Jim Trainer

Archive for July, 2018|Monthly archive page

Zdrasti!

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2018 at 12:02 pm

A local greeting in any number of cold countries used by a foreigner to indicate she or he has lost grip of reality and all appending realms.
Urban Dictionary

It’s 143 miles to the Black Sea and 4,772 to Newark, New Jersey. I’ll be in EWR next Wednesday night and just long enough to get the fuck out of there, but I won’t be this close to the черно море for some time.  My partner thinks that Plovdiv will be booked to the gills and with nowhere to stay due to the Hills of Rock Festival in town this weekend, and a cursory glance on AirB&B reveals he ain’t wrong. I’m sitting on the foldup bed at the Eco Village, high on instant coffee with sugar and blasting Steady Diet of Nothing into my brain via earbuds I bought in Sofia for 3 leva before we headed for the country.

We been here 4 days and hosts Adam and Michelle couldn’t be sweeter. Adam took us to the lake last night, about a 20-minute walk from here. They threw their lines in but I left them there to snap pics of the crescent moon through the walnut trees, walk a while past shuttered factories and a chained up mare. The pace isn’t so slow in Varzulitsa, Russian built trucks are as likely to barrel past me on these dirt stone roads as a black Mercedes or family in a horse drawn cart. Twigs the dog came out of the dusk to greet me on my way back to Adam’s, following me when I had to double back after discovering I was locked out without the key. Looks like they’re preparing dinner now.  I see Michelle walk past my window with a large, white bowl.  The sunflowers in the garden rock in the hot sun glowering.

Such a generosity of spirit these good folks have shown me and my partner since we pulled in behind the Blues Bus last Wednesday and unloaded on the town square. Blato Zlato played to the general and varied fanfare of the village and even the mayor herself crewed up with some lady friends to sing authentic Bulgarian folk songs and give each member of the band a rose. Rose water is a major export of Bulgaria—and sunflower oil, judging by the endless rolling fields of them, with their heads heavy and bowing down in the July heat. They drink their beer here, and Rakia (pronounced rock yeah), a whisky made from grapes that smells like West Philly corn liquor. These are a hearty and authentic people. They don’t waste time on a smile in the village but are curious and interested and willing to talk. Bulgaria’s had a hard time of history and is scrappy because of it. All of the people we met hate Russia and Trump and in that order. They know what’s up and there’s no bullshit on their faces—just hard lines from smoking, worn smooth and sun-browned.

We decided to stay another day at least. My partner’s out of money but the rental’s due back to Sofia Thursday. I think we can make the drive in under 3 hours but we might go to Vargas or Plovdiv after all.  We’ve been traveling somewhere between suitable and lean but leaning on the austere side for this, our village leg. I’m hoping for the best on Friday. I got an $80 room somewhere in Berlin and it will be the beginning of my solo journey. I’m looking forward to luxuriating in the singular chaos of my own mind, writing in cafes where I don’t speak the language, remaining outside the America and at large on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested….Aho.

See you in Germany, motherfucker.

 

 

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Bad Stories, Bad Sources & Bad People

In Uncategorized on July 19, 2018 at 4:14 am

The Office of Jim Trainer
New Orleans Division
c/o Bernard Pearce
2822 Dumaine St
New Orleans LA

Steve Almond, Journalist
stevealmondjoy.org

6/23/18, 10:21PM

Sir

I have been ruminating over this message too long. I’m sending it tonight, bleeding heart and slipshod as it is. I’ve compromised edified tenets of journalism, and squandered precious time with those two sentences (and my archaic heading) and am wasting more still with this one. I loved Bad Stories. It turned some lights on for me and confirmed a queasiness in my craw about the failed democratization of media. I have some questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind. If you do, well, I appreciate the time you spent reading this far. Aho, and, here goes.

How am I, as a self-taught journalist and industry outsider (read: punkrocker) supposed to cull sources and material in what Bruce Springsteen has aptly coined this hall of mirrors of authenticity? Ok so it’s just that question, loaded as it is–perhaps that will forgive the filigree and arrogant tone of this letter. Because, Steve, as the dark new century rolls right over the once proud institution of a free press, I will be perpetrating truth and calling it journalism. I won’t mind being viewed as a hack as long as ink is making it to page. I’d just like to know where to get my facts these days, when the truth is a commodity and Google and Zuckerberg are more than happy to oblige me and whatever suits my antisocial-romantic narrative.

As mentioned I won’t mind never being considered a real journalist, and perhaps living out a paltry career on satire sites where the truth can be taken seriously. I suppose if I had a follow up it would be what you’re probably already thinking…should I go to school for it? Just kidding. Thanks for your work and the time it took to come to whatever conclusion you’ve reached about a too-long letter from an ex-Pat punkrocker living in the wasteland about to fall off the edge of the Earth and land where the dollar is strong and healthcare is guaranteed.

Hope to hear from you. Keep fighting. If the kids are united they shall not be divided.

Yours,

Jim Trainer
Going For The Throat
The Coarse Grind
The Flake News
The Republic of Bulgaria

AT LARGE

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2018 at 12:44 am

The Office of Jim Trainer
New Orleans Division
c/o CC’s Mid-City
New Orleans, LA

Moe Flake, Chief Editor
theflakenews.com
The America

Our mother has been absent, ever since we founded Rome
but there’s gonna be a party when the wolf comes home…

The Mountain Goats

Ahoy Chief-

Greetings from the Big Sleazy. It’s hard to argue with the way natives of this city live but fighting about anything down here could get you murdered. It’s grisly in the Easy. New Orleans has maintained one of the 5 highest murder rates for American cities for the last 10 years. If I keep my wits I’m sure I won’t get shocked or got, but—I hail from Hostile City, where they shoot you for your shoes and even Santa gets pelted with snowballs. Bernard Pearce, born and bred here, says you can’t treat people like dogs and expect them to be civil and not kill you over some shit in the deathly heat on Decatur Street, when the cops are running interference and pulling over tourists at Crescent Park. I can’t complain, this town’s been good to me. It’s kept me fed and in roses. I’m flush with cash, drink dark coffee all day at CC’s in Mid-City and bump & grind at the Saturn Bar to the raucous goodness of King James and The Special Men late into the greasy night.

I wanted to get this off to you before me and Bernard leave the mainland—in thanks and for luck & prescience. I know the ink you gave me in The Flake News didn’t come easy, nor would any argument about why the Personal Journalism of an ex-Pat punkrocker should appear on its pages, but—why not, as Dr. Thompson used to say. Why shouldn’t I perpetrate truth and call it journalism, and why can’t we get our hard news from a satire site and divine our fate in pubs that make light of the extinction event stakes of living in our time, that poke at the Godhead and attempt to shock the squares in a post authentic world? It makes perfect sense to me and besides bi-weekly thrusting nine hundred words into your inbox, I thought I’d approach you personally, with gratitude and gravitas.

I appreciate journalism for the urgency of its language. The hard deadlines of this business prompt me to be informed. I couldn’t even watch the news for a year after the election. I couldn’t shit either, which should come as no surprise—tension, anxiety and dread are your bedfellows when a grifting ponce who lost the popular vote by 3 million becomes the most powerful man in the world. Perhaps that could explain why I fell out of circulation this month, got out of town and pocket and took to a saltwater pool off Dumaine in Murder City. By the time I rented out my garage in Wilshire Wood, loaded up the Element and headed east, Donald J. was the last thing on my mind. The news caught up with me though, and not long after I landed I got word from poet Brown Thought, who wrote while visiting some poor, non-English speaking folks holed up in Taylor, TX by the authorities. I’m sleeping in a kid’s bunk in the meantime, at a housesit in New Orleans, and I only got caught up with current events in time to leave.

An American dollar won’t get you a Euro but that says nothing about what it takes to make it here since the Great Recession. Murder and gun deaths are grim realities we’ve acclimated to living in the America, and the only thing more shocking is that we can go on living this way. I’m not in the business of getting my hopes up, but even living on luck can lose its charm when it takes 2 months for a contusion on my left foot to heal and without 8 hours of sleep I feel all 43 of my years like a weight and bane, and besides—it’s time to GTFO, know what I mean Chief? You got to rattle your chains. Leave the homeland, go abroad, become the dark Other your country fears, lurk like a stranger in the shadows and see how they do in other climes and hemispheres whose doors aren’t darkened by American hegemony. Our destination is The Republic of Bulgaria. We leave America on the 4th of July. There are eco villages filled with ex-Pats in the mountains and they are not without WiFi in the Balkans. $11 a night sounds good to me, Brother, especially after getting brutalized for $140 a day hauling freight in the America. We’ll hit AMS in the meantime, and Brussels because it’s cheaper to fly to and from these hubs, and we’re in no rush. We’re not on a schedule at all, and will probably fly out of Warsaw—the cheapest flight being around $300 to JFK in the first half of August. My partner is well known in the Arts. He’s hoping to hang his lantern over there, buy or rent a barn or bungalow and offer space to artists around the world. Spending money makes me nervous but if I’m writing it won’t feel a total waste and, besides—who knows what will be waiting for me back in the States this Fall as the wretched Year of the Cock winds down?

I’m taking a mirrorless with me, too, lest readers think my column at The Flake News is only bluster and jest. This country is over. I’d like to file with you and The Flake News some of the chronicles of being at large in a wide world and among swathes of people who don’t give a fuck about America but will gladly take its dollars. This long-winded and rageful post is simply in thanks and warning: I should like to submit and hope you are onboard. I know we waited for the humor, the site is satire, and I appreciate it, I feel like it could come, eventually—if and as soon’s I pick up and maintain the healthy habits of a daily writer. I know we discussed a column and I know I’ve told you to look out for some not-at-all-sane correspondence (check). I’m spitballing here, am open to suggestion and at large on a shoestring with an anger addiction and caffeine problem, desperately in need of ink and drawn to hard news only if I have to write about it, and, as always

Your Writer,
Jim Trainer
MSY-BUL

HAVE HEART

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2018 at 3:13 am

“You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
‘til you spend half your life just covering up…”
—Bruce Springsteen

“You’re in Louisiana, that’s how things work out there.  Everybody’s down, bad, so you gotta help out.  Material items are bullshit.  It could all be gone one day on a storm so share with people.”
—Brother Jacob

What follows wasn’t written by Henry Rollins.  I wish it would’ve had the same ringing clarity no matter who wrote it, but, before I became friends with its author on Facebook, I probably would’ve just scrolled on.  This is our world now.  I suffer a terminal defeat and worse—I poo-poo on the rabble rousers because it’s how I was raised.  There’s something more visceral to being jaded, and I can only assume that apathy keeps me protected and anyway I’m too goddamned to believe in this system anymore.  That said, and as much as I bitch about the Election of 2000, I’ve never lived in a country that’s been bombed, or under a government that comes for your people in the night.  Don’t get me wrong that shit was a sham—W. won with less than 600 votes in FLA and just like that the American Century was over.  Anyone who thinks Jeb didn’t hand Florida to his little brother probably believes in God and supports our military without another sleepless thought about it.  This is our world now.  I asked the crowd at Siberia a couple weeks ago—what kind of discourse is available when we’ve lost the narrative?  Like Sicko, I want to know—when did Facism become a viewpoint?  Christ now I sound like the rah-rahs, the world changers—God love ‘em.  I’m sorry I’m a shit about all this.  Bruce Springsteen was right.  I should like to do my part but even if I don’t, the decisions I make aren’t for me.  They’re for the people who can’t make them, the ones who can’t vote—the locked down, the silenced and the powerless and the insane. Truth is, the triumphant screed below wouldn’t of made a shit to me if it wasn’t misattributed to one of the biggest influences of my life.  I rely on Uncle Hank to tell the truth so I don’t have to.  I can go on writing apathetic essays about how hard it is to be a writer while 5 journalists in the greatest country in the world are shot down and killed in cold blood.  The news out of Annapolis had me shook.  It steeled me though, and I took to the territory.  We traveled 26 hours yesterday and today, marking thousands of miles, crossing an ocean and 2 time zones.  Have heart and give of it, if you can.  I will too, Good Reader.  This is our world now.

Trainer
AMS

***
I hate “we’re fucked.”
I mean, I don’t want to shame anyone who has said it, thought it, or posted it. I have too. But as a philosophy, as a statement of belief, I hate it. Because it means you’ve given up.
We are absolutely NOT fucked.
Things are so bad. This country has taken a turn that I could never have predicted. It is absolutely fascist, nativist, and extremist. It’s every bit as scary as it seems.
But we are not fucked.
I read a long-form article on the Russia hacks in the New Yorker not long ago. However much you think that influenced the outcome, it was an instructive piece of journalism. There is very little indication that there was a specific political agenda that was being wished for. The goal was simple: Sow chaos and undermine the faith of Westerners in their own institutions.
This is really important to think about right now.
I have a high regard for Mueller and I think his investigation will have some influence. But don’t wait on him to save us. He can’t. And don’t wait on impeachment. I would support it fervently, but it is nothing to bank on. And especially don’t assume Trump can’t win again. He absolutely can. Our best bet – better, even, than all of our protests and actions – is actually voting.
It’s so square. It’s so old-fashioned. Many of us involved with the hard-left or anarchist scene have been trained to disregard it.
Fucking don’t. NOT NOW, guys. It is the best tool at our disposal. Yeah, you can say that they will sabotage it, reject it, whatever. “Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.” In other words, don’t create troubles before they exist. Anything seems possible to me right now, but it remains the case – despite hacked voting machines and gerrymandering – that there is no known mechanism by which our government can deny massive voter turnout.
Take back the House in November. Then take back the Presidency in 2020. The worst thing we could do is pretend that these are givens. I never, ever, ever thought that this piece of shit could sit in the Oval Office. I was so humbled by my error. Therefore I assume he could take it again – I know he could – unless we accept the threat as real.
When we say, “We’re fucked,” we roll over. We defeat ourselves. We do their job for them. Don’t do that. We are NOT fucked. We are in a fight. It sucks. It’s hard. People are suffering. The earth is suffering. It will get worse.
You know, since everyone loves the Nazi comparisons, there were people during the HEYDAY of the Third Reich who NEVER said, “We’re fucked.” They said, “We’re in a fight.” And you know what’s interesting? Nazi Germany went from the worst regime in the world to a liberal democracy within a lifetime.
Look at Japan. Take the historical view. Stop pretending that the worst of what’s happening now is what is going to always happen. This is what is happening RIGHT NOW. That’s all you know. If you think it’s going to be this way forever, read a book.
Countries slide into fascism for long periods. It happens. Countries also have short-term extremist right-wing governments. Happens in Europe all the time. They get voted out. The threat remains. The threat of fascism will remain in America in a way it never has before. It’s a real movement. But we’re not fucked. Not even close. We can get off the ropes in the mid-terms and knock them out in 2020. But only if we stop saying that we’re fucked, and start seeing this as a fight.
I’m no Pollyanna. Things are so unutterably bad that I walk around in a constant state of nausea and horror. But you have to take the historical view, and you can’t lie down and say we’re doomed, or else they have beaten you.
Again, I don’t want to shame anyone who says, “We’re fucked” as an emotional reaction. I get it, I really do. But if you say that as a historical reality, then you SHOULD be ashamed. We are so far from being fucked. It’s time for that warrior spirit, from everyone.
Our best bet, actually our only realistic bet, is to mobilize the vote. There has always been a silver lining to this situation. I have always hesitated to state it, for fear of sounding like I am not taking the horror seriously. Fuck that; I do. But there has always been the possibility, there remains the possibility, that this is a time when our country faces up to its worst reflection, sees it truly, and breaks the fucking mirror. A time when the last bastion of white power and male supremacy and oligarchy attempts to enact fascism, but the antibodies of the American system and American multi-culturalism kick in to reject it.
Where do you want to stand in that equation? As someone who rolled over because we’ve have had two awful years of shit that much of the world has already experienced many, many, many times over, so you decided that we’re finished and done for? Come on. Look at Europe, look at Africa, look at Asia. Back and forth with this shit, and much worse.
I have your back. Get up. Here’s my hand. Let’s fight.
It can’t become hip to give up. It can’t become hip to say we are fucked. Look at history. People have been so much more fucked than us, and won. If you truly believe we are finished, I’m sorry, but you were the first to fall. Stick a fork in you, turn you over, you’re done. I don’t want to see you do that, if only for the selfish reason that we need you.
Do all the protests, do all the direct action, make all the phone calls, then mobilize in October and November. That’s when we can get off the ropes and start punching again. Take the long view, my sisters and brothers. Don’t let them take you out of the fight.
And if you need me for anything, I am here.

Will Stenberg
June 27 at 3:10 AM