TODAY FROM THAILAND:
From when I was about 8 years old and until I was in my early 20s I had a close friend named Louis (pronounced in the French manner Louie), Louis Maiello.
Where Winnie (Winston Churchill of “This and that…” a few weeks back) was destined for success based on name, ancestry, looks, capability, wealth and a host of other things, Louis definitely was not. It was not just the name and family background that separated them. Where Winnie was tall, athletic, manly looking and white, Louis was small, smaller than I was, skinny and pretty, almost effeminate looking with long eyelashes and coal-black eyes. He also definitely was not blessed with that chalky pink tinged alabaster complexion with throbbing blue veins that marked one as a member of the “white” race at that time. (The white race then usually being limited to Anglo-Germanic-Nordic ancestry. Celts had been recently admitted to the club and Slavs confused things. Jews were not really white. They were Jews, and along with southern Europeans, Turks, arabs and others had just began knocking at the door clamoring for membership.) Louie was that deep dark dusky color with a flash of gold buried deeply beneath the dirt that ranked us at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, along with blacks, Puerto Ricans and Sephardim (Mexicans were not an obsession at the time where I lived on the East coast).
As an aside: As a child the white pink, blue-veined people who lived in up scale suburbs of Westchester County, NY frightened me. Those blue veins throbbing beneath that dead looking white skin always made me think of zombies or vampires. I wonder if those nordic masters of the universe had or have now any idea of how ugly they appeared to many of us. Ironically the worst and most frightening of them was an Italian. He ran the Italian operation of one of my American clients I represented when I lived in Rome. He was a Colonna; a member of the Colonna family who along with the even older Orsini family had run Rome and the Papacy for 1200 years. My client was the first person from either family in those 1200 years to take a job. “Just like one of those upstart Colonnas,” an Orsini was rumored to have sniffed. Anyway, I guess as a side effect of a millennium of inbreeding, all color had left his face but a deathly pasty white pallor. Those ghastly throbbing blue veins remained. He resembles more a cadaver than something living. He was also one of the most despicable human beings I have ever met. That has something to do with breeding also I guess.
Anyway, Louis was not pre-destined for success. At 8 he was thrown out of his house by his sadistic father and forced to live on the streets or on the largess of relatives and friends. For some reason, many of the adults I knew would warn me to stay away from him because he was a bad influence. I did not understand that. He wasn’t mean or violent, in fact just the opposite. Not that he was a do-gooder or anything like that. He preferred leaving people alone, just as he preferred for them to leave him alone.
Nevertheless, many of the bigger boys would bully him mercilessly. He would not often fight back against the bullies, preferring the strategy of avoid and escape to confrontation.
Perhaps that is why we became friends. Although I always fought back and often lost, Louie, nevertheless was sort of a kindred spirit; befriending him probably filled my own need for acceptance. Not that I was ostracized and shunned like him, but I seemed to inhabit the fringes of my childhood social sets and pushing my way into their center required a greater commitment that I thought the rewards warranted.
Although he was pretty looking, he was not effeminate and was of all of us the one who had the earliest and most prolific sexual experiences. He was very successful at it and with that his reputation among the other neighborhood boys climbed a bit as he grew older. It was said of him, that Louie could get laid in a nunnery. I on the other hand, much to my chagrin, was truly a late bloomer.
Anyway, in our late teens, I went off to college and law school and Louie, as a lot of the dispossessed people from the East coast at that time did, decamped for California. He wanted to become and actor.
He returned a year or so later and moved into a basement flat in Greenwich Village; one of the ubiquitous flats of the type that covered NYC at that time; one room below the street, unwalled in toilet in the kitchen area, no hot water, exposed tub with a piece of plywood covering it that served for the dinning table and all the rats and cockroaches one could desire.
He was living with a woman who appeared stoned all the time. Actually I did not know what being stoned all the time ment or looked like since it was still a few years before the rise of hippiedom when we learned all about it. At that time, she seemed to me, seductive. That sort of dreamy look and half-smile that flitted across her face in response to anything I said and the uninhibited movements of her body I interpreted as erotic interest rather that drug induced lethargy. I spent one night at the apartment. Louie had gone to sleep. I thought for sure I would lose my virginity that night and out of nervousness I talked… and talked until she fell asleep and I had to wait another year or so for that highly anti-climatic event we experience only once in our lives.
Louie had succeeded in becoming a movie actor of sorts in Hollywood and had appeared in a movie. He told me about what he and others had to do to get a part in a movie in Hollywood; how he had to give blow jobs and more to the producers to get the part. While he was telling me this, I noticed that it was the only time I had ever seen Louie angry or ashamed. His eyes filmed over if fear, embarrassment or self-disgust I could not tell. Perhaps he was stoned also.
Nevertheless, I envied him. I had already given up my dreams for a life in theater, unwilling and perhaps frightened that I would be unable to do the things and suffer the humiliations required to even get a chance to perform.
The movie he appeared in was a biker flic that was Jack Nicholson’s first starring role. Louie played a skinny sex-crazed hanger-on. A role he was well suited for.
Anyway, after that I sadly lost touch with Louie. He had taken the stage name of James Oliver. I would periodically search the internet for some information about him, but without luck. I assumed that he must have died of AIDs or some other form of STD.
Last week I obsessed again about why so few people respond to my Facebook posts. Previously I assumed that the posts were simply boring, so I started sharing posts that others sent to me. I believed that if they received a lot of comments on their posts, by sharing with my other “friends” I would get a similar response. Alas, no. I thought there were only two reasons for this. The first I refused to contemplate and the second was that I had too few friends. So, I went searching for more friends. I decided to click on the village where I grew up, Tuckahoe, to see if I could find a few members of my old gang who I could, for old times sake, con into reading one or two of my posts.
I was both pleased and surprised to find, James Oliver alive and well living as a 70-year-old artist in Taos New Mexico. According to a news report accompanying his profile, he continued his “Hollywood” life style becoming one of John Lennon’s favorite carousing pals, and had actually made it into one or two of Lennon’s biographies.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
In Thailand police report they have just raided a factory making fake Nescafe.
Isn’t that a little like busting a factory making fakes of fake works of art?
In Australia, a nation of 23 million people living in a country larger in area than the US (300 million people), a majority of the descendants of immigrants believe that the country is over-populated and that future immigration should be restricted more than it is now and that any of the select few immigrants allowed (generally rich people) should have to speak “Strain” (unless of course they are very rich).
The original aboriginal settlers on the continent agreed and encouraged the new immigrants leave also. The new immigrants, however, refused to move. “Where will we go,” they cried? “Back to England? We would have to learn the language.”
3. Fake Drugs:
It is being reported that fake malaria fighting drugs are flooding the market.
Conservative economists are expected to argue that increased regulation and policing of the pharmaceutical industry is unnecessary since the magic of the market will take care of the problem. Once the people are all dead from malaria, there would no longer be a market for the fake drugs.
In case you think I am exaggerating, it is only within the last two years that one of the leaders of the Friedman free market brand of economists, Alan Greenspan, acknowledged that perhaps an exception to their free market solves all position could be made for limited government involvement in matters affecting public health [but obviously not so much involvement as to include the insurance reform of Obamacare].
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
Wow! I used to think (thanks to the emails from my right thinking friends) only poor, blacks, Mexicans and illegal aliens were the lazy scammers off the largess of the nation’s taxpayers. Now I find out that the middle class American family is also. What is this country coming to? The next thing you know they also will be looking to the American taxpayer for help subsidizing their indolent lifestyles. Why is it that only the husband and wife have jobs? They should send their kids out to work also. Why is it that it seems the only Americans who are not shiftless bloodsuckers siphoning the economic life blood out of the rest of us are either wealthy or gay?
B. A big problem in America:
Two scary charts:
STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We are not producing enough STEM workers to maintain the productivity and innovation necessary for the growth of our economy. The only source of STEM workers able to meet our needs is through immigration of both students and qualified workers. Why haven’t we done so? Because opposition by people like some of those who send me mass produced emails insisting on closing our borders, who probably could not get into a good STEM education program themselves, and their even less intelligent Republican cohorts in Congress (and yes it is the Republicans and Conservatives) will not rest until they have destroyed the nation and the economy leaving the detritus to be picked over by Wall Street Bankers, Oil company execs, red necks in pick-up trucks and fundamentalist preachers. Instead of closing off our borders, how about if we collect this bunch of haters of the country and ship them off to Australia.
Think about it for a moment: we now have studies that show these Faux News aficionados are even less knowledgable and intelligent than those who refuse to learn anything at all and that intelligence of elected officials appear to decrease as they become mere conservative.
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
Pookie believes that yellow snow is one of the foundations upon which our nation was built. The Pilgrims during the winter peed in the snow. If it was good enough for them then, it is good enough for us now.
VOTE FOR POOKIE. HE PROMISES THAT IF ELECTED ALL OF YOU CAN GO PEE IN THE SNOW.
“The core competences of high finance are supposed to be (a) assessing risk, and (b) matching people with risks to be carried with people with the risk-bearing capacity to carry them.
Robert Waldmann has a different view:
Limits to Arbitrage Bites Again: I think their core competencies are (a) finding fools for counterparties and (b) evading regulations/disguising gambling as hedging.
Regulatory arbitrage, and persuading those who do not understand risks that they should bear them–those are not socially-valuable activities.”
(Please see my post in Daily Kos containing my discussion about Krugman’s observation.)
I think this photograph is a fake. They claim the creature is called a “flying fox.” It appears that its wings are too small and its musculature too puny for it to be able to fly. Nevertheless, it is another one of those things that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, along with say… nuclear catastrophe, out of control vaginas and President Santorum.
To make up for the prior photograph, we go from the unworldly to out of this world:
A photograph of the martian landscape.