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

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey's 2006 pr...

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production at Shakespeare’s Globe; note the ‘realistic’ effects and blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1995: A critic with too much time on his hands while reviewing Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus determined that the play,“…has 14 killings, 9 of them on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or 2 or 3 depending on how you count), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity, and 1 of cannibalism—-an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one for every 97 lines.”

(Sounds like the typical summertime Hollywood blockbuster movie to me)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Chao Phyra River

Chao Phyra River (Photo credit: Rodney_F)

The Thai authorities in response to the recent flooding of the capital have announced that instead of spending more money on things like sandbags, they intended to invest in constructing a series of underground viaducts to channel future flood waters from the city into the Chao Phyra river that runs trough Bangkok.

What they failed to mention was that Bangkok used to have a perfectly adequate system to channel off flood water in its canal system. The canals were filed to make roads thereby causing many of the current problems plaguing the city, not the least of which is periodic flooding.

Also they did not mention that like New Orléans, significant portions of Bangkok are below sea-level and merely directing more water into an already constrained system will do nothing to prevent flood waters from backing up from the river on to the city’s streets except perhaps to shift the areas of the city subject to flooding from where they are currently to along the densely populated riverside.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Nothing much has occurred during the past few days. I am still feeling under the weather. I occupy myself with the usual breakfast at the café, walk along the beach, swim in the pool and then rest in my apartment as I try to kick whatever it is I have.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

ELISA

I guess it is appropriate now to break into JOE’S story to say a little about his wife Elisa, my grandmother. After all she had as great an influence on my imagination as did my grandfather JOE.

Elisa Bargellini, was born in a small village called Roccantica

Roccantica RI

Roccantica RI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located in Sabina about 60 kilometers northeast of Rome. She was one of 12 children. Which number of the 12, I do not know. I also do not know the date of her birth, perhaps around 1890 of so.

Ultimately, most of the children emigrated from the town, four went to Australia, four to America and four remained in italy.

The house that she was born in had two large rooms, a bed room with a heavy wood beamed ceiling and a kitchen-living area with a large fireplace built into the wall that separated the two rooms.

Many years later, during 1968 through 70, I was living in Rome and rented one of my relatives apartments in the town. There I would spend my weekends.

Every night, I would leave my apartment and climb the steps that served as streets in the village and visit the house in which my grandmother was born. Philomena, my grandmothers sister still lived there with her son Mauro and her daughter in law Rosanna.

Whenever I arrived, I would usually find Philomena sitting by the fire with three of her women friends, her daughter-in-law puttering around in the background. Mauro was usually at the little café he ran in the village. The only light in the room came from the fire.

I would take my accustomed seat on the floor to the right of the fire, partially inside of fireplace cavity and lean back against the warm stones.

There would also always be an empty extra chair set out.

I would sit there and listen to the old women talk about the day’s gossip but mostly about their real or imagined aches and pains, their faces glowing red in the glint of the light from the fire.

Every so often there would be a knock on the door and someone from the town would enter and take the empty chair. The visitor would be offered coffee and biscuits. Then between sips of coffee they would relate their tales of the day’s happenings.

When they had finished, each visitor would get up, politely thank the women for their hospitality and leave and the women would go back to their discussions until the next knock on the door intervened.

My favorite visitor during those nights was the village blind man who arrived every evening at about the same time. He began talking even before knocking on the door, shouting out his helloes and continuing his patter as he opened the door and walked into the room. Since the empty chair was always in the same place every night he would walk directly over to it, feel for it with his cane and sit down. He always wore dark clothing and had a great round face that hung there in the flickering firelight like a benevolent Jack-o-lantern. He was a wonderful story-teller.

Roccantica (RI), 2006

Roccantica (RI), 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He would tell, in great detail and animation, about his wanderings that day along the paths in and around the village. He would tell of the different sounds made by the small animals as they slithered away when he walked by. He described the songs of the birds and what they ment to him and how they made him feel. The touch of the wind on his face and the feel of the plants that grew along side the path as he took them into his hands would fill him with delight. Every conversation he had during the day was recalled precisely and because he was by necessity inquisitive, contained a tale of its own. Then once he was finished, he would rise from his chair and tap his way to the door and leave. After he closed the door he would shout out to us inside that he would see us all again tomorrow. Then there was silence except for the hiss of the burning logs as we all meditated on his absence until after a while the analyses of the medical symptoms that accompanies aging would begin once more.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: You got any money?
Inigo Montoya: Sixty-five.
Miracle Max: I’ve never worked for so little. Except once, and that was a very noble cause.
Inigo Montoya: This is noble, sir. His wife is… crippled. His children are on the brink of starvation.
Miracle Max: Are you a rotten liar?
Inigo Montoya: I need him to help avenge my father, murdered these twenty years.
Miracle Max: Your first story was better.
The Princess Bride

2. Yiddish for beginners (from Wikipedia):

bagel: a ring-shaped bread roll made by boiling then baking the dough.
blintz: a sweet cheese-filled crêpe.
bris: the circumcision of a male child.
boychick: boy, young man.
bubkes (also spelled “bupkis”): emphatically nothing, as in “He isn’t worth bubkes” (literally ‘goat droppings).
chutzpah: nerve, guts, daring, audacity, effrontery.
dreck: (vulgar) worthless material, especially merchandise.
dybbuk: the malevolent spirit of a dead person that enters and controls a living body until exorcised.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
Thomas Jefferson

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

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