On the Road
Thrilled to be in the Washington Post today. A born again experience? In a mosque? Why not.
Hope you like it.
Four Pairs of Sandals as an Act of Faith
Walking a mile in another man’s shoes leads to kismet.
By Jeffrey Stanley
Three years ago I got married to my wife Bidisha in a traditional Bengali ceremony in Kolkata and spent three weeks touring the country. I bought a pair of sandals there which I wore throughout my trip and back home here in the States. This December my wife, our young son and I went back to India for a month to visit relatives. I brought my well-worn “India sandals” with me. A week into the visit they broke irreparably and I tossed them. The location of their demise seemed appropriate — from India they had come and to India they would return. The next day while we were out sightseeing we stumbled upon a tiny shoe store, one of a zillion in Kolkata, where I found the perfect pair of replacement sandals. They were simple but unique enough that they suited me as a souvenir.
A few days later I struck out on my own to visit Nakhoda Masjid, the largest mosque in Kolkata, built in 1926. A billboard told me with no intended irony that this was Road Safety Week in India. Still the taxis, auto-rickshaws and pedestrians were up to their usual danse macabre. CONT’D at washingtonpost.com>>
Enjoy these 16 images I took last month at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India in the foothills of the Himalayas just over the mountain from Tibet. And if you support the idea that it’s time for China to get the hell out of Tibet and leave the people and their natural resources alone then feel free to share the images with others.
You don’t say. The Montana sasquatch story was front page news the morning we left breathtaking Glacier National Park, concluding 8 days of camping, fishing, wildlife spotting and glacier hopping across stunningly beautiful British Columbia and Alberta in the Banff National Park area before descending back south to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) before slipping across the largest and coolest undefended border in the world back into northern Montana and Idaho. The sasquatch story was ironic for me given that just the night before I had lamented to my better half that according to BFRO’s site there are hardly any sasquatch sightings on record for that region and you’d think it’d be lousy with them, especially given that Glacier is home to the mysterious Montana Vortex.
Then there’s the fact that I often have said if I were going to hoax a bigfoot sighting I’d skip the ridiculously fake gorilla suit idea for a more squatch-accurate ghillie suit like this guy used. This man was clearly a thinker. Truly tragic when a genius like this is struck down in his prime. We have lost a great man. And now the story…
By JIM MANN/Daily Inter Lake, 8/27/12
A man dressed in a military-style “Ghillie suit” who was attempting to provoke a Bigfoot sighting was struck by two vehicles and killed on U.S. 93 south of Kalispell Sunday night.
“He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting,” Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider said. “You can’t make it up. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him.”
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell.
Schneider said Tenley’s motivations were ascertained during interviews with friends who were not in the immediate area but were nearby when the man was struck at about 10:30 p.m.
“Alcohol may have been a factor,” Schneider said. “Impairment is up in the air.” CONT’D>>
Nativebluesky posted at 1:34 pm on Mon, Aug 27, 2012.
Rest in Peace my friend. You will never be forgotten, nor will be the antics of an awesome friend. I will miss all the jokester pranks you pulled, it made you who you were, and that was a very special, individual person. You will be so missed here on earth and no convincing the man upstairs into more pranks. I will be watching for them and I will know where they originated. There are memories and non of them will be forgotten. God spead, until we meet again.
MT mom posted at 12:51 pm on Mon, Aug 27, 2012.
You know what this is my little 10 yr old brothers father. People really should keep their negative opinions to themselves. So what he was a jokster …that was HIM. As his family we are grieving his loss while u inconsiderate people joke.
And I can’t complain about being named an honorary Desi, sort of.
New York Press Delves Into the Paan Game
When I first saw the headline “Confessions of a White, Middle-Aged Paan Eater” on the cover of this week’s New York Press, naturally, I grabbed a copy and asked myself the question you’re asking yourself right now; What the hell is the New York Press? Well, it’s a paper that’s running a cover story about something inherently Desi that’s breaking into mainstream culture. And why not? It didn’t take long for Americans to adopt the more… CONT’D AT MTVDESI.COM>>
A Paean to Paan
by Aliya Sabharwal
…From describing his initiation into the practice of paan-chewing to drawing interesting comparisons to the tobacco-dipping culture of his Appalachian relatives, Stanley seems to have seriously and diligently researched this “local” practice. But the result is a riot for those familiar with paan chewing or chewers, if only for the novelty of reading an eloquent homage to the substance. CONT’D AT ASIASOCIETY.ORG>>
Well, now it’s just too much. My paan habit has also made the celebrity gossip page of India Abroad, the major newspaper for Indian expats around the world, getting top billing over Tom Cruise’s tweets to Anil Kapoor (see p. 6). I’m truly honored and humbled.
Jeffrey Stanley is Addicted to Paan…CONT’D AT INDIA ABROAD>>
[images via mtvdesi.com, asiasociety.org, and indiaabroad-digital.com]
I heart paan
This week’s New York Press, ”New York’s Plummy Weekly Newspaper,” cover story is my monologue thinly disguised as an essay, ‘Confessions of a White, Middle-Aged Paan Eater’, the title a loose parody of Thomas de Quincey’s scandalous 1821 memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
Enjoy the article, go to your nearest Indian grocer and enjoy some meeta paan, and if you’re craving more dope on the delicacy here’s a short clip of me ordering it from a paan walla just across from the ancient Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Orissa in eastern India, this past January (footage courtesy of documentary filmmaker David Gaynes).
And the article…
Confessions of a White, Middle-Aged Paan Eater
JEFFREY STANLEY is addicted to what may arguably be India’s most disgusting export
I pull my hat low as I pound the rain-slicked sidewalks of Curry Hill around noon on a frigid November weekday. I look about furtively as I walk up Lexington, stopping outside of a DVD shop before I dart inside. There I meet my sugar man, a Punjabi who only goes by the nom de commerce Arora. By now I know his real name, but he likes to go by the one-word moniker. I’m happy to…CONT’D>>
[IHeartPaan logo, paan walla photo and video are property of me. Logo via nypress.com]
Only my second trip in ten years to Baghdad by the Bay reminded me that SF is short on culture but long on history, fog, rain and redwoods. The redwoods were here before the city and will, the good Lord willing, be here long after the city’s gone, so make a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods first and foremost on your list, followed by a drive along the Pacific Coast’s awe-inspiring Shoreline Highway.
Back in the city, hit In-N-Out Burger down by Fisherman’s Wharf, a West Coast tradition since 1947, where the meat is fresh and never frozen, the fries are cut from fresh potatoes on the premises and fried in cholesterol-free vegetable oil. Sure, it’s a burger and fries and isn’t ever really going to be good for you, but these are better for you than others, and besides the taste is incredible; a burger and fries the way nature intended it.
For a dash of history nothing beats a cable car ride. Yes, it’s really only for tourists these days and there are only 3 lines still in operation, down from the 22 lines that operated for locals back in the day, but it’s a living piece of US history and a mechanical wonder. In fact the cable cars are fully mechanical, not electric. Check it out:
And for a bit of culture I recommend a visit to the legendary Magic Theatre, started during the Summer of Love and taking its name from one of my favorite novels, Hesse’s Steppenwolf. The play I saw was a faux Restoration comedy that’s better left undiscussed.
I topped off the trip with a drink at Top of the Mark, an historic, elegant bar atop the Mark Hopkins Hotel in Knob Hill. I recommend their specialty martini the Manhattan Jack. I know, it’s not a real martini because it’s not gin or vodka but it’s still a lovely drink – Jack Daniel’s, vermouth, and a cherry. You’d swear it contained bitters or some sweet liquer but nope. I had two and my envious companions also each ordered a round of them and we watched the repeated lightning strikes across the evening skyline during yet another rainstorm.
In case you haven’t already heard, I must with heavy heart relay to you the sad news that Segway company owner James Heselden rolled off a cliff on his Segway and died yesterday in London. He is not to be confused with the Segway’s creator and original company owner Dean Kamen. Naturally the ‘net is already splitting at the seams with wisecracks (“maybe he was showing the post office that Segways can be used for air mail”). Even prior to this tragic event Youtube already featured a plethora of home vids depicting “Segway dorks,” “Segway nerds,” etc, etc.
Well, I’m here to flip this thing upright and tell you that dying on a Segway doesn’t make Mr. Heselden lame, it makes him a motherfucking badass. So you can run and tell that, homeboy. You heard me. Don’t believe it? I share as proof some private cell phone footage of my one and only Segway ride, a tour with friends through DC on April 29, 2007. Perhaps if you’ve got the guts you too will take command of a Segway someday and feel its gyroscopic power rumbling beneath your feet — unless of course you’re too chicken.
[Photos via telegraph.co.uk and theselvedgeyard.wordpress.com. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf.]