Daily Archives: May 21, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 19, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1980. The US unfortunately lost its world leadership in such things as the greatest creditor nation, of having the lowest infant mortality rates and highest standard of living and the like. Nevertheless, it proudly remains number one in the world in, assault by rifle, shotgun or larger firearm, drunk Neighbors, death by reptile, car thefts, obesity, divorce rate, marriage rate, defense budget, television viewing and, external debt (owed to other countries).

Today’s news from Thailand:

1. The worst floods in memory hit Korat and are expected to hit Bangkok soon. Meanwhile the worst tropical storm of the year (Typhoon or Hurricane) has devastated the northern Philippines.

2. The Secretary to the President of the Constitution Court was dismissed following the release of a video tape showing him meeting with a Democratic Party (the party opposed to the Red Shirts) Member of Parliament attempting to influence the Red Shirt (Puea Thai) party’s laws suit accusing the Democratic Party of misusing certain funds. Meanwhile the MP in question has recently left the country.

3. The new head of Thailand’s military has begun his purge of army officers suspected of sympathy with the Rad Shirts.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER VII – HOME AGAIN HOME AGAIN ZIGGITY-ZIG.

We spent the night at Gun Girl’s house in Chyaphum a town in Issan. It is located near another national park that lies astride the divide between Lanna and Issan that I had visited once before. The divide like the Sierra Nevada’s rises gently on one side and falls off steeply on the side facing Lanna. On the Issan facing slopes grow a remarkable purple flower that looks like lupine with somewhat larger and waxier petals. What is unusual about them is that when in bloom they grow in great profusion over the meadows and hills of the park, each on its individual stalk without leaves, containing a single group of flowers per plant and these stalks grow separately about 18 inches from one another as though some god came down and planted them for his own amusement because like most gods he was insane.

Anyway Gun Girl’s house was, along with her automobile in which we had been riding, the spoils of her recent divorce.

The next morning no one felt like moving too much so we spent the day straightening up the house, cleaning the car, walking around the neighborhood and visiting GG’s relatives. I spent most of my time traveling from my bedroom to the bathroom and then to the porch where putting up my feet on the railing, I sat and read old magazines from Australia that I assumes belonged to the now unlamented husband.

The following day we left for Korat. Korat is a relatively large city that functions as the gateway to Issan. When I was here last, almost 10 years ago, it was a center of the pottery and ceramics industry much like Gubbio and the surrounding hill towns in Italy are the centers of the Faience (Majolica) industry. In addition to the pottery and the like the artisans of Korat specialize in large bas reliefs, some twenty or thirty feet wide. There is one of an elephant on the exterior wall of the house in Chiang Mai.

All cultures everywhere have similar centers of artisans. After a society disappears, when archeologists dig around in its detritus, it is often the product of these industries that are dug up and declared great art. During the Renaissance, when many of the grey marble statues of classical civilization came to light, they became the models for the great art that began to be produced at the time. Unbeknownst or ignored by the aesthetes then and now, these classical artworks were more often than not, the by-products of the same sort of workshops that one found in Korat and not only that but they originally were all brightly painted in colors that today we would find amusing on a circus clown. Nevertheless, the paint having worn off during the centuries leaving only the bare stone and metal prompted artists down almost to today to sculpt their images in unpainted stone (except for the Della Robbia family who sculpted in clay and fired it with colored glaze).

Anyway, we went to the house of GG’s sister. The house was quite large and originally belonged to the sister’s departed (dead) husband who was a high government official of some sort. The sister had used the money she had stolen from us and from our employees that she supervised to remodel the first floor into the restaurant, According to her, her customers made up the nouveau riche of the area (She serves wine and steak as well as Thai food).

After graciously showing me around and offering me a job (that I ignored) we all left and drove almost non stop back to Paradise by the Sea where I was left off. I ran up
to my apartment, took a shower and went right to bed, “…to sleep perchance to dream…”. And dream I did, of my masseuse who was due to arrive tomorrow for my two-day massage. “Ay there’s the rub.”

Fini…

Pookie’s epistle to the Thai email list:

If you object to being offended, please do not read this attachment.

Pookie’s Epistle Number X-2

On Death, Lucifer Light Bringer, my Grandfather and Omar Khayyam

This was one of those remarkably beautiful mornings. So as I sat in the cafe sipping my cafe latte and gazing at the yellow sand beach and the stippled water reflecting the almost empty blue sky, of course my thoughts wandered off to ruminating on death and dying.

This is not such an odd juxtaposition at my age, especially when recently I began to wonder if my preference for drifting through life requires some adjustment when faced with the inevitable decline of my physical and mental faculties over the next decade or so.

On the other hand, as I so well know, the end may occur while simply standing on the sidewalk looking forward to the future. Or, as the Great Dane imagined by Sarahpalin’s literary predecessor, mused whether “..to take arms against a sea of trouble..” is really worth it.

This led me to think about my grandfather who bore the same name as I and was called, “Big Joe”, “Old Joe”, “Pepino” or just Joe as the situation required.
I turn to contemplation of the man often because of the great dark shadow cast by the him stunting the growth of all members of the Petrillo family caught in its gloom.

Big Joe approached life as something to be beaten into shape with his fists or accepted with neither emotion nor regret.

In his nineties, when he was of the age that required him to reside in an institution for the youth impaired, he developed the obsession that were he to lie down on his bed he would surely die. So, every night he sat upright in his chair facing the door to his room ready to fight death to the death so to speak. No, there was no going silently into “that dark night” for old Joe. He was prepared to beat death into submission were the caped skeleton so foolish as to walk through that door.

One night when he was 85 years old and working at directing traffic in the parking lot of one of his son’s restaurants on Cape Cod, he called me on the phone. He was worried about being arrested and thrown in jail (not for the first time in his life). When I inquired as to what it was that made him think this, he told me that evening he directed an automobile with two young men and their dates into a parking space. The young man driving ignored him and parked instead closer to the entrance to the restaurant and got out. Grandpa (as I called him) went up to the driver to remonstrate with him and ask him to move his car to the space into which he was directed.

The young man responded by saying, “Get out of the way old man,” and pushed “Big Joe” aside.

Shortly thereafter the ambulance took the young man to the hospital suffering a broken nose, the loss of a few teeth, a couple of broken ribs and various contusions and abrasions as they say in the legal trade. I was to later learn that the young man was hospitalized for two weeks.

“Don’t worry grandpa”, I laughed “If you are arrested, I will take the case, put you on the stand and ask you one question, ‘How old are you Mr. Petrillo’. Besides I suspect the young man will be too embarrassed to press charges”. I was right he did not.

Anyway, one night midway through his 98th year, a kind-hearted nurse, after giving him his medicine watched him doze off and believing that he must, at his age, be uncomfortable sleeping upright in a chair, lifted him up and into his bed. They found him dead the next morning.

That is the way it is with old man death, he may not be strong enough to wrestle you into your grave but close your eye for a moment…

It is interesting that in the iconography of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) death is most often imagined as a demon. “Lucifer Light Bringer” being the arch-demon.

Lucifer Light Bringer was a demigod (angel) who like Prometheus (another demigod) committed the universally unforgivable sin of gods everywhere of bringing knowledge to the human race. For this they were to be punished for all eternity; Prometheus by being chained to a rock and having his liver clawed out daily by an eagle; and Lucifer by having his light put out and being forced to live with that monstrous big boobed bitch Lilith while spending the rest eternity dipping the souls of the damned, head down into barrels of boiling piss.

It seems that what the gods intend us learn is that on earth as it is in heaven, no good deed goes unpunished.

This is probably why so many of our Abrahamic brethren suffer so:

The Jews with their unreasonable sense of guilt (probably for inventing the insane god that they did. But cheer up my circumcised brethren, the pagan gods were no better, except that they were able to drink wine and laugh, while roasting humanity on the rotisseries of life).

The Christians with their utter terror of their totally insane and vindictive god

Muslims with their hatred of anyone not forced to suffer like them under the not so benevolent hand of Allah.

The history of the Catholic Church and Christianity can be summed up as the battle between those who believe that god intended the spoils of life to go to those whose lives most demonstrate a willingness to do almost anything to achieve success in this life (e.g. Augustine and Jerome who believed, it is not the good you do that makes one blessed but the strength of your blind fervor.) and those who now and then actually do a good deed or two. Unfortunately, that dank cesspool referred to as the Catholic hierarchy all too often gave lip-service to the latter but idolized the former.

The Gnostics understood the truth behind the symbolism when they maintained that the Abrahamic god was the prince of evil and that Lucifer Light Bringer and Prometheus were the avatars of the God of Light destined to ultimately end the dread reign of this spawn of Loki.

Of course there are always exceptions, Maimonides, Hillel, Francis of Assisi, Rumi are some. I would like to add one of my favorites Omar Khayyam to the list. After all he did say that the primary goal of life is “…a loaf of bread, a glass of wine and thou beneath the bough…” but that is going too far I think.

By the way, what is it about Islam and alcohol (they invented the word for god’s sake)? After all, their history is filled with alcoholic poets and drunken califs and sultans.

Did you know, that there once was an Ottoman sultan so distressed that his supply of favorite wine in his cellar was running out, he allowed himself to be persuaded to begin a war to conquer the country (Cyprus) that made his beloved vintage, after the Cypriots, egged on by the Pope (of course), threatened to sell no more of their wine to the islamic heathens.

The good Christian nations, fearing that these vines would be lost to the true church should the sultan achieve his goal, united, as they had almost never been able to before in history for anything, and kicked the Sultan’s ass at the battle of Lepanto, beginning the slow steady decline of the Ottoman Empire and of Islamic civilization that continues today.

It was just about at this same time, back in old Europe, recently recovered from the plague, that a few priests, among them Luther, Calvin and Wycliffe, decided to take the lunatic god at his word. Recognizing that the fruits of life seemed to inure to those most willing to climb over the corpses of anyone who stood in their way, these divines declared that since that is what usually happens in life anyway, it therefore must be the will of God.They also maintained that such success must be some indication of favor from the Most High and therefore as long as he (and it most assuredly must be a he) took the psychotic god into his heart, he would also be first among the elect when he, to the relief of his victims, finally died.

After all, God must be displeased, as he was displeased with the children of Israel once they stopped winning, with the miserable of the earth, the poor and the southern eastern european migrants of the last century and the South American and Africans of this, since he made their lives so unbearably wretched.

Our fundamentalist brethren,( and if truth be known, the Catholic hierarchy) cheer this insight to this day.

Bonus attachment:

For those of you who decide against the above epistle, I have attached for your amusement and edification, the first chapter of Richard Burton’s (the explorer not the actor) translation of the famous medieval Persian sex handbook “The Perfumed Garden”.

You must be 18 or older to open this attachment. Anthony, having yesterday, reached his majority, is now free to do so.

Today’s quote:

“Ah well, I suppose it has come to this… such is life.”
Ned Kelly’s last words before he was hung.

_________________________________________________

Bonus Attachment:

CHAPTER 1

Concerning Praiseworthy Men

LEARN, O Vizir (God’s blessing be upon you), that there are different sorts of men and women; that amongst these are those who are worthy of praise and those who deserve reproach.

When a meritorious man finds himself near to women, his member grows, gets strong, vigorous and hard; he is not quick to discharge, and after the trembling caused by the emission of the sperm, he is soon stiff again.

Such a man is liked and appreciated by women; this is because the woman loves the man only for the sake of coition. His member should, therefore, be of ample dimensions and length. Such a man ought to be broad in the chest, and heavy in the crupper; he should know how to regulate his emission, and be ready as to erection; his member should reach to the end of the canal of the female, and completely fill the same in all its parts. Such an one will be well beloved by women, for, as the poet says:

I have seen women trying to find in young men
The durable qualities which grace the man of full power,
The beauty, the enjoyment, the reserve, the strength,
The full-formed member providing a lengthened coition,
A heavy crupper, a slowly coming emission,
A lightsome chest, as it were floating upon them;
The spermal ejaculation slow to arrive, so as
To furnish forth a long drawn-out enjoyment.
His member soon to be prone again for erection,
To ply the plane again and again and again on their vulvas,
Such is the man whose cult gives pleasure to women,
And who will ever stand high in their esteem.
Qualities Which Women Are Looking For in Men

The tale goes, that on a certain day, Abd-el-Melik ben Merouane, went to see Leilla, his mistress, and put various questions to her. Amongst other things, he asked her what were the qualities which women looked for in men.

Leilla answered him: ‘Oh, my master, they must have cheeks like ours.’ ‘And what besides?’ said Ben Merouane. She continued: ‘And hairs like ours; finally they should be like to you, O prince of believers, for, surely, if a man is not strong and rich he will obtain nothing from women.’

Various Lengths of the Virile Member

The virile member, to please women, must have at most a length of the breadth of twelve fingers, or three handbreadths, and at least six fingers, or a hand and a half breadth.

There are men with members of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths; others of ten fingers, or two and a half hands. And others measure eight fingers, or two hands. A man whose member is of less dimensions cannot please women.

The Use of Perfumes in Coition. The History of Mo&cced;ilama

The use of perfumes, by man as well as by woman, excites to the act of copulation. The woman, inhaling the perfumes employed by the man, becomes intoxicated; and the use of scents has often proved a strong help to man, and assisted him in getting possession of a woman.

On this subject it is told of Mo&cced;ilama, the impostor, the son of Kaiss–whom God may curse!), that he pretended to have the gift of prophecy, and imitated the Prophet of God (blessings and salutations to him). For which reasons he and a great number of Arabs have incurred the ire of the Almighty.

Mo&cced;ilama, the son of Kaiss, the impostor, misconstrued likewise the Koran by his lies and impostures; and on the subject of a chapter of the Koran, which the angel Gabriel (hail be to him) had brought to the Prophet (the mercy of God and hail to him), people of bad faith had gone to see Mo&cced;ilama, who had told them, ‘To me also has the angel Gabriel brought a similar chapter.’

He derided the chapter headed ‘The Elephant,’ saying, ‘In this chapter of the Elephant I see the elephant. What is the elephant? What does it mean? What is this quadruped? It has a tail and a long trunk. Surely it is a creation of our God, the magnificent.’

The chapter of the Koran named ‘the kouter’ was also an object of controversy. He said, ‘We have given you precious stones for yourself, and preference to any other man, but take care not to be proud of them.’

Mo&cced;ilama thus perverted sundry chapters in the Koran by his lies and his impostures.

He had been at his work when he heard the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him) spoken of. He heard that after he had placed his venerable hands upon a bald head, the hair had forthwith sprung up again; that when he spat into a pit, the water came in abundantly, and that the dirty water turned at once clean and good for drinking; that when he spat into an eye that was blind or obscure, the sight was at once restored to it, and when he placed his hands upon the head of a child, saying, ‘Live for a century,’ the child lived to be a hundred years old.

When the disciples of Mo&cced;ilama saw these things or heard speak of them, they came to him and said, ‘Have you no knowledge of Mohammed and his doings?’ He replied, ‘I shall do better than that.’

Now, Mo&cced;ilama was an enemy of God, and when he put his luckless hand on the head of someone who had not much hair, the man was at once quite bald; when he spat into a well with a scanty supply of water, sweet as it was, it was turned dirty by the will of God; if he spat into a suffering eye, that eye lost its sight at once, and when he laid his hand upon the head of an infant, saying, ‘Live a hundred years,’ the infant died within an hour.

Observe. my brethren, what happens to those whose eyes remain closed to the light, and who are deprived of the assistance of the Almighty!

And thus acted that woman of the Beni-Temim, called Chedjâ el Temimia, who pretended to be a prophetess. She had heard of Mo&cced;ilama, and he likewise of her.

This woman was powerful, for the Beni-Temim form a numerous tribe. She said, ‘Prophecy cannot belong to two persons. Either he is a prophet, and then I and my disciples will follow his laws, or I am a prophetess, and then he and his disciples will follow my laws.’

This happened after the death of the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him).

Chedjâ then wrote to Mo&cced;ailama a letter, in which she told him, ‘It is not proper that two persons should at one and the same time profess prophecy; it is for one only to be a prophet. We will meet, we and our disciples, and examine each other. We shall discuss about that which has come to us from God (the Koran), and we will follow the laws of him who shall be acknowledged as the true prophet.’

She then closed her letter and gave it to a messenger, saying to him: ‘Betake yourself, with this missive, to Yamama, and give it to Mo&cced;ailama ben Kaiss. As for myself, I follow you, with the army.’

Next day the prophetess mounted horse, with her goum, and followed the spoor of her envoy. When the latter arrived at Mo&cced;ailama’s place, he greeted him and gave him the letter.

Mo&cced;ilama opened and read it, and understood its contents. He was dismayed, and began to advise with the people of his goum, one after another, but he did not see anything in their advice or in their views that could rid him of his embarrassment.

While he was in this perplexity, one of the superior men of his goum came forward and said to him: ‘Oh, Mo&cced;ilama, calm your soul and cool your eye. I will give you the advice of a father to his son.’

Mo&cced;ilama said to him: ‘Speak, and may thy words be true.’

And the other one said: ‘Tomorrow morning erect outside the city a tent of coloured brocades, provided with silk furniture of all sorts. Fill the tent afterwards with a variety of different perfumes, amber, musk, and all sorts of scents, as rose, orange flowers, jonquils, jessamine, hyacinth, carnation and other plants. This done, have them placed there several gold censers filled with green aloes, ambergris, net and so on. Then fix the hangings so that nothing of these perfumes can escape out of the tent. Then, when you find the vapour strong enough to impregnate water, sit down on your throne, and send for the prophetess to come and see you in the tent, where she will be alone with you. When you are thus together there, and she inhales the perfumes, she will delight in the same, all her bones will be released in a soft repose, and finally she will be swooning. When you see her thus far gone, ask her to grant you her favours; she will not hesitate to accord them. Having once possessed her, you will be freed of the embarrassment caused to you by her and her goum.’

Mo&cced;ilama exclaimed: ‘You have spoken well. As God lives, your advice is good and well thought out.’ And he had everything arranged accordingly.

When he saw that the perfumed vapour was dense enough to impregnate the water in the tent he sat down upon his throne and sent for the prophetess. On her arrival he gave orders to admit her into the tent; she entered and remained alone with him. He engaged her in conversation.

While Mo&cced;ilama spoke to her she lost all her presence of mind, and became embarrassed and confused.

When he saw her in that state he knew that she desired cohabitation, and he said: ‘Come, rise and let me have possession of you; this place has been prepared for that purpose. If you like you may lie on your back, or you can place yourself on an fours, or kneel as in prayer, with your brow touching the ground, and your crupper in the air, forming a tripod. Whichever position you prefer, speak, and you shall be satisfied.’

The prophetess answered, ‘I want it done in all ways. Let the revelation of God descend upon me, O Prophet of the Almighty.’

He at once precipitated himself upon her, and enjoyed her as he liked. She then said to him, ‘When I am gone from here, ask my goum to give me to you in marriage.’

When she had left the tent and met her disciples, they said to her, ‘What is the result of the conference, O prophetess of God?’ and she replied, ‘Mo&cced;ilama has shown me what has been revealed to him, and I found it to be the truth, so obey him.’

Then Mo&cced;ilama asked her in marriage from the goum, which was accorded to him. When the goum asked about the marriage-dowry of his future wife, he told them, ‘I dispense you from saying the prayer aceur (which is said at three or four o’clock). Ever from that time the Beni-Temim do not pray at that hour; and when they are asked the reason, they answer, ‘It is on account of our prophetess; she only knows the way to the truth.’ And, in fact, they recognized no other prophet.

On this subject a poet has said:

For us a female prophet has arisen;
Her laws we follow; for the rest of mankind
The prophets that appeared were always men.
The death of Mo&cced;ilama was foretold by the prophecy of Abou Beker (to whom God be good). He was, in fact, killed by Zeid ben Khettab. Other people say it was done by Ouhcha, one of his disciples. God only knows whether it was Ouhcha. He himself says on this point, ‘I have killed in my ignorance the best of men, Haman ben Abd el Mosaleb, and then I killed the worst of men, Mo&cced;ailama. I hope that God will pardon one of these actions in consideration of the other.’

The meaning of these words, ‘I have killed the best of men’, is that Ouhcha, before having yet known the prophet, had killed Haman (to whom God be good), and having afterwards embraced Islamism, he killed Mo&cced;ilama.

As regards Chedjâ el Temimia, she repented by God’s grace, and took to the Islamitic faith; she married one of the Prophet’s followers (God be good to her husband).

Thus finishes the story.

The man who deserves favours is, in the eyes of women, the one who is anxious to please them. He must be of good presence, excel in beauty those around him, be of good shape and well-formed proportions; true and sincere in his speech with women; he must likewise be generous and brave, not vainglorious, and pleasant in conversation. A slave to his promise, he must always keep his word, ever speak the truth, and do what he has said.

The man who boasts of his relations with women, of their acquaintance and good will to him, is a dastard. He will be spoken of in the next chapter.

There is a story that once there lived a King named Mamoum, who had a court fool of the name of Bahloul, who amused the princes and Vizirs.

One day this buffoon appeared before the King, who was amusing himself. The King bade him to sit down, and then asked him, turning away, ‘Way hast thou come, O son of a bad woman?’

Bahloul answered, ‘I have come to see what has come to our Lord, whom may God make victorious.’

‘And what has come to thee?’ replied the King, ‘and how art thou getting on with thy new and with thy old wife?’ For Bahloul, not content with one wife, had married a second one.

‘I am not happy,’ he answered, ‘neither with the old one, nor with the new one: and moreover poverty overpowers me.’

The King said, ‘Can you recite any verses on this subject?’

The buffoon having answered in the affirmative, Mamoum commanded him to recite those he knew, and Bahloul began as follows:

Poverty holds me in chains; misery torments me:
I am being scourged with all misfortunes;
Ill luck has cast me in trouble and peril,
And has drawn upon me the contempt of man.
God does not favour a poverty like mine;
That is opprobrious in every one’s eyes.
Misfortune and misery for a long time
Have held me tightly; and no doubt of it
My dwelling house will soon not know me more.
Mamoum said to him, ‘Where are you going to?’

He replied, ‘To God and his Prophet, O prince of the believers.’

‘That is well!’ said the King; ‘those who take refuge in God and his Prophet and then in us, will be made welcome. But can you now tell me some more verses about your two wives, and about what comes to pass with them?’

Certainly,’ said Bahloul.

‘Then let us hear what you have to say!’

Bahloul then began thus with poetical words:

By reason of my ignorance I have married two wives –
And why do you complain, O husband of two wives?
I said to myself, I shall be like a lamb between them;
I shall take my pleasure upon the bosoms of my two sheep,
And I have become like a ram between two female jackals,
Days follow upon days, and nights upon nights,
And their yoke bears me down during both days and nights.
If I am kind to one, the other gets vexed.
And so I cannot escape from these two furies.
If you want to live well and with a free heart,
And with your hands unclenched, then do not marry.
If you must wed, then marry one wife only:
One alone is enough to satisfy two armies
When Mamoum heard these words he began to laugh, till he nearly tumbled over. Then, as a proof of his kindness, he gave to Bahloul his golden robe, a most beautiful vestment.

Bahloul went in high spirits towards the dwelling of the Grand Vizir. Just then Hamdonna looked from the height of her palace in that direction, and saw him. She said to her negress, ‘By the God of the temple of Mecca! There is Bahloul dressed in a fine gold-worked robe! How can I manage to get possession of the same?’

The negress said, ‘Oh, my mistress, you would not know how to get hold of that robe.’

Hamdonna answered, ‘I have thought of a trick whereby to achieve my ends, and I shall get the robe from him.’ ‘Bahloul is a sly man,’ replied the negress. ‘People think generally that they can make fun of him; but for God, it is he who really makes fun of them. Give up the idea, mistress mine, and take care that you do not fall into the snare which you intend setting for him.’

But Hamdonna said again, ‘It must be done!’ She then sent her negress to Bahloul, to tell him that he should come to her.

He said, ‘By the blessing of God, to him who calls you, you shall make answer,’ and went to Hamdonna.

Hamdonna welcomed him and said: ‘Oh, Bahloul, I believe you come to hear me sing.’ He replied: ‘Most certainly, oh, my mistress! You have a marvellous gift for singing.’

‘I also think that after having listened to my songs, you will be pleased to take some refreshments.’

‘Yes,’ said he.

Then she began to sing admirably, so as to make people who listened die with love.

After Bahloul had heard her sing, refreshments were served; he ate, and he drank Then she said to him: ‘I do not know why, but I fancy you would gladly take off your robe, to make me a present of it.’ And Bahloul answered: ‘Oh, my mistress! I have sworn to give it to her to whom I have done as a man does to a woman.’

‘Do you know what that is, Bahloul?’ said she.

‘Do I know it?’ replied he. ‘I, who am instructing God’s creatures in that science? It is I who make them copulate in love, who initiate them in the delights a female can give, show them how one must caress a woman, and what will excite and satisfy her. Oh, my mistress, who should know the art of coition if it is not I?’

Hamdonna was the daughter of Mamoum, and the wife of the Grand Vizir. She was endowed with the most perfect beauty; of a superb figure and harmonious form. No one in her time surpassed her in grace and perfection. Heroes on seeing her became humble and submissive, and looked down to the ground for fear of temptation, so many charms and perfections had God lavished on her. Those who looked steadily at her were troubled in their mind, and oh! how many heroes imperilled themselves for her sake. For this very reason Bahloul had always avoided meeting her for fear of succumbing to the temptation; and, apprehensive for his peace of mind, had never, until then, been in her presence.

Bahloul began to converse with her. Now he looked at her and anon bent his eyes to the ground, fearful of not being able to command his passion. Hamdonna burnt with desire to have the robe, and he would not give it up without king paid for it.

‘What price do you demand,’ she asked. To which he replied, ‘Coition, O apple of my eye.’

‘You know what that is, O Bahloul?’ said she.

‘By God,’ he cried; ‘no man knows women better than I; they are the occupation of my life. No one has studied all their concerns more than I. I know what they are fond of; for learn, oh, lady mine, that men choose different occupations according to their genius and their bent. The one takes, the other gives; this one sells, the other buys. My only thought is of love and of the possession of beautiful women. I heal those that are lovesick, and carry a solace to their thirsting vaginas.’

Hamdonna was surprised at his words and the sweetness of his language. ‘Could you recite me some verses on this subject?’ she asked.

‘Certainly,’ he answered.

‘Very well, O Bahloul, let me hear what you have to say.’ Bahloul recited as follows:

Men are divided according to their affairs and doings;
Some are always in spirits and joyful, others in tears.
There are those whose life is restless and full of misery,
While, on the contrary, others are steeped in good fortune,
Always in luck’s happy way, and favoured in all things.
I alone am indifferent to all such matters.
What care I for Turkomans, Persians, and Arabs?
My whole ambition is in love and coition with women,
No doubt nor mistake about that!
If my member is without vulva, my state becomes frightful,
My heart then burns with a fire which cannot be quenched.
Look at my member erect! There it is–admire its beauty!
It calms the heat of love and quenches the hottest fires
By its movement in and out between your thighs.
Oh, my hope and my apple, oh, noble and generous lady,
If one time will not suffice to appease thy fire,
I shall do it again, so as to give satisfaction;
No one may reproach thee, for all the world does the same.
But if you choose to deny me, then send me away!
Chase me away from thy presence without any fear or remorse!
Yet bethink thee, and speak and augment not my trouble,
But, in the name of God, forgive me and do not reproach me.
While I am here let thy words be kind and forgiving.
Let them not fall upon me like sword-blades, keen and cuffing!
Let me come to you and do not repel me.
Let me come to you like one that brings drink to the thirsty;
Hasten and let my hungry eyes look at thy bosom.
Do not withhold from me love’s joys, and do not be bashful,
Give yourself up to me–I shall never cause you trouble,
Even were you to fill me with sickness from head to foot.
I shall always remain as I am, and you as you are,
Knowing that I am the servant, and you are the mistress ever.
Then shall our love be veiled? It shall be hidden for all time,
For I keep it a secret and I shall be mute and muzzled.
It is by God’s will that everything happens,
And he has filled me with love; but today my luck is ill.
While Hamdonna was listening she nearly swooned, and set herself to examine the member of Bahloul, which stood erect like a column between his thighs. Now she said to herself: ‘I shall give myself up to him,’ and now, ‘No I will not.’ During this uncertainty she felt a yearning for pleasure deep within her parts privy; and Eblis made flow from her natural parts a moisture, the forerunner of pleasure. She then no longer combated her desire to cohabit with him, and reassured herself by the thought: ‘If this Bahloul, after having had his pleasure with me, should divulge it no one will believe his words.’

She requested him to divest himself of his robe and to come into her room, but Bahloul replied: ‘I shall not undress till I have sated my desire, O apple of my eye.’

Then Hamdonna rose, trembling with excitement for what was to follow; she undid her girdle, and left the room, Bahloul following her and thinking: ‘Am I really awake or is this a dream?’ He walked after her till she had entered her boudoir. Then she threw herself on a couch of silk, which was rounded on the top like a vault, lifted her clothes up over her thighs, trembling all over, and all the beauty which God had given her was in Bahloul’s arms.

Bahloul examined the belly of Hamdonna, round like an elegant cupola’ his eyes dwelt upon a navel which was like a pearl in a golden cup; and descending lower down there was a beautiful piece of nature’s workmanship, and the whiteness and shape of her thighs surprised him.

Then he pressed Hamdonna in a passionate embrace, and soon saw the animation leave her face; she seemed almost unconscious. She had lost her head; and holding Bahloul’s member in her hands, excited and fired him more and more.

Bahloul said to her: ‘Why do I see you so troubled and beside yourself?’ And she answered: ‘Leave me, O son of a debauched woman! By God, I am like a mare in heat, and you continue to excite me still more with your words, and what words! They would set any woman on fire, if she was the purest creature in the world. You will insist in making me succumb by your talk and your verses.’

Bahloul answered: ‘Am I then not like your husband?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, but a woman gets heat on account of the man, as a mare on account of the horse, whether the man be the husband or not; with this difference, however, that the mare gets lusty only at certain periods of the year, and only then receives the stallion, while a woman can always be made rampant by words of love. Both these dispositions have met within me, and, as my husband is absent, make haste, for he will soon be back’

Bahloul replied. ‘Oh, my mistress, my loins hurt me and prevent me mounting upon you. You take the man’s position, and then take my robe and let me depart.’

Then he laid himself down in the position the woman takes in receiving a man; and his verge was standing up like a column.

Hamdonna threw herself upon Bahloul, took his member between her hands and began to look at it. She was astonished at its size, strength and firmness, and cried: ‘Here we have the ruin of all women and the cause of many troubles. O Bahloul! I never saw a more beautiful dart than yours!’ Still she continued keeping hold of it, and rubbed its bead against the lips of her vulva till the latter part seemed to say: ‘O member, come into me.’

Then Bahloul inserted his member into the vagina of the Sultan’s daughter, and she, settling down upon his engine, allowed it to penetrate entirely into her furnace till nothing more could be seen of it, not the slightest trace, and she said: ‘How lascivious has God made woman, and how indefatigable after her pleasures.’ She then gave herself up to an up-and-down dance, moving her bottom like a riddle; to the right and left, and forward and backward; never was there such a dance as this.

The Sultan’s daughter continued her ride upon Bahloul’s member till the moment of enjoyment arrived, and the attraction of the vulva seemed to pump the member as though by suction: just as an infant sucks the teat of the mother. The acme of enjoyment came to both simultaneously, and each took the pleasure with avidity.

Then Hamdonna seized the member in order to withdraw it, and slowly, slowly she made it come out, saying: ‘This is the deed of a vigorous man.’ Then she dried it and her own private parts with a silken kerchief and rose.

Bahloul also got up and prepared to depart, but she said, ‘And the robe?’

He answered, ‘Why, O mistress! You have been riding me, and still want a present?’

‘But,’ said she, ‘did you not tell me that you could not mount me on account of the pains in your loins?’

‘It matters but little,’ said Bahloul. ‘The first time it was your turn, the second will be mine, and the price for it will be the robe, and then I will go.’

Hamdonna thought to herself, ‘As he began he may now go on; afterwards he will go away.’

So she laid herself down, but Bahloul said, ‘I shall not lie with you unless you undress entirely.’

Then she undressed until she was quite naked, and Bahloul fell into an ecstasy on seeing the beauty and perfection of her form. He looked at her magnificent thighs and rebounding navel, at her belly vaulted like an arch, her plump breasts standing out like hyacinths. Her neck was like a gazelle’s, the opening of her mouth like a ring, her lips fresh and red like a gory sabre. Her teeth might have been taken for pearls and her cheeks for roses. Her eyes were black and well slit, and her eyebrows of ebony resembled the rounded flourish of the noun traced by the hand of a skilful writer. Her forehead was like the full moon in the night.

Bahloul began to embrace her, to suck her lips and to kiss her bosom; he drew her fresh saliva and bit her thighs. So he went on till she was ready to swoon, and could scarcely stammer, and her eyes became veiled. Then he kissed her vulva, and she moved neither hand nor foot. He looked lovingly upon the secret parts of Hamdonna, beautiful enough to attract all eyes with their purple centre.

Bahloul cried, ‘Oh, the temptation of man!’ and still he bit her and kissed her till her desire was roused to its full pitch. Her sighs came quicker, and grasping his member with her hand she made it disappear in her vagina

Then it was he who moved hard, and she who responded hotly, the overwhelming pleasure simultaneously calming their fervour.

Then Bahloul got off her, dried his pestle and her mortar, and prepared to retire. But Hamdonna said, ‘Where is the robe? You mock me, O Bahloul.’ He answered, ‘O my mistress, I shall only part with it for a consideration. You have had your dues and I mine. The first time was for you, the second time for me; now the third time shall be for the robe.’

This said. he took it off, folded it, and put it in Hamdonna’s hands, who, having risen, lay down again on the couch and said, ‘Do what you like!’

Forthwith Bahloul threw himself upon her, and with one push completely buried his member in her vagina; then he began to work as with a pestle, and she to move her bottom, until both again did flow over at the same time. Then he rose from her side, left his robe, and went.

The negress said to Hamdonna, ‘O my mistress, is it not as I have told you? Bahloul is a bad man, and you could not get the better of him. They consider him as a subject for mockery, but, before God, he is making fun of them. Why would you not believe me?’

Hamdonna turned to her and said, ‘Do not tire me with your remarks. It came to pass what has to come to pass, and on the opening of each vulva is inscribed the name of the man who is to enter it, right or wrong, for love or for hatred. If Bahloul’s name had not been inscribed on my vulva he would never have got into it, had he offered me the universe with all it contains.’

As they were thus talking there came a knock at the door. The negress asked who was there, and in answer the voice of Bahloul said It is I.’ Hamdonna, in doubt as to what the buffoon wanted to do, got frightened. The negress asked Bahloul what he wanted, and received the reply, ‘Bring me a little water.’ She went out of the house with a cup full of water. Bahloul drank, and then let the cup slip out of his hands, and it was broken. The negress shut the door upon Bahloul, who sat himself down on the threshold.

The buffoon being thus close to the door, the Vizir, Hamdonna’s husband, arrived, who said to him, ‘Why do I see you here, O Bahloul?’ And he answered, ‘O my lord, I was passing through the street when I was overcome by a great thirst. A negress came and brought me a cup of water. The cup slipped from my hands and got broken. Then our lady Hamdonna took my robe, which the Sultan our Master had given me, as indemnification.’

Then said the Vizir, ‘Let him have his robe.’ Hamdonna at this moment came out, and her husband asked her whether it was true that she had taken the robe in payment for the cup. Hamdonna then cried, beating her hands together, ‘What have you done, O Bahloul?’ He answered, ‘I have talked to your husband the language of my folly; talk to him, you, the language of thy wisdom.’ And she, enraptured with the cunning he had displayed, gave him back his robe, and he departed.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 15, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1934. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast with its capital city in Birobitzhan with Yiddish as its official language was formed in the Russian Far East. In 2007 the First Birobitzahn International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture, was held.

Today’s news from Thailand:

The following item recently appeared in the Bangkok Post. It is not about Thailand but I hope you enjoy it anyway:

SYDNEY: an Australian woman was convicted of manslaughter yesterday after burning her abusive husband to death during an attempt to set fire to his penis.

Rajini Narayan, 46 said she set out to “purify” her husbands genitals but threw petrol on his back and set it alight when he sneered at her plan and called her a “fat, dumb bitch.”

“He was my hero, the man of my life, the love of my life”
she told the Adelaide court earlier.

“I was going to purify his penis, leave a mark there and he would remain with me. He would be mine.”

Narayan had told a neighbor she wanted to disfigure her husband’s penis so that no other woman would want him, after suspecting him of having an affair, prosecutors said.

The fire also burned down the family home.

Today’s chart:


http://www.good.is/post/americans-are-horribly-misinformed-about-who-has-money/?ref=nf

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER VI – A NOT SO BURIED TREASURE

After departing Ayutthaya we trundled across the remainder of the Central Lowlands and entered a small town called Batong. Here we planned to stop at a restaurant that Gun Girl said Is one or her favorites in all of Thailand.

We got off the main road and passed through several interconnected alleyways and arrived at a place called “Banmai Resort”. There had been no signs advertising the place that I saw anywhere during our drive through the town . Nevertheless, when we did arrive at the resort there were several large ones announcing that you indeed had arrived. It was difficult to assess from the outside what we arrived at since the entrance just beyond a wide spot in the alley, gave no indication of what existed inside and the signs were no help either, being written in Thai.

We entered into a large wide hall. On each side of the hall stood many glass fronted exhibition cases containing collections of dolls of all sorts and a huge variety of antique packaging of everything from laundry detergent to canned soup and a lot of other things besides.

The hall eventually ended in something like a small covered plaza that marked the connection between what seemed like several large old wooden buildings, giving the place a look and feel of a large open barn. In these buildings, each going off in a different direction, there appeared to be several places to eat, some quite large and some quite small and one containing only a single table. Some had separate kitchens and some not. On my right a raised room appeared containing a large sofa on which sat life-sized models of the “Blues Brothers”. Another restaurant extending off to the right seemed to be closed but the staff looked like they were preparing for a later opening.

In front of me, life-sized figures of Colonel Sanders and Marilyn Monroe stood on each side of the entrance to a large room stuffed full of curios like in an old antique shop.

What I saw all around me, crammed into every space appeared to me to be one of the largest collection of curios and Bric-a-brac I had ever seen. I felt as though I stumbled on the place that collections of, nick-knacks, tchotchke (Yiddish), Gotsadella (Southern Italian mispronunciation of the italian word for “dust catcher”) kitsch, and junk of all sort, go to die.

As many of you know, all my life I collected strange and useless things (all gone now, lost or given away) and pursued the purchase of such curios assiduously. I always searched out folk art museums and museums of strange obsessions wherever I travelled. But, I had rarely seen anything quite like the vastness and range of examples of useless human endeavor that I saw all around me today.

There were the obligatory collection of Betty Boop dolls, glassware of all sorts including commemorative drinking glasses, things made out of wood out of plastic, out of metal and just about every the substance imaginable, toys, metal trucks, trains and airplanes, photographs, old soda bottles in old bottle crates, perfume containers, a complete collection of Japanese nymphet figurines, movie posters, post cards, old condom packaging and on and on. Even a few antique foosball games and pinball machines appeared here and there among the clutter.

We all sat down at one of the larger eating places overlooking the swollen and flooded river flowing past the buildings. I wolfed down my meal and spent the rest of the time walking around in wonder examining the displays while my companions ate at a more leisurely pace and rested a bit to recover from the day’s travel.

I tried to identify if there were collections of memorabilia they may have missed. At first I thought they had failed to include a supply of those devotional lucky penises that the Thais like so much, but found a number of them tucked away in a display case in one of the back rooms. They had literally hundreds of commemorative plates. But, I could not find one of Jack Kennedy.

In 1968 while I was living in Italy, there was at the time a small industry in commemorative plates and figurines containing the images of both Kennedy and Pope John XIII together. I collected almost all of them – but, alas even that is now long gone. Anyway I could not find any examples in this hoard.

I tried to see if there were things I had acquired that they did not. I could not find a collection of walking sticks, but I was sure they had them somewhere.

Anyway, eventually Gun Girl decided the time had come to leave and I reluctantly followed her and her companions back into the automobile. We drove off into the darkness and the rain to find the place where we intended to spend the night.

Today’s Quote:

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
– The Princess Bride.

Note:

Today I begin my 71st year of life. I wish all of you live lives as interesting to you as mine has been to me so far. Then again, maybe not.

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 14, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1982, Sicilian mafioso Filippo Marchese is killed. He was in charge of what became known as the Room Of Death, a small apartment along the Piazza Sant Erasmo Road. Victims who stood in the way of the Corleonesi of Totò Riina during the Second Mafia War were lured there to be murdered, usually by being garroted. Their bodies were either dissolved in acid or chopped up and dumped out at sea. Marchese was also garroted and dissolved in acid like so many of his own victims. He was so elusive that the authorities did not learn of his death until the late 1980s through an informant.

Today’s Petrillo comment:

Please review the attached important announcement.

Regarding my last post, some of you have commented that they prefer reading the travelogues. Others of you like my Historical riffs and observation on local customs best. Most of you who have commented say that they like the “Today’s factoid” while they could do without “Today’s Quote” (this surprises me since I rather enjoy the discovery of the “bon mot”).

A number of you have found my recitations of political or social opinion or observations about my body and those of others and the like, an acquired taste. Ruth has called them my “epistles”. Others of you have called them “weird” (a comment I alas have received quite often). Irwin, in his satirical survey a few weeks back that I shared with you requested, “keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, Thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully clothed or (worse) semi-nude.”

I fell a little like the media mogul juggling his lineup of shows so that he can make even more money than he needs in order to use it to corrupt the political process. I on the other hand do this for fun although, I must admit, I would love to be able to corrupt the political process too.

And so, until oh maybe the next post, I shall move my travelogue back to the front page. But, I intend to keep the titles and chapter headings which I have grown to like.

“Today’s quote”, will drop to the end just before “Ciao” and any attachments.

My epistles will now be relegated to attachments, however they will hereafter be entitled, Pookie’s Epistle to the “Thai email list” number X + __. This now being the first will be numbered X + 1.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER V: BEWILDERED IN AYUTTHAYA

The next morning I left my room and went down to the lobby to have coffee and to wait for the others. I assumed I would be waiting for a while since they had gone night-clubbing last night and did not return until about four in the morning.

It had rained last night and the busy street in front of the motel was flooded with water deep enough to entirely cover the tires of an ordinary car.

As I drank my coffee, I watched as the different vehicles drove or at times were pushed through the water. The motor bikes were especially interesting. Some of the riders would ride or walk their bikes through the water drenching their trousers or dresses. Others however would motor through the water happily perched on their seat, the soles of their feet gaily resting on the handlebars. Every now and then a motor bike would be swamped by the wake thrown off by the by the large buses rushing to wherever, as though there were no flood.

Eventually my companions awakened, we bid good-by to Lek and started off bleary eyed to cross the central.lowlands once again.

We reached Ayutthaya a little after midday and drove into the city.

Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand or Siam as it was then called from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth centuries when it was overthrown and destroyed by the invading Burmese. It was more or less governed as an absolute monarchy where much of the population lived in a form of serfhood or slavery. The kings in addition to their political status were also the religious leaders of the country, a lot like the Renaissance Popes in the Papal States. A number of the kings saw their monkish life to be at least as, if not more important than the affairs of state. Coupled with the fact that there lacked clear rules for succession when the old king died, the kingdom was often in a state of turmoil as one general or another or one royal prince or another rebelled and as often as not usurped the throne.

Nevertheless, the kingdom lasted for over 400 years as the dominant force in all or South East Asia (more than twice as long as the United States) until it was overthrown. During its heyday, it controlled in one way or another, in addition to the territory of modern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and much of Burma.

At one time during the Seventeenth Century the city of Ayutthaya was reputed to be the largest city in the world with about one million inhabitants. Now all that is left are the red brick ruins of the royal precincts standing like Ozymandias (See today’s attachment) as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of fame and power.

We drove around for a while looking for something, up and down the same back roads, past the same corners, calls were made, maps consulted, pedestrians interrogated. When I inquired as to what was going on, I was told that a friend of ours, Jo-Jo, who used to work at AVA now lived in this city with her husband and child.

Eventually it seemed we found what we were looking for in the center of the ruins of the old Siamese capital. We pulled to the curb and waited, then drove off and returned to the same spot by a different route. We waited again for about a minute than drove off again, taking a third route and returning again to the same spot for the same minute or so and then drove off again, this time not returning but proceeding back onto the highway and continuing our transect of the lowlands.

I did not ask what all the driving and stopping was about deciding that sometimes it is more interesting not knowing something than knowing it.

Today’s quote:

Buttercup: “We’ll never survive!”
Westley: “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– The Princess Bride

Today’s attachment:

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818)

If one wants to compare good poetry with the not so good compare Shelly’s poem above with the one below both published a month apart and covering the exact same subject.

In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

—Horace Smith.

Of course, with a name like Percy Bysshe Shelly one would have to grow up to be a poet,… or a serial killer. Someone named Horace Smith on the other hand probably became an accountant.

Ciao…

Today’s bonus attachment:

As a proud father, I send this along to you. It is the best birthday present I could imagine.

Tauscher Letter

_________________________________________________

Comments regarding the Post:

From Ruth Galanter:

Very cool about Jessica!
Remind me what ISN stands for.

My response:

International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau.

What makes me especially proud is not only the quality of the report, but that it sets the standard to be followed for all countries that are signatories to the Biological Weapons Non-proliferation Treaty. As far as I can tell, it is only through the amassing of these CBM reports can the provisions of the Treaty be implemented.

As a collateral benefit of the report, the institutions, resources and mechanisms mentioned in it are also applicable to the response to natural occurring plagues and epidemics.

One of the important although unmentioned impacts of the report is that it represents one of the few times that the multiple agencies in the national security (including international agencies) field have worked cooperatively with one another and with ,private and academic laboratories and scientists to produce something like this. I would guess that as long as the people involved remain in their positions with their current institutions, the promise of continued cooperation in times of crises may become a reality.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 13, 2010

Today’s Factoid:

1600: Pope Clement VIII sanctions use of coffee despite petition by priests to ban the Muslim drink as “the devil’s drink.” The Pope tried a cup and declared it “so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it.”

Today’s Quote:

“He was served in the following manner: Every day as soon as it was light, six hundred nobles and men of rank were in attendance at the palace, who either sat, or walked about the halls and galleries, and passed their time in conversation, but without entering the apartment where his person was. The servants and attendants of these nobles remained in the court-yards, of which there were two or three of great extent, and in the adjoining street, which was also very spacious. They all remained in attendance from morning until night; and when his meals were served, the nobles were likewise served with equal profusion, and their servants and secretaries also had their allowance. Daily his larder and wine-cellar were open to all who wished to eat or drink. The meals were served by three or four hundred youths, who brought on an infinite variety of dishes; indeed, whenever he dined or supped, the table was loaded with every kind of flesh, fish, fruits, and vegetables that the country produced. As the climate is cold, they put a chafing-dish with live coals under every plate and dish, to keep them warm…”
Taken from the 1520 Hernan Cortez report to Charles V on the manner in which Montezuma was served meals in Tenochtitlan,

Petrillo’s Comment:

I recognize that a personal travelogue may become tedious and boring to some. For this reason I have decided to put into attachments the remainder of the story of my recent travels. In that way, those who may not be interested in the story need not be tempted to read through it just to discover in what clever way I end that particular episode. For those interested in following the journey to its conclusion you merely have to open the attachment to obtain the most recent installment.

I have decided to name the entire trip “Nowhere and Back Again” and I have entitled this most recent chapter, “The Beginning of the End”.

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER IV: THE BEGINNING OF THE END

There comes a time in every journey where novelty begins to pale and events become merely circumstances to endure on the way home. Awakening this morning after a night of almost no sleep became for me that point.

One of my favorite travel books is entitled A Short Walk Through the Hindu Kush. It was written by Eric Newby who in 1956, at the age of 36, ended his London career in fashion and decided impulsively to travel to a remote corner of Afghanistan where no European had ventured for 50 years. He was ill-prepared and poorly experienced, but Newby and his friend Hugh vowed to climb Mir Samir, an unclimbed 20,000 foot glacial peak in the Hindu Kush. He and his friend prepared for the venture by spending a weekend with their girlfriends hiking in Wales. Then, after driving a Volkswagen van from London to Kabul where after they picked up their cook, they began their trek. Long before they had reached Mt. Samir (which they ultimately never climbed) they had arrived at the same juncture that I had this morning.

For today’s trip I was requested to ride in the new truck of the friend in whose house I had spent the sleepless night. She drove and Lek and I were to accompany her.

Lek told me about her concerns for her friend’s happiness and marriage. It seems the friend had married a man who worked for the Thai version of the forest service. According to Lek, he treated his wife badly, telling her he was going to work but later appearing in the city with a woman he claimed was his daughter. Lek also was unhappy that he had persuaded his wife to spend their money on this new truck when they already had a perfectly serviceable older vehicle. In addition the man apparently had alienated the wife’s children from a prior marriage.

Having met the gentleman, I concluded that Lek’s concerns were probably accurate.

We spent most of the day traveling to the other end of the lake (or to a new lake, I did not know which) I dozed on and off throughout the drive. I was so exhausted I was dizzy.

We arrived at a place that I was told contained the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. It was built from scrap lumber and crossed the lake to connect two villages that had been forced to relocate on higher ground when their original villages were inundated by the rising water caused by the construction of a dam. One village was Karen and one was Mon. I did not know which was which.

Anyway, the building of the bridge by the townspeople, with little assistance from anyone, was considered so remarkable that it was almost miraculous, prompting the local temple to conduct extensive and colorful ceremonies every year commemorating the completion of construction and as a side benefit bringing substantial tourist dollars to the temple and community.

We crossed the extremely rickety bridge, that was undergoing repair and reconstruction for the first time since it was built and then walked down to the lake shore where a small village of houseboats awaited.

We got into a rooster-tail boat to cross the lake to view the partially submerged ruins of the local temple. The water level in the lake had dropped about 20 feet in the last few years for some reason, so the temple now stood on its own little Island. The trip came complete with the obligatory mysterious and miraculous legend.

It seems the head monk who built the temple 20 years or so ago also planted a grove of palm trees that he tended assiduously throughout his life. On the day of his death, mysteriously and miraculously all the palm trees died. You can still the tips of their blackened trunks rising above the waters of the lake.

We returned to the shore. Ate lunch in a local restaurant, recrossed the bridge and headed back. We ate dinner at the same roadside place as last night. I was too exhausted to know what I was eating. Then off to drive back to Kanchanburi through a driving rainstorm to a motel where I went directly to my room and immediately dropped off to sleep without stopping to remove my clothing.


Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

Since returning from my trip I have settled back into my regular routine, long walks on the beach in early morning, breakfast, laps in the pool after lunch (I am up to swimming about a kilometer now) and some work in the weight room three times a week. For the rest of my time, when not being massaged or at dinner, I play with my computer. Sometimes I watch my French movies on television.

As a result of all the exercise, my weight has stopped dropping, instead I am beginning to see in the mirror some shapes emerging from the mass of white blubber that is my body. It by no means resembles David emerging from a block of marble. It is more like a caricature of a human body emerging from a blob of silly putty.

I retain my protruding belly, but now it looks less like that of a pregnant woman coming to term than the same woman in her second trimester.

Nevertheless, in the evening after my shower while I stand in front of the mirror preening and flexing (admit it now, you all do it too), I can pull my stomach in far enough now that I can see a part of my body directly that I have not been able to see in decades. It comfort’s me.

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 11, 2010

Today’s Factoid:

Frank Lentini, born Francesco A. Lentini (1889–1966) was born in Siracusa, Sicily into a large family. He was born with three longer legs, two sets of genitals and one rudimentary foot on his third leg. His primary legs also grew into different lengths. At the age of nine, Lentini moved to the United States and entered the sideshow business.

(And he was a great success in show business. Now you know all about Frank. Aren’t you glad you asked?)

Today’s quote:

“Hence it has come to pass that most or all sentient beings have been developed in such a manner, through natural selection, that pleasurable sensations serve as their habitual guide.”
Charles Darwin.

(So now we know the real reason for rejecting evolution – unbridled licentiousness.)

Today’s News from Thailand:

Little has changed in the political situation in Thailand. The military remains engaged in a mop up battle to preserve its prerogatives.

One must remember that ever since the 1932 military coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy, with few exceptions, Thailand has been ruled by a military dictatorship of some sort or another. During that time the military has had no problems switching political sides when necessary to preserve their power.

In 1945 the military dictatorship that overthrew the absolute monarchy, was staunchly anti-royalist and supported the japanese occupation of Thailand. It was itself overthrown by an anti-japanese civilian government. Nevertheless by 1947 it returned to absolute power by the simple expedient of switching to the royalist cause.

Over the next 50 years or so the Thai military appears to have slowly learned that the direct management of the institutions of government was no longer the optimum method of preserving power. The suppression of challenges from the right or left, religious or civil political forces was too draining on domestic military resources and international good will.

I think the modern Thai military has realized that they only required a few essential things to maintain their prerogatives. They are:

Absolute control of the military budget
Control over personnel in the chain of command.
Exemption from civilian judicial oversight.
Control of so-called military secrets.
A credible gun to the head of any government who may attempt to reform this system

The military will ally itself with any political entity in opposition to any person or institution that threatens this system.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

In spite of the noise of the party goers and the crash of the falls, I slept soundly. In the morning, I showered and left my cabin. TBB had just began stirring. Outside Gun Girl and one of the guys were frolicking in the falls. I went down to the restaurant where I had some cold eggs and instant coffee for breakfast (One cannot have everything). I sat by the side of the river and watched the sunlight come and go as it filtered through the trees lightning up different sections of the falls while leaving others in shadow.

We left the resort at about 11AM. I went in Lek’s vehicle, her son driving. Lek and I sat in the back seat where Lek became uncomfortably intimate and began telling me about her ruined marriage and her love affair with a British man whose offer of marriage she had to turn down because she could not stand her suitor’s teenaged daughter.

It was then that I began to perceive that perhaps Lek was supposed to be my blind date during the trip. Apparently, Gun Girl and the Sullen One were lovers and had slept together in one of the beds in the party house. Lek slept in the other bed with Mata Hari. She told me that when she woke up that morning “The lady-boy was draped over me like a blanket”.

Gun Girl, who is in her mid to late 30’s, was in full Cougar mode as the Sullen One was by far the youngest of our group, barely, if at all, out of his teens. His job, beside whatever nighttime services he rendered, seemed to be to carry Gun Girl’s luggage and camera and run her errands.

Eventually, we stopped at a gas station. We all got out and Lek’s son and girlfriend drove off in Lek’s car leaving the rest of us there with only Gun Girl’s vehicle. We waited, for what I neither knew, asked or cared.

After about an hour, a pick-up truck with a covered bed arrived. I was told that I would be traveling in the truck and the others in Gun Girl’s car. I got into the truck with two men in military camouflage jackets. They moved a couple of small machetes from the front seat so I could sit there. We drove off the paved road and onto a badly rutted and muddy dirt road and went up a fairly steep hill until we arrived at a wooden Thai house were everyone got out. The house was perched on stilts leaving the space beneath in a deep gloom. I could not see any windows in the house itself.

The two men and what appeared to be the residents of the building removed everything from the back of the truck and replaced whatever it was with a cooler, a case of soda water and some pads and a rug. I stood in the middle of the muddy rutted road and watched them scurry about or alternately closely examined the small stream that flowed around the house and across the road.

They soon finished doing whatever and everyone piled into the back of the truck except for me and the driver. In addition to the two of us, there were now two other men, a woman and a 4-year-old or so boy child. We drove back down the mountain and on to the paved road and after stopping for ice, took off in the direction that I assumed the other car had gone. No one in the truck spoke any english and I spoke no Thai.

We were supposed to be going into what Lek called the “Switzerland of Thailand,” but to me at least initially It looked more like a heavily forested Dolomites except here instead of granite, the mountains appeared to be made of limestone. Probably the same formation that formed the Andaman Islands south of here.

After topping a rise, we entered into a large valley containing a huge artificial lake. The valley fittingly was named “Lake Valley”. The lake itself was quite beautiful with the cliffs at the eastern edge dropping directly into the water. Dotting the center of the lake were many fishing shacks and along the shore more substantial construction on stilts or houseboats.

Passing the lake, the road got narrower as we plunged into dense foliage. Lacking the usual multi story canopy of the jungle, it and the hills around us reminded me a bit of the thick forests of the Catskills or Adirondacks but in place of maple, pine, birch, ash and hickory, Southeast Asian tree species filled much the same niches. Large groves of a tall tree with a diameter of about 12 inches appeared. I was told they were teak. Their leaves were large, the size of a chafing-dish.

When I was a kid the cheap dish sets we ate off of usually came with something called a chafing-dish. It was usually shallow and had a cover. We did not know what it was for (or what chafing meant) so we usually used it without the cover to serve anti-pasta or to serve mashed potatoes on meat and potato day (we were trying hard to assimilate).

As we climbed higher the multi story canopy jungle began to emerge. Huge trees with trunks two feet or more in diameter rising straight up, not branching for at least 100 feet, towered over the other trees like the redwoods tower over the coastal forests of California. The lower story of the forest canopy was made up of shrubs and bamboo groves.

We were passing through some of Thailand’s most extensive National Forests and Wildlife Preserves. They are reputed to contain Tigers, Gibbons, Elephants and a whole host of other animals (I even saw an “Elephant Crossing” sign). However the only fauna I observed were the scrawny, mangy feral dogs that seem to exist everywhere in the country.

We drove on and up through the unremitting green. I began to get bored. It was like climbing from the Central Valley on the way to Tahoe. At a certain point I would always get to feel a bit like Spiro Agnew. I had seen enough Incense Cedars, Ponderosa Pines and Giant Sequoias for that particular trip. Also, I always mistrusted green.

When I was growing up in Tuckahoe NY we lived for a while in Section 8 public housing. They required all the walls in the apartments to be painted with paint supplied by the Housing Authority and that paint was always institutional green. I grew to become strongly repulsed by the color. I have found it unfortunate that the environmental community has chosen the color and the word” green” as their trademarks. Why couldn’t they have chosen blue for the sky for example or orange for the sun or even magenta for its own sake and a for the sake of a few glorious sunsets?

Thinking of magenta made me think of Crayola crayons. I loved them – not to draw or color with. I found them horrid for that purpose, just like colored pencils and those stupid little watercolor sets that they forced on kids. No wonder so many give up the graphic arts while still children. Oils would work, but where does a 6-year-old find artist oil paints (acrylics had not been invented yet, I think)?

No, I collected Crayola crayons for their names, even if I rarely used them to draw with. Woolworth’s used to sell them singly from large bins. My favorite was “Burnt Sienna.” (Some other great names included, “Atomic Tangerine,” “Beaver.” “Electric Lime,” “Jazzberry Jam,” “Macaroni and Cheese,” “Mango Tango,” “Neon Carrot,” “Radical Red” and “Wild Blue Yonder.”)

I do not even recall what “Burnt Sienna” looks like, probably some shade of orange or brown.

One color I collected but simply did not understand was “Flesh.” It was very rare and one had to look around for it. I tried it out once on a sheet of paper thinking that my stick people drawings suddenly would come alive if I applied “Flesh” color to the circle that represented their faces. To my great distress, I discovered that “Flesh” was sort of a washed out pink. That was not the color of the skin of the people I knew. Pink was the color of the people who lived in the posh suburb of Bronxville, just south of Tuckahoe. You could not live in Bronxville if you were Italian, Jewish or Black. Bronxville people were pink, with visible blue veins no less. They gave me nightmares just like Froggy and Smilin Ed.

No, real people had skin that was dusky olive, or various shades of black or brown. Even the wealthy Jews who lived on the hills just outside of Bronxville looked more like us than those strange beings living across the village boundary a few feet away.

(Eventually Crayola recognized that not all people’s’ skin was pink and changed the name of the color from “Flesh” to “Peach”.)

The blackest person I knew was my friend Philie Pinto. Most people’s skin, whether black, brown, Khaki or olive, glow when in the light, sort of like a newly waxed automobile does. Not Phillie. He appeared to have been dipped in coal dust. He just adsorbed light. Once after many years absence, I returned to Tuckahoe and went into a bar called the Carioca. My grandfather used to own it when it was a fairly well-known jazz club in the area. It had fallen on hard times now and was dark and dingy. Phillie sat at the end or the bar. He had grown up to become the town taxi driver. I knew it was him. I could see his clothes, but his face was like smoke.

Some of the black kids in the town were what I have heard African-Americans refer to as High Yellow. Unlike the big-boned, heavy muscled, wide nosed very dark west african type like the Blout family, they were tall, slender narrow nosed lighter skinned like my friend Rabbit and his brothers and sisters. I do not know what color one would have called Rabbit, but certainly not yellow, high or not. Maybe “Burnt Sienna” or “Burnt Umber” another of my favorites. But I digress (I, by the way, always considered myself a khaki colored person).

Eventually we arrived at an overlook that gave great views over the mountains and back towards the lake. A Thai motorcycle club or gang was there. In the 90 plus degree heat they were all wearing long-sleeved leather jackets with “The Killer’’ emblazoned on the back. I do not know if it referred to the name of the club, or if they all chose the same nickname or if it was the name of their favorite rock band.

Anyway, after a short rest we went on to a Thai military outpost high on a mountain top overlooking Myanmar replete with razor wire, sandbags, trenches and buried bunkers maned by one soldier who did not seem to possess any armaments whatsoever but was otherwise, I assume, prepared to resist, as the first line of defense, any onslaught by the Burmese intending to invade Thailand, rape their women and burn down their capital as they have done so often in the past.

Actually raping their women would be completely unnecessary today given the availability for military RR in Thailand of places like Nana Plaza and Pattaya. And as for burning down the capital, some have said it would be doing Thailand a favor.

After looking across the mountains into Myanmar for a while, we left the redoubt to the lone soldier and journeyed down the mountain to visit a tiny village on the border called Pritik or something like that. Gun Girl told me that the village was in Myanmar, but it was not. It was however to some extent a Karen/Burmese peopled town. There were very few adults visible. The town seemed occupied principally by children, all seeming between the ages of 3 and 7. On the whole they appeared to me to be the most beautiful children I had ever seen.

The village seemed as peaceful as peaceful could be.

We then went to the border itself and walked across into Burma. On the Thai side there was a single uniformed soldier who lifted the gate and accompanied us as we strode into Myanmar.

We had taken some of the children from the town along with us. In addition to being beautiful they seemed also innocent and beguiling,( unless the town secretly was intent on raising a generation of accomplished sociopaths). We went up a small incline past the crest of the hill and came upon the Burmese guard-house. There was no gate across the road, but along the side of the road was a fence made up of small sharpened bamboo pickets and a gate behind which there were two tumbledown stone buildings.

The children opened the gate and ran into one of the stone huts and woke up the person sleeping there. He did not have a uniform, but I was assured that he was indeed Burmese. He posed for photographs with us as we stared across Burma to the Andaman Sea in the distance.

We then headed back down the mountain and stopped for dinner at one of those ubiquitous bamboo huts that dot the edge of the roadways in Thailand. They usually have a sagging palm covered roof, no walls, contain an open kitchen and a few tables. This one had three tables. It also had a coke machine and a Karaoke set up.

It apparently was owned by the family in whose truck I had spent the better part of the day. They cooked up what they called “Food from the Mountain”. It featured Frogs, not frogs legs but whole frogs that sat there on the rice in my dish looking like nothing else other than a burned brown frog that was staring back at me. I found it to contain too many bones. Another dish I was told was made from something that lived in the trees. It was not a bird, monkey or squirrel but no one knew its name in english. The third meat dish was made from some animal no one could or would describe (it tasted like chicken always a bad sign – maybe it was one of those feral dogs. Then again, I hope not). The vegetables looked like and tasted like vines and grass. Although I tried eating it all, it was too spicy hot for me to eat much, so they made me an omelet.

Mata Hari sang a few songs on the Karaoke machine. At one point, as everyone began to feel the effects of the prodigious amounts of liquor they had been drinking all day, the conversation got around to joking about whether at my age, I was strong enough to handle a woman like Lek. When I acknowledged that I probably could not, the man who drove the truck took from out of his pocket some pills that he said was Thai herbal Viagra and would make one strong and vigorous. Several of us tried it, including me.

That night we slept at the house of another friend of Gun Girl. Shortly after retiring the Thai herbal medicine hit me like Benzedrine on steroids. I spent rest of the night walking around the room, doing push ups, jumping jacks and several other exercises to burn off the energy until at about daybreak when I fell exhausted onto the bed and slept for perhaps two hours.

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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