2011: As of 16 February there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.
Alas, most with nothing to say. On the other hand, it can also be said that there are 156 million people out there who have the ego strength and confidence or who live in a world of such terminal fantasy so as to believe that they have something important or interesting to say. Good for them, and good for me, since I am one of them.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:
Osama bin Laden has been killed. Many of the same people who believed the War in Iraq was initiated to remove weapons of mass destruction, now claim the reports of Osama’s death are all a part of a grand liberal conspiracy to get Barack Obama reelected.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:
Noe Valley, San Francisco, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sunday was blissfully warm and sunny. In the early afternoon I went into the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco to have coffee with my friend Peter Grenell.
For those of you not familiar with the City of San Francisco, it is a city of distinct neighborhoods. Noe Valley is one of the few that has gentrified gracefully. In the forty or so years that I have observed the area’s evolution, escalating home prices forced a few people to move out by. Most happily sold into the rising real estate market and moved to Danville or some place like that. Chain stores, although some exist along its main commercial street, have not overwhelmed the area.
The area began as a working family community of attached wood sided single family Victorian homes and duplexes. In the mid-sixties, the working class families, as was fashionable at the time, moved to the suburbs in a mistaken belief they would finding a better life and schools there. Artists seeking lower cost accommodations moved in, followed almost immediately by the hippies. The neighborhood transformed into a hip, funky, artsy scene.
They were in turn followed in the early seventies by young marrieds, often civil service employees, looking for a hip locale and attracted by the relatively inexpensive property prices at the time.
After a brief flirtation with the City’s lesbian community that was searching for a Castro District they could call their own, the dot-com inundation broke upon the neighborhood as the new young millionaires saw the area as fitting their ideal lifestyle, hip and expensive. Fortunately for the neighborhood that tide rapidly crested and the area retained its now somewhat upscale but still mixed appearance and atmosphere.
Some working class families still live there alongside rapidly aging artists and hippies, a few pioneer lesbian couples and the remnants of the now significantly less wealthy dot comers. The young bureaucrats, most of whom have made it into the upper reaches of the bureaucracy remain usually in same houses they purchased 30 years ago.
For about a decade I lived there too, in a 100-year-old Italianate Victorian two unit building. Before I purchased it, the building had served as a well-known crash pad for artists and hippies who had left the East coast in search of California dreaming .
Some of the old shops persist, like Haystack Pizza and Tuggy’s Hardware and Shu Fat’s grocery but others like Herbs Cafe are gone.
I met Peter, a man of about my age, at a coffee shop that had occupied the same spot for many years but was now called Bernie’s’ Cafe. It was owned by a woman named Bernie who had worked there during its previous incarnation and eventually purchased it.
Peter and I sat in the sun on benches in front of the shop, drank our coffee, stared at the parade of neighborhood people strolling by (a number of whom I recognized) and reflected about how lucky it was being old as we were to sit in the sun like we were and not be anxious that there was something we needed to do.
After a few hours, we walked up 24th St. ( the main commercial street) about a block to a bar called Bliss something or other to hear some live jazz.
Most Sundays, Larry Voukovitch, a mainstay of the SF jazz scene for as long as I can remember, performs there. A colleague of mine, Kerry Shapiro, was Larry’s manager when Kerry wasn’t otherwise lawyering.
Larry was appearing that day with his geriatric Croatian quartet. I really do not know it they were Croatian (although they clearly were geriatric and a quartet), but the base player, from whom Peter is receiving lessons in the instrument, was originally from that part of the world. On sax was Peter Yellin another fairly well-known and aging jazz musician.
There were also about 12 to 15 other people about my age there to listen to them. Additionally, two young japanese women from Tokyo in their early 20’s sat there attentively. One was a teacher (music I assume) and the other an aspiring jazz singer here to learn at the feet of the masters. (Peter and I deduced the aged and balding base player and the willowy japanese jazz singer were an item. We guessed this after observing them walking hand in hand align 24th St. Aren’t we the little gossips now.)
Thank God or the vagaries of chance, that there exists in this world a nation like Japan full of obsessive compulsive personalities willing to travel the world to obsessively immerse themselves the dying western musical performing arts. Should the dark ages descend as some predict, I believe the Japanese will assume the role of medieval monks and keep alive the remnants of western musical culture.
As I listened to them play, I was reminded of New York in the late fifties and sixties when the cool sophisticated New York jazz sounds of musicians like Oscar Peterson could be heard in dives in Greenwich Village and elegant nightclubs like the Embers just off Times Square.( Of course then we, the audience, were usually drunk and stoned. I, however, now listened to Larry and the Gang on nothing stronger than lemonade.)
During that era the centers of music and jazz in the US were New York, Chicago, New Orléans, St Louis and San Francisco, until they were driven out by the sounds of rock and rhythm and blues coming primarily out of Memphis and Detroit.
During the bands second set the Japanese singer (named Miyomi) got up and sang a pretty good version of Gershwin’s Summertime.
Letter, as the sun set behind Twin Peaks and the temperature cooled, I walked the mile or two back to where I was staying. In San Francisco the sun does not simply set, after it passes behind the peak, the City east of the mountain lies in shadow while the sky remains brightly late afternoon for an hour or so.
Even when one is experiencing great sadness life can be wonderful. Don’t miss it.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Ray was dressed today in comfortable flats, dark unfashionable culottes from which protruded his hairy muscular calfs, a bolero jacket over a white dress shirt and regimental striped tie. He had a large loop earring dangling from his left ear and his head was wrapped in a variegated red bandana from which his multicolored hair peeked out.
He sat down in one of the chairs in front of Vince’s desk after setting the hand-truck containing the file boxes along the wall next to the door and said, “That lady, Mrs Coign, is a piece of work”.
“Well, at first I did not think she would let me in.”
“I think I could guess why. Stephanie’s led a sheltered life,” Vince said. “Were you dressed like that?”
“Yeah, I didn’t have time to go home and change into my office outfit. Anyway when she did open the door she had a large glass in her hand filled, I guess, with booze. She looked ripped.”
“So what happened next?”
“She took me back through the house to the little room in the back, took a big swallow from the glass, pointed and said, ‘It’s all in there.'”
“I started going through the files and she stood there for a while watching me until she finished whatever was in the glass, and then asked ‘would you like something to drink?”’
“‘Water would be fine’ I said and went back to work. She disappeared for a while and when she returned she had my water and had refilled her glass. She then started talking almost non stop, asking me about what is was like working at the firm, what you were like, How awful it had been finding Mr. Coign dead. I felt like she was hitting on me.”
“I guess that startled you,” interjected Vince?
“No, not at all, I’m AC/DC all the way.” He smiled at Vince as he said that.
Vince’s smile faded. “Go on, did she say anything else?.”
Ray’s smile broadened, “She then began going on about her husband and the firm. What a prick he was and how no one really knows what was really going on at the firm.”
“Go on,” encouraged Vince, now intrigued.
“There was not much more. I had finished packing everything upend as I wheeled the files out to the door she said, ‘Have Vince call me when you get back to the office. There is a lot of things he should know. A lot of things I can tell him.'”
“OK thanks. By the way you should be getting a call from a private investigator named Al Pischotti. I would like you to coördinate with him on the Isabella Yeung research.”
“Cool” and with that he got up and sauntered out of the office, leaving Vince staring at the door as it closed behind him. (to be continued)
a. Today’s Chart:
The end of the road for white males?
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):
“Corporations were originally created to carry out specific goals of the state. Now the state appears to exist only to carry out the specific goals of the corporations.”
c. What’s wrong with economics today?
Bankers do not believe the neoclassical economists’ baloney about the discipline of the free market, but they sure want you to.
“Lots of bankers knew that things were in trouble, and they went on — they did it anyway…Some of them did it because they could bet against it. Some of them did it because they could make fees by helping clients who were betting against it. And some of them did it just to keep the machine doing it and make huge bonuses.”
ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisenger on the 2008 financial collapse.
“If anyone in sickness has undergone surgery at the hands of physicians or has been castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy. But if anyone in good health has castrated himself, if he is enrolled among the clergy he should be suspended, and in future no such man should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this refers to those who are responsible for the condition and presume to castrate themselves, so too if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians or by their masters, but have been found worthy, the canon admits such men to the clergy.”
Council of Nicaea 325, canon 1.
This quote demonstrates the evolutionary ability of religion and theology to change with the times. Under the Old Testament if one was “wounded in the stones,” one could not attend temple. Under the “New Covenant,” even if you were castrated by barbarians you could still be a priest. If it was so important for one to be able to do it, why does the Catholic Church and others make such a to do in favor of not doing it? Now that I think about it why do they put priests in dresses?
Unfortunately, neither the New or Old Testaments nor the Koran appeared to prohibit one from engaging in their respective ministries if they were pederasts. I conclude from this that God really wants men (especially his ministers) to be able to do it, but was less concerned with whether they did it or not or with whom they did it to.