Daily Archives: February 6, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 25, 2010

Well, it looks like I will be leaving my pollution shrouded idyll in the north of Thailand to enjoy a few days at the beach. On Friday I will be leaving Chiang Mai and traveling with Hayden first to BKK and then to one of the beach resort towns along the Bay of Thailand. We hope those few days will clear our lungs a bit. We will return on or about Tuesday. In the mean time I will leave you with a photo essay of the World Club Land overwrought wrought iron (mostly) front gate designs. First my wooden, hand-operated, embarrass the neighbors gate; then the electrically operated super magnificence of my across the street neighbor; then the main gate of Hearst Castle jr. (I believe he maintains a permanent staff of illegal Burmese to operate it) and finally the gate of someone deciding he had enough of people knocking at his gate for contributions to the Christian missions and moving out (I may join him).


From Irwin:

wait a minute. that house for sale has a star of david on the tree. what’s up with that?

Joe responds:

You noticed.

I have no idea, but like I said he probably had enough of the baptist riff-raff moving into his neighborhood and trying to convert everyone.

Do you think I have been to harsh on my missionary friends?

From Irwin:

good news for the last two days: I had no problem going to the bathroom and no bills came in the mail!!

bad news for the last two days: you should be able to tell I am using my lap top computer because my pc picked up a virus. I took it to staples, who later called to tell me that it was fixed for $129.99. I went there , picked it up and I brought it home. I couldn’t get on the internet. I called time warner (technician in bombay or bkk?). we concluded that my Ip address was all f____d up. I called staples. suggested I bring it back to see if they could connect to the internet there. I arrived there 10 minutes after I hung up. mr. computer was gone. my blood pressure medicine wasn’t working and my head is now puffed up and about to burst. my computer is now sleeping at staples. we will see if they call me tomorrow; however, whatever they do I have the feeling I will still have to deal with time warner and that likely someone from that fine company will have to come out to the house at their own risk.

my car battery died overnight and I had to call aaa.

I had to spend most of the last twenty-four hours dozing owing to a deep sense of dissatisfaction with my existance.

I am through with the steroids I have been taking for my runny nose. my nose has started to run again but I can now bench-press 450 lbs.

Irwin again:

cuz joe – a few emails ago you wrote about your unexpected new association and subsequent dealings with the parents of hayden’s new friend, who is of the baptist persuasion. although I have sixteen grades of schooling (not as many as you, esquire) I remain lost in your discourse about various aspects of religion (perhaps my dreamy west-coast education versus your rock solid east-coast education explains it). as an afterthought, my sincere and respectful recommendations to you are: (1) avoid these people at all costs; (2) if “(1)” is impossible limit conversation to bodily sounds, low murmurs and minor salutations such as “good morning”, “goodbye”, “ugh”, etc., taking particular pains to avoid expression of all views of a religious nature; and/or (3) if “(1)” and “(2)” is impossible, then start drinking…heavily.


Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 22, 2010

It has been and interesting last few days, at least for me it has. On Saturday my sore throat and coughing had gotten so bad that I had to seek medical assistance. So, I went of the doctor who prescribed antibiotics, anti-congestion medicine and some little red pills to suppress my cough reflex. The package seems to be working. It cost me $9 for the doctor visit and $33 for the medicines (That’s the Farang [white people] uninsured costs); not as good as Medicare, but not too bad either.They also call me to ask how I’m doing and if I am taking my medicine.

Everyone must know by now my feelings about the American fundamentalist missionaries inhabiting the neighborhood. Of course it was destined that Hayden would make friends with the son of a missionary couple. They (the parents) have become as close to friends as I have here. I comfort myself with the delusion that they are the proletariat of the missionary class. Those that labor in the fields of the lord so to speak.

He, (I will not give their names to protect them from the risk of an Auto-da-fe) and she are employed by the Southern Baptist Convention and come from the US South. Her father is an ex-hippy guitarist now survivalist who retreated into the mountains around Eugene Oregon (where else) after having spent his best years in good old SF during the 60’s fathering an impressive number of children including our missionary.

He is assigned to brave the murky Muslim-Hindu waters of Bangladesh teaching modern emergency medical care to the inhabitants of the remote villages and picking up the odd soul here and there to add among the elect.

We try to avoid theology and instead meet in the “gosh ain’t it awful” field of human communication with our mutual antipathy for hierarchy.

It seems there is a developing rift between the “Mythologists” as he calls the workers in the field and the administrators and seminarians. The Mythologists are pleased whenever they locate someone who recognizes a similarity between their tradition and the so-called “Peace” message of the New Testament. The “Seminarians” appear to be only interested in the number of baptisms for that quarter. The wife added “and we don’t agree in buying baptisms either.” I immediately could see where they were out of the mainstream of American theological thought and needed the protection of anonymity.

He then told me that one of his students went back to research the Vedas and found passages that indicated that the supreme deity or Poo-bah (A Hindu word) indicated that he would send someone to bring peace to the land. I agreed that was a terrific insight and suggested that we create a new religion where we jettison the Old Testament and its dyspeptic homicidal god and replace it with the Vedas and the New Testaments as the revealed books. My suggestion was ignored.

He did come up with one item if information that I appreciated. I had gone off on my rant about the evils of hierarchical organizations, whether public or private, that reward those in management who produce little of value to the organization when compared to the laborer (white-collar or blue) and suggested management positions should only go to those willing to take a pay cut. He pointed out that his organization pays everyone at the same rate, increasing it only based on seniority. “How un-American, socialist, and unchristian” I thought.

My missionary friend told the story that he had asked some Bangladeshis how it was that Muslim would kill Muslim as they did during the revolt of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
They explained that the Pakistani soldiers were told they were killing Hindus and therefore they had no problem. However when the soldiers lifted the tunics or whatever of the dead they found they were circumcised. They then realized that the people they had killed were not Hindu but were either Jew or Muslim men (women did not matter) and while it was all right to kill them if they were Jews it was definitely a no-no if they were Muslims. In either event, they understood that they had been lied to by their leaders and refused to fight anymore. And that is how Bangladesh became the independent, economic and social basket case it is today.

Anyway all this kumbya was ruined when he mentioned that since it was Sunday he had to get to a church service. To my annoyance he invited me to come along. He said it would be a unique and unusual service in that they would sing a few songs, then read a few verses from scripture and discuss how they apply to their lives. There would be no minister but the most knowledgeable there would help the individuals in their self-analysis. I told him It sounded a lot like Hill-el developed 2000 years ago when he and his followers created Rabbinic Judaism. His smile turned into a grimace. “Maybe next time” he said, picked up his guitar and piled his family into their SUV and went off.

As Hayden and I walked home, I wondered why the mere mention Judaism would produce that sort of reaction. After all, unlike the other people of the book, Christians and Muslims, who run around the world-beating each on the on the head and demanding join each other’s men’s club (and men’s clubs they are) or they will kill you, Jews don’t even want you to join their club and certainly do not want to join ours.

When I got home and took my nap and had a biblical dream that I will not relate here for fear of offending everyone. However if anyone would like to hear my revelatory dreams drop me a line. They are titled “Successful camel breeder and brewer forms new mens club and almost kills son in process” and “Oh my God” squeal the women of Jerusalem as Jesus of Nazareth tips the scales on Paul of Tarsus”. Needless to say I woke up in a cold sweat.

That night I invited my missionary friends, Jerry the New Zealander and his wife Choti who is the principal of the school, two New Zealand taxi drivers and their girlfriends who were visiting Jerry, Mac’s father, whose name is Oo by the way and the 4 and 5-year-old children of the various guests. We ate at the outdoor street end restaurant run by the shriveled up lady that I mentioned in a previous post. The total meal for everyone cost me $30 half of which was for the beer and wine.

The mysterious building pictured in my previous post is a crematorium. It was in use today as I passed. It looked like a Thai biker gang was sending off one of its members into the joy of re-incarnation. The superstitions of the Thai’s fear of ghosts depressed the prices of the land near the crematorium enabling Choti, the principal of the school to get the land on which it is built, at a low price.

Today’s photos are of the School and the school yard.




Hot again. Lying on bed sweating. Rain brought a morning’s respite from the air pollution but my throat is feeling its return this afternoon. No exercise, just lying in bed. Typing at times, sleeping mostly.

SUNDAY MARCH 21 2010, 9:30 PM

Interesting few days. Went to Hospital yesterday for relief of my sore throat and coughing. Dr cost about $9 and 6 day antibiotics, decongestant/expectorant and cough suppressant $30.

Hiromi deposited $2766 Tax refund into my account. I removed about 20,000 baht. Deposited 12,000 into Thai account (What Happened to the remaining 8,000?).

Last night Hayden told me some interesting things that I relayed to Nikki. See email.

Spent morning with Micah’s parents. Southern Baptist Convention Missionaries. Husband spends most of his time in Bangladesh teaching emergency first aid and trying to convert muslims. Wife daughter of hippie father. Conversation mentioned a Bengali telling H. Veda seemed to suggest need for a JC. I suggested that maybe that is a good reason to throw out the old testament.

H. invited me to attend a what he termed an unusual Sunday service in a house to discuss bible passages and their personal meaning. I mentioned that it sounded a lot like a traditional Jewish service.

When I got home and took my nap I dreamed of something like this:

I saw old Abraham in his tent drunk on fermented camel’s milk surrounded by his sons. Outside the tent his wives, concubines and slaves tended the cook fire and drew lots to see who would sleep with the smelly old bastard that night.

Old Abe was raving about the rejection of his application to join the Babylon Men’s Camel Dung Rolling Club. That’s when he realized the truth. “O my God I must be Jewish”.

“Why would I want to join their damned club anyway” he shouted “they could not be very exclusive if they would allow someone like me living in a tent join”. And with that antisemitism and jewish humor were born.

“I will form my own club and will not let anyone join. I will show them real exclusivity”.

Isaac, a pimply faced overweight adolescent, feared this could lead to the end of his sneaking out of the tent at night after the old man passed out  for some action with the sweet-smelling Babylonian girls leaving him only with the camel herding women his dad preferred, protested. “We can’t do that we don’t have a membership card or anything.”

Abe stared at Isaac who he dislike and surmised was probably gay. He thought “maybe I should kill him now before he gets a chance to breed”.

“We will make our own membership cards”. “Clay tablets” Abe announced.

Everyone groaned. “No you’re right, too heavy. It will break the line of our tunics. Tattoos” he exclaimed “No, everyone’s got tattoos nowadays”. “I’ve got it” he exclaimed “We’ll cut off the ends of our dicks. Nobody will have membership card like that”.

“You got to be kidding” cried Isaac.

With that Abe grabbed his knife jumped over the fire grabbed Isaac by the shirt and said “I’ve had enough of you, you  little shit, prepare to die.”

In good biblical tradition Isaac thought quickly and lied. ” Wait” he said “I see the hand of God what’s his name staying your hand from killing your son because he and all your sons submit to the will of what’s his name”.

With that Abe relented killing Isaac. Instead he cut off the end of every male present’s dick. At the moment of initiation each one screamed “Yowee that hurts”.

When it was all over Abe rested. He looked at all his sons writhing in agony on the floor of the tent and said, “You know, I like that. Up to now whenever the guys hung out talking about their gods it was always Ishtar this and Baal that. They would all laugh when I mentioned the god whose name could not be uttered. From now on in recognition of this event whenever we utter we shall utter that the name of our all-powerful creator, “Yowee”. What do you think?”

In my dream I wondered how they were able to identify one another as member of the men’s club. Groping under each others tunic was a little more obvious than a Masonic handshake Maybe they originally had their meetings in the health club shower.

Anyway my dream fast forwarded to 33 AD (although they did not know it at the time, thinking it was 3000 years or something since god rested) and the throng (We no longer throng today, we crowd, what a loss) was pressing forward to enter the temple on the sabbath, the day people thronged to the temple, a building that replaced the health club showers .

The guard at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem stopped one of the throng who happened to be Jesus. “Hey you. Only Jews allowed to enter the temple. You Jewish. You don’t look Jewish with that fruity double-pointed red beard”.

“My good man”, said Jesus (he was a Rhodes Scholar and had studied in England) “of course I’m Jewish, I speak Hebrew as though I never learned Aramaic”.

“Anyone can learn Hebrew” responded the guard. “Whip it out and put in on the table.”

Now Jesus had no problem with whipping it out given all the time he spent with the ladies and all that lying of the head on the breast and that sort of thing and he was quite proud of his membership card. So he whipped it out and everyone getting a look at it exclaimed “Oh my God”.

“That’s right” said Jesus, “Now all of you get out of my fucking temple”.

Now where Jesus was quite proud in his membership in Judaism, Paul was less so. Where they all marveled at Jesus Membership ,they all laughed when Paul whipped his out. So Paul went to the Apostles (Jesus’ biker buddies) gathered in Jerusalem (Apostles “gather” they do not “throng or “crowd”)and said to them “This membership card thing isn’t working. It’s too hard to get anyone to join and tithe. Since we’re the new guys (and guys we are) we need a new card. Besides aren’t you all a little tired of having to show your card every time before you give a sermon”

“Good thought Paul” said Peter who although not afflicted by the results of being kicked by a horse on the way to Damascus as was Paul, was a shy man. What should the new membership card be?”

“Faith shining through their eyes” said Paul.

“How would anyone know” questioned Peter.

“We will know. Besides if the light shines through everyone’s eyes what difference would it make”.

And the rest is History. And I awoke


Earlier today I went to the Bank withdrew 30,000 baht from BOW acct. Deposited 20,000 in BKKB pers. acct. Kept 10,000.

Hosted dinner party with missionaries, Choti and Jerry two NZ tourists and Thai girlfriends, Mac’s father and assorted children 950 baht. About $3 each including wine and beer.


Joe to Nikki:

1. attached is an update of the Chiang Mai expense account. As you can see, on the 23rd paid 2000 baht to Maid at Natalie’s direction for Food and 500 for the tree murder. As usual Natalie is double counting. Anyway, I paid 1000 baht for this weeks food from my personal account to make up for some of this.

Nevertheless it looks like we will be slightly over budget for food and for school but on budget for everything else. We still need to pay the Maid her salary. When I receive your share I will do so.

2. Natalie called and told me she will be taking Hayden out of school on April 1 and bringing him to Switzerland to stay with you while you attend your course. If this is so, please let me know the particulars. I assume she intends to ask Choiti to apply a portion of the summer school fees that we paid, to Mac’s tuition. I thinkt hat is unfair to Choti.
Anyway, will Hayden be coming back to Chiang Mai? I am sure she will take him to the US for school after she leaves Switzerland.

She asked me if I intended to go to Switzerland. I would love to, but I do not see how I can afford it.

More from Joe to Nikki:

Natalie called this morning. She wanted me to buy Hayden a ticket to travel to BKK with Mac and Oo on Friday. She said she would like to see Hayden in BKK because she is unable to travel to CM this weekend. I do not know how long he is to stay in BKK and if he will return to CM before departing for Switzerland.

Hayden told N. that he did not want to go to BKK without Pookie.

I will use the time to go to the seashore myself to find some air I can breathe.

Let me know what is going on, if you know.

Nikki’s response:

I don’t have a clue what she is planning to do of course something crazy and irrational as usual
My idea is coming to CM before i start my course for few days and let the baby stay there as long as possible till is finished the summer school
Before they will come to europe i need to settle myself in Zurich see how is the hotel and how is my schedule, i will move there on the 7th of april so is no rush to get the kids back to bkk right away
On the other end if i cannot visit CM then will organize something else.

Joe to Nikki again:

Ok, latest news.

Haden is going to BKK on Friday. I will go also. He will stay with N. I will go to the beach somewhere. I will take him back with me to CM on Tuesday March 30. I assume you will come to CM about then and make arrangements for them to visit you in Zurich. I guess all is well.
let me see what is going on in her brain then call u back

Nikki’s response:

I think the kids are going to the beach somewhere for few days then she want to go to italy before i move to zurich because her tahi friends are coming for a convention in venice sometime in april after that i will pick them up to stay with me in swiss for the month i guess
Big question what happen next?
Like i said i want hayden in CM for school and i will be resolute about that no matter what she want to do so i think u have to organize ur life around those events
update next.

Joe again:

Since we spoke, I talked with Natalie. I asked her if Hayden was going to return with me to Chiang Mai on Tuesday or if he was going with her to Italy at that time. She said that she intended to leave for Italy at the end of the month. I explained that Tuesday was the end of the month. She said she still needed to make all the arrangements. I asked her when she planned to return. She said not for at least two months. She had to go to Italy and then to the United States. She could not be sure how long it would be.

I said that since Hayden was not coming back to Chiang Mai on Tuesday there was no reason for me to come to BKK. Typically, she said that she wanted me to take him to the beach for a few days so that she can have peace to get some things done before she left.

Nikki’s response:

For that matter whatever is going to happen is nothing i can do it to force her to keep the kid in CM after all she is her legal mother.
Unless u pull up the wild card we can’t do much to avoid the worst what i am intended to do is at least bring hayden back sometime in CM after the summer break either myself or with her and i will try hard to do this cause i want him finish the school there but this will only postpone the problem cause the next year is going to be the same trouble.
also he has to change the school next year that means more money more distance and so on. I don’t care how much will cost me but i want him to stay in CM till at least is 7\8 years
I want to ask her a question what is the need to go to US?
can u answer me that too?
GOD protect that innocent baby

.i still have energy and strenght to figth to prevent the worst possible scenario

Joe again:

He should stay in school until the end of April. At that time I can bring him to Zurich for three weeks and return with him to CM in time for the new semester. Why don’t you ask her not to bring him with her right now, but have me bring him in a few weeks so that I will be able to get him back in time to start the school semester? I will ask her the same thing tomorrow.

It will do you no good to ask her why she has to go to the US, she will only come up with another story. I feel very bad for Hayden. It is not a question of who ends up with him. but how does he end up. I am afraid that innocent little boy will be distroyed by her. If he does not start school at the same time as the other students, he will never catch up. If he is forced into a new school, whatever benifits these past few months have had on him will be lost. The idea of taking him away now in the middle of the summer semester because it serves your schedule as well as hers does not help Hayden one bit.

I do not think you will be able to bring him back after the summer break in time for the new semester since your training program will not be completed. If you were able to bring him back after the new semester starts and he has to catch up to the other students while living with a nanny, what good will it all do him.

Outside of that, I do not know what to suggest to you.

Nikki again:

Just to clarify and update:
1) she is coming in italy for a week by herself with this madame on 1 or 2 of april
2) ill try to visit on 31st of march for few days reaching u guys in pattaya
( Suggest u to take mac and father too so u can have a break sometimes i went there with hayden last year and is gonna be hard to take care of him 24 hrs believe me)
3)she and hayden will visit me in Zurich on the middle of the month.
4)they will return to bkk before hayden starts the school for the next semester
How much of that is going to happen???????

And Nikki again:

Rearrange ur trip if u want since i am not coming this time and i think is better for him not to loose too much schooldays
call me if u need suggestions or advices

Joe responds:

OK. I will take him to BKK on Friday, go to the beach and return to CM on Tuesday. I will wait for Nat to tell me when she is going to Switzerland.

I will bear the costs of the beach vacation. Nat said you agreed to pay Hayden’s air fatres. We also need to pay Maid first week in April. Suggest you deposit directly into the joint account at your bank in Italy.


From Gates:

Shit, I need to cut back on drinking, whoring around or slumming just to find time for these epistles you’re sending now (speaking of religion and all)! Isn’t there a Gilbert’s outline or something available?

Jim made a proposal for going forward with the L.A. folk, a breakdown of the current fees, credit for what they paid, etc. We should hear something soon since they have their case is coming up in a couple of weeks.

P.S. Stay away from those religious types, something might rub off on you!

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 19, 2010

It rained a bit last night cleansing the air slightly. I can actually speak instead of croak today. The ppm of particulate matter in the air here reached almost 500 the highest on record. The health safety limit in Thailand (probably twice as high as the US) is 120 ppm. Over 2000 deaths in the area have been reported to have occurred as a result of the ambient air quality conditions. The head of the Thai air quality control said that there was nothing they could do about it since it was a regional issue. Translation, economic issues trump health again. Sounds like a Republican.

Anyway, I feel good enough today to be up and about. Will try to finish up the children’s tales today and get on to my other projects.

The local political situation continues in a state of paralysis. Those who want the billionaire to get his money back (the Red Shirts or Thai Tea Party) have held rallies, thrown blood at the prime minister’s office and legislative building and generally have prevented the government from operating. The ruling party, the Yellow Shirts (interestingly named the Democratic Party) has retreated into immobility hoping to persuade the representatives of the billionaire to negotiate a settlement of the crises.

Meanwhile, in my little bit of suburban paradise, I found a Thai shop located in the subdivision that bakes bread and sells it fresh from the oven every morning. Given that bread is not considered a Thai staple food I am curious about it. I have no way of knowing if it is made from wheat or rice until I taste it. Will do so after I finish my cafe latte and go home.

Should the air pollution levels rise again to the levels of this past week, I am considering taking the children away and to the cleaner air at the beach. Chiang Mai, although located in the Northern Thai mountains, sits in a valley and recently has been industrialized and so air quality can deteriorate quickly.

I realized that several weeks ago I began a photo series of my morning walk to the school and left off at the turn onto the street leading directly to the school. So here is the continuation:

The first photograph is of the largest of the putrid canals that criss- cross the subdivision. It passes under the road to the school and goes off somewhere probably emptying into the Ping River that bisects the modern city of Chiang Mai. Sometimes we see fishermen fishing the canal. Some with poles, but the most interesting swimming in the water laying out nets.

The second photo is of the only building between the Putrid Canal and Hayden’s school. It has an interesting story that I will leave you to speculate on until my next post.




Sent Amanda her birthday story. Kesorn has not arrived. I still feel ill.

Yesterday found a great website actively attacking Judeo-Christian beliefs.

THURSDAY MARCH 18 2010 8:30 AM

I wonder if I am getting bored writing this journal/diary or distracted with responding to emails and my other writing projects or this miserable air pollution makes everything unappetizing.

The smoke and haze make it appear as though a fog has settled over everything. But there is no moisture in the air. I feel edgy. Edgy is probably a good word for how I feel. Not nervous per se, but as though it is too difficult to think of finding anything in the past to hold on to. Like trying to stare through the haze and giving up because it hurts your eyes. The same with looking forward. I really can,t see anything clearly. On at least persuade myself that I can–ennui.

Need to pay school today. I should not answer N.’s phone calls for a while. No predictions of rain to clear the air. My skin feels itchy.

Enough for now.


Rained. Breathing possible for a while. Smells like a sewer back up.



From Irwin:

right now i wonder what you are doing. i am turning over the thought as to whether you perhaps actually took the brood down to the shore to get away from the smog and are now reclining on a beach chair with what resembles a pina colada in your hand but is probably some drink made out of kiwi fruit and fish juice mulled by a monk.

i remember when i lived in westwood during the seventies that the smog was often so bad that one couldn’t see across the practice field to the buildings at ucla.

this photo is of the apartment building we lived in when residing in westwood in 1966-68, the balcony upstairs shown is where i use to lean out and make sounds to the people below. aside from finding my first job opportunity (actually second – i was offered a job as a social worker in watts which i turned down out of fear that i was too white) in orange county, the smog condition was a major factor in moving out of la; now i wish i was back there. what good is 5000 square feet if you don’t enjoy it? although i admit that the cleanliness of a suburban area is somewhat more comforting than the scum in an urban area – i guess it’s the activity that makes urban living weigh heavily in my mind as an attractive life style. you obviously are past or still undergoing the emotional-physiological change from living in exciting san francisco to experiencing the slow life on world cup; although wearing a flower in your hair would perhaps be appropriate in either locale, there may be a difference in wandering up the crowded boulevard in north beach with a coffee latte in your hand stepping over a homeless person as opposed to crossing the dirt path in your far-east subdivision so as to avoid treading upon a cobra or burned-out burmese. let me know your feelings when you have culminated the transition enough to be clear and certain in your conclusions.

it’s sunday here in fountain valley, no rain but not much sun and i haven’t accomplished a great deal today (although why should sunday be any different than another day of the week?) except spend minutes this morning composing condolences in response to an obituary notice. the recent dead in southern california includes a 97 year old woman who i met in orange county during my working career who was always very nice to me (one of the very few people who have ever called me periodically to say they were thinking of me). not that she would know the difference now, but i felt i owed it to her to write a few words. in my remorse at never having called her “periodically” to see how she was when she was alive, i could not take my usual afternoon escape-nap but rather went over to visit my mom at the old folks’ home a couple of miles away. i didn’t want to be awaked by a phone call this evening telling me that mom had died on the day when i usually do but didn’t go to visit. not a good day for guilt. so anyway i wheeled mom out to the outdoor patio in the center of the seaside terrace retirement community facility and we sat there and dozed. she in her wheelchair dreaming of who knows what and me in a pink patio chair dreaming that i hated everyone who was going to be successful today, and then i opened my eyes and realized i wasn’t dreaming. i figured that the fresh air was good for both of us.

yesterday was the nationals vs. the oriels. a three inning t-ball game of some interest to grandparents in attendance. i have forwarded below a few pictures of the event. what sports does hayden aspire to play? soccer? golf?

two schatzman’s on first base

i gotta go pee pee!

if I would have had a third base coach like this I would have hit a lot of triples!

this last week i decided to ruin my primary care physician’s day so i went for an appointment carrying with me a seven page abbreviated listing of my physical complaints for the last 36 days. he was so terrified at the sight that he refused to read the document and tried to distract my attention by showing me my vitals on a computer screen alleging that maybe there was some porno to come. after deciding that i was most complaining about my runny nose and even tho we have tried almost every drug known to mankind he gave me a prescription for an adrenocortical steroid. i had one or more steroid prescriptions before but i think i may not have had this particular one (methyprednisolone) which sounds like it might be found as an integral part of a gallon of gasoline. it’s too soon to determine if it’s working (and if it does what happens when i have to stop taking the stuff to keep my dick from disappearing) but i do not have high hopes; however, it may be that when i finish the prescription regimen i will be able to bench-press 450 lbs.

best (ดี ที่สุด),

irwin the barbarian


Joe to Nikki:

I hope things are going well for you. The awful air pollution in Chiang Mai remains and they project it to linger for another month. Although Hayden has appeared unaffected until now, he began coughing tonight. If it gets worse over the next few days, I will take him to the doctor.

I on the other hand have been sick for almost 10 days now. I went to the Hospital today and got some medicine. I hope it works.

I think it would be a good idea for Hayden to leave Chiang Mai and go to the seashore for a few days to escape this dangerous situation. Perhaps when you come here you can take him instead of staying here. Go directly to the beach. Bangkok would be no better for him.

Tonight Hayden told me some very interesting and disturbing things while we were eating dinner. He may be making it all up as he often does but I will pass it on to you anyway.

He asked me how many daddies does he have. I responded “Why do you ask?” He said “I used to have two and now I have three”. I asked “How was that?” He said, “You used to be one of my two daddies and now you are my grandfather. My third daddy has no hair”. I asked Haden if he knew the name of this daddy. He said “yes, Hazim”. I asked him if he knew where he lived, “Washington DC” Hayden answered. Then he said “No South America”. Then he said “He lives in Phattalung” and put his hand over his mouth like he said something he was not supposed to.

I pried a little more by asking if he visited Hazim in Phattalung”. Hayden said he had. He also said that Hazim has a 5 year old girl living there also. He said that he sometimes rides on the motorcycle with Hazim when he is in Phattalung. I asked him if he liked Hazim. He said yes and that when he is six he is going to live with Hazim in Phattalung. “But you can come to visit,” he added.

I would appriciate your thoughts. I do not think Hazim actually lives in Phattalung, but that Hayden saw him there when he visited.

Nikki’s response:

I ll probabibily do that maybe taking him in pattaya with me but anyway let me see if i can visit first cause i will be busy for the next 2 months for training and i don’t want to let a long time before i can see him.
Another choise is to let the both of them visit me in Zurich while i attend the training i got an hotel room payed by the company so no problem for me but it all depend on the mother.
i really like the school summer program and now he is happy with his little friend so i should not interrupt the program but she told me the school ends on the 14 of april for a while so i am considering to have them here in europe.
Meantime if your financial situation permits u could take a break urself and staying in pattaya or cham am waiting better air quality.
I saw her signal on skype once in a while so means that she is chatting with some people faraway no reasons to use skype for local calls who knows one of the daddies????
I don’t think no farang can stay in patthalung longer so maybe this guy is just an hayden story perhaps he was there during on of her trip to the south with her dugther but we will never find out the thruth
Personally i think all this crap leaving the baby and staying in the pub is to date undercover this hazzim or other guys she is not ashemed either of her father or family because she come up with lies like partners or businness associate shit like that
But the more hayden grow up and understand sthe more we can get the real facts.
The only goal for me is to protect him and keeping him safe in a clean enviroment the rest is relative and not relevant.
I am still in nyc tonite ill fly back with my brother to milano as a captain of the flite so should an be interesting trip
My other son is going to vietnam in may to visit his family i ll think about to see him there if i can u can always join me if u want.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 17, 2010

For the past three or four days the burning of the rice stubble and out of control grass fires in the area have left me with a sore throat and burning eyes. The sky is a hazy grey and the sun baleful…Of course it is not baleful at all. The particulate matter in the air just interferes with the blue portion of the light spectrum leaving the sun to appear a hazy red. I guess baleful is more poetic.

It seems Poets and those who make money off them (does anyone make money off of poetry? Did they ever? Is Rap poetry?) often claim poetry is some form of truth-telling. Baloney (or bologna or even salami) poets, like the adjectives they use, are accomplished liars. Think about it, poetry began as some sycophants telling lies to flatter the proto-biker that ruled the cave with terror and rape. Did you ever notice most legends about heroes or even about the Volk are glorification of rape, slaughter robbery, lying and corruption by the worthless and unproductive of the peaceful and productive. I have never heard of a poem or legend glorifying a guy who grows a great zucchini or who invented the vibrator. The only positive legend I can think of is the one about the guy bringing fire to the people. But he was really only a sneak thief and liar and probably deserved to be chained to a rock and have birds tear out his liver for all eternity.

Hmmm..you are probably wondering if I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or if there is trouble in paradise. Well, neither really, a slight cold and a rampant allergic reaction to the air pollution has diminished my normal sunny disposition and after all think about what one could say about paradise if one did not exaggerate the annoying minutiae of existence. “Today I sat on a cloud, played my harp and was happy,” “Today I sat on a cloud, played my harp and was happy” and so on. Not only would that be intolerably boring but insufferably smug. On the other hand, “Today, I sat on a cloud, played my harp and was happy until a god-dammed fly started buzzing around my head and landed on my nose”. Now I can sit back and say to myself, “It serves you right you smug bastard” (I like the word “smug”).

Now where am I going with this? I intended to write that my illness and allergies have restricted me to spending most of my time in my bedroom which has air-conditioning.

Mac’s (I have settled on Mac as his name) father has taken over the day-to-day chore of entertaining both children. As a result little of interest to me and I assume you has occurred since I last wrote. I don’t even have a new photograph of insufferably cute children to annoy you with. But I did locate the attached advertisement that may amuse you.

And here I thought crack was just a cheap high.




Took Hayden and Mac/Max to school, gassed up car, had coffee with Mac/Max father. Yesterday went to Night Safari, Hayden running around from exhibit to exhibit not remaining before any for more than a second or two, Mac/Max cried throughout the visit, I believe because he was frightened by a peacock on the path, father quiet and withdrawn as usual and me truly dying from the heat.

Did some research on Braudel yesterday. His view on capitalism is similar but far better developed than mine. What surprised me, although it shouldn’t be so, was the resistance by traditional economists to his conclusions. Basically, he separates “Capitalism” and “Capitalists” from “Free Markets” and “Competition.” His claim is that “Capitalism” is a social phenomena that predates the rise of the “Free Market” in 14-15 century Italy.
“Capitalism” as he defines it is the search for the highest rates of returns and is not connected to or based upon a particular means of production. And usually the highest returns are produced by monopoly (or price-fixing). Capitalists will resist competition to the last penny.

My aphorisms written to Gates and Schatzman in recent emails:

“You can lead a horse to honey but you must account for the bees” and;

“It is easier to get Mc Donald‘s to sell more Chicken McNuggets then to get a power company to close down a single coal-fired power plant”

In part, attempt to address a practical response to this phenomena. (although more accurately is addresses the problem of vested interests.)


From Irwin:

roses are red
violets are blue
what a remarkable guy
for the zucchini he grew.

he sautéed it in butter
gave some to the poor
remarkable fellow
but really a fool.

Joe’s response:

Ok, try one about the vibrator.

Irwin’s response:

she stuck it inside
then licked it with glee,
i only wish that
it could have been me.


From Joe to Nikkie:

Got up at about 9 AM with Hayden shouting that my breakfast was getting cold. We ate breakfast on patio. When we finished went I back to my room. Natalie had gotten up by then and barged into my room demanding 1500 baht. When I asked for what, she said “for cleaning the car, gas and other things”. She said she had to go to “Central for some things”. I mentioned that I had to get a “top-up” for my phone. She suggested that I accompany her and Hayden. I gave her 1200 baht. When we got into the car she began in on its “dirtiness”. When she found some cigar ash in the seat track, she got apoplectic. I said most of the smoking was done by Nikki. Hayden stood up for Nikki and ratted on me for smoking in the car yesterday. i called him a rat. I am pretty low, first I rat out my friend and then verbally abuse a 5 year old. Does Natalie really bring that out in me or am I naturally this morally defective?

Drove to gas station. Natalie put in 500 baht. Gauge read the same as when we put in 1500 baht (same gas station).

Got to Central, left the auto to be cleaned, took 1500 baht out of my SF account and gave her 500. Went to eat lunch at usual spot. She paid. Returned to Central, I went to a coffee shop to wait. Paid $2 for a coppa. She came asked for 500 baht for additional shopping. Finished and went home. On the way to the house she stopped and asked one of the subdivisions gardeners working on the trees along the street to come to the house to look at some of our trees that needed pruning. She said they work for free. They agree on pruning the large beautiful tree in the center of the lawn. I agreed that the tree leaned too much and was in danger of falling over. We instructed the gardner to trim the branches on the side of the tree opposite to the lean. She took a nap. I took Hayden to the school to play with Leo. After Jerry returned him home, we went to the sport club where Hayden swam, Natalie exercised and I wrote most of this. When we returned the gardeners had cut off most of the top of the tree and all the limbs on the wrong side of the tree. So now we no longer have a beautiful tall tree in the center of the yard but a stunted monstrosity with a thick naked trunk sticking up and a few remaining limbs on the leaning side sure to topple what’s left of the tree in the slightest breeze. I requested that they cut away some of the limbs of the leaning side to reduce the weight on the trunk and left not wanting to see the result. They charged us 500 baht.

She leaves to return to BKK early tomorrow. Said she had to get back before the demonstrations.

Nikki responds:

HI just a check of last developments,
i called the headquarters in bkk and looks like we are short of some payments:
summer school and the usual salary to the maid
we or you have to straigth things up unless u want to receive a lot of nasty phone calls.
Glad the childrens got along well are they playing my WII or was just a waste of money??
what a strange situation 2 kids attended by an old lawyer and refused thai father i guess the world on that part of land is going upside down
the nature is changing i see the mothers don’t want grow up childrens anymore just getting selfish boh? who knows
Few flashes from NYC:
went with my bro and Steven (my other son) to have a lunch in chinatown and a coffe in little italy the remain of it anyway
I am sure we have been notice by the anti mafia squad we looked weird and out of place talking in italian and a strange heavy accented english
Steven looks a perfect connection beetwen italian Cosa nostra and the new sinovietnamese
triade best example of a mixed race.
I screw up the time change dayligth in usa so we got to run to the terminal in Newark to catch my plan rushing and cursing in italian with the amusement of the taxi driver
I ll fly out saturday again to jfk fetch my bro i hope he is still there not getting lost and return to italy.

Joe again:

I do not know what she is talking about with the maid. I paid the maid with the 5000 baht you gave me for the school. I also told her the school gets paid Tomorrow according to my agreement with Choti. She called today first thing in the morning to check on wether my money had arrived. I had not even dropped the kids off at school yet.

Anyway, I will send you the first accounting on Friday so that you will have a record of all expenses. It looks like I am going to have to have the maid sign a receipt every time I give her money. I really do not need this crap.


No biggies just clear the remaining bills if u can and tell her that all has been payed so she calm the fuck down i hope
make a restock on the fridge too.
we are dealing with a nervous and angry at the life person
ciao call u back
Ehi how about some pics of the falling tree?

Joe to Nikki again:

Below is the initial account statement for Chiang Mai. I will send you an updated version every week. This chart records only the deposits and expenditures related to the updated budget for Chiang Mai that I will send to you in a later email. It does not include any of my personal expenditures.

As you can see it includes the deposits of my monthly share of the expenses (13,000 baht) and reimbursement of the 5000 baht you left with me for partial payment of the tuition that I used to pay the maid.

The expenditures include the 7000 baht for the Summer School tuition and 3500 baht that we owe for the Saturday program that we had not paid. It also includes 1000 baht that I gave to he maid to reimburse her for her purchase of food out of her salary. I think this is what Natalie is complaining about.

The month begins on the 17th of March and ends on the 16th of April. I chose this for my convenience since it coincides with my receipt of my SS check.

You should make a deposit of the EURO equivalent of $400 sometime before the 1st of April so that I have enough to pay the maid her salary when it comes due that week.

The remaining projected expenses are for the Services and HOA (About 4000 baht — $125) and food (another 4000 baht). Your $400 and the $220 we have in the account now will leave us a little short because I used the account to pay the Saturday School program. So we should both expect to pony up about another 1500 baht to cover everything.

Please note that this account will differ from the bank statement somewhat since I had to use my own money to pay the school before I could get to the bank.

Nikki’s response:

OK i am happy with this only problem is that i don’t want to be double charged from her like paying twice the school or the maid but this is my problem that i have to deal with.
the money will come either as a western union wire or by me personally when i got there let me find out the cheapest way the bank system in italy sucks and is too slow

From Anne Marie:

Your rant about poetry was utterly delicious. I am impressed with how well you write! Now you do realize you have a family of poets over here in SF and I simply can’t let this one slip by without a proper defense!
You are in the company of many great, highly esteemed intellectuals of the past ages when you condemn poetry and poets. At CCSF, my favorite English teacher writes poetry and he liked to point out how many great thinkers down through history have trashed it or at least been suspicious of it. The biggest guy to go against poets and poetry is our old pal Plato! In his Republic, he tries to create the ideal state, saying who should govern it, etc. And he makes a very big point that ALL POETS should be OUT, banned, not allowed!!! Why? Because poetry works up the emotions and creates imaginary worlds, both of which undermine pure reason and logical thinking, which is what you need, according to poor deluded Plato, to make correct decisions. Nope Plato would certainly not approve of Athena or her family living in his Republic, because we would be in there creating poems and poetic novels that would fire up the emotions and stimulate the imaginations of our readers! For shame! Now, here is the great quote from famous Romantic poet John Keats that goes counter to Plato: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” By which I think he meant, in the LONG RUN, our human minds and feelings and therefore our culture and civilization are much more shaped by the great poetry than by the laws passed by political institutions, which are only very short-run and short-sighted things!!

HERE ENDS TODAY’S LESSON, Ha ha. Hope you enjoyed my defense efforts! And Hmmm…. interesting you used zucchini and vibrators, could that phallus on your daily walk be affecting you? Looking forward to more of your usual sunny disposition and talk of paradise. I also like the word “smug” which reminds me, have you looked at my gallery on smugmug yet? By the way, I have decided to include a couple photographs of “insufferably cute children to annoy you with.” for a change! From back when they were cute children!!

Hope you are feeling better soon. Much love from the Petrillo clan back home,

From Bill Gates:

Bitch, bitch, bitch! Living in paradise and complaining about the bad air for a couple of days! Take a deep breath and end it all quickly or just don’t let life get in the way of living! As Cher said to Nicholas Cage after he said he loved her: “Get over it”!

You get my e-mail – I arrive Apr. 22nd. A buddy (client) is going with me this trip. Great story: his father was a General in the Iranian army, pre-religious zealot shit, and ends up on a “death list” when the Shah is eliminated from power. Mom calls sonny (my buddy) who’s fornicating at a private school in Rome. She tells him to get back, they’re in deep shit! Sonny returns and comes up with the terrible heart condition diagnosis that can only be treated in the U.S. The zealots see through it and want a $6M piece of property put up to ensure the family return to the motherland (natch, everyone knows no one’s coming back!). The family arrives in the US with its paltry millions and lives happily ever after – until sonny can fornicate again, this time during April in Thailand! … I love happy ending stories!

From Maryanne:

I forgot to tell you I saw Jessica in DC. It was lovely to see her again. We
had a great visit and when I left I realized how fortunate you and I are
that we were given such delightful daughters in our lives. I could have
stayed chatting with her for hours.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 14, 2010

Amazingly my most recent post generated the most responses of any I have written. Most of the posts coming down to “you have made your bed etc.” I thank you all for your kind consideration of my plight.

Actually what disturbs me most about the “tree incident” is that every morning when I sit on my patio drinking my coffee and smoking my morning cigar, the maimed tree stands (or more accurately leans) directly in front of me (see below) reminding my of all my failures in life. This morning as I look at it cleared of its masking vegetation and exposing the extent of its lean, maybe if would be better to cut the whole thing down and start again.

Anyway, my guest Mac or Max I could not understand which, arrived yesterday with his father. A photograph of Mac or Max and Hayden, missing teeth and all is attached below.

Hayden decided the Tooth Fairy is a rip off and decided to keep his tooth unless the tooth fairy agrees to meet with him in person to negotiate the deal. As he said, he likes his tooth much more that the tooth fairy does. He asked if the tooth fairy is a man or a woman, a question I could not answer. It could be a man, traditional iconography aside. As I contemplated this I imagined Dick Cheney dressed it a tutu sneaking into Hayden’s room at night reaching under his pillow for the tooth. I decided Hayden was right to resist the tides of history and so I let Hayden hang on to his tooth hoping for a regime change in fairydom.

Mac or Max’s father who is Thai seems nice but he never smiles. What ever happened to the land of smiles? I have not heard either one of them speak english so I assume they cannot.




For yesterday, see emails to Nikki for the day.

Hayden slept with me last night. Did not sleep much. Throat painful. Got up. There was no water with which to bathe. Natalie called. Said we had no drinking water or bread and that I had to go buy it at Big C. Oo called at about 9:30. Said she was at airport and I had to pick her up. Got in the car with H. Got to front gate. Nat called said I had to pick up Mac or Max or whatever his name. Went to airport. Bought antibiotic (Amoxillian??) Took two. Waited until 10:50 when they arrived. Mac as I will call him hugged Hayden then hugged me. Came home. Nat called said I had to take Pi Newan to chicken soup place to get lunch for all of us. Went, got lunch fixings, water and bread. Came home. Went upstairs took another 2 pills. Went downstairs ate lunch. Felt awful. Went upstairs napped until a few minutes ago. They went off to the pool. I returned to my room. Nat called. Said guest and Hayden should sleep in her bedroom and I was not to shower there so that they can be treated like family. Wrote this.


From Irwin:

last night i had sleepus interuptus. i awoke at 12:47 am and then again at 2:30 am thinking that i would never again ever fall asleep. i finally did and dreamed i was back working at the county of orange only it was geographically moved to san francisco. all was confusion. even a woman (who i think was a bar maid at gulliver’s who wouldn’t give me the time of day, stupid bitch) asked me to take her for lunch but i couldn’t manage to get out of my office bed in time to fit her calendar. subsequently i swallowed some liquid out of a bottle only later to discover that it wasn’t mouthwash but some type of potentially poisonous chemicals used in cremation; but after all it was in a champagne shaped bottle how was i to know? in deciding if i should seek medical attention (oh no. not the stomach pump) i finally reminded myself that i was dreaming and woke up to discover that the metamucil i took two nights before was kicking in. i made it to the bathroom in time.

it has occurred to me that perhaps the contents of my last few emails has been, say, somewhat caustic. i assure you it’s nothing personal. rather it is symptomatic of turning my anger onto someone else which is a tendency i have developed the last few years since becoming incapable of earning a living – so why should anybody else be able to?! – and seeing others become sucessful in their endevors.

being it’s sunday, my last wife is off at the swap meets where she goes every weekend. yesterday she didn’t get home until 2:45 pm which was about three hours too soon for me but what the heck, i went for another walk. thinking of the leaning tree of joseph, in our 21 acre greenbelt we have a number of different types of trees ( quizzically chosen by some inept landscaper – probably a housewife of a member of the hoa board of directors). among the mixed foliage are what i believe to be two carob trees – at least they bear “fruit” which i think are carob-like. how i could possibly know what a carob looks like escapes my long-term memory. anyway i am torn between ignoring the possibility of free fruit and just ignoring the hanging gardens of green valley. such is my existence, always in a quandary.

From Joe to Nikki:

My new guests arrived on Saturday. As I described in “This and that…..” the child is named Mac of Max and the father name I still do not know. Nevertheless, in spite of the fathers quiet, reserved and stand-offish manor they have proven to be very good guests. Mac or Max and Hayden seem to play well together. Mac or Max seems to be one of those good natured children willing to accept Hayden’s more aggressive and demanding inclinations. The father is the perfect father for the Natalie type Thai. He is quiet, constantly attentive to the children, feeding them by hand, washing them and overseeing their play. More nanny than parent.

Netalie called and insisted that they occupy the master bedroom “because they are like family..”. The father had the good sense to use Nikki’s bedroom as their guest bedroom and use the master bedroom only to sleep in.

I still do not understand how Natalie still gets away with cadging money from us even though we know what she is up to. During her brief stay she got almost 3000 baht from me for “Food” and before she left I checked the refrigerator and indeed it was full. Upon the arrival of our guests, she called me to tell me that there was not enough food and water and that I had to go shopping with Pi Newan to restock the refrigerator. When I checked the refrigerator after her call, of course to my surprise it was almost empty.

From Ruth:

He may not speak English, but he’s an awfully cute kid! Odds are Hayden can tell you what his name really is. but I’m quite sure you’ve thought of that.

Let me get this straight: you’re sitting in exotic Thailand, in a house you own, smoking cigars and contemplating the universe. What is the failure of which you speak? I have to admit, though, that the tree does have a very dramatic lean.

Joe’s response to Ruth:

I have tried asking Hayden, but with his missing teeth and resulting lisp, Mac and Max sound the same.

Today I figured out that my guests understand more english than they speak.

Ruth Again:

In the photo, Hayden’s teeth look intact. How many languages does he speak, by the way?

Joe’s Response:

He is missing both upper and lower teeth. He hides it well.

He is perfectly bilingual in Thai and english. He used to be able to speak a smattering of Italian but he is losing it through lak of use.

More Ruth:

I envy people who can speak more than one language.

From Terry Goggin:

You are not a failure but are leading the mildly adventureous life of a simi retired country gent surrounded by an adoring child and assorted bizar characters, natile included. The tree will grow back, leave it alone, its got great jungle dna. You should begin a novel or,better yet, a childrens story book. You are a very interesting ma n of letters. I ll be our agent in nyc. By the way , aeigis is in fair shape cash wise and we are finally on a reasonable build out schedule in sf and nyc. Fidelity is considering putting the 15mm nyc offering on its platforms, possibl,y next wk. That will,as they now say, be a game changer. Keep a stiff uper lip when natile is around. See the wife now and again (is she still around?) And get cracking on that book. You are not simi retired, your simi working.

From Terry again:

Its difficult for a small co to operate a retail bussiness where senior leadership doesn’t speak the language and the legal system is particularly weak or unpredictable on the other hand I plan to help bee set up a small retail operation in bk but it will be hers to manage, time to sink or swim. I’ m serious about. A childrens book. Do onee about defenistration. They already have graphics and illustrations. Very spooky! Alreeady famous in the bay area. I’m sure we could get a publisher. I’ve done it before. Stop spending energy on stupid internet jokes and get cracking. Whe the going gets tough the tough kick ass.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 12, 2010

I have just suffered a minor tragedy. On Wednesday, she who must be avoided at all costs blew into town like the much-needed rain storm that unfortunately did not, leaving me with only with the unextinguished brush fires in the countryside and She’s wreckage at home.

Yesterday She decided to spend my little remaining money for the month at the shopping center. Upon our return she stopped the car by a group of the previously described Burmese workers who occupy the same economic niche in Thailand that Mexican illegals occupy in the US, reviled, exploited and blamed for most of the nations social ills. Anyway they were pruning the trees alongside one of the streets in the subdivision. She called over one of the workers who appeared to be the boss and told him that some of the trees in our yard needed pruning and would he come and take a look. He jumped on his new motor scooter and followed us home. She told me that they work for free. She choose the large tree in the middle of the yard pictured in the first of today’s photos behind the fully blooming golden trumpet tree in the foreground. The chosen tree’s lower trunk leans precipitously, a condition I learned from my flowers guide that is common for this type of tree, as in its early years the its roots are very shallow. We all agreed that it would be better if the tree were shortened a bit and the branches on the side that the tree was leaning toward trimmed to reduce the weight on the trunk and roots. We then left for the sport club, She to her exercises, Hayden to his swimming and me to sit in the heat and stare balefully at the fundamentalists sharing the facility with us. Upon our return we found the entire top of the tree lopped off completely about 15 feet above the ground leaving the remnants of the leaning part of the trunk intact. All the limbs on the wrong side had been removed while those on the side of the lean retained. Why the tree had not already toppled over I could not understand. She said it was perfect and demanded that I pay them $15.37 that this free service cost (I later reasoned that the were allowed to work for the subdivision for free in return for protection from the authorities, shelter in the corrugated metal shacks I included in one of my previous posts). I asked them to cut off some of the branches of the leaning side in a forlorn hope that it would at least reduce some of the weight, paid the $15.37 and went to take my nap.

She flew out this morning. The tree now appears at it looks in todays photo #2 behind the golden trumpet flower tree that has dropped its flowers in anticipation of the hoped for rainy season.





Hayden appeared to be iN an exceptionally good mood today. After my nap, we went to the club pool where he had the children’s pool all to himself, as he likes it. After returning, I took the training wheels off his bicycle and we went to Leo’s. Upon our return, he took a call from his mother. He said to her, “I did not tell Nikki or Pookie”. He asked if she wanted to speak to me. Apparently she did not, since she hung up. I asked him what it was that he was not supposed to tell us and all I got out of him was “Nikki talks too much” and that he was going to Milan. Later he asked me to fix his cell phone. And now has gone off to bed without a story.


He returned for his story. Nikki said that Natalie is angry at me for not answering the telephone when she calls me.


Waiting for Natalie to arrive.

10 PM

See emails to Nikki for today for entries.


Got up at about 9 AM with Hayden shouting that my breakfast was getting cold. Ate breakfast on patio. Finished, went back to my room. Natalie had gotten up and barged into my room demanding 1500 baht. When I asked for what, she said “for cleaning the car and other things.” She said she had to go to “Central for some things.” I mentioned that I had to get a “top-up” for my phone. She suggested that I accompany her and Hayden. When we got into the car she began on its dirtiness. When she found some cigar ash in the seat track she became apoplectic. I said most of the smoking was done by Nikki. Hayden stood up for Nikki and ratted on me for smoking in the car yesterday. I called him a rat. I am pretty low, first I rat out my friend and then verbally abuse a 5-year-old. Does Natalie really bring that out in me or am I naturally this defective?

Drove to gas station. Natalie put in 500 baht. Gauge read the same as when we put in 1500 baht.

Got to Central, left the auto to be cleaned, took 1500 baht out of my SF account and gave her 500. Went to eat lunch at usual spot. She paid. Returned to Central, I went to a coffee shop to wait. Paid $2 for a cuppa. She came asked for 500 baht for additional shopping. Finished and went home. She took a nap. I took Hayden to the school to play with Leo. After Jerry returned him home, we went to the sport club where Hayden swam, Natalie exercised and I wrote this.


From Irwin:

cuz joe – i fear that the northern thailandian sun has very much cooked your brain. offer swmbaaac (“she who must be avoided at all costs”) a monthly allowance which is not be be exceeded. given that you have already placed the house in her name (drunk were we!) i think this step would exhibit a show of proper masculine strength. if all else fails, assuming that hayden’s birth certificate has you listed as the father, grab the five year old kid and run.

please be aware that you are receiving this good intentioned advice from one of the most pussy-whipped men in fountain valley california usa. i am so pussy-whipped that i periodically cough up a fur ball.


From Nikki

She was able even to mess up a poor tree from the garden mybe not explain well to the burmeses what to do or it was a language barrier.
Our burmese or mexican are the African mainly from senegal ghana mali and from those north african regions.
Those are really maintaining our economy since no italian is willing to clean toilets or swipe streets in the cold.
The east european those form the old IRON curtain are doing more skilled job like painting or constructions their women do the nannies or guardian for old senior people if they not end up into the flesh market of sex slavery
So we went in Africa to colonize LIBIA and ETIOPIA now we are colonized by them
Did u finish the story for HAYDEN?

From Terry Goggin:

Well, all I can say is: sinner pay for your sins.

From Ruth:

You do lead an interesting life. Is She your latest woman, or Natalie, or am I just hopelessly unable to keep up with you? I’m sorry about your tree, but one thing about trees is they grow back.

How’s your thriller coming? Sheldon’s book that was supposed to be out last year or the year before isn’t out yet. Kaminsky died. Parker died. I really need for you to get your book to where I can read it!

I just started “Corelli’s Mandolin,” which so far is quite good. Turns out my neighbor Bob (the mandolinist) taught Nicholas Cage for the movie, which of course I didn’t see. Bob liked Cage but didn’t like the producer, whose name he didn’t tell me.

Be well, hang in there, the rains will come and you will long for when they didn’t. We just went through that.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 9, 2010

I have just returned from a quick and strange trip to Bangkok. On Sunday, I received a call informing me that the trip to the beach that Hayden been whisked away for on Friday and that I was to go to Bangkok right away and retrieve him. So yesterday morning I took an early flight from Chiang Mai to Thailand, got a massage, picked up Hayden and took him to the train station for an overnight train trip back to Chiang Mai, arriving at 9:30 AM this morning. We travelled second class with the berths arranged along the sides of the RR car like the Pullman cars in the old movies. No dining car, but food and drink vendors were out in force. In the morning we got up at sunrise and watched the mountains and rice paddies slide by. Some of the paddies have been planted and show a bright green and others have just had their stubble burned and are black and brown, white others are still burning with thick yellow smoke rising over the horizon.

While in BKK I learned that my nanny duties have been increased it appears that I will be hosting a five-year old friend of Hayden’s from BKK while they both attend the summer session at Hayden’s school.

Today’s photograph is of Hayden on his bunk in the train mugging for the camera.



Saturday March 6 8:30 PM

Hayden and Nikki left for BKK at 5 PM Yesterday. Jerry came by and we had a nice talk. Today I went for a morning walk then spent the rest of the day in the Sala writing except for a nap from 2 to 4.

Nikki called several times,telling me that Hayden went to dentist and had a tooth removed and was very brave about it. He also said that Nat decided they were not going to the beach as we expected she would.

I am lyIng in bed and writing this and suspect that we have fleas.


Up early. breakfast on patio. To Sala to work on travel schedule. Air Asia $59 one way. Leave tomorrow morning at 8:20 AM. Return by train. Leave BKK at 7:35 PM. Nikki to pay. See Kesorn (1300-1800 baht) $40-$60


Drove to airport, bought Air Asia one way ticket to BKK (2300 baht ($71.88)). Came back, had a cigar and some water with Jerry and discussed things. Returned to house and hope for lunch.

MONDAY, MARCH 8, 2010 6 PM

Got up at six with my cell phone alarm. The electricity’s gone down, no water, no lights, no AC. Went back to bed until 6:30 grumbling about no shower or teeth brushing. Dressed went out sat on patio. Pi Newan brought breakfast of Fruit and yoghurt. Got in the car and drove towards “Leo’s House”. Met Jerry driving the other way. Agreed to use his car. Returned mine. Went to airport. Got on plane, learned it was going to BKK international airport and not the much closer domestic airport. Landed took the bus to Sukhumvit soi 11, went to coffee cafe ordered cafe latte, waited for Nikki. He arrived ordered coffee and I ordered a float. Talked about schedule and bitched about Nat. Left, went to Health club. Met Kesorn. Wonderful massage and blow job. Agreed for her to meet me in Chiang Mai on the 17th. Took sauna and steam and shower. 1000 baht tip for Kesorn and 700 to HC for massage. Went back to Cafe ordered Cafe latte. Nikki called. Said we will leave from Soi 10. Nat said I should get taxi and load at building. Did. Hayden and Nikki arrived with luggage. No Nat. Took about 45 min to get to train station. Ate crap prepared by Nat. Went into train car, and are waiting to leave.

10 PM

Sitting on by bunk writing this. Hayden asleep in the upper bunk, We are on this train because last week Nat insisted that Nikki leave Chiang Mai as early as possible on Thursday, Hayden’s graduation day, because she needed a vacation at the beach, When Nikki and Hayden arrived the plans changed and Hayden was to go to his dental appointment and have a tooth removed. The beach was forgotten and I was called to fly to BKK and pick the boy up and return him to Chiang Mai, We are taking the train in part to save a little money.

I am no more than a male nanny for a forlorn and lonely little boy. I have done this twice before and maybe I will get it right this time. There is little or nothing in it for me, one way or another he will be gone back to Nat. or to Nikki. With Jessica we had a little girl who bravely made a choice. With Jason, I made a mistake taking him from his aunt in Italy that he loved because I wrongly believed that he would be better off with a parent and as for my aunt, I left him in the position I find myself in now, aging, alone, abandoned and forgotten.

When I lived in Rome, I lived by myself and Jason lived with my aunt. I lived for a time on the fourth floor of a pension that overlooked the church of St. Paul’s within the walls, the main protestant church in the city at that time. In was a haven for the daughters of the wealthy from the protestant north who resided there while studying music at Santa Cecilia. I would listen to piano music drift across the small street and in through my open window in the evenings. I was so enraptured by the music that I wanted to meet the artist.

I did at a wine and cheese reception for a visiting concert performer that I attended to get some food since at that time I did not have enough money to afford any food not supplied by an invitation to dinner from one of my relatives. She was beautiful and the daughter of the owner of the Maersk shipping line a Danish company, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. We dated. I fell in love. One day she said that her father heard that she was seeing a penniless italian and ordered her back to Denmark to get married into one of the royal families, Swedish, Danish, Belgian whatever. She left. I wrote her letters to the address she gave me, but never received an answer.

During this time I affected a belief that I could be a poet. My manuscripts such as they were are long gone, especially in my most recent abandonment of all that I owned. Except for a bit of doggerel, only two remain in my memory and even at that, one is a fragment of a larger poem.

The first was my attempt to address what I thought was a failure of the imagist poetry that was the rage at the time. I believed that, like still lifes in paintings, poetry should be able to paint a picture in words of ordinary objects like Keats did with the Grecian Urn.

Awareness spreads,
In the corner by the beds.
from the dressers lip
it falls
upon the carpet.
all to naked rage
That had not crept
beyond its gaze.

The second one is one sentence from the middle section of a larger work:

The wanderer
Travels not by hook
but sprawled
upon the empty tides
of fairy worlds
and real
and the sham cult
darkness lie
that was
yet will not be
marks his passage
on nothing
but cognition.

The beginning of the poem was a rumination on the Esedra Fountain in Rome at night as the lights of the city played upon the waters.

The end or the poem speculated on the futility of despair and ended with the words “Red Sails Returning” an image taken from Tristan and Isolde tales.

There were many versions of Tristan, in some there were two Isolde, the one Tristan loved and Isolde of the white hands who he married and who loved him and did not have the baggage of being married to someone else. Anyway, Tristan had gone away on a quest or something and he promised Isolde that on his return as his ship hove into view it will display one of the two sets of sails. If the sails were white he will have lived and if red he would be dead. As it happened he returned at sunset with white sails billowing. Unfortunately since it was sunset they appeared red to the lookout who when he reported this to Isolde she promptly died in despair.

I do not know if any of this is the correct version of the story, its been over forty years since I read the tales but I like it this way.



Irwin writes:

i really enjoyed reading about the train trip from bkk to chaing mai (by the way i saw a package of spice labled “chaing mai” at the world market store in costa mesa today) and particularly your description of the passing landscape. i myself am fond of trains, however have only been on three short train trips in the last thirty years. one to san diego and back, one to san juan capistrano (my grandkids first train trip – i hope they remember) and two to downtown los angeles (one to connect with the gold line and attend chinese new years parade in chinatown, the other as part of a mystery train trip that my last wife hoodwinked me into years ago).

my fondest memory of train travel is a trip my mom and i took across the country from new jersey to san diego in 1942 (i think it was 42 it could have been forty-three, four or five). anyway the train was full of returning-from-the-war soldiers. at that time my mom was still young and attractive…the soldiers adopted me as a means of getting mom’s attention and i remember being carried on their shoulders through the club car. mom and i shared an upper birth and we watched the passing scene before it got too dark. the clikety clack of the train wheels (do they still make that sound?) was soothing and put me to sleep fast every night. if i can make it, i have always wanted to take the orient express from istanbul to venice – all i need is some good fortune, good coin and good health; at the moment out of sight.

Joe’s response to Irwin:

Trains rock. Most of my train trips were the commuter runs on the Hudson line from Yorktown Heights in Westchester County to my office in Rockafeller Center.

My fondest memories of my my mom getting hit on, occurred at one of the annual Tuckahoe (the town I grew up in in NY) social club (either the local deer-hunter type hunting club or the church men’s club I do not remember which) picnic-clam bake at a place called Peach Lake (I do not know why it was called that because there certainly were no peaches there) . My father and the other men spent the day standing at tables with buckets of clams and kegs of beer in front of them, opening the clams with lightning speed, downing them in heroic and disgusting quantities and washing them down with unbelievable amounts of beer until they were all completely bloated and drunk. We kids went swimming in the lake while the wives fumed. This one time my father, drunk as the proverbial skunk (I’ve never seen a drunken skunk proverbially or not) herded my mother, my younger brother and I into the car for the ride home, my mother shouting that he was too drunk to drive and my father equally loudly protesting that he was not. My father then put the car into reverse instead of forward and promptly drove us into the little stream that fed the lake. After fishing us all out, the other drunks attempted to calm down my fuming mother while copping a feel if they could get away with it.

Ah, the glorious memories of my golden youth. I much prefer the astigmatic view of my decrepitude.

Cuzin, may you get your wish to ride the Orient Express, and may you have an exciting adventure with a dark and beautiful Israeli spy and may you take me along to watch.


From Nikki:

Well i am glad ur train experience went ok this was an all complete and new way of traveling and looks like we went back in time when train was the only way of traveling.
Also was fun for the both of u the boy had a time to enjoy the view of the country and all the little thing like preparing the berth the conductor and the food carried from the service people all was fun i might think to take a trip myself next time after all why rushing all the time?
So nothing new since our last phone calls the other kid is due to stay there soon just after his school is finished in bkk i guess is another poor soul left abandoned from the mother they have to work in the pubs no time to grow them up.
We leave in a world of selfishness and even grow a child is considered a burden and an annoyance not to sacrifice.
They don’t know what they are missing those moments and progress of the kids the time when start to count numbers and writing they will never come back in ur memory if u don’t share them together
I was happy to see Hayden start to count and reading numbers when we were in the taxi looking at the taximeter rolling the fare.
well so far i think we are safe at least for the all summer i still don’t know if his passport is been renewed but i will have a check soon.
I ll try to squeeze another week soon in chang mai as soon i got my schedule
waiting for the Finale of the last story of the rats…………
take care keep me update i have to fly to New York few times this month but i can still watch u guys on skype

Joe’s Response:

She arrived by about 3 PM and almost immediately went to the gym and took the car. Hayden wanted to go swimming. I guess to follow his mother. We walked to the pool. Hayden swam for almost two hours and had a good time. When Natalie finished her exercises, she insisted that he leave the pool and we go back home. Hayden usually changes into dry clothes when we leave the pool. She insisted that he just dry himself and go home in his wet trunks because he was going to take a shower and get wet anyway. An argument ensued between Hayden and Natalie about this and a compromise was reached where he could put on the dry clothes but not his underwear. There then was a tussle about whether I should carry the bag with Hayden’s wet shirt and towel. She wanted to carry it and Hayden wanted me to do so. Hayden won and Natalie appeared annoyed.

When we reached the car she complained that I did not put gas in the car and the car had not been washed. I said I did not know that she was coming today or otherwise I would have gassed it up. She said that I should have anyway since I drove the car everywhere. I said except when Nikki is here, I hardly ever use the car. She clearly was looking for an argument.

While driving back to the House, she told Haden the she was going to Italy this month. She said she was going with someone whose name sounded like Nan Nut a woman friend of Natalies who was going to look at Schools for Hayden. I do not know what this all means other that that I am out of this.

Hayden has had his shower and is in the bedroom with me coloring with coloring pencils that Natalie brought with her.

I will keep you informed as things progress. We will eat dinner soon.

More from Joe to Nikki:

I forgot to mention that as we were leaving the house to go to the swimming pool, for some reason I said “I can fly. What movie did that come from?” And Hayden answered immediately, “Peter Pen”. That was the right answer. The boy is a genius.

Hayden wants me to tell you “Zinky-doo” and “Scooby-doo”. Maybe he is not such a genius after all.

More from Joe:

Normally, I would be writing this stuff in my journal, but since it includes you also I will forgo my journal for the next few days but record whatever in these emails to yo.

It is now 7PM. Natalie and Hayden are off to get a sim card for her phone. She cadged 300 baht from me for the card with the excuse that she did not want to go upstairs to get the money.

In any event, after a chilly beginning she was like the “Old Natalie” during dinner pleasant and talkative. She cooked so the food was great. She bought some figs at an organic market that she said had recently opened in the Airport. After she spoke with you, she began telling me of her plans to relocate to Italy and settle in the Rome area with you and me. Yes, you read that correctly, “with you and me” and Hayden and send Hayden to elementary school there. She appeared serious. I suspect she was spinning out another of her fantasies for our benefit. She thinks you should relocate back to Fumicino. I told he that I thought you were pretty committed to the North.

Nikki’s response:

Wow what a day u had u can count me responsible for the smoking in the car i can handle the heat from her but the baby is gonna report your smoking too as only a child can do.
I have the feeling that when she is around everybody is nervous and upthight waiting a storm coming, look at the difference when i was there we were a good pack having fun and go along pretty smooth and relaxed.
i got the address and will send her ticket soon so i guess is my time to have somebody barking at me the all day.
I hope the baby is having a good preschool time before he start the summer term anyway is the other boy coming?
Not surprise that the gardeners screw up the cutting of the tree also cause she has no idea of what in the hell want to do or organize the setting of the tree send me some pic about their lousy job.
I guess her visit cost u more than u spend in a week i hope she filled up the fridge for u guys at least
I need a report how Hayden interacte with her if he is ok or looks stressed
Nothing much news here i had my new york canceled for maintenance so i have to wait till the 14th to get back to new york this time i take my brother with me we gonna stay at one of those Mariott inns and Steven will accomodate us for a very good rate something less than 40 bucks a nite with a corporate discount from his job position in the Mariott
I will fly to JFK another 3 times this month and get ready for her visit to Rome God help us.
I don’t know what is coming next but i ll try to get back to chang mai quickly maybe ill back with her let’s see
We had another snowfall i think is the last from this winter spring should enter soon
Miss our weekly barbecue with our friends and neiboroughs
Wish u a pleasent weekend this time in peace try to finish the story of the rat want to see the finale
Goog luck

Joe’s message to Nikki:

She woke me up this morning a 5:30 AM or so to drive her to the airport for her 7 AM flight to Bangkok. I did so and returned. I did not take any money with me in order to give me coverage for refusing any last minute requests.

Yesterday I was told that Oo was not bringing the child to Chiang Mai for summer school. This morning I was told that she was bringing him up today but to attend only two weeks of school before he has to leave to visit relatives in the south.

From Nikki again:

She was able even to mess up a poor tree from the garden mybe not explain well to the burmeses what to do or it was a language barrier.
Our burmese or mexican are the African mainly from senegal ghana mali and from those north african regions.
Those are really maintaining our economy since no italian is willing to clean toilets or swipe streets in the cold.
The east european those form the old IRON curtain are doing more skilled job like painting or constructions their women do the nannies or guardian for old senior people if they not end up into the flesh market of sex slavery
So we went in Africa to colonize LIBIA and ETIOPIA now we are colonized by them
Did u finish the story for HAYDEN?
Saturday i am bound to new york with my brother to see my Steven and tour the city

From Ann Marie:

Hello from San Francisco!

Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up the correspondence, but I wanted you to know I immensely enjoy reading your emails. I find myself looking forward to them each day when I open my mail. I’ve shared a few from time to time with Athena and she also continues to enjoy them as well.

Sounds like you are enjoying yourself, and that Hayden is proving to be quite the companion!

Updates on the grandchildren:

Things are going well here. Athena is still doing consistently well in school. We just opened her first checking account and deposited $100 as her reward, and I’m planning to take her to see the play “wicked” as a special treat. I just haven’t decided when since I’m trying to use that as a reward for good personal behavior. She’s entered the realm of teenage hormonal rudeness. I’m hoping it passes quickly! I’ve suddenly become “embarrassing” for just about anything. So far I’m still allowed to drop her off in front of the school, but I expect any second to be asked to let her out at the end of the block. Offering her one of your wonderful emails proves to be the best form of opening her up for conversation. Thank you for that!

Aaron has been a great kid, not giving me any real problems so I’m taking him to see Dr Suessical the musical as his treat for just being an all around good teen, and not causing any more gray hairs. He could apply himself more in school though. We’re working on that with his counselor so he doesn’t fall too far behind. He wants to go to Expression college and learn to design video games. I’m encouraging him gently to stay on that path for now. I’m just thrilled he wants to go to college! He’s also announced he plans to live with me forever or until his future wife wants to move out. He claims he knows a good thing when he has it, and is quite comfortable at home. Gotta love him. I’m sure that will change as soon as I tell him he has to pay rent if he isn’t going to college!
Anthony is in for a rude awakening.He has a court appointment tomorrow. The PO told me yesterday they will begin weekly drug testing and random checks periodically, as well as enforcing stricter punishment. If he disobeys me or skips school I just simply call them up and he will be picked up by the police. He is in general a nice kid, but he has no sense of accountability or responsibility for his actions. This last week for instance he decided to take a vacation to Oregon in the middle of the school year! He told me he was planning to go, however he said he would leave Friday and return Sunday!! He gets back tonight, and will have his first drug test right after court tomorrow. He is doing well at his new school, and the teacher says he hasn’t given him any trouble, but he is already falling behind with his credits. Hopefully the new arrangements with the PO will awaken him to reality a bit.

I’ve posted some new photos of my grandson on my website: http://www.annmarie.smugmug.com there is also a gallery under “family” click on “Petrillo family” to see the old photos I posted of you and Jason. I update my website often, so please feel free to check back often.

Hope you are managing to keep cool in the hot weather! And that your nanny duties don’t tire you out too much

From Bill Gates:

Doesn’t sound as if “re Thai r ment” is all that it’s cracked up to be! Baby sitting TWO is getting a little unreasonable, eh? – especially when last minute plane, train & whatever is involved! You have WAAAY more patience than I do – gotta admire that, I guess. My best to sala and her friends!?

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: