"Deep down I'm angry all the time," says Mitch Coleborn. | Photo: Courtesy of Little Lion photography/Epokhe

Mitch Coleborn: “Deep Down I’m Angry All the Time!”

A vintage interview that features sickly cameos from Craig Anderson and Jordy Smith… 

The well-known Australian surfer… but perhaps it’s best not say exactly which well-known Australian surfer –  they’re a sensitive breed!

And why would the gentlemen we’re about to surprise be an exception? But what the fuck, Mitch Coleborn, it is Mitch Coleborn, sits on one of the marble steps leading to the top floor of this, his penthouse suite. There are 17 altogether, plus four bedrooms, a dining area, kitchen (with open floorplan) flowing to a large living area flowing to a large deck. The floor is a white marble with grey veins and the ceiling lights are recessed. The bathrooms don’t have doors but opaque pull shades instead. The furniture is white leather. It feels, like, today. Modern, without being well-thought but also without being garish. It is the sort of modern that Balinese specialise in. Unobtrusive. Stainless steel appliances and smoked glass. The large deck overlooks Uluwatu.

Mitch is sitting and smiling broadly because he doesn’t feel the least bit sick. His voice is full of light. His Volcom Hawaiian print shirt pressed and unbuttoned three from the neck. Brixton sailor cap perched, jauntily, on his brown curls.

“So, yeah, last night. We went out for a sniff but kind of got there too early. Waaaaay too many Bintang singlets floating around. I had another shitty session yesterday, so I just fucken felt like a Bintang and then one drink led to another and I thought we’d go out and have a look and a couple more drinks and ummmmm…”

“What time was it Mitch? I didn’t think anyone would be out at all…” Craig Anderson, interrupting, is laying on one of the downstairs bedrooms’ queen beds. We surprise him too and he feels a lot sick. And he looks it, though fully dressed, his normally inquisitive chocolate eyes are dull and flat. His South African-tinged Australian accent weak.

“Ahhh, it was shit but it felt good just to get out of the fucking house,” Mitch continues. “And so we got there and Jordy just ruled. He’d talk to anyone. Anyone in the whole place.” Mitch’s laugh imitates his broad, healthy smile. It is robust.

“I was friendly,” Jordy clarifies. He is not surprised at all and is on another downstairs bedroom queen bed. A different bedroom from Craig, but both heads are pressed against the same interior wall and both doors are open. Craig and Jordy are mirror images of each other (as seen from the author’s perch in the hallway). Jordy is sick too. Sick in the stomach. Like Craig.

“Super friendly,” Mitch adds.

Did Jordy brave the night with sickness already gripping is large intestine or did the wretched curse take him midway?

“Uhhhh, last night it did come on. It was actually pretty weird. I was, like, talking and then the next thing I’d say is, ‘Ahhh, I have to stop talking to you because I have to go to the bathroom’.” Jordy looks disgusted with himself but also a touch amused. His eyes are on fire and he is tucked under his sheets plus baby blue comforter. He must be sicker than Craig.

What is Jordy’s prescription for stomach illness? Does he ride it out? Does he call for a doctor? The way a man handles illness, and especially that of the stomach, intrigues. “Ahhh, if I can get a doctor I get a doctor. One came in this morning.” Craig Anderson looks up, nods his head. He saw the doctor too. Then goes back to studying the casing on his computer. Mitch asks what he is looking at. “My computer. Someone dropped it on the floor.” (It was the author).

Jordy, suddenly animated, lifts up to an elbow, lounging like Cleopatra. “Well, that’s karma. Too much Facebooking. Yah.”

Does Craig do the most Facebooking out of anybody? Mitch doesn’t need to think. “

Yes,” he says.

Jordy too, “Without a doubt.”

Craig jumps to the defensive. “Ahhhhhh, whatever. You are the biggest liar ever.”

Jordy tells him he (Craig) bought three (and holds up his fingers to emphasise. Three. Even though Craig can’t see him) internet cards yesterday.

Craig parries, “Noooo! I bought one and then I lost it then I bought another one. You Skype and Facebook waaaay more than I do.”

Jordy seems shocked by this allegation. “No. That’s a lie.”

Craig presses. “No it’s not.” Jordy gives ground. “I might Skype. Skype yah. But that is talking face to face.”

Craig smugly asks, “Why do you Skype?” And Jordy ends this particular line of questioning with a tautology. “It is face to face.”

Silence. Mitch, looking at both Craig, who is lying on his back now, dark blue shorts scrunched high, and Jordy, who is still lounging like Cleopatra with sheet tight under his armpit, continues his story. “So we get to the bar, Craikey (Ry Craike) went to the bar and ordered…”

Jordy cuts in, “the worst fucking drink ever.”

Mitch laughs. “…these awfucking strawberry drinks but they were voted the best drinks in Bali. That’s what, that’s what pulled him into ‘em. And, they were easily the worst drink I’ve ever had. The whole thing was like pulp. Like red pulp. And you’d have a sip and then turn around, talking to the boys and they’d start laughing at ya and I was like, ‘I’ve got something in my teeth, don’t I?’ It’d be all red. Disgusting.”

Jordy adds the drinks had leaves in the bottom of them.

Craig is listening, not very amused. Would he have gotten that particular drink?

“No.” What would he have had? “A beer.”

Jordy disagrees. “Craig would have had a strawberry milkshake.”

In any case, the awfucking strawberry drinks led to one thing which led to another which led to the boys out at a tranny bar being ogled by beautiful (wo)men with beautiful adams apples. A big night indeed, but not necessarily out of place. These are professional surfers. And Jordy is the most professional. He is so big, even lying in bed, sick, still physically dominant. Wild eyes matched by a wild haircut chopped with dull shears, tousled by salt breezes, colored by sun. A black O’Neil shirt stained with life. If anyone were to be master of his fate, captain of his soul, it’d be Jordy Smith. He is South African. A poster of Afrikaner might.

Photographer Ryan Miller, editing pictures nearby, says, “I was with Jordy for, like, a week or 10 days in South Africa and out every single night and not one person said, ‘Hey are you Jordy Smith’ or  ‘Hey can I get an autograph?’ or ‘Hey can I get a photograph?’ One chick randomly, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the country, walked up and asked if she could get a photo. Asked where she was from. Newport Beach.”

Jordy says he thinks it’s better than cool to be left alone. “Yah, it’s awesome. It’s really good. It’s super mellow back home and I can just get away from everyone. Home is where you’d think people would want you more but it’s pretty cool to go home and just be able to relax.”

How often does he spend in South Africa every year, relaxing? “Maybe three or four months a year. You don’t get to spend much time anywhere in the world.”

Craig, listening in, says, “Three months is a long time to spend in one place. In a whole year, I haven’t even been home for four weeks this year.”

Mitch contributes a caveat, “That’s by your choice though. You little workhorse you. Comin’ on to the scene. Comin’ in hot. Fucken…  too cool to go on trips with Quiksilver.” Craig tells him to fuck off.

Mitch says, “Him and Dane.” Jordy laughs. Mitch laughs.

What is Mitch doing? “I’ll do the Europe leg of the QS. How fucken fun does that sound? Yeah, just try to get a few results in the bag so I can get into some comps next year. Fuck. I’ve been trying to get results but it hasn’t really happened yet.”

It really hasn’t happened. He has been no good, in competition. Why? “I don’t know. I’m not…  something is wrong. Jordy’s trying to be my mentor.” Does Jordy give tips? Mitch says he doesn’t ask for tips but Jordy gives anyhow. Do they help?

Jordy says, “We’ll all wait and see.”

At Margaret River Mitch didn’t get out of the trials. He is told Craig made it to the main event (as an injury wild card).

“Yeah, I got a 4.7.” Craig says, nonplussed.

In Brazil Mitch didn’t get past the round of 96. Craig asks, “Did you have three Brazzos in your heat?”

Mitch replies, “Two, and where is Arritz from?” Someone says, “France.”

Both Craig and Jordy say, “Spain.”

Jordy laughs, then asks Mitch what ticks him off. Mitch asks for clarification. Jordy clarifies. “What makes you angry? You’re never angry.”

Mitch asks, “I’m never angry?”

And Jordy tells him that he has never seen him angry.

Mitch says, “Deep down inside I’m pretty angry all the time.”

Jordy, intrigued, says, “Really?”

Mitch says, “Nahhh.”

Then Craig speaks up, “Remember at Reunion? You were pretty angry then. I was angry too. We had those meltdown sessions.”

And Mitch remembers. “Ah yeah, yeah, yeah. Bad freesurfing sessions piss me off way more than losing in a connest. Way more.”

Jordy understands this, instinctively. “Yah and if the waves are really good and you can’t surf…”

Mitch says, “Kind of like yesterday.” And Jordy continues, “I guess it’s all different. Sometimes in comps when the waves are really bad you have some of your best sessions.”

Mitch, looking a little bit forlorn, says, “I would way rather do that then when the waves are really good and you have a fucken bad session.”

Does he ever punch his board? “Yes.”

Does Craig, “Nah, not really.”

Does Jordy? “I used to when I was younger. I started hitting the stringer and it hurt so I started punching my grip.”

Craig asks, “Punching the grip?” And Jordy responds, “Yah.” Craig says, “Punching the grip. I’ve done that before and I punched through to the other side. Punch right through it. I’ve done that before.” Clean through? “No, no, not my whole hand but like a ding on the other side.”

Jordy says, “Wow Craig. You must be strong.”

Mitch laughs, free and easy, “Craig probably really has to shit but he has this paranoia. Like, look at the bathroom. There is no wall. You can just lift the blind up. He probably needs to shit so bad right now. Look at him. You should just go shit in the pool.”

Craig says, “I don’t need to shit. I promise.”

Craig keeps his promise. The next day Mitch, Jordy and Craig surf world-class Keramas. The day after too. They return to the penthouse each night before going out and being large. They each live the life you wish you could.

(Editor’s note: This interview was recorded five-ish years ago and first appeared in Stab magazine.)

Conner Coffin with copy of The New Yorker
When Conner Coffin isn't reading The New Yorker, the 21-year-old surfer from Santa Barbara in California is head-deep in historical novels like Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. "The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time." It's a classic! | Photo: Miles Pitt

(Audio) Conner Coffin reads The New Yorker

The Santa Barbara surfer and star of Cluster reads a comedic piece called I Will Slap You…

To find Conner Coffin, who is currently embedded on the Qualifying Series, the intrepid journalist must foray into the wilds of Newcastle, a regional centre two hours north of Sydney. Outside hotels with names like West End Accommodation barefooted women of fantastic builds share cigarettes and noisy curses; in the cliff-top carpark that I use to find my geographical markers (Dixon Park is… that way!), the lovers in the P-Plated Daewoo share a colourfully painted bong.

And, therefore, when Conner is found in the beachfront apartment that he is sharing with his brother Parker, another surfer of Tahitian good looks but whose name slipped me by and his filmer Ryan Perry, the first thing I say is, “Man, this is a bleak town!”

“Oh, we love it,” says Parker. “The girls!”

“And there’s waves every day,” says Conner.

Positivity! I should try a little of it sometime.

The piece I asked Conner to read is by Colin Jost called I Will Slap You. It appears in the February 9, 2015 issue.

“Did you choose this piece because you want me to slap someone?” he asks.

I reply that I enjoy the comedic meter of the piece.

“I slapped Tom Carey once,” says Conner.





Brinkley Davies diving
Brinkley Davies, pictured here, has seen six Great Whites while surfing and, once, while diving off the coast of Adelaide, South Australia, came face to face with a White. As a just-certified marine biologist, she works on a Great White dive boat off Port LIncoln. If this 53-kilo enchantress doesn't panic at the sight of a Great White, why should we? | Photo: Brinkley Davies

Revealed: How to Terrify a Great White!

First, you'll need a pod of aggressive orcas, says Ms Brinkley Davies…

You’ve been introduced to Brinkley Davies, the freediving, barrel-hunting surfer marine biologist from South Australia before.

First, here at Stab; later, here, on BeachGrit.

Last time I spoke to Brinkley, the now-22-year-old, was putting the gloss coat on her degree in marine biology and was planning on spending the summer down there at South Australia’s neptune islands, near the fishing town of Port Lincoln. The Neptunes are famous for one thing and one thing only.

Great Whites. Monster Great Whites. Sharks six-metres long and five-and-a-bit wide.

And, so, for the past few months, Brinkley has been working with Adventure Bay Charters, a Great White cage-diving operation that differs from most because they don’t bloody the water to attract sharks. Instead of the diver’s experience of Great Whites being the horror of bloody mouths grabbing the cage with rows of see-sawing teeth and with eyes protected by their second eyelid (haunting!), the diver sees a relatively passive, inquisitive animal.

But, lately, no Whites! Let’s ask why! Maybe, as we all hit various panic and fear buttons after the Byron attacks, it’ll give us a handle on how to keep ’em away…

BeachGrit: So, what happened to all the Whites? 

Brinkley: Well, we haven’t seen one in two weeks, ever since a couple of Orcas came through and killed a a big male behind our boat. Neptune is a sanctuary and there’s usually heaps every day. The only people I’ve known who’ve seen a White lately have been a couple of my friends who saw one at Blacks (a popular surf break).

How’d did the Orcas smoke the White? 

First they take it down with their mouth or slam it with their body weight. After they kill, Orcas are picky eaters, so they’ll eat the liver and a few other things and leave the carcass. Right now it’s sitting on the sea floor. That’s why the sharks haven’t come back.

What a welcome!

Yeah, Great Whites rock up to the Neptunes, think, What on earth has killed this other Great White? Obviously, no other sharks come in that area ’cause of the Great Whites so it’s a bit of a ghost town. There are a lot of questions being thrown around, as in where have they gone? They might have migrated back to Perth early because of the Orcas. Who knows?

Tell me about your relationship with Great Whites… 

I spend a fair bit of time on the boat, on our cage-diving boat, no burley or bait, so all the interactions are really calm, very inquisitive. They swim up directly underneath or side-on and check you out. Going out and seeing an animal that’s been made to be aggressive by burleying as opposed to an animal in their natural habitat completely shifts the experience. People come on our boat and instead of saying, “That was so scary”, they’re, “Wow! What an amazing beautiful animal! So big and so amazing up close!” That’s how I want to see them. Surfing around here, especially, you don’t want to be looking at sharks in an aggressive aspect. I’ve seen Great Whites freediving outside the cage. I saw one off the coast of Adelaide and it looked at me and swum away. It wasn’t scary at all. People see them searing regularly over here. It’s just… how it is. There are mixed opinions. Most people accept that South Australia is a hot spot for Great Whites.

How important are Great Whites, y’think?

They’re amazing apex predators and, therefore, so important in the food chain. Just because people are scared doesn’t mean we should get rid of ’em. Because they’re right at the top, or at least behind Orcas, everything would get thrown out of balance if they were to disappear. A couple of years ago, there weren’t too many sharks and the increased seal population started eating penguins, wiping out an entire colony. Whites have been here since the dinosaurs. They didn’t die from disease or pollution. They clean up our mess and they kill the weak and the dying. That’s a massively important thing. That’s how evolution works.

What colour eyes do they have? I hear they’re baby blues like you! 

All the eyes I’ve seen are black. Quite often, they’ll roll their second eyelid over when they attack, when they’re grabbing a boat. Most of the time, it’s all black, no pupils.

Tell me about their amazing swimming abilities! 

There’s the western population that goes from South Australia all the way to Exmouth (in northern Western Australia) and the eastern population that goes from Tassie all the way up to Cairns (in northern Queensland). All the sharks here are from the western population. But there has to be a breeding ground nearby. We had a White visit that was way bigger than our boat, a massive animal, then some two-metre males and then a White the size of a tuna. What the hell?

Ok, enough small talk, although I love small talk. Why all the Great White activity? Y’got a theory? 

Well… there’s so much hype on the east coast at the moment. Those two attacks in Byron were, more likely, from a bull shark. The thing is, the media has been thrashing it. We’re just looking harder. They’re spotter planes, lifeguards and heaps of people in the water. There’s no actual statistics that prove they’re more Great Whites than usual. At this time of year, all the juvenile Great Whites come straight from their breeding grounds and cruise. It’s where they live! It’s where they swim! They’re one to two km off the coast, that’s totally normal. People in their tinnies film these sharks swimming off their boats and then post it on YouTube. Anyone can get a shark to swim around their boat!

How about in South Australia? Much happening in the surf?

Where I live, everyone has seen someone get attacked. My boyfriend (Tyron Swan, who’s rad. Click here!) saw his friend Monkey (Andrew McLeod) get attacked by a Pointer. It came up from underneath, grabbed his board sideways. Just smashed him from the bottom! It’s pretty exposed down here and in WA. But, unlike, the east coast, we don’t have big muddy rivermouths reaching out into the ocean. Ballina, for example. All those break-walls and muddy outlets everywhere. It’s bull shark heaven. Bull sharks are aggressive.

So, back to the Orca thing, let’s say, and this is cruel, but y’gotta be cruel to be kind, right? How about we slaughter one Great White and we chain in to the bottom of the ocean out the back of every surf spot. No Whites!

It’s a theory, but on the east coast, you have a lot of scavenger sharks, tigers, reef sharks, and they’ll eat dying and decaying animals. A White won’t eat something that’s dead, generally, maybe they’ll have a swing at a whale carcass, but they won’t eat an actual shark carcass. So you might scare off the Great Whites but you’ll bring in the other sharks.

What would you do if a Great White was coming towards you?

Thing thing is, they’re bottom attacking predators. That’s when you get nailed. It comes straight out of nowhere. If I did see one swimming around, and they do swim with their nose out of the water and their eye looking around, I’d get a wave in. I totally get it that I’m in their environment and if I get nailed I don’t stand a chance. I weigh 53kg  (slender!) compared to a one-and-a-half tonne animal.
Visit Brinkley on Instagram here. 

Religious photo
Which way y'gonna swing: Jesus, Mo, Abraham, Ronny L Hubbard?

Thank you! Bless you! Fuck you!

Your guide to the world's top religions… 

God saw fit to create man in His image. Man saw fit to create hundreds of creeds. You know, to thank Him.

Buddhism: Founded in the 5th century BC by a skinny rich Indian kid named Gautma. No, not whoowhoowhoo Indian, rikkitikkitavvi Indian. He was bummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmed about having a super rich king father who tried to shield him from life’s suffering. His mean jerk father built him many palaces and gave him every little thing he ever wanted. Wine, women and song. A real piece of shit. Eventually, Gautma escaped his father’s velvet oppression and saw that life sucks balls. He saw an old man, a dead man, and a monk. Maybe he saw a sick man too, I’m a little hazy. Anyhow, he decided to go solve the problem of suffering. So he sat under a sacred fig tree and thought and thought and VOILA! He figured that shit out! There are four noble truths and an eightfold path. If you try reallllly hard, like Gautma did, you reach Nirvana. Kurt Cobain comes out of the clouds and tells you about the true nature of reality. No more allusions/disillusions. Life without suffering, amen. The real trick, though, was how the Buddha went from being a skinny rikkitikkivavi to an obese Chinaman. Eh? Eh?

Christianity: The Western Buddhism. Just kidding. No one has ever called Christianity the Western Buddhism (except Richard Gere who is mistaken about lots of things). Christianity came on the scene exactly at 0 AD. It’s awesome like that. Jesus was born on Christmas day (awesome) and didn’t do anything until he was in his thirties. Remember the horrible TV show thirtysomething. Uh, it was hideous, but Jesus’ thirtysomethings were cool. He walked around turning water into wine, multiplying everyone’s lunches and talking about peace and love. Oh yeah, and he said he was God. Sounds like a real hippie-fest, and maybe it was. Anyhow, Jesus was Jewish and the Jews didn’t like all this “peace and love and I’m God” garbage so they put a hit out on him. As usual, Italians took care of the situation.

Jesus wasn’t done though. He came back to life (like AC/DC did on Back in Black after Bon Scott died) and then went to heaven. His followers took the peace and love and ran with it…by becoming the most bloodthirsty batch of nuts in history. Seriously, When, in the 1500s, Christians had successfully destroyed all-comers they had to split in order for them to keep drawing blood. Thus, Catholics and Protestants kicked each other in the crotch until they rediscovered Islam in the 1970s.

Mormonism: Mormonism is to religion what Miss Sixty is to haute couture. Not. It started as a purely American “doctrine” in New York and I, literally, can’t think of anything worse. Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Momos, found some buried golden tablets that spoke of ancient Israelite inhabitants of America and their dealing with God. He magically translated the tablets while hiding under a black sheet and using seer stones. Ugh.

The basic tenants of Mormonism are weird and pointless. They involve holy underpants, spirit babies, black people being cursed and three-hour church services.

None of this matters at all and I wouldn’t even have dignified bringing it up save one fact. The next leader of the free world will be a Mormon. Ugh. Seriously, Hillary Clinton doesn’t stand a chance and Mitt Romney will skate right through to the ’08 Presidency of the United States. The next four years will feel like a giant Leave it to Beaver episode. Except instead of Wally and the Beav it’ll be Wally, the Beav and fifteen other siblings. Gaudy Greek revival architecture will be the norm, two sizes too big black pants and white short sleeve button ups will replace skinny jeans, bikes will replace cars and it’ll be a felony offense to ride without a hideous plastic helmet. The word ‘modesty’ will be used with abandon along with archaic slang like, “You’re such a stud muffin.”

Soon you will be dreaming of those heady years from ‘01 through ’07 when a real God fought a real Allah and rejects like the Angel Moroni, Charles Taze Russell, and L. Ron Hubbard weren’t even let in to the auditorium.

Judaism: Do I have to? Judaism is not very pretty, I’m sorry. This has nothing to do with the belief system; it has everything to do with their skullcaps. I don’t like, on purely aesthetic grounds.

Ok Ok Ok, Judaism is the first of the big three (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Abraham lived in Iraq and God chose him to be his person. Abraham motored around the Middle East and had lots of kids who also became God’s people.

Later, all of Abraham’s children became slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years, then Moses came along and you’ve seen the DreamWorks hit cartoon, “The Prince of Egypt.”

So all the Jews, as they were now called, ended up in Israel and lived happily ever after. JUST KIDDING! They’ve been butchered by everyone from Adolf Hitler to Zadolf Zitler (he was an evil Persian king).

The basic belief structure is centered on one God who will someday send a Messiah to save the world. His name was Jesus and he was born in 0 AD.

Islam: Islam is hot hot hot right now. I think it’s the fastest growing religion in the world, or that’s what they say. In the year 700 AD a nice, young merchant named Mohammed wandered off to a cave on the Arabian Peninsula and Allah (through the angel Gabriel) told him some stuff. No he didn’t need a black sheet and seer stones, all he needed was a brain and mouth, like regular folk.

Mohammed ran back to his hot wife (he married a very attractive older lady) and told her, his friends and everyone what he had learned. Pretty soon, BAM, Islam! (Think Christianity minus Jesus is God and Judaism minus crappy sweet wine).

The new Muslims were persecuted by mean pagan villagers but Allah sent birds to drop rocks on them and they were smooshed. Today the Muslims are being persecuted by mean Republican Americans. Allah is sending birds (airplanes) carrying rocks (illegal aliens) to drop on them.

Atheism: Atheists don’t believe in God. They believe in the power of human reason and worship the internal combustion engine and Intel Pentium processors.

Hinduism: Wow. Hinduism, literally, didn’t know when to stop. It’s the world’s oldest religion and sometimes has billions of gods and sometimes has just one God sometimes named Brahman and sometimes Vishnu and sometimes Shakti. It grew on the Indian subcontinent around 5000 BC. I think all I can say about Hindus is that they believe stuff. If I say, for instance, that they believe the soul is eternal…lots of them don’t. And if I say they believe in grace…lots of them don’t. So they believe stuff. The stuff usually includes ideas of reincarnation and fucking up your reincarnation by doing stupid shit (karma). When you finally bust out of the cycle of birth and re-birth it’s sometimes called Moksha and sometimes called going to McDonalds for a vanilla milkshake.

Cows are popular in Hinduism. So are burning dead bodies on the Ganges River, doodling swastikas, doing Yoga, convincing Gwen Stefani to wear a bindi (the red forehead dot) and your religion. Yup, in Hinduism all roads lead to God or Vishnu or Shakti or Allah…

Scientology: Is the religion founded by the science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Human beings are actually thetans (spirits) who are trapped in a meat body, or carbon-oxygen machine. Each thetan has many past lives on earth and in extraterrestrial cultures. It’s the job of the thetan to purge engrams (negative experiences), become a Clear and control the universe (you do this by hooking up to an E-meter).

You see, millions of years ago, Xenu, the leader of the Galactic Confederacy, brought millions of humans to earth in DC-8s and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. All of these became body thetans and cause trouble by attaching to other thetans, creating engrams.

When you become a Clear or Operating Thetan of a high level, you help others. Eventually you will go to space but you can find your way back because the Trementina Base is visible from satellites. L. Ron Hubbard is in a galaxy next to ours. Tom Cruise is a Sea Org. 80 trillion years ago people on earth wore the same clothing and drove, pretty much, the same cars. In 6235 BC Earth was invaded by aliens with horrible-looking hands. The Marcab Confederacy is still active. The Maw Confederation accomplished total psychiatric control by smashing meat body faces into super cooled sheets of glass. Earth was originally called Teegeeack. Your first stop after death is Venus (at a landing station). Moses used a disintegrator pistol on Pharaoh.

I can’t top this shit.

Shinto: Is awesome. You never have to actually become a Shintoist to be a Shintoist. All yous gots to be is born in Japan. Booorn in the Nippon-koku, I’m a cool rocking papa-san in the Nippon-koku… . There are no commandments except to live simply with nature. After you die you become a kami, or spirit and eat fruit off high little shelves in people’s houses or Japanese restaurants. Super quaint and well behaved.

It wasn’t always that way, though. Back before and during World War II Shinto was the state religion, and boy was it ever! All Japanese school children had to swear their li’l bods to the state, worship the emperor and fly airplanes into battleships. Kaaaamikazeeee. Hirohito, the emperor during WWII and well after (since he lived to be 137) feasted on the worship of his Shinto people, then feasted on their radiation-poisoned flesh…that’s just rude and uncalled for. I’m sorry. Shinto is nice.

The Dalai Lama: Dude gets his own religious write-up. He’s supposed to be a Buddhist, but right now he’s more hip than Gautma Buddha ever was. Dalai Lamas are actually ancient reincarnations (not from Helotrubus or Targ, either) and the present one is number 14. His name is Tenzin. The Lamas are also supposed to be in Tibet, but China is being a cranky little bitty and not letting this one come home. Oh will, there’s always the next incarnation.

Lots of famous people really groove on him, including the Beastie Boys. That’s lame of me. Twice in a row. First I talked about Hirohito feasting on radiated flesh and now the Beasties? I really apologize. The Beastie Boys aren’t famous and it’s uncool to juxtapose them with anyone, much less a Dalai Lama. Anyhow, he’s rad and peaceful… unless the Tibetan national soccer team is taking on China then he’s black with rage.

Morocco photo
"Thank you! Bless you! Fuck you!"

The trick is not minding that it hurts

Returning to past loves.

The second, chronologically, love of my life, second to surfing, was the Middle East. There was something dangerous, romantic, exotic, naughty about lands where Islam ruled and I craved it as a child and I ran to Egypt as soon as I could to study. In the years that followed I went everywhere lots. Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Somalia (even though not Middle East) but then I just stopped. I don’t know why, exactly. Maybe it got too weird? Maybe to have the right kind of fun meant dying?

The last time Arabic tickled my ears was, anyhow, too long ago. Maybe 2010. It was, before ISIS and before the Arab Spring and before mass beheadings were totally du jour. It was also before weekly attacks in Europe and Je Suis Charlie. Or, not for me. I’ve always been Charlie, but for everyone else. It was before the “west” was officially at war with the entire region. Back when I studied and spent much time I would come home extolling the virtues of Islam. That it was misunderstood. That it was a viable alternative discourse. I don’t feel the same way anymore. ISIS has made it look like shit and the lack of any coherent opposition to that black hideousness is mind-bending.

Of course Morocco has not fallen on crazy times like Syria or even Egypt. It does not have an ISIS branch. It is not dangerous. For now, it is a relatively stable constitutional monarchy that gets along with Europe. Many surfers now go and I will surf too but mostly I’m just excited to hear Arabic again. And the call to prayer. Old loves die hard.