The Locke Report: January 2016
Happy New Year:
Well 2016 is upon us! Let us make it a good one and a successful journey for all. No resolutions here. My goal is to keep it up. What does that entail, you ask. Well, next month I am going to unveil a new feature titled “Who’s on your corner?” The thought came into focus over a conversation I was having with a close friend. Now I will only see this friend a few times a year or so and, if he is hopscotching around the globe, sometimes not even that. But, the wait is worth it. No matter the subject being discussed it is a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Drinks will be consumed and hefty issues discussed. “I hate you Roger Goodell!” I’ll trade an annual meeting with this friend over a weekly get together with a run-of-the-mill drinking buddy any day. Luckily I have more than one such individual in my life. Back to my corner and who is on it. I am a father/husband, business owner, and author. I take these jobs very seriously and pour my heart and soul into each pursuit. It is a busy life. It is a fun life. It is highly rewarding. So, to be on my corner you need to be living life peddle to the meddle. Think of it this way, Pacino is on De Niro’s corner, Manning on Tom Brady’s, and so on. Who is on yours?
The primary season is upon us and while the Democratic candidate has been effectively sewn up the cattle herd of Republicans still marches clumsily along the dusty campaign trail. Trump leads by a wide margin. At least according to the polls. So did Howard Dean. YEE HAW!! I say Trump is out of the running sooner than later after the booths are open. But, for now, he is front and center.
And Hillary has taken notice. It has been said that you never get into a pissing match with a skunk. However, that is exactly what Hill did. She called the Donald out for his sexist behavior and comments. Ouch! The wife of Bill Clinton opined on another man’s views on women. Ever watch a prize fighter walk straight into an overhand right? Yeah, it was like that. Trump threw it out there and HC jumped. He’s good. Slobbish, boorish, offensive, but highly effective in this era of shit shoveling.
It also brought up a good question. Are Bill’s past sexual indiscretions fair game on the road to the White House?
The Hillary File:
The answer to that question is yes. Full disclosure here: If Bill were able to run for President in this cycle he would have my vote. He has a unique combination of political wisdom, intelligence, and savvy and we were lucky to have him for eight years. I’m a fan. He’s probably a great dad as well. Bill will be awesome on the campaign trail. Can’t wait. What he is not is an ideal husband. Probably wasn’t from the get go. Let’s face it, the dude is a legendary stickman! And, yes, ‘unwanted advances‘ & ‘Bill Clinton‘ have often joined hands in the same sentence. Depositions as well! Dude has taken a $1.5 Million haircut over the years. Go have a look at the Bill Clinton Sexual Misconduct page at Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_sexual_misconduct_allegations). It is lengthy.
So, if Hill wants to weigh in on this serious issue, including sexual predatory behavior in the workplace, that is fine. In fact, she should. Hill is an accomplished woman who has found success in a world dominated by men. The more power to her. But, she cannot expect a pass on the Bill issue.
It does however go to the issue of political ambition. I’m not sure we have ever seen such naked ambition in a politician’s grasp for the brass ring as we are witnessing in Hillary’s decade long run for the oval office. Perhaps, putting up with Bill’s infidelities was but one distasteful hurdle along the way. But, by putting up with the rampant skirt chasing, was she enabling a workplace sexual predator?
The Sport Page:
NFL Football sucked this year. A total disaster! Bad play, bad officiating, disgraceful actually, injuries galore, coaching gaffes, bad teams, and no good story lines. Cannot forget the announcers. Case in point. Jim Nantz is announcing the Denver Broncos the other day when Peyton Manning is brought of the bench. Remember Meg Ryan’s marvelous fake orgasm scene. Yep, like that. Let’s just say Jim’s bromance with Peyton led to a sticky on air moment. “Clean up, press box #2!” Oh yeah, Roger Goodell is an arsehole! Ah, ok, that made me feel better. The playoffs are here! My Patriots have a week to rest, heal, and get back to kicking ass. Now I feel even better. But I won’t, I tell you, no way, am I watching Kansas City v. Houston! You can’t make me. This from a diehard NFL fan…
College ball was better. Much better! Innovative and varied styles of play. Interesting storylines: Christian McCaffrey! Clemson!! ‘Bama is a behemoth, incredibly well-coached, talent laden, and an absolute bore to watch. That’s ok when you are ripping off championship runs every other year. Vince Lombardi would be quite comfortable with Nick Saban’s style of ball. In fact, I think a Cajun Voodoo Queen got a lock of Vince’s hair and maybe a thumbnail, kidnapped poor Nick, and voila a Hall of Fame coach was conjured up.
‘Bama 27-Clemson 20 final score for upcoming Monday’s championship game. One more year like this and we’re tossing NFL in the backseat.
Basketball only enters my conscience after the Super Bowl. BUT…”Warriors Come Out To Play…” My oh my these Golden State Warriors will ruin your night! 33-2 as of this writing. Spectacular unselfish play which harkens back to the days of Red Auerbach & Bill Russell.
Spotlight: On Kevin Cummings!
Kevin Cummings, born in Berkeley, CA has lived in Bangkok, Thailand since 2001. Kevin’s interviews, book reviews and non-fiction short stories have been featured in the Bangkok Post, Bangkok 101 Magazine, and Chiang Mai CityNews. Kevin blogs at Thailand Footprint about the people, places, literature and music of Thailand. Bangkok Beat is his first published book. Kevin can be found here: http://peoplethingsliterature.com/ & here: http://peoplethingsliterature.com/bangkok-beat-the-store/
Q: Kevin, If somebody had only one night in Bangkok, dude, what would you do? One night in Bangkok, it has been said, makes a hard man crumble. Make me crumble!!
The Bangkok night. One night you say? I like that song, “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head. I admit that publicly. The lyrics serve the rookie or old Asia hand alike with some good advice. Memorize the lyrics is the first thing I’d tell your friend. That’s your best bible in Bangkok. The second thing I’d advise is, don’t sing along if you find yourself somewhere where that tune is playing. You don’t have to leave; just don’t sing. Please. Hotel California is another story. Feel free to leave anywhere at any time if that song comes on.
There are 1,001 things to do in the Bangkok Night on any given night. I’d need to know more about your friend. Does he or she want to shoot for the stars and move like Jaggar does, with a baseball cap on, attempting to be incognito? Or is he more the exhibitionist type, like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, looking for a menage au twelve? Do they get their pleasures from the waist up or the waist down? Then I would tell them they have the wrong Cummings. I’d recommend, for a whirlwind of the Bangkok night, to retain the services of Joe Cummings, the former Lonely Planet travel writer and columnist at Bangkok 101 Magazine. Joe’s Bangkok is available for guide duty and he’s very good at it. He speaks and writes Thai fluently, which could come in handy for understanding unfriendly smoke signals. The somebodies Joe has navigated through Bangkok include Mick Jaggar and Tyler. Joe also knows the live music scene onstage and off. You’ll want to make sure your music comes from real live musicians for at least part of your night.
I’m very comfortable knowing what I don’t know. I do a pretty good job of entertaining myself and my friends on a good night. You won’t find me eating at the Blue Elephant. The fascinating thing about Bangkok is it is a city where most anything is possible. The interesting thing for me is observing what people choose to make possible. It all comes down to taste. Don’t choose wisely. Go somewhere seedy. You’ll be spoiled for choice. Wisdom is good in the long run – not for 12 hours. Keep your mood positive no matter what happens, use a water taxi as the sun sets, talk to strangers, eat some street food of something you’re not sure of (skip the condiments), make sure your hotel room is classy enough to have a working peephole, in case the Somerset Maugham Suite is occupied, and avoid being taken to jail. Call me when you feel better.
Q: Your blog, Thailand Footprint, has become increasingly popular over the past three years. You have done many insightful interviews. I guess, through experience, you have a preconceived idea of your subject. Who has surprised you?
A: My goals are simple ones. I like to ask questions I am genuinely curious about. And I prefer to have no preconceived idea what the answer will be. It’s the exact opposite of what trial lawyers are told: never ask a question that you don’t know the answer too. Those questions I’ll skip. If I am learning something new, chances are my readers may be too.
The level of cooperation across the board has been the most pleasant surprise. As for who, two women come straight to mind: the author Cara Black and the Muay Ying Champion, Melissa Ray. Cara was on vacation and I had only 24 hours to get an interview in order to publish it in time before Night of Noir II. She could not have been more pleasant or cooperative, over the internet and in person. The Melissa Ray interview at the Eminent Air Boxing Gym, with Eric Nelson accompanying me to take photographs, was so enjoyable the three of us did a second one at the gym a year later. Melissa had been interviewed and written about in a few other places, and yet she was pleased with how both interviews turned out and wrote about it too. It never hurts to ask. Set your sights high, Thom.
Q: Living in Bangkok, as you do, is an East meets West adventure. Can you describe your journey?
A: Garrison Keillor said, “Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”
It’s been a great journey, full of highs and lows, and luck has played a large role. I met my wife, who is Thai, in Perth, Western Australia on a vacation 15 years ago that was scheduled for four weeks and became three months, with the blessing of an understanding employer. My internet business was starting to take off at the same time. Australia I enjoy but it is still a Western culture where the toilets swirl in the opposite direction. The differences are small. My first morning in Bangkok it was pouring rain; the sky was gray as was some of the air. I went out on my 4th floor balcony in Ari neighborhood and there were sparks shooting out from a transformer box near the top of a tilted wooden pole. Huge sparks. Fourth of July sparks. Six to ten feet in length and half as wide. Wires every which way, many of them loose. I thought the box would explode. Molten metal dropped down on the awning protecting a noodle shop below. It burned tiny holes straight through to the white plastic tables. Later that day, the sun was out and four of us ate at that same noodle shop. A great meal. The bill came to baht 120. I was hooked from Day 1. When I am bored in Bangkok I have only myself to blame.
Q: Back to Thailand Footprint. Is there a topic which you are eager to grapple with in 2016?
A: Change. I’m hoping for change in Thailand. As Bob Dylan said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” I don’t have any say in which direction it blows but I can adjust my sails accordingly and that is the plan. My wife and I will return to Northern California in March. After 18 straight months of happiness in Bangkok I’m ready to emote in my own culture. We’ll be back.
Q: Bangkok Beat has become a success. You have said, “I am not a writer.” You are however an author. Do you see yourself picking up the pen again?
A: If Bangkok Beat is a success, it’s because it got and continues to get into the hands of the right readers and critics. I received tons of cooperation, from you and many others. Mark Fenn deserves a mention as copy editor for turning straw into gold. Books as money spinners are rarer than a true artist. When I look back at 2015 and the process of writing and publishing Bangkok Beat, I realize I have been a words guy for a long time. Being involved in summarizing legal depositions, which are real life stories and interviews, is a good apprenticeship for writing a book like Bangkok Beat. It provides a good education too. The last book of non-fiction I read in 2015 was Stephen King – On Writing. A terrific tome for anyone interested in the craft. King keeps me enthused about the future. But new challenges intrigue me too, which don’t involve writing. The word you mention, author, is one I have long liked. But not the primary definition. It’s the secondary meaning that appeals to me: “A person who starts or creates something (such as a plan or idea).” So I hope to be an author for my lifetime. Just don’t expect to see that word on my Facebook page anytime soon. I’ll gladly leave that to the pros like you and others who have written a lot and are much published. I want to keep on creating plans and ideas for as long as the curtain remains high during Act III of life. I’m in no hurry for the show to end.
Neither are we my friend!
Kevin is pictured here with bestselling author Cara Black. Here is Cara’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Cara-Black/e/B001JPAA28
Ok, that’s enough. Music & Movies next month. Until then, hope your 2016 gets off to a rollicking start and I will try to be more entertaining and insightful next time!!