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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:29 am:   

Off tomorrow for Nicaragua, to a tiny town up near the Honduran border. Gone for at least two weeks, though I have an open ticket in case work gets long. My hotel is supposed to have an internet connection, but these things are often dicey at best when one gets out in the toolies in CA -- hopefully I'll be able to post occasionally.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 08:34 am:   

Is this work for a documentary?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 08:41 am:   

Yep. On the Dole Company. Bad guys. The lineal descendent of United Fruit.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 09:08 am:   

Look forward to seeing it. And reading more about Honduras in your book Christmas in Honduras, which Amazon now has a listing for.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 10:43 am:   

I'll be intersted in seeing the documentary. Dole stuff seems ubiquitous now, since they actually import organic bananas.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 10:47 am:   

Dole is Evil spelled backwards--actually, it's Elod, but some of the letters are the same. ;)
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Huw
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 03:16 pm:   

Hope you have a good trip. I wonder if it'll inspire any new stories... ;-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 03:44 pm:   

have a good trip, man.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 03:47 pm:   

Yo, keep hating! or being hated or whatever...
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 04:31 pm:   

i get the feeling i don't have to worry bout that too much--and when i start breaking into their houses and messing up their stuff and stealing their pets, won't they be pissed at me then ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:22 pm:   

HUw, of course it will. CA is always inspiring to me.

Ben, do you really want a bunch of horrid cats and shit?
Anyway, stay low.

;)
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:24 pm:   

Take care, Lucius. What do they drink down there in Nicaragua, anyway?
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:29 pm:   

nah, but i imagine the loss of their cats will drive them all to mass suicide, and thus, throught he power of their sadness, i can make myself ruler of the wo--oh, wait, i've said too much.

:-)

have fun, man.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:45 pm:   

Cheers, Ben.

Nathan, they drink beer and every country down there has a species of unrefined rum which goes by an assortment of names -- burro, aguardiente, etc. I'm sticking with beer this time. Hangovers are just not gonna get it.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:52 pm:   

Considering I'm halfway through a beer at this very moment, I'm hardly one to protest. Have a good time.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 05:56 pm:   

Yup. I will, no doubt. You take care.
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Rich Patterson
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 10:08 pm:   

Had a computer meltdown at home, so I'm just checking the board from work now. Will leave a note when I find STILL LIFE.

Have a great trip!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 10:12 pm:   

Thanks, man.

You, too... ;)
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Darren
Posted on Saturday, September 30, 2006 - 07:59 am:   

Tschuss, Lucius.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, October 02, 2006 - 06:40 pm:   

Long fucking day. Woke in darkness, drank two cups of strong Nicaraguan coffee (great coffee), grabbed a roll for breakfast, then a jeep picked me up and drove me into the jungle where the crew is filming. Big house-sized gray tent full of equipment from which I can see the Coco River. I may have mentioned that the Coco is the most beautiful tropical river I've ever seen, Tree ferns twenty and thirty feet high. Arabesques of vines. Lovely green water. Let your eyes out of focus and you've got one of those engravings in 18th Century travel books typically captioned A Serene Tropical Vista Along the Coconut River. This is where the gory grunt work of the contra war was fought as Sandinista outposts tried to prevent Reagan's "freedom fighters" from crossing over from staging areas in Honduras. There's no sign of the war now, though you can still find land mines buried along the banks and occasionally the crew has picked up stray mortar rounds and etc.

Spent most of the day as a kid named Tito explained the basic structure of the first portion of the film, showed my hours of footage. My job is to help sculpt hundreds of hours of film into a two hour movie. That's what I'll be doing for the next two weeks or so. Some of it's already been done, of course. So tomorrow I'll spend most of the day in my hotel writing, and then tomorrow night I'll meet with the director and toss around ideas and such.

The best part of the day was lunch. They hired a woman from a nearby village to cook, and the first thing she did was have her husband and another guy build a stone oven where she cooks chickens and sausages and all kinds of good shit. The best things were the corn fritters. If you never have eaten corn fritters cooked in a stone oven....Wow. They're crazy good. I mean they would sweep the nation. I'm having vision of McFritters restaurants spanning the country, each one manned by a staff of matronly Honduran women and having their own stone oven. This is Fritter Nation. When I leave I'm gonna stuff my pockets with fritters, I swear.

My hotel is the Hotel Cafe in Jinotega. It rocks. Neat, clean, internet ( a miracle ). Friendly owners. What's not to like. I got more emails to write, so I'm going to end this. More when I can.

PS -- so good to be an active leftist again. :-)
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Monday, October 02, 2006 - 07:38 pm:   

Sounds great, Lucius (though for chrissakes watch out for landmines!). Is this documentary something that we're going to be able to see here in the States?
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, October 02, 2006 - 09:47 pm:   

i'm kinda hungry :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 03:24 am:   

That's the idea, Nathan. But the editing process will be considerable and I'm not sure when it'll be finished. I'll be working on it on-and-off for many months. When it's finished, they'll show at it some festivals and try for distribution. There are to be two versions, a Spanish-language one and an English one...

Ben, not to worry. I'm negotiating for the worldwide franchise.

(Cue bouncy music) Crispy on the outside, buttery soft on the inside, melts in your mouth like well never mind...McFritters :-)

Off to work.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 03:45 am:   

Have it your way :-)

Happy sculpting...happy munching!
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 10:31 am:   

Lucius' Real Nicaraguan Corn Fritters...

"They're Sandanista-rific...!"
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 01:37 pm:   

Delighted to hear you're having a good time while you're working.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 01:56 pm:   

The Sandanistas were Fritter-rific... ;

Another long day and it ain't over. Don't know when I'm going to have time to do another long post. Not today, that's for sure.

Watched film all day. Victims of the fruit company. If I had a blog my mood would be grim, and my music would be "Downpressor Man," by Peter Tosh.

More later.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 06:05 pm:   

you're so wanting a blog ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 - 07:20 pm:   

I so am not--if I had a blog, I'd feel compelled to write coherently, or relate my dream life a la Jeff Ford, or my workouts a la the other Jeff, and or be clever in some way, instead of spewing out ill-considered, semi-literate, misspelled, words-missing opinions on shit in a minute or two as i do here. I'd waste a hour or two coming up with a name for the blog (should i go with Belchomancer or maybe Ding Dong Hell, or how about, Are You Taking A Piss On Me, You Ponce?). I'd waste more time dressing up my blog with pictures and icons and etc. I'd start to value the thing, to care about it. Here, I have the absolute conviction that nothing I've said in this space has the slightest value, save perhaps for a few colorful insults and the fight song I wrote for the UCF Bulls.

For these and a great many more reasons, I will never commit bloggery.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 04:01 am:   

Mood: ebullient, with the usual undertones of melancholia and regret. Mind music: Morricone's theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (that thing with the electric ocarina) played at 78 RPM. Stomach: Mildly troubled, but nothing a corn fritter won't cure.

Great meeting with the director last night. I think we're on the same page and that'll make things go easier. More of the same today. I think I can go ahead and write the narration for a couple of early scenes. One thing we agree on: we both think the film should begin and/or end with the party for fruit company execs that's being thrown in Managua this Sunday. Hopefully we can get some good film/comments.

Okay. Off to work.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 05:26 am:   

i shoulda called my blog 'are you taking a piss on me, ya ponce?'. sigh. so much to learn.

anyhow, it sounds like a good place to be, work wise and fritter wise :-)
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 05:30 am:   

Sir, I believe that thou hast bloggeth...effectively.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 01:22 pm:   

Ben, the name is yours. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 01:26 pm:   

Work, work, work, work, work....

But at least like ben says, I'm in a good place.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 05:34 am:   

There's a big presidential election coming up here Nov 4. Daniel Ortega, the Sandanista leader, is running for presidente and leads by five percent in the polls. I'm not a great fan of the Sandanistas. They promised a lot and didn't deliver, partly because the Reagan admin didn't want them to and partly because, like every revolution down here, many of them wound up rich and corrupt. If anyone was interested and the truth about the contra ware ever came out, it would be seen that the Somocistas ("freedom fighters") outsleazed the Sandinistas by a hair. Example: It was a common occurrence during the war for the freedom fighters to collect a bounty on their own troups by selling them out to the Sandanistas. It was a nasty little war. It's sort of ike the choice we were offered between Gore and Bush. Gore wouldn't have been aggressively evil, but I doubt the basic character of his admin would have been much better than the Bushies. The Sandinistas at least gave the people hope for a couple of minutes. But anyway, there's a big election coming...and Halloween masks are coming into play.

Everyone has seen the George W Halloween mask, but you maybe haven't seen the Nicaraguan version. It's much more demonic than the American version. Picture George W Bush as a cat demon with a slightly oriental cast to his features and you'll have some idea of ihow it looks. Halloween's normally not a big deal in Nicaragua--poor people don't get into costumery so much down here, unless their religious nuts. But the Ortega people have been buying up these masks and distributing them to kids as a kind of street theater move,
serving to remind everyone of the American ties of the opposition. Last night, I was coming back to the hotel after going for a drink with a Brit I met at the hotel and all of sudden, around the corner of the cobbled street swept a pack of kids--must have been 14, 15 of them--and they were all wearing George Bush cat demon masks. Extremely disconcerting, They ran yet did not shout as kids typically would, running silently, as if moved by some arcane purpose, and I was relieved when they passed up by. My Brit friend actually let out a yelp. I maintained a manly silence, but nonetheless I had a moment of trepidation.

It's just weird down here. Everything takes on an oddly weighted significance.

Traveling this weekend. Managua on Saturday, Granada on Sunday. Granada's a beautiful town 40 k south of Managua, with lovely old crumbling colonial architecture and a smattering of artists (painters, mostly). Should be an interesting change.

Off to work.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 06:58 am:   

Lucius, have you been keeping up with the Foley scandal here? If not, you might find it highly amusing.
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Darren
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 08:18 am:   

Wow, that is surreal, Lucius. Had to share that with my wife and daughter. Julie -- my wife -- says she's going to enjoy that image of W all day.:-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 10:27 am:   

Well, just to bring you up to date, LS, major guano flying among the Hill Republicans.

Cong. Mark Foley from Florida, chair of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and an architect of anti-online predator legislation, has been revealed as a veteran perv who has, for over a decade, been cultivating friendly relations with male House pages, including trying to hook up with/engage in cybersex with them via email and instant messages. Some particularly lovely exchanges -- including one in which he compares masturbation methods with an underage teen -- have been posted on the ABC News website.

Long story short, Foley is history, his lawyer blaming the usual culprits (alcoholism, childhood diddling by Catholic priest), GOPers are scrambling to point fingers at each other about who knew what and when, and Foley's ex-staffer/handler claims soon-to-be-ex-Speaker Denny Hastert has known about Foley's proclivities for at least two years.

It's all pretty delicious. Hastert has been described as a "dead man legislating"; Republican Cong. race poll numbers have been dipping, and nobody has been even 1% effective in spinning things the GOP's way. Massive bloodletting in progress.

And you missed it!
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 10:36 am:   

Hastert just called a press conference to "take responsibility" for the Foley mess.

It's like watching Frankie Pentangeli open up his wrists in the bathtub. It's hard to watch.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 02:19 pm:   

Well, god bless 'em, I say. I'm sure they'll wriggle off the hooks somehow.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 04:17 am:   

Finishing up here in Jinotega today. I'll miss the fritters, the constant moody weather, the gloomy little town, the toucans in the green trees, the loopy cries of night birds and frogs, the sense of quiet even amid shouts and lugubrious Central American pop from radios, the forest in the clouds, and so forth. I am definitely going to take some time for myself today and just hang out.

Christ, they're at the door already. I'll finish this later.
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PM
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 03:13 pm:   

My motto when travelling is: "Have fun and try not to get injured or killed." Unfortunately, Hallmark didn't go for it as a card...
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 06:38 am:   

Driving to Managua in a moment, where I should have time this afternoon to post-something coherent. Actually I had time last night, but I got wasted with some people instead. Mea Culpa. Anyway, we should be in Managua by noon, and I plan to spend the afternoon relaxing in ye old room and/or bar, and will post regarding the weird incident that points out the ticklish situation.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 04:48 pm:   

looking forward to it.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 08:25 pm:   

Pardon me for being circumspect--it may not be necessary, but to be on the safe side...

So there's this guy,,,did I mention him before? The guy who's funding this enterprise, sort of a Doonesbury character. A left-wing guy who's got a lot of money. He's a real good businessman -- businessman's a stand-in word for what he really does -- and a complete alky. For every good thing he does with his money, there's forty or fifty things he does when he's drunk that counterbalance the good. And he's drunk 80 or 90 percent of the time. For various reasons, some personal, some political, he's personna non grata in this country. But he loves this country, he can't stay away. so he's constantly sneaking across the border, dying his hair, growing a beard, shaving his beard, etc. The only problem is people recognize him by the sleazebags he travels with (details available in private emails or conversation). So it always ends badly, with our guy having to sneak back into Honduras or Panama or elsewhere.

Well, he showed up in the little northern town I was in recently, him and his entourage -- his excuse was that he needed to talk to his "project chief." I later asked the "project chief" what he wanted and he just shook his head and said Who the fuck knows? Anyway, the day after our boy arrived, I'm in the dining room grabbing a Pepsi and a sandwich with a couple of members of the crew, when this huge guy, American, maybe 6'7", muscles, looking like a WWF guy or a bounty hunter, which is likely what he was...he blows into the hotel and begins asking questions at the desk, demanding answers. He's got what my friend Rene calls a couple of Nicaraguan hunting dogs with him, skinny guys in suits and shades who're always talking on their cell phones. Bad news. Rene says, Shit, and runs out the side door and makes a call. You see our boy, the Doonesbury guy, usually gets in and out quick, but this time he met a friend (girl) and stuck around, so he's still in the hotel. The big WWF guy, after interrogating everyone in the lobby, enters the dining room, comes up to us, and asks what we're doing in Nicaragua. I put a ballsy front, asking in intimidating fashion what business is it of yours, hoping that WWF guy won't decide I'm in need of a emergency spleenectomy, but Paula, the other crew member, who's much cooler than I, starts giving him this eco-spiel, the beautiful trees, the monkeys, the birds etc, aren't they wonderful?, and the guy's eyes start to glaze over. Finally he asks if we know Doonesbury guy who, having been called on Rene's cell, is hopefully elsewhere by now, or well on his way. We say, no and WWF guy goes off to hassle the other diners.

So that was all there was to it. I'm happy I'm only going to be here another week or so. It's not that I'm in any danger -- Doonesbury guy is, and I know he'll be back, though probably not until WWF guy has gone elsewhere.
But he imperils the entire project by these little forays and will probably continue to do so. Who knows what his visit was all about?

Tomorrow or sometime -- the party.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 10:02 pm:   

Yeah, caution is a good thing...
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, October 07, 2006 - 10:46 pm:   

strange. cool story though. i never even come close to a bounty hunter before (or a wrestler, and maybe i'm good with both).
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 05:42 am:   

I know lots of MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters, and most of them are olympic style grapplers, but they're for the most part nice guys. I may be doing an article on them, actually -- at least I pitched one to playboy before I left. But WWF guys...don't know them, and that was my first face-to-face with a bounty hunter...I think. In CA, you meet all kinds. I;ve encountered a lot of spooks and, generally speaking, I preferred the MMA guy to them.

Anway, off to breakfast.and, a bit later, to Granada.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 07:06 pm:   

Couple of bounty hunters came into the Pub where I worked in New Orleans once ... they weren't big brawlers like you describe, but wiry and kind of grungy. They asked a couple of questions about some guy, got nowhere, and left. I didn't know what they were until one of the cops who hung out there all the time told me later on.

I'd love to hear the details surrounding your "businessman" someday ...
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 07:57 pm:   

This guy was not exactly not-sleazy, but he was big. I expect calling him WWF guy was somewhat misleading. And they travel with sleazy-- that's how Rene recognized him, by his hunting dogs. They operate different down here, too. They're more in yr face, whichh goes a long way with people who're accustomed to being intimidated.

I was going to write about the party, which was surreal, but I'm wasted. Ate too much pizza. and drank too much.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, October 08, 2006 - 10:12 pm:   

yeah, i wanna hear more on 'the businessman' too :-)

the whole thing time sounds like all kind of coolness, man. i think i have envy. isn't that nice?

here's hoping the article gets picked up.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 05:23 am:   

If you guys want some background on my guy, send me an email at lucius4@earthlink.com...I'll do it after I get back or before.

Central America is a very cool place -- cool in the sense of its tragic unimportance, it's utter lack of meaning to the world, its hoplessness. It is, in effect, a distillation of the world.

You live in Australia, Ben. I envy envy you.

Granada, then, is a lovely town with colonial architecture, crumbling gracefully into dust -- polluted by a burgeoning artist colony of mostly American artists who're too cool for school. It reminds me how much I detest painters generally speaking--they're like fey puppies, always coming back with some found object like a flattened can that has assumed the shape of New Jersey or a wonderful bottlecap that looks like a sunflower, and they'll arrange said item in a jar or as part of a display, and pretend to stare at it and think artistic thoughts....Christ, they're loathesome! Anyway, Granada has a burgeoning artists colony and youth hostels where German youth can be heard saying shit like, You must try the bakery by the fountain. They have the most wonderful bread, und, tomorrow we are going to Xochmilican. They say the ruins there are excellent. You want ruins, Dieter? Go home. The culture that produced Mann and Goethe et al is now reknowned for dudes who make the most boring electronic music in the world. In a few years, Granada wlll be a hellhole of hipness. For now, it's tolerable...and it has a good pizza place, the Mona Lisa. The object of this dalliance is so I can talk to a few Nicaraguans who worked for the bad guys and have stories to tell that I can use as background. i can't wait to leave. I want to go back to firtterland in Jinotega.

More later.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, October 09, 2006 - 05:45 am:   

Make that lucius4@earthlink.net
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 08:23 am:   

Got a little turista today and need to stcik close to the hotel. Maybe if I feel it, I'll write that post on the "businessman."
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 11:02 am:   

Try not to abuse any artists of their notions :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 11:17 am:   

How else can one do?
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 11:44 am:   

As you know a lot of folk are resistant to new and/or contrary ideas.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 10:06 pm:   

i dunno that you should envy people in australia right now, lucius. our prime minister is going round telling people that ronald reagan, margaret thatcher and the last pope are his political heroes.

horrifying, really.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 10:15 pm:   

Maybe he was making a joke.

I envy you the wallabys and the koalas and the platypi and all the weird fauna...and yr propinquity to asia,

Govts all suck.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 03:42 am:   

nah, he was at a dinner for the conservative magazine QUADRANT, once funded by the CIA. there was some bashing of the arts, and a general lefty ideology be bad speeches, too. but, as you say, all govs suck and i ain't surprised by this.

everyone should envy our koalas :-)
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 05:34 am:   

If I could have swung a work visa, I would have stayed in Australia for a lot longer than 2 months. I'll just have to settle for going back at some point when I save more money.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 05:57 am:   

Y'see, Ben. Robert knows whereof I speak. ;)

Last time I was there--only time i was there--it was in the seventies, and it felt like I was in the fifties (both a good thing and a bad thing), but was way weird. The women were nice, but then women are mostly nice. :-)

I always wanted a pet platypus when I was a kid, but I doubt they could be housebroken.
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 10:44 am:   

I can only imagine the yelling..."Lucius, get that platypus out of the bathtub!"

Who tries to housebreak a platypus!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 03:58 pm:   

I coveted platypi too when I was young.
You've seen the photos of me holding the koala though, I presume :-) --that was one of the greatest experiences!
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 04:10 pm:   

Yep, that tharr Datlow hugged all thah friendly anmules...
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 04:38 pm:   

yeah, i've heard a few americans say aus is like stepping back in time. but then you guys all seem obsessed with the place. heh. i haven't yet met an american who didn't like the place.

there's a great description of a platypus by robert hughes where he describes holding one as holding this animal that's all heart, pumping and quivering muscle. real cool.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 05:15 pm:   

Well, y'oughta be an American sometime, see how you feel about Austrailia. :-) Actually, I was sort of horrified by certain attitudes I ran into, and I'm not all that PC...but I liked the reef and the idea of the outback, even the reality, though I'm sure I'd go mental if I lived there, and I fucking loved Queensland. I hear the politics there are pretty awful, but I dug the forest and the beach bars...

Have you got a platypus?

If the answer's yes, you're gonna see some real envy... :-)
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 05:59 pm:   

I didn't get a "stepping back in time" feel on my trip, it did feel much friendlier than the US.

I'm sure I saw a quite different picture than natives see. After all, I was there during election season and I didn't find anyone who like Howard, yet he was re-elected. Obviously I missed a lot of people who did like him.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 06:13 pm:   

nah, man, no platypus. they're poisonous, i think.

the place has a changed a lot since the seventies, i believe. attitude wise it's a lot better, or so i'm told/read. but there's a long history of unpleasentness there--you can still see it when mainstream politicians get up and say that if the population of australia doesn't increase, we'll become a muslim nation. it's pretty fucked, as robert said, for politics.

(and yeah, robert, howard isn't hugely popular, but there's a lack of alternative. of course the main point about aus politics is we don't actually elect our prime minster. the party does, and you vote the party in. we've no real say in it.)

i hate brisbane, tho. some of queensland is alright, but that city... nah. i don't reckon i could live up there--in fact, i'm fairly certain. but there's some nice places up round the top.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 06:38 pm:   

"nice places up around the top."

That's what I was talking about. Fuck Brisbane.

Yeah, I'm sure it's changed. Everywhere else has. When I was there, the attitudes toward women were pretty gruesome in a lot of places. It really felt like the fifttes. I wouldn't mind going back sometime.

Platypii are poisonous? No shit? I never read that in My Little Golden Book of Weird Animals.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 07:10 pm:   

Yes, the little buggers have spurs on their hind legs that are toxic.

I recall a story that an early taxonomist to Australia trotted a dead specimen back to London for examination by the Royal Natural History Society - or some such - whose august members promptly cried hoax. The taxonomist returned Down Under and retrieved live specimens to the unbeliever's consternation.
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ben peek
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 08:00 pm:   

yeah, man, as bruce says, they got little poisonous spurs. what'd you expect, anyway? it's australia: all our animals are deadly. our stingrays killed the crocodile hunter :-)

(i never heard of anyone dying from a platypus, so i got no idea how poisonous they are--but then, you know, never heard of no one dying from a stringray, either... koalas are violent, too)

you should come back some time, man.
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Huw
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 12:07 am:   

I too would love to visit Australia some day. I had a great-uncle who lived in Darwin, which is "around the top", I believe.

But the place I really, really want to visit is Madagascar. Heaven for lovers of weird and wonderful animal life...
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 04:13 am:   

Little poisonous spurs on their legs, huh? That's sounds endearing. Can't they be despurred? Oh, well. I guess i'll have to give up my platypus dream. :-)

I hear the peole are even weirder than the animals in Madagascar. The music there is great, too.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:09 am:   

Splitting from Granada to the Pacific today. Sent out a bunch of emails about the guy I'm working for. If anyone wants one, or if I missed anyone, send me an email.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:27 am:   

Platapii can kill dogs with their spur, but I believe they only make people sick. I'm not sure, but I think only males have the spurs so you could still get a female.
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Huw
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 06:56 am:   

Behold the magnificent aye-aye:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/04/0419_050419_ayeaye.html
Photo in the News: Bug-Eyed Baby Aye-Aye Debuts

Eat your hearts out, platapi lovers!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 06:59 am:   

A girl patypus...perfectl Think I'll call her platy-Portia.

:-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 07:03 am:   

Oy! That's really ugly. Only a mother.... or not even. No wonder its mom rejected it.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 08:49 am:   

I was watching a tv doc on Australian poisonous killer ants. Those guys looked downright evil.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 08:51 am:   

Aye Ayes are neat. As a kid, I always wanted a lemur.
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Huw
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 11:01 am:   

I got close to adopting a ring-tailed lemur from the local zoo around ten-fifteen years ago, when they were having big financial problems. I had a big garden set up for him with mango and banana trees and everything. It fell through in the end though, unfortunately. I love lemurs (especially indris). These days I just keep cats, but in the past we used to have all kinds of creatures about the house: lizards, snakes, owls (great for controlling the cockroach population), serpent eagles, various hawks and falcons (my brother was a keen falconer), mongooses. Ah, the good old days. ;-)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 02:09 pm:   

Hey, Dave, BC ought to change thieir name to the Serpent Eagles. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:11 pm:   

huw: yeah, darwin is up the top. it's where you can get attacked by crocodiles. three guys had it happen early this year (late last?) and two of them climbed up a tree, but the third, he didn't quite make it. apparently the other two couldn't do nothing but sit and watch.

(which is unlike the family up in queensland, up round cooktown, i believe, who camped by a lake and at night a croc came out and grabbed hold of one guy and started dragging him in. woke the rest of the family and the elderly grannie leapt on its back and started poking it in the eyes till it leg go.)

that's one ugly lemur, too.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:21 pm:   

Chinandega is a shithole of about 130,OO people, supposed to be the hottest town in Nicaragua. A port town, lots of hookers, lots of drunks, lots of bananas, lots of VOD, Victims of Dole. The center of the town, the colonial section, is completely in ruins. I'm not talking like the Parthenon, the Colloseum -- I'm talking rubble. Some of the rubble is marked with signs that read Historical Site. Whoo Hoo. I'm looking at historical rubble here! The city is ringed by three smoking volcanoes that can be seen from my hotel window. Are you getting the picture? I'm in Banana Hell. So i'm going out into the fucking hot, filthy, puta-infested streets and get me something to drink and eat. Pray for me. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 05:44 pm:   

those volcanoes sound cool--any happy snaps chance?
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 10:06 pm:   

I never carry a camera, man. The first time I went abroad I was in Egypt, out on the desert, at an oasis called Siwa, and I took about 800 fucking pictures of sand. That did it for me. I find i remember places better without a camera, my sense-memories are sharper, and it's generally better for writing if you rely on your senses, your recall, on notes you take. The only technology I pack is a pocket tape recorder -- helps for journalism. But I prefer notes, So, no happy snaps, Sorry.

Yeah, volcanoes are cool, but the ones down here tend to go off more than most. Nicaragua has been plagued by earthquakes and eruptions. The restaurant I ate at, a little place on the corner down the street from my hotel had a mural of the three volcanoes erupting rather more fiercely than reality. We ate while kids and an old nearly toothless man and various hookers peered in. There aren't many gringos here -- no tourists whatsover. This is mean, nasty town with no sights worth seeing for the average traveler. We had a fun time joking wiith the kids, the whores....the old man was too drunk to talk. After dinner, we went to a night club, things got a little crazy, and now I'm going to bed toasted. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 02:41 pm:   

Was that what happy snaps meant? Photographs? Or is some bizzare Australian volcano ritual? :-)
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Huw
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 02:44 pm:   

Maybe it's a kind of Aussie cereal...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 02:50 pm:   

Rice crispies with platybii bits. :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 03:27 pm:   

heh. yeah, photos.

i'm kinda like you in that i don't really dig taking photos of places (and i hate looking at peoples photos of holidays). but i've kinda gotten into using images on my blog, and i did a zine with cheap and nasty disposable cameras, so i have this thing for nasty, street level photography now. but i'm with you for the sense memory thing.

i reckon i could sell a cereal called happy snaps, tho.

:-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, October 13, 2006 - 09:13 pm:   

And, Happy Snaps comes in reglular and extra crunchy (crystallized platypii webs). ;)

Spent the day listening to a litany of banana company crimes. Christ, it was astonishing, and mesmerizing, and depressing. Takes me back to the party last weekend, listening to all those assholes talking about low production costs and now this...Fuck.

I've got air conditioning yet I can feel the heat straining to get in, panting like a beast at the window. This really is a hellhole.

I'm going to sleep.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 03:50 pm:   

Hey Ben, I sense there could be an opening in the market for inflatable platypi--perhaps even inflatable platypi with authentic poisonous spurs! (impossible technological innovations notwithstanding). The world is your platypus!

Lucius, stick in there. Heat can be a real a succubus. Make sure and reward yourself with a nice cool beer when you get the chance. Sounds like you deserve one.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 03:56 pm:   

Thanks, Alastair. I may deserve more than one. :-)
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Huw
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 05:57 pm:   

More than one beer or more than one succubus? ;-)
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Huw
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 06:04 pm:   

I don't know how central America compares to east Asia precisely, but I know what you mean about the heat! It's actually the heat combined with intense humidity that gets me - it's so bad here from May through September that you can sweat buckets without doing anything. If I didn't have air conditioning I wouldn't be able to stand it.

Thank god for beer (and succubi)...
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 06:18 pm:   

I figured out today how hot it is. It's like living inside the mouth of a jackyl (which accounts for the garbagey smell).

This part of CA and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia) are about the same.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 10:01 pm:   

alistair: i reckon someone already made one. probably comes with a succubus ;)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 10:16 pm:   

My head's so full of bad stories, bad life. This town's not the worst I've been in. I remember this river town on the border of Peru-Brazil, Iquitos. It was a cocaine town, a lot of gold went through there. That was worse. I got back to the State and bought a book about the most dangerous places in the world. Yep, Iquitos was there. Then there's this place in the Canal Zone. I wouldn't feel safe staying in a hotel there. But this place, though nowhere near as dangerous, just grinds you down with its heat and meanness--they seem to run off the same battery. Two more days here, then back to the Land of Plenty. Gonna be weird. Wish I could go back to Jinotega for a day. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll pull out of here tomorrow night and spend my last day in Jinotega. I sure as hell have got everything I need. We'll see.
We're so lucky.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 10:32 pm:   

i'd take out a day early if you got everything, man. no use staying in a place like that if it ain't for a reason.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 03:28 pm:   

I'm starting to get ideas about designing an inflatable succubus (which is surely an oxymoron). But it's a definite winner!

I'm with Ben, Lucius. No need for you to linger if it's not necessary. Get ye back to some comfort. You've done so much already, and it's very much appreciated by the likes of me who hasn't a clue what's going on in CA. I think you've already done more than you know to bring to peoples' attention the stuff that's going on there.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 03:50 pm:   

alistair, i reckon you're obsessed with inflatable everything :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 08:15 pm:   

I followed my own advice, and y'all's, and am currently esconced in the bar of Hotel Cafe in Jinotega, two vodkas into the evening, computer on, happy to be away from Chinandega, which--though it did suggest several stories--is a place I've completely outgrown. I've seen it too many times--I don't have the tolerance for towns like that anymore. They no longer arouse my curiosity, only my aversion,

Anyway, enough of that.

I'm going to drink and talk Spanish to the bartender and generally chill.

Buenas noches.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, October 15, 2006 - 08:18 pm:   

Weren't you, Alastair, obsessed with inflatable kangaroos during the World Cup? And now succubi? How fickle. :-)
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 03:50 am:   

Yes, the inflatable world cup kangeroos definitely had an effect on me, which I certainly must outgrow. But I've got to admit, the idea of an inflatable succubus is definitely arousing my fancy. My God, what's wrong with me? Is there a name for this condition?
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PM
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 05:24 am:   

inflato-eroticist?

Spent the weekend not getting killed and Lucius, I'm glad that you're safe and having fun.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 05:24 am:   

I don't think so, but we can make one up. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 06:23 am:   

Thanks, PM
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 10:43 pm:   

inflatable fetishisation :-)
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 05:58 am:   

Lucius, how are the beggars/con artists treating you?
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 05:21 pm:   

Home. Wasted.

We're all beggars.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 10:38 pm:   

pass out gently into the night.
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Alistair Rennie
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006 - 04:01 am:   

inflato-eroticist? inflatable fetishisation :-) !!!!

Hey, wait a minute. My fascination for inflatables is purely aesthetic. What on earth do you take me for? It's the designs, I tell you. The designs. And the way you can squish the air out of them and squeeze them into a little container, a special bag or a box, then bring them out again after months or even years and re-inflate them for another occasion. I like that.

(Nice to see you back safe and sound, by the way, Lucius)
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006 - 06:24 am:   

:-)

Thanks, Alastair
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 09:12 pm:   

Caneworker's child sick with the "yellow disease"my picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:25 pm:   

The picture above relates to time we spent in the town of Chichialpa and a problem we uncovered while filming stuff about an environmental disease affecting banana workers. While in Managua we saw some cane workers picketing the National Assembly and went over and asked them what was up. They told us of a disease that had killed five thousand people over the past three years in Chichigalpa. Chichigalpa is owned literally by Carlos Pelas, the wealthiest man in Honduras. He owns, among other things, Flor De Cana rum, which is produced in Chichigalpa. How powerful a man is he? He kept his wealth and his plantations during the Sandinista regime, which meant he paid off certain high-ranking Sandanistas. Do the name Daniel Ortega ring a bell, Recently he had the National Assembly declare a 40 story office building a hotel so he wouldn't have to pay taxes on it.

Anyway, the workers called the disease the yellow disease because it gave its victims a jaundiced look. It affected the kidneys, sometimes shrinking them to the size of walnuts, so the victims couldn't urinate and swelled up. Often their faces would get so swollen, they became monstrous, unrecognizable. Eventually there was a complete organ breakdown and they bled from every oriifce. They attributed the disease to a powder they spread over the cane field by hand, without masks or amy protection. At the beginning of each season, Flor De Cana gave the workers a blood test, but wouldn't tell them what it was for. Some workers were told they couldn't work any more, and this was essentially a kiss of death, as those workers shortly fell ill (within 3 years) and died. The chemical is now in the ground water and the wells that provide water to the towm, so everyone in the town is on a deathwatch.

They invited us to Chichigalpa to see for ourselves. To cut a long story short, while in Chichigalpa we were invited to witness a death.
The man who was dying and his family invited us to
watch because they wanted the story to get out. We bought them a cell phone and told then to call when the time fame and we'd be there with our cameras.

We came back two nights later. We were paranoid, because it doesn't pay to be messing around in these company towns. There were drunks stumbling in the streets, cops cars parked everywhere, frightened faces peering out the windows. The dying man's house was a one room casita lit by a single light bulb. There were never less than a dozen people crammed inside, and I had a feeling that a goodly precentage of them lived there. the man went through stages of delirium when he didnt recognize anyone and shouted incoherently. Then he'd pass out. Sometimes he'd be clear when he woke and during one of these clear phases he gave us his last words -- he wanted everyone to put aside their differences and stop this thing that was killing them. Toward the end he got very cold and they wrapped him in blankets and put a hat on his head. He hadn't swelled up, but he bled copiously. I don't want to write more. but I'm going to put up some pictures that tell the story. I am writing about it, but it goes slowly--it was an incredibly harrowing experience. Women were screaming and one woman was reading Bible verses at the top of her voice and you could feel a strange gravity in the room. I guess that's all for now.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:29 pm:   

The dying manmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:31 pm:   

near the endmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:33 pm:   

near the endmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:38 pm:   

mother and sonmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:41 pm:   

father, son, daughtermy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:45 pm:   

coffin and familymy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 10:49 pm:   

coffin carrymy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 05:52 am:   

A Chichigalpa widow looking onmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 05:55 am:   

this is one of the banners we had made for them--they couldn't afford it themselvesmy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 08:00 am:   

husband and wifemy picture
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   

Oh, yeah. The child who is in the first of these pictues is fifteen years old.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:21 pm:   

Those are very moving pictures. The story itself is really depressing, most people don't think that growing fruit kills people like that.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:39 pm:   

The worst thing is, most people wouldn't care if they did know. If I had the bucks, I'd start airlifting Republicans to CA, turn 'em loose for a day in places like Chichigalpa, Chinandega, Puerto Lempira, etc., let em ain some information about the human condition. Probably wouldn't do much ood, but at least they could smell what corruption's like for a while.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 02:48 pm:   

Quite true, I'm sure many people would say that if the job kills them, they should just get another job. And they won't think about how impossible that is, since what other jobs are there? For many, isn't the choice slow death from work, or quicker death from starvation?
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 03:11 pm:   

Yup. That's the choice, and when you have kids, it's not a choice.

If you think the pictures are moving, you should see the video. The guy getting out his last words would make a rock weep.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 04:22 pm:   

Looking forward to learning more...
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 07:44 pm:   

Thank you, Lucius. I also look forward to the doc and will spread the word in the mean time.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 08:14 pm:   

Thanks, Mahesh. Much appreciated.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 12:07 pm:   

To those interested, it looks very much as if we may have a spokesperson for the cause -- my Hollywood agent saw the pictures on the board and asked Selma Hayek if she'd like to work with us. Her response was a tentative yes, depending on checking us out...and since we check out good, I'm fairly confident she's coming on board.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 06:32 pm:   

Cool, I hope her involvement will get more people interested in watching it.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 04:41 am:   

that's cool, lucius. hope it does something.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 04:48 am:   

Tnanks, Ben. SHe'll come aboard hopefully as producer of the doc, which should get it publicity.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 11:53 am:   

The story and pictures are overwhelming! I did cry, as this is the kind of thing that drives me mad, which is to say insanely angry. It's also happening right here in N. America, though in less obvious ways. (Much of the stuff we buy is poisoned one way or another.) check out the Envionmental Working Group website for articles on toxins in our food, cosmetics, clothing, furniture -- the list goes on and on.)

In any case, I'm glad that someone like you (Lucius) has stepped into the ring to fight this corporate toxic greed that seems intent on devouring every living thing it touches. Apathy (there's nothing I can do) combined with a narcissistic pursuit of "happiness" (It's my right to eat cheap fruit, it's my right as a businessman to profit from the miserable poor any way I see fit) is in my view one of the greatest threats to the whole planet. It's why we're experiencing mega climate change: no one has made the corporation truly accountable. The only way to make this BS stop is to bring these heinous crimes into the light, blast the story from the rooftops. After profits, corporate narcissists care more about their image than anything else. Carlos Pelas won't like it if Flo De Cana gets a bad rep: I'll bet he represents himself as businessman who cares about "his people", sees himself as giving jobs to the poor, etc.

Anyway, good for you for sacrificing the time and energy to help these poor folk. You are making a difference. Having Selma on board sure won't hurt: beautiful women make mesmerizing messengers.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   

It's not me, really. It's a man named Robert Izdepski (not to be c°nfused with Bad Bob), who's been working in the region since the early 90s. He's lived through two assassination attempts and endured a lot of hardship as a result of his activities. As far as I'm concerned he's only person I've ever met who deserves the appelation, "Great American." All I do is write shit for him and occasionally go down there and to lend a hand.
So let's give credit where credit is due.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 01:11 pm:   

Lucius: I think you're being overly modest: your efforts help R. Izdepski and those who are suffering.

Far as great Americans go, well, that's a matter of opinion . . . you're in my personal top ten. Why? Cause you care about people everywhere in the world with conviction and passion, dammit, and are willing to stand up to say the unthinkable (the truth), versus brown-nosing to get yourself the best deal. Also, lending a hand to someone who's on a hit list seems to me an act of courage. I know that sounds far-fetched but that's the way I see it: behind-the-scenes support is vital and necessary to every sort of movement or cause. You're giving that support, and I commend you for it. Keep up the good fight.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 01:26 pm:   

Well, thanks, but I shouldn't be in anyone's top ten in any category. I'm pretty firm on that. But thanks.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 03:34 am:   

As you wish . . . number eleven then. :-)
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007 - 02:31 pm:   

I just remembered something. Number eleven has very odd, mystical qualities in numerology. :-)
Isn't number eleven also the mysterious motel room in Vacancy? I may be wrong about this but that's what I recall.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007 - 02:45 pm:   

Yes, but I don't know anything about numerology.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 09:39 pm:   

Latest on the Nicaraguan front. Looks like we're hooking up with a foundation called Change The World that has a lot of water experts at their disposal...and a considerable amount of money. The idea is to get potable drinking water to the people of Chichigalpa ASAP, and if this comes through, and I think it's going to, we may be able to that in a very few weeks. So, fingers crossed that nothing screws up.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 10:40 pm:   

The best of luck, Lucius.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 10:49 pm:   

Thanks, man.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 07:28 am:   

You'd think, you know, it would be easy to get drinking water for people. You'd think all you had to do was state the problem and people would leap into the breach. But that's not the way it is. We were talking about this the other day, kicking around a few possibilities, and Bob Izdepski suggested I make an appeal to the science fiction community.

I laughed.

Bob asked me why and I said that as far as I could tell people in our community got all worked up about shit like the World Fantasy Awards and what somebody was saying about them and (back when I came around) whether SFWA should have a signature tie tac AND earrings, but I had never sensed any great seam of charitable purpose and/or activism in the field. Yeah, you had the Heinlein Blood Drives and shit, but that was because Heinlein could tell the fans to run off a cliff and they would. But you never sensed the writers gave much of a shit about anything except themselves. That's a generalization, but i think for the most part it's accurate. Maybe someone'll jump down my throat for saying this, but hey...show me an example and I'll bow down to it. I don't even bother trying to drum up support among the membership of SFWA, even though there are people amongs us richer than Jesus and with vast energies for self-promotion that could be valuable if turned to a good cause. I remember back in the 80s I couldn't contact my girlfriend back in the States for a while when I was in Morazan Province in Salvador for a while, and when I got back in touch with her, she said she was on the verge of contacting my pals and getting them to come down and look for me. I could just see a Delta Force unit made up of scifi writers. I told her to spare herself that thought if it ever happened again. I think writers live such weird fucking lives, working alone and stuff, they lose track of the big picture. I've done that at times myself, but occasionally something bumps me on the head and I get back in the game. People get all worked up when I say shit like this because they think I'm dissing them in particular, but that's not what I'm doing. I'm just lamenting the fact that writers as a group, though they may be smarter and more verbally gifted than most folks, though they talk a good game, share with the inarticulate an apathy that trumps their nobler impulses. And then again, maybe it's generational. Maybe I'm judging this new generation by the reactions of the previous one. Maybe I should make an appeal to the sci fi community and try to make them aware that South of the Border people are dying horribly for no good reason and something ought to be done. They can use all the help they can get, that's for sure. Ben Peek and Jeff Ford put this Nicaragua stuff on their blogs, for which I'm grateful, and the one response I got that seemed salient was this one guy saying it was terrible, but no one would give a shit. Maybe I'm making the same mistake that he did by copping out like that. Hmm. I'll have to give that some thought.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 08:09 am:   

The idea of sci-fi writers searching for somebody in Central America sounds like a bad horror movie.

As for the idea in general, I've wondered what I can actually do to help the situation. Just donating to a charity seems like it won't help much.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 08:23 am:   

Yeah, sounds like that to me too. :-)

As for your interest, I do appreciate it and maybe there's some way you could use your compositional gifts to help. I'll put the idea forward, if you wish, and we'll see what comes...
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 08:26 am:   

Greg Egan is one SF writer that's made a difference to Australian immigrants caught in a political nightmare. His efforts have helped Peter Qasim and many others.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 08:38 am:   

Well, good for him. I applaud his actions. I'm sure a number American sci-fi writers have charitable interests, too...Maybe I'll try something at Readercon.
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PM
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 10:29 am:   

It's good to get the word out.

Hypothetically, if one had a million dollars to give away it could help in some way for one or more causes but it's not enough.

Folk are motivated to assist different causes. And if they aren't motivated then they aren't motivated.

But if folk are aware of the situation then they're aware...and folk have to be aware before they're going to be able to contribute.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 10:34 am:   

Yeah well...those are verities, aren't they?
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 08:28 am:   

I was disappointed when I saw this article at Salon today: http://www.salon.com/mwt/food/eat_drink/2007/04/03/coffee_organic/

The USDA is trying to squeeze small farmers and co-ops out of being labeled as Organic, which will just leave big companies getting to have the label.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 08:40 am:   

This is an evil country....
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - 09:27 pm:   

I'm happy to report that there is now enough bottled water going into Chichigalpa so that the kids don't have to drink poison. More is on the way. It's a rare, small victory over the bureacratic tangle.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007 - 03:38 am:   

That is a happy report!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007 - 04:28 am:   

Yup.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007 - 05:35 am:   

In the US, I feel bottled water is a sham, just selling tap water to people silly enough to pay for it. However, this is a case where I can support it. If they can't get clean water locally, getting it from elsewhere is necessary. It's a good step towards improving things.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007 - 05:54 am:   

Oh, yeah. Its better than the shit coming out of the ground. And there are water experts working on a permanent solution.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2007 - 10:41 pm:   

Finally some US press.

http://www.miamiherald.com/457/story/97532.html
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PM
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 10:31 am:   

Hopefully the momentum is building toward a positive result.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 10:40 am:   

Yup. The Miami Herald is the only paper, though, that has decent Latin American coverage and they've had the story for months. Let's see in anyone else picks it up.
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PM
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 11:08 am:   

I could be out of the loop but why doesn't the Nation have you write an article?
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 11:45 am:   

Well, they haven't asked, but it might happen.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 07:15 pm:   

Thanks for sharing. It's given me much to think about. Hopefully, it won't just stop at thinking....
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 08:05 pm:   

Cool, Byron...
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 10:55 am:   

A fine, provocative article. I fired off the URL to the editors of the Calgary Herald with a brief explanation. Maybe a million people see the front page of the Herald every day so it can't hurt to see if they'll pick up the story.

The most worthwhile ten minutes I'll spend today.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 11:06 am:   

Thanks, Bruce. I hope it takes.

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