TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:
I have no news today since I have not read the newspaper, looked at any television programs nor been connected to the internet. I can report that the temperature in LA is wonderfully warm and pleasant and the traffic on the freeways horrendous as usual.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:
I flew from Oakland airport to Long Beach where Monty met me. We drove into downtown LB to have drinks and to meet with some guy looking for investors in a business to develop diesel engines that run on hydrogen. The promoter is a disbarred attorney who claims to have served on the SF planning Commission and started a community bank in the SF Mission district during the 1980s. (I have seen this movie before.)
Monty and I then went to Monty’s home where we watched several music videos featuring Irish Music, “The Irish Tenors,” “The Three Priests” and Michael Crawford, the guy who sang the role of the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.
I slept on the sofa. It brought back memories of the many years as a child when the only bed I knew was the living room sofa. This was more like the camping I remembered than freezing my ass off in the woods like I did last weekend.
As a young man Monty made a living as a professional boxer. By the time he was about 20 years old he had amassed a record of 42 wins and only 5 defeats. This record was remarkable because he was a middleweight and at the time and that division contained some of the finest fighters that ever lived and was dominated by perhaps the greatest boxer ever, Sugar Ray Robinson. Monty could have been a contender, but his career was cut short by the loss of an eye to a knife in a street fight.
He then went into the family business, so to speak, horse racing, for which he retained a life long passion. This was followed by a number of careers including a stint in sports broadcasting until he, like half the nation it seems, found himself in southern California where he turned to a career in real estate untimely becoming a developer of shopping centers and quite well off until, alas, he fell in love with a magnificent piece of property located on the coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. This soon lead the loss of his wealth, family and the longest bankruptcy in the nation’s history, but it produced our friendship.
The next morning we drove to Venice to visit Ruth to see her newly remodeled home; then to downtown LA for lunch with Lina an old friend with whom about 10 years ago I travelled to Honduras and visited the Mayan ruins there.
After we returned to Monty’s home, we watched a marvelous movie entitled, “Going the Distance,” a documentary about ex-boxers who gather at a restaurant called the “Spaghetti Factory” in LA. In a way it resembles the Buena Vista Social Club for boxing. Instead of cutting away from interviews aged with the musicians to shots of them playing music, we went from interviews of the elderly pugilists to shote of them beating each others brains out.
Monty used to meet there with them. While Monty knew all of them well, he had a close personal relationship with Ray Mancini (Ex-lightweight champion), Carlos Palomino (Ex-welter weight world champion) and Bobby Chacon (former light weight champion of the world). The movie shows the now retired fighters old, often broke and in many cases sadly addled from the blows that ultimately destroyed their brains.
One of the most poignant moment of the film was when the great Bobby Chacon, reduced to the mental acuity of a child, tells, in words so slurred they had to be repeated in sub-titles at the bottom of the screen, about the night his wife, distressed at his unwillingness to give up boxing, killed herself. With tears running down his cheeks he told or receiving a call that night from his son crying into the phone, “Daddy, mommy shot herself.” A few years later that son also died in an episode of gang violence.
Later Monty told stories about boxing and his friendship with many famous fighters; from when he was a young Boxer, getting advice from Rocky Marciano, to more recently, conversations with Joe Frazier about what it was like to fight “Ali,” and of befriending Jerry Quarry. During his final years Quarry was broke and lived in Monty’s home. Monty took him in and cared for him during the fighter’s descent into poverty and dementia until that day he died in Monty’s arms.
I think the guy with the knife did Monty a favor.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
For those readers of “This and that…” who recall “Gun Girl,” a revised version of that saga is being republished.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Chapter: An interlude with Meg:
Meg stood next to her patrol car in a turn out on Highway near Half Moon Bay Harbor looking out over the vast, grey and brooding Pacific Ocean. Meg was in an unusually contemplative mood. She liked men. She also liked women. She liked Ray. He was all man. He also was all woman. She liked that about him. She didn’t understand why. That’s why she was standing here looking at the boring ocean and trying to sort out her emotions. She soon gave up. Contemplation was not Meg’s strength. She was a woman of action. And the action she craved now was to get her iron pumped and steroid enhanced hands around the neck of whoever killed Stephanie. She now was convinced Stephanie was murdered. So was Ray.
She got back into her automobile and drove to the coffee shop in the harbor. As she sat at one of the tables stirring her coffee Paul Grossmacher, the director of the Harbor District entered the place. Grossmacher was a kindly older gentleman who ran the District for as long as she remembered. She liked him. He had a dry sense of humor that she enjoyed, always listened sympathetically when she talked even when she just rambled on and he flirted outrageously with her.
He sat at her table ordered a cafe-latte and a poppy-seed bagel and inquired, “Meg, why so pensive, trying to solve some great mystery or are you just recalling some special pleasure you enjoyed last night?”
She laughed, “A little bit of both.”
“Ah, and is the mystery professional or personal?”
“A little bit of both.”
“Maybe I could help. I read a lot of mysteries.”
She laughed again. “No, I do not think so.”
“Why don’t you get everyone in the room and sweat them? Isn’t that what the detectives do?”
“Well, no,” she responded. “I have no witnesses and only one person who could know something, but I spoke with him and he doesn’t seem to. There is no family.”
“Why not try him again? Maybe he remembered something he forgot when you grilled him.”
“We don’t grill people. Besides, I really don’t think he knows anything.”
They talked for a while more. She finished her coffee, got up and went out the door back to her cruiser. As she stood by the car door she thought that maybe there was something to Paul’s suggestion. Maybe I will go up to San Francisco and interview him in his office. It couldn’t hurt. I might even see Ray again.
So she took out Ray’s business card, called the office and asked to speak to Vincent Biondi.
a. I didn’t know that:
Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches (milling), while pennies and nickels do not?
A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren’t notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.
b. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:
THE INFAMOUS SEASIDE RESORT OF PATTAYA — Known worldwide as a den of crime and vice, Pattaya municipal officials have decided to embrace its reputation by officially renaming the city “The Infamous Seaside Resort of Pattaya”.
Explaining the decision, Mayor Tik Kunplome said, “We found that almost every international press report referred to us as ‘the infamous seaside resort’. Rather than waste more money trying to brand our city as a family-friendly destination, we’ve decided that the moniker will help bring in more of those tourists to whom we cater best. Let’s not pretend anymore. Sex, drugs, prostitution — this shit sells.”
c. Real Headlines and Ads:
HEADLINE: “New Owl Creek School chooses a new mascot: it’s an owl”
HEADLINE: “Federal openness workshop closed to public”
NEWSPAPER AD: “Community Church Family Night! Featuring AMAZING GRASS”
AD: Vegan Flouride-Free Tooth Care Products. Tested on grandchildren–never on animals. Healthy Smiles!”
CLASSIFIEDS: “Sheep. Slightly used. Housebroke. Free. You pick up.”
HEADLINE: “Worker suffers leg pain after an 800-pound ball is dropped on his head”
MEDICAL COMPANY AD: “COUPON/FREE BAG OF SUGAR WITH ANY PURCHASE OF DIABETIC SUPPLIES”
AD: “NORTHSHORE HILTON HOTEL/ 9 AM / “SHOULD YOU GET A FACELIFT? ASK YOUR GYNECOLOGIST”
d. What the OCCUPY Movement is all about:
e. Testosterone Chronicles:
“You have indeed brought into being a mighty wild bull, head raised! There is no rival who can raise a weapon against him. His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his orders. Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father. Is he the shepherd of the haven of Uruk? Is he their shepherd, bold, eminent, knowing, and wise? Gilgamesh does not leave a girl in the care of her mother, does not leave the daughter of the warrior or the bride of the young man untouched.
It was you, Aruru, who created this man. Now create a [zikru] for him. Let him be equal to Gilgamesh’s stormy heart. Let them be a match for each other. And so Uruk may find peace!”
Gilgamesh, the original testosterone crazed hero upon whom the God of the “People of the Book” is modeled. Perhaps that God was actually the “Zikru” that Aruru created.