This and from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Capt. Coast 0003 (April 30, 2014)

“Logic doesn’t have to live in the real world. Logic is too busy planning its escape route.”

Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I have written before about the giant turkeys that inhabit this area of the foothills (no, I am not referring to Congressman McClintock). Today on the lawn of the Dr.’s office I was visiting I found the big Tom pictured below strutting about.
IMG_20140417_083649_989
***********************************************

I spent Easter with my mother and my sister’s family at the nursing home.
IMG_20140420_122025_385_2
Following that, Nikki, HRM and I travelled to Mendocino for a few days at my sister’s home there.
IMG_20140422_160255_780
I left my computer back in El Dorado Hills, suffered electronic communication withdrawal and compensated by reading back issues of The New Yorker.

We returned to Sacramento through Calistoga where Nikki had himself a mud bath. On the following Sunday Nikki left to return to Italy.
************************************************

I plan to go back to Thailand for a month sometime near the end of May.

B. POOKIES DREAMS (continued):

There’s not much to tell about how our affair began. It was night and I was walking by her hut. She stood in the doorway leaning against the frame, gazing at the sky. I walked toward her and directly on into the hut. She followed and we laid down together on the bed.

Most of the beds in the village consisted of a straw mat like they have in Japan at the bottom. On top of that one or two soft blankets or rugs or something like that were layered. Then a cool fitted sheet was placed over it all. In this case the sheet was white. The bed was comfortable if a bit hard, but certainly nowhere near as hard as some of the beds I slept on in Thailand.

After that first evening, when I was in the village, I spent almost every night in her hut. Generally we would sit on the bed our backs pressed against the cool mud wall staring at the night sky through the window on the opposite wall of the dark hut. That window provided a view of the night sky framed by a few black branches of trees. A wide streak of light bisected the night sky. It was as if a huge ribbon hung down from somewhere above the roof of the hut. On that ribbon there seemed to be festooned what looked like an infinite number of blinking Christmas lights, white, yellow, red and blue. So many that it seemed like a single pulsating band of light. Now and then a meteor would flash by. I never saw a moon.

The light from outside that window provided the only illumination in the room. I could just make out the outline of her face and the arc of her jaw line as it curved to meet her earlobe.

I could smell the harsh fragrance of the basic soap we all used in the village and the acrid smell of sweat mixed with the sandalwood aroma of the dust that was always with us. Floating through this melange of aromas was the hint of perfume from the shampoo she used. One of the few indulgences she allowed herself.

Eventually we would shimmy down on to the bed.

In the morning, before dawn, I would leave her hut and return to my own to prepare for the day.

We rarely spent time together during the day, even at meals. I would however occasionally see her walking through the village almost always surrounded by children. Now and then I would notice her meeting with people or escorting them around the village. Some of the visitors had suits, others were dressed in various forms of military uniform. There were also some in more casual dress that I assumed were academics of some sort or engineers.They often seemed to be vigorously arguing with her about something or other.

I began to sense tension and stress in the village and especially in Mama. When I asked her about it one night, she dismissed it as a minor irritant.

At first I thought it was merely the ongoing pressure of budget, funding, personnel and administrative matters that are ever-present in any organization and exacerbated by the lack of staff to handle the endless paperwork that is a way of life for most eleëmosynary organizations.

I had some experience about these things and I could sympathize with what she and the other members of the village were going through. Then, one night I found the young son of Tre and Yu unconscious by the side of the road. He had been severely beaten. (to be continued)

C. POOKIES BOOK REPORT:

Because I left my computer behind when I went on my vacation and waiting for re-issuance of my debit card for security reasons, (apparently it had something to do with the new computer virus everyone is concerned about), I have not read any books for the past week or so. I can however rant about The New Yorker Magazine with which I have a love hate relationship.

Like most people who pick up the magazine in the doctor’s waiting room or at someone’s home who for whatever reason subscribes, when I read the New Yorker I skip most of the articles and flip first to the cartoons. I do not find them funny. Someone from the New Yorker once told me with a Eustace Tully like sniff, they’re supposed to be amusing not funny.

Most of the cartoons appear to me to depict characters either collapsing into the ground like slowly deflating balloons or hovering on the verge of transparency. The captions often are snide (which I like) or point out one or another character’s social embarrassment, somewhat at the level of releasing a fart in a crowded room.

The poetry is atrocious. It can be described as poetic excrement. By the time I get to the second line I’m usually furious.

No one I know has admitted to me that they actually read the fiction pieces. They are usually written by a relatively famous Northeast alcoholic, sex-obsessed (or repressed) author, or someone who wishes to be. They really need to now and then try something like publishing the lyrics to a rap song. It would improve the poetry too.

The interesting thing about the non-fiction articles other than their length is that they all begin with great topic sentence that makes you believe you will be greatly informed if you read on. Alas, before I have even finished the first page, new themes are introduced or new characters and I either forget why I started reading the article or, if I have not forgotten, hope I will find it on the following page, often a forlorn hope. When I plod on to the end of the article, to the final paragraph, I frequently discover it lacks any sense of the immediacy with which it began. Or to put more or less into the words of T.S. Elliot it usually ends not with a bang but a whimper.

Now do not get me wrong, I like the New Yorker very much. It reminds me of rainy days and snowy nights on the East Coast with a fire burning in the fireplace or a notoriously dangerous exposed coil (glowing orange) electric heater, depending on one’s socio-economic status. Now and then there would be an article that would knock my socks off and I will always remember it. I love the covers. The magazine also always maintained its grammatical and stylistic standards even as it struggled to remain contemporary. And, I can pile them into stacks in my room for dipping into later (like one does with back copies of National Geographic) and it never looks like clutter.

The following are two quotes from the N.Y. Times that I think catch some of the essence of the magazine and the people who read it:

“The New Yorker magazine has announced that its complete 80-year archive will soon be available on eight computer discs. Some people found this development interesting. But to many, many, many others — and you know who you are, hoarders of America — the idea of being able to own eight DVDs containing every page of the 4,109 issues of the weekly magazine published between February 1925 and February 2005 was life-changing.”
Mimi Avins, July 14, 2005,

“Eleanor Gould Packard, the grammarian for the New Yorker magazine for 54 years whose search for logic, clarity and correct usage in sentences won her grateful as well as grudging admirers among the staff, has died. She was 87. She died Sunday. Her family did not give the cause of death. The first, last and only grammarian at the magazine got her start there in 1945 after sending a letter asking about job openings. In it she pointed out several errors she found in a recent issue.”
Mary Rourke, February 18, 2005

 

 
DAILY FACTOID:

During the mid 3rd Millennium BC, Sargon of Akkad wrote the following:

“My mother was a changeling (?), my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azurpiranu (the wilderness herb fields), which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My changeling mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was gardener Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and (fifty?) … years I exercised kingship.”

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

“We today owe our intellectual and humanitarian heritage to Franklin Roosevelt. Not because he vindicated principles of easy money or public finance. Not because he vindicated principles of modern liberalism. But – for the first time in the history of our nation and all nations – he demonstrated that government can exist for the great benefit of the many at the minor cost of the few. For almost a century both political parties have lived by this end, if disagreeing on the means.”
This is Ashok (Ashok Rao)

B. An Ethical Focus:

“Today’s Needs

Give me:

Shelter from the Elements
Food for Mind and Body
Love of Family and Friends

Today’s Goals

Let me:

Bring Peace where there is Strife
Be Gentle and Courteous.
Grieve for the Misfortunes of Others
Be Compassionate and Charitable.
Be Patient.
Do no Harm.
Ask Forgiveness of those I have Harmed.
Forgive those who have Harmed me.
Avoid Damage to the Circle of Life.
Restore where I can what has been Damaged or Harmed.
Help those who Need it
Not Disparage Others.
Be Steadfast in the Face of Criticism for Doing Right.
Be Kind to those who Disagree with me.
Be Humble whenever I may be Exalted.”

I found the above while rummaging through my files. I am not sure who wrote it or why. I include it here because I like it since it is a moral bromide without appeal to a Supreme Being and it seems to include protection of the environment among its fundamental moral precepts. Compare those who may choose to live their lives following these rules with Juergen Stroop below.

C. Tales of Inhumanity:

“180 Jews, bandits and sub-humans, were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 20:15 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue…. Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved…. Apart from 8 buildings (police barracks, hospital, and accommodations for housing working-parties) the former Ghetto is completely destroyed. Only the dividing walls are left standing where no explosions were carried out.”
Juergen Stroop. Report to Nazi superiors regarding the extermination of the Jewish Community in the Warsaw Ghetto 1943.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.”
Adam Smith

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

20140422_usdm_home-638x492
Although the length and severity of the drought may be attributed to climate change, the predicted El Niño weather pattern expected to begin this summer may bring increased rain and hot weather to Northern California and Oregon relieving the drought. There is a good chance, however, it will bring only increasingly hot temperatures to the rest of the Southwest.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

1032-934x

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Capt. Coast 0003 (April 16, 2014)

 

“The joy of theft is the lack of overheads.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The heat of Summer has struck the foothills like lightning struck Ben Franklin’s house key. Temperatures have reached the high 80’s in the foothills and the 90’s in the valley. I expect in a few weeks the hills will lose their green and turn golden for a moment before sliding back to their usual dull brown.
**********************************

Every day between 7:30 to 7:45 AM after I drop HRM off at school I go to Bella Bru Cafe for breakfast of a non-fat caffe latte and a cinnamon raison bagel with cream cheese. The people working there have gotten to recognize my car when I enter the parking lot and they have my order prepared by the time I walk into the Cafe. I am pleased with this slight but welcome confirmation of my existence.
************************************

Along the main road in El Dorado Hills there are two large rocks upon which people paint birthday greetings. Every year on the day before his birthday I do so for HRM. This morning while driving by I noticed one of the rocks announced, “Violet is 5.” I have no idea who Violet is and why I found that particular message rememberable, other than I like the name Violet and 5 years old is younger than most of the celebrants noted on the rocks. In any event Happy Birthday Violet.
**************************************

HRM is nine years old. He still believes in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause. This morning we had a discussion about how much money the Tooth Fairy must have in order to for her go traveling around the world paying people for their lost teeth.

Is there a time when adults are obliged to explain to children some of life’s realities? It is the same time as when they explain (if ever) birds, bees and storks?
****************************************

B. POOKIE’S DREAM (continued):

A few days later I was invited to ride along on a truck going deeper into the preserve. I jumped at the chance. We started well before sunrise and drove through forest and savannah for several hours until the solid green wall of the jungle rose up before us. Nestled at the edge of that seemingly impenetrable mass of vegetation was a small village.

The people of the village did not appear to me to be African at all. Traditional Peoples south of the Sahara tended to be pastoralists and farmers, not hunter gatherers. Nor did they look a lot like natives of the Sahel and further south. They looked in fact more like the indigenous people in the South American rain forest or Borneo pictured in National Geographic which is where my dream probably got them from. They were mostly bronze skinned and festooned with bones and beads piercing their septums or ear lobes or hung in their hair or on strings around their necks, arms or ankles. Their hair ranged from tightly curled to early Beetles bangs. They wore various colored dyes on their faces and bodies. I did not notice any scarifications or tattoos.

They were, of course in keeping with their National Geographic genesis, mostly naked. The children, starkers, running every which way, screaming and laughing. The men, the older the more pot-bellied, bare but for a ragged cloth over their privates or nothing at all. One or two sporting a penis sheath. The women, naked breasts becoming more slab like and drooping towards their waste as they aged, here and there sported a grass kirtle or a piece of cloth or leather like the men. The younger women, their brown nubbins with puffy dark nipples protruded proudly from their chests.

For males of my age, I suspect many of us recall that time before Playboy began publication when most of us got our pre-adolescent titillation from surreptitiously staring at the brown nubbins with puffy dark nipples in the photographs of the ubiquitous National Geographic magazines of which it seemed every home had at least a modest supply. I wondered at the time, being too young and inexperienced to understand the subtleties and complexities of racial prejudice, why brown nubbins with puffy dark nipples were freely exposed while white breasts with pink nipples were covered with cloth. I concluded that to most adults white breasts with pink nipples must have appeared too horribly ugly and therefore needed to be hidden from view.

I met the representatives of the preserve, a middle-aged man and a youngish woman. They were both dressed like the other residents of the village. The man sporting a grey beard and thick white hair might have been European or Middle Eastern, but his skin was burned so dark and leathery it was difficult to tell. The woman seemed clearly of African descent. They shared the duties of providing medical services to the people of the village as well as those deeper in the jungle and conducting anthropological and sociological studies. They also accompanied and assisted scientists and others allowed into the preserve.

I was told that the residents of the village were quite antagonistic to strangers. I learned this first hand as I toured the settlement. The residents seemed happy and often laughing except when I came close. Then they became silent, sullen and almost threatening. As my guides explained, they see themselves as protectors of the preserve and everyone else as a threat. It all appeared to me to resemble the theory behind the establishment of those seed banks deep in the arctic so that in case of a disaster we would have stock to begin again. Admirable but naïve I thought .

I was taken briefly into the jungle to observe hunting by the villagers. After a lot of walking about, missed shots and mutterings they managed to bring down a small monkey with a blow gun.

All in all I was happy to leave and return to the village where I was staying.

After a few more days, I left the village to return home. I did not go back through the armed town containing my Armenian relatives, but drove on a very curvy road through some mountains. Now and then subdivision development appeared along the side of the road that seemed suspiciously like those in the foothills where I now reside. Eventually we topped a ridge where I could see the coastal plain before me and the airport. Beyond the airport was the ocean. At that point I woke up.

Over about the next year and a half, I returned to the village six or eight times. Sometimes I would fly into the airport near the ocean, at others I would find myself in the armed town and now and then I would just appear in the village itself.

The first time I returned, Mama and I became lovers. (to be continued)

 

C. POOKIE’S BOOK REPORT:

Declan Burke

I thought it’s time to write about my current man-crush, the Irish mystery and thriller author Declan Burke. Burke’s novel’s, read like Ken Bruen on steroids (try Slaughter’s Hound). His agent advised him that he could make more money writing comic mysteries like Leonard and Hiaasen. So, although he writes more or less the same stories of violence and degradation as Bruen, his bad guys say and do things a bit dumber while his chief protagonist’s rapid fire patter suggests the recent ingestion of about pound of cocaine.

He like Bruen lives much of the time in the perpetual fog and drizzle of western Ireland. They both set the locus of many of their novels there. This misty dark landscape, I believe, has something to do with the tenor of their stories.

Just think, I spend my days in constant sunlight sitting on a warm deck observing flowers, birds and clouds and it still pisses me off. Imagine how angry I’d be if every day I’d go outside to be met with only fog, wind, drizzle and cold.

My personal favorite Declan Burke novel is Absolute Zero Cool. Not so much for its plot but because there are more explosions of one liners per page than in a string of Chinese firecrackers. It’s as though Philip Marlowe returned and found himself slogging through a bog in Galway.

Pookie says, check it out.

“Survival has never been a right… Survival has always been a matter of hard-earned elitism.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

“It’s a crying shame, yeah, so have a cry, feel ashamed and get over it. The rest of the week is coming on hard and its brakes are shot to hell.”
Burke, Declan. Eightball Boogie.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

1177: In that year the Pharaoh Ramses III defeated the so-called “Sea People” in a series of battles in the Nile Delta saving Egypt from the destruction experienced during the previous 50-100 years by every other major empire and power in the eastern Mediterranean and the Near and Middle East thus ending the Golden Era of the Bronze Age and ushering in an almost 500 year-long Dark Age.

Prior to that era of turmoil, that area supported the following major powers: The Hittite Empire, Mycenaean/Cretan Empire, Assyrian and Kassite/Babylonian Empires, Mitanni Empire and Egypt. It also encompassed the mostly independent kingdoms of Ugarit (Syria), Canaan, Cyprus, Hausa, Troy (Troad) and a number of others. Every one was swept away and disappears from history except Egypt which nevertheless spiraled into a decline from which it never recovered. (Note: Assyria experienced two centuries of decline before being replaced by the neo-Assyrian Empire)

Almost every society (again with the exception of Egypt) lost the ability to read and write for almost 200 years. Cuneiform writing and the languages of most of those countries disappeared from history as completely as did the nations that supported them. It was replaced mostly by the Phoenician writing system we use today. Aramean became the lingua-franca of the Near and Middle East.

A host of connected causes including climate change, earthquakes and a complacent, self-protecting aristocracy of inherited wealth have been blamed for the massive migrations, revolutions and warfare that utterly destroyed that civilization. Such a complete disintegration of a culture was not to be seen again until the collapse of the Roman Empire 1700 years later.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”
Martin Gilens, Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page Northwestern University. Perspective on Politics.

 

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

“The tragic truth, however, is that the young as they age become conservatives, ethnic groups as they move into the middle class do so also. The gay community is now free to vote Republican without shame while the black community is prevented from voting even if they are Republican. And worse of all, the seven and eight year olds of our nation seem to have been indoctrinated in many of our schools to hate others as well as to despise science.

Progressives can slap themselves on the back all they want, but as usual they have failed to grasp the grim realities of politics which is that it is an eternal war of attrition and the opposition is better equipped, trained and financed while all too often all the Progressives have is their optimism to sustain them as the barricades are overrun while they wait for popular support that never comes.”
Trenz Pruca

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“That, in its essence, is fascism–ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

 
TODAY’S CHART:
funny-graphs-architects

 
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
374-934x

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joey 0003 (April 10 2014)

 

“Nil mortifi, sine lucre. Remember. No killing without payment.”
(Motto of the Assassins Guild.)
Pratchett, Terry. Pyramids (Discworld) (p. 62). Harper Collins.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

It is the season of the Swimming Cult. About two hundred other parents, various family members and I attended the orientation for the Sierra Sharks swim team that I signed HRM up for. It felt more like we were sending the kids to reform school than to an enjoyable athletic adventure. They seemed to have considerably more interest in what jobs the parents sign up for than in the welfare of the swimmers.

I agreed be responsible for checking the swimmers conformity to the rules as they make their lane turns during the meets. I intend to allow considerable opportunity for innovation.
*********************************************************

Hosts of California Poppies are blooming gold against the deep green or the hills. Mustard fields, a bright yellow ,have joined them. In the late afternoon from the rocking chair on the deck I watch hummingbirds and bees feed on the flowering trees.
*********************************************************

Today I saw five people walk past the house. Shocked, I stood in the driveway staring at them with my mouth open. One of them, a middle-aged man saw me and waved before continuing on out of view. They were followed by the postman in his little white truck who stopped by our post box on the side of the road and filled it with advertisements and offers of untold riches.
***********************************************************

I miss Thailand. Although it is not what it used to be and in a sad state of decline, it still has a certain seedy electric excitement much like the Las Vegas Strip. Now don’t get me wrong, El Dorado Hills is quite nice. Some magazine just ranked it the seventh best place in America to raise a family. But let’s face it, who wants to spend all their time someplace certified for family values. That’s like watching only G rated movies.

For example, in Bangkok each morning during the mile or so walk from my apartment to the health club I am almost guaranteed to see or experience the following: at least three offers of sexual congress, one of which will be from someone of uncertain gender; a fight between two ladies of the night complete with tearing off of clothes and pulling of hair; one person lying on the sidewalk in a coma or dead; a dozen or so rats scurrying away from my feet as I walk along; packs of soi dogs so mangy, flea ridden and rabid that should they ever chance upon a PETA meeting the participants would shoot them on sight; one or more farangs (Westerners), partly clothed and drunk, vomiting into the gutter; a rupture in the sidewalk every five feet or so that should I step on it wrong I would break an ankle or pitch into a sewer that runs underneath; several sidewalk stands purveying the latest in vibrator technology and pharmaceutical breakthroughs in male virility enhancement; other stands selling every possible mechanism for killing another human being that does not require gunpowder or dynamite; every sort of pirated good you can conceive of; food stands and sidewalk cafe’s selling almost every kind or food you would or would not want to eat; a hundred or so bars and go-go places including one specializing it BJ’s and another in anal sex; an equal number of massage parlors; a bazillion cars all stopped solid in the daily mother of all traffic jams and another bazillion motor bikes many carrying more than two passengers. Oh yeah, a lot of noise and air so thick with pollutants that it takes at least 10 minutes off your life for each breath you take. Now and then there is a political demonstration of some sort with the participants wearing either red or yellow shirts bitching about something I don’t understand. Police and soldiers heavily armed with about every weapon imaginable lounging around the side streets in great numbers as I pass by. All this backed by a huge unending series of monoliths containing hotels, office buildings and high-priced condominiums impassively reflecting in their mirrored sides the turmoil on the streets below.

In El Dorado Hills about the only things that change are the clouds.
************************************************************

 

B. POOKIES DREAM (continued):

A great brown and grey cloud billowed at the far end of the valley through which plunged a stampede of animals. Not like the great Serengeti migration where large herbivores run the gauntlet of predators but a stampede of all sorts of animals, herbivore and predator alike. Elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, wild pigs and warthogs, even monkeys and chimpanzees plunged down the valley toward us. It looked a lot like the start of the SF Bay to Breakers race. I was so frightened I considered waking myself up. But recalling Mama’s calming words, I plopped down on the nearest rock, my heart pounding almost as loud as the the sounds of the hooves and paws plunging toward us.

The herd split into two, each half passing the rock outcropping on opposite sides. The others on the rocks with me clapped and laughed. Suddenly a large male lion all ruff and fangs detached itself from the herd and sprang up the rocks right toward me. It swerved just before it reached me, brushed by and bounded over the top or the outcropping to rejoin the stampede leaving me little worse for wear other than a slightly strained sphincter.

A rhinoceros bumped out of the pack stumbled up the rocks a few feet, fell down and struggled to get up again. A child sitting nearby leaned over and patted it on its horn. The beast chuffed, backed itself down and ran off.

After the animals passed leaving only the rumble of their passage further down the valley and swirling clouds of dust, everyone on the rocks clapped and cheered like the Forth of July crowds after the fireworks.

We then all walked off into the woods until we came to a stream. Everyone dove in to clean off the dust and dirt. Some removed their clothing and others jumped in clothes and all. I decided to explore the stream a bit and walked away until I could no longer hear their cries and laughter. I soon came to a place where the stream widened out into a small pool. Across the way the stream entered the pool in a small two-step waterfall. The upper stories of the forest were pulled back around the pool allowing the sunlight to flood down glittering the spray of the waterfalls and turning the bottom of the pool iridescent.

The trees surrounding the pool although open to the sun at their tops crowded the pool in a seemingly impenetrable wall. Sitting or hopping about on the branches of the trees were hundreds of birds of every color and shape of feather. Where they did not hide the trees behind from view, thousands of butterflies fluttered about filling up the spaces. Strangely there was no sound of birds calling to one another, only the thrumming of their wings and the shushing of the waterfall. After a while I began to think the whole thing was spooky and so I returned to the village.
(To be continued)

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

While I agree in principle with the sentiments expressed below, their intemperance probably results from living ones life, as the author does, in a thatched roof cottage on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean encased in almost constant fog.

“The theory of democracy holds that the most wretched is rightfully equal in status to the most powerful. This is history.

This is bunk.

Democracy is political theory reaching back 5,000 years to the pyramids for inspiration, an apex dependent on a broad foundation for its very existence. It is the few bearing down on the millions, and the millions feeling proud that they have provided an unparalleled view of the universe for the few. Democracy is a blizzard of options so thick it obscures the fact that there is no choice.

The cradles of democracy, London and Philadelphia, deployed genocide as a means of social engineering, in Australia and North America respectively, a full two hundred years before Hitler and Stalin began their pissing contest in Poland.

It is no coincidence that democracy evolved in tandem with the Industrial Revolution. Democracy and capitalism are symbiotic parasites. Democracy’s truth is not one man, one vote; it is one man, one dollar. Democracy’s truth is the abrogation of the individual’s rights in favor of collective procrastination, while those running the show exercise censorious control on behalf of the nervous disposition of the collective will….

Democracy has replaced religion as the opiate du jour. Democracy is the ostrich with its head in the sand and its ass in the air, begging to be taken in traditional pirate fashion. It is the subjugation of the people, by the people, for the people. It is the inalienable right to purchase your personalized interpretation of liberalized slavery. It is the right to sell your soul to the highest bidder. It is the right to pay for the privilege of being alive….

For some reason most dictators fail to realize that the trick to democracy is to have the slaves buy and sell themselves. The trick is to incentivize slaves to invest in their slavery, to pay for their own prisons, shackle themselves to brick and mortar.

The trick to democracy is in ensuring the slaves’ capacity for self-regulation is not taken for granted. The trick is to maintain the healthy tension between democracy and capitalism, so that one does not undermine or overshadow the other. The trick is to ensure that the slaves’ investment retains the illusion of value. Failure to do so will result in the slaves questioning the worth of their dollar and/or vote. The answer to this question is delivered in blood.

Masters of the Universe, do not say you weren’t warned.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

 

B. More reflections on fly fishing:

I am always flattered when someone responds positively to something I wrote in T&T. The following is from Naida West. As you know, I consider Naida’s historical trilogy, The California Gold Trilogy, to contain three of the finest historical novels written about America. Unlike others who merely place their story in another era, Naida’s involves mostly actual people taken from diaries and other sources to which she adds missing thoughts, motivations and dialogue and a character or two. Her characters are not kings and queens and the like, but real ordinary (and some not so ordinary) people who populated the banks of the Cosumnes River more than 100 years ago.

“I loved your reflections of fly fishing, such as this: “(Fly fishing) is a type of meditation for those who like to be uncomfortable while doing it and are infatuated with gear.”

Here’s a reflection of my own:

My lawyer father, a delightful actor on life’s stage if one winked at his pursuit of women and booze, grew younger before my eyes as he neared his favorite trout streams. By the time we left the road and bumped violently over bushes and rocky outcroppings seeking a place to stop, he was a wide-eyed child at Barnum and Bailey’s tent door. He bounced out to retrieve his gear while I steeled myself for a day of boredom with the windows up, my only excitement murdering mosquitoes that had snuck in while the door had been open. As the sun edged across the sky I poached in my sweat, recalling the day I explored a riverbank in shorts while he fished. The angry welts all over me, overlapping even under my shirt, just about killed me or so I thought. My dad had scoffed and said I should control the effects with my mind like he did. Umm, no. He admired swamis who barefooted across glowing coals.

Yet for an hour or two, coming and going, I had my dad to myself. At the wheel he recited story-length poems by Longfellow, Gray, Coleridge, and Poe, using theatrical emphasis to convey the meaning of outdated idioms. Between poems he answered questions about the words and phrases, always in an interesting way, repeating the stanzas where they were used. I memorized some of those poems before my mother & grandmother hauled us to CA, and in the 8th grade my teacher had me go from room to room in Carmel High School reciting them to classrooms of older kids. I saw my dad only a handful of times after we left Idaho, though he lived until 1989.”
Naida

It is great to be reminded that there was a time when people quoted Longfellow, Poe and others instead of relying on street corner argot and advertising slogans to prove their intellectual integration with the greater American culture. I, myself, often sprinkle my speech with the word “fuck.” It signifies my affinity for the common idiomatic mode of discourse we Americans use to express ourselves.

Speaking of Longfellow, I always felt he got a raw deal from the critics. He was part of a movement that began with Washington Irving and continued until Whitman gave up the ghost in an orgy of pantheistic individualism. They tried to create a new song unique to America out of the diverse traditions of those living or migrating to the continent at the time. True it was mostly wrapped in Yankee sensibilities. Native American, Knickerbocker, Frontiersman, Acadian, Settler at the edge of the primeval wilderness and even the sad songs of slavery were all bundled into a single melody, recognizable even where altered. A violin differs from and oboe in its history, shape and sound. But, in a symphony by Brahms, joined together they create a song far different from what either could accomplish separately. No one criticizes old Johannes for failing  to allow each instrument its own solo. Even Jazz requires the solos to doodle around with the underlying theme. (Come to think of it, Jazz was another attempt to meld the diverse music of several cultures relying in part on the fundamentals of European folk music, African syncopation and rhythm, and Klezmer instramentalization.)

Romantic and fuzzy headed, this movement died at mid-century when the two true songs of America emerged, one indescribably evil and malicious. The other almost as bad, lacking a unifying theme other than simple revulsion.

Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, an attempt to use new interest at the time in Native American culture and legends to create a syncretic myth for the new country, has been soundly criticized. At first the criticism appeared to emanate from the trolls of that era who focused, in part, upon the poems idealization of a people whom they believed deserved their extinction. Later, because the poem relied on the study of Native American culture by a man who was one of the first to take an interest in their way of life, it was ridiculed because significant portions of that research was in error and more recent studies decades after the poem’s publication came to different conclusions. This is like criticizing the ancient Egyptians for not using reenforced concrete to construct their pyramids.

Did you know that the recitation of the Song of Hiawatha provides greater psychological and physical benefits than meditation? It’s true, try it. Find a quiet room, darkened but not devoid of light. Make yourself comfortable and slowly in a hushed voice as deep you can manage recite the poem making sure you accent it properly.

Longfellow used the trochaic meter instead of the iambic that is more comfortable for Indo-European speakers. It is a more common rhythm in Ural-Altaic languages (in this case Finnish) that Longfellow believed, rightly or wrongly, reflected the language of the First Peoples. In any event, for some English speakers it seems to produce chthonic rhythms that reverberate in the marrow of their bones like the moan of a cello.

Try it, you’ll like it. Do not begin with that portion of the poem that we learned in grade school but at the beginning with the Introduction. To get you started I include it here:

Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you,
“From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them
From the lips of Nawadaha,
The musician, the sweet singer.”

Note: Do not try this with Evangeline or any of the Acadian poems. Those rhythms can cause mild stomach upset to the inexperienced.

 

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

Metaphor rhymes with pinafore.
But can a pinafore become a metaphor?

I apologize for the above, regret it and am truly humiliated.
 
TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett

“Spence patted him on the shoulder and said, “Goodnight, Bogie.” Bogie turned his eyes to Spence very quietly and with a sweet smile covered Spence’s hand with his own and said, “Goodbye, Spence.” Spence’s heart stood still. He understood.”
Kathrine Hepburn describing the last time she and Spencer Tracy (another man’s man who died in much the same way) saw Humphrey Bogart.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

Map showing what those place names actually mean:
17

I was born in New Yew Tree Estate, lived a while in The Land of the Main Hill Wood, and went to college in Marsh Farm before moving to Saint Little Frank One in the Land of the Succession.

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 Joey 0003 (March 24, 2014)

“When you die, the first thing you lose is your life. The next thing is your illusions.”

Pratchett, Terry. Pyramids (Discworld). Harper Collins.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The rains of the past few weeks have prompted the foothills to blush green. Every day I do pretty much the same few things at about the same time. As a result I have begun to lose track of time. I, for example, no longer know how long it has been between calls to people with whom I have previously been in regular contact. Everything seems the same day after day except for the clouds. I like the clouds here at the edge of the foothills. They are gloriously variegated from cottony white to pearlescent, sometimes grey and searing black as well as red, pink, orange and even yellow (see Today’s Photograph below).

*******************************
The “Mothers” rugby team played two games today. The first was against the team that beat them 95 to 5. This time they only lost 30 to 15. The second game however was a different story. They played the team made up of South Sea Islander kids, half of whom were girls. After less than three minutes the Mothers were down 30 to 0 so the coach halted the slaughter and requested the Islanders play with only the smallest and youngest (8 and under) members of the team. They fielded 6 members and the Mothers “loaned” them six of their worst scrubs to make up the difference. While the Mothers scrubs wandered around the playing field in semi oblivion, the remaining six Islanders continued to run up the score by another 30 points in 10 minutes before the game was called to save our team from further embarrassment. HRM was however voted by the refs as the Best Tackler of the Game, primarily for a thunderous last second tackle on an opponent running free toward the goal-line to the cheers, ohs and applause of the bloody minded parents watching the game.

*****************************

I am sick again and have been forced to lie in bed for about a week oozing bodily fluids while I wait for antibiotics and other various medicines to kill off those little buggers who have found my body an ideal place in which to vacation.

When once or twice a day I stumble out on the deck for a bit of sun and fresh air I notice that not only was this a year without winter here at the edge of the foothills but one without spring as well. We seem to have sprung directly into Summer. The grasses and trees starved for water have, in response to the feeble rains a week or so ago, panicky thrust their seeds and pollen into the air in order to propagate themselves before they brown and die as the drought regains control. Alas, the resulting hay fever and allergies have added to whatever miseries the vacationing bacteria and viruses have brought me.

******************************

The rugby season has ended with the expected thundering defeats for the Mothers at the regional tournament. Swimming season now begins. I sit at the edge of the pool, along with a group of proud mothers encouraging our charges to ever greater efforts while we fiddle with our smart phones.

 

B. POOKIE’S DREAMS:

I am what is referred to by some as a vivid dreamer. That is, my dreams are in color, I know that I am dreaming and I can alter them as they go along. I also can wake myself up if things get too stressful. Moreover, I generally remember a lot of them in their entirety. Sometimes, those dreams become as real in my memory as any other experience. Periodically I used to analyze which of my memories were real and which were dreams in order to purge those not real. I no longer do that. I now believe, if it is there it is as real as any memory.

I prefer sleep to being awake because on the whole my dreams are far more interesting and exciting than my waking life is. I guess that goes for most of us.

Perhaps a little over a score of years ago I dreamt I was flying in a plane. We passed from the ocean over the land somewhere in Africa where we landed. I then took a small jitney bus that drove directly from the airport into the desert. The desert was not the sandy dune desert of Lawrence of Arabia, but barren, dusty and rocky like parts of West Texas. After a day or two we arrived at a small city of mud-walled buildings. In the center of the city was a large dirt plaza filled with men with guns, shooting them into the air and shouting at people in cars or busses and stopping them as they tried to make their way through the plaza. The men seemed to be grouped into gangs with no one group in charge. They appeared mediterranean in complexion with large bushy mustaches. They wore dark pants and vests over their shirts. I assumed they were Muslims since most of them wore ragged turbans on their heads.

They would not allow our bus to continue, so I disembarked and walked into the city to search for some distant relatives whom I knew lived in the town. The relatives strangely were Armenian shopkeepers. I found their shop. I never learned what they sold there. The relatives lived above the shop. After I explained who I was, they welcomed me in. The father, a man of about 60, was relatively short statured, clean-shaven with a round face topped by a mostly bald head with a few long black hairs combed over. He had two grown sons, they were much taller than he, broad-shouldered and moustached. Strapped to their backs were guns of some sort. Their sister was a slender dark girl of about 14, I guess. She wore a light-colored dress imprinted with small pink flowers. The mother was thin like the daughter with more grey hair than the father. I told them I had been stopped by the gunmen in the plaza and I wanted to continue on to the jungle beyond the desert. He said that it would be difficult under the current chaotic circumstances to secure permission to travel beyond the City. He said he would have to think about it and promised to do his best. In the meantime, they prepared a dinner in my honor attended by the father’s brother and his family. After the dinner the brothers spoke with each other in a corner of the room out of my hearing. Eventually the father came over to me and told me that the leader of one of the strongest militia was a friend of his and he thought he could arrange passage for me.

Early the next morning after saying good-bye and thanking everyone I, accompanied the older son, returned to the plaza and after enduring several threats and insults from the militia leader, was put into an old Range Rover and allowed to continue on my way.

We drove on across that stoney dusty desert well into the early afternoon when the landscape began to change, first into scrub lands and then into a grassy savannah. Small copse of trees dotted the terrain here and there. Near to sunset we topped a small ridge and saw a little valley beyond. The savannah continued across the valley along with the dirt track we had been following until along the smaller ridge on the opposite side the green expanse of the forest began abruptly. Where the road disappeared into the trees, I could see a small village of conical mud-walled houses nestled in the shade of the trees stretched out along the road.

At sundown we arrived at the village. I got out of the vehicle at the edge of the village. About 10 or so adults and innumerable children assembled around the vehicle as I disembarked. One man approached. He seemed to be in his late twenties or early thirties. I guess he was Somali or other Cushite speaker, thin, light brown complexion and a straight narrow nose. He greeted me and asked what had brought me to the village. I answered that I had heard about what they had accomplished in creating their vast environmental and ethnological preserve and I wanted to see it for myself. This was the first time in the dream that I had become aware of what I was doing here.

He contemplated me for a moment then said, “Mama discourages casual visitors to the reserve.” At first I thought MAMA was an acronym for the NGO operating the place. I was soon disabused of that assumption when he glanced to a large woman standing off to the side surrounded by passel of young children.

She was a large woman, large indeed, about an inch or two taller than me and at least 50 pounds heavier. Her skin was a deep chocolate color and a thick dark tangled ring of hair floated around her head like Medusa’s snakes. She wore a deep blue tent like dress that fell from her shoulders almost all the way to the ground. Thick red stripes containing faint yellow pinstripes broke up the wall of blue.

“Perhaps I can persuade her to let me stay,” I said. “I don’t think so,” he responded quickly. “But it is too late in the day to send you back, so you can stay the night as our guest and if she is not too busy perhaps you can try to persuade her tomorrow.”

With that he led me into the town past several of the huts to one a little back from the road. “This is my house,” he said. “You can stay here for the evening. There is a cot in the back. You can leave your backpack there. I will show you where to wash up and you can join my family and others for dinner.”

The hut was nicely sized containing a single room. It seemed to be used only for sleeping. I found a small cot at the back and with both relief and trepidation dropped my backpack on it and rejoined my host.

He showed me to a surprisingly comfortable bathhouse with both hot and cold tubs and showers. It seemed to be available to both sexes.

After my bath he led me to a clearing a little way from the village. Here there were benches and a few sturdy wooden tables. Several modern grill type cookers and other tables containing copious amounts of food surrounded a large campfire around which on a variety of strange tripod like contraptions other pots and viands hung over the flames.

I met my host’s wife and their two small children. She was young and quite attractive. I am sorry to say, I no longer remember their names even though they became some of the closest friends I had even known. That’s the way it is with dreams.

The clearing filled up with what appeared to be at least a hundred adults and even more children running about. The others seemed to be a mixture of ethnicities and races, predominately African but I could see some Europeans and Asians also among the crowd.

Although I remember the food was delicious and the feeling that I enjoyed myself immensely I recall little more about the evening other than that whenever I glanced across the campfire through the flames I saw Mama on the other side staring at me with what appeared to me to be hard cold angry eyes.

After the dinner I returned to the hut, laid down on the cot and fell immediately asleep.
(to be continued)

 

C. MOPEY’S BOOK REPORTS:

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”
Logan Pearsall Smith
1. The Ripper

At Ruth’s suggestion, I read Isabel Allende’s new novel. Unlike her previous novels, this time she tries the mystery genre. Her husband William C. Gordon, an attorney in SF, writes mystery novels set in The City during the sixties. Allende’s novel, The Ripper, is also set in the City but takes place currently, more or less. Nevertheless, much of the novel revolves around a shard of the sixties that lasted to the present day – the occupants and clients of a holistic medicine clinic in North Beach several of whom I could comfortably associate with some of the denizens of the counter-culture I met during those fabled if somewhat blurred times.

Pookie says check it out.

“…no one gets rich working,”
Allende, Isabel. Ripper (p. 152). Harper Collins.

2. Steam

Sir Terry Pratchett the beloved author of the innumerable “Discworld” novels was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year or so ago. “Discworld,” for those who do not know, is a flat world on a disc resting on the backs of four huge elephants standing on the shell of an enormous tortoise slowly making its way across the galaxy. The denizens of “Discworld” are delightfully human (even the humans), and humanly delightful. “Steam” is his most recent book. Although it is not as madly surprising and bizarrely inventive as his previous works, it still overflows with Sir Terry’s special brand of humor and insight.

To Sir Terry, captains of industry, commerce and banking are inevitably criminals, hucksters and scoundrels but they seem to do as good a job as anyone would do under the circumstances. Of course it helps, if the government is run by a highly trained assassin instead of a mass murderer. Sir Terry believes that is the best of all political arrangements. He thinks magic is a good thing because it is very funny when its spells go wrong, which they inevitably do. He also believes that goblins, golems, vampires, trolls, werewolves, and various other species of sentient being, more or less, are quite amusingly human and often even more so than humans themselves once you get to know them, even McFeegles.

Pookie says check it out.

“It is now known to science that there are many more dimensions than the classical four. Scientists say that these don’t normally impinge on the world because the extra dimensions are very small and curve in on themselves, and that since reality is fractal most of it is tucked inside itself. This means either that the universe is more full of wonders than we can hope to understand or, more probably, that scientists make things up as they go along.”
Pratchett, Terry. Pyramids (Discworld) (p. 313). Harper Collins.

Note: I also read Pyramids published several years ago in which Sir Terry reveals that the greatest mathematicians in the universe are camels who, alas have found no one within that same universe they deem worthy enough to share that knowledge with.

Pookie says check that out also. In fact read all or Pratchett’s books. There are so many of them you could read them for the rest of your life and still be happy.

 

 
DAILY FACTOID:

Sometime about the middle of the century or during the latter half of it, those of us still alive will experience a day not experienced by humankind since the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries when Genghis Kahn slaughtered about 10% of humanity living at that time and the following Plague carried by fleas riding along on those sturdy Mongolian ponies offed another 10%.

On that day in the near future according to several demographic studies there will be fewer humans living on the planet then the day before. This will occur not because some new Genghis or Plague will ravage us (although that remains a real possibility), but because of the education and liberation of women, increasing living standards and urbanization will have resulted in not enough babies born to offset the death rate among oldies.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

1. The Great Gatsby Curve
slide_267889_1844551_free

For those who consider those nordic countries as small and homogenous and thereby not applicable to the situation in the USA, note that their combined population is slightly less than that of Canada and their percentage of foreign-born residents is greater than that of the USA and most other industrialized nations (Although it does beg the question of whether anything in Canada is applicable to the US). On the other hand, in terms of sheer numbers the US leads the world in foreign-born residents as it has more or less from its beginning.

2. Study by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:

A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

“By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources ”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over ‘the last five thousand years.’”
B. A bit more Twain*:

“When I look around me, I am often troubled to see how many people are mad. To mention only a few: The Atheist, The Theosophists, The Infidel, The Swedenborgians, The Agnostic, The Shakers, The Baptist, The Millerites, The Methodist, The Mormons, The Christian Scientist, The Laurence Oliphant Harrisites, The Catholic, and the 115 Christian sects ( the Presbyterian excepted), The Grand Lama’s people, The Monarchists, The Imperialists, The 72 Mohammedan sects, The Democrats, The Republicans (but not the Mugwumps!), The Buddhist, The Blavatsky-Buddhist, The Mind-Curists, The Faith-Curists, The Nationalist, The Mental Scientists, The Confucian, The Spiritualist, The Allopaths, The 2000 East Indian sects, The Homeopaths, The Electropaths, The Peculiar People, The–

“But there’s no end to the list; there are millions of them! And all insane; each in his own way; insane as to his pet fad or opinion, but otherwise sane and rational. This should move us to be charitable towards one another’s lunacies.”
Mark Twain, Christian Science

* we need more twains and fewer singularities.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”
~ J. Garcia

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Always assume everyone is an idiot. This saves time.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_20140131_172058_675_3
Sunset over El Dorado Hills

 

Categories: January through March 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Cold Tits 0003 (February 28 2013)

“Life is an application and not an operating system.”

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

When I was about seven years old we were quite poor. It was a few days before Christmas. My father was out of work and had disappeared, ostensibly to find a job. We did not have enough money for Christmas dinner nor for presents for my brother and I. The door bell rang. When my mom answered it, a young woman stood there smiling. She announced that they, the members of the Parish church, decided that we were the most destitute family in the Parish. She then happily presented us with a large turkey, baskets of food and presents for my brother and I.

I have always hated that woman. I could never forget the crushing humiliation I felt by that small bit of charity. Often I see her smiling face in my nightmares.

(“Don’t forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor.” – John Dickinson (“1776”))
***********************************

Here in El Dorado Hills it is barely mid-February and the trees are already beginning to blossom. The crocuses have flowered and the recent rains have brought a green blush to the dun stained hills
***********************************

I now spend about six hours or so a day reading. It’s become an addiction, not too much different from alcoholism or gambling.

I have just finished a recent book about my favorite fictional repressed homoerotic couple, Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell in “Light of the World” by James Lee Burke. I wish they would just get it on with each other. It may lessen their dependency on mayhem, slaughter and alcohol.

This book finds our heroes in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana enjoying a vacation on the ranch owned by their friend, a well-known author and environmental radical. They are joined by Clete’s illegitimate daughter who was sexually abused as a child and used to be a hit-man (woman) called “Caruso” operating out of Miami on behalf of the Cuban and Italian mobs . She finally killed her abuser. Now she is a documentary film maker. Dave’s brought along his wife, an ex-Maryknoll nun who escaped the death squad slaughters of nuns in Nicaragua and married Dave (Come to think of it, the death squads don’t seem any worse than marriage to Robicheaux would be.) Also accompanying them is Dave’s adopted daughter Alafier, an orphan from El Salvador Dave rescued from the wreckage of a plane floating in the Gulf of Mexico and who after attending Reed College and Stanford Law School became an author just like Burke’s daughter of the same name did in real life.

In the early 70’s my son Jason and I used to spend a couple of weeks a year in the Bitterroot Valley with some friends there. They lived in a small A-frame that stood alone in the middle of the valley somewhere between Lolo and Hamilton or perhaps south of Hamilton, I do not remember which. No other structures could be seen only the valley’s flat grassy bottom with the mountains rising on each side. One winter the snow-covered the valley floor and we saw a herd of elk pawing the snow in front yard searching for the grass beneath. We watched them for hours as though we were looking at television or staring into an i-phone. Another time during the spring, we visited a ranch that raised and trained rodeo ponies and rode them all afternoon in the hills on the east side of the valley among the spring wild-flowers. Once while hiking in the Bitterroot mountains I got separated from my friend. He had Jason with him and I had his two children of about the same age with me. I am deathly afraid of bears. My friend had told me that these mountains were filled with Grizzlies. I got lost and began to cry. The children led me by the hand back to the car.

Anyway, our heroes Dave, Clete and their gang run amok among the mountains and valleys of western Montana in pursuit of a serial killer and also an evil petroleum billionaire leaving many many dead and maimed bodies in their wake. As in most of the other books in which he appears, Clete gets laid and the woman inevitably leaves him.

After reading the sixteen quadrillion books Burke has written in this series, I have become more fond of Clete. Dave could drop into a hole in the ground for all I care. Clete at least knows he is a screwed up violent alcoholic, Dave is a 12 stepper with all the cereal box morality and self-importance that implies. (I liked him better when he was still a drunk.) He also hallucinates, something I think is a hangover from his past hangovers. I suspect even the author has finally recognized Dave’s deficiencies. He has one of the villeins of the book, the son of the evil billionaire, say just before his head is blown off by a bullet from a rifle held by his illegitimate half-brother, a crazed ex-con who also has visions:

“We’ve researched every aspect of your life, Mr. Robicheaux. We have your psychiatric records, your pitiful statements about your dependency on your whore of a mother, your sexual history in Manila and Yokohama, the possibility of a homoerotic relationship with your fat friend, your constant whining about all the injustices visited on the miserable piece of swamp you grew up in. The fact that you take others to task for their mistakes has established new standards in hypocrisy.”
Burke, James Lee. Light of the World: A Dave Robicheaux Novel (p. 539). Simon & Schuster.

Pookie says check it out.
**************************************

HRM and his team Mother Lode Rugby (Go you Mothers) played two games in Gridley a remote town in the middle of ranch and orchard country in the northern Central Valley. They lost both games to different teams by the identical score of 60 to 5. I guess it shows some improvement.
****************************************

Last week or so I joined a local health club. So, now I have physical therapy two days a week and exercise at the health club about four days a week. That leaves one day a week when I refuse to get out of bed.
******************************************

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

I have been told recently from some of my correspondents in Thailand that the nature of the dispute causing the current demonstrations and turmoil in that country has changed from simple politics to concern about royal succession. The politics have always been centered on the conflict between the culture of corruption among the ruling economic and political élite and the alleged corruption concentrated in the hands of the family of Thaksin the Terrible the exiled ex-Prime Minister who had secured political power it has been said in return for programs that help the poor of the Country. It is now maintained by many that the conflict has shifted to the possibility that with the current King’s potential imminent demise the Throne will pass to his son. The son, it has been whispered about, is considered a creature of the same Thaksin the Terrible. Not only has it been alleged that the Prince received huge payments of cash from the ex-Prime Minister’s family in return for his support but that he himself is a monster who plotted to assassinate other members of the royal family competing with him for the crown. The leaders of the protest movement now insist that the demonstrations are not about political power but about preserving the Monarchy. Why having a king (or Queen in this case) more amenable to their interests is considered preservation of the Monarchy remains unaddressed.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
original-2
original-1
These charts, if accurate, show why the cycle of poverty in the US is so hard to break. My daughter Jessica suggested that perhaps we should simply declare that, with few exceptions, once one reaches 21 year of age he or she are on their own, but until then society should guarantee children their education, health care, food, adequate housing and the like.

B. A Little Bit of Twain:

“There are many humorous things in the world, among them the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.”
Mark Twain

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“We’re born arsonists and we die firemen.”
Camilleri, Andrea; Sartarelli, Stephen. Treasure Hunt (Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) (p. 238). Penguin Group US.

“I can be very rude, and when I was younger and scary-looking, people were very rude to me. But there’s much less of that now. When you become famous, people are much nicer to you.”
Mina, Denise. The End of the Wasp Season: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
12404_564651120236040_70341764_n
See charts in Pepe’s Potpourri above. By the way, Finland operates more or less what my daughter suggests.

Categories: January through March 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Mopey 0003 (February 12, 2014)

 

Happy Birthday Amanda.

 

“So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.”
Victor Hugo describing what his novel “Les Meserables” is all about.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I guess for California this can be called “The Year Without Winter.” Here it is in early part of February in the Northern Central Valley and it is too warm for me to sit out in the afternoon on the deck behind the house. While they freeze and trudge through the snow on the East Coast, I am looking for a place to go swimming. It has also been the longest number of days without rain for the area since the latter part of the 19th Century. Sometimes I go to the park that overlooks the great Folsom Reservoir. It looks more like a desert surrounding a mud flat than a lake.
************************************
When I go to bed at night, I usually surround myself along with my stuffed animals Oscar the seal, Gorilla No-name and Douglas the Monkey along with my computer, books and magazines so that when I wake up in the middle of the night I can read myself back to sleep.
IMG_20140126_112927_750_2
******************************
I sometimes begin T&T with the words “Dum Spiro, Spero” which means where there is life there is hope. If this is true then it seems to me the Descartes who opined “Cogito ergo sum,” (I think therefore I am), must be wrong. Thinking, science tells us, is mostly post hoc rationalization. Perhaps it should be “Dum Spero, Spiro,” where there is hope there’s life.

On the other hand, “Canem Praeteri, Cave Modo Hominem.” (Never mind the dog, just watch out for the human) may be just as appropriate.
*********************************
I go to physical therapy two times a week for my leg. I have grown to enjoy it, the physical therapy not the pain in my leg. It is a bit like a senior citizens health club. It pleases me also because almost everyone, except for the therapists who are both younger and very much slimmer, are even fatter than I am. Say what you want about we Americans but one thing is true, we definitely are an obese lot.
************************************
On day while driving I listened to the Sacramento classical music station; you know music by mostly white boy bands from the Beetles to Clash. It really was not my teenage music, that was more from Frankie Lyman to well, the day the music died. I guess Classic Rock was more my stoner years. Anyway, I was listening to Joplin sing “Bobby McGee.” After the song the announcer mentioned that Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin were lovers until she died. I did not know that or if I did I had forgotten. That raised my estimation of both of them greatly.

Some critics criticized Joplin’s style and voice. I never understood that. Singing to me is the art of individual voices and probably almost infinite in variety. Like most notable singers, Joplin appeared to have a unique voice that distinguished her from other singers. Some time ago I assembled on tape over 50 performances of women’s voices from Joan Sutherland to Carmen Miranda. I loved that collection and would play it constantly. Denise called it my “Tragic Hearts Tape” because of the common theme of unrequited or lost love, but some definitely were not sad. Callas’ “Cara Nome” and even Joplin’s Bobby McGee were more upbeat than sad. Anyway D borrowed the tape and lost it.

For me the music finally really died in about 1992.
***********************************
On Sunday’s I usually attend HRM’s rugby games. Two weeks ago he ran the wrong way and scored for the other team. Last Sunday while the Broncos were being shellacked in the Super Bowl, his team Motherlode Rugby (Go you mothers!) lost 95 to 5.
***********************************
Last week HMR and I attended Congressman John Garamendi’s Birthday Party/Fund Raiser/Crab Fest in Vacaville as guests of Norbert and Stevie.
IMG_20140125_193204_224
HRM at his good friend Congressman John Garamendi’s birthday crab fest. The Congressman is making a speech in the background.
******************************************

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
photo 1
The above photograph was sent to me from Thailand by Nikki. It shows Sukhumvit Road one of BKK’s major arteries shut down by the long running anti-government protests. Unlike in other countries where streets shut down by protesters are often crowded with gangs of young men on the verge of riot, in Thailand the vacated streets are instantly filled by sidewalk vendors.

 

 
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

T&T from February 10, 2011 three years ago today:

I have begun to settle in to my new surroundings. More or less my day goes as follows: 8:30 walk Hayden to school; 9:00 to gym to swim, exercise and take a sauna; at noon lunch in an inexpensive restaurant close to my apartment; 1 PM nap; 2-3 read or work on computer; 3 PM pick up Hayden from school and help him with his home work; 4 PM read or computer time while Hayden plays with the children downstairs; 7 PM dinner; 8:30 prepare for bed.

On weekends I go to my apartment in Paradise by the Sea and on Wednesday and Thursday I include my massage in my daily activities.

The maid has moved into the spare bedroom. I assume that now that the maid is in place to supervise Hayden, SWAC will find some pretext to encourage me to leave and return full-time to Paradise by the Sea. The apartment has maid’s quarters located off the kitchen with its own separate entry into the hall. The room is windowless and feels more like a dungeon. There is a small toilet, actually more a hole in the floor of a closet. The maid will not be relegated to these quarters but will have one of the three bedrooms for her own.

The results of my medical tests have revealed that although the CT scan of my abdomen shows my kidneys looking like road kill, my kidney functions are normal. I need to have an operation to clear up the remainder of my plumbing in the near future in order to avoid possibly living the rest of my life in dialysis. I will probably have the procedure done in the US as early as April.

The street on which we live in BKK begins (or ends if you prefer) at a gate to a huge parcel of land in the center of the city. The gate announces that beyond is “The Tobacco Monopoly if Thailand”. I have no idea what it is about. The property is filled with a great number of ramshackle low-rise wooden buildings and a few run down parks. From this gate Soi 4 travels generally north past my apartment building and a few other mid to lower class condominium building and hotels. Family restaurants and push carts line the street along this section of the road until it passes Hayden’s school where in begins to become progressively more populated with massage parlors, bars and budget hotels until it disgorges into the traffic nightmare known as Sukhumvit. Across Sukhumvit, Soi 4 becomes Soi Nana and passes through Arab(and Indian) town before going on to wherever.

On Soi 4 just before it meets Sukhumvit sits Nana Plaza, the first neighborhood one arrives at when one passes the gates into Hell. There, surrounding a small crowded plaza, rises three and four-story connected buildings where one can whatever perversions and titillation one desires from ordinary Go-Go bars, to ladyboy lounges to short time units.

Like in the US where urban private schools tend to locate in transition zones (the rent is cheaper), so it is with Hayden’s school. This morning as I walked Hayden up to the gate of the school across the street along an extended cement platform in front of some shops, a beefy fortyish bald farang, naked to the waist, reeled obviously stoned. He had scars on his head and body but was surprisingly bereft of tattoos. Accompanying him was a naked lady-boy clearly showing the major points of her conflicting sexes (known as “pre-op”) and another professional woman. It appeared that they had spent the night there and as the lady-boy put on what seemed to be the man’s shirt to cover the most conflicting parts of her, the man himself staggered across the street and tried to enter on the school grounds.

Now like most private schools and important buildings in BKK, in the morning and evening, stationed by the gate are four or so regular BKK police  to direct traffic. The School also has its own set of uniformed security. One spiffy dressed cop (all BKK cops dress spiffy) held up one hand palm vertical to the ground in the universal sign of stop and with the other made a no-nonsense gesture that the farang should return to the other-side of the street.

Now it is important to understand that at no time did the Thai cop in any way indicate he would touch the farang nor did he evidence any demonstration of anger. That would cause him to appear less than human and lose face. Imagine what people from this culture must see when they view western entertainment that shows uncontrolled fury and violence as a manly virtue. John Wayne must appear to them to be like a circus clown (come to think of it…. American football with its glorification of anger and violence probably appears to be played by water buffalo rather than humans.)

Anyway, the bald farang took the hint, returned to the other-side of the street and after a short period of slack-jawed milling about the trio ambled off in the general direction of the gates of hell.

After it was all over, I asked Hayden what he thought.

He said, “The girl was naked and the policeman had a gun”.

Just in case you may think that Hayden is too young to know the meaning of the word naked, I few nights ago while we were preparing for bed, he took off all of his clothing and put a paper bag on his head like a hat, pranced in to the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth and announced, “Look at me. I’m the Naked Chef.”

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

A. Samuel Beckett Used to Drive André the Giant to School. All They Talked About Was Cricket

B. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the floor of most homes was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a “thresh-hold.”

By the way, this common use of dirt and thresh flooring is also the reason why we in the West, unlike in the East, customarily remain wearing shoes when entering a house.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

I don’t know what this is about:

Alliteration mumbles
Metaphor lies, and
Metonymy sounds like something you buy on the Mercantile Exchange.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“However, as we know from John A. Hobson, one of England’s best economists, imperialism is the direct and necessary outgrowth of such accumulation. Capitalists could no longer finance sufficient profit on domestic consumption alone, requiring large and bountiful export markets. Furthermore, domestic industry would no longer require capital at a rate commensurate with high profits, which would need to be invested somewhere.”
This is Ashok (Ashok Rao)

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
CorrectionalHealthcare_Fig_4
In about 1980 or so, when the prison population growth really took off, privatization of our prisons began and the War on Drugs commenced. What that demonstrates is that the private market really is more efficient than government and the War, if one considers incarceration a casualty, has caused more American casualties than all of our wars combined and was even less effective than the war in Iraq.

 

Categories: January through March 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 Joseph 0003 (January 16, 2014)

 

Dum Spiro, Spero
“as long as you’re breathing, there’s hope.”

 
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. Before Christmas

A Great Blue Heron has taken up a sometime residence for the season at the Duck Pond a few blocks from my house. When I pass by during my walks, it makes me happy to see it standing there at the edge of the pond all majestic, silent and deadly.
IMG_20131219_133637_072
********************
I always thought the depression that comes on me at this time of the year was brought on by memories of the horrors of the winter holiday season, the death of my child, the anguish of observing the failed hope of my parents mired in poverty as they sank deeper in debt to satisfy their children’s greed fueled expectations. I now believe it is much simpler than that. It is simply the darkening of the skies and the chilling of the air that brings on feelings of desolation like a cloying mist. I guess that is why a light in the gloom, a campfire, a candle or the tinkling lights of holiday display cheers most of us up; the festival of the lights, sympathetic magic to encourage the return of sunlight and warmth. I think it is also appropriate to feel this way as we age, cold becomes more unbearable and the dimming of the light more frightening. The Drunken Poet’s urging to, “…not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” seems to me easier done at the end of Summer than in the depths of Winter. Who needs to go through another February.
***********************

Went to SF for a day. Had dinner at Pino’s Brindisi restaurant on Beldon Alley. The food was even better than I remembered. While walking through the City I realized how much I missed city life. A few days later I returned to the same restaurant with my daughter Jessica to have our annual holiday season dinner. It was the same evening of the last professional football game at Candlestick Park before it is demolished and the 49rs move to Santa Clara. I had gotten up at seven AM that morning to drive SWAC to the airport for her return to Thailand. I waited there a couple of hours to pick up Nikki arriving from Frankfurt to drive him the Emeryville Train station so he could travel to Sacramento to spend the holidays with Triple H. The time spent waiting at the airport and enjoying dinner with Jessica totaled about 5 hours at best. I arrived at my sister’s place in Berkeley to spend the night somewhat after 10pm which means I spent approximately 10 hours driving in the car to travel a distance of about 45 miles.
*************************
A day or two before my epic drive I attended my sister’s Christmas open house at her home. Most of the guests were dressed appropriately for Berkeley in various shades of casual grey. I met a man there named Lloyd who the day before arrived in the Bay Area after walking here from St Louis. I asked my sister what Lloyd did for a living. She said as far as she know he walked.

Earlier in the day I spent a few hours with Peter Grenell sitting in the sun in front of Bernie’s Cafe drinking coffee and reminiscing. Our conversation produced such bon mots as, “Artists, the shock troops of gentrification,” describing those lower level employees of organizations (mostly women) who actually do the work as those who are “unclouded by visions of self-importance,” and finally describing our (Peter’s and mine) current state of being as “benign senility.”
****************************

2. January 13, 2014 (23 Joseph 0003)

I have not written here for about three weeks in part because I have grown a bit tired of T&T, but mostly because my blood clots have returned and was too depressed to do much of anything. Today was the first day I have been able to walk for any length of time since the clot was discovered. I walked this afternoon to the duck pond and back. It felt good to be up and about. The sun was shining and the weather was quite warm for this time of year.

The duck pond is divided into two separate ponds, an upper pond which at this time of year is covered in a russet colored scum of what I guess is dead algae (see photograph above) and a lower pond than is mostly clear with a few clumps of green algae floating about. Between them a trickle of water flows over the dam on the upper pond under a small wooden bridge into the lower pond. As I stood on the bridge I noticed what looked like excavation dirt piled under the bridge for some reason. I went down under the bridge to investigate and stood on a rock to examine the pile and discovered it was made up of the dead russet algae through which water trickled into the lower pond.
*******************
Christmas Eve I spent at my sisters for a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with our closest 25 or so relatives and friends. My mother was there in her wheel chair. I drove her back to the nursing home before driving myself back to El Dorado Hills.
IMG_20131224_163109_994-1

Christmas morning I woke up with severe pains in my foot. We opened presents. Dick prepared a lobster dinner for Nikki Hayden and I. We invited Stevie and Norbert to join us. By the evening I could barely walk and my foot began to swell. Nevertheless, the next day I drove with HHH to Mendocino, stopping for a few hours at Discovery Park on the way.
IMG_20131229_122225_598
The walrus and the Haystack

The pain increased and walking got even more difficult. George helpfully supplied me with generous doses of Motrin. I had a great time there despite my difficulties. We, of course, had a delightful picnic at Pacific Star Winery with Sally.
IMG_20131231_150355_296

We celebrated the New Year appropriately with funny hats and noise makers.
IMG_20131231_191240_138
Lloyd, Hayden, Maryann, George

When I returned to El Dorado Hills my leg had swollen a lot so I went to the doctor and after several days of testing learned that a clot had formed again in my calf and I now am back on blood thinners and spend most of my time lying down with my leg elevated and reveling in my misery.

 

 

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

As I have written here in T&T and in many of my blog posts, I believe that the world desperately needs to turn the reigns of economic and political leadership from men to women. While in times past it may have been sensible and properly celebrated in song and story for groups of under-employed young men to raid the lands of milk and honey, kill all the able-bodied men and enslave their women and children claiming that either their god or their inherent superiority justified it, modern technology makes this ideology inherently dangerous to the survival of humanity. The risk taking gene so useful in the past seems perilous now.

Even in that last vestige of unvarnished aggression and greed, the modern derivatives market, recent studies show that women outperform men.

From January through November 20013, a study by Rothstein Kass hedge funds run by women returned almost 10 percent on the funds invested while those run by men barely topped 6 percent.

According to Meredith Jones, a director at Rothstein Kass:

“There have been studies that show that testosterone can make men less sensitive to risk-reward signals, and that comes through in this study.”

The numbers are even more eye-popping for the six years from January 2007 through June 2013. Hedge funds run by women returned 6 percent compared with a 1.1 percent loss at the HFRX Global Fund Index. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 4.2 percent during the same time.

All which shows that not only do women hedge fund managers out perform men significantly but also beat the index which some male economists maintain is impossible over time.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

2013: During all of 2013 there were scientific 9,137 peer-reviewed articles published regarding anthropogenic climate change (human caused global warming). Of those 9,137 articles only one denied it exists. That lone scientist lives in Russia. Almost 50% of Americans and Congressional Republicans as well as Fox News passionately believes that one Russian scientist is correct. All the rest of the scientists they are convinced are part of a massive conspiracy by the solar power industry and the Muslim Brotherhood to weaken America.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
6a00e551f080038834019affe580a3970d

What one may conclude from this chart is that the current financial system is not set up to provide funding for innovation, economic development and capital improvements but to provide fees for those engaged in what we lawyers call churning.

B. A bit of Twain:

“I was a mugwump. We, the Mugwumps, a little company made up of the unenslaved of both parties, the very best men to be found in the two great parties–that was our idea of it–voted sixty thousand strong for Mr. Cleveland in New York and elected him. Our principles were high, and very definite. We were not a party; we had no candidates; we had no axes to grind. Our vote laid upon the man we cast it for no obligation of any kind. By our rule we could not ask for office; we could not accept office. When voting, it was our duty to vote for the best man, regardless of his party name. We had no other creed. Vote for the best man–that was creed enough.”
Mark Twain’s Autobiography (North American Review, Dec. 21, 1906)

C. Something everyone should read:

I recently ran across a letter to a parishioner written by a Baptist Minister of all people entitled “A Letter to Louise”(http://godmademegay.blogspot.com/p/letter-to-louise.html) that I recommend everyone should read. While its focus is a rebuttal to those individuals and religious leaders who condemn homosexuality as contrary to biblical lore, it is really an examination of the essence of morality.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
1175499_665832380104443_479041319_n

Categories: January through March 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 34 Pookie 0002 (December 16. 2013)

image001
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year.

(Remember December 20th is a free day during which you are allowed to do whatever you want.)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS AND MENDOCINO:

Murmurs and Grumbles

It has been a while since I have written T&T. For some reason during the past few weeks I seem to have lost interest in it, preferring instead to sit around contentedly watching the trees shed their leaves and winter settle in. Perhaps the increased dosage of my happy pills have turned my frustrations with life away from an acute pain needing immediate attention to simple dull aches that soon disappear. I guess artists and those who seem compelled to do things beyond simply maintaining their existence are not a particularly happy lot but do what they do in an effort order to find it. Don’t we all?

********************************

I travelled to Mendocino with HHH, my sister and her husband George to spend the Thanksgiving holidays there. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, sparkling waves, the temperature brisk but not cold. One day we walked along the Fort Bragg ocean-front from Glass Beach almost all the way to Ten Mile Beach a distance of several miles.

Fort Bragg is sad little coastal town that had consumed at least a score of years trying to recover from the disappearance of the logging industry responsible for its foundation and the mainstay of its economy. The ocean front, tucked behind blocks of decaying commercial buildings, moderate priced motels, and some small homes, is a magnificent stretch of coastal dunes, and meadows, small coves and large sandy beaches.
image002
A view of the Fort Bragg oceanfront

*********************************

Winter has struck El Dorado Hills today, freezing cold, grey lowering sky and rumors of snow. I spoke with my son Jason yesterday. It seems that the City had restored most of the salary a wage cuts to employees instituted during the recession and his bitter struggle for the basics of material survival have lessened a bit. Alas, holiday season is coming and for most of us the forlorn hope that the festival of lights will illuminate our lives with joy often leaves us only disappointed and more in debt.

******************************
Speaking of Christmas and the Festival of Lights, one of my pleasures of the season is observing the competition among the residents of the neighborhood to adorn their homes with the most garish and elaborate displays of lights. Having watched my friend Al’s weeks long obsession with mounting of his display and the misery to which he subjected the rest of his family while doing it, my enjoyment of the spectacles is somewhat diminished. When I was a kid, and even now, I hated the Holiday Season. What began for me as greedy hope for Santa’s promised riches, ended in listening to loud bitter arguments often ending in tears.

I liked, however, hearing the carols and songs of the season especially those sung in latin by the choir of the little Italian Church I attended. I enjoyed the pomp and color of Christmas High Mass much more than what went on under and around the Christmas tree in my home.
image003
*****************************

Mornings in Mendocino we spent walking along the ocean bluffs and into the town where I would enjoy my caffe latte and brioche. Later I would accompany HHH to the local book store and then to the two delightful toy stores in the town. One toy store boasted of no electronic toys whatsoever and the other was devoted exclusively to science.

image004
Hayden in Mendocino standing in front of the “science” store and the book store.

******************************

One day recently I spend most of the day in the Roseville Galleria, a mega shopping mall a few miles from where I am staying.

For much of my time there I sat staring at the Santa Claus exhibit where children and their parents, for between $20 and $40, can have their picture taken sitting on Santa knee. The red-faced Santa had a real beard and would try to cop a feel from many of the good-looking moms who had their picture taken with him. Triple H at almost 9 years old still fervently believes in Santa. He told me that the Santa’s in the malls are all fake and the real Santa lives at the North Pole and is too busy to sit all day at the mall. Interestingly he also believes that Santa does not begin making his list and checking it twice until December 1. Presumably one can do whatever one wants the rest of the year.

I stopped believing in Santa when I was six or seven after my older cousin explained that the whole thing with Santa was a fake. As a result I stayed awake that Christmas eve to find out if what he said was true. I was convinced after catching my father placing the presents under the tree.

I began believing in Santa again when I turned seventy. There must be, I reasoned, something transcendental that rewards unmitigated greed since that seems to be the way of the world. Santa is as likely a culprit as anyone or thing. I call my religion Santaism. And, if Triple H is correct only worrying about doing the right thing for one month every year seems to be a pretty good deal.

**************************************
While traveling to Mendocino we stopped off in Healdsburg for dinner. The town has changed a lot since I had last seen it almost 30 years ago. At that time it was a run down hippie magnet, art pottery shops and tie dye emporiums. In the hills surrounding the town were situated helter-skelter quaint little shingle houses overlooking various streams housing counter-cultural types of all varieties. With the advent of the wine bubble, the town now looks more like Rodeo Drive in the boonies. I assume the creek side shacks have mostly morphed into multimillion dollar designer homes.

I used to spend a lot of very happy time there with my son and a woman I knew. She lived in a cute little cottage on the edge of a bank overlooking a pretty stream. She was a teacher. I met her while introducing some novel lesson plans into the Santa Rosa School District based upon Bucky Fuller’s various manifestoes. Bucky was one of the heroes of the counter-culture. I had run his San Francisco World Games Workshop sometime in the early 1970’s. After that I had a brief career consulting with local school districts preparing lesson plans based upon Fuller’s geometry concepts and history lesson plans derived from his insights regarding integration of large systems into historical analysis, an approach different from national politics and great man biographies that passed for history at the time. This latter course was directed at high school students. The mathematical course was aimed at elementary school. Interestingly the geometry engendered a surprisingly positive reaction from some of the students in the so-called at the time 600 classes, the extremely slow learners. These students eventually were recruited as teaching assistants to help with the advanced students who in many cases were experiencing difficulty with the concepts.

Anyway, after my relationship with the woman ended, she went back to school to acquire a PhD in geology and eventually joined the US Geological Survey and ultimately was stationed in Alaska. I few years later I read in the newspaper that she had been out on a field survey when a bear  attacked her. It an effort to save her life she played dead. It worked as far as her life was concerned, but not before the bear had chewed off both of her arms. A few months later I saw a photograph of her in the newspaper right after she had been fitted with a prosthesis on both of her arms. She was always a very positive and upbeat person and in the story that accompanied the photograph she had indicated that her misfortune would not deter her from proceeding on with her life doing whatever it was that she enjoyed doing.

**************************************

One day while driving I was listening to the local classical music station when the announcer indicated that the next piece, a concerto or something like that, was written by my old client Danny Elfman. The music was tinkly and repetitive but seemed as good to me as much of the other music played by the station.

Danny was the brother of another client and friend, Rick Elfman, a director of some notably bad movies one or two of which were so bad they became cult classics. Rick was the father of the actress Jenna Elfman. He made his professional boxing début as one of the oldest boxers to make their début in Canada (he was too old to be allowed to do so in the US). The match was terminated before it began when he injured himself stepping into the ring.

Danny had exhibited scant aptitude for music in his childhood, however, during his mid teens he picked up a guitar and found he could play it quite well without instruction. He promptly disappeared with his guitar into Africa and emerged two years later with a vast knowledge and repertory of African music and musical techniques. Thereafter he and his brother created the rock group Oingo-Boingo which led eventually to Danny writing the music to Pee Wee’s Playhouse and fame, ultimately winning him a couple of Oscars for his music.

The last time I saw Danny was at a warehouse in Venice or Santa Monica or Malibu, I cannot remember which, but it was in the Coastal Zone in any event. Now that he was an “artist,” Danny wanted a studio worthy of his fame. He planned to convert the warehouse into a series of studio’s where he could enhance his artistic capabilities. He wanted separate studios for his music, painting, sculpture and who knows what else. He wanted my advice on securing a Coastal Permit for his dreams. I told him he would be better off to keep the changes he had planned internal to his existing building making only minor changes to the outside of it.

***************************

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
image005
This fascinating group of charts demonstrates that over the past 50 years or so we have truly lived in a golden age (At least in the West) but we are also rapidly approaching the crisis of our times. Each of the smaller charts shows a rate of growth that the science of physics tells us is unsustainable and must soon taper off. They also imply that Global Warming and Climate Change are merely artifacts of the Great Acceleration.

World population has increased almost six fold in the last 60 years while all the other charts show increases of at least seven fold. Except for population most of that growth has occurred in the West and in Japan, with the rest of East and South Asia now struggling to catch up.

B. A Little Bit of Twain:

“That is a simple rule, and easy to remember. When I, a thoughtful
and unblessed Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any
question every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious
matters.

“When a thoughtful and unblessed Mohammedan examines the
Westminster Catechism, he knows that beyond any question I am
spiritually insane. I cannot prove to him that he is insane, because
you never can prove anything to a lunatic–for that is a part of his
insanity and the evidence of it. He cannot prove to me that I am insane,
for my mind has the same defect that afflicts his.

“All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
Mark Twain

(Twain was a Mugwump [Middle Way Democrats of the time] and he believed they were definitely not insane.)

 
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Obama himself can cease to exist – in the pornographic fantasies of birthers, he has never actually been president — gay people and their marriages can melt back into the closet and women can vanish from corporate boardrooms, only to reappear in the kitchen with an apron and a spatula. Civil-rights laws will unwrite themselves, millions of immigrants will turn out never to have come here, the entire federal government will be revealed as a useless and unnecessary fiction. The Civil War itself can be relitigated by other means, with a different outcome (accepting, for the moment, the conventional view that the North actually won). None of this is even remotely coherent, except that it all belongs to a fantasy narrative in which white heterosexual males are history’s most persecuted and marginalized group, having absorbed all the suffering of the African-Americans and Jews and Indians and women and improved upon it in their inimitable style.

Forces that we thought were dead in American public life, like the ideology of white supremacy and the legacy of the Confederacy, have returned in zombie form, imbued with bathos and victimology. If they’re not half as powerful as they once were, they’re still too ugly to be ignored. As we’ve seen all too recently, the deranged American minority that longs to “take our country back” from unspecified usurpers is zealous, well-organized and determined to befoul our political life into the indefinite future. Those forces remain dangerous,
Andrew O’Hehir, Solon.

TODAY’S CHART:
image006

This is an interesting map. Someone had taken a number of sociological studies and mapped the results. Apparently, there emerged in their minds the separate Americas pictured above. In political terms, the Democrats predominate in New Netherlands, El Norte, The Left Coast and Yankeedom and split with the Republicans in the Midlands and Tidewater. Republicans are concentrated in Greater Appalachia, the Deep South and the Far West while splitting with the Dems in New France.

If accurate, this map seems to indicate that contrary to the belief of many liberals and media types, the Republican Party is not a regional party restricted to the South but predominates in much of the center of the country. This is reflected to a great extent in the current makeup of the House of Representatives.

I suspect in the future El Norte to expand in the South West and the Dems to increase their political ascendancy over the Tidewater leaving the ongoing battle over the Midlands and Western Yankeedom the key to control of the nation’s political power.

Categories: October through December 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Pepe 0002 (November 14, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Halloween came and went leaving behind a bag of assorted candies through which I rummage several times a day searching for a piece of chocolate that I then happily devour.

Halloween I spent at a remote subdivision in Cameron Park, a town a bit further into the foothills than El Dorado Hills. There I watched greedy little children and some adolescents rush from house to house begging for candy, oblivious to anything else. The residents of the subdivision took their Halloween seriously. They sat costumed in their driveways beside large bonfires and behind tables burdened with candies for the children and drinks for the adults. Huge automatons (e.g. a twelve-foot tall animated figure of the Headless Horseman) and sculptures, emerging from the fogs of mist making machines stood blinking and moving awkwardly on the lawns.

****************************

Fall has finally come to the foothills. The yellow-leaved trees have now come out among the red. The lawns and streets fill up with fallen brown leaves. As I walk along the breeze twists the leaves from the branches and they drift on to the lawns and streets like slow motion snow. Yellow, orange, red and brown the colors of Autumn. I guess I could describe the scientific process by which the leaves turn color or the metaphors it represents but I leave that to the reader. To me fall has never meant an ending but a fulfillment. Perhaps the drunken poet was wrong and we should go softly into that dark night. Nah, what would be the purpose of that? You might as well scream. It will be the last chance you get.

It is quite chilly on the mornings but in the afternoons it warms up enough for me to still sit on the porch in the sun and drift off to sleep.

*****************************

I spend my days now a bit like a part-time messenger, picking up or dropping off things for Dick or Hayden. I find it quite enjoyable. Traveling here and there, spending a few moments on whatever business I was directed to do and then traveling on. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, had a pretty good gig.

********************************

A few days ago I learned that, distressingly Triple H has slipped completely into the dark side. After conning me out of a few dollars on bets he could not lose, I overheard him on the telephone cadge some more money from SWAC in order to buy LEGO kits and SKYLANDER characters. Following his phone call he turned to me and said, “I am a money ninja. I do not give up until they agree just to be rid of me.” I thought it was time for some parental guidance on the subject, but I was so shocked I did not know what to say.

**********************************

My doctor just told me that I need to stop spending so much time alone and need to get out more and socialize. In the interim he increased my happy pill dosage.

***********************************

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

She stopped about 10 feet from our car. “Where are you going,” she said?

“Uh, my name is Matthew Dragoni, I’m an attorney and accompanying my client to meet with someone.”

“I know who you are. Who are you planning to meet with?

It came back to me. She was the Deputy Sheriff that had something to do with the investigation of the unpleasantness at my ex law firm a few years back. I could not remember her name and I could not read her name tag pinned to her uniform. A second uniform detached itself from the group standing by the house and began walking toward us just as the doors to the Ambulance were slammed shut and the emergency personnel jumped into the front seats.

“Uh, look here sheriff,” the name came back to me, Meg, something or other, Polan I think. “I am happy to answer your questions but I really have to know what this is all about.”

Mavis who had rolled down the rear window now shouted “Oh my God, has something happened to Mark?”

“Please get out of the car all of you,” Meg ordered. She placed her hand on her gun just as the second Deputy arrived and the Ambulance took off and headed our way, lights flashing and siren screaming.

“Ok, kids get out slowly hands where they can see them, I said to my passengers. “From here on Mavis please shut up,” I warned sotto voce.

The ambulance passed the two officers and disappeared over the rise. “Ok were getting out,” I shouted. “But I still insist in knowing what this is all about.”

As soon as we got out of the call Meg turned towards Mavis and asked, “What is your relationship to this… ah Mark.”

I quickly put my hand on Mavis’ shoulder to stop her from talking and said, “You know better than that deputy.”

After some back and forth we agreed to give statements to the police which scrupulously avoided mention of dope, suicides, Martin Vihn and furniture shipments. In return we learned that Mark Holland had been found behind the house shot. Later reports had him in a deep coma. A neighbor had heard what sounded like a shot or car backfire and a car driving rapidly away. He then left his house nearby with his dog it order to investigate and to attend to some dog business. He saw nothing except Mark lying there and then called the police on his smart phone. Among the things Meg asked in addition to whether we knew why anyone would want to harm Mark, was whether any of us knew whether Mark was dealing dope. We denied knowledge of everything. Meg did not appear to believe us. It took about four hours to finish giving our statements at the scene. On the way back to the car she took me aside.

“So you left the big firm, I heard,” she said. “Yeah,” I answered. “I wanted to associate with a better class of people.” She smiled briefly. “I can understand that.” “You know,” she added. “I don’t believe you are telling me all you know. If I find out that you are not, I’ll make sure you lose both your law license and investigators license.”

“We’ve given you accurate statements,” I said. “But I’ll call you tomorrow after I look into some things.”

“Why not tell me now and I’ll look into them too?” she responded.

“Trust me.”

“It’s your ass on the line.”

“It won’t be the first time.”

We left the scene and returned to The City mostly in silence. Mavis indicated she wanted to spend some time alone so we dropped her off at her apartment. Joe wanted to report to Martin personally and drove me to my apartment where I took a nap and then prepared for my dinner with the widow.

 

DAILY FACTOID:

2013: “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”
Raj Patel. Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System.

2013: According to a study of the data acquired by Nasa’s Kepler Telescope there are almost nine billion earth like planets in our galaxy capable of sustaining life including one only 14 light-years away.

So where is everyone?

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Here’s an abstract of a study by the Department of Psychology of UC Berkeley that support the conclusion: Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior:

“Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study3), take valued goods from others (study4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

From some guy named Hickman:

“When Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis, it spawned a “worldwide phenomenon,” says Hickman. “Across America, and from China to Peru, copycat cases began to occur, with Thailand becoming the epicenter: By the end of the millennium, over a hundred cases had been reported to Thai police, who admitted there were probably many more but the victims preferred to keep their loss to themselves.” Hickman reports cases of women feeding dismembered penises to farm-life and one wife in India who attached her husband’s severed member to a helium balloon.

C. Tales of Inhumanity:

“Khristya Chunyak, a forty-year-old peasant woman from the village of Krasilovka, in the Brovarsky district of the Kiev oblast, told me how Germans in Brovary were escorting a Jewish doctor, Feldman, to be executed.
This doctor, an old bachelor, had adopted two peasant orphans. The locals were very fond of him. A crowd of peasant women ran to the German commandant crying and pleading for Feldman’s life to be saved. The commandant felt obliged to give in to the women’s pleas. This was in the autumn of 1941.

Feldman continued to live in Brovary and treat the local peasants. He was executed in the spring of this year. Khristya Chunyak sobbed and finally burst into tears as she described to me how the old man was forced to dig his own grave. He had to die alone. There were no other Jews alive in the spring of 1943.
Vasily Grossman in the Ukraine with the advancing Red Army discovers what the Germans did in Kazary.

D. A Blast From the Past: Danny and the Tale of Prince Heimlich.

So, last night, at bed time, I continued telling the series of stories to Hayden that I had begun about two years ago when he was six. The stories concerned the adventures of Danny (Hayden’s alter ego) and his trusty pony Acorn (who Hayden now and then rides whenever we visit the ranch owned by our friends Bill and Naida).

Danny was resting at an oasis in the desert following his besting of “The Old Man Under the Mountain.” With him were his two friends; “The Black Knight,” a gorilla (Whose alter ego, a cuddly toy that Hayden insists share my bed) who is “The World’s Strongest Knight” and rides a white horse with brown spots like a cow and is called appropriately “White-brownie or Brown-whitey,” and; “The White Knight Who Used to be ‘The Old Man who Dressed Like a Beggar’ and was The Worlds Most Powerful Magician,” until Danny, in the throne room of the Green Castle, defeated him in a duel of magic aided by “The Monster Who Lives in the Closet and Who Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags,” and turned him into a mouse.

In order for Danny and The Black Knight to escape from the dungeon of the “Old Man Under the Mountain,” Danny, again with the aid of “The Monster who lives in the Closet but Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags” turned him from a mouse into a young handsome human except with less magical power so that his full name now became, “The White Knight Who Used to be an Old Man Dressed Like a Beggar and the Worlds Most Powerful Magician Until he was Turned into a Mouse and Then into A Young Man who was Not a so Powerful Magician.” The White Knight rode a black horse named, “Blackie.”

They had just finished dinner and were drinking their milk while staring into the campfire when a troop of musicians and actors who were camping nearby came by and offered to put on a performance for the famous Knights.

The knights agreed that they would enjoy that and the chief musician tuned up his Lute and began his song by introducing his main protagonist a skinny boy of indeterminate age named “Heimlich.” Heimlich lived in a not so great but good enough castle in a dreary country somewhere that was always foggy. Heimlich was sad because his father, who was called “Pruneberry the King of the Castle” (and, if truth be known, King of little else) had just died. In addition almost before the body became cold or whatever it is body’s become after its inhabitant dies, his mother “Natasha Dewlap” married Heimlich’s uncle, “Julius Caesar” (we both thought that was a very funny name).

Anyway, Heimlich and his friend (who strangely did not have a name but it could just as well been something as ridiculous and “Guildenstern” or “Rosencrantz” or even “Miracle Max”) one evening, for some unknown reason, decided to go to visit the grave site where Pruneberry was buried. Along the way they came upon a pile of bones and a skull. Heimlich thought the skull reminded him of “Mortimer” his old kindergarten teacher.

Anyway Heimlich’s friend decided to return home after they discovered the bones because he was a sensible lad and was creeped out by the bones and Heimlich’s weirdness. Heimlich went on by himself.

When Heimlich arrived at the gravesite, a Ghost popped out and said, “Heimlich I am your father, Pruneberry and I was killed by Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar who put poison up my nose while I was asleep.”

At this point Hayden asked me, “How can a ghost speak after he died?”

“A keen observation,” I acknowledged. “That is why Heimlich did not believe him and went back home.”

The next morning, as coincidence and fairy tales have it, a group of traveling actors came by the castle and asked Heimlich if he would like to have them perform a play. Maybe, Heimlich, thought, if they perform Pruneberry’s death like the Ghost told it in front of Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar one of them would be reminded and say something like, “Say that looks familiar,” and Heimlich would then know what the Ghost said perhaps could have been true.

And so the traveling players put on the show and at just the right moment, Julius Caesar turned to Natasha Dewlap and said, “Say Natty does this look familiar to you?” At which point Heimlich became furious and drove Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar out of the castle where they were forced to live in a tent and sell apples and rutabagas to passers-by.

Hayden then asked me, “What are rutabagas?”

I said, “I did not know.”

Heimlich, thereafter spent every day alone in the little castle in that dismal country with his furry white cat named “Snowy,” looking out of his window and down upon Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar trying to sell their apples and rutabaga to passers-by, except for once a year when the troop of actors came by and they had a party. The End.

I then told Hayden that the actors would perform another tale for the Three Knights that I would tell him about tomorrow (I was already working on a children’s version of King Lear). But, Hayden asked me if Danny was ever going to go back home to visit his mom who lived in the cottage by the “Deep Dark Wood,” before setting out on another adventure. He thought it would be a good idea if he did.

I told him that Danny told the musicians that he would not listen to the story because he needed to get a good nights sleep so that tomorrow he would be well rested for his trip back through the “Deep Dark Wood’” to visit his mom.

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Marriage after all was invented primarily to make sure that those with enough resources for it to matter who agree to live together know how those resources are used and who gets them if one party dies and where the eager lovers overlooked entering into whatever version of a prenuptial agreement available at the time. (Kings and Queens have always entered pre-nups of one source or another. It was included in the dowry, especially when the dowry contained say a kingdom.) Love never had anything to do with it.”
Trenz Pruca

” The tragic truth, however, is that the young as they age become conservatives, ethnic groups as the move into the middle class do so also. The gay community is now free to vote Republican without shame while the black community is prevented from voting even if they are Republican. And worse of all, the seven and eight year olds of our nation seem to have been indoctrinated in many of our schools to hate others as well as to despise science.

We progressives can slap ourselves on the back all we want, but as usual we often fail to grasp the grim realities of politics that it is an eternal war of attrition and the opposition is better funded, equipped and trained while all too often all we have is our optimism to sustain us as the barricades are overrun while we wait for popular support that never comes.”
Trenz Pruca

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Enviro_Good_Map

 

Categories: October through December 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 Pops 0002 (October 31, 2013)

 

Happy Birthday Aaron

Happy Halloween Everyone

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

So my 74th birthday came and went. My daughter sent me a number of interesting books with which to pass my time, including Neal Stephenson’s latest.

My sister held a small birthday party for me at her house in Berkeley. She gave me a wonderful present, a portrait of me painted with colored paper. Here is a photo of it.

IMG_5573 - Version 2

She also cooked up some of my favorite things from my mother’s recipes including her version of cheese cake. My mother, although she was a great cook actually hated to cook, especially to bake. As a result she concentrated on reducing her recipes to the simplest ingredients necessary to appeal to the tastes of her family. Her cheese cake recipe added the step of beating the eggs to a froth producing a cheese cake as light as sponge cake but with all the flavor of something from Lindy’s.

My ex-daughter-in-law Ann told us that my grandson Aaron apparently has become quite the story-teller. At my granddaughter Athena’s 16th birthday party held at the Art complex at Hunters Point, the teenagers left the party to go to another room in the complex to spend most of the evening listening to Aaron tell ghost stories in honor of the season.

After the party I returned to El Dorado Hills and resumed my life as nanny. I spend most of the day while Triple H is in school reading the wonderful books my daughter sent to me.

********************************

It appears as though I may not return to Thailand at the end of November. Originally my daughter scheduled a conference for Bangkok in December. I had hoped to be there with her. The last time she and I traveled around that country was about twenty years ago. The conference has tentatively been moved to January.

**********************************

Fall finally has begun here at the edge of the great Sacramento Valley. The mid-day temperature has dropped out of the 90’s and into the low 80’s and the morning temperatures are quite chilly. The trees for the past two weeks have begun their change to mostly red and brown. The brilliant yellows that have been so common in the area in past years have not yet appeared.

Speaking of the Sacramento Valley, there are places a few blocks from the house where on a clear day one can look across to valley and see the towers of downtown Sacramento on the horizon about 35 miles away.

I still have not resumed a consistent exercise program and have gained more weight than I would like. I blame my lethargy on my happy pills. While they certainly keep the screaming avatars of depression and despair from tearing through my consciousness, the rest of my body seems not to have benefited yet. Today however, I plan a long walk along the trails that snake out from the local park into what passes for wilderness among the subdivisions. Good for me.

*****************************

B. ENTER THE DRAGON:

Dragon’s Breath:

Eddie Mars: Your story didn’t sound quite right.
Philip Marlowe: Oh, that’s too bad. You got a better one?
Eddie Mars: Maybe I can find one.

 

Chapter 31:

While waiting to Mavis to change I received a call from the grieving widow Madame Riley.

“Did you forget about me?” She said. “We were going to talk about finding out how Clarence died.”

“No I didn’t,” I lied. “I have been clearing up a few things first,” I lied some more.

“When will you be free to talk about it?”

“How about this evening, say about 8PM at La Taverna in Belden Alley? Do you know where it is?”

She did and after passing a few more pleasantries she hung up. I had forgotten all about my discussion with her yesterday. “Well another day another thousand dollars,” I thought. I felt confident I could put together a report that would give her and her attorneys a fighting chance with the insurance company.

“Who was that” asked Mavis as she finished dressing? She looked like she was prepared for a two-week camping trip into the Sierras. She wore brown hiking boots, dun-colored cargo pants a checkered long sleeve shirt and a well-worn brown leather jacket.

“Just some business,” I replied.

We left and got in to the car. I put Mavis in the back seat this time. As I got into the passenger seat I asked Joe Vu, “do you have your gun with you? We may need it.”

“You never need a gun,” he responded. “But sometimes it can be useful.”

“Asshole,” I thought.

We traveled down the peninsula passing over Skyline Ridge to Half Moon Bay, then down PCH to the turn off to Pescadero. Pescadero was a tiny town nestled in a valley about a mile or two from the coast. It was noted for antique shops, pottery studios and a popular restaurant specializing in a cuisine focused of the many ways artichokes can be incorporated into a meal.

We passed into the low hills beyond the town and through several rural roads until as directed by Mavis we turned into a dirt driveway that seemed, given the mail boxes impaled near the turnoff, to service four properties that were hidden somewhere over a small rise. As we topped the rise we ran into a cop car blocking the road. Yellow crime scene tape connected several trees around a small clapboard house with peeling white paint and a tiny porch. Other official vehicles including an ambulance were scattered under the trees that surrounded the cottage.

“Oh shit,” I said as a group of uniformed individuals paused in their discussions and looked our way. A woman in a brown sheriff’s uniform broke away from the group and began walking in our direction. She had dark curly red hair, broad masculine shoulders and walked with the slightly waddling gait of a weight lifter.

I heard Mavis behind me say, “oh my God. Something’s happened to Mark.”

“Listen,” I said to the others in the car, “I’ll do the talking and try to find out what happened.” At first I though I’d lie and tell them that we were just taking a drive, but immediately thought better of it. If they found out later we were lying we’d come under scrutiny and scrutiny was something I hated.

As the woman came closer something about her struck me as familiar. I rolled down the window as she approached. “What’s up officer?” I said as she got within conversation range.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
6a00e551f080038834019affe506e7970c
B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Excerpt from Harvard Business Review article entitled “Why Do So Many Men become Incompetent Leaders.”

“In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.”

C. A Blast From The Past: Populism and Fred Harris

On April 24, 2010 I published the following as my first post in the liberal blog Daily Kos. I thought now, over three years later, it would be interesting to look at it again and see how it stands up to the test of time.

“For those not as old as me and for those who may have forgotten or missed it completely, Fred Harris briefly ran for President of the United States during the primaries of 1972 and 1976. In 1976, Jim Hightower was his national campaign manager and I was a volunteer on the California campaign tasked with preparing a handbook for his efforts in the California primary. The handbook was a collection of selections from the writings and speeches of Fred Harris arranged by topic so that campaign workers could respond to inquires about the candidate in his own words.

After rereading the contents of that long ago document from a now forgotten campaign, I realized how much of what Fred had to say remained relevant now despite the subsequent destruction of the historical American political consensus by the Californian and Texan presidential administrations. So I thought I would begin my diaries by examining some of the issues we face today in the light of what Fred Harris had to say about them 34 years ago.

But first a little about Fred Harris. Fred had been an US Senator from Oklahoma when that state still had a strong progressive populist tradition. Although he started out as a classic liberal, he eventually classified himself, and was in turn identified by the media, as a populist.

Populism deserves a diary of its own. It is a word often used in political discourse, but lacking a clear referent, is more a space filler than informative. For the purpose of this diary I believe it is probably sufficient to view Populism as a response by the populace of that time to specific perceived threats to their liberty and economic well-being. Beyond dealing with those threats populism has little more to say.

What differentiates populism from the more ideological based political philosophies such as liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary and libertarian is just that, ideology. Populism usually focuses on the current threats and has no ideology beyond dealing with them. It freely borrows responses to those threats from the proscriptions suggested by the more ideological political movements without acknowledgment of their philosophical underpinnings.

There are I believe at least two main types of Populist that I shall call Liberal/Progressive Populists and Conservative/ Libertarian Populists. Liberal/Progressive Populists tend to see the immediate threats to be from government as well as other large organizations, usually corporations or financial institutions. They often believe that government shorn of its threatening aspects can and should control the ravenous appetites of the other institutions.The Conservative/Libertarian Populist sees the current threat emanating primarily from government alone and may be relieved by the elimination of those specific governmental activities they object to. Fred clearly was the former and not the latter.

Let’s turn then to what Fred had to say in 1976 regarding an issue recently front and center of the political debate, health care.

“If you step north of the Canadian border, you have free medical care. No deductibles or co-insurance, no limits on hospital stays or how many times you see your doctor. When that system went into effect twelve years ago, there were those who said the hospitals would be hopelessly overcrowded. Not so, as people are getting preventive care, and as they’re entitled to care without having to be sick enough to go to the hospital.

If you step back across that boundary to the south, you find in this country – the richest country in the world – the best medical care in the world for rich people, and awfully sorry medical care for a lot of people. We rank seventeenth among nations in infant mortality, which is a euphemism that means ‘Your baby’s dead. We don’t have to put up with that.

We ought to have a universal health care system, paid for out of the federal treasury, rather than an insurance system that might be regressive. There should be much more emphasis on group medical practice and preventive care. And a great more emphasis on paramedical personnel.”(Fred Harris Campaign Handbook)

‘It’s like déjà vu all over again.'(citation unnecessary). It has been 34 years since Fred’s proposal and although we have gotten a pretty good start on health insurance reform we are still awaiting health care reform.

Fred goes on to address the baleful influence of doctor dominated institutions on attempts to make fairer and more effective the delivery of health care in the United States. In 1976, doctors or doctor dominated institutions, for good or ill, controlled  health care. It was those institutions such as the AMA that successfully resisted health care reform at the time.

In 1976, the Reagan and Bush fire sale of American institutions to Wall Street, insurance companies, energy corporations and the defense industries had not yet begun but once started, it effectively wrested the United States health care system from the hands of doctors and other medical delivery personnel and placed it in the willing hands of accountants, investment advisors and bankers.

It is interesting to note that Obama’s strategy of allying with the doctor and medical community was probably a major factor in achieving the level of reform obtained by the passage of the recent health reform legislation.”

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:
1238175_10151693513361275_1435936863_n

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Enviro_Bad_Map

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_20130927_170252_020
A visit to Locke California with Triple H and Nikki

 

Categories: October through December 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: