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Friday, January 27, 2012

Johnny Oops: Bullies

Johnny Oops: Bullies

Bullies

One on one, I can sometimes handle myself when a fight starts, but if these three bullies attack me at the same time, I’m toast. I think they know that.

Sometimes, when we are on a thirty -minute recess, the five bells calling us to the cafeteria for lunch saves my ass. Vick and his friends would rather eat than fight. In my case this signifies a respite from these dumb bullies who don’t have the command of the English language I do. I guess I have to learn to live with the bells even though I firmly believe there has got to be a better way. School is hell. My life is quickly turning into a disaster.

God, why are you letting this happen to me? I’m your Messenger – at least I think I am.
This past Saturday there were no bells to save me. I thought I was safe because school was closed and I was taking a shortcut across the schoolyard with my friend Billy to go to the candy store and spend some of my allowance.

Three bullies, who are the bane of my existence, jumped out from behind a garbage disposal bin in back of the school cafeteria, and started pushing me around. They must live here.

I tried to run away too, but I froze in fear. Vick taunted me, saying, “Where you going? How come Mommy let you out of the house?”

Stan pushed me over Don’s outstretched leg, and I found myself flat on my back. The pain creeping over me was a killer. Couldn’t draw a breath. Lungs exploding. When I started to figure out what had happened to me I couldn’t move. I wasn’t functioning. Couldn’t muster the strength to turn over and try to get up. I tried to raise my hands in front of me to protect myself, but I was paralyzed. My muscles tensed reflexively: as I got ready fro the beating I knew was coming. A sense of hopelessness and dread crept over me like a black hole that was sucking my useless body into the ground. Tried to pretend I was somewhere else. Didn’t work. I was in too much pain.

Before I could raise my hands or legs to defend myself, Vick, the leader of the pack, jumped on me straddling my thighs, and started smacking me in bridge of my nose with the palm of his right hand, while punching me in the stomach with his left fist. The blows came nonstop. Vick wore a big silver pinky ring. The damn thing split my lip. Blood flowed everywhere. The air whooshed from my lungs. I gasped for breath feeling I was going to pass out. Wishing I did. The warm, salty taste of my own blood, trickling down my upper lip from my nose, and into my mouth, making me nauseous. Wave after wave of crunching pain racked my body. I started coughing and couldn’t stop.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The FBI Attacks US In La Jolla CA - Excerpt Johnny Oops


Two FBI Agents, wearing navy blue nylon jackets with FBI stenciled in yellow, rushed into our two-room office in a campus medical research building owned by the University in La Jolla, California, slapped us with some kind of a legal document, and said, “You’re out of here. Don’t bother trying to take your personal belongings. Everything is confiscated,” pushing us out the door. Who do these guys think they are? I lost a top of the line squash racquet, and one of my buddies lost a case of Corona Light. Bet those FBI agents enjoyed the beer.

Evidently our august leader, one Finius Wang, has been diverting most of our charitable contributions to international groups of a subversive nature, after taking a hefty cut for himself. How awful. We all got our names in the paper. Now I have a jacket, and I don’t mean the kind you wear. I mean I have a file with the FBI who has listed the other idealistic jerks and myself as, “would-be subversives of a dubious level of effectiveness.” What does that mean?

The FBI says our parent organization, under the direction of Mr. Wang, was attempting to ferment unrest between Taiwan and North Korea, and paying huge bribes to Taiwanese legislators to accomplish his purpose. I don’t even know where Taiwan is located. Why Mr. Wang chose to engage in these activities, or who was pulling his strings was never established. He managed to escape to China before he was arrested and was never heard from again. All I know is that this had something to do with the transfer of North Korean nuclear technology to Iran.

That was the end of my idealistic period, lasting less than two months. I reverted to my former occupation of womanizer: the only occupation at which I have ever been successful. I decided that if I’m going to get in trouble, I might as well enjoy myself. Didn’t take me long to resume a familiar pattern. Now I know how a bird feels when he constantly has to shift direction to allow for changes in the prevailing winds and is no longer sure of his final destination. I think I’m caught in a downdraft. Watch out below. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop, Look, Listen and Smell the What?


Used to be that what you smelled was the sweet scent of roses or some other pleasing scent. Not today –today things don’t smell so good anymore. Have you stopped and wondered why?

Here is a list of ten reasons why the world we live in doesn’t smell too good anymore and what you can do about it.

  1. There is too much man made pollution.
  2. It is affecting the air we breathe and the atmosphere our dear earth lives under the umbrella of in the natural or is that unnatural order of things.
  3. People no longer have much hope for a better future for them and their children.
  4. Our children have little hope that things are going to change for the better and they are stinking up our atmosphere with their useless verbal diatribes of how they want and are entitled to more of everything with no effort on their part –they consider themselves entitled as part of the offspring of the entitlement generation.
  5. People are just plain scared. they are fearful of homegrown terrorists, going to public places with big crowds, taking public transportation, and yes in some cases they are afraid their neighbors may be terrorists.
  6. The general public thinks things stink when almost every part of their lives are coming under the control of the government—no more sugared sodas, no more salt, no more fat, no more smoking no more drinking too much, no more smoking marijuana, and no more of just about any creature comfort you can think of except for enjoying the financial benefits to be derived from being wards of the State. The place stinks because of myopic thinking on the part of government regulators who are intent on having the prevailing point of view in spite of what the public may or may not want and on getting reelected. Running for office evidently starts the day after you start your new term leaving little time for doing the public’s work.
  7. The stench you are sniffing into your lungs comes from years of broken promises by both major political parties sprinkled with a giant dose of we’ll do it next year rhetoric and somehow next year never seems to come. It’s fueled by an overriding feelings of sadness that we have come to this time and place where we no longer control our own destiny. It comes from a deep an abiding sense of dissatisfaction. It comes with the knowledge that we might have been more and now are no more than some hapless drones shuffling through our lives in this our new entitlement society.
  8. We are a Nation on the dole who has lost its way and forgotten what made us great as a people and the rotting of our souls is what smells so bad.
  9. But this isn’t the end. Can you not smell the sweet smell of success just around the corner? Can’t you remember how our forefathers forged a great union? Don’t you remember the good times? Don’t you want to have them again? Try a little harder. The sweet smell of your personal sense of fulfillment is just around the corner. All you have to do is try a little harder to be yourself.

Arthur Levine is the author of the novels Johnny Oops and Johnny Oops 11 – Timeless, which can be accessed at http://johnnyoops.blogspot.com.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Excerpt from Johnny Oops 11 - Timeless

Hi everyone, a little snippet from the sequel to Johnny Oops. Johnny 11 could use a little love. Johnny Oops 11 - Timeless.

Ilo said, "What does this latest message from Earth mean, Johnny?"

"Means they want us to slow down, to wait a few months. They aren't ready to receive you in the Everglades yet. They need to at least put up temporary housing for one million people and they can't do that in less than six months. They will need to use part of the Everglades National Park for you and some of the park still needs to be drained. They are talking about a wet and sandy tropical territory of more than one and one half million acres. They say they can't get ready overnight. "

"Johnny, tell them not to worry. We will build our own housing using only materials readily available to us in the immediate area and will compensate your government fully for anything we use in diamonds from our caves here in Citra. We are bringing them with us. We will be there in less than a week."

"Ilo, they don't understand how inventive and technologically advanced you are. Either do I for that matter. I don't know how you do most of the things you do."

"I know it's hard for you to understand Johnny, but most of what we do is based on using our imaginations. If we can imagine something, we can make it happen."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grandma's Secret Potion of Faith

Grandma Jenny slipped shoveling snow off the front steps of our home in the midst of a fearsome snow storm at the age of ninety-six and broke her hip. She was a feisty little woman who weighed only ninety-five pounds and stood four feet-nine inches tall. The shovel was bigger than Grandma. You might wonder why she was out shoveling snow early in the morning at her advanced age, but it was part of her stubborn and cantankerous nature. And it was a part of her tradition. She didn’t want my father going to work and getting his feet wet in the snow. It was a matter of respect for the man of the house. It was her way.

Grandma was from the old country – Russia to be specific. She came to the United States as a girl of fourteen traveling for fifteen days on a tramp steamer and surviving on bread and water. She lost her provisions, her money, and her clothes on the trip over to thieves that hounded na├»ve, unsuspecting young girls such as her as a normal part of refugee voyages in those days. Most people though it was the work of greedy members of the crew. She arrived in this country penniless and literally with only the clothes on her back. But nothing could stop Grandma from making a new life in the land of her dreams, or bringing with her the rituals and traditions that were an innate part of her heritage, her faith, and of her very being.

Until she slipped and broke her hip, Grandma Jenny had always been healthy. None of us in the family could remember her having a cold. She attributed her good health to a secret potion of Elderberry Brandy that she distilled in the attic of our Georgian Colonial House. I have no idea where she got the Elderberries from or how she prepared the brew. We were never allowed up to her special place in the attic to see what she was doing. Everything that Grandma did was a secret.

Grandma had a shot of the special potion when she woke up in the morning and when she went to bed at night, that much she told us. To the best of my knowledge it was the only medicine she ever took. On rare occasions such as holidays and birthdays, we were all invited to join her for a sip of her Elderberry Brandy. I was allowed to participate from the time I was a teenager. Boy did that stuff pack a wallop. It is no wonder that Grandma was never sick. The brandy must have killed the germs. My dad didn’t really like it. He was a scotch man. My mother struggled to swallow it. She didn’t drink. We all participated in the Ritual. No one in the family was about to insult Grandma Jenny. She was too tough a cookie to be trifled with.

On one of the rare occasions when Grandma Jenny bothered to talk to me, communication was a problem since she spoke only Russian; I asked her what was so special about the secret potion? She sort of half smiled at me indicating that when I was more mature I would understand, pointing at my head. Grandma was great at the universal language of hand signals. I do understand a little Russian, but I don’t speak the language. Fortunately for me Grandma did understand English except when she chose to pretend that she didn’t. Even the dog understood Russian because Grandma fed him and he didn’t speak at all. When she called him to come and get it in Russian, he came running. No one disobeyed Grandma. The dog was a huge Boxer named Slugger. It was amazing to see him cower in front of my Grandmother, and wait for her command allowing him to eat. He sure didn’t act like that with my father or me. He once jumped up on my Dad and pushed him so hard that he fell down and dislocated his shoulder. Slugger wouldn’t dare jump up on my Grandma. The dog knew better.

After Grandma passed away, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was so special about her secret potion and how to make it. Grandma wasn’t big on measurements or recipes. She insisted that you just add a little bit of this and a little bit of that. This was the way she talked when someone wanted to know how to make her yeast coffee cake or her saffron laced ginger-carrot candy. Unfortunately the secrets died with her.

I think I finally have the answer when it comes to the secret potion. It wasn’t the herbs that she added. It wasn’t how high the alcohol content was. It was the love with which she made it and dispensed it to the whole family. It represented to her a melding of old traditions and new rituals. It symbolized her faith in God, and the respect she had for our family and our Country. It was a way for her to celebrate her freedom. It was her way of communicating to us in a language of kindness and caring that we could all understand.

Sometimes when I sip a little brandy late at night to help calm me from the stress of the day and the threat of terrorism, I wonder, couldn’t we all use a little of Grandma’s secret potion to help us through these troubled times? The commercial stuff doesn’t seem to be doing the trick anymore. It lacks the tradition of caring, kindness, and love necessary to make it a special brew. It lacks that personal faith-filled touch of Grandma Jenny. It doesn’t have her tenacious character or her will to survive. It lacks respect.

There are some things that you can’t put in a bottle, smack a label on, and expect to work miracles. Sometimes you have to find the right ingredients in your own heart. Sometimes you have to distill them yourself. Sometimes the secret potion of faith is within you.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Excerp From Johnny Oops 11 - Timeless


“Well I reached my buddy, Inney. He said he spoke to your father and he said he has faith that you can do this. He suggests you get a little more sexually active to lessen the stress. Says this always worked for him. He said whatever form your sexual activities take is okay with him. He says has tried almost everything. He says that in his opinion the Tom, Toms have the right beat. I mean idea—no complications and no long-term commitments except for the egg laying part. Then he said the strangest thing. He said beware of Eric Tom, because he is an artificial intelligence entity and as such doesn’t have the same emotions that we Humans have. He does have cognitive abilities, but it’s not the same as our sense of passion and longing. What do you think he means by that, Johnny?”

“Wow, so much for total transparency. I never thought of that. Somehow the Game Master is involved and I guess God. They were probably trying to create the perfect Human, I mean entity using artificial intelligence, but some where along the way something went amiss, or is this what they want. Is this the counterbalance to Human frailty and weakness? I always thought our shortcomings were our real strength—the things that made us truly different and superior to other animals. No wonder Eric Tom can talk about eliminating our races with such cold calculating lack of empathy. This boggles the mind.”

Ala interrupted to say, “My poor Johnny, I can’t have your mind being boggled at a time like this. You need all your wits about you if you are going to be able to deal with Eric Tom and his non-carbon based artificial intelligence entities if that’s what they are. Just be sure you don’t have sex with him or his wife if he has one. I refuse to sit on any old eggs of artificial intelligence entities for six years. I’m much to busy.”

“Ala, I don’t know where to start or how to answer you. The only one I’m having sex with is you.”

“I know Johnny, that’s part of the problem. Just have faith that you can do this as your father suggested, and try and be a little more like him when it comes to being a sex maniac, but remember I’m listening. Whatever works, that’s my motto.”

“Okay Ala, I’ll do my best.”

“Your best isn’t going to be good enough, Johnny. You’ll have to do better.”
*****


Hi. Arthur Levine here, is your best going to be good enough?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's My Genre

I feel like a cross dresser. I'm not sure in what category or categories my novel falls. The thought occurs to me that my book is having a schizoid fit. My principal character has a badly split personality, or is that just a result of the alternate reality worlds he slides in and out of with all their attendant quantum entanglements.

This must be the literary equivalent of who am I and where am I going. Is Johnny Oops maturing, growing up, or devolving into a transient human being who thinks he's a prophet and immortal?
Maybe Johnny is dwelling in different virtual reality worlds that suit his purpose at any one particular time. Maybe the world he lives in is all too real for the level of inner turmoil he is capable of dealing with. Perhaps this is Johnny's way of protecting himself from his sexual excesses.

The sex charlatan in him seems to come in undulating quantum waves as his qubits are distorted by passion and insecurity. Johnny wants it, needs it, and has to have relations with a whole bunch of beautiful women, but to what end? Is this the human weakness in the Guru or is he just a Charlatan at heart?

Tumbling from one world to the next reality, Johnny doesn't know if he is real, or the puppet to some super intelligent Game Master. Is he part of a speculative fantasy? Is this the coming of age process for a Genius? Do other people have an inner self that's one foot tall and dresses in a Boy Scout uniform? Do his love scenes trump his deification, and his human transgressions prevent his salvation and redemption?

Why does Johnny question his relevance? Does he have so many second comings or near misses or rebirths because he is in effect a messenger of God, as he sometimes believes? How do you classify Johnny when he jumps from one sense of reality to the next in a flash of emotional response to whatever force is driving him on to try and change the world we live in - which ever world that happens to be at that particular moment in time. How does Johnny fit in when he doesn't really think that he does? Is this madness, debauchery of the soul, or the refinement of a life well spent?


Monday, January 2, 2012

Excerpt from Johnny Oops 11 - Timeless


CHAPTER 5

I’ve decided to take the councilwoman’s advice to relax with Ala for a while. I’ve been through a lot, and to tell the truth I have this fascination for Ala. She is so exotic. She smells so good and has the most beautiful smile. Her eyes are a bright Green like a cat. Normally I’m not easily excited by women, but this one does excite me. She turns me on. Forget about spaceships and jumping from world to world for a few days. Time to live a little. Time for a little R & R. I hope Ala feels the same way about this strange looking white man who has hair on his head like her animals. I think she does.

“Ala, you want to show me around? I’m going to take a few days off from being a scientific genius and concentrate on enjoying myself—hopefully with you.”

“Yes, I would like to spend time with you, Johnny.”

“Ala, you don’t have to lick my ear to show you want to be friends. It’s disconcerting.”

“What does disconcerting mean, Johnny?”

“Just means it’s not my custom. I’m not used to ear licking. What are those buildings over there? First time I’ve seen buildings here that are not see through.”

“They are where we go when we want to make love. Would you like to do that with me, Johnny?”

“I guess so. I don’t know. What does that involve?”

“We mind meld and we join physically. Is that what you were talking about when you mentioned your private parts?