January through March 2018

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    7 Joey 0007 (March 27, 2018)

 

 

 

“[T]he wind chime had been invented specifically for deaf people who really hated their neighbors.”

McDonnell, Caimh. Last Orders (The Dublin Trilogy Book 4) (p. 161). McFori Ink.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SEBASTOPOL:

 

St. Patrick’s Day weekend arrived. On Saturday, I attended a memorial in Sebastopol for Persia Wooley, the author of a fantasy trilogy focused on Guinevere, King Arthur’s wayward wife, as well several other books. The affair was held in the community room of the senior housing project where Persia lived before her death. The housing project had been built on a portion of the Luther Burbank Gardens where the great botanist made most of his discoveries. Having a little time before the event began, we strolled through the nursery enjoying looking at the flowers and examining Burbank’s grafted fruit trees.
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At Luther Burbank Gardens.

As well as being an author of note, Persia was also a well known Bay Area radio personality who for many years interviewed various celebrities on her show including Norman Mailer with whom she was reputed to have had a long love affair. The affair ended after Mailer proposed to buy Persia a house next door to the one in which he lived with his wife and family — I guess so the great author wouldn’t have to travel so far for hookups. Persia refused and ended the relationship. A child of the counter-culture, she loved life, writing, wore diaphanous clothing, enjoyed partying and married often.

The audience, mostly made up of people from my generation, were dressed in their layered clothing. It included relatives, friends and a few residents from the senior housing complex who had gotten to know Persia during her stay there. Persia’s daughter hosted the event and along with several of the guests spoke lovingly about her and took us through the various stages of Persia’s life.

Persia’s son was there also. When he was in his late thirties, he fell in love with and married a 100-year woman who owned a bull breeding ranch near to Sebastopol. Her name was Beatrice but she preferred to be called Bea. She had originally hired him to assist her with the ranch because she was getting too old to ride herd on the bulls. They fell in love and the rest, as they say, is history. After the memorial, we took a ride out to the ranch. We saw their cottage and barns but no bulls.

At the end of the memorial, an elderly woman in long flowing clothing performed what appeared to be an American Indian song and dance. Then, after enjoying the refreshments that were laid out and toasting root beer floats to Persia’s memory, we left.
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Persia Wooley —A Celebration of Life.

That night, we stayed at a Motel 6 in Santa Rosa. It must have been located in the high crime area of the city. A police car cruised the parking lot during the evening, a group of young men decided to hold a barbecue in that same parking lot and in the morning one could almost see, and most certainly could smell the cloud of marijuana floating over the place.

 

B. MENDOCINO ON MY MIND:

 

We drove to Mendocino. Naida spread Bill’s ashes onto the Pacific Ocean below the Mendocino Headlands. The next day, the sun came out. The ocean was a lovely shade of slate blue and the early spring wildflowers were in bloom. We walked along the bluffs above the water.
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Later we strolled through the town, browsed the books at the bookstore and ate lunch in a restaurant with a view
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In the evenings we enjoyed my sister’s special meals followed by a glass of Limoncello and talked well into the night with Maryann and George. We also laughed a lot.

On Tuesday morning, I attended a reenactment of an automobile accident as part of a presentation on drunk driving given by George and the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department at the local high school. Except for the few students who were chosen to play the victims of the drunk driver, the rest of the students were not informed of the event.

On a street by the school, the fire department placed automobiles in what looked like a serious accident. The selected students, made up to look like victims (blood and stuff), arrayed themselves on the ground or in the crumpled automobiles. Then everyone left but the students trapped in the cars or injured and lying on the roadway and someone wearing lumberjack boots dressed up as death and carrying a scythe who creeped around the crash site all morning. Along with a few of the other onlookers, I hid in the bushes. The emergency school bell rang and the students exited the building only to see the accident scene below them just as the sound of the sirens could be heard in the distance.

The fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles arrived. The first responders got to work extracting the victims from the vehicles (or out from under them) treating them, putting them in ambulances or body bags and hearses that then went screaming off into the distance. It was all very exciting and dramatic. Eventually, having completed their jobs, the first responders left leaving only the remains of the forlorn demolished vehicles and death in his lumberjack boots and scythe. The students trudged back into the school, there to enjoy further lectures on avoiding drinking and driving. Alas, they being teenagers, I am sure it all fell on deaf ears and those that survive their adolescence and decide to remain living there in their little town, I expect will eventually join the MVFD and participate in a similar performance a few years from now.

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C. BACK IN THE GOLDEN HILLS:

 

It rained during the long ride back home. It took almost nine hours to drive from Mendocino to EDH.

By Thursday the rains had let up and by Friday the sun was shining and the green hills and white clouds sparkled in the sky.
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The Green Hills of El Dorado.

I hadn’t exercised for quite some time having persuaded myself to accept all the good and sound reasons not to. Alas, the sunshine having stripped me of my last excuse, I went for my walk around the lakes. A carnival had been set up in the parking lot at Town Center. I diverted from my walk to explore it. It was early and the Amusement park was closed and empty. The Carneys were just waking up and shuffling about outside of their trailers. There is nothing more spooky (spookier) then an empty or abandoned amusement park — except for a seeing lone clown wandering the streets in your neighborhood at dusk.

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D. OFF TO THE CITY BY THE BAY:

 

I left the golden hills early Saturday Morning to travel to San Francisco in order to attend the Dave Holland concert at SFJazz that evening. It was raining when I left but turned sunny and warm by the time I arrived in The City. After dropping off my overnight bag at Peters house, he and I walked to lunch at Chez Marius a delightful French bistro in Noe Valley that Peter and I enjoy. It is also where Peter’s band, Blind Lemon Pledge, plays on the last Tuesday of the Month. I had an excellent Quiche Lorraine. After lunch, we walked a block or so down 24th Street to have some coffee at Bernie’s.

 

Report from the Geezer’s Bench:

 

In front of Bernie’s Is a bench, in fact, one of several benches, on which he and I sit and drink our coffee and discuss weighty matters. We call the bench, The Geezer’s Bench. While we were busy discussing important things like the fate of the world, our decrepitude and the benefits of olive oil and laughing, I noticed a car quickly turn into the parking lot next door, the driver, a woman, staring at us the whole time. We continued laughing and talking. We had just been musing on creating a television show about two old men sitting on the Geezer’s Bench stopping passers-by and asking them questions and engaging them in conversation. Suddenly the woman who had been driving the car appeared in front of us. She said, “I was just driving by and I noticed the two of you were having such a good time that I just wanted to sit on the bench and listen.” And so she did.

Eventually, she left, soon to be replaced by my daughter-in-law, AnnMarie who came by to discuss my summer travel plans with her and my grandchildren to Italy, Sicily and perhaps Morocco and Andalusia. But, that is another story. We did, however, laugh a lot more until Peter and I left to return to his house in order to rest before leaving for the concert.

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The Geezer Boys on the Geezer Bench

 

SF JAZZ, Oh Yeah.

Peter had tickets for the first row of the theater not more than 10 feet from the musicians. This was especially good because I had forgotten my hearing aids back in the golden hills. Dave Holland the bass player was the featured performer and composer. The performance was without breaks, the musicians playing for over two hours straight. It was thoroughly enjoyable, the bass often carrying the main line. The guitarist played an instrument that sounded more like a jazz violin than a guitar and the drummer was terrific. The audience seemed to love the performance as much as we did and some guy in the balcony seats played air-guitar and jumped around throughout most of the concert while his mate played air drums and bounced his head around as though he was watching a tennis match on speed.

The next morning, after coffee and croissants at Bernie’s, I returned home.

 

 

D. BACK IN THE GOLDEN HILLS WITH TEA AND OLIVE OIL:

I was going to end this T&T post with my time in SF, however, something happened today notable enough to make me add it here.

The next day the weather broke clear and warm over the golden hills although a strong wind kept things cool and comfortable. After my morning walk and root beer float reward, I attended to my duties as personal Uber driver for the Scooter Gang. At about 4:30 I left them at the Folsom Skate Park in the hopes that they would exhaust themselves and their hormones and I returned home to await their call to pick them up and return each member of the gang to their respective homes.

On the way, I remembered a conversation I had with Peter regarding a book that extolled the health benefits of extra-virgin olive oil. I decided that since drinking a glass of Port at bedtime was no longer a pleasure for me since the alcohol irritated my throat too much, a sip or two of extra-vergine olive oil with its supposedly preternatural health benefits would be just what the doctor ordered, or more precisely just what the doctor never got around to ordering. So, Peter and I scurried over to the famous (among Olive oil aficionados) local extra-virgin olive oil shop in Noe Valley, but unfortunately, it was closed. Having remembered that conversation now, I decided to drive to Town Center before going home since I recalled there was a shop I thought sold designer olive oil. And in fact, there was just such a shop.

I entered the shop and was directed toward some shelves containing a large number of olive oil bottles and some tiny plastic cups for tasting. I set to it and tasted them all including one labeled “Olive oil with Truffles” which was my favorite but I learned cost a small fortune — $30 dollars for a one and one half ounce bottle. I concluded that rather than being put on food or mixed into a salad, it was only to be applied behind the ears like perfume. I ended up buying a bottle labeled “Tuscan Herb” olive oil. The woman that owned the shop explained that everything was mixed by them personally in a small room in the back that when I glimpsed it looked less like a laboratory than an alchemist’s hideaway.

The shop, not only dealt in designer olive oil but other designer foods, like designer vinegars (one was cranberry flavored), designer honey, designer spice mixes and the like, but given its name, “Tea Exotics” what the shop was most noted for was its teas (also mixed in the back). I was shown a list of three hundred or more teas that were for sale and contained in large tins that covered one wall of the shop. There were tables and a bar where aficionados and perhaps addicts could drink their tea. One fellow sitting at the bar said that he comes in one day a week to drink a 14-ounce glass of his favorite tea which he also drinks at home — one cup, no more no less, every night, otherwise he explained it would get him too excited. You see, these are not the arrogant bitter teas that the British use to demonstrate their breeding or the Japanese delicate beverages requiring an elaborate ceremony to make you aware that even if you hated the stuff you were participating in a long-honored tradition, like say human sacrifice. No, these are health food tea.

The tea itself is sold mostly in little paper bags that cost about as much as a kilo of heroin. So I decided to taste some. I tasted about six different blends. It was a revelation. I had never tasted anything like it or so good. Eventually, I settled on a Japanese Matcha (they explained Matcha to me. I do not recall their precise description except is seemed they extracted the tea leaves from the plant before they had even emerged from the twig and crush them between the tender breasts of a Japanese virgin). Added to the organic Matcha was dark cocoa, coconut milk (supposedly better for you than cows milk or camels milk, although I recall reading somewhere that coconut milk can kill you quicker than strychnine) and cane sugar (very little they promised me). And so I walked out of there significantly poorer but a bit happier and went home.

And yes tomorrow is another day.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

The Bot and I.

I know it is often difficult to understand how a lot of rabid Trump supporters think or why they think as they do in the first place. Recently, I have had an interesting experience that, although it provides little clarity on the matter, it certainly provided me with some food for thought.

A post appeared on my Facebook page a few days ago containing a chart showing that under the current federal budget someone earning $50,000 would pay about $40 in taxes for food stamps and welfare and $4000 for corporate welfare. I do not know how true it is nor how accurate. Probably not accurate in any other way than that it is true that the Federal budget allocates far more money to corporate welfare than to the so-called safety net.

Anyway, against my better judgment, I shared it. I soon received a comment back that railed against Obama for supposedly promising to remove all taxes on taxpayers earning under $50,000 and not delivering. Although I know better than to respond to a comment in these circumstances I, again against my better judgment, replied by asking what Obama’s broken promises had to do with the criticisms of the current budget.

The commenter responded that he could comment anyway he liked especially whenever he saw criticisms of tax benefits given to business. He added that he almost voted for Obama until he learned about all his campaign promises.

Fair enough I thought, but alas, I could not leave it well enough alone and I wrote back:
“ I understand your response is an opinion and you certainly have a right to it But this chart does not show campaign promises. It shows what is in the budget proposal that the poster questions. Do I understand you oppose anyone who proposes to increase taxes on business and those that propose to lower them on the poor? Or, is it that you think it improper to criticize an incumbent (no matter how remote) when you may have failed to criticize his predecessor for failing to deliver on his promises.”

This was a mistake for it clearly enraged him. He accused me of too much hatred (not so) and too many false conclusions (partially true, the questions were not conclusions but they certainly could lead one to consider them unfair). He also accused me of going after him. I could see how he could believe that after all, even though I was not going after him, I clearly was playing with him.

Alas, I could not leave well enough alone and mentioned in my response that he seemed to be suffering from a syndrome that sees only hateful intentions in the opinions of others and only loving ones in his. I pointed out that a lot of that seemed to be going around these days.

Then I received the following email supposedly from him:

For your opinions I would of read your slanderous judgement .. I saw early on Your intent ..

You may be about 80
Now and still talking that socialist dribble

Now I am 72 and enjoying women still and feel good …

Too bad you cannot live in Venezuela where the end result of socialism is so beautiful ..

I think I have been struck by a Russian Bot. I feel honored. I have been noticed.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

The inimitable and irrepressible economist Brad DeLong in his often serious blog about things of interest to economists and others with long serious faces reviews a novel, a fantasy no less about:

VIKINGS AND ZOMBIES AND MAGICIANS AND DINOSAURS, OH MY!

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/vikings-and-zombies-and-magicians-and-dinosaurs-oh-my.html

“Graydon Saunders has “committed book” again. The Human Dress is now almost live at Google Play Books. If this is the kind of thing you like, you will like this thing—I like it very, very much. Vikings and zombies and magicians and dinosaurs and much much much more.”

“It is not a book to skim: I am sure that I missed great and important things about the antagonists and their motivation and purposes. And I am also not sure whether the name of the ship really is “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” or not; or whether the principal heroine named “Red Harvester” is a Dashiell Hammett reference or not. And I still have many unanswered questions about just what happened…”

“I certainly did not expect so many important characters to be eaten by dinosaurs, or for the eating to have such consequences. Nor have a looked up what the runic inscription on the cover page means—although I suspect that there is a message there. Nor was I expecting the principal hero to say “ and you so neat with your food” at that time and in that place.”

 

B. Today’s Poem:

 

TO —-
by Edgar Allan Poe

I heed not that my earthly lot
Hath little of Earth in it-
That years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute:–
I mourn not that the desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you sorrow for my fate
Who am a passer-by

 

C. Charlie Stross on Bureaucracy:

“This is how the iron law of bureaucracy installs itself at the heart of an institution. Most of the activities of any bureaucracy are devoted not to the organization’s ostensible goals, but to ensuring that the organization survives: because if they aren’t, the bureaucracy has a life expectancy measured in days before some idiot decision maker decides that if it’s no use to them they can make political hay by destroying it. It’s no consolation that some time later someone will realize that an organization was needed to carry out the original organization’s task, so a replacement is created: you still lost your job and the task went undone. The only sure way forward is to build an agency that looks to its own survival before it looks to its mission statement. Just another example of evolution in action.”

Stross, Charles. The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) (p. 308). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“It took a tiny bit longer than usual, but the Hot Take Machine now has a good supply of pieces tut-tutting high school kids for protesting about getting shot.”
Kieran Healy‏ @kjhealy

 

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Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    32 Cold Tits 0007 (March 16, 2018)

“[I]nstinct was a word lazy people had come up with to make guessing sound like something more impressive.”
McDonnell, Caimh. Last Orders (The Dublin Trilogy Book 4) (p. 169). McFori Ink.  
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
It is Wednesday, March 7, HRM’s 13th birthday. On our drive to school this morning, he turned to me and said, “Yesterday I was a child and today I am a teenager. I liked being a child.”
The weather was mixed. I spent much of the morning trying to persuade myself not to exercise. I lost the argument and after a lot of grumbling, I managed to walk three miles around the lakes in Town Center. After that, I felt so good that I jumped into the pool for a 30-minute swim.
On my drive with HRM that morning, I sang and acted silly. I asked H whether he preferred me silly or grumpy. He answered, “It doesn’t matter. You’re silly whether you are grumpy or not.”
Before getting into the car this morning, H announced he wanted to put off his birthday party until Saturday when he was scheduled to go to the scooter camp in the Sierras. I learned then that I was to accompany H, several of his friends, and the other three fathers into the mountains to drop the new teenagers off at the camp until its was time to gather up birthday boy and his cohorts and retreat back down the mountain. Dick told me that later that evening, all four fathers were supposed to go to a western themed  Karaoke Bar. There we were expected to drink and sing.  I was told we would all dress in cowboy outfits also. I assumed they were joking.
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Hayden (in the hat) with his book if western poetry. Tall Jake holds the dancing chicken birthday card.
Days passed, things happened. When the weekend arrived, H and two of his friends had a campout in the redwood trees alongside the house. Dick was away at some earthquake preparedness conference and Nikki, Adrian and I spent time grumbling about life, but not too deeply.
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Tall long haired Jake in the top Hammock, Hayden in the middle and Graham in the bottom,
    My strategy to let things slide regarding travel plans for March and April worked. I still do not know what will happen but whatever I thought might occur will not and a few things actually resolved themselves. So, no lengthy travel plans are in the offing for the next few weeks. Hooray.
Yrrggh! —Everything from here on that I had written during the past four days suddenly disappeared from my computer for some reason. I am furious. How could that happen? I now have to recreate it from memory — something of which I am in short supply —
Let’s see — what happened next:
The weather cleared up for a day or so. Nikki and I went to the health club one morning. On Saturday or Sunday, we had dinner at Wanni’s restaurant, Thai Basil in Roseville.
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Adrian, Richard, Hayden, and Nikki in Thai Basil.
Nikki, Dick, and Wanni went on to the Western Karaoke Bar deep in the wilds of Loomis. I went home. Nikki had dressed in a leather jacket, a black cowboy shirt with elaborately embroidered designs in black thread and black buttons that sparkled like rhinestones in the light. I got it on good authority that at the Karaoke bar he performed a magnificent rendition of “That’s Amore.” Microphone in hand, he passed from the stage and into the audience. While crooning like Dean Martin, he stared into the eyes of several of the startled but appreciative aging matrons. No, he was not thrown out or beaten into sausage by the ex-hippies turned redneck husbands and boyfriends of the bemused ladies.
The next day, we went to Denio’s Auction (flea market) to play our usual game of “see who could buy the most useless object.” Often Nikki and I would compete over who would return with the most outrageous shirt. He preferred Mexican and I was more into Hawaiian. Unfortunately, I had to leave early to go to see “The Shape of Water” and thereby conceded the contests to the others.
As for Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” although I enjoyed it, I preferred the acting and directing in “Lady Bird” more. As typical in Del Toro’s movies, there was a short period of stomach-turning violence. Tarantino movies have a lot of violence also, blood and death everywhere but it is cartoonish with little regard to actual pain and suffering.  Del Toro’s violence on the other hand although briefer makes up for it by focussing in on the agony and anguish. I was surprised at how closely the story of this movie matched that of Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” — In a world of pain and despair, a damaged but innocent young woman enters into a complex relationship with an alien creature, dies violently but is resurrected into a far better universe — all very Catholic.
By Monday, Nikki and Adrian had left to return to wherever they go after they leave here. Following my morning exercises, I called the good/bad David. He lives in South Dakota now — in a little town called Andover. We commiserated about him sitting in his house staring at the snow while I sat on the porch in the golden hills enjoying the 70-degree sunshine. Later, I got on Google and David took me on a tour of the highlights of Andover — there were not many of them — the Lutheran church, the threshing barns, a post office, the railroad tracks and lots and lots of flat grassland with a few grazing cows.
I had an interesting dream last night. I seemed to be watching a movie and did not participate in the action. I recognized the main protagonist, a minor television actor whose name I could not remember. I seem to have come in during the middle of the story. The main protagonist was a pirate of sorts but had not always been so. He was preparing his band and some poorly equipped villagers to defend themselves from the expected attack. Although they were confident they could prevail in the conflict when their enemy showed up it became clear they would be overwhelmed. They agreed to a meeting with the opposition commander who proved to be an old friend of the hero (from an earlier scene in the movie that I had missed). The two friends agreed that the hero and his motley but competent crew would undertake a difficult and somewhat questionable assignment to lead a sneak attack on the commander’s enemy. I then woke up. It was raining again and after dropping HRM off at school and eating breakfast, I put myself back to bed and slept until the afternoon when it was time to pick up HRM again. And, so it goes in the waning years of my life.
The weather turned miserable again. I feel better, however.
News on the adolescent front: HRM’s march beyond childhood accelerates. He may have just graduated from the scooter gangs to the bicycle maniacs all in one day, putting him further removed from his past and mine. Our influence over his environment diminishes with each additional mile he can now place between us. I currently drive him to the skate park the outer limit of his universe.  In two weeks he will be riding his bike far beyond that.
The weekend approaches. Yesterday morning I listened to the heart-rending memories of a dear friend. Life has been described as a vale of sorrows. It is that for most of us — even living through the greatest Golden Age in the history of humankind and consider ourselves fortunate we have not had to experience sufferings like our predecessors in the past, most of us sooner or later experience unimaginable pain. Some handle it better than others and some worse. Some are able to smile through it all and some complain bitterly (I am of the latter group). Like it or not we are all riding together it the same Looney-Tunes cable car careening through the mountains, some cringing in fear, others filling themselves with hate over who they suspect caused them to be in this place, some laughing deliriously, some crying and some just stare at the sky, fist outstretched middle finger extended — but one thing cannot be denied, for most tomorrow  will be another day — And for me, the weekend begins and I intend to make it a happy one…
B. BOOK REPORT: STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT.
If you continue to read beyond this, you will notice (if I am able to reconstruct them from wherever this evil machine hid them) an excess of items of and about Sicily. The reason for this is because I have just completed reading a mystery novel entitled “Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions” by Mario Giordano. Surprisingly, the author is not Sicilian. He is German. A descendant of a Sicilian laborer who had left the Island seeking work and a better life in the Colossus of the North. The novel itself is no classic work of literature. In fact, it barely makes it as light summer reading. I liked it, however, because of the kind-hearted way it plunges into the history, landscape, and foibles of the people and places that I have grown to love.
The main conceit of the novel lies in the author’s alter ego, a young struggling writer recording, at the behest of his Auntie Poldi, her adventures, and misadventures in Sicily. Auntie Poldi a dipsomaniac, over-sexed, bi-polar, caftan-wearing, overweight, sixty year old widow from Bavaria who, after the death of her Sicilian born husband, buys a home in a small coastal village in Sicily in the shadow of Mt Etna where she intends to “drink herself to death with a view of the sea.” Unfortunately for everyone, Auntie Poldi is also loud, pushy, nosy and her father was chief of detectives in some city in Germany. As a result, when she discovers, on the beach, the dead body of her part-time handyman, the handsome young Valentino, she drafts her dead husband’s three sisters and goes on a hunt for the murderer. Along the way, she also shags the handsome but mature local detective with the improbable name of Vito Montana.
Pookie says, “Check it out”
[T]he worst thing that can happen to any Italian male, especially a Sicilian. Economic crises, volcanic eruptions, corrupt politicians, emigration, the Mafia, uncollected rubbish and overfishing of the Mediterranean—he can endure anything with fatalism and a bella figura. The main thing is never to present a brutta figura, a figuraccia. Bella figura is the Italian credo. The basic equipment for this includes a well-groomed, unostentatiously fashionable appearance, a pair of good shoes and the right make of sunglasses. Above all, though, bella figura means always looking good, never foolish. For an Italian this is a must, not an option, and quite indispensable. It also means you don’t embarrass your fellow men. Impatience is unacceptable and direct confrontations are taboo. You share restaurant bills with your friends, don’t put your foot in it, never receive guests in a dirty or untidy home, ask no intimate questions, address anyone with a university degree as dottore, bring some dessert with you when invited to dinner and—even at the risk of rupturing your abdomen—finish everything on your plate. You put your faith in beauty and proportionality and try to make the world a better place. Sometimes you even succeed.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  
DAILY FACTOID:
The Sicilian language has no future tense.
(JP— It is scary to think about a culture that lacks the ability to express the future. It does have a special tense to express the remote past that has ended. Sicilians use it a lot in their conversations — Everything is in the present or the far past and there is no future.)
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A.  On Top —The Quotes of Steven Wright:
1 – I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
2 – Borrow money from pessimists-they don’t expect it back.
3 – Half the people you know are below average.
4 – 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5 – 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6 – A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
7 – A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
8 – If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.
9 – All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.
10 – The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
11 – I almost had a psychic girlfriend, ….. But she left me before we met.
12 – OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
13 – How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?
14 – If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
15 – Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
16 – When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
17 – Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.
18 – Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.
19 – I intend to live forever … So far, so good.
20 – If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
21 – Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.
22 – What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
23 – My mechanic told me, “I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.”
24 – Why do psychics have to ask you for your name
25 – If at first, you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
26 – A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
27 – Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
28 – The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
29 – To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
30 – The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
31 – The sooner you fall behind, the more time you’ll have to catch up.
32 – The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.
33 – Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don’t have film.
34 – If at first, you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
35 – If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?
 
B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:
While doing some research on things Sicilian, I came across the blog, “The Dangerously Truthful Diary of a Sicilian Housewife,” (https://siciliangodmother.com/2013/02/12/sicilian-women-are-scrubbers/) It contains some amusing stories about the life of a foreigner (in this case a British woman married to a Sicilian man) in Sicily, especially regarding her relationship with her Mother-in-law whom she refers to as “The Godmother.”
One day, The Godmother came round to my house when I had just swept and mopped all the floors. She was wearing her black skirt and black blouse, which is what Sicilian housewives put on when they really mean business. She gave me a pitying, or perhaps critical, look and said,
“Oh, you poor thing! You must be so worn out with all this unpacking and organizing that you haven’t had time to clean the floor.”
“Erm, yes,” I said.
“Don’t worry,” she said, her nose already in the cleaning products cupboard she had given me as a housewarming present. “I’ll take care of it.”
She extracted a thing which looked like a broom with no bristles and then wrapped it in a cloth which she dipped in something that smelled pungent enough to make my nose run and proceeded to rub it all over the floor with so much verve I thought she might actually erode the glaze off the tiles. “That’s just given it a quick removal of the main dirt,” she said, as she got on her knees and proceeded to pull the plinth away from the fitted cupboards under and around the kitchen sink.
She put the steel strips on the balcony and then proceeded to remove the entire underside of the island unit as well. Not satisfied with this, she then prised all the knobs off the hob, did something that looked downright painful to remove the oven door and then turned the extractor fan over the cooker into no less than eighteen separate, yet almost identical-looking, pieces of plastic grille.
Whilst I was profoundly shocked to see her calmly pull my kitchen to pieces, I was also flabbergasted that she was actually able to. For my whole life, up to that point, I had believed you needed men with exposed bum cleavages to do that type of thing.
While I was still searching for appropriate words, she filled the sink with several potent products, which foamed and gave off a greenish hallucinogenic vapour, and put all the small components of my ex-kitchen in it. While I sat down to regain some breath, she filled a bucket with whatever the Mafia use to dissolve dead bodies away to nothing except a few gold fillings, and started rubbing it into the pieces of stainless steel plinth she had yanked off the cupboards. I had chosen a matt finish but she kept working away at each piece of metal until she had made it look like a mirror.
C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
I Heard It Through The Grapevine:
During 2016 Presidential nominating campaign there were two candidates who:
Declined to support sensible gun control regulation;
Received support from the Russians and;
Refused to release their tax returns.
D. Today’s Poem:
ISULA
Isula nascivu, isula vogghiu moriri.
Isula comu mi fici lu Signuri
cu li turmenti e li dulura
ma sempri abbrazzata a lu mari
e figghia pridiletta di lu suli.
Bedda tra li beddi sugnu
‘nghirlannata stati e mmernu di ciuri.
Curtigghiara, baggiana, ciaurusa
mi vestu di milli culura
e cu sta peddi di meli e di rosi
attiru lapuna d’ogni razza e paisi.
ISLAND
Born an island, I want to die an island.
An island, the way the Lord made me
with all its torments and pains
but always embraced by the sea
a favored daughter of the sun.
I’m a beauty among beauties
garlanded in summer and winter.
Plebeian, proud, fragrant
I dress in thousands of colors
and with this blanket of honey and roses
I attract drones from every race and place.
–by Lina La Mattina –translated by Arthur Dieli
E. Charlie Stross on Bureaucracy II:
The iron law of bureaucracy dictates that most of the people in any large organization will, after a time, be more preoccupied with preserving their own jobs than with fulfilling the mission statement of the agency.”
Stross, Charles. Empire Games: A Tale of the Merchant Princes Universe (p. 322). Tom Doherty Associates.
TODAY’S QUOTE:
Sicilian men (of which I am one) prefer to discuss the minutia of history and almost anything else rather than answer a personal question and risk making a brute figura of himself. Here is an example taken from a novel I am reading:
“Uncle Martino talked at me without a break. He pontificated on Sicilian history, the source of the best pistachio nuts, Lord Nelson and the Brontë siblings, life in the Middle Ages, Frederick II, Palermo’s Vucciria market, tuna shoals, overfishing by Japanese trawlers and the mosaics of Monreale. He commented on Radio Radicale’s live broadcasts of debates in the Italian parliament. He lectured me on the Cyclops, the Greeks, the Normans, General Patton, Lucky Luciano and yellow silk scarves. On the only acceptable way of making a granita. On angels, demons, the trinacria, the truth about Kafka and communism and the relationship between physical stature and criminality in the male population of Sicily. His rule of thumb: the shorter the man, the more threatening and the more likely to be a Mafioso. That I scarcely understood a word didn’t bother him. My Italian was appalling—in fact it was practically nonexistent apart from one or two helpful swear words and che schifo, allucinante, birra, con panna, boh, beh and mah, which constituted an adolescent’s vocabulary on the beach.”
Giordano, Mario.Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
(JP- For those interested:
Che Schifo — how disgusting.
Allucinante — hallucinating, stoned
Birra — beer
Con panna — with whipped cream
Boh — I don’t know
Beh — I don’t care
Mah — maybe yes, maybe no
Facility with these few words will allow you to communicate adequately anywhere in Southern Italy and Sicily, but only if you also know how to gesture properly with your hands [see below]).
TODAY’S CHART:
Pasted Graphic
These are only a few of the gestures used in Southern Italy and Sicily. As with any language, it takes a while and a lot of repetition to learn. Failure to learn a language properly can lead to confusion and embarrassment. For example, after examining the chart, I realized that during my sojourns in Sicily I never quite understood the difference between What, where, why and you shitted your pants eh — much to my embarrassment in the cases where I have misused them and much to my annoyance is now realizing that I had failed to recognize when someone who I thought was asking a question was, in fact, commenting on my ignorance or worse.
Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Cold Tits 0007 (March 6, 2018)

 

 

 

“Fuck it” is not profanity. “Fuck it” is a sonnet.

Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 249). Simon & Schuster.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

Well, I am off to spend the weekend in Mendocino. While there, I will attend a concert by Patrick Ball a native Californian who is perhaps the greatest Irish harpist and storyteller living today. I am looking forward to it. It should be an interesting evening.

After a pleasant drive to Mendocino on Friday, we attended the Patrick Ball concert. It was mesmerizing. He plays a type of brass stringed Celtic harp that had disappeared for about 200 years until the art of making them was rediscovered by a musician and instrument maker in Santa Rosa California. In between the musical pieces, Ball told the humorous and engaging tale of Jim and Ellie, two elderly married couple who accompanied him on a tour of the Ireland of W. B. Yeates — a magical story interlaced with the poet’s words.
03_ball
Patrick Ball and his original Santa Rosa Irish harp with strings of brass and a sound that, even without electronic augmentation, filled the theater.

The following evening we attended an entirely different sort of concert. A local musician running for election to the County Board of Supervisors decided to hold a fundraiser and concert highlighting the music of John Fogarty. The concert was held in a converted old Portuguese Church.
IMG_4055 - Version 2
The woman on the left was not a musician or a singer. She was a comedian. She was not very funny.

The concert featured many local musicians and singers including one of my favorite Druid Sisters, a musician, and member of the Daughters of Albion, a local lesbian community. Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising were some of the audience favorites. There was also a lot of dancing. Most of the people there were elderly, not old like me but certainly, most had finished their adolescence during the last century, hence the choice of music. A number of elderly women dressed in flowing ancient hippie outfits gyrated in spastic solos in front of the stage. Even I danced.
FullSizeRender
Pookie dancing. He was not funny either. Well, maybe he was.

The rest of the weekend we went for long walks through the town and along the bluffs or remained indoors reading, playing with our computers and eating wonderful meals prepared by my sister and George.
IMG_4054
I do not know why everyone has to stop on their walks when someone takes a photograph.

 

B. BACK IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Back in the golden hills, the days went by slowly. I did not feel well, tired, my throat swollen, listless. It could have been the beginning of allergy season or something worse. I slept a lot, coughed often and experienced a return of my dizzy spells. The weather did not help. Cold, rainy, and gloomy, I started to worry about my health. It is that time in life when everything starts telling you how little time you have left while your deteriorating faculties limit you from doing many of those things that will make that time enjoyable.

On the other hand, my dreams have been florid. Last night, I dreamt I married an Italian spinster named Annalisa at a wonderful wedding. This was interesting because I hated all my real weddings. Nikki, who for some reason was there, said that it was the first time he ever heard me talk as though I was truly in love. Only in my dreams.

Speaking of grumpy old folks, I hate hearing about 105 year old marathon runners, or 85 year old champion weightlifters or 92 year old ballerinas or reading stories of some oldie with galloping halitosis who cheerfully accepts the news that he or she with die from it within two weeks and yet continues to go on washing the sores of lepers. What really makes we Vecchi grumpy is spending all day with little bits of unexplained pains hopping willy nilly about our body while feeling like we need to vomit all the time, our noses running from no discernible cause, and for some reason our glasses make the world appear even more blurry while our hearing aids are screaming a high pitched sound like an insane dentist drill and suddenly some woman’s voice intones “low battery, low battery.” All of which makes you supremely disinterested in running, lifting, dancing or washing leper’s sores. And then, some sot with a smiling face and a concerned frown says to you, “Are you OK old timer?” Grumpy indeed.

Another weekend has rolled around. It has been cold and rainy and I have been tired and under the weather if that is even possible with weather like this. Bitching a lot. Then, I received the following as a comment on one of my Facebook posts:

Neal Fishman: It’s not an uncaring universe if we care for each other. I don’t need a god to care for me. A friendly note, a kiss on the forehead, some good pot, maybe a 3D head set so I can die flying around….I’m ready to go, and happy to have been here. God isn’t supposed to give you more, except for that living forever in heaven nonsense. The universe is just fine without God.”

Petaluma Jewish, communist, chicken farmers, one of the world’s great treasures.

The next week passed in quantum time. That is, there is no time between what you recall except for a vague feeling that something must have happened. In fact, most of our lives are spent in quantum time wondering if perhaps we missed something — then after a certain amount of reflection, we relax in the not so firm belief that if we cannot remember it, it must not have happened.

Anyway, on Saturday, we went to a movie at Tower Theatre in Sacramento. We saw “Lady Bird,” a film about a young woman coming of age in Sacramento. It was one of the more enjoyable movies I have seen in years. Well, the years haven’t been that enjoyable either. I could not help thinking that it does for Sacramento in the early 2000s what “American Graffiti” did for Modesto in the early 60s except that was about boys becoming men and this was about girls becoming women. During my adolescence I probably would have been satisfied becoming anything — maybe an amphibian — that would have been nice.

It’s directing was impressive. Greta Gerwig takes her otherwise light story and makes it riveting on the screen. No scene better shows this than the one in which Lady Bird’s ex-boyfriend breaks down in her arms in agony over coming out to his family as a homosexual. Gerwig could have dragged the scene out to milk its pathos but instead, she immediately cut to an unrelated scene leaving the audience with a fleeting sad memory in Lady Bird’s rush through adolescence and me wondering if him going to an all boys school had anything to do with it. I went to an all boys Catholic High School. A number of the priests were gay. We really did not know what gay meant back then. The great gay scare had not yet begun. We only knew some of the priests used to like touching us a lot or vigorously rubbing their thighs while talking to us. We felt sorry for them but avoided them anyway.

While all the acting was great especially the leads, Saoirse (pronounced Sur-sha) Ronan as Lady Bird was magnificent. The opening close-up of this long-faced, large-eyed woman with acne scars marring her face told me I was in for a special bit of acting. Later, I read that she refused to wear makeup in order to accentuate another problem besides sex, schooling, and parents adolescents must deal with as they stumble their way into adulthood. We all were terrorized by zits growing up. I know I was. Would I be forever scarred like Father Grogan and have to join the priesthood because I could never get laid? God those were tough times.

It is Tuesday. Tomorrow is HRM’s 13th Birthday. He now passes from loved and loving to annoyed and annoying. Adrian just arrived and  Nikki is expected tomorrow. All the putative fathers will have gathered. HRM did not want presents only the money. He had a clear idea how he planned to spend it and had already ordered online what he wanted. He also insisted on baking his own birthday cake. We the four fathers put on fake smiles and rolled our eyes at each other. On the weekend, he will go with a few of his friends to a skateboard park in the Sierras. He was promised that if he got B’s or higher on his report card this semester.

Bunny McGarry lives!

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

Our country today suffers from a type of slapstick Fascism.— Something that could have been dreamed up by Charlie Chaplin or Mel Brooks if it were not so tragic and dangerous. We might even be entertained. After all, we are watching in the media a ditzy egocentric idiot and his grasping family sell off the bits and pieces of the worlds greatest empire for pennies on the dollar to the highest bidders. If it were set to music as it may ultimately be someday if there is a someday, I expect it will be called something like “Trump the Musical.” One scene could be the Great Clown’s minions tearing off pieces of his palace and selling them to screaming billionaires including those on stage left overdressed in be-medalled military uniforms except for one standing stark naked in the center who after singing, “I’m so Pretty” dances a duet with the Great Obese Clown (GOC) himself. After which the GOC turns to the audience sings “I am the greatest person who ever lived, Trust me.” And at the end of the play, when all that is left of his palace is rubble, he sings the dirge “Look at my works ye mighty and despair.”

Why should we not sing and dance along with the GOC, after all, selling of a country by a crazed clown is funny, is it not? Well, how about this for starters:

A foreign government directly attacking and subverting a democratic nation’s electoral system is as much an act of war as sending soldiers across its borders or terrorists to disrupt its economy. If its military budget cannot stop this then what is its purpose? Why does a nation spend billions and billions on military hardware that is never used and almost nothing on protecting itself from a foreign government attacking and subverting its electoral process?

In a democracy, its electoral process is owned by the citizens of that country and any foreign country that attacks that process attacks all its citizens.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

From my beloved friend Irwin during a particularly difficult time in my life eight years ago:

lucky you. I haven’t ogled a vagina in a long time, or rather a vulva; nor fingered same. just an Oldsmobile.

thanks for the advice. but I fear its too late. yesterday I thought sure I was on my way out which is not a problem! it’s the accompanying pain and discomfort that’s annoying. anyway I dragged myself through the microwave shopping, etc and made dinner (chicken breasts roasted in pomegranate molasses. ) turned off the Lakers game when I saw they were down by thirty points watched a bad Schwarzenegger movie and went to bed dozing off about 1:30 am to the conversation of some hams on my handheld transceiver that I keep next to my bed in case of nuclear attack. all-in-all sounds very gentile. this morning I am not much better but just reconciled to losing a tooth and having to go to the dentist next week. I also received a card from the superior court clerk and fear I am losing my battle in regard to jury duty ( I think I mentioned the story).

my one local friend just telephoned. I never answer the phone looking instead as I always do at the caller id to see who it is that has the nerve to disturb the tranquility of los pintos circle. I didn’t pick up. didn’t have the heart. I was afraid he’d ask how I was and then I’d have to tell. better he should think I am off functioning somewhere.

now I am going to the bank so that I can get enough cash ($5.00) to buy a lotto ticket and some salmon filet for dinner. maybe if I win the lotto I can win enough to buy my own vagina or salmon farm…smell the same?

maybe I’ll visit my mother today instead of tomorrow so I can be really depressed. somehow I fixed the old microwave door (dunno’ how). I’d like to take credit but it was just an accident. I could pretend but who would believe me.

every Saturday morning Jose Jimenez (really that is his name!) the gardener comes to putter around the front and backyard. snip snip here. snip snip there. nothing monumental or taxing landscaping wise as the lawn in both yards is near extinction. anyway today I went out and asked him to trim the grapefruit tree which has branches hanging over the roof (funny, just about in the spot where the inside leak occurred). this damn grapefruit tree won’t die. problem is that with cholesterol/blood pressure medicine grapefruit juice is a no no. besides the fruit, as I remember it, is sour. the only other edible fruit products produced on the Schatzman farm are guavas (both strawberry and pineapple) and inedible grapes. I once had an olive tree which I promised to cultivate but could never manage the olive curing process. my last wife had it cut down. the toy apple and orange trees never were worth the time and have since disappeared. I wanted to plant a vegetable garden – no. I don’t know why. again the last wife won out by insisting that the near-dead and space lawn not give way for a planting bed wherein I could grow tomatoes, chili peppers and the like.

I must go. I’m getting chilly. that’s a good sign. I’m still alive. well, maybe not so good.

More Irwin:

joseph, forgive me for saying so, but, you are fucked. I’m sorry. still, you could “look on the bright side of life”.

 

Irwin was right. I was fucked. I took his advice and looked on the bright side of life. I still was fucked but now, it was too bright to see.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Generation Name
Births
Start
Births
End
Youngest
Age Today*
Oldest Age
Today*
The Lost Generation –
The Generation of 1914
1890
1915
103
128
The Interbellum Generation
1901
1913
105
117
The Greatest Generation
1910
1924
94
108
The Silent Generation
1925
1945
73
93
Baby Boomer Generation
1946
1964
54
72
Generation X (Baby Bust)
1965
1979
39
53
Xennials – 
1975
1985
33
43
Generation Y – 
The Millennials – 
Gen Next
1980
1994
24
38
iGen / Gen Z
1995
2012
6
23
Gen Alpha
2013
2025
1
5

I am a member of the silent generation. It’s true, I was often silent. When I spoke, it usually was to complain. I noticed a lot of my generation complained often — you know bitching about everything but doing nothing about it except vote Republican which did not help anything but it at least gave us something more to bitch about.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Charlie Stross on Top:

“But there are super-criminals—I’m sorry, that’s unclear. I don’t mean criminals with superpowers, I mean criminals who overachieve spectacularly and get away with it. They’re so successful that they pass laws to legitimize their past actions: we don’t call them criminals, we call them the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of the Russian Federation. ‘Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.’”

Stross, Charles. The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) (p. 189). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/the-future-of-work.html#more

An outline of what appears to be a course or conference on the future of work conducted by Brad DeLong. It begins with:

Pasted Graphic

And ends far less positive. Among the predictions was one in which we would all tend little garden plots for food and entertainment while the great AI and his minions handle everything else that needs to be handled. Another view was that we will stop reproducing until there will be so few of us we will no longer be in the way or pose a threat to annihilate ourselves — sort of like curios in a museum.

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

The difference between a liberal and a conservative is the difference between naive optimism and pernicious fear.
D. Today’s Poems:

1. When You Are Old
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

 

2. Failed Plains Homesteaders.
By Michael L. Johnson

Headed back east,
they said they just
flat couldn’t stand
any more wind.

 

3. “John Wesley Hardin”
By Michael L. Johnson

(JP — Harden at 15, tired of being bullied, won a Colt 45 in a card game.)

You draw the Colt won in a poker game,
and hold it like a rattlesnake
whose long bite you can aim
at anyone you please.

(JP — Harden then went on to an illustrious and productive career as a psychopathic killer. A poem for our time.)

 

E. Charlie Stross on Bureaucracy:

“Despair, dismay, disorientation, and delusion: the four horsemen of the bureaucratic apocalypse.”

Stross, Charles. The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) (p. 75). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

I often suffer from the four Ds. It is my way of life. Perhaps I have a bureaucratic psyche.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There ain’t no clean way to make a hundred million bucks…. Somewhere along the line guys got pushed to the wall, nice little businesses got the ground cut out from under them… Decent people lost their jobs…. Big money is big power and big power gets used wrong. It’s the system.”
Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

 

Ain’t it the truth. I never met anyone who made a clean hundred million bucks. I met a few who made a dirty hundred million, however. I guess you could win a clean hundred million bucks in a lottery. I never met anyone like that either.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

Pasted Graphic_1

What is interesting here is that He Who Is Not My President (GOC) could very well be seen as being at the apex of each of the four points all at once.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_4060 - Version 2
The Toms of EDH

 

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Cold Tits 0007. (February 21, 2018)

 

 

 

 

“Middle ground only comes in war after lots of people have died—and only after the important people are worried they might actually lose.”

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 219). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The weather broke colder this weekend. The temperature dropped from the mid-seventies to the mid-fifties. Not cold by the measure of those places that enjoy (or suffer) real winters, but enough to make these old bones prefer indoors with a warm cup of coffee to walking outdoors no matter how good the exercise may be for them. Nevertheless, on Sunday, instead of my usual stroll around the lakes, I rambled a bit through SDS park near my house. The paths in the park mostly circle the community playing fields and pool. One path, however, branches off through the woods and along the creek. It, for some reason, is called, New York Park. I rarely take that path because it contains signs that say, “Beware of Mountain Lions.” Next to bears, I fear mountain lions most.

Recently, I posted on Facebook a short piece I had written a few years ago about the 1950s Rock group Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. In 1956 or 1957, I attended a concert featuring the group in Brooklyn’s old Fox Theater with a young lady friend. We were both teenagers 16 or 17 at the time. We have not seen each other for over 60 years so imagine my surprise when that Facebook post received a “Like” from her.

Now, I believe Facebook is one of the most pernicious things to have been foisted on humanity since the invention of warfare, nevertheless, for the anziani like me, something like this can make our day — perhaps even our whole week.
images
Facebook Addiction.

I spent Monday helping Naida move some things around her house and disposing of some of Bill’s old clothing at Goodwill. While erecting a bookcase in her office, I noticed an amazing collection of books set in or about California during the period in which she set her great California Gold Country Trilogy. Many of the books she used for research. She pointed out a few places where she adapted the information for use in her novels. She also told me that while writing the books and even after they were published she received a number of original diaries written by people who lived in the area at the time in which the novels were set, including one that was so fantastic and dramatic that I still cannot get it out of my mind.

While the story contained in that diary (now lost) that she told me about while we took a coffee break is too long and mysterious to relate in its entirety here, some of the background is quite interesting. It all had something to do with the gold discovery at John Sutter’s Mill in 1748. Marshall was not the first to discover gold in California. Several others had done so before him. There was even an anemic and brief gold rush when gold was discovered In Southern California about 20 years before — in the San Gabriel Mountains I believe. About a year before Marshall’s find, a Mormon family had found gold in what is now the City of Folsom. They busily packed the gold dust and nuggets they had located in the local creeks into barrels. They intended eventually use the treasure to found the Temple City of the Mormons in the golden hills somewhere near where I currently reside. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your view of the Latter Day Saints, Brigham Young, their leader, took sick with rocky mountain spotted fever somewhere near the desolate shores of the Great Salt Lake in what is now the State of Utah and declared to all that God had decided he would build his New Jerusalem there rather than in California. The Mormon gold digging family tried to dissuade the leader of their church by pointing out the golden hills were indeed golden, the great valley contained some of the richest farmlands on earth and the native people were willing slaves. But, despite their arguments, their entreaties fell on deaf ears. So, about the time Marshall and his cronies were setting about publicizing their find, they packed up their treasure and returned over the hills to found their blessed City on the Mountain or in this case the desert.

Marshall found the gold at John Sutter’s the mill site in early January of that fateful year but did not announce it publicly until May. What he and his cronies — among which was the writer of one of the diaries Naida obtained — spent those almost five months searching for additional rich sites, securing the land, obtaining the supplies miners would need, establishing the campsites the miners would require as they traveled from San Francisco to the future diggings in the foothills and so on. In other words, it was intended to be a vast real estate scheme in the grand California tradition.
Historical_California_Gold.jpg

To put everything in context, it is probably important to recognize that San Francisco in March of that year when Sam Brannon — who may or may not have been one of the conspirators — prematurely ran down the City’s main street shouting that gold had been discovered, only about 350 persons of European descent and about 800 of African, Asian and Latino heritage lived in the City by the Bay. The Europeans who reaped most of the benefits of the scheme, as they usually do, were for the most part little more than thugs. Within the next five years or so, over 80,000 people flooded into the City in pursuit of the riches that ultimately mostly ended up in the hands and pockets of the thugs and conspirators. After all, in good old American business theory, the greedy grubby miners could be viewed as little more than unpaid workers and small independent contractors who paid to the conspirators for supplies, food, drink, and rent almost every penny of value they received from anything they dug up.

And what of Marshall? He was by some reports a very dislikable man, contentious, perhaps violent and a bit deranged who, after all this, died broke. But not before, along with some friends, Folsom, Ord (of Fort Ord fame), and others had dinner as guests in the home of William L. Leidesdorf. Leidesdorf, a black man from St Croix, a shipowner and accountant, was the wealthiest man in San Francisco at the time (he is also considered the founder of San Francisco). He owned the land upon which the Mormons discovered their gold. He, in partnership with John Sutter, had acted as agent for the sale of the gold discovered in the area charging a 50% commission for their efforts while trying to keep the existence of the discoveries quiet. During that very dinner, according to the now lost diary, the host died under mysterious circumstances. Shortly thereafter Leidesdorf’s mother living is St Croix and his only heir received almost $800,000 (out of over $2,000,000 promised, the remainder of which she never received) in today’s money for renouncing her interest in her son’s estate that had been left to her by him and worth more than $50 million today’s value. When the estate was finally probated the land containing most of the value in that estate passed into the hands of the guest whose name the city eventually built thereon now bears his name. But, that is all another story.
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Leidesdorf                                  Folsom

Today, the skies and clear, the temperature in the mid-sixties. I continue to kick the can down the road as to not only what I shall be doing next month and to where I may be traveling but for the rest of my life as well. There are some days that that bothers me a lot and some nights it actually makes me thrash about in despair for a few minutes before I fall asleep.

As for my projected travels, while I agree with Josiah Bancroft’s dictum “Never let a rigid itinerary discourage you from an unexpected adventure,” I prefer to dispense with the “itinerary” altogether and get right on with the “unexpected adventure.”

Today, I saw my first ornamental fruit tree in bloom. Spring has arrived, appropriately on Valentine’s Day.
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I never liked Valentine’s Day. In grammar school, before they began requiring everyone to receive a Valentine’s Day card, I rarely got any even though my mom made me bring one for each kid in the class. I wasn’t a bully, just the quiet weird kid who sat in the corner and read history textbooks. The bullies all received Valentine’s Day cards. Everyone likes winners. Come to think of if, there were (and still are) very few holidays I liked, As a kid, I liked Fourth of July. The volunteer fire department in the little town I grew up in always put on a bitchin fireworks display. Memorial Day was pretty good also. A bunch of families would gather together at a place called Peach Lake in Westchester County, New York. The men would eat raw clams all day, drink beer from kegs and get drunk. The women would get angry because the men were all drunk and then the arguments would start. In a way, it was a little like Fourth of July, lots of fireworks. One day, my father drove the car into the stream that fed the lake — my brother and I sitting in the back seat thought it was great fun — my mother, not so much.

Another week has gone by, more trees have burst into bloom and the daffodils have pushed through the earth and splashed some of the local gardens with streaks of buttery yellow. I have not felt well this week, fatigue and listlessness. It could be the change of seasons. It often affects me like this. Well, not to worry, it is whatever it is.

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On Saturday, I helped Naida move more things out of the house, drove HRM to various skate parks, read late into the night and struggled with my fury over the latest massacre of innocents in school by right-wing fanatics with an assault rifle.

 

B. PONDEROUS PONDERINGS AND MEANDERING EPHEMERA:

Like most people I guess, I have lived more than one life — in my case three. We all live our own timelines of course, from birth to death and whatever might happen in between. I seemed to have lived my life in about five year or so increments usually ending in some life altering collapse, usually self-inflicted. After that, there would be about three years or so of wandering in between each phase as I tried to put my life back together.

My second life was the almost 15,000 books I have read in the past 75 years or so, most of them fiction — and most of the fiction fantasy — the farther from the mundane the better. I do not read words. Only images run past my eyes.

My third life is my dreams. Often they impinge on my waking memory and I believe things occurred in my life that never happened. For example, for years I believed there was a seacoast town I would periodically visit. I knew the people, the shops, streets and so on. One morning, I thought it would be pleasant to visit the place for a day or two. I searched for how to get to it and discovered it did not exist. It made me wonder not whether I was crazy or not but what else it was that I remember that also may be fantasy. On the other hand, I could be stuck in an ontological cul de sac or is it an epistemological dead end. There is no question, however, that I live in a metaphysical planned unit development with Descartes my neighbor on one side, Schrodinger on the other and Timothy Leary showing up once a week with a philosophical leaf blower strapped to his back.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S RANT:

Ruth sent me the picture that is posted at the end of this entry. It is also posted and shared on Facebook. It is a drawing of Aaron Feis He is one of the heroes tragic massacre at the school in Parkland Florida where a young white nationalist and NRA supporter opened fire with an AR-15 on the students and teachers in the school killing at least 17 of them. Feis, a gym teacher, placed himself between the shooter and his students to protect them. He was shot several times. There were other heroes in this tragedy including one young man who held the door closed to the classroom in which his classmates were cowering in order to keep the assassin out while bullets tore through the door and into his body.

Rather than also adding my heartfelt support to the reams of articles calling for gun control or bemoaning the unconscionable corrupting influence on the body politic of the NRA or immoral and cowardly behavior of the Republican Party, I want to know where are the monuments to these heroes and those like them who have given their lives to save the innocent from crazed true believers armed with weapons of war who with ever-increasing frequency kill our children and our neighbors? Where are their parades, mausoleums permanently guarded by uniformed sentinels, statues in the park, flags flown in their honor, and anthems sung? These heroes are not those who agreed to put on uniforms, place themselves in harm’s way, bear armaments designed for mass killing, are trained to fight and kill and who face similarly armed forces dedicated to killing them in turn. The heroes like those who died at Parkland did not sign up to put themselves in danger, did not expect to become victims of a mad war on innocents and children manipulated by a criminal industry and abetted by a corrupt political class. They, these heroes, nevertheless, rose to the task unbidden to protect their fellow Americans their fellow humans no matter their beliefs or backgrounds. Where are their memorials? Only in our tears?

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MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

From “Urban Edginess.”
(https://planningimplementation.wordpress.com/2018/02/12/waterfrontage-the-urban-waterfront-morro-bay-and-arbroath/)

Over 40 years ago, I helped draft the California Coastal Plan. Among the elements of that plan was the Government, Planning and Powers element that I authored and from which the structure of the massive California Coastal Program was drafted into several separate pieces of Legislation including the creation of the California Coastal Commission to regulate new development along California’s 1500 mile coast; a 300 million dollar bond act to begin purchasing those recreational and environmental lands of irreplaceable value and; the creation of a novel agency the State Coastal Conservancy whose job it was to facilitate the purchase of lands needed for planning purposes (e.g. buffer areas for coastal cities, consolidation of unbuilt out subdivisions and the like), restoration of coastal resources threatened or degraded by pre-existing development, urban waterfront restoration, public access and coastal dependent agriculture preservation.

Shortly after the passage of the legislation in 1976, I became the first Executive Officer of the Slate Coastal Conservancy. During my tenure, the Conservancy published a magazine entitled “WaterfrontAge.” It was focused primarily upon the urban waterfront, the use of land acquisitions to control the spread of urban development into existing undeveloped areas along the shoreline and general resource restoration initiatives.

After I left the Conservancy the magazine’s name was changed to “Coast and Ocean.” Its focus was shifted from the urban environment to the rural environment. This change reflected the tension between two points of view among those involved in coastal matters. There were those who believed the emphasis should be on controlling the spread of existing urban development onto highly valuable resource and open space areas and to provide for those urban amenities that would encourage people to want to remain or resettle in those urban areas.(e.g. parks, recreation, visitor-serving uses.) On the other side, there are those who believed that government’s role should be focused primarily on preventing development wherever it does not currently exist. Of course, there were also those who believe a government should not be involved at all in the business of protecting resources and regulating industrial, commercial and residential development.

Recently, while wandering through the internet, I came upon a copy of the third issue of “WaterfrontAge” from about 35 years ago. In it was my introduction to the issue. I thought it would be interesting to re-published it here to see how well it has aged.

“I BELIEVE there are two primary elements that reappear in the urban waterfronts we consider exciting and attractive. The first element is a cluster of activities that require a waterfront location — recreational uses such as bathing or boating; commercial uses like fishing, cruise-ship berthing, boat haul-out facilities, and port operations; and environmental uses such as the wildlife sanctuary described in the previous issue of WaterfrontAge. The second element is public access: whether achieved by paths, boardwalks, or promenades, public access adds to the vitality and color of the area and certainly improves the overall value of the waterfront location, both for the public served and for the commercial ventures nearby. The variety of uses on the waterfront-sometimes in startling juxtaposition-attracts a variety of visitors and public access increases the force of that attraction. However, it seems that these two requirements, access and water-related uses, must exist together to guarantee a lively waterfront.”

“In addition to these primary elements, the waterfront should provide activities for their support such as boat repair facilities, chandleries, bait shops, restaurants, and even hotels. Beyond this the normal city uses and densities are appropriate.”

“In my travels, I have found this pattern of waterfront development remarkably consistent in both recreational and working waterfronts. In particular, in Scotland, I happened upon a small fishing Village on the east coast called Arbroath. Its harbor, encircled by walkways and old stone breakwaters, teems with activity; recreational and fishing boats jostle one another; people strolling stop to watch the fishing boats unloading and processing their catch or to watch the fish being smoked. Restaurants, inns, and shops line the streets nearby and overlook the harbor, and the houses of residents peek out over the scene.”

“Adjacent to all this activity, a small rocky beach is crowded with bathers. But surprisingly, a few hundred yards away and still visible from the harbor, there is a wide sandy beach, backed by a handsome promenade and an empty grassy slope. The beach and its park are often deserted, in marked contrast to the busy harbor area. The contrast suggests a connection between the harbor’s development and its appeal; unlike the solitary beach, the harbor provides facilities, for a variety of activities as well as simple access.”

“Arbroath and other well-known waterfront cities arrived at this pattern of development by trial and error. The pressures of competing uses on the waterfront led to the development of a variety of different industries side-by-side. In addition, certain industries, such as fishing, boating, and lodging enforced the need for public access to the waterfront.”

“Recently, the State Coastal Conservancy’ has embarked on a number of projects that seek to help establish this pattern in some of California’s urban waterfronts.”

“In Morro Bay, a small town in San Luis Obispo County, our application of these elements is nearing completion. The Conservancy has had a tremendous influence on Morro Bay’s waterfront.The area is particularly suitable for the Conservancy’s projects because it has remained largely undeveloped, and our projects can influence the shape of future development. We decided that it was inappropriate and unnecessary to attempt to redevelop the area so we decided instead to anticipate future growth and provide the structural elements around which the waterfront could develop as the city of Morro Bay grows.”

“This meant that our projects aimed to manipulate the existing development pressures into patterns which would guarantee the long-term health of the waterfront as well as provide public amenities.”

“The Embarcadero had become crowded with commercial uses which had come to exclude other uses. Our first project was to open the area to public use by planning two public parks at either end of the Embarcadero. From the Embarcadero, the view of Morro Bay’s striking harbor had been gradually cut off by restaurants built over the water on pilings. Ironically, the commercial value of the view had led to the development that threatened that very view, one of the major tourist attractions of the area. One Conservancy project extends viewing platforms from the streets that end at the harbor’s edge; these platforms also provide physical access to the harbor by including ramps leading down to floating docks. The docks are to be used by visiting boaters, who would be able to dock there and visit the city’s restaurants and shops. This improved access has created considerable interest among private developers, who see a likely market for visiting boaters.”

“The local commercial fishing industry, containing the largest active fleet in southern California was enhanced by a Conservancy grant for a new commercial fishing pier for tying up fishing boats and unloading the catch. By ordinance, the commercial fishing fleet on the northern end of the Embarcadero is protected from the pressures of lucrative visitor-serving development. However, the city administrator at Morro Bay, Gary Napper, considers the fishing fleet’s activities a major tourist attraction. Visitors come to the pier especially to watch the fish scooped from the boats the dropped in a cascade into the carts on the docks on their way to the nearby processing plant. The push to diversify the uses of the waterfront has included recent plans to make a major fish-processing plant stretching from downtown to the Embarcadero itself, which should improve the quality of that product and provide an interesting fixture for tourists to visit.
Most recently, the initial steps have been taken to provide some public financing for the construction of two hotels to support the rehabilitation of Morro Bay’s waterfront. In contrast to this large-scale commercial development, part of the Conservancy’s program at Morro Bay has been the restoration and preservation of the extensive dune areas north of the town center.”

“Mayor Bud Zeuchner considers the economics of the waterfront’s development secondary to the need to preserve the aesthetic value of the setting, which is considerable. He believes that the Conservancy’s projects have successfully combined the conflicting pressures (to develop commerce, to preserve natural beauty, to encourage tourism) into a compatible system. The final product, he anticipates, will be a waterfront where water and land both meet the people and meet the people’s needs. The comprehensive plan which embraces Morro Bay’s waterfront does not allow anyone use to intrude on any other, yet still encourages a great variety of water-dependent uses of the waterfront.”

“Every effort has been made to pattern Morro Bay’s waterfront after the liveliest urban waterfronts, like that at Arbroath. The Conservancy’s projects have sought to combine commercial, recreational, and environmental elements of water-dependent activity, to juxtapose these uses for more efficiency and interest, and to provide sufficient access to the waterfront to encourage visitors.”

“Although it remains to be seen if Morro Bay’s waterfront, which is bound to grow, develops into the lively and productive setting we find in the world’s most successful waterfronts, I think a good start has been made.”

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. On Top: The Joy of Overwriting.

“There was an unhuman presence on the other side of the door: it made the skin on my wrists tingle and brought an electric taste to my tongue. I listened with my ears and an inner sense I’d been uneasily practicing for the past year. Tuning in on the uncanny channel brought me a faint sizzling, chittering echo of chaotic un-minds jostling for proximity to the warm, pulsing, squishy meatsacks. The lightning-blue taste of a warded summoning grid—not a large one, just an electrified pentacle unrolled on a desk—was like fingernails on a blackboard: Andy was conducting midnight invocations by the light of a backlit monitor. Okay, so he wasn’t being totally stupid about this. But it still set my teeth on edge.”

Stross, Charles. The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files Book 5) (p. 10). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

I found this in https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/pulp-fiction. Enjoy…

“Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.” I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. Now I’m thinkin’: it could mean you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. .45 here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.

he became the shepherd instead of the vengeance.

Jules Winnfield- Samuel L. Jackson”

― Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction: A Quentin Tarantino Screenplay.
(JP — Imagine, Jackson had to memorize the entire passage and recite it while acting the part. I always found memorization to be the most difficult aspect of acting. Often, I would resort to making words up whenever I forgot them during a performance. It would drive the director crazy when I would make up whole lines of Shakespearian verse. The audience, however, never caught on.)

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Have you ever wondered why it is that humanity’s great ability to innovate and alter our physical environment for the better seems never to extend to our conscience?

 
C. Today’s Poem

Astrud GilbertoGirl From Ipanema

Tall and tanned and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Aaah…”
When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Aaah…”
Oh, but he watches so sadly –
How can he tell her he loves her?
Yes, he would give his heart gladly,
But each day when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead — not at he
Tall and tan and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn’t see…

Oh, but he watches her so sadly –
How can he tell her he loves her?
Yes, he would give his heart gladly,
But each day when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead — not at he
Tall and tanned and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, he smiles, but she doesn’t see…
She just doesn’t see…
No, she doesn’t see…
But she doesn’t see…
She doesn’t see…
No, she doesn’t see…
ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM, DAVID JOHN GLEDHILL

 

D. Xander’s Musings:

Hook, Line, and Sinker Part 2

As I composed this, it was a little after 8:00 p.m. last night on what was a fun but demanding day: Alex, my older grandson, turned three today. No noisy party, no big deal, although his real birthday present comes in two weeks when the family is going to Walt Disney World and the Bahamas. Things have changed a LOT from the days when I was a kid!

Back then, in the Dark Ages, birthday presents were normally badly needed new clothes, underwear, or shoes. When I was about to turn 7, however, I made it abundantly clear that I was hoping to get a butterfly net for my birthday. It was expensive, too — $7.00. In 1961 dollars, that was equivalent to maybe $40 or $50 today; I haven’t priced butterfly nets recently — I just try to avoid men in all-white clothing chasing me with big ones. Yes, I suppose I was getting a head start on the collecting binge that 4th graders go through — collecting coins, stamps, rocks, butterflies and moths, dolls, toy soldiers — you name it. And just last Wednesday, as I was leaving after my doctor’s visit, sure enough, a boy about 9 or 10 ran up to me to show me the beautiful butterfly he’d just caught . . . and it was huge.

Nerd that I am, I pointed out that actually, it was a moth. “That’s not a moth,” he said, but Pete, the nerd naturalist, used the occasion to instruct the kid, pointing out that butterflies have simple thin antennae; this bad boy bug had antennae that looked like enormous feathers. Like the big fat sphinx moths, looking more like a small bird you see at twilight in a lighted stadium [http://www.pbase.com/rcm1840/image/135226348] or gas station . . . or if you had a honeysuckle vine in early summer, like I did as a kid, you’ll remember their fat bodies, the red and white horizontal stripes on those tasty juicy fat bodies (well, to a bird, but these are what tomato hornworms turn into), and from somewhere deep in that scary dungeon that is my brain, I said without even thinking, “That’s called a Cecropia moth.” How the hell I remembered that obscure factoid from over half a century ago is just something I do, and it’s scary. But here’s a link so you can maybe see why I would’ve never forgotten its name, so you can see just how cool that moth is: http://photobucket.com/images/Cecropia+Moth#!

So what does all that have to do with steelhead, the subject several days ago? A steelhead is a rainbow trout, right? It’s a trout that travels down creeks and rivers to the ocean, there to fatten up for a few years, to come back up their natal creeks and rivers to spawn. Unlike our five species of Pacific salmon, however, steelhead don’t necessarily die after spawning; in fact, some even spawn three or four times in their lifetimes (sounds about like me . . . ) But so what?

Well, it’s a pretty BIG “so what.” It isn’t just that they’re anadromous; it isn’t just that they don’t die after spawning. In fact, even among steelhead, there are amazing adaptations that individual populations have. They’re not just one kind of fish; BUT fisheries biologists in the late 1800s up until even today, unfortunately, certainly thought so. Back then, a rainbow was a rainbow, and the distinction between stay-at-home rainbows and anadromous ones was ignored or not known. They were all gathered up. The biologists stripped them of their eggs and sperm, mixed it all up, stream-resident rainbows and migratory steelhead rainbows, redband trout of different races, and produced “rainbow trout” to stock in every little creek, pond, or lake that would support trout, whether it already had some or not, since “these trout were produced by science!” Tens of thousands of years of survival in harsh, almost unbelievable conditions, led to important adaptations, but the biologists didn’t know that or care to know, for that matter. They shipped those fertilized eggs, or baby trout, or fingerling trout, or “catchable” five-per-pound rainbows all around the world. Hatchery trout are designed to produce hatchery fish, eating food pellets. It’s illegal to “chum” in most areas of California, but I wonder what would happen if you went to a lake recently stocked with hatchery rainbows, and scattered handfuls of gravel, like a hatchery worker ringing the dinner ball. Think you could catch your limit then, with the lake’s entire shipment of factory fish swarming near you, eagerly looking for the “food?”

“SO?” I hear you say. Well, for one thing, rainbow trout are aggressive fish, and hatchery rainbow trout are aggressive . . . and stupid. They are produced because hatchery life created the soulless creatures to provide meat, and for no other reason. Well, ask any fly fisherman (male or female) who’s been skunked, and he’ll say that he matched the hatch with a Size 20 Chironomid pupa pattern and a 6X tippet, to this one trout, and it refused to take despite fifteen perfect casts, and it was the smartest goddamned fish he’d ever seen. [Note to all women who have been made trout fishing widows by their husbands: Fish are actually pretty stupid and have tiny little brains. So tease your hubbys, but don’t push it too far. Right. Put a worm on a hook, and that trout’s ass is yours.

These dumbed-down hatchery fish — beautifully nicknamed “rubber trout” or “factory trout” by the late Robert H. Smith, author of Native Trout of North America, in which he detailed his lifelong task of catching and photographing every species and subspecies of salmonid in North America (even in high-elevation streams below the Tropic of Cancer in the Sierra Madre Occidental on mainland Mexico, where as many as possibly six or more undescribed new species live), the hatchery trout have had the very precise body language of the species bred out of them. They don’t understand the posturing of native fish, instead, disrupting the orderly and understood body language of wild native fish and just blundering their way through, shooting their wad while native pairs of trout are spawning, weakening the gene pool, displacing the wild native fish, and eventually replacing the natives . . . kind of like what white Europeans did to the world. (to be Continued)

 

E. Giants of History:

Nothing to report today.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S POSTER:
feanor_wants_you_by_gothcorn-da3hv31

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Net_worth_and_financial_wealth

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Toms Strutting Their Stuff at Campus Commons.

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 Mopey 0007 (February 10, 2018)

 

 

 

“What good is seeking a greater law, when that law can be the whims of a man either stupid or ruthless?”

Sanderson, Brandon. Edgedancer: From the Stormlight Archive. Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Almost a week has gone by since I returned from Mendocino. Most of the time, I have felt too exhausted to do much other than driving HRM to and from school, sleeping, and reading. Hopefully, I will get back to swimming this weekend. The weather seems to be getting warmer.

SWAC returns in early March. It will probably better for all concerned that I leave for the month or so that she will be here. While it is a bit of a bother, I look forward to a little traveling if my health allows. The problem I have is in deciding where to go and what to do when I get there.

On March 24th, I intend to accompany Peter to another concert at SFJAZZ. That breaks things up nicely in the middle. Two weeks in March during which I can travel visiting friends in other parts of California and perhaps stay with my sister and George in Mendocino for a few days. Then, my finances willing, spending the next three weeks or so in Italy, or Thailand or on some adventure cruise somewhere. Alas, this needs all too much planning. I hate that. Probably, i’ll just drift and see what happens. Something always does. Didn’t I just go through this a month ago?

Recently, Dick requested an update from the school counselor about HRM’s performance. Amid a generally upbeat report, the counselor mentioned that in a recent History exam on a question to be answered in three paragraphs, the first two paragraphs of HRM’s answer were “positively brilliant” but the third was, “from Mars.” Should we worry?

On Saturday, after almost a month of finding reasons not to do so, some real others make believe, I got it together to exercise again. Even while I sat at the edge of the pool, I still told myself it would be too cold, I was too sick or tired yadda, yadda, yadda and I should simply return home, clutch my hot pad, and put myself back to bed. But, in the end, I dove in and enjoyed myself immensely. I feel good tonight, better than I have felt in a while.

That same night, I had a wonderful dream that seemed to last for hours. In that dream, there was an ancient Roman Ruin located on San Francisco’s shoreline somewhere near Candlestick Point (this is a dream after all). There the Roman Nobility would greet the ships returning from war, their holds full to bursting with treasure. It was decided by the present day city fathers to restore those ruins as another tourist attraction — sort of like Fisherman’s Wharf. To kick everything off, they held a grand party in the ruins prior to restoring them. I assisted in the preparations for the party throughout the day. That night, the rich and the powerful and even the not so rich and powerful arrived dressed in period costumes, togas, chitons and the like. The richest and most powerful men were often old and shriveled with paper thin skin and blue veins pulsing beneath. The women came in all shapes and sizes and were aggressive and bejeweled.

Each room had something different going on — different food, music, dances, conversation, drinks and the like. I visited most of them and enjoyed it, especially the dancing and the music.

During the evening, I noticed there were about five or six people who traveled through those rooms and hallways that had not been fixed up for the party. They clearly were searching for something. One large room was filled with water and they used small boats to search for whatever they were looking for. They appeared to be led by a tall, handsome man dressed in a tuxedo.

Later, after most of the guests had left, I joined them. I never learned what it was they were looking for, but I enjoyed going from room to room with them looking for it. Later, we all sat by a campfire in the corner of a vacant roofless room and talked about lots of things for awhile.

Dawn came. I knew that I would have to wake up soon and rejoin my waking life. I was a bit sad knowing I probably would probably never return.

While I lay in my bed in that grey time between sleep and wakefulness, I wondered if the dreams of our waking life were our reality — whether life was just a long daily slog from the darkness of the womb to the night with no morning or if it was a series of time garbled one night stands that go on changing each night forever.

The week has gone silently by. Looking out the window as I enjoy my afternoon snacks of Oreo cookies dunked in milk, I watch the days zip by like cars on a freeway.

I have given some thought to my spring travels. One half or about 3 weeks I probably will wander about California visiting friends. The other half, when I began to look into it, seemed to depend somewhat on cost.Thailand, Italy, A Caribbean cruise, and Cuba all seem to cost about the same and may be affordable. Only my dream boat trip down the Peruvian Amazon looks as though it is too expensive. I still need to get a new car. Oh well, I guess I will kick the can down the road for another week or so. Maybe something will happen to force a decision or change my options.

The week has trundled by. During my walk around the lakes this morning, I saw the first greening of the trees. It seems to be a bit early for that. I think of the wintertime in the golden hills as the silver time. The naked deciduous trees have a silver cast to them and the often overcast skies are silver also. Late summer is the gold time — golden hills with deep blue skies. Autumn — red, brown and yellow, and spring — virescent and speckled in brazen pastels.

One morning while driving HRM to school, I in my grandfatherly mode mentioned to him that he is now getting big, adult-sized, and that simple physical actions like suddenly spreading his arms wide or rushing through a restaurant that to an adult would seem cute were he a small child, now that he is almost man-sized would make some people frightened and when frightened adults often act angry. I wanted to warn him that now that he is a teenager simple physical actions that may have drew smiles when he was little may cause a different reaction now that he is becoming man-sized. “Stop!” he responded, “I do not want to hear that. I do not want to be a teenager. I do not want to grow up. Why should I want to?” I could not answer that. Sometimes, grandfathers are just old and not too wise.

 

B. RAGGED ROBIN’S NATURE NOTES:

 

End of January means it is time for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – like many of you I’ve been doing this for years and it is always interesting to read on other blogs what people have seen in their gardens.

It was raining heavily on Saturday and there were few birds about so I did my birdwatch yesterday when it was dry and sunny. Our garden faces South making photography (and even watching birds at times!) a bit of a challenge but it did cloud over a bit for the last half hour.

So what did I see?

House Sparrow x 5
Wood Pigeon x 5
Robin x 2 (sometimes we get 3 in the garden and it is amusing to watch the “resident” robin chasing away the other two intruders!
Blackbird x 2
Great Tit x 1
Blue Tit x 3
Dunnock x 3
Goldfinch x 3
Pasted Graphic
Starling x 1
Long-tailed Tit x 2

As many of you have commented several species fail to put in an appearance during the hour – here it was Magpie, Carrion Crow, Stock Dove, Wren and Coal Tit. The Blackcap we had on the feeders for about two weeks has disappeared but the Ring-necked Parakeets are still visiting – they turned up an hour after the Birdwatch finished.
MONDAY, 29 JANUARY 2018

(JP — It appears that the non-native Parakeets have become as common in the English Midlands as Parrots have on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill. Sometimes, when I used to walk home from my office in Embarcadero Center to my apartment, the parrots would congregate in the trees that grew in the little park I crossed to reach my building. They were a raucous bunch, as noisy as a singles bar on Friday evenings. Perhaps they were mating too.)

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Karoshi is the Japanese word for “death from overwork.”

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. On Top — Another Florid Sentence by James Lee Burke:

“(O)n Monday I woke with a taste like pennies in my mouth and a sense that my life was unspooling before me, that the world in which I lived was a fabrication, that the charity abiding in the human breast was a collective self-delusion, and that the bestial elements we supposedly exorcised from civilized society were not only still with us but had come to define us, although we sanitized them as drones and offshore missiles marked “occupant” and land mines that killed children decades after they were set.”

Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 393). Simon & Schuster.

 

B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/01/thinking-about-president-donald-trump.html

A lecture by Brad De long in which he argues that although He Who Is Not My President is undoubtedly a fascist, he is a soft fascist and an incompetent one to boot. “We are not yet in trouble,” he suggests, because, “in other countries that have competent fascists, their democracies have died.” Our’s has not…Yet.

However, in a comment on his post, a student of his takes issue with this:
Professor:

i admire your optimism but I’m afraid the Republic is indeed lost. A full 40% of the population admires Trump and his programs. Moreover, the current system (2 senators per state, electoral college, Citizens United, etc.) gives this population a structural advantage that cannot be overcome. On top of this, you have a conservative media-industrial complex that expertly manipulates popular opinion with manufactured outrage. The white working class in this country always votes against its class interest. Seriously, what mechanism will cause this to change?

I think you are deceiving yourself on the ability of the system to regenerate positive change. The best hope for California is some type of peaceful dissolution from the rest of the US where Cali can be a France on the Pacific and the Deep South becomes South Africa. On the whole, the USA should become an EU-type union.

I just think we are so polarized and the forces causing polarization so powerful that we cannot be put back together again.
JustAnUndergraduate

(JP— Sigh! DeLong overlooks that Hitler’s “incompetents” were eventually purged while his student seems to suggest that had, for example, Saxony withdrawn from Germany in 1932 it would have survived the war. In fact, arguments like these also were made in the 1930s. They encouraged passivity and ultimately were proven to be dreadfully mistaken.)

 

C. Today’s Poem:

The following is not so much a poem as an experiment. I took the James Lee Burke florid sentence I quoted in a previous T&T post and broke it up into one image per line producing something appearing like a poem but lacking the rhythms of most poetry. Still, read slowly and pausing at the end of each line to take in the image, it overall leaves one with the essential compressed imagery of poetry along with two contrasting overriding concepts, one of growth and one of decay, one of nature and one of the works of humanity, one of hope and one of sadness.

Regardless of the time of year
Even in spring
When the petals of the azaleas
Were scattered on the grass
And the sunlight
Was transfused
Into a golden-green presence
Inside the canopy
Of the live oaks

The rooms of the house
Remained cold and damp,
The lichen on the trees
And the flagstones
And birdbaths
And even the tombs
Of the original owners
A testament to the decay
And slow adsorption
Of man’s handiwork
On the earth.
James Lee BURKE

 

D. Snippets from Comments on Prior Posts:

 

1. From Peter

Just finished reading a fascinating book called “The North Pole” by Kathan Brown, another Antioch graduate, and creator and owner of Crown Point Press in SF, around the corner from MOMA – an account of trips she took to the North Pole in 2002 and Spitzbergen in 2003. Includes many great photos she took, and discussions with scientists and others who had made the trip (by Russian icebreaker [tourists in the summer, breaking channel through the winter ice for shipping through the Northeast Passage]) or were/are otherwise interested in the polar regions, and historical references from earlier arctic explorers. Wonderful descriptions of the ice, the stillness, the light, and the comparatively few people who go there (seems only about 14,000 people have ever been up to the far north polar region).

Also some very thoughtful observations on the severe impacts of climate change on the world, especially the far north, and continued bad news if we don’t mend our ways. Apparently, the earth has experienced fluctuations of temperature over time, roughly 100,000-year glacial periods followed by roughly 10,000 year interglacial periods of warmer temperatures. No one knows for sure, but some think the “little ice age” of 1300-1800s may have been the start of a new ice age after 10,000 years of moderate climate, except that human-caused global warming, with greatly increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, began around 1850 and may have interrupted the pattern. So now we’re experiencing warmer temperatures and droughts, with the catastrophic results being mass uproars and migrations from the Mideast (e. g., Syria, and Iran’s mass demonstrations resulting from dried up farmland after several drought years), and chaos about to happen in South Africa with the water shortage, but eventually the glacial cold will return.

 

2. Adrian:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure by W. H. Davies (3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940)

 

E. Xander’s Post

Several years ago I posted a piece about fishing on the Blackfoot River in Montana ( https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/musings-on-the-blackfoot-river-fly-fishing-and-hiawatha/ ). Recently, I came across an interesting Facebook post by Pete Xander about fishing and the environment along California’s southern coast. The following is an excerpt from that much longer piece containing Xander’s musings about fishing on Malibu Creek.
Hook, Line, and Sinker

… Steelhead in Malibu Creek? That’s right. And you thought the only steelhead in Malibu was Nick Nolte after one of his infamous drunken incidents (my mom and I saw him in the supermarket at Pt. Dume one 4th of July, squeezing cantaloupes, and I asked my mom who she thought he was. “Some hung-over beach bum,” she said, all too accurately….

SO, steelhead spawning in Malibu Creek. Absolutely there are. Hell, they used to spawn in rivers in San Diego County, and the rainbow trout that now occur in Pauma Creek on the southwestern shoulder of Palomar Mountain are the last of the original populations, the fires in 2003 having literally boiled away the water in the upper Sweetwater River west of the Laguna Mountains, killing the remaining native trout. The very last one died in a fish tank poorly managed by DFG personnel. …

Regarding Malibu Creek, in the early ‘80s, a biologist with the Department of Fish and Game (now known as the Department of Fish and Wildlife), Dave Drake, took me all throughout the Malibu shoreline, from Topanga Creek (where steelhead still spawn in years of average rainfall) to the Ventura County line, giving me a one-day crash course on the biota of Malibu. Even today there’s a creek I can take you to, where the stream goes under the road and a large pool is formed just before it, where there will be a decent sized steelhead, facing upstream and waiting for food to drift down. The quickest way to ID a steelhead from a rainbow trout is that steelhead have very few spots below the lateral line, while rainbows have spots all over.

So during the crazy El Nino storm season of early 1983, there was a break of several days around the second weekend of February, with a Santa Ana pushing the temperatures into the low 80s. I called my brother down in San Diego and had him come up to fish for the steelhead. The mouth of Malibu Creek was open to the sea, and so I knew steelhead would be in there, on their first spawning run opportunity in three years. But just a little over a mile from the ocean, a dam built in the 1940s — which silted up almost immediately — blocks their access to miles and miles of suitable spawning habitat of the upper Malibu Creek watershed and its major tributaries, Cold Creek and Las Virgenes Creek. The damn dam is scheduled to be taken down but that still has not started yet. The creek was full of first-year fish, bright as a newly minted dime and flashing a pale rose/lavender color and still with a few sea lice attached to their fins. They were far too young to spawn, but they wanted to check things out, a phenomenon previously thought to occur only on the Eel, Klamath, and a couple of other river systems in northern California and southern Oregon, where those yearling steelheads are known as “half-pounders.”

My brother and I caught and released over three dozen steelhead smolts apiece, each of them fat, healthy, and around 9” to 12” each that gorgeous Saturday afternoon, and personnel from DFG were there with avid L.A.area fly fishermen, there to assist DFG in sampling the steelhead population and bolstering the case to protect these critically endangered fish. We used ultralight gear with 2# test line, and Dardevle “Skeeter” spoons, weighing only 1/32 of an ounce, less than an inch long, and with barbs on the hooks crushed flat with needle-nosed pliers, to make it easier to release and less injurious to the fish (which is how I always fish).

After spending the night at my apartment in Long Beach, my brother went back up to Malibu Creek on Sunday. I had staff reports to write and couldn’t go back for another fun day of fishing. When he got back early that evening, I asked how he’d done, and his face grew pale. He had hooked and lost an enormous fish — nearly a yard long and weighing at least 15 pounds. There was no way he should have been able to fight such a large powerful fish with his tiny rod and light line. It has probably just spawned and was exhausted from the effort.

The pool was a long and deep one, with the water up against a steep rock wall on the west side and willows choking the east side. Had the fish gone upstream or downstream, it would’ve popped the line. As it was, my brother had it on for maybe ten minutes, thrashing up and down in that same pool. Exhausted, the fish surfaced and rolled on its side. When my brother reached down to grab the fish by its gill cover, it twisted away from him, and the line popped. He would’ve released it, of course, but it was every bit as large as the fish Dave Drake titillated me with during his telling stories of the fish he’d personally caught (a cleaned one was over 12 pounds).

This steelhead, officially referred to as the southern population or southern race of steelhead, are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and fishing for them is not allowed. The Santa Clara River in Ventura County and Sespe Creek, a major tributary, have good populations of steelhead (though only a small fraction of the historic levels), and the San Luis Rey River in northern San Diego County, with its tributary stream, the aforementioned Pauma Creek, can have a good population . . . IF alterations to the stream course and water withdrawals for agriculture don’t fill it in and desiccate it beyond sustainability….

Will I ever live to see a catch-and-release sport fishery for steelhead in southern California? I sure hope so. From just one action on my part in the early ‘80s, when I was on the staff of the Coastal Commission, I was able to keep the southern steelhead from extinction. It was for the expansion of the Tapia Water Treatment Plant in upper Malibu Creek. Although the service area is all outside the Coastal Zone, the plant itself is inside and subject to our jurisdiction, and so they needed our approval to expand to 8 million gallons of treated effluent to be discharged into the creek. I placed conditions of approval on it, requiring they upgrade to tertiary treatment and to discharge all of the treated water into

Malibu Creek. “Well . . . that’s what we want to do,” said one slightly perplexed engineer. I explained that I didn’t want it sold off to water the landscaping on Hwy. 101 — I wanted it all discharged into Malibu Creek. The upgrade to tertiary is what they as professionals wanted, but they knew their board of directors would never approve of it. But jeez — with that mean guy at the Coastal Commission FORCING them to upgrade, well, they had no choice. And with a wink and a nod, our meeting finished to the satisfaction of all of us.

Turns out that throughout much of the 1990s and 2000s, extended droughts dried up all of the streams in southern California, except for Malibu Creek, with its augmented flow keeping the stream and its inhabitants alive. Malibu Creek was the only supply of water for spawning, and while its spawning habitat is extremely limited, it kept the fish from becoming extinct. If I never did anything else noteworthy in my life, I’ll always be proud of keeping a magnificent species of sport fish alive through my actions. I was the right person, at the right place and at the right time to affect positive change, and I’ll wear that as an honor badge, and with pride, for as long as I live.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
abstraction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_4010
A Path Through the Redwoods

 

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. Mopey 14, 0007 (January 31, 2018)

 

 

“Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?”
~Author Unknown

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

A very pleasant thing happened to me this weekend. I drove to San Francisco to spend the Saturday evening with Peter and Barrie. Peter had acquired tickets for a concert at some place called SFJAZZ. Barrie was entertaining a friend and couldn’t go, so Peter invited me to accompany him. I agreed.

I never heard of SFJAZZ. Peter explained that a few years ago a wealthy Techie funded and built a jazz venue and institute located in the Civic Center area of the City that already houses the Opera and Ballet. The institution provides Jazz education and performances.

The building that houses it contains a number of places to eat and drink (especially drink) and at least two auditoriums. The Main auditorium is a marvelous thing that sits almost 1000 people. The acoustics are great. We sat in the third row.

Vijay Iyer performed with his sextet. Iyer from Albany NY, the son of Tamil Immigrants, studied math and physics at Yale and received his doctorate from Berkley. His thesis was, “Microstructures of Feel, Macrostructures of Sound. Cognition in West African and African-American Musics.” Among his many awards, in 2012, he was declared Artist of the Year, Pianist of the Year, and with his trio, small group of the year.

While Iyer’s style of Jazz is not for everyone, the performance, nevertheless, was great. I loved the entire evening. During the concert, I sipped saki from a can. It was like drinking Red Bull while racing in a Ferrari.
Pasted GraphicPa

 

The next day I drove (Naida lent me her car) out to an auto dealership in Pittsburg. I hoped to buy an automobile to replace the one that went bust last week. Unfortunately, George who accompanied me and I were unable to close the deal, so I remain car-less but for Naida’s generosity. What to do? — What to do?

Anyway, after leaving the dealership, I drove from Pittsburgh to Sacramento through the always interesting delta to attend the memorial for Bill Geyer. There were a lot of people gathered in the community center at Campus Commons. Judge Ron Robie, an old friend was there with his wife. Bill, Ron, and I shared a condo in Kirkwood for many years. Also present were a good number of the aging lions of the State Legislature and government from the Reagan and Brown 1 administrations as well as Bill and Naida’s family and friends. After the speeches, we gathered for food, cocktails, and conversation. I do not do so well at social events with people I do not know well and quickly felt uncomfortable so, after a few minutes and downing a couple of chocolate cookies, I left and drove home.
IMG_3992

Adrian arrived on Friday to spend the weekend before returning to Hong Kong. Naida mentioned that she would like to visit someplace near Point Arena where she was considering spreading Bill’s ashes. I agreed to drive her there.

On the way, I learned a lot about Carmel during the years that Naida attended high school there in the sixties and seventies and of her friends and acquaintances of note from Henry Miller to Kim Novak. The stories made the five-hour drive seem to pass in minutes. Still, by the time we arrived at my sister’s house, I was exhausted and took a long nap. After I woke-up, Mary and George left for dinner with some friends so Naida and I drove to Noyo Harbor for a fish dinner. I had a passable calamari steak and Naida’s petrale sole looked quite tasty also. While we ate overlooking the harbor, the night fishing fleet their decks piled high with crab pots, mast lights stunning the dark, and seals trailing in their wake paraded under the Highway 1 bridge and out into the black ocean

The next morning we traveled to Point Arena to check out a place to spread Bill’s ashes. A company had purchased a redwood grove and were selling trees under which one could spread the ashes of the deceased. The company would maintain the grove in perpetuity like a normal cemetery. They promised to construct paths and pavilions and provide a memorial stone at the base of the chosen tree. I walked around the forest and communed with the sun sprites while Naida discussed more important things with the company’s representative.

IMG_4002
Choosing the Ideal Tree

 

IMG_4014
Pookie in the Forest Primeval

Later, with my sister, we drove out to Pacific Star Winery. There we bought a bottle of Pinot Blanc from the ever vivacious Sally the winemaker and spread out a picnic lunch on the bluffs overlooking the ocean.
IMG_4017
Maryann and Naida at Pacific Star

We then walked along the bluffs to “Dad’s Bench,” where we sat awhile, talked of this and that and watched a pod of whales mosey on down the coast on their way to their summer feeding grounds in Baja.
IMG_4018
Pookie on Dad’s Bench.

On the drive back to Sacramento, there were many stories: of dinners with Ronald and Nancy Reagan and of Nixon and his thuggish henchman; of the sad decline of men of influence and power: and the struggle of women trying to survive in an uncaring and possibly malicious world. And then, I was back in the Golden Hills too tired to think and so I went to bed and dreamed a lot.

 

B. RAGGED ROBIN’S NATURE NOTES:

American Relations

Another grim day, but not entirely without bird interest for me. Pam and I visited the “Dogs Trust Canterbury,” which is nearly up to Whitstable, to meet a small friend. While we took her for a walk in the grounds I was delighted to hear a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling. I didn’t have my bins on but we will be returning and I’ll have another look. While I was looking through what was being I was pleased to see that there is still a Waxwing in East Kent. Waxwings are in a small family of three species. The Bohemian Waxwing, which occurs in Europe, North America, and Asia.The Cedar Waxwing, from N America and the Japanese Waxwing from E.Asia. A closely related family is the “Silky Flycatchers” from North and Central America. The last of the closely related families have just one member, the enigmatic Grey Hypocolius from the Middle East. I’m not going to pick out a favorite, but the long-tailed Silky-flycatcher is stunning.
_W4A2746 Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher

Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher.

January 21, 2018

(JP—What is a “bin” that one would “put on”? I picture a plastic garbage bag.)

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

My account of my recent contretemps with the possible return of my cancer prompted a number of friends to express their concern and support, for which I am both pleased and humbled. On a less uplifting vein, some also reported on the recent deaths of a number of friends and acquaintances that I previously had not known about. Like most people I suppose, throughout my life, I would learn, now and then, about someone I knew who died. But this seems different. As we reach the latter part of our seventies, it is no longer the few who fall by the wayside every year leaving only the hardiest or luckiest of us to drag ourselves the last few meters into our crypts, but the remnants of an entire generation that now marches together to its inevitable end.

As I thought about this, I realized that our current situation seems different from the periodic winnowing over the years of individuals through, sickness, accidents, violence and the like that humans have experienced throughout the age. It is more like a sudden harvesting. We, who were born around the time penicillin came to be used and survived in unprecedented numbers, strode confidently en masse into the folk-rock and acid kool-aid age of the 60s and 70s, and then found money to be more psychically rewarding than meditation in the 80s, may be the first humans to experience the abrupt disappearance of an entire generation.

During our lives, we saw the ending of those universal scourges that caused huge numbers of deaths from childbirth, childhood diseases, plagues and epidemics, famine and malnutrition and even quite recently have seen a reduction in the percentage of deaths from violence or war. As a result, we may be the first generation where most of us managed to survive long enough to pass into old age. Now perhaps for the first time in human history, we will experience the death of an entire generation seemingly all at once in a relatively few scant years. What does that mean?

Before, when we got as old as I am now, we were the few, the survivors — those who escaped the plagues, wars, and privations that were our heritage. Now, all of our age group will disappear virtually at once. Rather than harvesting a few bales of hay from the field throughout the year, now the scythe will cut down the entire field in autumn leaving only a very few stalks standing until the fast approaching winter. Unlike previous generations, we never experienced the death of many if not most of our friends, lovers, and peers as we grew older. And, that is a good thing. But most of us alive today, as a result, lost the opportunity to acquire the wisdom that comes from dealing with our mortality in small doses as we ramble through life. In effect, most of us never learned how to grow old and wise. What do we do now?

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

The following post from 2011 describes some of my impressions of California upon returning after spending one year living in Thailand.

“I guess leaving Paradise by the Sea and traveling to the Big Endive by the Bay can be looked at as an adventure that at least began in Thailand and ended back there as well.”

“Some of my Impressions of America after a one-year absence”:

“Following the adjustment of my system to the shock of the relatively cool and dismal weather, my initial impression was distress at the dark, drab, shapelessness of the clothing that everyone seems to prefer wearing. It was interesting to me that when I commented to others about my perception they readily agreed that the fashion was indeed dark and perhaps drab, but they denied it was shapeless. One person even went so far as to hold up a dark grey T-shirt as evidence that some people (himself in particular) did not wear shapeless clothing. And indeed, I could discern that it had the classic shape of a T-shirt.”

“Although the Bay Area looked mostly the same wherever I go, the latinization of the Mission district in San Francisco continues unabated, extending at least another 5 to 10 blocks in either direction along that thoroughfare and into the neighborhoods surrounding it. On the other hand, the Sinoization of North Beach appears to have slowed in favor of the Sunset.”

“The Holidays were, as usual, a mixed bag and the serious illnesses and suffering of several of my friends made almost everything appear listless. Nevertheless, my traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my daughter and seeing my son and his family along with my sisters family and my grandchildren cheered me up.”

“During my stay, I re-connected with many friends, Maurice Trad and his daughter Molly, Bill Gates, his daughter and his friend Tiffany, Peter and Barry Grenell, Sheldon Siegel, Terry Goggin et.al. and Bob and Charlotte Uram. Unfortunately, I was only able to contact others by phone.”

“In Sacramento, I spent three lovely days with Bill Geyer and Naida West on their ranch and a day with Stevie and Norbert Dall. Surprisingly, I was asked to take Hayden with me during this time so that his mother could go off to the coast (Pismo Beach) with “friends”. He had just returned the prior evening from spending 5 weeks with a family he hardly knew in Seattle while his mother traveled to Thailand to have what appeared to me to be a facelift. Nevertheless, I enjoyed his company and was quite sad when I had to leave him and return to San Francisco.”

 

HaydenandJoe2,Oct15,2011_2
Hayden and I, March 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S FRACTURED FACTOID:

 

There are many types of self-identified witches. The common or garden variety is generally harmless—women of a certain age who wear purple disgracefully, have two or more cats, run a new age shop, recycle fanatically, and sometimes believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

The witch who lives in this particular house doesn’t wear purple, can’t be bothered with pets, prefers wholesale to retail (but quit both trades some years ago), pays a cleaning firm to take care of the recycling, knows several demons personally, personally, and is not even remotely harmless.

Stross, Charles. The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files Book 4) (p. 33). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. On Top: Another Florid Sentence by James Lee Burke.

“The long bar and brass foot rail, the wood-bladed fans, the jars of cracklings and pickled eggs and sausages, the coldness of bottled beer or ice-sheathed mugs, the wink in the barmaid’s eye and the shine on the tops of her breasts, the tumblers of whiskey that glowed with an amber radiance that seemed almost ethereal, the spectral bartender without a last name, the ringing of the pinball machine, all these things became my cathedral, a home beneath the sea, and just as deadly.”

Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 394). Simon & Schuster.

 

B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 

Snagged from Charlie’s Diary http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2018/01/dude-you-broke-the-future.html

Perhaps the scariest post of 2018 so far. Here is an excerpt:

“Topping my list of dangerous technologies that need to be regulated, this is low-hanging fruit after the electoral surprises of 2016. Cambridge Analytica pioneered the use of deep learning by scanning the Facebook and Twitter social graphs to identify voters’ political affiliations. They identified individuals vulnerable to persuasion who lived in electorally sensitive districts and canvas them with propaganda that targeted their personal hot-button issues. The tools developed by web advertisers to sell products have now been weaponized for political purposes, and the amount of personal information about our affiliations that we expose on social media makes us vulnerable. Aside from the last US presidential election, there’s mounting evidence that the British referendum on leaving the EU was subject to foreign cyberwar attack via weaponized social media, as was the most recent French presidential election.”

“I’m biting my tongue and trying not to take sides here: I have my own political affiliation, after all. But if social media companies don’t work out how to identify and flag micro-targeted propaganda then democratic elections will be replaced by victories for whoever can buy the most trolls. And this won’t simply be billionaires like the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer in the United States throwing elections to whoever will hand them the biggest tax cuts. Russian military cyberwar doctrine calls for the use of social media to confuse and disable perceived enemies, in addition to the increasingly familiar use of zero-day exploits for espionage via spear phishing and distributed denial of service attacks on infrastructure (which are practiced by western agencies as well). Sooner or later, the use of propaganda bot armies in cyberwar will go global, and at that point, our social discourse will be irreparably poisoned.”

Charles Stross

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Mob bosses prefer to operate outside the law because it pays them well. The owners of large business enterprises prefer to manipulate the law because it pays them well. Both provide products consumers want. Neither can claim moral superiority over anyone.

 
D. Today’s Poem:

Pasted Graphic 4Pasted
O beautiful wine-bearer, bring forth the cup and put it to my lips
Path of love seemed easy at first, what came was many hardships.
With its perfume, the morning breeze unlocks those beautiful locks
The curl of those dark ringlets, many hearts to shreds strips.
In the house of my Beloved, how can I enjoy the feast
Since the church bells call the call that for pilgrimage equips.
With wine color your robe, one of the old Magi’s best tips
Trust in this traveler’s tips, who knows of many paths and trips.
The dark midnight, fearful waves, and the tempestuous whirlpool
How can he know of our state, while ports house his unladen ships.
I followed my own path of love, and now I am in bad repute
How can a secret remain veiled, if from every tongue it drips?
If His presence you seek, Hafiz, then why yourself eclipse?
Stick to the One you know, let go of imaginary trips.

Hafiz

 

E. Definition of a House Cat:

“Basically it’s a velociraptor with a fur coat and an outsize sense of entitlement — lap fungus… [with the]…hedonistic whims of a furry egomaniac…[and]…a brain the size of a walnut—“
Stross, Charles. The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files Book 5) (p. 231). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Hitler is a fool,” (Oswald) Spengler (Author of Decline of the West) said in 1932, then voted for him for president anyway, because he thought that only strong leaders on the model of the Caesars might save the West from further decline.

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 440). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Pasted Graphic_1

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_3991I

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0007 (January 16, 2018)

 

 

“[T]he only way to live without failure is to be of no use to anyone.”

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 789). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

It was still raining as I set off for my biopsy appointment this morning. I soon discovered something wrong with my car. It would suddenly slow down as though climbing a great steep mountain while the engine screamed like it raced the devil himself. Nevertheless, I had little choice but to push doggedly on if I were to enjoy the pleasure of having needles poked into my throat today.

But, it was not to be. The car gave out on the freeway, all smoking, and rattling. I managed to get it to roll into a nearby gas station. Luckily, Dick was in the area and picked me up on his way to work. He drove me to my appointment in Sacramento. After, an anticlimactic but still unsavory experience having someone jab needles into my neck, I found myself without a means to return to EDH and attend to my automobile crisis. So, I called Stevie and Norbert who, once again, rescued me without complaint. Norbert drove me back to EDH.

Unfortunately, it appeared my car had blown a gasket and remained little more than junk and sat uselessly at a gas station in Folsom. Woe is me.

I needed to spend the day figuring out where to tow it to and find another car to buy. So, I got to work and soon rose to the level of my incompetence and began to panic. For someone who has managed significant organizations now and then, panic should not be in my vocabulary, but alas, there it was peeking up at me like a rattlesnake in a leaf pile. What would a high powered executive do in this situation? Simple, I thought, find someone else and tell him (or her) to do it. But, who? I am not paying anyone who I could inspire (trans. terrorize) to do it. Perhaps, it is time for a nap I suggested to myself — that always makes me feel better.

I didn’t nap — ate a sandwich instead (peanut butter and jelly on an English muffin) and turned to the Amazon website and bought some books — the newest James Lee Burke novel “Robicheaux,” and the third book in a series with a video game plot where the adventurers explore a dungeon and kill things in order to amass wealth or are often themselves killed by the dungeon. What makes it even remotely tolerable is that it is written mostly from the dungeon’s perspective. These books, in addition to the two I am currently reading, should occupy my time until January 16 when two novels I have really been looking forward to are scheduled to be published.

Having done that, I was still stuck deciding what to do about my car. It was 4:30 PM so I thought it was a good time to finally take my nap.

Anyway, to make what is becoming a long story a little bit shorter eventually, I thought I had resolved everything. Alas, here it is two days later and most of my resolving has fallen through. The broken down car remains parked at the gas station waiting for the charity I blessed it with to pick it up on Monday. My inability to arrange until next weekend for a co-signer on the loan for the car I chose to buy to replace my charitable donation leaves me carless for the next 10 days or so. Oh well, as Terry says, “Onward and upward.” Well, perhaps not so much upward…and maybe not so much onward either…so, I guess I am left with just, “Whatever.”

Today, since I still do not have a car, Dick, after taking HRM to school, dropped me off at Bella Bru for my usual breakfast. The walk back home was pleasant. It is about as long as my daily walks around the Lakes. I passed the Indomitable Oak on the way. It finally lost its leaves.
IMG_3970
The now leafless Indomitable Oak.

I have finished reading Dungeon Calamity and am half-way through Robicheaux. Dave and Clete continue their bromance while, with their usual violence and self-indulgence, maneuvering through Burke’s typical plot focused on Southern guilt and Dave and Clete’s maudlin memories. (It should be noted that whenever Dave does something wrong, he either get’s drunk, goes to an AA meeting or goes to church. Sometimes he just beats someone up. Clete, on the other hand, either gets drunk [he never goes to an AA meeting or into a church], beds the wrong woman or lifts weights. Sometimes he too just beats someone up. They both like to fish from a pirogue floating on the bayou — it seems to relax them.)

I cannot get enough of Burke’s lush poetic sentences.

“Regardless of the time of year—even in spring, when the petals of the azaleas were scattered on the grass and the sunlight was transfused into a golden-green presence inside the canopy of live oaks—the rooms of the house remained cold and damp, the lichen on the trees and flagstones and birdbaths and even the tombs of the original owners a testimony to the decay and slow absorption of man’s handiwork on the earth.”

Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 163). Simon & Schuster.

In two days, I have my appointment with the doctor who will tell me if my cancer has returned. Obviously, it is on my mind. Tonight, I feel neither fear nor despair — just the sense that life goes on and on until it no longer does and worries about the inevitable have little reason to impact my consciousness, emotions or behavior.

Today was overcast. Dick dropped me off at my usual breakfast place. But because it looked like it was going to rain, I walked home instead of going on to the HC. Back at the house, I took a dollop of medicinal MJ and then, for about an hour, listened to Astrid Gilberto and Brubeck’s, A Girl from Ipanema, and U2’s, Songs of Innocence; finished reading Robicheaux; started on the 4th volume of Maxwell’s Shifting Tides series; and tried not to think too much about the next few days. Then, I took a long nap. When I awoke, it was time for dinner. Tomorrow is more than another day for me.

It’s Wednesday morning, Dick dropped me off an IHOP about 3 or 4 miles from the doctor’s office. After breakfast, I walked to my appointment. Walking through the commercial areas of suburbia is not for the faint-hearted. The drivers cruise down the main streets or squeal out of driveways seemingly oblivious to what their metal clad vehicles could do to flesh and blood should they strike the rare pedestrian walking along. To make it worse, the constant repetition of the built environment lulled me into a drug like trance as I rambled on oblivious to the cars whizzing by and the world around me.

At one point, I spotted a historical marker in the bushes. It identified a strip mall parking lot as the place where in 1848 a Mormon prospector sent by BY himself to scout out a location on which to build the Mormon homeland and to find gold to pay for it, actually did find gold — a lot of it. BY, however, decided he and his co-religious minions were not going to travel any further west than the shores of the Great Salt Lake. So, he ordered the prospector to close up shop and bring the gold with him to Utah. The prospector did so, hiding it in the wagon that transported him and his family over the mountains and across the desert. Once he arrived at the Great Salt Lake they used the gold to finance the local mint, the profits from which funded the Mormon Empire back when it was just a struggling start-up.

Anyway, eventually, I arrived at the doctor’s office fully convinced my dark thoughts were to become even darker following his report.

I was surprised. The doctor bounced into the examination room, said, “Good News. The biopsy was negative,” and after a few seconds of happy-talk sent me on my way with an appointment to see him again in May. It seems, this month so far has been a series of anti-climaxes.

As I waited for the Uber driver to pick me up and drive me back home, I felt both elated and embarrassed. Elated because I now could get on with my bucket list knowing that the inevitable pain and misery that usually comes with the winding down of our clock as we age has been put off for at least another year or two. Embarrassed, because for the past month or so, I have been busily bemoaning to all who would listen to the emotional sufferings generated by the inevitability of my early demise. To all that I have burdened with my now obviously imagined concerns about my health, I apologize.

 

B. RAGGED ROBIN’S NATURE NOTES:

“I just loved this book — a young botanist’s story of his quest to see every UK orchid in one year. His passion shines through and there is so much information on orchids. It certainly made me want to go out and search for some orchids of my own — a very inspiring writer.”
P1000409

 

JP — Every orchid in the UK in one year? Wow! People with obsessions sure make life interesting for those of us who choose just to sit around and watch.

( http://raggedrobinsnaturenotes.blogspot.com/2016/03/ )

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Since this is the beginning of the New Year, and a time to reminisce as well as to plan for the future, I thought it appropriate to re-post a portion of a prior T&T issue written in 2010 shortly after I had begun living in Thailand:

I last wrote on Friday while waiting for the plane to take us to BKK. Today is Wednesday, March 31 in Thailand. I am sitting in a restaurant in Jomtien Beach situated across the road from the sand and water and in front of the condo complex in which I have rented a studio apt. for the next six months.

When I arrived in BKK from Chiang Mai on Friday, I had a little boy who loved me and who I loved in return and had a large house in Paradise. When I left BKK Tuesday for Pattaya, I had none of them. His mother (SWAC) decided to take him on to Italy and then the US and was not planning on returning anytime in the foreseeable future.

In my life, I have lost a child to SIDS, and two children to domestic turmoil. Eventually, the two returned — one after eight months, surrendered by his mother who could no longer cope, and the other, years later. She returned on her own through an act of courage and self-awareness far beyond that usually found in an eight-year-old. And now, thirty years later, an innocent little four-year-old boy wanting not much more than security and stability is wrenched away from his home back into aimless wandering from place to place and sudden abandonment. With each loss, the pain is deeper but the mourning briefer.

I have moved from Paradise in Chiang Mai to Pattaya that some say is more than halfway to Hell. Jomtien Beach is considered the quiet side of Pattaya, but it still sits squarely on the road to damnation.

No more, the well-tended lawns of Paradise in the Mountains or the panting missionaries out to save my soul; the quiet nights were broken by the moans and screams as the rodents, snakes and feral cats play out the drama of life and death in the wild lands surrounding the walled gardens of that Paradise. No more, the bird songs and flowering trees. I realize now that even Paradise without the laughter and squeals of children playing seems dull indeed. No more, the tall blond uniformed children on the manicured playing fields dreaming of a world with a Jesus whose only demands on them are to believe in him and to vote Republican. Instead, I now reside somewhere on the road to hell, peopled by boney nosed tattooed pot-bellied men worshiping the goddess “poon-tang” and slight pretty women dreaming of salvation from the poverty and penury of their lives by the wealth extracted from their tattooed pot-bellied devotees.

As irony would have it, my apartment is located in the Jomtien Paradise Condominiums. At night I can look out from my balcony towards the lights of Hell (Yes, you can see Hell from Paradise.) In my mind’s eye, I see neon reflecting like jewels from the dragon’s fire on the beads of sweat spawned by the desperation of desire. And do you know something, for the first time in three months, I feel like I can breathe.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

From Brad Delong’s blog, Grasping Reality with Both Hands:

180.8 Million people are represented by the 49 senators who caucus with the Democrats.
141.7 Million people are represented by the 51 senators who caucus with the Republicans.
65.9 million people voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Tim Kaine to be their president and vice president
63.0 Million people voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence to be their president and vice president.

JP — This seems to indicate we are something less than a functioning democracy.

 

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 
A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blogs of the Week:

1. http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/tesla-amazon-and-bitcoin

This article by Dean Baker appears in a blog published by The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). It discusses and analyzes the market values of Bitcoin, Amazon, and Tesla and concludes they all are bad perhaps even catastrophic long-term investments for anyone.

2. http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/california-is-working/

This site contains the study by the Labor Center of “the California Policy Model,” a set of 51 policy measures enacted by California between 2011 and 2016 addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, infrastructure, and housing. Critics predicted that these policies would reduce employment and slow economic growth, while supporters argued that they would raise wages for low-wage workers, increase access to health insurance, lower wage inequality, and reduce carbon emissions. The paper assessed some of these claims and concluded that employment and GDP growth were not adversely affected, wages for low-wage workers and overall health insurance rates rose, wage inequality declined modestly and the State was on its way to meeting its 2020 carbon emissions reduction goals.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

1. No society, if it hopes to survive, can, either directly or indirectly, surrender to an individual, institution or groups of individuals or institutions unbridled and uncontrolled dominance over its economic and political well-being, no matter how apparently beneficial it appears at the time.
2. We are better off as a society to first agree to what we want our society look like and then act to make it so than to just hope for the best or trust to individual efforts alone.
3. A fair and just society never ever follows the advice of those with the most to gain financially.
4. A fair and just society resists giving collective funds or financial advantage to those with the resources to compete for them on their own.
5. There is no magic wand, invisible hand, or strong and brilliant leader that can save us from our folly. If we believe that, then Pogo was right when he said so long ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us“.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Quotations to ponder and ponderous quotations.

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.
Aristotle

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
Henry Ford

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
Thomas Jefferson

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Song to Mead
Book of Taliesin XIX

I WILL adore the Ruler, chief of every place,
Him, that supports the heaven: Lord of everything.
Him, that made the water for every one good,
Him, that made every gift, and prospers it.
May Maelgwn of Mona be affected with mead, and affect us,
From the foaming mead-horns, with the choicest pure liquor,
Which the bees collect, and do not enjoy.
Mead distilled sparkling, its praise is everywhere.
The multitude of creatures which the earth nourishes,
God made for man to enrich him.
Some fierce, some mute, he enjoys them.
Some wild, some tame, the Lord makes them.
Their coverings become clothing.
For food, for drink, till doom they will continue.
I will implore the Ruler, sovereign of the country of peace,
To liberate Elphin from banishment.
The man who gave me wine and ale and mead.
And the great princely steeds, beautiful their appearance,
May he yet give me bounty to the end.
By the will of God, he will give in honour,
Five five-hundred festivals in the way of peace.
Elphinian knight of mead, late be thy time of rest.

 

NOTES:
This poem refers to the famous drink of the iron age, mead, the honey wine. It is associated with warrior bravado (especially as it appears in the Gododdin) and with poetic inspiration (as in Norse literature). Along with being about mead, it refers to the Ystoria Taliesin, wherein the young Taliesin has to free his patron and foster-father Elphin from Maelgwn Gwynedd’s prisons.

 

D. Andy’s Musings:

Andy’s father was a pharmacist for most of his life. At 60 years of age, he decided to go to law school and graduated. According to Andy, here is what happened next:

“Then when he passed the bar he joined a firm doing family law. That was the beginning of the end. “That’s a slimy business,” I warned him with my snarky sense of things. “Just you wait.” And for him, it was true. He was now in a profession that forced him to dole out eviction notices and advise women who called him up at 2:00 A.M., telling him that their husband was beating down the door, what should they do? After six months he quit the firm and started working for legal aid. But that wasn’t much better. Most of his clients were drug dealers and multiple offenders, and, yes, they deserved a fair trial, but everyone (including my dad) knew they were guilty. And that fact by itself would have robbed him of any satisfaction if he ever managed to get them off the hook.”

And Weinberger. The Ugly Man Sits in the Garden.

JP — Having done family law, legal aid, International law, real estate and a bunch of other types of law representing clients from the dredges of the earth to the masters of the universe, I can add that all law business could be considered “slimy business.” After all, don’t we learn in law school that our job is to give the best representation and advice to our clients that we can, no matter what scumbags they may be or even how many people may die because of their actions? And, don’t we get paid for doing it? And aren’t we paid well for doing so? And aren’t we happy we are? As someone inquired of me not too long ago, “Given the moral relativity with which lawyers like you must practice their profession, wouldn’t you agree that it would be better for everyone if you were an Uber driver instead?”
E. Some Comments on Previous Post:

 

1. Ruth L.

My friends and relatives are disappearing quickly, too, and I suppose my phone book will need more and more deletions as they depart.

We’re often told not to dwell upon the past. Well, perhaps we shouldn’t “dwell” on it, but I find it rewarding to examine it frequently and I often end up thinking: “Ah, so that’s what it was all about” concerning incidents I hadn’t truly looked at before. New insights all the time, particularly about my parents. I’ve found a great source of information at newspapers.com, some of it confirming family stories. The Brooklyn Eagle has been particularly interesting.

Keep walking, keep loving this earth and keep sending us your beautiful photos.

 

2. Nikki.

Hi, I am ok, You guys? That friend of yours that just passed away is the one who had those vintage cars parked in his yard? Remember we visit him a while ago. I liked one car I believe was an Italian model of some type or French. Curious what is going to happen to those old cars. How HRM is doing in school now?
Ciao

 

3. Peter.

Glad you liked Andy’s musings. Thought you would. I haven’t seen him/them in several years. They’re back in Sonoma running the bookstore; his brother John and wife live nearby. John was our neighbor in New Delhi in 1972-4. That’s where I met Howard, convalescing from dysentery acquired in Nepal.

I’ll be around next weekend, except for a Saturday night gig in Kensington (North Berkeley). Alex’s girls will be up then; looks like we’ll take them to the Discovery Museum at Fort Baker (Sausalito) at some point. Anyway, if you are in town, we can hook up somehow.

I am in the middle of “Fantasyland”- fascinating book, compliments of our local library branch. Makes stuff seem even more amazing and hopeless. Thanks for the tip in previous TAT.

 

4. Naida.

Every day at least one bad thing happens, and usually at least one good thing happens. Today I left my purse in the basket of a grocery cart in the Target parking lot. I came home, put things away and was settling down with a cup of coffee when the cell phone actually rang! A man on the other end said he found my purse and would drive it to my house. He did, The good and the bad were wrapped together in that instance.

I also got the obit to The Bee, My computer is so messed up without Word that I couldn’t write the obit, and my daughter Jennifer drove over with her laptop — wiped out half a working day for. It was slow and difficult using that different format. Then the deadline loomed so I had to get it in today.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Every society needs a cry like that, [Remember KoomValley] but only in a very few do they come out with the complete, unvarnished version, which is “Remember-The-Atrocity-Committed-Against-Us-Last-Time-That-Will-Excuse-The-Atrocity-That-We’re-About-To-Commit-Today! And So On! Hurrah!”

Pratchett, Terry. Thief of Time: A Novel of Discworld (p. 421). HarperCollins.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
Sabina
Postcards from Sabina

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joseph 0007 (January 9, 2018)

 

 

 

“Everything that happens, stays happened.”

Pratchett, Terry. Thief of Time: A Novel of Discworld (p. 145). HarperCollins.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The old year thankfully has passed away. It was not a good year for me nor was it, I imagine, good for the nation or the world for that matter. Alas, there is little that I or anyone else, can do about that other than to get on with it — our lives or whatever else it may be. Oh, I guess we can also vote — early and often as they say.

The cold white sun glares through the silver overcast sky throwing its shadowless light across the path I walk on during today’s morning stroll around the lakes in Town Center. The leaves from the now mostly denuded trees crackle as I step on them while I amble by. My mind rumbles on inside me while I walk along, preaching about years past and possible futures. It annoys me a lot — like I am in the grip of a malevolent being making me plod, head down, walking faster and faster as it feeds my obsessions. Then, having circled the lake the required number of times, I finally rest. The dark voice dissipates, replaced with simple questions like, “Shall I have coffee now or should I continue on to the health club?”

This Morning, I noticed that Bistro 33, the restaurant overlooking the lake, had closed. I enjoyed eating lunch there, outside near the water, often with Norbert, Stevie, and HRM. In the evenings, the local divorcees would gather around the circular bar inside hunting and being hunted in turn. The food was good. I will miss it.

While doing some research on Julian of Norwich (see below), I came across a blog entitled, Ragged Robin’s Nature Notes written by someone living in Warwickshire, England somewhere near where the good Julian spent her days during the far Middle Ages. It seems the blogger, in proper British countryside tradition, spends most of her time in her garden photographing things and posting them in her blog. There, she happily but unnecessarily describes to all that which clearly appears in the photograph. I found her delightfully odd but serious about her preoccupation so I decided to follow her. Besides, how could you not love someone who gives herself the nick-name Ragged Robin and is infatuated with alliteration?

Speaking of the posting of inane photographs of local interest, here is one taken today on my afternoon walk around the lakes in Town Center. I have no idea what kind of trees those are, so don’t ask.
IMG_3924

Recently Ragged Robin posted the following:

THE BADGER CULL

Pasted Graphic 1
New Government e-petition from Simon King to End the Badger Cull instead of Expanding It Into New Areas. Please click on the image for a link to the petition.

Save the badgers

Note: It appears that in this part of England, the government sends out petitions for the general public to comment on pending actions and legislation. What a marvelous idea.

 

This morning on my walk around the lakes, I decided to walk the full three miles and forgo the health club because I still was not feeling right. It was another silver skyed shadowless day, a bit warmer than it had been for the past few days. About halfway through my walk, I received a call from the Good/Bad David. I gave him that name because SWAC would refer to him as either good or bad depending on how she felt about him that week. I had not heard from him in over a year. I was glad he called and took the opportunity to sit on a bench and rest while I spoke with him.

David was a well-known hedonist among the Thailand ex-pat crowd I knew. When he wasn’t carousing in Bangkok or Pattaya, he was working on contract as a supervisor of environment, safety, and security for various oil companies around the world. Because his job at times included leading armed mercenaries through a number of jungle or desert hot spots around the world, I would teasingly accuse him of being a mercenary and CIA spy, which he vigorously denied, as one would expect a proper spy to do. For this reason, I gave him the name “Spy” in the Adventures of the Geriatric Nights of The Oval Table I wrote about here a few years ago.

Anyway, with the collapse of the petroleum exploration industry, the contracts he relied upon for maintenance of his licentious and thoroughly enjoyable lifestyle ended and he was forced to return to South Dakota from whence he came and resume the life of a farmer. Now, I do not really know what a farmer does beyond getting up well before sunrise and developing a close relationship with manure, but I doubt it includes a licentious and thoroughly enjoyable lifestyle. I feel his pain.
IMG_0477IMG_0477.jpg
Spy and I in Jomtien Beach

If upon reading what I have written so far gives you the impression I now do little with my day except stroll around the Town Center Lakes, you would not be too far from the truth. It takes a bit of effort to distinguish the variety of my days this past week from my nights. Actually, the lack if nighttime diversity is not precisely true. For the past week or so, I appear to have come down with the stomach flu that everyone seems to be getting — at least I hope that is all it is. It often wakes me up in the middle of the night. So until the episode lets up, I aimlessly play on my computer — like I am doing right now at 3AM.

Overcast skies and rain this morning as I left for the first of my medical appointments this week. I left the house before 6AM leaving HRM to rouse himself, prepare breakfast and await his friend tall long haired Jake and his parents to pick him up and drive him to school. Dick is in San Diego at meetings with the University there. I was anxious about leaving HRM alone for the hour until he got picked up. While lying there at the clinic awaiting whatever radio-active substance they injected me with to permeate my body, I called HRM every ten minutes or so to see if he was OK. He was.Then, after being required to lie perfectly still for an additional twenty minutes while being trundled back and forth through the PET scan machine, I was released to continue my day. First to IHOP for breakfast and then home and back into bed to catch up on the sleep I had lost worrying about the results of this week’s tests.

If upon reading what I have written so far gives you the impression I now do little with my day except stroll around the Town Center Lakes, you would not be too far from the truth. It takes a bit of effort to distinguish the variety of my days this past week from my nights. Actually, the lack if nighttime diversity is not precisely true. For the past week or so, I appear to have come down with the stomach flu that everyone seems to be getting — at least I hope that is all it is. It often wakes me up in the middle of the night. So until the episode lets up, I aimlessly play on my computer — like I am doing right now at 3AM.

Overcast skies and rain this morning as I left for the first of my medical appointments this week. I left the house before 6AM leaving HRM to rouse himself, prepare breakfast and await his friend tall long haired Jake and his parents to pick him up and drive him to school. Dick is in San Diego at meetings with the University there. I was anxious about leaving HRM alone for the hour until he got picked up. While lying there at the clinic awaiting whatever radio-active substance they injected me with to permeate my body, I called HRM every ten minutes or so to see if he was OK. He was.Then, after being required to lie perfectly still for an additional twenty minutes while being trundled back and forth through the PET scan machine, I was released to continue my day. First to IHOP for breakfast and then home and back into bed to catch up on the sleep I had lost worrying about the results of this week’s tests.

 

B. THE UGLY MAN SITS IN THE GARDEN:

Well, what a pleasant surprise I received today after waking from my post PET scan nap. In the mailbox, I found a package from Peter. It contained a book entitled, The Ugly Man Sits in the Garden by someone named Andy Weinberger. Andy (I am sure he won’t mind me calling him by his first name) lives in Sonoma and his book resembles a polished and much better-written version of T&T — a humorous gentle recording of Andy’s adventures and musing as he goes about owning a bookstore in Sonoma and doing Sonoma type things.

Maybe if I had a loving long-suffering wife willing to type up my musings and edit them while I putter around my bookstore schmoozing with friends like Andy does T&T could be immeasurably improved. Although several of my wives may have been long-suffering, none, I am sure, would ever have considered sitting around editing and typing up my meanderings.

I think the blurbs on the back of the book capture the book’s essence best. Here are two:

I’m sorry I didn’t get to see this book for myself, but a person can only live so long, and then God takes him away to a better place. Vat can one do? Still it’s a great accomplishment, and of course, I am proud of him. All those fancy schmancy words.
Tillie Seigal, Andy’s grandmother. (JP — Note: Andy’s grandma died many years before the book was written, but not even God can hold back a loving grandma when she wants to praise a favored grandson.)

Who knew then someday Andy Weinberger would turn out to run a famous bookstore in California and write a book? Not me. In fact, after he left Long Island I never laid eyes on him again. But even as a toddler, I could tell he had talent. He could really throw a snowball back then. That’s what I remember.
Garry Gullicksen, Andy’s childhood friend, Huntington, NY

From what appears in his book, Andy seems to be a jovial easy-going guy interested in other people. I do not see myself being like Andy at all. Talent aside, I believe my attitude more resembles Proust, self-important and indulgent, solitary and cynical. Nevertheless, Andy might be right. On the whole, life is good. There is really not that much to complain about — well…no there really is a lot to complain about, but maybe Andy’s sunny amused disposition helps in dealing with it. It can’t hurt.

I may from now on add a section to Pepe’s Potpourri called, Andy’s Musings and upgrade things a little. It can’t hurt.

 

C. EDH ANCORA:

Still raining. No walks around the lakes today. Nevertheless, for the first time in a long while, I enjoyed myself exercising at the Health Club. Spoke with Naida. She seems to be getting on with her life. Still cleaning up the old but I am pretty sure she will soon be getting on with the new. HRH after two days of rain seems to be coming down with a bit of cabin fever. He is eager to get back to blowing off his excess pre-adolescent energy at the skate park, Tomorrow comes the biopsy — the joy of having one’s neck stuck with needles.

You all have a good day now.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

On Bitching:

The new year has begun. The quote by the ever-delightful satirist Terry Pratchett that begins this post might lead one to conclude that bitching about the past changes nothing. Nevertheless, true or not, I like to bitch. It is my default setting. I always found it made me feel better. Admittedly, it usually made everyone else feel worse. Still, I believe bitching is a good thing. Even if I had nothing to bitch about, I would still bitch about that.

On the other hand, way back in the Middle Ages, Julian of Norwich who wrote the first theological book written in English by a woman opined, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” These are words to live by — to ponder. They are after all ponderous indeed.

One could argue that not only would accepting Julian’s view of things (and even often reciting her words now and then instead of, “Ohm,” “Wow,” “Oops” or the like) be a good way to start off a new year, it would seem to represent the exact opposite of or an antidote to bitching as a means of handling the stresses of life. In other words, a yin to my yang. Or is it a yang to my yin?
Pasted Graphic
In case you are curious about the difference.

Julian was an Anchoress (a special kind of female anchorite — you wouldn’t think there would be rules about having yourself bricked up in a cave, but there are). At an early age, she was bricked up into a small cell where she spent the rest of her life accessible to the outside world only through two small holes, one to allow food to be inserted and refuse removed and another to allow seekers of wisdom and penitents to receive her advice and counsel.
Pasted Graphic_1
Julian’s window on the world.

Julian could have bitched about her circumstances. I would have. She certainly appeared to have a lot to bitch about. But, she didn’t. On the other hand, maybe, she was nuts. Wouldn’t you be, bricked up in a tiny dark cell like that for most of your life?

Anyway, Julian’s lifestyle choices aside, to bitch or not to bitch that is the question (I could not resist). Since, as Pratchett assures us, neither bitching nor enduring can change the past, can either change the future? I maintain that in at least 8 out of 10 cases bitching will prompt change where grim acceptance would not.

So, for the new year, be happy and bitch, bitch and bitch.

And, more importantly, make sure you do not forget to vote.

pew-pew-pew-thats-the-sound-of-me-blocking-your-4054975
Julian Before She Became an Anchoress.

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“According to a 2014 Pew survey, the Americans who most frequently ‘feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe’ are agnostics.”

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 440). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blogs of the Week:

 

1. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-01-04/systems-suck-less/

An interesting article that promotes Syndicalism (worker ownership of individual businesses) as an alternative to the current debate between Capitalism and Socialism about control of the means of production. I am not too sympathetic to the author’s arguments. They fail, I think, in part because they avoid the inescapable political problems raised by the inevitable centralization, over time, of power in ever larger more successful entities (by business in the case of Syndicalism and liberal Capitalism and bureaucrats in the case of Communism and Socialism). Power not only corrupts it metastasizes. Also, the inevitable conflict between the self-interest of individual entities and the public good,— e.g., the ability to effectively deal with things like Climate Change, welfare, migrations and so on — seems to be no better handled than the current systems that govern us today. The hope that these current problems and the controversies they engender will somehow be handled better by one or another of these isms, seem to me to be almost like mysticism. I get the feeling that when one peels back the layers of all these isms, one discovers wriggling at the center of it all, that irrepressible maggot our old friend, the Invisible Hand in one form or another. It seems as though the advocates for these isms are not too far removed from the promoters of most religions, “Believe what we tell you and believe only us. The rest is in God’s hands.”

Ideology, like religion, is not science. Science is something on which we can rely without resorting to Invisible Hands or mysterious beings. Unfortunately for us, science is still far from knowing all the secrets of the human heart. So, like it or not, we’re still all fucked.

 

2. https://mises.org/blog/could-banks-become-public-utilities

This post discusses with approval the possible conversion of the banking sector of the economy into a public utility, a proposal I am in general sympathy with. What is especially interesting about this article is that it appears in a blog devoted to the opinions of free-market conservative economists. I assume from the article that the authors separate personal banking (which would become the public utility) from commercial banking.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Sooner or later, we humans always manage to find ourselves balanced on the edge of sustainability and little more than one step from starvation.

Trenz Pruca (Malthus by way of Sanderson)

 

C. Giants of History:

Donald Trump will go down in history as the most despicable leader of a democracy to sell out his country to its adversaries since Alcibiades sold out Athenian democracy to Sparta.

 

D. Andy’s Musings:

Andy writes that his mother would often take foreign language courses in Pasadena Community College just so that if she met someone from a country that spoke the language she had studied she could then say, “how are you” in their language. That did not always work Andy admits.

“I remember her saying that the hardest course she ever took was Arabic, from which she only could retain one exasperating sentence: The ugly man sits in the garden.”
E. Today’s Poem:

The King of the Seas – Poem by Stephen Crane

The Ocean said to me once,
‘Look!
Yonder on the shore
Is a woman, weeping.
I have watched her.
Go you and tell her this-
Her lover I have laid
In cool green hall.
There is wealth of golden sand
And pillars, coral-red;
Two white fish stand guard at his bier.

Tell her this
And more-
That the king of the seas
Weeps too, old, helpless man.
The bustling Fates
Heap his hands with corpses
Until he stands like a child
With surplus of toys.’

 

F. Excerpts from Comments on the Previous Post:
Neal

Will you send my regards and condolences to Naida. Bill was a great friend and mentor to me in the early years after you sent me up to Sacramento. He and Naida were both very kind to me when I had nothing to offer back I always wished I knew what he knew. I was also so impressed that Bill would just walk around the Capitol in his street clothes (no tie or suit). He had been around so long that he didn’t need to play the game anymore. He had complete confidence in his understanding of the political world that he worked in. I’m sad for his loss.

 

Fede.

Hi, Joe and Happy new year!!!
I’m sorry for your friends… this year hasn’t started well for you 😌
Sending you a kiss and I hope to see you soon!
Ps.
On Feb 24th I’m going to Thailand with some friends, but only for a week 🤷🏼‍♀️

 

Peter.

Condolences on Bill’s passing. I know you were very close. I am glad to see that, even at the end, he retained his sense of humor.

Hope you are on the mend; you sounded like a foghorn reject on the phone the other day.

More Peter.

It’s Oy Vay. [Technical Note: I had to type this twice because the code-writers, who want to be So Helpful, made the unilateral decision to make this machine show Oy Way (and right here just now, it tried Oy Bay!). This helpful intention results in inefficiency and irritation. Of course, the code-writers are all goyem. (Get this: it just typed “gooey” instead of goyem.) Start a movement: More Yiddish-fluent code writers needed. Fill the Washington DC Mall with hundreds of thousands chanting and waving banners emblazoned with “Oy Vay! All The Way!” (it just tried Oy Bay again).

My response.

Thank you for the book. I love it. I bet Andy Weinberger does not have trouble with auto-correct. He probably writes in longhand on a  yellow pad and his long-suffering wife has to type it up. Recently when I typed the word — edit — the auto-correct printed — toe dit. I tried to work that into what I was writing but it was beyond me. Now with — toe did — I could probably work something out, but the Gods of computer-talk are never so helpful.

Take care. I will try to deliver the cane to you this weekend if you are around.

Still more Peter.

Glad you liked Andy’s musings. Thought you would. I haven’t seen him/them in several years. They’re back in Sonoma running the bookstore; his brother John and wife live nearby. John was our neighbor in New Delhi in 1972-4. That’s where I met Howard, convalescing from dysentery acquired in Nepal.

I’ll be around next weekend, except for a Saturday night gig in Kensington (North Berkeley). Alex’s girls will be up then; looks like we’ll take them to the Discovery Museum at Fort Baker (Sausalito) at some point. Anyway, if you are in town, we can hook up somehow.

I am in the middle of “Fantasyland”- fascinating book, compliments of our local library branch. Makes stuff seem even more amazing and hopeless. Thanks for the tip in previous TAT.

 

Terry.

So sorry to hear about Bill. How is Naida doing? Let me know if there is a memorial service.

Bill was one of the funniest people I ever met. Sometimes without meaning to be funny. But often just being so understated in such a high-stress profession. It was quite humorous to watch him interact with agitated people in a very calm manner and seemingly always get his way with them. Like your Denny Carpenter story. God Bless him!

I’m on my way to Dunsmuir and my new apt. If you want a break from the EDH, come on up. I have not been out your way lately but as soon as I am, I’ll give you a ring.

Don’t get too depressed about losing friends. THEY REALLY ARE NEVER GONE. Most of my old friends are still alive to me in my dreams and rambling thoughts. They are not gone, just on a lengthy vacation. And having been “gone” myself and brought back by a great paramedic, I can tell you the other side appeared very blissful and relaxing. So don’t worry. And our friends will be there in whatever form “The Great One” allows. We are the chosen survivors. And that’s not so bad!

More from Terry.

As I said, modern medicine creates miracles. Throat cancer does not seem to be a large part of cancer fatalities. Of course one never knows, but I’m optimistic about your prognosis. And the stats don’t lie.

Here’s a story from The New York Times that I thought you’d find interesting:

More than two million patients have been saved by advances in diagnosis and treatment since 1991, according to new data.

Ruth.

I’m sorry to hear about Bill Geyer’s passing. I’m finding with respect to Moe, as I know you are with respect to Bill, that knowing it was coming does very little to cushion the blow. I barely knew Bill, but I’ve heard you talk about him for years and I know he meant a lot to you.

Let us hope that 2018 is an improvement over its predecessor!

 

Ann.

I am so sorry to hear of your friends passing. May he rest in peace.
I wish you Blessings in the new year, with good health and happiness.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“As long as there are fools and rascals, there will be religions. [And Christianity] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd…religion which has ever infected this world.”

Voltaire (1767)

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_3912
Trouble…

 

 

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Joseph 0006 (January 2, 2018)

 

 

 

GOOD RIDDANCE TO 2017

 

“We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. It is held in reverence. Some think it the voice of God.”
—MARK TWAIN, “Corn-Pone Opinions” (1901)

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Bill.

I went to see Bill on Thursday having received an email from Naida asking me to come to visit him as soon as possible and containing the following:

“I have been sitting with Bill next to his bed. His coughing woke me at 5 a.m. He asked me what my name was. I told him and, when asked what I’ve done all day, explained that I am his wife and I’ve been taking care of him. He said he’d been put away into in some attic. I told him he’s downstairs. He said he wants to see out the window. I explained that the sun wouldn’t come up for a couple of hours. He said, ‘OK. When it’s light I want to see out the window.’ He also said, ‘I feel weird like I’ve been separated from all civilization’— followed by his characteristic sarcastic ‘huh’ of a laugh.”

I found Bill lying in bed. He appeared relatively upbeat. While Naida was out of the room scurrying about with the two full-time caregivers and the visiting nurse, I sat with him and held his hand. Later, Naida brought us some cookies and milk. As we drank the milk and ate the cookies, Bill turned to me and said, “You know, I always thought I was going to die with a shot glass full of whiskey in my hand, now it looks like instead, I will go out holding a glass of warm milk and a soggy cookie.”

We mostly sat in silence but now and then we talked about old times or about our respective maladies. After a few hours, the skies began to darken and I left promising to return again tomorrow or Saturday on my way to San Francisco to return the cane Peter left behind at my sister’s house.

On my way home, I wondered about how brave people die and why we do not throw up monuments to all those who face the endless dark with grace and humor.

I have not gone swimming in the pool since I returned from Mendocino. It is not that it has been too cold. It is more than I have felt too cold. I walk and lift weights but I feel especially tired and lethargic. Is it a harbinger or merely a result of sleeplessness? My nights are spent in repetitive dream states both exciting and disturbing. I wake often and now and then fear going back to sleep. I have a disturbing feeling in my stomach — heavy like constipation but it does not move.

Moe.

Moe has died. I received this from Ruth today:

“I’m not sure how far the grapevine has already reached, so you may already know that, alas, Moe passed away yesterday afternoon.”

“His last round of difficulties began a few days after Thanksgiving with overwhelming inability to breathe. Luckily the property manager stopped in as he was gasping and called 911. I didn’t find out about any of this until the following Monday, by which time Moe was able to talk on the phone. He made it out of hospital into rehab a few days after that, and Jeoff and I visited him on Saturday 12/15 where we ran into Olga and Marshall. He was to go home, with help, the next Thursday–which was the day I flew to Vancouver, where I still am. Apparently, he did go home but then had another no-breathing episode which put him back in the hospital. He was in a ventilator, but they were unable to wean him from it and he seemed to lose brain function, at which point friends and family did what they (and I) were sure he would have wanted.”

“All I have heard so far is there will be a memorial but not immediately.”

“Please notify anyone you think may not already know and would want to.”

“And I wish you a happier year next year.”

More than an acquaintance and less than a companion, Moe was someone whose life and mine have intertwined or another one way for over 40 years. Rest in peace Moe.

Is it my age or the time of the year that is bringing such sorrow and loss? I do hope it will be a happier year next year.

HRM’s winter vacation is drawing to a close. I do not see him too often. He is at the age where he drifts in and out of the house, a sly smile on his face as though he has just discovered something that the rest of us could not possibly know or understand.

Bill.

I was too ill on Friday to drive to Sacramento and visit Bill but on Saturday, feeling a bit better, I set off again. I first stopped at Raley’s and bought some cookies, candies, and dates for them. Remembering Bill’s quip about milk and booze, I purchased a small bottle of Jack Daniels.

When I got to the house, I found Bill fairly comatose and Naida understandably distressed. When I showed Naida the whiskey and explained my reasons, Bill, who we had thought was asleep, let out an explosive laugh and whispered something that sounded like, “I don’t believe it.” Naida found a shot glass and we put it into his hand, filled it with the Jack and helped guide it to his lips. He drank it down, gave the expected cough and went back to sleep. It was probably my imagination but I thought I saw a bit of a smile play across his lips.

Back in EDH, I drove HRM and his friends here and there, read a bit, and spent more time than I would like in bed feeling a bit under the weather. On New Year’s Eve, we all retired early. The next morning I drove HRM and his friend, Tyson, to the Skate Board Park. From there I called Naida to see how Bill was doing. She told me that he had died in the middle of the night just as the old year also passed. She was understandably quite distressed. During her ramblings about his last hours, the many things that need doing now and reminisces she mentioned something about Bill that I had not known before.

Apparently, many years before Bill, Naida and many other parents in the neighborhood were upset with Little League because its rules and regulations excluded many children from participating, so Bill created and for several years managed a youth baseball league open to everyone, boys, girls, and those too young or too un-athletic to thrive in the Little League. The kids loved it. Naida added that throughout the years since they would run into people who had played in that league who would tell them how much it meant to them and how much they enjoyed it.

I spent the rest of the day moping around the house.

2017 was an awful year. It began awful and ended even more so. It began with “Not My President” taking the oath of office and me in treatment for throat cancer and ended with the death of friends, fear of cancer’s return and “Not My President” still in office. I hope for all our sakes we do not experience its like again.

2018.

January 2, 2018, began with clear cold sunlight slashing through the windows. Dick had already left for work and Hayden was still asleep in his room. I puttered around a bit hoping that H would wake up soon so that I could take him and his friend Tyson to the Skate Park. After all, this is the first day of the rest of my life and I am determined to make it a good one. A great day is not required, pleasant will do —even better than average would be acceptable but I will try for great. I think I will do the laundry today.

As that great American philosopher Scarlett O’Hara opined, “Tomorrow is another day.” I certainly hope so.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

Who am I?

I am at that point in my life where, I suppose like many people, I begin to contemplate that ineffable question, “Who am I?” — or perhaps “Why?”— then again maybe not. Who cares?

Let’s cut to the chase. I have always thought of myself as… Well, in a quantum world “always” does not exist or matter. So let me instead begin with — As I write this, I think of myself as an ascetic hedonist. That makes no sense you may say. How can one be both ascetic and a hedonist at the same time? (I guess, a person who gets pleasure out of self-flagellation can be described that way. But, that is beyond what I can handle right now.)

Anyway, let me explain the image I have of myself. I picture myself as a hermit living in a remote cave in the middle of a great desert somewhere. Every morning I get up just before sunrise, go out to some miserable rocky place, contort myself into an unpleasant and uncomfortable pose and contemplate or hum or something else all day.

I would contemplate life’s meaning — real meaning like, “Why was I doing this in the first place?” “Am I just a sick human being?” “What happens after this, whatever this is ?”

If I may digress from my digression, let me discuss my problems with what some large groups of people say comes after this, whatever this is?

There are, for example, a large group of people who believe that if you are male and an efficient killer after you die you get to be locked up forever with a bunch of young virgin women who probably will not remain virgins for long. Everyone else, other than other killers locked up like you, gets to sit on the outside doing nothing apparently except wondering what you guys are doing inside. I think I would prefer to be with the outsiders, at least we probably get to shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes now and then.

Another large group seems to believe that if in your life you get to avoid people who disagree with you, or force them to agree with you, or kill them if they don’t or they get too close to you, you then get to spend all eternity staring a some self-important serial killer surrounded by armed hermaphrodite thugs and listening to Gregorian Chant. Those not so lucky get to spend their time boiled in flaming vats of sulfur and oil. Now I have nothing against Gregorian Chant, but I think I prefer being boiled in sulfur and oil if I could not hear something else now and then — even country and western. Well, maybe not that.

Then, there are those that believe if you do nothing but not hard enough or if you do something during life after you die you return as a maggot. If you’re lucky, you get eaten by a crow before you do anything and if you come back again, say a thousand times, doing nothing you may get to be good enough at doing nothing other than thinking about yourself so that after you die you then get to come back as… well, nothing, forever. What’s the point?

There are also those who believe that, if you spend your life running around killing people and you get to be so good at it that other people make up songs about how efficient you were at mayhem, or they erect statues to you, you then get to spend all eternity with homicidal maniacs like yourself in a sunny place with a lot of grass playing something like football and drinking warm beer. Everyone else gets to live in a cold dreary place weeping and crying forever, except for one or two who get to push rocks up hills or have their liver torn out every day by hawks. Given the choice of eternal football and warm beer or weeping and crying in a cold dreary place, I’ll take the latter. It seems more like life, doesn’t it?

Well, enough of that. Let’s get back on topic, “Who am I?”

On the Hedonist side, I would want my cave to have a nice bed, internet connection, food delivery, maid service, a sauna and of course hot water. Even at a minimum, I could tolerate a well-padded sleeping bag as long as all the other things were included especially hot water preferably in a tub or a pool and in my espresso.

Once a week, I would travel to nearby podunk town, go to a loud crowded bar (if loud and crowded were unavailable any bar would do) order a beer, take it to a table in a far corner or the far edge of the bar and sit quietly nursing my beer and watching everything or if there is no one but an old drunk sitting at the other end of the bar then staring at my beer wishing I were back in my cave tucked warmly in my bed. Later, I would return to my cave and, after a warm bath and a joint, crawl into bed, spend a few moments of what is euphemistically called self-love and then drift off to sleep contemplating the pleasures of crouching on the stony ground pondering “what’s it all about?”

What’s it all about? Well, it’s not existentialism. After all, I think I have meaning even if you don’t. It’s not about, oh,… say solipsism. When you think about it, when you’re deaf dumb and blind crawling face down through a sea of mud and you strike something else, it is not just you alone, is it? There are other isms too, a lot of them, but I think they all end up in more or less the same place— usually not someplace I want to end up. As for a Supreme Being who actually cares for you, I think we’ve disposed of that above.

So what else is there? There’s you and there’s me. We may never meet or be the same, but I think that’s the way it should be, don’t you?

And, that is who I think I am —then again, maybe not.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

America was built on the premise of avoiding the question of whether something is true or is fantasy. Whenever, however, such questions could not be avoided, Americans usually chose fantasy.

 

B. Today’s Poem:

The God Who Only Knows Four Words

Every
Child
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
Anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
Come
Dance.
Hafiz (14th Century Sufi poet)

 

 

C. Some Comments on Previous Post:

Ann Marie.

I loved reading about Christmas in Mendocino, brings back many wonderful memories. We always said it doesn’t feel like Christmas until Christmas Eve at MaryAnne’s. The sentiment remains true. I am thinking next year I’d like to go away to Mexico.

Reading about Molly warmed my heart. She has indeed been like a daughter to me since the first summer she spent here with us.

I’m so sorry to hear about your friend Bill. Much love to you ❤️

Let me know if there’s any possibility of traveling with you in September. The kids & I will look forward to it.

From Peter.

We returned then because Blind Lemon Pledge had a street gig on 24th St the next day. The Noe merchants each year in this holiday season promote some music in the mini-parks on the street where car parking used to be. We’ve played these a couple of years now. Small world frolic — or, a vigorous response to the stochastic dreariness of large numbers – During our performance, a man came up, listened, and after the song introduced himself as a music writer (among other things). Turns out he wrote the article in the recent N.V. Voice that mentioned that Chez Marius, our local bistro, was having music. I had read this and arranged for us to play there (including last night!) and told the writer that he, and his article, were responsible for that.

More Peter.

All those Buddhist monks in their gompas have it, but they have to do a Lot of work, drink that nasty yak butter tea, and wake up at 3 a.m.

Still More Peter.

On the other hand, non-Americans look bemused at Americans’ apparent overriding fixation on money. What is happening just now with the recent American elections and the now-very visible triumph of The Oligarchy of the Billionaires couldn’t make this fixation clearer.

Even More Peter.

Consider: Rather than face the prospect of continued human existence within a limited, enclosed artificial environment where you never feel the fresh sea breeze blow in (assuming, of course, that you had a ticket to ride), people could stop burning fossil fuels, causing droughts and mass migrations, and other suicidal nest-fouling activities. But, seems there are too many who say “apres moi le deluge” and carry on. Survey question: How many of them think that (a) they will go to heaven, or (b) come back as a boddhisatva, or (c) simply don’t give a shit?

Peter Once Again.

It’s Oy Vay. [Technical Note: I had to type this twice because the code-writers, who want to be So Helpful, made the unilateral decision to make this machine show Oy Way (and right here just now, it tried Oy Bay!). This helpful intention results in inefficiency and irritation. Of course, the code-writers are all goyem. (Get this: it just typed “gooey” instead of goyem.) Start a movement: More Yiddish-fluent code writers needed. Fill the Washington DC Mall with hundreds of thousands chanting and waving banners emblazoned with “Oy Vay! All The Way!” (it just tried Oy Bay again).

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Marx famously called religion the opium of the people, and when Lenin founded the Soviet Union, he agreed, saying it was ‘used for the…stupefaction of the working class.’ But neither man had ever been to the United States, to see that for Americans it was as much or more a stimulant and hallucinogen than a stupefying opiate.”

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 292). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
DQ9rJW2XcAAzXuK

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
images

 

 

 

Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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