July through September 2014

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Papa Joe 0003 (September 23, 2014)

Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
Kasper Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE POLICY:

The Sacramento Bee reported today that the Federal Administration just released its policies for combating Antibiotic Resistance. For many months my daughter, Dr. Jessica Petrillo, was actively involved on behalf of the State Department in developing the international portion of the national strategy and contributed to the framing of the Executive Order implementing that strategy. For her efforts she received The State Department’s Superior Honor Award.

In addition to her work on the current policies designed to protect us all from the threat of antibiotic resistant pathogens, for the past few years she also has contributed significantly to the development of actions and strategies to defend this Nation and the world from intentional biologic attack.

We all too often forget that it is not only those armed with a gun that safeguard our nation. Intelligence, commitment and dedication to the public good instead of simple pursuit of economic advantage are as important, if not more important, to our security.

Congratulations Jessica, I am very proud of you.

B. HOPI CEREMONIAL DANCERS CIRCA 1900:

xl_american_odyssey_406-407 - Version 4

C. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

There was a strange phenomenon in the skies over The Golden Hills this morning. A huge forest fire of about 100,000 acres is burning a few miles further up towards the mountains. The smoke turned the Eastern skies a yellowish-grey. Through this pall the rising sun appears a deep iridescent red. I could look directly at it for ten or twenty seconds. It all looked like a view from another world out of a science fiction movie.
********************************

I have just learned that Peter and Barry Grenell became Grandparents a few months ago. The baby’s name is Anuhea which means fragrant breeze in Hawaiian. Congratulations to everyone involved.
********************************

The forest fire nearby is under control. We can now breathe air again free of smoke and ash.
I have packed a tiny suitcase for my trip to Thailand and Sicily. It is still too large for carry on for the airline (Ryan Air) I have chosen to fly from Rome to Palermo. Checking in the small bag will double my flight costs.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

QUIGLEY ON TOP

Security, Power and Political Instability

Introduction

In his unpublished magnum opus Weapons Systems and Political Stability Carroll Quigley attempts to provide a cohesive analytical structure to the morass of confusion regarding concepts of security and power. He goes on at length to demonstrate how the ideas he enunciates repeat in History and how the application of those concepts can explain most historical conflicts. I will not try to summarize his historical examples here but only attempt to lay out the operative concepts he identifies. The first thing I must point out is that he is not particularly discussing security from such things and famine or disease and the like, although he makes it clear that the lack of such security is more often than not a product of the exercise of power or the lack thereof. He is, however, examining the meaning of security in a clash of power among groups the effect of which could and often does produce tragic consequences to individuals often including death.

He begins by pointing out that security and power are different notions and that security has not always been a product of a state.

“Men have experienced security and insecurity throughout all human history. In all that long period, security has been associated with power relationships and is today associated with the state only because this is the dominant form which power relationships happen to take in recent times. But even today, power relationships exist quite outside of the sphere of the state, and, as we go farther into the past, such non-state (and ultimately, non-public) power relationships become more dominant in human life.”

Definition of Security

Security Quigley defines as:

“…the settlement of disputes involving clashes of wills within the group and the defense of the group against outside threats—are the essential parts of the provision of security through group life. They form the opposite sides of all political life and provide the most fundamental areas in which power operates in any group or community. Both are concerned with clashes of wills, the one with such clashes between individuals or lesser groups within the community and the other with clashes between the wills of different communities regarded as entities. Thus clashes of wills are the chief problems of political life, and the methods by which these clashes are resolved depend on power, which is the very substance of political action.”

The nature of power

He then goes on to ask and discuss, what is the nature of power and what is the relationship between power and security.

“Power,” he maintains, “is simply the ability to obtain the acquiescence of another person’s will.”

That is to obtain full cooperation, obedience to specific orders, or simple acquiescence.

The Basis of Power

These power relationships can be obtained by the exercise of one or more of what can be described as the triple basis of power in our culture: force, wealth or persuasion.

He states:

“The first of these is the most fundamental (and becoming more so) in our society, and will be discussed at length later. The second is quite obvious, since it involves no more than the purchase or bribery of another’s acquiescence, but the third is usually misunderstood in our day.

The economic factor enters into the power nexus when a person’s will yields to some kind of economic consideration, even if this is merely one of reciprocity. When primitive tribes tacitly hunt in restricted areas which do not overlap, there is a power relationship on the lowest level of economic reciprocity.

“The ideological factor in power relationships, which I have called persuasion, operates through a process which is frequently misunderstood. It does not consist of an effort to get someone else to adopt our point of view or to believe something they had not previously believed, but rather consists of showing them that their existing beliefs require that they should do what we want.”

Finally he explains regarding the above three bases of power:

“Of course, in any power situation the most obvious element to people of our culture is force. This refers to the simple fact of physical compulsion, but it is made more complicated by the two facts that man has, throughout history, modified and increased his physical ability to compel, both by the use of tools (weapons) and by organization of numerous men to increase their physical impact. It is also confused, for many people, by the fact that such physical compulsion is usually aimed at a subjective target: the will of another person. This last point, like the role of morale already mentioned, shows again the basic unity of power and of power relationships, in spite of the fact that writers like myself may, for convenience of exposition, divide it into elements, like this division into force, wealth, and persuasion.”

Psychological nature of power relations

In addition, he argues there exists a psychological nature in power relations. He proposes two analytical rules:

“1. Conflict arises when there is no longer a consensus regarding the real power situation, and the two parties, by acting on different subjective pictures of the objective situation, come into collision.
2. The purpose of such a conflict, arising from different pictures of the facts, is to demonstrate to both parties what the real power relationship is in order to reestablish a consensus on it.”

Influence of time in power relationships

A third influence on a power relationship is the changes that time may make to the above psychological rules and thereby the nature of a particular conflict.

Also, distance or space affect power relationships. If you cannot reach someone or some nation to apply the elements of power than a power relationship does not exist and usually cannot exist. In the modern world of course, although this criteria has diminished in significance, it most certainly has not been extinguished.

Relationships in the exercise of power

And finally “most power relationships are multilateral and not dual.” “Such multilateral systems,” he argues, “explain the continued existence of smaller states whose existence could never be explained in any dual system in which they would seem to be included entirely in the power area of an adjacent great power.”

Summary

In the political arena with its enormous complexities, attempts to use power no matter how applied often cause political instability. Nevertheless Quigley writes:

“In all such crises of political instability, we can see the operations of the factors I have enumerated. These are:
(1) the dichotomy between the objective facts and subjective ideas of power situations;
(2) the nature of objective power as a synthesis of force, wealth, and ideology in our cultural tradition; and,
(3) the complication of these operations as a consequence of changes resulting from time, from distance, and from a multiplicity of power centers.”

Examples of the relationship between power and security although described in the historical record laid out in the book will have to remain for another time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley. review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis, 1974”

TODAY’S CHART:
drugs
I have no idea what the scale on top refers to. Anyway, it applies to drug use in the UK so who cares. What ever abuse they indulge in, I am sure we can do better in the USA.

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 35 Pops 0003 (September 18, 2014)

“…[N]ilism is a male disease of the soul, because we are not bearers of life. Men do not carry hope the way women do.”
Michael Collins

Happy Birthday Uncle Mask and Ann

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. SPANISH MOSS
xl_american_odyssey_276-277 - Version 2_3

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The air has been so dry here at the edge of the Great Valley that Dick, HRM and I all came down with nosebleeds today. Either that or a great plague is sweeping into California. (For those who read The Earth Abides, the survivor lived in a cabin or was camping somewhere in these same foothills – if I remember correctly – when the plague wiping out most of humanity hit.)
**************************************

With reading Kautilya, the huge Quigley books and editing his “Weapons Systems and Political Stability,” as well as rewriting and finishing “Red Star,” I sometimes feel like I am back working in an office. I guess work is what we do when we’re too old to play and too young to wish that was what we were doing instead. Actually, what I am doing is really a hobby, there’s no money in it. A hobby is something we do instead of going to the movies or watching television when we have no work or are bored.
***********************************

Samuel Beckett’s writings explored the depths of solipsism. That is, talking to yourself to know you’re alive. So what is it all about? Well Alfie, it is not about the Grey Gay Dane’s quandary. It’s about Stayin’ Alive. Even if you can no longer dance, as long as you keep hearing the music you are still living.
*************************************

I talk to myself in my mind all the time. I guess we all do. I suspect some people have debates with themselves. I never debate. I only make speeches. I picture myself speaking to a small grey homunculus with large glistening eyes sitting silently in a huge chair in front of me as I go on and on. Me talking and it listening. It frightens me. I believe one day it will jump out of that chair, kick me in the balls and tell me to shut up.
*************************************

I’m not sure I really want to return here to The Golden Hills after my trip. It’s not that I am uncomfortable here. I am very comfortable. It’s just that I feel like a stranger visiting some place where I do not understand the language. Of course, I feel like a stranger everywhere but in some places, such as cities like BKK and New York, I feel many others are also and that gives me some consolation. It’s like we all know at least one thing about each other – that we come from somewhere else – and that gives us a sense of community – a community of the dispossessed.
**************************************

Summer wanes on the golden foothills at the edge of the great valley. The trees have not yet put on their fall colors but a good number nevertheless seemed to have given up. Their shriveled brown leaves drop unceremoniously to the ground to await the leaf-blowers.

I usually like the Autumn. It’s like the year, having put in its time, has gone into retirement. I will miss it this year. There is no Autumn in Thailand, just the ending or the Monsoons and the coming of the months when mid-day strolls in the sun are no longer life-threatening.
**************************************

My favorite waitress at Bella Bru Cafe where I have breakfast each morning has had a tough year. Somehow she broke her jaw and when it did not set right they had to break it again and reset it. Shortly after that she experienced severe pain in her arm that required another operation and the arm remaining in a cast for six months or more. Still, she remembers my regular order and has it ready when I walk into the place in the morning.

I do not know her name. Strangely, I know all about her medical history but find it too personal to ask her her name. I think she should be called Kate for some reason.

She probably makes minimum wage which is about one-half of what I get on Social Security. I wonder how she lives on that? I at least get free room and board while I am here. Still, when I was making about a million dollars a year, I spent more than I made and always felt I was living at the edge. Now I feel I am living better than I ever did then. Go figure.
**************************************

My daughter in law Ann Marie’s good friend Brooke has died in her sleep. I feel sorry for both of them.

Bill Yeates mother and father dies a short time ago. Bill and his wife Carol have travelled to Wyoming, a place his parents liked best, to bury them. I wish Bill and Carol well.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Kautilya, Arthashastra:

ANVIKSHAKI, the triple Védas (Trayi), Várta (agriculture, cattle-breeding and trade), and Danda-Niti (science of government) are what are called the four sciences.

Anvikshaki comprises the Philosophy of Sankhya (Metaphysics), Yoga (Concentration), and Lokayata (Logic and debate).

Righteous and unrighteous acts (Dharmadharmau) are learnt from the triple Vedas; wealth and non-wealth from Varta; the expedient and the inexpedient (Nayanayau), as well as potency and impotency (Balabale) from the science of government.
Kautilya, Arthashastra

In the West, Pythagorus and Plato developed a somewhat comparable system of education, Trivium (Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric) and Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and Astronomy) that was generally adopted during Medieval period. Kautilya’s system appears more practical, as it includes applied economics and politics. (Applied economics – get rich. Applied politics – kill your enemy.)

B. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or the one thereafter:

The ongoing story of Thursday inviting three characters into her home.

‘I opened the door to find three Dostoyevskivites staring at me from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.’

‘Allow me to introduce Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov.’
‘Actually,’ said the second man leaning over to shake my hand. ‘I’m Dmitri Razumikhin, Raskolnikov’s loyal friend.’
‘You are?’ said Raskolnikov in surprise. ‘Then what happened to Svidrigailov?’
‘He is busy chatting up your sister.’
‘My sister? That’s Pulkheria Alenandronova Raskolnikov, right?’
‘No,’ said Razumikhin in the tone of a long-suffering friend, ‘that’s your mother. Andotya Romanova Raskolnikova is your sister’
‘I always get those two mixed up. So who is Marfa Petronova Svirigailova?’
Razumikhin frowned and thought for a moment.
‘You’ve got me there.’
“‘It’s very simple,’ said the third Russian, indicating who did what on her fingers, ‘Nastasya Petronova is Raskolnikov’s landlady’s servant, Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova is your sister who threatens to marry down, Sofia Semyonovna Marmeladova is the one who becomes a prostitute, and Marfa Petrovna Svidrigailova – the one you were first talking about — is Arkady Svidrigailov’s murdered first wife.’
‘I knew that’ said Raskolnikov in the manner of someone who didn’t, ‘so… who are you again?’
‘I’m Alyona Ivanovna,’ said the third Russian with a trace of annoyance, ‘the rapacious old pawnbroker whose apparent greed and wealth lead you to murder.’
‘Are you sure you’re Ivanovna?’ asked Raskolnikov in a worried tone.
‘Absolutely.’
‘And you’re still alive?’
‘So it seems.’
He stared at the bloody axe.
‘Then who did I just kill?’

‘Listen’ I said ‘I’m sure everything will come out fine in the epilogue. But for the moment, your home is my home.”’

(This drove my spell check crazy)

DAILY FACTOID:

1940:When some British Members of Parliament, led by Amery, put pressure on the government to drop bombs on German munition stores in the Black Forest, the air minister, Sir H. Kingsley Wood, rejected the suggestion with asperity, declaring: ‘Are you aware it is private property? Why, you will be asking me to bomb Essen next!’ Essen was the home of the Krupp munitions factories.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

(Did you know that one of the biggest disputes during WWII among advocates of strategic bombing was whether it was preferable to bomb industrial plants or worker housing?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Are you an assassin? 

I am a soldier.

You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect the bill.”
Conversation between Marlon Brando as Captain Kurtz and Martin Sheen as the soldier in Apocalypse Now.

(If the day ever comes when the common soldier realizes this, that will be the day they turn their guns on the grocery clerks.)

TODAY’S CHART:

wealth
I am not sure this chart means anything.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 Papa Joe 0003 (September 11, 2014)

“Gentlemen, get the thing straight once and for all– the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder.”

Mayor Richard J Daley 1968

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. THE COSMOS,
slide_219532_853900_free
as envisioned by a Pakistani teenager
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EI DORADO HILLS:

I was feeling a bit out of sorts so I thought a visit to the Man Cave before picking up HRM at school would help. The Man Cave looks like a large dark living room; sofas, easy chairs and ottomans. There were five or six men there lounging about, smoking cigars and watching Sons of Anarchy on the big screen TV.

I had never seen the show before. It seems to be about the trials and tribulations of being a biker gang member. The actors and actresses stared solemnly at each other and spoke in tones so low that I could hardly make out what they were talking about but assumed it was very important to them because they never smiled.

No one seemed to work much. Now, I know dealing dope is not as vigorous work as digging ditches, but usually one has to do something – like meeting customers and suppliers, collecting money, distributing profits and the like – but these people did not do any of that. Maybe because they were not particularly good at anything but auditions. They seemed to fight a lot too. Maybe they were good at that also.

Anyway the visit did not cheer me up much. I have been feeling irritable and dissatisfied recently and unable to either understand or meet HRM’s needs. We argue every day and it makes me sad.

I look forward to my upcoming trip, at least the Sicilian part of it. I have not seen my Sicilian relatives and friends in about 35 years. I will try to take the Camilleri – Montalbano tour. There are two. One through Agrigento (Montelusa) and Porto Empedocle (Vigata) where the books are set and one in Ragusa where the TV series was shot. In Porto Empedocle there is a statue of Montalbano.

Montalbano-1b

When I lived in Canicatti, Sicily for a few months about 40 years ago, my favorite sea food restaurant was in Porto Empedocle.
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Here in The Golden Hills of suburban comfort, swimming season slowly bleeds into cross-country season. The hummingbirds have begun their long trek to the shores of the Caribbean. I sit here every morning in the Bella Bru Cafe watching through the window as flocks of young mothers, having dropped off their children at school, descend upon the outdoor tables that surround the fountain.

In Italy and even at times Thailand when sitting like this in some café, I usually have the feeling that everyone is talking to me even when they are not. Here each group seems encased in a bubble from which a low rumble of conversation escapes. Maybe it is not like that at all and I am simply eager to leave on my trip. On the other hand, perhaps it is just the increasing attacks of agita as I grow older that makes me more gloomy.
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Today at breakfast a woman walked into the cafe with her pre-school daughter in tow. She was wearing an American flag twisted around her neck as a scarf — I assume in remembrance of the twin towers attack. I recall 40 years or so ago displaying the flag like that would be considered an insult to it. It is interesting how malleable emotionally charged symbols can really be. Then again fashion rules all.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Quigley on top.

On the importance to society of dissent and the unimportance of ideology or labels:

Carroll Quigley believed that social arrangements, including governments, although they may begin by pursuing valid social goals, gradually become institutions serving their own purposes and needs. Without constant reform, those institutions eventually disintegrate.

In a prior post, I mentioned Quigley’s conviction that protection of minority rights may be even more important to a society than suffrage because suffrage not only is often less than universal but, even where it is broad and inclusive, groups other than the majority of the voters routinely wield the actual power. It is, he argued, minorities seeking their place in society that ultimately engender change and reform in a society.

In 1970 during the height of the chaos of the counter-culture movement and the terrors of cold war, Quigley was invited by a concerned Department of Defense to lecture at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy) on the nature and impact of dissent.

As shown in the quotes below, in that lecture he demonstrates the necessity of dissent to an organized society if that society is to remain capable of reforming itself to meet the challenges of the ever-changing and evolving environment which it must constantly confront and adapt to if it is to survive.

He also argues that ideology or labels are not significant determinants of the nature of the dissent but convenient tools for its expression (fashions if you will). As an example, the US Communist Party, first funded by Wall Street and then by the US government for their own purposes nevertheless still functioned as a mechanism of dissent, even against their paymasters.

“First of all, allegiance and dissent, it seems to me, are opposite sides of the same coin. We cannot have organized society without allegiance. A society cannot continue to exist without loyalty. But, I would further add, a society cannot continue to exist that is incapable of reforming itself, and the prerequisite to reform is dissent.

Allegiance is absolutely vital. But so is dissent. To me, allegiance means devotion to symbols and organizational structures, both of which are necessary in any society. Dissent, it seems to me, is the opposite side of the coin. It implies a critical approach to the symbols and to organizational structures of society.”
Presentation to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces on 24 August 1970

“No society can stand still. Its institutions must constantly adjust and evolve, and periodically undergo reform, because the needs they are supposed to serve are themselves constantly changing. And institutions cannot grow and reform unless the people whose needs they fail to serve, or serve badly, can make their dissatisfaction felt in short, unless they can actively dissent from things as they are. If dissent is stifled and denied redress, it builds up like a head of steam. Many people assume that dissent and the demand for reform are the first step toward revolution. They are mistaken. My study of history shows pretty generally that revolutions do not come from dissent. They come from a failure to reform, which leads to breakdown. It is quite true that misguided reforms which fail to attack real problems may also result in breakdown. But dissent, and reform responding to dissent, do not lead to revolution. They lead away from it.”
Ibid

“The Communist Party in this country was destroyed… It is extremely likely that by 1960 one of the chief sources of funds for the Communist Party in this country was the FBI spies who had joined it. And, the chief financial support of the Communists from about 1920 to about 1950 was Wall Street. Why? I do not know. If you’re interested, look up the story of The Institute of Pacific Relations; it was financed by Lee Higginson & Company of Boston, Frederick Vanderbilt Field of New York, and other big money interests.

When these people cut off this money, about 1949, the Communists were pretty much finished. Their only other source of money was Moscow, and Moscow has never been generous with funds for local Communist Parties, which they believe should support themselves. According to an FBI estimate, I believe, the Communists in this country are down to about 15,000 members. Take Angela Davis. She is emotionally alienated from our society, and for good reasons, but this has little to do with communism, even if she is a member of the Party. This is why I say ideology is not really important in dissent. People become Communists not because they like the ideology, but because they wish to demonstrate their opposition…”
Ibid.

Quigley maintained that the preservation of minority rights and dissent are two of the principle elements that make up “inclusive diversity,” perhaps the foundation on which our society is based and which he fears was being eroded and will over time lead to the shattering of our society*.

*NOTE: In this lecture over 40 years ago, Quigley predicts the potential rise of a movement in the United States from the disaffected and frightened lower middle class, (much like the Tea Party) that “…holds the key to the future. I think probably they will win out. If they do, they will resolutely defend our organizational structures and artifacts. They will cling to the automobile, for instance; they will not permit us to adopt more efficient methods of moving people around. They will defend the system very much as it is and, if necessary, they will use all the force they can command. Eventually they will stop dissent altogether, whether from the intellectuals, the religious, the poor, the people who run the foundations, the Ivy League colleges, all the rest.

It can be inferred from his comments that allegiance to what he calls the symbols, artifacts and organization of a society are more pronounced among those who have both a “future preference,” that is, are willing to make current sacrifices for future benefit and most threatened by the possibility those benefits will not exist when needed.

That group does not include the truly working poor who for the most part see little possibility of future preference or risk of falling further economically. What this group fears more is those whose social status may be even lower than theirs, blacks, Mexicans, poor immigrants surpassing them. (I was once told by a someone making less than a living wage for his family but more than the minimum wage that he supported the raising of the minimum wage as long as it was not raised as high as what he was earning.)

These latter, the working poor, are often male, bitter, despise the other classes, often racist and bear scant allegiance to society’s organizations or artifacts and only slightly more to its symbols. If they do join the disaffected lower middle class in something like the Tea Party, it can be fairly certain they will be the ones bringing the guns.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

A. Italian travels:

Ruth points out that our travels to Italy occurred in 1997 and that there were only two children along. The third, Athena, had not yet been born. I apologize for the error. It still was a happy time.

AnnMarie recalls that the photo was taken in Spoleto and that day may have been one of the highlights of our trip.

B. Quigley:

Terry Goggin reminded me that he too was a student of Carroll Quigley in the late 1950s and found his courses “terrific.” I regret the oversight.

He also pointed out Obama’s demand that the EEC nations commit as much of their GDP to the defense of Europe (NATO) as the USA and Estonia do could have the effect of rebuilding the Atlantic Alliance as Quigley would probably urge rather than the US bearing all the burdens while receiving a scant share of the benefits.

C. Complaints:

Several readers mentioned that I seem to complain a lot in T&T. I am sorry that it comes across like that.

Actually, I see it more as my tendency toward irony, cynicism (cynicism is irony of steroids) and sarcasm (sarcasm is cynicism on cocaine), my bemusement at life’s oddities, and a long standing discomfort with sharing any positive feelings I may have. As for the latter, for example, were I to see a beautiful sunrise, I might also picture in my mind the image of the sun as a melted piece of processed cheddar cheese on an english muffin and write down the image instead of the feeling of pleasure – or hunger. Somewhere in my early childhood I was persuaded that expressions of joy left one vulnerable but expressions of disgust or melancholy were ok.

I apologize and will try to be more positive. I will probably fail.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The U.S. still names] military helicopter gunships after victims of genocide. Nobody bats an eyelash about that: Blackhawk. Apache. And Comanche. If the Luftwaffe named its military helicopters Jew and Gypsy, I suppose people would notice.”
“Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations With Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian”

TODAY’S CARTOON:
fergusoncops720

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Pops 0003 (September 3, 2014)

“I think of myself as mostly a bad man who at times tried to do good and now and then succeeded only to find those successes often were ephemeral in significance and ambiguous in result.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthday Good/Bad David

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. RUTH GALANTER AND I SOMEWHERE IN ITALY SEVERAL YEARS AGO:
10543781_10204867443982902_1454022857_n
We travelled with my son, daughter in law, and three grandchildren. I remember it as a happy time. (I think I still have those pants)
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. Three lessons, more or less:

On Saturday I drove to San Francisco to visit my mother, daughter and son.

My mother, who is 96, is clearly dying. Unfortunately for her, she is fully aware of it and lies in her bed in the nursing home in terror of the prospect. There is a big difference between knowing that the great existential serial killer lurks somewhere around the corner and actually having him grab you by the throat.

(Did you know that in Irish mythology Death is a woman named Morrigan and appears in the form of a crow?)

Later, I had an excellent lunch with my daughter at an overpriced restaurant near North Beach. Among her portfolios for the State Department, she co-ordinates the American participation in the World Health Organization’s response to the rise in antibiotic resistant microorganisms. The creation of antibiotic resistant pathogens by inadvertence or design can be considered as great a threat to the US as terrorists launching a biologic weapon. When we speak about honoring those who defend our nation we too often forget about the many like her that also do so, with their minds and not with guns.

She brought me a briefcase full of photographs that I had stored at a friend’s house when I got rid of everything I owned five years ago. I had forgotten about them. Looking through them made me sad.

I also visited with my son and his family. My granddaughter had just returned from Japan where she and her mother had spent the summer with her mother’s family. I gave each of them one of LM’s colorful knitted caps.
IMG_20140830_181652_332

I learned there is a significant difference between the borderline and poor libertarians/tea partiers and its middle class supporters who you often see at protests and on Faux News. They, the borderline and poor, make more than minimum wage but often less than a real living wage. They rent and live in substandard housing in run down neighborhoods. They feel abandoned by the liberals with their emphasis on middle class interests and their seeming indifference to placing groups of working class poor in conflict with each other. They hate Republicans for their slavish support of oppressive corporate interests. As a result they have become bitter, anarchistic and compulsive purchaser of guns.

2. A question:

The following in a photograph of my current state of sartorial splendor. Several people have urged me to change my Facebook photo because I look too angry in it. Do you think I should replace it with this photo as a better representation of what I have become? I am obviously not the least bit angry or for that matter embarrassed.

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3. Along the Cosumnes River:

HRM is studying California history with his fourth grade class, beginning with the Donner Party. For those unfamiliar with how California schools approach the State’s history, they do not begin with the arrival of the Native Americans or of the Spanish, but with the Donner Party where a group of arrogant fortune seekers try to cross the Sierra Mountains in winter, get trapped in the snow and are forced to eat each other to stay alive until the remnants of the group were rescued.

Anyway, we decided to spend the morning with Naida West and Bill Geyer at their ranch on the banks of the Cosumnes River. Naida as you know wrote that wonderful historical trilogy about the area around the ranch during the Nineteenth Century. The eldest of the Donner children who was 14 years old at the time was married off to an unspeakably obnoxious employee of John Sutter, Perry McCoon. He was in his late 30’s. They moved to a small adobe cottage on the property where he left the young Donner girl alone for long periods of time. In the novel the young girl made friends with an indian woman from the village nearby who she discovers was also Perry McCoon’s wife and had a child by him.

I thought this visit would benefit HRM’s studies and ingratiate him with his teacher. Naida showed us some old photographs of the Donner girl and some of the other settlers in the area. She also brought out some of the Indian and settler artifacts she found on the property.
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We visited the site of the original adobe house, Perry McCoon’s grave, the remnants of dam site over which the miners and the ranchers had a shoot out and the indian village that the miners destroyed while slaughtering most of the inhabitants in an effort to steal their gold.

B. READINGS:

I have begun reading three non-fiction books more or less simultaneously. The first is Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times that I discuss in this and the previous issue of T&T.

I also am reading Quigley’s Weapons Systems and Political Stability. That book, although over 1000 pages long, was only partially completed when Quigley died. It eventually was published in manuscript form without editing. I am attempting to prepare an edited version with comments and summaries that I will issue in a new blog I hope to create.

The third book a translation of Kautilya’s Arthasatra (Economics) written in about 300BC as a treatise on governance for the Emperor-King of the Maurya empire Chandragupta. Chandragupta was one of Alexander the Great’s allies in his conquest of Western India (now mostly Pakistan) who after Alexander’s death rebelled against his successor Seleucus.

Kautilya was Chandragupa’s chief minister. His book bears great similarity to Machiavelli’s, The Prince written over 1800 years later except that Kautilya was much more bloody. An interesting chapter of the treatise concerns how to undermine a democracy* of which there were several in India at the time.

*Note: historically a democracy was and always has been government by a more or less large group with an equal say in limited aspects of governance in their society. It almost never meant universal suffrage. For example, in the Athens of Pericles, it meant, at best, male property owners with a much smaller group composed of the largest property owners exercising the most power. In the United States, it generally meant, at the beginning, white male Protestant property owners. The history of the US can be seen as a constant battle over the years to expand suffrage culminating in the mid 1960’s and receding since then. The first limitation to go was Protestant, then property owners, then ensued a 150 year un-concluded war over white interspersed with the removal of male as a limitation on suffrage.The recent reaction against expanding suffrage seeks to give those possessing significant wealth greater weight in both suffrage and power than those lacking it and to restrict by several means the exercise of the franchise by non-white Americans, the poor or recently naturalized citizens without wealth. Despite the overall expansion of suffrage, real power in the US has almost always been exercised by a much smaller group of men owning or heading immense economic entities. Usually these entities have been big industrial, natural resource or financial concerns and for a brief period large centrally controlled labor organizations. There has never been in America a power entity organized to represent the middle class, the intellectual and professional class or the consumer. Those are generally perceived as the prey of the other power groups and the potential unwitting supporters of whichever group defrauds them into believing they have a real unity of interest.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

QUIGLEY ON TOP

Carroll I hardly knew ye. Carroll-Quigley-1956 Carroll-Quigley-1956-Pr1_tn

I have never met anyone who has taken Carroll Quigley’s class at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service who has not agreed the experience was life changing, and that includes such diverse personalities as Bill Clinton and Pat Buchanan. Clinton in his Democratic Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address 16th July 1992, said this about Quigley:

“As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest nation in history because our people had always believed in two things: that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.”

I remember Professor Quigley, in the old military barracks that served us for classrooms back then, plunging down the aisle, arm outstretched as though it held a sword or a spear, shouting out the intimate details of whatever great world shaking battle we were learning about at the time. I recall also my shock when I learned that Plato was not just some Greek in a toga who was Socrates mouthpiece and talked a lot about caves and shadows, but that his ideas, for better of worse, but mostly for worse, may have shaped the fundamental beliefs of whole societies.

His book The Evolution of Civilization (1979) contains more or less the substance of his lectures. Tragedy and Hope (1966) containing over 1300 pages and the uncompleted Weapons Systems and Political Stability (1983) with over 1000 includes most of his lectures adjusted and expanded to cover the special focus of each book. The question this brings to mind of course is, given the multitude of facts and the breadth of the subject matter, how was it possible for the student to digest this knowledge. Even more remarkable is that many of us remember the specifics of the lectures, even as in my case over 50 years later.

He accomplished this feat of teaching by the immense theatricality of his lectures combined with breaking down the facts into repetitive categories and the surprising novelty of his insights. As an example of the latter, I opened Tragedy and Hope and extracted a random quote:

“Helmuth von Moltke, who had never commanded a unit so large as a company previously. Moltke’s great contribution was to be found in the fact that, by using the railroad and the telegraph, he was able to merge mobilization and attack into a single operation so that the final concentration of his forces took place in the enemy country, practically on the battlefield itself, just before contact with the main enemy forces took place.”

All I had ever known of von Moltke before was that he had humiliated the forces of Napoleon III of France. The surprise that he was an amateur and his vaunted strategy so simple, forever fixed these facts my mind.

Of course, the way it usually happens with successful military innovations, they become doctrines that others copy. The French military academies took the concept of mass assault and interpreted it as a question of morale. Unbelievably, French military doctrine following their defeat, maintained that defense was irrelevant, that mass attacks were the only strategy and the army with the highest morale would always win because the army with lower moral would run away. This also would produce fewer casualties. The Italians modified this theory to eliminate morale and opted to place machine guns at the backs of the troops instead of in front of them in order to shoot any who hesitated in the attack. Of course, at Caporetto it meant that the Italian troops charging the Austrian lines surrendered in mass when they reached the enemy’s trenches. Italian troops were not so dumb as to buy their leaders view of “Patria” as something to die for.

This military doctrine of bringing troops rapidly to a huge front for a mass attack collapsed in WW I when both sides ran into barbed wire, machine guns and trenches and died in huge numbers no matter how quickly they got to the battlefield or how high their morale.

Perhaps the central element of Quigley’s teaching is that it is the humanism of society and not its form of government that should be at its heart. For example, about minority rights he wrote:

“I define democracy as majority rule and minority rights. Of these the second is more important than the first. There are many despotisms which have majority rule. Hitler held plebiscites in which he obtained over 92 percent of the vote, and most of the people who were qualified to vote did vote. I think that in China today a majority of the people support the government, but China is certainly not a democracy.

The essential half of this definition then, is the second half, minority rights. What that means is that a minority has those rights which enable it to work within the system and to build itself up to be a majority and replace the governing majority. Moderate deviations from majority rule do not usually undermine democracy. In fact, absolute democracy does not really exist at the nation-state level. For example, a modest poll tax as a qualification for voting would be an infringement on the principle of majority rule but restrictions on the suffrage would have to go pretty far before they really abrogated democracy. On the other hand relatively slight restrictions on minority rights — the freedoms of speech, assembly, and other rights — would rapidly erode democracy.”
The Mythology Of American Democracy

Teaching was Quigley’s life. Many of those he taught intended to enter the United States Foreign Service. He believed they needed to comprehend the cultures they would work in and therefore he developed a method of analysis of culture, history and society that would aid them in their vocation and hopefully create a better world.

He was always was an optimist. Later in life, however, that optimism began to wane. I guess it was like a person who builds one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and warns those who inhabit it that they must remain vigilant against rust and rot only eventually to find the residents too busy pursuing what appears important to them individually to bother with what was necessary for them all.

He ended one of his last lectures with the following:

“Now I want to say good night. Do not be pessimistic. Life goes on; life is fun. And if a civilization crashes, it deserves to. When Rome fell, the Christian answer was, ‘Create our own communities.’“

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I see great things in baseball.”
Walt Whitman

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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A stunning photograph of a scuffle in the Ukraine Parliament bearing an astounding resemblance to a Renaissance painting. Actually, it is more Mannerist than High Renaissance. It is also an almost perfect example of chiaroscuro. Caravaggio would love it.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pops 0003 (August 25, 2014)

“Poets are not happy people.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. COMPOSITION IN RED AND GREEN:

xl_american_odyssey_276-277
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In a modern upper middle class subdivision community like El Dorado Hills it is difficult to observe, like Thoreau did, the macrocosm in the microcosm, the larger in the smaller, the world in a blade of grass, society in the clash of competing ant colonies. The reason for this is that the novelty and chaos of the microcosm is determinately eliminated in a place like El Dorado Hills and replaced by orderly organization of the environment and the society living in it. It should be pointed out, I am speaking of organization and not regimentation. In fact, regimentation would be antithetical to the appearance of freedom the orderliness intends to convey. Alas, freedom, if one can use that generalization, reflects more in our adaptation and reaction to the vagaries of our environment. If our environment is too organized and orderly we risk being absorbed into it like a fly stuck in wet paint.

For this reason I often find few observations to write about here. How many ways can one discuss an organization or anything that de-emphasizes change.? The same trees appear in orderly rows along the parkway medians, distinctions among them blurred. Change seems slowed and conflict submerged in silence. I expect even the ant colonies have given up their competition over food.

A relief from this organized orderliness lies in the appearance here and there of feral animals who have adapted to this environment, wild turkeys, coyotes, snakes and the like. They romp fat and unwary across the landscape as long as the gates to the subdivision remain closed and the humans within disinclined or prohibited from killing and eating them.

Therefore, I welcome the odd and unknown clank and wheeze in the car requiring me to bring it in to the repair shop, as I did a few days ago, and, until the car is repaired, spend my day in and around Sacramento’s Capitol Park among my beloved trees.

Now, my friend Yeates is quite fond of birds and very knowledgable about them. I suspect that, from a smear of birdshit on the sidewalk, he could deduce the latin name of the avian shitter; the color of its feathers; where it was going and whether it was reading the NY times when it shat.

I, on the other hand, love trees. True, I do not know many of their species names unless I read them on a plaque affixed to the trunk, but I know I can hug them when I want to and which ones give good shade to old men sitting on benches in the park. I can tell the differences between those with rough barks and those with smooth. I know which ones would be good for climbing if I were 60 years younger. And, I can imagine grasping the highest branches and looking out over the countryside while wafting back and forth in the breeze unafraid of falling, confident that the branches will catch me in their arms before I hit the ground cradling me like a mother embracing her child.

Anyway, eventually I left the park and the trees for lunch with Stevie and Norbert where we played “ain’t it awful” while we ate.

B. A PLEASING COMMENT:

Naida West’s thoughtful and sensitive comment on my rumination in the previous issue of T&T about my upcoming 75th birthday pleased me greatly. I though you might enjoy it almost as much as I did.

“You wrote:

‘Someone’s 75th birthday seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. …Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.’

I’ll go a step further and say: One’s 75th birthday IS an important milestone that ought to be shared with friends and family. I was happy to learn that my Carmel High School class of ’57 is throwing a birthday bash for all of us, since we’ve all turned, or will turn, 75 this year. We’re calling it the “57-75” party — more than a reunion.

I recall my 2 birthday parties — the first a wondrous event with a kitchen table full of kids and my mother setting a birthday cake before me, ablaze with 4 candles. My father and I had held hands as we walked down the alley to the tiny corner grocery store to buy the candles, and I will always remember his loving tone as he spoke to me like I was a grown up. My cousin once removed, 7 at the time, leaned over and blew out the candles before I understood my role. Two of my aunts scolded him; he turned red, and I felt sorry for his embarrassment. My next and last birthday party occurred when I turned 8, with one friend there, and my brother and little sister.

Long ago I told my husbands, in turn, and my children, that I don’t care about my birthdays, that they needn’t bother their heads about it. Yet when I turned 75 in April, I felt it would have been nice to have some sort of shared celebration. Maybe I’m just an unfair old grouch looking back over 50 years of arranging birthday parties for my elders, my 2 husbands, and each of my 3 children from age 1 to about 15.

Yes, buy yourself a birthday cake! And consider me to be a spirit guest, as well as a member of the great class of ’57. In Carmel I’ll raise a glass of wine to you. A classmate who owns the party building, along with nearly every other building in downtown Carmel, has doubtless encountered evidence of your work.

Also from TNT, your dream: “…a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.”

Well said.”

I urge all of you who read this, to treat yourself (perhaps on your birthday) to Naida’s three wonderful historical novels set in the Cosumnes River area near Sacramento during the 19th Century. You will not be disappointed. You can order them at: bridgehousebooks@gmail.com.

Pookie says check it out.
C. A MESSAGE TO THE TOOTH FAIRY:

HRM wrote the following note to the tooth fairy which he placed under his pillow along with the detached tooth:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

Did you ever take John Cena’s tooth? Yes__ or No___

Please respond.”

Clearly a future CEO; dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:
Quigley up top:

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), one of the great but unheralded minds of the latter part of the 20th Century, wrote a book entitled “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times” (1965). He believed the explanation for the disintegration of a society can be identified in the gradual transformation of social arrangements functioning to meet real social needs into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

Perhaps because of what it also revealed, his book mysteriously quickly disappeared from the selves of bookstores to be replaced four years later by a heavily edited version that eliminated much the book’s disclosures. In about 2002, the original version finally was republished.

To professor Quigley’s great dismay, the revelations in the book and the facts surrounding its publication became fodder for the tin-foil hat brigade, including Alex Jones, and inadvertently inspired the conspiracy culture that still infects America today. Although “Tragedy and Hope,” became the wellspring of innumerable conspiracy theories, Quigley strenuously objected to them all. He wrote:

“This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements…. This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. “

After describing the “modicum of truth,” he continues:

“I have no aversion to it (the organizations and activities that the conspiracy theorists base their conjectures on) or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies… but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”

In this and following issues of T&T, I will write more about Quigley, discuss and at times criticize his arguments and disclosures as well as provide examples of its content and of his other writings.

As an illustration, Quigley, rightly or wrongly, maintained that until the later half of the 19th Century society as reflected in history was the story of the economic, intellectual and military elites. The peasants and proletariat were, other than for the technology they used, of little account.

“it is revealing that the ideological appeal for allegiance in the last two thousand years of Europe’s history (and, indeed, in most of mankind’s earlier history) made almost no effort to reach or to attract the peasants, who were, throughout history down to the nineteenth century, not only the most numerous class in society but were also, of course, the economic support of the power structure. This failure to make ideological appeal to the most numerous and most necessary group in the community was a consequence of the facts of power which are being discussed in this book. Whatever the number of the tillers of the soil or the indispensable nature of their contribution to the community, their power has always been insignificant, except in the few, relatively brief periods when they have been of military importance to the community. Except for the period before about 4000 B.C., and for a few centuries in Roman history and an even briefer period in some areas of Greek history, the peasantry has played almost no role in military life and, accordingly, almost no role in political life of the communities which have made history. This military and political incapacity of the tillers of the soil, so glaringly evident under feudalism or during the Thirty Years’ War, was a function of the distribution of weapons and of military organization, and is a remarkable example of the weakness of economic necessity in contrast with the role of force in any society. As we shall see, the rise in political significance of peasants and farmers in the nineteenth century, a rise which never took them to a dominant position, was a consequence of changes of weapons, a fact almost unmentioned by historians of the modern period. A similar neglect of peasants has existed in most of history, but on a gigantic scale, in Asia and in Africa, and, above all, in China,…”
Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America.

Be that as it may, according to Quigley this élite produced a society in the West (including North and South America, etc.) that distinguished it from others and, without diminishing the values those other societies, it was something that he approved of.

“it is clear that the West believes in diversity rather than in uniformity, in pluralism rather than in monism or dualism, in inclusion rather than exclusion, in liberty rather than in authority, in truth rather than in power, in conversion rather than in annihilation, in the individual rather than in the organization, in reconciliation rather than in triumph, in heterogeneity rather than in homogeneity, in relativisms rather than in absolutes, and in approximations rather than in final answers.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Quigley believed that the intolerance or rigidity often evident in the religious practices and among some secular groups in the West were in the most part aberrations from its nature of relative inclusivity and diversity. I am less sanguine about this last point. It, however, has been reported that in the last few years of his life Quigley became more pessimistic about the West’s commitment to those ideals.

Quigley also published, The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. First edition, 1961, New York: Macmillan, 281 pp., The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. 1981, New York: Books in Focus, 354 pages, and Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America, 1064 pages.

DAILY FACTOID:
1775: Jeanne Baret of France, became the first woman to sail around the world. She did it disguised as a man so that she could assist botanist Philibert de Commerson, who was also her lover. One of them — quite probably Baret — discovered the Bougainvillea plant.

Ah, those French, always with the love and the flowers…

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

An honest commitment to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

“‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security.”
Franklin Roosevelt 1944 message to Congress

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

Oliver’s brilliant response to comments disagreeing with a Facebook post of his.

“Kayleigh Sedlack: Don’t be part of the problem Olivier.. Let’s try to be positive and find peace.

Nick Mojica: He is the problem.

Olivier Tomas Grandvoinet: Heyyyy get that shit outta here, y’all aren’t the demographic I’m rallying with at the moment.”

C. More from Facebook

I just noticed that my time-line has reported my new life event: “started working at retired.” Thank God, here I thought I was only wasting my time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
Lauren Bacall

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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The Good Gay Poet Walt Whitman.

“God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.”
― Walt Whitman

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday: Brendan Dreaper, Katie Dreaper and Bruce Kittrell

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. RED FACADE WITH GREEN SHUTTERS

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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

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

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

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

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

HRM with a dreamy look in his eyes ignored me and said, “I’d like to meet God some day. I think that would be fun.” Unable to come up with a satisfactory response, I changed the subject to Archery.
1__#$!@%!#__unknown
HRM at Archery Range.

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

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

C. EL TOPO AND JEANNE

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:
2__#$!@%!#__unknown
When times were good and good times rolled.

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

3__#$!@%!#__unknown

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

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

1. Khutulun, Mongolian Warrior Princess

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

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

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

2. Smedley Darlington Butler, a Profile in Courage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
4__#$!@%!#__unknown

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

5__#$!@%!#__unknown

New York Harbor at Night a Century Ago.

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

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

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

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. SPANISH MOSS
xl_american_odyssey_276-277 - Version 2
B. REPORT FROM HOME:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D. TRAVEL PLANS:

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

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

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

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Red Sails in the Sunset

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tristan, before embarking from Cornwall on his latest war in Ireland, promised his beloved Isolde that upon his ships’ return, if he were still alive, he would unfurl his white sails but had he died his men would put up red ones. Upon word of the ship’s approach to the harbor, Isolde sent her handmaid to the top of the tower to report what she sees. Tristan, still alive, orders his men to unfurl the white sails. Unfortunately the sun was setting at just that moment causing the sails to blaze a bright red. Upon the maid’s return from the tower Isolde asked her the color of the sails. “Red” she answered not knowing the significance of her response. So, in sorrow and despair Isolde killed herself as did Tristan when he discovered his beloved’s body.*
IMG_20150123_152137_683
I always envied Tristan. As far as I know, there have been very few people who longed for my return after I left the room.

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles, Female Version:

Boudicca, the original Braveheart. After the death of her father the king, the Romans flogged Boudicca, raped her daughters, and, to add insult to injury, the financiers back in Rome called in their loans to the deceased monarch. This last probably really fried her bacon. Bat-shit with anger, she then led her tribe of British Celts in a bloody, and ultimately doomed, rebellion against their Roman occupiers. She took no prisoners and slaughtered all the Romans in the cities she conquered. As the town that was to become London burned, she had the breasts of the noblest women cut off and sewn into their own mouths before impaling them on spikes.
IMG_20150123_152230_572
Tomoe Gozen, one of Japan’s few known female warriors, who fought in the 12th century Genpei War. Described as a peerless swords-woman, horsewoman and archer, she had a taste for beheading her enemies.
IMG_20150123_152248_062
Mai Bhago, the 18th-Century Sikh Joan of Arc. Appalled to see Sikh men desert their Guru in the face of Mughal invaders, she shamed them into returning to battle, defeated the enemy, became the Guru’s bodyguard and later retired to devote herself to meditation.
IMG_20150123_152300_060
Maria Bochkareva, a Russian peasant who fought in World War I. She formed the terrifyingly named Women’s Battalion of Death and won several honors, only to be executed by the Bolsheviks in 1920. (Contrary to the belief of some of my commenters, she did not become a Russian mail order bride.)
IMG_20150123_152311_078
Nancy Wake, the New Zealand-born British agent commanded more than 7,000 resistance fighters during the Nazis’ occupation of France in World War II. She killed a SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him from raising the alarm during a raid. She became the Gestapo’s most wanted person, and the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman. After the war she refused offers of decorations from Australia, saying: “The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts.”
IMG_20150123_152329_835

B. More from Eric Spang (Jimmy Buffett “Boat Drink” Lyrics):

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

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

1. Auction or flea market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Apology to the Good/Bad David:

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:
14860706214_1472bfdb85

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Stevie Dall
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

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

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

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

One weekend recently, we went to Denio’s Flea Market in Roseville where I bought a hat that I have been eyeing for almost a year now but was too embarrassed to buy. Here I am in my new hat:
IMG_20140802_110758_575

Am I cool or what? If they are going to stop me at immigration as a potential illegal alien, I might as well give them reason to. Do you think this should be my new Facebook photo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. Who Created America? (Snark alert)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me

A thousand kisses deep

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

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

lethal-doses-chemicals

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Stevie Dall and Katie Dreaper

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

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

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

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

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

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

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

Then again, who the hell cares what I believe?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAILY FACTOIDS:

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Lowering Testosterone benefits everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER MARY ANNE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

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

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

A bar in Ft. Lauderdale with the Golden Vagina:

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

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

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

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

C. BOOK REPORT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And,

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

Pookie says check it out.

DAILY FACTOID:

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A Irish Father’s advice to his son:

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

TODAY’S QUOTES:

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Photograph of a Bayou in 1890

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

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