October through December 2010

Fourth quarter 2010

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 23, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium (Photo credit: voyageAnatolia.tumblr.com)

Seventh CenturyThe veil, beloved by Muslims, began in the courts of Christian Byzantium. When Arab armies captured the cities of Syria and Egypt in the 7th century they adopted the practice for their own women.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. The catastrophic decline of the dollar’s value continues, but appears to be slowing. At the bank yesterday I received a little under 28 baht per dollar, down from the over 36 that I received when I arrived in January.

b. Russian, Chinese and Japanese travel agents are pre booking huge numbers of Thai hotel rooms for between 30 and 50 percent of standard rates.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday I went to Central Mall in the Outskirts of Hell to do some banking in preparation for my trip back to the US. On my return I thought it would be a good idea to walk back to my apartment along the sand the entire length of Beach Road.

As I walked, I approached one of the large boat ramps that lie across beach every kilometer or so. It was a fairly low tide, so instead of walking around the ramp by returning to Beach Road I decided to cross it. As soon as I stepped on to the ramp, I discovered it was slick with algae. I slipped and fell, banged my head on the cement and slid into the surf. I tried to get up but the ramp was too slippery and I continued to slip and fall. I rolled around in the surf helplessly for a while until two Thai fishermen hauled me out. After checking my head for blood, I went on my way thoroughly drenched with an aching head, scraped and bloodied knees and feeling greatly embarrassed. I also lost my eye-glasses. As I continued to walk along, I tried to convince myself it was not all my fault.

Today is Loy Krathung, the Thai festival of lights. Loy Krathung along with the Water Festival in April at the start of the monsoon, are the two most significant holiday’s in the country. They are analogous to Easter (the spring planting festival) and Christmas (The festival of lights) in the West.

It is my favorite festival. The Thai women dress up in traditional costumes, all silk with gilded floral headdresses and everyone goes down to the shore and launches small boats (Krathungs) made from flowers and containing candles and incense into the waters in and around Thailand.

Tonight, I went to the beach and waded out into the surf to launch my little flower boat. The scene was quite amazing, thousands of other boats had already been launched into the surf. They bobbed up and down lighting up the bay with their tiny twinkling lights. While up above additional thousands of large rice paper cylinders with a small flame in the bottom of each launched from the sand slowly and majestically floated up into the sky, filling it with a mirror image of the drifting lights on the sea below.

The following morning those krathungs that had not drifted out to sea or been picked up by the children swimming among them last night, washed up on to the sand. The umbrella and beach chair concessionaires were busy raking up the residue, sometimes assisted by the children of the tourists. Every now and then groups of tourists would gather up some mostly intact Krathungs and make figures ( hearts and circles) with them on the sand.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. More from the Princess Bride:

Prince Humperdinck: “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

– Numbers 31.17,18.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“. . . the governments of the people are better than those of princes.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first Ten Books of Titus Livius. Book I, Chapter LVIII
“Ciao…

 

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Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 22. 2012

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C., USA on February 3, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1984 to 1992. Rieti Italy (located near very close to Roccantica mentioned in a previous email). American basketball player Joe Bryant played for Rieti in the Italian professional basketball league. His son Kobe Bryant, now an NBA player, attended school there and as a result speaks fluent Italian to this day.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

The Thai army plans to step up monitoring soldiers’ mobile and fixed-line phones and internet activity to “keep tabs on acts of lèse majesté” for any trace of insult to the [royal] institutions well as to see if anyone was leaking army secrets to anti-government red shirt operatives.

New regulations include prohibiting  soldiers  bringing mobile phones to meetings and restricting the use the use of PowerPoint presentations.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Following my trip to the immigration office to get my re-entry permit, I decided to walk along the beach the three kilometers back to my apartment . As I walked I realized I may be going native, not Thai native but Farang native. I walk barefoot on the sand, something I long swore never to do and I wear the dreaded short pants. I also realized that since living here at Paradise by the Sea, I have begun to exercise regularly, eat heathy foods for the most part (occasional Pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiched excepted), get massaged once a week, have my room cleaned and keep my mind active and hold most of my worries at bay, all on Social Security. Nevertheless, I have begun to feel that sense of unease that I always feel when things seem to be going more or less right.

English: The view from the top of the ski jump...

English: The view from the top of the ski jump at the Olympic ski jump venue in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Taken by Reywas92 on April 6, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess the metaphor for my life is something like that old Wide World of Sports commercial, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” I picture my self, skis over my shoulder, trudging to the bunny slope, pissed off that I am here in the cold doing this, probably because someone has goaded me into it. I happen upon the steps to the ski jump. Curious about what it looks like from the top, I mount the steps, strap on my skis and stand at the edge of the jump looking down and realize my mistake. Unable to decide between my fear and the shame and hassle of climbing back down the stairs I suddenly feel the pressure of a hand on my back and hear the voice of the starter, “Hey buddy, shit or get off the pot.”

Out of sheer embarrassment I launch myself down the ramp and feel the wind bite against my face as I descend. I hit the end of the jump perfectly and spring off into space. I lean far over the ends of my skis. Loose bits of clothing pressed back by the wind stand straight up behind me as though stiffened with super glue.

I land flawlessly, hear the cheering. Then removing my skis and seeing my future as a famous ski jumper full of wine, women, money, drugs and what have you, I run back up the steps, climb to the top and this time without encouragement launch myself again.

Three quarters of the way down, I fall on my ass, tumble a few times and smash over the edge of the jump landing below in a heap of fractured bones and broken dreams.

I awake in the hospital, realizing my ski jumping career is over, so I call the nurse for a booster shot of morphine and drift into a haze where I see myself walking along a beach searching for the perfect wave, the seventy year old surfer dude, with bleached blond spiked hair…Yes “to sleep perchance to dream”, Ay there’s the little nubbin, perhaps if I rub it hard enough my lingam will rise….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “I fight gangs for local charities and stuff.”

b. – Traditional Viking Battle Song

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
where the midnight sun and the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
our only goal will be the western shore!

(What are the circumstances in your life that would prompt you to shout out, “Valhalla, I am coming!”?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 19, 2110

William Gladstone

William Gladstone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Late 19th century. William Gladstone the great prime minister of England enjoyed a slug of laudanum (a form of opium) in his morning coffee and then would go out and run the greatest empire the world had even known.

George Bush is reputed to have given up cocaine before becoming President of the United States.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Thailand‘s northern province of Chiang Mai has declared five districts disaster zones after temperatures dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for over three days. Some schools were closed when the temperatures fell briefly to 40 degrees.

Does this mean it is the end of Global Warning?

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

THE TALE OF THE POLITICIAN WHO CRIED MERCY

Most people are aware of an affliction called Tourette Syndrome, where a person suffers from periodic outbursts of uncontrolled expletives. To most of us foul or so-called obscene language is merely the urge now and then to expel short burst of air during periods of emotion or fillers in conversation. We have also all met those who fall somewhere between full-blown Tourette and occasional profanity, that is those, usually men, who cannot avoid lacing their conversations with foul language.

I knew a fairly well-known politician from southern California (Several of you reading this I am sure recognize who is being referred to) who was known for his particularly foul and blasphemous language.

Since he was an up and coming politician in the Professional Hypocrite Party he recognized that he would have to get his compulsion under control since his party stood four square for family values and morality. It would most assuredly lose him votes should his speech, say to the woman’s Auxiliary of the local County Club, suddenly be decorated with his most favorite words and expressions.

He realized just trying to suppress the urge to shout out expletives was a losing proposition, after all it was a compulsion. So instead he decided to replace all the obscene words in his vocabulary with the single word, Mercy.

That did the trick. Now when one spoke with him, instead of feeling you were engaged in a conversation with a Brooklyn dock worker, you felt you were in the presence of a minister of god. It was mercy this and merciful that. His career prospered.

I used to like to visit him at his home, he would greet me at the door and say something like, “Mercy, Mercy Joe. Have mercy on me if it is not good to see you. Come in, you look like you could use a merciful drink.”

Which I translated as, “Fuck Joe, you look like a piece of dog shit.”

I guess the moral of this tale is that when listening to most merciful politicians, pay mercifully close attention to what the mercy head is saying and you won’t be mercified.

Somewhere between Chiang Mai and the border wi...

Somewhere between Chiang Mai and the border with Myanmar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IT THAILAND:

While on the subject of calling things by various euphemisms, I have been called a lot of different things. I have been endearingly or sarcastically referred to as Joe, Joey, Pookie, Papa (my current honorific in Thailand), Kuhn Joe (My previous honorific when I had money), Papa Joe, Grandpa and so on. I have also been called variously, jerk, asshole, bastard, SOB and various slang expressions for the male member (This latter usually preceded by the word “big” which I guess is better than “little”). Once the secretaries of the California State Office of Planning and Research reputedly voted me “Telephone Jerk of the Year” in honor of my particular brand of telephone etiquette.

While extensive and creative nick names are not the norm in western Europe north of Rome Italy, in Thailand people’s names keep changing. Recently someone who I knew as Ma changed her name to Jess.

SWAC (Which is the shortened acronym for “She who must be avoided at all costs”) originally called “Ying” or little girl in Thai or in Bangkok slang, “little prostitute”, has also been known of as Kuhn Nat, Suphravee, and Natalie. For as long as I have known her several people around Soi 11 in Bangkok have referred to her as that “Notorious lesbian and international prostitute” or NLIP (pronounced EN-LIP). Recently, the lonely widow (you remember her) and others have called her the “Notorious social climber” (NSC). –There is that word “Notorious” again. I think it is better to be referred to as “Notorious” than “unknown”, “Irrelevant” or “Inept.” For example, I would prefer to be known as “Joe the notorious screw up” rather than “Joe the inept screw-up.”

Anyway, I think most of us have been called so many things at one time or another during our lives that over time it becomes more and more difficult knowing who we are.

Also today, I got my re-entry permit (that means I can leave and return to Thailand without losing my retirement visa). This brings me closer to my brief return to the US.

Now the question I am toying with is whether I fly into LA and visit friends there and then to SF and leave from there back to Thailand (or vice versa), or whether I should simply fly in and out of SF and take a quick trip to Southern California during my stay.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”
Mark Twain

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Gar...

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Garden City, KS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th November 15 2010

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey's 2006 pr...

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production at Shakespeare’s Globe; note the ‘realistic’ effects and blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1995: A critic with too much time on his hands while reviewing Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus determined that the play,“…has 14 killings, 9 of them on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or 2 or 3 depending on how you count), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity, and 1 of cannibalism—-an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one for every 97 lines.”

(Sounds like the typical summertime Hollywood blockbuster movie to me)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Chao Phyra River

Chao Phyra River (Photo credit: Rodney_F)

The Thai authorities in response to the recent flooding of the capital have announced that instead of spending more money on things like sandbags, they intended to invest in constructing a series of underground viaducts to channel future flood waters from the city into the Chao Phyra river that runs trough Bangkok.

What they failed to mention was that Bangkok used to have a perfectly adequate system to channel off flood water in its canal system. The canals were filed to make roads thereby causing many of the current problems plaguing the city, not the least of which is periodic flooding.

Also they did not mention that like New Orléans, significant portions of Bangkok are below sea-level and merely directing more water into an already constrained system will do nothing to prevent flood waters from backing up from the river on to the city’s streets except perhaps to shift the areas of the city subject to flooding from where they are currently to along the densely populated riverside.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Nothing much has occurred during the past few days. I am still feeling under the weather. I occupy myself with the usual breakfast at the café, walk along the beach, swim in the pool and then rest in my apartment as I try to kick whatever it is I have.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

ELISA

I guess it is appropriate now to break into JOE’S story to say a little about his wife Elisa, my grandmother. After all she had as great an influence on my imagination as did my grandfather JOE.

Elisa Bargellini, was born in a small village called Roccantica

Roccantica RI

Roccantica RI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located in Sabina about 60 kilometers northeast of Rome. She was one of 12 children. Which number of the 12, I do not know. I also do not know the date of her birth, perhaps around 1890 of so.

Ultimately, most of the children emigrated from the town, four went to Australia, four to America and four remained in italy.

The house that she was born in had two large rooms, a bed room with a heavy wood beamed ceiling and a kitchen-living area with a large fireplace built into the wall that separated the two rooms.

Many years later, during 1968 through 70, I was living in Rome and rented one of my relatives apartments in the town. There I would spend my weekends.

Every night, I would leave my apartment and climb the steps that served as streets in the village and visit the house in which my grandmother was born. Philomena, my grandmothers sister still lived there with her son Mauro and her daughter in law Rosanna.

Whenever I arrived, I would usually find Philomena sitting by the fire with three of her women friends, her daughter-in-law puttering around in the background. Mauro was usually at the little café he ran in the village. The only light in the room came from the fire.

I would take my accustomed seat on the floor to the right of the fire, partially inside of fireplace cavity and lean back against the warm stones.

There would also always be an empty extra chair set out.

I would sit there and listen to the old women talk about the day’s gossip but mostly about their real or imagined aches and pains, their faces glowing red in the glint of the light from the fire.

Every so often there would be a knock on the door and someone from the town would enter and take the empty chair. The visitor would be offered coffee and biscuits. Then between sips of coffee they would relate their tales of the day’s happenings.

When they had finished, each visitor would get up, politely thank the women for their hospitality and leave and the women would go back to their discussions until the next knock on the door intervened.

My favorite visitor during those nights was the village blind man who arrived every evening at about the same time. He began talking even before knocking on the door, shouting out his helloes and continuing his patter as he opened the door and walked into the room. Since the empty chair was always in the same place every night he would walk directly over to it, feel for it with his cane and sit down. He always wore dark clothing and had a great round face that hung there in the flickering firelight like a benevolent Jack-o-lantern. He was a wonderful story-teller.

Roccantica (RI), 2006

Roccantica (RI), 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He would tell, in great detail and animation, about his wanderings that day along the paths in and around the village. He would tell of the different sounds made by the small animals as they slithered away when he walked by. He described the songs of the birds and what they ment to him and how they made him feel. The touch of the wind on his face and the feel of the plants that grew along side the path as he took them into his hands would fill him with delight. Every conversation he had during the day was recalled precisely and because he was by necessity inquisitive, contained a tale of its own. Then once he was finished, he would rise from his chair and tap his way to the door and leave. After he closed the door he would shout out to us inside that he would see us all again tomorrow. Then there was silence except for the hiss of the burning logs as we all meditated on his absence until after a while the analyses of the medical symptoms that accompanies aging would begin once more.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: You got any money?
Inigo Montoya: Sixty-five.
Miracle Max: I’ve never worked for so little. Except once, and that was a very noble cause.
Inigo Montoya: This is noble, sir. His wife is… crippled. His children are on the brink of starvation.
Miracle Max: Are you a rotten liar?
Inigo Montoya: I need him to help avenge my father, murdered these twenty years.
Miracle Max: Your first story was better.
The Princess Bride

2. Yiddish for beginners (from Wikipedia):

bagel: a ring-shaped bread roll made by boiling then baking the dough.
blintz: a sweet cheese-filled crêpe.
bris: the circumcision of a male child.
boychick: boy, young man.
bubkes (also spelled “bupkis”): emphatically nothing, as in “He isn’t worth bubkes” (literally ‘goat droppings).
chutzpah: nerve, guts, daring, audacity, effrontery.
dreck: (vulgar) worthless material, especially merchandise.
dybbuk: the malevolent spirit of a dead person that enters and controls a living body until exorcised.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
Thomas Jefferson

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 13, 2010

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1929 May 7Chicago Outfit hit-men Albert Anselmi and John Scalise, two of the men suspected in the murder of North Side Gang leader Dean O’Banion and fellow mob boss Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, the current Unione Siculiana President were all killed during a lavish party held at Al Capone’s residence. The party was a ruse by mob boss Al Capone to lure the three men to their deaths after their plan to gain leadership of the Chicago Outfit by eliminating Capone was uncovered. The men were beaten to death by Capone, who used a baseball bat to commit the murders.

(They fall for the party bit every time.)

Today’s news from Thailand:

1. Flush with new funds (I do not know from where) and increasing popularity in Northeast Thailand, the opposition party (Red Shirts) are preparing for expected victory in the general elections scheduled for sometime next year, when and more importantly if they occur. I guess the following can be anticipated between now and then:
a, The military will redouble its efforts to institutionalize the organizational changes under-weigh within the military high command and within its chief rival the national police.
b. The military will use the remaining States of Emergency (over primarily Red Shirt areas) to destroy their infrastructure and intimidate potential voters.
c. The military will seek to institutionalize their administrative control over the rebellious South.
d. The current government while having no real option but to rely on the military will contribute by continuing their efforts to create legal barriers to the return of ex-prime minister Thaksin and by supporting populist appearing policies in hopes of winning over some voters.
e. Should all this fail and a Red Shirt victory appear possible then, if the military feels confident enough in their power, look for an attempted accommodation with the Red Shirts over budget and personnel issues and failing that suspension of the elections or another coup.

2. In Phnom Penh Cambodia the police have begun arresting “anarchist” cattle who are blocking traffic.

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

3. The clashes along the Thai Burma border between Karen rebels and the Burmese army appear to be abating. The conflict seems to have been touched off by a rebel group within the Karen forces who for some reason objected to an agreement between the Burmese government and the Karen leadership to turn over the guarding of the border with Thailand to the Karen forces.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Today I discovered that I was only about 5 pounds over my target weight. Whether my most recent weight loss has been the result of diet, exercise or due to my recent attack of food poisoning, I do not know.

This morning a went for my usual stroll through “Little Crimea.” The beach culture that I walk through is as alien to me as the surrounding Thai lifestyles and customs. I feel fortunate to be able every morning to experience three distinct societies; Thai through my interaction with the merchants and wait-people at the café where I always feel a bit like I am somehow doing something wrong; European with my discussions with Ian from Scotland ( who has lived here in Thailand for over 30 years) about things like how drunk was Winston Churchill during World War II and finally; The Great Slavic Nation whose mores are as opaque to me as any.

As usual, temporizing has come to my rescue with respect to my trip planning. Until yesterday my schedule was dependent to a considerable degree on the situation with Hayden. Yesterday I discovered that SWAC is depositing him with a family in Washington DC, thereby eliminating any possibility of my seeing him either in the US or in Italy. So, now my plans are to return to the US in mid December, visit with friends and family during the holidays, have my medical check-up and return to Thailand in early January.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE OF A NIGHT OF RAIN AND AN UMBRELLA.

Recently my masseuse told me that a few nights ago it had been raining heavily in Bangkok. She had retreated to her tiny room and lay upon her bed. Because the roof leaked badly she had opened her tiny umbrella to protect herself from the dripping water. She was unable to sleep. After a while there was a knock at her door and upon opening it she found the homeless woman who lived in the alley by her room standing there dripping wet. She invited her in and they spent the night waiting out the storm together huddled under the umbrella.

“That was very nice of you.” I said.

She looked at me quizzically and said, “She held the umbrella for half the night so that I could get some sleep.”

I guess the moral of this tale is, “When it is raining and the roof leaks and all you have is a small umbrella, charity can keep you dry and help you to get some sleep.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe’s business prospered and not long after the birth of Jack (my father), he along with a distant relative named Biancchi formed a construction company named Petrillo and Biancchi Construction.

Joe ran the operations side and Biancchi who could read and write English was in charge of office matters. The business succeeded beyond all expectations. It became one of the first significant Italian-American construction companies in the United States. They specialized in heavy construction, roads and the like. They built many of the roads in Westchester County as the United State’s vast road building and paving enterprise was just getting under-weigh to accommodate the motor car.

This was also a period of great movement of people from New York City into what they considered the bucolic environment of Westchester County. Petrillo and Biancchi built the infrastructure for the neighborhoods to accommodate these new style immigrants. The move from the City although first seen as  indication of material success soon became a frenzied flight from the real or imagined evils of the City.

Joe built the house on Dante Avenue in Tuckahoe. Today that home would be considered relatively modest in size, but for an immigrant family it was huge. More importantly it was built on Dante Avenue.

Dante Avenue, despite its name, had been off-limits for Italian Americans at that time. On it lived those who for one reason or another could not or would not live in Scarsdale or Bronxville, Jews because they were prohibited by deed and “gentlemen’s agreements” (as were Italians and Blacks), successful WASP businessmen in the area who wanted to live more closely to their businesses and others sensible and independent enough to realize that they could build their largish houses much cheaper in Tuckahoe that in the gold-plated restricted communities around them.

Joe and his family were the first Italian-Americans to move to Dante Avenue. There was little resistance, even if there was some concern, since most of the other residents tended to be somewhat iconoclastic for the time.

By about 1928, with his oldest son approaching nine or so, Joe decided he wanted to enjoy the wealth he had amassed and return to Italy in a style that would have been denied to him had he remained there and not emigrated to the United States. So, he sold his interest in the company to his partner for some cash and notes that could allow him to live back in his native country as almost a minor nobility.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: [Lifts and drops the arm of the dead Westley] “I’ve seen worse.”
The Princess Bride

2. My newest patron saint, Saint Moses the Black:


Moses was a gang leader in 5th century Egypt (Sort of like the 5th century version of the leader of the local “Hells Angels” or the “Mongols” or the Egyptian Al Capone if you will) and murderer and thief.

One day he was trapped by the authorities. In order to escape capture and avoid almost certain execution, Moses ducked into monastery and claimed sanctuary. Fearing arrest should he leave the precincts of the monastery, Moses wisely became a monk.

Shortly thereafter 4 brigands invaded the church to loot the poor box or something. Our Moses was on duty that night. He caught the thieves, beat them up and dragged them off to face the Abbot.

This thrilled the abbot. He announced to the other monks that Moses had seen the light of God since he only beat the shit out of the thieves and did not kill them.

When the good abbot died, the other monks acclaimed Moses abbot. It seems that at the time defense of the Holy Writ was better served by two fists than pious prayers.

Moses died in his seventies while leading a counter-attack on a local biker gang that had the temerity to assault Moses’ monastery.

Now here is a saint I think I can pray to.

Today’s quote:

When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold, I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty work day clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and, in this graver dress, I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.
Niccolo Machiavelli describing his exile in a letter to Francesco Vettori.

Today’s Photo:

Hayden’s friend Leo and his father Gerry.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 11 2010

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Flore...

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Florentine squares along the course of the marathon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

The Medieval and Renaissance government of Florence, Italy (called the Signoria)was chosen by lot. Guild members over thirty years old and who were not in debt, nor served a recent term and had no relation to the names already drawn were eligible for office.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Planning for my return to the US continues apace, implementation, not so good. I grasp at any excuse to avoid the hassles; the latest being the arrival of my masseuse this week on Wednesday instead of Friday. It seems a co-worker has gone on vacation to Sweden so her vacation day was switched to Wednesday. I don’t understand it, but so be it. Anyway instead of doing anything about my trip I had a massage, went for a swim in the pool and took a nap. Later I went for a walk on the beach. Tomorrow is another day.

I am still hoping to get up to Chiang Mai briefly before I leave. I was depending on Gun Girl for transportation. But, once again she has disappeared. Maybe I will just fly up for a day or two next week.

I realize that with my potential return to the US, “This and that…” will most likely come to an end. That saddens me because I so enjoyed writing it.

Papa Joe’s Tales and Fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE – THE SLEEPING CUSTOMER

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Dega...

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Degas. Location: Dallas Museum of Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My masseuse M mentioned that one day a co-worker at the health club had a customer who paid for a one hour massage. Shortly into the massage he fell into a deep sleep only waking up when the hour was over and the massage finished.

He then told the masseuse that he really wanted a “Happy Ending.” The masseuse told him that she was sorry but his time was up and he would have to pay for another hour if he wanted a “Happy Ending.” The customer became upset and left.

I asked M, what she thought about that.

She said, “If you’re looking for happiness don’t fall asleep or it will cost you more.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Anyway, as it so happened, Black Mike and Joe were rivals of some sort.

When he was not off on business, Black Mike could usually be found sitting on an overturned milk box in front of the candy store on Columbus Avenue that served as his headquarters and office, leaning on his cane containing a gun inside. Joe would drive by in his horse-drawn wagon. As is common among Italians from the south of Italy they would call out jibes and gentle insults to each other.

One day the rumor around the village was that a high-class beautiful young women was immigrating from a village near to Rome (hence the high-class) to their town. As young men sometimes will do, Joe and Black Mike made a bet as to which of them will date the beautiful Elisa Bargellini (for that was her name) first. I do not know the stakes.

Determined to win the bet, Joe, as he was to do many times, paid someone to read the newspapers to him and so he found out when the object of their wager was due to arrive and on which ship.

When that day arrived Joe hitched up his wagon put on what passed for his best clothes and set off for the docks in New York City. He was there when the ship docked and somehow located her. He told her that he had come all the way from Tuckahoe to drive her back to the village. This flattered her and after all, Joe also was a handsome man by any standards and so she accepted the ride and they set off back to Tuckahoe.

Back then the sixteen mile or so ride from the docks to the village must have taken most of the day. Anyway when they arrived Joe was careful to drive down Columbus Avenue and past the candy store with Black Mike mustache and all, silting outside.

A few months later he and Elisa had wed.

They settled down in the village and Elisa bore three sons and a daughter, Giacomo (Jack), Joseph (uncle Joe), Marcella and Aldo.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Inigo Montoya: Are you the Miracle Max who worked for the king all those years?
Miracle Max: The King’s stinking son fired me, and thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We’re closed.
The Princess Bride

2. Something from the distant past:

Developer Drops Plan for 3 Malibu Mansions
Los Angeles Times, Metro Digest / Local News in Brief
October 13, 1990
Developer Sheldon Gordon has abruptly withdrawn his latest plan to build three mansions in Malibu’s exclusive Sweetwater Mesa area before the California Coastal Commission could consider the matter.

“Emotions are simply running too high,” said Joseph Petrillo, Gordon’s attorney.

Today’s quote:

“Present wars impoverish the lords that win as much as those that lose.”

Niccolo Machiavelli 1

Niccolo Machiavelli 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

 

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 10, 2010

Today’s factoid:

2007, On June 2nd, David Shayler (‘Sheylr’ in Hebrew) a former British M15 secret agent was anointed Messiah. He claims divine power to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and predict football scores.

David the Messiah lives in a squat (SRO in the US) in Surry England as a transvestite he calls “Delores Kane”. The Messiah(ess) recently has been quoted as saying, “I don’t give a fuck what other people think of me, A bloke in a frock is a whole lot less offensive than blowing up innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

More recently it has been reported that during his eviction from his squat, he commented that it did not matter to him since he was “the son of God”‘.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

20,000 mostly Karen tribe people have fled Myanmar (Burma) to escape the fighting raging between the Karen and the Burmese government forces. Many of the Karen refugees have entered Thailand through the crossing point’s I recently visited during my trip with Gun Girl. I would imagine people in “The Town of the Beautiful Children” and the sole soldier manning the “Lonely Outpost” have their hands full just about now.

Further north along the border similar clashes between the Burmese forces and those of the rebel Shan State create additional refugee problems for the Thai government.

Papa Joe’s tales and fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE:

One day during my weekly massage, I asked my masseuse, who I shall call M, to tell me some stories about her life in the massage business. One of her tales follows:

Among her regular customers was an Indian woman. She and her husband were members of the health club in the Bangkok hotel in which M worked. The couple would exercise several times a week and have a massage about once a week. Generally, they both chose male massage therapists, but when two were not available, the woman would request M’s services.

The woman would always ask for the same treatment from M and explained why:

“Every time my husband wants sex.” she explained. “he would start grabbing at my sari, trying to pull it off until I agreed to go to bed with him. He would get on top, move up and down for a few moments, finish, then get up and go into the shower where he would wash and sing happily to himself. After, his shower he would return to the bedroom and ask:

‘Are you happy?’

I being a good wife always nod my head and say, ‘yes very much.”

So as a result .whenever I have a massage, I choose a male masseuse and I tell him that all that I want from him is to mount me like a buffalo and pound me for one half an hour, no more and no less.”

She then explained to M, that she wanted M to massage only one part of her body for precisely one half an hour and instructed M, on the proper placement of M’s fingers and preferred repetitive movement.

At that point I asked M what she thought about all that.

She answered, “My arm hurt a lot, but she gave me a nice tip.”

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

During this time the Padrone system prevailed among the Italian immigrants living in the town. In that system, the owners of the local bars or rooming houses would advance the funds needed to emigrate to the United States to prospective immigrants from certain areas of rural southern Italy. In return the lender required the immigrants to live in rooms usually located above the bar and turn over their wages from the jobs the Padrone arranged for them to pay the Padrone back for the money lent for their passage and for the room and board the Padrone’s provided at his establishment. They were not allowed to eat, drink of live anywhere but at one of the Padrone’s enterprises.

As a result. few immigrants under this system were ever able to pay off their debts to the Padrone. Many were forced into assisting the Padrone in carrying out his other mostly illegal business such as loan sharking, petty theft, protection and the like.

Many of the Padrones affected the fashion of growing long mustaches. The were given the name Mustache Petes. They were the forerunners of the Southern Italian organized crime system that grew up in the American Cities of the Midwest and Northeast twenty or thirty years later.

Neither Joe nor his family were under any obligations to the Mustache Petes of the village. In fact, because of his great, strength, business success and reputation growing out of his murder conviction, he was able to resist their attempts to interfere in his businesses. Because of this, those members of the Italian community independent of the Padrone system begrudgingly admired him and surprisingly eventually elected him town constable. The constable was the villages peace officer since small communities at the time did not have police forces as they do now.

Among the several Mustache Petes, of the village, one emerged to dominate the others. He was called Black Mike. In addition to his role among the Padrone’s of the village, Black Mike operated as an assassin and informer for the larger Italian gangs in nearby New York City and Yonkers. He is reputed to have killed at least 17 men in his career. He also became the oldest man to ever die in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. O...

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. Osborne. Date unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located a little way up the Hudson River on isolated Croton Point.

During the summers when I was a child growing up in the village, I would spend two weeks each year in a county camp for disadvantaged youth located just across the river from Sing Sing. Whenever there was to be an execution at the prison that for some reason were always held in the evening, we would be marched to a point where we could see the prison and its lights as well as the lights of the nearby town of Ossining reflecting on the water. The high point of the night was to watch the lights of the prison and the town dim as the executioner threw the switch. Lesson learned, we were then marched back to our camps.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I’ll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He’s dead. He can’t talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s chart:

Today’s quote:

“On that occasion there was much discussion as to which was the most ambitious, he who wished to preserve power or he who wished to acquire it; as both the one and the other of these motives may be the cause of great troubles. It seems, however, that they are most frequently occasioned by those who possess; for the fear to lose stirs the same passions in men as the desire to gain, as men do not believe themselves sure of what they already possess except by acquiring still more; and, moreover, these new acquisitions are so many means of strength and power for abuses; and what is still worse is that the haughty manners and insolence of the nobles and the rich excite in the breasts of those who have neither birth nor wealth, not only the desire to possess them, but also the wish to revenge themselves by depriving the former of those riches and honors which they see them employ so badly.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, By 3Th. November 8. 2010

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons....

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons. Note the Roman numeral date “MCMIV” at the bottom of the gold medal seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1994, Crayola produced a 16-pack of crayons that released realistic fragrances when used. In 1995, Crayola changed 13 of 16 scents because of complaints received by parents that some of the crayons smelled good enough to eat, like the Cherry, Chocolate, & Blueberry scented crayons. Eventually the 13 crayons with food scents were retired in favor of non-food scents.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Although an international travel magazine lists Bangkok as the best city in the world for tourists, the Thai travel industry continues to lag its rivals in Asia in tourism growth. Spokesmen for the Thai travel industry blame this state of affairs on “political instability” and the current rash of floods.

This all goes to prove Petrillo’s Rule Number 4 for interpreting the news, “a spokesman for any interest will always claim bad news for the interest he represents on someone else.”

The associated Rule Number 6 is, “One can be assured that the media will present the information obtained pursuant to Rule 4 as an “informed source” and never an “opinionated” or “interested” one.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE TALE OF THE RAISING OF THE LINGAM

One day in the late 70’s or early 80’s while sitting around with a friend drinking wine and smoking some dope and discussing mystics, rimpoches, gurus and yogas we had known which is what we aging hippies often did in the late seventies or eighties, my friend who I shall call Peter, told me the following tale:

During the Sixties Peter worked for an American NGO in india. At that time many of the young American guru groupies who frequented the Sub-continent during these times, travelled through the country like locusts. They were usually stoned, broke , homeless, diseased and smelly. Noe and then, some of them would end up camping out in one of the rooms in Peter’s home for a while, bathe, eat some food get a little healthier and move on.

After his stay in India Peter settled down in San Francisco, which was at that time also often the disembarkation point for those returning from their Indian adventures, One day, as could be expected, one of Peter’s previous boarders showed up at his house in not much better shape than Peter had last seen him and again after a few days he moved on.

Now it came to pass, as they say, that about a decade later Peter had the occasion to visit Boston for a few days. His friends, with whom he was staying while in Boston, invited him to a party in the prestigious Beacon Hill neighborhood being thrown in honor of a spiritual teacher and mystic that was all the rage at the time.

It goes without saying that when he arrived at the party Peter discovered the guest of honor, dressed now all in white linen, with long clean hair in a pony tail and a well trimmed beard was his one time guest. The Guru,, recognizing Peter grasped him in a warm embrace. Peter could only ask the obvious “What happened?”

The maharishi as he was now known took Peter aside and told him the following:

After leaving SF and crossing the country by begging on the street corners of many of the nations best cities, he found himself broke, hungry and homeless in Boston with winter coming on and was desperate.

So, he went to the supermarket and with the little money he caged that day, bought some rice. Next he scoured some of the empty lots of Boston for a rock of just the right size and shape. When he found it, he took it and the rice to a local park and between the roots of the tree dug a hole. In the hole he first placed the rice and then on top of the rice he stood up the columnar shaped rock, narrower pointed end up and covered it all with dirt that he carefully patted down so the ground looked natural and undisturbed.

Later that day he went around to as many people that he could, both those that he knew and those that he did not and announced that as a result of his stay in India and years of meditation, he had gained the ability to make the sacred lingam rise from the earth and that at a certain time the next day at the park he would demonstrate his power.

That next day he went into the park. At the appointed time he fell to his knees and began chanting and repeatedly bowing until his head touched the ground. He chanted and chanted, and bowed and bowed each time he bowed he sprinkled a little water. After a while, some on the onlookers became impatient while passers-by stopped to see what was going on.

Suddenly cracks appeared in the ground between the roots of the tree. He continued to chant, bow and sprinkle. Soon the pointed tip of the lingam appeared pushing through the earth. It continued to rise majestically until it stood fully tumescent in the sunlight.

“And that” concluded the swami, “was how it all began”.

Peter could not help himself but to ask, “And what do you make of all that?”

The master thought for a moment and replied, “If you do not use the proper rice your lingam won’t rise.”

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

I thank all those who have commented on my quandary regarding my travel plans. The almost unanimous response seems to be “go for it”.

That being the case, what do I do with my condo? Keep it available for my return? But that would be costly. Give it up? But traveling with even the little amount of junk I have collected here is too much. Sub-lease it?

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe was 17 when he arrived in America with his family. They settled in a little town about sixteen miles north of New York City called Tuckahoe, where somehow his father was able to buy or rent a modest house on Midland Avenue.

Joe’s father (probably named James) I barely remember and his mother I remember as a little wizened, shriveled old woman no more that four feet five inches tall. Their house’s smell always reminded me of old people, slightly musty,garlic and spices.

Joe never learned to read or write and barely learned to speak English his entire life.

His first job in America was as a teamster loading and driving a horse-drawn wagon. About a year after his arrival, Joe was loading his wagon with a co-worker, Joe on the wagon lifting the cargo raised to him by the co-worker. For some reason the co-worker called him a “filthy guinea”. Joe climbed off his wagon and killed him. The stories vary as to whether Joe killed him with his hands or with a knife and whether the victim was black or white.

In any event, Joe fled to Pennsylvania. Why Pennsylvania? I do not know. Maybe at that time it was a better place for fugitives than New Jersey.

After about 6 to 9 months his parents persuaded him to return. They retained a well-known Irish-american defense lawyer. who later became a long serving judge. to defend him. Joe pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge. This is one of the reasons I suspect the victim was black. If it had been a white man he probably would have to plead to no less than murder 2 since at the time the only thing lower on the social scale than the italian immigrant was a black man (In modern times, the Italians have been replaced in by Latinos). Anyway, Joe served his time and was released in about a year.

Upon his return, he found that as a felon and an illiterate he could not get a job. He began walking along the sides of the railroad tracks that ran through the village picking up the bits and pieces of coal that fell off the coal tenders of the steam locomotives as they went by the Tuckahoe station. When he had picked up enough coal he would go from door to door in the village selling the coal at a low price to the residents for heat. After several months of this he amassed enough capital to open up a business selling coal, oil and kerosene. The business prospered.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”
The Princess Bride.

2. Today’s very last album cover (I promise):

I am almost at a loss for words. This is either a satire or an insult to balding men, men with scraggly beards, hairy white men, white men, men with hairy belly-buttons as well as the women who love them. It is also an insult to homosexuals, flute players, baseball players, musicians of all kinds, nudists, copy writers and graphic artists. Also, he looks to me a lot like Nicholas Cage.

Today’s quote:

“A battle that you win cancels any other bad action of yours. In the same way, by losing one, all the good things worked by you before become vain.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 7, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1968 – A divorced Dutchman named Louwrens Voorthuijzen who proclaimed himself God and renamed himself  “Lou the Eel Vendor”, died. He mixed marketing European eels with proselytism. His followers considered him a living God on a mission against evil.

Petrillo’s dyspeptic advice for the unwary traveller in Thailand:

Always remember, nothing is what it seems.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

Pookie awoke the next morning feeling not much better than he had the night before. Nevertheless, he got up and went out to have breakfast because he thought it would be best to get some food into his stomach even if he could not keep it all down.

At the café he thought about how lucky he was to get sick while at the pharmacy and not somewhere else and how fortunate it was that the pharmacist was so kindly.

He also began to contemplate the decision that had been plaguing him for a while, whether to remain here in Paradise by the Sea or return to the US, at least briefly. It did not appear that his preference to drift and allow circumstance to decide for him was going to save him the trouble of figuring out what to do.

His plan was to travel to the US in late November of early December, remain there for two weeks or so and visit with family and friends that he was finding he missed more and more. He could also see, for perhaps the last time, his mom, now 91 years old and living is a rest home. Toward the end of the month he would travel to Italy with Hayden and stay in Milan until H’s mom returns from visiting her parents and boy friends in Thailand. Then he could return to Thailand or go to Ghana, Ecuador or another low-cost jurisdiction.

But it all ment too much planning and effort for him. What about his apartment? Give it up and perhaps lose the opportunity to live in a place he had grown accustomed to? What about the hassle of Thai Immigration again? And finally there was the cost. He would have to dip into his meager savings. What to do” What to do?

He finished his breakfast, went for a brief stroll along the beach and returned to his apartment, feeling exhausted. He laid on his bed trying to deal with these matters as well his feelings of inadequacy to do so. Eventually he drifted off to sleep. The last words he recalled bouncing around in his mind were “Tomorrow is another day.” And indeed it will be.

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT,)

JOE

Although this story is mostly about Joey, me, it is appropriate that it begins with my grandfather Joe or Peppino as he was sometimes called, because of the shadows that his life and legends cast upon the family, especially me. I always considered him as heroic character. A view not shared by everyone, especially his wife Elisa and my mother.

Joe was a big man. Not as tall as most Americans, but above average for italian immigrants of the time. He was the ideal mesomorph, broad and blocky with heavy strong muscles. His body looked a lot like that of Rocky Marciano the undefeated Italian-American Heavyweight boxer. This physical type is not uncommon in the mountains surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

These mountain people differed in culture and history from those people who lived in the lowlands. They were probably the original inhabitants driven into the highlands by the waves of invaders that swept across the mediterranean basin for thousands of years. There they remained undefeated except by economic adversity. The mountains were harsh and unproductive, good only for the herding sheep and goats and the hiding of the smugglers and brigands who provided additional sustenance to the meager resources available to these mountain people.

Joe was born in a small village called Prato on the slopes of Mt. Vergene in the mountains above Naples. Prato is not far from Avellino a largish mountain town. I know little about the town, never having visited it. The little I do know I learned from uncle Aldo, my fathers youngest brother, who visited it shortly after the Second World War and found the partisans and fascists still shooting at one another as though the war continued unabated. He left quickly. As far as I know no one in our immediate family has ever visited the village since.


.
Prato

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” 
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s album cover:

(I don’t know what to say.)

Today’s quote:

” War makes thieves, and peace hangs them.”
Nicolo Machiavelli The Art of War

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 5, 2010

Today’s factoid:

According to Wikipedia there are over 1300 separate religions and denominations in the world today of which almost 500 are Christian. Almost every one of these religions believe that they are the one true faith ordained by God. They each also support a number of individuals whose livelihood depends upon them persuading the rest of the members of the faith that is so.

Papa Joe’s news of the day:

In Australia an NGO created to combat discrimination in employment of Aborigines, rejected the job application of an Aborigine woman because her skin was not dark enough.

Petrillo’s dyspeptic guide for the unwary traveller in Thailand:

Dangerous and costly places for the tourist in Thailand:

Just about anywhere you really, really want to go.
Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

AT THE PHARMACY

English: Songthaew on Jomtien Beach Road, Patt...

English: Songthaew on Jomtien Beach Road, Pattaya, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When last we saw Pookie he was sitting on a curb on a busy street in Jomtien Beach hunched over vomiting uncontrollably waiting and hoping to die. Passers by stopped to offer assistance. A few asked if he was drunk or hung over and two asked if he wanted them to call an ambulance. Pookie was unable to raise his head and reply to any of them and so after a while they went on their way.

The pharmacist, a short balding man with a long pony tail and a Fu Manchu mustache began to care for him. First by providing some water and tissue and wiping the puke and mucus from Pookie’s face until he was able to do it himself and by trying to sooth him by explaining that he was probably suffering an attack food poisoning and he had some medicine that should help. Then he got Pookie to swallow a tablespoon of thick milky liquid that seemed to slow the vomiting. Finally, Pookie was able to force down some pills the pharmacist provided.

Pookie had no idea how long he crouched there unable to move, but eventually the vomiting stopped and still later he found that he could move his body a bit.

He raised himself up using his walking stick and stumbled into the pharmacy where he sat on a chair buried his head in his arms and rested on a table for quite some time. Maybe he dozed off.

After a while he felt a little better, instead of wishing for the release of death, he obsessed on the need to be home lying in his bed.

He raised his head.The pharmacist came over and patiently explained  administration of the medicines that he had assembled to treat the poisoning.

He called a moped driver to take Pookie back to the condo. Pookie got on the back convinced that he would become dizzy and fall off the back of the vehicle into traffic or even worse that he would vomit on top of the drivers head. Neither occurred and he got back to his apartment, fell strait-away into bed and slept until the following morning waking only to take his medicines.

Mopey Joe’s memories:

A CASE OF THE JOES

Giuseppe, (often shortened to Pepe or Pepino), translates from the Italian to the English as Joseph. Joe or Joey are the English nick names usually associated with Joseph. There were a lot of Joes in my family. There was Joe, Big Joe and Little Joe, Uncle Joe, Joe the Minister and Joey. I was Joey.

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring ...

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and the islands of Sardinia and Malta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Southern Italian tradition one named the first son after the paternal grandfather hence my name, Joe. The second son was named after the father. My father’s name was Giacomo, James in English although for most of his life he was called Jack or Blackie. My brother’s name of course is James. My grandfathers younger brother’s name was also James. My uncle’s name, the second born of my grandfather was Joe.The maternal grandfather only got the second name of the first-born son. My middle name is Eugene. That is the name of my mother’s father. Maybe his name was also bestowed on the third son. I do not know, I only have one brother.

How they name female children in Southern Italy I do not know either. Probably they name the eldest Maria. My sister is named Mary. My mothers eldest sister’s name was Maria. Her brother was named Joe (the minister). My grandfathers eldest sister was named Mary. On the other hand my fathers only sister was named Marcella. Go figure.

This could have made family gatherings even more confusing than they were. However, another Southern Italian tradition came to the rescue. Boys were given nick-names. Thankfully we used the names described above, otherwise I could have been named “Joe the Meatball” or some such like the mobsters in the movies. Girls did not have nicknames as far as I know.

This tradition, like all traditions of immigrants to the United States of America that were considered odd wes discarded by the first generation in our efforts to assimilate . Those traditions that remained were either, culinary (pizza and pasta), docile, like religious festivals, adaptable, like the supposed emotionalism of the Italian or heroic, like glorification of italian gangsters. So be it. I named my children Jason and Jessica like everyone else at the time. I doubt that they are even translatable into Italian. My relatives in Italy refer to them as Yason and Yessica.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe
The Princess Bride.

2. Today’s album cover:

(Your guess is as good as mine.)

Today’s quote:

“Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is, for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.”
Niccolo Machiavelli,“Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius”

Italiano: Copertina originale della prima stam...

Italiano: Copertina originale della prima stampa del testo di Nicolo Machiavelli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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