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International Teletimes Volume 03 Number 03

eZine's profile picture
Published in 
International Teletimes
 · 26 Apr 2019

  

I N T E R N A T I O N A L T E L E T I M E S

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¥ Vol. 3 No. 3 April 1994 ¥
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CONTENTS
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-- Features --

SEPERATE REALITIES: INDIA
"What can a visitor hope to absorb of India in a short
time? Nothing but glimpses, dancers captured in the light
of a flash gun. How you see a place affects what you see,
how you feel affects what you experience."
- by Dr. Euan Taylor

TSUKUBA: SCIENCE CITY
"Founded in the 1970's, Tsukuba is amongst the newest
cities in Japan, a nation in which most towns and cities
have histories spanning centuries. It's also Japan's
Technological capital."
- by Surekha and Prasad Akella

IMPRESSIONS OF THAILAND
"Thai society is extremely status-conscious. Your social
status depends on many factors: monetary wealth, family
connections, relatedness to the royal family, religious
standing, and so forth."
- by Ken Ewing

HAWAII PUBCRAWL
"But what do you do after you've returned the snorkel gear
and showered off your Goldfinger-like suit of number-137
sunscreen? Watch TV in your room?"
- by Ken Eisner

GUATEMALA TRAVEL NOTES
"I was told of a German tourist who became so seriously
dehydrated that a med-evac to Guatemala City was
necessary. Once there, his passport was confiscated and a
bill for $12 000 was presented for the helicopter ride."
- by Brian Quinby

TORONTO TO VANCOUVER BY TRAIN
"Every now and then we pass a lake, completely frozen
over, flat and white, smooth as a skating rink. I'd love
to walk to the center of a big frozen lake like that and
just sit there for a while. I'd feel like the first blot
of paint on a fresh silk canvas."
- by Paul Gribble


-- Departments --

THE LATIN QUARTER
"On the night Marcos arrived in San Cristobal, he was
serenaded by women with hired guitarists outside the 16th
century cathedral where he was staying. In Mexico City,
women talk about spending a 'fantasy night in the jungle'
with Marcos, and others have confessed to discussing their
lust for the dashing leader with their psychiatrists."
- by Andreas Seppelt

"These are strange times for Mexico - awash in scandal,
kidnappings, armed insurrection, assassinations, and
swirling conspiracy theories; only four months ago it all
seemed so fine."
- by Andreas Seppelt

KEEPERS OF LIGHT
"An excellent darkroom technician, Wolchock seldom employs
any tricks or manipulative techniques in his work,
preferring to concentrate on strong images that present
best when simply properly printed."
- by Kent Barrett

DEJA VU
"Writing an article in a forum such as Teletimes about a
topic like gun control can be quite difficult...It is the
author's hope that this brief article will suggest to the
reader that further inquiry is required before forming an
opinion about the right to keep and bear arms."
- by Gerry Roston

MUSIC NOTES
"Long a favorite of critics, John Hiatt has undergone a
transformation from angry '70s new waver to tasteful roots
rocker, all the while turning out songs that other
musicians have lined up to cover."
- by Jay Hipps

THE WINE ENTHUSIAST
"Like wine, beer is a wonderful alcoholic beverage that
can have complexity, sophistication, and be a delight to
the senses. Like wine as well, the majority of beer
produced is made to appeal to as wide a market of
consumers as possible, and because of this most beers lack
the above mentioned qualities. "
- by Tom Davis

NEWS ROOM
"Should we limit what represents 'acceptable' opinion, or
are universities and colleges places where it should be
possible and acceptable to express any opinion without
restraint? If there are to be limits on the permissible --
what should they be and how should they be defined ?"
- by Dr. Euan Taylor, Jon Gould, Paul Gribble

CUISINE
"Chiles are exceptionally good for you. High in vitamin C,
the chile adds flavor to food without adding many
calories, sodium, or fat. Poorer countries have known for
years that you can feel full on less food if the food is
highly spiced."
- by Brian Silver


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EDITOR'S NOTE
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-- Photo Contest! --

Welcome to the 16th issue of International Teletimes. It's
my pleasure to announce the first annual Teletimes
Photography Contest, PHOTON '94! Kent Barrett, our
Photography columnist, along with a couple of other well
known Vancouver photographers, will be judging the photos.
Winners to be announced in the July '94 issue. Prizes have
not yet been finalized, although we are guaranteeing a
colour Teletimes tee-shirt to the winner in each category.
Cash prizes are a possibility if we get sufficient entries.
The deadline for entries is May 31st. For more details, see
the official information sheet and entry form at the end of
this issue. Stay tuned for new developments.

I'd like to ask all of our readers to help us promote this
contest by downloading the Photon '94 poster from our FTP
site, printing it out, and distributing copies to
photography stores and other such places in your area. The
poster consists of two postscript files (front and back) and
can be found at ftp.wimsey.com in the /pub/photon_94
directory. We would greatly appreciate your help.

One last thing before I let you go on to read the rest of
the issue. I'd like to welcome Ken Eisner aboard Teletimes.
Ken is a writer from the Georgia Straight, a Vancouver
Weekly newspaper who will be running a new Arts &
Entertainment here in Teletimes, starting May '94. You can
see his article, Hawaii Pubcrawl, in this issue (Features).

Ian Wojtowicz
Editor-in-Chief


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MAILBOX
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-- Los Ego-Boosters --

You are setting a high standard for electronic zines! Keep
up the good work. Also, it is nice to see that your subject
matter is not restricted to topics that would be,
stereotypically, of interest only to net junkies.
- Seth R. Trotz, Brookline, MA, USA

This is great -- I really enjoyed the editorial content, the
style, and the inline art (the Gallery show and interview).
KEEP IT UP. This is the future of on-line journalism.
- Andrew Shaindlin

THANKS GUYS. WE LOVE ENCOURAGEMENT! LOOK FOR SOME GREAT
IMPROVEMENTS IN THE MONTHS TO COME...


-- A True Teletimes Fan --

Last month, Martin Janzen became the first reader to donate
money to Teletimes. We'd like to thank him publicly and let
everyone know that donations are being saved up to be
reinvested into the magazine (ie: eventually paying
contributors, photo contest prizes...) THANKS MARTIN!!!
(Donation information is provided in the Teletimes
Staff/Info section.)

On Wed, 16 Mar 94, Martin Janzen writes:
For WWW readers it'd be nice to get an e-mail message saying
that the new issue is available, without getting all 1600+
lines of the email version...

GOOD SUGGESTION. I'VE NOW CREATED A MAILING LIST FOR WWW
READERS. IF YOU ARE READING THIS ON THE WEB AND WOULD LIKE
TO GET NOTICES OF NEW ISSUES, MAIL ME AT
EDITOR@TELETIMES.COM AND I'LL PUT YOU ON THE LIST.


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FEATURES
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-- Separate Realities: India --

You can see a lot of a place without really seeing anything,
or see very little of it and still see a great deal. This
was brought forcibly home to me by a recent trip to India. I
spent just over a week in Rajasthan, travelling, living
cheaply, seeing things that tourists see. One face of India.
The second half of my stay was spent in and around Delhi to
see two of my friends (both Indian) get married. Suddenly, I
was face to face with (one part of) the real India, not a
posed photo, not a cardboard cut out for the foreigner, not
an image from years ago. For the first time I felt myself in
a fundamentally different place.

What can a visitor hope to absorb of India in a short time?
Nothing but glimpses, dancers captured in the light of a
flash gun. How you see a place affects what you see, how you
feel affects what you experience.

India can be a very cheap place to visit, how much you spend
can be however much you want, it depends on your tastes. The
biggest problem with India and the arrival in Delhi is the
shock of the new. If you are thinking of going (and I
strongly recommend it) then make a hotel booking for the
first night before you arrive, and don't worry too much if
you are getting ripped off by the taxi driver that first
day. Try and get out of Delhi the first full day, get a
train to Jaipur, or Jodhpur, or just somewhere else and save
Delhi for another time. (Speaking for myself, I hated Delhi
when I arrived, but when I went back a week later it was a
wonderful, vibrant place. I had changed, not Delhi.) In
Jaiselmer stay in the walled city if you can do it. By all
means take a camel safari but don't book one until you have
looked around at the prices. Some travel guides say you
should take a full 4 days of camel safari to see the desert
etc. For me, once you have seen the desert, it is not
especially interesting, the scenery is quite repetitive, and
riding a camel is very uncomfortable. The only people I met
who really, unreservedly, enjoyed their desert trip had just
hired a motor bike for the day and buzzed off alone.

In general, be prepared for the slowness of things in India,
if you keep looking at your watch and worrying about your
schedule you'll go nuts. Don't be surprised or unduly
worried by long pauses, or painfully slow progress on the
roads and railways, it is normal. Also stay away from
anything run by the official government tourist agency. If
you want to go to the Taj Mahal do not take a bus trip from
Delhi, take the daily express train to and from Agra. It is
cheaper, much quicker, gives you much more time and freedom
to look around, and gets you back to Delhi hours earlier.

That's it for my tourist bit, now what about India? During
my "holiday" I barely scratched the surface of India. As a
tourist I never felt as if I was in India, just looking at
it. A week later I had begun to see beneath the skin of this
wonderful land and its culture, it was a different place
from the one I had just visited.

When I was a guest, my experience was undoubtedly shaped by
the attentions and deference of my hosts although they
eventually started to relax a little (and so did I). But
several things have rooted in my mind:

-- In general, the shop keepers the taxi drivers, the
officials, and practically everyone with any publicly
displayed reponsibility was a man. Having said that, in my
friends family there were several daughters, one a hospital
doctor, one a scientist (doing her Ph.D.) in North America.
However much one may generalise, it is important to realise
that things are always changing.

-- The coffee (which I was offered every ten minutes) was
very milky, very sweet and quite weak. It seemed perfectly
natural and normal in India but if I was offered it here I'd
probably spit it out. The things going on around you can
deeply affect what you find acceptable and even pleasant.

-- Hand shaking. Having once been introduced to people at
the house (guests, relatives etc.), every time I ran into
them they would make a point of shaking hands and saying
hello. I got used to it, but the apparent formality of it
made me extremely uncomfortable for a few days.

-- Servants. In a moderately well off household, middle
class, not too fancy by western standards, people frequently
have servants. In fact, they may lack many of the "modern
conveniences" many of us take for granted (like a dish
washer, a stereo system, a coffee maker, a home computer or
whatever). But they are more likely to have servants, to do
the washing, the ironing, the cooking, maybe even the
driving. Human labour is cheaper and easier to obtain than
many other things and it keeps a lot of Indians employed.

-- Kindness and friendliness. I was overwhelmed by the
kindness and generosity (I mean social rather than
financial) of my friends' families. I had begun to accept
India as a rough, dirty, aggressive, tiresome place, but now
I found it warm, relaxed, friendly and sophisticated. It was
suddenly a wonderfully enriching and uplifting experience to
simply be there amongst these people. (And yes being with a
well off family must have helped to shape that perception.)

-- Indian society is very different from North American (in
general). Parents and adults and older people are generally
more respected. Marriage, children, and a decision to suit
the family are much more expected and normal than might be
the case here. It was particularly sobering to encounter the
real differences in how Indians saw their society. Some
thought that it was a privilege to be a good son/daughter, a
fulfilment, a service to others to bring up children, get
them married, have grand-children, etc. Some saw merely a
cycle of dependency, look after your kids, teach them to be
dependent on you until they get married and have job, then
they will teach their children to be dependent and therefore
obedient. Is the bottle half full, or is it half empty?

-- Richness. From my place as guest and friend in a
relatively very well off family, the dirty, squalid,
crowded, noisy, disorganised society of Delhi appeared
entirely different. From that point of view it was exciting,
alive, interesting, vivid, striking, almost intoxicating.

My final feeling (which may pass) is that there is no such
thing as the truth about any country. There are only points
of view. I don't mean anything so trivial sounding as
"different opinions," I mean real substantive differences in
nature of reality depending on the situation from which you
see a thing. The true situation, the true nature of society,
real life, are all subjective (to a large extent). Despite
the incredulity of some of the more narrow minded people
around here, I understand why my friends are so homesick for
that country, why it is home, and this place is not. I have
always understoood homesickness in an intellectual sense of
course, though never really felt it. Now I have seen two
people I know quite well in the North American environment
slip so comfortably and easily and naturally into a place in
a fundamentally different life in a society whose conceptual
basis is different from mine. Now I see them perhaps with
slightly different eyes because I have seen some of the
forces which have shaped them. I understand in my stomach
what they miss (even if I could never feel at home there).

- Dr. Euan Taylor, Winnipeg, Canada
etaylor@cc.umanitoba.ca

-- Tsukuba Science City: The City of the Future? --

The chances are that you have not heard of Tsukuba (Science
City). We don't blame you, many Japanese haven't even heard
of it! In fact, when we first moved to Tsukuba from Palo
Alto, California, we were certain that the travel books we
had read were written by people who had never set foot in
Japan. After all, weren't the roads nice and wide? and
straight? and tree lined? Where was the amazing public
transport system that had been so eloquently described? The
beautiful, old temples and castles? The ladies in bright
kimonos? Could it be that we were back in the United States?

Well, not quite. Founded in the 1970's, Tsukuba is amongst
the newest cities in Japan, a nation in which most towns and
cities have histories spanning centuries. It's also Japan's
Technological capital.

Until the 70's, most of the Japanese national labs (run by
either the infamous Ministry for International Trade and
Industry, MITI, or by the Science and Technology Agency of
Japan) were located in the Tokyo metropolitan area. With the
growth of the Japanese economy, and the realization that it
was time to start generating the ideas in addition to the
products engineered elsewhere in the world, the national
government decided that it was time to expand these labs. It
was also decided that the labs should be located close to
each other so as to foster inter-disciplinary work. To
relocate a dozen labs to a spacious campus, which are home
to a few thousand researchers, was quite a challenge. As
almost everyone knows, the cost of real estate in Tokyo is
astronomical. So, rather than spend a fortune trying to find
room in Tokyo, someone decided that it was time to build a
new city. The rest is history.

Tsukuba was placed bang in the middle of a little pine
forest and some paddy fields, about 60 kilometers north of
Tokyo. (The pine forest was the only contiguous piece of
land available within a reasonable distance of Tokyo.) While
the labs started moving out from the late 70's, Tsukuba was
formally inaugurated in 1985 when the World Expo was held
here. In one of the inaugural shows, a wonderful
anthropomorphic robot from the Waseda University grabbed the
attention of the visitors. This humanoid played the piano
along with an entire orchestra in a concert! Having labored
to build similar machines, I was extremely impressed -- even
after I visited Waseda and heard that an army (50-100) of
graduate students had hand coded every motion that the poor
robot made. The infrastructure that was set up for the Expo
became the basis for the Science City.

Today, Tsukuba is home to about 170 000 people associated
with about 50 government labs, about 50 corporate R & D labs
and a couple of national universities. (Depending on who is
counting, and what the criteria are, I have seen numbers of
up to 190 labs!) By bringing in the multi-nationals along
side the Japanese corporate and national labs, it was hoped
that Tsukuba could become another Cambridge or Palo Alto.
The unstated hope was that the Nobel prizes would start
flowing in once people settled into this intellectual
atmosphere. Reality, sadly, is quite different from this
wonderful dream. What has resulted is an interesting mix of
good and bad. At the positive end is the variety of
excellent labs of international stature located in town
while at the negative end is the fact that folks here do not
really believe in collaborations. For the Japanophiles
reading this article, we suggest that you take a look at an
interesting volume of the magazine, "Science" [see end of
article] for details on the Tsukuba area, on the national
and corporate labs in the city, and on MITI's role.

A city which was founded as far back as 20 years ago does
not really provide one with much to talk about. So we shall
only briefly touch upon the life here. Unlike most cities in
Japan which are unplanned, Tsukuba is a planned city. A
consequence of this is that there is a campus-like feeling.
Architecture is fairly standard (brick and glass
construction in the MITI campus). Buildings are separated by
paddy fields and open spaces. The city itself is large,
spanning five smaller cities that were combined to form the
new city. However, the core of the city is small -- it takes
less than a half hour to ride through the main part of town!
As the public transport system is almost nonexistent, bikes
are a common mode of transport. Of particular interest is
that fact that the poor public transport system has spawned
off a Silicon Valley-like atmosphere where almost everyone
drives around. The wide roads have spawned off their own
sub-cultures amongst the more lively kids. One bunch, called
the "bozozukas," attempt to vent their feelings by removing
the silencers on their Harley-Davidsons and Hondas and
thereafter proceeding to blast the neighborhoods with the
deep roar of their powerful engines. Another group meets
every Friday and Saturday night for a most interesting "you-
stay-in-your-car-while-I-stay-in-mine" dating (mating?)
drama. They cruise down the road in two's, talking across
open windows. Things are so different in Tsukuba that we
have had Japanese friends come up from the more traditional
Kyoto and Osaka areas, only to shake their heads and wonder
if they were in Japan or in the US!

We find this bizarre mix of new and old to be most
fascinating. So, if you are looking for a place to relax in
and to mix with the people who are striving to have
something to do with the future of mankind, while not having
to mess around with the bustle of Tokyo...Tsukuba is for
you! If you do decide to head to these parts, remember to
give us a call! We might even show you around...

- Surekha and Prasad Akella, Tsukuba, Japan
prasad@mel.go.jp

Sources
"Science in Japan," Science, Volume 258, 23 October 1992.


-- Impressions of Thailand --

In 1992 we spent two weeks in Thailand as part of a South
East Asia trip. We spent one week in Bangkok and one week in
the North, around the city of Chiang Mai. The following
article describes some of my impressions of Thai culture.

Every few years I get to take an exotic trip somewhere in
the world. I usually travel with friends and we create our
own itinerary. Packaged tours have their place, but I prefer
the adventure of finding my own way around. I typically
spend up to a year studying about a country before going. I
like the sense of adventure and challenge that comes from
finding my way around a strange, exotic place. I always
embark on a trip with a bit of a fantasy of being like James
Bond starting a mission.

A Few Cultural Points

One main point of Thai culture is the idea of status. Thai
society is extremely status-conscious. Your social status
depends on many factors: monetary wealth, family
connections, relatedness to the royal family, religious
standing, and so forth. Personal interactions follow a
rather strict protocol depending on the relative difference
of social status between two people (most of this protocol
goes completely unnoticed to foreigners). The Thai language
has something like 28 different words for the pronoun "you"
to be used between differing levels of status (i.e.;
depending on whether you are talking to someone of higher
status, lower status, and greater or lesser differentials of
either, or if you don't know the status of the other).

Another dominant point of Thai culture is what we might call
a strong element of superstition. For millennia the Thai
people believed that innumerable spirits populated the land.
These spirits (which are generally unpredictable) can
favorably or unfavorably affect the lives of people. With
this in mind, it becomes important to appease these spirits
and avoid offending them. At least in some measure, you
still find this kind of belief in Thai culture. And if this
belief is not exactly literal, it is at least figurative or
latent in that Thai culture is extremely conscious of fate
and luck. Astrologers and fortune tellers are ubiquitous in
Thailand. There also are numerous national lotteries, and
one dominant cultural characteristic in Thailand is the
constant search for the "lucky break."

People

The Thai people are exceptionally friendly, so much so that
after a while you begin to distrust it (as if you were being
set up for something). Occasionally you might really be set
up -- I got my pocket picked on my last day in Bangkok.
Oftentimes I think that the Thai people see a Westerner and
just want to practice their English. You will be walking
down the street and someone will just start talking to you
as if they know you well. It can be fun, but it also can be
so incessant as to become bothersome after a day or two.

Some Practical Points

The monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht (abbreviated "B").
The exchange rate is about 25:1 (i.e.; 1 B equals around 4
cents US). My trick was to remember that 100 B equals
US$4.00.

A map of Bangkok is a must. There are some good tourist maps
that list interesting things to see. They are also good for
overcoming language barriers with taxi drivers, bus
attendants, etc. Your hotel or guest house probably sells
maps, but if not, there are lots of bookstores around town.

One of the most important rules for Bangkok is DICKER ON THE
PRICE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING! Except for the bigger stores,
most prices are haggled. This includes taxis, tuk-tuks,
street markets, food stands, etc. Especially before riding a
taxi, tuk-tuk, or long-tailed boat, ABSOLUTELY AGREE ON A
PRICE BEFORE GETTING IN.

Transportation

There are numerous ways to get around town in Bangkok. Taxis
are the most luxurious mode, relatively speaking. Some are
air conditioned, some are not. 50 B will take you pretty
much anywhere in the downtown area. Tuk-tuks are a tradition
in Thailand. These are three-wheeled, two-stroke motorcycles
with a canopy over the back. Ex-kamikazes drive them. They
are generally cheaper than taxis, but they are open-air
vehicles that spew clouds of blue exhaust. Busses are fairly
easy to figure out. There are bus maps at all the stops. The
busses cost 4-7 B. For water transportation, there are three
kinds of boats: water ferries (which simply go across the
river), express boats (which travel up and down the river),
and long-tail boats (which are the "taxi cabs" of the river
and canals). For the water ferries and express boats, you
pay at a ticket counter on the dock (1 B for the water
ferries, 4-7 B for the express boat). For the long-tail
boats, dicker for the price.

Food

Of all the oriental cuisines, Thai has always been my
favorite. And I must say, the one thing that I most missed
when I left Thailand was the food! Even an average Mom-and-
Pop foodcart on a street corner had the best-tasting Thai
food I've ever had. Thai restaurants in the US just don't
seem the same to me anymore.

All the travel books warn about the food and drink in
Thailand, and rightfully so. The books warn against eating
from any street vendor. After a few days we regularly ate
from the street carts, and we never got sick. Actually, you
are more likely to get sick from the dishes than from the
food, since the dishes might be washed in the local water.
As a rule, you should avoid drinking any water or fluids
that don't come from a sealed container. Avoid foods that
could have been washed in water (such as salads, fruits,
etc., although fruits that can be peeled, like oranges and
bananas, are OK). Also avoid foods that have been sitting
out for long periods of time.

In general, we thought we could judge if a given food stand
was okay. The ones we ate from seemed to have fresh food
that was made daily. Also, if you really get desperate,
there are plenty of McDonald's, Arby's, and the like (the
ice and the soft drinks in these places were safe).

Religion and Culture

Religion is an overwhelmingly dominant characteristic of
Thai culture. You cannot understand Thai culture without
becoming acquainted with the religious heritage of the
country, which revolves around Buddhism.

Buddhism came to Thailand around the 12th century when
Buddhist missionaries traveled there from Sri Lanka.
Thailand today is one of the most thoroughly Buddhist
nations in the world (95% of the population). The country
has 30 000 temples (450 in Bangkok, 300 in Chiang Mai). Thai
Buddhism incorporates many of the animist beliefs that were
prevalent before Buddhism came (such as beliefs in spirits
of the land and the household). The result is a unique
religious mix that sets Thai Buddhism apart from Buddhism in
other countries.

For example, everywhere you go in Thailand, you see what
look like fancy birdhouses in front of buildings. Some of
these "birdhouses" are very ornate, like miniature temples.
In reality, these are "spirit houses." One characteristic of
these spirits is that they are very capricious and easily
offended. A big part of the culture for centuries has been
to appease these spirits and avoid offending them. One way
of doing this is to keep them away from you, especially out
of your house. But how do you get spirits out of your house?
Answer: build them a house of their own, of course. But how
do you guarantee that they will leave your house and go to
the spirit house? Answer: make the spirit house "better"
than your house. You also want to make sure the spirits know
you have not forgotten them (they might be offended), so you
leave little offerings (food, flowers, incense) at the
spirit house from time to time.

The highest-ranking social class in Thailand is the Buddhist
monk. (The King ranks #2 behind the lowliest monk.) For this
reason, there are many rules for social propriety when
around the monks and temples. For example, when in a temple,
never sit in a lotus position. This is the position that the
monks sit in, and for a layman to sit in this position is to
say that you are equal in status to the monk. (The proper
way to sit is to bend down with your knees to the floor,
knees together, sitting on the heels of your feet, with your
feet pointed behind you.) If a monk approaches you at a
temple, a Thai Buddhist will bow down three times with his
face to the floor (the symbolic meaning is that the layman's
head is lower than the feet of the monk).

Monks live a very simple lifestyle. They are forbidden to
have money. They live in very austere quarters. They have
very few possessions, mainly consisting of their saffron
robe and a food plate. Monks are allowed to have at most
only two meals a day: one at daybreak and one at midday. The
midday meal must be completed before noon, after which the
monk may not eat again until daybreak the next day. If you
rise early (around 6:00 AM or so), you will see the monks
wandering the streets gathering their food for the day. In
Thai culture a monk collects his food from the people. He
wanders the area with his food plate (which looks like a
large pie plate) and the people bring food items and put
them into the plate. When the plate is full, the monk has
collected his food for that day. Here in the West we might
look on this practice as freeloading, but in Thailand it is
seen as a service. Buddhism in Thailand (unlike the
philosophical varieties that I have heard described in the
US) is an elaborate system of "works righteousness" (i.e.;
it consists of rituals and deeds designed to acquire
heavenly merit.) One way for a layman to gain heavenly merit
is to give food to the monks. So, by wandering around early
in the morning, the monks are providing a service to the
people by giving them an opportunity to gain heavenly merit.

One of the biggest ways to acquire heavenly merit is to
become a monk. Thai men are not required to become monks
during their lives, but they are strongly encouraged. The
minimum "tour of duty" is one rainy season (about 1-3 months
-- my sources differ on the exact duration). To become a
monk, you must be a man (most men who become monks do so
around age 20). There is a ordination that takes place in
July (the beginning of the rainy season). You must vow to
obey 227 rules of conduct, including poverty, chastity, etc.
You can choose to remain a monk for as long as you want
after the minimum stay. In the Buddhist scheme, becoming a
monk not only gives merit to the man, but also to the man's
whole family. Hence you see mothers urging their sons to
become monks so that the whole family can benefit. Thai
women can become Buddhist "nuns", but this does not carry
the same status (or heavenly merit) that comes from being a
monk.

Buddhist temples are fabulously ornate. They usually contain
many gold images of the Buddha in any of five postures (two
in a lotus position, two standing, and one reclining -- each
posture has a particular significance). Conduct inside a
temple is often different from a Westerner's expectation.
Particularly, we tend to equate a Buddhist temple with a
Christian church. The significant difference is that the
Christian church service is a corporate affair, where the
people assembled participate as a group. In the Buddhist
temple, though, the worshipers are very individualistic.
Each person is carrying out an individual ritual strictly
for himself or herself, so you can walk around, watch,
engage in conversation, etc. (i.e.; without seeking to be
arrogant or obnoxious) and you will not be intruding upon
the activities around you.

A typical Buddhist ritual consists of the individual
bringing (or buying) some incense sticks, candles, and a
piece of gold leaf. The worshipper bows down before the
Buddha statue, engages is some ritualistic prayers while
shaking the incense sticks, then lights the incense and the
candles, makes his or her requests to Buddha, then finishes
by applying the gold leaf onto the Buddha statue. Requests
might be for such things as a good mate, success in
business, winning the lottery, or some other kind of good
luck.

Redlight Districts

Bangkok is world-famous for its redlight districts. Sex is
an outright industry in Thailand. Our guest house happened
to be two blocks from Patpong, one of the famous districts
from the Vietnam era.

Virtually anywhere in Bangkok you can get pestered about the
sex parlors, but this especially happens near the redlight
districts. The parlors employ people to stand out on the
sidewalks and solicit customers. Particularly if they see a
Westerner, they walk up and begin their pitch: "What you
looking for?" "Wanna massage? Wanna massage?" "Nice girls!
Nice girls!" If they stick with you long enough, they will
even pull out their color glossy brochure about their sex
parlor.

The unfortunate reality is that many of the girls in the
parlors are only teenagers (as young as 13). Many of them
are from country farms where the family needs money so the
father basically sells his daughter into slavery. In
addition, about 70-80% of the girls are HIV positive.
Thailand today is one of the worst hotbeds for AIDS in the
whole world. It's not just risky to indulge in the sex
parlors, it's a virtually assured infection.

Final note

Thailand is a fascinating, exotic, exciting place, but it's
also very wearing. Throughout my time there, I never once
felt in any kind of physical danger (and we walked all over,
city and country, at all hours of the day). But, strangely
enough, at no time did I have the feeling I could let my
guard down. Particularly in Bangkok, the place never rests.
There is the air pollution...the incessant activity...the
traffic...being hounded by tuk-tuk drivers...being
approached by street vendors...can I eat or drink
this?...dickering the price for everything. By the time we
left, we were both mentally exhausted. We are both
experienced world travelers, but the culture shock still got
to us. I am glad I went, but I will have to take a good long
rest before I go back.

- Ken Ewing, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
kene@sequent.com


-- Hawaii Pubcrawl --

The beach rules. Don't look for any arguments here. But what
do you do after you've returned the snorkel gear and
showered off your Goldfinger-like suit of number-137
sunscreen? Watch TV in your room? Or go catch Charo in the
non-stop Polynesian follies at the Hilton (Don't worry: she
has a contractual clause allowing Joan Collins to step in if
she gets too old to perform her duties).

I like Hawaii during the annual International Film Festival,
in mid- November, but when some die-hard urbanites switch
cities, they find cinema-going too passive, preferring an
environment which serves up live music with a decent
daiquiri. The Don Ho virus is rampant throughout the islands
-- years of forced "hospitality" and a sentimental strain in
their traditional music have made the Holiday Inn croon
endemic to even the best Hawaiian singers -- but it's
possible to step off the tourist-trampled path and find a
vital, if slightly undernourished, alternative music scene
in Honolulu.

To answer your first inevitable question: yes, plaid has
come to Hawaii! While surfwear still dominates club-going
garb, it's not unusual to see leather jackets, flip-flops,
and a knee-length lumberjack shirt on the same college-age
person. (This isn't as absurd as the tropical climate would
suggest, considering how frigid the buses and restaurants
are kept. Which seems to suit Doc Martens-togged 20-year-
olds who peer out their windows and, at the first hint of
rain, dream of exotic Seattle.)

I was surprised at the number of name acts in town:
Ladysmith Black Mambazzo, KRS-One, Fishbone, and the Violent
Femmes were gigging at small-hall or outdoor concerts.
Suicidal Tendencies was at After Dark, an industrial-style
club on the Nimitz Highway; and C-5, on isolated Sand
Island, had scored Babes in Toyland. Still, I wanted to
check out the local angle.

Much of the obvious nightlife in Honolulu is centred in that
thumb-shaped lozenge of hotel towers and fluffy white
beaches called Waikiki -- familiar to millions, if only from
reruns of Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum P.I. Waikiki is cut off from
the rest of the city by the Ala Wai Canal, and its choicest
hunk of real estate, smack in the middle, is still inhabited
by the U.S. military (standing ready since 1893). This makes
for a rather hemmed-in stroll for trinket-hunting visitors;
after a few days, it's easy to feel like fish in a large
circular aquarium. There are no footbridges across the
canal, and this is most certainly a tourist-corralling
device. But most of the beachfront entertainment is of the
hotel-lounge variety, and if you want to get away from the
Pukalani Brothers's slack-key version of "Feelings", a good
place to start is the small university district.

The number 4 bus zigzags across the canal and winds uphill
to the University of Hawaii. The stop across from the
Varsity Theater (the film fest's flagwaver) lands you in
front of Moose McGillycuddy's, a dark-wood, top-40 joint
much like college suds-barns everywhere. Notably, though, it
hosts a once-a-month, all-night blowout with about a dozen
local bands.

I prefer a few at a time, and about two long blocks west on
main-drag Beretania Street is Anna Bannana's. A beat-up club
with an amiably split personality, its lower level is a
classic biker's bar, with pool tables, surly bartenders, and
Bud on tap; upstairs, a coterie of local bands, like
Melodious Thunk and the metalheaded Poynt Blankk, play for
students. The night I went, multi-race/gender house
favourites Pagan Babies were holding forth with their
impressively versatile (if slightly synthetic) blend of
world beat, funk, and jazz-rock styles; the cluttered,
multilevel room was rocking with serious dance-itude.

Moving further east, just before the Diamond Head area, is
Kapahulu Avenue, a long strip of T-shirt shops and good
restaurants. In the middle is the Java Java Cafe, a plain-
looking deli which favours bagel dishes and black-clad
existentialists. Up some vaguely defined back stairs, I
found a door, oddly marked "Lost Lizard", behind which a
terrific jazz group called Money, Sax & Power was cutting
loose in a Coltrane vein, while scattered patrons sipping
non-alcoholic beverages sat uncomfortably on folding chairs.
Java Java has since closed this room, staging occasional
jazz and poetry performances in the deli proper until it can
expand into larger premises (two similarly jazz-minded
coffeehouses are called, appropriately, Cappuccino's and Tri
Espresso).

Found far west down the ocean-side Ala Moana Boulevard, at
the end of a nondescript mall-strip known as Restaurant Row,
is the Blue Zebra, an airy, L-shaped room with good
acoustics and a reputation for encouraging class jazz acts.
My first encounter, though, yielded a rather desultory blues
band, complete with hats and shades. When Dan Aykroyd didn't
show up, I took off, but a few nights later, the club hosted
a sparkling piano trio (there were international jazz acts
at the nearby Honolulu Academy of Arts, which also features
local classical and new music events).

Also in the Row, Rex's Black Orchid is home to numerous
hardcore bands, like Action Figures, Cache, and the
unforgettably named Two Guys and Two Girls. Further into a
residential neighbourhood close by, I discovered My Favorite
Eggplant, a cavernous warehouse space recognizable only
because of a red light blinking over a huge crack carved in
one cement face. Inside, disconsolate teenagers stared at
snowy TV screens and faux Greek columns, or danced, semi-
moshingly, to a reggae-grunge band called Red Sessions. The
gaggle of New York film-makers I dragged there grumbled at
having to settle for power shakes at the all-ages bar.
They've since had their revenge: the joint recently closed,
and is now searching for a less neighbour-annoying location.

Ironically, the most fun I had was around the corner from my
hotel, at the Wave Waikiki. A steamy, windowless box only a
few blocks from the beach, the Wave is frequented by guys in
Gold's Gym tank-tops, and the odd pack of miniskirted women
practising their model pouts as they make a bee-line for the
washroom or mezzanine above the stage.
I went on a Tuesday, which offers local favourites, and I
was lucky enough to encounter two great bands: Elvis '77, a
Soundgarden-type noise trio driven by a twin-pigtailed
drummer; and the Love Gods, an exceptionally tuneful quintet
boasting inventive, REM-ish songs from frontman James
Figueira and g-spot guitarist Porter Miller Ñ they were the
one group I saw with breakout potential. Of course, my
judgement could have been flawed, since Tuesday is also
"bucket night"; I didn't realize my scotches were actually
triples until a waiter politely asked me down from my bar
stool, adding that I could stop cheering the band -- the
house had already been playing videos for five minutes.

Access

The best way around Waikiki is on foot or better yet, by
bicycles, widely available for rental. Buses are cheap, if
not quite plentiful enough, at 85 cents a ride Ñ less for
students! Taxis are needed for Restaurant Row, Sand Island,
and other outer limits, and are reasonable by mainland
standards. Here are some venue locations (808 is the area
code for the whole state):

Moose McGillycuddy's Waikiki, 1035 University Avenue, 944-
5525
Anna Bannana's, 2440 S. Beretania Street, 964-5190
Java Java Cafe, 760 Kapahulu Street, 923-9952.
Blue Zebra, 500 Ala Moana Boulevard, 538-0409
Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania Street, 532-8768
The Wave Waikiki, 1877 Kalakaua Avenue, 941-0424

For event listings, listen to KPOI 97.5 FM (The Edge) and
KIPO 89.3 FM (Hawaii Public Radio, which actually plays CBC
news on Sundays), or pick up the Honolulu Weekly, Metropolis
music magazine, and Artbeat, a hip bi-monthly newspaper.

- Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada


-- Guatemala Travel Notes --

I have just returned (January 6th) from Guatemala. Here are
some travel notes I wrote:

The war in Chiapas (Mexico) is going to cause problems for
people who want to travel off the beaten track in Peten. The
Guatemalan military is increasing its activity along the
border and is paranoid about gringos given the Mexican
government's assertion that "foreigners" are involved in the
revolt. When I flew into Flores, there was so much military
activity, it looked like the opening scene from the Oliver
Stone film, Platoon.

Beware of Tikal Jets. I encountered many people who had
complaints...overbooking, overselling and selling tickets on
flights that simply didn't exist.

In Flores, Hotel Yum Kax is a perfectly good place to stay.
Doubles with ceiling fan run $19 per night. Air conditioning
is about $4 more but not worth the noise. No hot water but
in the jungle, who needs it. The hotel has a swimming pool
which is nice and the staff are very eager to please.

At the airport, I was quoted 100 Quetzals for the trip to
Tikal. At Yum Kax it was 30. The hotel ran vans at 4 am (for
the cosmic folks who want to see the sunrise) and at 7 am
(for the more laid back types.)

For those who don't understand what happens to the human
body when it is very hot and humid, let me explain: you
become dehydrated. If you go to Tikal, bring bottled water
with you. I was told of a German tourist who became so
seriously dehydrated that a med-evac to Guatemala City was
necessary. Once there, his passport was confiscated and a
bill for $12 000 was presented for the helicopter ride.

In Panajachel, I stayed at the Cacique Inn. Adela Schuman (a
wonderful woman whose age I won't hazard a guess at) runs
the wonderful hotel. $50 per night for a double. El Dragon
is a superb restaurant for dinner (22 to 27/Q) and the Deli
has great cappucino and eggs benidict (17/Q).

In Guatemala City, Hotel Excell (9a Ave & 15 Calle in Zone
1) is a great bargin at 95/Q per night. They have a car park
that is secure. Rooms are large, they include a TV -- but no
cable -- and have ample hot water from the little heaters on
the end of the pipe. Restaurant Gran Central (across the
street from the Excell) serves excellant Peruvian food at
very low prices and also is very international at night.

When I was there (December 18th to January 5th) the Quetzal
averaged 5.78 per dollar at the bank, and about 5.85 on the
street.

One final note: Guatemala now seems to be more of a drug
market than a transit point. I received more offers on the
street to purchase marijuanna from Belize than ever before.
Rumor has it that the product is of high quality but the
reality is that Guatemalan jails are are not worth the
hassle.

- Brian Quinby, Aurora, Illinois, USA
quinby@imsa.edu


-- Toronto to Vancouver by Train: Paul Gribble's Journal --

I'm twenty two years old and I've just had a spontaneous
pneumothorax ("doctorese" for a lung which spontaneously
decided to collapse). Yeah, I may be complaining, but I
should be dead. I was blacklisted by my chromosomes. Charles
Darwin gave me the thumbs down; Natural Selection gave me
the finger.

Why have we slowed down to 5 miles per hour? I don't mean
society, I mean the train. I'm on a train -- the "VIA-1
Canadian" train from Toronto to Vancouver. Oh good, it's
speeding up again. I've been on it for about six hours now,
and I'll be on it for another 77 hours. Maybe I should carve
out the hours on my bathroom wall... Maybe they'd leave me
to rot in Winnipeg with my surgical scars and my Powerbook.

I suppose any risk of the lung re-collapsing is not a risk
worth taking. Dr. Ergina sandpapered the outside of my lung,
then sandpapered the inside of my chest wall, then slapped
them together like bologna and mustard on rye (ooh, I think
it's dinner time soon). He thinks the changes in air
pressure inside of an airplane might rip them apart before
they get a chance to bond like crazy glue. I certainly
wouldn't want to have to press the call-button on my aisle
seat and ask the stewardess if she happened to have a
scalpel and a chest-tube on board the aircraft. I can't help
thinking about that M*A*S*H episode where Radar has to do a
tracheotomy with a pocket knife and a fountain pen. I
suppose I'd have to use the tubing from the pneumatic
headphones -- that is, if they haven't switched to
electronic ones yet.

Yes, I think it's dinner time now. Maybe I'll meet some
interesting and amiable people in the dining car and have a
friendly, comfortable conversation about recently cherished
events. Maybe I'll sit in front of vile, smelly yobs who
blow cigar smoke in my face and jeer about the waves in my
hair. Maybe I'll sit alone and stare out the window. That
may be the most interesting option.

Yum. I think I'll just eat the cheesecake from now on. The
halibut was bland. I think they have some sort of rule about
clustering people together at tables -- preventing people
from sitting alone. I sat with a woman and her adult son
(Betty and Bill) and this guy from Brockville, Ontario.
Betty and Bill are from Vermont. She seemed sweet, he seemed
like an overgrown hippie. They're going to Vancouver, and
then to Portland; they say that the equivalent Amtrak route
through the US sucks big-time, that it's boring and the
train is in terrible condition. It made me proud for a
second that two Americans would come to Canada to make their
trans-continental journey.

After dinner I went back to my "bedroom" berth. It reminds
me of a hotel room I had in Japan last summer. The hotel
room was bigger -- but not by much. Here, at least the view
changes. There's a sign above the faucets by the sink that
says "Undrinkable Water." I wonder what's in it? The light
switch for the light in the closet that houses the toilet
says "Annex Light." Annex? At least the French below it is
honest enough to say "Toilette." There's a sign above the
toilette that says "Please Do Not Flush When Train Is In
Station." I saw the sign just after I flushed...and then
realized we were in a station. Oops. I sat in my room with
the door locked waiting for very angry, very smelly station
workers to come knock down my door.

I remember dreading this trip, being trapped on a train for
3 days, but now it's kind of nice to be able to just sit
here, staring out the window, letting my mind wander,
without worrying about where I have to be or what I should
be doing. The view doesn't really change that much from
minute to minute, it's all just trees and snow right now,
but it doesn't feel boring or repetitive.

The bed is barely too short. I can fit on my side with my
knees bent, but on my back, my toes are smushed against the
wall. I had trouble falling asleep and I kept waking up.
Whenever the train goes along curved track it rolls you back
and forth and up and down in your bed. I guess this is what
it feels like to be a Bingo ball.

I think we're somewhere in western Ontario now. I had no
idea that the province of Ontario is so wide. We've been
chugging along for almost 24 hours now and we still haven't
reached Manitoba! Winnipeg is the next major stop -- a lot
of people are leaving the train there. The "Map" control
panel on my Powerbook says Toronto to Winnipeg is 940 miles,
and Winnipeg to Vancouver is 1160 miles, so I guess Winnipeg
is technically the half-way stop. We'll probably arrive
sometime this evening. Maybe I'll get off the train and call
home. I hope the train won't leave without me.

I sat in the "Domed Observatory" (the bubble-car) this
morning as we chugged through the forest. In this part of
the country the landscape is mostly short trees and
underbrush. It's not mountainous, but not flat like the
prairies -- rolling hills, I suppose. It must be ideal
country for summer camps and family camping grounds. There
are streams and rivers every few miles, some frozen over,
some not. Sometimes you can make out a layer of brownish,
yellowish, frothing filth collecting in a side pool or along
the shore. A quick scan of the treetops will usually reveal
a factory, or maybe just its smokestack, spitting stuff up
into the air.

Every now and then we pass a lake, completely frozen over,
flat and white, smooth as a skating rink. We passed one lake
that was absolutely huge -- it looked like it went on
forever. I've never seen such a simple display of nature's
beauty. I'd love to walk to the center of a big frozen lake
like that and just sit there for a while. I'd feel like the
first blot of paint on a fresh silk canvas.

Well, I seemed to have missed the prairies completely.
Yesterday evening around supper-time we left Winnipeg, and
when I woke up this morning we were in Edmonton, Alberta; I
think we passed through Saskatoon, Saskatchewan sometime
around 3am last night. So much for endless fields of
sunflowers and wheat. I'm actually quite disappointed. I was
looking forward to seeing the prairies for the first time. I
suppose it would have looked like tundra this time of year,
anyway.

After passing through the entrance to Jasper National Park
(10,878 square kilometers, collectively declared a "World
Heritage Site" by UNESCO in 1984) and Disaster Point (a
stark mass of rock that drops almost straight down into the
Athabasca River, except where it was blasted for the
railbed), we arrived in the town of Jasper, Alberta (pop. 4
000) this afternoon. Now these are mountains! I'm instantly
jealous of the people who live here. My favourite peaks are
the jagged ones, with long, sharp ridges and snow-covered
sides. They look triumphant. They stand tall and proud, smug
in their knowledge that humans will never create anything as
large, beautiful, and permanent. They even rise above the
clouds. I suppose our only rebuttal is to climb them and
hoot from atop their peaks.

The smaller, rounder mountains look less victorious. They
don't seem to have as much energy as the jagged peaks, and
most of them look patchy and torn from clear-cut logging.
They look tired and glum. How did trees ever start to grow
on rocky mountaintops? Will they ever return there in my
lifetime?

Everything here is covered in snow and ice. Some trees are
bent over from the weight of it, kissing the ground. There
are little footprints in the snow atop frozen creeks and
rivers, but I haven't seen anything smaller than a moose
walking around in the light of day. They look very disturbed
when you catch sight of them from the train; kind of like
you'd look if a bunch of strangers suddenly came barreling
through your home in a long steel noisemaker. I wonder if
the animals frolic and have fun in the snow, or if they're
cold and miserable. Every couple of hours we pass through a
tiny little settlement, with a few log houses and a road or
two. I wonder if they live off of the land or off of 7-11
and J. Crew.

Tonight we will pass over the Alberta-BC border, losing an
hour as we change from Mountain to Pacific Standard Time.
During the night we'll pass through Clearwater, Kamloops
(doesn't that sound like some kind of kid's cereal?
Hmmmm...maybe I need a snack), Ashcroft, Boston Bar (yeah,
and maybe a drink too), Hope, and by first light we will be
in Chilliwack. Wasn't there a hit single by a band called
Chilliwack in the early eighties? What was it called? I've
been listening to too much U2 on this trip.

I wonder what these towns like "Boston Bar" and "Ashcroft"
are like that they'd schedule the train to go through the
Rockies in daylight, and these places at night:

Ashcroft, BC (pop. 1,900) gets only 18 centimetres of
precipitation a year, earning it the title of "the driest
town in Canada." The landscape is desert-like, and both
cactus and sage grow in abundance. Erosion has created odd
formations from the reddish bluffs, such as hoodoos,
isolated pinnacles of rock that remain after a hill has worn
away. (From "Enchanting Horizons: VIA Rail's Log to Western
Canada")

Oh.

I guess in the high-school of the wilderness, hoodoos aren't
as popular as towering jagged snow-covered mountaintops.
Hoodoos probably sit in the library during lunch hour, or
alone outside, just watching the world go by. Snow-capped
jagged peaks get all the attention.

It's pitch dark now as we chug towards Clearwater. I hope
that's not an inaccurate name for the place. When I wake up
I will have spent more than 77 hours on the train, crossing
most of our country by land. I usually make the same trip by
plane in about 5 hours. On the train I was in constant
contact with Canada, feeling bumps and hills and curves even
as I slept: my body on the train, the train on the tracks,
the tracks pinned to the land by spikes sunk deep into the
ground. On the plane I look down nervously towards the
ground, and the view from 30,000 feet up is airplane wing
and clouds as we speed impatiently over the countryside. On
the plane I feel like one of a herd of nervous, hurried
sheep, with no privacy and no personal space. Stewards and
stewardesses constantly demanding things of me - my boarding
pass, my attention, my cooperation, my choice of dinner
entree. My nerves are constantly frazzled by sudden,
unexpected air pockets and turbulence. I arrive stressed out
and jet-lagged, luggage optional, Toronto to Vancouver.

Tomorrow we will roll into Vancouver awake and refreshed,
with an eternal appreciation of the rich and diverse texture
of the lands we share, but also with a nagging
disappointment that our lands seem to have been soiled by
the society which enabled us to make the journey.

- Paul Gribble, Montreal, Canada
gribble@motion.psych.mcgill.ca


------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENTS
------------------------------------------------------------

-- The Latin Quarter --
Romance in the Hills of Chiapas

In his last visit to Mexico, Peruvian Novelist and former
Presidential Candidate, Mario Vargas Llosa, caused
considerable agitation and official outrage when he
exclaimed, "Mexico, the other Latin American nations stand
in admiration of you. You are the 'perfect' dictatorship,
all under the guise of apparent democracy." He was quickly
hustled out of the country, as much for his own safety, as
for any further potential embarrassing remarks he might
make.

Now, Mexico can even lay claim to having the "perfect"
revolutionary leader. Not since the dark, brooding,
mustachioed Emiliano Zapata rode his white horse out of the
hills of Morelia, into Mexico City, has a leader captured
the imagination and public appeal as the charismatic, ski-
masked leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation,
Subcommandante Marcos. On the night Marcos arrived in San
Cristobal de las Casas for the recent negotiations with
Government negotiator Manuel Camacho, he was serenaded by
women with hired guitarists outside the 16th century
cathedral where he was staying. In Mexico City, women talk
about spending a "fantasy night in the jungle" with Marcos,
and others have confessed to discussing their lust for the
dashing leader with their psychiatrists.

In these ten weeks since the insurrection began, Marcos has
certainly not discouraged the romantic fantasies, and many
women are treating his often poetic "press releases" as
personal pleas. In San Cristobal, Marcos gave a passionate
speech, asking, "Why do we (the Zapatistas) have to sleep
with our boots on, and our souls hanging by a thread?"

However, there is more to Marcos than a mysterious
revolutionary, sending of romantic sound-bites. Handwriting
analysts have suggested a man who is extremely intelligent,
egotistic almost bordering on vanity, often exhibiting a
mood of omnipotence, impulsive, and occasionally depressive.
He has demonstrated a clear understanding of Mexican history
and its even more poignant relevance now, and many of his
"communiques" indicate a knowledge of military tactics and
organizational principals.

His Spanish sounds only lightly Mexican, and his
conversation is peppered with jokes and occassional phrases
in rough English. He has joked that he learned his English
by spending his nights in the mountains reading Playboy and
Pentagon manuals.

As he has in the past, Marcos has refused to divulge his
real name or age. While he has admitted to commanding the
Zapatista's military offensive, he continues to insist that
his role is subordinate to the indigenous leaders -- thus
the title "Sub"commandante ..."My commanders are the Mayan
Indian campesinos."

Rebel leaders have carried weapons and worn ski masks at
news conferences, but Marcos said they have put away their
guns, but kept their masks for the present negotiations. "If
you want to see what faces are behind the ski masks, it's
easy. Pick up a mirror and look into it!" ... and in a
recent missive from his camp in the Chiapas mountains,
Marcos promised, "I am prepared to take off my mask if
Mexican society will take off its own mask."

Marcos has also shown a clear understanding of the
international attention focused on Mexico and the subsequent
pressure that its leaders feel, "What is at stake in Chiapas
is no longer just Chiapas or even Mexico, but perhaps even
the free trade agreement or the whole neoliberal project in
Latin America (sweeping economic changes in Mexico and other
Latin American countries). Recent changes have brought
little, if any, improvement in the lives of the poor. "It's
not because we have great force, but because people are
saying, 'All right, what happened here? What is going to
happen elsewhere? What costs are there going to be?"
Motioning to the reporters before him, he added, "if that
were not true, you all would not be here."

During their initial occupation of San Cristobal, Marcos
issued his first communique, "The war we declare is a final
but justified measure. We have nothing, absolutely nothing.
Not a dignified roof, nor work, nor land, nor health care,
nor education."

As the latest details of the recent accord were read to the
press by govermnent negotiators (on March 3) in San
Cristobal, Subcommundante Marcos sat behind, smoking a pipe
and reading various reports, no doubt preparing his own
impassioned statement from the men and romantic women of
Mexico.


-- The Latin Quarter --
Tragic Comedy Under Aztec Sun

These are strange times for Mexico - awash in scandal,
kidnappings, armed insurrection, assassinations, and
swirling conspiracy theories; only four months ago it all
seemed so fine. The North American Free Trade agreement had
just been approved by U.S. Congress, the new Presidential
Candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, was given the nod by the
President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, interest and inflation
rates were at their lowest in years, and Mexico was basking
in the attention and praise of the international business
community.

Enter "stage right" a few rebels in Chiapas wielding old
rifles and rusty peeshooters, led by the charismatic ski-
masked Subcommandante Marcos (many people have suggested
that Marcos is in fact a Jesuit priest), issuing communiques
about the lack of democracy in Mexico and the economic
dichotomy which Mexico's indigenous peoples will only
further suffer under Free Trade. Throw in a couple of major
kidnappings (most notably, the president of one of Mexico's
leading banks, Banamex), daily protest marches by
campesinos, farmers, and students, and the assassination of
candidate Colosio, and suddenly Mexico finds itself reeling
like a "four in the morning" tequila drunk.

Since Colosio was shot on Wednesday March 23rd, in a poor
suburb of Tijuana, Mexican streets and newspapers have been
full of conspiracy rumours. Official government press
releases have insisted that the assassination was simply the
work of a disturbed 23 year-old mechanic seeking attention
for himself. But Mexico City's cab drivers know better, many
insisting that this act of violence was masterminded by the
unanimously despised Ross Perot, in an attempt to undermine
the Free Trade agreement! More pragmatic voices have
suggested that conservative elements within Mexico's
political system stood to lose under some of the economic
and democratic reforms which Colosio was preaching.

Mistrust of officials is such that p

  
eople on the streets
almost matter-of-factly blame the shooting on anti-
democratic elements within Mexico's ruling class. They
believe that Colosio was reform-minded and viewed as a
threat to those dinosaurs within Mexico's ruling class. The
Zapatista's in Chiapas said as much in their recent
communique: "The hardliners and the militarist option inside
the government planned and brought to completion this
provocation to end all the peaceful intent of
democratization of the country."

Recent developments in the shooting, with the arrest of a
second suspect, have only further fueled the conspiracy
theories.

ln an effort to stabilize the situation, President Salinas
quickly announced his new choice for his successor, by
naming Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, former Education
Secretary, and campaign manager for Colosio. This
traditional practice of "dedazo" or the "tap" whereby the
president chooses his successor, has continued for sixty
years, robbing the public of an opportunity to voice its
opinion for alternatives. Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes,
one of the few "high profile" and vocal critics of the
government and its lack of democratic initiative, commented,
"Mexico is not a country of one or two men, but rather of
many men, and this authoritarian exercise deprives us of the
riches of democracy and casts an ominous shadow over the
electoral process and the elections of August 21."

To add a good measure of comedy to an otherwise tragic and
ridiculous situation, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, James
Jones, called Zedillo's choice as presidential candidate a
bright and competent decision, and predicted the country's
elections will be fair and competitive.

"It is going to be a very spirited election, and I have no
idea who is going to win," Jones was quoted in a March 30th
news conference. Gee-whiz Senor Jones, we'll give you one
guess! l'm hoping that this statement can be attributed to a
momentary lapse of reason, or a sudden surge in ozone and
carbon monoxide levels over the American Embassy. Either
way, it's painfully "par for the course" when it comes to
American foreign policy and its apparent awareness in
Mexico.

The next months will be extremely telling ones, possibly
determining the course of Mexican political and sociological
developments for the next decade, at least. I'll keep you
posted.

- Andreas Seppelt, Mexico City, Mexico


-- Keepers of Light --
Matthew Wolchock: Gentleman Photographer

I first met Matthew Wolchock about twenty years ago in a
howling gale while I was photographing a grated window of
the very famous Ship Inn, a storied watering hole in
downtown St. John's, Newfoundland. I was testing a new high
definition film and he was curious about the project. He
handed me a card. In yellow type on black it said: Matthew
Wolchock-Gentleman Photographer. We went inside and had a
pint by the fire and talked about photography, and we've
been talking about it ever since.

Wolchock works with a variety of camera formats from 110 to
4"x5", but the bulk of his work is done with 35mm film. He
shoots a lot it. He never goes anywhere without at least one
loaded camera, and he's always looking for shots and
checking out the light (something to emulate if you're
serious about becoming a better photographer). He uses Canon
and Nikon cameras and has an impressive array of them, but
he's not an equipment snob. One of his favorite tools is the
disposable "stretch" cameras that come preloaded with film.

An excellent darkroom technician, Wolchock seldom employs
any tricks or manipulative techniques in his work,
preferring to concentrate on strong images that present best
when simply properly printed. The one exception is his work
in xerography where he uses collage and hand tinting
effects, as in his calendar series.

[Photo of "Untitled 1" appears here in graphical versions]

Wolchock's eye for composition is sharp, and he knows light.
In Untitled 1, the model stands firmly in the centre of the
frame, balanced, arms by her side, looking out to sea. the
horizontal stripes in her shirt are echoed in the horizontal
stripes of dark sea, white foam, silver sand and the black
beaches of Belle Island. To her left the monotony is broken
by an angle wave in the centre of the frame and to her right
this is balanced by the slowly rising shoreline of and
island across the bay.

[Photo of "Untitled 2" appears here in graphical versions]

In Untitled 2 we have an unusual portrait. A woman lays on
the floor beside a chair with bright chrome legs. She holds
some sort of child's toy over her face. The image has been
printed with very high contrast to give a sharp, eye-popping
and just plain strange impression.

[Photo of "Untitled 3" appears here in graphical versions]

In Untitled 3 we are presented with a vastly different tonal
situation. The image of a young man looking very recently
awakened a tousled bed in gentle morning light. The large
pale wall area, rather than leaving the frame looking empty,
becomes the sky in this formscape of skintones and wrinkled
cotton. The vertical lines of the bedpost lead the eye back
again and again to the subject's enigmatic smile.

[Photo of "Pizzaman" appears here in graphical versions]

Pizzaman. What can I say? This, er, informal portrait of
fellow photographer Manfred Buchheit is a good example of
how it pays to always carry around a loaded camera. It's
also probably a good example something else, but I can't for
the life of me think what, unless it's not to let
photographers with loaded cameras into your house on those
early Sunday mornings when you just have to get naked and
eat cold pizza.

That's it for this month. Join our contest. Happy
photographing.

- Kent Barrett, Vancouver, Canada
kent@wimsey.com


-- Deja Vu --
Exploring Some Myths of Gun Control

[Here is the long awaited rebuttal to Jon Gould's article,
American in Denial, published in Teletimes December '93.
Enjoy! - Ian]

Writing an article in a forum such as Teletimes about a
topic like gun control can be quite difficult. The reason
for this difficulty is two-fold: First, many well educated
people who are typically open-minded with respect to
important social issues have a preconceived notion that guns
are bad and that eliminating them from society would prove
to be beneficial. Second, the vast majority of the media
outlets present a biased view against the private ownership
of firearms, thus tending to strengthen these beliefs. It is
the author's hope that this brief article will suggest to
the reader that further inquiry is required before forming
an opinion about a social policy as important to liberty as
the right to keep and bear arms (RKBA).

Before delving into the substance of this paper, it is worth
noting that this particular issue is decidedly American in
nature. The Constitution of the United States, the defining
document of the world's first modern democratic republic, is
the only national constitution of any modern country that
specifically forbids the infringement of the individual
citizen's right to keep and bear arms [1]. Many foreigners
who observe the US wonder why there is so much controversy
over this subject. The only reasonable answer is that
Americans enjoy more freedom than citizens of other nations
and this freedom was won in a war with England; a war
sparked by England's attempt to restrict the colonist's
RKBA.

The remainder of this paper will expose a number of myths
about gun control including the relationship between guns
and crime, statistics used by gun-control propagandists [2],
children and guns, and the underlying principle behind the
constitutionally guarenteed RKBA.

Throughout the 1980's, violent crime actually decreased in
America [3]. However, most Americans, when asked, responded
that crime had stayed the same or risen. What is the cause
of this dichotomy? The apparent answer is the television
media - for the first time, in the 1980's, the supremacy of
major networks were challenged. This lead to a ratings war
in which each network provided programming for the primary
purpose of garnering viewership and not for providing a
balanced perspective on major issues. A recent report on NBC
showed that a particular television station in Miami devotes
more than 25% of its on-air time to crime coverage even
though the crime rate in Miami has fallen precipitously
since 1980. The networks have successfully implemented the
"big lie" technique engineered by Geobbels - that is by
frequently repeating the same ideas, people come to believe
them despite the lack of corroborating evidence. After a
decade of this "brain-washing," most Americans believe that
crime is rampant and in desperation are seeking any solution
to this problem; a problem that is not as significant as it
is portrayed to be [4].

One proposed "solution" to the increase in crime is banning
guns. There are many problems with this "solution." The most
significant problem is that there exists no evidence to
suggest that restricting gun among the general populace
reduces crimes. The gun-control propagandists have yet to
provide a single example case in which the introduction of
gun laws has resulted in the reduction of crime. In fact,
those cities with the most stringent gun control laws are
the cities with the highest violent crime rates. Many of
these propagandists make the specious claim that to be
effective, the gun laws must be applied nationwide to be
effective because criminals in the cities with stringent
laws simply get their guns elsewhere. This raises two
questions:

1. If guns cause crime, why don't the cities with lax gun
laws, next to cities with stringent gun laws, experience
similar crime problems? For example, the crime index for
Alexandria, VA is eight times less than the crime index for
Washington, DC, and he only thing separating them is a short
bridge.

2. How is a nationwide gun ban to be enforced? First is the
problem of the current gun stock in the US, a stock in
excess of 200 million guns. A large number of owners will
(rightfully) refuse to surrender their arms. Second is the
problem of interdicting guns being smuggled into the
country. For years the government has been trying to halt
the flow of illegal drugs into the country and they have
completely failed to even make a dent in the supply. Thus,
why should anyone believe that a governmental interdiction
could stop the flow of illegal weapons. Third is the problem
of manufacturing guns within the country. Every machine shop
has the capability to produce firearms.

And if these arguments aren't enough to show that gun
control is not effective and can not be enforced, the gun-
control propagandists must address a more difficult
question: Why have those jurisdictions that have adopted
non-discretionary concealed carry laws shown a decrease in
the violent crime rate that is greater than the national
average [5]? It would be improper to suggest that the
proliferation of firearms causes a decrease in crime,
however, the evidence to support this thesis is far stronger
than the evidence that guns cause an increase in crime [6].

Gun-control propagandists will some times point to certain
foreign countries and claim that said foreign country, with
significantly fewer firearms has significantly less violent
crime; thus reducing guns in this country will reduce
violent crime. The flaws with this argument are numerous:
There is no discernible relationship between the rate of
private gun ownership and violent crime rates. For example,
Norway, the European country with the highest per capita
private firearm ownership rate has the third lowest murder
rate of all European countries. Northern Ireland, on the
other hand, has the highest murder rate of any European
country, but the third lowest private firearm ownership rate
[7]. Another problems with this argument is that the
comparisons are static, that is they compare the violent
crime rates (typically murder) for one recent year only. A
study of the difference in the murder rates for Canada and
the US shows that in 1919, when there were no gun laws in
either country, the US murder rate was 13.8 times the
Canadian rate. In 1971, after decades of increasingly
stringent gun control laws in Canada, the US murder rate is
4.3 times the Canadian rate. Finally, this argument
completely fails to recognize the vast differences socio-
political differences between the countries compared [8]. In
summation, cross-national studies intended to show the
positive impact of gun control, completely fail to do so.

Another issue conveniently ignored by gun control
propagandists are the number of times that guns are used by
private citizens to stop crimes. Rather, these propagandists
parrot simple, but completely erroneous statistics, such as
"... a gun in the home was 43 times more likely to be used
to kill its owner, spouse, a friend or child than to kill an
intruder" [9] [10]. First, this statistic will be examined,
then some more meaningful ones will be derived. The primary
flaw with this statistic is the underlying assumption that
to be useful, a home owner must kill the intruder. Were this
the accepted measure of the effectiveness of criminal
deterrence, the police would be asked to provide dead bodies
instead of live prisoners! Other flaws with this statistic
include the following:

-- 37 of the 43 deaths are suicides. No study has ever shown
a correlation between the availability of guns and suicide.
Consider Japan - a country with few guns and a suicide rate
twice that of the US. Also consider Canada - after enacting
stringent guns laws, the gun suicide rate dropped, but the
overall suicide rate remained constant.

-- The statistic includes all murders that resulted in
criminal charges and all unsolved homicides. In many cases,
justifiable homicides initially result in criminal charges
which are later thrown out.

-- The statistic included firearm accidents (see below).

-- The study was restricted to one community and is not
representative of the country as a whole.

-- The original study did not use the phrase "owner, spouse,
a friend or child," the phrase that has been used repeatedly
by gun-control propagandists, but rather the word
"acquaintance." From the original data, 48% of the homicides
were classified as acquaintance, a relationship that can
mean anything from friend to the neighborhood drug dealer.
Furthermore, those relationship listed as familial can
include abusive spouses.

Thus, the NEJM article can be seen for what it is -- a
propaganda article intended to incite an emotional response
in its reader rather than a scholarly article written to
inform.

More meaningful statistics than those offered by the NEJM
can be developed. Consider for example, "A privately owned
firearm is more than 30 times more likely to be used to stop
a crime than to kill anyone." Several surveys, including
Kleck [6], have found that private citizens use their
firearms to stop in excess of 1 000 000 crimes annually.
There are approximately, in total, 32 000 firearms deaths
annually (homicide, suicide, police intervention, self-
defense and accidental). Another useful statistic is that
less than 0.3% of all guns are ever used in the commision of
a crime. This statistic is found by assuming that each crime
with a firearm (550,000 such incidents annually) involves a
different weapon (a very conservative estimate) and dividing
by the number of privately owned firearms (in excess of 200
000 000 and growing by more than 1 000 000 annually).
Lastly, a person is 34 times more likely to die in a car
accident than to be killed in a firearms related accident.
There are approximately 48 000 annual motor vehicle deaths
and 1400 annual firearm related accidental deaths.

Some gun-control propagandists believe that firearms should
be outlawed because of the "numerous" children who die each
year year due from firearms. These deaths can be broadly
categorized into three groups: intentional homicide,
accidental deaths and suicides. A tactic frequently used by
gun-control propagandists is to categorize as children all
persons under the age of 19, and in some cases, persons as
old as 24 [11]. For the purposes of this paper, the word
"children" refers to all persons up to 14 years of age.

The death of a child, for any reason, is a tragedy. However,
outlawing firearms because some children are killed by them
is illogical. In the year 1990, 890 children were killed,
either by criminals or law enforcement officials. Of these
890 children, 283 were killed with firearms [12]. Another
236 died as a result of firearm accidents for a total of 519
firearms related deaths. (For this age group, there were no
reported firearms suicides.) In the same year, a total of 15
367 children died, so the percentage of children who died
from firearms is 3.3% of the total. To put this percentage
in perspective, of those children who died in 1990, 20.7%
(3182 children) died in motor vehicle accidents, 7.5% (1148
children) drowned and 6.3% (972 children) died in fires;
however, no one would be irresponsible enough to suggest
that cars, pools and matches should be outlawed because they
kill children. Furthermore, the rate of firearm related
accidental deaths, for all age groups, has been declining at
an average of 2.6% annually averaged over the last 50 years.

The last topic to be addressed is the raison d'tre of the
second amendment to the US constitution, the RKBA for
protection against foreign invaders and domestic
governments. The typical gun-control propagandists response
to this comment is, "You've got to be kidding! Do you really
expect to hold off an army with personal firearms alone?
This may have been true in when the Constitution was
written, but is no longer valid." The simple answer is yes.
In recent history, there are two clear examples of a lightly
armed, resident populace holding off the armed might of the
super-powers: Vietnam and Afghanistan. An even more recent
example shows the inability of an unarmed populace to defend
itself from its own government: Bosnia. These simple
examples should make apparent a simple point: A well armed
populace is sufficiently capable of defending itself both
from internal and external attempts to restricts the
peoples' freedom. And this simple truth is as valid today,
as it was 203 years ago when the Bill of Rights was adopted.

As a final note, we should all remember those two
individuals who succeeded in passing the most stringent gun
control laws of this century: Adolf Hitler [13] and Joseph
Stalin. Let us keep this historical perspective clearly in
mind and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

- Gerry Roston, Pittsburgh, USA
gerry@cmu.edu

Endnotes
[1] See Halbrook, Stephen P. That Every Man be Armed: The
Evolution of a Constitutional Right. The Independent
Institute; Oakland, CA. 1984. Halbrook, attorney and Ph.D.,
traces the evolution of the individual's right to keep and
bear arms from ancient Greece to modern times. He carefully
examines the four cases in which the US Supreme Court (SC)
has referenced the 2nd amendment and shows how in each of
these cases, the SC has clearly demonstrated that the right
is an individual right, and not a collective right, as some
gun-control proponents claim. In addition to this book, any
study of the writings of the founders of this country, both
federalist and anti-federalist, will show that the founding
fathers unanimously agreed that liberty and freedom can only
be achieved if the general populace is well armed.

[2] Although some readers will take offense to the term
"gun-control propagandist," the term was chosen to indicate
that those opposed to the private ownership of firearms have
yet to produce any scientifically verifiable evidence to
support their contentions. Rather, they utilize
propagandists techniques: emotional appeal, scare
statistics, the big lie, etc.

[3] Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics. US Department
of Justice, 1993.

[4] Another reason that Americans believe that violent crime
is increasing is due to the wide coverage of the "war on
drugs," a policy that has dramatically increased the number
of people arrested for non-violent crimes. One result of the
increased number of arrests is an increase in prison over-
crowding, which gives the impression of an increase in
crime.

[5] Since Florida passed a law that requires the issuing of
a concealed carry permit to any qualified applicant (no
criminal record or mental illness), the violent crime rate
in Florida has decreased at a rate faster than the national
average. Florida will also grant a carry permit to any
qualified American visitor, a policy that may explain the
recent increase in attacks of foreign tourists - the only
group in Florida known with certainty to be unarmed.

[6] The best book for further study of the relationship
between firearms and violence is Point Blank: Guns and
Violence in America, Gary Kleck, 1991. Dr. Kleck was
recently award the 1993 Hindelang Award from the American
Society of Criminology for "the book published in the past
two years that makes the most outstanding contribution to
criminology."

[7] International Crime Index, Interpol.

[8] To strengthen the argument that the vast socio-political
differences between the countries are the key factor to the
differences in crime and not the ownership of guns, consider
that the non-firearm homicide rate in the US is higher than
that of all European countries except Northern Ireland.
Simply stated, for some reason, Americans are far more
violent than their European neighbors.

[9] Erik Larsen, "Armed Force" in the Wall Street Journal
(2/4/93), from Arthur Kellerman and Donald Reay, "Protection
or Peril? An Analysis of Firearms-Related Deaths in the
Home" in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 1986.

[10] Gun control propagandists like to use the phrase, "If
it only saves one life, then it's worth it." This author is
aware of at least three cases in the last year in which
innocent lives were saved, that would have been lost, had
the Brady Bill been in effect. For the same period of time,
the author is aware of six innocent lives lost because a gun
could not be purchased when it was required. As Benjamin
Franklin once said, "They that can give up essential liberty
to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty
no safety."

[11] A recent report by the Children's Defense Fund claimed
that 50 000 children have been killed by firearms in the
last decade. This statement is true if and only if one
considers persons up to 24 years of age to be children. The
sad truth is that the US is experiencing a staggering
increase in violent crime among inner-city teens. The murder
rate for black males, ages 15-24, has increased by a factor
of three in the last six years. Since there has not been an
significant increase in firearms during this period, the
cause of this increase in violence must be sought elsewhere.

[12] Crime in the United States, Uniform Crime Reports,
Federal Bureaus of Investigation, US Department of Justice,
1991. Other data is from the preliminary release of Vital
Statistics and from Accident Facts, 1990.

[13] It must be remembered that Adolf Hitler was elected to
office and that the gun control laws passed in Germany were
enacted in a constitutionally approved manner.


-- Music Notes --
Perfectly Good Songs: John Hiatt

What do the following artists have in common: Iggy Pop and
Paula Abdul? Bob Dylan and Conway Twitty? Nick Lowe and
Willie Nelson? Buddy Guy and Ronnie Milsap?

The answer is that they've all recorded songs by John Hiatt,
the veteran singer/songwriter whose recent album "Perfectly
Good Guitar" is finally garnering him the recognition from
the public that he has always enjoyed with his musical
peers. Long a favorite of critics, Hiatt has undergone a
transformation from angry '70s new waver to tasteful roots
rocker, all the while turning out songs that other musicians
have lined up to cover. In fact, nearly 100 Hiatt covers
have been recorded, from Three Dog Night's 1974 "Sure as I'm
Sitting Here" to recent hits "Thing Called Love" by Bonnie
Raitt and "Drive South" by Suzy Boggus.

"Perfectly Good Guitar" sees Hiatt playing in a harder style
reminiscent of his mid-80's albums "Riding with the King"
and "Warming Up to the Ice Age." This time out, he's brought
along some more rockers for the ride as well. Producer Matt
Wallace, best known for his work with MTV favorites Faith No
More and Paul Westerberg, was pegged for not only producing
the album but putting the band together as well. Wallace
paired Hiatt with young musicians like guitarist Michael
Ward of the Los Angeles-based School of Fish to create a
revitalized sound. The alternative rock edge was furthered
in adding Cracker alumni Michael Urbano on drums and bassist
Davey Faragher for Hiatt's touring band, The Guilty Dogs.

Hiatt's writing on the new record continues to exhibit his
trademark humor, personal insights, and slightly-off-kilter
storytelling. While not as introspective as recent albums,
"Perfectly Good Guitar" continues to explore the mystical
relationship between love, emotion, and what happens when we
imperfect human beings give ourselves the opportunity to
experience such lofty feelings. While the focus of albums
like "Bring the Family" expressed affirmation of the value
of love and relationships, this time out Hiatt explores the
apparent dichotomy of love and freedom, either in
celebration ("Something Wild," "Buffalo River Home," "When
You Hold Me Tight"), longing ("Blue Telescope"), or loss and
betrayal ("Angel," "The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari"). His
ability to address these issues without becoming maudlin is
a tribute to Hiatt's ability to write true to his experience
and to the musicians, who play it like they mean it.

After 30 years of writing and 20 of recording, Hiatt's
popularity is reaching an all-time high. "Perfectly Good
Guitar" is fast approaching Gold status and has become the
darling of the new Album Adult Alternative, or Triple A,
radio format. Hiatt currently has three songs on the Triple
A charts and "Perfectly Good Guitar" was recently named Best
Triple A Album of the Year by the Hard Report.

I spoke to Hiatt on March 20 from his hotel in Steamboat
Springs, Colorado, where he and the Guilty Dogs were
appearing. The tour is now in California, with upcoming
dates including March 26 at the Crest Theater in Sacramento,
March 27 and 28 at Slim's in San Francisco, March 30 at the
Freemont Theater in San Luis Obispo, March 31 at the Belly
Up Tavern in San Diego, and April 1 at the Wiltern Theater
in Los Angeles.

[Photo of John Hiatt appears here in grpahical version]

Jay Hipps: So how's the tour going?

John Hiatt: The tour is going great. It seems like it's been
going forever, but it's going great. We've been out since
September, not straight through but 3 weeks out, a week
home, that sort of thing.

JH: Was this planned originally? I was under the impression
that the tour ended December 18 in Nashville?

Hiatt: No, we were always planning to go right through the
new year. This leg ends April 2nd, I think. We ended a leg
December 18th, and then we came out again -- we had about
two weeks off for Christmas and then we started back in the
Northeast in January. And we've covered the Northeast and
the Midwest and Texas and now we're up in Colorado and we're
going out west. We knock it on the head April 2nd and then
we're starting up again in May for two or three weeks. And
then we're going back to Europe in June and then we're
coming back out the end of July with Jackson Browne, we're
going to do a shed tour. That's six weeks. And then we're
going to knock it on the head-if we live that long (laughs).

JH: So that's when you wrap the whole thing up? That sounds
like a pretty strenuous schedule.

Hiatt: It's basically a full year of touring, which I
committed myself to when we made the plans to work this
record. I was real charged up about the music and felt real
re-energized about what I was doing creatively and it had
been four years since I'd toured solo. 1990 was the last
solo tour I did, with the exception of some solo acoustic
dates here and there. So I figured it was important to get
back out and play, play for the folks. And the show's been
going great, and the audiences are ever-growing-we're
selling out shows everywhere, so it's really been great,
really been encouraging to me.

JH: Well, I saw the show in Santa Rosa -- I guess it was
mid-November.

Hiatt: Ah yes.

JH: That was a lot of fun...

Hiatt: We've since changed the band a little bit, we've
pared it down to a four piece, which seems to work much
better.

JH: The third guitar player is not around?

Hiatt: Yes, Corky James is no longer with us. We've got Mike
Ward from School of Fish on lead guitar and then the rhythm
section, Davey Faragher, Michael Urbano and myself. It
works, it gives it a little bit more air. The three guitar
thing is something I've always loved, but it's very
difficult to pull off. I think Moby Grape was probably the
last band that did it well. And look where it got them!

JH: Yeah, hasn't done much for them. When was the last time
you heard them on the radio? So did Ravi Oli leave a
disciple there? ["Ravi Oli" was credited for electric sitar
on the song "The Wreck of the Barbie Ferrari" from
"Perfectly Good Guitar."]

Hiatt: Ravi Oli is not making any appearances! Although
Corky was playing Ravi Oli, I was the actual original Ravi
Oli on the record. So he was a surrogate Mr. Oli, bless his
heart. But he's still there in spirit. Ravi is ever-present.

JH: So it sounds like you're pretty pleased with how things
are going. I've heard that you're hoping to do a live album
from this tour. Is that so?

Hiatt: Well, we've been recording since we came back out in
January -- we've been hauling around 24 tracks of ADAT and
recording every show. So, yeah, I would love to put out a
live record, I would really like to put out a live record.

JH: It seems like it would be a good time because you have
so much material. Now that you're audience is getting
bigger, a live album would be a good way to introduce them
to...

Hiatt: Exactly. Yeah, I feel the same way. Plus, I'm so
pleased with this band, the Guilty Dogs, they just re-
interpret a lot of the stuff in such an exciting way. I'm
even more excited about getting into the studio with them,
which we're planning to do in September.

JH: Are you writing already for that one?

Hiatt: Yeah, I've been writing like a madman. Writing on the
road quite a bit.

JH: Seems like a good way to spend that time...

Hiatt: Well, you know, it's funny cause it's only in the
last few years I've been able to do that. I didn't use to be
able to write on the road, I used to have to be home in my
little writing room and so on. But I've gotten more flexible
about that.

JH: One of the things that I've noticed about "Perfectly
Good Guitar" is that it seems like a sort of return to the
sounds of "Riding with the King"-era material. What made you
want to go back to that harder-edged sound?

Hiatt: I didn't feel like I was going back to it, but maybe
just going on with it. I guess...I'm just trying to figure
out how to best put it because it's not like you consciously
make decisions, or at least I don't, in terms of music. What
I'm writing and what I'm writing about and how a group of
songs shape up over a year or two year period what tells me
what's happened musically, how it's going to be. So in
hindsight I suppose you can look back and see a design. I
guess, if hindsight's 20/20, then I'm looking back and
thinking to myself that whatever I was writing about with
the last 3 A&M records ("Bring the Family," "Slow Turning,"
and "Stolen Moments"), I was done writing about that stuff.
I was done talking about myself in terms of a self-inventory
style of writing. I was just through with that, you know?
It's like the guy at the party -- you can only talk about
yourself so long, and if you don't start talking about
something else, people are going to walk away from you!
(laughing) So I was just sort of over it. I don't know if
that's personal development. I think -- I'm sure -- I think
any writer in his writing life gets into that self-
discovery, that kind of writing where you go into yourself
and check yourself out. I think you do it more than once in
your writing life, and I think it's useful for the writer
and I think it's useful for the listener or the reader as
well.

JH: But you don't want to make a career out of it...

Hiatt: Well, you do it when you need to do it. And when I'd
done that, I wanted to get back to some storytelling and
maybe revealing some things to myself and/or others through
that.

JH: I think that's one of the real appeals to your music, at
least speaking for myself. There are things that I hear you
address that are real to you and are real to other people
but that nobody really talks about.

Hiatt: Well, my whole motivation for writing these songs is
to connect in just that way you described. I want to know
that what I'm feeling is not all that unusual. I want to
know that other people feel stuff like that too. So that's
why I write about it, to kind of send a flag up a pole and
see if anybody else says, "Oh yeah..."

JH: Yeah, "I recognize that, too." Well that's interesting.
Having seen you on stage and how comfortable you are and how
much fun you have, it's interesting to hear you say that.
Because it sounds like something where you'd be a little bit
timid out there, "Here, I'm revealing something..."

Hiatt: Well, I think my comfort level on stage comes from
some years of having some things affirmed by the audience.
In other words, by having connected in whatever modest way I
have in terms of the width and depth and breadth of my
career, I have that knowledge going into it, that there are
some people that understand what I'm talking about. But
years ago, when I started doing this, I couldn't even look
at the audience when I played. I used to sit down and stare
at my strings and so on and so forth. So it's been a journey
for me of connecting with people.

JH: It's not like the first time you went on stage you were
the same person we see today.

Hiatt: Exactly.

JH: Getting back to one thing you mentioned about the songs,
and the direction they take you, it sounds like you let the
song dictate...

Hiatt: Absolutely. Over the years, I've tried a lot of ways
to trick the song into appearing (laughs). Employing
different disciplines, you know, or superstitions, or
attitudes, or whatever. These days, and I think that's just
a result of my personal and artistic development, I seem
more willing to just sort of go along and see where the
song's going to go. I don't have as many agendas in terms
of, well "I want to write this kind of song." In your 30's
you think you have notions and attitudes and ideas that are
ever so important to get across to people, so you kind of
come at it from that angle. But I don't do that so much
anymore. It's more like an adventure for me these days, to
see what the little old song is going to be about. It's fun
and it's really opened up the possibilities of what I want
to write about or what I'm going to write about because I
hardly ever know anymore, lyrically, what's going to happen,
to tell you the truth. I get inspired by a piece of music or
a chord progression, and then a melody, and then the words
are the last thing. And that's when you go along with the
ride, see what happens.

JH: That's an interesting way to go about it, when you
consider a lot of popular music today is...people have an
agenda going into, it sounds like they have a marketing plan
in mind before they even sit down to play anything.

Hiatt: Well, there is a lot of that, of course there always
has been in pop music. There's been the Brill Building
approach or Tin Pan Alley before that. And right now I think
Nashville's a perfect example of that, just that approach
you're talking about. It seems more designed to move
product, have lots of records sold and then have that artist
go out and collect...money. (laughter). And that's the pop
machine, it's finally come to country music. Everybody down
in Nashville is just thrilled with it, but artistically
speaking, in terms of any artistic vision, it's slim to
none, in my opinion. There are a few people that are working
-- again, it's just my opinion -- there are some country
artists who have an artistic vision, but right now there's
just a real glut of sort of the "pop fodder."

JH: Well, when you look at someone like Billy Ray Cyrus...

Hiatt: There's a new kid every week. And it's the same story
it's always been: somebody young enough and dumb enough
(laughter) to do what they're told. It's a real producer-
driven thing, right now, producers and record companies are
in cahoots. Which is why, conversely, to my ears anyway,
this new rock'n'roll, these new young bands that have been
coming down the pike here the last four or five years are so
refreshing. It's so invigorating to me that a music that is
artistically driven for the most part -- although, sure, in
any group in any music you've got people just trying to cop
a thang, or whatever -- but what I hear is real songs being
written about real everyday feelings that we all have. Not
being cleaned up for the masses, or prettied up, just "here
it is." I dig that.

JH: I guess that's one of the joys of rock'n'roll, really.
In the early 60's, the record companies had it all pretty
squared away -- Pat Boone would cover the Chubby Checker
songs and they'd go about their business just fine. But
there came about a time when artists broke through that the
record companies didn't know what to do with, and they found
an audience and broke free of that whole record company
control. I guess that's the same thing you're talking about
happening now.

Hiatt: Well, there's been many cases of producer driven and
record-label driven periods where there has been some
wonderful music made. Motown is a perfect example -- that
was just fabulous stuff. And Stax, the Stax/Volt era in
Memphis, the Chess era before that in the 40's and 50's with
Willie Dixon producing all these great blues acts for the
Chess brothers up in Chicago. But I think you have to have
people involved that have some sort of artistic awareness. I
mean, it's a commercial venture, let's not kid ourselves.
It's a commercial art. I think that's not only the
challenge, but I think it keeps you honest as well. I very
much believe in that. If I just wanted to make records for a
handful of people who think and look and dress like me, I'd
be recording for some small label somewhere. I don't want to
do that -- I want to reach people.

But again, it's whatever your motivation is, and a lot of
times the motivation is purely dollars and cents,
unfortunately. But in a lot of other lines of work it's the
same thing too.

JH: Any word on further activities of Little Village?

Hiatt: No, no word, all's quiet on the western front. We
have not spoken lately, but when last we spoke, which was
six months ago, everybody was still hoping that we could at
least make one more. I think we all felt like we made an
interesting record, but we didn't make a really great one.

JH: Well, the record was good but I think expectations were
probably pretty high...

Hiatt: For the audience and for us as well.

JH: I saw you guys perform in San Francisco and it was
really an incredible show. It was a lot of fun seeing you
guys work together. There are some great dynamics to the
things that you four [Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe, and Jim
Keltner] can do. So nobody in the group is averse to playing
together again?

Hiatt: No. I think it'll happen. I think it may be a year or
more before we get in the studio. The biggest problem is
just getting these four guys together, because we all have
these different projects. But I think we'll make one.
There's a great rock'n'roll record in us, I think.

- Jay Hipps, Petaluma, California, USA
jayh123@aol.com

(Article copyright 1994 by Jay Hipps. Print rights
reserved.)


-- The Wine Enthusiast --
Beer

Like wine, beer is a wonderful alcoholic beverage that can
have complexity, sophistication, and be a delight to the
senses. Like wine as well, the majority of beer produced is
made to appeal to as wide a market of consumers as possible,
and because of this most beers lack the above mentioned
qualities.

There are now in North America many smaller micro-breweries
and larger regional breweries that make superior products,
many of whom have taken brewing in new directions.

Wine is a very simple drink to make. All you need is a
source of sweet, juicy fruit, - grapes are ideal - and a
container to squish the fruit into, and wild yeast and
bacteria will do the fermentation for you. All you need to
do is pour off the fermented juice, now wine, and voila!

In winemaking most of the attention is placed on the origin
and quality of the original grapes. I've argued a great deal
in this column that viticulture and micro-climate are the
major determinates of a wine's quality. Wine almost makes
itself.

Beer-making is a much more complex affair. Though beer
contains essentially only water, barley malt, other grains,
hops and yeast, producing (modern) beer is more
technologically demanding than making wine. (Ancient beers
made in Egypt or Mesopotamia must have been downright simple
to make, but probably awful to drink.)

But like wine, the quality of ingredients, and thus the
expense, have a great deal to do with the finished product,
as well as how the beer is made.

Since the end of prohibition, the large breweries bought out
and absorbed almost every regional and smaller brewery in
North America, leaving the marketplace dominated by a
handful a large producers. These producers have largely
shaped the marketplace in their own image. In an attempt to
appeal to the widest possible market they have literally
diluted beer to suit the lowest common denominator.
Discriminating consumers, that seek beer different from
mass-appeal products traditionally have bought imported
beers, many of which, in turn have been bought and produced
under license by the same major breweries.

In the early 1980's all of this began to change. Hundreds of
small micro and regional breweries sprang up, many of whom
have passed into obscurity, but much of whom are thriving
enterprises providing stiff competition to the large
established breweries.

Consumers began to demand more from such a an unlikely,
inexpensive beverage as beer. Quality beer that had the same
cachet as trendy wine, that was of course, slightly more
affordable and accessible, had an immediate appeal.

Consumers also had a belated recognition that beer was not
something uniquely American or Canadian but was transplanted
from Europe, and so consumption required a new perspective
placed upon the experience.

The same recognition struck consumers and producers of wine
in the early sixties, that a Napa Valley Cabernet or
Chardonnay could, approach the qualities of a Bordeaux or
Burgundy.

It was upon this fertile ground that the seeds for a truly
inventive new brewing industry was founded. Copying the
styles of old-world brewing was not sufficient, in fact, the
nature of New World malt and hops made this a virtual
impossibility. Barley grown in Washington State or
Saskatchewan was significantly different from European malt,
and new varieties of hops grown in the Pacific Northwest
were astoundingly more powerful and rich than any European
hop.

From this set of circumstances New World brewers have
created an unique tapestry of variety and richness of beer
styles by reinventing old and new. Today because of the
proximity of quality hop and malt producers Washington,
Oregon, and California brewers are producing a wide range of
beers that are every bit as impressive as the superb beers
of England or Germany. Many New England states as well, with
their rich brewing heritage, are on the cutting edge of this
fusion of beer tradition and New World materials.

Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, Yeungling of Boston, Red
Hook of Seattle, Full Sail of Portland are truly on the
cutting edge of beer style development producing rich,
heavily hopped, zesty, quenching styles of beer, that have
no real equal in European beers. Beer making has finally
matured in the post-prohibition world of North America, and
the future looks bright indeed.

- Tom Davis, Vancouver, Canada


-- News Room --
Academic Freedom

News Room is a regular discussion column which will cover
different topics each issue. The column is a transcript of a
debate or discussion conducted between two participants over
the net. Each "debate" will usually have a moderator, to
help keep the discussion flowing, raise some points that
seem important, and generally keep things orderly and
interesting.

One of the big advantages of the electronic media is
supposed to be ease of participation. We hope we can
stimulate you to take part in our forum, to follow it up,
comment on it, suggest subjects we should cover (or
participate in a debate, volunteers are always welcome).
Readers are also encouraged to e-mail votes for the debator
they agree with.

Much has been made of the "filters" which select what does
and doesn't tend make it into print in the big newspapers
and magazines, the Internet has helped to provide one
shortcut around some of those filters. The News Room is our
own contribution to promoting the uncensored discussion of
ideas between the writers and by people like you. So tell us
what you think.

---

Taylor (moderator): There has been a fair bit of coverage
here in North America of disputes in the area of Academic
Freedom ranging from visiting speakers being shouted down by
students (with the willing support of some staff), to
published opinions which have got students and professors
alike into hot water. So should we limit what represents
"acceptable" opinion, or are universities and colleges
places where it should be possible and acceptable to express
any opinion without restraint? If there are to be limits on
the permissible -- what should they be and how should they
be defined ? What do our two panelists think?


Gribble: My views on the subject of academic freedom are
well expressed by part of a recent statement issued by the
American Association of University Professors, entitled "On
Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes":

"Freedom of thought and expression is essential to any
institution of higher learning. Universities and colleges
exist not only to transmit existing knowledge. Equally, they
interpret, explore, and expand that knowledge by testing the
old and proposing the new.

This mission guides learning outside the classroom quite as
much as in class, and often inspires vigorous debate on
those social, economic, and political issues that arouse the
strongest passions. In the process, views will be expressed
that may seem to many wrong, distasteful, or offensive. Such
is the nature of freedom to sift and winnow ideas.

On a campus that is free and open, no idea can be banned or
forbidden. No viewpoint or message may be deemed so hateful
or disturbing that it may not be expressed."


Gould: This debate isn't about "political correctness." I
don't advocate the prohibition of "unpopular" ideas. Rather,
Paul correctly identifies the issue when he speaks about the
proper role of universities. Our difference, however, is
that Paul believes every individual should have the right to
say, and continue to preach, whatever she or he desires. I
would draw the line differently.

Universities are about knowledge, about acquiring it,
questioning it, and understanding it. While ideas are always
open to expansion and modification, there are some facts we
know to be true. The Holocaust happened. The Pope does not
control the minds of every Catholic. Asians do not have a
mass conspiracy to take over the world. In other settings,
we might ignore these ravings of intolerant and ignorant
souls. In the university setting, we cannot.

This is not to say that the university should prohibit all
members of its community from expressing these views in
every forum. Staff may be prejudiced -- perhaps even faculty
or students. But when a faculty member sets foot into the
classroom and puts forth these views in the spirit of
"knowledge," when he/she advances known untruths as "facts,"
the university has a duty to step in and stop the perversion
of knowledge. The situation is no different than if a
political science professor taught that Thomas Jefferson
were still President. Knowledge may be variable, but there
are some facts that we can cling to as true.

The issue, then, is not whether someone's feelings are hurt
by free speech. (The world is offensive at times.) Rather,
the question is whether universities will have the courage
to step in when vicious untruths are passed off in the
classroom as knowledge.


Taylor: So where is the line between the prevention of plain
lies in the classroom and academic works, and the
suppression of academic free speech ? Can we really accept
the right of teachers to misinform (that is to lie) to those
they are responsible for educating ? and how do we deal with
the much more fuzzy cases (in their times Darwin and
Gallileo "lied"). Paul, how do you reconcile the conflict of
freedom and responsibility in this context, do you think it
is possible to permit complete academic freedom of opinion
and simultaneously prevent academic misrepresentation of
facts and ideas ? and Jon maybe you could explain how you
would want to define "acceptable" and "unacceptable" - after
all many of today's truths have been considered unacceptable
or wrong in the past.


Gribble: A university education is very different from an
elementary school education. In elementary school we trust
teachers to teach our children facts about the world: how to
do long division; who the first prime minister of Canada
was; how a plant converts light into energy. In a university
environment, the role of the professor is as a facilitator
rather than a teacher. The role of the university student is
not as a passive note-taker but rather as an active seeker
of information.

Many people (especially students) assume that they are at
university to be taught truths about the world. They walk
into a lecture hall and look at their professor, thinking,
"Okay, now teach me." Almost nothing presented at the
university level is fact. Everything from theories of
chemical bonding to theories of the causes of the first
world war involve interpretation. The role of the professor
is to facilitate an environment in which a breadth of
interpretations, mainstream and otherwise, are available to
the student interested in exploring them. To a large extent
the student is responsible for his/her own education. The
student who walks away from a lecture on the industrial
revolution believing that to be the only interpretation, or
the student who walks away believing that they were only
given the opportunity to be exposed to one viewpoint, is not
living up to his or her responsibility.


Gould: Paul is right that a university education is
different than primary school, but I also suspect that he
would be willing to redirect a grammar professor who taught
that punctuation was no longer necessary. My point is
simple: while knowledge changes, we as an academic community
still set parameters as to what is in the realm of the true.
If professors are expounding ideas, hateful ideas, that we
believe to be untrue, we as a community have an obligation
to prevent their instruction as truth in the classroom.
Separating the true from the untrue is difficult, and we
should always err on the side of caution and breadth, but it
is process that we already undertake in others areas and we
ought to extend it to hateful speech.

Even apart from this point, we ought to restrict speech when
the speaker's intention is to harm. Extend assault and
battery laws to speech. If a speaker utters hateful speech
with the intent to harm another, restrict him. Note here
that I would draw the line based on the speaker's intent,
not whether the listener finds offense. Freedom of speech
doesn't prohibit offensiveness, simply intended harm.

The obvious objection is that it's difficult to discern a
speaker's intent. True. But, again, we face these problems
in other areas of the law where intent must be measured, and
we ought to be able to do it in the context of speech.


Taylor: So both Paul and Jon seem to agree that some level
of disagreement is just in the nature of a University
education. One seems to be maintaining that whilst academic
freedom is desirable, free speech does not override the
necessity to enforce some level of commitment to honesty and
ability to deal with malice and deliberate hate promotion.
On the other hand we have the view that the necessity for
free debate puts anything and everything on the table.

I have a point or two I'd like to raise here, purely my own
opinions following on the points of view expressed above.
Because this is the end of a rather short exchange of views
I want to add my two cents worth and hopefully promote some
reader input. A big advantage of electronic publishing is
supposed to be the ease of feedback so I hope we will get
some comments, input, etc. on this. First off I want to say
that I accept without reservation that the conflict (deep
and perhaps permanently irreconcilable differences of
opinion and moral conviction) of ideas and viewpoints is
necessary to any worthwhile system of higher education. If a
person can't see another side to a controversy or at least
appreciate the fabric of views which are directly opposed to
his or her own then their time at university has in many
respects been wasted. However, whilst I don't dispute the
right of Professors and academics (or anyone else for that
matter) to express views which I find personally distasteful
or offensive, I do expect responsible behaviour from
everyone. Academics whether in a University or a Primary
school have, along with their right and duty to contest
philosophies and encourage independent thought, a
responsibility to society. If an academic proclaims that we
should sterilise the poor, nuke Cuba or Haiti, their
position as a doctor, scientist, historian, economist, etc.
can give credibility to the suggestion. They can claim that
there is a concomitant responsibility to the public good
(far more than the average Joe).

Being an academic does not put anyone above responsibility
for their actions and words. I have trouble accepting the
academic community as somehow divorced from the rest of the
world. I wish it were so but it isn't and in my opinion that
is the reality we have to deal with. In fact that is what
makes the problem such a complex one. If education were
truly separate from life we could pigeonhole disagreements
and forget about them. In the real world they can touch on
the fears, prejudices, opinions and lives of real people who
have to deal with real consequences. For me the problem
isn't so much the concept of academic freedom per se, but
exactly how great a freedom we can allow before we have to
delineate the corresponding responsibilities to the rest of
the world and give them priority.

"Education," as someone once said, "is the ability to listen
to practically anything without losing either ones temper or
self confidence." If education has a real central value - it
is to teach us to deal with deep, fundamental, and directly
contradictory opinions and desires without coming to blows
and resorting to personal insult and the suppression of what
we don't like to hear.

---

We encourage the readers to e-mail their thoughts on this
debate to editor@teletimes.com. Be sure to clearly state
which side of the argument you agree with. If we receive
sufficient responses, we'll publish some of the readers'
comments and tally their votes on the subject.


-- Cuisine --
Chile Peppers

It is ironic that of all the foods native to the Americas,
the hot chile has yet to be incorporated into the everyday
diet of the 20th century North American. Especially with the
habit of eating "healthy" food which is now vogue in the
United States.

Chiles are exceptionally good for you. High in vitamin C,
the chile adds flavor to food without adding many calories,
sodium, or fat. Poorer countries have known for years that
you can feel full on less food if the food is highly spiced.

The genus Capsicum contains all of the pepper fruits,
including the tame Bell, but does not include black pepper
(Piper nigrum). Capsicum is part of the lager nightshade
family, related to tomatoes and potatoes both of which are
also native to the Americas.

Heat

Since the alkaloid capsaicin, the heat producing defense
mechanism of the pepper, is produced at the junction of the
placenta and the pod walls, the ribs of the pepper can be
removed to reduce the "strength" of the pepper. On page 238
of "The Whole Chile Pepper Book", it states "The seeds are
not sources of heat, as commonly believed". Thus the seeds
add nothing to the resulting dish, and might be removed for
aesthetic purposes.

When working with peppers, be certain to avoid contact with
skin, as the capsaic in it can cause irritation to the eyes,
as well as the mouth. Never feed to pets, or unwitting
children. I would suggest you don't trim your finger nails
before working with chiles. I have made this very painful
mistake once.

Much work has been done to determine the "heat scale" of
chile peppers, which is measured in "Scoville Units", named
for Wilbur L. Scoville a scientist at Parke-Davis. His work
was used to measure capsaicin for the ointment "Heet". For
reference, pure capsaicin equals 16,000,000 Scoville units.
The "Official Chile Heat Scale" is reproduced here from the
Whole Chile Pepper Book:

Official Chile Heat Scale

Rating Approximate Scoville Units Chile Varieties
10 100,000 - 300,000 Habanero, Bahamian
9 50,000 - 100,000 Santaka, Chiltepin, Thai
8 30,000 - 50,000 Aji, Rocoto, Piquin,
Cayenne, Tabasco
7 15,000 - 30,000 de Arbol
6 5,000 - 15,000 Yellow Wax Hot, Serrano
5 2,500 - 5,000 Jalapeno, Mirasol
4 1,500 - 2,500 Sandia, Casabel
3 1,000 - 1,500 Ancho, Pasilla, Espanol
2 500 - 1,000 NuMex Big Jim, New
Mexican Green 6-4
1 100 - 500 R-Naky, Mexi-Bell,
Cherry
0 0 Mild Bells, Pimiento,
Sweet Banana

Help

If by chance you eat more capsaicin than you might like, the
quickest remedy can be found in dairy products. Sour Cream,
Milk, and Ice Cream all will help to put out the chile fire.
While water will eventually wash the capsaicin away, it can
take up to twice as long to relieve your mouth.

A Recipe

The following recipe is one of my favorites. It is low in
everything, other than taste.

Choose the pepper for this recipe according to your tastes.
I prefer New Mexican Green Chiles, but Bell Peppers, or no
peppers, work just fine.

Scallions Wrapped in Tortillas:

Vegetable Oil, preferably Peanut (to resist flaming)
12 Scallions (Green Onions)
1 Pepper of Choice (Bell, Jalapeno, New Mexican Green, etc.)
Fresh Lime Juice
4 Flour Tortillas
Salt

Prep

Trim the Scallions, leaving most of the green parts, and
enough of the root to keep the onion together. Rub lightly
with the oil.

Out Doors Cooking

Roast the pepper over a hot charcoal grill, turning often
until the skin is black and blistered. Place the pepper in a
bag while hot, this will help steam the skins off of the
pepper. After 10 minutes, peal the pepper under running
water. Stem, seed and cut into strips. Set Aside.

Grill the onions until well cooked, but not burnt; about 5 -
7 minutes.

In Doors Cooking

Follow the Out Door cooking directions, but use a broiler in
place of the charcoal grill. Do not use a griddle (as if for
pancakes), or a pan. The results are not the same.

Wrap 3 onions and 1/4 of the pepper strips in a tortilla.
Sprinkle with fresh lime juice. Lightly salt to taste.

Makes 4 appetizers.

- Brian Silver
silver@ctron.com

Sources
DeWitt, Dave and Gerlach,Nancy.The Whole Chile Pepper Book.
ISBN 0-316-18223-0
McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking - The Science and Lore of
the Kitchen. ISBN 0-02-034621-2


------------------------------------------------------------
NEXT MONTH
------------------------------------------------------------

Next month Teletimes will feature Favorite Authors. If
you've read a really great book recently, or have enjoyed
the work of a particular writer...send us an article
describing your experience! Book reviews, biographical
articles, whatever!

Also debuting in May: Ken Eisner, a professional Vancouver
writer, will be bringing us a whole new Arts & Entertainment
section. Look for it soon!

And all you budding photographer types out there, don't
forget to enter PHOTON '94 (see last page for info and
form).


------------------------------------------------------------
STAFF & INFO
------------------------------------------------------------

Editor-in-Chief:
Ian Wojtowicz

Art Director:
Anand Mani

Cover Artist:
Anand Mani

Correspondents:
Biko Agozino, Edinburgh, Scotland
Prasad & Surekha Akella, Japan
Ryan Crocker, Vancouver, Canada
Prasad Dharmasena, Silver Spring, USA
Ken Eisner, Vancouver, Canada
Ken Ewing, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
Jon Gould, Chicago, USA
Paul Gribble, Montreal, Canada
Jay Hipps, Petaluma, California, USA
Mike Matsunaga, Skokie, USA
Satya Prabhakar, Minneapolis, USA
Brian Quinby, Aurora, USA
Motamarri Saradhi, Singapore
Dr. Michael Schreiber, Vienna, Austria
Johnn Tann, Ogden, USA
Dr. Euan Taylor, Winnipeg, Canada
Seth Theriault, Lexington, USA
Marc A. Volovic, Jerusalem, Israel

Columnists:
Kent Barrett, The Keepers of Light
Tom Davis, The Wine Enthusiast
Andreas Seppelt, The Latin Quarter

Funding policy:
If you enjoy reading Teletimes on a constant basis and
would like us to continue bringing you good quality
articles, we ask that you send us a donation in the $10 to
$20 range. Checks should be made out to "International
Teletimes". Donations will be used to pay contributors and
to further improve International Teletimes. If you are
interested in placing an ad in Teletimes, please contact
the editor for details.

Submission policy:
Teletimes examines broad topics of interest and concern on
a global scale. The magazine strives to showcase the unique
differences and similarities in opinions and ideas which
are apparent in separate regions of the world. Readers are
encouraged to submit inf

  
ormative and interesting articles,
using the monthly topic as a guideline if they wish. All
articles should be submitted along with a 50 word
biography. Everyone submitting must include their real name
and the city and country where you live. A Teletimes
Writer's Guide and a Teletimes Photographer's &
Illustrator's Guide are available upon request.

Upcoming themes:
May - Local Authors
June - Sports & Leisure
July - Photon '94
August/September - Education

Deadline for articles:
May issue - April 20th, 1994
June issue - May 10th, 1994
July issue - May 31st, 1994
August/September issue - June 31st, 1994

E-mail:
editor@teletimes.com

Snail mail:
International Teletimes
3938 West 30th Ave.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6S 1X3

Software and hardware credits:
Section headers and other internal graphics were done in
Fractal Painter 1.2 and Photoshop 2.5 on a Macintosh Quadra
950. The layout and editing was done on a Macintosh IIci
using MS Word 5.0 and DocMaker 4.02.

Copyright notice:
International Teletimes is a publication of the Global
Village Communication Society and is copyrighted (c)1994 by
the same. All articles are copyrighted by their respective
authors however International Teletimes retains the right
to reprint all material unless otherwise expressed by the
author. This magazine is free to be copied and distributed
UNCHANGED so long as it is not sold for profit. Editors
reserve the right to alter articles. Submitting material
means that the submitter agrees to all the above terms.


------------------------------------------------------------
BIOGRAPHIES
------------------------------------------------------------

Surekha and Prasad Akella
Surekha and Prasad are in Japan on a two year sojourn from
their home in the US. Surekha is a Pharmacologist between a
Master's and a Ph.D.; she is masquerading as an English
teacher in Japan. Prasad has a Ph.D. in Mechanical
Engineering from Stanford University (California) and is
working on the control of robots at MITI's National
Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. Their common interests
include people, photography and international travel. For
the next few months, they will report on life in Japan, as
viewed through the eyes of Indian-Americans.

Kent Barrett
Kent Barrett is a Vancouver artist with over twenty years
experience in photography. His work has been exhibited in
galleries across Canada from Vancouver, B.C. to St. John's,
Newfoundland. He is currently working on his first
nonfiction book and interactive CD-ROM, "Bitumen to Bitmap:
a history of photographic processes."

Tom Davis
Tom is a wine maker who lives and works in Vancouver,
Canada. A former brewmaster, a painter and amateur (in the
truest sense) film maker. Currently a Philosophy
undergraduate at Simon Fraser University, Tom seeks to start
his own vineyard.

Ken Eisner
Originally from the San Francisco area, Ken Eisner is a
Contributing Editor to Vancouver's entertainment weekly, the
Georgia Straight, and Canadian correspondent/film critic for
Variety, in Los Angeles. He has also been a frequent arts
commentator on CBC TV and radio, and currently reviews new
movies for CKNW, throughout Western Canada.

Ken Ewing
Ken Ewing is a senior technical writer at Sequent Computers
Systems, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon. He is a life-long
resident of the Pacific Northwest, a graduate of Eastern
Oregon State College, and in addition to travel, has deep
interests in philosophy, theology, psychology, and history.

Jon Gould
Jon teaches law and political science at both DePaul
University's International Human Rights Law Institute and
Beloit College. He is a former counsel to the Dukakis-
Bentsen Campaign and has served as General Counsel to the
College Democrats of America and Vote for a Change.

Paul L. Gribble
Born in Cape Town, South Africa but raised in Vancouver,
Paul completed his B.Sc. in Cognitive Science at Queen's
University in Kingston, Ontario. After spending the summer
in Japan working for a high technology research company, he
started his graduate studies in Cognitive Science at McGill
University in Montreal.

Jay Hipps
Jay Hipps is a freelance writer based in Northern
California. He also writes, edits, and designs "Petaluma
Business," a monthly newspaper published by the Petaluma
Area Chamber of Commerce and which was recently awarded
first place in the California State Chamber of Commerce
publications contest. His e-mail address is JayH123@aol.com.

Anand Mani
Anand is a Vancouver, Canada-based corporate communications
consultant serving an international clientele. Originally an
airbrush artist, his painting equipment has been languishing
in a closet, replaced by the Mac. It waits for the day when
"that idea" grips him by the throat, breathily says, "Paint
Me" and drags him into the studioÑ not to be seen for
months.

Andreas Seppelt
Andreas is a former Economist with Transport Canada, now
consulting in Business Communications and Marketing. He has
spent a number of years undergoing formal graduate study and
research in Economic Development and International Trade.
He currently lives and works in Mexico.

Dr. Euan R. Taylor
Euan grew up in England where he did a degree in
Biochemistry and a Ph.D. Before moving to Canada, Euan spent
6 months traveling in Asia. Now living in Winnipeg, he is
doing research in plant molecular biology, and waiting to
start Law School. Interests include writing, travel,
studying Spanish and Chinese, career changing and good
coffee. Pet peeves: weak coffee, wet socks and ironing.

Ian Wojtowicz
Ian is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaurate
program at a Vancouver high school. His interests include
fencing, Teletimes and sleeping in. Born in Halifax, Canada
in 1977, Ian has since lived in Nigeria, Hong Kong and
Ottawa and has travelled to several other places around the
world.


------------------------------------------------------------
Reader Response Card
------------------------------------------------------------

If you enjoy reading Teletimes and want it to continue
bringing you great electronic articles, please fill out this
card, print it, and mail it to:
Teletimes Response Card
3938 West 30th Ave.
Vancouver, BC, V6S 1X3
Canada
You may also e-mail it to: editor@teletimes.com or post it
in the Onenet conference "International Teletimes."

Name:_______________________________________________________

Age:______ Sex:______

City and state/province of residence:_______________________

Address:____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

E-mail address:_____________________________________________

Computer type:______________________________________________

Occupation:_________________________________________________

Hobbies, interests:_________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

What other electronic publications have you read?___________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

How many people do you know who have seen Teletimes?________

Where did you find Teletimes? (BBS, friend, etc.)___________

____________________________________________________________

Comments:___________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________


------------------------------------------------------------
P H O T O N 1 9 9 4
THE FIRST ANNUAL INTERNET PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST
------------------------------------------------------------

CATEGORIES
People - Send in your best "people" work. Portraits, action
shots, kids, whatever. Works will be adjudicated on
composition, effective use of lighting, emotional impact
and general photographic quality as determined by our
judges.
Places - We want to see your grandest mountain vistas, your
moodiest urban landscapes. Works will be adjudicated on
composition, effective use of lighting, emotional impact
and general photographic quality as determined by our
judges.
Small Wonders - Flowers, butterflies, thumbtacks or your
thumb. Take a little time to send us a little gem.
Photomicrographs of vitamin C or pinholes of pebbles. If
it's bigger than a breadbox, it's too big for this
category. Works will be adjudicated on composition,
effective use of lighting, emotional impact and general
photographic quality as determined by our judges.
Digitally Altered Photos - Go crazy with this one, or use
some subtle pixel filters. Either way, amaze us with your
light fantastic. Images will be adjudicated on their "wow"
factor by our judges. If appropriate, submit a copy of the
image before the digital touch-ups are made.
Humour - Humour says it all. Photos will be judged on their
ability to crack up the judges.


DEADLINE
May 31st, 1994. Winning entries and honourable mentions
will be displayed in the July issue of International
Teletimes. Teletimes can be read at etext.archive.umich.edu
in the /pub/Zines/Intl_Teletimes directory.


ENTRY FEE
Please write out a check or money order to "International
Teletimes" for $10 in US funds for every 3 photographs
entered. There is no limit (except your bank balance) to
the number of photos you can enter. Our mail addess
is given below, in the ENTRY METHODS section.


PRIZES
1st place contestants in each catagory are guaranteed a
fantastic colour Teletimes tee shirt with their winning
photo printed on the front. Cash prizes will be awarded
pending sufficient entries. We are also looking for
corporate sponsors to help with the prizes. Stay tuned.


ENTRY METHODS
FTP - Scanned entries may be submitted to ftp.wimsey.com in
the /pub/photon_94 directory. Be sure to e-mail us with the
name of the files you have put on the FTP site. Acceptable
file formats are TIFF, GIF, PICT and JPEG.
E-mail - If you are concerned about leaving your entry in a
public directory, you may e-mail your entries to
editor@teletimes.com. Files must be uuencoded. Acceptable
file formats are TIFF, GIF, PICT and JPEG.
Mail - If you do not have access to a scanner, you may send
prints to: Teletimes Photo Contest, 3938 W. 30th Ave.,
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6S 1X3. If you enclose a return
mailer with appropriate Canadian postage affixed, we will
make every effort to get it back to you, but we can make no
promises. Therefore, DO NOT SEND IN ORIGINALS OR VALUABLE
GALLERY QUALITY PRINTS. Send "reproduction" quality RC
prints, or any prints that you won't go crazy over if they
are lost or destroyed. Hard copy images must measure
11"x14" or smaller, and have the entrant's name, address
and phone number affixed to the back of the image.


DISCLAIMER
All works remain the property of the original artist. By
submitting work to Photon '94, you are agreeing to have it
published in International Teletimes and on the World Wide
Web.


ENTRY FORM
This must be filled out and e-mailed (or mailed) to us in
order to participate in the contest.

Date:______________________________________________________

Name:______________________________________________________

Address:___________________________________________________

Phone number:______________________________________________

E-mail:____________________________________________________

Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the PEOPLE category:_______________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the PLACES category:_______________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the SMALL WONDERS category:________________________________


Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the HUMOUR category:________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

Titles and file names (if applicable) of photos entered in

the DIGITALLY ALTERED category:____________________________

___________________________________________________________

Method of submission (FTP, e-mail or mail):________________

Method of payment (check, money order, electronic

transfer):_________________________________________________

Amount due ([# of entries] x [US$10] / [3]):_______________

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