The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingCelebes Crested Macaque - Issue Forty-One
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The Lar Gibbon  from Christiano Artuso The Celebes Crested Macaque is an Old World monkey that lives in the Tangkoko reserve (home of the biggest crested macaque population remaining in the species' original distribution range) in the north-eastern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi as well as on smaller neighbouring islands. The Celebes crested macaque is a diurnal rain forest dweller. This macaque is primarily terrestrial, spending most of its day on the ground foraging for food and socializing, while sleeping and searching for food in the trees. They are frugivorous, with most of their diet fruit, although they also eat leaves, buds, seeds, fungus, small birds and bird eggs, insects (such as beetles and caterpillars) worms, snails and the occasional small lizard or frog. Locally known as yaki or wolai, its skin and hairless face is, with the exception of some white hair in the shoulder range, entirely jet black. Unusual for a primate, it has striking reddish-brown eyes. The long muzzle with high cheeks and the long hair tuft, or crest, at the top of the head are remarkable features. It has an "apelike" appearance due to its almost non-existent, non-visible, vestigial tail stub of only approximately 2 cm. With a total body length of 44 cm to 60 cm and a weight of 3.6 kg to 10.4 kg, it is one of the smaller macaque species. Its life expectancy is estimated at approximately 15-20 years in the wild. They typically live in groups of five to twenty-five animals, and occasionally in groups of up to seventy-five animals. Smaller groups have only a single adult male, while larger groups have up to four adult males. However, adult females always outnumber adult males by about 4:1. Young adult males are forced to leave their birth group upon maturity, sometimes forming bachelor groups before seeking a connection to an existing adult mixed-sex group. Communication consists of various sounds and gestures; such as the presentation of the long canine teeth while grimacing, a clearly threatening gesture. They are promiscuous, with both males and females mating multiple times with multiple partners. The receptivity of the females is clearly indicated by an extreme tumescence (swelling) and redness of their buttocks which, in contrast to the black skin color, is particularly noticeable. The gestation time is 174 days, and the birth of the usually single offspring happens in the spring when food is more plentiful. Young animals are nursed for approximately one year, becoming fully mature in three to four years, females somewhat sooner than males. Because they live from crops and fields, they are hunted as a pest. They are also hunted for the bushmeat trade. Clearing the rain forests further threatens their survival. Their situation on the small neighbouring islands of Sulawesi (such as Bacan) is somewhat better, since these have a low human population. The total population of the macaque on Sulawesi is estimated at 4,000-6,000, while a booming population of up to 100,000 monkeys is found on Bacan.


White Privilege


Alan Swyer


Larry Karlin's day started off badly, then went rapidly downhill. First came a call from his father's lady friend in Florida that awakened him, with Mimi informing him that his dad, after falling in the bathroom, had been taken to the hospital for observation.

Next was an unsettling conversation with his father's internist in Boca Raton. "It's probably nothing more than a potassium deficiency," stated Dr. Einhorn dismissively.

"Getting him to eat more bananas has nothing to do with it," countered Larry. "My father doesn't fall." The exchange ended awkwardly, with Einhorn begrudgingly agreeing to order additional tests.

While breakfasting on granola and green tea, Larry found himself thinking that a trip to see his father in Florida, which seemed likely to be necessary, couldn't come at a more difficult time. With an TV air date looming, he was several days behind schedule on the documentary he was producing and directing about the diabetes epidemic among children. Additionally, he had meetings scheduled for a proposed film about rehabilitating rather than simply incarcerating prisoners. On top of that, he had to decide what to do about his relationship with Allison, the author of children's books he'd been seeing off-and-on for nearly a year.

Larry's ruminating was interrupted by a call from his film editor. "I'm kind of stuck," Ed Moss complained. "I kept thinking we had sound bytes about the impact of commercials--how they brainwash kids into eating sugary crap instead of real food--but I can't find a goddamn thing that gives us what we want."

"Didn't that pediatrician at Children's Hospital give us some good stuff?" Larry responded. "Dr. Joyce something--Joyce Eliason, if I remember correctly."

"Nothing that really fits in the edit we've got going. When you coming by today?"

"Probably not till after lunch. If all else fails, I've got some interviews booked for tomorrow. Once I get in, you and I can figure out what exactly I need to get from those people."

As Larry was about to step into the shower, yet another call came in. "I've got car problems," announced his grim-sounding agent, Sheila Sullivan.

"Figures," said Larry.

"What in hell's that mean?"

"Don't you know the joke? 'Oh, you own a Jaguar. What kind of car do you drive?'"

"Very funny," mumbled Sheila. "Can you bail me out?"


"Moving our lunch to Pasadena."

When all she heard was a sigh, Sheila spoke again. "I'll assume that's a reluctant yes."

The moment Larry hung up, he was assaulted by yet another call.

"Please tell me you've got good news," Larry playfully begged.

"'Fraid not," his cameraman, Rick Enriquez, announced. "I can't make the shoot tomorrow, or probably anything else on the project."

"You're kidding me. Because?"

"I've been offered a gig much too good to turn down."

"How many projects have we done together?"

"And we'll go on to do more."

"Says who?" asked Larry.

"What's the big deal? It's not like there aren't a million people around who shoot camera."

"Right," said Larry. "And it's not like loyalty matters."

"C'mon, don't be that way."

"Have a nice life," Larry responded before hanging up.

Instead of punching a wall or breaking a piece of furniture, Larry called his production office, restraining himself when it took a while before an intern answered, then asking to speak to his assistant. "We've got a problem," he informed Melinda, explaining the predicament caused by Enriquez, and giving her the names of three men plus one woman whose work he respected. "The first one you get who's available on no notice--assuming one of 'em is--arrange for Ed Moss to send whoever it is some footage ASAP."

"And if nobody's free?" Melinda hesitantly asked.

"I'll meet you at the nearest gun shop," Larry joked. "Let's think positively. Yell the minute you get one. But if it's all 'no's'--or you wind up just leaving word--get back to me right away so that I can hit you with more names."

Always uncomfortable during periods when things were what he termed "pending"--which at this point meant his father's condition, the session with his film editor, plus his desperate need of someone to film the interviews scheduled for the days ahead--Larry found himself torn between laughing and crying.

It was a miracle, he realized, that he was ever able to focus on the content of one of his films--let alone the vision, if and when he dared to sound highfalutin--amid the constant speed bumps, obstacles, irritants, and foul-ups that, sadly, seemed to be an intrinsic and inescapable part of each and every production. But then, Larry recognized, that was also true of life itself. It was hard, if not impossible, to be one's best self when stuck dealing with flat tires, leaky faucets, car alarms going off in the middle of the night, and birdbrains driving the wrong way down one-way streets.

It was also why, during the years in which Larry focused on scripted films, everything seemed simpler and easier when he was out of town on location. Being literally unavailable meant that he was unable to attend to the everyday needs and nuisances of life at home.

Larry's brief respite from the abundant pressures facing him halted abruptly when Melinda rang. "Are you seated?" she asked hesitantly. "Tina Brooks is booked, and so are Gerald Pickens and Tim Cunningham. And I left word for Steve Schwartz."

Larry sighed. "Okay," he then said, "try Pete Rumsey, Holly Storm, Fred Boff, and Gregg Toland."

"Gregg who?"

"That was a joke. He's the cinematographer who shot Citizen Kane. And if you tell me you never heard of it, you're fired."


Minutes seemed like hours as Larry waited for news from Melissa, with the only interruption coming when Allison called. "Are we on for this weekend?" she asked.

"Remind me," hedged Larry.

"Santa Barbara." she said. "We were going to sneak away for a couple of days."

"Forgive me."

"Is that 'Forgive me' as in I forgot? Or 'Forgive me' I can't go."

"Truthfully? Probably both."

"You okay?" asked Allison.

As Larry was about to respond, another call came in. "Let me get back to you from the car," he said before switching lines. "Tell me," he said to Melinda.

"Rumsey's in," she was pleased to report. "I've given him the addresses of the people set for tomorrow, and Ed Moss is sending him some footage so that he can see the style you're shooting."

"If you were nearby and didn't have a boyfriend, I'd kiss you," Larry joked. "But you'll have to settle for a hearty thanks."

"Glad I can be of help."

"And please tell me you've seen Citizen Kane.

"I've seen all the films on that list you gave me except for In A Lonely Place. That's on the schedule for this weekend."

"One of these days you'll be running a studio."

"I hope," said Melissa. "But in the meantime, can I come watch you do some interviews one of these days?"

"Forget one of these days," replied Larry. "How's tomorrow?"


"Melinda," Larry said, shaking his head, "how many lessons have you learned from me?"


"Then here's one of the most important. Ready?"


"When you get the 'yes' you're hoping for?"


"Not another word."


Despite all the morning's aggravation, Larry was making a conscious and diligent effort to be upbeat as possible as he set off on his trek toward Pasadena. All his frustrations and woes, he recognized, could be classified as first-world problems. His father's still undetermined condition? At least there seemed to be proper medical care. The flight to Florida that appeared likely? Scrimping and scraping for a ticket wouldn't be necessary. His disappointment with Rick Enriquez? With Melissa's help a replacement had been found. That life can be crazy and demanding? What else is new?

Larry's attempt at being philosophical was sorely tested, as was his hope of being at-one with the world, by bumper-to-bumper traffic on the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway.

Even worse, his GPS showed blotches of red, red, and more red all along the route, virtually guaranteeing that everything in his day would be pushed further back.

Turning on the traffic report, Larry heard about accident after accident, which translated into impeded progress all the way to downtown.

Growing more and more irritable as he inched along, he called Sheila Sullivan via Bluetooth. "You owe me," he said the moment she answered.


"I may get there by tomorrow."

"But aren't I worth it?"

"Really want me to answer?"

"Tell you what," said Sheila. "Instead of picking me up, I'll save you some time by meeting you at the Parkway Grill. Good?"

"Peachy," Larry grumbled.


By the time he approached the Pasadena Freeway, Larry's irritation had dipped from redline to merely exceedingly high.

Northbound he drove in the middle lane of the three-lane highway. He was minding his own business when, after passing the exits for Chinatown and Dodger Stadium, his car was suddenly sideswiped on the passenger side by a van used to transport the elderly.

Before Larry could give thanks that there was no one immediately to his left or behind him as his car caromed crazily, the van stuck his vehicle again, then veered off the freeway, taking out yards and yards of fencing before screeching to a halt.

His adrenaline levels reaching all-time highs, Larry somehow managed to steer his way toward the breakdown lane alongside the road, then ever so carefully climbed out.

With freeway traffic whizzing by at high speeds, Larry took a moment to catch his breath, then glanced at the right side of his car, which looked like it had been crushed by a tyrannosaurus not once, but twice.

Pulling out his cell phone, Larry dialed 911 and reported the accident, then walked toward the other driver, who was staggering in his direction.

"Were you alone?" Larry asked.

The stunned driver nodded.

Before Larry could ask for the guy's license and registration, racing toward them came a California Highway Patrolman on his motorcycle.

"Get the fuck over there!" the cop screamed, pointing toward a spot a bit farther away.

"What did you say?" asked Larry.

"You heard me, goddamnit! Start fuckin' moving!"

Incensed, something in Larry snapped. "Say please," he stated, too angry, exasperated, and downright pissed to be intimidated.

Climbing down from his Zero MMX Stealth motorcycle, the Highway Patrolman glared at Larry while putting a hand on his pistol. "One more fucking word, and I'll--"

Before the cop could finish the threat, up raced another motorcycle Highway Patrolman. "Virg!" yelled the new arrival. "Back off!"

"No way I'm gonna let this motherfucker--"

Jumping off his bike, the second cop went right at his partner. "Virg, please! You can't afford it!"


"But, nothin'. One more write-up, and you're through."

Slowly and carefully the second cop walked his partner away from Larry and the van driver, then spoke softly to calm him down.

Only once that difficult task was accomplished did the second cop start toward Larry and the van driver. "Sorry about that," he said apologetically.

"I'd like his name and badge number," Larry replied.

"C'mon. No need to make a fuss."

"Says who?"

"Hey, let's just get tow trucks and get both you guys off the freeway."

"Not so fast," Larry insisted.

"I'm asking you please," said the Highway Patrolman. "Nobody benefits if there's a stink."

"Oh, yeah?" Larry countered. "And what about the next guy he has to deal with? Or the one after that?"

As the Highway Patrolman sighed, his partner started approaching.

"That motherfucker giving you trouble, too?" he demanded.

"Virgil," warned his partner, "get the fuck outta here!" Taking a moment to gather himself, the second cop again faced Larry. "Please? Please?"

"What if it were night instead of daylight?" Larry demanded, undeterred. "Or what if, instead of being a white guy driving a German car, I'd been Black? Or Latino?"

While the Highway Patrolman struggled to find something... anything... to say, Larry pointed a finger at him.

"You've got two choices."


"Either you give me his name and badge number--"


"I call a supervisor and tell him that you refused."

Watching Larry pull out his cell phone, the Highway Patrolman nodded. "You win," he said glumly. "But tell me why you're doing this."

"First and foremost, to keep that maniac from killing somebody."


"Really want to know?"


"This has been a really shitty day."

Alan Swyer is an award-winning filmmaker whose recent documentaries have dealt with Eastern spirituality in the Western world, the criminal justice system, diabetes, boxing, and singer Billy Vera, plus a new one called “When Houston Had The Blues.” In the realm of music, among his productions is an album of Ray Charles love songs. His novel The Beard was recently published by Harvard Square Editions. As an activist, he created the Los Angeles County Teen Court system together with the Presiding Judge of Juvenile and the Chief Probation Office.
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