Also known as the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group – usually shortened to DEVGRU – SEAL Team Six is an elite counterterrorism unit, seen as possessing a skill and experience set that is equaled only by the Army’s Delta Force (aka, SFOD-D; aka, Combat Applications Group); both of these secretive groups are Tier One assets of the United States Special Operations Command, and as such their chain of command is more elegant than, say, Tier Two assets like the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Forces (aka Green Berets), Navy SEALs, or the Marine Special Operations Regiment; Tier One assets receive deployment orders from the Defense Secretary, Joint Chiefs, or the President; intelligence for operations carried out by Tier One assets is provided by the Army’s Intelligence Support Activity (aka The Activity, aka Centra Spike, aka Cemetery Wind, aka Gray Wolf, aka Torn Victor; the group frequently changes its name based on specific operations, whether that be during Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia in 1993, or, say, providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) to locate Pablo Escobar) and often, in the case of SEAL Team Six, the CIA; in the wake of Operation Desert Claw – a mission on April 24th, 1980 to rescue American hostages in Iran, resulting in the death of eight military casualties and no hostages rescued – SEAL Team Six was formed; boiling down all the aforementioned jargon: SEAL Team Six and Delta Force are the best operators in the arsenal of the United States military at precision counterterrorism work, which includes direct action and hostage recovery; while the existence of SEAL Team Six is officially denied, it is generally believed (but impossible to verify) that they’re based in Dam Neck, Virginia; when I lived on the coast of Virginia – and had occasion to visit Virginia Beach – some of my friends in the military would make jokes, hypothesizing, for instance, which miniature golf course was the preferred course for SEAL Team Six; that mystery was never solved; while I don’t personally know any operators with SEAL Team Six – and even if I did, I wouldn’t actually “know” – I do have a couple friends who are retired from the Special Forces; I cringed during the news of Osama bin Laden’s death as TV news reporters frequently referred to all elite soldiers as “Special Forces,” when in fact the correct, more general umbrella nomenclature is “Special Operations,” and “Special Forces” refers specifically to the Army’s Special Forces – colloquially known as “Green Berets”; my friends who were in the Special Forces – and were frequently deployed throughout the 2000s to Iraq and Afghanistan – would be quick to point out that they “earn” the Green Beret, or “wear” the Green Beret, but that they don’t prefer to be called Green Berets; another common mistake by reporters is to refer to SEALs or Special Forces as “operatives,” when in fact they’re “operators”; “operative” would suggest, for instance, a CIA agent; it is worth noting, however, that within the Special Activities Division (SAD) of the CIA, there is the Special Operations Group (SOG), which carries out the paramilitary operations of the CIA; the SOG would include many operatives who were formerly operators in organizations like the SEALs or Delta; there is quite a bit of competition – of the typical male bravado sort – between elite Navy SEAL and Army units; an Army Ranger or Special Forces soldiers might claim that Delta Force possesses the best-trained soldiers on Earth, and while they might express admiration for SEALs and SEAL Team Six, saying something like, “They own the water, for sure,” they may have a subtle critique of the SEAL stereotype (as a cocky showboat), whereas, they would say, Delta and Special Forces operators are much more humble; SEALs, however, might be quick to counter: “SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land,” suggesting they can handle ground operations with equal skill to their Delta counterparts; to someone like myself, a civilian with no military background, this can seem a bit silly and confusing; silly, because these soldiers are all badasses who’ve proven themselves repeatedly in combat operations; confusing, because their stories can be a maze of acronyms; last week, as the story broke of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of approximately 80 SEAL Team Six operators who worked with CIA intelligence, I thought quite a bit about the disconnect in the United States between civilians and soldiers; the story is less than two weeks old, and it has already been recounted, re-recounted, mythologized, examined, critiqued, and in some corners, condemned; it is, of course, troubling that initial official reports from the White House didn’t simply report the death (some linguists would assert it was an “assassination” of the very-planned variety), but felt it necessary to falsify details of Bin Laden’s death; the White House now finds itself in a quagmire; was Bin Laden bravely defending himself, or a simpering coward intent on using female shields?; nobody wants a martyr; “probable cause” and “innocent until proven guilty” are defining features of the United States justice system, but what do the true details of bin Laden’s death – slowly, steadily leaking out – reveal?; that we’re remarkably efficient at eliminating enemy targets with glorious precision?; that we value justice?; in the decade since 2001, has our notion of justice remained constant, or is it possible that is has degraded?; nobody is debating whether or not Osama Bin Laden was a “bad man,” but when a targeted assassination of the man – which has been in the works for well over a decade (remember: President Clinton called bin Laden “Public Enemy Number One” in 1998) – generates joyous hysteria in the streets, can we truly claim to live in a nation that values fair and due process?; somehow, sadly, as images of parties at Ground Zero were broadcast to the world, I was reminded of the image of Nazis burning to death in “Inglourious Basterds,” and the cartoonish, cinematic glee the image sought to induce (or yes, perhaps it was commentary on our collective bloodlust, or our disconnect between reality and film-reality, or some other vaguely post-modern turn, all of which feels a bit like a self-reflexive and autofellating Möbius strip); if we’ve come to expect, through cynicism or matter-of-fact pragmatism, that our reality is not one of truth – but of the truth we choose to report, whatever its validity – well, then perhaps we do live in a truly cinematic age; who better to quote, in that case, than Werner Herzog – a filmmaker who hopscotches between fiction and documentary film, trying to capture “ecstatic truth” – who has said, many times in many iterations: “Give us adequate images”; as of yet, the image of bin Laden’s corpse has been withheld from the public, but the mythological story of his death grows greater with each day; each culture – Pakistani or American, Taliban or Chomskyite – will find their own truth in the forest of facts (and misinformation) that have been disseminated; will May 2nd, the day of Bin Laden’s death, be celebrated in a year, or five years, or 50 years?; will May 2nd become inextricably linked to September 11th, twin holidays of mourning and celebration?; will the truth of Osama bin Laden’s life and death affect the meaning of those days?; does the truth even matter anymore?; Osama bin Laden is dead; it has been reported that he was killed with double-tap shots to the chest and head from the gun of a member of SEAL Team Six; SEAL Team Six was transported into and out of Pakistan by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, aka Night Stalkers; the unofficial motto of the Night Stalkers is: “Death Waits in the Dark”; perhaps this motto is an apt analogy in discussions of news reporting and truth; whose death waits in the dark?; all our deaths?; the deaths of our enemies?; who are our enemies?; do you know?; How do you know?; because your preferred media outlet has named them for you?; it has been widely reported that on May 2nd, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed; we can all agree on one thing: Bin Laden was an enemy of America; the rest is just speculation; the true-truth waits in the dark.
Home to the Little A‘Le’Inn, Rachel is a desert town of less than 100 citizens; located off Highway 375 – also known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway” – Rachel is the closest town to the infamous Area 51; twelve years ago, I rode a bicycle along the Extraterrestrial Highway with a large group of friends; the highway was long and black and empty, the desert dead to the eyes; we rode two by two, and for at least an hour there wasn’t a single passing vehicle, until – whoosh, whoosh, whosh – several white Suburbans with tinted windows and government plates zoomed past; we spent the night at the Little A‘Le’Inn; we saw no evidence of aliens in the night sky; however, as the Little A‘Le‘Inn is Ground Zero for UFO enthusiasts, the beer-chugging, burger-scarfing people that populate the bar represent the crème de la crème of UFO devotees from around the world; we met tourists who’d traveled from Japan, Finland, and Uruguay; they each had stories – which they happily shared; proddings, probings, psychic thought-exchanges – all manner of strange contact was represented; one of my friends received a package in the mail from Jackson, Mississippi the day before; it was a bottle of Pert Plus sent from her brother; inside the Pert Plus bottle was a tightly bound baggie full of hydroponic marijuana; after filling our brains at the bar with odd stories of otherworldly visitors with long fingers, some of us stumbled outside and smoked bowl after bowl of weed; we got baked out of our minds; we laid on our backs; we stared at the sparkling sky; we waited for strange inorganic movement between the stars; we kept waiting; one friend almost impaled his penis on a cactus while urinating; none of us believed in aliens; I think that’s still the case; I don’t talk to many of them anyone; the friend with the amazing pot lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend; the nose-piercing she wore during that trip to Rachel is long gone; an ex-girlfriend of mine was with us; she didn’t talk to me much that trip; I found out later that she hated my guts; that was fair; eventually we became amicable and then quite good friends; we’d seen the best and worst of each other; she moved to Iowa and then Oakland, where she lives with her boyfriend; one friend – originally from Toms River, New Jersey – told me that night that he’d never been to the south and didn’t have much interest in visiting; we mostly laughed while recounting episodes of “The State”; he had a crooked smile, huge laugh, and loved American cheese sandwiches; now he’s a lawyer in Atlanta and defends death row inmates; one other friend who was with us in Rachel died this past September; I received the message over Facebook; a mutual friend sent the message, and the subject line was our friend’s name; I assumed it was good news of an upcoming art show; she was an amazing artist; when I opened the message – on my iPhone, in a group of people – I realized it was news of a suicide; I was confused; it didn’t make sense; even though we weren’t in touch much anymore, we’d occasionally send each other rambling, goofy e-mails; I suddenly realized that she’d sent me a message two months earlier – that I forgot to reply to; I found the e-mail message and read it; she joked about the humility of wearing adult braces and said “life is funny sometimes”; I cried in front of people I half-knew, who were all busy eating a homemade berry pie and laughing about Italians; they were working on table arrangements for a wedding – mine; I’ve always planned on going back to Rachel, Nevada; I’ve found myself in Las Vegas and Google-mapped the route; Vegas and Rachel are only about 75 minutes apart; one day I’ll go; I don’t believe in aliens and I don’t believe in ghosts; sometimes I really miss those friends and that time we hung out at the Little A‘Le‘Inn; random things make me remember that night; I can’t remember if I was actually happy in Rachel; I don’t think it matters; I’m just glad I remember what I remember.
A stage in substance-abuse recovery where the addict feels a lightening from their multitude of ailments; the pink cloud can be a giddy, high place; it can also a bit of a mirage; the abuser is often unaware how easily they could backslide; I was at an AA meeting with a friend, there to see her take a cake for one year of sobriety; this guy next to me – 50 or 60 years old, I couldn’t tell because it looked like he’d lived hard – kept getting up from his chair and drinking more coffee; I watched him down at least six cups; he was a smiler – a manic, nervous smiler; when people said things he agreed with, he nodded with what seemed like the entire range of motion his neck could muster – eyes to the floor, eyes to the ceiling; he repeatedly adjusted his well-worn Astros hat, just making the bill even more crooked; his eyes were alive; finally it was his turn to speak; he said: “Hey – I’m Don, alcoholic”; “Hi, Don,” everyone responded; “Things are getting real good,” continued Don. “You all know I was having some problems with my van – which is also where I’ve lived for the past four years – but a buddy of mine helped me out with some parts, and now it drives like a cool dream. So that’s good. But, I’ve got a little something I need to vent about. Somebody, I won’t say his name, ‘cause he sometimes comes to this meeting, has been mistreating me. This somebody calls himself my friend, and I’d like to think he is. See, he’s got a YMCA membership, and for the past couple years he’s been getting me in as his guest so I can use the shower and get a shave in. Which is a very nice thing. But, see, he talks behind my back, and that’s not okay. He puts me down. He tries to oppress me. You’ve probably noticed some of the sideways remarks he’ll make about me at meetings. Trying to make fun of me. And I’m up to here with it. But what am I gonna do? I gotta stay clean. It’s a predicament I’m in. I’ll figure out a solution. But for now, I’m frustrated. And I wanted to share that with you. Thanks for letting me vent. Other than that, things are really good. It’s hard sometimes not to have a drink. I go by some of the old bars I use to be a regular at and I think how easy it would be to have just one drink, but I know it won’t work like that. It’s a struggle. And I find ways to cope. I drink a lot of Diet Coke. About twelve or fifteen cans a day. And sometimes I swim laps at the YMCA. But I’m grateful. And overall, I’m pretty good. Thanks for letting me share”; then some other people told their stories and my friend took her cake and afterwards a few of us went out for Korean food; a decade earlier, I lived in New Haven, Connecticut; as the sun would set in New Haven, a pink hue drenched the horizon; it was so lovely, so psychedelic – it didn’t seem like a Connecticut skyline; the sky belonged somewhere more tropical – Key West, or perhaps some Caribbean island with a Dutch or French name; I found out later that the pink clouds were caused by the “Filthy Five” – the five worst-polluting power plants in the entire state, which included one in New Haven Harbor; the air in New Haven was poisoning us, creating new generations of asthmatics, but when the sun descended in the sky and the pastel lightshow began, all was forgiven, almost.
A Scottish-American tradition – that began in Washington D.C.’s New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1941 – in which families bring their “tartan” (the distinctive plaid of their “clan” – historically, Highlanders) to be blessed; the roots of this traditional service date back to 1745, after the Battle of Culloden; the British tried to destroy the morale and culture of the Scottish clan system by banning both the wearing of tartan – and playing of bagpipes; Scots subverted this law by hiding bits of tartan on their bodies when they went to the “kirk” – or church; so, in this secret fashion, their tartans – and their clans and ancestors represented by the cloth – received a blessing; I went to a Kirkin o’ th’ Tartan service this year at an old Virginia church (that dates back to 1670 – though the current brick structure wasn’t completed until 1735); I have no strong sense of my Scottish heritage; I went because it sounded amusing, and I think bagpipe music is cool and hilarious – like a chorus of naggy, flatulent ducks; everyone at the service seemed to take their family’s tartan quite seriously – and wore it on handkerchiefs, scarves, hats, and draped across their chests; I don’t know what my family’s tartan looks like, and neither does my mother, but if we chose, I suppose we could pull quite the Scottish-heritage trump card; I’m a direct descendent of John Knox – leader of the Protestant Reformation, founder of the Presbyterian Church, and witch-burning enthusiast; I don’t mention the John Knox relation to people that often – not because I’m embarrassed to be related to a murderer of women accused of witchcraft (I’m also related to slave-owners – on both sides of my family) – but because I find most types of ancestor worship and national pride to lead quickly to a virulent strain of Nationalism; I mean, put simply: I’m related to some folks who did good things as well as some monsters; so what?; so are you, and you, and anyone who reads this; so, as I sat by myself, waiting for the service to begin and the bagpipes to start wheezing, a fellow in his 60’s that I’m a casual acquaintance of asked if he could sit next to me; I said yes; I noticed he was wearing a tartan handkerchief in his jacket pocket; this guy – Craig – lived in New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons before retiring to Virginia; Craig is a fan of colorful socks, seersucker in summer, and wearing his cloud-puff of white hair in a manner that reminds me of Graydon Carter (editor of “Vanity Fair”; modern-day dandy); after graduating from college in Maine, Craig moved to New York and got a job (he was apparently unqualified for) in A&R at Columbia Records; he had to accompany Iggy and the Stooges for much of their tour in support of “Raw Power”; Craig wasn’t there for Iggy’s infamous peanut butter incident, but recalled: “It was the coolest job on earth but it was also awful. I had to check the Stooges in and out of hotels. I was the ‘company guy from New York’ – a babysitter. Iggy didn’t understand that being a rock star was a performance. He actually did…everything”; Craig then told me about hanging out with Bob Dylan (who left Columbia for Asylum Records for a couple years in the 70’s, only to come right back ) while he was in the middle of recording “Blood on the Tracks” – a breakup album with few peers; I was especially curious to hear about the impression Dylan left on Craig – even though it was a bit surreal to hear these rock n’ roll stories from a man decked out in a plaid suit and tartan, sitting in one of the oldest Christian churches in America on a Sunday afternoon; Craig was just about to tell me a Patti Smith story (involving an episode with Robert Mapplethorpe) recounted in her recently released memoir, “Just Kids,” when the nasal humming of bagpipes began; men in kilts marched in, playing fife, drums, and bagpipe; there was a sermon, a blessing of the tartan, much Scottish pride; I ducked out early; last week, I received a well-read copy of “Just Kids” in the mail – Craig’s copy; on the cover of “Just Kids,” Patti Smith is dressed in a headband and high-waisted men’s pants, rolled up to mid-calf, and Robert Mapplethorpe dons tight jeans, a mesh shirt, silk scarf, a tilted hat, and clenches a white cloth sack (of laundry? Food?) – like a Brooklyn punk Navajo princess and a homeless hustler, wearing or carrying every item of clothing they own; I’ve never taken too much pride in my clothing – the fit, the fabric, the layers, the patterns – but I sometimes admire (and sometimes resent) people that do.
Both the name of an Austrian weapons manufacturer and its most famous product: polymer-framed, semi-automatic 9 mm handguns popular with the FBI, CIA – and my Uncle Roy; my uncle Roy lives in south Florida, though he also has homes in New York City, Cat Cay, and the Cayman Islands; several months ago, I visited my cousin’s farm in Florida – where he has goats, chickens, cattle, horses, and emus; we played with several wild boar piglets (orphaned after my cousin and uncle found the mother boar burrowing through crops – and unloaded their firearms into her); I wanted to play with the baby animals; my uncle brought a truckload of guns and set up various targets on hay bales; he had no interest in the furry babies; eventually, I walked over to my uncle – who was firing away at a target; I asked, “Is that a Glock?”; Uncle Roy replied, “Yeah. With a laser sight”; “Huh…it’s made of plastic, right?”; “Mostly. They used to say you could get it through airports without it being detected. Standard issue for the CIA”; “Huh”; then my uncle laid the Glock into my hand and asked, “You know what kind of gun assassins use?”; “No,” I answered; “.22,” said Uncle Roy; this was surprising to me, as all my childhood gun experiences involved BB and pellet guns, though some kids I knew used .22 rifles to hunt small animals with their fathers; the .22 cartridge was small (not much larger than a pellet); “A .22?” I asked. “They don’t pack much punch, do they?”; he replied, “Back of the head. Two shots. With a silencer, nobody even knows what happened. You could be in and out of a hotel room like a ghost”; then my Uncle Roy smiled, took out a pack of Juicy Fruit, slid two pieces of gum into his mouth, and instructed me to shoot at the target; while my uncle watched, I fired all seventeen bullets (“Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole,” said the immortal Warren G) at the target; we walked over to the target and saw that I hit the black-outlined bad guy – a grand total of three times (and they were flesh wounds – I completely missed the vitals); I never claimed to be a good shot, and besides: I felt self-conscious and judged; I imagined my Uncle Roy using his Glock to kill a mother boar (this was, in fact, the gun he’d used on her two days earlier); he’s an excellent shot, and seems to have no qualms murdering a mother; I wonder if CIA agents – or assassins – ever use their Glocks and/or .22’s to kill wild boar mothers; I doubt it; I was rather troubled by this orphan business and thought about adopting one of the boar piglets; my uncle dissuaded me, though, saying: “It’ll grow to be 200 pounds. And then it’ll kill you”; I left the orphaned wild boar piglets in Florida; my Uncle Roy swore he’d take care of them and even name one of the piglets “Glock” (after the method by which he dispatched the piglet’s mother); perhaps unsurprisingly, my Uncle Roy has trouble sleeping at night.
A euphemism for being killed by an oncoming bicycle; “silent death” is less Orwellian doublespeak – and more a curiosity-piquing and somewhat literal way to dub the awfulness of a death-by-Schwinn; I heard the term “silent death” for the first time while in Rotterdam, Holland; Rotterdam has bicycle paths running along every street, and to the ignorant American (ahem) they resemble walking paths; I had to retrain my brain; I was almost killed many times – and called “Fucking tourist!” even more; Rotterdam is a fascinating, hyper-modern city – both Europe’s busiest seaport and a center for architectural innovation (including the Netherlands Architecture Institute); Rotterdam’s modernity is due – in large part – to the Rotterdam Blitz on May 14th, 1940, in which virtually the entire city was flattened by bombs from the Nazi’s Luftwaffe; the result is a major European city with an architectural history that dates back only seventy years (though a few survivors are scattered around the city); for the most part, Rotterdam doesn’t possess buildings as old as those in, say, Cleveland, Ohio; this is odd; if you walk down a sidewalk (though not on a bike path!) in Rotterdam, stop, and close your eyes, you can almost imagine the roar of approaching Messerschmitts; I flew in and out of Amsterdam, and before I left Holland, I made a point to spend an afternoon at the Anne Frank House; I’d been to the Anne Frank House once before – as a teenager, with my parents (on that same trip, we got lost and found ourselves in the Red Light District (Walletjes); I remember a bikini-wearing prostitute poking her head out from a store window and yelling, “Hey, American boy – suck and fuck, fifty guilders!” (this was before the conversion to euros in 2002); my mother – who was walking ahead with my father – turned and asked if I needed to borrow money; funny lady, my mother); Anne Frank had been on my mind for some time, perhaps because I’d recently been re-listening to a seminal indie rock album recorded by a childhood friend’s husband in the late 90’s – which was, in large part, inspired by Anne Frank; it’s hard to appreciate how emotional it can be to visit the Anne Frank House; it’s the tiny details that get you; this time, it was the images of movie stars torn from film magazines and pasted on the walls above Anne’s bed that affected me; I did the same thing as a kid (I had both Absolut vodka advertisements and film stills of Ione Skye – from “Say Anything” – thumbtacked to my pale blue walls); as it happened, when I visited the Anne Frank House this time I found myself in the middle of a large tour group from Israel; the women were loud, but I didn’t understand a word they said – except for “Anne”; when I reached the top floor of the building, I sat in front of a television that played, on a permanent loop, an interview from the 1960’s with Anne’s father (Otto); in perfect English, and with complete matter-of-factness, Otto discussed returning to his Amsterdam home after the war, discovering Anne’s diary, and being dismayed by her candor and depth of thought; Otto Frank said: “…my conclusion is, as I had been on very, very good terms with Anne, that most parents don’t know really their children”; I watched that film clip over a dozen times, mesmerized by Mr. Frank’s confession; I stayed until closing at the Anne Frank House, went to a bar next door, ordered both a coffee and a beer, then walked – through the gray and drizzle – twenty-five minutes back to my hotel; I never rode a bicycle while in the Netherlands, though I learned to avoid the bicycle paths.
Also known as tonsilloliths, these cream-colored bits of calcareous matter range in size from a sesame seed to a corn kernel and accumulate in the crevasses (or “crypts”) of tonsils; these miniature mouth aliens smell horrendous and can become quite bothersome, causing the nagging sensation of a piece of chicken gristle lingering in the back of the throat; I know a commodities trader (he prefers to be referred to as a futures trader) in Chicago; he’s become disgustingly wealthy trading oil, gold, silver, S & P’s, Eurodollar, and energy futures; he also trades corn, wheat, and Pork Bellies from time to time, though I don’t believe he’s ever set foot on a farm (and in fact, spends the majority of his time within five blocks of the Chicago Board of Trade); in October, 2008, at the nadir of the U.S. economic crash (or the zenith, depending on your outlook – and political leaning), he claimed to me, while gazing out the window of his Cessna: “I would’ve become rich during the Great fucking Depression”; this trader likes to spend his money on real estate, weekend trips to soccer games in foreign countries, sports gambling, and prostitutes – who allow him, for a moderately high fee, to exercise his sadistic tendencies (his wife enjoys neither S nor M); he enjoys biting, burning, and humiliation; he once paid a prostitute to call her mother and reveal her profession – which was not, as her mother believed, a paralegal; this trader, who is exceedingly generous with his friends and family (sans his mother), does not believe in philanthropy beyond his cadre; this trader discovered Ayn Rand at age 17 – and has adored her writing ever since; predictable, right?; I once ate vanilla ice cream with this trader the day after he had his tonsils removed – an elective surgery to prevent tonsil stones (which had afflicted him from a young age); he explained to me the intense halitosis he had suffered due to tonsilloliths; I once read that tonsil stones were considered – in certain primitive cultures – the equivalent of Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs, except the pieces of tonsillolith are how Satan retraces his steps as he descends the throat of a liar to steal his or her heart; I can not remember where I read this, or if I actually read this (as opposed to hallucinating it while under the influence of South American flora); the Chicago Board of Trade building – located in the heart of the Loop – is a 1930 Art Deco stunner, an equal (in my opinion) of Manhattan’s stainless steel Chrysler Building; forget the Martian insanity of Dubai – these American icons are what architecture should aspire to: Dreams! Metal dreams!; my favorite song off of Neil Young’s mythical, unreleased late-70’s album, “Chrome Dreams” (inspired by an image of a ’55 Chrysler), is “Sedan Delivery”; Young howls in his high-E voice: “…next day I went to the dentist/he pulled some teeth/and I lost some blood/We’d like to thank you/for the cards you sent us/my wives and I were all choked up”; the Chicago commodities trader has faired the economic crisis well (“thrived” would be appropriate; he’s building a 7,000 square foot “cabin” in Utah – “just in case”) and it can be reported that he has – post-surgery – delicious breath.