1501 The German botanist Leonhard Fuchs was born. He compiled the first modern glossary of botanical terms. The color fuchsia is named in honor of him.
(Lenny died of embarrassment.)
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
News from Thailand:
The Bangkok Post recently pointed out that the growth rate of Thailand’s tourist industry has fallen behind that of its competitors in the area. Their tourism growth rates often more than doubled that of Thailand.
These countries were also more aggressively pursuing and more successful in attracting retirees and those foreigners wishing to own real property or to open a small business. On the other hand, Thailand’s visa and property ownership rules have become ever more cumbersome and restrictive.
Malaysia offers simple long-term visas (as much as 10 years and property ownership to foreigners, Cambodia welcomes small foreign owner businesses and Borneo, has begun to surpass Thailand as a location for foreigners wishing to retire as well as for those interested in setting up small businesses.
Some of you after reading my last email have asked whether there was anyone notable bearing the Petrillo name who was not a criminal or suffered a tragic death,
Actually, I had been looking through the internet to find a positive model to use in a semi-autobiographical fable I was planning to write for a blog.
I could only turn up three.
One was Sophia Petrillo who was played by Estelle Getty in “The Golden Girls” television series. Sophia was the Bea Arthur character’s mother. Unfortunately, she was a fictional character and anyway she was reputed to have burned down the retirement home before moving to Miami to live with her daughter and friends. (There was an August Petrillo who at the time the show was popular was the racist mayor of Mount Vernon N.Y., a city I lived in briefly, but he was not the role model I had in mind.)
There was also James Caesar Petrillo, the head of the musicians union from the 1930’s until the 60’s. There was a band shell in Chicago named for him. That had some promise.
And then there was some guy named Petrillo from Pennsylvania who wrote a book called “The Ghost Towns of North Mountain.”
I could perhaps use as a model the pretty musician named Petrillo that was the plaything of the Prince of Tuscany, but I don’t do costume dramas.
On the other hand I could possibly revise his story to make it more contemporary.
In that case the story might go something like this:
Ferdinando, “Freddy Megs” Medici, the dissolute son of Vincent, “Vinnie the Hump” Medici a well-known Mafiosi, one day decided that he wanted to be a producer and manager of rock bands and using his father’s money started doing so.
Francis “Franny” Petrillo was the back-up Bass guitarist of the band “Pepperoni Suicide” that was managed by Freddy Megs. Franny was the product of a series of abusive foster parent situations. He was also an exceptionally pretty boy and Freddy Megs fell for him, hard.They began an affair.
Since the homophobic mafioso leadership frowned on such things, Freddy Megs kept his dalliance with Franny very secret. He also had very public affairs with women that convinced most of those that knew him that Megs was no finocchio. Anyway he was not yet a made man so something like this if it did get out could always be considered just a youthful indiscretion.
Freddy Megs promised Franny that one day he would have his own band.
Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs was also having an affair with a transsexual drummer in a punk grunge Dyke band called The Bloody Rags, also managed by Megs. The drummer’s name was Melanie.
When Franny found out about Melanie he became very jealous and decided to do away with her. He rigged up her drums to burst into flames when Melanie struck them in a certain way.
And so, at the concert where the Bloody Rags were performing, Melanie’s drums burst into flames on cue. Unfortunately for Franny, Melanie escaped without a scratch and the pyrotechnics were so well received by the audience that the Bloody Rags incorporated it into their act and as a result became famous. Melanie and the band, now insanely popular, promptly hired a more successful manager then Megs and took off for a tour of Europe, leaving Megs pissed off and Franny temporarily happy.
Freddy Megs soon grew tired of the music business, sold off his bands, told Franny it was over between them and joined an artist community in Taos.
Franny distraught and hoping to punish Megs with guilt, then hung himself from a telephone pole by the E-string of his favorite guitar, right outside the door of Freddy Megs house .
Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs had already moved to New Mexico and had sold the house to Franny’s long-lost father, a mega-millionaire who had made his money as Bernie Madoff’s silent partner.
His father coming out of his house in the morning to meet with his lawyers because he was under indictment for his association with Madoff, seeing Franny hanging there promptly dies of a heart attack leaving all his money to Franny. Since Franny is already dead the money goes to the alternative beneficiary in the will, a non-profit dedicated to reprogramming gay artists.
Eat your heart out Charlie Dickens wherever you are.