Saturday, December 28, 2013

BAH-HUMBUG ********************************* Where would the 1% be without the full cooperation, dedication, and hard work of the 99%? * To be a good Armenian it is not necessary to be a bad human being with a closed mind. * Crooks have their uses: they make us appreciate the importance of honesty. * Being smart also means not repeating idiotlc blunders like dividing the community and abusing children by brainwashing them to brag about our genius for survival. # MEMO TO A WRITER ******************************* If you say the opposite of what your average reader wants to hear you can’t go wrong. * ON POPULARITY *********************** Popularity is an American aberration and best-sellers the surest symptoms of mediocrity. * A CRITIC SPEAKS *************************** “You have been writing for thirty years now and you have changed nothing,” a reader writes implying either shut up or change your tune. Change begins in the heart and what happens there doesn’t make headlines, neither does it penetrate the hick skulls of those in a position to change things, especially if the status quo has been good to them. * WHY ENGLISH? ******************************* I write in English because 99% of what I write would be considered unprintable by our 1%. # My greatest liability: I never mastered the art of flattering the powerful and the rich -- i.e. the scum of the earth. # Was Santa good to you? * Both capitalism and communism have been good to their 1%. What does that tell you about ideologies and belief systems? * My own answer: They introduce meaningless divisions even when they know the result may be the slaughter of countless innocent victims; even when they have been warned “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” # TO MY CRITICS ****************************** Gentle reader: Unlike you, I don’t pretend to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Think of me only as the voice of another school of thought. * Knowledge and understanding are not your enemies. There is no need for you to defend yourself against them. * To think that you can speak the truth and be popular is an American fallacy. * So many first-class literary works have been rejected by publishers or ignored by the public that one is tempted to define writing as composing music for the deaf. # A HISTORY OF DECEPTION *********************************** Turks have been successful in convincing the Yanks (a) we are their Red Indians, and (b) whenever we don’t get our way we engage in acts of terrorists; which is what happened in the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century and more recently all over the world including America. * DUPES **************** We are born dupes. First we believe in the friendly disposition of the Young Turks and now we believe our own leaders when they tell us with our financial support they will have the Genocide recognized by the Yanks. * DUPES (II) ****************** Where would tyrants be without cowardly dupes? * Q ******************* “Melonsmellonous osculations.” Can you guess what’s being said and the identity of the author? # LESSONS ***************** If history teaches us anything it is this: we can be wrong; we can be wrong even when we are right; we can be dead wrong even when God and the Great Powers are on our side. * The #1 concern of our 1% is not to solve our problems but to defend and protect their powers and privileges, which means Plan B only for themselves. * My ideal reader is one who hates to read; which means he has been at the mercy of speechifiers and sermonizers and is thus virgin territory easily impregnated with new ideas. * When I was young, unemployed and unemployable, two senior members of the Party came to see me. Someone had told them I love books and reading. “We are willing to subsidize your university education,” they said, “provided you agree to work for us.” Meaning: We have no use for your garbage; we have our own. Which may explain my present status as an abominable no man. Mart bidi ch’ellank! #

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today at 7:13 AM IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE ************************************* Some of my critics take pleasure in the knowledge that I am a failure and a loser. To them I say, that may well be why I understand the nation. * FANS *************** It is true that our leaders have their share of admirers. But then so did Nero, Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, and Reagan. * LAWYERS AND POLITICIANS **************************************** Can you finish the following sentence? “If the world is in deep shit today it’s because…” * Q ********* Is it possible that I am the only one who thinks the world would have been a better place without Elvis and the Beatles? * Q/A ************ What will happen next? That which you least expect it. # RAFFI'S WARNING AND CHARENTS'S MESSAGE ************************* To prove to a visiting Venetian painter what the neck of a beheaded man really looks like, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, also known as the Lawgiver, had a prisoner brought before him and beheaded. It is said that the Venetian painter (one of the Bellini brothers) was so shocked by the bloody spectacle that he left that same night under cover of darkness. That is the difference between that Venetian painter and us. The Venetian left. We stayed We stayed even after Raffi warned us the Ottoman Empire was no place for us because Turks had no respect for human life. We ignored Raffi's warning in the 19th century as we ignore today Charents's final message concerning our “salvation.” By “we” I mean less the people and more the leaders who speechify during the day about survival and turn into gravediggers under cover of darkness at night. # We are few. We are weak. We are vulnerable. Therefore, we are divided. Which is like saying: “I think. Therefore I am not.” # DISAPPOINTMENTS ************************************ What is life if not an endless series of disappointments? A monster of human frailties, my ambition was to achieve perfection. I wanted to be the wealthiest man on earth but never made more than minimum wage with many intervals of unemployment. As a writer I have failed again and again to convince my readers that the smartest man in business may be an idiot in politics; in the same way that the loveliest woman in the world worshipped from a distance may be no better than a living corpse – all because man is not yet equipped to tell the difference between love and lust. You want to know more about the human condition? Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. # ON UNDERSTANDING ********************************** You want to develop your understanding? Teach yourself to view things through alien eyes including your worst enemy. * Don’t speak of your problems to a friend unless of course you want to make him happy. I remember once, many years ago, when I mentioned a problem to a co-worker – a cute little blonde – she cut me off with the words: “I’ve got problems of my own.” * Wisdom can be found in the most unlikely places. * When I speak of a nation I mean of course its leaders and their dupes. The average law-abiding citizen may not be as smart as his political leaders, but he will be more honest. * Socrates is right: one can guess how honest a man by his income. #

Saturday, December 14, 2013

THE DEFENSE ************************ The Turkish line of defense is simplicity itself: “We did to the Armenians what you did to your Indians.” * The only people who refuse to acknowledge the finality of this statement are our fund-raisers and Hai Tahd (Armenian Case) tax collectors. * If the Greeks in their Golden Age ... found Socrates guilty of a capital offense and executed him, how dare we hope we can get justice from a jury of convicted liars and cut-throats? # ON STATESMANSHIP **************************************** You say he was a great statesman? Tell me, how many of our problems did he solve? A statesman is first and foremost a man of action: he formulates and implements policies which he can do only after developing a consensus. * You say Armenians are ungovernable? In that case a statesman’s function is to make the ungovernable governable. If he cannot do what must be done, he is a failure or, at best, a man not of action but of contemplation. He is more like Naregatsi and less like Gandhi, Churchill, and Mandela. * “He was a man of vision, a great patriot, sincere in his commitments to ideals?” So were Hitler, Mussolini, and Mustapha Kemal Ataturk. # A STORY WITH A HAPPY ENDING ******************************************* When asked to name his favorite role model, one of our intellectuals (let’s call him Comrade Panchoonie) named one of our benefactors (let’s call him Jack S. Avanakian) and was amply rewarded. * SHAHAN SHAHNOUR SPEAKS **************************************** "A French whore is a whore. A German whore is a whore. A Greek whore is a whore. But a whore who writes is an intellectual." * QUESTION *********************** To the anonymous critic who reads and curses everything I write: “Are you the one I once called an inbred moron?” * JUST A GUESS ************************** I wouldn’t be surprised if they said: “Let’s do to our Armenians what the Americans did to their Indians.” But I would be surprised if one of our revolutionaries said: “What if they do to us what the Americans did to their Indians?” #

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HOW TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS ************************************** Tribal divisions are not a verdict without appeal. All we need is a Mandela. If Africans can do it, why can’t we? To those who say,” Why don’t you apply for the job?” I say: I am a failure as a writer. I would be a disaster as a political leader. My job consists in telling it like it is. Mandela? Hell, we couldn’t even come up with an Ataturk. # IN PRAISE OF OLD AGE *********************************** I have been young and I have been old and old is better. * If you are young and you assume to be right, you will be closer to the truth if you assume to be not just wrong but dead wrong; so wrong, in fact, that you may have to spend the rest of your life suffering the consequences of your blunder. * One advantage of old age is that you exercise more freedom in your choice of misery. * I write for dupes and idiots like myself when young. # EXPLANATIONS *********************************** If you have trouble understanding why successive American administrations have refused to recognize the reality of the Genocide here are some easily accessible explanations: Even when dead wrong, might is right. (Please note, I don’t make rules; I only state them as I see them.) Empires speaks a language tribal people don’t understand. Taking care of #1 is their #1 concern. Regimes don’t have principles, only interests. If you refuse to see the light it may be because you prefer to live in darkness (isn’t that what we did for 600 years?) Ignorance is a heavy burden. Lincoln was wrong. You can fool all the people all the time. Consider the long history of organized religions According to Toynbee (who quotes the Bible on almost every page he writes) our demands were unreasonable. It follows; the Turks did what they did because they had no other choice. To those who dismiss my short list of explanations as bullshit, allow me to quote another familiar proverb: “Life is a shit sandwich. The more bread you have the less shit you eat.” # NOISE **************************** The Chinese pictograph for noise is three women under the same roof – or so I remember to have read somewhere. The same word in an imaginary Armenian pictograph: two men. * Homo sapiens? Hell, no! Homo capable of being sapiens? Maybe. * Compared to nothingness (before we were born and after we die) being is an ephemeral dot so tiny that it might as well be invisible to the naked eye. One is almost tempted to say the reason we exist is to experience our own insignificance or nothingness. * When two selfish individuals meet, they learn the importance of altruism. #

Saturday, December 7, 2013

DECEPTION (I) *************************** Everything that needs to be said has been said. The role of our propaganda today is to deceive us into thinking everything that needs to be done is being done when in fact nothing is being done. * DECEPTION (II) In our official version of the story the Genocide was inevitable. Which raises the question: if our leaders cannot foresee the inevitable, what are they good for besides raising funds? * OVERHEARD *********************** “Make friends when you don’t need them.” * “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince.” # TWO OBSERVATIONS ******************************** If a closed mind makes you happy, by all means, follow your bliss. Only be warned. A fool’s happiness is a house without foundations. * In the eyes of some I am a self-hating Armenian because I refuse to rely on the support of men who could be useful to me –bosses, bishops, benefactors, their hirelings, hangers on and dupes. They fail to see the obvious: if I am against these gentlemen it is out of self-respect, and I suggest self-respect and self-hatred are mutually exclusive concepts. # ON THE ORIGINS OF PATRIOTISM ********************************* If I had a choice between visiting Venice or Paris and the ugly little Greek slum where I was born and raised, I would choose the slum but I can’t because it’s no longer there – it was reduced to rubble by the Germans during World War II. * My doubts outnumber my certainties a thousand to one. I am one of those who feel guilty even when they say the right thing and do what must be done. * Judge an underdog by what he would do if he were a top dog. #

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ON POPULARITY ****************************** Popularity is overrated. Neither Socrates nor Jesus was popular. Bach was neglected for a hundred years. Kafka was known only to a handful of close friends. Hegel’s last famous words: “No one understood me except one, and even he didn’t understand me.” My guess is Elvis and the Beatles made more money in a year than Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms combined throughout their lifetime. * Have I said this before? No matter. Some things are worth repeating. # HOW TO BE OBJETIVE *********************************** The only way to be objective is to see oneself through alien eyes. The alternative is to view Catholics through the eyes of the Pope, the Soviets through the eyes of Stalin, and the Chinese through the eye of Mao on the grounds that these gentlemen know better. * One of the most important rules in dialogue: neither side is allowed to say “Yes, sir!” * Ideas like “All men are created equal,” should be judged by their history and not by their intentions. * Archie Bunker is dead, long live the Tea Party! # ON LAWYERS & RELATED ATROCITIES ************************************ Where lawyers prosper, justice suffers. The function of a jury, it has been said, is to decide which side had the more competent legal representation. * Where advertisers prosper, the line that separates fact from illusion will be blurred. * Where there is great wealth, there will also be crooks. Plato’s explanation for this phenomenon: unlike honest men who will employ only honest means, crooks will employ honest as well as dishonest means. * We live in a land of bankers, investment brokers, public relations men, advertisers and lawyers. It follows, we are in deep sh*t. # BOOK REVIEW *********************** 130 TALISMANS. By Kardash Onnig. Foreword by Alexander Boccialini Shundi. Illustrated. 2013. Published by Baraka (P.O. Box 145, Stanfordville, NY 12581). ************************************** Are talismans, also known as “charms,” objects with mystical powers over evil or mumbo jumbo? My reason tells me they belong to the mumbo jumbo department of life, but my subconscious sings a different tune. After a black cat crosses my path, I feel better if I find a penny on the sidewalk. Accuse me of being superstitious and I will deny it. Figure that one out if you can. This illustrated booklet of 130 talismans is the latest opus by our Renaissance man of arts and letters, Onnig Kardash. Each talisman costs $400.00. If they weren’t beyond my income bracket I would love to buy a dozen of them (one for each room in the house) and forever after feel less vulnerable. (For more information write to Transformer #