This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Pops 0005 ( August 25, 2016)

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Pops 0005

“Fair is a body pigment, that’s all it is.”
Delaney, Frank. Ireland: A Novel (p. 495). Harper Collins.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Because there was no one available to drive me, I drove myself to the hospital. After passing through admitting, I found myself lying on a bed in the pre-op ward. The people involved in the surgery each came by to chat, the nurse, the doctor who wrote all over my body with indelible ink so he would not forget what he was supposed to be doing in the operating room — and the anesthesiologist. I told the latter, “Look, I don’t do pain well. I do not want to see anything, hear anything or feel anything. And, when I wake up, I want to be happy.” “ Happy,” he said, “I understand.”

As they were rolling the bed toward the operating room, anesthesiologist sidled up to us like a schoolyard dope dealer. He was carrying a large hypodermic in one hand. When I asked what it contained, he garbled two polysyllabic words I did not understand, and added, “ Also something I am not allowed to mention.” He then plunged the hypodermic into my IV line and ran off chuckling.

They wheeled me into the operating room and placed the bed next to the wall where I would wait for everything to be made ready. I closed my eyes, after a few moments I became annoyed it was taking so long, so I opened my eyes and said to the nurse, “What’s taking so long?” She said, “The operation’s over, you’re in the recovery room now.” I was very happy. I remained happy the entire evening. I even enjoyed the hospital food. I remained happy three days later as I write this.

I was scheduled to leave the hospital the day after the operation but they would not let me leave unless someone came to drive me home. I tried find someone to do so, but no one was available. I thought I would just sneak out, get in my car and drive home. But, they refused to remove the IV before whoever was driving me showed up. I thought of just ripping it out and making a break for it, but like I said I don’t do pain well. So, I suggested they call a taxi. They did so. The nurse removed the IV to allow me to dress and left to deal with her other patients. I quickly dressed, walked out of the ward and the hospital, got into my car, and drove myself home. When I arrived home, I received a call from the nearly hysterical nurse asking where I had gotten to. I told her that since I saw no one on the ward to accompany me after I dressed, I decided to walk to the reception area to wait for the taxi. There I met some people I knew that kindly drove me home. I suggested she call the taxi company and cancel the ride. Although I was still happy, I was sad about the stress I caused the nice kindly nurse. On the other hand, I was home and I was pleased I did not have to go back to pick up my car.

My euphoria extended to my desires. Things that had been reduced to smokey memory exploded in blazing promise. I guess that makes me now a dirty old goat. There is nothing more reviled than a dirty old goat — no, make that everyone reviles a dirty old goat other than the dirty old goat himself. He knows the condition is ephemeral and temporary like puberty. He knows that to anyone who lived for over 75 years one, two, or three years of anything is just a drop in the bucket of one’s life and the next best thing to meaningless.

After my post op meeting with my doctor next week, I plan to travel to Thailand for a month.

In the meantime, I spend the mornings walking around the lake in Town Center and the afternoons escaping the heat by resting in the house with blinds drawn.
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Town Center Lake

During my morning drive to his new Middle School, HRM makes sure I laugh during the entire trip so that I am diverted from droning on with grandfatherly advice.

There has been a massive earthquake in Italy yesterday. Its epicenter was about 20 miles from my familiy’s towns in Sabina. My son Jason is there now on vacation. I called him. He was ok but they were still feeling the aftershocks. There appeared to be little damage in Casperia or Roccantica where most of the relatives live.
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Casperia

B. WARREN HINCKLE, RIP:

Warren Hinckle died today. Although he gave voice to the political aspirations of the counter-culture of the 1960s, most people from San Francisco would recognize him as the eye-patch wearing journalist-political gadfly who a few weeks before election day would publish a political broadsheet happily skewering most of the candidates.

While I could never say we were friends, over the years we would occasionally meet up and spend a delightful time together drinking heavily and talking deeply. Many of those meetings occurred at an annual Christmas/New Year’s party in a well-known Greek restaurant attended by many of the City’s great, near great and those who thought themselves as great. Hinckle and I would retire to a booth and enjoy a pleasant boozy few hours swapping political tales and scandals. Another time, we sat in the stands together at a Superbowl in Miami when the Niners demolished San Diego and spent much of the second half when the game was far out of reach for SD, gossiping about the peccadilloes’ of the high and the mighty.

While no one would refer to him as kind and gentle, he took such joy in his occupation and his one eye would twinkle so gaily that, even if you were the object of his diatribes, you would sooner rather than later forgive him.

Although I will miss him, the City of San Francisco will miss him more. He undoubtedly will be enshrined in the pantheon of the City’s greatest characters along with The Emperor Norton, Dashiell Hammett, and Carol Doda.
From his obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“‘Warren was the godfather of California — and you could say, national —progressive journalism,’ said David Talbot, whose book ‘Season of the Witch’ details the tumultuous history of San Francisco from the 1960s to the early ’80s. ‘As a newsman, he just loved the ’60s as a story, with all its weirdness, from the Black Panthers to hippies in the Haight to the Kennedy assassination. No publication caught it better than Ramparts — it led directly to publications like Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and Salon,’ the web magazine Talbot co-founded in 1995.’”
“One of the milestone moments for Mr. Hinckle came when he assigned Hunter S. Thompson to cover the Kentucky Derby in 1970 for Scanlan’s Monthly. The resultant rollicking article, ‘The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,’ not only launched the over-the-top, personalized journalism that came to be known as gonzo, it began a lifelong friendship between Mr. Hinckle and Thompson.”

“‘In the beginning, we all believed,’ Mr. Hinckle wrote on the first page of the book (His autobiography, ‘When you have a Lemon, make Lemonade’). ‘We believed in many things, but mostly in America. If the decade must be summarized, it could be said that the youth of America, who had so recently studied it in civics classes, tested the system — and it flunked.’”

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The First Centuries: (continued from last post)

Around 300 BC everything changed — at least in the part of the world we are interested in. About then, The Boy King of Macedonia, Alexander, soon to be granted the title, The Really Great, graduated from middle school and decided he wanted to see the world before continuing his education. So, along with about 40,000 of his closest friends he set off and along the way conquered much of the known world (at least the world known to him and his friends) and a lot of the world they never knew about — until about 10 years later they found themselves camped on the edge of a river in India. One evening, most of his friends came up to The Really Great and said, “Look Alex, it’s been 10 years now, it’s really been fun but we really have to get back to our education and jobs. So, tomorrow we are heading back. You can come along or not.”

Alex cried. He knew they had to get back, but he really had his heart set on spending a few weeks on a beach on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, kicking back and drinking Mai Tais with little pink umbrellas.

So, the next day they set off back to where they came from and where some of his closest friends, his bros, poisoned Alex and split up his empire among themselves. Now although this is important, it is not what interests us here. What does interest us here is that Alex and his Hellenes (what they were called instead or Greeks) would plant whole cities filled with Hellenes every place they went, like rabbit droppings. It seems for some reason, a whole lot of Hellenes wanted to live anywhere but Greece.
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Hellenes — apotheosis?

Even near Galilee in Canaan they built 10 cities for these Hellenes to live in called the Decapolis (“ten cities” in greek).

Another thing about these Hellenes was that they were way cool. They loved sex with everyone of any age and any sex. They partied late into the night drinking strong wine and talking about triangles, walking into walls, and smokey shadows in caves. They liked dressing up like the KKK and going into caverns late at night, bringing in blindfolded people who wanted to join their club and making them believe they were going to die or eat ca-ca. Then they would then take off the blindfolds and discover they were eating dolmas and not ca-ca and everyone would slap them on their back and they would become very happy knowing they could now do this to others.

Also, many of the Hellenes could write, not just the scribes, accountants, and priests in the temple and what they wrote about was marvelous, like the meaning of putting your toe in a fast flowing stream or the meaning of words you always thought you knew what they meant, really mean something you never thought about. They seemed to be curious about everything.

About 100 years after they arrived on the scene, some of the more curious of these Hellenes would encourage a few Semitic speakers to write down in Greek the collected stories of some of their people. They copied these tales into a book, or scroll more likely, called the Septuagint for reasons too long to tell here. What is interesting about this book is that it was not written in Canaan but in Egypt where the fantasies of Anknahten still floated around the elite and educated class and where the Hellenes living in and around Alexandria in Egypt were also into some crazy mystical shit and crystals.

Back in Canaan and just about everywhere these Hellenes settled, many Nabateans, Arameans, Samaritans, Judeans and other Semitic speaking people moved into the cities with the Hellenes to enjoy the good life. Many Hellenes also moved into local cities like Jerusalem where they continued their antics — A lot like the Hippies flooding into SF in the sixties.

Alas, many of the people living in the hills, dells, and hamlets of Canaan did not like the Hellenes ideas and behavior and saw them as irresponsible and dangerous, and a threat to their way of life. Sort of like in the sixties when most of the country saw the Hippies with their sex, drugs, rock and roll and enlightened consciousness as a threat to their way of life. It seems there are always those who believe being happy and enjoying oneself is irresponsible and evil, but being angry, miserable and oppressed as they were was nature’s way. So it was also in Canaan at the time and, like the satisfaction many Americans felt after Altamont, a lot of people went about searching for a reckoning of sorts.
(to be continued in the next post)

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Of all the honors I have received, the one of which I am most fond was when the secretaries of the California Office of Planning and Research voted me “Telephone Asshole of the Year.”

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Globally, the value of all outstanding derivatives contracts (including credit default swaps, interest rate derivatives, foreign exchange rate derivatives, commodities-linked derivatives, and so on) was $630 trillion at the beginning of 2015, while the gross market value of those contracts was $21 trillion.”
Foroohar, Rana. Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business. The Crown Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. On Top: Ecological Causes of the war in the Middle-East.

In an insightful analysis Gianluca Serra, examines the Civil War in Syria. He points out that it is the result of the desertification of the ecologically fragile Syrian steppe, writes — a process that began in 1958 when the former Bedouin commons were opened up to unrestricted grazing. That led to a wider ecological, hydrological and agricultural collapse, and then to a ‘rural intifada’ of farmers and nomads no longer able to support themselves.

“A major role in this unfolding disaster was played by affluent urban investors who threw thousands of livestock into the steppe turning the grazing into a large-scale, totally unsustainable, industrial practice.
Back in 2009, I dared to forecast that if the rampant desertification process gripping the Syrian steppe was not halted soon, it could eventually become a trigger for social turmoil and even for a civil war.

I was being interviewed by the journalist and scholar Francesca de Chatel- and was feeling deeply disillusioned about Syrian government’s failure to heed my advice that the steppe, which covers over half of the country’s land mass, was in desperate need of recuperation.

I had just spent a decade (four years of which serving a UN-FAO project aimed at rehabilitating the steppe) trying to advocate that livestock over-grazing of the steppe rangelands was the key cause of its ecological degradation.

However, for the Syrian government’s staff, it was far too easy to identify and blame prolonged droughts (a natural feature of this kind of semi-arid environment) or climate change (which was already becoming a popular buzzword in those years). These external causes served well as a way to escape from any responsibility — and to justify their inaction.

In an article on The Ecologist, Alex Kirby writes that the severe 2006-2010 drought in Syria may have contributed to the civil war. Indeed it may — but this is to disregard the immediate cause — the disastrous over-exploitation of the fragile steppe ecosystem.

Before my time in Syria, as early as the 1970s, international aid organizations such as the UN-FAO had also flagged the dire need to not apply profit-maximization principles and to therefore not over-exploit the fragile ecosystem of the Syrian steppe.

Denial versus the power of an image

Finally, tired of repeating the same words all the time, I resorted to showing the government staff a self-explanatory picture taken in March 2008, a year of intense and dramatic drought. An image speaks more than a million words, I thought.

The picture [ not included] portrayed a fence separating a steppe terrain in two parts: the area on the left was open to sheep grazing; the area on the right had been instead protected for at least 10 years. The image revealed a lunar rocky landscape on the left, and a blossoming pasture on the right.

The image simply evidences, without need for any words, that the Syrian steppe ecosystem is perfectly adapted to cope with droughts — yes, even with extreme droughts exacerbated by climate change. However, this landscape can succumb easily to human irrationality and indifference. In front of that image, even the most verbose governmental staff would come to a pause — the jaw dropped for a moment.

In 2014, three years after social unrest first and then a brutal civil war erupted in the country, Francesca de Chatel published an interesting essay arguing that the inability of the Syrian government to tackle the rampant steppe’s ecological crisis, steadily unfolded over the course of 50 years of sustained mismanagement, has been one of the key triggers of the armed conflict in the country.

She mentions as other critical triggers the too fast economic liberalization plan, high rates of unemployment and corruption, and, sure enough, a long-term and suffocating lack of freedom.

Over-exploitation of an ecosystem

The Syrian steppe covers 55% of the country’s territory. This vast steppe land, together with portions from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, has been grazed sustainably by nomadic indigenous pastoralists (Bedouins) for centuries (if not more). Each tribe and clan was linked to certain seasonal pastures and this ensured the sustainability of the grazing — a practice finely calibrated on the need of plant regeneration.

These pastoralists of Arabia are known to have been pioneers in establishing ‘protected areas’ (hema): certain pastures were relieved from grazing, permanently or temporary, in order to allow keeping the whole ecosystem healthy and functional.

The beginning of the ecological degradation and destruction came with the modern state, so keen to uncritically import ideas of maximization of agricultural yields from the Soviet Union: in particular the central government decided to nationalize the steppe in 1958, establishing de facto an open access system — a well-known recipe for ecological disaster.

Through this arrangement the customary link between the natural resource and its user was interrupted — abruptly disowning the traditional ecological knowledge of this ancient people. The pastures, not managed and protected anymore by the tribes, started to be over-grazed by free-ranging pastoralists.

A major role in this unfolding disaster was played by affluent urban investors who threw thousands of livestock into the steppe turning the grazing into a large-scale, totally unsustainable, industrial practice.

A similar sort of story of gross mismanagement took place in the eastern part of the Syria’s steppe land, the territory east to the Euphrates, allocated to intensive agriculture via irrigation through underground water.

Water has been pumped from limited underground reserves without much control for decades — so that wells had to be dug every year deeper and deeper with increasing consumption of fuel.

Year by year, desertification sets in

The alternation of wet and dry periods (sometimes lasting up to 5-7 years) is a key structural and natural feature of this kind of environment. The relentless ecological degradation of this semi-arid fragile ecosystem produced a gradual and steady decrease of its resilience in the face of cycles of droughts made increasingly more severe and frequent by a long-term regional drying pattern linked to the greenhouse effects.

Note that increasing the resilience of ecosystems is actually one of the key natural solutions as adaptation to climate change, as it is currently referred to within the circles of climate change international aid work.

While in the past the steppe was able to recover even following intense periods of droughts, during the past decade pastoralists and farmers have started to complain about a sharp and ineluctable reduction in soil fertility and an increase of frequency of fierce dust storms due to erosion.

An evident desertification process has been on display across the steppe land for quite some time. Recommendations to reduce the ecological pressure on this fragile environment — from myself and others — went unheard.

Ecological crisis fans the flames of rebellion

Following a recent cycle of intense drought during 2006-2010, the agriculture system eventually collapsed in eastern Syria greatly facilitated by an abrupt halt of government subsidies and consequent soaring prices of fuel for wells.

At the same time, the ecological impoverishment of the rangelands reached unheard-of levels. “The drought only brought to light a man-made disaster,” said a local journalist from eastern Syria to the International Crisis Group in 2009.

This combined ecological crisis of croplands and rangelands created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the rural areas of the country, followed by massive internal displacements, that the government clearly failed to tackle and manage.

For the first time ever Syria, known to be proudly autonomous in terms of food production (and actually even exporting food), had to rely on a massive international emergency food aid in 2008.

It is therefore not a coincidence that the uprising in 2011 started in provincial towns rather than in the major urban centres of Damascus and Aleppo, Francesca De Chatel argues, aptly defining the rebellion as a “rural Intifada” — one in which Bedouin tribes of steppe origin played a key role.

The same sort of conclusions were reached in analyzing the triggers of the Darfur war that took place from 2003 to 2010 not far from Syria. Darfur suffered from precisely the same sort of over-exploited semi-arid ecosystem, while once again rural and indigenous people were the victims, including nomadic pastoralists.

Life-enabling ecological conditions first

Only in recent times has the key role of ecological conditions in shaping the socio-economy of human populations and civilizations been fully acknowledged and understood. Thanks to a solid western ‘modern’ cultural legacy, until a short time ago, there had been quite strong resistance preventing an appreciation of the link.

Still, in our current consumerist society’s mainstream (sub)culture, nature is perceived as nothing else than a commodity or an ornament for National Geographic covers. But certainly our lifestyle and economy is still completely dependent on available natural resources and on functional ecosystem services.

The good news seems to be that eventually and increasingly these days, the link between ecology and economy (and socio-politics) is analyzed, elaborated and underlined. After all, ecology and economy have the same suffix ‘eco,’ derived from the Greek oikos (home), not by coincidence.

Mismanagement of earth’s resources

Climate change is a major threat to the whole human civilization in the short and medium term — as it is already emerging in the eastern Mediterranean and Syria, and other parts of the world. This ultimate challenge is like the last call for humanity to start reforming deeply an anti-life economic system, as well argued by Naomi Klein in her last book This Changes Everything.

Hopefully, this new awareness will be the basis for a new era in which the economy is deeply reformed in line with the principles of ecology. The time has come to wisely adapt the ‘norms and rules of the house’ (= Economy in Greek) to the foundation principles of the house (Ecology= ‘knowledge of the house’ in Greek) — and not the other way round, as we have thought and done during the past 200 years.

Otherwise, we will simply re-enact once again the same kind of drama that seemingly has already occurred innumerable times on the planet in the course of the human civilization parable. Civilizations have risen, stuck to their core values and then collapsed because they did not change.”

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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.

We progressives can slap ourselves on the back all we want, but as usual we 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 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.

C. Today’s Poems:

Love is not splendid

Love is not splendid
At best
it is
a blister on your foot
or an empty room.
I live on borrowed things

I live on borrowed things
On stories and songs
On breath and brawn

Borrowed then left
When I move on.
THE BIG STORM

They say,
it is coming,
THE BIG STORM.
They say,
it will knock down bridges,
with its howling wind,
flood valleys,
scrape the earth from the hills
and end the drought.
They say,
it will do all of that and more.

I stare
through the window
at the grey black sky
and wonder
if I will be disappointed.

 

D. Comments on my previous post:

1. Ann Marie.

I was glad to hear you were feeling better. Hope MaryAnne is as well.

You said you drove yourself to the hospital, and I didn’t see any follow-up on that. Everything ok?

As always it’s fun to read your stories. Hope you’re doing ok.

2. Peter.
Ozymandias and the old creeping the petty pace till the last syllable of recorded time (or, now, until the next commercial).

I’m reading a fascinating book called “Brazillionaires” by Alex Quadros. About this group of people who have $2-$30 BILLION! EACH. He suggests that it may be partially genetic, but however, they have a tremendous drive to achieve – what he finally concludes is – power. After awhile the goodies that immense riches can provide recede into the routine. The energy, the entrepreneurial urge, the incessant work — one of the richest married a gorgeous carnaval queen and Playboy centerfold who eventually left him because he worked all the time — guess some have it, some don’t. I don’t. Although I rule my ant farm with an iron fist.

Look, it’s clearly the Age of Kali. The drought, the fires, the floods, the poisoning of the land and water, the spreading hordes of too many people, the Trumpians whose outpatient privileges should have been revoked long ago — Scandinavia is too small, too white, too lacking in Rosso buco and Lenny Bruce — chanting, chanting, …..

Ok, so the Semites kept going back and forth between Egypt and Babylon, over hundreds of years. Now the so-called modern humans migrated in dribs and drabs out of Africa over a long period, crossing into Mesopotamia and on to China, the islands, and Australia, while others turned north and west into Europe. But eventually the Semites could’t sit still and did their little migratory dance, creating myths and legends to eventually justify booting out whoever was occupying their next stopover. Here’s the goofy part: And people Believed this stuff! Accepted it as “gospel”. No one learned anything — except he who wins writes the history.

As I said, he who wins writes the history. Viva the alphabet, though. After all, the oral tradition lasts roughly two hundred years or so. Even with eventual evolution to practical telepathy, that can’t last longer. And while the Internet Archive folks are valiantly trying to save everything on the internet before it, too, vanishes, in the end will still be the alphabet. Presumably.

Oh yes! I remember the evening in your house where we reviewed the draft sign logo and discussed at length whether the feet should look more “realistic” and less stylized. And lo, there they are.

My response.

Thanks for the comments. Some will go into next t&t. After my operation, I am well enough to travel. I plan to leave for Thailand on Sept. 2. Return Oct 2 or thereabouts. Maybe I’ll see you then.

Never forget, although old Ozy’s head in the clouds soon disappeared, his Birkenstock shod feet remained forever in the sand. What this means, as you get older you realize that the health of your feet is more important than the health of your head.

The tragedy of bazillionairs it that they can no longer truly experience the pleasures of poverty although carnival queens and playboy centerfolds may help to ameliorate that loss.

I suspect the age of Kali begins for each of us at birth. And ends when all we have left is our feet in the sand.

Please give Sherry my best.

I will see you soon — hopefully before Ozy and Kali get up to dance to Blind Lemon Pledge.

Peter again.

Glad to hear you up and around. How’s Maryann doing?

Indeed, healthy feet rule. My father lost a foot to diabetes in his later years; real drag. I hope I avoid that. As to “health of head,” my brother told me once, after he had made one of his regular visits to his then mother-in-law who had ended in a home and was more or less physically ok [he was an RN] and I inquired about her, said: “She’s happy as a clam.” Wasn’t much going on, though.

Re: brazillionaires, yes, they are monomaniac about work, many are little short guys, don’t eat much, don’t do much else. I recall my father, who knew John D. MacArthur a little, said about him, that even in his very late years he awoke early and went to the office every day, miming old dog old tricks. Seems none of them had a money bin to dive into like Scrooge McDuck. No joy.

Pettiness is Not next to godliness: The letter “b” key on my laptop is not working properly, so I often have to back up [just did] to make sure it prints. I’m postponing the inevitable trip to the apple store to get it fixed (and argue against buying a new machine because of the IMMENSE HASSLE of transferring everything. Meanwhile, having finished “Originals” and “Brazillionaires, I’ve started reading the next book, “Chaos Monkeys”; this, from a guy who worked at Goldman Sachs and then went to Silicon Valley, ending up at Facebook. All sounds awful. Money fixation causes really pathological behavior – but we knew that.

Kali Mata ki jai!! and bon voyage. I assume you’ll leave all of your yellow and red T-shirts at EDH. See you after your return, apparently on Gandhi’s birthday.

3. Aline.

OK. You can’t leave it hanging like that. Why did you drive yourself to the hospital? Are you okay?

My response.

I had a minor overnight procedure scheduled. No one was available to drive me to and from the Hospital. The operation was a success and I am back home now.

I enjoyed your photographs from your trip to Sicily. It seemed like you had a great time.

Aline again.

One cannot have a bad time in Sicily. The only bad thing was the trip was too short. I rode in a Fiat down cobble stairs through narrow streets scaring people and cats. I saw the best war memorial museum I have ever experienced. It was very realistic. There were pictures of Catania before the bombing, an air raid signal went off and we all ran into a bunker, the lights went off and we heard bombs going off and the bunker shook. After a time, the all clear was sounded and we left the bunker to view pictures of Catania after the bombing. Chilling. Then a complete shock – coming out of the museum, Comican was going on with many people dressed in their favorite anima characters. I also met with Anthony Provenzano, son of Tony Provenzano who ran the Mafia for years.

4. Bill.

You “outed” me. I did not expect to re-read my email to you in the latest “This and that . . .”. Carol would be a bit brought down about me discussing her health. Although I am touched by your thoughtfulness in sharing your thoughts about what we are going through. Anyway, I am glad these folks know the opportunity you provided me and that you are to blame for what I did or did not do well thereafter. I do recall that hike at Pt Reyes. The hike and my birding were getting in the way of your desire to get to Bolinas for some ice cream. One of my favorite trips that summer was an all day trip to Napa/Sonoma and finding an out-of-the-way vintner who named an especially drinkable jug red wine after his grandfather JD Martin. I think the vintner’s name was Tom Johnson (he is probably a very wealthy vintner now). When Tom told you why they named the wine JD Martin Red Table Wine – because they combined some varietals that just did not quite make the grade on their own, but when mixed together made the kind of red wine his wife’s grandfather loved to drink — you and I bought 4 cases of the jug wine. The end of that trip was challenging when you burned up your VW’s engine, because you ignored the red light on your dash that had you looked in the owner’s manual would have told you your catalytic converter was overheating. I ended up pushing that VW for a few hundred feet up the Golden Gate Bridge (that bridge is not flat!) until a Golden Gate Bridge tow truck pushed us the rest of the way and then towed you to some gas station. I think Don Neuwirth was with us. I remember Don sharing your aversion to the natural environment.

Be well my friend and mentor.

My response.

I apologize. As usual I acted without thinking.

When I started writing T&T eight years ago, I began to include comments and correspondence at the bottom of my blog when I repost it. I found however that it could go for many months before anyone acknowledged they had read it. So, I began including them in the body of T&T so I would not forget them. Recently for some reason, I have received more comments than usual and my excitement overcame me.

I hope I did not upset Carol. Please give her my apologies also.

Unless you object, I will strike out anything that could be construed as referring to her.

As for you comment. On that day we hiked Point Reyes, I recall a bird flew by in front of me from a bush on the side of the trail to one on the other. You did not see it, but when I exclaimed, you identified it merely from the sound it made as it flew by. To me that was magic.

Thanks for reminding me of that memorable trip across the Golden Gate Bridge.

My operation appears to have been a success, so I am leaving for Thailand next week. I will return in October. I hope I will be able to visit with you then.

Bill again.

Great news about your operation. Enjoy your trip to Thailand.

No need to strike anything from This & that. No worries.

Yes, I hope we can get together upon your return to the Golden Hills and State.

I hope your sister is feeling better.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S TEST:

The following is the test HRM was given on his first day of middle school. I bet you cannot pass it.

img_2150IMG_2150.jpg

Categories: July through September 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    3 Pepe 0005 (August 17, 2016)

 

“Existence, it seems, is chiefly maintenance.”
Kelly, Kevin. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (p. 9). Penguin Publishing Group.
Happy Birthday, Irene.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:
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white foam strikes the cliffs,
retreats, thinks, then surging forth,
smacks the cliffs again.

My sickness slowly passed. Evenings were spent at pleasant dinners with friends of Mary and George and at other times watching Detective Montalbano detect on TV. During the days, I walked along the headlands or sat on the sofa, my computer on my lap, typing away or reading, sometimes staring at the ocean wondering how best to pass the time — to be busy at something or simply do nothing. On the other hand, the quote at the head of this post states that existence is mostly maintenance — maintaining our bodies, our families and so on. I guess most of the rest of the time when not maintaining ourselves we spend entertaining ourselves. I wonder how much time we spend helping others maintain themselves? Not much I would guess if my own life were any indication.

I wrote the above while watching the woman next door for the past hour scurry around her yard busily doing things to plants, bushes, and shrubs I could not guess at. I wonder if I would be happier doing something rather than watching it getting done? I do not think so. Besides, I have no interest in finding out.

A few days later, feeling better, I decided to visit 10 Mile Dunes the site of the Selkie story I wrote about in my last post. The parking lot was a bit of a hike from the dunes and the beach, but I managed to shamble along the path and across the dunes to the kelp littered beach. I walked along the beach searching for a tussock on which to sit. I did not find one. But I did find some suitable rocks beside a spooky sculpture someone made out of a kelp stalk.

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The mist was not quite so pearlescent as in my story, the ocean not so placid and dark. Nevertheless, I sat there on the rock stared out at the waves and waited. I waited to see if a seal would appear dancing in the waves. I know, silly — but being silly is a prerogative of the very old and the very young.

After about a half an hour, I got bored. As I slowly rose from my rock, I noticed something light brown twisting among the waves. “Oh my, God,” I thought. “I don’t believe this sort of shit.” I tottered toward the water. My heart beating so hard it was almost painful. Alas, when I looked again, it was gone — probably just a piece of kelp torn from its mooring and tossed about by the waves. As I slowly walked back along the beach, I stopped for a moment, looked out at the ocean, and shouted, “Selkie” — not too loud because I would be too embarrassed if anyone heard me — Also, I felt stupid. But after, I shouted I felt a lot better. I don’t know why.

Back in the car, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if people who lived adventuresome lives could live one last adventure when they get old — this time with the supernatural.” They could, of course, always make it up. That would be almost as good, I think.

The next few days my sister became quite ill with a viral infection of some sort. She was taken to the hospital so I hung around the house to help out where I could. Alas, as usual, I was about as helpful as a pimple on the nose of a supermodel at a photo shoot. I did walk the dog, however.

On Sunday, I left Mendocino. I first stopped at the Hospital in Ft. Bragg to see my sister. She looks a lot better but I am still worried about her.

I took a different route that usual to return to the Golden Hills. Rather than passing through the beautiful Anderson Valley, I took route 20 from Ft Bragg to Willits. I continued past Willits along Route 20 to Lake County.
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Lake Mendocino

I entered a town called Nice which I never heard before. I looked for a place to eat in Nice just so I could write I had a Nice lunch. (Actually, it is pronounced Neece — but that doesn’t fit the story so humor me. )Unfortunately, I could not find a restaurant in Nice, nice or not, which I thought was not nice at all and proceeded on.
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Clear Lake at Lucerne

The next town was called Lucerne and bills itself as the Switzerland of California. I’ve been to Switzerland and Lucerne is not Geneva or even Zurich but it seemed to be rather Nice so I looked for a restaurant there. The only one I could find was a Foster’s Freeze. It was packed, standing room only as if it had just been awarded its third Michelin star. After waiting about 45 minutes for my hamburger and chocolate malt, I returned to my car and continued on past the forest fire with its billowing gray and yellow smoke that tomorrow would burn down the town of Lower Lake sending 5000 people fleeing for safety.

I crossed the mountains into the Great Valley. On maps, it is called the Central Valley, but it really is the Great Valley. Almost 500 miles long and 60 miles wide, it contains some of the most productive farmland in the world. For the last 50 years since the building of the California Water Project, it has supplied America with much of its vegetables, grapes, fruit, and nuts. In about another 50 years, due to the unimaginable amount of water brought into the valley by that same water project leeching chemical fertilizer and other chemicals from deep in the soil, it is destined to become one of the world’s great salt deserts. Hooray for us.

Then home and after a troubled night, I drove myself to the hospital.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

About 1800 BC waves of Semitic-speaking people migrated into the Nile Delta area of Egypt. They came from the area of the MiddleEast now made up Israel, Lebanon and Syria ( in ancient times Canaan or now the Levant, more or less). They were led by warriors and soon became the rulers making up the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Dynasties of ancient Egypt. By about 1500 BC they were expelled by the Pharaohs of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties from Thebes somewhere up river. Other than making for a great confusion of biblical stories, this is not important for our purposes. What is, is that these people, taking the ideographic writings of their neighbors, began the introduction of the writing system whereby symbols were used to express specific spoken sounds. Through the Phoenicians, it became the alphabet we use. It is also important that although many of these Semitic rulers retreated back to Canaan and formed their own kingdoms, many remained in Egypt. Trade in goods and ideas between the two regions flourished.

About 1000 years later an Eastern Semitic king named Nebuchadnezzar the Second of that Name, conquered most of the Semitic peoples in the Middle East. As sound policy of the time dictated, he transported most of the ruling, intellectual and religious classes of the conquered people to his capital at Babylon where he could keep an eye on them. A little over 100 years later an Indo-European adventurer from the Persian Highlands called Cyrus conquered most of the Semitic kingdoms in the Middle-East and everything else he set eyes on and so he was endowed with the title, “The Great.”

For reasons of policy, and because he did not live there, having moved his capital out of Babylon to Pasargadae which was a long way away, Cyrus encouraged those people brought there by his predecessor to return to the homes most of them had ever seen. Of course, it was also good for Cyrus that Babylon was drained of many of its best people and could never challenge again for supremacy, but also, at least in the case of the Levant, he thought it would be a good thing to have supportive people on his border with Egypt while he set about conquering Central Asia. So as the Semitic people set off from Babylon to Canaan which they had never seen and which the local inhabitants probably saw as a mixed blessing at best, Cyrus set off to conquer Central Asia where he encountered Tomyris Queen of the Massegetae. Tomyris met the, until then, undefeated Cyrus in battle, defeated him, cut off his head, and used his skull as her favorite drinking cup.

But this was not all that important for our story. What was important was that those Semites brought a lot of legends and stories from Babylon and places like that with them to Canaan. Stories and legends which they incorporated onto their mythical history and were retold and written down in their alphabet in various scrolls and what have you which were, over time, recopied and retold to suit the needs and wishes of the elite of the time and which only led additional to confusion and disagreement.

This now brings us to the First Centuries themselves.
(To be continued in the next post)

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

During my early years as executive officer of the State Coastal Conservancy in the mid to late 1970s, I noticed signage to coastal accessways, views and sites of interest were almost none existent. Knowing that creating a program to remedy this would take years, I, along with my then wife, at my own expense, designed a model sign for coastal access and views. The Conservancy paid for the signs to be manufactured and delivered them to Caltrans and the Department of Parks and Rec. along with a list of the sites. You can still see them 40 years later as you drive along Pacific Coast Highway. They are the ones with the two bare feet logo.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

California was named after a mythical Island ruled by a black woman named Queen Calafia (or Khalif). The story originated in a Sixteenth Century novel by the Spaniard Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo. Montalvo wrote;

“Know that, on the right hand of the Indies was an island called California, very near to the region of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was populated by black women, without there being any men among them, that almost like the Amazons was their style of living. They were of vigorous bodies and strong and ardent hearts and of great strength; the island itself the strongest in steep rocks and cliff boulders that is found in the world; their arms were all of gold, and also the harnesses of the wild beasts, on which, after having tamed them, they rode; that in all the island there was no other metal whatsoever… On this island, called California there were many griffins … and in the time that they had young these women would — take them to their caves, and there raise them. And … they fattened them on those men and the boys that they had born… Any male that entered the island was killed and eaten by them … There ruled on that island of California, a queen great of body, very beautiful for her race, at a flourishing age, desirous in her thoughts of achieving great things, valiant in strength, cunning in her brave heart, more than any other who had ruled that kingdom before her … Queen Calafia.”
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Mural of Queen Calafia and her Amazons in the Room of the Dons at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, California. (Wikimedia Commons.)

 

`
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“Sovereignty has eight aspects:

DEFENSE;
JUDICIAL, i.e., settling disputes;
ADMINISTRATIVE, i.e., discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, i.e., mobilizing resources: this is one of the powers the French government didn’t have in 1770;
LEGISLATION. i.e., the finding of rules and the establishment of rules through promulgation and statute;
EXECUTIVE, i.e., the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions.

Then there are two which are of absolute paramount importance today:
MONETARY, the creation, and control of money and credit — if that is not an aspect of the public sovereignty, then the state is far less than fully sovereign; and lastly the eighth one,
THE INCORPORATING POWER, the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with the right to hold property and to sue in the courts.

Notice: the federal government of the United States today does not have the seventh and eighth…”

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

I think of myself as mostly an ordinary man who at times tried to do good and now and then succeeded only to find those successes often were ephemeral in significance and ambiguous in result
.

C. Today’s Poem:

THE FACEBOOK SONNET
By Sherman Alexie

Welcome to the endless high-school
Reunion. Welcome to past friends
And lovers, however, kind or cruel.
Let’s undervalue and unmend

The present. Why can’t we pretend
Every stage of life is the same?
Let’s exhume, resume, and extend
Childhood. Let’s all play the games

That occupy the young. Let fame
And shame intertwine. Let one’s search
For God become public domain.
Let church.com become our church.

Let’s sign up, sign in, and confess
Here at the altar of loneliness.

D. Comments on my Previous Post:

1. Peter:

Seems to me that having to deal with that continuing nasty infliction doesn’t quite balance the joy of writing weird stories in a state of heightened post-illness clarity. But then, maybe it does. Don’t know: haven’t had that experience yet; just the continuing creaky slide toward decrepitude and senility. Anyway, sorry for your condition; sounds dreary, depressing, and vastly irritating; condolences. At least you have Maryann and George and the Mendocino coast and Pacific Star.

Sorry to have missed you passing through on the way to Maryann’s; next time.

Didn’t realize SWAC was in/or to be in El Dorado Hills. Must be perversely surrealistic.

Speaking of Ruth, she and Jeffrey were in SF for a day recently. He sent to the redone modern art museum; Ruth and I hung out by the ferry building and talked of This and that. She was in good spirits and health.

Meanwhile, the band plays on. We’re busy, 5-10 gigs a month, with several monthly regulars including Cheers, at which you were during a previous visit, and the still-odd Green Tortoise hostel in north beach where we were last night. Try this: on Aug. 20 we will play on the Old Vine Express (the Sacramento wine train) that noodles between West Sacto and Woodland and back— three hours of wine tasting, Yolo heat, dancing (so we’re told), some probable sloshed behavior, and us. At least they’ll pay us. We continue our leaning toward odd venues. Perhaps we could find a dank cellar somewhere (maybe under downtown Mendocino!), call it the Amontillado Grotto, charge vast prices, and have Uber deliver hordes of curious tourists and changelings for a one-way trip to Blind Lemon Pledge-land.

Just finished a book called “The Templars”, written a few yeas ago. Relatively scholarly, interesting history about Jerusalem during those centuries before and after that you just referred to in your post. Also, I didn’t realize that Henry the Navigator and other notable Portuguese explorers were members of the re-constituted Templars and that Templar money financed a lot of their explorations. The book consigns Holy Blood Holy Grail to the realm of grand storytelling and make-believe. Has a sizable section on Templar-related fiction, non-fiction, movies, TV, bands, and websites. Need to see George Sanders in the original “Ivanhoe” movie as the evil Templar. Sir Walter and others did a nasty.

2. Fede.

I read and understood ! I’m happy for that🙂
Your life was so full — bad and good things — and I’m still thinking you are great!!!
I hope your infection will do better after the surgery/or whatever you are going to do!
Please let me know and if You’re not able to write, I will ask your sister!
We say, “In bocca al lupo” to say “good luck”!

3. Bill

I do so enjoy finding the time to read your “This and that . . .” musings. I am sorry that your health has been up and down lately; I appreciate how and why that is on your mind. This has been a beastly hot summer — somedays I just don’t even want to go out, especially when the temperature is 70 degrees at 6 AM. It is wonderful that you have your sister’s place in Mendocino to retreat to. She is a wonderful sister who obviously loves you and puts up with you. My hands are too full right now being Carol’s primary care provider; otherwise, I would have enjoyed retreating to Mendocino with you. Returning to Monterey during triple digit heat waves was how Carol and I coped with summer in Sacratomatoes. That has all changed this summer.

Carol is doing remarkably well under the circumstances. Her positive and cheerful attitude makes it easier on the rest of us. Although I am grateful for the time that we have been given to be together after her last cancer surgery, I am having difficulty coming to terms with the future change in my life. Fortunately, Carol’s Hospice Care also provides me with a counselor to help me deal with some of the issues I don’t necessarily want to think about or talk about. So like you, despite being in fine health, I do think about things I did in the past, what is happening in the present, and things that even though in hindsight I regret, I would not change.

Your latest “This & that” reminded me of the doors you opened for me when Senator Smith’s office sent me over to your Select Committee office in the 11th & L Building with my McGeorge Law Journal write up of the ’76 Coastal Act seeking a work-study internship. I remember you calling out to Lois Jones after you quickly glanced over my article proclaiming with amazement that someone actually understood how the recently enacted legislation was going to change the coastal program. You reached behind your chair and gave me a stack of draft regulations the Commission staff was drafting and asked me to review “this stuff” and see if it makes any sense. So I went back to my apartment and stayed up all night reading the stack of regulations and came back the next afternoon with a notepad full of comments, grammatical changes, and suggestions. You were surprised to see me and my notes, but at that time late in the afternoon you were more concerned about the fact that Bill Geyer (who I did not know then) was arriving with a client to talk about the CCC; and, you had other plans. So you ducked out and told me meet with this “lobbyist” and get his take on the changes needed at the CCC. (To say Geyer was a bit brought down when he and his client were told by Lois that you were unavailable, but that I was, would be a grand understatement.)

Anyway Joe, from that work study experience you opened the door for a summer job with the CCC. I was greeted warmly by the “pirates” who ran the permit staff (and the former Prop 20 Commission) because for no other reason I had been your “gofer.” I had a great summer. No question that summer launched my post-law school career. My life continued to have many twists and turns and ups and downs after that summer; but, I am most grateful for the opportunity you gave me; and, your friendship.

Take care of yourself. I hope we can find the time to get together sooner than later.

During this difficult time for Bill and Carol, please keep them in your thoughts and for those that pray, in your prayers. They have contributed much to California and to all of us. They are good people going through hard times.

Bill’s amusement and cynicism at my antics those many years ago were a comfort to me. They kept me from falling into the trap of believing I knew what was going on. Well, perhaps not completely but at least he reminded me now and then. One day, we were walking through Point Reyes. Bill was pointing out one bird or another while I was exhibiting my ignorance. Suddenly he stopped and turned to me and observed, “You don’t know anything about the environment.” It was true. I’m from New York. To me, the natural environment was what one saw through a fence or the tomatoes and zucchini growing in the little strip of dirt next to the driveway alongside my house. I was doing this because John Olmstead asked me to help him save the Pygmy Forest. If the rest of the coast had to come along, so be it.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I never thought the liberty of man consists in doing what he wishes, but rather in not doing that which he does not wish.”
Rousseau, Reverie.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Mendocino Wedding

 

Categories: July through September 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Joe 0005 (August 10, 2016)

 

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
Muriel Rukeyser
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Stevie Dall.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
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Over a week of temperatures above 100 degrees baked the parched golden hills and drove me indoors for most of each day. HRM and Richard leave for a week in Hawaii and SWAC has invited friends to join her watching the sprinklers turn on and off. So, I decided to leave for my sister’s house in Mendocino.

I first drove to SF for lunch with Terry during which we opined on the frailties of growing old and life’s regrets. For me, while many things I have done or experienced have saddened and humiliated me and harmed others, I cannot conceive or even wish that they never happened because then I would no longer be me sitting here and typing this. I would be someone else. Would I be willing to surrender all the memories, good and bad, accumulated from the point that the distressing event occurred? I do not think so.

On a cold New Year’s morning in our house in Yorktown Heights, New York, I was awakened by my wife’s scream, “My baby is dead.” Later as we drove away from the cemetery, I recall glancing back the burial site on that cold forgotten hilltop. Does it sadden me still? Yes. But, had it not happened, I would not a few months later have left for Europe, my life in a shambles and begun the rest of my life. Would I surrender all my life’s memories, the good and the bad, since then for her life? Then, yes. Now over 50 years later would I surrender my life since then, my memories, all loves, joys, and sorrows? I am not so sure. Would she have been happy? I do not know. In my experience most of us simply endure, taking happiness when we can. Our musings as we pass from old to aged raise more questions than we dreamed existed when we were younger.

After lunch, I drove over to Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley in hope of meeting up with Peter and Barrie, but they were not around. I then called my son, who I planned to have dinner with, but he was still working and I, fearful of driving long distances at night, decided to leave for Mendocino.

B. MENDOCINO ON MY MIND:

Where the weather in the Golden Hills is blazing hot, here at the edge of the continent it is winter cold, socked in with fog and strong wind. My morning walks steer clear of the bluff edge and winds its way from coffee shop to bookstore searching for warmth, coffee and the latest mystery thriller with which to pass the time.

One morning, I drove along the Navarro and Albion Ridge Roads a few miles south of Mendocino to search for the house of Michael Moore. Michael was a dear friend during the seventies. He was a Monterey County Supervisor when I first met him. Later, he built a house here in Mendocino on one of the two ridges — I do not remember which. Still later, when he was in his late forties, he accepted a fellowship to pursue an economics doctorate at Cambridge in England. One night, while standing on a bridge over the river contemplating reasons to go on living, a little man in a wheelchair, the great Steven Hawking, scooted out of the darkness, rolled up to him and asked, “Are you all right. Is there anything I can do to help?” A few days later on a call to me, Michael remarked, “Can you imagine Steven Hawking, confined to a wheelchair most of his life by a horrible degenerative disease asks if he could help me?” That was the last time Michael and I spoke.

A few days later, I was stricken again by the infection that had driven me twice before to the emergency room. With George and Mary’s help, we got some antibiotics from my doctor and following three days of shakes, chills, confusion and what have you, I began sweating heavily, my fever broke and I was able to think clearly again. It is strange that whenever that happens, for a few days, my mind seems better able to focus. The last time, I wrote in my mind a number of short stories. One, if you can believe it, was an update of Poe’s A Cask of Amontillado. This one takes place in the Berkley Hills where a not so happily married upper-middle-class retiree decides to kill someone. He chooses a man he hates simply because of a slight he received many years ago. He entombs his victim live in a mausoleum at a cemetery located in the hills along with a bottle of Amontillado purchased just for the occasion. The next day, he resumes his unremarkable life and joins his wife at the Opera where they have had season tickets for the past 35 years. He hates opera.

This time, I decided to concentrate on myself as the hero here in Mendocino. I went through stories of earthquakes, murder mysteries, secret tunnels under the town, but the one I liked the best was the Selkie. Here is a synopsis of some of it.

Feeling a little better, I drove to Ft. Bragg and went for a walk along Ten Mile Dunes. Being tired, I sat on a grass tussock with my walking stick propped on my knees. The fog had moved in shrouding the place in pearlescent mist, the ocean placid and dark. I noticed a seal or sea lion playing in the water. It seemed almost like it was performing a dance of some sort. I smiled. It stopped its play for a moment and stared at me with a liquid dark eye. Then, I saw a shadow and a fin of what I thought was a shark rippling through the waters heading toward the seal. I jumped up, ran across the sand and shouted, “Look out! Get away!” I even threw my beloved walking stick at the shadow in the hope it would drive it away. The exertion of getting so quickly to my feet brought back the fainting spells I had been suffering recently. The world started to go black. I began to spasm as I tried to fight the sudden loss of muscle control. I felt awful that I could not help save the seal. I settled back on my haunches onto the wet sand and passed out.

I do not know how long I sat there hunched over, but the next thing I became aware of was a hand on my arm pulling me up and someone saying, “Are you OK mister.” The darkness receded. I looked for the seal in the water or for blood but saw neither. I then noticed the person holding my arm, She was a slight young woman, short not slender having that soft layer of fatty tissue that can make a woman round everywhere. I guess she was beautiful in her own way. She looked slightly Asian or Amerindian, perhaps Intuit. She seemed to be about 30 years old and was wearing what appeared to be an animal skin inside out. Her hair was thick dark brown that hung down in wet strings below her shoulders.

She took my hand and a sudden warmth flowed through me. I felt much better. Better than I had felt for quite some time now. She said, “Thank you for what you tried to do,” and handed me my walking stick back.

She accompanied me back to my car. Holding my arm to help my balance should I become dizzy again. We saw each other every day thereafter. I eventually learned she was a Selkie.

She explained that many years ago the Selkies, recognizing the threat from the far more populous and aggressive Humans, like many of the spirit creatures, decided to hide among us rather than fleeing deeper into nature. Although Selkies were extremely long-lived, they still could be killed. So, they tried to live wherever they could avoid becoming the objects of violence. She, for example, lived in an isolated house on the banks of the Navarro River where she could secretly slip into the water whenever she wanted and change into her Selkie self.

They, however, at the very beginning, presciently established an investment program that over the past 400 years made the few Selkies remaining quite wealthy, despite their modest living arrangements.

There are many things I could tell about those first few days after we met and thereafter, but that is for another time. I should mention, however, that one day I asked her why she, a young woman, was so interested in a friendship with me, an old man. After mentioning her gratitude for my actions on the beach when we first met, she added that she also saw I was one of the spirit ones.

It seems, many years ago, in the Apennines of Italy and especially near Mt Vergine there lived a group of mountain and forest spirits. When not in their human shape, they cavorted among the peaks as large black bears. With the movement into the mountains by men, they knew their times were ending. So they bred with humans when they could and their sons and daughters lived among them eventually forgetting what they were.

After a lengthy process, she enabled me to reassume my identity, Unfortunately, in my human form I would always be an old man. Nonetheless, I began traveling to the tundra of Alaska where I built a tiny remote cabin. There I would change into my bear form. I loved standing up on my hind legs, feet planted in the muck front paws flapping at my sides and roaring my head off at the other bears in the area. I had to be careful, though. I could mix it up all right, but one of the massive paws of those big boys and girls could tear your head off. I also liked getting drunk on the spring berries and rolling around in the mud. Sometimes, I would spend most of the day standing ankle deep in a crashing stream batting salmon onto the banks. That was fun.

I hated hunters, though. Not all hunters. I ignored the other hermits living in the wilderness hunting for food. Trophy hunters, however, would enrage me. Sometimes I would bring a rifle with me. If I discover hunters lurking about, I would resume my human shape, hunt them in turn, and kill them. Now and then, in my human shape I would join up with the hunters and just when they would get ready to shoot a bear or an elk, I would turn back into a bear grab them and throw them off a cliff or something like that. I liked to see the fear in their eyes. Once, I came upon hunters who had just killed a magnificent elk. I grabbed them, one in each arm. I called a herd of elk over and allowed some of the bigger and stronger bucks to drive their antlers into them and carry them off screaming and bloody into the woods.

I also hated that in my bear shape I was addicted to honey. I despised sitting there with a silly grin on my mouth stoned on honey, all sticky with honey covering my paws, snout, and fur while angry bees crawled all over me. I’d then fall asleep and wake up all groggy and promise myself I would never do it again.

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PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

This is a continuation of my ramble through my favorite eras of history that I began in my previous post.

The First Centuries:

The first centuries here means the first centuries on either side of the BC-AD (or in more modern terms BCE-CE) dividing line. Why is this period important? Well, for a lot of reasons known to many but for me, it marks the point in time when religion changed from adaptive to exclusive.

You see, it used to be that when one tribe with their gods marched in to conquer someplace with different gods, whoever won would often either install their gods on the top of the losers gods or adopt those gods if it appeared advantageous. Over the years, with the priests and minstrels telling the tales, things got pretty mashed up and no one could really remember what was what and what actually happened when and to whom. And, when you think about it, for the average citizen what difference did it make whose god was on top as long for their day to day needs they had their local god to take care of them? It made no more difference to them than whether the king came from this side of the river or the other side.

Then, in about 1300 BC or so in Egypt, the Egyptian King (Pharaoh) named Amenhotep IV had a bright idea. “Why not have just one God?” he enquired. He thought his idea was so clever he changed his name to Anknahten after the god he invented. When they heard about his plan, Pharaoh’s advisors tried to explain to him the political problems with his proposal. For example, what about the cost of making sure ordinary people were not secretly praying to their old gods? What do we do about the unemployed priests of all the other gods? More importantly, when an ambassador from another country comes to town or our hired foreign troops come to town whom do they worship? Wouldn’t it make it more difficult to conquer another country if they knew they had to give up their gods? And so on.

Pharaoh like most kings who think they have a bright idea did not listen to his advisors and his kingdom fell into the toilet in no time. It was so bad that shortly after his death they tried to erase his memory from history.

But alas, bad ideas have a way of popping up when you least expect it or certainly when you least need them to.
(to be continued in the next post)

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
TechCrunch

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Pookie on Top:

Perhaps, the most important thing in deciding which candidates to vote for in an election is whether you believe you can persuade them to support your position on an issue after the election not necessarily whether or not they agree with them before it. Few politicians will pick up the heavy load on a policy unless forced into it by the pressure of the citizenry or by the parasite community (lobbyists, etc.). Frankly, irrespective of what most of the electorate hopes for when they mark their ballots, the heavy lifting on changes in policy still demands the commitment, time, and money of the citizens in order to come to pass. The Constitution was drafted, in part, to make major changes in policy extremely difficult without massive support of the citizenry.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

I wonder if even the most obsessive supporter of Donald Trump for President believes he would make an appropriate CEO for say Morgan Stanley, or Google, or a major Hospital and Medical Center in a large urban center, or a General commanding our troops on a battlefield? Probably not. Why then would they consider him qualified to run the nation’s largest financial institution, research operation, medical delivery system, the nation’s military establishment and much much more all rolled into one?
C. Today’s Poem:

“I think a friend’s a man of thought
Who’ll always hold out his decent hand,
To give as true friends surely ought.
He’ll take away not a grain of my sand,
Nor any blade of my greenest grass,
Nor a leaf from any of my apple trees.
He lets all slights and insults pass,
And he says to his friend, ‘You are me.’”

Delaney, Frank. Ireland: A Novel (p. 197). HarperCollins.

D. Some Comments on my Previous Post:

1. Naida.

I love your haikus and the astutely sorted-out summary of human origins/migrations. So sorry about the catharsis. Would that we could damn old age and walk away from it with our heads high!

I’m done with the State Fair. Another year gone, 20 yrs since I drafted that contract (renewed each year). Next year I’ll have my memoir to sell. If I can endure another 18 straight 12- hr days of engaged effort, forced smiles, and a din like none other — followed by a 45-min drive home in the flashing headlights and dark and difficult road. Here’s a pic by a booth visitor.

nswfaor2015

2. The Deep Sea Diver.

Hi there joe. …Eric here …..
Still here….in the same shithouse……with the same problems….only a bit bigger….
But. Interesting…..hope to see you after your Operation……
Can I do anything for you……….please let me know………
Your Friend. Eric

3. Ruth.

You may not remember this quite as vividly as I do, but it was one of those budget sessions that triggered my contract with the Conservancy. I do not remember what I was doing in Sacramento, but I met you on the lawn at the Capitol and you were smiling, so I asked why and you said, “the Legislature just doubled my budget.” At that point, I clutched your arm and you said, “oh, you want a job.” Statement, not question. “Yes.” “I can’t give you a job; I’ll make you a consultant.” And the rest is history, or herstory.

3. Fede.

Hi Joe, how are you feeling?

You are great! I like to read what you send me every time!

Even if I don’t understand every single word, I understand🙂
Hope you enjoy your sister’s birthday!

Hugs from Italy
Fede🙂
Thank you and love you all.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…the hierarchy of rich and poor – which mandates that rich people live in separate and more luxurious neighborhoods, study in separate and more prestigious schools, and receive medical treatment in separate and better-equipped facilities — seems perfectly sensible to many Americans and Europeans. Yet it’s a proven fact that most rich people are rich for the simple reason that they were born into a rich family, while most poor people will remain poor throughout their lives simply because they were born into a poor family.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 136). HarperCollins.
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Categories: July through September 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Joe 0005 (July 26, 2016)

“Catharsis is not a plan.”
Eugene Robinson

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful sister Maryann.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

When sickness passes,
Like storms above the mountains,
My heart blooms again.

I spent a week in the hospital, taken there by ambulance that broke down along the way. I contracted a severe urinary infection more than likely caused by the repeated changes of the catheter into my bladder. By the time I was discharged the bladder bag had been joined by a second pinned to my kidney through my back. Call me Pookie the Bagman now.

Despite my discomfort, I have begun mild exercising again as I await re-admittance into the hospital for the minor operation that I have been assured will cure my current ills. A little hiking around the lakes, various not so strenuous exercises, and some minor weight work lighten my attitude. Later in the afternoons, I sit out on the deck, eating chocolate, drinking cranberry juice and watching the hummingbirds chase each other around the feeder.

The hummingbirds flit,
Shimmering across the sky,
Bright Iridescent.

HRM returned from Europe. Noise and laughter returned to my life. My son Jason and my granddaughter Athena drove up from the Bay Area today to visit me. It made me very happy. Meanwhile, I still wait for the doctor to schedule my operation so that I can return to a normal life-style.

The heat from the Great Valley has boiled up into the Golden Foothills bringing afternoons huddled by the air-conditioner. I urge myself to get into the car and drive somewhere cooler, up into the mountains or down to the coast, but it all seems too great and effort to just find comfort. So, I turn over and doze the afternoon away until dusk. At my age, those are precious hours to waste. But waste them I do without much regret.

MOPEY’S MEMORIES:

When I was Executive Director of the State Coastal Conservancy every year at budget time the Department of Finance and the Legislative Analyst Office would recommend that the Legislature zero out the Conservancy’s budget. Every year I would fight against this and the Legislature would approve a Conservancy budget containing even more money than we had originally asked for.

After about five years of this, representatives of the two entities in question came up to me and said, “Every year we try to teach you a lesson, but you never give up.”

“That’s not true,” I responded. “I often give up, just never to the likes of you.”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

History, alas,
Ignored her story too long,
But, at last, no more.

I consider history my primary preoccupation other than dreaming. Although it was my college major, I was never trained or accomplished enough to explore musty original sources and the other obsessions of the academic. It, nevertheless, has been my escape. During grammar school, I always sat by the bookcase containing the class history books. There, instead of participating in school activities, I would spend my time huddled with Julius Caesar, Squanto, Ivan the Terrible, Robbispeare, Lincoln, Hypatia, J. Pierpoint Morgan and whoever else turned up that day. After school, I usually spent at least an hour sitting by myself in the Principal’s office paying for my incorrigible behavior.

Over the years, my history infatuation eventually focused on a few areas and eras. They are:

I. Breakout

About 70,000 years ago give or take 10,000 years a group of hominid’s, estimated as between a few hundred to a few thousand, crossed out of Africa and into Eurasia somewhere at the southern extremities of what is now the Red Sea. From this tiny band, almost all humans living outside Africa descend.

This group of humans met with a host of other humans who had left Africa in waves over the previous two million years. The humans our intrepid band met, many years later were given various names by wise men who study and opine on these things. Based on slight differences in bones, and DNA the wise men named these groups of humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans, Erectus, Physically modern humans (picture us but supposedly dumber) and others. Our merry band bred with their predecessors accepting those genes beneficial to them. Those who managed a gene here and there that was not beneficial died out before they could do too much damage to the gene pool. Eventually, these new humans spread throughout the world in what appeared to be lightning quickness supplanting all the diverse humans who had freely roamed the world for millions of years before they arrived.

Why?

Some say they were smarter. Others say it was because they knew how to talk better. And some even believe, it is because they got religion. But, I do not think so.

So again, why did they prevail over all the other humans roaming around?

Fish. They ate fish. No, that is not a joke. Of all the humans in the world at that time, this group that left Africa 70,000 years ago and their cousins they left behind were, as far as we know, the only humans who ate fish. Whether it was something genetic like lactose tolerance that separated them from the others or a sudden urge to experience the delight of an oyster sliding down one’s throat, I do not know — but it happened and everything changed.

This Ichthycultural revolution was every bit as transformational as the Agricultural revolution that occurred 60 or 70 thousand years later.

For about two million years, the ocean shore was a desert for Hominids and other Great Apes. The salt water was undrinkable and except for shorebirds and their eggs and coconuts, there was precious little food. The estuaries were saline, undrinkable and dangerous. The larger rivers and fresh-water lakes, at least in Africa were killing grounds, haunts of crocodiles, hippos, and apex predators. It is no wonder the hominids, like the great apes, restricted themselves to the uplands and for the humans the forest edges and the grassland where they could scavenge, kill now and then and with their more upright posture see danger and escape.

I suspect that for the most part those humans in South-east Africa that first discovered the wonders of the seashore travelled back and forth between the shore and the upland like the California coastal Native Americans did many thousands of years later— moving to the upland during migrations of the vast herds of ruminants or the flowering of favorite fruit trees. There they probably met other humans and bred with them.

Unlike the upland nomads, the fish eaters tended to spend far more time in relatively the same place. Greater food resources and stability allowed the development of many of the traits that allowed these people to survive and prevail. They tended to be healthier. The stable food sources encouraged them to remain in the same area longer and their tribal or family populations increased to units larger than the small bands of the upland nomads. Stability allowed more children to survive than those forced to travel more often and whose food sources were more uncertain. This, in turn, resulted in longer nursing and greater social interaction producing more complex language abilities. Even religion changed, I suspect. Early hominids unable to fully distinguish their consciousness from the word around them projected consciousness onto their environment assumed each thing, trees, animals, rocks and so on had its own consciousness (spirit). They also were fascinated with birth and death which they did not fully understand. Our fish eaters, due to their more stable residence, began to distinguish those spirits close by from those further away and to assign those nearer a less malevolent aspect.

Of course, perhaps the most significant difference between the fish eaters and the other hominids was their emerging sense of place and ownership. To the nomadic humans, who travelled in very small bands, conflict over a carcass may have caused demonstrations of dominance and aggression but rarely killing. We have little evidence these humans engaged in systematic violence and some evidence that they even shared habitations in the same caves.

For the fish eaters, however, mussel beds and tide pools were stationary and merely scaring off another band for the night was insufficient and more formal violent behaviors developed.

As the fish eaters developed their society along the South-Eastern African coast about 100,000 years ago, a seminal event was occurring far to the North — the ice age began. As the ocean water began to be trapped in the great glaciers, the oceans receded opening more mussel beds and tide-pools for the fish eaters to exploit and a coastal highway for them to migrate along when their local food sources played out or their tribes grew too large and had to split up and migrate. Eventually, they crossed out of Africa somewhere at the southern edge of the Red Sea which at that time was a series of large salt lakes and brackish streams.

After that, they moved with startling quickness along the edge of the Indian Ocean reaching Australia within 15000 years. Along the way, they travelled along the estuaries and streams and mated with the upland tribes that they met especially the so-called fully modern humans (upland Nomads that did not eat fish) sharing their genes for good or ill.

Meanwhile, the upland humans were not faring so well. Living in small bands, often too small to permit out breeding, they often suffered genetic maladies. Also, as the glaciers expanded diminishing their habitat, they were more and more forced up against the habitats of the far more numerous fish eaters and their progeny many of whom had intermarried and returned to their nomadic migratory ways until, as far as we know, the last remaining group of Neanderthals ended up living by the sea in a cave somewhere in Portugal, trying unsuccessfully to survive on seal meat.
(Next: The first centuries.)

DAILY FACTOID:

“Finance holds a disproportionate amount of power in sheer economic terms. (It represents about 7 percent of our economy but takes around 25 percent of all corporate profits, while creating only 4 percent of all jobs.
Foroohar, Rana. Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business. The Crown Publishing Group.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“When someone campaigns for the Presidency on a platform of Law and Order, he means that he will intensify the external controls upon behavior of which people do not approve. That is executive power.”
Carroll Quigley.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Donald Trump is ironic — like a Ringling Bros. clown is ironic.”
C. Today’s Poem:

From The Wayfarer

“The beauty of the world hath made me sad,
This beauty that will pass;
Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy
To see a leaping squirrel in a tree
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk.”
Patrick Pearse.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens have thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of rivers, trees, and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations, and corporations. As time went by, the imagined reality became ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagined entities such as the United States and Google.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 32). HarperCollins.

Categories: July through September 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Shadow 0005 (June 28, 2016)

 

Human society is not a deterministic system but a collective learning process”.
Victor Ferkiss

 
I HOPE YOU HAD A HAPPY WORLD GIRAFFE DAY ON JUNE 21.
REMEMBER JULY 15 IS NATIONAL BE A DORK DAY.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. ANDERSON VALLEY:

My route of choice from Highway 101 to Mendocino, Route 128, passes through Anderson Valley. I have seen many wonderful landscapes during my travels around the world. Anderson Valley is one of my favorites. It is more restful than exciting, more welcoming than beautiful. Years ago, when I had much more money than I have now, I considered buying a place here for my retirement. Instead, I found many other ways to throw away my money.

Do I regret it? No, that would change my experiences and memories. Without them, I would not be who I am but someone else. The loss of one’s past is a form of death.

Passing over the oak-forested hills west of Cloverdale, Route 128, enters a long valley with a few tiny towns, golden hills, orchards and vineyards speckled along it for about forty miles before burrowing through dark redwood groves and finally opening on to the coast at the mouth of the Navarro River.

In the center of the valley sits the town of Booneville, noted primarily for its residents having created a made-up language, like Esperanto, called Boont. Alas, like many indigenous languages under pressure from wealthier immigrants, (the wine revolution brought in a hoard of English speakers who refused to learn Boont) only a few old-timers are left who still remember the language.

This weekend Booneville hosted the Sierra-Nevada Music Festival, featuring an odd amalgam of folk music and reggae bands. The tickets, at almost $100 each, were too expensive for me so I spent a few minutes observing the crowd of concert goers. It was interesting how certain fashion styles persevere a long after their era has passed. Tie dye clothing and granny dresses predominated even among the young. There was even a glassy-eyed young man, stoned beyond redemption and covered head to toe in tie-dyed garments, walking down the middle of the street with a goat on a rope trudging along behind him.
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Orchards

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Golden Fields and Hills

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Vineyards
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The Redwood Forest.

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The Ocean and the Navarro River.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

My first morning in Mendocino, I had coffee with Maryann and George on their new deck.
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Later that day, we attended the Comptche Voluntary Fire Department’s Father’s Day Chicken BBQ. To call Comptche a small one-store town in the woods would risk prompting visions of grandeur among the residents.

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Here are Maryann and George enjoying their barbecue chicken and local beer.

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Barbecuing the chickens.
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There are places in the world where it appears time has stopped. In coastal Mendocino ,it seems to have gotten stuck in about In 1969. In the photograph below, the same ladies who I am sure danced on the local beaches during the height of the counter-culture dance to the music of the local ragtime jazz and be-bop rock bands that performed at the event. A strong whiff of smoldering cannabis mingled with the pungent fumes from the barbecue.
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Then I returned home to the Golden Hills where I spent my days in bed bemoaning my inability to think of any other appropriate way but swimming (which you recall was especially difficult and embarrassing trailing my catheter and urine bag behind) during the recent blistering heat wave. The temperature reached 104 to 106 degrees ( 40-41 degrees Celsius for those that figure these things that way) or more here in the Golden Hills beside the Great Valley. So I spent my time thinking great thoughts, like why 0 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale is where it is, sort of hanging out there on nothing except that you are pretty damn cold, unlike the Celsius or Kelvin scale where 0 is set at the freezing point of water or absolute zero. Well, for your information, 0 degrees on the temperature scale was based upon Mr. Fahrenheit’s (for whom the scale was named) measurement of when a solution of one-half water and one-half salt freezes. I have no idea why he thought that was so important.

So, now you know why and I’ll bet a thimble full of my bellybutton lint you’ve pondered that way more often than you’ve pondered why do fools fall in love. The reason one would not think about Why Do Fools Fall In Love is that it was a song sung by that great 13-year-old rock sensation Frankie Lymon in 1956 and is probably remembered only by people my age.

Anyway, I remember attending a concert at the Apollo Theater in Brooklyn headlined by Frankie and his group The Teenagers. After the show, while Frankie was leaving the theater, he was met by a group of toughs who asked him the age old question, “ You think you’re so great, don’t you?” To which Frankie unwisely responded, ‘Yes I do,” and for which he was soundly trashed while his home boys the Teenagers ran away. Frankie’s career never recovered.

If you have never heard the tune, I recommend you do so. I promise it will never again leave your mind. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sAHiR0rkJg) Here are the lyrics;

Ooooo wah, oooooo wah, ooooo wah, oooooo wah,
ooooo wah, oooooo wah, Why do fools fall in love

Why do birds sing so gay
And lovers await the break of day?
Why do they fall in love?
Why does the rain fall from up above?
Why do fools fall in love?
Why do they fall in love?

Love is a losing game,
Love can be a shame I
know of a fool, you see,
For that fool is me!
Tell me why, tell me why?

Why do birds sing so gay
And lovers await the break of day?
Why do they fall in love?
Why does the rain fall from up above?
Why do fools fall in love?
Why do they fall in love?

Why does my heart skip a crazy beat?
For I know it will reach defeat!
Tell me why, tell me why?
Why do fools fall in love?

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

FREE SPEECH: if money is free speech, what is it saying?

The United States Supreme Court declared money spent to influence opinion protected under the Constitution’s First Amendments right of free speech. This released a lot of financial free speech into the political process. Much of that financial free speech has been expressed in secret. Many of those using financial free speech have demanded this secrecy. My question is, how can secret communications be considered free speech? What right is being protected here? One’s free speech right is the right of individuals to express themselves in the marketplace of ideas. Certainly, it is not to shield someone from the free speech right of others to disagree?

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

During my return from Mendocino, I stopped at Booneville’s bakery and coffee shop for a breakfast. I ordered a coffee and a scone. As I sat down at a table by the window, I noticed a copy of the local newspaper that someone had left behind. I picked it up started reading as I ate my breakfast.

The newspaper’s masthead identified it as the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Its motto Fanning the Flames of Discontent sounded to me more like a call to scratch an itch than to a revolution. The paper also claimed that it is the Last Newspaper in California. I had no idea what that means.

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On the front page, there appeared a lengthy article entitled, The Courtroom As Porn Parlor. I surmised it would prove diverting and began to read. It reported on a trial recently concluded in Ukiah, the Mendocino County seat.

It seems that a 15-year-old girl from the coastal hamlet of Point Arena was, as has been common with teenagers forever, unhappy with the behavioral restrictions imposed on her by her mother, a single mother, who worked nights and whose husband, the girl’s father, lived in another state. The mom, in the running for mother of the year, responded to her daughter’s complaints by threatening her wayward daughter with being sent to live with her father, “And all his rules.”

The daughter, as teenagers will, sought solace elsewhere. In this case, on the internet, and in social media, especially rap sites and chat rooms. Eventually, and as expected, her pleas and complaints elicited a sympathetic response from a seeming sympathetic 25-year-old young man, Thessalonian Love. Rap Star Love as he came to be known in the article, resided at the time in the less than picturesque city of San Bernardino. One of Rap Stars earliest and perhaps most effective messages intended, I assume, to soothe emotional turmoil experienced by the troubled young lady from Point Arena declared:

“Yeah, I’m a guy, so show me them titties, bitch, and send me a ass shot!”

Responding eagerly to such endearments our ingenue and Thessalonian eventually agreed that he would travel to Mendocino, take her away from her drab existence in Point Arena and introduce her to the excitement of life in downtown San Bernardino.

Somehow, Mom got wind of this and when Love the Lothario presented himself at the girl’s school he was met not by the object of his affections but by the Sheriff who promptly arrested him on various charges of attempting to corrupt a minor and human trafficking.

The trial of Thessalonian Love aka Rap Star Love commenced with his lawyer’s opening statement to the jury that began:

“I don’t think 15-year-old girls still call it a pee-pee anymore,”

and continued;

“As for oral copulation, we’ve had President Clinton discussing it on TV long before this little girl was even born. And if any of you have listened to rap music, like most 15-year-olds have, you know it’s not unusual, or foreign and, frankly, these girls not only call their vagina a pussy, they refer to themselves — their gender collectively, despite the progressive achievements of the feminist movement — by the same terminology.”

And further on;

“We don’t know what this girl and her friends had to say about this ‘rap star’ coming to see her, but we can imagine they were pretty excited.”

Indeed.

The trial lasted ten days mostly made up of reading into the record or listening to the communications between the young lovers. I would like to imagine the jurors hearing the rap exchanges saw the young lovers as modern versions of Romeo and Juliet’s, but I doubt it.

However, as fascinating and entertaining as this may have been, it was not the most interesting thing that happened during the trial. No, not by a long shot.

The defendant took the stand. Unusual though it may have been, it, in itself, was not particularly interesting. What was, was that after a day on the stand attempting to explain himself, Thessalonian, began to lose hope, so after court was closed for the day, as he was being returned to the jail by the bailiff, Rap Star Love escaped.

The entire police force of Ukiah, including its four-person SWAT team and its K-9 Corps, was called out to search for him. They searched for him all night to no avail. This was odd because as cities go Ukiah is distinctly modest. In fact, even as towns go, Ukiah would still not shed its modesty.
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The next morning a bailiff on the way to the court spotted our Thessalonian standing motionless in front of the town’s Walgreen’s, took him into custody and after feeding him breakfast promptly returned him to the courtroom to resume his testimony — which the Rap Star did. Except that, not having slept all night, he would periodically nod off during questioning.

Later during the trial, after Love complained to his attorney bitterly and loudly (out of the hearing of the Jury of course) that he was not receiving the quality of defense for which he was not paying, his attorney was overheard responding:

“You haven’t listened to a single thing I’ve said, and now you are in so deep there’s hardly anything I can do to save you from even the weakest charges they have against you. So, please be quiet for a minute, and let me think how best to salvage this mess.”

Thessalonian Love was quickly convicted by the jury on all counts and now awaits trial for escaping while in custody before sentencing.

All I could think of as I finished reading the article was, “Who knew things like this happened among Mendocino’s rolling hill and vineyards.”

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

‘Fishing villages might have appeared on the coasts of Indonesian Islands as early as 45,000 years ago.’
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 48). HarperCollins.

NOTE: This is 35,000 years before settled agricultural villages first appeared in the Middle-east.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Makers and Takers:

“What happens when you give a bunch of financiers easy money and zero interest rates is that they go out and try to make more money. That’s what they are wired to do,” says Ruchir Sharma, head of emerging markets for Morgan Stanley Investment Management and chief of macroeconomics for the bank. (He is just one of many experts who worry about the market-distorting effects of the Fed’s unprecedented program of asset buying and low-interest rates, which reached an apex in the wake of the 2008 crisis.) “Easy money monetary policy is the best reward in the world for Wall Street. After all, it’s mainly the rich who benefit from a rising stock market.”

Foroohar, Rana. Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business. The Crown Publishing Group.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

The Tragedy of Progressivism

“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.”

“We progressives can slap ourselves on the back all we want, but as usual we 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 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.”

 

C. Today’s Poem:

From Childhood’s Hour

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then – in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life — was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view

E.A. Poe

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I confess to an uneasy Physiocratic suspicion… that we are throwing more and more of our resources, including the cream of our youth, into financial activities remote from the production of goods and services, into activities that generate high private rewards disproportionate to their social productivity,”

“I suspect that the immense power of the computer is being harnessed to this ‘paper economy,’ not to do the same transactions more economically but to balloon the quantity and variety of financial exchanges. For this reason, perhaps, high technology has so far yielded disappointing results in economy-wide productivity”.
James Tobin, a former member of Kennedy’s Council of Economic advisors 1984

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:
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HRM in Italy as the young DiCaprio

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Captain Nicola Reffo of the newly reestablished Serbian Airlines.

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 35 JoJo 0005 (June 19, 2016)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age, we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have. Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Baba Giufa

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On Saturday, Dick suggested a drive through an area of the foothills I had not visited before. I welcomed the diversion because I had become desperately bored spending my days in the Golden Hills without even HRM’s antics to divert me. Also, spending hours alone allowed me the time to pathologically dwell on my health problems, every twinge a creeping threat every small pain a message of more to come.

We set off down Latrobe Road.  Latrobe, as the main rail head 150 years ago, used to be the center of things in the area  until new roads and rail lines bypassed it. Now all that remains is a few stores and a gas station.
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I always liked this drive. As I watched the lonesome beauty of the oak-studded foothills pass by, I remembered long ago stopping by the side of a road like this, sneaking through the fence and climbing to the top of some gold carpeted hill. We lay in the shade of an oak tree drinking wine, eating some bread and cheese and smoking a joint. Later, beneath a cloudless sky, we made love. I was not very good at it. Not the drinking of the wine or eating the cheese, I was always good at those. Over the years, I learned the importance of pleasing your partner. It doesn’t just happen because you are in love or whatever. It no longer matters now, alas.

We turned east further into the foothills of Amador County and passed through some tiny hamlets I had never seen before.
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Small wineries began to appear here and there some with elegant restaurants attached.
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The wine region did not consist of large valleys filled with vineyards like in Napa, or the Dordogne or the rolling hills of Tuscany, but looked more like the vineyards of the Apennines — the crossing of a pine covered ridge into a tiny valley with a few vineyards then over the next ridge to another valley and more vineyards.

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Eventually, we arrived our destination, the town of El Dorado and a one-time biker bar now tourist attraction for aging ex-bikers named Poor Red’s. Poor Red’s was originally built as a weigh station for Wells Fargo. It was called Kelly’s Bar from 1927 until around 1945. A guy named “Poor Red” won the bar in a game of dice, and he and his wife “Rich Opal” took it over soon after. They ran it for many years until recently when Poor Red and Rich Opal were convicted of tax evasion. They now are serving time in prison and a new owner runs the place. The Gold Cadillac cocktail was invented here and the place is reputed to be the largest purveyor of the Italian liquor Galliano in the world — not much of a claim to fame but good enough for a tiny town in the foothills. After downing their signature drink and eating a not too bad pulled pork sandwich, we returned home.
Pasted Graphic
During the past few days, something occurred interesting enough that it prompted me to want to record it here. I decided to first spend a few days thinking over how I would write about it. Alas, I then forgot what it was that got me so excited. So, I decided to go to the movies instead.

The first movie I saw was Neighbors. I thought it was just meh. Two days later I went to see Nice Guys and liked it a lot. It was good to see a movie with clever patter to go along with an enjoyably unbelievable plot. A lot of people died. That was ok since most of them were bad guys and it was a comedy after all. I liked Russell Crowe as a fat PI — there was something Wellsian (Orson not H. G. ) about him. i then watched “my Cousin Vinny” on television for the umpteenth time and fell in love with Marisa Tomei once more.

After spending several days watching movies, staring at my computer screen and worrying about the health of my kidneys, I decided it was time for me to get away for a few days, so I left for Mendocino.

 

B. NONNA TERESA MAKES A BREAK FOR FREEDOM:

IMG_1928

Recently I got news that my 98 or 99-year-old mother (my sister and I disagree about her actual age and my mom refuses to tell us) fell and injured her head while trying to break out of the nursing home at which she resides. She was taken to the hospital where she had two stitches inserted in her forehead. She returned to her bed in the nursing home not too much the worse for wear.

A couple of years ago I read a novel entitled “The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away.” It told the story about a 100 year-old-man who ran away from his nursing home as they were preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday. He fell in with a group of criminals, grifters, and a sympathetic cop, made a lot of money and ended up living in Indonesia or someplace like that with his 70-year-old Thai girlfriend.

I always suspected that should my mom ever successfully break out of confinement, she would probably immediately organize a criminal gang of her own made up old ladies specializing in shoplifting and random muggings. She would then take her ill-gotten gains and settle down with her boyfriend in someplace like Colma in an apartment above a restaurant named “Nona Teresa’s Eggplant and Ditalini House.”

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The senseless tragedy in Orlando Florida saddens me — people slaughtered only because of whom they chose to love. Once again in America, an angry young man armed with a gun murdered a bunch of people he did not know because he did not like or approve of them for some reason or other. Shame on us.

What is worse, I am neither shocked nor horrified. I fear I (and perhaps many of us) am becoming inured to this senseless mayhem. Mass murder with guns is to be expected in today’s America. It has become as constant as the tides. Yet, we do nothing. Shame on us.

We are urged by those who profit from the nation’s sorrow, to pick up guns to defend ourselves in order to be able to kill those we do not like and fear before they do so to us. Alas, in all likelihood, this will all end only when the last of us kills the last of them and they pry our guns from both of our cold dead hands. Shame on us.

We live in a reign of terror where we never know if or when some young man with hate in his heart and a gun will turn that gun on us or on our children. Shame on us.

And yet, our government that under the Constitution is charged with ensuring “domestic tranquility” does nothing while many of our elected representatives tell us that this same Constitution requires this reign of terror in order to preserve our freedom and liberty. Shame on us.

I am sure we all have noticed that rarely does an angry young woman pick up a gun and slaughter a bunch of innocent people solely because she does not like something about what they believe or who they choose to love. Perhaps we are approaching gun control all wrong. Of the almost 1000 mass shootings in America since Sandy Hook all, every single one, has been carried out by a man (one San Bernardino, he had a female accomplice). Maybe only women should be allowed to possess and carry guns. Not only might this eliminate these horrid mass killings, but reduce the incidence of rape and domestic violence as well

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Since 1945, no independent country recognized by the UN has been conquered and wiped off the map.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 370). HarperCollins

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“By now it is clear to most thinking people that every decision we make on major public problems simply makes matters worse.”
Carroll Quigley in his review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis”,’1974.

 

B. Hierarchy of American belief in equality.

“Despite its proclamation of the equality of all men, the imagined order established by the Americans in 1776 also established a hierarchy. It created a hierarchy between men, who benefited from it, and women, whom it left disempowered. It created a hierarchy between whites, who enjoyed liberty, and blacks and American Indians, who were considered humans of a lesser type and therefore did not share in the equal rights of men. Many of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. They did not release their slaves upon signing the Declaration, nor did they consider themselves hypocrites. In their view, the rights of men had little to do with Negroes.”

“The American order also consecrated the hierarchy between rich and poor. Most Americans at that time had little problem with the inequality caused by wealthy parents passing their money and businesses on to their children. In their view, equality meant simply that the same laws applied to rich and poor. It had nothing to do with unemployment benefits, integrated education or health insurance. Liberty, too, carried very different connotations than it does today. In 1776, it did not mean that the disempowered (certainly not blacks or Indians or, God forbid, women) could gain and exercise power. It meant simply that the state could not, except in unusual circumstances, confiscate a citizen’s private property or tell him what to do with it.

The American order thereby upheld the hierarchy of wealth, which some thought was mandated by God and others viewed as representing the immutable laws of nature. Nature, it was claimed, rewarded merit with wealth while penalizing indolence. All the above-mentioned distinctions — between free persons and slaves, between whites and blacks, between rich and poor — are rooted in fictions.

Yet, it is an iron rule of history that every imagined hierarchy disavows its fictional origins and claims to be natural and inevitable. For instance, many people who have viewed the hierarchy of free persons and slaves as natural and correct have argued that slavery is not a human invention. Hammurabi saw it as ordained by the gods. Aristotle argued that slaves have a ‘slavish nature’ whereas free people have a ‘free nature’. Their status in society is merely a reflection of their innate nature.

Ask white supremacists about the racial hierarchy, and you are in for a pseudoscientific lecture concerning the biological differences between the races. You are likely to be told that there is something in Caucasian blood or genes that makes whites naturally more intelligent, moral and hardworking. Ask a diehard capitalist about the hierarchy of wealth, and you are likely to hear that it is the inevitable outcome of objective differences in abilities. The rich have more money, in this view, because they are more capable and diligent. No one should be bothered, then, if the wealthy get better health care, better education and better nutrition. The rich richly deserve every perk they enjoy.
Harari, Yuval Noah . Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 134). HarperCollins.

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

The two great lies:

The first is, ‘if you work harder, you will have a better life” — For some perhaps but probably not you. For society as a whole. however, every time we passed the threshold where working longer and harder, such as during the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the health, happiness and yes even wealth of the mass of people declined. But, some would point out, it allowed us to produce and accommodate far more of us. A questionable benefit if there ever was one.

The second lie is,“If we work harder, our children will have a better life.” Again yes for some, but, historically, for most the benefits were short-lived and eventually many of the children lived worse lives.

So what does this tell us? Work less, spend more time with your families and friends, live frugally replacing things with experiences, have fewer children with more adults caring for and loving them.

 

D. Today’s Poem:

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand
But came the waves and washed it away
Again I write it with a second hand
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.”
Edmund Spenser

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.”
Aaron Burr

 

 

 

A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM JOE HILL:

Long-haired preachers come out every night
To tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
But when asked how about something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet:

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
That’s a lie

And the starvation army they play
They sing and they clap and they pray
‘ Till they get all your coin on the drum
Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:

You’re gonna eat, bye and bye, poor boy
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
Dirty lie

Holy Rollers and jumpers come out
They holler, they jump, Lord, they shout
Give your money to Jesus they say
He will cure all troubles today

And you will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, boy, live on hay,
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

If you fight hard for children and wife
Try to get something good in this life
You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell
When you die you will sure go to hell

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When this world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:

Well, you will eat, bye and bye
When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry
Chop some wood, it’ll do you good
You will eat in the sweet bye and bye

Yes you’ll eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, and live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
That’s a lie….
Joe Hill, 1910

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 JoJo 0005 (June 11, 2016)

 

“Justice ought to be a synonym for mercy, not an alternative
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 215). Little, Brown and Company.
Happy Birthdays to Bill Yeates, my daughter Jessica and my mom (Nona Teresa).

Remember July 15 is National Be a Dork Day.
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Hold the Door, Hodor. R.I.P.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

Hot weather has struck the Golden Hills this week. The green grass has begun to show off its flaxen locks. The trees seem to bend beneath the weight of the sullen sun.

The Indomitable Oak Haiku

Of all the trees here,
the indomitable oak
Is my favorite.

A few weeks ago at my pre-travel medical checkup, they found urine in my kidneys and so I now carry around a catheter and bag. It is uncomfortable in the heat but, thankfully, will be removed well before I depart.

As far as my summer travels are concerned, it appears that instead of visiting Sicily after my sojourn through Milan, Sacile, Rome, and Sabina, I will be spending a week or so in Copenhagen and Malmo Sweden before departing for Thailand. The entire trip to Europe seems a bit too hectic for my tastes.

HRM, Dick and I spend our evenings agonizing over the Warriors’ playoff games. After the game, Dick and I would watch episodes of the Alec Gluiness’, Smiley Series. It really is time for me to begin traveling again and get a life .

The temperature has soared to over 100 degrees now for several days — close to boiling the piss in my urine bag. I had not checked the temperature at the beginning of the heat wave. Thinking it was only about 80 degrees, I persuaded myself that I was suffering heat flashes and exhaustion prior to my imminent demise. It was a relief discovering that I was expiring from simple heat stroke instead of some disgusting malady buried deep within my body.

One day, I went to a bar in Town Center named “The Relish Bar.” It specializes in serving hotdogs and hamburgers along with its drinks. I sat at the bar instead of one of the tables and ordered a hotdog with mustard and relish and a craft beer they had on tap. Next to me sat a woman with long straight brown hair. She was young, probably in her early twenties. In front of he was a half eaten hotdog smothered in ketchup, relish and sauerkraut and a whiskey of some sort on the rocks. I am highly prejudiced against people who put ketchup on their hotdogs so I decided to ignore her.

My order arrived and as I lifted my hotdog to my mouth I heard a sob. I glanced at the woman and noticed she seemed to be crying. “Mixing sauerkraut with ketchup will do that to you,” I thought. Nevertheless, I turned toward her and asked, “Is something wrong miss?” She turned towards me, a few strands of hair falling in front of her face, eyes fear wide with tears and said, “I don’t want to have to move to Canada.”

The catheter did not remedy the problem. So, I now have to submit to a series of tests and examinations. As a result, I had to cancel my trip to Italy and Sweden. I am disappointed to miss visiting friends and family in Italy and my trip to Sweden and Denmark. On the other hand, I was quite happy to avoid traveling with SWAC. So I hugged HRM and bid them both goodbye and left for Mendocino and the film festival.

Sadness at leaving
The ones who brighten our days
Makes journeys longer.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

Equipped with a new more comfortable urine bag, I hit the road to Mendocino stopping for a few hours in Petaluma to visit with Neal Fishman and his wife Maxine. Both Maxine and Neal worked with me at the Coastal Conservancy. He became the highly effective legislative liaison for the Conservancy.

We often forget that the real heroes omf a movement or an organization are those who labor at moving them ahead at critical points. Following my agreement with the Speaker to place 300 million in the first of a series of bond acts, Neal was instrumental in securing an additional billion dollars more in several park and open space bond acts that enabled the Conservancy to save much of the open space and develop many of the restoration projects that have preserved and enhanced coastal resources for all of us. His intelligence, openness, and understanding of legislators concerns helped make the Conservancy trusted on both sides of the political divide.

After leaving them, I drove on to my sister’s house, dropped off my things and walked to the theater to see the first film, “Jaco” about the great and tragic bass guitarist Jaco Pistorius. The next day I saw a film entitled “Trash Dance,” a documentary about dancing garbage men and women exposing their equipment. Both movies were entertaining despite the annoying tendency of most documentaries to interrupt the story line with interminable interviews.

Later, we attended a birthday party at the house of the Llama people (they breed llamas) next door to my sister where we ate magnificent paella made by the paella lady.
IMG_1916
Llamas always remind me of the Ogden Nash Poem:

The Lama
The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.*
— Ogden Nash

Two days later, I left for San Francisco and my mom’s birthday party. My sister and I disagree about her age. She maintains mom was born in 1918 and I believe it was 1917. In either case Happy Birthday mom.
IMG_1922_2

IMG_1928

Birthdays for the old
Like flowers in the springtime
Vibrant but too brief.

Then back to the Golden Hills and my medical tests.
* to which Nash appended the footnote,
“The author’s attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh.”

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In previous posts, I explored the Federal Government debt-deficit definitions and history. (https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/national-debt-and-deficit/ and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/14/1485087/-National-Debt-and-Budget-Deficits).

This post examines the historical size of interest payments on the Federal Debt and their impact on the Government’s ability to manage its budget. I hope it is easy to understand and possibly corrects some of the hysteria and misstatements on all sides about the Country’s ability to service its debt and its impact on governmental programs and national security.

Perhaps the most significant concept to keep in mind is how the interest on this debt relates to income. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to think about it in reference to a person’s household debt. Basically, it is not how much debt you have but whether your income is sufficient to meet the periodic payments to pay off your debt and allow you to retain enough money live a good and decent life and you expect that income not to change dramatically for the worse all of a sudden.

Now, some recent history:

1. Interest payments on the Federal Debt as a percentage of total federal outlays:

According to a White House report on the budget released in 2014 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2016/assets/ap_4_borrowing.pdf) the following are Interest payments on the National Debt as a percentage of total federal outlays at the beginning of each decade since 1950:

1950 (About end of Truman Administration) interest payment on Federal Debt amounted to 11.4 percent of all Federal Government spending.

By 1960 at the end of Eisenhower’s reign it had dropped to 8.5 percent.

1970, despite costs of the Vietnam War during this decade (through the Kennedy, Johnson, and half of Nixon’s administration), it had decreased to 7.9 percent .

By 1980, when Reagan assumed office, the ratio of interest payments to debt had increased to 10.6 percent largely because the inflation crisis of the 1970s increased borrowing costs.

Despite the end of the inflation crisis, by 1985, about half way through the Reagan administration, it had ballooned to 16.2 percent of Federal outlays where it remained until Clinton took office.

In 2000, when Clinton left office, it had fallen to 13 percent.

By 2014, it had further decreased to 7.4 percent where it has more or less hovered since.

So, today the ratio of interest payments on the Federal Debt to total federal outlays is among lowest it has been since 1950 (except for the early years of the Bush II administration as they used up the Clinton budget surplus).
2. Interest Rates as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP)

Perhaps more significant is the ratio of interest payments to GNP.

Interest payments on the Federal Debt as a percentage of GNP stood at 1.7 percent in 1950 and held relatively steady until 1980 when Reagan assumed the presidency. In 5 years it ballooned to 3.6 percent. Beginning with the Clinton Administration, It has steadily fallen until reaching 1.4 percent just before the Great Recession after which it grew to 1.8 percent by 2015. In great part, the recent growth was held in check by historically low-interest rates.

To conclude, it appears the ability of the Federal Government to pay our debts remains more or less equivalent to its ability to pay its debts at any time in the last 65 years or so and substantially better than during the Reagan years. So, the sky is not falling.

If there is something to be worried about, it is the explosive growth of private debt especially household debt. Government debt has not grown much over the years and when it has it has usually been to bail out overextended private Financial and Corporate interests of to fund a war.

 

So what about the future?

There are estimates that, if we do nothing, by 2020 Federal Debt interest payments as a percentage of total Federal outlays will rise to 12.4 percent and to 2.7 percent of GNP. High but still lower than during the Reagan years when it was “Morning in America.”

Nevertheless, perhaps, something should be done to moderate that potential rise. Cutting Federal Spending seems unlikely. As the following chart indicates, Defense spending, Medicare and Social Security seem to make up an outsized portion of Federal spending. Cutting Food Stamps may please some people and assist others in their re-election but they have no significant effect on either the deficit or the debt. Democrats will riot in the streets to prevent tampering with Medicare and Social Security while Republicans, the Military Industrial Complex and a few Democrats will fight to the death to prevent the cutting of a favored military system.

www.usnews

So what to do?

Well, modestly raising taxes on non-productive income and wealth such as capital gains could probably do wonders.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

I regret that in my last T&T I did not notify everyone that several years back, I had declared May 8 PUN DAY. A quick check of the internet turned up May 15 as Pun Day based on an algorithm that measured how many times Pun Day was mentioned on social media. In the UK, it falls on February 8. Other days also have been proposed. Austin Texas held an O’Henry Pun-Off World Championship on May 16.

Anyway, I wrote the following:

PUN DAY
During my travels, like many who go on vacation, I like to send to close and not too close friends emails (today’s postcards) regaling them of my good fortune in traveling the world and their ill-luck at being forced, for whatever reason, to remain at home. Not too long ago, I settled for a while in Jomtien Beach, Thailand and began to send out an incessant stream or emails regarding my new life. During a particularly frustrating period of trying to adjust to life there, I received a few emails from some of my correspondents commenting that my recent emails dwelled too much on the difficulties of my ex-pat life and were becoming a bit of a downer.

Although I thought I was just providing a humorous take on the foibles of my current situation, I took the criticism seriously and I realize that perhaps I may have fallen into a rut. So one morning when I awoke I decided to do something different and declared that day May 8, Pun Day.

I got the idea for this, as I usually get most of my ideas, from one of my favorite authors William Kotzwinkle. As with Henry David Thoreau, he is a favorite of mine — not necessarily because of his literary output (Although he did write the screenplay for “ET the Extraterrestrial” and the stories for the “Walter the Farting Dog” series) but for the audacity of attempting a literary career with a name like Kotzwinkle.

Anyway, in his novel “The Fan Man,” about an archetypical New Yorker who, during the hot sticky days of the New York City summer, travelled about the City holding in front of him one of those little battery operated fans to cool himself off (Hence “The Fan Man” in case you have not already guessed). In one of the chapters of the book our Fan Man wakes up and declares that day to be “Dorky Day” in which he would only speak the word Dorky throughout the day [By the way for those with interest is such things Dork is a common and respected name for boys in Armenia]. The remainder of the chapter, for about 10 to 12 pages, consists exclusively of the word Dorky repeated endlessly (Dorky,Dorky, Dorky… for those who may need help visualizing) broken only by the variously perplexed or angry responses of the other citizens of the City whose paths may have crossed that of our hero on that day.

Shakespeare must have eaten his heart out. Can you imagine what the world of the theater would have been had Hamlet instead of “The play’s the thing, in which we’ll catch the conscience of the King,” announced, “today is Dorky Day?”

Anyway, Pun Day comes also from one of my other literary mentors, Cuzin Irwin (to whom I beg forgiveness) who sent me the following:

it’s Snow White’s birthday.
The dwarves buy her a camera as a present.
She is ecstatic and takes pictures of everything she sees.

She takes the film in to be developed.
She goes back the next day to pick the pictures up.
The man behind the counter shakes his head as if to say, “No”.

Snow White cries.
The man behind the counter says
“Don’t worry Snow White, someday your prints will come.”

And for all you Snow Whites out there, may you prints come soon, but please always use protection or you may end up with a Kotzwinkle.

Have Pun.

Ciao…
Alas, with the coming of the smartphone, poor Snow White’s prints never did arrive. So, she went home with an Android.

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

A. The politics of race and age:

The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white (89 percent, in fact). 75 percent of Tea Partiers are 45 years old or older, moreover, roughly 60 percent are men. It is a movement of and for old white men.

B. Blame the immigrant is as old as America:

“The first known outbreak of yellow fever had occurred in 1703, before its malignancy even had a name. It was simply called “the great sickness.” The blame that first summer fell on a ship from St. Thomas that arrived in Manhattan peculiarly close to the beginning of the outbreak. Ever since, suspicion attached itself to these “vessels from one of the sickly ports of the West Indies.”
Collins, Paul. Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery. Crown/Archetype.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. A Story about the First Moon Landing:

“On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo II astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals.

One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favor.

‘What do you want?’ they asked?

‘Well,’ said the old man, ‘the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’

‘What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts?

The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorized it correctly.

‘What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts?

‘Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’

When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorized, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorized so carefully said, ‘Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.’
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 287). HarperCollins.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

1. I think it was Darwin who pointed out that one’s chances of surviving to breed are greatly diminished by disparaging the size of someone’s junk when that other person is carrying a machete.
2. Alas, the purpose of electoral politics in a democracy, such as ours, often seems to be to instill fear into the ignorant, ill-informed, naive and hopeless and to persuade them that they can become part of a great movement to find and eradicate whatever causes that fear.

It also seems that whenever the politics of fear overflows, it would be an appropriate remedy to choose as a leader of government someone chary of simple solutions with unknown consequences and repulsed by the cascading wall of emotions directed at punishing those whom the fearful have been led to believe are responsible for their problems.

C. Today’s Poem:

Jumping Off a Rock — “Haiku”

I jump off a rock.
The wind rushes by my face.
A splash of water.
By HRM

D. Today’s Psychobabble:

The four stages of competence:

1. Unconscious incompetence:

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.

2. Conscious incompetence:

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.

3. Conscious competence:

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

4. Unconscious competence:

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

I have always preferred to settle my life into Unconscious Incompetence and leave consciousness to those believing there is a benefit in competence.

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 JoJo 0005 (May 20, 2016)

“Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 390). HarperCollins.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
Complaining about the weather in California is like someone who makes $250,000 a year telling you how hard it is to make ends meet. I understand what they mean but have a hard time sympathizing.

For about a ten days or so here in the Golden Hills of El Dorado the skies have been mostly overcast with a light rain now and then punctuated by the light show that accompanies wonderfully loud thunderstorms. Because I still fear the thunder, I pull the sheets up about my ears.

One day, the internet router stopped working leaving me unable to access Facebook, HRM could not get into YouTube and Dick well… whatever. We desperately searched for the cause — unsuccessfully. It reminded me of many years ago running around the house with the Rabbit Ears, trying to clear the dreaded snow from the television screen so that I could watch Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.

Anyway, I ended up calling India or someplace like that where someone who I could barely understand re-booted the router and tried to sell me an application that he promised would allow me to fix it on my own in the future.

My plans for the summer continue to be unresolved. So far all that is settled is that I will leave on June 4 for Mendocino, then depart for Milan on the June 9. After that who knows. Sometime at the end of June or even early July, I will travel to Thailand and stay there for one or two months.

Jason and I are looking to buy a home in the Sabina area of Italy. This is the one we seem to have settled on. It has two bedrooms and comes with 57 producing commercial olive trees
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PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I have been reconsidering the presidential primary elections now that the number of candidates has been reduced to two and one-half. I used to think this year’s primary process was absurd and have written some snarky pieces about them here and elsewhere. The ridiculous behavior of many of the candidates and the vicious conduct of many of their supporters have turned the process of electing a President into an embarrassment for the electorate as the candidates and their groupies descend from schoolboy taunts to vicious and misleading attacks. Nevertheless, I suspect, something has emerged that transcends the words and policies of the candidates. Something that may be more revolutionary.

With Trump, what separated him from his primary opponents seems to be his appeal to the white male working class, frustrated at the bleakness of their lives. He promises them, at least, the comfort of symbols — pride, flag, country and a God of sorts. On the other side, Sanders has also attracted in great numbers the young white males, in his case from the intellectual elite and middle classes. White males, no longer the dominant voting block, have become a swing group. Still powerful because their interests or fantasies are reflected in the bias of the media to a far greater extent than the interests or fantasies of any other segment of the electorate — women, the young, the old, other defined minorities and so on.

In the middle, Clinton seems the favorite of women and most of those groups deemed non-white. All three candidates have focused their policies and appeals primarily on those groups who see in them the solution to their concerns about our society and their role in it. In other words, on one side there are the concerns and interests of women and the non-white minorities and on the other the white males divided into two groups by ideology and social standing.

The hatred of white males toward Clinton is unprecedented. Those supporting Trump and Sanders seem to be saying that somewhere there may a woman who could be acceptable to us but just not this one, even if most women disagree.

This Presidential election seems to be more or less a replay of the last two, except where the liberal white males joined in with minority voters and women to enable a black man to win they now are adrift and threaten not to vote if their choice is not nominated. Since American elections are decided not by who votes but who does not vote, these voters threaten to sit the election out to throw away their votes thereby effectively joining forces with those white males energized to vote for the candidate of the party they usually oppose.

Trump has no real policies to better the lives of his supporters. He does, however, assure them a balm to their fears and a slice of pride. Bernie, on the other hand, promises an updated traditional New Deal type Democratic solution to certain long-simmering economic problems. He is not particularly focused on the social issues faced by minorities and women.

Clinton, unlike the other two candidates who concentrate on a few hot-button issues that appeal to their primarily white male supporters, understands the job of a President encompasses much more than a simplistic appeal to the concerns of their primary support groups (e.g., Targeting Immigrants and Muslims or wall street and the rich). Nevertheless, she has her own support groups, women, non-white minorities and children on whom she focusses her attention. And that is her revolution.

It is not whether she is acceptable to white males (or males in general) because she speaks out on issues they believe important (like for example, Warren does about Wall Street or say Bachman on immigrants) that matters, but her concentration on female empowerment, something most men either fear or do not understand. It is not enough, for example, to restore Glass-Steagall to law and leave the male hierarchy intact in order to ameliorate the discomfort both the Trump and Sanders supporters have with Wall Street’s domination of the economy and the political process. Her revolution is her determination that the board rooms should also be dominated by women and minorities (preferably female minorities) and the hedge funds be run by women managers. Take a look at her proposal for the Federal Reserve. It calls not simply for the removal of the bankers on the boards, a proposal on which both she and Bernie agree, but their replacement by women and minorities so that the board looks and acts more like America. This is the revolution.

These have always been a central theme of Clinton’s policies ever since she first stepped into the public arena. If she is successful, it promises to become the major and most lasting revolution of the millennium.

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

While trolling through back issues of T&T, I came across a report of the following conversation I had with HRM in 2012 as we were driving back from the Bay Area after some medical tests:

“During the drive, I explained to Hayden that he had to make sure I did not fall asleep due to any residual effects of the anesthesia. So we played ‘What am I thinking.’ A game I learned from the Dalls as something they used on long drives to divert their children. At one point, during a lull in the game I mentioned to H. that talking was a good thing to do to keep me awake.

He said:

‘In that case, there is something you should know about me. I am really an alien from Cluton sent here by my parents. That is why I act like I do. I have three hearts and five stomachs one of which is dedicated exclusively to digesting fish smoothies. I also have three butts one of which I lost during the Butt Wars which we lost and is why my parents sent me here to earth. I am filled with ‘joy bubbles’ which allow me to float in air or water if I want. You should also know that music makes me crazy.’

With that, he turned on the radio to a music station and acted…well crazy until finally and thankfully he shut the radio off.

Who knew?

A few days later I learned about a television show, Marvin Marvin, about a boy also from Cluton who lives with an American family. Hayden tells me Marvin is his best friend and they arrived from Cluton together.
Hayden made me promise I would tell no one of his confession because if they learned he was an alien they would send him back to Cluton. I figured that the well-known discretion exhibited by readers of ‘This and that…’ would permit them to fall within the class of no one.”

4-up on 3-1-13 at 6.18 PM

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Today, the earth’s continents are home to billions of Sapiens. If you took all these people and put them on a large set of scales, their combined mass would be about 300 million tons. If you then took all our domesticated farmyard animals – cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens – and placed them on an even larger set of scales, their mass would amount to about 700 million tons. In contrast, the combined mass of all surviving large wild animals – from porcupines and penguins to elephants and whales – is less than 100 million tons. Our children’s books, our iconography, and our TV screens are still full of giraffes, wolves and chimpanzees, but the real world has very few of them left. There are about 80,000 giraffes in the world, compared to 1.5 billion cattle; only 200,000 wolves, compared to 400 million domesticated dogs; only 250,000 chimpanzees – in contrast to billions of humans. Humankind really has taken over the world.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 350). HarperCollins.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Simple Psychology: Dunning—Kruger Effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer an illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their own ineptitude and evaluate their own ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: highly skilled individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.

In my experience, the D—K effect among highly skilled individuals is their mistaken assessment of their ability to explain what they do to themselves as well as to the so-called relatively unskilled.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years, every justification of those structures has been developed by men to benefit men.

C. Today’s Poem:
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Sculpture of the poet Taliesin on permanent loan to the Order of Sancta Sophia, Pennal.

“I have been many things,
Before becoming as I am.
I have been a narrow multi-colored sword.
I have been a tear in the air.
I have lived as the faintest of stars.
I have been a word among letters,
A book among words.”*
Taliesin, 500 ACE
(*My revisions to translation).

The Birth of Taliesin:
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Ceridwen and Gwion Bach by Tim Rossiter.

“The magical story of Taliesin (t-ah l-ee eh-sin) – Hanes Taliesin – begins with the goddess Ceridwen (KEH-rihd-wehn) stirring her Cauldron over her cooking fire. Ceridwen is the triple-goddess in her form as elder or ‘crone’. Her Cauldron is the source of everything, for she is God in the aspect of Creator. At this point, the Cauldron is the source of poetic inspiration (awen in Welsh) and of all wisdom and knowledge. She has her son Gwion Bach (which might be translated “Little Man-ling”) stir and watch the pot. Accidentally, three drops fall from the Cauldron onto Gwion’s thumb, and he sucks his thumb. With this act he becomes filled with all knowledge – and, seeing danger ahead for himself, scurries.

There follows a magic hunt, in which Ceridwen chases Gwion, Gwion shape-shifts into a hare, then an otter, then a bird, and Ceridwen shape-shifts in pursuit. Gwion then becomes an ear of grain and Ceridwen turns herself into a hen and eats him. The symbolic meaning is fairly transparent: Gwion, the archetypal Human Person, acquiring a little wisdom, flees from fire (the cauldron) via earth (hare), water (otter) and air (bird), all of them changing forms within the great cosmic delusion of Creation (hence, “shape shifting”); but the Divine Mother is in constant pursuit, ever coaxing Her child back to Herself. Eventually, the Human becomes totally humble, submitting himself to a state of being (one grain) in which he can be wholly absorbed into the Divine Consciousness…….

…..and, as often happens in a story when grain is a symbol, he is reborn. The Hanes Taliesin tells us that Gwion now spends nine months in the womb of Ceridwen and is then reborn as Taliesin. Ceridwen wills neither to keep him nor to kill him, so she leaves him in a basket by Gwyddno’s royal salmon weir. There he is found by Prince Elffin, son of King Gwyddno Garanhir of Ceredigion.

Elffin is frustrated. He was there, allowed to fish for salmon for the first time in his life, and instead of catching any he caught this darned baby. The baby Taliesin immediately sings Elffin a poem, in which he proclaims himself “loquacious though not yet able to speak” (reminiscent of Krishna’s comparably surprising day-of-birth speech to his father), informs him “I was once little Gwion Bach but now I am Taliesin”, and promises the young prince that he will one day be worth more to him than even as inconceivably big a day’s catch as three hundred salmon.”
https://kingarthursomerset.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.… It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”
Liu, Cixin. The Three-Body Problem (p. 28). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

his and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Capt. Coast 0005 (May 4, 2016)

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“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was plowing fields and carrying water.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 101). HarperCollins.

Today, May 4, is Star Wars’ Day (see below).

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

It is April 15 and little has happened of note other than the passage of time. The sun seems to have made it beyond the spring clouds; morning follows night; things measured only by emotions; sleep disturbed by dreams. The great Elizabethan theatrical producer and sometime writer wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (The Tempest Act 4, scene 1) It is beyond rounded, more like impregnated the way ricotta impregnates cannoli filling. We sleep at night and often move through the day like we are still asleep, the mind wandering on its merry way as it does at night with little connection to the world around us. We live our stories, those narratives we tell ourselves until we pass beyond our service area.

It has been a week since I wrote the above. Things have happened but I have forgotten them. Perhaps, I wrote some down here but for some reason, they got erased. Anyway, it is raining today and I decided to skip exercise at the health club and stay indoors lying in bed snacking on grapes and Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes while I type this.

One day, I went for a walk on the “New York Trail” near my house. Along the trail, there are signs warning of mountain lions. There is one area that the trail passes through that I especially fear that mountain lions are hidden in the bushes. Below is a photograph of that stretch of trail. I usually turn back when I reach here. I did so again that day.

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Later in the week, Lena arrived in Sacramento. I met her there and took her to tour the State Capitol which she had never seen. She was thrilled with the restoration of the building and took many photographs. Then I accompanied her on a walk through Capitol Park beneath my beloved trees. She was less thrilled. We then went to the Crocker Museum where an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s portraits was on display. I preferred the nineteenth-century landscapes that make up most of the museum’s permanent collection.
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So, for about a week now I have suffered with a slight, but still miserable, cold. Last night was the worst — waking up coughing, raw throat, burning eyes sleeping fitfully with disturbing dreams. Finally toward morning following a rather disturbing event that I will not go into, I found myself traveling in the desert.

I was riding a bicycle pulling a small wagon loaded with camping equipment and a bottle of vodka. The desert landscape resembled the Burning Man in its early days, little encampments of shaggy people constructing oddly shaped dreams from refuse. I came across one that appeared to be a twisted derrick with a pod of some sort attached to it. As I approached, a bearded figure sitting in the crane shouted, “We are going to the moon.” And with that, the pod detached and shot up into the sky. I could see it contained a person since it had metal limbs extending from the pod. It was very exciting.

The pod, so high it was barely visible, circled the desert. Suddenly, it plummeted to earth, plunging behind a small building. The ugly loud crash startled a nearby flock of crows cawing into the air. I felt terrible.

The crows circled the small building for a while then returned to their roosts. From behind the building, a small woman, not elfin and slender, but broad-faced and broad-bodied came running trailing pieces of the pod behind her. She passed me with a big smile on her face shouting, “I made it! I made it!” With that, I decided it was a good point to wake up and start the day. And so I did.

While swimming one day, I noticed in the sky a wispy cloud that looked like the ghost horse (Pooka) all skeletal tattered and menacing. It disturbed me. Not because I am superstitious but because it forced me to stop and persuade myself that I wasn’t.
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Today while driving HRM to school he told me that it was Star Wars Day. “May the Fourth be with You.”

B. BOOK REPORT:

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British Warriors

I have just finished reading the last novel in Bernard Cornwall’s trilogy about King Arthur. Previously, I read the first nine novels of his series set in the time of King Alfred of England and his immediate descendants. While both series can be classed as historical novels, they each concern the life of a made up hero who has an out of proportion impact on the affairs of the kings and times they tell about.

We know that at the end of the Fifth and the beginning or the Sixth Centuries a warlord with the name of Arthur lived. We also know that during that time the Saxon invasion of England was temporarily halted and about a generation of relative peace followed. All the rest is legend and surmise.
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Arthur

Britain had a population of about 4 million throughout the Roman ascendancy. It collapsed to about 2 million within a few decades following the Roman legions departure. Many people left Britain along with the military. Some were Roman elite who returned with the armies to the remnant of the empire. Many others, the Celtic aristocracy primarily, emigrated to Brittany and Galicia in Spain. Most of the others died of disease, hunger and slaughter as civic order collapsed.

The Saxon migrations into the rapidly depopulating England, during the two hundred or so years it lasted, totaled only about 30 to 50 thousand people. The warbands on both sides rarely were larger than 100 or so armed men, not much bigger than a modern biker gang. They terrorized the small hamlets (about 50 families each) that made up most of the villages in the depopulated country. They killed the men raped the women and stole whatever goods the people may have had, until they realized that they could increase their profits by offering the villagers, for a price, protection from other biker gangs and, more likely, protection from themselves. With the extra money, they paid those who were better at playing the harp than fighting to make up songs about how great they were.
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British habitations following departure of Romans
Into this chaos rode Arthur and his 20 or so henchmen riding large war horses (Dark Ages Harleys) and engaged the Saxon gangs in a series of lightning raids into their turf. The horses were probably descendants of the mounts of the Samaritan cataphracts (Heavily armed mounted troops from Samaria) that the Romans imported to Britain to pacify the country.
I find it interesting that following the conquest of Britain by the Romans, they brought in an alien ruling elite and superior social organization but left the indigenous population subservient but intact. Relative peace and prosperity reigned over the island for four hundred years. Following the departure of the Romans, the native Britons fought amongst themselves until the Saxons arrived with their war of extinction. About 100 years following the peace Arthur secured after his victory at Mount Badon, the Saxons succeeded in driving the Britons into the mountains of Cornwall and Wales. Then, for about two hundred years, the Saxons fought amongst themselves until they also were faced with a war of extinction from Danish invaders. Alfred halted the invasion and his decedents pushed them back until about 100 years later the Normans conquered them all, Saxons, Danes and ultimately Britons, bringing in a ruling class that provided superior social organization and relative peace for the subservient indigenous population for the next 400 years or so — by then almost everyone thought they were English.

Anyway, all the novels were good old swords and a little sorcery along with a lot of grunting and killing in battles and more killing and raping after the battles ended and a lot of drinking of mead and ale and more killing and raping and a lot of oaths pledged and broken and Kings and Queens and starving and diseased peasants and so on.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

 

 

PETRILLO’S MUSINGS:

Adam Smith’s stated that “The profits of production must be reinvested in increasing production.”

I would assume from that that the good A. Smith may have agreed that if the profits of production go into building up wealth and not reinvested in increasing production, it is not Capitalism or a capitalist system but rather something else — perhaps something more like the royal system he lived in where the profits of production went to increasing the wealth of the entitled classes or into rent based assets.

Similarly, the debt and credit system are not Capitalism. They existed long before Capitalism developed. They proved exceptionally helpful and often assisted in increasing production but the bankers need for timely repayment is not the same as the investors wish for profit and may at times suppress production in order to satisfy the need for repayment. Also, as we have seen in the past 50 years or so, the bank based financial system encouraged the replacement of production with production-less wealth creation, thus requiring government to periodically step in to boost confidence by transferring public wealth in order to prop up the banks thereby making non-production based assets even more valuable. In effect, companies producing goods can fail but banks producing paper wealth cannot. I always felt that the banking system, since it often in the long run substitutes debt and credit for investment, risk and the reinvestment of the profits into increasing production is the anthesis of Capitalism.

Corporations are not Capitalism. They are a state sponsored scheme to encourage investment in production that investors would otherwise consider too risky. True, like debt and credit they may be helpful and perhaps essential in increasing production but they also have downsides. Investors having significantly limited liabilities as well as microscopic ownership interests leave operational oversight, to management, a few large investors, and various investor agents all of whom may have and often do have interests other than increasing production. They also, in the long run, substitute organizational preservation to production. Reinvestment of the profits of production in increasing production becomes a far lower priority to keeping Wall Street happy.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

‘Kushim!’ is the first recorded name in History. He was an accountant in Mesopotamia somewhere about 5000 or more years ago. It is interesting and telling that the first recorded name in history belongs to an accountant, rather than a prophet, a poet or a great conqueror. The second name we know from about the same time in Gal-Sal. He was a slave owner and the next two names we know about were his slaves En-pap X and Sukkalgir. So the first people whose names we know of were an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves — no heroes and no Kings. The first King’s name showed up a couple of generations later.

What this shows is that little has changed in 5000 years. The world is still run by accountants, business owners (slave owners) and workers (slaves), Kings, Heroes, and Prophets are just entertainment.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Religious Thoughts:

No one knows if God exists.
No one knows if He does not exist.

In the beginning ,there was the Singularity. The Singularity became the Universe.
The Universe generated life.
Life evolved in complexity and awareness until it delivered a symbol using, self-aware entity we call Humanity.
Humanity then ordered its perception of everything into the known, the Empirical and into the unknown, the Belief and the ethical, the Moral.
The empirical system most complex, organized and integrated we call “Science”.
The belief system most comprehensive we call “Religion”.
The unknown is infinite.
The known is ever expanding and evolving.
Science and Religion are one and cannot conflict.
The unknown remains infinite as Science expands.
When Science discerned the earth was not the center of the universe religion continued unlimited.
Whoever claims that the fruits of Science are wrong because they conflict with Religion are wrong.
All things change and evolve, the form evolves, the science evolves, the religion evolves. Even God evolves.
Humanity enunciated (developed) the prime Moral rule, “Do good and avoid evil”. All religious sects agree.
Humanity put forth the means to carry out the prime rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you,” Most religious sects have enunciated this rule in one form or another.
It means the individual measures the rule.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Humans and domesticated animals are two of nature’s evolutionary success stories. Unfortunately for domesticated animals, there is only too often a vast discrepancy between evolutionary success and individual suffering.”

C. Today’s Poem:

A young man’s plea for the return of his wife

“Of marriage? Judge, I want to say,
It’s deep and homeward, safe and soft,
As evening birds make to their loft,
Or horses to their beds of hay.”

“Of women I knew nothing deep;
I lived alone and worked my fields,
And fed my cattle, milked their yields,
And nightly, wearied, laid to sleep.

But I believed that man needs more,
And so I set myself to learn
Of marriage, everywhere I turned,
By watching couples evermore.

I saw young men with beardless cheeks
Dancing with their shining brides.
I saw old gray-haired men besides
Look fond as though they’d wed but weeks.

And then I thought and thought so much
Of what Life needs to make it pure,
I understood man must be sure,
Yet tender with his loving touch,

And never coarse and never mere,
Watchful that he do his duty,
Husband, lover, to his beauty,
Trusted guardian of his dear.

I thought and thought of how I might,
Love a woman who would give,
Her hand to me and come and live
Beneath my roof from morn till night.

I found a woman, sweet and pretty,
Good of nature, clear of eye,
Kind in spirit, soft of sigh,
Who didn’t need me to be witty,

Who knew that I could love with force,
Who judged my feelings were sincere,
Who sensed that I would hold her dear,
Who saw I was an untapped source

Of kindness, warmth and deep affection,
Care and conscientious thought,
Who believed a true man ought
Give his wife his best protection.

She married me, I married her,
A day of days, the sun shone brighter,
Our hearts, we found, were never lighter,
And then I knew it—love’s the spur.”

“For the short time we were married,
I did my best to love this girl,
I never grizzled like a churl,
And always made sure that I carried

Heavy weights, like sacks or logs
Or furniture from room to room,
I combed the horses with the groom,
And fed the cats, the birds, the dogs.

The other matters that I tended,
Sweeter things that women need,
A lovely flower, a glass of mead,
A smile to praise a garment mended.

I ate her food with hearty joy,
I chose for her the finest leather,
For boots to brave inclement weather,
Loved her hearty or when coy.

If I came into the house,
And she stood there, unawares,
I chased her laughing up the stairs
And kissed her neck, soft as a mouse.

Every night I held her close,
Stroked her softly, caresses deep,
Smoothed her forehead, and in sleep,
Held her safely till she rose.

As I speak these words this morning,
It must sound as though I brag,
But my motive is to drag
My hurt heart out of its mourning.”

“The truth is, judge, I lost my lady
Not to any man who’s moral.
Pretty soon he’ll pick a quarrel,
And he’ll dump her somewhere shady.

But if she’ll come and take my arm,
I’ll so love her, so regard her,
Do my best to work much harder,
Even try and learn some charm.

I may be dull and somewhat boring,
But I love her perfect skin,
And the way she tilts her chin,
And her little whispered snoring.

I love the way her tiny hand,
Can crack a nut, or milk a cow,
I love above all that she knows how
To draw pictures in the sand

Of faces, insects, beasts, and birds,
And writes rhymes that never scan.
She whistles better than a man;
I love her sense of the absurd.

We dwelt quietly on a hill…
I’m an ordinary man…
Her body’s soft, much softer than
A fledgling’s—God, I love her still.”

Delaney, Frank. Ireland: A Novel (p. 203). HarperCollins.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally, they reach a point where they can’t live without it.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 87).

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Joey 0005 (April 13, 2016)

“If you find yourself thinking in circles, stop thinking.”
Wight, Will. Of Dawn and Darkness (The Elder Empire: Sea Book 2). Hidden Gnome Publishing.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

So, I returned to Kirkwood with my grandson Anthony who was to give a skiing lesson to a truly remarkable three-year-old. I also met their equally remarkable parents, a Thai couple who fled Thailand to avoid an arranged marriage and spent weeks homeless in Detroit. He eventually got his engineering Master’s Degree and she completed her education also. At some point, they moved to California where she works at Stanford Hospital in the Neurology Department and he quit his job to become a full-time house-husband.
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We spent the evening in a comfortable cabin with a great view.
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Since then it has been back to the same old grind, in between driving HRM to and from school, I swim, nap, eat and read. Sometimes I drive HRM to his Flag Football games and to his Basketball training.
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One day, with little else to do, we visited The Serpentarium to search out a replacement for Puff the Bearded Dragon.

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Not at night, however, is my existence so peaceful. My dreams are not nightmares since there is no fire breathing mare bearing down on me, no fear of injury or death, just hopelessness and a suffocating frustration. I drift, not knowing if I am awake or not until I hear my heartbeat and feel the room around me.

A few posts ago, I wrote a poem, The Night of the Succubus. While I drift in my half-wakened state, I feel as though I had just encountered it in those dreams leaving me exhausted and disturbed. Often I cannot get back to sleep for hours. Strangely, unlike my usual dreams they disappear from my memory almost instantly when I wake up — gone without leaving a story behind, only dread.

A few days ago, I realized that a memory I had cherished was fake. Many years ago I lived in Little Italy in New York City, on the top of a seven-story walk up while attending Law School. After I passed the bar and began to try cases, whenever I would win at trial (and I always did) in the nearby law courts, I would walk to Vincent’s for a dish of Calamari covered their hottest hot sauce (it was almost purple) and begin my drinking for the night. Little Italy, where I also remember nights walking down the steps to the mob run Blue Grotto for Lobster Fra Diavola and fried mozzarella.

I also carried other memories of Little Italy — its tiny restaurants in a covered bazaar with Chinese produce markets next door — travels with my grandfather to meet relatives on a side street, Mafiosi all, silent unsmiling men and stern-faced women. These last two memories I realized were only dreams I thought were real. Dreams I had carried throughout my adult life as real to me as anything I had experienced. Gone now.

Will my memories, one by one, prove to be fakes and disappear until none remain when I die? Perhaps it’s that I have been dreaming about these past few days.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto — Update.

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About 4 years ago, I wrote a series of humorous and not so humorous posts about us, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, that we, in a fit or pathological grandiosity named ourselves and that can be translated as Wise Wise Men, Very Smart Guys, Wise wise Guys, Smarty Smarty Pants, Smart Asses and so on. We needed to repeat Sapiens twice because we discovered guys, way back when, who looked pretty much exactly like us but seemed to be not so smart so we added another Smart to make sure no one confused us with them. And, before I forget, we called ourselves Homo, Man, and not human or men and women, or us even, because in the beginning, most of this stuff was written by men who liked to use a dead language to show that they were very smart and you weren’t and that women were not men and not worth a fig.

The previous posts were prompted by some new scientific discoveries about these wise guys and girls that had blown the minds of the Latin-spouting smarty, smarty pants (Homo Sap. Saps.) The first discovery was that although there were a number of what the Latin-spouting smarty pants named Homo something or other living at the time Smarty, smarty pants dropped by, such as, Homo floresiensis [Flower man from Borneo or someplace like that. Only three feet tall and perhaps an early Leprechaun or Hobbit]; Homo Erectus [Erect man — don’t think to hard about this]; Homo tsaichangensis [The guys from Taiwan]; Homo neanderthalensis [The big German guys]; Homo rhodesiensis [Our man in Rhodesia or Zimbabwe]; Homo sapiens idaltu [Fairly smart folks from Ethiopia {Tall too}]; Archaic Homo sapiens [Cro-Magnon or not so wise old people] and Red Deer Cave people [your guess is as good as mine], there lived someone in a cave in a God forsaken part of Russia, without a Latin name. Well, this shook everyone up who was into this sort of thing. After all, who knows how many people were out there at that time without Latin names. Anyway, they gave her and her people the temporary name Denisovans after the God-forsaken cave they found her in entertaining some big Germans and Wise Wise Men and who knows what else.
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Oh, and by the way she was obviously a her and that’s really when the bones began to hit the fan.

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Deni Denisova herself.

You see, at about the same time, DNA sequencing (similar to NSA spying but smaller) became all the rage and someone decided to do a DNA sequencing on Deni’s (my name for her) knucklebone and tooth, about all of her they found, to see if they could discover something and become famous on social media. And oh did they find something!
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Deni’s Tooth — One can tell by the state of her tooth Deni chose another profession over becoming a dental hygienist.

First, we have to understand that perhaps three or four hundred years ago some guy living in Europe decided it would be good and perhaps even biblical to give all living things Latin names. And it would be even better to divide them between those that looked a lot alike but each thought the other was so ugly they did not want to breed unless it was closing time and they were both blind drunk and if they did, their children, if there even were some, would be so screwed up they would avoid bars altogether. These they called species another Latin word meaning species. For example, in the Genus (see below) that includes Horses, Donkeys, and Zebras, we know that horses find donkeys as ugly and sin and vice versa, but should they be forced into it would produce an unwanted bundle of joy that would be a mule and have no Latin name and no prospects.

The other word was genus which meant all the species that looked more alike than they looked like others. Then they gathered all these genuses into something called Families for some reason and Families into other Latin names and so on. But, we do not have to concern ourselves with that now.

So, what was the surprise? Well, even though my old college professor Carroll Quigley said it was not so, most of the Latin namers believed the various Homo’s ( By the way, having realized that more than half of the members of the species were not men which is what the Latin word homo means they tried very hard to make amends by insisting Homo really meant “human or something else or changing it to something like hominoid (mannoid) all of which remains, at best, problematical solutions to repairing bruised egos.) Anyway, they believed these species thought each other unredeemablely ugly and so avoided having children with them or at best played lonely shepherd in the night.

Well, low and behold, what they discovered was that Deni was keeping a cave for more than just getting in out of the cold. Not only was Deni offering her services to those hunky but low brow Germans, but us, or at least our long dead grandparents as well. Later, we discovered our long ago grandmothers and grandfathers were doing it with the Hunky Germans and God knows who else also. It seems that about 60,000 years ago those caves were the hookup bars of the Stone Age.
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It was bad enough to find out that our ancient grandparents did not honor family values but that the parts of our genes our brawny cousins gave us were often the best, like our immunological resistance. Since it was not too long after this that our cousins disappeared, it perhaps could be argued that the portions of DNA we gave them was similar in effect to the small-pox the Europeans gifted the Native Americans with.

Since then there have been additional developments, perhaps not so momentous, but those will have to wait for my next post.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Some have asked where the name Pookie came from. I have explained that when HRM was a little over one-year-old, I used to call him ‘pookie’ whenever I came home from work. He, thinking I was saying my name, began calling me Pookie. So the name stuck to me and not to him.

But that begs the question — What is a Pookie? Well perhaps it comes from the old Irish word Pooka (or Phouka or Puca)

THE POOKA (PHOUKA, PUCA)
Pooka
Pooka

No fairy is more feared in Ireland than the pooka. This may be because it is always out and about after nightfall, creating harm and mischief, and because it can assume a variety of terrifying forms.

The guise in which it most often appears, however, is that of a sleek, dark horse with sulfurous yellow eyes and a long wild mane. In this form, it roams large areas of the countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms.

In remote areas of County Down, the pooka becomes a small, deformed goblin who demands a share of the crop at the end of the harvest: for this reason several strands, known as the ‘pooka’s share’, are left behind by the reapers.

In parts of County Laois, the pooka becomes a huge, hairy bogeyman who terrifies those abroad at night; In Waterford and Wexford, it appears as an eagle with a massive wingspan; In Roscommon, it appears as a black goat with curling horns.

The mere sight of the Pooka may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk, and it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to swoop them up onto its back and then throw them into muddy ditches or bog-holes. The pooka has the power of human speech, and it has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight dashes. If that person refuses, the pooka will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.

The origins of the pooka are to some extent speculative. The name may come from the Scandinavian pook or puke, meaning ‘nature spirit’. Such beings were very capricious and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock. Alternatively, the horse cults prevalent throughout the early Celtic world may have provided the underlying motif for the nightmare steed.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Two great lies.

“If you work harder you will have a better life” — For some perhaps but probably not you. For society as a whole, however, every time we passed the threshold where working longer and harder were required, such as during the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the health, happiness and yes even wealth of the mass of people declined. Those who worked less, royalty, administrators, merchants and military fared much better. But, some would point out, there were far more of us. A questionable benefit if there ever was one.

“If we work harder our children will have a better life.” Again yes for some, but historically for most, the benefits were short-lived and eventually most of the children lived worse lives.

So what does this mean? Work less, spend more time with your families and friends, live frugally replacing things with experiences, have fewer children with more adults caring for and loving them.

B. Today’s Poem:

I Am Not Old

I am not old…she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
~ Samantha Reynolds ~

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens have thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of rivers, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and corporations. As time went by, the imagined reality became ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagined entities such as the United States and Google.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 32). HarperCollins.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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The Death of Cleopatra, painted by somebody with an overwrought imagination.

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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