January through March 2015

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Joey 0004 (March 23, 2015)


” I just can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone who has been inside me.”
Sex and the Shameless.





Yesterday we went to Denio’s Auction, in Roseville. It is a large mostly outdoor market combining a flea market with a farmer’s market. Although you can buy almost anything you want there, you rarely end up buying what you actually need. I bought two 1970 era Hawaiian shirts for $2 each, one with images of old Woodys along its border.
photo 3
Pookie’s new shirt

Nikki got an arctic military jacket with a fur-fringed hood he insisted on wearing as we walked around in the 80-degree heat. H bought a very large picture/painting of John Cena leaping feet first toward the viewer. In the afternoon, we swam a lot and that evening we drank a bottle of Lone Buffalo Port given to me by the Dall’s that I had been saving for a special occasion. The next morning Nikki left to return to Italy — Arrivederci Nikki. ____________________________________

I am uncertain about what to pack for my trip to Washington DC next week. The weather has been brutal back there. I have only a small carry-on. Will winter still squat on the East Coast or will spring slide in on time for my trip? It’s tweener time, a time between seasons. How does one pack for that?

My daughter and I had planned this trip for the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. We have fond memories of traveling there together many years ago when the trees were in bloom. Here in the golden hills, the cherry blossoms have come and gone. Their petals fluttered to the ground, were swept about in eddies of spring breezes or rudely disturbed by leaf blowers until they turned brown and morphed into suburban detritus.
Blossoms before the fall

The following weekend we returned to Denio’s. I refrained from adding to my wardrobe because my refined fashion sense was unsatisfied with this week’s stock of $2 Hawaiian shirts.
Pookie at Denio’s
HRM, however, spent his Denio’s budget enjoying the balloon ride at the market.


Then we ate dinner at a new positively reviewed Chinese restaurant in a strip mall in Folsom. On the next day, HRM had his first flag football game. His team won 18 to 8.
IMG_20150321_171953_821 - Version 2

These seemingly innocent days ended when my happy pills protection collapsed and despair raced through the breech like the Russians at Stalingrad. Interest in continued existence crumbled before the humiliation of knowing that I have so much less a cause to feel this way than others (in fact I have none to think of). I know it’s physical, like a nearsighted baseball player who has forgotten to wear his contacts. To him, the ball appears fuzzy and gray but he knows it’s not that way at all. But, it is his reality. He has no option but to swing and hope no one laughs. Or as Odd Thomas points out:

“We are not strangers to ourselves; we only try to be.”
Koontz, Dean. Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 384). Random House Publishing Group.

On Monday SWAC returned to Thailand. I prepared for my DC trip. Richard and HRM braced themselves to spend the week alone together.



A Snarky Trip Through Poetry or Skipping Among the Doggerel

I hate poetry. At least, I hate wading through modern poetry to find something that I enjoy. It’s like plowing through Facebook to find something to like. Thankfully, any Facebook entry that takes more than a tenth of a second to absorb I skip anyway.

Poetry originated as stories with sound effects to help remember them. Later the rhythm of the language developed into different forms. English, at about the time of the Renaissance, began importing foreign forms. In Italian, a sonnet could recite a laundry list and still sound good. English sonnets suck.

Modern poetry it seems to me falls into a few recognizable categories.

First there is imagist shit. You know, a poem about a leaf on a tree that is incomprehensible, never mentions trees and uses the word leaf only once, if at all.

The sun warms my body
It spreads to the world around me
I think of you enfolded in its arms
My sweaty balls itch.

Or, we have love poems celebrating modern sexual sensibilities.

I dream of doing you doggy style,
In the meadow of the night
Your eyes
Like comets streak across the sky
Striking deep into my heart.

Or, poems focused on common domestic scenes.

Little Maisie,
Stumbles across the floor
Through the tortured shadow
of the window frame.
Takes a shit on the hardwood
and says,

Or attempts at humor:

I saw Mickey Mouse
As Steamboat Wille
On the telly
Last night
We both have skinny arms
But I can’t whistle.

Or sociological and political doggerel:

I am Wo-Man
I break stallions to harness
They ride me for my pleasure
They tend my flocks
And in the end
I paste their memories
in my scrapbook.

Among the foreign forms, haiku seems popular today even though it makes no sense in any language but Japanese. Take the quote at the beginning of T&T above:

I can’t go anywhere
Without bumping into someone
Who’s been inside me.

(18 syllables instead of 17 but close enough.)

Rap on the other hand, is real poetry. Although it is derived from black urban argot, it reflects the dialect and the social experience well. Its explosive beat at the end of each phase welcomes violent urban images. For this and other reasons, it is difficult to replace,

Hey muthafucka, I’ll cap your ass


A thing of beauty is a joy forever

and expect it to sound right. On the other hand, who knows or more importantly who cares?

(Note: If you think I am kidding [and, if truth be known, I am. I love Denise Duhamel’s Snow White’s Acne], here is an excerpt from John Ashford’s poem Daffy Duck in Hollywood:

Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
Over the Fudds’ garage, reducing it–drastically–
To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on
A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover.
Suddenly all is

At least, I agree with Ashford that, “Suddenly all is Loathing.”

Or, this snippet from Nick Flynn’s Bag of Mice:

I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paper bag,
& in the bag were six baby mice.)



2015: The Social Security System in running a surplus of over $150 billion a year and has run a surplus every year since 1983. The accumulated surplus over that time exceeds $2 trillion. So where has it gone? Mostly it has been used by Congress to reduce the political impact of tax cuts, to pay for unbudgeted military spending and to provide for social welfare. A significant portion of the national debt that the political parties complain about is the money owed to the nation’s seniors. Money those seniors had deposited into the trust fund for their retirement years.

2015: Parasites feed off many independent organisms in nature. If the host dies the parasites do not survive. Among humans, if the rich die the poor and the middle class will continue as always. If the poor and middle class disappear, the rich do also.




A. Xander’s Perceptions:

My disability and lack of income — having to live on what I get from Social Security — don’t make me all that marketable. I did date a really nice woman a few times, and she was looking for an instant hook-up, but she lives in Santa Clarita, and the kids were still in high school for another 18 months, and I wasn’t going to leave them until after Kristen graduated. She didn’t care that I was disabled. I told her in our very first phone conversation that I was essentially bedridden for weeks or months at a time. Her reaction? “I prefer to think that my presence would be helpful.”

So, I’d gotten color, was close to having the leader in my hand . . . and I broke it off, to use tuna fishing jargon. So what did the dude she married look like? Um, brown hair with gray; mustache and beard, kept from being unruly; and glasses.

Oh well. But maybe Il Papa will rewrite the Catholic canon and supply some defrocked nuns or whatevers. But who’d have thought we’d ever have a Pope who was every bit the socialist I am???
Pete Xander

B. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

“I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

(*Note: Paraprosdokian is not an Armenian rock band.)

C. Today’s Poem:

Now as I was young and easy under the
apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the
grass was green. . . .

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days,
that time would take me. . . .
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Dylan Thomas



“Fear breeds superstition,”
Bento Spinosa (“Benedictus, Baruch)

“His vanity required constant stimulation, and constant proof that the ongoing creation of his selfhood was a project that he himself controlled.”
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 328). Little, Brown and Company.



A path less taken


Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 29 Cold Tits 0004 (March 14, 2015)


“A man is never too young to kill, never too wise, never too strong, but he can damn well be too rich.”
Brown, Pierce. Golden Son (The Red Rising Trilogy, Book 2 (p. 41). Random House Publishing Group.

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett. Discworld will live forever.
Pratchett, the inverse of Spock, turned logic on its head and found truth. May they enjoy each other’s company wherever they are.




The weather in EDH has gone from pleasant to marvelous, the afternoons in the mid-seventies. The sky a deep blue, now and then dappled with clouds.

A few days ago I read that some scientists suspect the perception of the color blue is a recent innovation for humanity. They were put on to this theory by the fact that Homer never mentioned the color blue in his works (nor did most ancient texts such as the Bible). Homer’s description of the Aegean as the “wine dark sea,” a sea that to us today is decidedly blue, led them to conclude, either the sea was a different color then (wine is not blue even at its darkest) or something was different in the color perceptions of the ancients. They then discovered that people in societies today that have no word for blue, when asked the color of the sky, most often respond that it was colorless. A modern tribe that has no word for blue but several for green can see differences in green not perceived by the rest of us. So given that colors are merely reflections of certain frequencies of light, what is going on? This freaks me out. When I look at the deep blue skies over the golden foothills what, if anything, am I seeing?

Alas, still no rain. Paradise before the fall?

So, I have now completed a PET and a CT (CAT) scan. I guess my next one will be a RAT, BAT or perhaps even a VET scan.
Nikki arrived. He plans to stay for about a week. This means that a lot more noise and a bit more laughter it the house. H has been fitted with braces and is unhappily suffering through the irritation of getting used to them.

With Nikki attending to H, I spend even more of my time in my room trying to find something interesting to read other than Facebook and trashy novels. Recently I even have begun to look forward to my medical appointments.

While having coffee with Reed a few days ago, he mentioned that the Coastal Conservancy staff said that they did not know what a coastal restoration project is, despite the fact that their implementing legislation specifically directs the agency to do them.

During breakfast with Nikki, he asked what would I do if I was no longer living in EDH. I said that I would probably still do much of what I do now. I would divide my time between; California, probably as much as possible with my sister and brother in law in Mendocino; Italy, at Nikki’s home at Saliceto in the Alpine foothills or Sabina or Sicily; and Thailand, although I would prefer moving out of BKK and back to the beach. Winters at the beach in Thailand, Spring and Fall somewhere along the California coast and Summers in the Alps it seems would not be such a bad life.

Mendocino, California


Saliceto, Italy
Roccantica in Sabina



Jomtien Beach, Thailand

My visit to the orthodontist with H was a revelation. The waiting area was more playroom than office with its jungle motif, separate play areas and massage chairs for parents. The staff of about 20 or so seemed to have overdosed on ebullience as though they had hit the nitrous-oxide on the way to work. The staff was all women except for the man himself, the orthodontist, the chief giggler himself — the lord of the manor — the Caliph. I used to wonder who lived in those super large homes that line the ridges of EDH. I now imagine they are all inhabited by happy-talking orthodontists.

El Dorado Hills is an almost place, almost a forest, almost a mountain, almost a city, almost a community and living here is almost a life.

Well, I can put my hypochondria back in its box for a while. The PET scan came back negative for any evidence of migration by big C into other parts of my body. Now, if the biopsy shows signs of it in the nodule itself, the doctor believes it can be safely removed without resort to either radiation or chemo.

My very dear friend from Sicily, Luigi (Gigi) Gallo, who suffers from Parkinson’s, recently slipped, fell and broke his leg. He appears to be recovering. I hope all goes well with him. Last year, after an over 40-year hiatus, I visited Sicily and had a wonderful time with him, catching each other up on our lives over the last 40 years and reminiscing about our time together in Sicily and Rome.


I read “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins. It is an interesting book in spite of it being a best seller. All ten or so characters in the novel are reprehensible. It is difficult to care about which ones deserve to die (they all deserve to do so). Yet, their very insensitivity to their own irresponsibility despite their intense and constant preoccupation with it that gives the story whatever appeal it has.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”




A. Quigley on Top:

As for one of the primary organizational elements of Western society, capitalism, in its constantly changing form over its 1000 year existence, Quigley has the following to say about its role:

“…capitalism, because it seeks profits as its primary goal, is never primarily seeking to achieve prosperity, high production, high consumption, political power, patriotic improvement, or moral uplift. Any of these may be achieved under capitalism, and any (or all) of them may be sacrificed and lost under capitalism, depending on this relationship to the primary goal of capitalist activity— the pursuit of profits. During the nine-hundred-year history of capitalism, it has, at various times, contributed both to the achievement and to the destruction of these other social goals.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Although Quigley refers to it in this other works of his, the above quote does not mention the impact on society of Debt and the Merchants of Debt, Creditors, even though they are many thousands of years older than Capitalism and Capitalists. If one were to rewrite Quigley’s quote with debt in mind, it might go something like this:

“Debt and Creditors, the Merchants of Debt, because they seek repayment of the loan and the interest due thereon as their primary goal, never seek prosperity, high production, high consumption, direct political power, patriotic improvement, or moral uplift. Instead they seek to assure that the value of the principle and interest remain constant or increase by encouraging depression of the economy to eliminate the potential for that prosperity, high production and high consumption to encourage inflation and reduce the value of their future returns. Interest in political power is limited to issues of so called “sound money” politics. Over their 4000 year history, the Merchants of Debt have rarely, if ever, contributed anything to a society’s patriotic improvement or moral uplift other than to assist in their destruction now and then.”

It is important to understand that banking and capitalism, although they more often than not work together, they are not the same thing nor do they have the same institutional goals or the same impacts on society. Capitalism is as subject to the demands of the Merchants of Debt as is the rest of society. Because of the overwhelming impact of debt on society, the Old Testament of the Bible and most civilizations until the 10th Century AD in Europe encouraged periodic forgiveness of debts. It could be argued that the Lord’s Prayer New Testament plea to “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” refers to the Old Testament practice as well as, if not more than, it does to other moral transgressions.

There exists and inherent conflict between Capitalists and the Merchants of Debt. The former risk their wealth on investments in enterprise, the latter abhor risk of any sort.
B. Molly’s Poem:

A New Years Poem
I have a desperate attraction to new beginnings
Sometimes the numbers on the calendar look so beautiful
I think
Today’s the day I drink less and run more
No smoking, all veggies
Honesty, integrity, self-reliance, perseverance, creativity,
No fear, live large,
Dream big, be bright, believe in love and believe in yourself!
And I do
Today is an auspicious day
Today is my new beginning
Sometimes I just feel it, on a Tuesday
Today’s the day I keep doing yoga
I don’t back down when I’m right
I go to bed at a reasonable hour, pay my bills on time
Clean out the toe jam, learn all those languages
All the little steps start here and I’m climbing
I can feel it now, right now, and I won’t look back
This is it!
Today is an auspicious day
Today is my new beginning
Then I find myself making the same mistakes
Who manufactured the grooves in my record?
How would it feel if the DJ scratched me across the turntable?
The dissonant rip, like a zipper coming undone
A cut away from the 4/4 time that I was trying so hard to hold
But this is why the crowd came to the club
To hear the sound of the universe tearing into a new song
The maligned has become music
We throw our hands up and we dance
I am scratched across the turntable and the crowd is screaming
We are scratched and screaming
And the dj takes it back, and the song plays
All of it is beautiful
Every moment new
Every moment auspicious
Every moment beginning
Molly Trad

C. Zander’s Perceptions

“Lentil Soup and Lent

Yesterday I made a pot of lentil soup as well as a loaf of bread, since the weather demands it. I realized that while my back was screwing with me last week, I missed out on Mardi Gras on Tuesday. I have not been a practicing Catholic for . . . yikes. That would be over a half a century. I do dig McDonald’s having cheap Filet o Fish sandwiches (YEEE-Hah!!) during Lent, so naturally I will take advantage of that for the next 5 weeks.

But here’s the thing. Stay with me on this: When the kids were still in elementary school and their mom was on the dating scene, which I called the “Boyfriend of the Month Club,” I decided not to date. One parent dating like a rat in heat and dragging impressionable young kids to these men’s homes was bad enough; it didn’t need to be repeated by me.

I knew that the dating cycle was about 5 weeks is because that is how often I’d be asked for my recipe for scaloppine alla Marsala, the dinner she’d prepared for those guys. And I wouldn’t date.

It got to the point, though, that those years were adding up. Because I did the celibate parent thing voluntarily, I believe I should be allowed to give it up for Lent. Got it now?

So in Rome, we’ve got Il Papa, Pope Francis, who reflects virtually political and social position I have. I’m going to throw myself at his mercy and see if there is a special dispensation in his heart to allow me to give up celibacy for Lent. I’m guessing that he’d go for it. Hell — he can even live vicariously through me, if he wants. So I am confident.

Do I have any volunteers?
Pete Xander

D. Granddaughter’s Painting:
Athena Petrillo

E. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.



Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
Epicurean Paradox




Sometimes I wonder if the American South is really another country or whether most Southerners are actually illegal aliens residing in the US. Surely a people who are so poorly educated, in such ill health, so superstitious and immoral and so unambitious cannot be real American citizens. Should we require them to go back to where they came from? Who would have them?

These people seem to insist on remaining poor, illiterate, diseased, religion obsessed and immoral. Shouldn’t we allow them to endure that state? Perhaps laws like, unemployment, social security, Obama care and the like should not apply to the South?

We do not have a poverty problem or a racial problem or a health problem or a moral problem or an immigration problem in the United States. We have a Southern problem. We have always had a Southern problem.





Point Cabrillo Light House, Mendocino


Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Cold Tits 0004 (March 8, 2015)


“There is irrefutable evidence that the past existed, but everything else about the past is hearsay.”
Belateche, Irving. Einstein’s Secret (p. 5). Laurel Canyon Press.




The golden foothills remain somnolently golden under the mostly blue skies.
The Golden Foothills awaiting a crop of new subdivisions.

A few days ago, while walking the dogs, I was surprised by a neighbor who actually spoke to me. He was an elderly chap (probably younger than I) standing in front of his house. He startled me because this was the first time someone on this street had spoken more than a somewhat stifled hello to me in the five years I have lived here. He said, “Those people burned garbage in their fireplace yesterday and the smoke came directly into my house.” He pointed to a house about six or seven houses down the block from where we were standing. “Those people,” were a Filipino family that host a pre-school in their home every weekday morning.

(Note: I have never seen anyone living at many of those intervening houses. HRM says they are inhabited by VOPs [very old people] who never go out and have everything they need delivered to them. HRN also says I am not a VOP. We often argue about that.)

The Pulmonary Nodule committee (The Death Panel), has approved all the tests that have been prescribed and added one that will show wherever the big C, if it exists at all, has spread. Another problem they are looking into is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). That is one of the reasons for the lung capacity tests I am scheduled to take this month. The more I look into this stuff, the more it toggles my hypochondria switch. I need to do less internet searches and spend more time contemplating the blue skies, golden hills and secretive neighbors of EDH.

On the 24th of this month I plan to leave for Washington DC. The trip is a gift from my daughter. I hope to be able to visit some of the Civil War battle sites in the area that I have not yet seen. I also would like to get up to Baltimore to see the effects of redevelopment of the waterfront that I commented on years ago. As part of the downtown rehabilitation in the 70s and 80s, the city offered to sell, for $1 each, to those who agreed to restore them, the wonderful brick homes in the area that it acquired. The program was well on its way the last time I visited Baltimore.

I received a pleasant surprise this week. Reed Holderman called. He was going to be driving by EDH so we agreed to meet today at Zia’s coffee shop in Town Center.

It was great to see him again. He has been executive director of the Sempervirens Fund for many years now and is due to retire in April. Reed and I worked together at the Coastal Conservancy a long time ago. There are people in everyone’s life whose generosity of spirit remains a warm spot in one’s memory forever. Reed in one of those people for me. He ordered a cappuccino and I a root beer float. I learned that Zia makes her floats with olive oil ice cream. They were out of it today, so I had them make it with cranberry and yogurt ice cream.

We reminisced together about old times and old friends and discussed plans and benefits of retirement.

On Saturday, we held HRM’s 10th birthday party at Kalithea Park in El Dorado Hills a beautiful park overlooking Folsom Lake.

It was one of the more pleasant birthday celebrations I have experienced in my life. Before the party we painted the rock.

Then we decorated the area and the party began.



Being smart aint everything:

Television personality and former stripper Rick Rosner is one of the smartest living men in the world with IQ scores ranging from 140 to 250 by different measures.

Born in 1946, Marilyn Vos Savant has earned IQ scores ranging from 157 to 228. Since 1986, she has written an “Ask Marilyn” column in Parade magazine, where she was famous for solving the Monty Hall problem.

With an IQ reported between 174 and 210, Christopher Langan was dubbed the smartest man in America by Esquire Magazine. At 6’1″ and 275 pounds, Langan is an avid weightlifter and recovering agoraphobic who pays the bills doing temp work as a bartender, nightclub bouncer, and personal trainer.

Born in Chicago in 1904, Nathan Leopold was a child prodigy with an IQ of 210 who spoke his first words at 4 months old. He was also a murderer who, along with his friend Richard Loeb, killed a 14-year-old boy while trying to commit “the perfect crime” in 1924. The crime inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film “Rope.” Brilliant yet socially inept, Leopold latched on to Loeb, who was good looking and popular, according to Biography.com. Leopold was convicted of murder and spent 33 years in prison. He died in Puerto Rico in 1971 at the age of 67.

A college graduate at the age of 11, Adragon De Mello has a projected IQ of 400. As of 2003, Adragon was working for the Home Depot after training to be an estimator for a commercial painting company.




Climate Change:

Over a year ago, in T&T, I suggested that the minor slowdown in the rate of increase of global air temperatures over the past decade was caused by the oceans absorbing that missing increase. I also thought that, beginning with this years el Nino, that excess heat will start to radiate back into the atmosphere thereby accelerating global warming for the next decade or so. Scientists from the UK Met Office’s Hadley Center led by Dr. Chris Roberts of the Oceans and Cryosphere Group predict in a new paper in Nature that such a warming phase is about to begin.

I also have written that perhaps the predominant cause of the current turmoil in the Near East, exacerbated by the political incompetence of all involved, is the current climate change induced drought similar to the drought that generated the rise of Islam 1400 years ago (but much more rapid and severe today). The following graph seems to confirm it.




A. Quigley on Top:

“…since any organizational structure requires its members to subordinate their own wills and whims, their own pleasures and material needs, to some less immediate goals, so no organizational structure can continue to function in a society where the people involved in it become increasingly selfish, self-indulgent, materialistic, and atomistically individualistic.”
Carroll Quigley. Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“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?”

C. Xander’s Perceptions:

One to Beam Up

“Yesterday marked the passing of one of the most recognized and beloved actors, Leonard Nimoy. He was 83 and had been struggling with and lost his battle to COPD (take a hint, smokers — STOP).

It’s a truism that in science fiction, no one ever dies, but that wasn’t the case of the man known to hundreds of millions as Mr. Spock of the hit TV program from the 60s, “Star Trek.” When Gene Roddenberry was pitching the concept to television networks, he finally hooked up with NBC. And what was it that got the job done? He came up with one of the truly great log lines of all time: ” ‘Wagon Train’ in outer space.” [“Wagon Train” was a TV show from the 50s and 60s that had several defined characters and story lines that allowed for independent episodic shows that were not dependent on a continuing story line]

At that time, “Star Trek” was the most expensive television program. It suffered from a huge monkey on its back, thanks to the show being put in the 10:00 slot on Friday nights. Welllllll, anyone 18 to 45 who were fans of the show were usually out partying. The show’s remaining fans were kids my age — young teens who dug that kind of stuff (and still do).

NBC tried to cancel it after the first season but was inundated with a landslide of protest letters — over a million, if I recall correctly. Season 2 went on the cheap, and Season 3 had the cheeseist backgrounds with virtually all episodes that year were laughable shows filmed on NBC’s set and further depended on cartoonish special effects (with the exception of “The Trouble With Tribbles”). This time, NBC followed through and canceled the show.

“Star Trek” was innovative and was years — or Star Dates — ahead of society. The tightened budget, however, forced writers to be creative without being dependent on special effects. The show had terrific writers like D. C. Fontana, who went with the initials because she was a she; women just did not get hired in those days. “Star Trek” also featured the first inter-racial kiss but headed off any potential bursts of outrage by having their actions controlled by highly evolved aliens who used them as living chess pieces.

One look at the diversity of the cast members was innovative as well: The cast involved a Scot; a Japanese-American; an African-American woman who was a competent and accomplished officer; an alien half-breed who suppressed his human half to be an emotionless Vulcan; and a grumpy southerner who engaged Spock at every opportunity. When the Soviet Union griped that there was no Russian among the 23rd Century officers on the bridge, Roddenberry created Anton Chekov. The show, therefore, advanced such concepts as equal opportunity for women, various minorities, and people from around the world and galaxy; inter-racial relationships wherein Captain Kirk was a rutting equal opportunity horn-dog who’d get it on, regardless of race, creed, or planetary origin; and anti-war, anti-prejudice (the most notable one being a battle between two aliens who were half-black, half-white, but with the colors being mirror opposites.

After cancellation of the show, Leonard Nimoy felt so constrained by the character he brought to life that he wrote a book: “I Am Not Spock.” But as the years went by and as he did branch out to acting on the stage (notable “Equus”) and directing — remember “Three Men and a Baby?” — he mellowed and gradually accepted the fact that his role on “Star Trek” exhibited his sharply refined talent . . . and was compelled to write another book: “I Am Spock.” He was an incredible human being and maintained his friendships with his fellow actors all the way through to his passing.

His death brings to the surface the reality that we are mortal, despite our attempts to deny it. It reflects the fact that I am sliding toward that reality. Back in the 1980s, when friends and I were hitting our thirties, I’d remarked that when famous people from our era — like a Simon and Garfunkel, a Paul McCartney, or an Elizabeth Montgomery, who died far too soon — began passing away — we would truly know that we were aging and were far closer to death than we were to being born.

Leonard Nimoy will remain a remarkable actor and human being who will truly “live long and prosper” in our minds and hearts.”

Pete Xander

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

E. Tales of Inhumanity:

100 years ago this month, the Ottomans caused the deaths of one-third of the entire population of Lebanon.

“We have destroyed Armenians by the sword, we shall destroy the Lebanese through starvation”. Enver Pasha on intended genocide of innocents.

Lebanon, before its current borders, had a booming silk industry (run mainly by women). Lebanon depended upon this industry to stimulate its economy and keep its population fed and healthy.

Djamal Pasha ran Lebanon at the time for the Ottoman Empire. He put a blockade on the Mediterranean coast, not allowing anything in or out.

The industry died in Lebanon as jobs dried up. People became poor and destitute.Famine spread and, with it, disease spread too.To make things worse, a swarm of locusts came down and devastated what little crops were being tended to by ailing Lebanese.Some resorted to cannibalism to keep from dying. Jesuit priests’ records show that many came to confess having eaten their own children.Extreme hunger and desolation caused madness among people.The roads were lined with the skeletal bodies of Lebanese.By the end of the whole ordeal, 200,000 Lebanese died of starvation and sickness caused by the Ottomans. That’s one-third of the population.It was no coincidence that, at the time, Lebanon’s population was about 87% Christian.”
Syrian News




“It is not the man who denies the gods worshiped by the multitude, who is impious, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them.”


The standard “hockey stick” graph for showing world temperature rise over the last 1000 years.



A lone oak tree in El Dorado Hills.


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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Cold Tits 0004 (February 22, 2015)


“Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo” (“I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”)
Epicurean epitaph                                                                                                                                                                                                                        






On Sunday following my morning swim, I escaped El Dorado Hills and headed to San Francisco to celebrate Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda’s birthdays. Dick drove me to the light-rail station. I traveled to Sacramento where I met with Norbert and Stevie who I accompanied to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn where I drank a little too much, bought some faux Indian woven goods and some very good wine.

Then it was off by train to San Francisco and Amanda’s birthday party.

That night Jason and I watched two pretty entertaining movies, The Cabin in the Woods and Hard Candy.

The following day my sister and I visited my mother. She was especially vibrant — a 97-year-old stand-up (or in her case lying down) comic who entertained us with her snide observations about the nuns at the nursing home. “I’m a real bitch and I don’t frigging care,” she said at one point.

I have always wondered about the word “frig.” Where did it come from? Why was it more polite than the word it replaced? Would I ever use it in a sentence? Does anyone still use it?

Later my sister and I had dinner together at an Indian restaurant on the Lower Haight. I spent the night in a motel on Lombard Street. It was more comfortable than I expected.

The next day I returned by train to Sacramento and had dinner with Norbert and Stevie. Since I had not planned for this trip, having been requested to leave Dick’s place in order to accommodate another guest, I was basically homeless. The Dalls kindly offered me shelter for the night.

The next day, I strolled around my beloved trees in Capitol Park before returning to EDH.

On Thursday, I had my second medical appointment this time with a specialist in pulmonary medicine. This did not go as well as the first and a biopsy is scheduled. The next day I found out that the doctor has ordered, besides the biopsy, a number of additional procedures including a blood test, a lung capacity test and an appearance before something called the Pulmonary Nodule Board (or Committee). This last is probably one of Obama’s death panels. Given my actuarial life span is only about 10 more years anyway, I suspect they will be deciding whether the expense of extending my life for such a brief period is worth it.

The sewer pipe from Dick’s house to the street has broken requiring us to conduct some of our bathroom activities at the health club until it is repaired. It may also force us to spend a few days at a motel while the repairs are made.

I treated, at least in my mind, the brief excursion to San Francisco as sort of an odyssey — to there and back again. Like Bloom or Bilbo. I wandered about mostly aimlessly but happily. Since returning to the Golden Hills, my days are again sadly regimented — not depressingly so but not too interesting either. I never liked knowing what would happen next in either my reading or in my life. Disaster or success, although I prefer the latter, makes little difference to me as long as there is a story in it and of course, I survive.






Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.

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

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

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

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

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

As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”





Some facts about the town I grew up in, Tuckahoe, NY

Late 1800s: The Toggle Bolt originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe NY by William H. Ruby.

(Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression, the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand.)

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

(Many Italian immigrants, my grandparents included, settled in Tuckahoe to work in the marble quarries.)





A.Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

It should be pointed out, these soldiers were Christian and not Muslim.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Today’s newspapers report that an anti-climate change scientist has been on the payroll of several petroleum connected entities who paid him for the anti-climate change scientific papers he produced. He did not mention in his studies that they were paid for by interested parties in violation of the ethical standards of the institution for which he works.

Many people seem to be shocked by this disclosure. I don’t understand why. Often as a lawyer, I had been hired specifically by my clients to make their lies appear like the truth. Why would anyone be surprised by someone not bound by the strong code of ethics that we attorneys pledge to uphold doing the same? I guess, since I was a lawyer, everyone assumed I had been trained to prevaricate.





“We live in a cancer society in which growth has become the enemy of life. In economics, this means that our economy cannot sell the consumer goods pouring out of existing factories unless we are simultaneously investing more capital and resources in new factories to make more goods or are otherwise providing more purchasing power to the market by inflationary spending on non-marketable products such as national defense. This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis,” 1974







IMG_20150212_130741_436 - Version 2
About five minutes after one PM.


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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Cold Tits 0004 (February 14 2015)


“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Happy Birthday, Amanda and Hiromi.



The skies are overcast and the first rains in Northern California in over a month are forecast. It has gotten colder also. February is the most unpleasant of months.

Happily, because of HRM’s mother’s imminent arrival and her plans to stay for about six weeks, I will be free to leave the Golden Hills and travel a bit. Where should I go? Mendocino? I probably will for a while. LA? Where would I stay? Camping in the Sierras? Too cold and too uncomfortable at my age. I could spend a month in Thailand, but it might be too expensive for me right now. I’ll probably end up staying here and watch the moss grow on the north side of my body.

The rains have driven me inside the house, no swimming or walks, no dinners at restaurants, no movies except those on television, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts and things like that. The old Technicolor films look great on our new giant curved screen TV. It does not improve either the scripts or the acting, however.

The winds have been severe in Northern California these past two days. Here in EDH, Hayden could not sleep one night fearing that one of the trees in the yard would be toppled on to the house. In Mendocino, the winds blew down a tree crushing the water tank and out-buildings at my sister’s house.

Driven indoors by the rains and tired of bad movies and worse novels, I decided to curl up with a little Spinoza. Spinoza’s first name is either Bento as his Portuguese family named him or Baruch as the Dutch Jewish community referred to him or Benedictus as Christians called him. He lived in the mid-Seventeenth Century at the start of the Enlightenment. Many consider him along with Bacon, Descartes and Locke one of its founders. To me at least, I think Spinoza and Francis of Assisi, are two of the few Saints produced in the 1200 years of western historical tradition (a small list that includes Groucho Marx, Hildegard of Bingen and Maria Callas). Although they may appear to many to be polar opposites, one rational the other transcendental; one believed in the avoidance of pain; and the other welcomed it; one thought this life is all one has to live and the other welcomed an afterlife, they have many similarities.

They both believed God and Nature were one and that to live a moral life we should behave frugally, and treat generously ourselves, humanity and nature. They also believed acceptance of ritual whether religious or social, although they may be necessary for one to live comfortably in one’s culture, are often independent of and at times inimical to a moral, kind and generous life. Spinoza refused to accept that the rituals of his Jewish culture were synonymous with rational thought and morality and so willingly suffered excommunication (cherem) from the society he loved. Francis, who rejected the materialism of his society as inconsistent with his ecstatic morality, also separated himself from those he loved.

If Francis is the patron saint of the environment, Spinoza most certainly could be considered the patron saint of science.

Spinoza Factoids: On the Chair’s table in the Dutch Parliament, Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus is one of three books, thought to be most representative of the beliefs and ethics of the Dutch people; the other two are the Bible and the Quran.

In the early Star Trek episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the antagonist, Gary Mitchell is seen reading Spinoza and the dialogue implies that Captain Kirk also may have read him as part of his studies at Star-fleet Academy (which may be the reason why to me Kirk always appeared a bit constipated. On the other hand I am sure Captain Picard read Spinoza and he was better off for it.)

Alas, since the winds and rains of last week have blown down a large tree destroying the water tanks and out-buildings at my sister’s home in Mendocino, they are now living in a rented room nearby. It looks like I will not be visiting with them for the next few weeks unless they need me to help clear the damage. George is deeply involved with the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department and is full of stories about the life and times of volunteer fire and rescue people in a small town on the remote edge of the continent.

The sun and the clear blue skies have returned over EDH. Because of the recent rains, the golden hills are no longer gold but are now green. I have resumed spending my days swimming and moping about.
Pookie at the pool
I spoke to the little masseuse by telephone. She has retired from her job as a masseuse at the health center. Unfortunately, her pension only pays her $60 a month, so she spends her nights knitting and her days trying to sell the wool scarves and caps she makes along the streets of BKK. Wasn’t there a song about a young girl who sold flowers on the sidewalk? Here we have an old woman trying to sell wool scarves in the tropics. Her greatest fear is not that she may fail in her commercial endeavors and perhaps become homeless, but that she will do so alone.

A large egret has replaced the great blue heron as a sometime visitor to the duck pond.

Overall today, February 13 has been a pretty pleasant day for me. It is also the first day of Lupercalia and the feast day of Absalom Jones and Beatrice of Ornacieux.


“…we are dealing with a fundamental truth of all social life, including all organized power systems or organized force: any organization functions effectively only against organizations which operate in terms similar to itself, yet, in the final analysis, every organization functions only when it can influence or control the moment-to-moment lives of concrete individuals. It is, in fact, impossible for any organization to do this except to the extent that the society as a mass of people tacitly accepts and supports, not only the legitimacy of what is being done in any case, but the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.”
Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

I suspect that here in the US, at least in so far as government is concerned, we have begun to question both “…the legitimacy of what is being done…” and, “…the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.” At the same time and perhaps in part its cause, it seems as though in America and Europe at least, society increasingly is dominated by banking institutions and corporations and not government. If so, then the fracturing of society into large private entities that control the livelihood of individuals who make up those organizations appears not only to be a possibility but well advanced. If so, then government will be reduced only to providing that thin level of security that the banking and corporate entities are unwilling or unable to supply themselves.

This structure of society, the privatization of the community and its culture have historically always been the hallmarks of what we call, “Dark Ages.” The European Dark Ages (600AD to 1000AD) the pre-classical dark ages in the Mediterranean basin and the Near-East (1100BC to 600BC) and just about all others that we know about are identified by the breakdown of cohesive societies with an organizing principle that includes an overall governing system that we have come to define as a State and its replacement with predominately private entities. This stateless system, usually accompanied by a decades and often centuries-long depression, results in the disappearance or at least significant reduction in non-immediately productive activities such as education, art, and science and their replacement with a rigorous focus on the rudimentary development of technological improvements to production, especially of luxury and military items. It also often signals a rise in religious fanaticism.

We are seeing, in the US at this time, wealth shifting (and also in a way shrinking) from individuals as a whole to these private entities and those who control them while investments in basic education, arts, and science decrease. On the other hand, investments are still being made, at least temporarily, to expand the productivity of existing technology especially of luxury and military hardware. Alas, this also may collapse when the sources of unearned wealth dry up. In the past this point occurred when climatic conditions or political ones ceased to allow the acquisition of cheap resources by the society; that is when conquest and resource theft of less powerful societies became too costly, or the productivity of these societies grew too low to make acquisition of their resources worthwhile.


300BC — The school of Epicurus was the only school in Athens that admitted women and slaves.

1919 — Adolf Hitler became member 555 of the German Workers Party, the predecessor of the Nazi Party. (In fact, he was actually only the 55th member. For propaganda purposes at the time, the Party wanted the membership to appear larger.)


A. So that’s how it happened:

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

The most important issue facing the world today is the liberation of women and their movement into positions of power in all significant institutions. Without that, issues like climate change, war and poverty will in all likelihood not be effectively addressed in our time.

“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”
Trenz Pruca

“Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration, in a simple laconic statement, of their world view at the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.”
Trenz Pruca


“Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”

And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old.”
Ursula K. Le Guin


language family tree_cropped
I love this graphic.


A Rainbow in the Lake at Town Center


Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Mopey 0004 (February 4, 2015)


“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”
Peter Grenell, July 1, 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)



For the past week or so the weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny here behind the locked gates of the city on the Golden Hills. Spring flowers on some trees have already begun to bloom.

Very little breaks the monotony of life within the security walls and landscaped medians except swimming and sleeping. Swimming because I can zone out in almost drug like bliss until my head strikes the cement edge of the pool. Sleeping because my dreams take me far away to places, if not happier then, at least, more interesting.

Today I decided to skip work. Work to me now is writing love letters to myself on the computer and emailing them to my close friends and to those not so close, reading unbelievably trashy novels and taking long naps. Instead, after breakfast and swimming, I ate a pretty good pastrami sandwich at the local Italian deli, went for a long (for me) walk around the lake and finished off digging through a chocolate, yogurt and cranberry gelato. I think I am going to cry.

It is somewhat unsettling to have January days at this latitude of the Sierra Foothills where families bring their children to swim and sunbathe at the community pool. It is also disturbing, if enjoyable, for there to have been not a drop of rain during that same month. Such circumstances in the short run are vagaries in weather and usually not determinative of changes in climate. Their immediate origin appears to be caused by a massive distortion of the North-American jet stream bringing cold wet weather to the eastern half of the continent and warm dry weather to the western half. But if, here in California, they persist for a decade or so, I do not think any Peripheral Canal or other geoengineering proposal will be able to ameliorate the consequences.

Recently I read and article in some medical journal that vivid (lucid) dreamers have larger occipital lobes in their brain and that because of their size sort of fold over on each other — in other words, the brains of vivid dreamers are deformed. The article also maintained that those afflicted with this problem experience a similar state while awake. No, they do not go around believing that their lives are just a dream and that the hope they will soon wake up, although, God knows, I cannot count the times I had hoped it was so. According to the article, like in their dreams where they know they are dreaming and can manipulate them when they are awake and thinking, they know they are thinking. Alas, I have no idea what they are talking about here. Doesn’t everyone have an ongoing conversation with themselves about what they are thinking and why they are spending their time doing so? The few times I do something that can be referred to as thinking and not emoting, I find most of what I think about rather silly. Often I then write about it in T&T and send it out wondering if it annoys some of you as much as it does me.


Mystery novels and thrillers written by lawyers or ex-lawyers have become almost a sub-genre in themselves. Of course, what impels them to give up the emotionally rewarding vocation of an Attorney for insecurity of a literary life remains a mystery in itself (Snark alert).

Except for novels by my friends Sheldon Seigel and Chris Moore, I try to avoid books written by fallen members of that class parasites who often see themselves as counselors to society, or at least to that segment of society who can afford their fees. Alas, so many are now writing books it is difficult to avoid them completely.

The Big Kahuna of this group of authors is John Grisham. For some reason every now and then I pick up one of his works to read. He appears more stylistically accomplished than many of his brethren and quite clever in his plotting and story telling. But, what distinguishes him most is that he may be this generations muckraker in chief. The majority of his stories the often about a lonely and dangerous fight by an individual attorney with little power against representatives of formidable economic interests. Much of his books are devoted to describing the industry and the means by which it exercises its will to the detriment of society. His latest, Gray Mountain takes on big coal in Appalachia.

Pookie says, “Check it out…”


A. Climate Change:

I do not know if others have noticed, but there seems to be a shift in position among climate change deniers. Many of them no longer deny the reality of climate change and its associated global warming. Climate change is real they agree but now maintain that it is either not caused by humans or really all that serious. As for it not being human caused, I suspect that this only will be a short term political objection. Once one accepts that climate is changing and world temperatures are escalating there are very few “natural” causes to blame that can stand up to scientific scrutiny —Vulcanism? Variable solar output? — These have already been dismissed as untenable except by the most deranged deniers. That leaves the argument that it is not very bad and may even be a good thing, so we should just lie back and enjoy it. Be prepared for an avalanche of articles, blogs and television punditry cherry picking obscure and usually non-peer reviewed data that they claim “prove” that the seas will rise only a little bit and would never top your sea-wall; that the minuscule temperature rises promise a world of eternal springtime, and that the hoards of people fleeing the desertification of their homelands are simply too lazy to scratch the soil a little harder and use more pesticides and fertilizer, preferring instead to travel many often dangerous miles and suffer extreme prejudice in order to live on the largess of the welfare state.

B. Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Mohamed, born into a wealthy urbanized Arab clan in Mecca, suffered a dysfunctional childhood as a result of the deaths of his parents and his fostering by some poorer relatives in the clan. He grew into a not so prosperous businessman until in his 30’s he lead a trading caravan funded by a wealthy older woman who eventually became the first of his eleven (I believe) wives. At about the age when most unsuccessful and many successful men begin to wonder what it is all about, Mohammed began spending more and more time alone in the desert, ultimately developing a syncretic monotheistic religion composed of Jewish, Christian and pagan elements. The religion, fatalistic in tone as was the Arab society from which in sprung, required only a few distinct rituals for its adherents and absolute obedience to God’s Prophet Mohammed. Like Jesus before him, Muhammed’s religious mandates originally were exclusively directed only to his ethnic group.

Mohammed, having little success in Mecca, left that city for Medina twice. The Arab and to some extent Jewish clans in Medina, a commercial rival of Mecca, encouraged Mohammed hoping the growth of his religion would increase business. Mecca was a major pilgrimage destination that Muhammed’s family benefited from.

After his first sojourn in Medina, Mohammed encouraged by the local clans returned to Mecca to preach his new religion. This enraged the Meccans for among other things Mohammad condemned the worship of the Kaaba, the pilgrimage site that was the source wealth for several clans including his own. An attempt to kill him led by his own family prompted Mohammed to flee back to Medina. There he implored the Midianites to fund his return to Mecca in order to subdue it. They refused. So Mohammed, probably noticing the excess of young males with limited opportunities in the area, proposed to them that if they were to agree to become raiders for Islam for free they could keep the loot — provided they give Muhammed 1/5 of it. He also exiled one of the Jewish clans in the city and took their property as starter capital. This worked very well and after a period of pure brigandage, they wiped out the other Hebrew clans, expropriated their wealth and went on to conquer, in short order, most of the Near East.

Thus, two institutions arose in Arab culture, the military that conquered but had no idea about how to govern and the teacher/ministry who had no interest in doing so. As a result, government as we know it eventually fell into the hands of non-Arabic Muslims or existing non-Muslim populations in the conquered lands. This inability to create or manage a state ultimately resulted in the non-Arabic Muslim converts taking over management of the states and eventually supplanting their Arab masters. (to be continued)


2015: Aging. Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a procedure for slowing or stopping aging in cells by restoring the Telomeres in chromosomes. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings. The new procedure permits cells to divide up to 40 or more times.

2015: The Tattooed Iceman. The 5300-year-old well-preserved cadaver discovered in the Alps and nicknamed the Iceman has been found to have 61 tattoos on his body corresponding to the skin acupuncture lines developed in Asia thousands of years later.


A. Should Cities be more Resilient?

In April of last year, San Francisco appointed the world’s first Chief Resilience Officer as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The appointment comes with a two year $100,000 per year grant from the foundation to develop a city’s ability to recover from acute shocks and chronic stresses or, as the initial appointee explained, keeping track of everything that could test the city, from resource scarcity to social inequality. He seems to believe that, after discovering who does what in the City bureaucracy, the position entails encouraging those other city emergency, response and recovery entities and personnel to feel good about their jobs.
B. Musings on Heaven:

Have you ever wondered about why the Judeo-Christian heaven so resembles North Korea with its endless chanting and adoration of its blessed leader? At least for those Muslim men who die in battle, they get to eat and fornicate forever. For Muslim women, however — well, they are just screwed here on earth and in Heaven.

Statistically and historically, the number of those “humans” with immortal souls (as maintained by most Christians) who have died in the womb through miscarriages, death of the mother or during childbirth is somewhere between ten and twenty times the number of live births. These soul-endowed humans not having the opportunity to do anything prohibited by God, supposedly end up in Heaven. So, when the elect pass on to their just rewards, they will find a Heaven overwhelmingly filled with fetuses. Catholic theology deals with this horrifying image by segregating that mass of helpless individuals into “Limbo” so that the saved can avoid the shock.

In Heaven one spends all eternity chanting hymns and staring at the Great One in adoration, much like watching endless reruns of Seinfeld. Or, in the case of Islam endlessly fornicating with the same 72 virgins who of course after the first couple of weeks would no longer be so. Wouldn’t, in very short order, one want to get out of town so to speak? Is there a difference between Heaven and Hell? Are we all simply being punished for existing? Have we been tricked?

Is it true that those who die with the most money win? If so, what do they win? Many non-Catholic and Orthodox Christian sects believe that those with the most toys get better seats in Heaven’s arena. I could see where that would have some appeal in a fetus-filled stadium. But, even so, what could possibly be the appeal of spending all eternity in a private suite overlooking an endless Superbowl. Imagine automobile, insurance and fast food commercials without end. Jean-Paul Sartre would love it.


“Rising prices benefit debtors and injure creditors, while falling prices do the opposite. A debtor called upon to pay a debt at a time when prices are higher than when he contracted the debt must yield up less goods and services than he obtained at the earlier date, on a lower price level, when he borrowed the money. A creditor, such as a bank, which has lent money— equivalent to a certain quantity of goods and services— on one price level, gets back the same amount of money— but a smaller quantity of goods and services— when repayment comes at a higher price level, because the money repaid is then less valuable. This is why bankers, as creditors in money terms, have been obsessed with maintaining the value of money, although the reason they have traditionally given for this obsession— that ‘sound money’ maintains ‘business confidence’— has been propagandist rather than accurate.”
Quigley, Carroll.


Examples of marriage options approved in the Bible

Marriage is and always has been a means of establishing a socio-economic organization focused on child rearing obligations, financial responsibilities and allocations among the parties and inheritance rights. Love never had anything to do with it except to make the lovers routinely oblivious to the economic implications of their liaison and the often unexpected burdens of parenthood requiring the state to step in. Today, most of the legal rules that inure to the marital ceremony determine the economic relationships between the parties not otherwise affected by a contract between them and defines those obligations and rights society determines cannot be signed away. Theoretically, any arrangement of people choosing to share living, economic and parental arrangements should be able to choose this option.


Today’s Photograph:
10155104_10152838669020242_6799419858627281396_nRoccantica, my grandmother’s birthplace


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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Mopey 0004 (January 26, 2015)


Happy Birthday Ruth

“Never get out of the boat.”
Apocalypse Now



The weather in the Golden Hills has been delightful for the last few days — the temperatures brisk but pleasant, the skies blue and the clouds vague and wispy at their edges. This morning, although the skies were mostly clear by the house, at the health club a mile or so away, fog and mist covered the pool in a ghostly gray.
Evening Sky Over a Golden Hills Athletic Field

While sitting in the health club jacuzzi, I noticed a woman happily moving in an odd way in front of one of the water nozzles. I surreptitiously tried the same moves and was shocked. While the move probably was not as agreeable for a man as for a woman, it did make me realize that there is more going on behind the locked gates of the golden hills, than manicured lawns suggest.

Today I visited the first of the two medical specialists to whom I had been referred, the neurologist. The only thing that was confirmed was my hypochondria…

My daughter gifted me a trip to visit her in Washington DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival in early April. I have been trying to decide on what side trips to make while I am there. She gave me some books for Christmas showing some of the sights and Civil War sites in and around DC. Dick suggested I visit the FBI museum which sounds like a good idea. I also would like to visit Baltimore to see what had changed since I last visited there as a consultant over 20 years ago.
I read a book today that was described as Science Fiction and Adventure. Although it took place on another world, I had gotten almost all the way through it before to my horror it dawned on me that it was, in fact, a Romance Novel complete with bare-chested men with huge bulging muscles and women falling into pools, or lakes or caught in the rain so that their drenched clothing would cling to their bodies revealing what lay beneath, especially their blushing breasts and stiffening nipples. I waded through page after page of these same shirtless men with biceps like cantaloupes and well-soaked women with heaving breasts like ripe melons in unrelieved sexual arousal as though they had never learned about masturbation or how to make fruit salad. Alas, I enjoyed the book. I am thoroughly embarrassed and have promised myself never to do it again.


As readers of T&T know, I have a weak spot for Swords and Sorcery and Fantasy genre in fiction. I also acknowledge that on any ranking of literary genres it falls somewhere near the bottom. Be that as it may, I still while away many pleasant hours with Mages and Druids, Knights and Damsels and all the other creatures that usually inhabit these novels. Recently I completed reading the four books in the Trysmoon series by Brian K. Fuller. Unlike most series of this type, the four books really make up a single long novel — no single book stands alone. Like most of these novels the transcendental hero or heroine saves the world/king /nation, etc., by magic, sword or pluck. What makes this work different, at least to me, is that the three main characters seem more interesting than most.

The hero, a man without soul created out of mud by the evil one in order to destroy the world, saves it instead, with the help of many others including two women, a mother and daughter, who are the most beautiful and powerful women in the land. He sleeps with both of them and marries each in turn, saves the world, destroys the evil one and thereafter settles down with the mother in a tiny cottage in a god-forsaken village where they make a nuisance of themselves by, among other things, attending house parties that they were not invited to and copulating with each other wherever and whenever they had a mind to do so, which was often.

Pookie says check it out…


Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Looking at a relief map of the Near-east (It is the Near-east not the Middle-east) one notices that on the North lies the highlands of Anatolia in Turkey, a non-Arab strongly governed Muslim State. On the East rises the highlands of Persia, modern day Iran, a strong state with a significant non-Arab population. To the South sits the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula littoral along which exist several strong and wealthy states and two poorer troubled states, Yemen and to some extent Oman (more on this below). At the South-eastern corner lies the deserts of the Negev (Israel) and Sinai (Egypt) backed by the populous Nile River Valley and the immense and hostile Sahara Desert. This area is controlled by Egypt a traditionally stable (at least in area) state with a huge non-Muslim population. The Mediterranean and its littoral states (Israel and Lebanon) containing significant non-Muslim (Lebanon) and non-Arab (Israel with its Ashkenazi Eastern-European culture) populations. In Israel’s case, it is a currently strong state.

In the center lies the rapidly desertifying central Fertile Crescent area (Primarily Syria and Iraq). This area is overwhelmingly Muslim Arab. By 650AD or so it became the center of Arab-Muslim culture governed by Arab warlords extracting tribute from mostly non-Muslim populations and in turn paying an ever decreasing amount of tribute to whichever Caliph held nominal authority over the area. This continued until about 1000AD when governance over the whole of the near east effectively passed from the hands of the Arabs to non-Arab Muslims who created relatively strong and stable states. This remained the situation until the West (Britain and France primarily) returned the non-mountainous areas back mostly to the Arabs who immediately created warlord States until the petroleum reserves passed into the hands of at least some of the states around the Arabian Peninsular Littoral, leaving Iraq and Syria in the hands of Arab warlords representing a minority religious community in each nation. This was done intentionally because the Imperial nations recognized the Arab tendency toward internecine warfare among its family groups and their traditional inability to create (or have any interest in creating) an integrated state. They believed a ruling military based minority would assure stability out of fear of possible majority power.

There is a reason why the Arabs traditionally have had difficulty creating a stable State and it has little to do with character or things like that, other than the usual difficulty of nomadic people to transition into governing the areas they conquer. The reason lies in part with Mohammed himself and the politics of his time. (to be continued)


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

It wants to avoid the following:

“One additional element in this situation, which links the ruling minority and the alienated masses together, was the steady increase in the inequality in distribution of incomes, something which was supported, defended, and intensified by the power structure. This surplus in incomes at the top, used for non-productive purposes, kept the demand for luxury goods high for centuries after the curve of production in necessities had turned downward. The crisis in the production of necessities came in the third century, but the production of, or at least the demand for, luxuries was still as high as ever in AD 600. Moreover, during that period of almost four centuries, the growing corruption and violence excluded honest and hardworking people from access to the ruling system or even from the state, including access to justice or to public office. Both of these were increasingly expensive to a degree that honest, hardworking men could not pay. Both justice and public office required higher and higher costs of access (bribery or sale, if you will) from the fact that these two, plus access to the higher levels of the military system, became access to the affluence of the ruling minority and escape from the grinding poverty of the ruled majority.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability. (1975)


“Do not withdraw from the unreality of perception, revel in it instead.”
Trenz Pruca




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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0004 (January 19, 2015)


“…the brave are merely the stupid who live through their poor decisions.”
Fuller, Brian. Trysmoon Book 4: Sacrifice (The Trysmoon Saga).
TYSON UNDERWOOD rest in peace. We will miss your ever-present smile.


After resting a day, swimming was a pleasure. A half an hour without becoming tired is better than the exhausted feeling that follows Exercycle or weight training — perhaps because they both are so boring. Completing a lap seems like successfully meeting a challenge — completing a set, not so much.

Research and some analysis indicate that it is probably better to tackle the nodule question aggressively. Even if the Dr. proposes a test, wait and see approach, people over retirement age are not likely to get any stronger therefore, even if there is any ambiguity as to diagnosis and prognosis, it would be preferable to get it over now and take the risk rather than waiting to be absolutely certain that radical steps need to be taken later. Beyond 70, the chances of even currently benign nodules turning cancerous increases substantially over time. Let’s see what the doctor has to say Monday.

Tyson Underwood has died after a long battle with cancer. Kathleen’s ex-husband, an artist and a long time director of annual art festivals in Marin, was one of the most upbeat and unreservedly optimistic persons I have ever known.

It is uncomfortable to swim late in the afternoon while the sun goes down behind the clubhouse casting a shadow over the pool and you are the last person still in the pool. Ending the planned laps a bit early and getting into to the hot tub that still had three people in it, even if no one talks to anyone else makes one feel less alone and vulnerable.

A woman of indeterminate age wearing a white-billed cap and one-piece bathing suit with a tiny flower pattern sat in the hot-tub reading a book about Paris. Another older somewhat rotund woman, who had been swimming laps previously, seemed an athletic type since she continued to flex her arms and shoulders while she sat in the hot water. Our fourth companion in the tub was a middle-aged man with blond hair going gray who mumbled to himself as he sat in front of a water jet.

On Monday, the doctor was thoroughly engaged in reviewing the various test results in an unsuccessful effort to determine what was causing my low blood pressure. He ignored the CT scan Pulmonary Nodule discovery. “Oh that,” he exclaimed. “They usually are not a problem.” After additional in office tests on the low blood pressure, he concluded, by a process of elimination, they probably were neurological and referred me to a neurologist. When pushed again on the nodule, he explained that he would first need to see whether it appeared in prior chest x-rays and the like to determine whether or not it existed before or was something new. A few days later he secured a copy of the tests performed two years ago during my hospitalization for a pulmonary embolism. They showed a nodule in the same place. That is a good sign. He recommended a pulmonary specialist and arranged an appointment.

The two-year-old hospital report on the pulmonary embolism indicated that all the arteries into the lungs were blocked and that only a small part of the upper right lobe worked to keep my body alive until the other passages could be cleared. That’s a little like falling out of a plane without a parachute and surviving. Come to think of it, it was a long plane ride that probably caused the embolism. Could falling out of the plane been a better option than remaining seated in the middle seat in coach class for 12 hours and then rushing to the hospital a few days later in order to save ones life?

One of the delights of retirement is that you get to enjoy the pleasure of standing freezing on the sidelines for and hour or so as the child you are responsible for plays football or some other organized activity. The activity is generally designed by other adults in order to extract money from those legally responsible for the child’s welfare who agree to pay the con so that they can avoid self-reproach for their inability to otherwise get the child out of the house to play.

A selfie

Sometime in the late 60’s and continuing for a decade the Swedish husband and wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö embarked on an ambitious scheme to write one mystery book a rear for ten years. The books were to be interconnected in a series called “The Story of Crime.”

Ruth turned me on to the series. Where most modern mystery stories over the past forty years generally feature a brilliant if somewhat odd sleuth who solves the mystery usually by either cleaver deduction or by the impact of his or her particular psychosis (for example by beating people up or getting drunk), these are stories about Swedish police detectives who solve cases using the routine that are the lot of most public employees. They get bored, sick with colds and have bad marriages. The criminals more often than not are sympathetic, driven to murder by social circumstances they cannot control and now and then they even get away with it.

Despite being over 40 years old, the novels grapple with issues pertinent today such as the militarization of policing, the social desperation that drives people to crime and the impact of replacing personal interaction between the police and the public with impersonal violence that begets even more violence resulting in the collapse of the morale of both.

“More and more often one was obliged to initiate an investigation by trying to sort out what the police had been up to. Not infrequently this proved harder than clearing up the actual case.”
Sjowall, Maj; Wahloo.The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8).

My two favorite books in the series are The Laughing Policeman and The Abominable man.

Pookie says, “check them out.”


What is occurring in the Near-East right now I believe is misunderstood. It is not a religious conflict, but religious conflicts certainly exist. It is not a clash among incompatible ideologies and economic interests, but ideological and economic strife are rampant.

What is happening now has happened before at least twice and perhaps more. In both of those previous situations, a drying of the climate had reduced the grassland on either side of the more urbanized and productive fertile crescent that had supported the way of life of the grassland inhabitants. With this climate crisis, populations began to migrate from the grasslands to the more fertile and settled regions. Along with this came the functional equivalent of biker gangs. Under employed young men with weapons with nothing more productive to do attempting to acquire the surplus production of their more settled neighbors usually under the unifying impetus of an ideology to which they gave real or feigned allegiance.

Today the rural economy of the middle east is in shambles as the area desertifies and the population increases beyond sustainability for the area. (to be Continued)


A. Mendacity:

Republicans, in general, neo-liberal and supply-side economists reject the Keynesian prescription that during times of insufficient demand (recession and depression) expenditures of public funds even if it results in a governmental deficit is needed to restore the economy to health. Democrats, progressives and Keynesian economists disagree. On the other hand, Republicans, etc., appear quite happy to steadily increase the expenditure on military procurement and benefits and tax benefits for hydrocarbon-based energy production. This has been described as Weaponized Keynesianism and Carbonized Keynesianism.

If there was a third hand, Democrats et al., seem quite happy, during times of insufficient demand to decrease military expenditures and petrochemical public benefits and apply the funds thus saved to governmental welfare schemes.

While I personally prefer the latter, it appears there is an element of hypocrisy on both sides.

We may disagree about whether or not a military dollar gives a greater bang for the buck than a welfare dollar but to some extent we still are agreeing on a Keynesian solution to insufficient demand. The difference seems to be that the Repubs, etc., believe the emergency expenditure should be generally supply side in nature usually including tax relief for equity.

The Dems et al., however, usually propose road, bridge and infrastructure improvements as part of their recession recovery packages (along with middle-class tax relief) and these are also definitely trickle down.

So, it seems to me that it all comes down to a question of politics and not economics. Unless, of course, you consider who ends up with the money is a question of personal destiny and not of social choice.

B. Some past effects of a change in climate :

“In the west with which we are concerned here, there was a climate change after A.D. 200, marked, it would seem, by a retreat of the polar icecap and the polar area of high pressures; this allowed the prevailing westerly winds and rains to move northward so that they passed over the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, with great growth of forest in all northern Europe, and with greatly reduced rainfall in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and east of the Caspian Sea. In the same period, war and disease resulted in a decrease of population of up to 60 per cent in Europe or in the Roman empire from about 200 to after 800, that is to say over six hundred or more years. Careful studies of the population of the Roman empire seem to indicate that its population fell from about 70 million persons at the time of Christ to about 50 million in 300. The wars, migrations, spread of plagues, and abandonment of much family life, including the spread of chastity for religious reasons and of sexual perversions for other reasons, all contributed to this decrease. This had a very adverse influence on economic production as well as on defense, especially when it was combined, after 200, by a flight from the cities to the rural areas, and a movement of economic activities toward self-sufficiency. One of the chief characteristics of an economic depression is a reduction in roundabout modes of production by a decrease in investment, although not necessarily in savings, along with a reduction in the specialization of production and exchange of products. The links in any chain of activity from the original producer to the final consumer are reduced in number; individuals retreat from very specialized activities to more general ones; the use of exchange and of money decreases. All of these changes are to be found in weapons systems and in defense, where we find a similar tendency to fall back on the simpler, less complex, and more general forms of weapons, tactics, and organizational arrangements, including, for example, the belief that the same man should produce food and fight (peasant militia) or a reduction of defense to a single weapon or only two. We may not notice these military consequences when the depression is brief, as the world depression of 1929-1940, but these effects do appear when such an economic collapse continues for centuries, in a dark age.

The effects of such a change are also important on the non-material aspects of the society, where we find a tendency for people to turn toward a more personal and existential life, with emphasis on day-to-day interpersonal activities, decreasing emphasis on planning for the future in this secular world, and a decrease in abstract thinking and generalizations, but instead, a great emotional and intellectual emphasis on a few symbols and words. Life tends to polarize into almost total absorption in momentary empirical activity, with intellectual life reduced to a few large symbols.
Carroll Quigley. Weapons systems and Political Stability.


“we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch.

Interior — St John Lateran, Rome


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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joseph 0004 (January 9, 2015)

“…people who make the most productive contributions, the ones who make lasers or transistors, or the inventor of the computer, DNA researchers — none of these are the top wealthiest people in the country. So if you look at the people who contributed the most, and the people who are there at the top, they’re not the same.”
Joseph Stiglitz



Since the last week in September I have been either traveling, ill or overwhelmed by holidays. As a result, outside of posting a few photographs in T&T and reading a lot I have been unable to do much else.

Yesterday, January 2 (13 Joseph 2004) I was finally able to get back to editing Quigley’s “Weapons Systems and Political Stability.” I am about at page 700 on my first edit and have about another 700 pages more to go. The first edit is intended only to familiarize myself with the material and catch the most egregious errors (there are a lot). My next edit will be to polish it up, add some headings for clarity and write a new introduction.

Because Quigley died before finishing his book, it ends at about 1500 AD. The previous edition includes Quigley’s article on the French Revolution in an effort to fill in the gap. I think that is inadequate. I probably will cross reference his major published work, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, or add an edited version of the post-1500 portion of that book.

I have begun editing the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests section of Weapons. It is interesting to note that the Arab political dominance of Islam lasted only 300 years or so, thereafter the Islāmic world was ruled mostly by non-Arab Muslims (Turks, Kurds [Saladin], Moors and the like) until at the end of WWI (1918) when the allies created the system of Arab-controlled states at the expense of those Islāmic tribes and nations that commanded the Near and Middle East for the previous 1000 years.

Also, the Arabs like the Hebrews were Semite language speakers from tribes that migrated out of grasslands south of the Fertile Crescent during dry periods. Thus, ironically, not only do they share the same language family, original culture and genetics but also the same religion in some respects. Islam can somewhat be looked at as a heretical form of ancient Judaism since the Koran acknowledges the Hebrew bible as among its founding documents and Gabriel himself supposedly directed the Prophet to begin his vocation as a prophet instead of going into his family business selling souvenirs to pilgrims visiting Mecca. (This abandoning of the family business continues a long tradition among religious leaders. After all, Buddha could not stand being a prince, Jesus was bored by carpentry, Paul saw no future in tax collection and Joseph Smith needed the money.)

Similarly, Christianity can be seen as a heretical form of Judaism. Christ, as a Jewish heretic, preached a different form of Judaism much as the Pharisees (another heretical group) did in creating a good deal of modern Judaism. Christ urged his followers to, “forget the forms and rules, how you behave and treat others is more important.” The rabbis (at least after Hillel) seemed to say, “the rules and prescriptions should not be taken too literally, but they are a good thing to contemplate and discuss in order to determine how to behave.”

Paul the Arch-Heretic, on the other hand, demanded his supporters, “forget the Hebrews and what Jesus had to say, think, do and behave as I tell you.”

On Sunday I drove to the Bay Area where I had a very pleasant lunch with Kathleen who now heads the AG’s antitrust division. Later I visited my mom who was quite spry and alert. She believed that the place where she had lived for the past 10 years or so was a hospital that she had just entered a few days ago because she had suddenly taken ill. Earlier in the day she felt better so she began to change into her street clothes so that she could leave the hospital and find a job.
Mom and her girls

I have just about finished my revisions to the first half of Red Storm my still uncompleted stab at a novel. If anyone would like to review it and give me your thoughts and suggestions I will very much appreciate it.

Well, I’m back under doctor’s care. A recent unusual shortness of breath while exercising prompted my visit to my him. Following a series of tests including a CT-scan, we have eliminated a return of a pulmonary embolism and heart disease, confirmed my long-standing gall stone problem and discovered what they euphemistically call a “lung nodule.” More tests and procedures to follow.

In rereading the Stieglitz quote above it strikes me that those young people sent off to war to risk their lives so that those top wealthiest people can enjoy their good fortune, or those like my daughter and her compatriots, endeavoring to protect this nation and those same rich from the horrors of plague, as well as most of those who have dedicated their lives to helping others, are not payed very well either. One would think they should be included among those who have made productive contributions as great as and probably more than many of those wealthy people.

Today I said to myself the hell with the temperature or my physical maladies I’m going swimming. So I dove into the outdoor pool at my new health club and swam for twenty minutes which is pretty good since I have not seriously exercised for over two months. After my swim I spent some time in the hot tub, took a steam bath and showered. It made me very happy.


The Martian by Andrew Weir, soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon (a man who will always look barely post-pubescent), is a man-boy novel without the killing and explosions. It is about science, engineering and manly pluck. I found it fascinating and enjoyable — being a man-boy myself. Dick McCarthy, however, pointed out that despite the intensive descriptions of electronic monitors, space suits, airlocks and the like, the Robinson Caruso of Mars almost never glances out the window and tells us what the planet actually looks like. It is sort of like writing about a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and describing in great detail the raft’s paddles and their uses but never mentioning what you saw when, not otherwise engaged with problems and vagaries of riverine locomotion, you looked up at the variegated walls of that magnificent chasm.

Pookie says check it out…


2014 saw science bring humans closer to exercising the attributes of Gods. A research laboratory in the US created a synthetic chromosome raising the possibility that we may soon become able to create complex life forms. Another team of scientists has demonstrated brain to brain communications creating the potential of direct neural communications between humans. Also, a way to make matter directly from light has been postulated. Finally a new theory about how life forms out of inert matter has been proposed.

About 80 years ago the paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin (“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”)
theorized that as humankind increasingly populated the globe it would through evolutionary processes, produce a new type of life that he called the Noosphere, the collective consciousness of humankind. This he claimed would become one with God. Alas, life being what it is, simply the search for a more efficient method of converting energy into matter by reversing entropy, I sincerely doubt this new life form, if it actually comes into being, will be much different from the mad, irresponsible homicidal gods postulated in humankind’s historical imagination.


1550: In about this year the illustrious German (Franconian) Imperial Knight, Gottfried von Berlichingen, or as he was known, “Gotz of the Iron Hand” because he went into battle with a prostheses to replace the hand he had lost in a previous war and whose major claim to fame was a preternatural ability to piss everyone off, issued his legendary challenge, ”er kann mich am Arsche lecken” (“he can lick my arse”).
The Iron Hand of Gotz

Gotz, as can be expected, was beloved of the Nazis who memorialized him by naming several instruments of death in his honor.

(It has been rumored that Marvel’s Winter Soldier was the reincarnation of Gotz.)


“…we usually think of Christianity as the great contrast to the Roman ideology, but this is to misconceive the whole civilization. Christianity as an organization was in no way incompatible with Romanism as an organized structure. The teachings of Christ were, but these teachings were so very alien and strange that no one took them very seriously and being a Christian soon meant, not belief in Christ’s teachings but belief in Christ, a totally different thing. The same thing happened in Islam where Muhammad’s teachings were soon ignored, and the requirements of Islam became a few rituals, plus monotheism, and so far as Muhammad was concerned, belief that he was the Prophet of the One God.

The Christians cut down Christ’s teachings to a minimum also, insisted only on the belief that Christ was the Son of God and some related beliefs and certain rituals, and then began to engage in violent controversy on minute details of implications of these, very remote from Christ’s teachings or attitude. On this basis, there was not much in Christianity which could not be reconciled with the Roman system, and the original enmity between the two came more from the Roman side than from the Christian.

…The willingness of the Christians to become part of the Roman system can be seen in the present survival of the Roman Catholic Church as a copy of the Roman empire, a system organized in municipalities and provinces under an absolute ruler who uses the robes, nomenclature, language, and modes of action of the late Roman empire.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.


Pookie enjoys himself at the Doria Pamphili Museum in Rome

Categories: January through March 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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