Samuel Hawley writer


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Samuel Hawley is a writer of narrative nonfiction and fiction. His books are highly eclectic. He has written about 16th-century East Asian history, 19th-century Korean-American relations, Olympic sprinting and land speed racing and a circus elephant named Topsy who was electrocuted in 1903. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

April 25, 2011

I have just signed with the Seventh Avenue LIterary Agency in Vancouver. Literary agent Robert Mackwood is now shopping around my latest effort, Bad Elephant. Here's hoping for success!

February 14, 2011

Lazy. The label has been used for centuries to deride those afflicted with a handicap and to deny them their rights. So says Bill Shank, chairman of the American Coalition of the Lazy, or AMCOL, a national organization lobbying to have laziness classified as a special disability qualifying for enhanced welfare payments.

“Laziness is not a lifestyle choice,” says Shank. “It’s the way we were born and we can’t just snap our fingers and change. It’s society that has to change. That’s why AMCOL was founded: to push for the stigmatizing and the discrimination to end. We are coming out of the closet in record numbers, and we’re saying, ‘We’re here, we’re lazy and we’re proud.’ Americans have to deal with it. Americans have to stop beating us down and give us our fair share.”

“It’s all about fairness,” agrees AMCOL community organizer Tyler Weems. “We have members barely scraping by on their welfare checks. In the black community, young women routinely have multiple children out of wedlock and through such enterprise increase their welfare payments and achieve a better standard of living. But for us, our disability blocks us from this avenue of advancement. We are too lazy to raise children. And so we are forced to get by on what the government gives us, which currently is not nearly enough. It only pays for rent and food and utilities and just a few little extras. What about annual holidays? What about eating out, big-screen TVs, prostitutes, trips to the casino? We are denied these basic human rights simply because we are lazy.”

Virtually unknown until recently, AMCOL moved into the national spotlight last year with Lazy Pride marches in LA, Sacramento and San Francisco. These were followed by a Let's-Celebrate-Laziness event at UC Berkeley, with all classes cancelled so that students could loll about. A Lazy Pride Sleep-In to promote unity is  scheduled for Oceanside later this week. The event is being organized by AMCOL’s Hispanic wing.

“Membership is skyrocketing,” says Weems, who places the organization’s numbers at over five million. He concedes, however, that this is a rough estimate only. “We don’t actually keep membership records,” he says. “But I can tell you that our numbers are definitely growing. I am hearing from people all over the country who are coming out of the closet to celebrate their laziness and to demand their fair share.”

AMCOL’s website, under construction since early 2008, should further enhance the organization's exposure. It is slated for completion in 2015.

The fight for fair treatment for the energy-challenged, as some preferred to be called, has now shifted to Capitol Hill. In a surprise move on Monday that has rocked Washington circles, Reps. Jeannette Snorky (D-Cal) and Abel Smellie (D-NY) have stepped forward to co-sponsor a bill to add laziness to the Congress Disability Act, the so-called Snorky-Smellie Amendment.

“Social justice,” said Snorky when contacted for comment. “Fairness and equality. Diversity. Global warming.”

“A chicken in every pot,” added Smellie.

“It’s an encouraging sign,” says AMCOL chairman Bill Shank. “And we are tremendously grateful to Representatives Smellie and Snorky. But it’s just a first step. Next we need to push for bigger welfare payments. It’s going to be a dogfight. The right-wingers are going to get up to their old partisan tricks. But we are on the side of right. We will prevail.”

Copyright 2011 Samuel Hawley

WHY YES. . .
February 14, 2011

Sam Hawley photo bird with hairdo

. . . I did just have my hair done.

February 14, 2011

dung hotel ho chi minh city

. . . the place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

February 13, 2011

During a trip to Ubud on the island of Bali, I made several visits to the “Monkey Forest” at the south end of town to watch the Balinese macaques. They are a delightfully rambunctious group, grabbing visitor’s bags and water bottles, chasing one another about, diving into a little pond and sneaking up on each other underwater.

On my second visit to the Monkey Forest I wandered away from the central area where most people congregate and stumbled on a somewhat more subdued troop of macaques that particularly caught my interest. A number of them were fooling around with stones they had gathered, clutching them in their arms, scraping them back and forth on the concrete walkway and tapping them against each other. It was curious behavior that I have since learned has been identified as “stone play” by researchers studying macaques in Japan—the same macaques that have learned from one another to wash their food and soak in hot springs in winter.

Among this group of Ubud macaques, however, was one young fellow whose behavior seemed to be more than just play. He sat on the ground by himself, holding one stone in his foot while he tapped it repeatedly with another. Positioned on the lower stone, directly beside the point on it he where was striking, was a bit of dry grass which he held in place with his foot. I don’t know much about wilderness survival skills, but it looked exactly like he was trying to start a fire by striking two stones together to send sparks into tinder. He kept this up for several minutes, stopping occasionally to reposition the grass. Then he carried his two stones to a new spot, picked up a bit of dried leaf, positioned it on his lower stone in exactly the same manner and began to tap again.

This monkey tapped without let-up for the entire thirty minutes that I watched him from no more than three feet away, and was always careful to hold some dried grass or leaf beside the impact point between his two stones. If this behavior catches on—and another young monkey nearby was doing the same thing, but more clumsily and without any tinder—someday an Ubud macaque may just figure out how to make fire!

February 13, 2011

ubud monkey forest

. . . are admittedly jaded.

February 13, 2011

Singapore job advert

Like Sinatra said: "My kind of town. . ."

February 13, 2011

In the summer of 2007 my wife and I spent a memorable vacation in Vietnam that included a week on Phu Quoc island in the South China Sea. Now, we’ve traveled in Asia quite a bit and have had the pleasure of meeting a variety of interesting people, locals and expats alike. Awaiting us on Phu Quoc, however, was someone very special indeed.

The scene was set at our hotel, the Tropicana Resort, at the end of a perpetually flooded lane that one negotiated by wading. Then there was the Gop Gio Restaurant down the road, serving “grilled kangaroo,” “deep fried sea horse,” “drilled vegetable,” and “boiled stomach slowly.”

All this faded into the background, however, the morning when an elderly Australian of French extraction wandered into the Tropicana’s restaurant from his place down the beach. He was married to a Vietnamese woman and lived on Phu Quoc, and frequented the Tropicana in search of chess partners. In the course of several wide-ranging conversations I learned that he had taken up residence on Phu Quoc some years previously to escape the hounding of fans of a book he had written about some sort of prophecy. I assumed he was spinning a tale, and so didn’t press him for more information. At our final meeting, however, he made a point of writing down his name, “Michel Desmarquet,” on a scrap of paper, followed by the enigmatic word “Thiaoouba.” “Look it up on the internet,” he said. “But don’t tell anyone I’m here!”

My wife and I left Phu Quoc wondering about Michel. He was likeable, not a blow-hard, and we wanted to believe him. But surely his claim of being a popular author in hiding was too good to be true. Upon returning to Seoul and Googling his name and “Thiaoouba,” however, we discovered that what he said was not just true, but only the beginning of a truly fantastic tale.

On June 26, 1987, Michel was taken by aliens from his home in Australia to their luminous world of Thiaoouba, a category nine planet, the most superior category of civilization in our galaxy. During his nine-day visit the Thiaooubans, led by an individual named Thao, instructed Michel on all manner of subjects: how the Earth was populated 1.35 million years ago by beings from the planet Bakaratini; how the pyramids are actually devices for communicating with the cosmos; how other planets have destroyed themselves by technology run amuck; how the theory of evolution is wrong; and many other things.

Following the instructions of the Thiaooubans, Michel began writing a book about his experiences upon being returned to the Earth. It was published six years later as Abduction to the Ninth Planet, later reissued under the title Thiaoouba Prophecy. It is a premier alien abduction account salted with a compelling amount of specific detail. The length of a Thiaoouban year, we learn, is 333 days, divided in 26 periods known as karses; Michel’s weight on Thiaoouba was 47 kg. as opposed to 70 kg. on Earth; Thiaooubans wear clothes that match the color of their auras; they subsist on a drink called hydromel, a half glass every two days; they use toilets that vaporize waste as it exits the body, a device that Michel feared would zap his privates.

Abduction, however, is more than just an extra-terrestrial travelogue. It is a guide for the journey that, as Michel describes it, lays ahead for us humans, from our current lowly category one civilization, the “category of sorrow,” to a paradisiacal category nine world such as enjoyed by the Thiaooubans. It is a journey toward enlightenment that the Thiaooubans, through Michel, want to teach us how to take. Indeed, they have been trying to teach us for thousands of years: according to Michel, Jesus was a Thiaoouban—who incidentally lies buried today in Aomori, Japan.

The rest, as they say, is history. Abduction to the Ninth Planet became an international bestseller, translated into Spanish, Greek, Japanese, German, Russian, and several other languages. Thiaoouba grew into something of a New Age religion. Fans began clamoring for more information—and Michel began to feel the pressures of fame. Finally, in the late 1990s, he turned his back on everything, rejecting the material gain that his book, which condemns materialism, had ironically brought him. He turned over everything to a proxy and retired to Phu Quoc, where he remains to this day.

So why am I spilling the beans on Michel’s whereabouts after he told me not to reveal his location? Well, that was the one thing Michel may not have been entirely truthful about. I recently discovered on the internet a three-part interview he has done for Japanese TV, the cameras overlooking that same beach where I met him last summer. Michel, it seems, had been sending out feelers on that scrap of paper he gave me. The creator of the Thiaoouba Prophecy is ready to be found.

Copyright 2008 Samuel Hawley

February 13, 2011

korea world cup

Enough said.

February 13, 2011

Kuala Lumpur sign

After having my black moles, corns and liver spots tended at astonishing reasonable prices, it was time to explore Kuala Lumpur's nightlife.