old fashioned Ecstacy pills, and I take them only a few times a year, at the Equinoxes, especially mid-winter, sacred festive occasions like pagans did of old, going on my vision quests while I dance at raves, for there's still an extra edge of knowledge to garner in the mind-trip, with more dancing to power my batteries and more exultation to make me feel life is worth living.

I must look a right bloody fool, an ancient fucker dancing madly like an electrified dervish, and young people watch me and smirk, so it's embarrassing for me to even go to clubs or dance parties anymore, I tend to hit the roof with excitement. So I have to retire my dancing booties much of the time, stay home with a good book, and fondly reminisce, once I truly did find paradise in dance.

For me there's enough Grievous Bodily Harm in daily city living, and then there's the horror of wars like Iraq. Good luck to the young, with their 21st century Russian roulette, they've heard of the drug thrills their oldies had in the '60s and they want a piece of it, any way they can get it. It all makes me long for the days of real LSD, before it got adulterated and poisoned by the 'System'. Isn't there a new wave chemist out there somewhere who can recreate that wondrous drug, without the psycho side-effects? Yet dharma-bum me has got to admit, drugs are for shmucks! Dance of itself can get one high! Think about it, it's our hardcore society of consuming artificial compounds, from instant coffee to Maggi soup, that sucks us into LSD, MDMA and GHB.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Gronks Drug of Choice.

A friend admonished me for whingeing on and on about everybody being corrupt and selling their souls for money, assuring me most people were hardworking and honest and only 'a few rotten apples spoiled the barrel'. I do agree, tho that other cliche about 'power corrupts...' tells me that given a world where money is the true one god, anybody given the chance, the power, would somehow wangle the moollah their way, including me. Not that I'd do the crimes some idiots commit, as told by the Daily Terror, like killing their mothers for the inheritance, or those air hostesses who tried smuggling in ICE under their armpits, and, shock/horror, the Orhthodox priest who took a bribe and lied for crims to get them out of community service. While I think only one in 7 people are truly mean father-f#*ers, only one in 7 are truly cool souls who would liberally give a break to a stranger/misfit like me.

Another friend also collared me for damming "junkies", telling me how in every media report of trouble and mayhem, (such as those reported at Northcott Suicide Towers), right-wing Gronks always point at the drug-users to put the blame on, whipping up vigilante fervor to run "those junkies" out of town. Poor, pathetic 'junkies' are indeed such easy targets, their toothless ugliness so suitable for antipathy, and the world's politics, the class-ridden differences and injustices, are thus easily overlooked. Still, a lot of social mayhem IS caused by substance-abuse zombies, mostly alcohol-drenched thugs, and I was quick to point out to her I was lambasting all zombies, no matter the substance, for in full stoned or drunk flight they are shocking pains in the collective arsehole, and that the vigilante groups themselves are most likely fueled by alcohol, the rednecks' drug of choice.

This particular friend has an affinity with opiates and works for various health groups trying to alleviate the "junkies" sufferings, and so has much inbuilt sympathy for them. She is in town for some kind of syringe-swapping conference and was being put up in a tawdry 3 star hotel on Bondi Beach. She asked me to come down to Bondi and meet her, and as I love her very much I hung about the beach as the sun set, shivering in the cold, waiting for her. She was an hour late and I was so pissed off I tried to flee on a bus only my dam mobile called me back, she was arriving soon, so I stomped on a crowd of tourist's toes to scramble back off the bus. Still she kept me waiting, and I suspect she had to have a shot first before coming down onto the esplanade to fetch me.

We went up to the hideous chi chi hotel room where other of her conference-buddies were lounging about, quite stoned on some kind of head-banger drug, and all drifting in and out of raves on druggies vs. non-druggies, and everybody's soap-opera excuses for living. We then decamped to the spa-pool on the roof and continued the yammering amid much fluffy sludge, me marveling at the wonderful strangeness of life where one can be riding a pushbike in the gutter one moment and lounging in a guilt-edged spa the next.

My friend told me the tale of how her top boss in the junkie counseling trade did very little work, stayed at home to mind her kids because she didn't believe in childcare, and delegated all the work to her underlings, all the while collecting a hefty pay-packet and mouthing off Christian platitudes about the helpless, deadbeat druggies needing her all-seeing God-fearing eye. We agreed that there are worse conservative types than redneck Gronks, the wage-slaves slogging it out in the burbs. There are their overlords, straight-acting, mealy-mouthed hierarchy-climbers who know how to put up a squeaky clean front while ripping off the system and blaming others. Plus we're both furious at the bullshit "war on drugs" mostly encouraged by lobby groups for the alcohol industry. In a true democracy people should have the right to choose whatever substances they want to get high. It's obvious that because alcohol is the fat, purple-nosed politicians drug of choice all other substances get demonized and outlawed.

For all my friend's predilection for "back to the womb" opiates, she's a caring, progressive soul and not a bureaucratic bottom-feeder/system sucker like those Machiavellian types who crawl to the top of the shit-heap in govt. departments. (I'm especially thinking of politicians!) Anyway, I've never taken opiates and am long over my pot habit, but I enjoyed the rave in the mounds of soap suds and, with my skin flaking off, I rushed home to get my nightly hit of TV and chocolate biscuits. All the world's a drug addict, the worst are those addicted to power and fame.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Old Age is Wicked, Nursing Homes are Wickeder.

If there is a god, as all the morons yammer about, what kind of cruel idiot is it that would program entropy into the universe, why couldn't it be self-rejuvenating, with no aging, waste and icky stuff like shit? Getting older and older and watching one's body fall to bits is horrible, and then to get stuck in a "nursing home" where certain scammers can take advantage of your decrepitude to make money off it is just plain sick! I've worked in the industry of death for many years and I've witnessed hell-holes opening up way before religious fervour and death have set in. For die-hard money-grubbers, some nursing homes are cash cows to be milked for all their worth with the least service given to the oldies rotting in their water-chairs.

Recently I was giving meds to an old woman who I was told was demented and not to be taken seriously when she complained of maltreatment. She asked me for a drink of water and I went away to fetch it, and when I returned with a glass of the precious stuff she thanked me vociferously, saying as how nobody ever came back when she asked for water and she was always so thirsty. This particular "house for the dying" has half the residents suffering from urinary tract infections, which come about from leaving the oldies lying in their incontinence pads for too long and also they're not getting enough fluids to drink. Half the staff have second jobs that they're always running off to breathless and uncaring, like greed for the good bucks has grabbed their interest, no time left over for the aged they're supposed to be there for.

Every corner is cut to save money and increase profits for the private owner, so the food is bleached plastic crap, the diversional therapy is singing "daisy, daisy...." endlessly like a broken record in Hell, and for the rest of their days they sit or lie in one position for hours staring into the nothingness of their existence. Who wants the longevity science now promises if it's just to rot cruelly and make money for small-minded fuckwit capitalists? I'd break windows to escape if I woke up and found myself incarcerated in cash-cow nursing home.

After I gave the woman much water to drink, she pointed shakily at the day-room in which she sat and muttered how the others would like a drink also. I was feeling somewhat dizzy from a toothache, the room had a hallucinatory quality about it and as I gazed with blurred vision about me I seemed to see a crowd of ancients shuffling about, walking in circles, packing the room as if it was a cell in some medieval gaol. With the hair standing up on my head, I realised that if there was any place where ghosts congregated it would have to be in nursing homes, for over the years many hundreds had died there, some in appalling circumstances, unloved, unattended, and perhaps they still cried out for some kind of retribution.

The Nursing Homes Accreditation Board can do little to help even tho carrying out continuous inspections as the "home's" managers are forewarned and always have their dumps spick and span ready for official visits, and all the workers are too afraid for their jobs or too keen on the slacker's easy money to speak up with their criticisms. And the oldies can hardly speak up for themselves, suffering dementia or some other variation on decrepitude, and claimed to be mad if they do somehow find a voice. I dream of CCTV cameras hidden and spying on the uncaring staff, that would fuck them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Movies As Bullshit Reality.

 Yesterday I was at the Cafe of Lost Souls, i.e. the Piccolo Bar on Damnation Alley (Roslyn Street), and I was hyperventilating about my theory on chocolate Easter eggs and crucifixes when old Vitto, the Master of Ceremonies at that freak-show on Desolation Row, started frothing at the mouth in outrage at my sacrilege. He declared he was a good Catholic and believed in all the nonsense tho he hasn't been to church for 50 years and as an incorrigible old poof would be the first to be burnt at the stake if those mentally challenged Catholics ever went on their witch hunts again.

Old Vitto has been the front-man at the Cafe for those same fifty years taking on all-comers that trickle down from the red-light district of Kings Cross and has become addle-brained because of it. He has a giant framed photo of Mel Gibson up on the wall and was particularly outraged by my deconstruction of Mel's noxious film, "The Passion Fruit of Christ", him declaring it was a holy text unto itself. I assured Vitto he would be the first to be publicly stoned if Mel ever got his way and ruled the world and the film was just a piece of history-fiction, a fantastic piece of propaganda, like the Bible and every Hollywood movie made since, and to take it as literal history is to be moronic in the extreme. He squawked and spluttered and refused to give me some of his hoard of hot-cross buns so that I had to steal them when his back was turned.

About the only thing Marxist about me is that I agree that "religion is the opium of the masses", especially Christianity, such colossal stupidity, superstition and brainwashed nonsense it's hard to find it's historical equivalent. I thought we had graduated from the Age of Enlightenment to that of Science where humanity took responsibility for itself and the planet and would run the show rationally and compassionately. But no, it looks as if religion will be the motivation for the Third World War where everything will be wiped out by the same Science. Don't imagine from all these soapbox diatribes I'm a Marxist or a Communist, if there's one group who does NOT know how to throw a party, it's the Communists, another variation on the anti-fun brigade, (think of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, urgggth, they give me the shivers!!!.)

I'm a pagan Libertarian if I have to have a label, who only wants to bliss out in ecstasy with no institution or power-group dictating my life, or destroying the world around me. Pathetically, I'm a bit like the Elloi in the garden of Utopia lazily picking fruit off trees provided by Morlocks who one day will consume me. OK, in a pluralist democracy, we all have free speech and can spout the nonsense we wish, but some of us have more power than others, like Mel Glibson His type of religio-madness appeals to the non-thinking 'believers' and he makes oodles of money to boot and thus rules the chicken roost, possibly with a well-fortified bunker to withstand the "apocalypse". And the rest of us plebs, like Vitto and I, will be ground into nuclear dust, for all our protestations or sanctimonious prayers.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Of Chocolate Eggs and Crucifixes.

I've often wondered what on Earth chocolate eggs had to do with Easter when all poor Jesus got was shredded on the cross, then I learnt that Easter was originally called Oestre, a pagan spring equinox festival wherein the celebrants adored female reproduction and the fecundity of the earth and hoped for the coming harvests to be plentiful. Eggs were a symbol of this fruitfulness and, as anything pagan had to have an animal/sexuality attached, that's where the Easter bunny came in, as in "fuck like rabbits". Chocolate being a known aphrodisiac we thus get chocolate eggs. But the egg has to be fertilised to be able to give birth, and the other great need in sacred pagan ritual was the seed-spewing phallus, for without the penis getting erect there is no procreation, there is Nothing, so where was the erect phallus in all this ritual?

It had to be the crucifix, a reworking of the May-pole around which all the pagans ecstatically danced but now seen as an instrument of torture and death by the Christian anti-fun/anti-sex brigade. This idea was expressed in the book, "The Sacred Mushroom and the Holy Cross" which proclaims the origin of all religion was not only in phallic fertility cults but also in the imbibing of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the celebrants going on vision quests while they fucked enthusiastically in the bushes.

The crucifix certainly fits the shape of a giant erect phallus, and to think all those masses of moronic, young Catholics carrying the cross out of Rome are really performing an ancient 'passion play', adoring the erect phallus under which they gladly break their backs. And let's face it, the long Easter holiday break gives all those tired workers a chance to fuck like rabbits, and indulge in other ecstatic practices like night-club dancing and aphrodisiac-chocolate munching. I was amused to go to the movies on Good Friday and see the French film, "How Much Do You Love Me?" with Monica Belluci playing the Earth Goddess around which men swarmed and swooned. She disrobed in every frame and hung out those marvelous pendulous breasts, got fucked continuously, slow and fast, all the while ululating in orgasmic frenzy.

The very next movie I saw was "The Passion of the Christ" where Monica plays Mary Magdelene, the ex-whore dressed in black running mealy-mouthed after a much blood-let Jesus, (after all, Oestre is about bloodletting, the earth's menstruation or lack thereof.) No matter how sanctified Mel tried to make Monica/Mary look, I kept seeing those enormous breasts flop out of the demure black robes, and moans of orgasmic rapture issuing from her sensuous mouth whenever she uttered condolences over J.C.'s misery. This type of Blog will get me torn to pieces by the same crazed Catholics in yet more bloodletting, but what can a homo homo sappy sapient do except try to find sense in an irrational, superstitious world? Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Northcott Gladiator Pit

Yesterday I was awoken by the screams and curses of my next door neighbours slogging it out on their doorstep yet again. Here at the Northcott Concentration Camp Housing tenements, we the working poor, pensioners, the insane and disabled, fight like gladiators in the pit of our own desolation, taking our frustrations out on those piled on top of us, for there seems no redress to a higher power and contemporary life has few other cathartic consolations. This time it was my dear 85 year old Dolly, the ex-barmaid, two doors up, shrieking about another outrage Eric the schitzo Viking has committed. He lives between me and her, suffers so badly from psychosis it has twisted his body and mind like a pretzel; his flat is pure filth, faeces wiped on the walls waist high, tho he leaves his taps running 24/7 so that water leaks in streams thru the brickwork; and he howls at some unknown moon like an opera singer in Bedlam, to send cold shivers up all our spines who are unfortunate enough to live near him.

I heard Dolly threatening to smack him in the chops, to throw a bucket of cold water on him, to have him carted away, but even the worst of nursing homes wont have him, we the Public Housing inmates must be the ones to nurse his outbursts. Dolly has lived here for 45 years, it was her who cut the ribbon on the opening of this worker's Utopian Bauhaus monolith; at the caring "Shitty Bricks" "community togetherness show" held recently in the car-park she was given a bouquet of flowers in appreciation of her stalwart longevity; in ancient Roman times she would've been given the freedom of the city as a true survivor of the arena but here she could be murdered for her troubles and there'd just be the usual tut-tutting about rats in boxes by the Daily Terror newspapers.

The poor old girl shouldn't have to slog it out with a Frankenstein-like monster, he really can't look after himself and should be in assisted-care but the State has long washed it's hands of public Mental Health, the Community can deal with the horror, actually us hopeless arseholes in public housing are the ones stuck with it. But, of course, we are really poor examples for Dolly to follow as we fight like cats and dogs, the ice-junkies throwing furniture from their balconies, the Indigenous Aussies (Kooris) hollering and smashing beer bottles on each others heads, the anarchist artists kicking and punching over piles of garbage we think would make great conceptual sculpture: 86 year old Dolly has just given into group pressure and thinks it's normal behaviour to slog it out physically, it's too tiring to diplomatically sort out the differences, and nobody's listening.

I'm one of the worst offenders, often erupting from my flat in a fury, swearing and slamming breakables on walls, mostly with Cursula the ogre on the other side of me who is forever building beaver-like heaps of rubbish in front of my door and would rather tear my flesh with her claws than throw out some useless styro-foam cups, broken umbrella or cracked china.

Anyway, I went outside and soothed old Dolly's nerves, pleading with her to not get physical with Eric as it was not only dangerous for her, he might lash out and hit her, but quite unseemly for an 85 year old to be having a slog-fest with a 6ft 4inch retard. She said she always took notice of what I said and would remain quietly indoors, forgetting about the bucket of water she had at the ready. So please salute us Northcott gladiators for we are about to die in our monumental hovels, with no one to lend succor, for a neo-Nero like our P.M. Johnny Cowherd stands on his high podium and gives us battling plebs the thumbs down!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

From the Edge of the Herd.

I love blogging, it gets the bats from my belfry, the endorphin flowing and my writing skills honed, but I have to admit, it is just the ravings of someone from the lunatic fringe for I am indeed a nutcase, you only have to read my blogs to see the delusions and suspect opinions. One of the 7 Tenets of Toby Zoates is that nobody, but Nobody, has the right line, on anything, especially philosophy/politics, and not me either. But I do insist that it's anathema to me to be a mindless follower of the herd, running over any cliff with the other lemmings at the behest of some media dictation: I'll always demand a say in any proceeding that involves me and mine. I've bucked at the traces since I was a kid, one of those uncontrollable brats who threw terrible rages if things didn't go as he wished. And I never got over an experience I had in a lesson on psychology when I was a trainee nurse .

The lecturer asked for a volunteer for a psychology test and I stupidly volunteered, always up for an adventure, especially cerebral ones. For a few days it seemed forgotten, then one day the teacher pulled out some cards and asked the class to go thru pairs of cards with a different length of line on each card and every student had to say if they were the same length or different. At first the lines were the same length, the next pair only slightly different and all the class agreed they were the same so I went with the crowd, maybe I was going cross-eyed. Then cards with 2 lines of extremely different length were shown and each student claimed they were the same length, the pressure was on me to join the herd and agree with them. I thought I was going mad, or hallucinating, and hesitated to give my opinion as it was obvious that the pair of lines were not the same, and I broke out into a sweat.

Should I go with the herd, even tho they were wrong, or should I stick to my guns and tell them all they were mistaken, even crazy, couldn't they see that the lines were so very different. Eventually the whole class burst into laughter at my confused dismay, my face had gone red, my eyeballs rolled, until the lecturer couldn't let my suffering go on any longer and confessed to me it was a test, called the "Ash Test", about group dynamics that he'd conned the class into agreeing with when I was out of the room. Individuals are pressured by the group to believe in things even if they are irrational for we are social animals and hate to go against the grain. This partly explains phenomena like the group hysteria of the Germans in the Nazi era and how they could collectively go mad.

I've never got over that Ash Test experience, I try to evaluate every public directive, every leader's/authority's announcement, every lunatic's garbled conspiracy theory, to see how I'm being manipulated and conned for the benefit of someone else. It explains why I remain for ever a brat with a chip on my shoulder, determined to stay an individual with a thinking brain and not just be cannon fodder for any mass movement unless it truly is both factual and for something good. I think of the soldiers dying en masse on the beaches of Gallipoli and other trenches of the 1st World War, (Or the Vietnam War or the Iraqi War for that matter) and, for all it's nation building symbolism, it just seems to me a terrible waste of life.

I'm determined I won't be so gullible and will live into a ripe old age as a humbugging, questioning curmudgeon, no matter the hissing of the crowd that could come my way for not losing myself in herd instinct, maybe even getting lynched for going against the mob. To be on the edge of the herd can bring danger, the first to be predated, but using one's wits can also give an advantage, one can see the danger coming. I'd hate to contribute to the degradation of a minority because I ran with the herd. Hopefully I could achieve a happy life, contributing to the herd something funky, from the edge. Maybe I'm kidding myself as usual, I'd probably just get trampled in the stampede, turned to toe-jam, returned to nothing, a nobody, not the leader of the lynch mob.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A Seeing-Eye Dog for a Living Paradox.

My starring role in yesterday's piece of break-down theatre reminded me that I was diagnosed bipolar personality disorder for good reason. It's not just that I can swing from deep, defeatist depression to manic flights of creative ecstacy, some times those high flights can manifest as uncontrollable rage, where I flip and run amok like a Dalek screaming "destroy, destroy, destroy!" Bipolar also hints at the conundrum of my inherent paradoxical nature, for I am a self-confessed demonic angel, an anarcho-capitalist, a mystic realist, a misanthropic humanist, a dystopian Utopianist, an agnostic gnostic in that I'm on a life long quest to see the luminous light shining from the void around me and not only all the time get lost in my own darkness.

Without religion or a god, I'm a neo-pagan making sacred the universe, surviving techno-machine driven times, living only for fun and knowledge, dancing ecstatically at one with nature while thriving like an Elloi in the innards of a big city, on the run from the Morlocks. A sentient fuckwit, I cry out in the wilderness, lost on purpose, not wanting to be found, hoping to be guided along the path suitable to my contrary nature, by following the signs I come across, books, people, movies, music.

Last night I vibed a prayer to the multi-verse to send me an animal guide as I entered the dark cave of sleep for I need radical assistance in my middle-aged melt-down confusion. Since Teddy the black cat's death I've felt abandoned by the animal world, maybe ready for a new dream body-guard to take over, and a new path to set out on, or at least get inspired by. After some astral adventures I was dream-recuperating in some safe alcove and felt a creature crawl up and rest it's body alongside me. I knew it was a dog and stroked his warm body but felt distrust, maybe it was a huge rat, come to infect me? He took my hand in his muzzle and firmly bit down into it, without breaking the skin, as loving pets do, to let me know he really was present, he really had arrived to be my new guide. His presence was extremely vivid, as real as waking reality, and he continued to gently bite me to get me to believe in him.

I was so amazed I wrenched myself from sleep, skin all goose-bumped, annoyed I'd felt the usual fear and mistrust of the animal world but also elated that at last, after many weeks attempt, I'd called a new spirit guide to my side to help me in my lost ramblings. Dogs are the foremost guardians of the gate into the Underworld and thus make perfect seeing-eye guides for the rational blind-man, and so hopefully my new friend will help pacify my existential rages and balance my bi-polar swings. I hope I'm not being airy fairy, it's all in the Mind.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zoatesque Grotesque.

Oh nogod help me! Yet again I received a public humiliation in a piece of psycho-theater performed on Roslyn street at Kings Cross. As a founding member of the Curmudgeon's Club at the Piccolo Cafe I can't help gravitating towards that mecca for misfits as there is no other freak-show quite as declasse and therefore as fitting for my twisted personality. Over the thirty years of my patronage of that infamous Cafe I have been bashed up and had my reputation shredded 121 times at least and just when I think I can be dragged no lower I find there is yet a deeper level of ignominy for me to fall into and yesterday was it.

I went to the Cafe hoping to have the usual deep intellectual converse with my disparate friends only to spot the dreaded Kate Pidgeon (as in Pidgeon shit) sitting at a pavement table with my fellow poof mate Charles. I've known her for 15 years, thru all of which she has descended into her own hell of booze, heroin and methadone addiction and is now a 6 foot scarecrow with broken teeth, creviced face and shrunken brain. She had just tried to skip out on paying her cafe bill, claiming she had no money and dear Charles was honoured to pay it for her. For old time's sake I gave her a peck on the cheek in greeting but was relieved to then see her depart as I haven't wanted to know her beat-up story for many years, possessing very little patience for substance abusers, who seem to blame everybody but themselves for their tortured existence. (Having grown up with alcoholic parents I particularly feel uptight with booze-heads.)

So I was in the midst of a juicy rave about literature, the ineffable to be found in the F-able, when Kate Pigeon staggered back and sat down with us, producing a bottle of cheap champagne which she proceeded to guzzle while Charles admonished her for buying booze and bludging money off him for her meal. She bald-faced lied that she'd been given the plonk and then rattled on nonsensically over the top of my conversation, disrupting, distracting, disturbing us, belligerant, bellicose, bloody annoying so that I flipped. I had worked all week in a nursing home attending to the disabled and dying, wiping up blood, puss and shit and didn't realise I was so fatigued and on a short fuse till I exploded. Once attractive and hip, she was now grotesque in her haggard mindlessness, with all the presence of a croaking witch from Macbeth. I told her to "Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!" to which she shrieked for me to "fuck-off!" instead.

With one last "Shut up!" I leapt up and yanked the chair out from under her screaming, "Go, go, go you drunken scrag!" She plonked heavily upon the pavement then bounced back up in a fury, one tough broad, notorious over the years for punching out guys with her 6 foot alco street-brawling skills, then getting the shit beaten out of her in return. She rushed at me and threw me into the Cafe's window, almost breaking it, throwing heavy punches directly at my head, but I've also survived 50 years of street brawling and was able to duck and weave and keep her at arm's length. She gnashed her teeth, growled and attacked like a pit-bull terrier, barking, "You rotten fag, you misogynist, you woman hater, you cocksucking dickhead!", all the while throwing punches that would've knocked out Mike Tyson if they'd connected. While skipping backward I returned the hatred, snarling, "You junkie scrag, you methadone zombie, you drunken slut, your brain has shrunk to the size of a pea, go back to the methadone clinic!"

She chased me up and down Roslyn Street for all the world to watch in horrified bemusement, the shopkeepers, the coffee slushers, the good citizens strolling by, all thinking, "What a pair of fuckwits!" I was dying to bitch-slap her ugly face but I don't beat up on women, even when they're trying to kill me. We waltzed back and forward for what seemed an eternity but was more likely ten minutes, me ducking her swipes, her kicks, her gobs of spit. Eventually she tired of all the drunken run-around and drifted off trailing curses behind her and I was allowed to return to my seat of humiliation in front of the Piccolo Cafe, scene of much of my life's deconstruction, (of which I tell many a tale in my eternally forthcoming book "The 7 Lives of Toby the Punk Poofy Cat.")

What would the Daily Terror and their evil papparazzi make of such demoralizing action if they happened to get wind of it? There would be no bright "Toby Zoates was spotted enjoying coffee on Roslyn Street on Saturday afternoon", more like "That arsehole TZ yet again caused public affray, this time assaulting a woman, he should be banished from our naughty but nice gentrified Kings Cross." Thank nogod I'm not a celebrity and therefore not owned by the trash consuming populace. A pity I can be such a bastard, sleep deprivation, bi-polar psychosis, stressful living on the edge, nothing making my flip-out excusable, I should retire to a cave in the Himalayas.

Traumatised, I crawled home to watch a horror DVD, "The Cave", wherein an alien-type creature, looking somewhat like Kate Pigeon, tears to shreds and devours a group of adventurers in the bowels of the earth, and I derived some consolation from it as a metaphor for modern city living and how I might possibly survive it: crawl thru shit for days on end in the dark to find my way out to fresh air and freedom.

P.S. About five years later I met Kate up north at Nimbin during the Mardi Grass Festival. She was sober and pleasant and had completely forgotten out little contretemps on Roslyn Street, possibly because she'd been in a drunken fugue. I apologised to her anyway, my behaviour most ungentlemanly and she forgave me. She confessed that, while successful at her attempt at sobriety, she had lost everything and for some months had been living in a tent in a caravan park. She seemed desperate for company in a town full of pothead strangers but I was fearful of missing my lift back to Lismore and had to quickly bid her farewell. She smiled in sad disappointment as I got up to leave and I could not help but feel compassion, women can be as badly abused as gays in this world and who knows what hard times she's survived. I prayed for her as I walked away.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Uranium Neanderthals.

When I was a kid in the '50s I was terrified by a Hollywood movie that was actually shot in Melbourne, "On the Beach", about the end of the world after a nuclear war. In the '60s my terror was renewed by a film by Peter Watkins called "War Games" about a nuclear attack on England. In the '70s I heard a talk given by Dr. Helen Caldicott, the anti-nuclear campaigner, describing the shocking injuries nuclear radiation creates and the number of children already suffering with cancer. All this instilled in me a great fear of nuclear technology, an ingrained disgust and determination to resist it however I could.

I joined a group of fringe-lunatics to riot on the docks of White Bay in Sydney and stop the export of uranium thru this city, and tho I was arrested 3 times we succeeded and the poison never came thru Sydney docks again, shifting instead to Darwin where the rednecks were more complacent. We also camped for months in protest outside the Lucas Heights Nuclear reactor on the edge of Sydney, eventually getting bulldozed by the reactionary workers and locals but, just as we warned, there have been many accidents over the years with radiation released into the environment. Thus this is a very emotive subject for me, maybe I'm not super-rational about it, yet I can't help but believe it's big business and profits that push nuclear power as an option, not the interests of the public or environment.

So it was with great sadness that conservationists witnessed this week the signing of contracts to sell uranium to China. John Howard and cabal don't mind throwing pensioners on the street and getting the working poor to live more poor or not work at all, for "They've" got vast lurks and perks to pad their fortresses, million dollar pensions, free travel, probably even got secret Swiss bank accounts, having sold their souls for filthy lucre. Maybe they were promised a berth in the VIP nuclear fallout shelters, but "They're" old scumbags, on their way out anyway, and so don't really care about "Their" grandchildren, or maybe "Their" millions will protect "Them" too. But the rest of humanity is doomed, for the nuclear cat is being shaken out of it's bag, the poisonous apple of nuclear knowledge has been well and truly bitten, and nuclear proliferation can only increase over the next century.

It's now on public record that China supplied nuclear know-how to Pakistan's successful A-bomb tests a few years back, and that a certain Pakistani nuclear scientist has been responsible for selling nuclear technology world-wide, specifically to Iran and North Korea. On top of these horrors, there's no way safe-guards can be installed on China's use of Aussie uranium, "They" can forge paper-work, make mock videos, whatever, and anyway divert the extra uranium from other sources into "Their" weapons program, or sell it to Korea, "Their" renegade client state, who have just test-fired more missiles capable of reaching Australia and Japan, and so the shit may indeed come back to haunt us.

America and the rest of the world are already worried about China's vast, growing military strength, wondering why "They" need such colossal armed forces if not for eventual world hegemony. Nogod help the world if another Genghis Khan should arise again, we've already got George Bush and that's bad enough!! India is particularly worried as She has gone to war twice with China not so long ago over border disputes and China would love to grab much of the Himalayan region and add it to Tibet, and "They" have many nuclear missiles aimed at India for that eventuality.

The nuclear power industry is now a fait-accompli all around the world, ignoring its terrible expense, safety and storage of waste problems, and the police state needed in the running of it, so that elitist class-ridden capitalism can keep making shit products we don't really need like electric bum-scrapers and nose-pickers. (On Bushy Brown-nose Howard's recent return from a junket in America, he announced it was time Auz considered building nuclear reactors for power, as if General Electric and Co had got his ear and scolded him for Auz being one of the few countries to eschew the nuclear power option, a bad example to high capitalism, and brainwashed him into brow-beating us Aussies into going for it, probably bribing him into ignoring our huge solar-power potential.

China is destroying It's environment chasing the holy dollar and flogging cheap crap to the rest of the world, dismantling our home-grown industries, such as shoe manufacturing with "Their" product which falls off the feet after 3 months. I've never wished to have children and grandchildren, for the future looks extremely bleak for further generations. There are too many people on the planet now, the Earth's environment can really only handle 2 billion, and the political/mercantile elite's answer will be to have wars, biological and nuclear wars, where a few billion can be bumped off without too much worry, "They and Theirs" will be ensconced in "Their" protective fall-out fortresses, the rest of us are just cannon fodder, sheep for the slaughter, blood and guts to fuel "Their" exorbitant lifestyles, yaghts with gold-plated taps, ozone-ripping private jets, arse-stuffing caviar etc.

As with the petroleum lobbies, so with the nuclear industries, there is no consideration or investment in alternative power sources, wind, solar, thermal, tidal, etc etc, it's more viable to invest in nuclear proliferation and thus risk nuclear war and truly return humanity to the stone-age where we the plebs can be neo-Neanderthals picking fleas from each others' hairy backs, if we're alive at all, with our skin intact. The vested interest's ventriloquist dummy, our Prime Minister John Howard, said this week that all those who opposed uranium sales were techno-neanderthals, out of touch with contemporary needs. His terminology was spot on and prescient for Neanderthals is what "Their" techno efforts will make us, an extinct species.

Maybe I come across as a crack-pot Luddite? To reiterate, nuclear power is a supposed "clean energy" and a fait-accompli but can we really afford it? This is just one more useless howl of frustration from the back alley by the Punk Pussy Cat with his lunatic fringe!
P.S. In the not too distant future the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan would blow up due to natural disaster and man-made error, poisoning the environment and threatening the people for eons to come,thus backing my forebodings.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Goodbye Teddy, RIP.

As a new-age pagan I've got this adoring/caring thing for animals, and certain creatures figure big in my Unconscious, as virtual spirit guides for my wanderings both in the astral and physical realities. I have animals tattooed all over my body, and particularly have an affinity with cats and have experienced many times that wildcats come to me in my dreams, befriend me and lead me into the Dark Continent of the Unconscious, once I even morphed into a black panther, as if Mowgli turned into Bhageera in "Jungle Book".

So with what joy it was 2 years ago when my next door neighbour was given the most gorgeous little black kitten, and asked me if I wanted to share the upkeep of him. He had already been tagged as Teddy and was so smart, mischievous and loving, running, leaping, climbing with an intense natural joy and, when particularly happy and wanting attention, he did a funny little sideways walk that was very endearing. When I first spotted him peeping from Cursula the Ogre's doorway, it was mutual love at first sight, he rushed out and did a proud victory-like march, little chest puffed up, as if to say, "Look at what a top cat I am! You can't go wrong with me".

My next door neighbour, Cursula, looks very much like the female version of Shrek without Cameran Diaz's sweet voice, and is a slovenly harpy, a poly-drug-abuser and a waif of the State, always with her hand out. Teddy soon figured out she was never getting out of bed till 2 in the afternoon and thus he starved all day, but he found a way of getting into my place thru the balcony where I would have 'gourmet singles' waiting for him, and so he transferred his allegiance over to me, and often slept on or under my bed, nipping at me to get up and feed him.

I loved to have him lie across my belly when both of us were mellowed out, it was so nice to connect to nature in the middle of a big, bad city. Other cats from Cat-town, the electricity station across the road from Northcott Ghettoe, would come for a visit, they'd smelt Teddy's presence or heard of a "top cat" in the area and they just had to come for a look-see or even to make obeisance. But I'm a traveler, a dharma bum more often on the road than not, and so I left town for months on end, and Teddy had to go back to the Ogre when I disappeared. When I'd arrive home from my world-wide perambulations, Teddy would snub me for awhile, accuse me of abandoning him, of not caring and would only occasionally visit to get an extra meal, for he'd found others in the building willing to feed his huge, black magnificent self, they were more dependable than me or Cursula.

One mad old lady upstairs must have been feeding him humming-bird's tongues or something because he stuck fast to her and we wouldn't see him for weeks. She often did jigs on our verandah, lifting her ragged skirts and thumbing her nose at us as if to skitee, "I got one over on you layabouts." We accused the crazy old blonde witch of catnapping Teddy, Cursula even had a cat-fight with the gay guys down the other end of our basement level who we suspected of giving Teddy away to the upstairs harridan, they said we neglected him, much scratching and caterwauling ensued between them, I was quite amused to hear the uproar, Cursula trying to claw open the face of the gay undertaker, Dravid.

But Teddy never came back to us for long, just the rare few minutes to say hello and let us know he hadn't entirely forgotten his first foster parents. He'd grown to be huge as a panther and apparently he went about beating up all the other Northcott cats, trying to steal their food and be the alpha male. The gay gorgons demanded we get Teddy desexed, that would solve the bully problem, but we are flaky hippie types who believed things should be left in their natural state, Teddy's personality would warp if we cut his balls off and we loved him as he was, so we'd let him run riot and that's why they gave him away to the bitch who neutered and chipped him.

Sadly I heard from the gay couple that Teddy died last week. Blondey had spent a fortune on him at the Vets but he was riddled with some disease he'd picked up when a young kitten. The gay gorgons said it was from eating rats in Cursula's messy hole of a flat because he was always starving. She never cleaned up, all garbage went straight to the floor, and she brought in heaps more from the dumpsters, in her drug-craziness believing the trash to be treasure and piling it up so you couldn't get in her joint, and thus the hovel was full of scurrying, pesticide-soaked rats. The State even took her kids off her for being a brainless, dirty cow and now the whole building is accusing her of killing gorgeous Teddy, but I think some ugly neighbour fed him poisoned meat because he'd scratched up their wimpy felines one time too many, they were always bitterly complaining about him.

Like vacuous zombies the hypocrits had a funereal for him in the communal backyard and we weren't told about it. It makes me so sad as he was and is big in my mind and heart, so RIP Teddy, have fun in the happy hunting ground of the Cat Underworld, I'll be roaming with you in my dreams as my spirit guide, companion in the jungle of the World Unconscious. And I'll be telling more about Cursula the Green Ogre and the evil gay twins down the other end in my future tales of existential horror here in Northcott Ghetto at the end of history because that's how life seems for me, the Punk Poofy Cat, "the END of the world is nigh!".

Monday, April 03, 2006

Angry Nerd on a Pushbike.

On Saturday night I watched an intriguing French docu-drama called "2013" about the probability of petroleum reserves running out and the ensuing collapse of the world economy. Here in Auz I noticed that sales of SUV petrol-guzzlers increased over the last 6 months, as if the gronks who drive such bullshit cars couldn't give a shit about the polluted planet, petrol wars, heritage areas demolished for freeways, or the millions killed and maimed in crashes, they just want to big-note their fat-arsed, pathetic nobody selves by bulldozing thru the rest of us.

I also recall that the anti-hero of the movie "The 40 year Old Virgin" rode a pushbike and was referred to as an infantile nerd for doing so. I get around Sydney on a pushbike and love doing it as it keeps me healthy, gets my endorphins flowing, saves money, is good for the environment and beats the traffic jams, yet I'm looked at by the enslaved car-drivers as the ultimate loser for doing so, a bum who gets in their way and slows them down for a second or two.

The Daily Terror newspaper even does an anti-bike campaign every few months, no doubt sponsored by the car/petrol cabals, to lambast bike-riders for running red-lights and causing accidents, but really because the fuckers are jealous we're thumbing our noses at their egregiously expensive machines, traveling for free, defeating their gridlock, and tightening our butts into the bargain, unlike their sloppy bums. I personally think cars and their concomitant industries have ruined the planet and city living and should be banned in favour of total public transport, but I'm whistling in the carbon-monoxide wind, for Cars Rule, OK (not!!!) I long to live in a community like Amsterdam where everybody rides a bike, they are the admired norm, and cars are viewed as alien invaders, soft, slushy slugs sealed within metallic carapaces, to be crushed like noxious cockroaches from Hell if they try to run over you.

P.S. : Two years after I wrote this, as we all know, petrol prices doubled and hard-working motorists abandoned their big gas-guzzlers in droves for smaller, more efficient vehicles, and the automobile cabals at long last promoted hybrids like electric cars. The powers that be had the chance in the '90s to push alternative technologies, (as shown in the doco "Who Killed off the Electric Car"), but wanted to flog off their old shit first so the last 10 years got wasted with petrol wars and economic hardships fucking us all over. I still hate cars with a passion, they're always trying to run me down as I try to leisurely get about, the lazy shits should walk more and maybe there wouldn't be so many fires burning up the planet.

While the Daily Terror lambasts our Lord Mayor for trying to reinvent Sydney as a livable city with bike-paths to keep us safe from the marauding auto wars, it also knows where there's a buck to be made with a human-interest smoke-screen, now promoting pushbikes as a money saving alternative for hard-up commuters, only the bikes and gear they pictured were priced at around $7000, a hot way to be economical for the Ferrari set. But that's High Capitalism for you, money has got to flow, THEY will even sell you the bike chain to whip you with.