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. 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

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