September 30, 2004: The following stories are the visions of Madame Zora. A refugee
from an Eastern European country that was once part of the Soviet
bloc. Madame Zora prefers not to be specific about her place of
origin, but suffice to say it's the sort of country where even
those who are pure of heart and say their prayers at night can
become pretty hairy when the time is right.
Madame Zora follows the news in her adopted country closely. And
being of gypsy blood she has visions of the future connected to
what she reads. Recently, I sat down with Madame Zora and she
shared a few of those visions. Since her English isn't fluent,
I've put her stories into my own words. Though certain nuances
may not have been translatable, events are as she relayed them.
But a few words to the wise. Madame Zora's visions take place in
a shifting time frame. Some occur in the near future, others in
the far distant. And remember, these are only visions: they may
or may not become future history.
Urban reanimator* Aaron Dare returns to Albany, New York with
7.4 million dollars in hand. The same amount HUD paid for the
government backed mortgages on several large scale condo and
apartment projects on which Dare defaulted. The only money
missing is the cost of a one way Amtrak ticket. Dare apologizes
for his financial absence from Albany since late 2003, saying
he's been downstate waiting for the Amtrak bullet train. He
reimburses taxpayers for the train ticket by doing maintenance
work for tenants and homeowners living in the buildings he
neglected. Though few residents feel like paying him and his
backlog of chores is daunting, Dare supplements his income by
starting another charter school and buying some slums with no
money down. Promoting them as "ripe for reanimation". When former
Vice President Al Gore and Governor George Pataki praise his
innovative approach, HUD cuts Dare another check. But only after
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer opines that despite
his having once barred Dare from working for charitable
institutions, HUD funding isn't charity since taxpayers don't
make donations voluntarily.
New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey climbs out of his post Golan
slough of despond and decides to remain in office forever. Saying
"I have the peoplesss work to do my Precious." The inspirational
tomes provided by State Senator Raymond Lesniak did the trick!
The hug helped too. Plus Ray reminded Jim that all great men
suffer greatly for their greatness. Quoting Play Dough, McGreevey
strides forth to sign more toothless pay-to-play bills and speak
obliquely of quid pro quo. Codey the lesser takes hemlock. Mega
developer Charles Kushner drops yet another x rated home movie
into the slot. His cellmate complains that the groaning keeps him
awake. The guard ignores him: Kushner has contributed big time to
the screw retirement fund.
More cronies of X Governor John Rowland of Connecticut are
indicted. Bringing the total to 19,587. The Tomasso contracting
clan is chased out of Connecticut by a torch bearing mob, but
take up residence in a parking garage one of their subsidiaries
helped build near the Capital Building in Albany, New York.
With his ego inflated to Big Boy proportions by carbon monoxide
fumes, William Tomasso explodes. Screaming "You'll never take us
alive coppas!" Forgetting that in New York, few coppas care
about things that bug coppas in Conn.
Everyone in the Capital Region of upstate New York celebrates
George Soros Day by dressing like a pimp or a ho. A 50 foot
illuminated syringe is raised at the Empire State Plaza and
the alt bands Cowboy Junkies and Jane's Addiction come out of
retirement and play a free concert. All the rehab facilities in
the region are lit like Christmas trees. The entire northeastern
grid blacks out. Yet in the Capital Region, adversity brings out
a spirit of resourcefulness and community. Folks gather round
the warm glow of crack pipes and helpfully hold matches over each
other's veins. Home invasions are done by flashlight. In the
office of the Albany County District Attorney, David Soares
labors by candlelight. Writing lengthy denunciations of the
Rockefeller Drug Laws in long hand.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, all 9 indicted Asselin family
members are convicted of defrauding the Springfield Housing
Authority. The agency that hoary patriarch Raymond Asselin Sr.
headed for 30 some years. The judge sentences the Asselins to
house arrest. In a Springfield housing project. The Asselins'
attorney petitions the court for an alternate sentence of life
on Devil's Island.
Developers of luxo condoriums and corporate hind quarters on
the Gold Coast in Hudson County, New Jersey declare that the
area has been completely reanimated. "We don't need any more tax
abatements and federal or state funds" declares Joseph Barry the
89th, president of Applied Housing in Barryboken and spokesperson
for the developer reform group, Grafters for Accountable
Government (GAG). The sun burns out.
Several downtown neighborhood associations in Albany, New York
elect genuinely new officers. The sun burns out.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac get their books in order. The sun
President George Bush and President John Kerry tour Iraq side
by side. Their joint presidency is a great success. Once both
stopped playing to their bases with all that stuff about god,
guns and gays and admitted there was actually little difference
between them on issues such as government spending and
foreign policy, things went swimmingly. Unifying the divided
electorate with a joint presidency did great things for
the national resolve.
After a brief stopover at luxurious Abu Ghraib Towers, often
cited as a prime example of Iraqi reanimation, the dynamic duo
continue their tour of our democracies in the Mid East. Chucking
puppets under the chin and reviewing the troops. Some of whom
are now second generation. But even presidents need some fun.
President Kerry dons a pair of batik shorts and goes wind surfing
on the Dead Sea. While President Bush takes a nice long horseback
ride through the Gaza Strip. A good laugh is had by locals when
he goofs and calls it "the Sunset Strip".
Unfortunately, the co-vice presidents don't get along as well as
their chiefs. Dick Cheney and John Edwards almost come to blows
one evening over who gets to enter the Abu Ghraib dining room
first. They're seen pushing and shoving in the doorway. Edwards
says that if Cheney strikes him, he (Edwards) will sue Cheney
so hard even Halliburton won't be able to haul his ass out
It doesn't take Madame Zora to imagine what Cheney says.
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
*Madame Zora couldn't seem to grasp the meaning of the word
"revitalization" and instead used "reanimation" and "reanimator".
In English usage, both tend to be associated with necromancy.
Since Madame Zora had such a problem in this instance, I decided
to use her word choice despite the idiomatic awkwardness.
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