OK, we are finished with our community mourning rituals and with public displays of affection and grief.
On with the show!
Life is for living. I'm a photographer and that means it is time to get back to work making photos. And so I will, but not tonight. It is just too cold, rainy and downright nasty out there here in the Detroit area.
Burmese Girl - 2003
My Father has taken a turn for the worse in the past few days I'm sorry to report.
Yesterday we moved him to the hospice ward at the hospital and I just got home (6:30pm Sunday night here in Detroit) after spending twelve hours by his bed with my Mom, my Brother and his girlfriend.
Now, unfortunately it is only a matter of time.
He was adamant about not wanting to be on any life-support or taking any other extraordinary measures to keep him alive and out of respect for his wishes we have spent the last few days just making sure that he is comfortable and surrounded by the family that he loves so much.
We are all heartbroken and just don't know what we'll do without him.
Thank you again for all of your good wishes and prayers.
I'm lucky enough to have some very good freinds in Nepal, mostly Tibetan refugees. Today's news about a truce with the rebel Maoists in Nepal is very good news indeed for this beautiful, but undeveloped country with such lovely people.
No more seafood? And it snowed here today! I guess it's pretty much the start of end of the world.
Well, the seafood should last until I'm about 92 and the snow didn't stick, but it will soon enough. Damn its cold out here in Michigan. Needless to say this is not my liking. Not in the least. Harrumph!
Back home in Phnom Penh they're gearing up for the big annual water festival (Bon Om Tuk) when more than 400 long rowing boats and over 20,000 crewmen (fifty per boat) and a almost two million spectators come from all over Cambodia to race on the Tonle Sap River. Its nice and toasty hot there if its anything like last year.
"What is important is that government should take effective measure against human trafficking, drug using, corruption rather than creating new crimes, extortion and unnecessary law.... So the government’s new activities are like a funny story. The developed countries, their people have internet connection at home with low internet fee rate, and they can watch anything without monitoring. But it is strange for Cambodia governments to take care about it."
Meanwhile back in America, the evidence of a systematic deception of the American people is mounting, please do what you can to help IMPEACH BUSH NOW. That would be really great.
Boy that Frank Zappa said some brilliantly honest things that unfortunately are as true today as they were when he said them:
"Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an 'inconvenience.' We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there." ~ Frank Zappa
"Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an 'inconvenience.' We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there."
~ Frank Zappa
We got some bad news and some good news about my Dad, who is 81 and just earlier this year retired from his job.
He has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. The good news is that it is the "small-cell" variety which is known to respond better to treatment and is less likely to spread quickly, if at all, to other organs.
We're going to see an oncologist next Wednesday and hopefully they'll be able to start some sort of treatment very soon.
He's doing great here at home under the circumstances with the biggest problem being shortness of breath with only minor exertion. His color and appetitie are good and so is his outlook and sense of humor.
Heartfelt thanks to so many friends and family who have contacted us with their prayers and best wishes. We really appreciate that!
As many friends and family have pointed out there are new medical breakthroughs happening all the time and so many people have encouraging and positive stories of elderly relatives who have not only beat cancer, but beat the odds and long outlived the original prognosis from their doctors.
If you know me at all then you know that that I am hoping for the best, am open-minded enough to believe in miracles and am very happy to be here to spend time with my Mom, Dad and Brother. I also have some Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and lots of Cousins kids here in the Detroit area as well and its fantastic to see them all again. I miss Cambodia a lot, but it'll be there waiting for me when I get back later this year, so no worries.
Well, that was the Good and the Bad. What about the Ugly you ask? Just watch the news.
The Bush administration remains in power waging an unjust destabilizing war and generally screwing things up for the entire planet. We'll fix that soon enough with elections coming up again in a few months and over the next few years.
And who knows, with more and more information becoming public about the terrible lies and despicable judgment of our idiotic leader’s, public opinion and support here in America is continuing to turn against Bush and his corrupt cronies.
It would not surprise me in the least that he will still have to face impeachment, something that I've actively supported since he was elected the first time around. IMPEACH BUSH NOW!
I can honestly say I've never been more ashamed of, embarrassed and disgusted by my country and the hideous atrocities it carries out in an arrogant and misguided fashion.
At the same time I do believe in America and its great core ideals of Freedom and Liberty and in spite of all the Ugliness I am hoping for the best. I'll know it when I see it.
As the late great Gonzo Master once said:
"Go ahead and pray to GOD... but row away from the rocks!"
~ Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Its a boy.
Let's kill him. Just kidding to make a point.
"The oldest continuing monarchy in the world." Japan, ever the bastion of pointless tradition, formality and exoticly intriguing and intricate social ritual (habitually). Not that we in the West are any better, but I guess its the royalty thing that gets to me. Eat the rich, as they say in the song. who the hell do they think they are anyhow?
Break on through to the other side as the man sings in another song.
In Thailand they worship their King and as you may know he recently celebrated 60 years on the throne making him the longest reigning royalty in our little corner of the universe. Well, as it turns out its good for him and in the case of Thailand its good for them because the King of Thialand happens to have played an incredibly pivotal role in his Kingdom's modern history, serving as a generally exemplary standard for the world's royalty by exercising a firm, diplomatic, and ultimately irresistably moderating force recognizing the dignity of every individual. Long live the King (but only the King of Thailand). He's special. Fuck the rest of 'em I say. Flush the toilet, you know what I mean?
Here in America we have the good sense to at least have a running shot at throwing the current bastard out of office, whoever he may be, in our version of freedom and democracy.
The Chrysanthemum Throne is an amazing anachronism, not unlike Christiantiy, Islam and Judaism. More on this later... No unwarranted disrespect intended by the way. Just a robust post-post-post-modern intellectualism that remains ruthlessly attached to clarity of thought. Harrumph!
In America we don't have royalty per se, so we had to invent Hollywood and Stars and take the whole notion of being famous to an entirely new and preposterously exaggerated level. And with that typically exaggerated American flair comes a hyper-accerlerated Royalty Product Life Cycle.
Its all such a steaming heap of stinky rotting baloney anyhow, and if you don't belevie me then just beleive whatever you want. Its your right and its up to you. The very idea that a family, a dynasty, should lord and reign over lesser subjects is what led to the colonial mindset that continues to rule our political world of global mediocrity to this very day. As though Iraq weren't another Viet Nam. Hah!
I made to Detroit yesterday afternoon, no problemo.
It was a fairly grueling trip - Almost 7 hours from Bangkok to Tokyo and then 12 hours from Tokyo to Detroit. Too much. Slept for 12 solid hours after visiting with my floks and my brother Scott. Now it is Friday morning and a beautiful day in Suburban Detroit.
My parents house in suburban Detroit, tastefully decorated if I do say so myself.
First impressions are as follows:
1) Where the hell is everybody? I walk outside at 6:45am and see nothing but neat rows of suburban homes with nicely manicured lawns, but no people. Such a stark contrast to Phnom Penh where I am greeted by teeming throngs of people every day.
2) Why is everything so clean? It all seems so sterile and surreal. I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually.
3) How much? My Mom took me out to a fantastic Belgian restaurant in Royal Oak for dinner last night where we spent about a week's worth of food budget on a single meal. I had a lobster sandwhich that cost $12. Ouch!
Still, of course it is fantastic to see my family again after 2 years. I'm looking forward to catching up, seeing more relatives and stocking up on some photography gear and other stuff that is just not available in Cambodia.
My Dad is doing OK, and had just come home from the hospital yesterday afternoon from having more than a litre of fluid drained from his lungs. he is breathing much easier and even slept last night without oxygen for the first time in almost 2 weeks.
Makes a hard man humble...
Just arrived in Bangkok, its about noon and I'm staying at my old standard the Nakhorn Pink Hotel in Banglumphu.
Great to be back in one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world, even if it is for just one day and one night.
Monks at the Wat near Khao San Road.
Flying out to Tokyo at 6am tomorrow and then on to The Motor City. Motown. Detroit. Not one of my favorite cities, but that's where my family lives, so what can you do.
A classic Bangkok Tuk-Tuk.
Next posting from suburban Detroit...
I'm heading back to America in the next couple of days for the long overdue visit that I've been threatening to make this year.
I was planning to head out next month, but my 81 year old Dad, Sam Goodman, is sick and I need to be there for my family.
He'd not been feeling well for a few weeks and some recent tests by his doctors have revealed a large malignant tumor in his lung. More tests are scheduled for this coming week to determine a prognosis and treatment. Naturally we're all hoping for the best!
Please send some healing vibes his way - we'd really appreciate it!
My plan is to fly to Detroit where my brother and my parents live and then at some point head out to San Francisco for a quick visit and to arrange for my stuff that is in storage there to be shipped back East to my folk's house where I can store it for free in their basement. Then I'll fly back out to Detroit to unload the stuff and eventually head back here to Cambodia.
I'm Steve Goodman, just another amazing human being.. and a photographer too!