A shining town on a stolen hill

I support Joe Biden, though I know that Elvis has probably left the heart of what was once the heart of our now unrecognizable country.

I also support AOC, Bernie, and the Democratic party as a whole.

I am a NYC liberal, who lived most of his adult life in Manhattan, in cheap walkups and fringe Germantown neighborhoods.

I am also — not that it particularly matters — an immigrant from Egypt, who came to the USA at the age of 16, penniless and speaking broken English.

I’ve lived in Florida (but for several extended trips overseas to places like France, Portugal, and the Egyptian Red Sea coastline) for the last 20 years.

Thus I know first hand a thing or two about those smug, golf-cart retirees who supported Trump — and support him still, despite the criminal assault by the lower orders on the Capitol of America, lower order hog riding, beer drinking costume party clowns they would never invite home or mingle with socially except at brain damaged, fascist rallies.

After all, I do live in a gated community that’s all white — I call them Klingons, as they seem to be dedicated to clinging on to their pointless, dead end lives, and care only about how that investment portfolio — the one that allows them to glide easily from here in winter to, say, their clapboard summer place in Hogue — is doing.

And I am familiar with the tale of the scorpion and the frog — a cautionary tale well worth keeping in minding when seeking unity with amoral grifters who could give a shit about anything outside the ken of their provincial, lily-white, wrinkled pickleball world .

All I can tell you is this:  it is depressing that neither Netflix nor Amazon Prime stream Mr Arkadin for free. By doing so, are they not trampling on my Allah-given constitutional rights?

Orson Welles was a maddeningly uneven genius.

To not be able to see this ridiculous movie, in times such as these, is

an outrage!

That said, l look forward to Biden’s AG meeting the so-called coming storm with every federal means at his disposal — no doubt supported at some point, sooner or later, by redleg-type militia pursuing murderous insurrectionist Missoura treasonous scum to the ends of this Josie Wales earth.

Ditto state AGs relentlessly hounding and bankrupting the orange criminal — and his varmint clan — through every venue, until he/they is/are either confined in a sudden Leroy bf situation or hounded out of the country — no doubt to Israel, where Bibi will allow him/they to hide, until the next (at US tax payers’ perennial expense) arms deal needs to be made, and Donny and his ghoulish spawn and creepy in-laws and gold digger girlfriends or whorish foreign or domestic wives is/are thrown under the proverbial bus.

Ah, the future of late Rome America.

So bright.

Like a shining town or village or Israeli settlement on a stolen hill.


The Wayback Machine

guitar in alexandria
At our chalet on Cleopatra beach, Montazah Palace, 1965. Notice the lack of tall hotel and apartment buildings, which now hover over Montazah like prison guard towers

Someone sent me an email recently asking if I really was in a “famous,” pioneering rock band in Cairo in the 60s.

I’m not sure why this piece of trivia is important, in this day and age, when we all have to deal with the unfortunate reality of this lot…

Jair Bolsonaro
Viktor Orbán
Bashar al-Assad
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Nikolaos Michaloliakos
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Kim Jong Un
Isaias Afwerki
Aleksandr Lukashenko
Islam Karimov
Omar al-Bashir
Jaroslaw Kaczynski
and their many good friends

… but the answer is aiwa.

The pic you see above is of me, playing my first guitar, way back in 1965.  I may look older than 14, but that was my age in the pic.

Some people think of that period as the “golden age” of Egypt.

Well… Egypt was nicer, sure, but not everything was perfect

For example, if you might have noticed that I do not look overly happy.

There’s a good reason for that.

Look carefully, and you will see that I am missing the D string on this cheap guitar that I bought near Bab-el-Haddeed, otherwise known as the Cairo train station.

I remember looking in vain in downtown Alex for a replacement that summer, and being really miffed that I had to wait till I returned to Cairo before getting it.

(By the way, this was a flamenco style acoustic guitar.  I eventually wanted an electric sound, so I replaced the nylon strings with steel ones.  This of course soon warped the guitar from the extra tension, which I did not know would happen.  I did this so I could screw a little pickup magnetic mic at the base of the neck.  It had a coiling wire which I threaded through the main soundhole and then through a little hole I made in the ribs of the guitar. I then plugged this wire into an old  radio, and, ishta, that is how I put together my first electric guitar!)

If you are super observant, you might also notice that there are strange splotches on the guitar.

That is because I painted red housepaint over the face varnish.

Why would I ruin a guitar this way?

Well, at the time, I saw a pic of The King playing a red guitar, so being imitative the way all teenagers are, I bought a small tin of plain oil based housepaint, and the rest is history.

takht band
Here is the band at one of our first concerts — we were very advanced for the era

For some reason, the paint never really dried, which caused this guitar to ruin a few of my favorite t-shirts back then.

Well, 1965 was a very long time ago.

Lots has changed, since, in Egypt, and me — but some things have remained the same.

I still play, massalan.

Here’s an original composition I recorded, warts and all, about a year ago. It’s a little monotonous, but hey, there’s only one guitar playing.


leaving america