Monthly Archives: January 2015

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Joe 0001 (July 31, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Instead of my usual daily schedule of Health club, food consumption, playing with my computer, watching Thai soaps, eating and sleeping, my schedule these last few days has gotten frantic.

I am in the middle of preparing for my trip including obtaining re-entry permits and airline tickets; acquiring and packing the under $2 gifts for my family and closest friends consisting of fake watches, cheap jewelry, and inexpensive scarves that will rarely be worn but that I am sure the recipients of such largess will treasure for ever.

Before I depart, I need to find places to stay and to arrange for lunches and the like during my travels around the US.

In addition, I am trying to finish up the annoyingly delayed draft business plan my sister and I have been working on these last few months.

I am also in the throes of the administrative details of my first paid blogging assignment and trying to get a draft of the article completed before I leave.

The custody battle has heated up too. I am working with the attorney to defend against the claim. The law is simple, no matter who the father may be or how unsuitable the mother may appear, if she was married to someone else at the time the child was born, the putative father has no rights except perhaps the right to the obligation to pay child support. However, since everyone is in such a tizzy (how long has it been since someone has used that word in a sentence) over the putative fathers allegations about the mothers lifestyle and child rearing skills, I have to spend hours on the phone (international calls no less) trying to get everyone focused on what really needs to be done.

All this, and the GOOD/BAD David returns to town tomorrow from Qatar. Not that I view enjoying a lunch or dinner with the genial gentleman from South Dakota as an additional distraction, but I fear my preoccupation with these other things may stunt our scintillating conversations about puerile sex in all its manifestations.

David and I may consider spending a day at the Oval Table in the Outskirts of Hell with Ray who may still be around.

Alas, since I have written the previous two paragraphs, it has become clear that David is delayed somewhere on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula and we will not make our visit to the oval table with Sinbad the Tentmaker.

Thai Soap Opera update:

It has been a while since I updated the status of the several soaps I watch while eating dinner in my apartment.

One of my favorites ended a few weeks ago. It concerned a young man who wore a cowboy hat and covered his face with a scarf when he would be up and about beating up other people for some reason. His nemesis was also a young man who could pass for the masked man’s twin. They would periodically battle because each thought the other was the bad guy. After many weeks of this, the real bad guy turned out to be the guy with the mustache who not only had a gang but had magic powers as well. Mustache could defeat each of the young men alone. So the two young men joined forces for the ultimate showdown with him.

Now unlike US melodrama where such confrontations are resolved in a blaze of gunfire, explosions and car chases, the low-budget Thai soaps are limited to climatic battles with hands, feet, at times swords and very bad special effects . After two full episodes where the young men are fairly well trashed by the mustache, they manage to combine their much weaker magic powers and destroy the source of the mustache’s magic powers and thoroughly beat him up. They were unable to kill him however, so they staked him out in the middle of a field so that the vultures could eat him alive; which they did in living color while I was eating my dinner.

In the following final episode the masked man put his cowboy hat and scarf into a trunk and with the girl who had on and off rejected him, stood somewhere in the country-side with his counterpart and his counterpart’s often imperiled girl friend and they all smiled at each other for a long time.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. The essence of politics in Thailand:

It has now become abundantly clear that the only issue in Thai politics is whether deposed, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible will be allowed to return to Thailand without facing arrest. Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl‘s administration appears capable of passing any legislation it wants as long as it does not make it easier for the ex-prime minister to return.

2. Did he or did he not dodge:

Ex-Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready, is under investigation by civil authorities for dodging the draft way back when. The chief of the armed forces says that such an investigation is unnecessary since the armed forces had already cleared him in an inquiry into the matter while he was serving as Prime Minister.

In response, Abhsit the Unready has sued someone for defamation.

3. Defamation as free speech.

Under Thailand’s defamation law, truth is not an absolute defense.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

In Thailand, like in most tropical countries, unless you live above the fifth floor of a modern condominium building, you soon become desensitized to tiny creatures crawling about your body, especially at nighttime.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.

Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).

In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?

Think about this; these same corporations mostly through the Republican Party but also with the support of a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection that are often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.

(A lot of this was written by someone other than me, but I have forgotten who.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a war to fight:

1917: David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the WWI Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs:

“[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”
Chris Hedges

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

1. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?

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(It is not as though we are faced by an armed and dangerous Soviet Union spending itself into bankruptcy in a futile attempt to match us militarily. Do we need to spend ourselves into bankruptcy also in order to defend ourselves from a few ill equipped terrorist? How about if we just spend as much as all the other countries combined? I would think that would still keep us safe from armed invasion while also having the benefit of paying off the national debt.)

2. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?
gop-reid-taxplans

One must keep in mind that both plans maintain the existing middle class tax cuts. The Democratic Plan would allow the rates on the wealthiest Americans to return to what they were during the Clinton era when we last had a budget surplus.

The first thing to note however is that the Republican tax plan would remove the Obama stimulus tax cut for the middle class and effectively apply it to the wealthy. Therefor the middle class actually will experience a rise in their taxes.

The second, is that since the first about $5 million in value of an estate is already exempt from taxation, the Republican plan adds additional tax relief for the very wealthy that is not available to anyone else.

The Republican tax plan not only maintains the tax relief for the wealthy that had a lot to do with turning a budget surplus from the Clinton years into a deficit, but it actually increases tax relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the middle class.

By providing so much tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, the Republican plan increases the national debt so substantially that governmental expenditures cuts cannot balance it without eliminating almost all current governmental programs including national defense or by engaging in massive inflation of the economy.

The Republican proposal is premised exclusively on the belief that those who are most benefited by their plan will invest and spend in America the money they save from paying taxes thereby boosting the economy and raising tax revenues. This has not worked in the past.

As usual, those who publicly support the Republican plan and who are not generally included in the class that are rewarded by it, are nevertheless most often those who receive financial benefit from those actually directly advantaged by the plan.

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

(I love science.)
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:

America-is-violent-graph
This chart shows violence in America (basically assault) relative to other countries. While it reached rates as much as 5 times more than the most violent of other countries, the divergence is decreasing. To put this in perspective between 1975 to 1990 Americans were killing more of their own citizens per year than there were annual deaths of combatants in any war during that time. Since that time, Americans still kill more Americans per year than Americans die in all its wars and all acts of terrorism against Americans combined.

Interestingly, the decreasing rate of violent assaults in the US directly matches increasing rates of abortion availability. On the other hand the original rise in the rate of violent crimes exactly matches the entry of the baby boom generation into adulthood and falls as the pass on into middle age. So what does this all mean? The soldiers returning from WW II should have had better access to birth control and abortion. If they had the world would be in a much better place than it is now. History will probably consider the baby boom generation as the greatest calamity to infect earth since it coalesced out of cosmic dust.

Another point to ponder regarding the violent behavior of the modern American; during the past two decades Americans have killed more non-Americans than any and all other countries in the world have killed non-nationals. Admittedly some countries are as good as we are at killing their own citizens, such as in the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo and now in Syria. But none are as effective as us in killing each other in random violence or by public execution.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

XmaTq

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    12 Joe 0003 (July 29, 2014)

“An ignoranus, is someone who’s both stupid and an arsehole.”

Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Seven (p. 225). Random House Publishing Group.  

Happy Birthday: Brendan Dreaper, Katie Dreaper and Bruce Kittrell

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. RED FACADE WITH GREEN SHUTTERS

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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For the past few weeks I spent my weekday mornings driving Hayden to his swim team practice and then to the archery range so that he could shoot at the various targets while I sit in the shade.

One morning as we returned from swimming practice, the car crested a hill exposing before us a vista of the great valley and the clear cerulean sky. He stared at it a moment and then asked, “How did everything begin? Did God do it?” 

I knew this was going to be one of those seminal child – adult conversations of at least equal weight with, “Where do babies come from?” It made me a bit nervous. I did not want to screw it up.

Given my background and predilections, I labored to explain the “Big Bang Theory.” HRM broke in to my struggles by asking, “Yeah, but who caused the Big Bang?”  Suddenly I realized that I was presented with the problem of refuting the “uncaused cause” arguments of medieval philosophy that even its major proponent Fat Tom Aquinas believed was a weak proof of God. Nevertheless, I felt inadequate to disprove scholastic theology at this time in my life despite having virtually bathed in it in college 50 years ago. “Well,” I said, “some people believe that, but scientists on the whole agree that most things in the world can be explained without bringing God into it.”

HRM with a dreamy look in his eyes ignored me and said, “I’d like to meet God some day. I think that would be fun.” Unable to come up with a satisfactory response, I changed the subject to Archery.
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HRM at Archery Range.

On Saturday I attended the regional swimming championships with HRM. Youth swimming teams are a Sacramento cult with the championships the high mass. I do not think I’ll do it again. Oh, H won his heats.

The drought continues in California and the high temperatures in the lower foothills have exceeded 100 degrees for most of the week. Nothing else has occurred in El Dorado Hills for the past few weeks of note… in fact, nothing much ever occurs of note here except tea party meetings, NRA banquets and now and then the appearance in the otherwise solid blue sky of the odd cloud or two that flutter about a while and quietly disappear. The study of scholastic philosophy is more exciting. I sleep a lot.

C. EL TOPO AND JEANNE

In my never-ending quest for something to do in suburban El Dorado Hills, one afternoon I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky’s early film, El Topo. El Topo is said to have had a major influence on David Lynch, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Mason, George Harrison, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel and thousands of other stoners.

Jodorowsky  like many artists from Mexico and South America is addicted to symbolism in his art.  To many Americans and Northern Europeans all that symbolism appears a bit loopy. Unlike the Spanish artists who also favor strong colors and symbolism, the Central and South Americans seem to have a great affection for including the many meanings implied in blood and death. One of the main differences between Italian and Spanish and South American visual arts besides how they use symbolism to tell their story is that to the italians shadow is very much a part of the color palette.

Interestingly, when I ran my district of the New York Mental Health Information Service, I noticed Spanish, South American and recent Italian immigrants at the time of their breakdowns often spoke of seeing the suffering Christ. The Northern and Eastern Europeans tended to hallucinate Hell. Not a religious Hell, but a place of darkness, shadow and threat.

I first saw El Topo in 1970 shortly after arriving in San Francisco. I went with a woman I had just met on the bus. The theater was located near the Civic Center. It does not exist anymore.

The woman and I stayed together for three years. Her name was Jeanne. I was in love with her. She wanted to go to medical school and had to take extra  courses in science to do so since she had graduated from college a few years before with a liberal arts degree. She worked hard.  Eventually she succeeded in getting accepted. During the summer before medical school began we broke up. I tried to get back together with her. She by then was also seeing another man much younger than I.  I asked her to marry me. She said she would need time to decide. That weekend she went hiking in the Trinity Alps. She fell off a cliff and died. The young man and I accompanied her body back to Iowa where her family lived. Two weeks after the funeral the young man went swimming in a lake somewhere in the East Bay and drowned.

There is probably some symbolism hidden in there but I am too far removed from my roots and too close to death to see it. As we age, the past and future grow more shadowy only the present remains colorful. That’s a good thing I think.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In today’s newspaper there was and article that pointed out that Jet Blue which was rated one of the best in an Airline Quality analysis based substantially on customer perceptions. However, for no apparent reason other than it was rated among the lowest in that same analysis, Spirit Airlines stock was up over two times more than Jet Blue’s. According to a stock market analyst, the reason for this anomaly is that, “Some analysts view them as focussing more on the customer rather than the shareholder.”

Doesn’t this turn neo-liberal economics on its head? Wasn’t competition in the market supposed to produce better products and services at lower prices?

Perhaps this incongruity is best  explained by a Dilbert’s cartoon in the same paper that shows the bald pointy headed manager announcing to Dilbert that the Board of Directors debated between “creating fantastic products or attracting dumber stock holders.” They decided to do a stock split. The manager explained that it was the easier of the two options.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:
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When times were good and good times rolled.

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

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It wants the US economy and governance to move closer to achieving Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed “Second Bill of Rights.”

Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

1. Khutulun, Mongolian Warrior Princess

“In the 13th century, when khans ruled Central Asia and you couldn’t go 10 minutes without some Genghis, Kublai or Mongke trying to take over your steppe, women were well-versed in badassery. In a society where skill on a horse and with a bow and arrow was more important than brute strength, Mongol women made just as stout herders and warriors as their men.

One woman, however, had the combination of both skill and might. Her name was Khutulun, and she was not only a devastating cavalry-woman but one of the greatest wrestlers the Mongols had ever seen. Born around 1260 to the ruler of a swathe of what is now western Mongolia and China, she helped her father repel — repeatedly — the invading hordes commanded by the mighty Kublai Khan, who also happened to be her great-uncle. Her favorite tactic was to seize an enemy soldier and ride off with him, the explorer Marco Polo recounted, “as deftly as a hawk pounces on a bird.”

Off the battlefield and in the wrestling ring, Khutulun went similarly undefeated. She declared that she wouldn’t marry any man who couldn’t beat her in a wrestling match; those who lost would have to give her their prized horses. Suffice it to say, Khutulun had a lot of horses. By the time she was in her 20s and a spinster by Mongol standards, her parents pleaded with her to throw a match with one particularly eligible bachelor. According to Polo, she initially agreed, but once in the ring found herself unable to break the habit of a lifetime and surrender. She overpowered her suitor who, humiliated, fled; she eventually chose a husband from among her father’s men and married him without submitting him to the evidently impossible challenge to out-wrestle her.”
Salon

2. Smedley Darlington Butler, a Profile in Courage

Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) a United States Marine Corps major-general obtained the Corps highest rank authorized at that time.  At the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. He also won two Congressional Medals of Honor.

Butler is well-known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences. He also exposed the Business Plot, a purported plan to overthrow the U.S. government and assassinate Franklin Roosevelt. After retirement from the military he ran for Senate as a Republican but was defeated. In 1932 he supported the military bonus marchers at their encampment in Washington DC and was there when Gen. Douglas MacArthur led the attack on them killing several veterans. He later became a spokesman for the “American League Against Fascism.”

Smedley Butler wrote a book called “War is a Racket.” In an interview he said:

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

According to Wikipedia, in his penultimate chapter of “War is a Racket,” Butler argues that three steps are necessary to disrupt the war racket:

“1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are:

“It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war-time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get”

2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited referendum to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.

3. Limitation of militaries to self-defense. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.”

Alas, todays war profiteers have learned how to earn enormous profits even in peacetime and therefore the wars we do have tend to be localized in extent and useful primarily for getting rid of unneeded inventory.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:
Robert F. Kennedy speech regarding a nation’s true GDP:

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads…. It includes… the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials… The Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America — except whether we are proud to be Americans.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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New York Harbor at Night a Century Ago.

Categories: July through September 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Pops 0003 (August 16, 2014

“There was only one thing emptier than having lived without love, and that was having lived without pain.”
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer (A Harry Hole Novel) (p. 389). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. SPANISH MOSS
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B. REPORT FROM HOME:

Ruth often asks me to write more about my grandchildren. In her comments to the last issue of T&T, my daughter in law Ann-Marie sent the following update on their activities:

“First, I love the pic of you in the hat. Yes very handsome, and no, not like a broken mirror in a garbage dump… Just antiquated a bit. People really enjoy & cherish antique things you know.

Second, I’m still giggling about the commentary on Hayden wrestling, Metallica, etc. Very cute. Be worried, very worried. Haha. Then again, Anthony & Aaron have radically changed their ideas of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Anthony wanted to be a lawyer like his papa Joe, a pro baseball player or a historian. Go figure.

Aaron wanted to be a football player, now he’s a chef with ideas of opening a bar or restaurant. Athena was going to be a ballerina and a doctor. Now she’s going to be a welder who teaches yoga, and guitar to make extra cash to support her art passion.”

Hmm… antique or antiquated? I’m not sure I feel pleased by either one.

My granddaughter Amanda, is in Japan with her mom and should be returning this week.
C. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

This morning I am happy. It is the first day of school, I have just dropped HRM off and I am sitting in Bella Bru Cafe sipping a café latte and munching on a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. My emotions, I suspect, are similar those all mothers of pre-adolescent children who are not wealthy enough to afford paid help or childcare must feel this day, relief. For a short time the day is yours, at least until the school day ends. After breakfast I plan to get back into my exercise regime, catch up on some reading and enjoy an uninterrupted nap.

Funny, after writing the above, I suddenly feel at loose ends. Now that I think about it, I really do not know what to do with my time. Maybe I’ll go to the man-cave, smoke a cigar, drink lemonade and watch an old movie.

D. TRAVEL PLANS:

For those to whom this may be of interest, I plan to return to Thailand for a month at the beginning of October. I will be spending my 75th birthday there. Someones 75th birthday it seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. I’m sure, however, LM will knit me a scarf. Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.

Anyway, after leaving Thailand I will return through Italy, hopefully meeting up with my sister who may attend a conference in Rome. I plan to travel with her and her husband George to Sicily for a week or so. Then to NY and perhaps DC to spend a day or two with my daughter before returning to SF.

As has been the case for five years now planning for a trip like this a month and a half ahead usually means it will not happen quite as hoped.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Red Sails in the Sunset

It was Autumn in Paris. We walked down Rue de Grenelle on the left bank, my arm around her shoulders. She wore a long checkered coat. We stopped to look into the window of a shop selling antique playing and tarot cards. I pulled her towards me. We kissed. We were very much in love. We stood there arms entwined gazing at one another. She was very very beautiful.

That was the point when, last night, I realized I had been dreaming. I could feel myself being pulled away into wakefulness. My dream me cried out. I, however, felt no tears. I lay there in bed the rest of the night unable to get back to sleep. It had been like a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.

The whole thing reminded me of a poem I had written many years ago when I was much younger and living in Rome. I fancied myself a poet then (more a lifestyle than a profession). I lived in a small pensione on the top floor of a building on a side street just off via Nationale across from St Paul’s within the Walls, the major American Protestant Church in Rome. In the evenings I would sit in my room by the open window and listen to the then love of my life, practice on the piano in the church rectory where she lived having been sent there by her exceedingly wealthy Danish parents (Maersk – Moller) to study music at The National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. She was exceptionally beautiful, an accomplished musician, a doper and a bit of a groupie, especially attracted to bass fiddle jazz musicians with lots of hair. Eventually her family felt she was spending too much time with a certain Italian-American drifter and called her back from Rome to marry someone more appropriate. She is now Chairman of the Board of a major Maersk subsidiary. Sic transit gloria.
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I hung out with a group of ex-pat would be poets none of whom ever made it as poets (one became a high school teacher in Santa Rosa) and a few con-man who also to my knowledge never made whatever it was they were hoping to make. In ex-pat communities world over, there are always a lot of those on the con. How much less interesting would the world be if there were no con and no grifters to fashion them. Movies often tend to make the grifters happy-go-lucky sociopaths, sometimes even with a heart of gold. Although they smiled a lot, most of the sociopaths I knew were anything but happy go lucky and as for their hearts, it was far more likely they were lined with lead.

The poem was part of a lengthy piece most of which I no longer recall. It was lost many years ago along with all my other attempts at turning doggerel if not into gold at least into something useful like molybdenum. Pretentious imagist drivel, it went like this:

The wanderer travels not by hook
But sprawled upon the empty tides of fairy world and real
And the sham cult darkness lie that was
Yet will not be
Marks its passage on nothing
But cognition.

The entire poem ended with perhaps one of the more tragic images in all of literature, “red sails returning.”

Tristan, before embarking from Cornwall on his latest war in Ireland, promised his beloved Isolde that upon his ships’ return, if he were still alive, he would unfurl his white sails but had he died his men would put up red ones. Upon word of the ship’s approach to the harbor, Isolde sent her handmaid to the top of the tower to report what she sees. Tristan, still alive, orders his men to unfurl the white sails. Unfortunately the sun was setting at just that moment causing the sails to blaze a bright red. Upon the maid’s return from the tower Isolde asked her the color of the sails. “Red” she answered not knowing the significance of her response. So, in sorrow and despair Isolde killed herself as did Tristan when he discovered his beloved’s body.*
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I always envied Tristan. As far as I know, there have been very few people who longed for my return after I left the room.

* It should be noted, that there are several versions of the Tristan tale many of them that differ substantially from what I have described. First of all, in a lot of them Isolde waiting in the castle in Cornwall was not the beloved Isolde, but Isolde of the White Hands, T’s wife.

It seems that while T and the beloved Isolde were playing hide the salami, she was married to Mark the King who was also T’s boss. Eventually the lovers agreed T would go away because, in part, they both liked Mark the King and felt bad about what they were doing, but mostly because Mark the King was the King and if he found out what they were doing he would cut off their heads as well as other important parts of their body. So T left and married the white-handed Isolde because he liked her name and she had a castle near the water. Frankly, when T returned from his slaughter of his Irish kinsmen and found white-handed Isolde dead due to a mistaken perception, he was not too broken up about it.

There are also many versions of how T died. Some have him poisoned, probably by a jealous husband and others have him chopped to bits in the midst of one of his ethnic cleansing jobs. I, on the other hand, believe he died in a bar fight with some bikers in Pocatello Idaho.

However it was that he died, I am not particularly jealous of this version of T. He seems to just be like a lot of men – completely fucked in the head.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles, Female Version:

Boudicca, the original Braveheart. After the death of her father the king, the Romans flogged Boudicca, raped her daughters, and, to add insult to injury, the financiers back in Rome called in their loans to the deceased monarch. This last probably really fried her bacon. Bat-shit with anger, she then led her tribe of British Celts in a bloody, and ultimately doomed, rebellion against their Roman occupiers. She took no prisoners and slaughtered all the Romans in the cities she conquered. As the town that was to become London burned, she had the breasts of the noblest women cut off and sewn into their own mouths before impaling them on spikes.
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Tomoe Gozen, one of Japan’s few known female warriors, who fought in the 12th century Genpei War. Described as a peerless swords-woman, horsewoman and archer, she had a taste for beheading her enemies.
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Mai Bhago, the 18th-Century Sikh Joan of Arc. Appalled to see Sikh men desert their Guru in the face of Mughal invaders, she shamed them into returning to battle, defeated the enemy, became the Guru’s bodyguard and later retired to devote herself to meditation.
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Maria Bochkareva, a Russian peasant who fought in World War I. She formed the terrifyingly named Women’s Battalion of Death and won several honors, only to be executed by the Bolsheviks in 1920. (Contrary to the belief of some of my commenters, she did not become a Russian mail order bride.)
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Nancy Wake, the New Zealand-born British agent commanded more than 7,000 resistance fighters during the Nazis’ occupation of France in World War II. She killed a SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him from raising the alarm during a raid. She became the Gestapo’s most wanted person, and the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman. After the war she refused offers of decorations from Australia, saying: “The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts.”
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B. More from Eric Spang (Jimmy Buffett “Boat Drink” Lyrics):

This morning I shot six holes in my freezer.
I think I got cabin fever
Somebody sound the alarm.
I’d like to go where the pace of life’s slow.

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

1. Auction or flea market:

Stevie points out an error in my previous edition of T&T:

“In return for that nice birthday shout-out I will concur that the hat is a fine addition to your wardrobe but must correct you on its provenance: that ain’t no FLEA MARKET – that’s THE AUCTION.

When I was a kid livestock was auctioned from a relatively small corral across the street from where the produce, Amish baked goods, and miscellaneous new but weird items could be bought on Saturday mornings. Jimboys got its start at a mobile taco stand at THE AUCTION. Sometime in the 1960s it became DENIO’s AUCTION and you could separate the natives from the newcomers by whether they went to THE AUCTION or to DENIO’s. About the same time THE AUCTION started operating on Sunday as well as Saturday.

The DENIO’s had two daughters – one a year older than I who was a solid citizen (at least for a Roseville teenager) and the other a bit younger who was less so, proving the point by taking my renegade brother to myriad formal affairs in which he would ordinarily have had no interest. They were both hovering around 6 feet in height and Kathy was as gorgeous as Buddy was handsome, making a striking couple in those dance photos my mother loved to save. Fortunately for the young lady and her family the romance did not long flourish.

Before we hit junior high we’d go to Diamond National with my dad on Saturday mornings, and the manager would frequently hire us and our neighborhood pals to put advertising flyers on the windshields of all the cars overflowing the huge dirt and gravel parking lots surrounding THE AUCTION – a job that paid well but left us covered in dust.

In fairness, I haven’t been there in decades so it may have become a flea market, for all I know, but if it is, it’s a flea market at THE AUCTION as far as I’m concerned.”

I stand corrected and apologize to all, including the Denio family – especially tall, gorgeous Kathy. (Is she still tall, gorgeous and looking for trouble?)

2. Apology to the Good/Bad David:

David I am extremely sorry for the photograph and comments below, but I just could not resist. I hope you are still willing to talk to me.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

”The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.
Most very wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually do so from jail.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
David 1976
This handsome devil is my friend the Good/Bad David in his coat of many colors at his graduation from university. In addition to excelling in sports, especially basketball, and spending time as a professional drummer in a band, David won that year’s Richard Pryor award for the best imitation afro by a white man from South Dakota.

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. Joe 26 0003 (August 11, 2014)

“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”
~ J. Garcia

Happy Birthday Stevie Dall
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. AFTER MONET: The Bayou as seen through Cataracts
xl_american_odyssey_276-277 - Version 3

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

A few days ago I had an out-patient medical procedure that required me to be under heavy sedation. That evening I had hallucinations the likes of which I have not experienced since the heyday of psychedelics in the early 1970’s. Their episodes were interspersed with dreams of a gambling-prostitution house in another universe replete with Chinese gangsters, strange aliens, murder plots, double crosses and cinematic explosions and destructions. I was exhausted the next day and spent the morning vomiting into the toilet (mescaline or peyote?). The following night it all repeated again in a slightly subdued manner. On the third night I slept.
*********************************************

One weekend recently, we went to Denio’s Flea Market in Roseville where I bought a hat that I have been eyeing for almost a year now but was too embarrassed to buy. Here I am in my new hat:
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Am I cool or what? If they are going to stop me at immigration as a potential illegal alien, I might as well give them reason to. Do you think this should be my new Facebook photo?

Now that I look more closely at the photograph, I realize I could be considered an attractive old man. Sort of like a broken mirror in a garbage dump.
***********************************************

Sometime in the last couple of weeks HRM decided that he now wants to be a WWE wrestler when he grows up. He built a practice ring in the basement out of old quilts and blankets on which he practices throwing himself on to the mat. He even has an old folding chair to beat his opponents with when he tosses them out of the ring.

When he heard that the Good/Bad David’s cousin is Brock Lesnar (WWE Heavyweight Champion, UFC heavyweight Champion and NCAA Div. I Heavyweight Champion) he was ecstatic and begged me to have David arrange a meeting with him so that he could body slam him on to the mat.

Why couldn’t he have found a violin in a garbage can somewhere, shown me a photograph of Itzhak Perlman and demanded I fly him to Carnegie Hall for a Perlman recital? Why couldn’t he construct a concert hall in the basement?

My son knows the lead singer of Metallica. Why couldn’t HRM scream with delight when he found that out? (Is there a difference between Metallica and WWE?)

Is there a WWE phase in the childhood of all young boys?

Should I worry? First he wants to be God’s friend and now this. Are they connected?
***************************************************
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Who Created America? (Snark alert)

Many consider the American Revolutionary War, The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution as the foundations upon which The United States of America was built. I suspect, however, that the wellspring from which the American culture and society emerged existed long before that.

It sprang into being that day when that hardy band of dour, close-minded, out of work migrants illegally slammed their Doc Martins down upon Plymouth Rock, claimed the land for themselves, evicted the existing residents and ruled supreme for the next 100 years. It is no wonder we fear immigrants so.

We honor their successful takeover at Thanksgiving and learn about it in our schools.

With their arrival, the systematic slaughter of the native Americans began in what was to become the US. Many say that this ethnic cleansing was even greater and more brutal than that visited upon the natives by the Spanish in their area of conquest – at least there many survived, subjugated and brutalized but alive. So, does anyone know why, since they both were harbingers of genocide, Columbus is vilified and the Pilgrims exalted?

Someone whose pen name is MugWumpBlues wrote a blog describing the society and morality these people brought to our shores from which emerged a significant portion of the American culture we experience today.

“Forced to flee England during the reign of Bloody Mary (according to the Protestant version), one Puritan group fled to Switzerland. There, they published the Geneva Bible in 1560. Many of this group then migrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Plymouth banned Christmas, gambling, Maypoles, and works of drama. Drinking alcohol was allowed in moderation; selling alcohol to natives encouraged; sex outside marriage forbidden.

Martial sex was encouraged. In fact, couples were disciplined for not performing their marital duties. Woman were allowed divorce for good cause. One of every six divorce petitions alleged male impotence, many for some man named Limbaugh.

Like all true believers, Puritans disdained other religious sects, particularly hating Christian Quakers. In 1660, four Quakers were hung for entering Boston. In 1664, Massachusetts enacted an Act of Uniformity, which established worship rules.

England got involved. In 1672, King Charles II finessed the Act by granting indulgences. Indulgences had been made famous by Martin Luther, who protested about the Catholic Church selling them.”

In other words, hypocrisy, violent intolerance, hatred of dissenters, and systematic racism were among their gifts to us, along with Boston of course.

B. Testosterone Chronicles, Female Version – “When Your Boss has a Vagina”:

Hillary Winston wrote an essay in Playboy. The book was titled “When Your Boss has a Vagina.” From that essay a new television series is being fashioned. You can be sure its name will not be the same as the essay. In that essay Winston observed:

“As an employee, I had good and bad bosses of both sexes. They could teach you how to give a blow job or they could ask for one. So I should say gender isn’t a factor at all in bossing. But now, as a boss, I think it is a factor. It absolutely matters whether your boss has a penis or a vagina, because gender affects everything. Now, as a lady boss, I can be bad in all the ways any boss can. I’ll have a fight with my fiancé on the way to work and take it out on you. I’ll make you work on the weekend and tell you Friday night. I’ll stock the break room with snacks only I like. I’ll notice when your car isn’t there right at nine. I’ll doubt you’re really sick. I’ll resent your car trouble, out-of-town weddings and dentist appointments. And yet I’ll leave early just to beat traffic—while you’re still at work.

But the real difference between having a male boss and a female boss is social customs. No matter what our roles are, we’re tied to ones that have existed since way before anyone noticed the glass ceiling. You hold the door for me because I’m a woman, not because I’m your boss. You look at my ass because you’re a man, not my subordinate. And I wear V-necks because I’m a woman and I have nice tits.”

Now some of my readers might refer to Winston as a “Feminist.” A few of my male readers and commenters may use that term pejoratively because they fear vaginas, believe they should be beaten into submission and useful only in the bedroom and sometimes in the kitchen. Some others idolize that term because they are convinced God is a vagina. I on the other hand happen to be certain God is a Uterus.

C. From Eric Spang (Leonard Cohen, “A Thousand Kisses”):

I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me

A thousand kisses deep

I’m turning tricks, I’m getting fixed
I’m back on boogie street

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. […] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?”

“The result is that workers sometimes find themselves paying higher taxes than the giant corporations they work for, and hardworking families have to struggle under a growing tax burden while the special interests get a free ride. Now, we’re not against big corporations—they provide many of the jobs, goods, and services that keep America strong. It’s the system that’s unfair, and that’s what we’re going to change.”
Ronald Reagan

Alas, another Republican who probably could not get his Party’s nomination today. He could, however, conceivably garner the Democrat’s. Remember, Ronnie was a Democrat until Nancy clipped off his famously wandering willie. Wandering willies and a truck load of bullshit, as we all know, has been a prerequisite for several Democrats seeking the highest office in the land.
TODAY’S CHART:

lethal-doses-chemicals

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
xl_american_odyssey_030-031
HRM says the best part of the above photograph is the top third. I think he may be right.

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joe 0003 (August 7 2014)

“The long lived know how to love long.”
Not an old Norse proverb.

Happy Birthday Stevie Dall and Katie Dreaper

Birthday remembrance: Smedley Butler the man who saved the US from Fascism – He would have been 133 on July 31.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. THE BOYS IN FRONT OF RIZZO AND DAUGHTER NEW YORK CIRCA 1910:
xl_american_odyssey_058-059 - Version 2

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The heat continues along with drought and ennui. I look forward to the hour or so each day spent at the archery range. HRM has been pleasantly well-behaved for a week. He says he is doing so in order to persuade us to buy him a pet Tortoise.

In a recent call, my daughter Jessica, who works in the US State Department assisting in coordinating the US response to international micro-biologic threats to the nation such as the recent Ebola virus outbreak and the like, bemoaned the attacks she gets from conservative relatives and friends for working for the government, obviously squandering the tax money they struggle mightily to not pay. I suspect they believe she should be working in some corporate lab somewhere improving the cosmetic uses of Botox. On a positive note she told me that she did not think the Ebola virus has mutated yet to become more contagious than it has been and therefore remains containable. These outbreaks are periodic and localized provided reasonable quarantine steps can be taken. The real fear would be if it mutates to become an air-borne pathogen.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I am always surprised, although I should not be, whenever I come upon examples of the hatred in America directed at those servicing the needs of others like, teachers, social workers, first responders, scientists and the like. My own experience indicates that this hatred comes all too often from men who have failed to achieve their dreams of dominating others physically or economically (some of the same men who believe that the only legitimate activities of government are to kill foreigners and regulate vaginas). These men seem also to be becoming less educated while women on the whole are becoming more so.

For these and other reasons, I believe that the modern world is both too dangerous and too fragile to be entrusted almost exclusively to men. Sooner rather than later, leadership of our major institutions needs to be changed from the 95% dominated by men to 95% managed by women. After all, why should political and economic power be overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of a gender whose only genetic basis for it is their ability to stand at the entrance to the cave and fend off attacks of saber tooth tigers while the real work of human survival is performed by the women within.

Then again, who the hell cares what I believe?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

I have roamed through Ireland several times on extended trips of three weeks or more. In about 1980 or 81, I travelled with a group that took part in traditional Irish folk dancing in pubs throughout the country. Irish folk dancing or ceilthe consists of jigs, reels, quadrilles and the like set to traditional Irish tunes such as “The Walls of Limerick”, “The Waves of Tory” and “Antrim Reel.” On Saturday evenings in the remote villages when they stop serving alcohol in the pubs, they clear away all the tables and chairs, the musicians come in and the people of the village dance until the early hours of the morning.

One Afternoon, while on this particular trip, the group stopped at a pub in a little village in County Clare. There we met Junior Crehan one of Ireland’s greatest fiddlers and storytellers. Sitting with him was the Irish singer and composer Tommy Lenihan* and a representative of the Department of Irish Folklore, Tom Munnelly. Crehan and Lenihan were relatively elderly, in their late seventies or early eighties. We spent the afternoon and evening with them, buying them beer and listening to their music and stories.
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Junior Crehan

Most of the stories described what it was like in the early days when they played their music at remote crossroads before the authorities and the priests found out and chased them away. At one point, however, after playing a tune, Crehan put down his fiddle, took a long swig of his beer, leaned back and said, “There was the time Diarmuid met the Queen of the West Indies.” (Diarmuid Ua Duibhne was a warrior of the Fianna and lover of Fionn mac Cumhaill’s [Finn MacCool in English] betrothed, Gráinne). He proceeded then to relate an elaborate tale about when Diarmuid and Fionn leader of the Fianna travelled to the West Indies and how Diarmuid tricked Fionn, bedded the beautiful but terrifying queen and got away with it. The telling, in obvious poetic rhythms, was mesmerizing and took the better part of an hour. Later Tom Munnelly told me that he had been following Junior around for ten years recording his music and hundreds of stories of the old Irish heroes and legends and had never heard that one before. The story also does not appear in the traditional canon of Irish myths and legends.
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Diarmuid (Note: Diarmuid had a “love spot,” a mole on his back that when fondled made him irresistible.)

Lenihan, who was a farmer, had just come from working at his farm nearby. When he was not farming he composed songs and sung them in the fields as he worked and at the local pubs. He had composed about seven hundred songs and recorded many of them. He sang a few of them for us. One of those songs was called The American Wake, a beautiful and melancholy tale about a father during the time of the famine seeing off to the US his daughter on one of the immigration ships knowing he would probably never see her again.
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Tommy Lenihan, Tom Munnelly and Junior Crehan as they appeared that day at the Pub in Miltown Malbay

A few days later we traveled to Spiddal a Gaeltacht (Gaelic Speaking) village on the shore of Galway Bay a few miles northwest of Galway city. There we met with Mary Bergin and her husband at their Gaelic musical instrument shop. Mary Bergin is perhaps the foremost penny whistle virtuoso in Ireland. The penny whistle became an instrument of choice for Irish musicians because it was easily hidden. That was a necessity during the several centuries of English occupation when after failing in their attempts to kill all the Irish so that the land could be settled by the English they resorted to the interesting tactic of making the playing of music a capital offense. They did succeed in killing all the Irish Harpers. It was during this time that the Irish bagpipes (uilleann pipes) were developed so that the musician could sit down in a cottage and play pipes that were not as loud as Scottish bagpipes and hopefully could not be heard by a passing solider. The pipers escaped the fate of the Harpers because the Ascendancy (Irish Protestant aristocrats) brought some of them into their homes as in-house musicians. Also, at this time Irish step dancing acquired that strange rigid arm at the sides form it is now noted for. It allowed dancing in the tiny cramped cottages where flinging ones arms about would be difficult.

We spent the day talking with Mary and listening to her and her husband play music. Her husband was a well-known craftsman of flutes and an excellent flautist in his own right.
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Mary Bergin

That evening we went to a local pub where we sat with a man who was introduced to us a Ireland’s premier Gaelic tenor. I do not recall his name and although he was relatively young by the standards of Junior Crehan, he only spoke and sang in Gaelic. Although we could not understands the words, it appeared clear that many of the songs were of unrequited love of some sort or another and suitably heart rendering.

*Tom and Margaret Lenihan lived in a farmhouse in Knockbrack, a few miles outside Miltown Malbay. He was a farmer and also the local butcher as well as a well-known Irish traditional singer. His most popular album is entitled Paddy’s Panacea. The American Wake has been recorded by Irish musicians and singers several times since then but I do not know if they are renditions of Tommy’s original or separate creations. Perhaps someday I may get around to listening to them.
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The Lenihan farmhouse

DAILY FACTOIDS:

1931: Barbara Cartland, the British author best known for penning many — some say too many — romance novels, helped develop a technique of towing gliders long-distance. It was used to deliver airmail and later transport troops.

1870: Victoria Woodhull, American stockbroker. Along with her sister Tennessee, she set up Wall Street’s first female-owned brokerage company that year and made a fortune on the New York Stock Exchange. She was also the first woman to run for US president. We all know how that turned out, but hopefully we will soon see a different result.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Lowering Testosterone benefits everyone.

“According to Duke University researchers, creating art and complex tools became widespread among modern humans approximately 50,000 years ago.

New research reveals that human skulls transformed in ways that suggest a decrease in testosterone levels at about the same time that culture was flourishing.

‘The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament,’ explained lead author Robert Cieri, a biology graduate student at the University of Utah.

The research advances the argument that human society progressed when people began being kinder to each other, which requires that a smaller amount of testosterone be in action.”
Read more: http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/low-testosterone-levels-led-to-less-head-clubbing-and-more-art-technology/#ixzz39I088P6Q”

B. The ‘Night Witches,’ Russian WWII fighter pilots

“It was their enemies, the Nazis, who gave these women their nickname. Officially, they were the members of the Soviet Air Forces’ 588th Night Bomber Regiment. To the German pilots they fought, however, they were tormentors, harpies with seemingly supernatural powers of night vision and stealth. Shooting down one of their planes would automatically earn any German soldier the Iron Cross.

The legendary 588th was one of three all-female Soviet squadrons formed on Oct. 8, 1941, by order of Josef Stalin. The few hundred women who belonged to them — picked from thousands of volunteers — were the first of any modern military to carry out dedicated combat missions, rather than simply provide support.

The 80-odd Night Witches had arguably the toughest task of all. Flying entirely in the dark, and in plywood planes better suited to dusting crops than withstanding enemy fire, the pilots developed a technique of switching off their engine and gliding toward the target to enable them to drop their bombs in near-silence; they also flew in threes to take turns drawing enemy fire while one pilot released her charges. It was, quite frankly, awesome — as even their enemies had to admit. ‘We simply couldn’t grasp that the Soviet airmen that caused us the greatest trouble were in fact women,’ one top German commander wrote in 1942. ‘These women feared nothing.’”
Salon
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Night Witch pilots and their planes

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the past, the United States has sometimes, kind of sardonically, been described as
a one-party state: the business party with two factions called Democrats and Republicans. That’s no longer true. It’s still a one-party state, the business party. But it only has one faction. The faction is moderate Republicans, who are now called Democrats. There are virtually no moderate Republicans in what’s called the Republican Party and virtually no liberal Democrats in what’s called the Democratic [sic] Party. It’s basically a party of what would be moderate Republicans and similarly, Richard Nixon would be way at the left of the political spectrum today. Eisenhower would be in outer space.”
Noam Chomsky

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
xl_american_odyssey_062-063

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Joe 0003 (July 22, 2014)

‘We’re here because we’re here. And since we’re here, we might as well be warm.’
Pratchett, Terry; Stewart, Ian; Cohen, Jack. The Science of Discworld: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER MARY ANNE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
xl_american_odyssey_030-031
Photograph of the Statue of Liberty Taken in about 1910.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In between nanny duties when HRM was off on a play date, I slipped into the man cave ordered up a lemonade and a hand rolled regular panatela and watched Planet of the Apes: The Beginning on their wall sized TV screen. A few days later Dick, HRM and I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the local movie emporium. Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar nomination.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for about a week or so. No reason, it just happens now and then. During that time I pull a Garbo and withdraw from contact with others or become snappish when I cannot. I have not been able to exercise much during that time so I thought another trip into the darkness of the man cave would help my attitude. I sat there in the dim light listening to some classic rock and thought about the music I used to listen to many years ago as jazz began to give way to rock. It has been about 60 years since the heyday of Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans. Sixty years are a long time ago, except for we alters. Sixty years before Miles popular music consisted mostly of polkas, hymns and rag time. Now in the second decade of the 21st Century streaming is strangling music as we know it as it is also killing literature. H shows me many strange things he finds on u-tube and the apparently popular games he likes that allows people to create their own universes and share it with one another. Perhaps future art forms will grow out of those. But what happens to music? Are future generations destined to forever to simply mine the endless lists of streaming music from the past?
B. SNIPPETS FROM OLD T&T’S:

A bar in Ft. Lauderdale with the Golden Vagina:

The next day Frank and I went to a place in Boca Raton called the Royal Pig (owned appropriately by the original promoters of Hooters) where we met up with a friend of his named Dorian. We ate a lot of bar foods including a tasty fried sweet potato snack. I drank a lot of different fruit juice based cocktails and got a bit drunk.

I remember we talked a fair amount to the bartenders; one a short young woman originally from Cambodia and the other a tall blond girl from Columbus Ohio. Being three Italian-American males of a certain age, we inevitable got around to discussing our ethnic cultural icons, in this case Dean Martin. The bartender from Columbus who is of Italian-German heritage and who’s father pitched for the Mets, shockingly (to us at least) acknowledged she had no idea who Dean Martin was.

Marlena, the director of a local cultural center of some sort, then arrived. She is an old friend of Dorian and Frank. Dorian mentioned that one of her current boyfriends recently had bought her an expensive house, cash. When I enquired how she had managed to accomplish that remarkable feat, she responded, “I owe it all to my golden vagina.”

I also learned that Chuck the Banker who I had met once in San Francisco on some deal or another but who disappeared after scoring some coke, was sitting in his car outside of the bar but refused to come in. We discussed his peculiar behavior patterns for a while.
18 Papa Joe 0001

C. BOOK REPORT:

Whenever I am in a funk (see above), I often dive into reading reams of escapist stuff. During past few days I read the seven books by Kevin Hearne in the Iron Druid series (one cannot get much more escapist than swords and sorcery literature. They operate like a mental laxative. Once your emotions and your mind become so constipated they freeze up rock solid, a good fantasy induces mental diarrhea leaving your brain an aching vacuüm.)

Anyway, our hero a 2000+ year old Druid the last of his kind is on the lam from the celtic god of love who for some reason or other (I forget why because it actually makes no difference) wants to kill him. I enjoy the books because the author peppers them with obscure quotes and historical ephemera. I especially liked one of the books where our Druid and a vampire talk to each other using obscure quotes from Shakespeare.

Oh, he also has a giant Irish wolfhound that talks only to him and says things like:

“I think life is like a ham bone if you live it right. You enjoy it and then you bury it when you’re finished. If you don’t enjoy it and you let it go to waste, you still have to bury it, so you might as well savor everything you can.”
Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Seven (p. 63). Random House Publishing Group.

Not to be outdone on flinging bon mots our 2000+ year old druid (who looks only 21 years old) opines:

“Making a good omelet is like living well: You have to pay attention to the process if you want to enjoy it.”
Hearne, Kevin. Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Three (p. 93). Random House Publishing Group.

And,

“Corporations might be harder to kill than gods.”
Hearne, Kevin. Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Four (p. 247). Random House Publishing Group.

Pookie says check it out.

DAILY FACTOID:

1961 – Chico Marx and Carl Jung die.
(Carl Jung’s final words were, “Does Chico yet live?”)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A Irish Father’s advice to his son:

“A man’s supposed to shit himself after he dies, son, not before. Try to remember that, lad, so that when your time comes, you won’t make a right girly mess of it. Now fuck off and go play in the bog.”
Hearne, Kevin. Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Four. Random House Publishing Group.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“It used to be that crazy people were more-or-less evenly divided between the (northern) Republican Party and the (southern) Democratic Party. Now they are concentrated in the Republican Party. This matters–and is a source of great terror and dismay for the non-crazy Republicans, and for us all.”
Brad DeLong

“The world is a ball of dung and we are the worms that live in it and eat each other. The one who eats all the others wins — but he is still the last living worm in a lump of shit.”
Tad Williams, Shadowrise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

TODAY’S CHART:
64-percent-of-americans-are-white-though-minority-populations-have-become-majorities-in-some-areas

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
xl_american_odyssey_276-277_2
Photograph of a Bayou in 1890

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Shadow 0003 (July 11 2014)

“It’s simple: It’s the shit you don’t need for the life you don’t want.”
TheChop

Happy Birthday to two of my friends and favorite mystery writers, Sheldon Siegel and Christopher G. Moore
TODAY FROM AMERICA:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. The dog days of my life

The first week of July has passed by with a lazy whimper. The temperature reached 110 degrees in some places nearby, leaving me listless and uninterested in things like temperatures. We watched fireworks on the evening of July 3rd surrounded by what appeared to me to be most of the population of the foothills.

One of our fish, the Siamese fighting fish (named Croc), died during the week. I guess he just gave up the fight. Our crayfish (Sushi) died a few days before. He curled up, waved his pincers at Dick once or twice and left to go wherever crayfish go after they die. I, unfortunately, was too hot to care and huddled next to my fan while Dick and H deposited the carcasses of our friends in the trash. Now and then every family must endure some tragedy. This was the week for us.
*********************************************************************************

The second week of July has begun with no foreseeable break in the 100 degree temperatures. S has left to return to Thailand for a few months claiming to have saved H from the near starvation and poor nutrition to which she believes he has been subject. I still cling to my electric fan and retreat into an impervious shell of disinterest.

My temporary membership in the health club with the pool ended this week, so I now will forgo swimming except on weekends at the local community pool and resume exercising at my old club.
Photo on 7-6-14 at 9.56 AM
HRM and Pookie by the pool

While at the man cave ruining my health with a hand rolled Madura Lonsdale and a Coke, I watched The Godfather, Part II. It’s got to be one of the 10 best American movies ever made. You may have noticed that most dramatic movies made today are dark and have a bluish tint. I used to know why but I forget. The Godfather movies are dark but use a reddish tint. This gives them the feeling of antique grandeur.

Recently some clouds have appeared darkening the sky. After vamping around awhile moved on leaving us still parched and panting.

2. Excitement in the hood

Yesterday while lying in bed staring at the ceiling, I received an email from Stevie that the local news reported the main street by my subdivision was blocked by police because some guy, armed and holed up in his house, threatened anyone who approached. Shots were fired and the gunman ultimately surrendered. This is the third gun shooting incident in this upscale community in the past year. The gunmen were all troubled sons of local residents still living at home. Dick was walking the dogs in the area and observed the blockade. I remained where I was, pleased by the thought that these elegant homes seethed with the same craziness that exists in our most crime ridden cities. They seem, however, to prefer to despair in private rather than in the streets for all to see.

Speaking of crime ridden cities. Below is a color photograph of New York’s Mulberry Street in about 1900 at the time that DiNero prowled that same street in Godfather II and about sixty years before I lived there. It seems a lot more interesting place than EDH. What is it about people who the first thing they do when they are financially able to do so is to run and hide from others? Maybe it is just an American trait. In Rome and Paris and even BKK, rather than moving to the suburbs when finding oneself more financially secure, the residents choose to fix up their existing apartments and condos instead.

xl_american_odyssey_058-059

B. SNIPPETS FROM T&T’S PAST:

“Bangkok is one of those cities I have experienced, like Rome and a few others, where one cannot get from where one is to where one wants to go without first going someplace where one does not want to go… unless one takes an uncomfortable, slow, and inefficient bus (in this case over two hours and four bus changes) and accepts the ignominy of the Duchess of Westminster’s dictum, “Anyone seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life”
12 Capt. Coast 0001                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
DAILY FACTOID:

July 12 – On this date in 927AD Æthelstan, King of England, secures a pledge from Constantine II of Scotland that the latter will not ally with any Viking kings, beginning the process of unifying Great Britain. This is considered the closest thing that England has to a foundation date.

July 12:

Birthdays: 100BC – Julius Caesar, 1817 – Henry David Thoreau, 1895 – Buckminster Fuller, 1904 – Pablo Neruda, 1908 – Milton Berle, 1935 – Van Cliburn, 1955 – Bambi Woods. The Heir to the Crown of Tonga also celebrates his birthday today.

Deaths: 1536 – Desiderius Erasmus, 1804 – Alexander Hamilton, 1849 – Dolly Madison, 1935 – Alfred Dreyfus, 1973 – Lon Chaney, Jr., 1998 – Jimmy Driftwood.

Feast days and holidays: Feast Day of: Hermagoras and Fortunatus, Jason of Tarsus, and Nathan Soederblom. It is Independence Day for: Kiribati, São Tomé and Príncipe. And finally, on this day in Mongolia they celebrate the Second Day of Naadam.

classicmongoliaodysseyb
Mongolian horsemen race at the Naadam Festival.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

They want a change in ideology.

“There is an ideology that accommodates the worst of efficient markets, supply side economics, and neoliberal economists like Milton Friedman. It is called right-wing hackery…”
This is Ashok (Ashok Rao)
B. Testosterone Chronicles:

1. On Marriage:

Marriage, after all, was invented primarily to make sure that those, with enough resources for it to matter and who agree to live together know how those resources are used and who gets them if one party dies. Wherever the eager lovers overlooked entering into whatever version of a prenuptial agreement was available at the time, the marriage contract promoted by either a Church or the State provided the missing terms. (Kings and Queens have always entered pre-nups of one type or another. It was included in the dowry, especially when the dowry included say, a kingdom.) Love never had anything to do with it.

2. On the evolution of political ideology:

The tragic truth, however, is that the young as they age become conservatives, ethnic groups as they move into the middle class do so also. The gay community is now free to vote Republican without shame while the black community is prevented from voting even if they are Republican. And worse of all, the seven and eight year olds of our nation seem to have been indoctrinated in many of our schools to hate others as well as to despise science.

We progressives can slap ourselves on the back all we want, but as usual we have failed to grasp the grim realities of politics which is that it is an eternal war of attrition and the opposition is better equipped and trained while all too often all we have is our optimism to sustain us as the barricades are overrun while we wait for popular support that never comes.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experiences lived.”
Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive, The) (p. 818). Tom Doherty Associates.

As someone who believes that the pleasure is in the voyage and not the destination, I concur with Sanderson’s overwrought passage.
TODAY’S CHART:
Toxics_map
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
o-SIENNA-MILLER-NUDE-570
Sienna Miller

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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