Posts Tagged With: Armenia

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Capt. Coast 0004 (April 24. 2015)

 
“There’s nothing more dangerous than to give an American hope.”
Caldwell, Ian. The Fifth Gospel: A Novel (p. 103). Simon & Schuster.
In Memory of the Armenian Genocide — 1915:
Pasted Graphic 6
Armenian Women Crucified During the Genocide*

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S SLIGHTLY MEMORABLE OVERNIGHT ADVENTURE:

On Wednesday, I left the golden hills for the Bay Area to meet with the trustee of some coastal property in order to advise him about options available to the trust. We met for lunch in a building that survived the ’06 earthquake. The building was the home of a men’s club established in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.
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Club membership includes the captains of industry and commerce in the area. About 50 years ago many doctors and dentists were also allowed to join, as well as some Italian-Americans. I recall that when I was growing up the emphasis was exclusively on the word before the hyphen. Then, through the efforts of some of the least ethical and most dourly aggressive and greedy members of our community, some of us gained enough wealth that American began to gain prominence in our minds and in the minds of many of those exclusively pale hyphenated Americans whose ancestry did not include the word Native.

I remember when the darkness was bleached from my soul and I simply could call myself an American and look down in sadness at the dark souls of members of other hyphenated communities who had not yet received the miracle of the Blessed Bleach. I remember fondly that day when I noticed that my skin had gotten two shades lighter than it was the day before

In all likelihood, there are only one or two members of the club that are Democrats. On the other hand, most of the staff are.

I learned that many of the members also belong to an organization called the Greco-Roman Dentists’ Fishing Society (truly, it was organized by the Greek and Italian dentist in the club). They gather once a year somewhere in the northeastern part of the state for a weekend of fishing and other things.

Since I was to sleep that night in one of the club’s guest rooms, I ate dinner there and met a few of members. One guy was referred to at the “Corn King,” another owned a string of radio stations. He was forced to sell because Rush Limbaugh was not pulling in the listeners like he used to. I had a pleasant conversation with a man whose parents came from Genoa. Like many of the club members, he had a few vacation homes. One was on the beach in the Italian Riviera.

I met the manager of the club. He used to manage the well-known men’s club in Sacramento. When I worked in that city, I received some minor notoriety by refusing to attend meetings and conferences there because of their policy on women members. Of course, I would periodically slip in there for lunch. My moral standards permit minor acts of hypocrisy and one or two large ones now and then.

All the governors that I was familiar with had been members and used the clubs facilities extensively — except Jerry Brown who refused to step foot into the place. Apparently, Governor Arnold used to impress the club members by carrying a large marble chess table from room to room. The members were not so thrilled when the same immigrant governor placed armed guards at the elevator and prevented the members from using the floors where he lounged about — relaxing, I assume, between feats of strength. The members told the muscled one that, if he ever did that again, he would be publicly thrown out of the club.

That night after dinner we played poker. I also thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the recent diagnosis clearing me of lung cancer by smoking a cigar. At the table with me were the Corn King, the Media Lord, a dentist, a retired gynecologist and a few others whose professions I did not know.

Now, as a rule, I do not like gambling and avoid it whenever possible. It was one of my father’s most appalling vices. However, when I do play poker, I have a few rules:

1. It is always preferable for the other players to believe you do not know what you are doing.
2. Fold early and fold often. Unless by the first bet you know you have the best hand on the table, fold. Hoping to improve your hand is as worthless as drawing to an inside straight.
3. Never raise someone else’s bet.
4. If the game chosen by the dealer allows wild cards, quietly fold before the first bet.
5. Never forget that it is not how much you win that counts but how little you lose.

The retired gynecologist was the big winner followed by the Corn King. I was the only other winner.

That night I spent in the club’s guest room. For some reason, I was unable to sleep well and woke up muzzy. After breakfast, I headed back to the golden hills. Because I was so out of it, I kept taking the wrong turns and ended up in Stockton by way of the Delta. Normally I would enjoy a ride through the Delta, but not today. I was lost. This being California I knew that as long as you do not drive around in circles you will eventually cross a freeway. And so I did, except the on-ramp was closed for construction. So I continued east and eventually found another freeway and wound my way home, where I immediately went to bed and slept the rest of the day.

The weather is warm enough now in EDH to begin wearing the $2 shirts of many colors that I bought at the flea market. It makes me happy. I enjoy looking in the mirror at myself dressed in my new shirts.
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Another weekend slid by — breakfast in Roseville, a trip to Denio’s, a flag football game, one or two books, a lot of naps and, of course, a lot of time to feel sorry for myself — then it was Monday. Two days gone from the 3000 or so the actuaries say that an average man of my age has left to live.

The pool at the health-club was closed this weekend for annual maintenance. Perhaps that explains the depression gnawing at the edges of my consciousness.
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During the past few days the weather has cooled and I have come down with a cold so I spend most of my day in bed. This more likely explains the malaise I mistook for depression.

The photograph at the top of this page shames me. Given the nature and extent of the suffering going on in the world, here I sit (SOS) complaining about feeling bad because I have a runny nose or the pool is closed.
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The weather continues cool and the skies overcast. While I wait for my cold to pass, I spend most of my days puttering around the house. I have even taken to watching television to pass the time. I watched Rambo III. In it the honest and brave Americans befriend the engaging, non-Muslim, soon to be Taliban, noble natives in Afghanistan and slaughter the gross and evil Russians who for no apparent reason have been torturing and killing the peace loving Afghanis especially their non-combatant women and children. A few years later in the movie of life, it is the Americans who get to portray the Russians in the sequel and slaughter their erstwhile allies, the murderous, suddenly Muslim Taliban. The question, I asked myself was who got to play John Rambo?
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Speaking of glorious wars and martial memories, EDH is planning to build a large memorial park to celebrate, not those who have given their lives but the military as a whole. In it will be large memorials to, the Viet Nam War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Cold War, the War on Terror (but not the War on Drugs or Christmas) with seemingly smaller memorials commemorating WWI and WWII. No mention or memory is made of The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, or the Civil War or the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War or any other American imperialist military victories. I guess the good citizens of EDH are secret Anti-America radicals ironically seeking to celebrate wars we lost rather than those we won. I assume, however, if I complain vigorously enough I could get them to include memorials to the wars against Grenada or Panama.
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As long as I’ve begun to rant I may as well get this off my chest. No matter what you may think of Hillary Clinton — the Devil’s Handmaid or the patron Saint of Feminism (there does not seem to be a middle ground) — don’t you think it odd that the speculation, even if true, that she somehow gave special consideration to the rich in order to take their money to give to the poor is somehow worse than the fact that almost every political critic of her alleged actions including those currently running for the presidency has also taken money from the rich, bragged about it, given them special consideration, but kept the money for themselves.

Also as to the Russian uranium deal in specific, besides it having to have been approved by many independent governmental entities other than the State Department, isn’t it odd that those in Congress complaining about this sale of American uranium assets to Russia never publicly objected to it at the time, even though they presumably knew or should have known all about it.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few months ago I wrote a series of posts here in T&T in which I pointed out that the current turmoil in the Near-East is, in many ways, a replication of events 1400 years ago when, following the drying up of the grasslands, some Arab pastoralists adopted an ideology (Islam) encouraging them to invade lands of the more productive societies nearby, take over their wealth and overthrow the ideologies and governments that controlled those lands.

According to Scientific American’s article regarding the Defense Department’s 2014 review of the effect of climate change on the area:

“Drying and drought in Syria from 2006 to 2011–the worst on record there–destroyed agricCulture, causing many farm families to migrate to cities. The influx added to social stresses already created by refugees pouring in from the war in Iraq, explains Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who co-authored the study. The drought also pushed up food prices, aggravating poverty. “We’re not saying the drought caused the war,” Seager said. “We’re saying that added to all the other stressors, it helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict. And a drought of that severity was made much more likely by the ongoing human-driven drying of that region.”

Arable land in the area has been drastically reduced over the past 20 years and expected to continue to decrease. Population, on the other hand, has exploded and estimated to double over the next two decades.

It appears more and more apparent that the immediate goals of the modern Arab insurgents (ISIS, Al Qaeda and so on) is, as it was in the Seventh Century, to capture the wealth of the richer societies that control the littoral areas of the Near-East (Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Israel, Yemen and the like) and replace the ideologies of those countries with their own.

It is no Arab Spring but it well may be the beginning of an Arab Winter.

Yemen, a country much in the news recently, is a key in the insurgents strategy. It has the second largest population on the Arabian Peninsula, dominates the southern entrance to the Red Sea and if controlled by the insurgents, forces the oil sheikdoms to face threats on two fronts.

The insurgents in Yemen have toppled the government and appear to be on their way to subduing the entire country. The Saudis responded with air strikes but shied away from commitment of troops. Without troops on the ground, they may impede but not halt the insurgency. Unfortunately, heavily militarized societies that spend a lot on military hardware have only too often proven incapable of successfully engaging in armed combat with a highly motivated adversary. American or other Western nations’ involvement with “boots on the ground” may defeat the insurgents but not the insurgency. I suspect some of the oil sheikdoms now are considering payment of “protection” in the form economic support for ISIS activities in Syria/Iraq in return for temporary relief from attack. This is the same strategy used 1400 years ago. It did not work then and it will not work now. Eventual adoption of the ideology, however, did preserve their wealth and power.

Of the three major non-Arab or non-Sunni regimes on the periphery, Turkey, Iran and Israel, none of them sees ISIS as a significant threat to its physical integrity. All of them see political and economic gains in the prolongation of the conflict and all three would be pleased if the oil sheikdoms find themselves preoccupied and under stress.

(It should be pointed out, the particular form of Islamic terrorism and ideology practiced by ISIS and others appears to be lacking [or at least, weak] in most non-Arab Muslim countries except perhaps Iran.)

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

A few years ago I traveled to New York City for some reason. I arrived in NY on the A train. After a few days, I left it by taking the A train again to Far Rockaway. “Far Rockaway.” It sounds exotic. One could almost imagine emerging from the subway onto a sandy beach by clear blue waters — perhaps there is a boatload of buccaneers waiting offshore to attack. One does not usually associate NY with broad sandy beaches. Actually, it is one of those few major cities with large beaches within its city limits, like Rio. True Rockaway Beach, Jones Beach and Coney Island do not quite conger up the same images in one’s mind as Copacabana or Ipanema, (or even Venice Beach in LA) but they do have their own quirky and gritty charm. In the summer, those beaches were packed with beach-goers and sunbathers like subway cars during rush hour.

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

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

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

The Niners lost that game.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“Reich, a 42-year-old professor of law at Yale, is concerned with the mutual interpenetration of public and private power which constitutes the American way of life today and determines, within constantly narrowing limits, how resources are used, how we live, and what we hear, eat, wear, believe, or do. This nexus of anonymous and irresponsible power, which Galbraith called “the New Industrial State” is called by Reich “the Corporate State,” both unfortunate terms because the chief feature of this monstrous system, emphasized by both writers, is not public authority but a fusion of public and private power in which the private portion is by far the more significant part. The combination brainwashes all of us, influencing our outlook on the world by mobilizing social pressures and organizational structures to coerce our behavior and responses in directions which are increasingly destructive.”
Carroll Quigley. Review of Greening of America by Charles A. Reich.

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“Whenever my kids made disparaging remarks about labor unions, I politely informed them that hundreds and hundreds of people DIED for the rights they take for granted today — child labor laws, minimum wage laws, mine safety regs [which are roundly ignored even today, since the fines are a pittance], job safety regs and laws, and on and on.

Millennials ought to study the goddamned history of this country and see just what “rights” they enjoy today came at a horrific price over many many years of suffering. The early 1900s were an especially violent time, when union organizers and strikers were clubbed by thugs hired by corporate owners, whether it was UMW miners, or Teamsters being beaten and killed, or UFWA grape pickers working for slave wages in horrendous living and working conditions, the short-handled hoe and pesticides just being two of the many horrors.

When the brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged, “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,” they were committing treason for which they could have been hanged.

Could you imagine wealthy white men in America today, pledging THEIR fortunes for the benefit of common people and for doing the right thing?”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“In America today. you can make more money inventing a new conspiracy theory than you can by curing cancer.”

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

(Paraprosdokians are found in the darkest places of the mind right next to the root cellar where puns are kept.)

E. Today’s Poem:

From childhood’s hour
I have not been
As others were;
I have not seen
As others saw;
I could not bring
My passions from
A common spring.

From the same source
I have not taken
My sorrow;
I could not awaken
My heart to joy
At the same tone;
And all I loved,
I loved alone.
—EDGAR ALLAN POE, “ALONE.” (excerpt)

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A little mixing of genes never hurt the species.”
Naida West

In the late 1950s when I was President of the Catholic Interracial Council, all sides rushed to assure that equality did not include sexual relations or marriage between the races. At a conference of the major civil rights organizations at the time sponsored by CIC, I gave the welcoming address in which I said:

“We can never achieve true equality, if one of the central features of what it means to be human, the love between two people, forever remains segregated. Racial harmony would reign in America if everyone had a spouse of a different color and a Jewish mother.”

 

TODAY’S CHART:
TeachersNugget

As usual, with graphs of this type, it confuses more than it explains. It would be more informative if it also included student performance by country. According to the OCED, the top performing students come from Korea, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and Austria. Among the poorer performing students are those from USA, Mexico, Greece, and Spain. Those countries not listed above include Canada, China and Poland among the best and among the worst Brazil and Russia.

Based upon the above, neither teacher hours worked nor relative pay appear to be very determinative of student performance.

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
blind-painter-john-bramblitt-3-L
Painting by the Blind Artist John Bramblitt.

 

*Note: Regarding the photographs of the crucified Armenian women that begins this post, it is important to mention that a few compassionate Turkish Muslims managed to save some of those women by taking down from their crosses those women that had not dies before their crucifiers had left.

It should also be noted that Hitler acknowledged his debt to the Turkish approach to ridding themselves of their hated Armenian and Greek compatriots for many of the ideas he used to rid himself of the Jews, Gypsies, non-Nazi homosexuals and Slavs living on land slated for German Lebensraum (In the US it was called Manifest Destiny**).

By the way,it seems to me, for some Turks to justify the Genocide as they do by claiming it to have been caused by some Arminians who vigorously opposed governmental policy and sought international assistance would be like Americans justifying lynching all African-Americans because the protests in Ferguson against police brutality caused foreign press to express sympathy with their plight.

** In Manifest Destiny, because the US was somewhat more democratic, we allowed citizens to kill or enslave the non-white, non-protestant inhabitants living in the lands conquered, with the government stepping in only when the native reaction was too strong or effective for the good white citizens to handle.

 

Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 9 2011

“But as it is, men have devised ways to impoverish themselves and one another; and prefer collective animosities to individual happiness.”
John Maynard Keynes: The Economic Consequences of the Peace
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

8th Century AD: David of Sasun or David of Sassoun is an Armenian epic hero appearing in the Armenian epic tales, the Daredevils of Sassoun, who drove Arab invaders out of Armenia. (Lina’s family name Davidian is taken from the name of the hero.)

The “Daredevils of Sassoun” is also the name of an Armenian biker gang riding out of Fresno.

August 11, 2492, BC: At Dyutsaznamart ( “Battle of Giants”), near Julamerk southeast of Lake Van, Hayk, the father of the Armenian nation, slew the giant Bel with a nearly impossible shot using a long bow, sending the invading king Bel’s forces into disarray and thus founding the nation of Armenia.

(Image unavailable at this time).

To paraphrase Calvin ofCalvin and Hobbs,” “How do these soldiers killing each other solve any problems whatsoever?” The fight appears basically over whether Bel would take David’s sheep and camels and a few of his women who were probably considered by David and his brethren of even less value than the animals.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

Density of High-speed railway network in Europ...

Density of High-speed railway network in Europe (speed ≥ 250 Km/h). Km per million inhabitants (as of 2010). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A. High Speed Rail: Today the LA times editorialized in favor of High Speed Rail in spite of the tripling of its estimated costs and 13 year delay in its completion date. During my tenure as Chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority, from about 2002 through 2005, I repeatedly warned that the estimated costs in the projections at the time were dependent upon project implementation commencing on the planned dates. Unless they did so then the estimated costs would escalate rapidly, as they have. Each year’s delay raises costs substantially as it does in all infrastructure investments whether or not they are HSR, the building of bridges or new freeway lanes.

Nevertheless, I maintained then as now that the establishment of a realistic high-speed rail system was the single most significant thing that California could do by itself to stave off the looming economic (jobs) and environmental disaster that even in 2003 I believed we were inevitably plunging into. Here’s why:

1. High speed rail is the least expensive means to provide mid-length transportation in California. The cost of new freeways to carry the same number of people greatly exceeds that of High Speed Rail.
2. Unlike freeways, the capacity of High Speed Rail is greatly expandable by simply adding more cars to each train or increasing the number of trains, over the four per hour projected. On the other hand, a freeway lane once at capacity can take no more automobiles leaving the only options to be forcing people to increase occupancy of each vehicle or building additional prohibitively expensive lanes.
3. The rebuilding of degraded infrastructure or even the building of increased road capacity increases jobs, but not economic growth (New technologies, new factories and the like) to the extent to which HSR has been demonstrated to have done in every place it has been tried.
4. Carbon pollution into the atmosphere has been shown to be substantially reduced by HSR carbon irrespective of the electric generation source used. In Japan this was enough for that country to meet its Kyoto treaty obligations. And, these are real reductions not merely moving the emissions around to other aspects of the production chain, such as to some extent is the case with nuclear energy.
5. The only realistic mechanism for restoring deteriorating city centers (and reduce local and regional car trips) is by creating viable transit centers there with HSR stations as its hub. ( I made sure California’s HSR plan included this in its design, resisting intense pressure by many urging us to avoid city centers on cost and political grounds.)
6. California lacks a transportation backbone system that ties local, regional and long distance transportation. HSR is the only transportation system in the world that can provide this today.
7. HSR construction and operation has provided a substantial increment to GDP in every country where the trains operate.

B. Impeach Obama:

According to the Washington Post, Wall Street firms — either independent companies or the high-flying trading arms of banks — are doing even better. According to industry data, they’ve made more profit in the first 2 1/2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the entire Bush administration.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

My last night in little Armenia, we planned to go to a gallery opening in Hollywood, featuring the artist who attended the Day of the Dead party a few nights ago. Our ride never showed up, so I went to bed.

The next day, I returned to Torrence by bus. Angelenos do not recognize what a great bus system they have. It took only two buses and less than two hours to travel almost entirely across the basin (It takes over an hour of highly frustrating driving to make the same trip by automobile).

I met with Monty and Frank Gatto who had flown in from Florida for a visit. We drove to Los Alamitos Racetrack to watch the Breeders cup from the Jockey club there. We met up with David Nelson. Over a decade or so ago the 4 of us first met on a trip to Costa Rica, so this was a reunion of sorts.

On that trip, I invested in the purchase of a waterfront hotel site. Of my many investments in my life this was one of the few in which I did not lose money; didn’t make any either, however.

As I observed my companions hunched over their racing forms, I could not help but picture us as aging Damon Runyon characters, lacking only an east coast venue and appropriate nick-names; so, since I could not alter the venue, I decided to give the nick-names a try.

I of course have grown up into my 70’s only to have been saddled with an infant’s name, Pookie. Since I preferred it to my childhood nick-name, I decided to stand with that.

Monty as you know was a professional boxer in his youth. Although I have no knowledge if he fought under a moniker, I felt, if he had, it could have been something like “Kid” or “Irish” or something like that. Although he is 77 years old, I like “Kid Irish” best, so “Kid Irish” he became.

Frank’s last name is Gatto which means “Cat” in Italian. I sometimes used to call him Gattaeu which means something like “Cake” in French. I guess “Cat” is better.

Finally there is David Nelson, he could be called many things, “Smooth” or “Deal,” but usually people with the name Nelson are referred to as “Nellie,” so “Nellie” it is.

So, Nellie, Kid Irish, The Cat and Pookie were at the track steadily losing what little money they had. Then Cat said to Pookie, lets each give twenty bucks to Kid Irish to bet since he is the best handicapper among us and if he wins we use our winnings to buy ourselves a good dinner somewhere. And so we did. And we won and had a very good dinner.

The next day I watched the Niners game at a local sports bar (Niners beat the Redskins 19-11). After the game Frank and I drove up to Marina del Rey where we met Greg for lunch then returned to downtown Torrence, picked up Monty and drove to David’s condo in Long Beach for a BBQ after which we watched a video Monty wanted us to see featuring Robert Crawford singing his favorite songs from Phantom of the Opera. Frank and I soon dozed off.

Later back at the hotel we watched one of the all time great movies, “A Face in the Crowd,” starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau. Part of the way through the movie, it dawned on me that what I really was watching was the biography of Russ Limbaugh. We then viewed “High Society” (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong), one of my all time favorites.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.):

Meg entered the office. Vincent couldn’t help but notice that she appeared poured into her uniform like the plaster of paris as a kid he poured into rubber molds to produce tiny busts of the presidents or the like. He always found the slick shiny insides of the molds, just before he poured in the viscous white plaster unguent, strangely seductive. Her uniform reminded him more of the almost sensuous tight-fitting outfits worn by the Thai police than the more sartorially casual rumpled look preferred by American police. Her breasts, muscular legs and rump pulled at the fabric until it appeared ready to rip away releasing the body trapped within, exposing it to split apart and fall in quivering lumps on to the floor. Her blouse, not buttoned up all the way as it had been the last time they met, now showed significant cleavage like tulips wrapped in khaki. Okay, he though to himself, I admit I am horny, but this is a bit over the top even for me.

He stood walked around his desk, shook her hand, motioned for her to sit and said as he returned to his chair, “What can I do for you Sheriff?” Try as he might he could not prevent his eyes from drifting down to the struggle of her breasts to escape confinement.

She smiled at this obviously very male preoccupation that she was used to and encouraged. It was a smile that quickly morphed from an attempt at coyness, into what to Vince seemed wolfish, as though he was to be the main course planned for this evenings dinner.

“I apologize, Mr Biondi, for the short notice and I won’t take up much of your time. I realize you must be quite busy managing something as large as this law firm.”

Vince, disgusted with this opening gambit that only added to his annoyance and impatience, simply stared at her and waited for her to go on.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation” (the Thai version of the Onion):

AYUTTYA – The worst-in-decades flooding that has paralyzed the kingdom and damaged its economic outlook threatens to unleash a second wave of catastrophe as thousands of exploitative celebrities descend on already flood-stricken zones.

b. Real Headlines and Ads (in the US):


HEADLINE:
“DOCTORS: NEW EXECUTION DRUG RISKY TO INMATE”

HEADLINE:
“POLICE CAPTURE ESCAPED INMATE”. “The suspect was captured and gave a false name even though his first and last names were tattooed on his neck.”

ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER:
THURSDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
WED.: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
TUESDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IS IT ALZHEIMER’S?”
THURSDAY: “MEMORY LOSS: IT’S NOT ALWAYS ALZHEIMER’S”.

AD:
“ONE LINCOLN PARK. PREMIERE RETIREMENT LIVING. Meet new friends. Enjoy your short term stay.”

c. What “Occupy” really is about:

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (The New American Lexicon):

From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to party leaders and regulars:

Upset about taxes? Think the tax code is too complex? Have you ever wondered if someone want’s you to think that way and why?

e. Profiles in presidential courage:

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Some readers of my posts have taken offense at what they perceive as I and others taking too lightly the tragedy that is happening in Thailand due to the floods there. On the contrary, those of my correspondents, like the famed writer Christopher Moore, Gary Williams and others actually living through and observing the events in the country, merely celebrate the good humor and fortitude of most of the Thais as they bravely confront the disaster in the face of governmental ineptitude. So, do I.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1.
2. “They are not even in my league.”
Lina Davidian

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This ant that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 4. 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A blast from the past: The following is a Daily Factoid I posted way back in September 2010 that I thought might amuse some:

Myrceugenia correifolia is a species of evergreen woody flowering shrub native to South America belonging to the Myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The common name of this plant is Petrillo.

Why any plant should have a so-called common name “Petrillo” I have no f***ing idea. Why not Schatzman for example? Besides, I resent the appellation “common.” There is nothing common about a Petrillo; weird or strange perhaps, but common, never.

Nevertheless, you may be interested to know that one notable characteristic of the noble Myrtle family is that the phloem is located on both sides of the xylem, not just outside as in most other plants.

Chew on that for a while.

While on the subject of things Petrillo, as you may recall in a previous email I introduced most of you to the notorious murdering Petrillo brothers. Recently, I also learned that someone named Dominick “The Gap” Petrillo introduced Joe Valacci to the Cosa Nostra.

As coincidence will have it, Dominic Petrillo is also the name of a character in one of Sheldon Seigal’s books. Sheldon tells me that he modeled the character in part on me. Dominic is a fairly despicable individual. I seem to remember he ends up killing himself.

Sheldon is not the only well-known author to include an unflattering description of me in his novel.

In “Roses are Red,” James Patterson‘s protagonists attempting to solve a series of baffling bank robberies go through files of hate mail from the banks that were robbed. One letter in particular draws their attention. The man who wrote it lived nearby. The man’s name is Joseph Petrillo. Petrillo wrote a hate letter every week for the last two years. Petrillo also was a former security guard who was laid off by Citibank. The letters were intelligent and well written. They go to see Petrillo who shoots at them. Once back up arrives they burst in, but find Petrillo had blown his head off. ( “sic transit gloria”).

For those with some interest in the matter or in strained coincidences, my daughter briefly dated James Patterson’s son. I understand it was a relationship that she would just as soon forget.

Oh well, as long as I am on a roll with Petrillo and mayhem, I may as well add one particularly gruesome and tragic story.

On September 25, 2009, Annie Morrell Petrillo, daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas leaped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather Scott Douglas jumped to his death from on January 1, 1994, after murdering his wife. According to a witness, she stopped her car on the Tappan Zee Bridge and got out and jumped. A suicide note was found and its contents released on the ABC show 20/20 in 2010. Family friends stated that Annie never got over the senseless tragedy of her mother’s murder and she had been hospitalized several times for depression. At the time of Annie’s death, she was finalizing a divorce from Petrillo and that also may have contributed to her despair. (Knowing the Petrillo clan as well as I do, her marriage into our esteemed family I am sure was more than a contributing factor in Annie’s death. Just ask my mother.)

Just in case you have gotten the impression that the Petrillo clan is only associated with death, dying and violence, I will have you know that apparently we also like music (and of course sex).

It seems that the Grand Prince of Tuscany Ferdinando de Medici (1663-1713), also known as the “Orpheus Prince,” principal delight, aside from music, was in intimate liaisons and affairs, often with men. These included someone named (you guessed it) Petrillo. Petrillo was a musician (male), famous for his beauty. The oversexed prince also had an affair with a Venetian castrato by the name of Cecchino (I could be wrong, but I think Cecchino means either “little garbonzo bean” or “Frankie”).

Now there may be a gay Petrillo or two, but a castrato, never.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

Thailand: The Thai protective amulet industry is worth about 300 million USD per year. There are thousands of articles in popular amulet collector’s magazines about the value and beauty of these small objects. There is a regular section in the popular Thai language newspaper, Thai Rath, called “Sanam Phra” which features new amulets on the market, stories of their production and occasionally a miracle story about how an amulet saved a person from drowning or helped her business. Some amulets have sold for as much as 1.75 million USD. However, there are many amulets that cost as little as 10 cents. These amulets, albeit rarely, can be made more powerful with the addition of “corpse fluid” (nam man phrai) from aborted fetuses or freshly deceased adults.

America: Researchers returning from an expedition to the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, the deepest part of the ocean, report they found the largest single cell organism ever discovered. The organism four inches long, lives under the crushing pressure of the water in the deepest and darkest part of the ocean, and it does not live there alone.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

See Today’s Photograph for a view of LA from space. The Verdugo hills where I am staying now are those hills in the upper center left of the photograph below the large mountain range at the top. Torrance, where Monty lives, is located just behind the low range of hills by the water on the Pales Verde peninsula in the bottom center of the photograph.

So, here I am in La Canada eating breakfast at a café called “Hill Street,” Monty having dropped me off here after we got lost on our drive this morning to Glendale where I was going to spend the next few days. Fortunately, I found a bus that stopped directly across the street from the café and deposited me a block away from my destination. The bus had some sort of senior discount that allowed me to ride for free. Instead of the usual denizens of public transit I find in SF, the bus rapidly filled up with relatively well dressed seniors. Glendale, is America’s own little Armenia. There are perhaps more Armenians here than in the capital of Armenia itself, another example of the melting pot producing stew and not sauce.

After I arrived, I was immediately put to work shelling Tamarind, followed by squeezing limes for the Margaritas to be served at the Day of the Dead party this evening. Then I took a nap.

After my nap we travelled around downtown Glendale looking for Marigolds.

That evening the guests arrived all were Armenian except a distinguished physician of mexican descent and me, the Sicilian rhapsody. Mostly the guests conversed in a mix of Arminian and English. We drank Tamarind Margaritas, the first taste of which was like some horrid medicine, but immediately thereafter grew on you until it became delightful and habit-forming.

Against one wall in the living room a Day of the Dead altar was erected, containing skulls, the marigolds, candles and photographs or mementos of the departed.

Among the guests was an artist and the owner of the gallery in which his works are exhibited. There was also an author on Armenian matters and local talk show host on the Armenian television station. He was bald, rotund and sported a beard that would make Trotsky proud.

I had an interesting discussion with a child psychiatrist and his wife a medical anthropologist who had set up a foundation to oppose infant scarification (circumcision), cesarean births and support breast-feeding and the removal of infants from cribs and into their parents beds.

In the discussion with the psychiatrist, I learned that the Armenian nation that existed in eastern Anatolia for several thousand years until it was destroyed in the Armenian genocide during the early part of the 20th Century, being surrounded by muslim and other societies that practiced ritual circumcision and sought to impose them on the Armenians, steadfastly resisted, having the tips of their wieners chopped off.

Think about it, for thousands of years people have fought and killed one another over whether the bit if skin covering the end of the penis should remain intact, and the battle still is not over.

Another guest was introduced to me as an anarchist. With his flowing white beard and his ponytailed white hair he reminded me more of a rabbi than an anarchist.

Toward the end of the evening the psychiatrist and his wife and the physician got into a heated discussion regarding circumcision and childhood development. The physician said something that interested me, that since Roe v Wade, the number of abortions and the number of immigrants into the US have balanced each other and this was because it was recognized that labor was necessary for a healthy economy and a political decision was made to balance the loss of future laborers from abortion through immigration. While I felt the latter part of his assertion was bullshit, I wanted to find out if indeed abortions matched immigration.

So the next day, I researched the issue and found that, in fact, abortions almost tripled the number of immigrants. In addition, a fact that should surely fuel the paranoiac inclinations of my old classmate Pat Buchanan, the number of abortions by white women were in itself larger that the number of immigrants and except for abortions among black women which almost matched immigration, the abortion numbers among what ever the political classifications we score things by today was miniscule.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Cancelled today because Vince is befuddled, Isabella pissed off, Meg obsessed, Ike depressed and the author reduced to suffering alternating fits of annoyance and anxiety.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:

b. Real Headlines and Ads:

AD FOR BOTTLE CHILLER: “Chill wines. Good for cars!” (PICTURE OF CHILLER NEXT TO DRIVER)

HEALTH FOOD STORE BROCHURE: “Herb Of The Month: Treats loss of memory and male importance”

NEWSPAPER LOST AND FOUND: “PLEASE HELP. FOUND. WHITE CAT STUCK IN TREE. CAN’T GET DOWN. NEED HELP URGENTLY”

FOR SALE: “MANNEQUIN. LOWER HALF LIKE NEW, USED ONCE OR TWICE. $55 OR BEST OFFER”

c. What Occupy really wants:

Weaponized Keynesians: Those who believe, “the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.” (Barney Frank)

John Maynard Keynes noted the curious “preference for wholly ‘wasteful’ forms of loan expenditure rather than for partly wasteful forms, which, because they are not wholly wasteful, tend to be judged on strict ‘business’ principles.” Spend money on some useful goal, like the promotion of new energy sources, and people start screaming, “Solyndra! Waste!” Spend money on a weapons system we don’t need, and those voices are silent, because nobody expects F-22s to be a good business proposition.

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the New American Lexicon):

Frank Luntz, Republican Party consultant in a strategy memorandum sent out to Party insiders said:

“Sometimes it is not what you say that matters but what you don’t say. Other times a single word or phrase can undermine or destroy the credibility of a paragraph or entire presentation. This memo was originally prepared exclusively for Congressional spouses because they are your eyes and ears, a one-person reality check and truth squad combined. However, by popular demand, I have included and expanded that document because effectively communicating the New American Lexicon requires you to STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people.”

This new section of Pepe’s Potpourri will contain some of Luntz recommendations.

If you ever thought that you were able to reason your way to your own political convictions, this series will disabuse you of that conceit. What you thought you knew and believed is little more than clever cynical conditioning.

e. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Recently I wrote that Monty fought in the Middleweight division during Sugar Ray Robinson’s reign. In fact his career began as Robinson’s was ending. I apologize for the error.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you don’t start thinking about finance in this way–don’t start by classifying those who trade into savers, borrowers, risk-bearers, risk-shedders, principals, agents, gamblers, and marks–you do not, I think, have any chance of conducting a serious analyses of modern finance.”
Brad DeLong

Perhaps, my favorite description of what the world of finance is all about.

TODAY’S CHART:

In other words, only about 17% of the federal Budget is discretionary spending. A little over 20% is spent on defense. The remainder is spent on mandatory payments; entitlements, interest and safety net programs. Allowing the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy to expire and cut defend spending by 20% would over the next 10 years save more that 2.2 trillion dollars and amount greater than that the so-called super Congress is required to make. So why, if it is so simple is it not done? That’s easy, the Republicans in Congress, with the assistance of some Democrats, refuse to either raise taxes or make significant cuts in weapons procurement [see Weaponized Keynesians above.]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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