In 1991 I arrived in Thailand and visited the Rebbi of the Jewelry trade.

We exchanged good wishes as I was a respected shabbas goy and he was a learned man connected to my contacts on New York’s 47th Street.

“What are you thinking of doing here in Bangkok?” the old man asked with a shrug.

“I know jewelry. I was thinking of entering the trade here.” I had enough money to buy a good amount of colored stones and put it gently, “Do you know anyone honorable here?”

“No one. There are all thieves.”


“Yes, even us.”

“Viele danke.”

And like that I entered the internet schamata or rag trade selling top-line Formula 1 gear.

1000% legit.

Oh, those beautiful years.

PS fuck Ferrari

Woodstock 50

On the weekend of Woodstock I was washing dishes at a South Shore hotel outside of Boston. The radio stations reported that hundreds of thousands of hippies were gathering for the Woodstock Music Festival. The announcers were somewhat astounded by this phenomena of a half million young people pulling off the impossible.

The creation of a community centered peace, love, and music.

I didn’t go, but I still am a hippie rebel dedicated to the good things in life.

We will always be that young somewhere.

My Generation.

Why don’t you fade away?

We won’t.

And I never will.

Going Up Country – Thai Style

Back in the 60s during their Woodstock concert Canned Heat had a small hit GOING UP COUNTRY.

“Going up country, baby, do you want to come along?”

After Altamont longhairs abandoned the rip-offs, bummers, and downers of the big cities to establish Aquarian communes in the hinterland offering free love, organic food, and reefer to establish a democracy on the foundations of the new age agrarian revolution, unfortunately few of these utopias lasted past the past the winter of the Moral Majority after the Summer of Love.

Why was well-portrayed in T. C. Boyle’s novel DROP CITY about the collapse of a Northern Californian commune and the surviving members’ exodus to Alaska, but that didn’t keep hippies from coming together for another try.

Like Alan Lage in Encinitas. 1974.

The Iowan had survived cancer as a teen and was living with an LSD professor on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I dropped acid with him and his blonde girlfriend on Black’s Beach. Leslie looked like Pattie Hearst, the kidnapped heiress turned bank robber. The cops raided us as SLA revolutionaries. The acid was on paper. They touched it. Within twenty minutes the officers were getting a rush. We left town that night not wanting to witness the cops’ wrath in the morning. I said good-bye to Alan and his girl on the PCH.

“We’re going to Marin live off the country.”

I almost joined them, but the cops up north would be after Pattie Hearst too.

A year later he showed up in Woodstock New York. Leslie had been replaced by Nona, half-New Jersey/half-Filipino. Skinny as Olive Oyl and smelling of cinnamon. They had a commune of two in a chicken farm. Grass, organic food, and John Lennon. Nona danced to Alan’s guitar. Her sinuous body weaved a trance invading my dreams. She was Alan’s chick and while I might covet my friend’s chick I wasn’t going to steal her, because I only break one commandment at a time and this night I went home with a fat girl I met at the Joyous Lake Bar. Babs had big breasts. We had sex in her bathtub next to a babbling creek. Later in her bed we committed sodomy. I should have stayed, but had the ambition to become a writer in New York.

And I thought writers needed to live in the city.

Not the country.

Almost 35 years in Boston, New York, LA, Paris, Hamburg, Bangkok, Pattaya.

My first Thai wife doesn’t like Pattaya.

She preferred living in Ban Nam Phu west of Chai-nat.

2 hours by bus from Pattaya to Morchit. Another 3 hours to Chai-nat, then a 50 kilometer car ride.

Over our years together she has bought 20 rai of land and ten cows. The land was being prepared for a teakwood forest, so we can sell carbon rights to polluting factories and harvest the timber in 15 years. I went up once a month to visit my wife and daughter.

Crossing the river at Wat Sing we entered a land without farangs.

Rice paddies, egrets, buffalos, butterflies, pigs, trees, mountains, dirt roads, and early evenings drinking beer with rice farmers under a billion stars in the sky.

“Going up-country, baby, do you want to come along?”

Sometimes I think it’d be nice.

Smoke a little weed, drink a lot of beer, but what would I do for work?

Grow rice?

Only to brew lao-khao whiskey.

Teach English.

The headmaster of my daughter’s school would like that.

10,000 baht/month.

Nature. Quiet. Wife. Daughter. Farm. Beer. Reefer.

But then I ask myself what would happen if civilization collapsed under the weight of global warming. No electricity. No cars. No airplanes. No way to get back to the West.

The sea would flood Pattaya and Bangkok. People would flee inland. I would head up to my wife’s farm. It was on higher ground. 110 feet above sea level. My daughter would be happy to see me. My wife would view me as another mouth to feed.

“What can he do?”

Back in 1995 I was in Tibet with my friend Tim Challen. The road to Nepal had been smothered by a mudslide. We were sort of stranded in Lhasa. He asked, “If the world fell apart, what would be do to live here?”

The choices were simple in Tibet.

“Become a monk or a clown. A clown like Sean Connery and Michael Caine in A MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.”

Tim liked the idea and several years ago I had everyone laughing at a family dinner telling them about getting a penis transplant from a horse and charging everyone 10 baht to see the farang with the ham ma yoow or long horse cock.

20 baht to touch it.

A hippie freak show clown.

That would be my calling after the Armageddon.

“Going up-country, baby, you want to come along?”

I Stand Corrected.

I had previously written that go-go bars never play Pink Floyd, however the correspondent from the deceased claims the following, “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2 has been played at a number of Pattaya go-gos. I’ve heard it in all the “farang-friendly music” joints, such as Champion, Club Nevada and even Classroom 2. What’s Up!, of all places, was indeed playing tracks from Dark Side of the Moon one night. Some guy paid the DJ 500 baht to play it. Girls dug “Money.”

I stand corrected as always in light of this evidence.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Bet we never hear Iron Butterfly’s IN-DA-GADDA-VIDA and they played at Woodstock.

see this URL;


Hitchhiking was the only way to travel between Boston and Montreal in the early 1970s. The trip was a scenic 400 miles on I-89 slanting across New Hampshire and Vermont to Lake Champlain then north into Quebec.

On one trip in August of 1971 a longhair driving a van said that he needed money for gas.

I gave him $5.

He took me from Lebanon to St. Albans with Jethro Tull on the 8-track When I got out of the car, the longhair handed me a horse choker pill an inch long.

“It’s LSD.” The hippie flashed a peace sign and his iris wavered in size. “Very strong. Take it with friends and don’t look in a mirror.”

“I know better than that.” I had once stared at my shimmering reflection for hours on Orange Sunshine.

“Thanks for the gas.”

A gallon was 35 cents. $5 was good for a week’s driving.

I flashed him the peace sign and stood on the interstate’s shoulder. The next ride took me to the border. Canadian immigration officer asked for a driver’s license. Mine was valid and the man saluted my entrance into his country.

Two hours later I was drinking beer with my New Zealand friends at Winston Churchill Pub. My Irish friends were playing a gig off St. Catherine. Afterward a night of Celtic revels several French girls came home to Benny’s apartment on Barat Street. I showed them the LSD pill.

“On fait.”

“Bonne idee.” My French wasn’t good, but the night wore a velvet darkness. A bootleg version of Pink Floyd’s MEDDLE was on the Denon turntable. I divided the powdered pill into sections.

1/3 for the four girls.

1/3 for my three friends.

1/3 for me.

One hour.


Jefferson Airplane’s AFTER BATHING AT BAXTERS.

A flash of light warbled from the corner of my eyes, as the girls danced with POO NEIL. My friends held the album cover in their hands and we chanted, “A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting….”

The LP art shrank into a microscopic sub-universe of time and space with each descending layer funnier than the last.

Dawn broke on the St. Lawrence with stars melting into the sky.

We chanted, “A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting….” one last time and returned home for sleep.

I slept with a girl named Cheree, whose flesh was soft as still air. Our unsleeping eyes were dilated to coal pits. She spoke French, no English, but chanted with an Irish accent, “A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting….” until the words drifted into a mutter and her skin turned to feathers.

It took me a long time to come down.

Cheree was my parachute.

She gave me a soft landing.

No crash.

“A painter painting a picture of a painter painting a picture of a painter painting….”

I’m glad that my mind remembered Cheree’s name.

And after this many years I’m glad that I remember my name too.

That LSD was strong as shit.