Monthly Archive for July, 2008


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif…July 29…Forget South Beach. If you really want to shed the pounds Alcatraz is the place for you.

“The Rock,” California’s newest spa,which opened last month in the abandoned penitentiary on Alcatraz Island, has become the number one diet destination for image conscious celebrities.

“Fat plus Fear equals Fitness ,” says spa founder Dr. Immer Kronkheit. “We eat, exercise and think like hardened criminals.”

A holistic nutritionist, Kaballah sex therapist and licensed cannabis dispenser in Southern California, Dr. Kronkheit was long puzzled by what he called “flab creep” among even his most dedicated patients.

“People could lose twelve to fourteen pounds in a few weeks on the crash part of the diet, but when they went on maintenance they would watch in a panic as the flab crept back.”

Kronkheit realized that only a major metabolic change would keep the pounds off permanently.

Inspiration came when he read a study in The Social Science Journal which advanced the astonishing hypothesis that criminals were the fittest members of the population.

The study examined 5000 inmates in the Arkansas prison system. Using body mass index, a measure of height and weight, to assess fitness it concluded that the healthy, athletic mesomorphic body type made up “an unusually large percentage of the population, from 62 to 73 per cent.”

“This was much larger than the proportion in the national population, which is consists mostly of endomorphs (fatties)n and ectomorphs (skinnies),” Kronkheit said.

Anecdotal observation showed that inmates exercised more frequently and strenuously than the average individual.

“Exertion in the form of competitive sports, in-cell activities and homicidal attacks on officers and other inmates took up more than forty per cent of the inmates’ waking hours,” Koronkheit says. “Follow up studies showed that those inmates who left prison alive and in one piece weighed less, did more push ups and ran faster than when they entered…And they were better dancers…”

Kronkheit put together a program that replicated the diet and daily routines of inmates in maximum security facilities. He rented Alcatraz, which has been closed since 1963 and within weeks had a six month waiting list.

“Our program is not for the faint of heart,” Kronkeheit warns. “Customers must pass a casual physical and extensive credit check before acceptance.”

What Kronkheit calls “the sentence” begins at dawn when the customers are herded onto a rusty ferry by overweight, abusive ex MP’s, formally stationed at Guantanamo. Once on the island they are made to strip in the chilly reception center where they are prodded by defrocked priests and palsied proctologists and ridiculed for their flab, their odd shapes and puny endowments. “We find that humiliation is a tremendous appetite suppressant,” says Kronkheit.

Their cells are leaky and rodent infested. Cellmates, their diametric opposites in race, politics and sexual preference, have been chosen from a pool of ex convict volunteers. “It’s inspiring to see how many ex cons want to share their lifestyle,” Kronkheit says.

The first few nights are spent in sleepless terror. “Fear is especially effective for reducing love handles,” Kronkheit says.

The menus are counter-intuitive, emphasizing fat, sugar, salt and chemicals. The standard prison breakfast is sodium-rich pancake mix, grits, swimming in margarine and fructose enriched canned pineapple juice. Prison toothpaste is the cheap variety imported from China and rich in industrial solvent diethyleneglycol.

“This causes instant purging sweats and high fevers, which quickly deplete body fat,” Kronkheit says.

As in prison meals are timed for maximum inefficiency.

“Lunch is served at 11:15 long before the prisoners have gotten over their mid-morning nausea,” he says. “Dinner comes at 4 p.m. so the staff can beat the rush hour traffic.”

The prison diet emphasizes cheapness and convenience.

“We like to serve food at least an hour it was prepared to diminish vitamin content, Kronkheit says.”We keep the cold drinks like milk out to get warm and the hot beverages like coffee out to cool off.

“Powdered eggs, canned soups and fruits, pre packaged burgers and frozen pizza are a staple,” Kronkheit says. “We find that junk food combined with stress and poor body image really takes off the pounds.”

Smoking, illicit drug use and bootleg alcohol are part of the prison culture so Kronkheit encourages their use.”

There is no need for formalized exercise program. “Prison rituals encourage fitness,” he says. “After every meal Customers have to run a gamut back to their cells. They do pushups to develop the strength and stamina necessary to fight off their cellmates.”

And the treatment works. Average weight loss after thirty days is forty-two pounds. “We’ve had people lose so much they had to be put on IV’s and taken off on stretchers.,” Kronkheit says.

Since leaving the program, a few of his dieters have been implicated in bank robberies and carjackings. Kronkheit says this is “an interesting statistical anomaly.”

He has asked the Social Science Journal to do a study on it.


There were artist bars (the Cedar,) writer’s bars (the Lion’s Head,) newspaper hangouts (Bleecks or Costellos,) gay “clubs” (The Pink Poodle,) brawling butch bars (The Grapevine,) where lesbians bloodied each other with broken glasses and key rings.

The big hotels had commercial bars (Maude’s, The Jockey Club) where the traveling salesmen left nickel tips at the bottom of a water glasses filled with soggy cigarette butts and guffawed by the door as you fished them out.

There were discreet rendezvous for gigolos and wealthy widows (The Drake), cheater trysts (A Little Table in the Corner.) Bars that called themselves “Cocktail Lounges” and had music lovers in moth-eaten tuxedos plinking show tunes on scarred baby grands. The ones that said “Bar and Grill” featured oldsters drinking out their Social Security checks at a buck a shot and getting “bum-rushed” by the seats of their pants when they demanded “one on the house for a disabled veteran.”

There were dingy saloons where on-duty cops and off-duty crooks muttered in booths. There was even a bar for black people trying to pass as white.

It had been that way for fifty years when, suddenly, in the mid 1960′s, a pod opened and a new creature emerged, shucking its fetal membrane. It was known as the “Swinging Single.”

No one knew where it had come from. One theory was that the Sexual Revolution combined with the growing financial independence of young women had lengthened the marriage age from early to late ’20′s. Nubile females filled the high rises on the Upper East Side. The neighborhood became known as the “Girl Ghetto,” thousands living three or four to an apartment. Soon the scent of their Arpege wafted downtown and across the rivers to the outer boroughs. Males looked up, noses wrinkling, then dropped what they were doing and charged howling across the bridges.

Like penguins the singles needed a meeting place for their elaborate mating rituals. And so the singles bar was born.

The Persimmon (name changed to protect the guilty) opened in the spring of 1966 and became an instant institution. Everybody had a cute name for it–” the antique store from hell.”…”Marcel Proust’s bad acid trip.” It was a huge space done in Art Nouveau, Tiffany lamps, stained glass from floor to ceiling, ceramic animals. It originated the “bar food” menu, serving everything from burgers to “fine cuisine,” all equally inedible. It was the first bar to make a virtue out of bad food. Many more would follow.

I was working catering at the big hotels, 22 dollars an event, plus a meal, usually spaghetti and Sloppy Joe sauce, so I was ecstatic when a friend called and said there was an opening at the Persimmon.

At lunch the place was packed. The head bartender was a black dude named Noah who wore a vest and a derby like an old time barkeep. I would get a tryout in the service bar, he said, making drinks for the tables before they decided if I was ready to deal with “the public.”

The service bar motto was: “What the customers don’t see won’t hurt ‘em.” We had four bottles of rotgut– scotch, bourbon , rye and vodka. No matter what fancy brand they ordered, that’s what they got. Martinis were premixed in a Gilbey’s gin bottle. Vodka martinis got no vermouth. Whiskey sours were made with sweet vermouth and a sour mix, so sugary that the maddened fruit flies would find a way to bore through the glass for their mating rituals. All cream drinks, alexanders, grasshoppers, white russians were made with Yoo Hoo. The wine of choice was Lancer’s Rose. We made 27 dollars a shift, no tips. But the wait staff threw us a couple of bucks, or they’d never get their drinks orders.

I’ve never seen such a busy place, before or after. It was like working in the hold of a ship, shoveling coal into the furnace. The sweat poured off you. You were working so hard you didn’t look up, but you could hear the noise. It was a low roar from opening to last call.

After a few weeks I met Patty Nolan. He was in the process of becoming the first legendary bartender on the Upper East Side– still polishing the act. He was an ex Marine with tattoos on both brawny forearms, a black Irish New York newspaper intellectual, who read the sports pages, saw the latest Bergman and knew who Saul Bellow was, so he could make small talk with almost anyone. They had fired his partner and he had chosen me to replace him.

My first night I met the owner. He was Hollywood royalty, the grandson of a studio head, son of a famous director. A rotund little guy doing the flamboyant thing with plaid suits and loud ties, he had a constant parade of celebs moving through the joint. He was genial and welcoming, but gave me an appraising look when he thought I wasn’t watching. He was doing four million a month and didn’t want to share.

We worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday brunch, the prime shifts. At 8 when I came on the place would be hysterical. Every table taken, people willing to wait for hours until one opened up. Four deep at the bar, screaming for beverages like Legionnaires lost in the desert.

Sometimes a rumor would spread, “Warren Beatty is here.” And then you’d actually see Beatty or even Cary Grant and the owner at a table surrounded by women. In 1972 New York a movie star siting was huge.

The bartender as sex object hadn’t quite taken hold yet. Neither had the bartender as entrepreneur. I was making a hundred a night, which was a fortune for me and going home alone, which seemed only natural. But Patty wanted more. It was the first time I heard the expression “chump change.”

“This ain’t Con Ed,” he said.”We ain’t in this for thirty years and the gold watch.”

He had a motto for everything. “Swing in the cup, contract in the pocket.” The “swing” was what we stole through short ringing, short changing, stealing soft drinks, and that we shared. The “contract” was what we made from giving people free drinks and getting huge tips in return. And that we kept.

Patty was a local boy and had the “contracts”–cops and waiters, who came to see him. I was a West Sider and didn’t know anybody so he made more than me. But I was doing two hundred a night and at this rate would be able to quit and finish my Great American Novel.

It was strictly business between Patty and me. At closing he’d go off with his buddies. Drugs, especially cocaine, were still a secret passion in those days. I was never invited.

One Saturday night I noticed the owner at the end of the bar. He rarely came on the weekends, and when he did it was with a serious Hollywood crowd.

Patty came over to my sink. “They’ve got spotters on us tonight.”

The story came out while we were working. Somebody had gotten greedy. “Somebody’s killin’ the goose that lays the golden eggs,” he said. There had been shortages and now they were trying to catch the thieves.

Patty had spotted the spotters. It was a couple, man and woman, longhaired and tie-dyed up the gazoo. They came from an agency and, hard as they tried, they didn’t fit in.

“They have to work in pairs,” he said, “so they can both be witnesses in case there’s a criminal charge…They have to write down every time you do something for the same reason.”

It was scary. “Criminal charges?” I asked.

“I got a trick to beat it,” he said. “It’ll take balls, but it always works.”

Patty’s trick was simple. “Steal,” he said. “Steal right under their noses.”

“I don’t get it,” I said.

“Steal blatantly from them,” he said. “Short ring their drinks, short change ‘em, buy drinks back after the first. Steal all around ‘em. Be flagrant, pack it all in the cup until the money is flowing out of it…”

“How’s that gonna work?” I asked.

“Trust me” he said.

So I stole. The spotters were down at my end. They got so excited they almost spilled the drinks I bought for them. I was swinging, contracting, almost picking customers’ pockets. They took turns writing frantically under the bar. The girl would watch me and whisper to the guy while he wrote. Then he would watch in amazement and whisper to her.

At the other end Patty was “contracting” the whole bar, dropping tens and twenties in the cup, which was like millions in those days.

Every hour or two he would make change from the register to the cup, which was a big no no, and jam some bills in his pocket.

At closing I was counting the tips when I saw the head bartender and two big guys in the mirror.

Patty saw them, too, and rushed over, full of righteous indignation.

“Noah, how long I know you?” he said. “I don’t appreciate you putting spotters on me.”

Noah’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”

“That couple of hooples at the other end,” he said. “I spotted them right away. I suppose now they’re gonna say we were stealin’ all night long, but we weren’t. We work clean, don”t we kid.”

“Clean,” I said, although you didn’t need a polygraph to see that I was lying.

Noah nodded to the two bruisers and they came behind the bar. “Those people were decoys, Patty. We knew you’d spot them. The real spotter was that Chinese chick, the one you kept buyin’ drinks for…”

“Hey, I’m allowed to get lucky, “Patty said.

“She’ll back up everything the other two say,” said Noah. “You’re out, Patty.”

They made us turn over our tip cup. The bruisers searched me up and down.

“Leave him cab fare,” Noah said.

Then we were out on the street. The Great American Novel was indefinitely postponed.

“That didn’t work,” I said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Patty said.

He ducked into a doorway and slipped off his shoes. There were two piles of bills in his socks, one for me.

“Actually, I got a new job, managing at Spaldeens,” he said.

Spaldeens was a newer, hipper place in the ’70′s. Patty was stepping up.

“Tonight was my last night so I figured I’d make a killing anyway,” he said.

I counted my money. Two hundred, what I always made…

“Now that I’m out of work, can you give me a job?” I asked.

“You kiddin’?” Patty laughed. “You’re a thief.”


BEIJING, China, July 26…Yao Ming may be an All-Star in the US, but in China he’s just another servant of the state.

China has committed the lives and the blood of its people to proving that the Communist system is superior.

And the people better step up…Or else.

This was brought home yesterday when Chinese President Hu Jintao took time out from suppressing the protests of the families whose children had died in the earthquake, to pay an “informal” visit to the basketball training facility.

Yao, who suffered a fractured foot that kept him out of the last half of the NBA season was on the sidelines with an ice bag when Hu and his entourage swept in.

“The whole people of China have been worried about your foot,” Hu said. “How are you recovering?”

Yao leapt to his feet. “I’m okay,” he said, grimacing.

Later Hu faced the media with his photo op smile.

“All the country’s people fervently look forward to a splendid Olympics,” he declared. His smile faded, replaced by the steely-eyed look of the autocrat of all bureaucrats. “And they fervently look forward to the Chinese team achieving good results.”

Which translated means Yao better be ready for the opening tip, even if he has to run the pick and roll on crutches.

In elaborate band playing, banner waving introductory ceremonies in Beijing, Yao and star sprinter Liu Xiang faced the Chinese flag and pledged to “serve and sacrifice for the motherland.”

China is fielding the largest squad in the history of the Olympics. Its delegation numbers 1,099, among them 38 foreign coaches. The 639 athletes outnumber arch rival USA’s 596 athlete contingent.
China came in third in Athens 2004, behind Russia and the US, winning 62 medals, 32 gold. But home team advantage and an unprecedented training campaign have propelled it to favorite status in many events.

The number-obsessed Chinese delegation will tell you that over the course of history Chinese athletes have won 1317 gold medals and set 1026 world records. But China-watchers say this Olympics is about more than gold medals.

“This is a battle for history,” says political analyst Igor Yopsvoyomatsky. “It is to decide which is better–corrupt, indulgent Capitalism or disciplined, self-sacrificing Communism.”

He compares Beijing 2008 to Nuremberg 1936. “There the Nazis tried to prove their system was superior with best athletes, best facilities, best marching bands, even best-looking film maker Leni Riefenstahl. Here Chinese want to show that Communist police state is best system for producing athletic excellence, personal heroism, social tranquility, consumer ecstasy, even individual happiness.”

China was awarded the games in 1990 at a low point in its modern history. The Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops had fired on unarmed protesters, had occurred a year before.

“It was like Chinese fable, The Emperor’s new Clothes,” Yopsvoyomatsky says. “The so-called reform movement was exposed as same Maoist police state.”

Desperate to improve its image China intrigued to get the 2008 Olympics.

“How could world award games to country that was killing and torturing its citizens?” Yopsvoyomatsky asks. “This is question to ask opaque IOC.”

Once achieved the Chinese set out to make 2008 the greatest Olympics in history.

“The Chinese are gamblers,” says Yopsvoyomatsky. “They have gone all in on this Olympics. “They have to deliver clean air, beautiful facilities, pomp and splendor, great hospitality and dramatic victories.”

But they know only one way to accomplish this goal, he says…Control.

“Control all variables. Put 100,000 police on 24-7 duty. Set up check points. Put Ughurs in jail. Put in visa restrictions. Close night clubs. Control every aspect of athlete’s lives. Punish dissenters. shut down web sites. Ruthlessly oversee their delegation.”

Yopsvoyomatsky cites the example of the caterer who mistakenly put “Peking Dog” on the Olympic menu.

“He was thrown into a pit of starving Dobermans ,” Yopsvoyomatsky says.

Now that Russia has degenerated into a “thugocracy” China carries the spear for the Revolution, Yopsvoyomatsky says.

“Hu sees himself as a servant of history. During the day he can bully Yao, but at night Karl Marx appears in his dreams, waves an ink-stained finger and says: History fervently looks forward to a Chinese victory.”


GREENPOINT, Bklyn, July 24…Are the Democrats too hip for the room? In their attempt to be evenhanded, ironic and transparent are they unintentionally undermining Barrack Obama’s candidacy?

Or is something more sinister at work?

This is the question that Igor Yopsvoyamatsky posed last night. Speaking to a hostile audience at the Kosciusko Bridge and Polka Club he accused the Democrats of deliberately sabotaging Obama’s campaign.

“Reverend Al Sharpton, HBO movie “Recount,” New Yorker Magazine cover…Just a few examples of plot to bring down Obama,” he shouted over the jeers and heckles from the predominantly Democratic crowd.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “Obama is big threat to transparty oligarchy that really rules America…”

“What is a transparty oligarchy anyway?” someone shouted.

“It is term coined by Eastern European scholar Tom Gallagher,” Yopsvoyamatsky said. “It means heads of so-called opposing parties who really work together to maintain status quo for billionaire rulers of so-called Democracy.” He pointed to a heckler. “McCain is non-factor. This election is Obama against transparty oligarchy.

Why is Obama a threat?” someone shouted.

“Because he will bring new demographic into electoral process–African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, gamers, slackers, how you say playuhs. The rich see that their housekeepers, their gardeners, even their stupid over-medicated children will have a say in how this country is run. They will never permit this.

“Party leaders have been afraid of him since he appeared on the scene,”Yopsvoyamatsky said. “Soon after his election to Illinois State Senate he was offered professorship at University of Chicago if he left politics. They even offered to appoint his wife head of school’s legal clinic.”

The crowd was quieted by this revelation. Finally, a man in a dashiki decorated with photos of Obama jumped up.

“Yeah, well how is Al Sharpton is part of a plot against Obama?” he sneered.

“He is a tool like you pamyawt,” Yopsvoyamatsky sneered back. “CNN, allegedly pro Obama media, always has Sharpton and other black talking heads on to defend Obama. Never nice white, gray-haired white lady like Obama’s grandmother, but Sharpton, who white people hate from notorious Tawana Brawley episode.” He winked at a young blonde woman in cut offs and a tight fitting “Change America” T-shirt “This is subliminal plot to frighten white voters, no?”

“I guess so,” she said with a tentative smile. “But why the movie, “Recount?”

Yopsvoyamatsky leered down at her. “Very astute question. This movie, made by Obama supporters purports to be truthful account.”

“It is true,” someone shouted.

” I cook a pot of truth every morning,” Yopsvoyamatsky said, and turned to the blonde. “Stalin said that.”

“Who?” she asked

“Exactly,” he said, and turned back to the crowd. “Recount is clever whitewash of James Baker, good friend of HBO boss, Time Warner, CEO and Republican loyalist Richard D. Parsons, who put him twice on cover of Time Magazine. It portrays Baker as clever, charming man working within system, instead of ruthless subverter who brought issue to Supreme Court where he had already fixed the outcome. It shows Democrats to be weak, divided…Not a good party for power, no?”

“I guess,” the young blonde said with a shrug. “I really don’t know.”

Yopsvoyamatsky squeezed in next to her. “You have an open mind. I like that in a woman…”

A You Tuber stuck a Camcorder in his face. “Anyway, the New Yorker cover is ancient history…”

Yopsvoyamatsky pushed him away. “Maybe to you, pascudniak, but not too pop cultural establishment, which is terrified at prospect of Obama…”

“Really?” the young blonde said.

Yopsvoyamatsky put his arm around her. “Perceptive inquiry, my dear…You see Obama is not funny. This is big problem for culture. If you try to make joke it falls flat or someone calls you racist pig. Not good for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. Comedy needs controversy, it needs to be in the opposition. That’s why there is no Daily Show in Pinsk. Culture establishment looks at eight years with Obama. Boring, self-righteous time.No jokes, no ratings. They are back to playing Comedy Castle in downtown Peoria. Better with McCain. Senile jokes, incontinent jokes, Viagra and Metamucil…”

The blonde sucked her knuckle with a puzzled look. “So what can Obama do to win?”

Yopsvoyamatsky patted her knee. “. He must convince transparty oligarchs that he is one of them. He wears a yarmulka in Israel… only fair. He gives immunity to telecom conglomerates so they can deny civil liberties to citizens…better. He tells black people it is all their fault…excellent!”

“So maybe he is a transported autopark,” the blonde says.

“Brilliant synthesis, my dear,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “I have power point in my room. Want to see?”

“I guess,” she said.

He walked behind her, nodding appreciatively. “You know you are very clever for an American girl. You want some Vitamin Water…?”



                         Dr. Immer Kronkhite answers a reader’s question:
Dear Dr. Kronkhite,

This morning as I was putting on my double layer hydrophobic Coolmax running socks my big toe fell off. On the advice of my holistic wellness consultant I have been taking 25,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D a day to strengthen my immune system, prevent cancer and heart disease. Am I taking too much?
Slewfoot, Montana

Dear Anxious,

Originally touted as a miracle cure, Vitamin D went from hero to goat in the pharmacopeia, but bounced back to Number One in the panacea parade. It is now credited with helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, hypertension, TB, MS, chronic pain, anorexia, depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder and polyglattis of the blowhole. How long it will occupy this exalted position is anybody’s guess?


This has long been a mystery in taxonomic circles because Vitamin D was discovered before Vitamin C and certain of the B Vitamins.

In 1919 British physician Dr. Edward Mallenby locked a group of dogs in a dark cellar and kept them there in near starvation conditions until their teeth fell out and they developed painful bone deformations. Mallenby determined that these poor animals were suffering from a vitamin deficiency caused by starvation and lack of sunlight. For his pioneering work in animal abuse he was knighted and his discovery became known as Vitamin D for Dogs…


Every schoolchild is familiar with the photo of the Third World waif with hollow eyes and emaciated twisted limbs. This child was suffering from rickets, a disease of malnutrition and poverty caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D.

Fear of rickets led parents to serve what is now referred to as the “Babyboomer Breakfast,” which was rich in Vitamin D. This consisted of a spoonful of rancid tasting cold liver oil, followed by a shot of sugary, acidulous canned orange juice chased by a glass of ice cold milk. No thought was given to those children who might be lactose intolerant or allergic. The bloated, nauseated tykes were given Pop Tarts and sent on their way to school.

Years later case studies showed that most of those suffering from learning disabilities associated school with the smell of vomit and feces caused by children sickened by the Boomer Breakfasts. Vitamin D thus can be linked to a strong aversion for learning.


Vitamin D has been deceptively branded. It is not a vitamin at all, but a prehormone that produces steroids in the human body. The naturally occurring component of Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, that is produced when sunlight hits the skin, breaks into calcidol, the strongest steroid in the body and calcitriol, another potent hormone that has been linked with possible cancer prevention. Overzealous drug testers (are there any other kind?) might confuse these with certain illegal performance enhancers. You might find yourself bounced from the sack race at the next company picnic with certain drastic consequences for your personal and professional life.


Vitamins D and A are fat soluble vitamins, which means they are stored in the liver and can reach toxic levels.

Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. A fifteen to twenty minute exposure to the morning sun is considered sufficient for the daily requirement. Use of sunblock is discouraged and this has led to fears of skin cancer in the fair-skinned, the genetically susceptible and the immuno-compromised. But recent studies have shown that even the strongest sunblock is ineffective so you can get skin cancer and a possible toxic dose of D in one short walk on the beach.

Egg yolks are a good source of D, but also of cholesterol, which is a major cause of heart disease.

Tuna is high in D but higher in mercury and is counter-indicated for the elderly the very young, pregnant women and hypochondriacs like you who take their temperature a lot.

Salmon is rich in D, but the farmed variety is contaminated with industrial chemicals that can cause neurological disease and reproductive anomalies.

Eels are bursting with D, but most eels are imported from China. Need I say more?


After years in the doghouse Vitamin D has suddenly jumped to the fore as a miracle drug. This may be the result of honest research…Or clever marketing. You should know that the Vitamin D Benevolent Association is behind only Pfizer , AIPAC and the NRA in the amount of lobbyists it has on Capitol Hill.

Hope I’ve been of help.


GREENPOINT, Bklyn, July 18…Iranian President Ahamadinejad says “we will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” Israeli Prime Minister Olmert responds: “The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means.”

Is nuclear war imminent?

“No way, ” says Efraim Durg. “It’s not personal, it’s business. They’re all working together.”

Durg, the nominee of the Gambler’s Rights Party, has come under severe criticism for not taking a position on the Middle East.

“Well at least I’m not flip-flopping,” he joked at a fundraiser held at Golubchiks Tavern last night. The audience, in no mood for Durg’s trademark frivolity, booed and stamped.

“The Middle East is a threat to world peace,” someone shouted.

This awakened Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk, who had been snoozing in a dark corner. He leapt to his feet, crying:

“Middle East is gigantic three card monte game organized by sheiks, oligarchs and hedge fund manipulators.”

Yopsvoyomatsky, recently appointed foreign policy adviser to the Durg campaign, unfurled a spread sheet, knocking over a short beer and a bowl of bar nuts.

“I have graph showing direct correlation between oil prices and so-called threats in Middle East and other so-called hot spots,” he said. “You can clearly see how big powers manipulate price of oil.”

A bespectacled young man objected: ” Not true. The oil futures market responds to political developments.”

Yopsvoyomatsky gave him a look of withering disdain. “You believe in free markets, puny daytrader? Markets and politics are controlled by same people. International incidents are staged to affect oil prices.”

Yopsvoyomatsky,a former senior analyst at the Gryzneezihd Institute, pointed to a wet spot on the spreadsheet. “This shows pattern of events carefully arranged by major players to correlate with settlement dates of contracts, short and long positions…” He staggered, a triumphant look in his bleary eyes. “We can track fat cats’ every move…”

Durg helped Yopsvoyomatsky to a bar stool and took over. “You can see how the price of oil shot up when Iran threatened Israel.”

“Everybody unwound their position in orderly fashion,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Fancy words for got out with big profit.”

“Then the price went down as Condoleeza Rice restrained Israel.”

“Everybody purchased cheap,”Yopsvoyomatsky said.

“Then the price spiked when Israel went on maneuvers in the Mediterranean.”

“Prices up again,”Yopsvoyomatsky said. He swiped the young man’s Sam Adams off the table and drained his date’s Cosmopolitan in one gulp. “Did you meet puny daytrader on E-Harmony?” he asked the young woman.

“Ahamadinejad assures the world that there will be no war between Iran and Israel,” Durg continued.

Yopsvoyomatsky twisted the young man’s tie. “What happens now, daytrader?”

“Prices go down,” the young man said in a strangled voice.

Yopsvoyomatsky lurched to the bar and tore off a piece of the spreadsheet. “This is case study of Nigeria,” he said. “You have billions invested in oil futures. One hundred thousand chump change euros buys you ten cigarette boats. They speed 85 miles into the Gulf of Guinea into Royal Dutch Shell Bonga field. They shoot a few times, but cannot penetrate fortified platform. No harm done, but Shell shuts down. Price goes up. You make big money. The next day Nigerian militants declare truce. They will not sabotage oil pipelines, they say,” He raised a swizzle stick like a baton. “What happens?”

“Price goes down,” the audience responded.

“And then you buy…”

Yopsvoyomatsky crumpled the soggy spreadsheet and threw it across the room in disgust. “Iran fires five mobile missiles with possible nuclear warheads that can reach Israel.” He raised his swizzle stick.

“Price goes up,” the audience shouted as one.

“Next day blogger reveals that it was really a peddler shooting off sparklers from a felafel stand.”


Durg pushed Yopsvoyomatsky aside, sending him careening into the crowd.

“Let’s stop worrying about the Middle East and deal with the important issues,” he said. “Legalize marijuana. Put a casino on every corner and let the rest of the world take care of itself.”

Meanwhile, Yopsvoyomatsky was pouring his heart out to the daytrader’s date.

“I went on E Harmony, but nobody matched my profile. Do you think it is plot?”


BEIJING, China, July 16…When Haile Gebrselassie, the world’s fastest marathon runner dropped out of the Beijing Olympics last month, saying he was afraid the pollution would aggravate his asthma, there was consternation in the Chinese capital. But this turned to panic when tennis ace Justine Henin, also an asthmatic, announced that she would not be defending her gold medal.

Some athletes complained of fatigue and illness in their training sessions, while others said they had become disoriented in the fogs of smog that hang over the Imperial City. The American boxing team said they had returned from a morning run with “burning eyes, coughing, and breathing difficulties.” Mountain biker Jeremy Horgan-Kobeleski said his “body had shut down” midway in a 30 mile race and he had to pull over to vomit.

“This was another sign of Western softness and decadence,” said Chiang Re Kong of the Chinese Health Ministry, an inhaler clenched defiantly between his teeth. “We thrive in these conditions.”

Still, in deference to the weak occidental athletes, emergency regulations were instituted. Automobile traffic was halved in downtown Beijing. Factories were told to suspend production until the end of September. Algae blooms caused by untreated sewage were cleared off the sailing venue. Chemical spills and toxic runoff were cleansed from the canoe and kayak runs.

But air and water quality remained poor, Re Kong admits, so the People’s Republic took Draconian measures.

Beijing residents were told to hold their breaths for two minutes every hour to minimize the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air.

“Infants, the elderly and the terminally ill were excused of course,” Re Kong said, hastily.

When that didn’t work the billion plus population of China was ordered to fast one day a week.

“Zero rice consumption will reduce the amount of methane released into the air by flatulence,” Re Kong explained. “Also, those who do not eat cannot produce body waste to pollute waterways.”

The Western media immediately dubbed this “fartless Friday.” Infants, the elderly and Government officials were exempted from the order.

But still, pollution levels remained stubbornly high and more athletes announced that they were dropping out.

“We had hoped Beijing would be the scene of many world records,” Re Kong said. “Now we just want people to show up.”

In a quandary, the Chinese came up with a brilliant solution.

“If we cannot set a world record for the fastest time we will reward the slowest with a special medal,” said Dr Booxi Xixun, of the Ministry of Information, said at a press conference today.

His voice muffled by a reinforced surgical mask, made exclusively for Communist Party members, Dr. Xixun declared that “winning and record setting are merely symptoms of bourgeois elitism,” and claimed to be offering ” a truly Zen exercise for all competitive people who drive themselves to win at all costs.”

” We are encouraging athletes to go for their Personal Worst,” he said. “The five minute pollution-assisted mile. The ten pound clean and jerk.”

“We will bring a whole new class of athletes into prominence,” he said. ” The pole vault bar will be set so low you will have to do the limbo to qualify. The also-ran and the under-achiever will finally have their day.”

Bookmakers quickly established a “loser line” for all the events. An early favorite in the marathon was Margaret Hagerty, an 85 year old North Carolinian. She is the oldest woman to run in marathons on all seven continents, including Antarctica, but has never won a medal.

Other favorites are the Micronesian basketball team and the Samoan sprinters.

Wiping a soot smudge off his forehead, Dr. Xixun declared that “the Beijing Olympics will be truly historic.”


MUMBAI, India, July 14…Today Bollywood tomorrow the world.

The announcement last month that Indian movie mogul Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Big Entertainment, had closed billion dollar production deals with Hollywood A-listers like Stephen Spielberg, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Jim Carrey was proof to Efraim Durg that India is now officially the coolest country in the world.

“It’s the culture, stupid,” says Durg, owner of the Delhi Deli in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. “Indian movies, art, literature are taking over. American culture hustlers are jumping on the juggernaut which is an Indian word by the way.”

Durg points to the significant investments that Hollywood is making in the Indian culture industry. Disney recently bought a 33% stake in Indian television company UTV and is partnering with producer Yosh Chopra to make animation features for the Indian market. Sony has invested 250 million in production company Pritish Nandy Communications and Warners is co-producing an Indian feature called “Chadni Chowk to China.”

Ambani emphasized that he would not try to influence the movies that his American partners made and advertising exec Pradcon Joshi added that “there will be no creative interference.”

But Durg scoffed at these assurances. “Culture spreads like a virus. Clooney and Pitt are already working on Ganges 14. Spielberg’s next project is Indiana Jones and the Search for the Sacred Cow Pie”

Durg says America’s days as a cultural superpower are over. “We were Number One during World War II with Coca Cola, nylon stockings and Benny Goodman. Nobody could touch us in the ’50′s when we were selling Marilyn, Elvis and tail fins. In the ’60′s we had Sinatra and the Rat Pack , JFK and Jackie ruled the world from Camelot…” Durg gets a wistful look. “Everybody wanted to know what we were up to in those days. ” He shakes his head in sorrow. “But then we had Vietnam and urban riots and the Weathermen. Assassinations, man–JFK, MLK, RFK, Malcolm X– really cut into our lead. We gained back some ground with Motown and Disco, but then the BIble Bangers, Falwell and Robertson– took over and we were toast. The 2000 election and Guantanamo sealed the deal. We just ain’t cool anymore, end of story.”

Other nations have rushed to fill the coolness vacuum, Durg says, but he’s not impressed.

“Russia is has a bully culture,” he says. “Do what I want or I’ll turn off your oil. That’s clumsy. The Russians gave this ex KGB spook some kinda nuclear poison to make him glow in the dark. They killed a reporter because she busted them for torture in Chechnya…Very uncool…”

China, the country in which the compass, the printing press, paper, gunpowder and noodles were all invented in the space of a century, is trying to recapture it former glory. Some of the world’s most prominent architects and urban planners have turned the skyline of Beijing into a modernist sketchpad with the Water Cube, the Olympic swimming center, whose walls glow blue in the dark, the National Stadium and the Chinese Central Television Tower designed by Rem Koolhaas. The city is full of modern art galleries. Avant garde music is played in the hippest clubs. There’s a four star restaurant on every corner…

“They do all this great stuff,” Durg says. “But then they execute a guy for bouncing his rent check…Very uncool…”

“India has a caste system and it’s messed up in Kashmir,” Durg says. “It has separatist movements in the northeast. There’s even rebel tribesmen shooting at cops with bows and arrows in Assam, which is kind of cool– if you’re not a cop…With all this going on it’s a real democracy so you know it’ll keep growing.”

Durg is going into the Indian business in a big way. He’s planning to run elephant rides through Central Park in the fall. He already has five Delhi Deli franchises and more being sold every day. As his pots gurgled releasing a cloud of curry, Durg pointed to an eighteen wheeler parked outside. “Know what’s in there? 33 tons of garlic nan and that won’t get us through the weekend.”

He offered this bit of advice to entrepreneurs. “Take your Nehru jacket out of the closet, trade your guitar for a sitar and buy yourself a white heifer, bro. Lord Vishnu is coming across the Williamsburg Bridge.”


NEW YORK, N.Y., July 12…Anarcho-Feminist presidential candidate Leah Schildkraut posed a provocative challenge to John McCain and Barrack Obama today.

“Give us your position on a woman’s right to orgasm.”

She was referring to an amendment to the Ecuadoran Constitution proposed by legislator Maria Soledad Vela giving women the legal right to “enjoy sexual happiness.”

The amendment was hooted down in the Ecuadoran Constituent Assembly. Opposition member Leonard Viteri accused Soledad Vela of trying to “decree orgasm by law.” An editorial in the Quito daily El Celibe said it would cause a “rash of lawsuits by unsatisfied women.” Columnist Jorge Pata-Pequena complained that her amendment would mean a “life in prison” for men, condemning them “to exhaust themselves in the service of domineering, frigid emasculators.”

Soledad Vela, an attractive blonde, went on Ecuadoran TV to explain that she only wanted to change the image of a woman as “passive partner in intercourse and a vessel for carrying babies.” She said a woman’s right to “enjoy sex in a free, fair and more open society” would be a boon to all.

Soledad Vela’s blog posts and You Tubes excited hot debate throughout South America. Her digital efforts also stimulated feminists around the world. Female legislators in the UK, Belarus and New Zealand, have enlarged her amendment to include provisions making inappropriate remarks like “you’ve got the rag on,” and “what you need is a good roll in the hay” misdemeanors subject to civil penalty.

Now Schildkraut has thrust “the right to orgasm” to a prominent place in her platform.

“This is the next generation of woman’s issues,” she said today. “We are concerned with body image. Making sure that the underweight ideal does not drive women to anorexia, amphetamine addiction and destructive surgery. We want to prod men into accepting their responsibilities in the sex act…”

She was interrupted by Efraim Durg, candidate of the Gambler’s Rights Party. Surrounded by supporters carrying signs reading SLAVES TO ECSTASY and DON’T PAY LIP SERVICE TO FEMALES, Durg shouted: “It is a known fact that the female orgasm is a myth.”

“It is to you,” she shot back.

Stunned, Durg searched for a comeback. “Well…Some of these women shouldn’t have the right to have sex.”

“When was the last time you had sex?” Schildkraut demanded.

With a smug look at his supporters, Durg replied: “This morning.”

Schildkraut waited until their lusty cheers subsided and said: “I meant with another person…”

“Oh yeah,” Durg shouted. “Oh yeah, bitch…”

“Good one,” his supporters cried.

Later in the day, a reporter caught Barrack Obama between fundraising appearances and asked him for his position on the female orgasm.

With a patronizing smile, Obama chucked her under the chin. “Let me get back to you on that, sweetie,” he said.

John McCain was making a major speech on the Middle East at the Altekvetcher Home for the Aged in West Palm Beach, Florida. As he struggled to make himself heard above the feedback of the hearing aids, a reporter approached.

“Senator McCain, what is your position on the female orgasm?” she asked.

McCain turned, brimming with sincerity. “A cornerstone of my health plan is to rid females of all unwanted organisms…

“Not organisms, John,” his wife Cindy said, and whispered in his ear.

McCain blushed. “Oh, oh sorry…” And turned back to the reporter. “Let me look in the Navy Marriage Manual…I’ll get right back to you.”


MOSCOW, Russia, July 8…In a 1956 reception at the Polish Embassy, a tipsy Nikita Kruschev, then First Secretary of the Soviet Communist party, threatened the capitalist West: “History is on our side,” he said, referring to Marxist ideology. “We will bury you.”

Forty-three years later, in 1989, it was the Soviet Empire that was buried in the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

But the Empire has risen again–at least in its own mind. Only now, the weapon it intends to use to subdue the West is energy.

In remarks last week, Alexei Miller, chief executive of the Russian state-controlled gas group, said that Russia will soon overtake OPEC as the world’s dominant energy supplier.

“We think oil will reach $250 a barrel in the foreseeable future,” he said and indicated that Russia will extract maximum profit and political influence from this rise.

Russia, which is not a member of OPEC has repeatedly defied the cartel’s requests to bring its production in line with OPEC standards.

“OPEC doesn’t have any real influence on the global market nowadays,” Miller told the Financial Times. “Not a single decision has been passed of late that would really influence the global oil market.”

This, according to Africa Oil Week, “set the scene for a Cold War between Moscow and OPEC.”

Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading exporter of oil, pumping 8.6 million barrels a day to 7.96 million for Saudi Arabia. With global demand rising Russia will probably increase production to 9.2 million barrels, energy experts say.

Analysts estimate that the oil reserves of OPEC nations will be exhausted by 2050, while Russia with only 6% of the proven reserves in the world will only be beginning to use its resources.

Russia has the energy starved countries of Western Europe in a stranglehold, Miller hinted. With its new South Stream pipeline, which would take gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then onto Western Europe, Russia will be able to turn the faucet on and off to extract financial and political gain.

“The sharp rise in Russian exports…raises the question: Is OPEC doomed,” said Leo Drollas of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London.

And is Russia poised to reclaim its Cold War superpower status?
“No to both of those questions,” says Igor Yopsvoyomatsky of The Gryazneezhid Think Tank in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

Interviewed at Golubchiks Tavern, Yopsvoymatsky was emphatic. Raising a glass of vodka he declared: “Russia is the diseased old whore covered with face paint to hide her syphilitic scars.”

The customers cheered and the bartender slid another glass across the bar.

“For its entire history Russia has bluffed the world,” Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said. “In 1787, Russian minister Potemkin had facades put up along the Dneiper River in Crimea to convince Empress Catherine that he had built villages to resettle Russians. There was nothing behind those facades but torches made to look like lamps and cooking fires.”

He dropped a lighted match on his corduroys trying to light a foot long Russian cigarette, but continued without noticing.

“In World War I Russian sent soldiers to battle with wooden rifles made to look like real thing,” he said. “They were immediately overrun by Germans…”

“Igor, your pants are burning,” the bartender said.

Yopsvoyomatsky waved irritably. “In Cold War, Russia impoverished its people trying to keep up with West. Its Army was poorly equipped with no spare parts. It could not afford to sustain nuclear program and did not have enough nuclear weapons to defend itself against attack. But frightened people in West thought it was a military juggernaut and then when it was beaten in Afghanistan they could see it was Potemkin military…”

A waitress swatted at his trousers with a wet towel, raising a cloud of smoke.

“Now in Russia you have thousands wealthy, siloviki, ex-KGB thugs, and everybody else poor or worse,” he said.

He raised a finger.

“One…Russia has lowest birth rate, 1.3 children per family, in its history, which means there will be no workers for its so-called big economic miracle…”

He managed to raise another finger…”Two…Russians alcoholism rate has tripled, according to consumer protection agency,” he said. “Russians drink three times as much as they did sixteen years ago. And now they are seeing alcoholics as young as thirteen in treatment centers…”

He tried to raise a third finger and fell over against the bar. “Three…Russian Ministry of Health says suicide rate is among highest in the world with over 60,000 suicides in 2007.”

With his head in a puddle on the bar, Yopsvoyomatsky continued. “Human Rights Watch says Russia has not ability treat rampant rise in drug addiction…Russian inflation is up to 15 per cent, Russian oil exploration and development has stalled because of corruption, inefficiency and xenophobia…”

A spark ignited Yopsvoyomatsky’s woolen socks and flames flared around his ankles. The bartender poured a pitcher of water over him and the waitress rushed in to pull off his burning pants.

“Russia rule the world?” Yopsvoyomatsky shouted. “Pfui, I say. Pfui!”


NEW YORK, NY, July 7…It’s a huge red, white and blue balloon with caricatures of Obama and McCain posed Janus-like on both sides. The slogan reads: “OBAMACAIN. Does it make any difference?”

It’s the brainchild of Efraim Durg, presidential nominee of the Gamblers’ Rights party. Durg, is a double-issue candidate, who promises “legalized marijuana and a casino in every county.” His campaign launched millions of the balloons at parades, barbecues and memorial services over the July Fourth weekend and Durg says the response has been “incredible.”

“People are catching on that Obama and McCain are just front men for the oligarchy that really runs this country,” he says.

Anarcho-Feminist candidate Leah Schildkraut, who has a more complex program involving medical care, woman’s rights, global poverty, child abuse and the culture of violence, reluctantly agrees.

“Obama and McCain have merged into one candidate,” she said at a joint press conference with Durg at the Adam Mickiewicz meeting hall in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn yesterday.

“I call it the Obamacain Conspiracy,” Durg interjected.

Schlldkraut winced, visibly unhappy to be sharing a platform with her arch rival. “As the campaign has progressed McCain has moved to the left and Obama to the center until their positions on the major issues are almost identical,” she said. “Their agenda is clear. They want to maintain the control of the moneyed elites for the next four years…”

“Obamacain numbs the senses,” Durg said, opening a Costco economy-sized can of cheese and bean spread. “Ask your dentist for a shot of Obamacain…”

Schildkraut glared him into silence.

“Let’s take the major issues,” she said. “Iraq, for example. McCain began calling for total victory and vowing to stay in Iraq for a hundred years. Now he says he will have all the troops out by 2013…”

“Obama started out by saying he’d have all the troops out in 16 months,” Durg said. “Now he’s talking about consulting with the commanders in the field. Which means we’ll never get out of there until they change the name of the country to Halliburtopia…”

“Halliburtopia,” his supporters chanted. “Halliburtopia…Halliburptopia

Ms. Schildkraut wrinkled her nose. “Is something burning?” she asked.

“Uh, we’re just bombing the cockroaches,” Durg said. And turned back to the audience. “Religious fundamentalists,” he shouted and his supporters booed.

“McCain panders to the evangelicals,” Schildkraut said…

“Is he giving Pandas to the intellectuals?” Durg said. “Pandas are cute.” Overcome by a fit of giggling he walked off the stage for a moment to be pounded on the back by his aides as Schildkraut continued.

“Obama preached separation of churched and state,” she said. “But now he says and I quote: Both parties see the value of a partnership with faith-based groups…”

There was a commotion as Durg tried to get back on stage and was held back by Schildkraut’s security detail from the Lesbian Cage Fighters Association.

“On gun control, the candidates are now indistinguishable,” Schildkraut said. “McCain is a puppet of the NRA and Obama who once said that working class people held onto their guns as a compensation for their frustration now supports the Supreme Court decision to allow people to have guns in their home for protection, and says : We can protect the the right to bear arms and keep our communities safe.”

Schildkraut looked anxiously offstage as Durg’s security forces from the Bikers-Bouncers and Bodyguards agency battled Schildkraut’s contingent.

“McCain originally said that Roe v. Wade should be overturned,” she said. “But now has moderated to say abortion should be permissible in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s health.

“Obama who was originally pro choice without reservation now says and I quote: I don’t think mental distress qualifies as the mother’s health…”

As paramedics rushed into the hall to remove the wounded, Schildkraut spoke faster.

“McCain and Obama are united in giving the corporate elites immunity from civil prosecution. They both support tort reform, which is just another way of denying the poor due process in the civil courts. They both voted to give immunity to the large telecoms, who turn over private information to government agencies…”

With an urgent look offstage she concluded. “We sat back for years and allowed the financial establishment to gut the national economy with padded charges, usurious credit card rates, sub-prime loans and market manipulation. Now their unchecked greed has depleted their capital. The rich become very dangerous when their assets are threatened. An Obamacain Presidency will allow them to rebuild their fortunes at our expense.”

Bleeding profusely, his black shirt ripped to tatters, Durg fought his way onstage and raised a victorious fist.

“Down with Obamacain!”

“Send a message,” Schildkraut said. “Vote Anarcho-Feminist.”

“Want a taste?” Durg offered.

Schildkraut pushed him away. “You’re disgusting.”

“Try it,” he said. He tried to pass her something under the table. “It’s light, really light.”

Happy blog July 7th