TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
So, this past weekend I returned to the Bay Area. My sister and her husband George picked me up at the Berkeley train station. We went directly to an exhibition at a local Japanese Tiako drum school in Emeryville. After listening to the students banging on their drums for a while we were all invited to take a lesson; which we did (including me). It was great fun and can be added to my bucket list.
I rejected signing up for lessons. I find the concept of repetition for the purpose of getting better at whatever — unappealing.
Here is a photograph of me banging on my drum.
Later, after the lesson, we returned to my sister’s house where her son Brendan (he who recently had been released from the hospital following a serious operation to correct an intestinal obstruction caused by Crone’s Disease) was throwing a BBQ party. Brendan also plays the drums in a local rock band. After we ate through acres of several varieties of burned flesh, his band played music until the neighbors complained.
I went upstairs and watched three episodes of Game of Thrones.
The next day we took my mom out to lunch a Le Zinc, a bistro in Noe Valley, where we met up with Peter. After lunch Mary and George drove my mom back to the home. Peter and I drifted off to a local coffee-house where we sat on a bench in the sun, drank our coffee and reminisced.
I spent the night at my son’s house where after watching the Niners game (they won) and eating a pizza we argued over whether there is a world-wide conspiracy by the military to suppress evidence of mermen.
The following morning I returned by train to Sacramento.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
I could not decide if this belonged in Testosterone Chronicles (Penis Category) or in Bent News. I leave it for the reader to decide.
Mt friend Gary posted me the following that appeared in a Japanese newspaper:
“A man who cooked his genitals and served them up to diners at a Japanese restaurant has been charged with indecent exposure.
Mao Sugiyama, 23, had his penis and testicles surgically removed by a physician in March.
They had been certified free of infections and were frozen for two months before being served up at a banquet in Suginami, a residential area in western Tokyo.
He charged guests around £160 per person to eat the meal which was garnished with mushrooms and parsley.
Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said criminal papers against Sugiyama and three other people who helped organise the event were sent to the Tokyo district public prosecutors’ office.
Sugiyama who describes himself as an ‘asexual’ illustrator, could not be arrested for cooking or selling his genitals as there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.
If convicted of indecent exposure, Sugiyama, who has also had his nipples removed, could be jailed up to two years and fined up to 2.5 million yen ($32,000).
Mao, who goes by the nickname HC, said he had initially considered eating his own penis – but decided to serve them up instead.
He cooked the genitalia, which were removed in early April shortly after his 22nd birthday, himself while being supervised by a chef.”
(And for the twenty-fifth year in a row Japan wins the Academy Award for the Weirdest People on Earth.
— Alas, I sort of hoped the photograph of me banging on the Taiko drum would return the award to America.
— What the f**k is an “asexual” illustrator?
— At first, as I read this item I wondered why anyone would have his nipples surgically removed, but then I remembered that here in America many women have their noses surgically removed. At least they do not cook them up and serve them to their best friends.
— And before I forget, for those of you so inclined, there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.)
C. THAI OBSERVATIONS
From Jake Needham through Gary:
“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
1. “Describing the evolution of the Republicans’ racial appeal, the late Lee Atwater, one-time chair of the Republican National Committee and member of the Reagan administration, said in 1981. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing [and] states’ rights. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites … obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger’.”
(I show this not because it accurately describes Mitt but because I think it is amusing. To some extent Mitt is getting a raw deal. I view him as a somewhat more conservative Eisenhower Republican who unfortunately must appear to be something he is not to his much more socially and economically conservative base without whose support he has no chance to be elected and unfortunately for him he neither understands nor agrees with.
The modern Democratic party is actually the heir to the Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republicans (with a slight Organized Labor bias). Its base is economically cautious and socially somewhat liberal. Its left-wing has no greater function than to operate as a break on its inevitable drift to the right.
Instead of saying that if he were Mexican he would be President, Mitt would have been more accurate to have said if he were running as a Democrat he would be elected president by acclamation.)
Lincoln’s greatest fear:
“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood … It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”
(Alas, God chose not to grant this wish to Old Abe either.)