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Monthly Archive for November, 2008

AutoBARography 5: A HIPSTERS THANKSGIVING

Soho, 1974 BC, Before Coach…(Prada and Gucci.) Old cast iron buildings, half sweatshops, half artists’ lofts. $500 a month gets you 5000 feet of raw space.

Spring Street Bar, the hippest place in the city, just ask us. On a good night you can see Johns and Cage, Raushenberg and Cunningham. Richie Serra comes in to punch people out, Andy Warhol shows up with his entourage after a Castelli opening. John and Yoko nurse beers. There has even been a “Clyde” Frazier citing.

But on Thanksgiving everyone dutifully turns into good little bourgeois and eats turkey en famille. Restaurants offer special menus, but only tourists and those with parents in elder care show up.

It’s the slowest and most hazardous day in the bar business. There’s no money to be made and you risk mutilation at the hands of some resentful reject who is drawn in by the lights. There had been a bit of a rush around noon as the locals fortified themselves for dreaded dinners. But now at 3:30 it’s dead. I’m using a lemon to show Mei, the Chinese busboy, how to throw a knuckleball when a guy in a green car coat slides in at the end of the bar.

He answers before I can ask. “Any kinda beer.”

People who don’t care what they drink just want to get loaded fast and act out their drama. This guy is white and blotchy with a sloppy red comb- over that starts under his ear and hardly covers his freckled bald spot. He’s got a blunt chin and a fighter’s caved-in nose. His watery blue eyes seem focused somewhere else even when they’re looking right at you. He’s the kind of holiday wacko who sets the alarms off , but for some reason I’m not concerned. He raises his glass. “Cheers, fellow outcast…”

I never speak to customers, even regulars. “No confessions please,” is the standard line. But the holiday has loosened my defenses. I pour myself a Remy.

“Cheers.”

He chainsmokes and stares into his beer while I chug Brandy Alexanders at the service end. When I go to empty his ashtray he puts down a fifty.

“Is there a magic cocktail that’ll put me in a festive mood?”

“Nothing that works on a holiday,” I say. “Holidays are God’s way of telling us we’re having too much fun.”

It’s a half-smart gloss on the cliche mantra of the decade: “Cocaine is God’s way of telling us we have too much money.” But he looks up at me like it’s the Sermon on the Mount.

“That’s really true, man,” he says. “Christmas is a total ordeal, too. Nobody ever gets what they want…”

“Because what they want can’t be bought in department stores,” I say. “Like the song says: All I want for Christmas/Is my two front teeth. But they’re lost forever like your youth and your innocence…”

He slaps the bar “That’s so profoundly true, Man. Christmas in a nutshell. But look at New Year’s. It starts out so great, but ends in disappointment.”

He wants a guru. Not usually my thing, but for some reason I rise to the bait. “That’s because people aspire to an ecstasy that is only available to the insane.”

“Then let’s get crazy,” he says. “Let’s have a double Bacardi 151.”

It’s the strongest booze in the house, 75% alcohol. I never touch it, but now I’m filling two rocks glasses. My new best friend throws down his drink with a practiced flip and waits for me. I follow suit. The rum burns a flaming trail of lava from my throat to my rectum.

“There’s three houses I”m not welcome in,” my pal says. “My parents, my ex wife and my girlfriend who just threw me out because I’m always stoned. How about you?”

Sirens wail in the distance. Everything here is totally under control.

“I’m past unwelcome,” I say. “I’m not even an afterthought. I’m only here today because they need somebody to turn off the lights.”

He gets up quickly, knocking over his stool. Through the mist I think I see him smiling.

“Man, you’re in worse shape than me,” he says. He pushes a hundred at me. “Thanks, you really cheered me up.”

“Any time,” I think I say.

I watch him go out and turn the corner. A hundred and fifty bucks is more than I make on a good night. “Nice guy,” I say to someone.

There’s a plate at the end of the bar. Turkey breast and glazed ham with pineapple…Brussel sprouts… Sweet potatoes with marshmallows…

“Thanks, maybe later,” I say.

Mei is at the bar, tugging my arm. “Come outside…”

A cold gust brings the smell of burning rubber. My friend is shivering in a storefront across the street with Jimmy the Irish cook. He offers me a thin, tightly rolled joint.

“Here, man, Happy Thanksgiving.”

I’m not a big reefer man, but I take a toke to be sociable. It’s harsh and unfamiliar, but I’m not a big reefer man so I take another when it comes around.

There’s a lot of hugging and hand clasping.

“You guys got me through,”my friend says. “I love you guys.”

Back in the bar, Mei’s face is very big.

“He your brother?” he asks. “He looks like you.”

“You think all white people look alike,” I say. “You guys…one billion twin brothers.”

“And you, two hundred fifty million,” he says. “So we going to crush you…”

And that’s the funniest thing we’ve both ever heard…

How did I get into Van Gogh’s yellow room? It feels so good to wash my face with soapy dish suds.

I realize I’ve turned myself inside out and got stuck into my brain.

“I have to get out of my head,” I say.

I ride my tricycle down the long, dark foyer. Can’t ride your bike in the house, grandma says.

In the bedroom I open the closet door. My mother is hiding behind the dresses, holding a handkerchief to her mouth, tears pouring out of her eyes.

The radio says it’ll go below zero today. I’m waiting for the 41 Flatbush Avenue bus. There’s nobody at the stop, which means I just missed it. The wind goes through my black leather jacket. My feet are so cold they’re burning.

“Hey, you okay?”

“I’m waiting for the pus,” I say. “That’s funny, huh ’cause that’s what I really am waiting for.”

My feet are sliding along the cold ground. In the sudden warmth of a car, the rum burns a lava trail from my rectum back to my throat…

“He’s puking…”

My head is in the cold air. Yellow vomit runs down the side of the car.

“We found you in the schoolyard in Thompson Street.”

It’s the owner. They had called him when I bolted out of the bar, screaming “I have to get out of my brain!” I had walked across the street to the schoolyard and had been there for hours.

“That guy slipped you a joint laced with PCP,” he says.” Mei freaked out. They had to give him Thorazine in Bellevue. Jimmy ran his car into a lamppost, but he’s okay.”

Mei was too humiliated to return to work. But I heard he had stopped losing all his money at fan tan games in ChInatown and bought into a takeout in Jackson Heights. Jimmy joined AA and went back to Dublin.

I ended up with pleurisy and had to wear a belt around my chest for two weeks. In the doctor’s mirror I saw the booze flush starting to spread through my cheeks.

“I can’t live this way anymore,” I said to someone.

When I was better I made the rounds looking for the guy. I had bloody fantasies of beating him with a bar stool. Never found him. For years his face was fresh in my memory. I knew that if I ever saw him again I would easily summon that vengeful rage that still festered.

But then, his face began to fade. The rage subsided.

Now I think he might have been sent to make sure Mei stopped gambling, Jimmy took the pledge and I never spent Thanksgiving alone again.

WILL BUSH GET EVEN WITH AMERICA

Igor Yopsvoyomatsky
Editor of paranoiaisfact.com
Answers readers’ questions.

Dear Igor,

My grandpa is in the garage cleaning out his combination orgone box/fallout shelter. He says that George W. Bush is planning to use his last gasp of presidential breath to get even with all the liberals, workers, minorities, secularists, environmentalists, journalists, economists, scientists, entertainers, politicians, psychologists, foreigners, veterans, gays, retirees, Muslims–in other words, just about everybody in the world–who opposed, criticized, ridiculed or rejected him. Grandpa says he’s locking himself in his shelter and not coming out until Obama is safely in office. I say he is way paranoid. Bush is an addled, but well-meaning incompetent, who will go quietly to his brush pile in Crawford.
Who is right?
Realist,
Verity, Pa.

Dear Realist,

Grandfather knows best, while you, my way gullible friend, prove the axiom that a realist is someone who thinks everyone is as crudely obvious as he is.

Put yourself in Bush’s place. (If you can accomplish this relatively simple task of empathic imagination.) For the last eight years everything you’ve done has been horribly wrong. You have been exposed and embarrassed time and time again. Your malaprops and misspeaking, your non-grasp of major issues, your pariah status among world leaders, your ritual shunning by John McCain have all been revealed in the harsh glare of the global spotlight. Scholars soberly estimate that you will be considered the worst president in history.

Would you not harbor thoughts of bloody revenge?

But this is nothing compared to the battering you’ve taken from within your own camp. Since the early 20th. Century when the Walker-Bush dynasty joined with the Rockefellers and the Dulles brothers in league with Prussian industrialists, Saudi rulers, and British bankers to control the flow of oil and finance, no leader, including Herbert Hoover, has done as much harm to the cause as you have.

Who will cut you into sweetheart deals? Ignore your mulligans? Eat your three alarm chile?

And it all started so well. Given what you constantly called “political capital” by the 2004 victory you began advancing your domestic agenda under cover of back-door dealing, Rove-like obfuscation and officialese.

Your unfunded No Child Left Behind was an attempt to push voucher schools at the expense of the public educational system which over the years, has produced the major opponents of your class conspiracy.

Your legislation, exempting 6.5 million workers from collecting overtime, was an attack on the trade unions, who are the only defenders of the wealth-producing classes. Its intended effect was to impoverish workers and make them easier to exploit

You passed a law making it prohibitive for an individual to declare bankruptcy. You said too many people were making fraudulent misuse of the existing statutes. But statistics showed that 50% of bankruptcies were caused by inability to pay medical expenses and the 40% by long term unemployment in outsourced industries. Only 3.6% were alleged to be fraudulent.

You bailed out your blood brothers in finance-perhaps hoping for a cushy post-Presidential job- but have refused to allow one penny of the $700 billion to guarantee delinquent mortgages on the grounds that people (not bankers, who are presumably aliens) should have to pay for their mistakes. You’ve given AIG $85 billion fix and just shot them up again for $40 billion more. But not a penny for the auto industry. You say Detroit shouldn’t be rewarded for years of mismanagement, which you define as paying workers too much in salaries, pensions and health care. If Detroit goes bankrupt the union contracts will be inoperative and one of the most cherished dreams of your class—the destruction of the UAW—will be fulfilled.

Now it has all turned to ashes. The popular revulsion against you has led to the election of a man who will overturn every one of your overturnings. Not since FDR has a leader been given such a mandate to attack wealth and privilege. The CEO as hero will cease to be a cultural icon. No more “workaholic tycoons” on the cover of Time Magazine.

Your own class has turned against you. You went, scrapbook in hand, to one university after another, looking for a home for your Presidential Library, which after Cheney has censored it, will consist of a few Christmas cards and Laura’s recipe for Hopping John. You were turned down everywhere until daddy’s arm-twisting in Dallas got you a grudging admission to SMU. But even in the center of Bush power, a committee of professors, rose up to condemn the library.

How does it feel to be on your own?… A complete unknown? You can answer Dylan’s question: Not great!

Now, it’s your turn. “Little Georgie tries so hard,” your dad, the baseball hero said, watching you muff one grounder after another.

Well now Little Georgie, burning with humiliation, is going to smash his tormentors as hard as he can. Look for vindictive lame duck rule changes. For presidential pardons to be granted to the most odious corporate felons. Do not rule out an “inadvertent nuclear accident,” or “sudden, inexplicable eruption” in the watersheds of NY, LA and Chicago of chemicals which cause hair loss and impotence.

We should have a nationwide alert: All infants and elderly people: everyone with a health issue; teachers, union members, aw hell, everybody…

Stay indoors and boil your drinking water until January 21.

THE NEW PROFITEERS:SHRINKS, SHYSTERS, SHREDDERS AND SHYLOCKS

GREENWICH, Conn… Nov. 16…Greenwich was once considered the wealthiest community in the US. But yesterday morning its residents awoke to a depressingly familiar sight.

Foreclosure auctioneer Edgar Jaeckel was leading a convoy of vans and five tons trucks up the half mile wooded driveway of an abandoned mansion on Hettiefred Road.

An elderly gentleman in a Norfolk jacket with an Irish setter heeling at his side, stroked his salt-and-pepper mustache as ferret-eyed liquidators, antique scouts, rug merchants, used furniture dealers and junk men marched in and out with the leavings of a humbled fortune.

“The looters are entering the temple,” he said. “It’s the sack of Rome, the burning of Atlanta, a giant redwood crashing in the forest, the storming of the Winter Palace…” Bereft of metaphor he burst into tears and jumped aside as a pick up truck loaded with Queen Anne chairs, screeched out of the driveway, its driver hooting with glee.

Located on a fifteen mile swatch of suburban Connecticut known as the “Gold Coast,” Greenwich has been devastated by the financial crisis. There have been 34 foreclosures since January of ’08. Scores of homes are in delinquency as owners sell off family treasures just to make the mortgage. Children have been pulled out of boarding school, domestic help laid off. Gourmet shops and wine merchants are shuttering.

The deposed plutocrats are suddenly afflicted with a firesale mentality. Former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld sold off a a chunk of his art collection for a paltry $13.5 million last week. High end real estate, Old Masters, jewelry, yachts, furs and luxury playthings are going for ten cents on the dollar.

Somebody is buying cheap and holding to sell dear.

“Call them scavengers, parasites, bottom feeders, hustlers, they are participating in the greatest redistribution of wealth this country has ever seen,” says Efraim Durg.

Durg, 24, is CEO of Epicurus a venture capital firm specializing what he calls “The New Economy,” says there are myriad opportunities to profit from the losses of the wealthy.

“We operate on the theory of Conservation of Money,” he says. “The amount of money that was in the system before the crisis is still there. It’s like when a ship sinks the treasure is still on it. We just have to go down and get it.”

He offers the example of Park Avenue, psychologist, Dr. Hyman Kleinkopf.

“Kleinkopf specialized in teenage substance abuse and was losing business because the kids couldn’t afford drugs anymore. Then he discovered a disorder, Sudden Wealth Loss of Libido Syndrome. Suddenly impoverished executives of both sexes were suffering a plunging in self esteem and were suddenly unable to have casual sex over their desks or in dark booths in hotel bars, in airplane bathrooms or massage rooms in five star hotels

“Kleinkopf came to me for marketing advice,” Durg says. “I told him the first priority was to concoct an acronym and he came up with a beauty: SWILLS. Next we developed a series of casual sex support groups in which patients participated anonymously. They couldn’t pay their gardeners, but everybody got the money up for Kleinkopf. Now he’s franchising formerly wealthy enclaves in the US, Europe and Asia, doing really well in Moscow and Abu Dhabi.”

Attorneys for the formerly wealthy were having problems collecting fees.

“After paying civil and criminal penalties their clients were unable to pay their lawyers,” Durg says. “Plus many of them were either incarcerated or on the lam, I mean” –Durg hastily corrects himself–”in flight to avoid imprisonment.”

Durg offered an elegant solution: “Get them before they go broke.”

“We created a program called Preindictment Strategy Session Training or PSST. Clients are encouraged to call their attorney as soon as they embezzle or falsely represent or launder funds for foreign clients so they can get a head start on the FBI. This way they can start planning their defense, stashing money and setting up escape routes. And the lawyers get their money before their clients are convicted and imprisoned.”

“One of my clients had run janitorial services for Lehman and Bear Stearns,” Durg says.” I showed him that there was a larger market for trash than ever. We put out a fax blast with the slogan: IF YOU DREAD WHAT YOU SAID,WE’LL SHRED. We just opened our fourth office in Beijing.”

The credit crunch has given new life to an old business.

“My client Fat Funzi, the shylock, was content to lend to a few busted Bohos in Brooklyn Heights,” Durg says, “but I squeezed him into a pin striped suit and took him around to Merrill and Morgan Stanley. Told them to forget the Fed or the Treasury, Funzi would be the new lender of last resort. And he wouldn’t ask for preferred stock, just the standard six for five, which is better than what you get from Capital One these days.

“Funzi put together a financial group made up of Afghan narcolords, Mexican cartels and kosher meatpackers,” Durg says. “They called it the Funzi effect and are crediting it with staving off a total systemic breakdown. Now he’s applying for $10 billion under the new recapitalization program.”

With a complicit wink, Durg lowers his voice.

“Lucky for us Henry Paulson isn’t good at due diligence.”

CULTS IN CONFLICT

MONKS CALL FOR
INSTANT REPLAY

JERUSALEM, Nov. 11…Greek Orthodox prelates today demanded that the Armenian side stop declaring victory in yesterday’s brawl  at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

“Video review will clearly show that the Armenians committed a flagrant foul,” a Greek official said, “and thus should be red carded according to the laws of God and man.”

“Replay will show that the Greeks were offside,” an Armenian priest retorted.

The church, in Jerusalem’s Old City,  houses six different Christian churches, who often fight over home field advantage.

Yesterday’s brawl erupted when the Armenian side staged a procession to commemorate the fourth-century discovery of a cross, believed to have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Greeks, demanding to be included in the celebration, sent their star sweeper into the Edicule, the structure which houses the cross and is built over what is believed to be Jesus’s tomb. The Armenians claimed that the Greeks had too many monks on the field and had sneaked a ringer in from out of bounds. They insisted this was their holiday and the Greeks vacate the Edicule. The Greeks refused and blocked the Armenian advance at midstreet. In a moment both pews had emptied. Monks were pulling beards and flailing at each other with censers and scepters.

“This is an unpardonable innovation,” Greek Patriarch Theofilus III said.

“The Greeks have created a new conflict,” said Armenian patriarch Father Pagrat. 

Serafim, a Greek monk, claimed that an Armenian struck him from behind. “They broke the lens of my glasses and gave me a bloody scratch,” he said. “I am feeling dizzy for hours…”

Israeli police, blowing their whistles, intervened and ejected Serafim and a brawny, bearded Armenian monk. They were then attacked by monks wielding stale fronds left over from another Greek-Armenian melee on Palm Sunday. 

Suddenly, a monk came running out of the Edicule brandishing a splintered board. 

“He has a piece of the cross,” several priests cried in alarm.

When calm had been restored it turned out to be the rung of a ladder that the Turks had put up in the 19th century while attempting to build a fire exit in the Edicule to conform to safety regulations issued by the Ottoman Empire, which have still not been implemented.

POPE AND IMAM TRADE ‘YO MAMA’ SNAPS 

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 11…A three day conference, which ended last week, produced a rare display of harmony between Catholic clergy and Islamic scholars. Pope Benedict  XVI told participants he had followed “the progress” of the talks closely and urged the delegates to “overcome all misunderstandings and disagreements.”

In this ecumenical spirit Imam Adsan Tair rose to say he hoped the Pope would now apologize for remarks he made in 2006, that  Muhammad had only brought “evil and inhuman things” into the world, such as his “command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached.” 

With a sweet smile Benedict said he would be glad to if his “honored” guest would admit that in Saudi Arabia non-Muslims could not worship in public and faced death if they converted.

With their delegations forming behind them, the Pope and the Imam faced off in the middle of the Apostolic Palace.

“Yo mama was so ugly she died a virgin,” the Imam hissed.

“Yo mama was so ugly she could go three days on the desert without food or water,” the Pope responded.

As his followers egged him on the Imam thought for a moment. Then:

“Yo Mama was so ugly she had to live in a manger,” he shouted.

The mullahs howled and ululated.

Benedict and his crew regrouped. Then shot back:

“Yo Mama was so fat they called her Fatima”

The papal delegation cheered and hi-fived.

And theologians on both sides hurried to the holy texts for more citations.

 

JEWS TO MORMONS:
THANKS BUT NO THANKS

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 11…There are 12.6  million Mormons in the world, about half living in the US.  But if the church has its way there will soon be millions more. 

And a lot of them will be Jews.

Mormons have been quietly baptizing dead Jews for years. They do it out of love, they claim.

“Baptism by water is necessary ordinance for people to return to God,” the Mormon Guide to the Scriptures says. “Baptism for the dead in Mormon temples gives those who would have embraced Christ and His Church the opportunity to do so after death.”

According to Frontline, the Mormons maintain extensive genealogical records at Granite Mountain Records Vault, a climate-controlled repository designed to withstand nuclear attack, in the Wasatch Mountains, 20 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. They have compiled 2.4 million rolls of microfilm containing 2 billion names, all of whom they mean to baptize. 

The process went on quietly for years with living Mormons standing in for the ones to be baptized and immersing themselves in the baptismal fount. In the 90′s however it was discovered that Mormons had submitted the names of 380,000 Holocaust victims for baptism.

“We do not ask for or want your love,” said Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors. “We ask you to respect our religion as we respect yours.”

  Mormons agreed to remove those names and other Jews as well who were not related to Mormons. But the practice has continued. Mormons believe that is unfair  to deny” salvation” to  those who died without being taught the Gospel. Elder Mark E. Peterson says posthumous baptism gives them a chance to be “saved in the presence of God.

“We baptized Sigmund Freud,” a Mormon cleric says. “Now in the afterlife he has decided that sex with teenaged girls is not neurotic after all…Karl Marx has renounced communism  Albert Einstein understands that e=mc2 only by the grace of the Angel Moroni. 

“They’re all good Mormons now.”

ANALYSST: OBAMA’S VICTORY WILL REIGNITE COLD WAR

GREENPOINT, Bklyn, Nov.7…Toasts and cheers resounded at Golubchik’s tavern last night as Obama euphoria kept the party floating two days after the historic election.

“To change,” people shouted, raising their glasses.

“To peace.”

This was too much for Ivan Yopsvoyomatsky, recent immigrant from Pinsk and senior scholar at the Greezhnizihd Think Tank.

“Peace?…PFUI!”

Rising quickly from a stool he had occupied for two days, blood rushing to an unfamiliar location–his head–he faced the crowd with fine Slavic disdain.

“You pathetic puppets of Capitalism,” he sputtered. “Peace is when the ruling class has its foot on your neck and its hand in your pocket. Twenty-eight years with Reagan, Bush the Father, your precious Clinton and Bush, the Simple Son was peace…The Russians got rich, the Chinese richer with American corporate help and against the interests of American workers and consumers…Now that Obama has been elected get ready for total war.”

A waitress pushed a plate of piroshki across the bar. “Eat something Ivan…”

Yopsvoyomatsky sent it flying. “I haven’t finished my salad yet,” he said, dipping a cucumber in a glass of Popov vodka.

There was muttering in the cowed crowd. Finally, they pushed a young blonde in Uggies and a tight leather skirt forward for a timid challenge.

“But the world has welcomed Obama,” she said, cringing.

Yopsvoyomatsky leered and beckoned. “My dear you are victim of noble blowjob… I mean global snowjob. World leaders are quaking in their boots…”

“Bloggers in China went crazy,” someone hollered from in back. “One guy said this proved that America was a great Democracy and China was a one party oppressive dictatorship.”

Doorak,” Yopsvoyomasky boomed. “How do you think Hu Jintao felt when he read that? With China wheezing from pollution, puking from poisoned food, factories closing from financial crisis, people oppressed from internet crackdown, does he need proof that America is closest thing to real proletarian power?” He stroked the blonde under her chin. “I promise you, dooshenkya in party meetings they are talking about one thing only: how can we defeat this upstart Obama?

“But they are a great economic power, aren’t they?” the blonde asked, gaining confidence.

Yopsvoyomatsky smiled indulgently. “From slave labor, my dear. They make your underwear cheaper. Later we will see if your panties were made in Guangdong. But now you must understand that when Obama calls for tougher environmental and labor regulations they see their costs going up and their competitiveness coming down. When he promises to award tax breaks to companies that keep jobs in the US they say the dirty word: protectionism. They know that US market powers their economies. Without help from Bush and American financial interests to keep their yen low and their labor costs lower they will go broke…”

” Obama restored the American image in Europe,” a young man with a German accent said.

“You mean old, decadent, zero population growth Europe?” Yopsvoyomatsky sneered. “How many black faces in English House of Commons? Mostly flushed, overfed, flatulent whites enjoying their squeals of indignation while country’s business is done by MI6…French don’t allow headscarves in public schools…Turks are second-class citizens in Germany, even after three generations in residence. Do you think they want mixed race underclass to embrace electoral politics…?”

Several people finished their drinks and slipped out onto the rainy streets.

“Bush brought us to the brink with Russia,” a voice piped up. “They must be happy to see Obama…”

“Melancholic is closest Russians come to happy,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Russians follow Stalinist doctrine of probe with bayonet. Medvedev, latest in long line of metrically challenged rulers, climbs up on two Moscow phone books so he can see over lectern and makes hollow threat to put Iskander missiles in Kalingrad to counter US missile defense. Iskanders have range of 175 miles when they are working. They might land in a barnyard in Poland and kill a few chickens…”

“Russia must be dealt with,” a pale man young man said in a quavering voice said and ducked behind a pillar as Yopsvoyomatsky loomed over him.

“Russia is a gas station with a broken pump,” he roared. “A tavern with drunks snoring through frozen snot. Their market has lost 50% in value. The oligarchs, who grease their corrupt machine are broke. They have to kill a journalist a week just to stay in power…”

Sighing heavily, more people shrugged into their coats and left.

“Obama will bring peace to the Middle East,” a swarthy young man shouted angrily.

“Peace can only be made by people who are fighting each other,” Yopsvoyomatsky countered.

“People in the Middle-East have great hope for Obama.”

“Not Iranian daily Jamhou-ye Eslami,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “They say: The most that black man can do is replace staff and change ceremony…He will never change capitalist, Zionist, racist structure of American regime.

Saudi daily Al Wotan says: There is no difference between McCain and Obama. Both mean to achieve America’s chief goal which is to rule for a hundred years…”

“But Bush favored Israel and that got us nowhere.”

“Nowhere is obviously where they want to be,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Jordan and Egypt do not want Palestinian theocracy funded by Iran on their borders. Lebanese do not want more power to Hezbollah allies. Anyway, Obama will be busy with economic crisis. Israelis and Palestinians will have to sit on back burner for years. They might do something sensational like a war of a terror attack to refocus the world’s attention…”

Most of the revelers had slunk away, leaving a few brooding in their cups. One man paused at the door.

“So there is no hope,” he said

“When does hope last more than a day?” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “The power of the status quo will be arrayed against Obama…Maybe he will prevail…”

He looked around the empty room with satisfaction. “Looks like the party is over,” he said to the blonde. “Want a cucumber?”