TODAY FROM AMERICA:
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
During the train ride from Sacramento to San Francisco, I continued to work on my comments to the draft Seismic Safety Commission report. Once I realized that the consultants failed to review existing California disaster recovery programs to determine if the state already offered post event recovery assistance to business, I began to do the research myself.
I spent the night at my son Jason’s apartment. It had been my granddaughter Amanda’s birthday a few days ago and I had brought her some presents and was rewarded with a big hug.
The next day, I had lunch with Peter in a deep dish Chicago style pizza place that had just opened in Noe Valley. Later we watched the first half of the Superbowl, at first in the bar in which years ago I was a partner (perhaps my only investment that ever made money) and later a few doors away where we watched the game and listened to the Sunday Live Jazz performance featuring Pete Voukavich. For some reason at about half time, I began feeling exhausted so I returned to Jason’s apartment to rest and watch the rest of the game. The NY Giants won in the last few minutes as they seem to have done in each of their previous six games.
In the evenings, I spend much of my time being introduced to the puzzling wonders of reality television, including scenes of crazed cooks attempting to make the bizarre tasty; tattooed men and skinny girls in what appears to be moderately insane and dangerous activities including the gastronomic pleasure of swallowing things like live cockroaches and; moronic bearded men usually from the Southeast portion of the US (including Texas) killing anything that moves usually, but not necessarily, with a shotgun and then cooking (or not) and eating it. There appears to be a direct connection in the American psyche between violence and food with at best a brief side-trip into sex and wealth.
In between these bouts of visual lunacy and mayhem, Jason and I talk. For the first time in our lives we tried to avoid the father-son communication barriers. We told each other things we had never shared before. He mentioned how devastated, as an eight year old, he was when we learned of Jeanne’s death. “I wanted her to be my mother,” he said and began to cry. He recalled how brave and kind she was. He told about how difficult it was to be sent to an all black school and having to fight and defeat the schools biggest bullies to survive. And much much more I never knew. He recounted some of the things he had done as a child that enraged me at the time and admitted they were intentional. For what reason? To get my attention? A cry of loneliness and desperation perhaps?
At night lying in bed, I thought about how much I have missed out on; how much the tensions between fathers and sons drain out of both lives.
Today, it rained slightly. Perhaps this means that winter is finally beginning. In the Bay area, winter is usually marked by almost daily drizzles beginning in about October and ending at the end of March or so. This year like much of the rest of the world we are experiencing a year without winter.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.
In the Beginning: an oft told story.
Off to join the crusade.
I rarely ever apply for anything. I assume that I will be turned down and am unwilling to endure the self loathing that follows. I did not apply for either college or law school but rather showed up in the dean’s office the day before registration and talked my way into one of unfilled slots.
So I went directly to some State office that managed the civil service exam process and asked them what I had to do to get hired by the Coastal Commission. They told me that I did not qualify even for an interview since the application criteria limited employment to experienced “planners” only. They explained that they were looking for landscape architects or urban planners.
Now at that time I knew very little about planners of any kind. I guess they must have existed in NY but I could not recall ever meeting one and assumed it was something California-ish. Now, a landscape planner or architect I surmised had something to do with flowers and trees in parks, sort of what “the Olmsted” did. An urban planner, that was something else again. I, of course, was aware of those who had the authority and political power to tear down large areas of major cities in order to impose their esthetic, military or dynastic objectives on the community. People like Pope Sixtus insisting he and the other worthy Romans of the Baroque Age have unobstructed views of monuments of their choosing up and down the central city’s thoroughfares; or, Baron Haussmann executing Napoleon III’s obsession with grandeur; or even L’enfant’s proposal for the development of the vacant land designated to become the nations capital. All had the power, will and national wealth behind them to do what they will, but what did that have to do about stopping some motel developer from peeing on John’s garden of stunted trees and flesh eating plants?
I was pretty annoyed, not only at being rejected, something I had learned to expect, but also because I could not even get an interview to talk my way in. It appeared to me to be quite silly to so restrict who gets hired. It seemed destined to have little to do about preserving the coast or the environment and more to do about producing a coffee table book about it. And, certainly almost nothing to do with protecting the “Jughandle Creek Ecological Staircase” from ruin.
So the day the Commission was slated to commence operations, (I think they were to begin on March 1, 1973, or February, I do not remember which) I found myself standing in front of the building in which their new offices were located preparing myself to make my pitch.
At that time San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, was torn up to construct the tunnels that would carry the new regional transit rail line (BART) through the City as well as several of the City’s trolley lines in hope that, by removing most public transportation from the main thoroughfare servicing the commercial hub of the City and adding some landscaping along the sidewalk, the street would somehow evolve into the Champs Elysees of California; a dream that was destined to fail, lacking the will, power, unlimited funding or imagination necessary.
The area in front of the California Coastal Commission (as the new governmental entity created by the initiative to carry out its objectives was called) had been torn up as part of the beautification portion of the Market Street renovation. Sickly looking Sycamores, not all that much larger than John’s pygmies and certainly no more attractive, stood forlornly in their burlap root sacks every 30 feet or so waiting to be buried in the unforgiving soil beneath the holes in the sidewalk opened to receive them.
This area of the City at that time could best be described as downtrodden commercial. The building itself was a small nondescript two story office building whose previous tenant had fallen on the dreaded hard times. The Commission’s offices were located on the second floor.
As I pushed through the door and entered the office, I observed that the tenant improvements were far from complete. The walls of the future individual offices were just metal stripping still awaiting sheet-rock. The occupants were clearly visible through the spaces.
There were just three people working there at that time. In one office sat an older gentleman whose name I no longer remember and who I eventually learned had been a naval officer and also had worked in state government and supposedly knew a lot about the ins and outs of the movement of paper and forms among the various governmental entities upon which, whatever governmental effectiveness one expected of an agency, stands or falls. A tall, rather imposing and efficient looking middle aged woman (I have forgotten her name also), who told me she was the private secretary to the Executive Director. She had relocated with him from his previous position with an agency that earlier had been created to do in the Bay of San Francisco things similar to what the initiative proposed along California’s coast.
Through the walls I could see the third person, the Executive Director himself, Joe Bodovitz, a man I, at that time, knew nothing about other than his name as revealed in a name plate sitting in its holder on the secretary’s desk. His office was tiny and irregular. He had black framed glasses, was slender, wore a striped white shirt and a yellow tie.
I walked into his office and decided to get right to it and I said something like:
“The personnel people tell me that it will take about a month or so to get any of your permanent employees hired. You have to begin meetings and promulgating regulations before they show up. You and your secretary alone will have a hard time doing that. I used to be a practicing attorney in New York, perhaps I can help until then.”
Then he did something that surprised me, but which I learned later was a common habit of his, he grabbed the bottom of his tie and began running it through his fingers. After a moment or so he inquired, “Can you write?”
(to be continued)
THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:
To those working in the tunnels nearby it was no more than a slight lightening of the comforting gloom followed by the tremors of the earth giving way and something living falling and heavily striking the tunnel floor soon followed by the stifling wisps of oxygen rich air and the stench of an alien presence. As the tremors reverberated through the burrow, all work ceased as each citizen stopped what they were doing and turned towards the source of the tremors that they each felt climb out of the burrow walls, through the hairs of the sensitive down covering their bodies. All chatter ceased.
Like the Polynesian navigators of another time lying silently at the bottom of their dugout canoes, eyes closed, feeling the subtle shifts of the oceans swells until a picture emerged in their minds of islands and reefs far beyond the horizon, each resident of the burrow sensed the scene playing out in the far off tunnel. Then the chatter began again, now centered on the event and the burrow’s reaction. This was followed by the shuffling of hundreds of feet; the age old signal of danger.
The Queen, looked up from the lessons she was giving to her latest brood, then heaved her great bulk out of the royal chamber and began shouting to her soldiers, pushing them with her great head until phalanxes of soldiers from throughout the burrow began to move toward the breech.
She stopped, felt with every sense she had. Above the chatter and shuffling she could feel that the creature whose heavy breathing and weak heart beat was not a Rufus dragon or another terror out to ravage the community, but seemed like one of the people, alien but recognizable nonetheless. She butted one of the soldiers rushing by to a standstill and instructed him to tell the others that if it is not a predator to let her know what it is before doing anything.
2. H. Glaber fellow travelers:
E.B. Kim and others who unravelled the Naked Mole Rat’s gene sequencing.
According to Nature Magazine, the gene sequences revealed:
“…unique genome features and molecular adaptations consistent with cancer resistance, poikilothermy, hairlessness and insensitivity to low oxygen, and altered visual function, circadian rhythms and taste sensing. This information provides insights into the naked mole rat’s exceptional longevity and ability to live in hostile conditions, in the dark and at low oxygen. The extreme traits of the naked mole rat, together with the reported genome and transcriptome information, offer opportunities for understanding aging and advancing other areas of biological and biomedical research.”
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
RED STAR: Chapter, Vince gets a surprise (continued).
The cooling water in the bath woke him up. He looked around, a bit dazed and stared a moment puzzled at the mug balanced at the edge of the bathtub. Somehow he had finished drinking the liquid in it. Although deep down the chill from the water made his body ache, he felt somewhat more relaxed and calm than when he got into the tub however long ago.
He walked to the shower stall, rinsed himself off lingering in the hot water until it restored the warmth to his bones. Then he moved to the sink, searched around, found mouthwash and a deodorant stick, but no shaving paraphernalia. He gargled and applied the deodorant, put on his robe, walked out of the bathroom through the bedroom and down the short hall into the main room. There he found Isabella sitting on one of the sofa’s in front of the faux gas fireplace reading what looked like a report of some kind.
Her hair was hidden beneath a turban like thing and she had changed into satin beige pajamas and a matching thigh length robe. She looked stunning to him and he sensed movement in his groin as he stood there and silently watched her.
As though she sensed his presence, she suddenly looked up, smiled and said, “Oh there you are, finally. I was afraid you had drowned. I was about to go in and check on you.”
She smiled warmly.
“No, I guess I fell asleep. Sorry it took so long.”
Her smile widened and her normally cold placid eyes he believed showed a little warmth and sympathy. He remained standing where he was.
“I hope Lina’s drink did you some good. It is supposed to calm one down. She and I concocted it after an assignment.”
“She…” he got out.
“Yes, she and her husband were partners with me in some operations in the Philippines.”
“Oh,… yes it seemed to work,” he said deflating slightly as he was reminded about his performance earlier in the evening. “Look I am really sorry for…” He only got that far before she broke in.
“Don’t bother even thinking about it. My sphincter lets go almost every time things get hairy,” she laughed. “It is what they do. It’s a pretty weak muscle. Hard to strengthen.”
“Yeah, but I panicked, you didn’t.”
She got up asked, “Do you want a drink?”
“Mineral water, if you have it.”
As she moved to the low cabinet that contained a wet bar, she continued, “Everyone panics, we are trained to hide it to gain time. We were lucky tonight.”
She opened the cabinet poured two glasses of Pellegrino sparkling mineral water into glasses added some ice then turned and walked towards him. “Strange though, they seemed inept, almost amateurish.”
“I wouldn’t know,” he said dryly.
She chuckled and held out a glass to him.
He didn’t know why, but he suddenly moved toward her, put his arms around her waist, pulled her against him and kissed her. Her hands being otherwise occupied, she pushed against him with her forearms, stopped, kissed him back hungrily, then shoved him away.
“Stop,” she said, “you have no idea about how things are.”
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
2012: Racism, conservatism and intelligence?
A study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.
2012: Global warming is a socialist plot.
1. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
2. Department of abasement, apology and correction:
Ruth pointed out that Bloom’s Day occurs on June 16 and not in September (see my previous post). I do not know where September came from. I arrived in Europe on that trip sometime between late June or July. I stand before you repentant.
“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
We’ve seen this before department:
“Jewish activity collectively, throughout history, is best understood as an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy directed against neighboring peoples and host societies. The objective has been control of economic resources and political power. One example: overwhelming Jewish support for non-traditional immigration, which has the effect of weakening America’s historic white majority.”
— Kevin MacDonald, VDARE.com, Nov. 14, 2006
(VDARE is a White Nationalist website, run by Peter Brimelow, which frequently publishes the works of anti-Semitic and racist writers and is named after Virginia Dare, who is believed to be the first child of English parents born in the Americas. Brimelow, an immigrant from Great Britain, expresses his fear of the loss of America’s white majority, blames non-white immigrants for social and economic problems and urges the Republican Party to give up on minority voters and focus on winning the white vote. He also said that a New York City subway is the same as an Immigration and Naturalization Service waiting room, “an underworld that is not just teeming but also almost entirely colored.”
Brimelow is a featured panelist at this years American Conservative Union’s Political Action Conference at which Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, McConnell and Bachman are scheduled to address the delegates. Will any of them denounce the anti-semitism and racism? Will any of them refuse to appear at an event that features a racist anti-semite? Don’t bet on it.)
1. “People know what the news is. You’re not coming to cable news for news anymore. You’re coming for either validation of your opinion or you’re looking to find out what the other side is saying. It is analogous to the debates that break out on peoples’ Facebook walls. It’s almost like we’re social media, live. They’re just talking to each other. They’re just posting.”
Mr. Domal, [the vice president for eastern ad sales at Fox News].
2. “Political figures who talk a lot about liberty and freedom invariably turn out to mean the freedom to not pay taxes and discriminate based on race; freedom to hold different ideas and express them, not so much.”