Daily Archives: June 23, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 5, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: In the United States, John Boehner took over as speaker on the House of Representatives and soon after the Weiner affair commenced, proving once again the domination of American politics by men’s obsession with their sexual member.

Not only that, but if truth be known, it really was all about size. Boehner (which spell checks as boner) and the Republican Party were so astounded by Weiner’s sudden prominence that they demanded Weiner’s withdrawal before the public began expecting the same eminence of all politicians (that would unfortunately put the Republican party at a disadvantage). Unhappily for Boehner and the Party, a recent poll indicates that the public once having seen it, are having difficulty forgetting the Weiner.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND ITALY:

a. Thailand:

The political party of the “Red Shirts” have won a substantial victory in the Thai elections, garnering an absolute majority in the legislature. It now remains to be seen how the current military leadership will react. While the élite troops stationed in the eastern provinces of the country will probably remain loyal to their leadership, the vast majority of the ordinary soldiers in the army are probably supporters of the “Red Shirts” and probably could not be relied upon in a coup.

Although I expect that the current military leadership will hesitate taking any immediate action but will concentrate on fomenting civil unrest allowing them to step in at a later date “to restore order,” they must be cognizant that this time the new government may more careful in their actions, undermining the Military’s long-term power.
Since I am returning to Thailand on Thursday, I would be fascinated to know if I will me met with a coup in progress.

b. Italy:

Between their horrendous defeat at Caporetto and the stabilization of the new defensive line on the south bank of the Piave River, the italian high command decided that the strategy of driving the troops into battle through fear (by, for example, shooting any trooper who waivers during a charge) was not working and instituted the tried and true motivation for young men to risk death, an abstraction, in this case patriotism. So, learning from their allies, they cranked up their propaganda forces, directed it at their own people and managed to assemble a new army, slightly more willing to die.

A little side note as to why the Italian government was so obsessed by this stretch of terrain, after all it was mountainous and arid and at that time produced little more than emigrants. The reason was that about 60 years or so ago the movement to reunify Italy (although there never had been an “Italy” to re unify) called the “Risorgimento,” envisioned the historical Italy to include everything up to the crest of the Alps and for some the Tyrol beyond. It also included western Slovenia where many so-called ethnic italians resided*. Apparently the idea was to restore some semblance of ethnic homogeneity (although the people of the peninsular were anything but homogeneous and to this day have little in common with each other except corrupt governance) and restore some aspect of the Roman Empire (although the old Romans never let anything as puny as the Alps stop them).

Also the people in this area were in constant rebellion against the efficient tax collection administration of the Austro-Hungarians, preferring the culture of tax evasion endemic to Italian society.

Anyway, Diaz, the Allied commander, rather than attack, gambled on the Central Powers exhausting themselves assaulting his increasingly strong defensive position. The Austro-Hungarian Central Command recognized that by waiting it would only give the Italians time to strengthen themselves further, struck on June 1918 attempting to force a crossing of the river. The blitz failed with their already stretched forces losing 100,00 more men.

Diaz had prepared a counter-attack should the assault by the Imperial Armies falter. On October 24, 1918, (exactly one year from the commencement of the festivities at Caporetto), the strengthened Allied Army punched, across the river and a few days later decisively defeated the Austro-Hungarian army near the town of Veneto (Veneto was later reamed Vittorio Veneto in honor or the victory and the date made into on one of Italy’s major patriotic holidays).

That same day, following the defeat of their army, the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed with Austria and Hungary forming their own national states and Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia declaring independence.

The Imperial forces that had lost between 300,00-500,000 men, split in two like their countries and signed an armistice on November 3. The Imperial commander requested that the Italians terminate their advance since the Imperial Armies had already laid down their arms. The Italians were having none of that. They realized they were faced with an opponent that a military leader could only dream about, a non-existent army for a non-existent nation, and promptly advanced, occupied the Tyrol and Western Slovenia and settled down to await developments elsewhere.

The German Empire seeing its southern front dissolve almost over-night and recognizing that shifting a portion of their already beleaguered troops from the Western Front to protect their southern border spelled disaster on both fronts, sued for peace two weeks later. Although, the history books in the United States (and to some extent Britain and France as well) appear to claim that almost magically the sudden appearance of American troops in France futilely flinging their bodies on to German barbed wire caused the Germans to surrendered in terror, it was the collapse of the Southern Front that prompted the German high command to recognize that further resistance was futile.

*As a footnote to the Horrors of War, a little less than 30 years later following the collapse of the Italian Fascist State in 1943, the Yugoslav Army under Marshall Tito marched into western Slovenia and cleansed it of its ethnic italian population by shooting those who had not fled their homes in terror. In order, I guess to save bullets, those unfortunates who surrendered or were otherwise captured (about 20,000 in all) were tied together and marched to the mouths of several deep mine shafts where the first few were shot and toppled into the mine shaft pulling the rest of the wretches in with them.

Given the brutal imagination applied to ethnic cleansing by peoples everywhere (e.g., Throwing smallpox blankets into Native American towns, or slaughtering those Irish unwilling to die of starvation in Connaught, or machine gunning the Greek and Armenian residents who failed to depart their two thousand-year old ancestral homes quickly enough) one wonders if gas chambers were not more humane. Perhaps someone can propose a treaty in which only genocide by lethal injection would be allowed.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND)ITALY:

Cellina River

Cellina River (Photo credit: Marius!!)

One day Vittorio invited me on an excursion into the Valcellina (Valley of the Cellina River) a small remote valley extending from the outwash valley of the Piave River to the edge of the Dolomite and the pre-alps. In its natural state it is virtually inaccessible, yet it has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years or more (Cellina is a pre Indo-European word still common in the mountains from the Pyrenees to the Carpathians). Throughout the millennia and up until the latter part of the 19th century , the Valley’s residents have lived much the same as they always did; hunting, gathering, wearing animal skins or homespun, starving, emigrating and selling their bodies or some rude handicrafts that they carried on their backs out of the valley across the mountains.

(It is interesting to me that sometime ago I had my DNA ancestry traced back on the female side [the Y chromosome tests had not yet beam perfected] to somewhere in the area north of Venice about 20,000 years ago. I like to think that there the ancestor of the Sicilian race and many of the Ashkenazi, plied her trade soliciting comfort for the traveler and breeding races and nations from the relative safety of this remote mountain valley.)

By the turn of the 20th Century a rough path had been hewn from the rock of the steep canyon walls. Then with the advent of Mussolini, a treacherous one lane technical marvel was constructed to allow workers into the valley to dam the river so as to provide electricity and irrigation to the arid but more populous Piave River plain below. The aqueduct and the electric transmission lines were buried beneath the road. The road also opened up the Valcellina itself, although less to augment the economy than to assist in emigration.

While the irrigation water and the electricity did much to begin to lift the region along the Piave out of poverty, it was the construction of the large American military base at Avieno the raised it to prosperity.

An American base, no matter how much we Americans view it relative to our national security, to the residents of the area in which it is located, it is essentially massive American foreign aid into the economy of the small region surrounding it.

Despite the American military’s attempts to provide for military personnel on base, the private consultants* as well as the teachers and other highly paid civilians for the most part preferred living in the life accommodating society of Italy rather than the life limiting environment of the base and thereby your dollars and what used to be mine benefit the happy citizens of Fulli.

Anyway, Vittorio and I travelled into the valley along the new road built recently to accommodate tourists that replaced the old one. We turned off on to a limited stretch of the old (most of it now only accessible to hikers and bicyclists) to visit an old osteria built almost 100 years ago to service travelers along the old road. It perches on a small ledge on the sheer walls of the canyon and has a parking area that can accommodate only about 4 small automobiles. It was empty of customers. Its proprietor was a tall thin young women, taller than I, with a traditionally large nose and a suspicious large Adam’s apple. We had a drink of wine and she told us that she had a hangover from drinking all night at the little town of Barcis that we planned on visiting. (To be Continued)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Pookie the intrepid at Barcis in Valcellina (Do I look presidential?):


Barcis the picturesque (Yes, the water is that color):

 

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 4, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

8th Century: Ivar the Boneless, a Danish leader began his conquest and colonization of England.

Remember not every conqueror requires a name that strikes fear in the enemy some succeed by having their opponents die laughing.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) ITALY:

As long as I am in Italy, I thought I would skip the charts I have normally posted here demonstrating, over and over again, the dire straights the US (and the world) has found itself in and write something about the country in which presently I am idling away my time,

Since I have not kept up on Italian current events, I thought I would venture into some history of the area around the farm on which I temporarily reside, the Veneto and Friuli area of Northeastern Italy. Specifically the battles of WW I that brought this area into the then Kingdom of Italy

Following the disastrous defeat and collapse of the Italian Army at Caporetto a year before that I mentioned in the previous “Today’s Factoid” the supreme commander of the Italian military forces was cashiered and a new general staff put in place.

Battle of the Piave River

Battle of the Piave River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian army was reconstituted with troops and officers from other parts of Italy and rushed north to the River Piave, a few miles from Venice, to form a defensive line about 140 kilometers west of Caporetto. The Piave was a river on a semi-arid outwash plain and drained the Dolomites, and the foothills to the Alps. Rejecting advice that the Italian forces retreat even further south, the new Italian general in charge, named Armando Diaz, believed that the Austro-Hungarian troops were exhausted from their rapid advance from Caporetto. Their supply lines he reasoned were stretched so thin that along with the effects of the Allied blockade of Germany’s ports, they effectively limited the supply of men and material to the army of the Central Powers in the quantity necessary for a prolonged campaign. In addition, the Piave River bed was generally a wide stoney generally empty expanse providing clear sight lines and with the river bisecting it, it seemed to him a relatively strong position to defend.

The war on the Western front (essentially France and Belgium) for the past few years had degenerated into a contest between the homicidal maniacs on the Allied side (France, Britain and recently the US) and their counterparts from the Central Powers (Primarily Germany) to see how many of their troops they could slaughter by pitting flesh against machine guns in a futile attempt to gain a few yard of militarily worthless ground, a strategy a grammar school child could soon recognize as silly. While both Britain, France and Germany were gradually exhausting themselves by the horrendous loss of manpower and material, the interjection by the US of the almost unlimited supply of cannon fodder and war material, although not actually altering the war on the ground, prompted the German High Command, which in general was smarter than their counterparts among the allies, to realize that they will exhaust their men and material sooner than their opponents.

Map of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, in which...

Map of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, in which the Italian Army decisively defeated the Austro-Hungarian invader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The southern flank of the war was fought basically by Italy on behalf of the Allies and the Austro-Hungarian Empire on behalf of the Central Powers. It was somewhat more mobile, but no less wasteful of men and material and if it were at all possible conducted by general staffs even more homicidal and less competent that their Western and Germanic allies. (To be continued…)

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

Having introduced ourselves to this family of strangers and having completed a pleasant tour of the farm we settled down to dinner with SWAC assisting in the cooking. Our hosts make their own wine from their vineyards and manufacture their own pressed meats such as pancetta, sopressa and salami. While the region is noted by gourmets for its cheeses (Parmigiano) the local variety of which is even more piccante, pressed meats (prosciutto) and wines, its basic cuisine is much less distinguished than that further south or west, consisting mostly of overcooked meats, bland pasta and beans.

We slept that night in various rooms vacated for our use. The next morning Nikki left to return to Milan. That evening SWAC cooked a portion of the meal. The following day, I guess tiring of domestic activities SWAC skipped lunch for an exercise session at the local health club, then meeting a male patron of the club, she also excused herself from joining us at dinner preferring to spend that time with her new friend rather than at the farm. The next day she departed for Milan and then on to Thailand leaving Hayden and I in the company of these strangers, albeit pleasant and enjoyable ones. She promised to return by the end of the month or so.

We enrolled Hayden in a local sport camp run by Vittorio’s sister and her husband, italy’s judo team coach. Every morning I drop him off at the camp and then spend the remainder of the morning sitting in a café in Tamai searching for stray wi-fi signals, drinking coffee and sipping prosecco.

One evening Vittorio invited me out for a night on the town and to accompany him to the rehearsal of one of his ensembles.

We traveled to Sacile and stopped first at Lucia’s bar where I met an American named Brian, originally from South Dakota, married to a Korean woman and living in Sacile. He worked as a chemistry teacher in the school at the local US air force base. While we conversed, Vittorio and Lucia’s boyfriend, who I was informed was a local architect and who always wore a dark suit, white shirt unbuttoned at the top and at the sleeves, a three days growth of a dark beard and stringy hair, argued over how best to free up the bar’s security gate that had jumped its tracks.

Later, after the gate was repaired and Lucia closed up her place, Vittorio, Brian and I strolled to another café operated by an extremely short stocky woman in a jeans jacket. One of the regular patrons of the bar was a man suffering from the same disfiguring disease as the “Elephant Boy.” He had a deep melodious voice and upbeat manner. I still found it difficult to look at him without staring. He also had a bitching, pimped out gigantic silver and chrome motor scooter that appeared larger than a Harley and probably producing more horsepower .

After drinking a few more glasses of wine, we accompanied Brian home to his condo building. It had originally been a centuries old villa on to which was grafted seamlessly a modern extension. He showed us the building’s modern garage equipped with elevators upon which to stack the cars and then gleefully demonstrated its use.

Vittorio and I then went to the rehearsal Hall where Vittorio’s ensemble practiced. The town, small as it is, had a building dedicated exclusively to music.

Vittorio’s group was called the Sacile Symphonia.

Actually, it consisted of about eight saxophone players one of whom also played the alto and bass sax, and two tuba players one of whom doubled on the trombone. It also had a trio of trumpet players, the oldest of which, a man who appeared to be in his mid eighties, was the soloist. A somewhat overweight young woman played the drums and other percussion instruments with gusto. Sometimes she would get carried away on a riff driving the rest of the ensemble into silence until she finished and sheepishly apologized. An elderly man with white hair and dressed in a dark suit and tie looking more like a professor than a musician played the flute. Next to him sat a very thin middle-aged woman whose role I could not determine as she appeared to play no instrument what so ever. Rounding out the players was a young man strumming on an electric guitar.

The conductor, appropriately alternatively dictatorial and put upon, managed the session with vigor.

They played a lively version of Glen Miller’s “In the Mood,” a couple of American show tunes and several marches before calling it a night.

After practice Vittorio and I returned to the farm. (To be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

My sincerest apologies to my devoted readers who wait anxiously for the latest installment of the trials and tribulations of Vince and Isabella that alas once again I must ask their forbearance in another delay. Unfortunately, my garrulous investment in other sections of this post, I fear will leave the reader too exhausted to wade through another red herring.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

I think here I should interrupt my usual narrative and share with you (well to be honest, impose upon you) my recent musings about traveling.

My approach to traveling is somewhat like my approach to life; it is not arriving at your destination that is important but what happened along the way.

For example, assume that I depart from San Francisco intending to travel to, say Rome to visit the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel. If that is what I efficiently did and returned home equally efficiently, I for one would be unsatisfied indeed.

If on the other hand I were to depart on that same voyage and along the way be diverted by circumstances outside of my control or through my stupidity and thereby facing perhaps danger, or passion, beauty or tedium and return home without ever getting to see Michelangelo’s frescos (the chapel would probably be closed anyway, for repairs or for some obscure holiday), I would consider my trip a success.

I guess, one could consider it something like Buddhism, but from somewhat the opposite viewpoint. Where Buddhism urges one to withdraw from the unreality of perception, Pookieism suggests you revel in it.

When I look back into my own life, anytime I single-mindedly pursued a goal and overcame many obstacles to achieve it, I almost always came away dissatisfied, became depressed and soon decided to spend my time doing something else. On the other hand whenever I was diverted from my path, or failed in achieving my goal or found myself hopelessly lost, I often was overjoyed. Why, because there was so much experience, so much pathos and so much joy. And, oh the stories…

Yes, of course there were things that to this day I wish never happened and if I could, I would want not to have occurred, but they did and the exquisite, if odious, memories of the experience accompanies me like tattoos on the skins of generation Xers.

For those males of a certain age, some of you may recall that time when you were a kid and in you imagination played the announcer of your life. “The great slugger stands at the plate. Here comes the pitch. He swings. He misses….” Or, “Here is the world famous runner running through the woods. Will he break the record? Oh no! He trips. He falls. Will he be able to get up, finish the race and break the record? Stay tuned.”

Well, I still do that. “Here is the aging hero walking along the side of the road recalling past loves, triumphs and failures. Out of the corner of his eye he spies a small yellow flower, stops and contemplates its beauty for a moment and then walks on, crosses the street, the freshly painted striping glowing so whitely in the sun it hurts his eyes. Suddenly he remembers he forgot to buy that bottle of milk. Should he return to the store or proceed on toward home? He stands there at the edge of the road, like the brave Ulysses on the beach contemplating whether to return home to the aging but loyal Penelope or spend another night in the arms of the beautiful Calypso?”

Speaking of Ulysses, Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.

One night the short, bandy-legged, scraggly bearded young man named Ulysses, who lived in a subdivision on a small island in the Adriatic, left the home on a cull-de-sac he shared with his wife, young son, various hangers-on, and a pack of dogs, telling everyone he was going to the store to buy a carton of milk, or an amphora of wine or new sandals or whatever. Now twenty years later he stood on the corner of the block down from his old home, broke, hungry and older. He contemplated the excuses he would tell his wife for his long absence. He concocted stories about ships and strange wars, jealous gods, wooden horses, one-eyed monsters and to cover up the long periods of time he spent living with a succession of comely young women, he fell back on the tried and true excuse of philandering husbands of the time, bewitchment.

On the other hand, the also aging but still zaftig and supposedly loyal Penelope wanted no part of the smelly midget bastard’s return. She had happily spent the past 20 years screwing the Mexican pool boy and every young stud in town. The assholes return would only mean she would have to give up the good life and return to working on that Goddamn loom. Besides, she needed an excuse of her own to explain why for the last 20 years the same old piece of cloth hung on that machine with no further work done on it since he left. She told all her boyfriends that she would choose one of them to settle down with when she finished weaving the cloth. They were so stupefied with the thought of getting into her toga whenever she lifted her skirt for them they forgot all about the status of that rotting rag.

She believed however that she would need something better to convince the crafty asshole of her unbelievable 20 years of fidelity. She decided to elaborate on the story and planned to tell her returning husband, if unfortunately he should ever return, that she weaved at the loom all day and every night she tore out what she had done during the day. If the simple and unbelievable story had worked on her lovers why wouldn’t this expanded version work on that scheming lying bastard Ulysses?

Nevertheless, she still was surprised when the testosterone poisoned dwarf suddenly and unexpectedly showed up at her door and started killing all of her boyfriends and the Mexican pool boy as well.

Sadly, Penelope was forced back to working all day at the Goddamn loom and at night diddling herself while the drunken scumbag lay snoring among his dogs after buggering some prepubescent boy-chick.

As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

If you cannot answer a man’s argument, all it not lost; you can still call him vile names.
~Elbert Hubbard

One of the most important rules for living a good life.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Sacile Symphonia in rehearsal

Lucia with a mysterious young man.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 2, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1917 October 24:The battle of Caporetto begins in which the

General Count Luigi Cadorna, Italian Chief of ...

General Count Luigi Cadorna, Italian Chief of Staff, visiting British batteries Español: General Conde Luigi Cadorna, Jefe del Estado Mayor italiano, visitando las baterías británicas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Central Powers (the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany) administers a divisive defeat to the Italian Army (a member of the Allied forces, Britain, France and the US).

The Italian commander Marshal Luigi Cadorna prepared for the battle by sacking 217 generals, 255 colonels and 355 battalion commanders. He also believed that soldiers fought better out of fear than out of commitment resulting in his troops intense hatred of him. He assembled his forces in a defensive line with no mobile reserves. As a result when the Central Powers launched the world’s first blitzkrieg there were no forces to move into action at the point of the breakthrough. Finally, he firmly believed that the place for a general was far enough behind the lines to be safely out of danger and mobile enough to be able to retreat faster than the rest of his army.

Map of the Italian Front, Battle of Caporetto.

Map of the Italian Front, Battle of Caporetto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a result the Italian army dissolved, losing over 300,000 men. Marshall Luigi was fired instead of shot, which only proves how much better it is to be a member of the ruling class than say a trooper who Marshall Luigi would have had shot for faltering in an advance into the throat of machine-gun fire. As a result over 250,000 Italian troops immediately surrendered as soon as the enemy blitzkrieg broke through their lines.

Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms,” immortalized the battle.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:


POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

Tamai is a tiny but apparently prosperous village nestled among the cornfields about six kilometers or so from Sacile. I was told that its name is derived from the sheds that populated the area at a time when the land thereabout was useful for little more than grazing cattle. The sheds were used to drive the cattle into to feed and from which the resulting dung was collected to be processed into fertilizer. Thus Tamai could be translated as “Town of the Cow Sheds” or I guess even “Cow Shit Village.”

Anyway we arrived at the “Farm.” It consisted of about 10 acres of which about two-thirds was planted in the cash crop for the area, corn. The main house, the various farm buildings and sheds, a chicken coop and extensive garden in which the family grew all their fruit and vegetable needs and some of their aesthetic needs in the form of a large variety of flowers occupied the remainder of the property.

I was introduced to the family that lived on the farm and learned that SWAC actually had never stayed with them before but had learned of their existence from one of our employees at our bar in Thailand whose mother had married our host. SWAC previously had visited them briefly while spending a few weeks with a wealthy italian boyfriend in nearby Sacile. This I assumed she believed qualified her to impose upon them for shelter and sustenance for the better part of a month. I also learned that she did not know their names and referred to the Thai woman and her italian husband only as Mama and Papa. I later learned their actual names were Anita and Vittorio.

Living in the house in addition to the aforementioned Anita and Vittorio were and older man and woman referred to as Nono and Nona. I still do not know if they were Vittorio’s parents or aunt and uncle.

Nono is 87 years old and extremely vigorous putting in full days working on the farm. He speaks with the gravelly voice of Brando’s Godfather and seems to see humor in everything. For example he laughed uproariously when I struck my head on a branch I was trying to duck under. During the Second World War he served in the Italian Army under German command on the eastern front in Russia. With the collapse of the Italian Fascist Regime in 1943, he along with most of the Italian soldiers fighting on that front were arrested by the Nazi’s. He spent the remainder of the war in various labor camps in Poland until liberated by the Americans before they were ordered to vacate the land in favor of the Russian Army.

Nono is also one of those fortunate creatures who always manages to look well dressed no matter what he wears. Where most of us tend generally to look a bit like an unmade bed, Nono, even in his work clothes consisting of a straw had, a Thai floral shirt, culottes and sandals, always looks like he just stepped out of a gentleman’s magazine (if there were a gentleman’s magazine for men over 70). When I used to be able to afford Brioni, Kiton or bespoke suits, Church or Ferragamo shoes and various designer shirts, ties and the like, I still managed to look like a basket full of soiled laundry.

Nona on the other-hand looks very much the farmers wife with her sack dress. She spends much of her day working in the garden primarily tending the tomatoes that are ripening nicely.

Both Nono and Nona when they are not working the grounds or gathered with the rest of the family for meals, spend their time occupied, pencil in hand, unraveling problems in various puzzle books.

Living also at the house is a 70-year-old or so women who is Vittorio’s aunt. Although she does not exhibit any of the physical deformities of those retarded from birth, nevertheless she seems to have terminated intellectual growth when she was about six. I do not know if it was genetic or caused by injury or disease. She is also a third stage diabetic and requires two shots of insulin every day as well as constant monitoring of her blood sugar levels. At dinner time, while the family is gathered around the table and before starting to eat, instead of saying grace, we watch Vittorio administer her evening insulin shot.

She always has lived with the family and their relationship is characterized by a lot of shouting (I assure you from experience, a common trait among italian families. We tend to be a loud race) as the family members try to get her to do those things, such as exercise (on an Exercycle on the porch), drink lots of water and avoiding fried foods necessary to keep her diabetes under control.

She tends to shriek rather than talk and Hayden who is a bit of a mimic has learned to copy her shriek and they seem to spend several more of less happy hours together during the day screeching at one another.

SWAC has told Hayden that the aunt is “not 100%,” so he now refers to her as the “100% lady” as he, like me, does not know her actual name.

Anita has two daughters from a prior liaison, one who used to work at Ava, married an American man and moved to Rochester NY. They subsequently divorced but she continued to live in Rochester, why, I have no idea. Her other daughter is married to a Thai man and has two children. They live in Italy nearby to the farm and visit almost every day. Anita also has a twenty something year old daughter with Vittorio. She looks more italian than a full-blooded italian with her unfeigned indolent sensuousness and permanent pout.

Vittorio is a wonderful 50 something farm boy, generally quiet and gentle. He always lived within a few miles of the farm, served as a Marine in the italian army, plays the Tuba in several local ensembles, all in all one of earths good guy’s. He retired last year from whatever work he was doing to supplement his farm income and loves to tell everyone, “I work to live, not live to work.”

It addition to the people and chickens the farm supports a tribe of feral cats and two dogs, actually more insects than dog. I truly believe I have discovered a new species indigenous to the farm, Canis Insectai. Luckily, like mules they are unable to breed otherwise they may be discovered by celebrities as fashionably grotesque pets and flood the world with them causing the human race to die out from revulsion.

One of the insect-dogs has patches of something that looks like a cross between used toilet paper and rusty wire that passes for hair or fur while the other has several teeth missing so that his tongue hangs grotesquely out of the side of its face. I, who am an inveterate dog petter, never missing the opportunity to scratch behind the ears or under the chin of just about any dog I come across even at times the Soi dogs of Bangkok, have not touched these creatures for fear it is catching. (to be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince looked up from examining the piece of note paper in the transparent evidence envelope the sheriff had placed on the desk in front of him, stared into Megs milky blue crazed eyes and said, “I haven’t the slightest Idea why she wrote this. I only know that yesterday she asked me to meet with her sometime today.” He realized too late that he had violated one of the rules every attorney learns by the time he finishes law school, never volunteer information unless you already know how it will benefit you.

“Well,” said the well endowed Sheriff smiling slightly, “perhaps you can educate me on what this meeting was to be about.”

“Uhh… I have no idea. She did not say.”

“Come now Mr. Biondi,” she said sounding more and more like a parity of a bad television crime show detective, “you must have some idea. Could it have been something about the recent death of her husband or perhaps something you and he were up to?”

Vince now felt himself getting angry at this muscle-bound Barbie Doll and was about to say something thoughtless in response when to his surprise he heard Ray’s voice asking a question.

“Sheriff” he inquired, “would you mind if I took a photograph of this note?”

Megs turned her head towards him and stared as though he had somehow just crawled through the transom. “Why,” she growled?

“I thought maybe we could save the County some money and have the handwriting analyzed. It seems pretty unusual all shaky ant the like. If we find it was not written by her that could change the focus of your investigation.” He stared back at her a broad innocent smile on his face.

After a few moments her stoney face softened, a slight smile appeared on her face. “Thank you, I think that may be a good idea.”

Ray took a small,l but to Vince a complex, looking digital camera from a large pocket in his camouflaged cargo pants and a six inch ruler. The ruler he carefully placed along side the note then snapped a series of photo’s, returned the camera and the ruler to his pocket, leaned back and smiled again at Megs. “Thank you.”

Megs smiled as though she had just received a birthday present.

Once again Vince found himself wondering at his own reactions. On the one hand he was relieved that Megs attention had swung from him to Ray. On the other hand he was nonplussed that Ray seemed to handle the situation better that he did. Finally, he was a bit jealous of Ray’s obvious effect on women.

“Well, Mr. Biondi,” she said, “I guess we will just wait to resume our conversation until your kind associate produces his report.”

As they walked down the steps outside the sheriff’s office. Ray noticed a tall thin man in a tee-shirt and jeans taking their picture. He quickly ran across the street toward the man, took the camera from his pocket and began snapping photographs of the man who in turn shot photographs at him, until the skinny photographer retreated to a late-model silver Lexus and drove off.

Ray returned to the stupefied Vince.

“I find that usually scares them off for a while,” he said.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Hanlon’s razor — A corollary of Finagle’s law, and a play on Occam’s razor, normally taking the form, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” As with Finagle, possibly not strictly eponymous. Alternately, “Do not invoke conspiracy as an explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, since conspiracy implies intelligence.”

(Don’t let Fox News hear about this.)

b. Testosterone Chronicles:

Researchers found that, “young male” CEOs — younger than 45 — “are more likely than older men or women to both initiate and kill M&A deals.” And they concluded that it was testosterone that caused that behavior.

Testosterone decreases in men as they age, which is another interesting fact in itself.

c. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Cow Shit Village” can never be considered and appropriate translation for Tamai. I was just having some fun.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Hayden, the 100% lady and Nono and Nona working on their puzzles.

The insect-dogs:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: