Daily Archives: June 1, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 25, 2012

Panting Charlie

Panting Charlie (Photo credit: Seven Morris)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1300s: Glowing eyes and nocturnal behavior of the cat was interpreted by the Church as clear proof of the hapless feline’s diabolic affinity. Wholesale trapping and burning of cats allowed free rein to the spread of the flea-carrying rat causing decimation of Europe’s population by the plague.

(When they realized their mistake the Church stopped the killing of cats under their auspices. Recently the Pope indicated the condoms are ok in some circumstances thereby recognizing that human life is at least as important as a cat’s.)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Recently while searching the web for two of my all time favorite movies, the Warriors and The Wanders, I came across a site dedicated to the New York City and Chicago teen age gangs of the late 1950’s, including map’s of the rival gangs’ turf.

Cover of "The Warriors"

Cover of The Warriors

Based on Xenophon’s history of the Greek mercenary army, betrayed by the Persians who had to fight their way through 100s of miles of hostile Persian territory to get home, the Warriors, betrayed at a gang conference in the Bronx have to fight their way along the subway from Gun Hill Road in the Bronx and through Manhattan in order to return to their home in Coney Island.

The Wanderers, although very little about it is realistic, presented the most realistic view of the gangs and gang life of the time that I knew and experienced. The movie referenced actual gangs that I had some passing relationship with, The Fordham Baldies, The Golden Guineas, and the Irish Lords.

The Golden Guineas were sort of the mob farm team and the Fordham Baldies the most feared gang in the North Bronx (they were not bald as portrayed in the movie).

I lived outside of the City and although we had our own gangs and relationships with some of the Bronx gangs we were no match for them in size or reputation.

I belonged to two gangs that I can remember, the Skull Gang, the gang my childhood friends evolved into when we passed into puberty. It was mostly social and something to call ourselves. It was a mixed group, italians, blacks and irish boys who had grown up together.

I also belonged to a gang from Mount Vernon, a somewhat more serious group. We called ourselves the Capris if you can believe it. Our “uniform” was teal bowling shirts with black velvet vertical stripes. This was a zip-gun, switch blade, tire chain wielding gang, unlike the unarmed, unwarlike Skulls who just hung out on the corner. I was consigliere since I refused to carry a weapon (fear mostly), was not known as a particularly adept fighter but I was considered the most knowledgable member of the gang.

I also associated with one or two minor gangs from the north Bronx. but I do not recall their names. I was a “war” advisor with them.

I also had a friendship with the leader of a major gang from Fordham Road called the University Avenue Gang. I could not find them on the site, so they may also have had another name. The leader’s name was “Bambi.” The gang was a mixed gang, Bambi was Italian and many of the gang members were Irish.

One evening Bambi helped in saving me and several friends from a severe beating. It seems that “One Punch Sammy Santoro” the legendary tough guy from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers had, a running conflict with Frank Santaliquito from Tuckahoe. It seems Santoro once beat up Frank for some reason. As a result, Frank spent the next two years in the Gym bulking up and training in boxing and hand to hand combat. Frank who had been a tall handsome slender young man, had in those two years turned himself into and ugly brutish looking mountain of a man. He had let the word out that he was looking to even the score.

One evening two friends of mine (Charlie DeVito and Frank Plastini) and I were at a large fast food place with pin-ball machines that teenagers used to like to go to and hang out.  Located on Central Avenue in Yonkers( I cannot remember its name), it was generally considered neutral territory.

One Punch Sammy Santoro and about seven or eight of his hangers-on came in and saw us there. Someone mentioned to them that we were from Tuckahoe. Sammy assumed we were associated with Santaliquito who lived in Tuckahoe also. As a result he prepared to punish us as a message to Frank. As they started toward us, another friend of ours, Chickie Muscalino showed up and sized up what was happening. Chickie went to the same High School as Charlie and I. He  knew One Punch well and was respected by everyone because in addition to being big and strong he was affable. He intervened trying to persuade Sammy not to harm us since we were not associated with Santaliquito.

Unknown to me, in another room of the place, Bambi and several members of his gang had come up from the Bronx to play the pin ball machines. He also realized that I was in trouble and came up to me to assure me that he had my back if things got out of hand.

Despite the huge load of testosterone in the air, Chickie’s persuasiveness along with Bambi’s presence calmed One Punch down and we were allowed to leave unmolested.

Sometime after this confrontation Sammy and Frank met up again and despite all his training and commitment, Frank was beaten again as badly as the first time they had met.

On the way back home for some reason we stopped at another place along Central Avenue. As we returned to our car our we found our way blocked by a group of about six teenagers led by a kid who had some sort of beef with Charlie. So with Frank and I behind him Charlie advanced to meet the other gang leader in the center of the parking lot. Frank who had not ridden with Charlie and I before, I could see was trembling. I, on the other hand, assumed that we would lose and I would be beaten up. So I was busy searching the area for somewhere to hide in the hope that I could stave off the inevitable long enough for the police or something else to intervene.

As usual in situations like this violence rarely occurs as the parties swap hormonal indicators. We called it “bluffing.” Charlie walked up to his opposition and before the other could speak said “OK start fighting or start talking.” That was enough to encourage the other kid to back down. After a bit more back and forth talking and face-saving, we left and returned home.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

The Grandson: “Murdered by pirates is good…”

b. From God’s mouth to your ears:

“Stay away from the strange woman, who flatters with her words … a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart … and lies in wait at every corner …”
Proverbs 7

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Affairs of great importance shall not be transacted without the vote of the people, with whom rests the power to appoint magistrates, to condemn citizens, and to enact laws. Laws subsequently passed always take preference over former ones.”
Roman Law of the Twelve Tables. (Table XI, Law 1.)

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 23, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium (Photo credit: voyageAnatolia.tumblr.com)

Seventh CenturyThe veil, beloved by Muslims, began in the courts of Christian Byzantium. When Arab armies captured the cities of Syria and Egypt in the 7th century they adopted the practice for their own women.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. The catastrophic decline of the dollar’s value continues, but appears to be slowing. At the bank yesterday I received a little under 28 baht per dollar, down from the over 36 that I received when I arrived in January.

b. Russian, Chinese and Japanese travel agents are pre booking huge numbers of Thai hotel rooms for between 30 and 50 percent of standard rates.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday I went to Central Mall in the Outskirts of Hell to do some banking in preparation for my trip back to the US. On my return I thought it would be a good idea to walk back to my apartment along the sand the entire length of Beach Road.

As I walked, I approached one of the large boat ramps that lie across beach every kilometer or so. It was a fairly low tide, so instead of walking around the ramp by returning to Beach Road I decided to cross it. As soon as I stepped on to the ramp, I discovered it was slick with algae. I slipped and fell, banged my head on the cement and slid into the surf. I tried to get up but the ramp was too slippery and I continued to slip and fall. I rolled around in the surf helplessly for a while until two Thai fishermen hauled me out. After checking my head for blood, I went on my way thoroughly drenched with an aching head, scraped and bloodied knees and feeling greatly embarrassed. I also lost my eye-glasses. As I continued to walk along, I tried to convince myself it was not all my fault.

Today is Loy Krathung, the Thai festival of lights. Loy Krathung along with the Water Festival in April at the start of the monsoon, are the two most significant holiday’s in the country. They are analogous to Easter (the spring planting festival) and Christmas (The festival of lights) in the West.

It is my favorite festival. The Thai women dress up in traditional costumes, all silk with gilded floral headdresses and everyone goes down to the shore and launches small boats (Krathungs) made from flowers and containing candles and incense into the waters in and around Thailand.

Tonight, I went to the beach and waded out into the surf to launch my little flower boat. The scene was quite amazing, thousands of other boats had already been launched into the surf. They bobbed up and down lighting up the bay with their tiny twinkling lights. While up above additional thousands of large rice paper cylinders with a small flame in the bottom of each launched from the sand slowly and majestically floated up into the sky, filling it with a mirror image of the drifting lights on the sea below.

The following morning those krathungs that had not drifted out to sea or been picked up by the children swimming among them last night, washed up on to the sand. The umbrella and beach chair concessionaires were busy raking up the residue, sometimes assisted by the children of the tourists. Every now and then groups of tourists would gather up some mostly intact Krathungs and make figures ( hearts and circles) with them on the sand.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. More from the Princess Bride:

Prince Humperdinck: “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

– Numbers 31.17,18.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“. . . the governments of the people are better than those of princes.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first Ten Books of Titus Livius. Book I, Chapter LVIII
“Ciao…

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 22. 2012

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C., USA on February 3, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1984 to 1992. Rieti Italy (located near very close to Roccantica mentioned in a previous email). American basketball player Joe Bryant played for Rieti in the Italian professional basketball league. His son Kobe Bryant, now an NBA player, attended school there and as a result speaks fluent Italian to this day.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

The Thai army plans to step up monitoring soldiers’ mobile and fixed-line phones and internet activity to “keep tabs on acts of lèse majesté” for any trace of insult to the [royal] institutions well as to see if anyone was leaking army secrets to anti-government red shirt operatives.

New regulations include prohibiting  soldiers  bringing mobile phones to meetings and restricting the use the use of PowerPoint presentations.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Following my trip to the immigration office to get my re-entry permit, I decided to walk along the beach the three kilometers back to my apartment . As I walked I realized I may be going native, not Thai native but Farang native. I walk barefoot on the sand, something I long swore never to do and I wear the dreaded short pants. I also realized that since living here at Paradise by the Sea, I have begun to exercise regularly, eat heathy foods for the most part (occasional Pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiched excepted), get massaged once a week, have my room cleaned and keep my mind active and hold most of my worries at bay, all on Social Security. Nevertheless, I have begun to feel that sense of unease that I always feel when things seem to be going more or less right.

English: The view from the top of the ski jump...

English: The view from the top of the ski jump at the Olympic ski jump venue in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Taken by Reywas92 on April 6, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess the metaphor for my life is something like that old Wide World of Sports commercial, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” I picture my self, skis over my shoulder, trudging to the bunny slope, pissed off that I am here in the cold doing this, probably because someone has goaded me into it. I happen upon the steps to the ski jump. Curious about what it looks like from the top, I mount the steps, strap on my skis and stand at the edge of the jump looking down and realize my mistake. Unable to decide between my fear and the shame and hassle of climbing back down the stairs I suddenly feel the pressure of a hand on my back and hear the voice of the starter, “Hey buddy, shit or get off the pot.”

Out of sheer embarrassment I launch myself down the ramp and feel the wind bite against my face as I descend. I hit the end of the jump perfectly and spring off into space. I lean far over the ends of my skis. Loose bits of clothing pressed back by the wind stand straight up behind me as though stiffened with super glue.

I land flawlessly, hear the cheering. Then removing my skis and seeing my future as a famous ski jumper full of wine, women, money, drugs and what have you, I run back up the steps, climb to the top and this time without encouragement launch myself again.

Three quarters of the way down, I fall on my ass, tumble a few times and smash over the edge of the jump landing below in a heap of fractured bones and broken dreams.

I awake in the hospital, realizing my ski jumping career is over, so I call the nurse for a booster shot of morphine and drift into a haze where I see myself walking along a beach searching for the perfect wave, the seventy year old surfer dude, with bleached blond spiked hair…Yes “to sleep perchance to dream”, Ay there’s the little nubbin, perhaps if I rub it hard enough my lingam will rise….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “I fight gangs for local charities and stuff.”

b. – Traditional Viking Battle Song

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
where the midnight sun and the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
our only goal will be the western shore!

(What are the circumstances in your life that would prompt you to shout out, “Valhalla, I am coming!”?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

Ciao…

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: