October through December 2017

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Joseph 0007 (December 27, 2017)




“A group of people all trying to impress one another was always more dangerous than the lone psychopath.”

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 630). Tom Doherty Associates.







Peter and Barrie returned to the Bay Area the day after the Christmas party. I resumed spending my days sitting by the window watching the waves crest over the bluffs and a hawk hunting gophers in the backyard. When not daydreaming by the window or amusing myself on Facebook, I wander about the town Christmas shopping, searching for the appropriate and affordable gifts for those on my list.

Nights are another thing. I sleep ok but, before I fall asleep and after I wake up, I feel an existential malaise that is difficult to describe to those who have not felt the night that never ends bearing down on them like an out of control train. It isn’t fear, I think. More like the sad wonder of a sunset.

For the past few days, they have been removing some of the large trees that menace the house. Over the last year or so, two of those trees have blown down, one of which destroyed the pump house. During my walks, I sometimes stop to watch them work. I find that watching other people work relaxes me. I wonder if Gautama sitting under his bodhi tree observed some people working in the fields when he decided living a life of contemplation was a good thing and we should all do it if we could figure out a way to get away with it.

People have begun arriving for the Christmas Eve celebration my sister holds every year. A few years ago about twenty of us, friends and family, gathered together at a house that she rented for the holidays a few miles up the coast. Some of us slept on the floor. I slept on a sofa. We all cooked most of the day and ate and drank in the evenings. A great storm blew in Christmas Eve, throwing up giant waves that crashed on the beach, driving us all inside where we sang carols and opened presents.

That was a far cry from the Christmases of my youth when uncles, aunts, and cousins would gather with our family. The women would prepare endless amounts of food while the men napped in the living room. Dinner was a loud affair with everyone shouting and drinking wine until the arguments and tears erupted among the adults while the children hid in quiet corners and learned to hate the holiday for which they had spent weeks in eager anticipation.

Anyway, this year it was planned to be a smaller affair than usual. First to arrive, late Friday evening, were George and Maryann’s children Brendan and Katie with their significant others, Ashley and Quinn. The next morning we all got up, fitted a Christmas bow on Bingo the dog and watched Brendan, dressed in fuzzy brown PJs, make us all breakfast.
Chewbacca and MaryAnn in the Kitchen.


That afternoon, I went to Fort Bragg and my favorite bar in the area, Milano. They were having their Christmas party and it was crowded. Most of the regulars were there. The old man who owned the place and always sat on the stool by the wall at the end of the bar, however, was missing. Perhaps he died. He was not looking well the last time I saw him well over a year.

I took an empty stool and ordered a Stella. There was food at the party, a potluck. The bartender urged me to get some food but I demurred for some reason or another. The noise in place was almost defining, There were several little groups talking loudly, others pounding their dice cups on the bar-top. A few people sat quietly staring at their drinks. I made a friend.

I Usually, I do not talk to anyone preferring to watch. But Gene, who sat down next to me, insisted that I engage him in conversation. “What’s your nationality?” he asked. “Italian,” I responded. “I’m Bohemian,” he said. I thought he was playing with me, but since I could not figure out the joke, I ignored it. I then asked him what he does for a living “I’m a stone contractor,” he said. Not knowing what a stone contractor was, I ignored this too. “I’m retired,” he went on, “but I still work 5 hours a day.” How one can work five hours a day and still consider himself retired I could not comprehend but I let that pass also. “I like my clients,” he then declared. “I did not like mine,” I responded. He stared at me a moment then said, “Attorneys are the most difficult to get to pay their bills.” “I can understand that,” I replied. “After all, they spend most of their working lives helping people to avoid paying their debts, financial or otherwise.”

I was happy when I left and drove back to my sister’s house. Shortly after I got back, two additional weekend guests, Debbie and Shelly, arrived. We had risotto for dinner.

The next morning, it was the day before Christmas. We had a long breakfast where we talked about many things that made us laugh and some that did not.

That evening, we gathered for Christmas Eve dinner. Maryjane (she who had married a clown) and her current husband Jovan, and Nancy and Duncan joined us. Before dinner, we snacked on stuffed calamari, baked eggplant, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail and a lot of other things — too many for me to remember.
Debbie and Katie.

At dinner, we toasted to good friends and holidays and then dug into the marvelous cioppino my sister had prepared.
Happy Holidays to All.

I sat between Nancy and Shelly. Nancy told me about her father (or Duncan’s, I forget which) who led a wonderful and exciting life and at 95 years old lives by himself in a house in Oregon, still drives and cooks his own meals and refuses to go to a senior home. Shelly, a potter by trade who’s studio is at the Women’s Pottery Studios on Noe in San Francisco told us about her good friend and studio mate who died at 105. She began her ceramics career in her late 40s. When she was 80, she was “discovered” by the critics and became a bit of a celebrity. She made well over 5 million dollars from her pottery in about 5 years. Because so many of her clients and friends were in the entertainment business, she began being offered roles in the movies. She was the voice of the grandmother in “Titanic.”

Following these uplifting tales and several different desserts, I went to bed.

The next morning, Christmas, it was Panettone and presents, coffee and wrapping paper, giggles of happiness and moments of silent contemplation of fleeting pleasures that penetrated the veneer of joy like no-see-umm pricking your skin.
Christmas Morning with Bingo and George.

I then left drove five hours back to the golden hills where I opened more presents.

A woman, Wanni, who I assisted in the sale of her business, gave me a lovely blanket, fleece on the inside and smooth and soft to the touch on the outside. Adrian also gave me a number of great gifts as did Dick and Hayden. We then had dinner and I immediately went to bed where clutching my marvelous new blanket I thankfully quickly fell into a deep almost dreamless sleep.

An Aging Childe Harold.


B. Molly had a Baby:

On Christmas Day, Molly had a baby. I was not there at the birth, but I had been there over 20 years ago at Molly’s birth along with her father Maurice, a dear friend and a kind gentle man. When the nurse brought tiny Molly into the nursery, Maurice. for a long, long time, stared through the glass at her with a wonder and love that stayed with him for the rest of his life. Molly soon became the child of all of us, our family and friends. She was a quiet waif of a child. Usually, she sat silently at the edge of things — an innocent in a cynical world. She wore large round glasses and had a shy smile. Often, she babysat my grandchildren, traveled with them and at lived with them in their house when Maurice worked.

When we awoke on Christmas Day, we learned she had given birth — to a boy, a Christmas baby she named Amir, Emmanuel, Duncan Trad (Trans: Prince, Messiah [God is with us], Dark Warrior [dark of visage, not of heart] Trad) a fitting name for someone born on this day. A few years ago, Molly wrote a prescient poem that she shared with me. Read it slowly.

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

Molly and Amir Emmanuel Duncan Trad



Within minutes of finishing the above joyous account of a Christmas birth, I received the following distressing email from Naida regarding my dear friend Bill:

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

Bill, a gentle giant of a man, has been my cherished friend for more years than I can remember — always cheerful and always seeming happy to see me when I visited he and Naida at their beloved ranch along the Cosumnes River near Sacramento.

Few people know that Bill was quietly responsible for the passage of the California Coastal Conservancy legislation, a key element of California’s Coastal protection program over 40 years ago. We were on the floor of the Senate. We clearly did not have the votes. Bill privately spoke to Senator Denny Carpenter a vocal opponent of California’s Coastal Protection legislation. He asked Carpenter to speak in favor of the legislation when it came before the Senate for its final vote. Carpenter agreed and did so, turning enough votes to pass the bill. So, whenever you visit a beautiful section of the California coast or San Francisco Bay that the Conservancy has had a hand in preserving, please remember Bill, Geyer.

I will miss him greatly.

And, the Great Wheel grinds inexorably on.






A Simple Primer for Understanding Politics.

First, Democrats exaggerate, Republicans lie. So whenever Democrats tell you something about an issue, you can be reasonably confident it is not as bad or as good as they say it is. When a Republican, however, says something, you can be sure the exact opposite is true.

Second, when politicians tell you the deficit is too large and will lead the nation into ruin they are really saying that they want to reduce taxes on the wealthy and increase the military budget. Remember, no large private corporation can operate without debt. (Note: no politician ever claims the deficit or public debt is too small.)

Third, Promises are used to get elected not to govern. Trust is not a verity one can rely on in politics. The devil is always in the details. Whatever is promised before the election will not look like what you thought it would after. Especially, if it needs to be approved by the legislative body. Support politicians because you are confident you can persuade them to your point of view after they take office, not simply because they agreed with you before the votes were counted.





“This estimate is according to Five Thirty-Eight. Apart from post-mastectomy reconstructions, reconstructions, around quarter-million American women now get breast implants each year, including several thousand girls eighteen and younger. An additional 149,000 women a year have their breasts surgically lifted, a procedure that has become seven times more common since the 1990s.”

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 251). Random House Publishing Group.







A. Thoughts to Ponder:

“I’m a child of the enlightenment; I was raised thinking that moral and ethical standards are universals that apply equally to everyone. And these values aren’t easily compatible with the kind of religion that posits a Creator. To my way of thinking, an omnipotent being who sets up a universe in which thinking beings proliferate, grow old, and die (usually in agony, alone, and in fear) is a cosmic sadist. Consequently, I’d much rather dismiss theology and religious belief as superstitious rubbish. My idea of a comforting belief system is your default English atheism . . .. except that I know too much. See, we did evolve more or less randomly. And the little corner of the universe we live in is 13.73 billion years old, not 5,000 years old. And there’s no omnipotent, omniscient, invisible sky daddy in the frame for the problem of pain. So far so good: I live free in an uncaring cosmos, rather than trapped in a clockwork orrery constructed by a cosmic sadist.”

Stross, Charles. The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files Book 3) (p. 136). Penguin Publishing Group.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

American’s have always considered belief to be more important than truth, money more desirable than morals, and celebrity more trustworthy than scholarship.


C. Today’s Poem:



I caught the happy virus last night

When I was out singing beneath the stars.

It is remarkably contagious-

So kiss me.

Hafiz (14th Century Sufi Poet)


D. Some Comments on My Previous Post:


1. From Ruth:

So I fretted all week about your doctor appointments and whether to inquire what happened, but I got distracted by Moe’s medical adventures–which appear to be on the way to fairly good resolution. He’s out of the hospital and will go home from rehab tomorrow, but with a home health asst 12 hours a day for at least a while. I didn’t dare ask how that’s being funded, but he is in good spirits about getting home and back to something approximating real life.

From your missive, it sounds as if your situation is not as bad as you feared, but certainly bad enough to spoil your day.

It sounds as if SWAC remains true to character; she’s been sort of her own bulldoze-through-other-people individual ever since you first met her and probably way before then. One question is what kind of woman would give birth to a child and then farm him out in one foreign country or another for months at a time. And another question is what the hell is the matter with Dick that he would kick you out, especially in the present circumstances. However, there is nothing I can do about that and probably nothing you can do either.

I hope the various doctors are able to help you with minimal suffering on your part. Cancer unquestionably sucks, and so does the treatment.

And I hope you manage some festivity over the holidays. I’ll be in Vancouver at my cousin’s for a week, then home overnight, and then in San Diego for New Year’s. I plan to visit Joan on the way home if not also over that weekend.

Hang in there.


2. Gateser:

O.K., some unsolicited advice (but first a couple of unsolicited thoughts):

1 – I firmly believe that stress is a cancer accelerator. I watched my mom die of it (cancer and stress) at age 46.
2 – It seems to me that you’re spending a lot of time with sick people and generally talking about sickness a lot — basically adding to the stress.

Forget all that shit, do what you have to do to fight the good fight and, every time the subject of illness comes up, think about the Geriatric Round Table (and other ‘past glories’!).

It is what it is. As you know, talking about, stressing over and fearing what may or may not be there at the moment isn’t going to help, it just adds more stress!

I know, easy for me to say but … ‘I know things Lily’

Hang in! Happy Holidays!

Final unsolicited thought: We know all too well the type of person who would throw someone with cancer out of his home.

Final, Final unsolicited thought: Karma can be a bitch to bitches!


My Response:

I shall never forget the Geriatric Knights, their bravery in the face of temptation, their courage in discharging their duty and the fortitude with which they met their destiny.

I agree about spending more time with people who are not obsessed with sickness. But, when I am with people my age, sickness, and cloying memories are often all we have to talk about. I think that is why my time with Hayden is so enjoyable.

When are we going on that cruise together?


3. Fede:

I read that you are not well, and I’m so sad because of that!
I’m sure the biopsy will be negative and you will get well soon again!!
I’m sending you a big hug and Merry Christmas to you and the family!

Baci, kisses


4. Aline:

Joe, I can echo the statements of your friend regarding UCSF. The oncologists there are far ahead in their treatments and knowledge. My daughter has been cancer free for sixteen years because of UCSF doctors. She went through chemo, radiation, and surgery in Davis and all failed. She went to UCSF and participated in what was then experimental. It worked—from stage four cancer to cancer free! A lot of prayer was involved as well and those prayers are now directed at you.

As you stroll around Mendocino if you see a lady with a guide dog, say hello. She is my good friend Judy Chapman the dog is Jamie, a yellow lab.


5. Peter:

Maryann and George have a wonderful situation in a gorgeous place that seems so precarious; I think of My Fault vino up the road. Yet, imagine if/when the water is turned off in SF. Truly, living on the edge….

More Peter:

In a long run historical context, such as considering the progression of Chinese dynasties which included that roughly 200 year Period of Disorder (between Han and Tang), as the historians call it, what could be the brief (a trifle more than 200 years) American Period of Democracy could be viewed from the Far Future as yet another historical blip — especially if viewed from Elon Musk’s Martian refuge, which, rather than being the bridge and tunnel crowd, would be the dome and burrow bunch.

Still More Peter:

When faced with this, you can simple light up some candles and incense, adopt the eternal full lotus position, and intone Om and Oy Way and celebrate another swig of prosecco and a puff of the Great Weed.




“If there is something comforting—religious, if you want—about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.”

—THOMAS PYNCHON, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)




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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. Free Day* 0006 (December 20,2017)




To everyone during this holiday season please have yourself a: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Fabulous Festivus, Sublime Saturnalia, Joyous Juul, Serene Sanghamitta, Zoned-out Ziemassvetki, Lively Yalda, Crazy Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year.


“Failure is the mark of a life well lived.”

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


(* Note: This is a free day on Pookie’s calendar. You can do whatever you wish but please take care and don’t hurt yourself.)







Feeling a mix of anger and fear caused by the doctor’s report, I set off to Mendocino and my sister’s house for the weekend and hopefully some solace. Not too much of the drive penetrated my fog of worry, but I remember passing through the lovely Anderson Valley in what was a relatively fast trip. My sister and George were entertaining some friends staying in the Tower House. The woman was a professor of psychology, I think, and her husband a fireman somewhere in the East Bay. They had two delightful little girls that insisted on demonstrating how well they could do splits. I learned that they had once lived in EDH just a few blocks from where I live now.

I did not do much while I was there except walk around the town and eat the great food my sister and George prepared. One afternoon the sunlight was so clear, I walked about the town taking photographs of the houses.
Angela Lansbury’s house in “Murder She Wrote.”

Regrettably, I had to return to the golden hills on Monday because I had scheduled an emergency appointment with the supervising oncologist. The drive back was as uneventful as the drive up.



I had two doctors appointments scheduled for the week. One on Tuesday and another on Friday after which I had planned to return to Mendocino until Christmas. Unfortunately, SWAC had arrived for the holidays and had invited some guests to stay at the house during the holidays. Her strenuous complaints to Dick prompted me to make alternative accommodations to save him from ceaseless tsuris. Although it really does not bother me too much since I have made my life such that I can just float above such discomforts but, I cannot help but wonder what sort of person would want to force someone who may be dying of cancer out of his home in order entertain some guests.

During the two days there, I continued my daily walks but did not swim or exercise at the health club.

On Tuesday, I saw my supervising oncologist for a second opinion. He said that there was only a slight swelling of the lymph nodes and that there was at best a small chance of a reoccurrence of cancer. Nevertheless, he thought I should have a biopsy just to be safe. I agreed.

On another point related to the foregoing paragraph, I was pleased and humbled by the number of people who had read through the last issue of T&T, expressed their concern and offered me their support and good wishes as I dealt with my health problems. Thank you all.



So, on Tuesday, I left for Sacramento to hole up with Norbert and Stevie until my Friday doctor’s appointment. My first stop was at Sacramento Campus Commons where Naida and Bill Geyer live. Campus Commons is a marvelously well-done subdivision on the banks of the American River built in the 1960s before developers learned that they could eliminate all amenities and open space in their products and people would still buy into it in their panicked rush to escape the growing presence of minorities in the cities. Bill and Naida moved there to avoid the burden of managing their ranch nestled along the banks of the Cosumnes River in Rancho Murieta.

Naida was recuperating from recent heart surgery but was in good spirits. Bill’s doctors told him there was little more they could do for his spreading gangrene that would prolong his life. Nevertheless, he seemed quite cheerful and accepting of the diagnosis. We talked about old times and joked about our fears for the future. Then we took a walk (Bill in his motorized chair) through the grounds.
Bill Prepares to Set Off on His Motorized Scooter.


Campus Commons.

Then I drove to Stevie and Norbert’s home to spend a few days before my next medical appointment. The first evening we had a delightful meal at a restaurant in Freeport. There are people one meets in life whose kindness to you goes beyond understanding and whom you could never repay. Stevie and Norbert have been that to me over the years.

The next day, I spent the afternoon strolling around Capitol Park a place I have grown to love.

Then came my Dr.’s appointment. He indicated that although he did not believe there should be a problem, he did feel swelling in one of my lymph nodes and confirmed the prior doctor’s recommendation that a biopsy be performed. Directly after the appointment, I set off to my sister’s home in Mendocino.



I do not remember much of the drive occupied as I was with a mix of anger and depression that only dissipated when darkness fell as I drove through the redwoods and my malaise was replaced with a fear that I would surely drive off the road in the gloom.

After a not very restful sleep at my sister’s house, I walked through the town of Mendocino and that evening accompanied Maryann and George to the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department’s Annual Christmas Dinner. It was pleasant and enjoyable.

During the pre-dinner drink fest, a woman came up to me and said, “Hi, my name is MaryJane and I married a clown.” I eventually learned that she grew up in Queens NY in a very large and loud Italian family and when she arrived in her mid-teens promptly ran away — she did not run away to the circus, but she did get a job as a ticket taker at Madison Square Garden where, when the Ringling Bros. Circus came to town, she met her clown and after a brief but I am sure fun filled courtship married him. Alas, “He was a good clown but, a bad husband,” she told me and so they soon divorced. She traveled about the country married and divorced a second time and eventually found herself in Mendocino. “With a name like MaryJane where else would I end up other than where the best marijuana is grown.” Here she married a carpenter who also doubled as a volunteer fireman and who was retiring that evening. “I finally got the turnout outfit I wanted and now I am retiring,” he complained to me. (A turnout outfit is the gear provided by the department that a fireman jumps into when he goes off to fight a fire.)

There were many other stories from that evening I could relate but I think that one is enough.

The next day I walked through the town taking photographs and trolling the shops for Christmas presents. I was told, later, that Christmas sales are down because most of the shops depended upon the expenditures of the dope growers spending their gains from the harvest but now with legalization, they are wisely hoarding their profits.
Mendocino in the Morning

That evening Mary and George had their Christmas Open House. Peter and Barrie and Norbert and Stevie drove up from San Francisco and Sacramento respectively. There was plenty to nibble on including something delicious called a taco-ring and plenty to drink including Champagne and Prosecco. At one point I was talking to a local artist who was aware of my health problems. She told me here previous husband, a well-known sculptor, had the same cancer I have and described in detail the horrible three years of intensive suffering he went through before he died. He had been someone who had always exercised and was a bit of a healthy life fanatic and could not understand why he became so sick. During the period of this turmoil, their 17-year-old son was discovered to have an abnormal heart and had to endure a series of heart surgeries. After her husband died and the son finally had recovered, she began to suffer from PTSD and after two years was hospitalized in an effort to cure it. After she was discharged, she married a local fireman and woodcutter and now lives happily in a large house in the forest with a 10,000-foot studio where she makes large elegantly dressed dolls that are sold at Neiman Marcus for $5000 each.

The next day, Peter, Barrie, and I toured the firehouse while George explained how the various pieces of equipment were used and told us stories about brilliant rescues of people who had fallen off the cliffs and into the ocean and about fighting fires and paramedic techniques.
Peter, Barrie, and George at the Firehouse

Then, we visited with MaryAnn at the West Company economic development center in Fort Bragg. After that, we walked along the magnificent Ft. Bragg shoreline park that extends about 10 along the coast. Later, we had lunch outdoors in a restaurant at Noyo Harbor where a young man was cooking freshly boiled crab that he shared with us.
Barrie and George Enjoying a Crab Lunch

That night, Peter and Barrie, and George and MaryAnn each described and argued over the specifics of their long and amusing courtship. I had little to say since most of my marriages were spur of the moment affairs.






Lichens. Neglected but remarkable. For one thing, they’re not one organism, but two.”

‘“All lichens are joint ventures that combine a fungus and an alga. The fungus does the rooty, mushroomy stuff. The algae do the photosynthesis part. A neat trick. And they’re tough little critters. A few years back, a Spanish scientist, don’t ask me why, put some lichens on a spaceship and bounced them around in open space for a fortnight. Cosmic rays. Heat and cold. Total vacuum. Not great for the health, you’d imagine, but when they came back to Earth, they were just fine. All tickety-boo and ready to carry on lichening around.”

“There are drawbacks to this way of life, however. Most pertinently, lichens grow slowly. So slowly, indeed, they can be used to date the exposed surfaces of rocks.”

Bingham, Harry. This Thing of Darkness (Fiona Griffiths Crime Thriller Series Book 4) (p. 59). Sheep Street Books.






A. Hannah Arendt on Top:

From “Origins of Totalitarianism.”

“A mixture of gullibility and cynicism have been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses.”

“In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true….Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.’


B. Satchel Page, “On the Mound”:

“Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”

C Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Because Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Supreme Court are in the hands of a single party willing to use almost any means to retain power, should Mueller be fired, it would represent the final act in a slow-moving non-military coup to replace a flawed democracy with an oligarchical power structure directed by a consortium of the so-called malefactors of extreme wealth, religious and other fascists, and agents of an enemy power.

Now, this all sounds like just another conspiracy theory but, wouldn’t it be ironic if the conspiracy theory elites (Faux news, A. Jones, etc.), the neo-fascists, fanatical evangelicals, the right-wing moneyed elite, the Republican Party leadership and Vladimir Putin are the real agents of the Illuminati?

D. Today’s Poem:

The Oath of Fëanor

“Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean
Brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
Neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
Dread nor danger, not Doom itself
Shall defend him from Fëanáro, and Fëanáro’s kin,
Whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
Finding keepeth or afar casteth
A Silmaril. This swear we all…
Death we will deal him ere Day’s ending,
Woe unto world’s end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth…
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember,
Manwë and Varda!” —
Tolkien, Silmarillion


C.Some Comments on Previous Post:


1. From Joey:

“Sorry to hear about the discovery by the doctor Joe. I hope your efforts to rid this cancer are successful.

I want to thank you for giving me a little view into your life. Most people are too afraid to be as open as you are and I appreciate your openness to share your joys and your difficulties.

I’m not someone to judge people and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts. It has been interesting for me because we look at things in this world differently but I respect your perspective.

Because someone believes in God does not make them weak and shallow looking for an easy way out at looking at the complexities of life and death. To believe strictly in science will give no more securities to the questions we all have.

I am not someone to be so righteous as to say there is only one way to a better place after this life. Of course, I have no idea just as anyone else as to what happens after this life. We can only speculate. But there are things we can listen to that are beyond the typical realities.

Your love for HRM as an example cannot be explained by science. You feel it in your soul. You express it through your actions. Where did that come from? Why? What is the point?

All the effort and good will you have done in your life will be forgotten and unappreciated in a very short time after your departure from this world. You know this to be true based on people in your life and the memories you remember or not remember over time.

So what is our purpose? Why are we here? If we go to sleep to never remember the memories and relationships we have developed in our lifetime makes this life not worth living.

Maybe there is something more after this life. My hope there is. When we look at infinity 70-80 Years is a very short time. What can we do with the knowledge we have gained in this life if it just disappears after our final rest. This to me seems futile and depressing.

What is wrong in believing in something more? Believing in God and an afterlife? I bet you have had many discussions with God during this life. Why?

I will tell you the truth, Joe. I believe in prayer and I believe in God. That is no more crazy than to believe in nothing or science or whatever.

Understandably you are thinking of these things as you get older. What have you lost if you believe in an afterlife and God? If your wrong then you get what you always thought but if you’re wrong it could be amazing.

Joe, you are a good person. You might not think you have always been a good person but when I hear your thoughts I see a good person. You have shown through your actions to be someone with a good heart. Things may not have always worked out the way you thought but that doesn’t take away from the core of who you are.

I appreciate you as a person and I don’t know you well but have read all your blogs and the little glimpse I have been fortunate enough to see through your writings has been inspiring.

Thank you, Joe, for sharing a piece of yourself. I will pray for you and there is nothing you can do about that. Haha.


2. Burma Richard:

Dearest Papa Joe,

I am so disheartened to hear about the reoccurrence of the demon in your lymph nodes.
Just shit!
You mean a lot to me and
I treasure the time we spend together and am greedy for more.
Much more.
You are a wealth of a lifetimes worth of golden information with the critical eye of the poet and I cannot accept your absence.
We pray for your health and
kick the gods in the nuts
to draw attention that for
those who love you, you mean so very much to us all.
Best prognostication in this coming week and keep us informed.

Much love

My response:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner but I have been experiencing a but of fairly insignificant turmoil in my life recently that has caused a lot of going around in circles eating up time. As for my health problems, after consulting with two other doctors, it seems that although reactivation of cancer would be unusual in my case, at least one lymph node is enlarged and just to be safe a biopsy needs to be performed. I am now enjoying myself at my sister’s house in Mendocino waiting for the biopsy appointment to be set-up.

I hope you are well.

Miss you,

Tuckahoe Joe…


3. Terry:

Joe my friend, I just read your post re your Lymph nodes. I would be concerned, but far from panicked. Swollen lymph nodes absent other symptoms, such as lack of Energy, unexplained pain etc. are a precursor To a lot of things, including an infection.

Sounds like your doctor is a bit on the Negative vibe side. Before you consider surgery, please get a second opinion. My father had surgery to deal with esophageal cancer and spent his last 18 months needlessly miserable. UCSF has some cutting-edge anti-cancer treatments, including immune therapy activating your T cells to attack the specific cancer cells in your system.
This all assumes you have a recurrence of cancer. Which you may not be experiencing.

As a survivor of sudden death syndrome in 2010, I can tell you that “miracles” created by modern medicine do happen all the time. Keep an open mind and investigate vigorously all options, and utilize the SF UCSF campus that you helped to create.

All my best and concern for you, your friend,


4. Ruth L:

I was all wrapped up in your dreams and savoring your lovely writing until the ending. Damn.

I loved the de Tocqueville quote and recall another one which I’ll have to find again, but it observes that he’d never seen a people so devoted to money as Americans.

Delighted to know that you are a fellow lover of The Powerbroker. My father did the appraisals of the Long Island estates in preparation for opening up the island to the public. I recall that Moses managed to insert something in a bill that the Legislature didn’t understand or misinterpreted so that it gave the state the power to create access to roadways blocked by the super-rich and to create new ones. And Jones Beach was my destination every summer.
Were you brought up around there?

My best wishes to you and to defeating the guy in the red nightshirt (W.C.Fields called him that) once again.


My Response:

Thank you for your kind note. I am waiting for my doctors to schedule a biopsy. The supervising doctor indicated that he thought a positive result was unlikely and any enlargement was due to other causes. We shall see.

Yes, I also like the de Tocqueville “money” quote. Here’s another one you might enjoy. It is taken from a letter he sent to his mother after attending the rather vigorous ceremony in an American rural church. “Can you imagine, my dear mother,” he wrote home, “what aberrations the human spirit can fall into when it’s abandoned to itself? There was a young American Protestant with us who said as we left, ‘Two more spectacles like this one and I’m turning Catholic.’ ”

I did not live too near Jones Beach, (I lived in Tuckahoe) but spent many an enjoyable day there. I had always hoped that the Coastal Conservancy could do for the environment what Moses did for public works, make environmental preservation and restoration a major thrust of government attention. At least in California, we seem to be doing better, but in DC not so much.

Once again, thank you,


5. Peter:

Could be worse. After all, physics (and other disciplines) attempts to answer the questions of epistemology: How do we know what we know? Many don’t really care, of course; God knows, that’s good enough. Defund public education, kick back and enjoy your religious insanity. But the question of Why: agonizing over this one generates angst and cosmology. And then, who considers that Heaven might indeed be boring, and it may be best after all to just join the hamsters on the treadmill of karma down at your favorite watering hole-cum-pleasure dome. The problem ultimately arises from lack of a sense of humor: dreariness in next to godliness, except that after a few hundred thousand recitations of the Diamond Sutra – or whichever — another matters anymore.

More Peter:

Since you quote Melville: As you may know, Barrie is once again working with people here to arrange another nonstop reading of Moby Dick. This year they hope to have it at the Maritime Museum down at Aquatic Park. Looks like there’s some interest in making that happen. Interesting potential fund-raising possibilities for this and that.




“Igors were loyal, but they were not stupid. A job was a job. When an employer had no further use for your services, for example, because he’d just been staked through the heart by a crowd of angry villagers, it was time to move on before they decided that you ought to be on the next stake. An Igor soon learned a secret way out of any castle and where to stash an overnight bag. In the words of one of the founding Igors: “We belong dead? Excuthe me? Where doth it thay ‘we’?’

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














Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Pookie 0006 (December 9, 2017)





“Religious insanity is very common in the United States.”
Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America.







It’s been ten days or so since my last post before I got around to begin this one. Usually, I at least print out the headings for a new post when I send out the previous one. I do not know why it seems so hard to get started. Perhaps I need to adjust my medicines — or maybe it is the coming holiday season. I always found the holidays to be more stressful than joyful.

The intermittent rains have stripped the leaves from most of the trees except for the Indomitable Oak which the remains fully clothed while the other oak trees all around it stand spindly and naked.

On the weekend I traveled to SF — stayed the night with Peter, Barrie, and Ramsey. On Sunday I had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch with Peter, Ruth, and Don at a local French restaurant in Noe Valley. We discussed, old times, old friends and getting old. We laughed a lot.
Ruth and Her Boys

Meanwhile, back in the Golden Hills life crawls on. HRM, now in the first blush of adolescence, spends his free time among his peer group in what now is referred to by most as “the Scooter Gang.” When not touring the fake hills and valleys of the local skate parks they gather in one or another’s family garage endlessly disassembling and reassembling their outrageously expensive scooters.

For the past few months, my dreams have been especially enjoyable. The difference between the usual ennui of my days and the excitement of my nightly dreams were such that I could hardly wait to go to bed in the evenings. Last night things changed.

I dreamt I was at a very enjoyable party. Eventually, some friends and I decided to leave to get something to eat. After walking through some dark but crowded San Francisco streets, we passed through a busy elegant cocktail lounge where I somehow got separated from them. A youngish (anyone under 60) man with sandy hair called me over to his table. He was a psychiatrist —mine apparently. We discussed my psychological problems at length which I will not bother you with here. Eventually, his sister arrived at the table. She was attractive but blind in one eye which was all dark and milky. This should have warned me.

Anyway, she left and the psychiatrist and I and another gentleman departed from the bar to go somewhere else. As we walked along, I tried to talk to the psychiatrist but he ignored me and continued walking on like he was in a trance. He then climbed up an outside staircase of a building and disappeared inside (second warning). I and the other person continued on and then the shit hit the fan. As I write this, I no longer remember what happened but it was enough sufficiently frighten me that it forced me to wake myself up.

Since I could not go back to sleep fearing I would fall back into my nightmare, I decided to read a book.

The book concerned a man working for a secret British agency combatting the depredations on humanity by beings from the supernatural. The agency’s offices were accessed through a secret door behind a toilet stall in a London train station. Our hero was attending an agency training session when a creature of the underworld, or another dimension or something like that escaped and took over the body of one of the other students (“there were luminous worms writhing behind his eyes”), an agency accountant attending the class to better familiarize himself with the agency’s activity and procedures. Our hero had to kill the accountant in order to save the professor and the other students and was promptly suspended from active duty pending a thorough review of the matter. He arrived back home distressed only to find his roommates, Pinky, and Brains by name, attempting to cook an omelet without breaking the eggs.

At this point, I decided the dream could be no worse than the book so I turned out the light and slept soundly until morning.

Sometimes I speculate whether or not there is any difference between dreams and awareness, reality and fiction, mind and matter. After all, consciousness is located somewhere at the base of our brain stem. The brain stem controls our perception and thought. Didn’t the poet say, ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’ I wonder if we dream after death, the sleep from which we never wake.

Will we eventually know what is consciousness? Do we care? Will we eventually be able to break it down into some irreducible bits like the Meletians insisted comprise reality? Even if we do, it is basically simply descriptive and perhaps even predictive but it does not tell us what it is. Like quantum theory when it tells us that time is broken into bits and in the space between the bits there is no time. Well, what actually is no-time?

The theory certainly is descriptive, we can assign numbers to it, and it has proven to be predictive. Beyond that, whether it makes any sense to anyone remains a question. Maybe that is one of the failures of a pure science like physics, it is only descriptive and predictive and sometimes we somehow feel that is not enough. Mostly, I think most of us don’t care. Some people believe in God in order to avoid the effort of thinking about things like this. Others probably think that those who think like this need a little God or a drink. Certainly, God is little more than place-saver for whatever we wonder about but do not know and do not want to spend too much time on it. Perhaps, Science, as we have come to perceive it, has become an itch deep within our minds. It may be inventive, provide physical comfort and expanded knowledge and more efficient ways of producing the energy we require to survive as a species, but do we really feel we know what we always have wanted to know — why us and who am I? On the other hand, does anyone really care? Perhaps we need to consider a “NEW SCIENCE.” On the other hand, perhaps ennui and disassociation many of us are feeling have less to do with who we are than what we are. Or maybe I just read too much fantasy fiction.

The next evening Dick returned from wherever he had been the past two days and suffering from a bad cold. HRM, after a day of scootering, arrived with three members of the scooter gang for a sleepover. They were very well behaved. In the morning HRM cooked breakfast for everyone. HRM was fascinated by one of the new members of the gang. He lives on the top of the hill in Serrano “where the rich people live.” “All the houses have double doors,” he marveled

This is all new to me. When I grew up boys never had sleepovers, girls had slumber parties, however.

Anyway, Dick retired to treat his cold. The scooter gang piled into HRM’s room, the heavy stench of pre-teen sweat and emerging testosterone crept out from under the door like miasmatic swamp gas. I returned to reading the adventures of the silly supernatural spy until I could feel bits of my brain turning to rot. So, I closed the computer, shut the light and went to sleep.

When I go for my morning walks lulled by the click of my walking stick on the path and the rasp of my breath in my ears, I sometimes pass into a state a lot like dreaming, except here my mind-voice keeps up a patter of words into my mind, like a boring lecturer going on about something until you pass into a trance hearing only the buzzing of the phonemes — click, breath, words —click, breath, words and so on. Sometimes these lectures I give myself seem quite good and I try to remember them so that I can post them here in T&T. At other times they are just trash, detritus to be left on the side of the path like a pile of leaves.

On Friday morning, dawn flung its delicate rosy fingers along the eastern horizon above the golden hills. As I drove HRM to school we played silly buggers and laughed a lot. Then it was off to breakfast at IHOP followed by a short trip down Bidwell for my doctor’s appointment before heading off to my sister’s house in Mendocino. I was in a great mood looking forward to the drive and the week on the coast.

After a bit of an annoying wait, the doctor arrived and announced that the CT scan I took last week showed the lymph nodes in my neck were enlarged. “This is bad, very bad,” he said. He sounded like he was angry and it was my fault his precious chemotherapy may not have worked. “You will have to get a PET scan, probably followed by a biopsy of the lymph nodes and if the biopsy is positive we will have to do immediate invasive surgery on your neck.” I was, to say the least, thunderstruck. Only two weeks ago the doctor managing my treatment, after shoving a tube through my nose and down my throat, announced that I was still in remission. What the hell happened in those two weeks?

The doctor then told me that everything has to proceed very quickly because if cancer has spread it will move rapidly throughout my system. I was devastated. I have appointments with my other two doctors on Tuesday and Friday of next week and await a call to set up the PET scan. I am worried, frightened depressed and angry.






The following is a work in progress. I am trying to find some generalizations that I can get my mind around that may help to give me some meaning to what we are experiencing in the US today. Any assistance will be appreciated.

A. The Five World Wars and Who Won Them:

World War I — 1914-1918 (The War to End All Wars)
Protagonists: German Empire (Allied Austria-Hungary Empire, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) vs British Empire (Allied with French Empire, United States of America, Russian Empire, Italian Empire and the Empire of Japan)
Causes: Political opportunism by the armaments industry, lust for control of nearby resources and industries, corrupt and weak hereditary autocracies
How fought: primarily men, guns and tactics.
Winner: British Empire et.al.
How won: Superior manpower, and economic strength.
Result: Overthrow of hereditary autocracies and replacement with elected business autocracies, crushing economic burdens on the losers with a weakened autocratic leadership guaranteed to encourage resentment and search for a strong leader who would restore the nation’s glory. The collapse of the Russian Empire, German Empire, Ottoman Empire and the disappearance of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

World War II — 1939-1945 (The Second World War)
Protagonists: German Empire, Italian Empire and Empire of Japan vs British, American and French empires and the Russian Communist Empire (The Soviet Union).
Causes: Mismanagement of economies and corruption by the business autocracies that emerged after WW I. Emergent “strong-man” leadership and ideologies.
How conducted: primarily guns, men, ships, technology (air power, sonar, rockets, etc.) strategy.
Winner: American Empire (Allied with British Empire, French Empire, Chinese Empire ) and The Communist Russian Empire (The Soviet Union)
How Won: Manpower, economic strength, superior applied warfare technologies.
Result: Overthrow of Axis Fascist autocracies and replace with business autocracies. The world divided between business and financial elite led governments and bureaucratic dominated ones. The demise of German, Italian and French Empires followed soon by the disbandment of the empires of Britain and France.

World War III — 1948-1945 (The Cold War)
Protagonists: The American Empire (allied with client states in western Europe and military treaty organizations) vs The Soviet Empire (Allied to all so-called Communist countries including the Empire of China)
How conducted: Through economic competition to finance and assemble largest military organizations.
Winner: American Empire (Allied with NATO Nations and other US treaty nations)
How won: the economic collapse of loser due primarily to unsustainable defense budget competition and cost of sustaining allied regimes.
Result: Collapse and dismemberment of much of the Russian Communist Empire and hegemony.

World War IV — 2016-2017 (The Cyber War)
Protagonists: The remnant of the Russian Empire vs The American Empire.
How conducted: Cyber warfare, corruption, and bribery.
Winner: remnant of the Russian Empire.
How won: Application of cyber technology, bribery of political leaders lusting for power.
Result: American hegemony collapses.
B. Advice
Even a placebo can cure an imaginary illness. If you still feel sick then you should see your doctor or your psychiatrist. Similarly, when you are fearful or anxious you should confront those emotions. If they remain after you do so, then perhaps, you have something to be truly afraid of.







The following is the last post in the Gun Girl series that I wrote several years ago. If you want to read about my wild week-long trip across Thailand you can find it at https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/category/the-adventures-of-gun-girl-and-pookie/.



A few day’s ago, Gun Girl called inviting me to join her for dinner at a restaurant she likes nearby. She offered to pick me up at my condo at 7 PM that evening.

Following my late afternoon nap, I showered, shaved, powdered and scented myself, brushed my teeth, swirled some mouthwash, put on a new pair of pants and a just laundered shirt and waited.

At about 7:20 she called and said she had gotten into an accident with a motorcycle at a street corner close to my condo and asked me to assist her. I left and walked to the intersection of the street she mentioned and Beach Road. I did not see her and called her cell phone. She said that she was actually at the corner of the street a few blocks down from Beach Road but that she was getting things in order and no longer needed my help. She asked me to go back to the condo, promising to call when she had finished. I told her I would wait for her call at Cafe Le Mar instead.

I walked back to the restaurant and sat at the bar, ordered a coke and watched a music video of Celine Deion in concert. She would often stop between songs and speak to the audience for a very long time. As she spoke, the audience would alternately, cheer, laugh or cry. I had no idea what she said since I do not understand French.

She impressed me as a remarkably ungainly woman. She moves with all the awkwardness of a 13-year-old girl.

Her songs all sounded eerily the same. The same breathy two or three notes over and over again.

After watching and listening to her for over an hour, I thought I had gone insane.






In about 1992 fewer than 2 percent of Americans used the Internet. By 2002 most Americans were online. This seismic social change we must remember is now only a little over 15 years old.

But once the Internet came along, we were definitely on a superhighway to a certain destination with no likely looking exits. Before the Web, cockamamie ideas and outright falsehoods could not spread nearly as fast or widely, so it was much easier for reason and reasonableness to prevail. Before the Web, institutionalizing any one alternate reality required the long, hard work of hundreds of full-time militants—the way America’s fundamentalist Christians spent decades setting up their own colleges and associations and magazines and radio stations. In the digital age, every tribe and fiefdom and principality and region of Fantasyland—every screwball with a computer and a telecom connection—suddenly had an unprecedented way to instruct and rile up and mobilize believers, and to recruit more.

In every pocket, there is now a library, a phonograph, a radio, a movie theater, and a television, as well as a post office, a printing press, a telegraph, a still and video camera, a recording studio, a navigation system, and a radio and TV station. It is advanced technology indistinguishable from magic.
Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 260). Random House Publishing Group.






A. Anderson on Top:

In his remarkable recent book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, Kurt Anderson quotes a conspiracy theorist during the Civil War commenting about spiritualism and Abraham Lincoln.

“[I]n an 1863 exposé called Interior Causes of the War: The Nation Demonized and Its President a Spirit-Rapper, the author, a ‘resident of Ohio’ said it was no coincidence that abolitionism and the craze for communicating with the dead had taken off simultaneously during the late 1840s and 1850s. The spirits, dead people, “have a magnetism peculiar to themselves, fired with vengeance [and] hatred.” In other words, ghosts and their living American interlocutors—the spiritualists—were scheming to destroy the nation. “For a number of years before the war, the spiritualists were promised, by spirits, a president of their own faith.” Lincoln “sprang mysteriously from the prairies,” “selected by spirits for the very work—the equalization of white men and negroes—which he is now endeavoring to perform.” “These spirits…are now in control” of the Union. By means of “a secret hole in the White House, a rapping table,” “Mr. Lincoln, and at least a portion of his cabinet…are now holding spiritual circles in the executive mansion, and consulting spirits in regard to the prospects and conduct of the war.” The spirits had essentially hypnotized Lincoln and the Union leaders into thinking they’d win the Civil War in order to send America “down the broad road to ruin.”
Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 94). Random House Publishing Group.

As Anderson points out conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie and baseball. Well, thankfully, at least Lincoln was not accused of being a member of the Illuminati.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

One’s good deeds belong to someone else. Only one’s mistakes are truly one’s own.


C. Testosterone Chronicles:

“There’s a correlation between men in high-testosterone lines of work and women in adult industries.”
Mayne, Andrew. Name of the Devil: A Jessica Blackwood Novel. HarperCollins.
D. Today’s Poem:

Y Gododdin

I’m no weary lord,
I avenge no wrong,
I laugh no laughter,
Under crawlers’ feet,
My legs at full length
In a house of earth,
A chain of iro
About both ankles,
Caused by mead, by horn,
By Catraeth’s raiders.
I, not I, Aneirin,
Taliesin knows it,
Master of word-craft,
Sang to Gododdin
Before the day dawned.

This is the beginning of a lengthy late Sixth Century poem by Aneirin commemorating a battle in Northumbria where the Breton Gododdin tribe and nation was wiped out by the Picts and their allies and in which, the bard describes in exquisite detail how each member of the tribe’s war-lords met their death on the battlefield. This is one of those rare cases that history was written by the losers. In it is also the earliest mention of Arthur, the once and future king.


E. Correspondence:

1. Sadness:

I am always glad to see TNT from Re Their r meant. I lean back in my chair knowing entertainment will ensue and hoping no bad news about you comes with it. You look good in the photo, and we are very glad that the horrendous bout with mouth-throat cancer is over. We would enjoy having you drive down to Sacramento to visit us in our new digs: Campus Commons.

Having not written, really written, for nearly a year, I am rusty. So this: We sold the ranch while I recovered from open-heart surgery. During the time I docu-signed seemingly endless forms (Bill continues to be cyberphobic and now can’t read small print) and I disclosed the problems of our old place, the ones that came to mind — lying only about having read and understood rafts of boilerplate — Bill’s vascular doctor told him he must have both his legs amputated above the knee. Distracted, I continued to stumble through the paperwork. For a couple of weeks Bill refused the surgery, but during escrow 3 specialists lined up to inform him that his condition had worsened and leg amputations would kill him promptly due to his weakened heart, lungs and kidneys. He tried to negotiate with them to amputate one leg only, the one with the gangrene spreading quickly on the heel of the toeless foot. But they stuck to their guns, claiming that one leg amputation would probably kill him, and if not, the strange wounds in the remaining leg would develop gangrene too and need to be amputated. The day the money arrived in our bank Bill was assigned to Hospice. Palliative care only, and likely 6 months or less to live.


2. From Neal:

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been trying to gin up interest in putting money into a fund through the Coastal Conservancy to buy up fire prone lots and redesign development potential. I make sure to tell people that the Conservancy was conceived of as an environmental redevelopment agency patterned after Robert Moses authorities in New York. I recount how the creator of the Conservancy, one Joseph Petrillo, was a New Yorker who loved “The Power Broker”. I’ve got Doug Bosco and others on board. We may have a play. Your legacy survives!!!


Response to Neal:

I should relate a tale of how small is our world. My sister, as you know, runs an economic development non-profit in Mendocino County and advises the County on marketing. Today while discussing various matters including your initiative with the county CEO, the CEO suggested my sister contact the communications director of the organization of the counties in the state.

After the meeting, she called him and the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you related to Joe Petrillo?” Her response was, “It depends on who’s asking.”

As you have probably guessed, the person my sister was talking to was your brother.


Neal’s response:

And yes, my family does now control the world….. Greg works for the League of Counties. My brother Bill’s wife is chair of the Santa Rosa Junior College Board. Bill is a lawyer in Petaluma. Their son Scott is a public defender in Santa Rosa. Their son Brian is the key terrorism expert at Facebook. Brother Leland owns the biggest Janitorial supply business in Sonoma County with both his sons working with him. My daughter Jessica works for a startup in Seattle called UTRIP. It’s a travel website and she is the content director. My son Sam just got a job with the World Bank after spending a year in Kenya.

And we just keep plugging along, trying to stay relevant.


3. From Burma Richard:

Hope all is well. A very unique opportunity came my way last week when some Ethiopian tribal elders came in with a half kilo of uncut Emerald crystals.
The material as you can see below is fantastic, and all natural ( no oil treated) because they are the folks mining their deposit themselves the prices are excellent.
For those interested, the stones are ethically sustainable mining by hand and profits are returned to the community under the tribal elders.
We are just beginning to cut this crystal and are looking for private buyers, wholesalers, Jewelry manufactures,

If you have any leads please let us know.
As for pricing I can provide a list once there is interest but the stone on the left certified as 3.88ct would be $10,000 total.
Incredible value.
This emerald simply glows.



More from Burma Richard:

You know Junko reminded me of a guy recommended for us to meet a couple of years ago who was a French documentary filmmaker. We went out to dinner and the guy asked me all kinds of questions about access to Chin State which I gave him.
He ate almost the entire dinner by himself including our portions and then proceeded to fill his pockets with the complimentary nuts on the table.
Then he was reluctant to pay.
Sounds like the same name.

Hope all is well and we miss you!
Much love.


4. Adrian:

Wanted to say thanks ….. reading your blog today gave me a brief interlude from a hectic and often tedious schedule of meetings, stress, and worry. I continue to pursue my dream of wealth and happiness.

I am in Hong Kong and leave tonight for Bangkok and I am hoping for a calming few days at Temple where I hope to recharge my overloaded batteries.

Back USA with she who must be obeyed December 7.

You may be interested to know that I will be entertaining an Oncologist friend (Alessandra) and possible business partner in EDH December 10-12. She is quite well known and is resident at a cancer hospital in southern Brazil. She also dreams, not so much of wealth but of creating technology that truly helps her patients to lead more productive and longer lives. She is a very pleasant lady.

Have a great day





Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out.”
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. US: Harper & Brothers. 1851.














Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Pookie 0006 (November 21, 2017)



[It] was like an Internet provider running out of snide indifference.
Wong, David. What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror (John Dies at the End) (pp. 337-338). St. Martin’s Press.







The skies over the golden hills have been a clear brilliant blue for the past few days. The temperature has gotten a bit chilly recently. Fall colors have been out for a week or so but they seem less vibrant than usual. I guess that muting is caused by the dry weather these last few months.

The slight chill in the air combined with the warmth of the water in the pool make swimming delightful. This afternoon while swimming, I noticed a snake, large centipede, and a spider in the water with me. I was startled. Then, I realized today was Halloween and someone was just messing with me. I, nevertheless, still moved to another lane. When it comes to creepy crawlers, I am a wuss.

On Halloween night, HRM took an autistic boy from the special needs class at his school trick or treating. It seems H has been especially kind to the boy in school and the boy was able to express his wish for H to take him out on Halloween.

Adrian left for the week. He went back to Sunnyvale to resume work on the tech start-up he is associated with. Dick returned from Thailand that evening. I sat by the door with a bowl of candy waiting for some kids to ring the doorbell. Only about three groups showed up all evening, so I sat there and ate most of the candy myself.

Shortly after Halloween, the weather turned cold in the golden hills — not winter cold, but chilly and overcast enough for sweaters and jackets.

Recently at the Health Club, I observed an exercise on one of the exercise machines I had never seen before — the exercise of pelvic thrusting muscles. I never knew there was a need to exercise those particular muscles. But, I guess if you think about it, it might come in handy someday. Anyway, a young woman approached the hamstring strengthening machine, the one where you lie prone on your stomach and lift a roller with the backs of your ankles. She squeezed her body between the bench and the roller, placing the roller across her pelvis and her hands behind on the bench and commenced to vigorously and salaciously trust her pelvis forward and up. Silence descended on the club as everyone, male and female alike, stopped what they were doing and, not wanting to be accused of voyeurism, watched the performance out of the corner of their eyes. Old guys like me have no shame anymore so we just gaped. The exerciser, a trainer at the club, was retained by a young man Immediately after she completed her workout.

It is too cold to swim alas, so I work the treadmill and the weights at the health club and watch the thrusting expert whenever she chooses to perform. I read a lot now that even going for a walk is unpleasant. A few days ago, I read a novel by Terry Pratchett that I do not recall reading before. It is called “The Thief of Time”. I thought I had read all of his “Discworld” novels, but I do not remember this one. Reading it confirmed my belief that Pratchett, like Vonnegut and Pynchon, is one of the great novelists in modern English literature. In the age of quantum physics and the fall of the American empire, only fantasy and humor can capture the sly absurdities of our times.

Time goes on. I do the same things day after day. Ennui sets in so I decided to spend the weekend with my sister and George in Mendocino.



The drive to Mendocino was uneventful. Little traffic, mostly sunny. I stopped for my usual ice cream sundae in Lucern on the shores of Clear Lake, passed some of the burned over the terrain of the recent fires and arrived in Mendocino about four and a half hours after I left the golden hills.

Some walks through the town and along the bluffs and on Friday night we had dined at the next door neighbors house and discussed the fence erected by another neighbor that has everyone upset. The neighbors, who are also committed travelers, told stories about their recent boat trip along the Arctic Circle and their planned trip to Asia in March.

The next night we traveled to Elk, about twenty miles down highway 1 from Mendocino to visit Bobby Beacon’s bar. Bobby resembles a rustic Sidney Greenstreet only taller. His wealthy parents left him a piece of property in Mendocino about 10 miles on each side. There on a hill from which one can see far up and down the coast (all which we were informed was Bobby’s) sits his bar in which Bobby lives in a few rooms off the barroom. In one those rooms, open and accessible from the bar sits a grand piano on which, now and then, Bobby plays for his guests. In another room, there is a large ergonomic chair surrounded by the latest computer equipment and a 78-inch screen. The bar is not open at regular times like an ordinary gin mill. When Bobby feels in the mood to converse with friends, he turns on a bright light on a long pole sticking above the roof or the bar.It can be seen far up and down the coast. It informs those who are interested that Bobby is in a mood to talk with his friends old and new. In effect, Bobby makes his friends pay for the pleasure of his company. Bobby is very conscious of the value of money. When he tells his stories and he tells and they are interesting, they tend to be about money or outsmarting the government. He also tells stories about animals that wander around his property or that he sees in the ocean from his bar.

Bobby collects fire engines — real fire engines not toys. They sit on his property and rust. It seems that many years ago when the local fire department presented Bobby with the estimated cost for them to his property in their district, he decided it would be much less expensive to form his own fire department for his property alone. Then a piece of legislation was passed that required Fire districts funded with public money to offer at a discount any equipment they consider obsolete to a fire district not funded by public money.

Anyway, we had a good time.

The next day, it rained. I sat by the window and watched the slate grey ocean fling it’s white spume upon the black rocks. When I tired of that I read. The day after, still raining, I left to return to the golden hills.







As many of you know, I believe we would be better off if the world were run by women. Men, with their penchant for aggressive, impulsive behavior, are simply not equipped to handle the dangers of the modern world. Of course, modern feminism only demands equality and perhaps justice. However, as that old pederast Socrates pointed out ad nauseam, everyone thinks they know what words like justice and equality and similar verbal placebos mean when in fact not only do we not know what we mean we all tend to view their meanings differently from one another. But, equality will do, since study after study has shown that except for mass slaughter by broadsword, women, in the long run, seem to do better in just about every field of endeavor so sooner or later control will fall into their hands — if society would only allow them to get on with it.

It should be pointed out that whenever women achieved independent economic power they have more or less effectively moderated the more savage (and in hindsight often stupid) nature of men. In the neolithic forests of Europe women controlled the production of textiles as trade goods and with that home ownership, wealth and inheritance and most other significant social powers were centered in the matriarchy. The kiva’s of the Hopi and other Native American tribal groups in the Southwest had similar social arrangements. Even in the 12th Century, Elenor of Aquitaine and Marie of Champaign achieved enough economic and political power that they were able to alter, at least for the aristocracy, the worst of the bestial behavior of men toward women that lasted. Their efforts lasted almost 700 years with men constantly chipping away at it until by the 20th Century little if anything remained.

Recently, the media, in light of this movement towards equality, has become obsessed with a problem that has existed for a long, long time and one we all knew existed, the sexual predation of those with wealth or power upon those without, especially women and children. This sudden obsession may, in fact, be no more than an attempt by those controlling the media to divert attention from the sexcapades of our Molester in Chief.







A. Irwin on Top:

The following originally was written to me by my dear friend Irwin several years ago. I include it here in memory of a brave and amusing man, a Mensch.


Joseph, my lack of email does not harbor a sudden turn in taste regarding affectionate Italians. I am about to break the silence by way of a new page in the glowing man’s journal, as soon as I get a new keyboard, this one seems to contain too many loose letters and caps which are not intended for use by the author.

In the interim, I can tell you that I have had my hands full of strange pain for several weeks and attempted to be soothed by consuming copious quantities of narcotic painkillers which resulted in a plugged irrigation system (i.e. massive constipation). Finally, at 5:00 pm last Sunday, I telephoned a friend who lives nearby. He picked me up and rather unceremoniously delivered me in short order to the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Irvine. I checked out at 11:00pm. bought some suppositories and have led a trail of recovery ever since.

I may have mentioned this episode in the life of an aging hypochondriac before but I feel more adept at covering it up at this time. The fierce pain, that felt like I imagine it would be if one swallowed a xenomorph, is now gone and I am left with only periodic discomfort and no spell check.

My new doctor, who is I believe is of Philippine extraction with a city in Brazil named after his family merely shrugged his shoulders when I told him about the possibility of an alien monster in my innards. Perhaps he would have liked it more if the monster were pickled like those octopussies devoured by Filipinos which at one time if one had actually been inside me would have been most pickled in vodka.

I go now to meet the day. Be well, stay strong and doo-wop/some golden oldies. They survive because they have qualities not far removed from the songs by the Beetles, Beach Boys and Jewish popular music composers of the 20s-40s, rhyme, beat; tasty musical innovation and lyrics one can remember and associate within their own historical life and that of their people (‘hey mambo, mambo Italiano).


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Always put off until tomorrow what you can put off again tomorrow.


C. Today’s Poem:


Courage – Poem by Stephen Crane

There were many who went in huddled procession,
They knew not whither;
But, at any rate, success or calamity
Would attend all in equality.

There was one who sought a new road.
He went into direful thickets,
And ultimately he died thus, alone;
But they said he had courage.






Wen the Eternally Surprised.

“Why was he eternally surprised?” And they are told: “Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.”

Pratchett, Terry. Thief of Time: A Novel of Discworld (p. 31). HarperCollins.










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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Pepe 0006 (October 30, 2017)



“Lawyers do favors like cats take mice for a walk.”
Hill, Reginald. The Roar of the Butterflies (p. 105). HarperCollins.





My Beloved Friend Luigi (Gigi) Gallo, His wife, Lia, and Their Son, Marco, at Dinner in Sicily. Gigi and Marco were Award Winning Race Car Drivers. Marco is Now One of Italy’s Premier Sport’s Nutritionists.




The skies over the Golden Hills have turned blue again. Alas, as good as it is for us who live here, for those living on the other side of the Great Valley suffering from the still blazing conflagration, it only means their lives have probably gotten even worse. A week after the fires began, they still rage on, thousands remain homeless and many unaccounted for.

On Sunday, HRM baked a birthday cake for me. He, Dick, and Sharkie the Goldfish gave me a nice warm jacket as a present accompanied by a birthday card signed by each.

The weather has gotten warmer in the golden hills. A new species of geese recently has taken up residence in the lake by our house. These geese, unlike the Canadian variety that are common at the lake this time of year, have white necks and a bump on the top of their beak. I have never seen them around here before.
The new geese on the lake being led around by the local white duck. Perhaps the duck is the lake’s resident real estate agent.

Dick left for a week in Thailand. Nikki arrived a day or two after Dick departed. HRM and Nikki attended a big concert at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Dick came down with food poisoning in Bangkok. I swam in the pool a lot and seem to be gaining weight again — about four pounds in the past week.

After Nikki left, Adrian arrived for the weekend. Since he will be available to care for HRM, I decided to spend the weekend in SF with Peter and Barrie. So, on Saturday, after downing a bowl of Raisin Bran and watering the plants, I left for the city by the bay.

That evening, I accompanied Peter to the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival where Peter was to perform with his Blues band, Blind Lemon Pledge, and where I played temporary roadie.
Blind Lemon Pledge with Peter on Bass.

I also enjoyed the music of an engaging trio harmonizing folk songs. It was the group’s final appearance together as one of them was to depart to the East Coast within the next few days to commence a solo recording career.

Then we returned to Peter’s house where we talked mostly about getting old. The next morning, after Barrie returned from her morning swim in SF Bay, we ate a breakfast of locks, bagels, and cream cheese. I then returned home —No Bernie’s and coffee while sitting on the Old Man’s Bench talking with Don on this trip —a pity that.





As citizens of the United States of America, our allegiance is to the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States created neither flags nor banners nor pledges or anthems.

What it does do, and does so clearly, it preserves the right of any individual to peacefully express his or her objection to perceived violations of their Constitutionally protected rights and to petition for their redress. No anthems, pledges or banners no matter how fervently held by some can alter or deprive a citizen of those rights, and the peaceful exercise of those rights remain available to the citizen in all cases until a ruling adverse as to that specific exercise of those constitutionally protected rights are adjudicated by a competent judicial tribunal as beyond such protections in that particular case.

This is a sacred ideal bound into our founding documents at the birth of our nation. It is these ideals that ostensibly we as a nation have gone to war to protect and for which citizens of this nation have died doing so. No banner no matter how bloody, no anthem no matter how fervently sung, and no pledge no matter how passionately believed can be more sacred to a citizen of the nation than this.

We see around us throughout the world a darkness descending as nation after nation falls to that ideology against which we fought our revolution and most of our wars — the evils of the autocracy of wealth, privilege, might, and ideology.

Even where our leaders may have misled us as to their purposes, citizens of our nation have fought and died believing they did so to protect their fellow citizens and the ideal enshrined in our Constitution that the individual citizen has the right to effectively protest perceived injustice.





When I was a child, I was an obnoxious sharp tongued little snot especially to my mother who so loved me and sought some return of affection from me that she would do just about anything that she thought might please me. For example, every morning, she always laid out my clothes, freshly cleaned and pressed — every morning of my life until I left the house to live with my first wife. When I was just a child, she would over-starch everything even my underwear. I would sometime bleed from the chafing.

It is not that I am sloppy or wear any old wrinkled thing I find on the floor where I may have left it the night before or last week out of some misguided belief in fashion independence, but actually, because I have no knowledge and less will to do anything else. Come to think of it, my mother often told me that for the first nine months or so of my life I cried and screamed without letup almost the entire time. I would have murdered me in my cradle — but not my mom she was convinced I was destined for great things — a saint or even Pope. Alas, I failed to achieve either.

I was going to continue on in this dyspeptic vein writing about my annoyances and missteps throughout my teenage years and then jump to my declining years, but it’s been a few days after I wrote the above and I am feeling quite chipper— almost optimistic — so, I decided to stop here. Maybe, I will pick it up again in a later post. Meanwhile, I discovered this photograph of me taken in early 1944. I am wearing my sailor suit (a patriotic gesture to WWII) and appear to be either uncomfortable with the amount of starch my mother put in it or suspicious about something — probably everything.
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An amicable pair is two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.

(So, if I am 220 who is 284? Do I get to choose? What would Pythagoras do?)







A. Xander’s Perceptions:

Good for Lebron. Michael Jordan was criticized — rightfully — for not speaking out on issues and problems within the African-American community (who did he think bought his overpriced shoes, anyway?). Colin Kaepernick is still blacklisted and jobless for having the temerity to exercise his First Amendment rights by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Until very recently, most football teams stayed in their locker rooms until after the playing of the anthem.

The national anthem wasn’t even proclaimed as our national anthem until Woodrow Wilson did so just before our entry into World War 1, and Congress didn’t make it official until 1931. And yes, I was actually in attendance at the Padres-Cincinnati twi-night doubleheader in which Roseanne Barr sang the anthem . . . before the SECOND game, BTW. It was supposed to be a tribute to working women, but Barr was booed as she took the field. Whether she just has a crappy singing voice or whether she decided to stay in character — or to deliberately piss off the crowd in conservative tight-ass Navy-town San Diego — she was given no respect beforehand. I suspect she did it on purpose to give the crowd some payback for booing her mere presence (the Padres at the time were owned by a group of investors headed up by Tom Werner, the producer of “Roseanne”).

Colin Kaepernick, BTW, was hardly the first athlete to stage a protest during the national anthem. Sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos famously raised their fists — covered in black gloves — at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City to protest the treatment of African-Americans in the U. S. You’d have thought they dropped their pants and crapped on the podium.

This country STILL hasn’t lived up to the lofty ideals expressed in the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution. Virtually no one in the country understands what the phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” truly means.

Did you ever doubt I was going to explain it?

The phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” was mentioned because the Articles of Confederation were an unmitigated disaster. There was no central federal government, and we were FAR from being a united nation. We were thirteen nations, each going its own way, with everybody printing their own currencies, passing their own laws, and just daring some foreign nation to come in and take us out. Most importantly, there was no authorization to raise taxes for “the common defence [sic],” among many other things. This more perfect union fixed that problem by creating a stronger federal government with the power and ability to raise taxes to fund a nation of thirteen independent little countries into a functioning whole.

So, now you know: Paying federal taxes is patriotic! Have fun with that little fact.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

In life, there is right and wrong but in law, there is only what can or cannot be proven.
Trenz Pruca by way of R. Hill.


C. Today’s Poem:

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Stephen Crane


D. From Peter:

“For some reason, I couldn’t scroll past a few early paragraphs to reply, so here goes. The technical nonsense fits with a couple of other recent things resulting from our switching our Wifi network; some company (Sonic) says it’s faster; apparently, it is, but adjusting stuff has been tedious. Minimal compared to losing one’s domicile and everything in it in a fire. That, coupled with declining memory, leads to endlessly reciting the Diamond Sutra while swigging last drops from a bottle of white port on a Tenderloin curb, oblivious to whatever else surrounds until you can’t remember whether you said ‘Om’ enough; or, if you’re lucky(?), you’ve been put in a home where your days pass, as my brother commented on his first wife’s mother who was in such a home with some variety of dementia, where you are “happy as a clam”…….

H’s comments about his schoolmates suffering having unhappy home lives are deeply depressing, chilling for the future, and in the context of the country’s frightening political and psychological ills, seriously gloomy.

Survival— keeping on, as the next day might actually dawn beautiful and worth having stayed around for. Meanwhile, the physical therapy continues, with probably another month to go before the occasional aches finally vanish. Could be worse.

As to eyes, yes re: survival, but I’d venture that as the vast majority of what prehistoric humans ate was not animal flesh but roots and tubers painstakingly gathered daily by The Women, eyes were indeed needed for that even more than, though as well as, for gazelles.

Joys of context: observing based on one’s beliefs- drop acid and Observe.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 17 (a Friday), the fine folk of Noe Valley are throwing a fundraiser event to benefit victims of the Sonoma/Napa fires, at the “Town Square” on 24th St., where the farmers market is held, from 5-9pm. All the bands that play at the farmers market will play during the event, everyone doing their bit. They Call Me Lucky will kick it off at 5, followed shortly by Blind Lemon Pledge; so I get to play in both early. Bannon will not be speaking.

Before I forget, Om.”




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Photographic Study: Sunset on the Golden Hills

Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    23 Papa Joe 0006 (October 5,2017)



Happy Birthdays to My Grandson’s Anthony and Aaron and also to Me.



“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”
Jimmy Buffett






Notes: 1. Barrie will be holding the Moby Dick Marathon somewhere in San Francisco later this month. Anyone wanting to participate should contact her for details.

2. I am planning a trip for the latter part of December. I may spend a few days in Hawaii first. Finances permitting, I am also thinking about either driving to LA and visiting some friends then going on to Ensenada (or Tijuana) for a week, or taking a cruise on the Amazon River for a few days (a bucket list venture), or a short cruise in the southern Caribbean. Given my age, I would like to know if there is anyone who would like to join me to share expenses and keep an eye on me or, at least, to dissuade me from doing this at all.



Hmm… for the past few days, I felt like death was sitting on my shoulder taking a crap… Today, all that seems gone leaving behind only a faint nausea like the background hum of vehicles passing on a nearby freeway. Missing that sense of utter physical and mental despair that dogged me for most of last week, I decided to turn on the TV and watch the 49rs game.

One day this past week, HRM’s school, in conjunction with a local church, held an all-day event for the seventh-grade students in an effort, I suppose, to gauge their emotional wellbeing. H told me he was surprised that almost a half of the students, boys and girls alike, ended up crying after they told the rest of the class how bad their home lives were. At least four children claimed to have thought of suicide multiple times.

Now, for the moment, dismissing the possibility of mass hysteria and liberal guilt grasping me and demanding I do something to help these children, I must note, these children live in an upper-middle-class subdivision and are not faced with a lack of material goods even in those circumstances where their parents had mortgaged away their lives in order to provide these children the benefits of living here, I have to wonder if there is more here than meets the easy opinions of an aged retiree. For example, according to a study from New Zealand Only 17% of 11 to 38-year-olds experience no mental disorders. But then perhaps that is only in New Zealand.

H was very surprised and upset at his classmates’ distress. “I think I have a great life,” he said.

Today, a strong afternoon wind blew up from the valley and into the foothills. It made sitting by the pool a bit too chilly for me, but swimming in its heated water was delightful. Often when I swim in the afternoons, I am the only person in the pool. I like that.

The morning after I wrote the above paragraph, I learned that that wind, besides chilling me at the pool, also snapped power lines setting off wildfires and turning much of California into an inferno. Over twenty uncontrolled wildfires blanket the State as I write this. Much of the City of Santa Rosa has become a smoking ruin. Throughout the State, twenty-thousand people have been forced to abandon their homes. 



So, on Sunday, I will turn 78 years old. Like most people, I guess, I lived like I believed living would go on forever. 78, however, seems to me to be pretty old. I think I will celebrate by going to see the new Blade Runner movie. If I remember the original movie correctly, replicants as they were called, lived only about 6 years — shorter if Harrison Ford caught up with them. Too bad for them — a lot happens in 78 years — much of it forgotten — that is a shame too.

The smoke from the fires a hundred miles away savaging Northern California has reached the foothills today. If it is so difficult to see and breathe here, I cannot imagine what it is like at the center of the conflagration. The schools have notified us that students will not be allowed out of doors for recess. I have retreated back into the house and dousing my eyes with eye-drop medication. The blood sun red moves through a sickly yellow sky like a harbinger in a bad movie about the zombie apocalypse. Over 20,000 people are without homes here in California. How many more in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico I cannot guess.






The following, from my beloved friend Cousin Irwin Schatzman, was sent to me about eight years ago. He had throat cancer like I did. One year after radiation therapy, he was declared in remission, like I have been. One year after that, he was dead. Cancer had spread to his brain. He was a brave, funny, and kind man — at least kind to me. I still miss him.



SAY WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT OLD BRAIN OF MINE? I don’t suppose you could refer to it as a “long-lost pal” or the former owner of “a saber-sharp wit,” but there was something there. It got me through quite a few years making things up so I could impress my colleagues and bring home a few farthing. But, I never really won any awards of note with it. In fact, now that I think about it, something seemed to hold back its promise of a larger potential. I just always assumed that greater things were not meant to be, but I suspect it was laziness and trying to enjoy the good life which stifled my growth as a person of some uniqueness.

The Glowing Man got his start in 2009 with the advent of a radiation program consisting of some thirty-three sessions intended to irradiate a tumor that had grown on the left Parotid Gland of yours truly. Actually the bugger had been inside my neck for over thirty years but I had never taken steps to have it removed owing to vanity and it was only when the pain set in that I decided it was time to go and maybe after the operation I might not be uglier than I have always been; One wag suggested that I could claim the scar as being the result of a bad duck in a fencing master’s class.

Being “cancer free” has had its appealing aspects (although that meant I had no spooky condition to talk about and while away the hours with my drunken friends). So I went back to a life of boredom, which included no drinking at all and with no drinking comes thinking.

Last month, I was shoved into one of those scanning machines for a test or two and guess what?! I was no longer alone in my skull. The picture of my brain which developed suggested to me that it was almost to be considered as hiding. So (music roll please) now I glow once more.

Every Monday through Friday morning at 8:15 AM, I hop a shuttle bus in Garden Grove and am carried out to Ontario, California where I proceed to get zapped. Only this time it’s a different course and only ten sessions are imposed, at least initially. You see unlike cancer cells not normally visible to the naked eye, the cancerous growths are most visible to the scanning equipment. One large tumor on the back of my brain and smaller ones on the sides of my brain. Not to be outdone, the rest of my body decided to add-on a tumor and installed it in my right lung. There goes any chance I will be able to sneak that cigar after thirty-five years of not smoking (cough cough). On the shuttle bus, each cancer patient tells their story and my telling has resulted in the appellation which I am currently being referred to by my fellow passengers as, “Mr. Tumor Head” – I don’t know how much that beats being called “Mr. Potato Head” but it’s a start.

From 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM we are in treatment flirting with the lady radiation technicians who have to move my stiff tired old body about and grasp me to help me up (I caught on quick) and then it’s back on the bus for the return trip arrival at the starting point about 11:30AM. Not bad timing and while maybe the activity does suck, the time spent doesn’t seem to be enough to consider as having ruined the whole day except for the concept of having to find myself in lovely Garden Grove, and twice in one day.

The radiation is intended to shrink the tumors. Once that is over if it works, it looks like a morning cup of chemo for as long as I want to try to hold the growth of the cancer in check so that it doesn’t spread including to other parts of my body aside from my brain and lung. I should still be able to brush my teeth and walk around the block (a final indignity for an aging male — the doctors fearing seizures and lawsuits took away my car keys, so no more driving). If the radiation doesn’t work, well then right now it looks like the party is over; however accomplished, the imbibing of chemo does not sound very appetizing to be sure but I guess it’s something to do in the interest of living better through chemistry, or just living.

Lifespan, shmife span. Don’t know for sure how long I will be around, although soon some ongoing investigation and reports by doctors will be finished and we may have a better idea. Maybe just months. Though 2011? Maybe not. My suspicions are on the short side. But If the chemo doesn’t do the job then the coming months will definitely bring on some changes. But don’t be concerned for me even if your name isn’t “Argentina”. Owing to how I have lived my life, and observations I have made about my existence, even with the threat of cancer hanging over my nose mean that I now strangely find myself content I do not worry. And if the inevitable should appear to be but a few steps or hours away, based on my experience, I am firmly convinced I can make the best of my last days if I want to. After all, I know by now, kid, that dying is easy, it’s living that’s hard.







The following factoid was sent to me by the Old Sailor for no discernible reason.

Charles Bronson was born Charles Dennis Buchinsky, the 11th of 15 children, in a Roman Catholic family of Lithuanian descent in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania in the coal region of the Allegheny Mountains north of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

His father, Valteris P. Bučinskis (who later adjusted his name to Walter Buchinsky to sound more “American”), hailed from the town of Druskininkai in southern Lithuania. Bronson’s mother, Mary (Valinsky), whose parents were from Lithuania, was born in the coal mining town of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. His father had Lipka Tatar roots.






A. David Wong on Top:


An Excerpt from Fear: Hell’s Parasite by Dr. Albert Marconi:

To understand what occurred, we must ask ourselves a simple question, one which is surprisingly difficult to answer: Why do we, as humans, have eyes? Your natural response would be, “To see things, you doddering old fool,” but as an answer, that is incomplete to the point of being incorrect. Your eyes fool you on a daily basis because they, quite simply, were designed for a very specific (and for the most part, obsolete) purpose. Remember, the vast majority of species on this planet do not have sight and get along just fine without it; you have no evolutionary need to become aware of the world’s general appearance. You, as Homo sapiens, have eyes primarily so that you can find and kill other living beings.

The prey we hunted—gazelles and the like—have eyes mounted on the sides of their heads, so that they can see predators coming from all directions. Ours face forward and grant us depth perception, to measure the distance between ourselves and our fleeing dinner. The true, deadly purpose of human sight is also the reason the color red attracts our attention; it is the color of blood, the sight of which would have instantly sent up an internal thrill of alarm or elation, depending on the circumstance. Thus, today you see that hue screaming for your attention from stoplights, fire trucks, and fast-food logos—a calculated appeal to your hardwired bloodlust.

All of this is to say that our sight is very limited, precisely because it is skewed to serve a few specific functions, all of which are geared toward one singular goal: Survival.

Thus, data that is not immediately relevant to that mission is filtered and discarded—you may have “seen” a thousand automobiles on your commute to work this morning but you will be unable to bring a single one of them to mind—unless, of course, a particular vehicle had swerved into your lane and caused a near-death experience. It is literally a form of tunnel vision, the limits of which you are largely unaware of moment to moment. It is therefore not difficult to circumvent this sense we call vision; even the common flea can effectively vanish before our eyes merely by jumping. It does not take any special intelligence or talent to deceive us. We would do well to remember this.

Now, extend this concept to the way in which you “see” the world in a metaphorical sense; the internal idea you have of the universe as you would describe it to an inquisitive alien. Remember, the brain and consciousness also evolved with survival in mind, to the exclusion of all else. Thus, your mental perception of the universe suffers from this same tunnel vision—it is in no way geared toward producing an objective view of reality; it only produces a view of reality that will help you survive. You will “see” the universe that you need to see. This is not a metaphor; it is an indisputable, biological fact born out of necessity.

Whether you “see” the universe as pure or corrupt, peaceful or violent, just or unjust, is largely determined by what you need to believe in order to motivate yourself to continue living for another day. Your perception of reality is therefore also very easy for other beings to hijack for their purposes. Think of the relationship between a cult leader and his followers. He will isolate them and make them believe they are an island in a sea of depravity, that signs of an imminent apocalypse are all around them. If he is adept at his task, members of the flock will readily lay down their lives in defense against this phantom threat. Ask them why, and they will state that their fatalistic beliefs are merely the result of unbiased, objective observation of the world around them. They are telling the truth! They just do not grasp the fact that they do not believe based on what they observe; they observe based on what they have been tricked into believing.

And so it goes for all of us.

Wong, David. What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror (John Dies at the End). St. Martin’s Press.

David Wong is the pseudonym someone whose paying job is as an editor of Cracked.com. His series of novels (John Dies at the End) defies logic and common sense, and are filled with the smarmy adolescent humor of the magazine site as well as monsters and other strange creatures.


B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Many years ago, when I was a mere lad, business executives used to tell us “the customer is always right,” now they tell us “our duty is only to our investors.” I do not view this as progress.


C. Today’s Poem:


I Saw A Man Pursuing The Horizon – Poem by Stephen Crane

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never — “

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

(Probably a Trump voter.)


D. Xander’s Perceptions:

Pete XanderHaving had my house in Lake Arrowhead burn in the Old Fire in late October 2003, along with virtually everything my kids and I owned, I can relate to the folks in Santa Rosa as well as victims of past fires in Malibu and Orange County. I was hired as a contract land use planner to the City of Malibu to help process permits for the owners of a thousand homes and outbuildings lost in Malibu after the Old Topanga Fire in 1993.

I heard many many horror stories from fire victims and knew what and how to pack in case of such an emergency. When my home went up in flames ten years to the day, I joined the unfortunate members of a club no one wants to belong to. I cringe and hold my breath every fall when the first Santa Annas blow, and I don’t relax until the first rains of November. As a staff member of the Coastal Commission from 1980 through 1986, I worked on permits to rebuild in Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Laguna Beach, and the south Orange County coast.

My heart goes out to those who suffered through the recent holocaust in Santa Rosa, especially the parents of young kids, who have the unenviable task of trying to explain to their kids how life will go on and things will get better. Be honest with them and don’t pull any punches, but explain things at age-appropriate levels. Your kids will have nightmares for months; mine did, and they were in junior high. Make it okay for them to feel scared, because they will, regardless of whether you do or not. Make sure they know YOU are scared, too, and that you understand why they feel the way they do.

Most importantly, though, be honest and open. They need to know they can trust you and rely on you. Hold yourself together for their sake, because you are all they have to hang on to. Don’t try to replace lost pets that look exactly like the pets they lost, and don’t be in a hurry to move on to the next phases of your lives. They need time for the open wounds to heal first, and you only have one shot at getting it right. Let them know it’s OK for them to be angry about what happened because it isn’t fair. Be there for them, and they will always love you for that.





The Wit and Wisdom of the Fat Man, Andy Dalziel (pronounced Dee-ell).

“I always said that If you ended up with life left over at the end of your money, the state would take care of you, but if you ended up with money left over at the end of your life, you were an idiot!”

“Women, eh? You can fuck ’em but you can’t fathom them.”

“Never trust a man who believes his own crap.”

“Okay, I’d spent a bit of time in a coma recently, but that’s no reason not to know what’s going off.”

“If there weren’t enough meat on young Clara to make a Christmas starter, there were plenty here for a main course with something left over for Boxing Day.”

“She laughed archly, like a cracked hurdy-gurdy playing ‘The Rustle of Spring.’”

“…she gave me a nod that would likely have broken my nose if she’d been close up, then turned to hoist herself onto a bar stool, showing off a pair of haunches a man would be proud to have the tattooing of.”

“Like me old mam used to say, there’s some folk you needn’t be kind to, but you should always try to be fair with everyone.”

“Once you feel like a prisoner, everyone looks like a guard.”

“…there’s many a good tune played on an old double bass—”

“She were a big bossy woman, used to rolling over folk who got in her way, like an anker of ale, but she must have been a bonny lass once, and she still had a gallon of jimp left in her.”
Hill, Reginald. The Price of Butcher’s Meat (Dalziel & Pascoe series Book 23). HarperCollins.


Of all the mysteries and police procedurals I have read, I like those written by Reginald Hill best — especially his series featuring the cops from Mid-Yorkshire, Andy Dalziel, Peter Pascoe, Sgt. Wield, and their significant others.







St. Johns after the Hurricane (from a friend of the Old Sailor).




Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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