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The Eyes of Madame Zora
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.

Vision One

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.

Vision Two

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.

Vision Three

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.

Vision Four

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.

Vision Five

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.

Vision Six

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 burns out.

Vision Seven

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 of bankruptcy.

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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Copyright (c) 2004 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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