Archive for January, 2008

Email to the NY Times Public Editor

Dear Mr. Hoyt,

Thank you for considering my One Stinking Dollar piece for publication in the Times Magazine. I’m thrilled. And a bit impressed — I think justifiably — with myself.

I mean the New York Times Magazine?? Very glossy.

It occurs to me that your interest in my work could open doors for me, as a working writer, even if I don’t make the Magazine’s final cut. For example, I very much want to spend time in New Orleans in the near future to put together an article — I’m not sure for whom: any ideas? — on the unique plight of the homeless in that city. I’ve also considered forwarding One Stinking Dollar to the Valley Advocate — our local left-leaning free weekly (western Massachusetts’ somewhat muted answer to the Voice) — for whom the article was originally intended. Let them know, in hopes of piquing their interest, that the piece is on your desk as we speak.

Not that I want to deprive you of the story. The NY Times Magazine has dibs — and if you choose to run it I’ll be tremendously pleased. Still, I have plainly urgent needs of my own to consider. I must pay some rent. I’ve been homeless for 3+ years. I take a hard look at myself every single day and try to figure out how to improve my oft-desperate situation. How will I get a place to live? The only seemingly viable solution I’ve ever been able to concoct is to write my way out of this thing.

So your consideration of One Stinking Dollar for the Magazine is splendidly good news! I feel validated & relieved. Alas, high as it makes me feel, your interest in my stuff does not address my overwhelmingly immediate needs. I must sell a story so I can get a place to call home and make my life human again. It is such an incontestable priority that — if the Advocate wants to buy One Stinking Dollar — I will have no choice.

That said, I obviously don’t want to spurn you & the NY Times Magazine. Should I go the Advocate route, I will happily offer up another submission for the “Lives We Lived” edition. My years spent homeless have been, if nothing else, a colorfully storied affair. So I surely can produce some different material that may fit the Magazine’s needs.

On the other hand, there are plenty of other aspects to the homeless predicament that I could cover for the Advocate as well. Given the choice I’ll mightily prefer to write other stuff for them and leave One Stinking Dollar on your desk — where I happen to think it richly deserves to be.

But in order to do that — there’s no way to mince these words — I need money.

All things considered my by-far best case scenario is for the Magazine to pay something up front to retain rights to One Stinking Dollar. Am I out of line for asking? I’ve no way to know since I’ve never negotiated with a potential publisher before. But it seems to me that if you’re leaning toward printing the thing then buying the rights may be the best case scenario for you guys as well.

Well that’s all for now. I thank you dearly for your time — and for the sublime personal lift this whole scenario has given me.

Best Wishes,
Mike E

Cc: Valley Advocate

Got To Have A Code.

We all got one.

We must; it is compulsory.

Question is what’s ours? Yours? Mine?

You can trust someone when we know their code. Even if their code, by our best estimate, is dumb-fart wrong. When we know someone’s code we’ll know how they act. Even when we don’t like it — especially when we don’t like it — we best see it coming. When we know one’s code we can gauge their moves. Even if we’ll never for the life of us know what the fuck they be thinking.

Helps hugely to see It coming.

When I know my own code I don’t always know what I’ll do next — but I always know Why.

Knowing my own code helps incalculably.

My code is who I am at best. Our code is the highest ideal. Truth. Hunter S. Thompson once said: “There’s no such thing as hallucinations; only things more likely seen when you’re tripping.”

Actually I said that — in the epitaph I wrote for the good doctor. Which ran as a Letter to the Editor in my local daily. I said Hunter S. Thompson said that.

Final Wisdom: I claimed he poetically waxed right before he died. There’s no such thing as hallucinations…

Because it gives the quote better fireworks Action — the ooh ah shit that sells — when people think Hunter S. Thompson said it moments before he shot himself in the head.

All good writers are word thieves. But the best writers steal something better than words; something no one else has yet stolen. Something most writers much want, but will never even, think to steal. I for one am a roller coaster thief.

Better still: I’m Mike E motherfuckers!

Got an open container of make believe.

Make believe makes life better. I live to make life better. I make my life better when I believe unshakably in me.

I don’t know what my code is off the top of my head. Got a bitchin’ Motto though:

Better Living Through Make Believe.

More Bad News For America

George W. Bush now has an economic stimulus plan.

For years I have wondered what exactly Bush & Dick Cheney’s problem is. I finally figured it out. They want to scrape America off the face of the Earth like dog shit from their shoe. Because George Bush & Dick Cheney are America’s enemy.

I’m not sure whose, if anyone’s, side they actually are on. I only know that they want to drive our nation into the ground.

For proof I offer their freshly unveiled economic stimulus plan — which the Democrat-led congress eagerly approved just this afternoon. The plan is to put $600 dollars, doled out as a tax rebate, into the pockets of 106 million Americans. Who will theoretically treat this unexpected boon as discretionary income — to be spent wildly on Stuff. And thus effectively jump start our consumer-driven economy. Checks will be cut by the summer.

For transparency’s sake I submit that I, a perpetually unemployed non taxpayer, do not stand to gain a dime from this ill conceived scheme. So maybe I’m biased against it. And in the further interest of full disclosure I admit that, were I a tax rebate recipient, I would accept the check & spend it gleefully — America be damned.

Still, Bush’s stimulus plan is unequivocally bad for the economy.

Look: the notion of a Tax Rebate inherently suggests that there is a pile of loose money laying around for us to rebate people’s taxes from. There obviously isn’t. We are going to borrow the money from China. Like we always do.

Let’s take it for granted that Bush & Cheney do not intend to repay their debt to China. Beijing may as well use all those US treasury certificates they’ve bought to wipe dog shit from their shoes. Now if the $260 billion in treasury notes we’ve sold to China are worthless scraps of crap wipe, one asks:

What is a US hundred dollar bill worth?

Less each day — as evidenced by the Dollar’s precarious tumble in the global market.

That tumble is at the heart of our economic woes. The value of the dollar goes down. Prices go up. Because America pays for barrels of Saudi oil with that devalued currency.

Dollar goes down. Prices go up.

So why not just print off a bunch of extra hundred dollar bills and give them out to American families to help them cover the costs of Inflation?

That would be like giving me a few hundred extra speed pills to compensate for the out-of-control tolerance my body has built up due to over-use of prescription amphetamines. A grand plan! Congress should enact it immediately.

But will it work?

Well…it’ll keep my personal train wreck rolling speedily for a few extra days — and that’s good enough for me. But is it good for the Country?

Not if the goal is to rein in my tolerance and make it so the prescribed dosage works like it did when I first popped one of those pills back in 1999. Still — though again I may be biased — I think the “give Mike E more speed” plan will work better than Bush’s “economic stimulus” plan. Which amounts to nothing more than printing up more currency to cover the costs of inflation. The net effect will be to further deflate the dollar’s value. And drive up the cost of living.

Elementary economics.