October 2012 through December 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Pookie 0001 (November 15,2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Autumn has snuck into El Dorado Hills. Summer left the Sierra foothills like a politician blowing town after losing an election.

I have begun preparations for my departure Sunday. Why it takes so long to pack, I have no idea. It is certainly not the amount of stuff I have. My clothing does not even fill up a single suitcase. Each item I pick up I stare at and contemplate like an artist studying a block of marble before striking it with his chisel. What is this? Where did I get it? Do I need it? Is it part of something else? How do I fold it? Where should it go? Will I ever see it again? Will I ever use it? What is it really for? ….and so on.

Yesterday I watched on television the movies Patton, Midway and Apocalypse Now. A television network was having a festival of war movies. While watching for about 8 hours, I began to notice something about the commercials that struck me as strange. Of the over 200 commercials presented during that time, only one was for an American produced manufactured item. All the rest were either ads for financial products, food products, stores that stocked mostly foreign manufactured goods, various entertainment efforts, a few communication companies and four ads for foreign produced automobiles.

War movies are mostly guy things. They are made for men and concerned with men doing men things. Killing each other in great numbers is a man thing. Crying in anguish over the death of a comrade killed by one of the survivors of those he and his comrade have attempted to slaughter is another guy thing.

Women in war movies are rare. They appear only in an attempt to prove that in war movies the men are not, as most sensible people suspect, sleeping with each other.
At least one or two men in the war movies sleep with something that looks, if not acts, like a woman. These are generally portrayed as creatures whose minds are much smaller than their vaginas. Although we are often exposed to the limits of their minds we never actually see their vaginas. The men in the movies pretend their vaginas do not exist. One can surmise however that they must be robust for the men to be so interested in these insipid creatures during their inevitably brief appearances. it is either that or their shoes are too tight.

Apocalypse Now is the ultimate man’s movie. The plot is about a love affair between two men — a psychopathic, depressed, serial murderer and substance abuser goes in search of another psychopathic, depressed serial killer (but alas not a substance abuser) and kills him; a war movie‘s version of orgasm.

Another notable feature of the movie is its emphasis on the males speech patterns, or man talk. Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration in a simple laconic statement their world view of the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.

For example, The Dennis Hopper character, a war photographer (probably into SM) and to whom Captain Willard had just warned “You take my picture again I am going to kill you.” asks Willard who is tied up in a cage (SM alert) :

“Why would a nice guy like you want to kill a genius?”

Later he announces:

“The man is clear in his mind but his soul is mad.”

Robert Duvall portraying the surfing obsessed battlefield commander who loves waking up with the smell of napalm tickling his nostrils and observes archly that “Charlie don’t surf” comments:

“This war is run by four star clowns who are giving away the whole circus.”

Upon coming upon a platoon guarding a bridge at night during a particularly psychedelic fire fight Willard asks a one of the stoned platoon members, “Soldier who is in charge here? “ The soldier responds, “Aint you?”

“The horror. The horror.”

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man’s memories, Don Lundy (Cont.):

Most of us, born into the Southern Italian tradition had nicknames. In addition to “Sir Rinse,” our gang included, Frank “Soupy,” Supa, Louis “Louie,” DeLago, Charles “Chazz,” DeVito, Peter “Whitey,” White (Whitey, was non ethnic originally from Saugerties NY and considered a “hick.” He was the groups best all around sports athlete. (He had a sister who was not 100% and who the older boys had their way with.)), and Edward “Neddy,” Callaghan, a small Irish kid who was my rival in non-sport athletics such as climbing trees and buildings.

I used to like to climb into the tallest of the trees that dotted the neighborhood. I would climb until I reached the topmost and thinnest branch. There I would cling to that branch as it swayed back and forth and bent under my weight. I liked the view from the top and the rush I would get as the breeze swung my perch about. One time, the branch I clung to broke under my weight. I tumbled through the lower branches grabbing at them in desperation and felt them break under my weight as I plunged by. Each branch, however, slowed my descent somewhat until by the time I reached the lowest of them I had slowed myself enough to enable me swing gently and safely  on to the ground. My experience so exhilarated me that I took to climbing up other trees and leaping off the top in order to experience the thrill and danger, just like some people take to bungee jumping today.

The local public school building, at that time was made of red brick with marble cornices about 1/2 inch thick marking the separate floors. Ned and I used to like to climb up the brick facing by squeezing our fingers and toes into the slight indentations made by the mortar between the bricks until we reached the cornice. We would inch along the cornice until we had encircled the building and then climb to the next floor and repeat the circumnavigation.

Every now and then someone in the group would call me “Mopey Joe.” I hated that name and so, often a fight would ensue. I was given that name by one of the Blount brothers, (the Blounts were older and not members of our group). They called me that because I usually walked slowly, at a steady pace with my head down. The reason I did so was that I suffered constant pain from flat feet. The pain forced me to generally walk gingerly back on my heels, compelling me to tip my upper body forward for balance. Anyway, the Blounts were African-American, part of the vast migration north of rural southern blacks that began during World War II. The African-American community in town was split between those immigrants and the free blacks who could trace their residence in the village back almost to the Civil War and before. They, this latter group, actually made up most of the village’s two or three person middle class.

Nick-names were part of italian culture, mostly prosaic and based either on some rearrangement of ones name, something peculiar about the person (I knew a guy call “Beefsteak” because of his fondness for that food) or insulting like “Gimp.” African-Americans however tended to bestow nicknames whether from affection or insult more playfully and seemed to revel in the poetry. Mopey Joe had a certain poetic ring to it, don’t you think? At that time, I was ashamed of it and hated it. It was only almost 70 years later when I started using it in this section of “This and that…” that I got to like it. I now have several nicknames some of which would normally be considered a bit insulting; “Pookie” and “Mopey Joe,” being two of them. Pookie I have grown to love and refer to myself that way. It was given to me by a small child out of love and trust. How could one be ashamed of that? If I were to rank the various names that people referred to me by, Pookie would be first, then followed by Papa Joe, Mopey Joe, Joe, Joey, Asshole, Bastard and Motherfucker (I have grown somewhat fond of Asshole, however, and would consider moving it up the list somewhat).

There were a few other members of the gang. Alas, I have forgotten their names. Then there was Donald Lundy, “Don” or “Dondi.” My recollection of whom prompted this post.

Dondi was “colored” as people of that time, in private, referred to what we have today agreed to refer to as African-Americans. In my experience no-one I knew used the N word then not even blacks with blacks as became fashionable later. The only people that used the N word were Southerners (we were told this) or classless white guys and crazy angry and often drunk people. I assumed, since my African-American friends at the time informed me, they like many others privately referred to us, as Dagos, Wops or Guineas (the D,W and G words. For Jews there were the K, H and S words. For those interested in these type of things, Wikipedia has a fairly complete list of ethnic slurs.)

Typically the complexities of racial and ethnic profiling and insults escaped the understanding of most of the children in my peer group in that village. However, by the time we hit high school we very much were indoctrinated into the world of sexual, racial and ethnic epithets and stereotypes.

Anyway, Don’s family was of the older African-American settler group that had settled in the village before World War II. I wanted to be his friend and we spent a lot of time together apart from the gang, playing and talking about those things of interest to little boys. I never fought with Don as I often did with my other friends and gang members. Dondi was too good natured for that. At times we ate at each others homes. Dondi used to like to come over to my house because at that time Italian cuisine was still considered exotic and spicy. Dondi developed a taste for it. I also ate over at Don’s house. To be honest, at the time I thought what Don and his family ate was “American food.” I was sort of proud that I was eating food that “real” Americans ate. It was only later that I learned how wrong I was and how bland real “real American” food actually was. (To be continued.)
DAILY FACTOID:

geocommons

This is a map plotting supposedly racist twitter posts sent a couple of days after the recent election. I include it here not because I wish to add my support to those libs whose voices thrash with emotion at their perception of continuing racism buried in the heart of every Southerner (to be honest, it looks to me like the racism is pretty well distributed throughout the US), but to point out that modern communications technology now allows your personal messages and thoughts to be classified and displayed for all to see moments after your often probably regretted burst of emotion. This may be something accepted by those under 30, but for an alter like me, I believe one should have at least a week to think over whether what you said or wrote is what you ment or even still believe. Perhaps we can have a delay function built in to things like this where after about a week the sender receives a note that goes something like, “Dear….., a week ago you posted this. Please let us know if you still believe what you wrote before we blast it around for all the world to see and either laugh at you or despise you for.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

OWS Infographic-5

B. So said God:

“Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions.”
1. Ezekiel 23:19

C. Election post scripts:

Ben Howe writing in the conservative blog “Red State” had the following to say about the recent election:

“According to all the sources I spoke to, the breakdown of the campaign can be traced to the primaries. One source saying “they looked at the guy who could raise the most money in history as a ride” adding that “money no longer matters. That’s the problem,” also referring to the campaign overall as “the biggest political flim flam of all time.” The result of all of these false numbers and inaccurate ground reports is simple: Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming on election day and his false sense of confidence directly translated into how the campaign operated in the closing weeks. In the words of one source, it was a con job. As David Mamet famously said, “If you’re in the con game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.” Mitt Romney had no idea what was coming.”

http://www.redstate.com/2012/11/09/campaign-sources-the-romney-campaign-was-a-consultant-con-job/

Have we come to this now? In order to explain the electoral defeat of a business man running for office claiming that a business man is better able to manage the government than anyone else, we must blame his defeat on him not being such a good business man in the first place.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”
Thomas Aquinas

“If is the middle word in life.”
Dennis Hopper character in Apocalypse Now

TODAY’S CARTOON:

21756_506179019400861_399159883_n

TODAY’S CHARTS:

chart-thumb-510x475-54868

Correlation is not necessarily causation, but this case may be an exception.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

423064_497354990285517_1823787633_n

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Pepe 0001 (November 10, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

The election in over. The world is saved to stumble along as it always does from crisis to crisis hopefully liberated for a few weeks from those voices trembling with indignation (including mine) in fear of catastrophe if things did not go the way they wanted.

This week I head back to the Bay Area for more medical tests. When I return to El Dorado Hills, I will begin preparation for my return to Thailand on the 19th of this month. It is always a sad time for me when I leave. I will be leaving friends and relatives who I keep promising myself I will visit or call and do not. Whatever guilt that I have been able to forestall by promising myself that I will get around to calling or visiting them the following week I now get to replace with the even less believable promise to myself that I will surely do so on my return.

While whiling away my time in the golden hills, I noticed the rafter of turkeys (see below– somehow I always thought it would be a gobble or a basting) that live on our street have taken up roosting in the dying oak tree in our front yard. I learned this one morning when, as I was leaving the house to drive Hayden to school, I commented upon observing the state of the driveway that we must have had a light dusting of snow the night before. Hayden set me straight.

Speaking of rafter’s of turkeys, the golden hills are full of them. Some of them are quite large. The largest that I have seen struts around in our own rafter. It appears to be almost 4 feet tall from toenail to head feather. It scares me a lot.

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The US election came and went. The President was reelected, the Democrats increased their representation in both the House and the Senate while increasing their majority in the latter. The pundits when not castigating Romney personally have begun to echo what I have been writing here for months now, this election could be seen the last hurrah of the straight (and unfortunately too often uneducated) white male that had dominated American electoral politics since Andrew Jackson. Remember, the combination of women, latino, black, homosexual and Asian men currently makes up over 70% of the electorate. This election marks the first time they have been recognized as the nation’s majority, courted as such and have become aware of it themselves.

What this means is that the major economic interests, specifically the extractive industries and the financial transactionalists that have effectively dictated the economic and fiscal agenda of the nation since 1980 will have to ally themselves with this new majority and abandon their old allies if they wish to preserve and expand their wealth. I suspect wedge issues such as illegal aliens, and contraception and the like will disappear as attempts are made by those who set the political agenda to connect things like a women’s right to choose and reducing regulation of financial transactions with the concept of reducing governmental intrusion into people’s lives.

It will take at least a generation however for that new rhetoric to coalesce into a new majority to benefit those who currently own our natural resources and control our access to money.

O’Reilly, that old reprobate from Faux News sums it up in a rant of racist fury:

“The white establishment is now the minority. And, the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them, and they want stuff. You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?”

Yes Bill, these people, this new majority, will clamor for just about the same things, entitlements as you phrase it, from their elected officials as the old majority did…that is whatever they thought they wanted or needed. It is nothing new. Live with it.

It also should be noted that Romney’s electoral vote throughout the nation outside the South totaled about 1/4 of his entire vote. More than ever it appears the Republican Party is not a national party but regional one. Only in the South, does the Republican Party claim any credibility as a viable political party. The Southern Republican style of conservatism and the so-called Southern strategy appears to be little more than continuation of the South’s belief that they are still fighting the Civil War. Perhaps this is finally the time we put that lost cause behind us?

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In my last post I mentioned a comment that I received from the son of a friend of mine from when I was child living in a small town called Tuckahoe in New York. He had read what I had posted about his father in my blog, “This and that…”. I promised him and you to republish them and complete the series that I inadvertently did not do at that time. Here is the first post:

Old man’s memories; Donald Lundy:

Until I entered junior high school when we moved to the nearby city go Yonkers, I lived in a tiny village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River as it careened through Westchester County, a mostly wealthy suburb adjacent to New York City.

Unlike much of the rest of the county, the village residents were mostly poor people; italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals from those three ethnic groups from living within their borders, even if they could afford to do so. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those towns, where they could not live, as gardeners or domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas on the East Coast at that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter. Most nights I would lie in bed and jealously listen to the other children playing under the street lights near my home well into the night.

our gang valentine

our gang valentine (Photo credit: carbonated)

Several of the village boys in my age group spent most of our play time together. As boys tend to do, we envisioned ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house we called the Itch.

As we grew older and outgrew “The Little Rascals,” we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids (also called, The East Side Kids and the Bowery Boys), a series of mostly humorous movies about a teenage gang in the Lower East side of Manhattan. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cerrincione, referred to as “sir rinse,” even adopted Gorcey’s strutting walk. I guess the character I would have been considered most like was the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the rest of group. He probably had less of a role in the plots than the appropriately named

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from...

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from the film Angels with Dirty Faces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

character, Whitey” who as far as I recall never spoke. My character’s only purpose seemed to be to warn the others that Gorcey and Huntz Hall’s plans were faulty. In the “serious’ episodes of the series he was the one who most often was in trouble requiring the others to rescue him. Unlike some of the other actors in the series like Hall and Gorcey, the actor who played my character often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular. Like me, he was mostly irrelevant to the lives of the other gang members.

Much like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I ended up fighting a lot with the rest of the kids. I also preferred to spend my time reading. As a result, I appeared arrogant to the others because I often corrected things they would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole (probably more ig than it).

(To be continued.)

 

DAILY FACTOID:

311195_494659567221726_857384526_n

correlation is not causation

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“… over the past generation the U.S. government has decided more or less by accident–in the same way, that Britain decided by accident to conquer two-thirds of the world starting in 1750–that it wants to shift seven percent of GDP out of manufacturing and other sectors and into what the market was telling us were the sectors of the future.

So we shifted three percent of GDP into health care administration, and four percent of GDP into finance.

Now even at the time we noticed that shifting an extra three percent of GDP into health care administration was a huge mistake. What the extra three percent of people working in health care administration are doing was working for insurance companies trying to find ways not to pay for the treatment of sick people. They are not only not producing anything useful, they simply increase risk and fear–and make people scared that if they do go to the doctor they then will not understand the bill they get and will not be able to pay it.

There is also the four percent increase in the share of GDP going to finance. This, too, is surely a zero or a negative sum game.

Anthony Scaramucci, Wall Street mogul thinks that what the world really needs is far less regulation of Wall Street, and far more room for Anthony Scaramucci to go about his business.

What is his business? His business is charging people one percent of their wealth each year for the privilege of hearing him tell them which hedge funds will do best over the next year and thus which hedge funds they should invest in.

Now if Anthony Scaramucci actually knew enough about hedge funds to know which would do best over the next year, he would be making even more money by running a successful hedge fund himself. He would be competing with Renaissance or Bridgewater. He’d be up there as someone who was making money for his clients. But he doesn’t.

He’s in a position where lots of people want an expert to tell them what to do, have been told by their friends that he is the expert to listen to.

As near as I can see, what the extra four percent of U.S. GDP devoted to finance is doing is taking money not so much from the bottom eighty percent but from the rest of the top ten percent that wants to know where to put their money–through price pressure, through arbitrage, through fees. It doesn’t do anything productive in terms of spreading risk, improving corporate governance, or diminishing moral hazard in the credit channel–rather the reverse. But it does increase uncertainty. And it has brought us our current depression.

So we have moved seven percent of the U.S. economy into activities that are at best completely unproductive. Now we have to figure out how to move resources out of these sectors. At the moment we’re unable to do so because we’re still fighting the lesser depression and trying to keep it from turning into a greater depression.
Brad DeLong

B. Nouns of Association, Part II:

1. A thought of barons
2. A knot of toads
3. A parliament of owls
4. A covey of quail
5. A passel of piglets
6. A rascal of boys
7. A rafter of turkeys
8. A skein of geese (in flight)
9. A shrewdness of apes
10. A cete of badgers

D. Electioneering:

In what I hope will be my last comment on the subject until 2014, I believe Rachel Maddow best summed up the effect of the election when she said:

We are not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade.
We are not going to repeal health care reform.
Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people fight it out in the open market to get health insurance.
We are not going to give 20% tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and children’s insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.
We will not need to consult our boss if we need to get birth control
We are not going to amend the US constitution to stop gay people from marrying
We are not scaling back on student loans because the government’s new plan is that you borrow money from your parents.
We are not vetoing the dream act, nor are we self deporting.
Ohio really did go to president Obama and he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii and he really is the legitimate president of the United States, again.
And the bureau of labor statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the congressional research service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections to make conservatives feel bad. He was doing math.
And climate change is real
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is real.
And the Benghazi was an attack on us, not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away people’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up and the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Sadam Hussein did not have weapon of mass destruction.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps
And moderate reforms of the regulations of the insurance industry and financial services industry are not the same thing as communism.

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”
Thomas Aquinas

“Who are these people?” Hertz Shemets says. “They’re yids. Yids with a scheme. I know that’s a tautology.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.

“You are as unhappy as the least happy of your children.”
Mary Anne Petrillo

 
TODAY’S CHART:

404713_494657980555218_564092358_n

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

317288_491838394170510_160564942_n

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

o-SIENNA-MILLER-NUDE-570
Sienna Miller

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Pepe 0001 (November 5.2012)

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Halloween came and went with Hayden dressed as “the Scream” and me handing out candy to whatever goblins and ghosts might ring the door bell.

DSCN0481

I was quite anxious, fearing that no one would come begging at the door. I could not face the humiliation of failing at the simple task of providing children something to rot their teeth and endanger their health. I kept jumping up and down from sofa and running to the door to see if anyone was coming.

Finally a shy tiny little blond girl dressed all in bandages showed up. Overcome with excitement and with a big nervous and undoubtedly scary smile on my face I held out to her the bowl of candy. She hesitatingly reached into the bowl and timidly plucked out one piece and dropped it into the bag she was carrying.

Interpreting her hesitation as  rejection of my sincere efforts to corrupt the innocent, I shouted “no,” stepped suddenly toward her and in one quick move dumped the entire contents of the bowl into her still open candy bag.

With a surprised squeak and eyes so wide I feared they would fall out of her head and follow the candy into the now almost full bag, she turned and ran off into the darkness.

I spent the remainder of the evening wondering if I were going to receive a visit from the police and questioning whether Halloween candy maven was a suitable career choice for me.

In the days following the trauma of Halloween, I returned to my role as nanny and in my spare time threw myself into my newest career as URB.im’s Bangkok Bureau Chief. That impressive title requires me to write four posts a month about those who believe they are saving the world by interfering in the lives of the poor and destitute of Thailand.

My pay would be barely adequate to keep a homeless Bangkok street beggar in two bowls of rice and broth a day. It was suggested that, as soon as possible, I find someone who otherwise is unemployed to take over the job, preferably a young local woman living at home with her parents since that was the usual situation of the other Bureau Chiefs. My new employers seemed dubious about entrusting their important work to some overweight broken down old attorney ex-pat who in his dotage would likely slip into some hole in the sidewalk and disappear into the city’s sewer system leaving them without their man or woman in Bangkok.

My first assignment is to write about organizations providing parks for squatters living in tar paper shacks perched on stilts over the same sewers it was expected that I would fall into.

On Saturday I drove to Cameron Park for H’s first Taekwondo Tournament. I believe it is one of the functions of the elderly to assume periodically the role of chauffeur of children and relieve parents of that obligation. God knows it is not that we (the elderly), have so much else of interest to do that we cannot spare the time.

I was somewhat anxious on the drive. This was my first time driving my charge to a tournament. I worried I would get lost and he would be disqualified (I did but he did not).

Taekwondo is one of the those Asian so called martial arts that makes one less competent in a street fight then if you knew nothing about it. At least if one were ignorant, he would not believe throwing long distance bombs would help him against a stronger opponent but instead would grapple with him in hope that he could pin down his arms before having his lights punched out. The martial art seems to be a cross between an athletic sport and dance; the quick controlled explosiveness of most athletic endeavors coupled with the grace and formalism of dance.

H. whose athleticism and technique leaves a lot to be desired, surprised me with his aggressiveness, chasing one of his opponents all over the gym to win 5-0. After the bout the other boy dropped to ground and started to cry. H went over to him and told him he should not feel sad because he, Hayden, had a secret. He explained that his Pookie told him that as soon as the referee signaled the bout to begin he should rush his opponent and hit him as hard as he can. “Now,” that you know the secret,” Hayden continued, “I am sure you’ll win your next bout.”

Flushed with excitement and with H clutching his medal we drove back down the hill, ate a pizza lunch and went to the movies to watch Wreck-it Ralph attempt to redeem his life in 3D animation.

DSCN0499_2

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Some time ago in this section of “This and that…”, I wrote about a childhood friend of mine who I discovered had died not too long before. I never finished the story, having been distracted by one or another of my reoccurring ADD attacks. As most of you know, I eventually republish these emails in my blog of the same name “This and that…” Recently, I received a comment from the son of that deceased friend. Here is a copy of his comment and my response:

Mr. Petrillo – My name is Donald Lundy Jr. and from time to time as I get bored at work I Google my name or my dad’s name and I happened to come across your blog and the Mopey Joe’s memories (December 15, 2011) discussing Tuckahoe, the Old Gang and my dad. What really brought back memories was the mention of my dad enjoying the Italian cuisine. I remember him saying how you guys would trade lunches as the Italian kids were tired of eating the Italian meal of the day and the black kids tired with whatever they were given to eat.

Dad passed away in 2005 but would be honored that the recollection of him would prompt you to begin your post of Tuckahoe and your old gang. He has always had a special place for the town as any kid would growing up there. With that in mind since 2006 I have worked on providing a small scholarship at Tuckahoe High School in his name that provides $1,000 per year to a Scholar/Athlete each year. This past June we had our 7th recipient.

Anyway I wanted to say hello and say I enjoyed your story and I hope you continue the story of Tuckahoe & my dad.

Sincerely,
Donald Lundy, Jr.

Dear Donald,

I am so happy to receive your comment. Your dad was a special friend to me while growing up. I left Tuckahoe to live in Yonkers before the 10th grade, so I did not experience his athletic prowess in high school. To me he was always just “Dondi,” a kid I hung out with and liked a lot. Thank you for reminding me that I forgot to complete my reminisces about him. I will return to them as soon as I can.

I do not know if I mentioned it in my reminisces, but we kids in Tuckahoe could not afford a boy scout troop so we made one up of our own. We put together enough money to buy most of a single uniform that we distributed among us. Once a year we would troop over the hill to Bronxville, at that time a white community in which we were not allowed to live and were discouraged from visiting, to have our own Boy Scout Jamboree. We would set up camp on the lawn of the Bronxville City Hall until the local cops kicked us off. Our troop flag, hung on a broken tree branch, rose proudly above our encampment. On our march over the hill, Dondi, in front, always carried that flag.

I do not know when or if I will get back to Tuckahoe again, but if I do, I would be honored to meet you.

Joe…

In my next issue of “This and that…”, I will repeat my prior posts about Don Lundy and hopefully follow it up with  continuation of where I left off.

DAILY FACTOID:

1. 1865 – Today

Over 600,000 Americans were killed in during the American Civil War a full 2% of the population at the time. The war was begun by the Southern states of the Union to protect the right of 1% of the population of those states to keep fellow human beings in slavery. The South insisted that liberty required that states rights trump human rights and that whether a person should or should not live life as a slave be dictated by the market.

Compare this with WWII fought 90 years later where 416,000 (less than .1% of the population) Americans died. WWII was fought by the allies against perhaps the most evil government on the planet since establishment of the Confederate States of America.

2. Today

Even though women are 51% of the U.S. population, they hold only 16.8% of seats in the House of Representatives and 17% of seats in the Senate. And this year, the Fortune 500 had more female CEOs than ever before! Eighteen. Out of 500.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Kos-85-teaser

B. Readings from the Bible: The Good Host.

“Look, I have two daughters, virgins both of them. Let me bring them out to you and you could do what you like with them. But do nothing to these men because they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
11. Genesis 19:8

C. Nouns of Association:

1. A clowder of cats
2. A parenthesis of cellists
3. A coalition of cheetahs
4. A shock of corn (with stalks included)
5. A brace of dogs (2 dogs)
6. A leap of leopards
7. A coterie of Orchids
8. A dray of squirrels
9. A midden of shells
10. A murder of crows

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”
Thomas Aquinas

“I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted.
Mae West

“Humans are simply bipolar apes.”
Trenz Pruca

“A willingness to kill members of ones own species is apparently correlated with high intelligence. It may be that chimps and people are the only species able to figure out that the extra effort to exterminate and opponent will bring about a more permanent solution than letting him live to fight another day.”
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade

TODAY’S CHARTS:

1. Map of the land of OZ

400px-map-of-oz

2. Life on OZ

416876_494665083887841_352752699_n
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

253094_483084368392171_518387623_n

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Pepe 0001 (October 28, 2012)

 

“Historically, Populism like most mass movements scours up both the worst and the best in a society as it scrapes across its depths. It is prompted by a deep mistrust of a community’s most powerful individuals and institutions who, its adherents believe have misused and mishandled the trust they had been granted; violated the social contract if you will. As the indefatigable realist Machiavelli pointed out, on the broad areas of public policy the general populace is almost always more reliable than the élite.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I took the train from Sacramento to San Francisco. The tracks ran through Susuin Marsh. I recall a time in my life when I would have moved Heaven and Hell to prevent even one acre of a wetland from falling beneath the blade of a bulldozer. Of course, I fully understand and agree with the intellectual, economic and ethical reasons for their preservation. At times when great flocks of birds fly screeching above the vegetation or mucking about in the shallows or at certain times of the year when they are bathed in the colors of spring or autumn, one can almost breathe in the tendrils of poetic inspiration rising from their fetid depths.

On the other hand at times like this, when the skies are overcast and grey, the vegetation a sickly yellow-brown and the waters a dingy black, I can understand a man coming upon them and thinking, “what a waste.” He would, I suspect be likely to aspire to killing it in order to create something that would profit him more than basking in the glow someone else’s idea of aesthetic pleasure.

I would like to think most women coming upon the same marsh would dream instead about how the marsh itself could benefit them and their families without killing it first.

Being male, today those same marshes look like shit to me. I would not mind seeing them disappear beneath the antiseptic familiarity of a few Starbucks or MacDonald’s or the like. By the time we left the marshes behind and chugged into Richmond, however, I changed my mind and decided that, if I were not be the one making the money from the deal, I would prefer leaving the wetlands pretty much as they are.

At night, at my sister’s house in Berkeley, I began reading Sheldon’s newest novel The Terrorist Next Door. Its main character is a cop who, I suspect, to the disappointment of his jewish parents failed to become a doctor, lawyer or famous writer of mystery novels and ended up a Chicago homicide detective. He is teamed up with a black partner in a relationship reminiscent of that between Danny Glover and that famous anti-Semite Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series of movies.

There are three things I noticed and appreciated about the novel. First it is an incomparable travelogue of Chicago (one should read the book with a map of the city nearby). Second is what one learns about Michelle Obama, a girl from the neighborhood. Third, Sheldon in his own good-hearted and upbeat way puts his finger upon the essential flaw in the American character and gives you a glimpse of how good things can be without it and how truly and horribly destructive it really it.

For those of you familiar with and aficionados of the Siegel cannon, he began his writing career trying to write a novel about a young jewish attorney wrongfully accused of the murder of one of his partners, a fictional stand in for a partner of ours at the time whose removal both Sheldon and I agreed probably would immeasurably benefit humanity. Alas, in his writing of the initial drafts, his main character was overwhelmed by a fast talking Irish criminal lawyer and his estranged Chicana attorney wife. This resulted in the beloved character’s prominence being eclipsed. He disappeared entirely by the third novel in the series; even his name is now lost to memory.

My experience is similar to Sheldon’s. I attempted to write a mystery (Red Star) here in T&T. The main character, a stand for yours truly, managed to come across as a boring jerk. He was ultimately replaced in interest and importance by a musclebound bisexual female deputy sheriff from San Mateo County.

Detective David Gold is made of stronger stuff. I see and hope for Gold’s career to be at least as long and as distinguished as Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman, also a Chicago detective and also a disappointment to his parents.

I suspect Sheldon always wanted to write a novel with Chicago, the city he grew up in, as a setting.

I have visited Chicago only a few times. Nevertheless, for me given my ethnic heritage, it has always been one of the sacred places; like Umberto’s Clam House in New York’s Little Italy. For over a decade the stain remained on the sidewalk where, having staggered out of the restaurant after being shot, Joey Gallo fell down and bled to death. Every year, I would make an annual pilgrimage there until time and the City’s acid laced rains erased every vestige of the epic event.

Chicago was the home of the sainted Scarface Al. Alas, I have never visited any of the pilgrimage sites there; such as SMC Cartage warehouse site of the massacre that occurred on the feast day of the saint of love. I sometime wonder what ever happened to many of the relics of my legendary ethnic heroes. Are they in a museum somewhere? Where now, for example, are the artifacts such as Anastasia’s barber chair, Mo Green’s massage table, St. Frank’s used condoms,

The mausoleum of Joe DiMaggio at Holy Cross Ce...

The mausoleum of Joe DiMaggio at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deano’s shot glass and Mario Puzo‘s typewriter? And, while I am at it, where have you really gone Joe DiMaggio? And, why did Tony Benedetto, (nee Bennet), a New Yorker who chose to live in LA, really decide to leave his heart is SF?
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Just because an outcome is determined does not necessarily make it predictable.

The motion system of three or more stars acting on each other gravitationally is generically chaotic. Similarly no activity affected by the behavior of three or more human beings is predictable in the long-term. On the other hand, as it has been pointed out time and again, in the long-term we all end up dead. But, not before someone does something so unpredictable it makes it all seem almost worthwhile.

DAILY FACTOID:

Tony Bennet (nee Benedetto) is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in NYC.

I bet you did not know something like that exists. What do the students actually learn there; the art of punching out hecklers, the aphrodisiacal benefits of Wheaties Breakfast of Champions, how to be successful singing off-key, the secret meaning of doobie doobie doo…?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles:

• When looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve deployment of principles
(Carla Harenski and collaborators).

What this seems to me to mean, if one can generalize it to a gender based approach to public policy, is:

“For men, first punish the guilty and for women, first protect the innocent.”

 

• When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved
(Tania Singer and collaborators).

Does this mean that women are genetically predisposed to liberalism? No wonder God considers them the lesser sex.

• Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness.
(reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy).

Screw you Rachel and Uri. I will have you know that men are kinder to their guns, beer and dogs than women are. We also think we are kind to (and admittedly, at times a little frightened by) large female breasts; vaginas, not so much.

In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making (some of which I have included in precious posts), the authors opine that on the whole, women seem to be more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.

This is why I previously wrote:

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

Would it not now be appropriate for men to just step aside and turn the whole sorry mess we have made of things over to women? I doubt very much that they could do worse than we men have.

B. Electioneering:

I am getting sick of receiving the same email from several of my more right wing friends about a “good friend” of theirs from Texas who threatens to close down his business if Obama is reelected.

1. He is not your “good friend.”
2. He is not from Texas.
3. He will not close down his business if Obama is reelected.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“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.”
Robert Kennedy, 1968

“Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.”
Unknown

TODAY’S CHART:

Eco-Regions-USA-Source-EPA
Map of North American Bio-regions. I am not sure about the significance of this chart except that it looks nice and whoever did it spent a lot of time at it.

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Pepe 0001 (October 26, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Thankfully my travels are over for a while, along with it my Travelogue. I hate Travelogues. I have found only two travel books that I have consider to be worth reading. The first is Tahir Shah‘s Sorcerer’s Apprentice in which Shah sets off to India, where he had never been before, in search of a magician of ill repute he had heard about as well as initiation into the brotherhood of Indian godmen. The second is A Short Walk Through the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby in which a pair of doofuses set off to go where no westerner had gone for almost one hundred years and lived to tell about it.

I have returned to El Dorado Hills where sameness rules and where excitement is generated by realizing ones gas gauge shows the tank is only 1/4 filled.

El Dorado Hills, The Hills of Gold, an apt name for the virtually worthless mounds of dirt that proved to be a goldmine for the developers and a place of unrelenting servitude to those who chose to live here; as tied to the mortgages on the land and houses on which they live as any serf was bound to the lord of the manor a few centuries ago

My mornings here in El Dorado Hills, are spent at Bella Bru Coffee Shop in a nearby shopping center, eating a bagel and café latte breakfast while huddled next to the only electrical outlet available to customers into which I can plug in my new Macbook Air computer. Around me, at the nearby tables, aging white men mumble about evils inflicted on the country by that black man in the White House while studiously avoiding mentioning his Mormon challenger.

I intend to stay here for about one month and leave to return to Thailand in mid November.

We won the custody suit. The petitioner, the Federal Policeman sworn to uphold the law, argued to the amusement of all in the courtroom at the time, that a law more than 20 years old should not be enforced.

With the victory, SWAC was free to fly away; which she did a few days later. And so, I returned to my nanny duties for the month. She has promised to return in time for my departure for Thailand. In the meantime Hayden’s four or so putative step-fathers seem to be coping ok.

Winter is coming. After perhaps the longest summer in my memory, with temperatures in the high 80’s and 90’s lasting through the third week in October, winter descended on El Dorado Hills with the suddenness of the explosion of a land mine. Amidst tornado warnings and intermittent rain squalls, dark black clouds banished the blue skies of summer to search for somewhere else to spread their cheer.

My daughter Jessica signed me up for Kindle and bought me two books. As with most new Kindle readers, I approached it feeling that I was a traitor to the world of printed books. I feared someone from the Strand Bookstore would find me out; much as adolescents masturbating in the bathroom fear being caught by their parents.

The books she bought me were the first two books of a planned trilogy by Justin Cronin. They are about vampires. I have always been terrorized by vampires. As a child, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, ghosts or ghouls I could deal with with a certain level of aplomb, but Dracula terrorized me. At night I could not take the few steps from my house to the garbage cans to throw out the trash without fearing I would hear the sound of leather wings beating softly above me. I could not walk past a poster of that great Vamp, Bella Lugosi, with his cape and fake incisors without a shudder (come to think about it, I wonder if it wasn’t the lipstick and eye shadow that scared me).

The books themselves are about the end of the world as we know it, caused by a US military experiment gone awry. It is more about atmosphere and fatalism than character or plot. The author’s style is simple, almost child like. Yet, the world he paints has a depressing sense of completeness, if not believability.

As I grow older, I find that for about a half hour or so after reading something, my perceptions are subtly altered. For example, after reading A Cat in The Hat to Hayden, should I return to reading a prose description of something or another, for a while the words, in my mind fall into the cadences and rhythms of Dr. Seuss. After reading Cronin’s book, if I go outside and stand on the deck looking across the subdivision at the hill across the valley that circumscribes my view, I am depressingly convinced that the rest of the world has disappeared beneath ravening hordes of blind rapaciousness and fury. Come to think of it, perhaps that is not all that far from the truth.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

The Mystery of Tutankhamen’s penis:

According to an article in New Scientist:

When I started investigating a news story about the possible cause of King Tutankhamen‘s death, I never expected to end up on the trail of his penis.

As I’ve reported today, a letter published in JAMA this week suggests that contrary to what was said earlier this year, the boy pharaoh did not die of a combination of an inherited bone disorder and a nasty case of malaria, but of a genetic disease called sickle-cell anemia.

This letter is just one of six comments that JAMA has published on the work, carried out by Egypt’s chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass and colleagues. Another one suggests that Tut and his relatives may have suffered from a hormonal disorder that is similar to Antley-Bixler syndrome. In this singularly interesting syndrome, a single genetic mutation causes elongated skulls, and over-production of oestrogen. Male sufferers can have distinctive physical features, including breasts and under-developed genitalia.

Irwin Braverman of Yale Medical School and Philip Mackowiak of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, believe that a variant of this syndrome could explain why artwork from the time depicts Tut and his relatives – in particular his father Akhenatun – as having feminine bodies, with hips and breasts, and particularly long heads.

Hawass dismisses the idea, in part because Tut’s penis is, as he puts it, “well-developed”. But on closer scrutiny of his paper, I spotted a note admitting that the penis in question is no longer attached to the king’s body.

I smelled a conspiracy. Could ancient Egyptian embalmers have replaced the royal member to hide the fact that their king’s manhood was somewhat lacking?

 Can one erect a sturdy theory on such flaccid evidence? Stay tuned for further developments.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The presidential election season is drawing to a close. I have a few observations.

1. Republicans believe that facts are unnecessary; only opinion matters. Democrats on the other hand believe facts count and cannot understand why no-one else does.

2. Republicans rarely ever defend Romney or whatever policy he supports in any particular week. They however constantly attack Obama but not on the facts (see #1 above). Democrats on the other hand list ad nauseum Obama’s accomplishments as well as the factual errors in the Romney/Ryan plan of the week. No-one cares.

3. Republicans are better at voter fraud than Democrats. Democrats point to studies and reports that Republicans have taken over the leadership in that area from the Democrats of a generation or so ago. Republicans ignore the studies and insist on blaming Acorn for everything including global warming. (See #1 and #2 above.)

4. Nothing matters in the election but Ohio anyway (see #1, #2, and #3 above).

DAILY FACTOID:

DURING THE 736 DAYS BEGINNING May 9, 2010, Harper Reed walked an average of 8,513 steps, reaching a high mark of 26,141 on September 13, 2010, and a low of 110 on April 21 of this year. (His excuse: broken pedometer.) On that day, Reed, age 34.33 as of this writing, sent one tweet, 55 below his average. Reed was traveling from Chicago to Colorado, where he grew up, where he has spent 39.5 percent of his time away from home since 2002, and where, in 1990, he attended his first concert (David Bowie, McNichols Arena, row HH, seat 8). He has read 558 books in three years—roughly 1,350 pages per week at a cost of 4 cents per page. On May 11, 2011, he slept 14.8 hours before waking up at precisely 2:47 p.m. It was a personal best. (Mother Jones)

Harper Reed records everything he does. Harper Reed is one of the Obama campaign’s technical advisers. He describes his campaign role as a “force multiplier.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that it’s 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?”
Trenz Pruca

B. Electioneering:

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
~Harry S. Truman

At least the Republican’s have not changed their principles in over 70 years…on the other hand it seems like the Democrats have not either.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Frederic Bastiat

Bastiat was a strong libertarian of his time (19th Century), not so much because he believed in the fictional invisible hand of the free market, but because he saw how the bourgeois class that was so supportive of the American and French revolutions immediately manipulated the democratic institutions they helped create for their own benefit. Socialism he believed did the same thing. He considered strong laws limiting what someone could do to someone else necessary in a free society but could not figure out how the to keep the institutions from becoming perverted. Alas he died before resolving that conundrum.

TODAY’S CHART:

58866_292875040818690_1574798994_n
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

389424_356044447822240_1487754714_n

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Pepe 0001 (October 22, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND NEW YORK, NEW YORK:

TRAVELOGUE THREE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, PART TWO.

High Line Park 10/10/12

There are few examples of urban architecture that can be considered masterpieces of urban design. In my opinion, High Line Park is one of them. Built upon abandoned elevated RR tracks it embodies everything several of us urged on urban planners many years ago and more; more clever and more imaginative than any of us could have foreseen.

unknown

Pookie at High Line Park

One thing that I loved is a small arena like sitting area where the tracks crossed over 10th avenue. It is like sitting above a brook or a stream except in this case the stream is the ever-varied patterns of traffic as it scurries away from you eventually to disperse and disappear from view somewhere in upper Manhattan.

1__#$!@%!#__unknown 2

The “window” overlooking 10th Avenue.

Alongside the park, developers taking advantage of the immense value their properties were gifted with by this public-private public benefit venture, have begun construction of high-rises or conversion of the district’s warehouses into incredibly expensive residential units. Many of them proudly and greedily proclaiming their proximity to High Line Park (they did it all by themselves).

2__#$!@%!#__unknown

Some of the new buildings built to take advantage of their location to High Line Park. The High rise on the left was designed by Frank Gehry

After Mary left to go to a meeting, I walked over to the Hudson River and ambled down the new Riverside Park, constructed as part of reconstruction of West-side highway after they took down the elevated roadway. The removal of the roadway has allowed conversion of the derelict port-side warehouses to residential. It appears these two neighborhoods (The Chelsea waterfront and High Line Park areas) are becoming part of the “New” New York.

The shoreline park is nowhere as well planed as High Line Park. Its layout, an unimaginative unitary government type design, would be considered bleak but for its location. It will not enjoy the popularity of High Line Park, in my opinion, until the upgrade of the nearby warehouses are fully completed, filled with people and the push-cart vendors move into the park.

3__#$!@%!#__unknown 2

Battery Park City walkway

As I got closer to Battery Park City, my vision of what an urban waterfront should be, the sameness of the waterfront park began to change into a more varied and interesting landscape.

Within Battery Park City, I came upon one of the most interesting sights of the city. Built upon an inclined plane was a memorial to the victims of famine in general and the Irish famine in particular. A cottage from Ireland abandoned during the famine was imbedded into what was made to look like an irish hillside. I thought it honored those it sought to remember much more that the WTC memorial.

4__#$!@%!#__unknown 2

The memorial to the victims of the Irish famine.

My day with the Gogster 10/11/12

This morning I met with Terry Goggin (the Gogster) at his apartment high above 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. We then climbed into a car with a driver that he explained serves as his office. (If it sounds a bit like Connelly’s the Lincoln Lawyer, it is in many ways). We set off to the site of his new restaurant in the lower east side of Manhattan on the corner of Allen and Houston. If I remember correctly this was the site of Katz’s, for many years a NY institution.

The Restaurant is under construction and is designed from bottom up as a work of art by the Gogster’s son Brian, a fairly well-known sculptor in the Bay Area. Most of its visible area is to be constructed from recycled materials. For example, the walls are paneled from old doors and hung on the walls of the piano bar are actual grand pianos. The two signature, if you will, art works in the place are a stairway made to look like a bridge and stairway to the old El and a Requilary containing a large block of ancient ice rescued from Greenland before it all melts away.

5__#$!@%!#__unknown 2

The Gogster amidst the construction. The wood burning pizza oven made to look like an old boiler is behind him.

While Terry attended a meeting, I went around the corner to eat lunch at a place that served only meatballs. Apparently single food item restaurants or shops are the current rage in NY. Yesterday I saw a restaurant in Chelsea Market in which everything was made out of or covered with chocolate.

The Lower East Side and the Bowery that separated it from Little Italy had changed beyond recognition. No longer the haunt of the iconic Bowery Bum, it was now lined with boutiques and trendy restaurants. Gone are the flop houses where the “guests” slept on the floor cages or between chalk marks on the floor (I know, I have spent several somewhat sleepless nights in several of them). These places are now all boutique hotels charging a minimum of $250 a room per night.

During the time I attended law school over forty years ago, I lived on Mott Street a few blocks away from where I was eating lunch. So, after lunch I decided to take a stroll around the area and see if the old apartment building was still there. At the time I lived there, Mott Street was still considered part of Little Italy. Mott and the neighboring streets were dotted with “social clubs;” store fronts with blacked out windows into which women were not allowed and presided over by one or another Mafia Don. These “social clubs” still remain and retain their names but now have all been converted to cute little restaurants (Where have all the Don’s gone. Gone to Vegas every one).

My old apartment building was a rent controlled seven floor walk up. I lived on the top floor. The other residents were all Italian families. As an apartment was vacated, a family would move its children or other relatives into it, until on most floors every unit was occupied by a family member. Every evening the family on my floor sent me dinner of whatever it was that the rest of the family on the floor was eating. I rarely ever ate better than I did then.

6__#$!@%!#__unknown 2

The apartment building on Mott Street. One of the old “social clubs” all tarted up appears under the red awning.

After my little walk we drove over to a metal shop in Brooklyn specializing in fabricating art works where Brian was supervising construction of the “Art Staircase” that would adorn the restaurant. Apparently there was some conflict going on with the owner of the shop over cost and payment. I wandered about looking at the other works under construction while discussions in hushed tones were held.

7__#$!@%!#__unknown

Gogster and son by the staircase sculpture.

Travel to airport 10/12/12
I arrived in NY on the A train and I left it on the A train to Far Rockaway. Far Rockaway, it sounds exotic doesn’t it. One could almost imagine emerging from the subway on to a sandy beach by clear blue waters; a boatload of buccaneers waiting offshore to attack. Actually, NY is one of those few major cities with large beaches within its city limits, like Rio. True Rockaway Beach and Coney Island do not quite elicit the same images in one’s mind as Copacabana or Ipanema, but they do have their own quirky and gritty charm.

When we emerged from the tunnel and into the sunlight over this section of outer Brooklyn or Queens (I never could remember which it was out here near JFK) we rode above the rows of brick attached homes and lots of trees and passed Aqueduct Raceway. I left the A train at Howard Beach and boarded the Airtrain and took it the last mile or so to my terminal at JFK.

Boarding the Airtrain car with me were two New Yorkers dressed in SF Forty-niners shirts on their way to SF to see the Niners play the Giants. One of them was from Rockaway Beach, a large pear shaped man with a pencil thin mustache and wearing a Joe Montana shirt. He explained he had been a Montana fan for all his life and was Niner fan no matter what his friends and coworkers thought about it. In an accent that could only be from Brooklyn, he told several of the other passengers that he was a scraper, someone who scraps the paint off off bridges in preparation for repainting. He also told all of us that this was only the second airplane flight he had ever taken.

So, listening to the two of them in their excitement plan what they wanted to see when they get to SF (Fisherman’s Wharf and the Crookedest Street), I pleasantly passed the time until we arrived at the terminal where I boarded the plane and left NYC behind.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

8__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Never forget It was just 35 years more or less from Shakespeare to Louis XIV ; From the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase ; From ‘Et Tu., Brute’ to the kid in the manger; From Fred Allen to Laugh-In.”
Peter Grenell, 2012.

Peter Grenell proves that whatever you believe the world is like when you begin your adult life, it will not be so when you end it.

“Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.
St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas proves that God is not needed to prove anything about existence.

Note: it is not simply serendipity that caused me to place Peter Grenell and St. Thomas Aquinas in the same item.

TODAY’S CHART:

9__#$!@%!#__unknown

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Papa Joe 0001 (October 15, 2013)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND NEW YORK:

TRAVELOGUE THREE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

At the bus station in Roslyn Virginia dressed in my Panama hat, yellow vest over a gold sweatshirt, black pants and a powder blue pullover jacket draped over my shoulders I waited for the bus to take me to New York. A woman I later learned was a retired hostess for American Airlines who was also taking the bus to NY approached me and asked me if I was an Actor.

Taken aback I answered “No, why do you think so?”

“You dress so very differently than anyone else around here,” she explained.

Upon arriving in New York City’s Penn Station, I hauled my luggage into the subway station. I intended to take the A train. For those of you who understand the allusion, you are older than you think.

I suddenly felt I had come back home. The subway and its denizens are part of the old NY that I remembered growing up in. While standing in the center of the platform, no one else within 10 or fifteen feet of me, I saw a woman, obviously a New Yorker since she was striding along the center of the platform rapidly and purposefully. When she got up to me she shouted, “Choose one side or the other. Don’t stand here in the middle.” She then walked past me and down the platform shaking her head and muttering to herself. I really was home.

New York is not a city like most others whose class distinctions are horizontal, based upon the neighborhood where you live. It is vertical. There are those who travel by subway, those who travel by surface transportation and those who live above the third floor.

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano...

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano del es:Metro de Nueva York Français: Carte du métro de New York en octobre 2011. Română: Hartă a metroului din New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two notable things about the New York Subway. The first is everyone looks different. Not like in the rest of the world where no-one but identical twins look exactly alike, but really different where everyone appears to be a member of a one person tribe where ones idea of conformity is to look different in some way than anyone else.

The other thing is weirdness. In New York weirdness is not something that distinguishes a person from the general population as odd. In NY, especially on the subway, weirdness is its own ethnic group.

For example, while riding the subway later in the day a man of about 45 or so, normal looking, slender with curly sandy hair wearing casual clothing more traditional than most others riding in the car with us, sat down across from me. He had the standard wires hanging from his ears leading to a mobile device of some sort. He then proceeded to remove his athletic shoes and socks and began cleaning his bare feet of something that only he could see. After doing this awhile, he slowly replaced his socks making sure they were absolutely to his liking. He then replaced his shoes tieing and retieing them several times. No other passenger even looked at him. The either had their eyes closed, were fiddling with their smart phone or reading. Yes, people on the subway read. I told you they were weird.

My hotel is located in a part of Brooklyn that has no name. In this neighborhood downscale would be an improvement. I expected to be mugged one evening on the way home .

After checking in, I returned to Manhattan and met my sister near Madison Park on 23rd St. and Broadway. We went to Eataly. Eataly is part of the new New York. It is a large warehouse filled with only Italian food and restaurants; Little Italy without the automobiles and twice as expensive. We ate at a fish restaurant. We ordered Sicilian style Scallops and Swordfish washed down with Prosecco. It was very tasty although the size of the portions was barely enough for a starvation diet and the Sicilian part nonexistent.

unknown

Mary at dinner in Eataly

While eating I noticed the noses. New Yorkers have real noses; immense honkers, beaks like deadly hatchet blades, rapier like pointed sniffers poised to attack, nostrils that appeared as though God himself had inserted His fingers and pulled them heavenward or spread them across the face almost reaching the ears like a second smile, as well as unlimited other shapes and sizes. Thais have no noses. Even in California noses appear genteel as though modesty demanded they be lopped off or at least discreetly hidden like ones sexual parts suggesting only a mysterious potential. Not so among New Yorkers. The city is a riot of pornographic probosci, a symphony of shnozzolas.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We later walked down Broadway toward Washington Square. On 12th Street we passed the Strand Book Store. About a decade ago, Don Neuwirth told me it had closed. That news ended NY for me. I loved the Strand. Even while I lived in California, I used to fly back to NY periodically and buy four or five hundred dollars worth of books and have them sent back to California.

I used to hang out there for hours on end in the basement where few people ventured. The basement was the repository for books no one read. I always hoped someone would offer me a job sweeping floors in the place. There was one spot in the furthest part of the cellar I especially liked. It was where they would throw unwanted stuff that, for one reason or another, they did not throw into the garbage; broken chairs, boxes of books not yet opened, books no one wanted and so on. I would often sit back there and read. No one came there, ever. I dreamed of having a cot and living there, sweeping floors during the day and perhaps shelving books and reading at night.

Katy, my niece who is a student at NYU joined us. She and my sister eventually left, leaving me alone to prowl the store. For the next hour or so I went through the stacks and through the one dollar bins outside. I knew I could only afford one book. The number of choices however drove me to a state of indecision and anxiety that caused me to leave the store without a purchase and return to my hotel.

On the subway ride home I contemplated the current fashion preferences of New Yorkers. Men mostly dressed in the ubiquitous bagginess that men all over the world seem to prefer to wear at all times except when they are wearing sports gear or in bed. They all look like ambulatory piles of soiled laundry. In NY, the predominant color is black. The windows of the GAP and Banana Republic stores in the City lacked the cheery colors of the GAP or the earthy browns and yellows of Banana Republic we know in California and instead appeared committed to demonstrating the latest fashions suitable for attending funerals.

Woman’s fashions were different as they almost always are. The dominant outfit featured black tights and nothing else until they reached the waist and disappeared into various layers of fabric. They all appeared as though they were naked below the waist.The result was that their legs seemed almost abnormally long, their line not being cut off as usual by shorts or skirt somewhere around mid thigh. Tall slender women whose lower appendages often began in black spike heeled ankle boots and ended just above the waist in a ball of fabric, appeared to me like those cartoon birds, a puff-ball on top of long pipe-stem legs.

It was quite late when I arrived at my stop. I had prepared myself to be mugged and almost welcomed it. To my surprise about 20 other people exited at my stop with me and when we arrived at street level, I found the place awash with people. This also is the new New York.

The next day I met my sister at the World Trade Center Memorial. Several years ago there was a nationwide competition to choose the design for the memorial. Barry Grenell was part of a group of non-profits who had gotten together to submit a proposal. I was included as an advisor. The design was essentially a series of contemplative gardens and small fountains and a large billboard-like structure the surface of which would shimmer in the breeze. We did not win. The award went, as expected, to a standard design firm.

1__#$!@%!#__unknown

Mary at the WTC Memorial.

Maya Lin who won the competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC stunned the art world by rejecting the bombastic approach to memorials by producing a design of elegant simplicity that placed those who were being memorialized foremost and her structure the humble and elegant backdrop. As a result of the memorial’s success, the design world fell in love with her reductionist approach. Alas, they soon forgot the design’s essential humility and dignity.

The World Trade center takes this reductionist approach and infuses it with gigantism while forgetting the humanism of Lin’s design. What is worse it appears almost to forget victims themselves while memorializing the fallen buildings instead. The victims names are difficult to read cutouts into the balustrade surrounding two gargantuan reverse fountains marking the locations of each tower. The names virtually disappear as the viewer is compelled to ignore them and stare at the spectacle beyond; two vast squares with water cascading down bare walls to pool below for a moment before tumbling into the depths of a smaller square far below where it vanishes from view. The fountains exclude the public from a greater part of the site. They are bereft of either warmth or interest other than the wonder of their size and engineering. A collection of well ordered trees and a few black stone blocks set in orderly rows upon which a visiter may uncomfortably rest, make up much of the rest of the site. It was a place I felt I was being encouraged to view the extravaganza and hurriedly move on. I never felt invited to consider or contemplate what it was all about.

DSCN0428

One of the gigantic fountains at the 9/11 Memorial at WTC.

After that we went to lunch at Chelsea Market another example of the new New York. The old Nabisco factory and warehouse has been remade into a vast food emporium. We ate a lobster role from one of the restaurants and listened to a cellist play more or less (depending on your age) contemporary music.

3__#$!@%!#__unknown

The Cellist at Chelsea Market playing “La Bomba”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

A. Who are the one percent?

unknown

This chart seems to indicate that you can become a member of the 1% even if you are dead, not working or an airline pilot. I always suspected that a lot of dead people are Republicans and surmised a number of them do not work, but Republican pilots? That’s scary.

B. Pookie at Zuccotti Park where it all began:

4__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S QUOTE:

5__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S CHART:

6__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S CARTOON:

1__#$!@%!#__unknown

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22Papa Joe 0001 (October 11, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND WASHINGTON DC:

TRAVELOGUE TWO TOO (TUTU): GETTYSBURG AND BEYOND.

English: Gettysburg, Pa. Headquarters of Gen. ...

English: Gettysburg, Pa. Headquarters of Gen. George Meade on Cemetery Ridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An overcast sky brought a good day for checking off bucket list items. I have always considered myself something of a Civil War buff. Not so much because of an interest in the professed ideologies that prompted the slaughter, or for that matter any morbid fascination with the slaughter itself (ok I admit to a slight fascination) but an abiding curiosity about the stupidities and chicanery that often prolonged the mayhem and increased its savagery.

As a nation the US is somewhat of an anomaly among the world’s aggressive nations in that, except for the wholesale extermination of its indigenous population and the Mexican and Spanish wars, the US has generally eschewed engaging in those traditional wars whose goal usually was to acquire resources, human or environmental, without otherwise having to work for them. That is, until the beginning of this century when we decided in Iraq to revert to something most other nations had rejected as historical folly.

The Civil War was different, however. Certainly economic issues were there. The loss of markets on one side and fear of increased production costs on the other. Both were wrong. Then as now they masked their goals in ethical and patriotic claims for which many would die. Slavery was the inconvenient truth at the time. Both sides failed to understand it. When military hostilities ceased the peculiar institution disappeared without addressing the fundamental question of what is it that we are due as humans that cannot be taken away by another or by an institution. Although the Union triumphed on the field of battle, the war itself never really ended. We are still engaged in the same war except that now it is conducted by other means than guns and bayonets.

To me there were three fundamentally significant battles fought between Ft. Sumner and Appomattox. Shiloh where the Union was victorious but failed to do what Sherman had to do two years later to end the war. Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi by the Union that along with the naval blockade, most likely would have eventually strangled the South into submission no matter what else happened on other battlefields.

And finally, Antietam/Gettysburg, the twin battles, a little over a year apart that together

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg (seated, center)...

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg (seated, center). Ward Hill Lamon is seated to Lincoln’s right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

represented a ritual slaughter beyond anything experienced before or since in our nations history. A slaughter whose sole function, it appears to me, was to generate two of the fundamental documents of human rights and aspiration produced by this nation, The Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address.

In both battles the Southern armies moved into the North knowing they could not ultimately emerge militarily victorious but they proceeded nevertheless on the purely unmilitary hope that whatever interim successes they may have would have enough significantly large political effects to cause the clearly superior forces of the Union to sue for peace. In both battles, Lee, the Southern General, lost and had to retreat. In both campaigns, the Union Commander failed to follow-up his victory and destroy Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. In both situations, the Northern commander was replaced. In both circumstances, the battles enabled the North to go on the offensive. In both cases, the Southern hopes for foreign support and aid were dashed.

I had never been to Gettysburg and feared I would never get to see it. So I was happy as can be, when Sunday morning we set off.

On the way there we stopped to visit Glen Echo Amusement Park near Georgetown where in the early sixties the operator of the Amusement park conceding to massive protests agreed to integrate the park. So upset was he with this surrender that he subsequently ripped up the Glen Echo trolley tracks in the belief that lack of low cost transportation from the city would discourage black patrons. Instead, it discouraged all patrons and the previously popular amusement park promptly went bankrupt. Nostalgia being what it is, the government and private sources eventually bought the property, retained some of the more popular rides, like the carousel, and turned the rest of the buildings over to a collection of artists workshops, dance studios and experimental theater troops.

Upon arriving in the town of Gettysburg we ate lunch at a diner named “the Avenue” and toured the souvenir shops.

unknown

Pookie in the town of Gettysburg standing in front of a house that was fought over during the first day of the battle.

During the entire battle only one civilian in the town was killed. A young woman who was baking a pie when an errant minie ball struck her and killed her instantly. Her fiancé was a union soldier from the town who was killed at Chancellorsville. As he lay dying he was found by a close friend of his from Gettysburg who had joined the Confederates. The dying man asked his friend to carry a message to his fiancé in Gettysburg should he ever get back there. The friend was killed in the battle on the outskirts of the town before he could deliver the message.

The battlefield itself surprised me as I am sure it surprises others who visit it. The famous “ridges” Seminary and Cemetery were little more than undulations that many would consider minor irregularities on a billiard table. However even on a billiard table to the players those irregularities could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

1__#$!@%!#__unknown

Me on top of Little Round Top with Seminary Ridge in the background and the Wheat-field by my right shoulder.

Devil’s Den is a collection of large boulders that are not so much larger then those I see on some of the lots in the subdivision in Eldorado Hills where I stay while babysitting Hayden. Little Round Top was well, little. The southern point of the left flank of the Union line where 20 Maine made their stand was remarkable in that it showed the ease with which it should have been taken by the Southern forces. Had 20 Maine been overrun not only would the Union left be outflanked but also Round Top itself would have been encircled and would probably fallen. Instead Longstreet the rebel general in charge of the attack chose a frontal assault on the much steeper slope of the hill that was also repulsed.

2__#$!@%!#__unknown

Devils Den

In is interesting to note that while the fighting at Little Round Top and Chamberlin and 20 Main’s stand has justifiably received great attention, over on the right wing of the Union forces an even more remarkable battle had taken place. On Culp’s hill Union General Greene defeated a Confederate force over three times the size of his own in a brilliant successful defense of the Union right. Alas, for purely bureaucratic reasons the actions of he and his troops failed to make it into General Meade‘s report of the battle and so their efforts were lost to popular history. Sic transit gloria.

3__#$!@%!#__unknown

Jessica with Little Round Top behind her

The Wheat-field where the mad General Sykes chose to place his troops in a salient rather than stationing them on Cemetery Ridge behind them, thereby leaving the Union left flank exposed. The Wheat-field itself proved to be a smallish piece of land surrounded by thick woods from which, for no apparent tactical reason that I could see, the forces on both sides periodically would emerge slaughter each other for a while and retreat until over 4000 casualties littered those few acres and the Union forces were in retreat.

English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of de...

English: Incidents of the war. A harvest of death, Gettysburg, PA. Dead Federal soldiers on battlefield. Negative by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. Positive by Alexander Gardner. Deutsch: Vorkommnisse im Krieg. Die Ernte des Todes. Gettysburg, Juli 1863 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back on Cemetery Ridge Hancock, in my opinion one of the wars most capable generals, hastily organized the defense of left flank of the Union line left undefended by Sykes curious theory of military tactics. Hancock was among the few officers on either side who understood that, with the advent of breech loaded rifled barrels, the days of massed frontal assaults were over.

At Chancellorsville after crossing the Rappahannock, Hancock bore the brunt of repeated attacks from Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Although the Union forces were pushed back they decimated the Confederate forces and killed Stonewall Jackson. Eventually they formed a defensible salient protecting the ford through which massive Union forces were preparing to cross. Lee would soon have to split his forces to attack Union General Sedgwick’s army coming down on him from the north. Leaving Hancock in a strong position in his rear meant ultimate defeat. With victory so close at hand Hancock was shocked at the Union Commander Hooker’s (whose name has gone down in history not so much for his failure or nerve but for the significant transfer of wealth he and his troops provided to the ladies of the night) order to surrender the salient and to retreat back across the river.

It was Hancock who organized the hasty defense of the now exposed Union left at Gettysburg and repulsed the Rebel assault. On the next day it was troops under Hancock’s command who repulsed the shamelessly stupid charge across almost two miles of open ground that ended the battle with a Union Victory.

As a side note it was here on the ridge where a Catholic priest who later became Dean of

The battle of Gettysburg, Pa. July 3d. 1863, d...

The battle of Gettysburg, Pa. July 3d. 1863, depicting the Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1—3, 1863. The battle was part of the American Civil War and was won by the North. Hand-colored lithograph by Currier and Ives. Español: Batalla de Gettysburg Magyar: A gettysburgi csata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Notre Dame University notoriously told the members or the “Irish Brigade” before setting off to meet the Confederate charge that, “the Church would deny a christian burial to anyone who died not facing the enemy.” While I could understand the God of the Old Testament saying such a thing, after all he was a serial killer drenched in blood, but could anyone conceive of the Good Gay Messiah of the New Testament clutching his bible in safety while he sent his followers off to die?

On the third day of the battle, the now thoroughly deranged Lee decided to sacrifice 10,000 of his troops in what the Southern Historians who mostly wrote the history of the war described as a heroic but futile example of Southern chivalry and honor. It was not. It was mass murder.

About one year previously the Union General Burnside when faced with similar circumstances (a well entrenched force on the heights above Fredericksburg) launched a similar attack with similar results, except that in Burnside’s case he had the good sense to choose a route for the attack where his troops had some protection from the ordinance hurled down upon them from above. Burnside was summarily removed from his command by Lincoln following the debacle. Lee, on the other hand has been glorified.

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument on Cem...

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument on Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think about it, what could possibly have been on his mind when he sent 10,000 of his troops across and open field with no protection behind which the troops could shelter, knowing that every step of that two-mile charge his troops took they would be directly exposed to fire from Union guns. How many men did he expect to make it, 1000, 3000, 5000 and what were they supposed to do there if they did? It was the center of the Union encampment. There were 50,000 Union soldiers within 500 yards of where the attack was focused. Did he expect them to throw down their guns and run away?

Night arrived as I stood on the low stone wall of the angle where the few remaining Confederate troops made it over the wall and were immediately overwhelmed by the Federals. A light rain had begun falling. We got into our car and drove back to Washington.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

4__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…The capitalist bourgeois calculates: While I have in my hands, lands, factories, workshops, banks; while I possess newspapers, universities, schools; while—and this most important of all—I retain control of the army: the apparatus of democracy, however, you reconstruct it, will remain obedient to my will. I subordinate to my interests spritually the stupid, conservative, characterless lower middle class, just as it is subjected to me materially. I oppress, and will oppress, its imagination by the gigantic scale of my buildings, my transactions, my plans and my crimes. For moments when it is dissatisfied and murmurs, I have created scores of safety valves and lightning conductors. At the right moment I will bring into existence opposition parties, which will disappear tomorrow, but which today accomplish their mission by affording the possibility of the lower middle class expressing their indignation without hurt therefrom for capitalism. I shall hold the masses of the people, under cover of compulsory general education, on the verge of complete ignorance, giving them no opportunity of rising above the level which my experts in spiritual slavery consider safe. I will corrupt, deceive and terrorize the more prviileged or the more backward of the proletariat itself. By means of these measures I shall not allow the vanguard of the working class to gain the ear of the majority of working class, while the necessary weapons of mastery and terrorism remain in my hands.”

Leon Trotsky, “Terrorism and Communism”, 1920

 

TODAY’S CHART:

5__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S CARTOON:

6__#$!@%!#__unknown

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

7__#$!@%!#__unknown

Pookie by the monument to 20 Maine on Little Round Top.

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Papa Joe 0001 (October 9,2012)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  WASHINGTON DC:

TRAVELOGUE TWO: A PLEASANT TOUR OF THE NATION’S CAPITOL.

My daughter Jessica picked me up at Reagan Airport. She drove me around The Mall before taking me to her home in Alexandria. Jessica is science advisor to the US Department of State office that deals with international health and bio-defense. Yes, the US government is concerned about epidemics and health care in other countries since it affects their economies and thereby, may impact their stability and purchases of American goods and services. Also an epidemic could spread to America.

Jessica at a park near her home in Arlington Va.

The next day we set off to tour the Mall intending to have lunch at the American Indian Museum that serves native-American cuisine. I began college in DC and have returned many times on business, lobbying trips and to attend various presidential inaugurals and other political events. It has changed a lot.

In 1957, 55 years ago when I first set eyes on the city it was no more than a typical small American city, a large town really. JFK famously described it as having, “…Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” It has now grown into a megalopolis, not because government has grown so much or the number of governmental employees have significantly increased, but because of inundation buy the parasite community, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who since the 1970s have swarmed here to feed on its slowly rotting carcass.

Pookie in Washington DC.

Our first stop was at the Franklin Roosevelt memorial that, after 40 or so years of fierce Republican opposition, finally had been built along the south shore of the tidal basin. Larry Halprin’s design leads the visitor through a series of park like open areas separated by rough stone walls and niches. It is quite different from most of the more bombastic memorials in the city in that it is low key and sylvan in its setting. As common in Halprin’s designs, he often forgets the context within the surrounding area on which it sets. In this case he failed to notice that the site abutted the shoreline of the tidal basin.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

A little further on, one comes upon the MLK memorial designed by Roma who seemed to better understand its waterfront setting applying many of the same rules of waterfront design I preached to them years ago. Unlike the understated Roosevelt memorial the focal point of the memorial is a huge boulder into which a giant forbidding MLK had been sculpted.

Martin Luther King Memorial

After lunch at the Native American Museum and a tour of the national botanical gardens, we sat for a while in Bartholdi Park that contained a massive late 19th century bronze fountain by the same sculptor that created The Statue of Liberty. It was conceived with the newly invented electric lights integrated into its design. They were the first electric lights in the city and the denizens of the metropolis at the time often gathered there in the evenings to marvel at the promise of the coming century.

Papa Joe at the fountain

That evening we went to the movies to see “Looper” with Bruce Willis. A science fiction thriller with the usual improbable plot. We liked it.

The next morning we set off for the Shenandoah National Park to view the fall foliage. A narrow 100 mile long park, it was built by the WPA during the Great Depression almost exclusively to cater to the newly popular motor car.

On the way back to Washington we detoured at a sign announcing “Civil War Heritage Trails” that led us along on increasingly more rustic roads until we ended up on a dirt road terminating at a field next to a vast barn like building selling antiques. Across the field we could see two small signs. We trudged up to them and were fascinated to find that the site was the bivouac of the German regiments during the Civil War. The troops led by officers from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been revolutionaries during the various european revolutions of 1848 and after losing, driven from their countries had now taken up arms on behalf of the Union to again fight for freedom. This time not to free themselves, but to free the African slaves.

We then went into the antique barn to browse. I found a set of almost 20 books from 1905 written by a gentleman about his world travels. I read the one about Sicily, a land of poor but proud people who dressed up in funny costumes, played music a lot and rode around on donkeys.

A little further on we came to a place selling original art-glass and pottery. I asked the woman who seemed to be the artist that created some of the works displayed how she was doing. She answered “I am having a very good day, thank you. But I am sure you would not want to hear about it if I wasn’t.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” I responded. “I am always open to new experiences. Besides, there would be precious little fiction written if it were not about someone having a bad day.”

A little further on we came across another tails sign and followed a similar progression of roads but found no sign. We did however end up at a winery named Gadino. It has an attractive tasting room and two professional bocce courts. Their wines were a bit thin and astringent but not entirely unpleasant. There appears to be more wineries in Virginia than in California. The internet lists over one hundred.

Jessica in front of the Winery. The bocce courts are off to her left.

Travel plans update:

As expected what appeared to be certain travel arrangements have crumbled. I have no place to stay in NY within my price range. So I am looking at some places deep within the underbelly of Brooklyn. Travel through Italy back to Thailand has been cancelled so it appears I will have to return to California and leave from LA. I try to enjoy most of my experiences but this is becoming somewhat trying.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

How about a state and local minimum tax for everyone at say 11%?

Note: everyone above the lowest 40% pays a higher percentage of their income for taxes than the top 1%.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Mitt Romney joining Poppy at the check-out counter:

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go exactly. And you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that, but it’s a real problem,”

B. A few words from the barnyard:

 

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012, October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Papa Joe 0001 (October 5, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND FLORIDA – A TRAVELOGUE:

On Friday I travelled by train from Sacramento to Berkeley where I was met by my brother-in-law George. We went to visit my mom at St. Ann seniors’ home where we ate lunch. After lunch we drove my mom through Golden Gate Park and discovered a road in the park that I had never seen before. George explained that he knew of this road because as an ambulance driver he had to learn all the back roads in and through the park in case the main roads were blocked during an emergency. They then dropped me off downtown so that I could attend a meeting with URB.im an organization considering hiring me as their bureau chief in BKK. On the way back to my sisters home in Berkeley after the meeting I convinced myself that if I could write as well as I could bullshit, I may have a possible new career.

The next morning, my sister and her husband headed off into the Sierra’s for some tent camping to celebrate their anniversary. I trundled into SF to buy a new computer and spend some time with Peter before leaving for the airport. That afternoon Peter was appearing with The Jug Band at the International Cafe coffee-house on lower Haight. After the gig, he drove me to the airport where I caught the red-eye to Florida.

Before I left, I spoke with Hayden. He and I had watched a television show called Animal Planet about a team of wildlife specialists whose job was to find and trap pythons and similar snakes that had been pets and had escaped into the Everglades where they now flourish and have begun devouring much of the native wildlife and a few domestic pets. I told him I was leaving for Florida and would be staying near the Everglades. He started to cry and urged me to be very careful to avoid the pythons and the alligators.

Frank met me at the airport in his newest Jaguar, a silver two-seater convertible sports car (smaller than Gates Ferrari racing red Jag sedan). For those who do not know Frank, he was a charter member of my Millionaires Who have Gone Broke and Now are Virtually Homeless or Live Off their Girlfriends Club (MGBC for short). Monty and I also are members along with several other men that I frequently visit. Most of them are clinically depressed. There are no woman in the club because as far as I know it is unheard of for a wealthy woman to be so stupid as to squander her financial assets once she’s acquired them.

Frank has managed finally to restart his construction business. He lives with a woman who personifies the description, “The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Him.” She was, I understand, an ex miss Peru and has three of the nicest and most polite young boys I have ever met. Frank and Katherine start every discussion with each other with “my love” and end it with “I love you.” I was extremely jealous. Never in my life has a woman begun a sentence calling me her love and ending it telling me she loves me. They have called me many things but never “my love.”

Frank, Katherine and the boys along with Katherine’s grandmother live in large home in an elegant subdivision in a town called Parkland. Frank appears deliriously happy, as well he should be.

Frank and Katherine

That afternoon we visited the sites of two of his projects; homes in the posh neighborhood constructed  with dry-wall from China because American made dry wall often was unavailable during the past housing boom. It seems, the Chinese stuff began weeping sulfuric acid that started eating up the houses from the inside out. Eventually after a couple of years of litigation, everyone agreed that the entire interiors of about 6000 or so homes would be ripped out and replaced.

Later a local attorney friend of Frank’s and I watched football (Niners won, Miami lost in overtime) while Frank prepared an elegant dinner focused on his special briciole (Italian rolled steak, pronounced in Italian-American argot as bris(z)ol.)

Frank and his briciole

After dinner I talked with the boys awhile about life in Thailand. They were curious about whether there were cities in Thailand or if Thais all lived in the jungle. I tried to explain that everything in life is a jungle and failed.

The following day Frank was busy at work and Katherine was off somewhere so I spent the day playing with my computer and trying to talk to Katherine’s grandmother who speaks no english but who as Frank explained has accompanied Katherine everywhere since birth and works around the house like a slave.

I spent most of the day when not lying in bed hugging my computer or sitting in the back portico staring at a hyacinth choked lake and keeping an eye out for pythons while trying to decide if I were content or depressed. Unable to resolve the conundrum and not spotting any pythons I went back to bed and took a nap.

That evening we went for drinks at a posh restaurant that Frank’s construction company had built. It was owned by a man originally from France who could be a member of MGBC but had retained enough money to blow on the restaurant in Florida. Given the number of customers I saw that night, I figure we can induct him into the club in about six months.

We drank strange cocktails (Apple martini with caramel caviar and without gin) and talked about how much money Frank had lost on the job while I ogled the bevy of aging tanned overdressed wealthy divorcees belly up to the bar in search of some tall dark and alas, handsome young men with which to end the evening. I could not help but be amused at the mirror-like symmetry it all had with many of my evenings in BKK where aging, poorly dressed, divorced men with cadaver-like white skins heaved their enormous belles up to the bar in search of dark small but beautiful and much younger woman with whom to spend the evening.

After stopping for ice-cream we returned home.

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 lot 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.

After that I do not think that anything we talked about was particularly memorable. On the other hand, if it was unfortunately I do not remember. Eventually we left and went home where I immediately fell asleep.

On Thursday after breakfast, Frank and Katherine drove me to the airport where I boarded the plane to DC to visit my daughter.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

“35 years +/-. From Shakespeare to Louis XIV +/-. From the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase +/-. From “Et tu, Brute” to the kid in the manger +/-. From Fred Allen to Laugh-In +/-.”

Peter Grenell describing change in history, small though it may be.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. From THE URBAN DICTIONARY:

fuck you, pay me

Reply to a dispute of debt. Common gangsta mantra. Meant to express the non-negotiability of debt.

“The place burned down? Fuck you, pay me. Lightning struck? Fuck you, pay me. Slow business? Fuck you, pay me.”
-Ray Liotta, Goodfellas

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

C. What Republicans say about the modern Republican Party:

“Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.”
Frank Schaeffer. His father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he writes about his experience growing up in that family in Crazy for God.

D. Electioneering:

1. JOAN WALSH ON THE POLITICAL VIEWS OF THE WHITE WORKING CLASS

“Beyond guns and God: [T]he Public Religion Research Institute… ‘non-Hispanic white Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs.’… Romney led Obama by a staggering 40 points in the South (62-22) while Obama actually led Romney 44-38 in the Midwest (hello, auto industry rescue?), and the two candidates were nearly tied in the West and Northeast. White working-class Protestants favor Romney 2-1, while Catholics are evenly split. Likewise, Romney clobbers Obama with men, but the candidates are tied for the votes of women. And younger white working-class voters support Obama….”

2. FORMER OHIO GOV. TED STRICKLAND:

“Mitt Romney has so little economic patriotism that even his money needs a passport. It summers on the beaches of the Cayman Islands and winters on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. In Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, the scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

E. Testosterone Chronicles (Penis edition):

From Huffington Post:

For whatever reason, Rush Limbaugh decided to discuss a study about male genitalia on his Friday radio show.

According to Rush, the study, completed by researchers in Italy, found that the size of male genitalia has decreased over the past fifty years.

“The study’s leaders claim to have bonafide research that says the average size of a penis is roughly 10 percent smaller than it was 50 years ago. And the researchers say air pollution is why,” Limbaugh said.

Limbaugh said that he did not believe that air pollution and global warming could have such an impact. “I don’t buy this. I think it’s feminism. I think if it’s tied to the last fifty years, the average size of a member is ten percent smaller…it has to be the feminazis,” Limbaugh said.

Speak for yourself Rush.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

Does this mean the more you reject science the richer you become? Or, is the positive relationship between stupidity and great wealth restricted to the USA?

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S CARTOON TWO:

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: