May 04, 2007

The American Dream Book Tour & Protest Across the USA - Dispatch 17

... by Mike Palecek

There are things we don't or can't understand. A reasonable man, a healthy man ... a sane man ... when he encounters the inexplicable ... forgets about it." Maurice Minnifield, Northern Exposure

Buffalo University, Buffalo, New York Nancy Pelosi is hot.

I have noticed I am surging toward old-guy status. Women who used to be the principal or someone's nice grandmother on the porch in the blue flower dress down to her ankles now kind of get me going.

Oh, God.

Nancy is on C-Span right now, talking about stuff.

So was the woman running for president in France just a minute ago. Lots of stuff.

You should have seen this debate between the two candidates for president of France or whatever they call it, premier, general secretary, bunga-bunga-something-something.

They were really going at it, discussing, arguing. It was not controlled. There were no microphones in their ears or packs on their backs where smarter people told them what to say.

They say America is a model for democracy for the world.


I used to think Hillary was hot.

I don't anymore. I don't know why. Things just kind of cooled.

Nancy has just said we need to rebuild our military.

She still looks pretty good to me.



I am staying in this effing guest house on the campus of the University of Buffalo, The Center For Inquiry, in Buffa-effing-lo.

Not bad for a guy who graduated 283 out of 289 from Norfolk High School in 1973.

Well, it's not a chauffeur and caviar on Ritz crackers, but definitely I'll take it.

I drove this morning [Wednesday] from Pittsburgh.

I am from Norfolk and I have not travelled all that much, so please excuse me.


I don't know, it's just exciting to see some things.

I was traveling today on the Blue Star Memorial Highway.

"Dedicated to those who fought for ... blah, blah, blah" ...

Oh, God, did I fall asleep for a moment there?

How many of these effing things do we have around?

A whole effing-bunch.

Methinks we protest too much.


"Anyone STUPID enough to join the military ... ought to be able to." Bill Hicks

I think we know the military is bunch of hired thugs, paid killers, that do not protect us, but rob and rape and kill in order to secure markets for American business, and we build all these memorials like someone who has just committed some crime just keeps on talking and talking, because he knows as soon as he shuts up, he is going to be found out.

I don't know. Or else they are effing heroes for killing millions of people and making sure that we are able to gamble in the casino of our choice.

Well, for those who didn't know everybody but me western Pennsylvania is hilly and there are vineyards and shit.

And Niagara Falls billboards.

I am on Interstate 90, which goes all the way back to Sioux Falls, which is near my home. When I was in prison in Texas in 1986 I used to look out over the prison yard at night and see the full moon and reassure myself by thinking that Ruth was seeing the same moon, even though it seemed we were not even inhabiting the same world, we were so far apart.

Well, Interstate 90 runs all the way back home and so maybe I'm not so far away.

"Correctional Facility. Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers."

I pass that sign somewhere headed toward Buffalo and I cross myself.

I used to cross myself when I passed a Catholic Church. My mother did that and so I did it.

But it was pretty stupid.

However, crossing yourself when you pass a prison makes a little more sense.

There is so much evil and suffering inside a prison that it makes more sense than doing it when you pass in front of Sacred Heart Church.

The prison is more holy. Not because of it being a prison. But because of the suffering.

I find my way into Buffalo, Main Street, Talking Leaves Books. I shake hands with Jonathon, the owner, with whom I have exchanged emails for the past one hundred years trying to set this up.

I read and then go over to Buffalo University.

David Mussella directs me to The Center For Inquiry.

He parks at the edge of the lot.


If they bomb us, at least I'll be able to get to my car.

Bomb? Who? Why? While I'm here? Big bombs?

Maybe little, teeny-weeny bombs?

David says the center is about secular humanism, which pisses some people off.

I don't really know what secular humanism is, but I don't mention it, because I have heard they have this private guest house I get to stay in.

And there's more to it than that, but I kind of lose interest.

David shows me inside and introduces me to Joe Nickell.

Joe takes me to his office as I listen for bombs.

He immediately begins to tell me that his is a paranormal investigator.

"I'm not a believer," he says.

In what?

His small office is packed with green blow-up alien dolls, voodoo figure things with things sticking into them, bigfoot foot plaster casts, leprechaun posters.

There are caps from "Unsolved Mysteries."

"We have a laboratory."

There it is.

Joe tells me right off that he does not believe in ghosts because, "where does the brain go."

I'm like, I dunno.

He says that Hilary Swank is starring in a new movie based on his work.

"It's a terrible movie, though," he says.

I tell Joe that I've probably seen him on TV. He says that could very well be true and he has written twenty-one books.

There they are.

On the desk is a magazine: Fatima Mysteries.

What about Roswell? I ask.

Military balloons.

No alien bodies. Hoax.

He also implies that those who believe the Bush people were involved in 9-11 are also quite delusional.

I shift my feet, stand up straight.

That makes me feel a bit unsettled. I don't want to be wrong, a fool.

I believe in Bigfoot, UFOs. I believe Bush did it.

But ... you know ... it's not about that, is it?

What it is, it is.

I really believe that.

The truth is what is important.

It is not important that certain beliefs be sustained, regardless.

The truth.

In debates, UFOs, Bigfoot, starting wars.

I am in favor. I vote yes.

Show me where it shows that Dick Cheney did not kill all those people in the Twin Towers and I'm heading home this morning, back to Iowa, to sit on the patio and pet my cat and sip beer from a quart bottle staring at my lovely wife mowing the lawn.

That night [Wednesday] I was part of the Literary Cafe at the University of Buffalo. It's a regular thing where people get together to read their poems and stuff.

Mostly it's writers reading to each other is what I figure.

It is damn hard to get anyone else to listen.

But still, it's good. For one thing, it's good to know these people are out there, writing their poems. They are like the monks in a monastery, praying, and having that praying somehow help us all.

I really enjoy the chance to read. There are about twenty people there. I have developed the habit of counting people so that I can report to Ruth how many were there. I'll find myself in a men's restroom on the Interstate thinking, one, two, three-four, five-six-seven this would make a pretty good crowd.

The podium has a lamp on it. There is [are?] cheese and crackers in the hall.

Before I read I was nervous because there were so many people and Joe Nickell, the debunker guy who is also a good poet was in the audience and practically everything I talk about is about ghosts and spirits and little green leprechauns flying big white planes into buildings.

But just before I walk up there I realize, I like this shit.

I like doing this. I still get nervous. I am still maybe not real great at it, but I think I have good material and maybe I'm learning how to deliver it.

I think we have a history of being lied to by our government. I think we have too many war memorial highways for no good-goddamn reason.

And I can't make myself forget about it.


Next stops on The American Dream Book Tour & Protest Across the USA

May 3, Rochester, NY, Drinking Liberally. Monty's Korner, 8 pm.
May 4, New York City, Bluestockings book store, 7 pm. [172 Allen Street, Lower East Side]
May 5, Staten Island, ETG Cafe, 3 pm.
May 6, Providence, Rhode island, AS220 Performance Space, 8 pm.

Palecek books: (search: Mike Palecek)

Contact Mike:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Guest Op-ed submissions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website. Writers are solely responsible for content.

Posted by PV Guest at May 4, 2007 01:50 AM | Guest Writings | Technorati links |