Posts Tagged With: Cancer

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Pookie 0009. (December 6, 2020)

 
All tears are for oneself, in the end.”
                    Abercrombie, Joe. The Trouble with Peace: 2 (The Age of Madness) (p. 15). Orbit. 
 
 
 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 
 
 

THE INTERREGNUM CONTINUES.

 
 
Trump seems to have used up most of his challenges to the results of the vote but refuses to concede or give up. Mr. Incompetent, Rudy Giuliani, continues to embarrass himself before the public and in the courts.
 
 
Thanksgiving. 
 
 
We had a pandemic appropriate socially distant thanksgiving dinner.  A few days before the holiday, Naida and her two daughters agreed we would have dinner together using Zoom. They divided up who would bring what food to the feast. We were assigned the deserts and bought pumpkin, Cranberry-walnut, and Pecan pies. On Thanksgiving Day we made some whipped cream using a hand egg-beater, divided everything up into three shares and delivered two of them to the homes of each daughter, left them before the door, rang the bell, scurried back to our car, and drove back home were we found the daughters had left the rest of our dinner on our doorstep.
 
At about four o’clock we turned on Zoom, ate our meal together and talked about schizophrenia, murder hornets, and families. It was all good fun. More family holidays should be spent this way. It saves on clean up our homes and the effect of suffering an entire day in the presence of slightly inebriated relatives.
 
 
The Day Before.
 
 
Early in the morning on the day before Thanksgiving we drove into the City for my infusion appointment. I always enjoy traveling long distances in a car with Naida. She keeps up a running monologue of stories, memories, observations, comments, warnings of imminent death as a result of my poor driving and much more. I need neither radio commentators or music to occupy my mind on long trips like that. 
 
At the hospital, my usual oncologist was off to his home in Korea for the next few months. He was replaced by a doctor who had conducted some of the original studies on keytruda, the immunological wonder drug that has changed the way cancer is treated. He told me when I first came began my treatment, almost two years ago, I was given less than 10 months to lived. I then asked him what he thought my life expectancy would be now. “Oh,” he said, “perhaps as much as 10 more months or even 10 years or more.” Apparently, much, but not all, of the tumor has crystalized.
 
After we left the hospital, we met up with Peter and Barrie and had a marvelous dinner together at Bacco’s new restaurant in Noe Valley.
 
 
The Day After.
 
The day after Thanksgiving, I picked up Hayden and Kaleb and drove into Fair Oaks to pick up the bass guitar I had bought him for Christmas. We had dinner at BurgerKing. I spent most of Saturday at the Toyota dealership waiting for them to replace the airbags that had been recalled.
 
 
And So On. 
 
The weekend went by as fleeting as a whisper in a rainstorm. By Tuesday evening we were watching Crossing Delancey (the Jewish version of Moonlight). My reading, social media surfing and movie watching allows me to assimilate othes experience in an ongoing epistemological osmosis. The story of my life, all I know, I gleaned from what others told me they had learned. And, if I have learned anything myself, it is that most of it was a lie or at least an exaggeration. I thought I could see the past and the present and the future all at once, as though time were not sequential in nature but took place without a beginning or an end, like a flash of green light rippling outward from the center of creation. Now that I think about it, the fundamental truth of ones experience is that everything that happens, every bit of knowledge that you obtain, matters only in terms of what you can learn from it going forward. In other words, “Tomorrow is another day,” and, “it’s always something” no less and probably no more.
 
 
It is now Wednesday, Trump appears to be planning to hold a farewell party at the White House at the same time as Biden’s inauguration. The inept litigation over the counts continue. Rumors of pardons for Trump and family abound and the rats continue to dribble out from the sinking ship. A Georgia Republican official fed up with the President’s attacks and the threatened violence by his mindless supporters made the best speech of the interregnum when he said:
 
“Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia.” You have the right to go to the courts. What you don’t have the ability to do — and you need to step up and say this — is: stop inspiring people to commit acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt; someone’s going to get shot; someone’s going to get killed. And it’s not right.”
 
“Joe DiGenova today asked for Chris Krebs — a patriot who ran CISA — to be shot, A twenty-something tech in Gwinnett County today has death threats and a noose put out saying he should be hung for treason because he was transferring a report on batches from an EMS to a county computer so he could read it.”
 
“The straw that broke the camel’s back today is this 20-year-old contractor for a voting system company just trying to do his job… I talked to Dominion today, and they said he’s one of the better ones they got. His family is getting harassed now. There’s a noose out there with his name on it. It’s just not right,” Sterling said. “I’ve got police protection outside my house. Fine. I took a higher profile job. The secretary ran for office, his wife knew that too. [But] this kid? He took a job. He just took a job, and it’s just wrong. I can’t begin to explain the level of anger I have right now over this, and every American, every Georgian — Republican and Democrat alike — should have that same level of anger.
 
“I’m talking about Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, two people whom I still support. But they need to step up.”
 
“This has to stop. We need you to step up, and if you could take a position of leadership, show some. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this. Fight for every single vote. Go through your due process. We encourage that! Use your First Amendment — That’s fine. Death threats? Physical threats? Intimidation? It’s too much, it’s not right. They’ve lost the moral high ground to claim that it is.”
 
Naida and I continue our days of self-quarantine as we usually do while we await the coming of the vaccine like those souls imprisoned in the concentration camps awaited the arrival of the allied forces. 
 
Thursday brought another trip to The Big Endive By The Bay. This time for some CT scans. We took Boo-boo the Barking Dog with us. Naida drove all the way to San Francisco. She was too busy driving to tell me stories and chatter like she usually does on long trips so I slept most of the way. After the scans were completed we had lunch sitting on a bench in front of a delightful little sandwich shop at the corner of Castro and 24th street where Bud’s Ice Cream shop used to be. We then spent an hour sitting in chairs in front of Peter and Barrie’s house and laughing a lot with them.
 
After that I drove to my son Jason’s house for another sidewalk meeting, this time to exchange Christmas presents. 
My Granddaughter Amanda and I
Me, Naida, Amanda and my son Jason.
Then I drove us home. It was Naida’s time to sleep. After we got hime we watched Waterworld and laughed.
 
It has been a lovely autumn so far this year. The weather warm, in the mid-sixties. The autumn colors, a bit subdued but here and there were glorious. The lawns and walkways in the Enchanted Forest covered in leaf-fall that crackled like gun shots as you walk through them. On the East coast we had amazing leaf falls because of the great preponderance of deciduous trees. Here the west-coast evergreen usually predominate, except here in the Enchanted Forest where trees from around the world have been planted like in some giant arboretum. Their autumn leaf fall rivals the East. In the East the leaves on the ground do not crackle like they do here because the weekly rains often leaves them limp and soggy.   
 
 
 
On Saturday, Naida and I sat in our chairs in the studio until well into the late afternoon. She read the third volume of her friend Persia Woolley’s masterful trilogy about Queen Guenivire King Arthur’s wife. I read the 19th or so novel of Jim Butcher’s not so great series about a sex starved wizard who lives in Chicago. Naida periodically would read me interesting passages from Persia’s book. I refused to read to her anything from Butcher’s. I simply could not consider a skinny six-foot seven-inch wizard killing a demon along Lakeshore Drive would be of interest to anyone but me. Especially, when that someone had just read me Persia’s retelling of the tale about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
 
Sunday, I traveled into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM and drive him to Roseville in order to fix the amplifier for his guitar. That do we had lunch at a Hawaiian BBQ place. During the drive he told me that he had never realized until recently how lucky he had been to travel as much as he had and live and experience so many diverse cultures.
 
 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 
 
 
While reading Tana French’s most recent novel The Searcher, I ran across a short scene in which the main character, a hulking ex-cop from Chicago now living in the Wicklow Mountains in rural Ireland, tries to explain to the thirteen-year-old Irish girl his approach to living. I found it intriguing. He attempts to distinguish between morals, manners, etiquette and code.
 
“Etiquette is the stuff you gotta do just ’cause that’s how everyone does it. Like holding your fork in your left hand, or saying ‘Bless you’ if someone sneezes.” 
 
“Manners is treating people with respect. The thing is that many of their most passionate moral stances, as far as Cal can see, have to do with what words you should and shouldn’t use for people, based on what problems they have, what race they are, or who they like to sleep with. While Cal agrees that you should call people whatever they prefer to be called, he considers this to be a question of basic manners, not of morals.”
 
“Morals involve something more than terminology. “Morals…is the stuff that doesn’t change. The stuff you do no matter what other people do. Like, if someone’s an asshole to you, you might not be mannerly to him; you might tell him to go fuck himself, or even punch him in the face. But if you see him trapped in a burning car, you’re still gonna open the door and pull him out. However much of an asshole he is. That’s your morals.”
 
“My Code is I just try to do right by people.You gotta come up with your own code.”
 
What struck me was not the character’s advice to the young girl, but the author’s simplistic attempt to divide conscious behavior into these four words. Of course even if I agree with them and to some extent I do, just a little analysis will show we have something like Plato’s cave here where the words and the sentiments may appear real, but the in actuality one just ends up with a shadow world of shifting meanings. As Whitehead and Russell pointed out a hundred years ago words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. Goedel a few years later proved even mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. I guess, it is all Just another way of describing Plato’s metaphor. And, as I point out below perhaps even those shadows may not be real in this quantum universe of ours.
 
Nevertheless, philosophy aside, to divide up our conscious behavior into a hierarchy of the four categories Etiquette, Manners, Morals and Code seems practical. At least it gives a simple standard that allows one to distinguish between just pissing other people off and embarrassing oneself, and what may be important to your conscience. 
 
I wonder if I have a code or if I just drift through life and respond to things based just on long forgotten experiences and how I am feeling at the time? I would think long and hard about this if I were a lot younger. At my age etiquette, manners, morals and code are simply a matter if comfort. 
,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES: THE HEARTBREAK OF MAN BOOBS.

 
 
 
 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND, MAY 19, 2012.

 
 
It rained again today in Bangkok. The Little Masseuse equipped me with one of those umbrellas that cleverly fold up every which way until they are small enough carry in your pocket. When opened it becomes a tiny umbrella, not that much larger than a paper parasol in a Mai Tai. It is just about large enough to keep the rain off of my already hat protected head, but too small to prevent the rest of me from becoming drenched.
 
I have lost over 25 pounds as a result of my diet and exercise regime as well as about two and one half inches from my waist. I have even begun to see little bumps emerge from my body’s subcutaneous fat that I assume are muscles. Either that or I am sicker than I imagined. Nevertheless, when I look into the mirror to observe the changes, my eyes are inevitably drawn to that persistent bane of the aging male, my man boobs. They stare back at me. Those pendulous D-cup protrusions seeming even bigger than ever.
 
When I searched the internet for exercises that promise to eliminate drooping man boobs like there are for sagging bellies and those draperies of flesh that dangle beneath your upper arm, I was disappointed to find that there are none.
 
Is this then the way it is with most men; no matter what we do we will still die with, sagging man boobs? At least with older women those derelict appendages arguably had a purpose (perhaps several purposes) at one time, but what have my boobs ever done for me?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DAILY FACTOID:

 
 
 
 

OBJECTIVE REALITY DOES NOT EXIST.

 
 
 
On September 20, 2019, Massimiliano Proietti and his associates published the results of quantum experiments that demonstrated that Objective Reality does not exist. By experiment they proved that two observers of a quantum interaction can observe two different realities, which are both equally real and correct simultaneously, even if they contradict each other. The implication of this assertion is that in quantum physics there is no objective reality; that reality itself is observer-dependent. 
 
 
Abstract
 
The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them. In quantum mechanics the objectivity of observations is not so clear, most markedly exposed in Wigner’s eponymous thought experiment where two observers can experience seemingly different realities. The question whether the observers’ narratives can be reconciled has only recently been made accessible to empirical investigation, through recent no-go theorems that construct an extended Wigner’s friend scenario with four observers. In a state-of-the-art six-photon experiment, we realize this extended Wigner’s friend scenario, experimentally violating the associated Bell-type inequality by five standard deviations. If one holds fast to the assumptions of locality and free choice, this result implies that quantum theory should be interpreted in an observer-dependent way.”
 
               But, of course, we all knew that. Hell, anyone who has dropped a psychedelic has experienced it.
 
              It should be pointed out Lindgren and Liukkonen from Finland 
 in a recent article disagree:
 
               “The results suggest that there is no logical reason for the results to be dependent on the person conducting the measurement. According to our study, there is nothing that suggests that the consciousness of the person would disturb the results or create a certain result or reality,”

                 

 

                   

 
 
 
 
 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 
 
 
 

A. Terry on Top:

 
 
   “The dust is settling, the King is Dead, the Republic stands and a legislative journeyman is in charge.”
 
“I don’t think the media really quite understands what happened this week. The old order just died. In the space of three days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the President Elect took the bipartisan moderate Senators’( all six of them) $906B stimulus package, told Pelosi and Schumer to back it( they really didn’t want too) and presto , Biden has a working majority of at least 51 in the Senate and 230 or so in the House ( counting the bipartisan “ Problem Solvers caucus”). Not too bad for an old veteran.“
 
“But it’s just the opening play for a foxy legislator like Biden. I’ve seen this movie before: Willie Brown ran CA. when he was the minority leader in the mid 80s, Deukmajian was Governor, and he matched his minority with 5 Republican Assembly members, and effectively controlled the legislature. Now it’s not the same in 2021 Washington, but the maneuver is the same: create a bipartisan working majority on the big legislative proposals and the rest will take care of itself. While the Senate still has the filibuster requirement of 60 votes, the real problem has been getting reasonable legislation to the floor for a vote. In the last 10 years McConnell, for various reasons, has been able to obstruct normal legislative action on the floor. In this new era of a Biden Presidency, that apparently will no longer be possible.” 
 
“In the last three days McConnell has been put in a corner. At least three members of his own caucus have said enough is enough, they want to legislate and move bills  to the floor for a vote. McConnell doesn’t have the horsepower to stop that now that Trump is a lame duck and Biden is the new power player in Washington. And Biden is an old fox with lots of tricks.”
 
“My prediction: a nice warm stimulus package will pass in December. And it’s just the start of a new era of bipartisan legislating. It’s the Biden Congressional majority in the making.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
 
 
The free market system favors psychopaths like basketball favors the tall.
 
 
 
 

C. Today’s Poem:

 
During this time of self-quarantine, I wrote a poem… or, more accurately, I plagiarized most of it. I had been reading a 2004 mystery novel set in post Cultural-Revolution China written by an Asian-American writer named Qui about Yin, a translator, and her lover, a poet, named Yang. About half-way through the novel, I came across a poem supposedly written by Yang. It was unremarkable as I read it, but it stayed in my head as I read on. I then went back to the poem and reviewed it again and again. There was something about it that grabbed me like an anchor grabs the seabed in a storm. Finally I rearranged and rewrote it and published it in My Poetic Side as follows:
 
You don’t have to be a snowman
to stand in the snow
  patiently
  listening
to the howling wind,
  endlessly
    losing yourself
in the view
    while hungry
crows peck
at your carrot nose.
 
Yin and Yang, interestingly, can be translated into English as moon and sun, or together, everything. Qui can also be translated as, all or everything, nothing at all, or as the relative pronoun, who. I named the poem “A Homage To Yin, Yang and Qui.”
 
 
 
 
 
 

D.  Sicilian Mores and Tales: Nonverbal Communication.

 
 
Conquered by so many peoples over so many centuries, this island has developed a unique culture of nonverbal communication. I don’t mean random gesticulations, but a genuine language capable of attracting someone’s attention or warning them, affirming something or denying it, flattering, flirting or insulting—​and all at a safe distance. There are age-old gestures that have become so ingrained in Sicilians as to be practically innate. Gestures also keep up with the times, and children’s can often differ from those of their parents. The best known is, of course, the “little crown,” in which the thumb and all the fingers are brought together and the hand or hands loosely or violently shaken in front of the body. This is a gesture of general activation with which to lend one’s words emphasis or convey that the other person is talking utter poppycock. If you want to persuade someone or beg them to do something, you fold your hands loosely in front of your chest and shake them up and down. To signal to a friend that it’s time to go or tell someone else to push off, you slap the back of one hand with the palm of the other. The sign for a hoodlum is a thumb drawn across the cheek like a knife. The gesture meaning “fear” is the little crown rapidly opening and closing. Thumb and index finger splayed and shaken signifies “Nothing to be done.” Both index fingers extended close together and moving to and fro a little means “They’re a couple, let’s talk about them behind their back.” If you quickly brush the underside of your chin with the back of your hand, it means “No, no way, never, forget it!” As children, my cousins and I had a gesture meaning “I’ll kill you.” This was two extended fingers rapidly applied to the lips. Nowadays children extend a hand and tap the clenched fist with the thumb as if operating a game controller. There are hundreds of gestures. They fill the whole of Palermo like a strange flock of birds excitedly fluttering along with its inhabitants and never coming to rest.”
                     Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio (An Auntie Poldi Adventure) (p. 154). HMH Books. Kindle Edition. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

E. Giants of History: The Rabbi from Nazareth.

 
 
   In the US we have a problem regarding the good gay messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Many people say they love Him very much.
 
The problem is Jesus went on and on about things like helping the unfortunate, forgiveness, healing the sick and things like that. He liked women and hung out with them a lot. He did not think they should be punished if they happened to have done things other people did not like, even if it had to do with sex. He even often had a handsome man around him who he called his beloved and they would lay their heads on each others breast. He also said that unbelievers could be better in God’s eyes than believers if they behave kindly toward others. Jesus hated those who used religion to benefit themselves financially. He preached that it is the good things you do, not what you believe that matters to God.
 
Unfortunately, many of those who claim they love Jesus a lot, also believe that those who like what Jesus said they should do like oh, feed the poor, actually hate Jesus.
 
This seems to be a common situation among men to claim to love someone for no discernible reason but despise what the object of their adoration tells them to do whenever it benefits someone other than myself.
 
Yes, this sounds like another screed about conservatives. And yes conservatives tend to behave like this in Thailand, back in Jesus time and even in the US and elsewhere today. And yes, their leaders are often the society’s rich and powerful.
 
But liberals have their own problems. Liberals seem to often fall in love with a messiah whose words they agree with. If Jesus were alive today liberals probably would urge Him to run for office. And if He succeeded in getting elected, they would all go home and happily wait for their Messiah to perform His miracles and make everything like they think it should be. When that does not happen, they will become disappointed and would probably go to Him and complain. He would point out that He said that the miracles could happen only if they all changed their ways together and worked at it along with Him. The liberals would not like that and go home. This then would allow those who loved Jesus but not what He told them they should be doing to come in and toss Him into the garbage or worse.
 
In fact, that was what happened during Jesus time. The liberals, known then as the Apostles and Disciples, urged him to run for King, then when the shit hit the fan they all ran and hid. They only came out again after things quieted down.
 
Note: Everything written above applies to Men only. Remember, the women did not run and hide. They bravely appeared at the crucifixion and at the tomb despite the danger [and, if I recall correctly, so did the beloved disciple].
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 
 
 
“A pirate walks into a bar. He’s got a steering wheel sticking out of his fly. Bartender says, ‘That looks uncomfortable’ and the pirate says, ‘Yarrgh, it’s driving me nuts!’”
                    Wong, David. Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick (Zoey Ashe) . St. Martin’s Publishing Group. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TODAY’S CHART:

Categories: October through December 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Shadow 0009. (July 10, 2020)





“Under certain conditions … merely living from one moment to the next can take forever. There’s a kind of immortality in that, albeit a temporary one. It’s bound to end badly.”
Hartman, Bruce. The Philosophical Detective (p. 98). Swallow Tail Press.

Don’t Forget, July 15th is “Be a Dork Day” and “Tax Day”…

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES DURING SELF-QUARANTINE:

Recently a few of the pools in the Enchanted Forest have been opened for swimming. I signed up for the 8AM slot today. When I arrived this morning I found I had signed up for tomorrow not today. So it goes. It’s always something. Tomorrow is another day.

Getting old is difficult — being old even more so. Like most old men I sometimes believe that if I can remember the past and visualize what the future will be, I can put off the end for a long time. But, in reality, I have very little to say about it. Death is not a matter of hopes, dreams or intellect. Death is purely physical.

Today, I went for my first swim in almost two years. It felt glorious. It was 8AM in the morning and the temperature hovered around the high 50s. No one else was there. I guess it was too cold for the other person who signed up for this hour to show up. There was a stiff breeze making it feel even colder. I began to doubt my decision to swim today, but when I put my foot into the pool the water felt warmer than the air so I went right in.

I had never liked swimming. I never was a good swimmer. Then, in my 70s while living in Thailand, I began to go to the health club pool almost every day. I am not sure what suddenly made swimming so attractive to me. Perhaps, the buoyancy of my body after 70 or more years of being weighted down by gravity made me feel younger. Anyway, after about 15 or so minutes of swimming I felt great and got out of the pool and returned home. Tomorrow I will swim longer.

One day I drove into the Golden Hills to visit Hayden. I asked him if he was happy. “Very much,” he responded. “That’s great,” I said, “the teenage years are often not very happy ones.” “I know,” he said, “our brains begin to change and we become very self-absorbed. Most teenagers worry whether they fit in or not. Because I know what’s causing it, I ignore it and stay happy. When I see it happening to one of my friends, I tell them it’s not all about them, so stop worrying.”

Hayden Hayden youth full laden, how does your garden grow?

It has now been over a week since I began swimming again. I go every morning at about 9AM. One day my shoulder muscles were quite sore so I skipped that day. Otherwise, I have been enjoying it very much.

Did you know, humans are the only animals, even among other apex predators, who generally die of old age rather than being killed and eaten?

Today, Naida set off to play tennis for about the first time since the beginning of the Trump Plague. Her two daughters, Sarah and Jennifer, and Sara’s son Charlie a tennis pro and his girlfriend agreed to get together and play following social-distancing guidelines. Naida was excited and happy when she left. I, on the other hand, went swimming. There was another man in the pool with his 3 year old daughter. This made me grumpy. Why I get grumpy in the presence of people I do not know, I don’t understand. I have always been like that. Perhaps it is because I have always been too shy or arrogant to think of something to say to people I do not know and knowing that makes me grumpy. Or, perhaps, I believe it keeps me from being killed and eaten.



Speaking of eating, this evening Naida and I decided we had enough eating dinner at home. So, we went to a restaurant where we sat on the outdoor patio, properly distanced from other diners. I ordered a steak and was happy.


While walking through The Enchanted Forest one day, we ran into a social-distance appropriate 100th year birthday party for someone named Herb. Many years ago, Herb, while attending Temple University, had represented the United States in the Olympics high hurdles. Way to go Herb.   

 

From left to right: Naida, Herb, Herb’s daughter, and Herb’s grandson. Happy 100th Herb.

Independence Day, July 4 passed without much notice in our house except for the sounds of a few random firecrackers exploding somewhere nearby in the night after we went to bed and were trying to fall asleep, and discovering the patriotic get up on the cement duck as we passed by on our evening walk through the Enchanted Forest.\

The cement duck in the Enchanted Forest dressed for the Fourth of July celebration.

Last night I dreamt I was a partner in a private detective firm with Jimmy Durante. (For those under 70 years of age who do not know who Jimmy Durante is you might as well stop reading now), We were both a bit elderly. We had two problems with the firm. The first was that both our wives thought we were having an affair with our beautiful blond secretary. The second was that we had no clients. The second was solved when one morning while I was reading the Sunday comics, a young man who had been helped by us in the past walked in and hired us.

Durante and the comely blond secretary set off for the building where whatever happened, happened. In the lobby of the building Durante embarks on a Durante-esque soliloquy about his wife’s concern about his relationship with the comely young secretary.

Suddenly the scene shifts (It is a dream after all) to Durante at the piano where Un-Durante-esque, he plays two magnificent jazz concertos after which I totally forgot the plot. Annoyed, I woke up. The dog began barking and a new day had begun.

Tonight, as we often do, Naida and I were sitting on our recliners watching television. Now and then, usually during news programs, one or another of us would forcefully express our opinions to the images on the screen. I sadly recognized that we had become those archetypical old folks sitting in front of their TV every night and shouting at it. I never thought my life would come down to this.

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

Recently, my sister Maryann decided to straighten-up the room at the top of the converted water-tower at her home in Mendocino. The room contains what we call the “family archives.” They include the thousands of slides (Does anyone remember them?) taken by my father over the years along with the many cans of 16 mm film he also took and projectors to show them. The room also contains my mothers diaries, thousands of photographs, and tons of other memorabilia. A day or two ago, Maryanne sent me a few photographs with the direction that I tell the stories that go along with them. Here are a three:

 

The story about the above photograph is not much of one. It is the late 1970s I believe. On the right in the photo is my father and in the middle my mother. They had just visited California for the first time. I am the bearded fellow on the left. I was dressed in my Spaghetti-western come hippy outfit and had taken my parents for a tour through Muir Woods. Of course, given the current state of my memory, we might not have been at Muir Woods, or in California at all and the people in the photo not who I say they are.

The above photograph was taken at my high school senior prom. The boy on the right is Bob Cavallo. Bobby and I went off to Georgetown University for college and roomed together. There we dabbled in running crooked card games, drinking, and music promotion. Bobby dropped out of college in his junior year to open up a well-known night club in DC called The Shadows. Bobby went from there to developing, managing and promoting musical acts. He discovered and managed, The Loving Spoonful, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Elvis Costello and a few others. He also produced the movie 12 Monkeys and two other films. The woman on the right was his childhood sweet-heart who he married and was still married to her when I last visited them about 15 years ago.

I am the skinny guy on the left. At Georgetown in addition to the things Bobby and I did together, I dabbled in theater, getting arrested for disorderly conduct, and politics by running my then friend Pat Buchanan for his first office in Georgetown student government, We cheated and he won. I left Georgetown because it was too expensive (I had to steal my food to survive) and returned to NY to attend Fordham University. There, I continued my theater work, avoided the police, took up promoting bands for college performances, and ran my travel business providing spring break vacations to Bermuda and Puerto Rico for college students.

The young woman with me was the daughter of a well known and respected judge and lived in a very exclusive area of Westchester County. Before dating her, my entire family had to visit with her father because he was concerned about his daughter dating an Italian. She told me she was very excited to date me because none of her friends had ever dated and Italian before. It was a very brief relationship.

I was in my mid to late twenties in the above photograph. I was living in Rome Italy. I believe this photo was one of several promotional photo’s sent to Federico Fellini’s studio’s seeking an audition (it might have been for Satyricon. My cousin, who had a role in the movie and was a friend of Fellini’s, encouraged me to audition). I never went through with the audition. I also thought of joining the circus with my four-year-old son Jason. I believed a father-son clown team would be great. Alas, the wait for the interview was so long I got bored and fed-up and left. So It goes with living. Destiny trips along behind you as you stumble on through life.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Burma Richard on Top:

 

The following in the third and final portion of Richard Diran’s (Burma Richard) trip into the wilds of the China/Burma border that were the lands of the Wa people. Today the very same areas are resort destination areas for tourists and the culture of the indigenous people of the area has all but disappeared except as entertainment for the tourists.

 

So Near And Yet So Far — Part III.
( http://www.diranart.com/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=92&Itemid=32)

At the open window are a half dozen curious Wa children’s’ faces, dark with huge liquid eyes. We passed out balloons and the kids were fascinated. Two old Wa geezers came in and just sat down on our beds talking. An ancient crone with a long silver pipe poked her head in the door. They speak incessantly even though we don’t understand a word.

I woke up crusted in brick red mud nearly to my knees. The march yesterday nearly killed me and today we have to do it all over again in reverse. There was a Wa woman walking down the hill carrying two huge ceramic water jugs. She was topless and Andrew looked and said, “That woman has an incredible pair of jugs”. We laughed ourselves silly.

Early the next morning, two porters showed up to carry our gear. We definitely can’t trust them as they were certainly sent by the cops to carry our stuff out of here. The mountain, our sacred mountain is there in the distance of maybe only ten miles, but it could be the moon. I went back inside to get my camera just to get a shot as the fog cleared, but when I walked back outside it was enveloped again. So elusive.

From Yung Gwang we reached Dai Gu La in about two hours and had a few welcome warm beers. From Dai Gu La the sun broke out and hardened the mud. That’s the good part. The bad part is that it is so damn hot that we are both getting sunburned. I am caked in mud. Between Dai Gu La and the police check point is a silver mine with a cave entrance in the hillside near a river. Silver tailings lay in piles and I picked up a few. There was also galena and marcasite which are often found with silver. The hike up hill to the police check point was really hard, my knees ache and my leg muscles are so sore. My heart is pounding in my ears and the small of my back gets stiff whenever I sit down.

We got a hotel in Shin Chang for two dollars a night, double occupancy. I’m reminded of that old song, “All I need is a two dollar room, and a two dollar broom”. I could use that broom now as whole patches of plaster ceiling are falling on the floor right over my bed.

According to our maps, there is a bridge several hours from here over a river. Since we will have no porters and are intent on reaching some Wa villages and the lake at the top of the mountain, if even a bit from the South, Andrew and I have again pared down our baggage to absolute essentials since we will be carrying everything ourselves and are going it alone. Only one set of cloths, those on our backs, cameras, short wave radio, batteries, trail mix and our much despised salami. It was a debate over how many rolls of toilet paper. We leave all non essentials at the small restaurant across the road. The people there are friendly and honest. I took a modest bath over there and was surprised that my feet were still pink. From that bridge over the river we estimate Burma to be no more than one hours walk, and the first Wa village to be maybe three hours of forced march. Nobody will be looking for us and even if there were, there are many places to go between Shin Chang and Ximeng.

Andrew dropped his backpack and volunteered to go back up the hill and see if he could find them. I didn’t argue. After twenty minutes or so, I began to walk up myself searching the foliage, the bamboo groves, the pines, the rice fields and the prickly thistles. I heard Andrew call out my name. Somehow he had found them. A needle in a haystack would have been easier than finding those glasses.

We walked down again to the edge of the rice fields and jumped over a small stream. The trail became slippery mud and I kept trying to brace myself with my left leg, sliding down the hillside. I would hold onto old bamboo which would crack and thick bunches of weeds which would rip loose from the saturated red earth and I would slide down the mountain on my ass like down a slide attached to my leather camera bag which was becoming swollen by the rain and covered in mud. After two hours of this I was exhausted, completely exhausted. Finally we reached the gravel banks of the river. The rain increased and we were muddy and throughly drenched. The river was raging brown, tearing at its banks, and we walked to the edge to try and find another path up and cross to the other side. There was no bridge. On the other side of the river was a triangle shaped mountain plunging into the river like a wedge, which was Burma, separating the two crashing rivers which joined at this confluence where we stood trying to find a place to cross. At the joining of these two rivers it was impossible to gauge the depth, though we could clearly see the strength. It would be suicide to make an attempt to cross although we considered it, and still the rain grew stronger. Squatting under the weight of our packs in a fern covered hollow in the hillside, wee knew we could not cross. There was nothing to do but to but to turn back. Shit, to turn back.

I didn’t feel that I had the strength to go back up that fucking mudslide of a mountain, but there was no choice. We had to return. I was completely exhausted, but there was no other option, we had to go back. We looked across the thundering river, a distance I could toss a stone over, separating us from Burma, and our sacred lake. Andrew and I began to hike back up that mountain. My lungs were bursting, my heart pounding in my guts as I crawled on all fours grasping at plants to hold onto like an animal. My hands were pierced by thorns and stinging nettles. My face was covered in a gauze of spider webs sticking to my stubble of a beard like a spiny cactus with spiders scrambling across my face. Some bug flew down my throat and as I gagged and spit, I hit a crack in the earth where a startled purple worm jumped out.

Still we had to slog up the mountain. Although I felt as if I had no more strength we had o continue up through the pounding rains again crossing that stream balancing on the narrow rice levies, back through the bamboo and the pines, over the fence to the cobbled road to Shin Chang. My muscles ached as they have never ached. I was so wet that were I stepped became even more wet than before I had stepped there. My green Mao cap dripped like a sponge. The mud I had been caked with had washed away and I was so cold and hungry and still the rain pounded. The last one hundred feet, I was ready to drop. When we got back to the solace of our two dollar room, the neighbours were slaughtering a screaming chicken and draining his blood into a tea cup. The skin on my hands and feet were so wrinkled, like when you stay in a bath too long, and the color a shade of deathly purple, such that if a tag were attached to my big toe, nobody would question that I was dead

We had tried, had given it our best, so near and yet so far, that sacred Wa Lake of Nawng Hkeo dark and hidden remained in our imagination.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

All of us are merely structured fragments of information. We are not human. We are concepts.

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 

I’ve Said It Before and I’ll Say It Again

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
It’s not my fault that with a broken heart, I’ve gone this way.

In front of a mirror they have put me like a parrot,
And behind the mirror the Teacher tells me what to say.

Whether I am perceived as a thorn or a rose, it’s
The Gardener who has fed and nourished me day to day.

O friends, don’t blame me for this broken heart;
Inside me there is a great jewel and it’s to the Jeweler’s shop I go.

Even though, to pious, drinking wine is a sin,
Don’t judge me; I use it as a bleach to wash the color of hypocrisy away.

All that laughing and weeping of lovers must be coming from some other place;
Here, all night I sing with my winecup and then moan for You all day.

If someone were to ask Hafiz, “Why do you spend all your time sitting in
The Winehouse door?,” to this man I would say, “From there, standing,
I can see both the Path and the Way.”
           Hafiz. From: Drunk on the Wind of the Beloved.Translated by Thomas Rain Crowe.

D. Terry’s Musings:

 

 

During the coronavirus pandemic, Terry seems to occupy at least part of his self-quarantine time reading the New York Times editorial page and now and then emailing his thoughts to his besties. Here is one where he comments approvingly on a column by Susan Rice.

 

Susan Rice begins to make a strong circumstantial case that there is a substantial likelihood that President Trump is a witting or at best unwitting, agent of a foreign power. And a reminder: circumstantial evidence is good evidence: like bloody footprints; fingerprints on a weapon; etc. The noose is closing around him and the Russian Connection.

Putin is caught with bloody hands and a snicker. What a horror movie! But it’s real and so sad for the heroes who lost their lives, for their parents and for their loved ones.

So it becomes even more significant to get his tax records: Follow the Money! And of course there is the Steel Dossier ,which has never been properly investigated. There are lots of leads to follow. Will the House Intelligence Committee commit to put Resources into investigating these allegations?

Here’s the deal: There are leakers on the spy and national security team that know far more than we or Congress know about this. They blew this whistle. Why? Will they come forward and testify like Lt Col Vindman? Maybe. It’s a fascinating twist as Trump hides from reporters; stays in his WH bedroom bunker; fixates on Confederate Statues, and the Republican House begins to burn. And the pandemic rages totally out of control. Heady Stuff.


Why Does Trump Put Russia First?
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/30/opinion/trump-russia-afghanistan.html?referringSource=articleShare.

 


E. Giants of History: Neal Fishman:

 

Neal Fishman has always been a giant, a giant in stature and a giant in the preservation of California’s coastal resources. Over the last year or so I have enjoyed his witty and insightful comments on various Facebook Posts. I wish I had saved them all. But, here are a few recent ones I found entertaining.

 

Neal Fishman comments on a photo of 104-year-old Olivia De Havilland riding her bicycle to the store.


“She’s kind of horrible in it, but I bet I’ve seen her as maid Marion in The Adventures of Robin Hood, at least 100 times since I was a kid. She tells Errol Flynn “you speak treason”. His response, “fluently”. One of the great Hollywood success stories. Mediocre actress has brilliant career, even wins an Oscar I think, stars with the best leading men in Hollywood, retires a beloved star with no one hating her. I’m rooting for at least another ten years for dear Miss Millie Gone with the Wind on the other hand ought to probably be retired now, it being one of the main generators of negative black stereotypes in the past 100 years.”

Neal Fishman’s observation on Ghislaine Maxwell’s indictment.

“I wouldn’t put much money on her surviving prison. No doubt her first night in jail will be with a 300 pound former soviet weight lifter named Ludmila. Next night she’ll be swinging from a rope made with her prison garb.”

 

Neal Fishman opines on the compassion of Republican members of Congress.


“Watching the house judiciary committee hearing on Barr and the prosecution of Roger Stone. Republican members are not wearing masks while they berate the witness, a DOJ whistleblower, for not showing up in person. He has a new born at home and didn’t want to risk infection. He is instead testifying on video link. The republican shitbag members of this committee have the gall to accuse him of being inconsiderate. Really, they don’t wear masks and he’s being inconsiderate. These guys aren’t worth the air they breathe.”

 

Neal Fishman remembers John Kennedy

“Anyone else remember being inspired when John Kennedy told us: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ Fast forward almost 60 years to Trump. From his every action he is telling us: ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, nor what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for me and my family, then go get fucked.’ Are you inspired yet?”

F. How the Other Half Lives:

Messages from the Old Sailor, Pirate, Deep Sea Diver, Treasure Hunter and a Few Other Things:

  1. CONSPIRACY !!…WITH LAWYERS…………HEALTH CARE WORKERS. And Government officials….
    PLAN >>>get all his /her money and ~~~♤ AND PULL THE PLUG .WHEN out of moneyYea
    …not looking good For my friend Ron. PEOPLE come down here FL. To Retire (die) ….
    The people we are involved with… conspire to get the guarding-ship..then they drain all the money $$$..then kill them …. GOOD BUSINESS .
    THATS WHY they all have new cars around here

2.  At the hospital    geting a  ball check…hope  no cancer  A   sonna-gram   ….need  a  MRI…..^^MRI    are better  than doctors

3.  NO   control  over  my  life  …can’t  take care  of  med.  Situations ………financial Situations fucked …all my news on the street….going to  get 2  lotto tickets  this week….not  complaining just stating   facts. Unfortunately……e

G. A Last Word From Terry:

 

There is now the distinct possibility of the President being indicted in New York for violating state tax law with criminal liability as well as various other state criminal statutes. AND THIS COULD OCCUR PRIOR TO THE ELECTION. But that is not the real story.

The real story depends on the DA and how adept his prosecutors are at dealing with the procedural issues regarding getting the tax returns immediately from Trump’s accountants. Because it’s a Subpoena to his accountants, Trump has limited standing to now contest their production to the NY Grand Jury. It could result in a quick turnover by the accountants. They don’t have any real objections to just the tax records being turned over now.

Trump is really behind the eight ball. If I were his lawyer I’d negotiate a comprehensive deal to resign in exchange for immunity from further NY State prosecution from both the DA and State AG. Otherwise he’s tied up in NY State court criminal proceedings through 2021. And he can’t get a pardon from Pence for those indictments. On the other hand, they may tell his lawyers to pound sand. We only have 6 months to January 21 and he’s gone. However, given his destructive administration during the pandemic, getting rid of him now could save lives, including the lives of school children. And that’s sad. But we need to get rid of him now, not in 6 months.

This is the way to do it. It’s the Spiro Agnew ploy; Agnew was given immunity from a bribery indictment based on his term as Governor of Maryland when he resigned the Vice Presidency in 1973. Trump’s lawyers will tell him: you need a comprehensive settlement: Pardon from Pence, immunity from prosecution in NY both NYC and State; and immediate resignation ; just like Nixon. Otherwise he’s risking the rest of his miserable life in Sing Sing. And that’s not Trump Tower nor even a federal minimum camp. NY juries will not be sympathetic. Neither will DC juries nor the trial court judges. And the SCOTUS just proved there are 7 votes against saving him.

So get out while the getting is good. And we save a lot of lives. Somebody is going to tell him: the game is up. And you don’t like the job anyway. And avoid the risk of humiliating yourself by spending the rest of your life in a NY prison. THIS RULING IS A GAME CHANGER.


Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/us/trump-taxes-supreme-court.html?referringSource=article share




TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

Young men: “And then there was the young male walk. At least women swung only their hips. Young men swung everything, from the shoulders down. You have to try to occupy a lot of space. It makes you look bigger, like a tomcat fluffing his tail. The boys tried to walk big in self-defense against all those other big boys out there. I’m bad, I’m fierce, I’m cool, I’d like a pint of shandy and me mam wants me home by nine.”
Terry Pratchett (Monstrous Regiment)

Categories: July through September 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Shadow 0009 (June 26, 2020)

“Happiness equals reality minus expectation.”
          Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2). HMH Books.

 

 

Do not forget, National Be a Dork Day falls on July 15. It is also Return Your Tax Day. Also, have a safe, sane, and properly social distanced Independence Day.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SOCIAL DISTANCING:

 

 

 

 

It has been a week or so since I have written here last. The only thing of note during that time was my trip to SF for my immunotherapy infusion and visit with my doctors. They indicated that I have responded well to my treatments so far — a tepid bit of cheer to say the least, but an appreciated one nonetheless.

I have tried to replace spending my time writing here every day with increased reading — mostly of trashy novels. My goal, for no reason but bragging rights with myself, was to read one book a day, a goal I mostly succeeded in reaching. I had decided to bury myself in comic fantasy novels because I could think of no other genre that would get me farther from self-quarantine with less effort. Two of the novels I chose simply because their covers were decorated with cartoons leading me to conclude their content was suitable for 12 year-olds. Upon reading them, however, I was surprised to discover they were perhaps more suitable for 17 year-olds.

One book told the tale of a bureaucrat from DICOMY (Department in Charge of Magical Youth) tasked with preparing a report about an orphanage located on a small island off the coast of Britain owned by a Sprite who also doubled as a cook, housekeeper and sometime teacher at the orphanage. The orphanage director was a mysterious man who would turn into a phoenix (a bird of fire) when agitated. In the course of the novel, the man from DICOMY and the director fall in love. He quits his department job and moves into the orphanage to be with the director-phoenix. There were only six orphans in all living at the orphanage, a sprite; a gnome (female) who was obsessed with gardening (of course); a boy who when frightened would turn into a small pekinese dog and begin yapping and peeing all over; a wyvern; a blob with two eye stalks who liked to hide under beds; and, a five-year-old boy who was the Antichrist. In the end, they all lived happily ever after except for the ferryboat captain.

The second book turned out to be the first novel in one of those never-ending series that continues on until the author dies or the public refuses to buy any more of his stupid books. It tells the story of a young man sailing a boat somewhere in the Bahamas who gets caught in a massive storm. During the storm, while trying to save a dog on another boat also caught in the same storm, he cracks his head on something and falls off the boat where he would have died except that he is somehow transported to another world where he lands on an island populated by beautiful women who appear somewhat reptilian (you know a few brightly colored scales on their otherwise uniformly beautiful human bodies) and all of whom want to have his baby. He happily complies with their request but, what makes this different from other books of this type is that in-between couplings he actually has adventures — like fighting and killing in great numbers orcs and wargs and many, many other creatures as well as conquering other islands peopled with women representing other species (deer and raccoons so far) who have similar designs on his reproductive organs as did his original reptilian fan club. I then read the following 4 books in the series that the author has written so far.

I could have taken mind-altering drugs to get me through the rest of this time of social-distancing but fearing the possibility of adverse drug interactions with the ten or so medicinal drugs I am now digesting, I decided I could just as well destroy my mind with books. I am not one who believes reading is only the road to enlightenment. It may also be the pathway to benightedness.

One delightful evening we went for a walk through some paths in the Enchanted Forest we had not explored before. The bright evening sunlight filtered through the trees left patches of darkness among the vibrant greens and browns of the late spring landscape. We came upon a large meadow with some benches. It was time for photographs.

IMG_8323

Naida, Boo Boo the Barking Dog, and the meadow.

IMG_8327

Pookie, Boo Boo and the Blue Hydrangeas

On other days on other walks, we came across the “decorated” duck statue.

IMG_8321

And, on an early evening stroll, we came upon this:

IMG_8336

One day, actually on several days, I drove into the Golden Hills and visited with Hayden. He has been working helping Dick to build the elaborate garden (flowers, vegetables, trees, paths, and terraces) around the house and also reflooring the deck outside of his man-cave bedroom.

IMG_E8331_2

On one of those days, I mentioned to him how pleased and proud I was with the empathy he shows his friends and how much it seems they depend on that. He thought about that a moment or two and then told me a story.
One of his friend’s mother had been murdered and his father imprisoned for tracking down the murderer and beating him to death with a lead pipe. After this, the friend had taken to adopting gang appropriate clothing, hairstyles, and mannerisms and behaving aggressively toward everyone. He became a loner. Hayden said:
He was trying to act tough but he was just another skinny white kid trying to look tough. So, I took him aside and said to him, ‘You’re doing that because you think you don’t have any friends. Well, you’re wrong. You have us.’”
Now the friend has forgone all the tough-guy stuff and has become mostly a sweet-tempered kid if a bit edgy. I call the group of friends “The Scooter Gang” because of their current preoccupation with scootering. I know full well in a year or so I will have to change the name to “The Fast Car Gang” or something like that. Although they are at times considered a slacker group, their cohesion and support of one another has not left them isolated in school by teachers and other students. Instead, they are, due to their kindness and cohesion, actually a social force that others enjoy and respect. I believe HRM is the reason. Of course when, in the next year or two, the frontal lobes of their brains and the resulting ego insanity flourishes and later when they first experience the forces of society limiting their ability to indulge their desires, all this kumbaya stuff may come crashing down along with whatever else may support their egos.
Speaking of automobiles and teenagers, in that same conversation I pointed out to HRM that his current obsession with automobile driving and engineering is similar to those other students in school obsessed with things like quantum theory or late 19th Century American literature that many call “nerds.” He could, I told him, be considered an “automotive nerd.”  He seemed happy with that.
Several more days have gone by. Naida feverishly pounds away at the computer working some time as much as ten hours in a day on volume two of her memoir. It promises to be a barn burner. I cannot wait to read it.
My daughter just informed me that she just left her job with the US State Department responsible for microbial resistance. That is tracking viral and other threats to the country and thereby hopefully keeping us safe. She will now work for AID in a similar but senior position where she will continue to try to keep us all safe.
 

B. NOT BOOK REPORTS:

I thought I’d entertain myself by summarizing the books that I have read over the past two weeks because they amused me and by recalling them I hoped I might feel a bit like I was reminiscing about the fevered dreams from a pipe full of opium. During the era of the Great Pandemic of 2020, you can get trashy novels over the internet, opium not so much. Anyway, at over 80 years of age, I can do almost anything I like except go outside without a mask.
In addition to the six books I mentioned above, in the past two weeks I have read and mostly enjoyed the following:
The Philosophical Detective by Bruce Hartman. In this book, a graduate student at a university in Massachusetts is asked to chauffeur the elderly and blind Nobel prize-winning poet and novelist Jorge Luis Borges and his wife while Borges was a visiting professor at Harvard University. During that time, besides meeting for breakfast at some coffee house in Summerfield Massachusetts, they become involved in several murder mysteries which Borges ultimately solves. Outside of that, I can recall little else about the book. The fact that I cannot recall much of the book does not mean it was a bad or uninteresting book. On the contrary, I enjoyed reading it. But, remember it was Borges the post-avant-garde meta-fictionalist who was solving the crimes and I simply could not understand what he was doing nor how he did it.   (See Today’s Poem below)
The 1066 to Hastings by Howard of Warwick. I do not know if Howard of Warwick is the actual name of the author. It’s a mystery. In any event, he has written a number perfectly silly but enjoyable to those like me who delight in things silly detective novels set in England around the time of the Norman Conquest. I had already read one of the novels and liked it enough to try a second. The series features a three-person detective team ostensibly led by a monk named Hermitage who had been thrown out of every monastery he had tried to join because he was a compulsive talker, preternaturally naive, and borderline autistic. He does have the remarkable ability, however, to solve murder mysteries and only murder mysteries as long as someone else does the work in gathering the evidence — not because of his laziness but because of his terminal naïveté. He managed to his great distress to be appointed the King’s Investigator by King Harold the Saxon and after Harold’s death at Hastings by King William the Norman. Hermitage’s two associates are a weaver of pornographic tapestries named Wat the Weaver and his associate and one-time apprentice Cwen an unabashedly aggressive young woman with a chip on her shoulder because, at that period in history, tapestry weaving was considered men’s work and to her annoyance, she was doing all the work while the somewhat greedy Wat schmoozed the customers.
This novel includes a lot of Saxons and a few Normans, the disappearance and presumed death of a cowardly Saxon carl at Hastings and the murder of the retainer of another Saxon carl’s associate all of whom appear to belong to a secret society whose motto seems to translate as something like, “It is better to surrender than to die in battle.”
By the end of the book, the mystery of the murder of the associate was solved. I was not so sure about who killed the Saxon carl.
 
Disaster Inc. and I Have Sinned by Caimh McDonell. Caimh McDonell is my newest man-crush. He has written two series of novels featuring Bunny McGarry an overweight Irish detective with a heart of gold and who distributes justice with an Irish hurling stick. The first series of books features McGarry doling out righteousness, morality, and pain in Dublin. In the second series, we find Bunny in the United States without a passport searching for his one-time lover, a beautiful black jazz singer who, 20 years previous, assisted by a mysterious order of nuns, took refuge in Ireland to escape from a mob boss’s vengeance. Due, in part, to McGarry’s incompetence the mob boss learns she is in Dublin and so she escapes back to the US and disappears. In the two books above, although McGarry does not locate his lost love, along with a few new-found cronies he blunders into solving a few other mysteries.
Two Necromancers a Dwarf Kingdom and a Sky City by L.G. Estrella. I enjoy Estrella’s books. They are light on the mind, bizarre, and somewhat amusing. In this novel, one of a series of two or three, Timmy, a Necromancer with earth magic and who carries shovels instead of a sword or a magic wand, along with his coterie of strange magical creatures and men, women, and a child or two, in alliance with the Dwarf Kingdom and the wizards and armed forces of his country whose name I have forgotten, defeat the orcs and then journey into either the past or another dimension to re-capture the Lost City in the Sky of the Dwarfs and bring it back to use in defeating the Evil Empire’s designs. Although they defeat the Evil Empire, ai the end of the book Timmy warns that all is not over.
Ziegfeld Zaggar, Quantum Detective & the Dirty, Rotten, Sarcastic Multiverse by Greg Montego. This is a book that I would write if I were to write a book which is also why I do not write books. It reminds me of the work of the great David Wong who wrote such masterpieces as “What the Hell Did I Just Read” and “This Book Is Full of Spiders” but not quite as good. The story features as the sleuths Ziegfeld Zagger, or Zigzag for short, a batshit nuts professor of Quantum 101: 101 at Columbia University, Croquet whizz, and Quantum Detective and his assistant Robbins who acts as his Watson. Robbins (preferred nickname Jazz), however, lacks the respect that Watson showed Holmes:
“Suddenly, your madness makes sense,” I said. “Not even you really know what you’re doing.” “Haven’t I told you that before?” “But now,” I said. “I believe it!”
          Montego, Greg. Ziegfeld Zaggar, Quantum Detective & the Dirty Rotten, Sarcastic Multiverse (The Quantum Detective Book 1).
Irene Alder, of course, makes her appearance as a CIA agent in charge of “Quantum Crimes.”
 Our heroes attempt to solve the murder of an insane inventor who resembles Elon Musk.  The murdered genius, who believed the universe was born on the day of his birth and will end on the day he dies, invented small boxes imbued with his essence that run all the electronics, airplanes, and whatever in the world.  They discover the murderer within the first few pages of the novel. Unfortunately, with the genius’s death, the boxes begin to stop working and the universe starts a quick if erratic decline beginning its return to its original state. So our intrepid trio must discover who or what is killing the homeless men in New York. During their search, they exit an elevator and see in front of them a large toadstool on which sat a caterpillar smoking a hookah, and lurking behind him is the dreaded Jabberwocky. So they set off to see the Wizard of Ooze. The story goes downhill after that — no not downhill more like around the bend. After all, they, like us, are forced to live in a quantum universe. And, in a quantum universe, the cat may be dead or alive or even have had kittens which is far more likely.
In this frenetic stretch of reading, I also read a few other novels, Reginald Hill’s Bones and Silence, Terry Pratchett’s Johnny and the Dead, and Ben Aaronovitch’s False Values but I will save reporting on them for another day if ever.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Terry on Top:

Terry always an astute observer of things political had the following insightful thoughts on a recent opinion piece by Ross Douthat in the New York Times:
This NYT  Conservative Writer, Ross Douthat,  has a pretty interesting point. 
Trump has taken, according to Douthat, the “decadent Reagan” philosophy (deficit  obsession, dismantlIng the social safety net , strong military,  globalization, etc.) that had been the bedrock of the Republican party and destroyed it (deficits galore).  Period. It’s no more. 
He created a new Republican philosophy of authoritarian, nativism and sloppy ineffective government, which thrived until it didn’t; which has come crashing down leaving the Republican Party as a rump, with no base other than Trumps MAGA cohort. 
Douthat believes that Trump and Republicans are now in their “Retreat from Moscow“  stage, to use the Napoleon metaphor. It’s deep dark winter and all is lost! It has driven the majority of the country into the hands of the classic liberals that Republicans defeated in 1980.  Or worse, “radical extreme leftists” whatever that means. I don’t know any. But I’m sure a few exist in the twitter world. From a practical point of view, the politics have seismically shifted. It’s no longer a question of whether the Democrats will win but by what margin and with what effect.
To understand the future, one needs only to look at a similar period in the past: The 20’s and early 30’s. That was a period that included  the 1918-1922 pandemic, the ‘29 stock market crash, massive income inequality, social disturbance, marches of the unemployed on Washington 1930-31, military intervention against peaceful protestors ‘31-32 ; it’s all happened before. We now call it The Great Depression.
And, it led to the New Deal, when the pent up ideas of two decades of the progressive movement took Washington by storm and enacted a radical restructuring of the US economy. And they did it in less than a year. The “New Dealers” were all in their thirties or early forties.  Imagine the so called “squad” led by AOC, becoming Assistant Secretaries of the then major domestic Departments of the Treasury, Interior, Commerce, and  Agriculture, and you get a feel for what it was like. 
Now Biden isn’t going to lead with AOC, (although you never know) but he will bring in the millennials. Lots of them. And  interesting “ radical” progressive ideas of the past will be enacted. Such as Senator Moynihan’s Guaranteed Annual Income  (advocated by Nixon in 1969); Senator Warren’s breakup of Big Tech, which is what happened to ATT in the seventies being  broken into the five baby bells;  a screeching halt to globalization and the massive re birth of American manufacturing and it’s domestic supply chains as Senator Sherrod Brown has advocated for years.  Suddenly they will have the votes. The filibuster has died; having been undermined and mostly broken by Mitch McConnell. The Democrats will hardly stand for it once in power. The American Economy will never be the same. What will it be?  It’s up to the younger generation soon to take power. But it will be much fairer and much different. God bless them. 
FINIS Reaganism, Trumpism and McConnell’s icy indifference to his fellow man. 
And to Douthat’s point, it’s thanks to Mr. Trump. “It’s Trump’s Revolution”. 
It’s Trump’s Revolution,

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Throughout my life I wanted to grow up. I wasn’t very good at it and the best I could manage was to grow old. No one I know liked that at all, least of all me.

C. Today’s Poem:

Adam Cast Forth
Was there a Garden or was the Garden a dream?
Amid the fleeting light, I have slowed myself and queried,
Almost for consolation, if the bygone period
Over which this Adam, wretched now, once reigned supreme,
Might not have been just a magical illusion
Of that God I dreamed. Already it’s imprecise
In my memory, the clear Paradise,
But I know it exists, in flower and profusion,
Although not for me. My punishment for life
Is the stubborn earth with the incestuous strife
Of Cains and Abels and their brood; I await no pardon.
Yet, it’s much to have loved, to have known true joy,
To have had – if only for just one day –
The experience of touching the living Garden.
By Jorge Luis Borges. translated by Genia Gurarie. 

D. Pookie’s Musings:

I have been searching for a chart that compares the US GDP with the GDP per capita growth over time. If per capita GDP is less than the GDP it seems reasonable that the ordinary person is probably making less because that wealth must be going somewhere — where? Also if population growth is a factor in GDP, and it is to some extent, shouldn’t it be that a stable or falling population would have a negative effect of some sort on GDP and perhaps even on GDP per capita? Our population without immigration is either stable or falling. Other developed countries with stable or falling populations have seen their GDP growth rate stagnate even while they become more productive. How is that reflected in GDP per capita? Am I correct to suspect that if the per capita growth rate is less than the GDP rate the money must be going somewhere other than being distributed among the population? After more than a modicum or research, I could only find one chart that shows the relationship of GDP to GDP per capita  from 2006 to 2016 and shows that post financial crisis, the GDP per capita was rising at a rate significantly below GDP. What does that signify? And what about from 2016 to 2018? Well, given that we are in the Trump depression, GDP has fallen dramatically, I not sure it will tell us much. In 2018, GDP per capita was about $62,000. Does this mean in the US the average family of four should take home somewhere around $250,000 per year? No? Where did all that money go? More musings — I need to get out more — Maybe find a job suitable for 80 year-olds — Sitting on a bench most of the day somewhere perhaps.

E.  Giants of History — Burma Richard, 

So Near And Yet So Far — Part II:

Pasted Graphic

The following is Part II of a story about my dear friend Richard Diran’s trip to find the sacred lake of the Wa peoples who lived in the remote area along the China-Burma border. You can find additional stories, artworks, and photographs at Richards two blog sites, http://www.diranart.com/ and http://www.burma-richard.org/.
Andrew and I hope to find the ancient lake from which the Wa people believe they crawled out of as the first people on earth, formed as tadpoles. The lake is on top of an 8,000-foot mountain which may originate from an underground spring. The lake, Nawng Hkeo is across the border in Burma and there should be a large river flowing down the side. From Ximeng we will go northwest to Shin Chang where according to our maps, one from the U.S defense department, with large swaths of landmarked, “relief data incomplete” and another world war 2 maps from 1943 on silk, there seems to be a trail into Burma.
Up and down the trails are spiderwebs glistening with the morning dew. In the market of Ximeng, we bought blankets to warm ourselves on the slopes. Young Wa soldiers, kids really in green fatigues have the rising sun of the Uwsa, the United Wa State army stitched on their shoulders. Dogs prowl the streets faithfully waiting to be eaten by their masters. We have learned how to say I don’t eat dog in Chinese. The Wa are dirt poor and having a key worn around the neck is a treasure because it means you have something to lock up.
I woke up and something had apparently bit me under my ear as it swelled up but there was no pain and the lymph seems to be normal. By noon it seemed to be all right. The bus to Shin Chang was completely full of people and huge bags of produce. We paid two people to get off the bus so that we had seats. Until the minute we left, we were struggling to learn Chinese phrases. On the bus we began to practice some Wa language with the Wa people copied from sir George Scott’s journals from the turn of the century. Surprisingly most of the words were still understandable. Andrew has an uncanny grasp of language.
We passed through mountains of perfectly formed conical conifers like Christmas trees on winding switchbacks until the road abruptly ended at a massive landslide, cutting a gorge more than 300 feet across, washing the road away completely. Stones were laid into the mud traversing the crevasse and everyone on the bus as well as all the vegetable and Lancang beer was carried across to the other side. Another bus was waiting, and after another hour we arrived at Shin Chang where the entire length of paved road was 100 feet long and ended at a beer shop. “niplai” is the Wa word for “cheers”.
The mountains rise dramatically shredding the clouds, and a waterfall in the distance must be well over 100 feet. Temperatures rise and fall more than 20 degrees f in minutes, baking hot then the fog rolls in like bales of thick cotton turning everything into mere shadows. To the west we can see Burma, and to the north is the village which we will hike to tomorrow if we can get the two hardy Wa guides we have asked for. That village is dai gu la or kola on some maps, a Wa village. I am sure that there have been very few foreigners in these hills for many years. In fact this area of Yunnan was only officially opened last year. This is China with the kids in the red scarves of the young pioneers. In these seemingly endless hills and mountains, there are only four or five lights to the north and a few more to the west. We are at the edge of civilization. Chinese tentacles reach through the whole of China, we hope it will be different in Burma.
We woke up in Shin Chang at the Wa headman’s cement house. My sty was like a potato blocking the vision in my camera lens eye, but it was ripe and I popped it, mopped up the puss, and slathered the eyelid in antibiotic. We got two strong Wa porters and headed out for the march. The rice fields were framed in ferns and the trail was a combination of slippery mud, buffalo shit, and warm water, and ideal combination for the dozens of varieties of butterfly. Some were spotted green velvet with turquoise so bright it made my eyes water. Others vermillion with serrated wings lined with black, white, and pink.
A few hours’ walk from Shin Chang we reached a Chinese border post where the authorities in green uniforms and red epaulets dotted with brass stars said we could not go on. Across the trail was a bamboo barricade painted yellow and black. It was the ideal vantage point over a huge expanse of the valley up the slope to dai gu la. After looking at our passports, and ascertaining that we had not crossed into China from Burma, the big boss said that we could continue for one day. I said that it was not enough so he offered us two. I asked him for three, and before answering said many times that we must not go into Mien Tien, Chinese for Burma. We lied and said that we wouldn’t.
After about an hour and a half more we reached Dai Gu La village and rested. The mountains are unrelenting rising straight up, crisscrossed with streams. A few more hours walk brought us to Yung Gwang, the end of the trail. Apparently, the guards at that checkpoint had notified the police here in Yung Gwang and they met us at the entrance of the village. Telephone and electric lines extend everywhere in china to the furthest outpost, unlike Burma where communications in outlying areas is nonexistent.
There are Wa houses with thatched roofs which extend high up and all the way down, nearly touching the ground. You have to stoop low to get inside. Andrew was met at the doorway by a very bored cow. There are a few old Wa women with silver hoops in their ears, wearing hand-loomed red striped skirts, and the lacquered black leggings holding up strips of cloth to protect their legs from leeches and sharp elephant grass. Their skin is like creased dark hardwood.
There is only one trail into Yung Gwang made probably by the retreating K.M.T nationalist army who escaped into Burma at the end of their war in 1949. There is no place to hide. The guards told our porters whom we had already paid for the day the exorbitant price of 130 yuan each, or $15, not to take us as they had agreed to Burma and the mountain with the sacred lake which we could see in the distance. The porters left frightened. Here we are miles from the last bit of civilization where the trail ends, left with our heavy packs, my camera bag, and no fucking porters.
To the north is Burma. To the west is Burma. In the distance, we can hear mortar fire at what we don’t know. The police that ordered our porters out of here had better get us, new porters, to get out of this place because there is no way I can hump my crap down this mountain. We are disappointed but not yet defeated.
We were given a small room like a jail cell with open doors. There is no way to disappear, no way to head west into the mountains of Burma. Above the door is a huge spider and there is a beetle flying around the room that sounds like a b-52. Andrew and i are together and the room is lit with our candles. We eat trail mix, instant noodles, and are about halfway through the moldy french salami which is as big as a canoe, weighs a ton, and has been a joke from the very beginning. It is wrapped in plastic bags from every hotel we have stayed in and is a history of our trip thus far. Still, it stinks. I think that I’ll never eat salami again, I’m sick of the shit.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Class: ‘Old money’ meant that it had been made so long ago that the black deeds that had originally filled the coffers were now historically irrelevant. Funny, that; a brigand for a father was something you kept quiet about, but a slave-taking pirate for a great-great-great-grandfather was something to boast of over the port. Time turned the evil bastards into rogues, and rogue was a word with a twinkle in its eye and nothing to be ashamed of.” 
Terry Pratchett, Making Money
Categories: April through June 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Jo-Jo 0009. (May 24, 2020)

“Whenever I hear people talk about white superiority, I have to pause and think back on some of the white people I’ve known. It’s a depressing moment.”
Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 183). Simon & Schuster.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES DURING THE GREAT PANDEMIC OF 2020:

 

 

Of course, during confinement, adventures are hard to come by. Unless, they are in our dreams, or in books and media or whatever people can make up to keep themselves sane — or not. Actually, the “not” sounds more adventuresome. One can always, however, find adventure vicariously in someone else’s life or works.

For the last few weeks or so, I found myself rattling around in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. A pleasant enough pastime to avoid spending my time talking to myself. Of course, I talk to Naida and yes, I talk to the dog also — sometimes fairly lengthy conversations. True, it is mostly me doing the talking, but he does look at me with those wet and very understanding eyes, especially when it is getting close to dinner or walk time.

About a week ago, I plunged back into the blogs written by my dear friend Richard Diran or as he is sometimes referred to, Burma Richard. I found things there I had not noticed before. So, for the next week or two, I expect I will become somewhat fixated on him and his works.

Pasted Graphic

 

 

The weather in the Great Valley has cooled considerably in the last few days — from the sweltering mid-90s to the brisk sixties. One day, a little after one o’clock, tiring of staring at the cloudy sky, and having little to do but finish a bowl of leftover pesto gnocchi for lunch, I decided to check my Facebook posts. In response to a collage of photographs of Trumpsters haunting the White House bearing the title “When he goes, they go too” that I had shared, Neal the Fish-Man replied:

“I’d like to see Eric locked up with that guy who beat up Jeffrey Epstein in prison the day before he killed himself. Miller should be burned at the stake. The rest of them should just be thrown off cliffs.”

 

That made my day.

This morning I had a Zoom conference with another doctor at UCSF about the potentially cancerous nodule discovered a few weeks ago in my lung. He confirmed the opinion of my oncologist that, although it may well be cancerous, it is too small and poorly placed to be biopsied. He did add that, in his opinion, it was of the slow-growing kind and would review it again after my next CT scan in three months. Meanwhile, he said he will confer with the surgeons about the viability of an operation to remove it.

Today Naida and I spent some time in the yard examining bugs. Actually one bug in particular. Naida discovered it crawling among the roses and wanted to know if it was a good bug or a bad bug. After some research on the internet, we decided it was a good bug and so she allowed it to live. So goes another exciting day in this age of self-quarantine.

So, the days wander by, I do not remember how many. I am tired of writing about the nothing during this season of our self-quarantine. I decided to go back to reading all day. I have collected a bunch of the silliest books I could find and nestled down to read them. Outside of that, I do not remember what we did, so as far as I am concerned whatever it was it does not exist.

Ok — I will break from my self-imposed silence to mention that last night while preparing for bed a tune was going through my mind but the only words that rattled through my head were “strawberry jam,” “Casey,” and a band playing. I asked Naida, who is a walking encyclopedia of music, what the actual lyrics were. She immediately sang out:

Casey would waltz with a strawberry blonde
And the band played on.
He’d glide ‘cross the floor with the girl he adored
And the band played on.
But his brain was so loaded it nearly exploded;
The poor girl would shake with alarm.
He’d ne’er leave the girl with the strawberry curls
And the band played on.

When she finished, I asked, “Was that before or after the game or did he strike out with the strawberry blond?” (For those under 70, this no doubt means nothing to you. For those over 70 it probably leaves you with an upset stomach.)

Speaking of upset stomachs more or less, the next morning both Naida and I woke up with massive attacks of diarrhea. I reasoned that there could be three causes for this — first embarrassment over our colloquy of the previous evening; second the onset of coronavirus; and third, the most likely, the effects of the fresh elderberry pancakes we ate that evening made from the elderberry flowers we picked on our walk along the American River yesterday. I also seem to have lost my smart-phone. All in all, I am having a thoroughly horrible morning and that’s not even including the dreadful dreams that kept me awake most of the night. Sharks — they were about sharks — everywhere. Why sharks? There are no sharks in the Enchanted Forest. Perhaps elderberry flowers beside their laxative powers were also hallucinogenic. Sharks — they were all over the place — coming through the windows, up the pipes, through the new floor — ugh…

IMG_1536

The Elderberry Flowers

 

 

Today, a few days after I wrote the previous paragraph, my telephone showed up. I had searched for it using a find-your-phone app. The app indicated the phone was in a house a few doors away from ours. After two days of leaving notes and banging on doors with no response, I decided to explore the possibility that the app had identified the wrong house. So, guessing that the phone may be located in the same area of our house as the neighbor’s, I searched that area again — first in our downstairs with great vigor — to no avail. I went upstairs to the bedroom where the app showed that the phone lay on our bed about where the dog places his nose whenever he crawls under the covers at night. We had torn the bed apart previously but apparently not this tiny spot and sure enough there it was. I decided to forgo wrestling with the many questions and recriminations that passed through my mind and be happy in a melancholy sort of way.

Today, Naida discovered a spider that eats the bug that eats the mites that eat her roses. Somewhere there is a nursery rhyme in this. In was also the morning the garbage trucks and the leaf blowers came around the neighborhood. Boo-boo the Barking Dog doing what he does best — barked.

I drove into the Golden Hills to check up on HRM and the Scooter Gang. Tyson one of the original members is moving to Roseville. Kaleb, the youngest and most troubled is much happier because his older brother who bullied him has moved out. Of course HRM and Jake seem to float about happily in their automobile obsessions. I am pleased.

Today begins the Memorial Day weekend. We have no plans. I know I will take a lot of naps. I will walk the dog several times, watch the news and several movies on TV, read at least two novels, visit HRM once, look up something odd on the internet, and fall asleep on the chair in the garden one sunny afternoon. Life is full of surprises. Like this evening. We watched cartoon fairy tales.

That night in bed, N and I hugged and sang a bit of “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby” to each other and then fell asleep.

Take care. Keep on social distancing. And don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 
I was living in Chiang Mai Thailand during the early part of 2010 when I wrote the following:

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 6, 2010

It is hot. Chiang Mai has shared in the heatwave that has struck Southeast Asia for the last week or two. Although the mornings and evenings continue to enjoy wonderful spring-like temperatures, mid-day temperatures approach 100 degrees. Ordinarily, that temperature would drive me indoors, however, the Sala that I sit in writing this remains very pleasant. Other parts of Southeast Asia are hitting temperatures of 110 degrees or more. It all appears to reflect the regional differentiation in climate produced by the general global warming. The decade just past has been the warmest and driest on record, consistent with the temperature reports for the globe as a whole. The climate models I have reviewed predict that this trend of warmer and drier weather for Southeast Asia will continue into the foreseeable future. We have already seen the climate of the Northeast portion of Thailand, the country’s poorest, change from semi-tropical to semi-arid during the past decade or so. Given that the ASEAN nations of Southeast Asia contain a population of 600 million almost twice that of Europe and their lack of modern infrastructure, I expect we will see significant population movements regionally in the next decade.

For the past week, I have been forced to forgo my normal writing schedule (emails, novels, journals) and succumb to pressure to complete a number of children’s stories by next week when Hayden returns from Bangkok. I got started on this because I ran out of children’s books to read to Hayden at bedtime. When my daughter Jessica was a child, at bedtime I would make up stories to tell her. Unfortunately, long before the story was finished, much to her dismay and amusement. I would fall asleep. In order to avoid inflicting that trauma on another child, I decided to write down the stories so that we can read them together. I chose to use Google Images to illustrate the stories with cartoons and photographs to add interest. Once it got out that I was doing this I began to receive demands and deadlines to produce new stories, not from Hayden or other children who couldn’t care less, but from their parents. I am under the gun to finish one of the stories by Thursday of this week for parental review.

One group of stories is a series of detective tales staring Hayden and his stuffed animal friends “Snaky the Snake”, “Buddy the Bear,” “Whitey the White Tiger” and other creatures of his bedroom menagerie. Also appearing in the stories are some of the creatures living in the gardens and empty lots around the house. They include “Feral Kitty (one of the feral cat pack that lives in the lot next door), “Boo-blue bird”, “Francis the Fraidy Frog”, “Clarence the Cross-eyed” the king of the cobra’s living in the lot next door (yes, we have cobras as neighbors in the lot that I have dubbed the “Wild-lands”) and in Bangkok “Ratty the Great, King of the Rats, the 10347th of his Line” and others. The humans in the story include me “Pookie the Old,” Nikki the Pilot” and “Pi Nuan.” Pi Nuan is the name of the maid and is usually the heroine of the adventures while Nikki and Pookie prove to be pompous and mostly useless. In addition to the Prologue, the first three tales are, “The Case of the Missing Breakfast,” “The case of the Monster of the Wild-lands” and the Case of Close Encounters of the Rat Kind”. The latter I have to finish by Thursday or suffer the consequences.

Apparently, I wrote an entire book of fairy tales. I do not remember this. Some of the titles I recognize, but I cannot recall any of the stories. This makes me sad.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

 

1805. A Viennese man, Johann George Lehner, invents the Frankfurter.

 

(That’s funny, I always thought his name was Nathan and he lived on Coney Island.)

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Terry on Top:

 
On May 11, Terry sent the following email:

THE END IS COMING! The poll numbers are terrible. Trump’s campaign manager is going to be sued by Trump because he bought a Ferrari with what he made off the campaign and the rats are leaving the ship. Nobody is waiting for November, they are finding horses to ride in 2024. And the Senators have panicked! The question is what exit do they run for if the ship is half sunk.

“Trump’s Feeling Is, ‘Why Are We Losing Everywhere?’”: With Advisers Feuding and Numbers Plummeting, Trump Eyes Campaign Shake-up. Brad Parscale (and his Ferrari) is in the hot seat. Kushner is pushing for Nick Ayers, and against a Corey Lewandowski return. But whose fault are the disastrous swing state numbers?
Vanity Fair

 

A few hours later he followed it up with:

Yes, it is. But it’s a long way to November and a lot more people are going to die, the economy is not going to recover until there is a vaccine, even if Biden takes over. It’s going to be a long five years. It took FDR 8 years and a world war to get out of the depression. Perhaps a liberal majority in Congress will act faster than FDR’s Congress that was limited by the Southern Democrats. They no longer exist. They are red state republicans right now. Same right-wing philosophy.

But it will take getting rid of the filibuster and adding two justices to the SCOTUS to get the real Second New Deal. And that’s the only thing that will work. Something profound has happened. The country has been set back and brought to its knees. Blame is a waste of energy. Read Schlesinger’s Age of Roosevelt (Three Volumes) to see how we did it before. It was messy but effective. Roosevelt said when he came to office: “ If I don’t succeed I’ll be the last President of the US”. A left-wing dictator is not out of the question. Think AOC. And she ( or someone with similar Populist charisma could pull it off in 4-8 years). So we Democrat’s better do it right, no hold barred.

 

While I agree with most of what Terry writes here, I still cannot ignore my suspicion that the Trump administration is actively planning to find a way to avoid the election or, if it is held and goes against him, invalidate it. This would not be the first time in history that great empires have crumbled seemingly overnight nor would it be the first time that the light of democracy has been put out by a wealthy psychopath.

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
One should not confuse a mistaken belief with general incredulity.

 
(I cannot figure out what this means. Either old Trenz has gone a bit batty or he has recently been reading the works of some obscure Nineteenth-Century German philosopher.)

 

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 

 

An Untitled Poem
As you watch the sand of your life
sift through the funnel of fate,
will you turn to your mirror and ask
“Is there time still, or am I too late?”

Have I done all the things that I love,
or only those things that I hate?
Do I know the value of life,
or only the hourly rate?

Could the money I traded for time
compensate for what I had lost?
Oh, if only I’d known then, what I know now:
the sunshine not only the frost.

The rich and the poor share one fact
when the time of your life unfulfilled,
falls through the funnel to black.
Not one grain can be sucked through time’s hole, not one
grain can ever come back.
Burma Richard (Richard Diran)

 

D. Peter Responds:

 

 

In the previous issue of T&T I wrote:

“I discovered the following quote in Wikipedia while looking for something else. It is one of life’s great conundrums that whenever you look for something, you inevitably discover something else more attractive but far less useful than that for which you were originally looking. Anyway, I have posted what I found here in the hope that Peter, who studied and received advanced degrees in philosophy from one of the world’s great Universities, and sometimes reads my postings, could unravel the meaning and significance of it as well as the conundrum I mention above.”

 

To which Peter kindly responded:

 

“It seems You found the following quote ‘more attractive but far less useful than that for which you were originally looking.’ So, two things of concern: (a) re: unraveling the meaning and significance of the quote, and (b) unraveling the meaning and significance of the conundrum. Regarding (a), epistemic refers to knowledge; epistemology concerns how we know what we know. An ontic state “is precisely the way it is,” describes reality without reference to epistemic knowledge. Hume showed that causality can’t be proven–stuck it in his desk drawer and went on with life, but reality remains nonetheless—unless you consider that the Buddhist precept that everything is imaginary, under the veil of Maya, in which case the whole thing is moot and there’s nothing left but to say “Om” and chant the Diamond Sutra under the bodhi tree until you achieve moksha in a blaze of enlightenment; and then face (b) the conundrum: shall I become a bodhisattva and return to the world of epistemic and ontic in service to struggling humanity, or remain in the eternal boredom and humorlessness of nirvana? Of course, bodhisattva uber alles, certainly more attractive because it’s where the action is, if less useful than wallowing in the eternal salubrious idleness of moksha.

“The above stuff is why my philosophy dept. chairperson, the esteemed George Geiger, a former student of John Dewey and distinguished humanist, reluctantly acquiesced in allowing me to get my 30 credits so I could graduate, especially after I submitted my senior thesis entitled ‘The Mythological Basis of Swedenborg’s Cosmology.’”

Om……………”

 
Thank you, Peter, for clearing things up and to all you Swedenborgians out there Om… to you too.

 

 

 

E. Giants of History: More Burma Richard.

 

 

In addition to his ethnographic activities, gem trading, and other adventures, Burma Richard also visited some of the more spectacular sites in Myramar and recording them in his blog (Here). The following tells of his visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda.

images

The Shwe Dagon Pagoda
Objects that have been donated for centuries fill one room. Jewel encrusted scabbards, solid gold Buddha’s, silver Buddha’s set with rubies, and lacquered gold prayer books. In an adjoining room where racks of women’s hair hang, some are four or five feet in length and still glisten. I was told that those too poor to give anything of worldly value, had their hair cut off as a sign of deep faith and humility. I held the hair in my hands and the consistency differed from thick to thin, and the color from brownish to deep black. Some hair was straight, some wavy, but it was very eerie, fingering the hair of the dead.

As I walked along speechless at the enormity of it all, I noticed small cubicles dedicated to the day of the week with worshipers burning incense. If you ask someone from the west when they were born, they will answer you such and such a day in that month in the year of our lord. If you ask a Burman when they were born, they will reply, Monday or Friday or whatever day of the week that they came into the world. The Burmese week has eight days, Wednesday being divided in half, each day represented by a different animal. Wednesday morning is an elephant with tusks and Wednesday evening is an elephant without tusks. My birthday is Thursday which is represented by a rat.
Burma Richard (Richard Diran)

 

(For those who wish to know, I was born on Sunday. In the Burmese Zodiac, my animal is Garuda (mythical bird, Hindu/Buddhist bird deity)


Ruling Planet: Sun
Ruling Direction: Northeast
Personality/Attributes of the Garuda:
Kind, generous
Overly gracious
Challenge willing taker
The tougher the obstacle the more motivated you are
Energetic, optimistic, motivative to others)

download-4

F. Tales From the Old Sailor, Deep Sea Diver, Pirate, Treasure Hunter, and Many Other Things:

 

 

Every so often I receive communications through various channels from my dear friend, The Old Sailor, etc. Those communications include fascinating collections of oddities including photos, videos, items from the black net, natural remedies for maladies you never thought you had, and many other things. Among them are short bits of writing that I sometimes pass on through T&T.  I am not sure how to characterize the following that he recently sent me — tales, poetry, ravings, hallucinogenic dreams, confessions, mini-memoirs, or transmission from another dimension — nevertheless, here they are…
Introduction:
I. Am. A. Burned
Out. Half_ass
Driver….going to.
the. Elephant.
Graveyard .. titudvilla
One:
He   was  from    “”Malta…””
…I   was   in the   Carousel  bar   When   Crazy  Carl  ..showed   Me  his  (( Deportation Papers ))  
…While  we  were there    the   Marshall-s came to get him For Deportation  to -Malta .
== for trying to sell a  Machine  gun to an  F.B.I
   Agent.
. ** the stories never end….around  1970  s . 
Two:
CARL was also busted on sailboat
.@…on-aboard was 6Tons  of
dope…Carl told
the Judge..that he
didm’t know’’’’it
was on —
board….THERE
WAS SO MUCH 
DOPE   COULD NOT
GO
BELOW…..=HE
GOT     2 YEARS…
Three:
one time we had
stolen a tug boat
from the Miami
river..(((The Tug
was already stolen
FROM CUBA)))at
night then we stole
fuel..from a
barge…then we
went to
Jamaica…..and
smoked
dope….with pat
Four:
Dirty Roy  said i can
have the DEAD
FRENCH guys 30 ft
boat ((.in French
St. Martin….)))),,,,,,,
,,,…throw the dead
guy over the
side. ..>>>the boat
is mine >>>>must
do soon he is getting
pretty.   Ripe
Five:
There are lessons to
be learned from a
Stupid man
Fuck up work is
never done
(donur)
==donuts=====
(d)(o)(n)(u)(t)S…
,,,,,,@. and
COFFIE  3AM
SiX:
*ERK = BKK.
HERE  @.NOW IM
TITUSVILLE.FL
**(come and
visit…perhaps pick
u up in Orlando))
— Rocketships
blast—off  every
month or
so….interesting..*

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“WHAT IS THE BIGGEST SOURCE OF DANGER for any organism? Predators? Natural disasters? Fellow organisms of the same species, who constitute the most direct competition for everything? Sibling rivals, who compete even in the same family, the same nest? No. The biggest danger is the future. If you’ve survived until now, then your past and present offer no dangers, or at least no new dangers.”
          Pratchett, Terry. The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.  

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

13

R. Crumb.

 

Categories: April through June 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Capt. Coast 0009. (May 9, 2020)

 

“By the logic of the free-market theorists, shouldn’t religious exemptions from U.S. taxes—state subsidy by other means—breed complacency and laziness among the leaders of every American church?”
Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 292). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, George.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES DURING THE PANDEMIC:

 

 

I returned from my one-day trip to UCSF in the Big Endive by the Bay for my immunotherapy infusion. As soon I entered the house from the garage and placed my hat in the closet, the front door opened and Naida entered with the dog in tow. They obviously were returning from a walk. She was holding in one hand something that looked like weeds —sprays of tiny white flowers radiating from a pale green stalk. “Welcome back,” she exclaimed. “Guess what I have?”

“It looks like hemlock.”

“No,” she laughed. “They are elderberry flowers. I picked them from the bushes by the river. The early California pioneers used to dip them in pancake batter and fry them. It is supposed to be very good.” And so, she flounced off into the kitchen and whipped up two elderberry pancakes. They were very tasty.

Two of three days after I wrote the entry above and not related to it, I felt sick. I checked for coronavirus symptoms — no fever, cough, or difficulty breathing but slight chills, headache, upset stomach, and fairly intense fatigue. I spent most of the day in bed. It could be simply a more severe than usual reaction to my immunotherapy infusion due to the doubling of the dosage at my last appointment. Or, it could be just another episode of my hypochondria. Time will tell.

I got up in the late afternoon still feeling terrible — sat in my recliner, ate a lunch of bread pudding with raisins (I’m not kidding), and instead of returning to bed, I watched “Singing in the Rain” for the umpteenth time. Still great.

I was still feeling bad, so I prepared to go back up to bed. The next movie on TCM, however, was Francis the Talking Mule starring Donald O’Connor. So, I decided to stay up and see it. Wouldn’t you?

After the movie, I was feeling a bit better but I felt as though I had a fever. I asked Naida to find the thermometer from where she left it so that I could take my temperature. She found it. Unfortunately, we had no alcohol with which to clean it so she took the bottle of Limoncello I had just purchased and plunged the thermometer into it. I had not known how pleasant taking one’s temperature could be (Of course, it was under my tongue.) Finding myself happier after sucking on a Limoncello flavored thermometer, I stayed up and watched “Fallen Angel” a noir film from 1945 directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, and Alice Faye. Good movie.

The next morning, I woke up feeling much better (the Limoncello?) I decided to visit HRM, But before I go, a few words about hypochondria.

 

B. A FEW WORDS ABOUT HYPOCHONDRIA:

 

 

I often make fun of my relatively slight case of hypochondria, but for many, it may be a rather serious mental health disorder. Being a hypochondriac and experiencing health anxiety can be debilitating. It can severely affect the lives of the people who suffer from it. “A person with health anxiety often may have gone through a serious illness and fear that their bad experience may be repeated. They may be going through major life stress or have had a serious illness during childhood.” (As a child, I had repeated hospitalizations for pneumonia — virtually every winter from when I was about 7 until I was 14).

To those suffering severe episodes of this disorder, I apologize for making light of it. Nevertheless, according to the literature hypochondriac symptoms may include:

· Regularly checking oneself for any sign of illness.

(I do this, especially at night when I am trying to get to sleep.)

· Fearing that anything from a runny nose to a gurgle in their gut is the sign of a serious illness.

(Me too — a gurgling gut also keeps me awake. Doesn’t it do that to you too?)

· Making frequent visits to their doctor.

(I do. I love going to the doctor. Lots of shiny things to look at and also they, the doctors and nurses, really do try to make you believe they care.)

· Conversely, avoiding the doctor due to fear that the doctor will find they have a dreaded disease or serious illness.

(Not me. As I said, I love doctor visits.)

· Talking excessively about my health.

(Just read my previous T&T posts — I manage to mention the state of my health in just about every post.)

· Spending a lot of time online, researching their symptoms.

(I do this. Where else would I find the statements in italics I have included here?)

· May focus on just one thing: a certain disease (example: cancer) or a certain body part (example: the lungs if they cough). Or, they may fear any disease or might become focused on a trending disease (example: during flu season, they may be convinced that a sniffle means they’re coming down with the flu).

(My focus over the years may change, but I generally concentrate on one imagined disease at a time — I am not an Omni-hypochondriac).

· Are unconvinced that their negative medical tests are correct, then worry that they have something undiagnosed and that no one will be able to find it and cure them.

(All the time. Just today I read in the report of my most recent CT scan:

Redemonstration of tubular low density 10 mm structure in the right lower lobe tracks along the bronchovascular bundle unchanged over multiple prior studies. Previously seen groundglass nodule in the left lower lobe measuring 5 mm now appears to be entirely solid rather than groundglass (series 2, image 196).

 

If groundglass in your lung doesn’t concern you, nothing will. What frightens me most, however, is that I cannot understand what they are talking about. I mean, solid rather than goundglass should be a good thing, no?)

· Avoiding people or places they fear may cause them to get sick.

(I do. I even cross the street when walking past a hospital.)

On the other hand, the opposite of hypochondria is anosognosia a symptom of severe mental illness experienced by some that impairs a person’s ability to understand and perceive his or her illness. Now that is serious. Don’t be an anosogniac.

 

 

C. OFF TO THE GOLDEN HILLS:

 

 

 

Anyway, I drove off into the Golden Hills in the Mitsubishi to visit HRM. He and Jake washed the car and then, as teenage boys do, put their heads under the hood and practiced car-talk for a while.
IMG_E8262_2

 

HRM and I also stopped by the little lake where I used to watch HRM fishing when he was younger. We reminisced about this and other things as we strolled around the ponds. I one point he said, “You know something? I never caught anything.”

We also watched some geese and ducks shepherd their goslings and ducklings on the grass by the water.
IMG_8243    IMG_8244

 

Back at HRM’s house, while the teens were occupied with the Mitsubishi, I took the time to examine the new landscaping they were all busily installing this last week or two.

IMG_8237.   IMG_8235

IMG_8242

 

 

D. BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

IMG_8258
Another view of the Enchanted Forest.

 
After my return to the house in the Enchanted Forest, Naida spent much of the evening entertaining me with stories about the two goats she owned when she and Bill lived on the ranch by the Cosumnes River. Her original intention was to have the goats eat the unwanted invasive vegetation in the horse pastures. In fact, they named them Black and Decker because they were supposed to remove the weeds. Although it did not work out quite as she planned, and, if her stories are to be believed, they were more trouble than helpful, she nevertheless loved the goats until they passed away leaving her sad but with a lot of funny stories. One of them has her chasing the escaped Decker across the golf course fairways that bordered the ranch and urging the surprised golfers to join her in the pursuit.

IMG_8265 - Version 2

Naida with Black — Decker hides in the shadows.

 

 
A day or so later, Naida and I decided to take the dog and spend the afternoon on the banks of the American River. The river is separated from the Enchanted Forest where we live by a fifty-foot high levee. In the bottomland between the levee and the river, bike and hiking trails snake through cottonwood, black oak, and elderberry woodlands. Arriving at the edge of the river, we put down a yoga mat to sit on, watched some people fishing from boats, and eventually fell asleep.
IMG_8267

 
This week seems longer than most. In addition to my frequent naps, and watching the political punditry and old movies on TV, I spend the afternoons dozing in my chair in the garden, like an old man waiting for sundown. Perhaps tomorrow I will do something odd and unusual, perhaps even a new adventure, but right now I wonder why I would want to. At my age, naps and afternoons dozing in the sun seems to be as good as it gets.

I almost forgot, we still have our evening walks through the Enchanted Forest. They are nice too.

IMG_8232

Naida and Boo-boo the Barking Dog on one of the paths near our home in the Enchanted Forest.

 

 
Today the sameness of the day was broken with a FaceTime call with Peter and Barrie. There was a lot of talk about dogs, music, food (marzipan), and toilet paper.

One day. I dove back into the Golden Hills to do a little shopping. I also picked up some medicines and visited HRM. The crew at Dick’s house remains in their landscaping frenzy. SWAC has Dick, Adrian, Bob the Handyman and HRM working every day for the past week or so buying plants and trees (hundreds) at the nursery, hauling them home, planting them, installing the drip irrigation, transporting rocks and masonry and building the paths, terraces, and rock gardens. It all seems a bit mad.
IMG_8271
Hayden by one of the several new rock gardens.

 
I do not recall much of the past few days because I have felt, ill, listless, and irritable in the 90-degree heat and have taken to spending much of my time in bed — what else is new.

th

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 
I began writing, “This and that…” 10 years ago when I moved from the US to Thailand. It was not called “This and that from re Thai r ment” then. That happened almost a year later when my good friend Irwin Schatzman suggested I name it that. Irwin also suggested “3Th,” but I no longer remember what that means. About eight years ago, my beloved “cuzin” died, a victim of cancer.

I moved into a house in Chiang Mai I built but no longer owned in order to take care of Hayden who was four at the time.

My original purpose in writing what became T&T was to make it more efficient to keep in touch with my friends and relatives back in the US by writing a single email rather than separate ones to each. I also wanted to begin keeping a journal about my exile. I had tried to keep a diary many times in my past but would soon lose my resolve and abandon it. For a while, I kept the journal separate from my letter but I thought by combining my journal with that letter I would feel obligated to keep on writing it and it also would be more efficient and less work for me.

Here is my first post from Chiang Mai and the associated journal:

My first full day in Chiang Mai. The house that I had built, for those of you who have seen it, is in pretty good shape. The landscaping has grown in well.

This morning I walked Hayden to school. As befits the dawdling scholar, he took absolutely the longest way possible, stopping to examine every hole in the ground, viewing from both sides each muddy mosquito-infested canal that passed under the road and insisting on discussing the wonders of each thing he investigated.

Joe…

PS: Below are photographs of the grounds of the house and of Hayden and I clowning around. I apologize for the mawkishness of this e-mail. I am composing it at the local coffee shop that I realize may, in part, circumscribe my life here.

photo-on-2010-01-19-at-13-12
My home in Chiang Mai Thailand.
photo-on-2010-01-18-at-17-24-31
Haden and I horsing around.
——————————————————————-

FROM MY JOURNAL: January 19, 2010

Walked Hayden to school this morning. He said he knew the way since I did not. It was a boy’s map, full of turns to visit points of interest (friends houses and residences of selected and named canines). We also explored any interesting holes in the ground and had several discussions about my walking stick among other similarly engaging and important topics. We stopped at all of the muddy weed-choked and mosquito-infested canals that crossed beneath the road on which we walked, first to one side and then the other searching for ways to get down to the water (me of course counseling against it).

A car stopped driven by a woman who I believe lives in the house across the road from ours. She offered us a ride and over Hayden’s objection, I accepted.

At Haden’s school, “Sunshine Kindergarten” we were met at the gate by an attractive young Thai woman. And of course, even in my dotage, I preened.

The school contains the main building and several small attractive adobe like outbuildings.

photo-on-2010-02-05-at-08-06-2

The entrance to “Sunshine Kindergarten.”

 
After seeing him off, I searched for the cafe in order to have a latte. At first, I went in the wrong direction but retraced my steps and found it. I ordered a cafe latte and an orange juice and played with my computer answering some emails and trying to set up my calendar.

I left the cafe. As I walked towards home I passed a group of buildings that I recalled were either a school or the subdivision office but were now mostly derelict. One building in good repair contained a restaurant. I went in and ordered pad thai and an iced tea. Mediocre. The other customers were Europeans of whom there is a lot living in the subdivision. I left and slowly walked home.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. On Top: A Few Brief and at Times Amusing Essays for Understanding Some Basic Science with Which to While-Away Your Time During Self-Confinement (continued) Part IV.

 

 

Part IV

 

ENTROPY, THERMODYNAMICS, AND THE UNIVERSE.

 

There is another puzzle associated with entropy in our universe.

Astronomical observations do not fit well with the Second Law. On cosmological scales, our universe seems to have become more complex with the passage of time, not less complex. The matter in the universe started out in the Big Bang with a very smooth distribution and has become more and more clumpy – more and more complex – with the passage of time. The entropy of the universe seems to have decreased considerably, not increased. Matter is now segregated on a huge range of scales: into rocks, asteroids, planets, stars, galaxies, galactic clusters, galactic superclusters, and so on. Using the same metaphor as in thermodynamics, the distribution of matter in the universe seems to be maturing increasingly ordered. This is puzzling since the Second Law tells us that a thermodynamic system should become increasingly disordered.

The cause of this clumping seems to be well established: it is gravity. A second time-reversibility paradox now rears its head. Einstein’s field equations for gravitational systems are time-reversible. This means that if any solution of Einstein’s field equations is time-reversed, it becomes an equally valid solution. Our own universe, run backward in this manner, becomes a gravitational system that gets less and less clumpy as time passes – so getting less clumpy is just as valid, physically, as getting more clumpy. Our universe, though, does only one of these things: more clumpy.

Paul Davies’s view here is that ‘as with all arrows of time, there is a puzzle about where the asymmetry comes in … The asymmetry must, therefore, be traced to initial conditions’. What he means here is that even with time-reversible laws, you can get different behavior by starting the system in a different way. If you start with an egg and stir it with a fork, then it scrambles. If you start with the scrambled egg and very very carefully give each tiny particle of egg exactly the right push along precisely the opposite trajectory, then it will unscramble. The difference lies entirely in the initial state, not in the laws. Notice that ‘stir with a fork’ is a very general kind of initial condition: lots of different ways to stir will scramble the egg. In contrast, the initial condition for unscrambling an egg is extremely delicate and special.

In a way, this is an attractive option. Our clumping universe is like an unscrambling egg: its increasing complexity is a consequence of very special initial conditions. Most ‘ordinary’ initial conditions would lead to a universe that isn’t clumped – just as any reasonable kind of stirring leads to a scrambled egg. And observations strongly suggest that the universe’s initial conditions at the time of the Big Bang were extremely smooth, whereas any ‘ordinary’ state of a gravitational system presumably should be clumped. So, in agreement with the suggestion just outlined, it seems that the initial conditions of the universe must have been very special – an attractive proposition for those who believe that our universe is highly unusual, and ditto for our place within it.

From the Second Law to God in one easy step. Roger Penrose has even quantified how special this initial state is, by comparing the thermodynamic entropy of the initial state with that of a hypothetical but plausible final state in which the universe has become a system of Black Holes. This final state shows an extreme degree of clumpiness – though not the ultimate degree, which would be a single giant Black Hole.

The result is that the entropy of the initial state is about 10-30 times that of the hypothetical final state, making it extremely special. So special, in fact, that Penrose was led to introduce a new time-asymmetric law that forces the early universe to be exceptionally smooth.

Oh, how our stories mislead us … There is another, much more reasonable, explanation. The key point is simple: gravitation is very different from thermodynamics. In a gas of buzzing molecules, the uniform state – equal density everywhere – is stable. Confine all the gas into one small part of a room, let it go, and within a split second, it’s back to a uniform state. Gravity is exactly the opposite: uniform systems of gravitating bodies are unstable. Differences smaller than any specific level of coarse-graining not only can ‘bubble up’ into macroscopic differences as time passes, but do.

Here lies the big difference between gravity and thermodynamics. The thermodynamic model that best fits our universe is one in which differences dissipate by disappearing below the level of coarse-graining as time marches forwards. The gravitic model that best fits our universe is one in which differences amplify by bubbling up from below the level of coarse-graining as time marches forwards. The relation of these two scientific domains to coarse-graining is exactly opposite when the same arrow of time is used for both.

We can now give a completely different, and far more reasonable, explanation for the ‘entropy gap’ between the early and late universes, as observed by Penrose and credited by him to astonishingly unlikely initial conditions.

It is actually an artifact of coarse-graining.

Gravitational clumping bubbles up from a level of coarse-graining to which thermodynamic entropy is, by definition, insensitive. Therefore virtually any initial distribution of matter in the universe would lead to clumping. There’s no need for something extraordinarily special.

The physical differences between gravitating systems and thermodynamic ones are straightforward: gravity is a long-range attractive force, whereas elastic collisions are short-range and repulsive. With such different force laws, it is hardly surprising that the behavior should be so different. As an extreme case, imagine systems where ‘gravity’ is so short range that it has no effect unless particles collide, but then they stick together forever. Increasing clumpiness is obvious for such a force law.
The real universe is both gravitational and thermodynamic. In some contexts, the thermodynamic model is more appropriate and thermodynamics provides a good model. In other contexts, a gravitational model is more appropriate. There are yet other contexts: molecular chemistry involves different types of forces again. It is a mistake to shoehorn all natural phenomena into the thermodynamic approximation or the gravitic approximation. It is especially dubious to expect both thermodynamic and gravitic approximations to work in the same context when the way they respond to coarse-graining is diametrically opposite.

See? It’s simple. Not magical at all …

Perhaps it’s a good idea to sum up our thinking here.

The ‘laws’ of thermodynamics, especially the celebrated Second Law, are statistically valid models of nature in a particular set of contexts. They are not universally valid truths about the universe, as the clumping of gravity demonstrates. It even seems plausible that a suitable measure of gravitational complexity, like thermodynamic entropy but different, might one day be defined – call it ‘gravtropy’, say. Then we might be able to deduce, mathematically, a ‘second law of gravitics’, stating that the gravtropy of a gravitic system increases with time. For example, gravtropy might perhaps be the fractal dimension (‘degree of intricacy’) of the system.

Even though coarse-graining works in opposite ways for these two types of systems, both ‘second laws’ – thermodynamic and gravitic – would correspond rather well to our own universe. The reason is that both laws are formulated to correspond to what we actually observe in our own universe. Nevertheless, despite this apparent concurrence, the two laws would apply to drastically different physical systems: one to gases, the other to systems of particles moving under gravity.

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
Liberals have principles, Conservatives ideology.

 

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 

 

Untitled — Anonymous Australian Aboriginal Poem.
The white man dropped from the sun bright sky,

For he envied the blackfellow’s land,

With greed and revenge in his restless eye,

And disease and death in his hand.

And he grasped the forest, and he seized the strand,

And claimed the blue mountains high;

And he scours the bush with a ruthless band,

’Till its denizens trembling fly —

And his pigs and his cattle pollute the land

’Till it stinks, and the blackfellows die.

Anonymous (source language unnamed), “Untitled,” Bendigo Advertiser (Victoria), September 26, 1855, page 4.

 

 

D. Pookie’s Musings:

 

 
I discovered the following quote on Wikipedia while looking for something else. It is one of life’s great conundrums that whenever you look for something, you inevitably discover something else more attractive but far less useful than that for which you were originally looking. Anyway, I have posted what I found here in the hope that Peter, who studied and received advanced degrees in philosophy from one of the world’s great Universities and sometimes reads my postings, could unravel the meaning and significance of it as well as the conundrum I mention above.

In the philosophy of science, the distinction of knowledge versus reality is termed epistemic versus ontic. A general law is a regularity of outcomes (epistemic), whereas a causal mechanism may regulate the outcomes (ontic). A phenomenon can receive interpretation either ontic or epistemic. For instance, indeterminism may be attributed to limitations of human observation and perception (epistemic), or may be explained as a real existing maybe encoded in the universe (ontic).

After reading the above, I concluded it has one of two meanings. The first has something to do with universal fecundity. After all, of what use is one’s epistemic without an ontic? On the other hand, perhaps it all has to do with the effect of self-quarantine on my mind. Could it all be attributed to its limitations on my observation and perception — a hallucination perhaps? Or, could it be explained as something real, existing, and perhaps encoded in the universe? Is whether anyone cares an epistemic surmise or an ontic reality?

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

The Mayfly and the Great Trout.

“[A]n old mayfly is telling some youngsters about this god, as they hover just above the surface of a stream:

‘… you were telling us about the Great Trout.’ ‘Ah. Yes. Right. The Trout. Well, you see, if you’ve been a good mayfly, zigzagging up and down properly—’ ‘—taking heed of your elders and betters—’

‘— yes, and taking heed of your elders and betters, then eventually the Great Trout—’ Clop. Clop. ‘Yes?’ said one of the younger mayflies. There was no reply.

‘The Great Trout what?’ said another mayfly, nervously. They looked down at a series of expanding concentric rings on the water. ‘The holy sign!’ said a mayfly. ‘I remember being told about that! A Great Circle in the water! Thus shall be the sign of the Great Trout!’
Pratchett, Terry. The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 
IMG_8273
The view from my window at night

Categories: April through June 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Capt. Coast 0009. (April 28, 2020)

 

“Any system can be corrupted as long as people will pretend it’s not their problem.”
Mayne, Andrew. Dark Pattern (The Naturalist) (p. 78).

 

Happy Birthday — Naida, Nikki, and George.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES DURING THE GREAT EPIDEMIC OF 2020:

 
The weather was warm and sunny today, the temperature reaching into the 80s. We decided to go out wander along the edge of the nearby American River. Although we were breaking confinement, we were sure we would not violate social distancing guidelines because usually there were not too many people wandering around there. We walked to our favorite spot on the riverbank. Along the way, Naida, as usual, instructed me on the local flora.

We sat on some dry grass and watched people on the opposite bank launch a boat and the birds taking off and landing on the water. Naida recited a part of a love poem that featured rabid cormorants. She also, for some reason, sung an old Sam Cooke tune:

Every day, along about evening
When the sunlight’s beginning to pale
I ride through the slumbering shadows
Along the Navajo Trail

 

IMG_E8150 - Version 2
The American River by the Enchanted Forest.

 

Before she became an accomplished novelist, Naida obtained a Ph.D. in sociology. Her 1978 thesis, entitled Leadership, and Gender: A Comparative Analysis of Male and Female Leadership in Business, Politics, and Government, She had previously published a book on the early results of her study, Leadership With A Feminine Cast. She interviewed such people as Ivy Baker Priest US Treasurer in the Eisenhower Administration who famously quipped, “I’m often wrong, but never in Doubt”; Ruth Handler of Mattel fame; Jess Unruh the powerful leader of California’s Assembly and over 70 other well known civic and business leaders.

We spent much of the day reading sections from the thesis. It was fascinating for me to learn that an overwhelming majority of these leaders, most of whom were and still are household names, were the children of immigrants or, in the case of African Americans, had migrated from the South. Another consistent element in almost all of their lives was the presence of a strong mother. One female leader commented:

“My grandmother never wanted to come to the United States. She made my grandfather unhappy some of the time. For instance, she wanted to see the Panama Canal. So she left to see it. She said. “If all these kids can’t take care of him, something is wrong (fourteen children) My grandmother went off to more places than you can imagine in those days when traveling was difficult.”

 

What seemed to differ in the lives of the women leaders from the men, other than the resistance of the latter to the aspirations of the former, was that women generally worked harder to get where they were. As for management and leadership skills, the men mostly learned and honed their skills in the military and tended to manage their institutions in a hierarchical top-down manner. The women, on the other hand, generally tried to encourage a feeling of family in their organizations with her as the matriarch. In fact, the woman leaders overwhelmingly reveled in being considered different in how they dressed, behaved, and led. (Note — because women leaders overwhelmingly were the children of immigrants Naida specifically choose male children of immigrant parents to balance it out. She said, in either case, women or children of immigrants [including people of color] had a more difficult time of it than white males [and they were aware of it])

Days have rolled on by with little to comment on other than that the days of our confinement have increased. We have begun losing track of the days of the week, We have been in self-quarantine for about 50 days now — almost 15% of the year.

Interesting — the retirement village not too far from the Enchanted Forest that has been actively promoting us to choose them when we inevitably divide it is time to ender an assisted living facility, called today and offered us a free dinner from the local restaurant of our choice delivered to our home this evening. We chose Zinfandel a somewhat expensive Italian-American restaurant that we enjoy eating at.

I drove up into the Golden Hills to see Hayden. I arrived just as he returned with SWAC from buying flowers for planting around the house. I put on my mask and rubber gloves and keeping my social distance when with him as he showed me what they had been planting these past few days. In the side yard, they had planted about eight trees — a Japanese Maple, an orange tree, a lemon tree, apricot and peach trees, pomegranate, and some Thai fruit trees. I do not know how well some of these trees will do in that environment.

The front yard, actually a slope from the garage up to the road, has been planted with many flowers and an olive tree. On a bare area between two massive redwood trees next to the driveway had been used for burying pets — Pepe and Pesca the two Bichons, a crayfish, a couple of lizards, a tiny snake and a large goldfish named Sharky. A few clumps of flowers have now been planted on that hallowed ground.

IMG_8162

 

I then returned home. Shortly after my arrival, our free dinner that I had been eagerly anticipating arrived. It was a hamburger for me and chicken tacos for Naida. I was disappointed and pissed. What’s worse, the meat looked and tasted like it came in a can.

This afternoon we took Boo-boo the Barking Dog on a long walk through the Enchanted Forest. It was sunny and warm, in the upper 70s. We tried to find paths we had never walked before and we did. At one point we found ourselves by the lake and sat there awhile enjoying the view.
IMG_8166

 

Land Park is a large park in Sacramento. The Sacramento Zoo is located there. According to Naida, the developer of the area created it as an amenity for his development. He went on to be elected mayor of the city. We decided to visit it today, taking all the care necessary to avoid breaching social-distancing guidelines. Equipped with masks and rubber gloves we walked around a lake and through the rock garden.

The story about the rock garden: In the late 1930s a woman began planting the garden in the public park. The city did nothing to stop her. They even gave her an award. After she died, the garden she worked so hard on was taken over by the city. I do not know if any of this is true, but history is story and if the story is good enough then it is good enough. As Pratchett writes, “We make up our world according to the stories that we tell ourselves, and each other, about it.” (Pratchett, Terry. The Globe: The Science of Discworld II: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.)

For the next few days, the weather hovered in the mid-80s. Sunny with a slight breeze. I placed a folding camp chair in a spot of shade in the back yard and spent much of the afternoon dozing with the dog lying at my feet and now and then typing things like I am doing now. I wonder why lazing away outdoors in sunny weather is so pleasant and not boring at all, while sitting indoors often feels tedious and uncomfortable. Perhaps Peter knows. He understands things like this. I consider him a master keeper of obscure and unconventional notions.

IMG_8190

 
I think I will go up to bed. Napping also is neither boring nor unpleasant.

That night after I got up, we watched The Sunshine Boys for perhaps the fifth or sixth time in the last month. I did not want to. I thought of going back to bed. I couldn’t. I love that movie. One could say I liked it because of the timing between the actors, the directing, Neil Simon’s script, seeing Gorge Burn’s again on the screen, or Matthau tearing up the scenery. No, I liked it because it was about old guys. Also, because once, at a Coastal Commission meeting, I was mistaken by the press for Walter Matthau. I would have preferred being mistaken for Rock Hudson.

Last night, I had a dream. No not a dream about freedom from four centuries of oppression. Instead, I was riding a bus. I do not know where that bus was or where it was going, but something about it made me think it was somewhere in San Francisco. I was sitting as usual in one of the reserved for seniors and handicapped seats that are generally filled by 20 somethings or the mentally ill. Anyway, the bus was full of men — stuffed full. They started hassling and ultimately punching me. Eventually, I fought back, swinging my cane and discovered they were all ghosts because when struck they each disappeared in a puff of smoke — except for four big heavyset men. They were real and, hopeless as it may have seemed, I waded in, punching them with all my might only to wake up and discover I was punching Naida. Having experienced this before, she knew enough to avoid my punches and calm me down until I fell back to sleep.

The next morning I felt physically, mentally and emotionally like dog shit so after breakfast and a bit of news about our Commander in Chief recommending we shoot up with Clorox to cure us of the plague and stop us from criticizing him, I drove into the Golden Hills to visit HRM in hope that it would cheer me up. Donning my mask and gloves, I met him and Jake in front of the house and accompanied them on a walk through their most recent plantings at the back. Haden now has a bedroom on the bottom floor with a large deck extending into the backyard. He has festooned his deck with flowering plants everywhere, hanging from the rafters, on the floor, and in the backyard. He has included a large wisteria bush that he plans to train to extend onto the deck.

The next day or perhaps the day after, we packed some soft drinks, a box of Fig Newtons, some coffee and Boo-boo the Barking Dog into the car, and set off for a ghost town on the banks of the Mokelumne River Naida had visited a few years ago. We drove through the Gold Country on Route 49, until we came to the turnoff to the town. Alas, the road was closed. “Let’s walk” I suggested. “How far can it be?”

So we parked the car and set off. The walk started out delightfully. The route ran along the banks of the river that snaked through the foothills of the Sierra’s. California Poppies, Lupine, and many other spring wildflowers covered the hills. A blue oak and Digger pine forest grew along the banks of the river.

IMG_8196_2

 

IMG_8195      IMG_8205

 

IMG_8216_2

 

IMG_8214_2

The Mokelumne River through arches of blue oak.

 

 

The town we were heading to was originally built to house the workers building a hydroelectric project on the river. Now and then small groups of hikers passed us along the road some of them looked like they had been bathing in the river. As the walk lengthened, I began to grow tired. I asked a group of young men coming down the path how far it was. “Not far,” they responded. Of course, “Not far,” for some 20-year-olds and “Not far,” for an eighty-year-old are two entirely different concepts.
IMG_8208

 

 

My plan was to walk as far as I could. Not too far (80-year-old far) from where we passed the young men, I had reached my limit and sat, exhausted, in some shade at the side of the road. I realized my plan to only walk as far as I could was flawed. I still had to walk back.

Naida, being healthier and more athletic than I, felt no such fatigue. Nonetheless, She agreed we should head back. And so we did. I walked from shadow to shadow and collapsed at just about everyone we came to. At one point I considered keeling over and forcing Naida to call for an ambulance.
IMG_8217
Naida discovered an unusual poppy along the way.

 

IMG_8226
She also found some bush lupine growing by the road.

 

 

Once we left the path to walk a few steps to the river so the dog could get a drink. (Did I fail to mention that despite bringing copious amounts of water and juice and Fig Newtons along, we left them all back in the car) While the dog was drinking his fill, a big black snake with golden stripes slithered out from under some detritus just after they passed. I thought it might be the California version of the east-coast deadly coral snake except 10 times larger. Not being much of a woodsman, I did the only thing I could think of. I screamed. “What’s the matter?” Naida responded. “A big snake,” said I. “What color?” she inquired. The snake had disappeared into the grass by now. “Yellow with black stripes,” I said. “Oh, no problem, they eat baby rattlesnakes” she explained. Not knowing if that made me feel any better, we slowly and for me agonizingly made our way back to the car without further mishap except for me almost stepping on an evil-looking thing that Naida said was an alligator lizard that she said grew much larger than the specimen I almost stepped on.
IMG_8228

Just after taking this photo, the snake appeared from beneath some fallen piece of bark at the foot of the tree.

 

 

(In case you wonder about my relationship with the natural environment, I am a city boy. As Neuwirth said, “We get nose bleeds if our feet are not touching cement.” We may love the wonders of nature but still prefer to sleep in our beds at night. We like the wonder better than the feeling of nature on our skin. That is why for some of us, our knowledge may be deficient but the wonder never dies. Sort of like, believing in God is a lot more pleasant than actually meeting the bearded old bastard.)

Back at the car, we drank copious amounts of water. Naida drove us back while I dozed and recovered. Back home we discovered the Fig Newtons were missing. We had not eaten any. We suspected the culprit was Boo-boo the Barking Dog, but we could find no evidence. (He is a very sloppy eater.) Perhaps if was the alligator lizard.

The next day, fully recovered from my adventure, I set off for SF for some CT scans. Traffic was so light, I was able to get back by early afternoon in time for lunch. After lunch, I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting and dozing on a chair in the back yard. I one point, Naida woke me from my reverie to inform me that she had just discovered a nest of black widow spiders in a cranny in the wall near where I had been resting.

That evening we watched every episode of Ricky Gervais’ network series After Life. It was great. One of the best things I have seen in a long long while. It was about a man with deep unrelieved depression and a group of extremely odd but often engaging characters with which he was involved. It resonated with me. It seemed to say a life of pathological depression is livable and amusing. See it you’ll like it.

Finally, this morning I awoke, the room was dark, Naida’s body was pressed against my back. “It must be early,” I thought. Boo-boo the Barking Dog had not yet barked his wake up bark. I turned over to give Naida a hug and as I did so I heard a low growl. It was the dog in my arms. I looked up at the clock it was almost noon and the shutters on the window were still closed.

Later the doctor called about the results of the CT scan he said the cancer in my neck has not grown but a nodule in my chest had thickened and he will be speaking with the surgeon about removing it.
That was how my day began today. I wonder how the rest of it will play out…

And, that was my past week or two of self-confinement. How was yours?

Take care.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. On Top: A Few Brief and at Times Amusing Essays for Understanding Some Basic Science with Which to While-Away Your Time During Self-Confinement (continued).

 

 

Part III

INFORMATION, ENTROPY, AND THERMODYNAMICS
A central concept in Shannon’s information theory is something that he called entropy, which in this context is a measure of how statistical patterns in a source of messages affect the amount of information that the messages can convey. If certain patterns of bits are more likely than others, then their presence conveys less information, because the uncertainty is reduced by a smaller amount. In English, for example, the letter ‘E’ is much more common than the letter ‘Q’. So receiving an ‘E’ tells you less than receiving a ‘Q’. Given a choice between ‘E’ and ‘Q’, your best bet is that you’re going to receive an ‘E’. And you learn the most when your expectations are proved wrong. Shannon’s entropy smooths out these statistical biases and provides a ‘fair’ measure of information content.

In retrospect, it was a pity that he used the name ‘entropy’, because there is a longstanding concept in physics with the same name, normally interpreted as ‘disorder’. Its opposite, ‘order’, is usually identified with complexity.

The context here is the branch of physics known as thermodynamics, which is a specific simplified model of a gas. In thermodynamics, the molecules of a gas are modelled as ‘hard spheres’, tiny billiard balls. Occasionally balls collide, and when they do, they bounce off each other as if they are perfectly elastic. The Laws of Thermodynamics state that a large collection of such spheres will obey certain statistical regularities. In such a system, there are two forms of energy: mechanical energy and heat energy. The First Law states that the total energy of the system never changes. Heat energy can be transformed into mechanical energy, as it is in, say, a steam engine; conversely, mechanical energy can be transformed into heat. But the sum of the two is always the same. The Second Law states, in more precise terms (which we explain in a moment), that heat cannot be transferred from a cool body to a hotter one. And the Third Law states that there is a specific temperature below which the gas cannot go — ‘absolute zero’, which is around-273 degrees Celsius.

The most difficult — and the most interesting — of these laws is the Second. In more detail, it involves a quantity that is again called ‘entropy’, which is usually interpreted as ‘disorder’. If the gas in a room is concentrated in one corner, for instance, this is a more ordered (that is, less disordered!) state than one in which it is distributed uniformly throughout the room. So when the gas is uniformly distributed, its entropy is higher than when it is all in one corner. One formulation of the Second Law is that the amount of entropy in the universe always increases as time passes. Another way to say this is that the universe always becomes less ordered, or equivalently less complex, as time passes. According to this interpretation, the highly complex world of living creatures will inevitably become less complex, until the universe eventually runs out of steam and turns into a thin, lukewarm soup.

This property gives rise to one explanation for the ‘arrow of time’, the curious fact that it is easy to scramble an egg but impossible to unscramble one. Time flows in the direction of increasing entropy. So scrambling an egg makes the egg more disordered — that is, increases its entropy — which is in accordance with the Second Law. Unscrambling the egg makes it less disordered, and decreases energy, which conflicts with the Second Law. An egg is not a gas, mind you, but thermodynamics can be extended to solids and liquids, too.

At this point we encounter one of the big paradoxes of physics, a source of considerable confusion for a century or so. A different set of physical laws, Newton’s laws of motion, predicts that scrambling an egg and unscrambling it are equally plausible physical events. More precisely, if any dynamic behaviour that is consistent with Newton’s laws is run backwards in time, then the result is also consistent with Newton’s laws. In short, Newton’s laws are ‘time-reversible’.

However, a thermodynamic gas is really just a mechanical system built from lots of tiny spheres. In this model, heat energy is just a special type of mechanical energy, in which the spheres vibrate but do not move en masse. So we can compare Newton’s laws with the laws of thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics is simply a restatement of energy conservation in Newtonian mechanics, so the First Law does not contradict Newton’s laws. Neither does the Third Law: absolute zero is just the temperature at which the spheres cease vibrating. The amount of vibration can never be less than zero.

Unfortunately, the Second Law of Thermodynamics behaves very differently. It contradicts Newton’s laws. Specifically, it contradicts the property of time-reversibility. Our universe has a definite direction for its ‘arrow of time’, but a universe obeying Newton’s laws has two distinct arrows of time, one the opposite of the other. In our universe, scrambling eggs is easy and unscrambling them seems impossible.

Therefore, according to Newton’s laws, in a time-reversal of our universe, unscrambling eggs is easy but scrambling them is impossible. But Newton’s laws are the same in both universes, so they cannot prescribe a definite arrow of time.

Many suggestions have been made to resolve this discrepancy. The best mathematical one is that thermodynamics is an approximation, involving a ‘coarse-graining’ of the universe in which details on very fine scales are smeared out and ignored. In effect, the universe is divided into tiny boxes, each containing (say) several thousand gas molecules. The detailed motion inside such a box is ignored, and only the average state of its molecules is considered. It’s a bit like a picture on a computer screen. If you look at it from a distance, you can see cows and trees and all kinds of structure. But if you look sufficiently closely at a tree, all you see is one uniformly green square, or pixel. A real tree would still have detailed structure at this scale — leaves and twigs, say — but in the picture all this detail is smeared out into the same shade of green.

In this approximation, once ‘order’ has disappeared below the level of the coarse-graining, it can never come back. Once a pixel has been smeared, you can’t unsmear it. In the real universe, though, it sometimes can, because in the real universe the detailed motion inside the boxes is still going on, and a smeared-out average ignores that detail. So the model and the reality are different. Moreover, this modelling assumption treats forward and backward time asymmetrically. In forward time, once a molecule goes into a box, it can’t escape. In contrast, in a time-reversal of this model it can escape from a box but it can never get in if it wasn’t already inside that box to begin with.

This explanation makes it clear that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not a genuine property of the universe, but merely a property of an approximate mathematical description. Whether the approximation is helpful or not thus depends on the context in which it is invoked, not on the content of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. And the approximation involved destroys any relation with Newton’s laws, which are inextricably linked to that fine detail.

Now, as we said, Shannon used the same word ‘entropy’ for his measure of the structure introduced by statistical patterns in an information source. He did so because the mathematical formula for Shannon’s entropy looks exactly the same as the formula for the thermodynamic concept. Except for a minus sign. So thermodynamic entropy looks like negative Shannon entropy: that is, thermodynamic entropy can be interpreted as ‘missing information’. Many papers and books have been written exploiting this relationship — attributing the arrow of time to a gradual loss of information from the universe, for instance. After all, when you replace all that fine detail inside a box by a smeared-out average, you lose information about the fine detail. And once it’s lost, you can’t get it back. Bingo: time flows in the direction of information-loss.

However, the proposed relationship here is bogus. Yes, the formulas look the same … but they apply in very different, unrelated, contexts. In Einstein’s famous formula relating mass and energy, the symbol c represents the speed of light. In Pythagoras’s Theorem, the same letter represents one side of a right triangle. The letters are the same, but nobody expects to get sensible conclusions by identifying one side of a right triangle with the speed of light. The alleged relationship between thermodynamic entropy and negative information isn’t quite that silly, of course. Not quite.

As we’ve said, science is not a fixed body of ‘facts’, and there are disagreements. The relation between Shannon’s entropy and thermodynamic entropy is one of them. Whether it is meaningful to view thermodynamic entropy as negative information has been a controversial issue for many years. The scientific disagreements rumble on, even today, and published, peer-reviewed papers by competent scientists flatly contradict each other.

What seems to have happened here is a confusion between a formal mathematical setting in which ‘laws’ of information and entropy can be stated, a series of physical intuitions about heuristic interpretations of those concepts, and a failure to understand the role of context. Much is made of the resemblance between the formulas for entropy in information theory and thermodynamics, but little attention is paid to the context in which those formulas apply. This habit has led to some very sloppy thinking about some important issues in physics.

One important difference is that in thermodynamics, entropy is a quantity associated with a state of the gas, whereas in information theory it is defined for an information source: a system that generates entire collections of states (‘messages’). Roughly speaking, a source is a phase space for successive bits of a message, and a message is a trajectory, a path, in that phase space. In contrast, a thermodynamic configuration of molecules is a point in phase space. A specific configuration of gas molecules has a thermodynamic entropy, but a specific message does not have a Shannon entropy. This fact alone should serve as a warning. And even in information theory, the information ‘in’ a message is not negative information-theoretic entropy. Indeed the entropy of the source remains unchanged, no matter how many messages it generates.

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

 
The internet provides the opportunity to create a world-wide society or culture with its own stories, customs, and biases. The question is whether or not it will be any better than what we have now.

 

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 

Along the Navaho Trail
Every day, along about evening
When the sunlight’s beginning to pale
I ride through the slumbering shadows
Along the Navajo Trail

When it’s night and crickets are callin’
And coyotes are makin’ a wail
I dream by a smoldering fire
Along the Navajo Trail

I love to lie and listen to the music
When the wind is strummin’ a sagebrush guitar
When over yonder hill the moon is climbin’
It always finds me wishin’ on a star

Well what a ya know, it’s mornin’ already
There’s the dawnin’, so silver and pale
It’s time to climb into my saddle
And ride the Navajo Trail

I love to lie and listen to the music
When the wind is strummin’ a sagebrush guitar
When…
Sam Cooke

 

D. Pookie’s Musings: Something somewhat more that risqué but a smidgen less than pornographic.

 

 

While reading The Science of Discworld II with which you should all know by now I am somewhat obsessed, I came across the following sentence by the author in the midst of his attempt to explain quantum theory or evolution or something like that:

“The Hedgehog Song, a Discworld ditty in the general tradition of Eskimo Nell, first made its appearance in Wyrd Sisters with its haunting refrain ‘The hedgehog can never be buggered at all’.”

The reference to The Hedgehog Song apparently referred to the author’s contention that:

“Stories have power because we have minds, and we have minds because stories have power.”

 

Which makes sense in a quantum world.

Having been intrigued by the reference to “the general tradition of Eskimo Nell” and its possible importance to a possible unified theory of everything, I looked up Eskimo Nell in Wikipedia. There I found a poem, The Ballad of Eskimo Nell, the last stanza of which, if not a unified theory, nevertheless expressed the almost universal status of males of my age. I guess that is a unified theory of sorts

When a man grows old, and his balls grow cold,
And the tip of his prick turns blue,
And the hole in the middle refuses to piddle,
I’d say he was fucked, wouldn’t you?
The Ballad of Eskimo Nell

 

What was even more amazing to me was that two movies have been made about that apparently fascinating young woman.

 

 

 

E. Giants of History: Peter on the benefits of Sloth during times of crisis.

 

 

To my paragraph ending with, “I feel like what those old mountain men must have felt like while being trapped all winter in a snow-covered cabin in the wilderness” Peter responded with:

I remember, many years ago when we were living in Boston, a friend moved up to northern Vermont to live. Never mind why. Anyway, we met a couple of his new friends; I recall one was living solitarily. He was very talkative; I imagined that living alone in semi-wilderness might engender an inclination to volubility when one infrequently is in contact with other humans.

As for me, the daily routine of arising, ablutions, dressing, breakfast — first big decision of the day: eat minimally or have more — reading the newspaper and e-news, and — ta-da! morning is half or mostly gone already. Barrie back from walking Ramsey, lately at MacClaren Park – mostly empty and beautiful. Today, though, I went out to pick up one of my various prescriptions at Walgreens. Wore a mask during the pick-up. Staff was fully garbed and covered. Stood the requisite six feet behind the person in front of me in line. Another periodic routine.

A vague memory of early 1972, playing tennis and sightseeing and learning the city and hanging out stoned after having moved to SF. Different times.

 

I wrote about breaking quarantine and gamboling in the Oak woodlands with Naida. That take ended with, “Following our visit we drove back into the Enchanted Forest.” Peter responded:

 

 

We, on the other hand, have transformed sloth into fine art. However, still, several big steps removed from solitary crypto-holiness meditation with endless recitations of the Diamond Sutra and slurping gruel. Although, this week, in a sudden paroxysm of activity, Barrie decided to clean up her office. She is now about 90% done; prodigious effort, but apparently very satisfying. My “office”, however, needs no such treatment. Anyway, it would interfere with my reading of the portion of Robert Caro’s tome about Lyndon Johnson about his election to the Senate in 1948. Talk about Texas!

Meanwhile, I got notified that our next periodic teleconference of the CMIB board (the CA Maritime Infrastructure Bank, of which I am a member — still!) is canceled for lack of a quorum, due to the virus disruptions. We’ll wait a couple of months +/-. Put the file back in the drawer…..

 
After describing another escapade of flight from incarceration I wrote, “We returned refreshed if a bit concerned that we may have snared a coronavirus or two along the way.” Peter wrote:

We get to walk around the block; practically no one out except a dog walker or two, or some Latina pushing a baby carriage with some gringa’s kids inside.

Although, the New Neighborhood Thing!: two houses down live a couple who moved in a few years ago, relatively recently. Affluent. He’s on the phone all day. Turns out she owns a winery business. With this house arrest fiddle, she has now set up a children’s lemonade stand in front of their house, except it’s her wine selling table. $20/bottle, red, white, rose. Fairly decent stuff, in fact. 3-6pm daily, more on weekends. I’ve purchased a couple of bottles, and hung out and gossiped with her. Quite pleasant, and my kind of practically effortless productive activity. Proper distance, masks, wash hands, all medically kosher. The Ernest Winery. right here on 25th St. Careful not to make it a habit.

 

Having a had jaunty run through some amusing and risqué aphorisms of the ancient Sumerians that ended, “That is civilized. And, the abominations of Utu to you to too,” Peter added:

Interestingly, you refer to the Sumerians. I was recently looking at various maps, which I enjoy, these were of ancient civilizations, in particular those of the Levant and the Middle East, including, of course, the Sumerians! There were entries about the “collapse of civilizations” around 5,000-3000 years ago. Perhaps you picked up on the very recent article in the Atlantic about the United States as a failed state. The author nailed it perfectly. It’s really horrifying, infuriating, and frightening. I can imagine what the Europeans are thinking and saying. The outlook for our children and grandchildren is grim. I don’t like to think about it.

 
At one point during my description of our trip to the Sandhill Crane refuge, I commented, “We saw huge flocks of geese and other birds feeding in the wetland.” Peter interjected:

 

Sounds delightful, all this outdoorsy touring. It’s too built up where we are, even with very little traffic, but parking lots are all closed, and anyway, we are too slothful.

IMG_7418 - Version 3

Peter

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

1. The importance of “our group”. When times are hard, our group is primary. When times are disastrous, group loyalty disintegrates. When famine strikes, one will even eat one’s children. Nothing has changed. Perhaps, someday, they will really engineer human genetic make-up. Then the degrees of villainy will Really shine.
Peter Grenell

 

 

2. Hollywood is a potential gold mine for anthropologists because it’s the only culture in the world where educated and rich and powerful people have the mind-set and manners of Southern white trash.
Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux: A Novel (p. 95). Simon & Schuster.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_8154 - Version 2_2
BOO-BOO the BARKING DOG and POOKIE spend a pleasant Sunday morning in bed.

Categories: April through June 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Mopey 0009 (January 19, 2020)

 

“Sweet, salt, bitter, piquant – Sicilian cuisine is all-embracing and pleasurably involves all the senses in a single dish. A gelato must also be like this. Sweet as a whispered promise, the pistachio ice cream salty as sea air, the chocolate ice cream faintly bitter and a little tart like a lover’s goodbye the next morning.”
Mario Giordano, Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Ruth.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

 

I have not written here in “Pookies Adventures” for about a week. Perhaps it is due to creeping ennui. I have been reflecting, however, on a few things during that time. One of those things has been the inadvertent falsehood in my conceit that I often do nothing during my day. It fact, I do a lot. I usually spend much of my day sitting here with my computer attending to things, paying bills, or exchanging messages with friends and bill collectors and the like. I also usually spend some time on T&T, if not on the “Pookies Adventures” portion then on some other section, like searching through my favorite poetry sites for “Today’s Poem.”

When I think about it, it is much like having a job. I certainly spend enough time doing these things. Of course, I don’t get paid. That’s a downer, but then I don’t have to deal with clients, co-workers and the like. Nor, do I have to care about the quality of the product. I guess that makes it a hobby. It is interesting that if it is something mostly detestable but you get paid for it, it is a job but if you enjoy it but don’t get paid, it is a hobby (or you are a failing artist). On the other hand, if you enjoy it and get paid for it, it is not a hobby, but it is a job. Someone once asked a famous writer why he writes. “For the money,” he responded. “You don’t think I do this for the sheer pleasure of it, do you? That would be insane.”

I do not know why I wrote the above two paragraphs. I could not think of what to write after the first sentence. I guess it was a sort of stream of consciousness thing — writing something without any idea where you’re going with it or even why you are doing it. Or perhaps it has something to do with the Donald Hall quote in the previous issue of T&T, “Why should the nonagenarian hold anything back?” Why indeed or better yet why give a shit?

Last night we saw the new Korean movie Parasite at the Tower Theater here in Sacramento. I had not expected what I saw on the screen. It is a marvel, an odd one for sure but a marvel nonetheless. Part comedy, part tragedy, part horror movie, part melodrama, it, nevertheless, never failed to capture and hold my attention. The direction is as good as I have seen in movies recently and the cinematography exceptional. See it, you may be surprised like I was, but I doubt you will be disappointed.

This morning, perhaps around two or three AM, I awoke. I did not go back to sleep right away, but instead, I drifted into an almost dream-like state. I had an almost overwhelming urge to paint. It was compulsive, insistent. I needed to paint. Not like the almost paint by numbers reproduction of photographs I painted for a while over 20 years ago. Real painting, whatever that was. I saw an image of myself painting at an easel. I was painting a portion of a sleeve. The fabric was Chinese silk, a dark almost iridescent blue. There were folds and mounds in the fabric as though it was filled with a slightly bent arm. Small golden parallelograms were stitched into the fabric. It was very difficult to paint them and I spent some time figuring out how I was going to do it. Then the scene changed. I was still in my studio. This time the canvas was affixed to the wall above my head. I could reach it with a long brush. I was painting long slightly wavy red lines on the canvas. As I drew the lines, a man’s face began to appear in the paint. His expression, as it emerged from the paint, was sad with an element of surprise. I then fell asleep, a deep sleep until the barking of the dog woke me in the morning.

IMG_0937
A Painting of Mine from 30 Years Ago.

 

Today (a day or two after I wrote the previous paragraph) Naida left for a presentation on her newest book Daughter of the West, a Memoir. I spent the morning sitting in my recliner with Boo-boo the Barking Dog drowsing on the recliner next to mine usually occupied by Naida. I had managed to exhaust my morning in desultory and aimless research, Facebook explorations and a bit of writing. Having consumed all that I could think of doing while sitting there, I struggled to come up with what to do next. It was too early for a nap. It was only noon. I could have made something to eat but I was not hungry. A walk perhaps. That sounded good. Perhaps straighten up the house. Ugh. Still, that would surprise and please Naida. A plan, I had a plan.

Well, like many plans even the simplest of them, it appeared good in concept but a failure in implementation. I began by removing the clean dishes from the dishwasher. While I was doing so, Naida returned home. She told me about her presentation. It was at a local women’s club. A somewhat mysterious one. They would not tell her what the letters that made up the club’s name stood for. They told her they did not want any more members. Naida spoke to the women about her novel River of Red Gold and not as I believed her Memoir. One of the women strenuously objected to Naida’s depiction of John Sutter in her novel. She believed it to be too negative toward the great man. Naida then read to her the footnotes and endnotes to the novel quoting other historians and contemporary accounts that Sutter, like so many so-called great men, was considerably less so and more often a monster. Sutter raped a 5-year-old girl and commandeered the wife of one of his native Hawaiian workers as his bedmate.

Sutter reminds me of a Nineteenth-Century Donald Trump. A charlatan who never pays his bills, a repeat failure in his businesses, a toady to those above him and a beast in his dealings with those beneath him. No-one should feel sorry for how Sutter ended his life as no one should shed any tears if Trump ends up as many of us hope he will.

We then ate lunch after which I went for that walk I had promised myself.

 
B. THE BIG ENDIVE AGAIN:

 
IMG_7821
A View of the Big Endive by the Bay Looking North.

 
So once again it was time to set off for the Big Endive by the Bay for my infusion treatment. Every three weeks, we set off for San Francisco to spend one or two days at Barrie and Peter’s house while I attend to my medical issues. This time we traveled to the City by train.
IMG_7810
A View from the Train.

 
We spent a pleasant evening eating Barrie’s wonderfully prepared food and talking about “The Good Old Days,” mainly the 1960s and 1970s.

The next day it rained. Peter drove us to the hospital. My medical reports were pleasantly positive.
IMG_7817
Naida waiting for me to finish my infusion at UDSF.

 

 

That evening after dinner Barrie, Naida and I (Peter was off on a gig with his band) went to a small bookstore on 24th St. to listen to a friend of Barrie’s flog his book, “An Old Man’s Game” about an aging Jewish detective in LA. There seems to have been a spate of Jewish Detective novels recently. Sheldon Has written one that is set in Chicago. Michael Chabon wrote one a few years back that takes place in a mythical Alaska shortly after WWII.

During his talk to us, the author, who is 72 years old and had just published his first book, told us he has written four more novels featuring this old detective awaiting publication and he planned to write many more. He said he was afraid either he or his main character will die before he finishes the series.

Morning came, Barrie and Peter were off to LA for Barrie’s sister’s memorial. They dropped us off at UCSF Parnassus for my neurological examination. It was scheduled in an effort to discover why for the past year I had been staggering as I walked. It wasn’t because I was drinking too much alcohol. It burns my throat now so at best I am able to get down one drink a week. It wasn’t about cannabis since if I do it at all it is usually only late at night to help me sleep. So, what could it be?

After several hours of tests and consultation between two doctors, they, the doctors, said they did not know what caused the problem (or if there was a problem at all) and recommended physical therapy, an MRI and a return visit four months from now. Oh, they also wished me Good Luck.

IMG_7824

 

So, lightened by an ambiguous sense of accomplishment, we left the hospital, wound our way to the train station where we boarded a surprisingly crowded train back to Sacramento. Sitting across from us during the ride was a pleasant young woman of Indian (India Indian) extraction who lives in Emeryville and was traveling to spend the weekend with some ex-classmates from UC Davis. She smiled a lot and shared her french-fries with us. Oh, the joys of traveling by train.

 

 
C. NOT A BOOK REPORT:

 

 

I am reading Donald Hall’s A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety. It is a memoir of sorts. Hall, who at one time served as US Poet Laureate, writes a series of mostly short essays in which he reminisces about his life and other people he has met especially poets. Of the poets some he liked for one reason or another and others he didn’t. For example, for an essay by the poet Allen Tate, Hall’s essay simply stat

In one of his essays of only 700 words entitled interestingly Seven Hundred Words, he wrote that he had spent a month writing it. In other essays, he claimed he sometimes revises them up to 80 times.

I thought about revising things I write 80 times. That seems like real work. I’d never do that for pleasure. When I write anything I reserve my editing only to checking-up on spell check which has a tendency to use its own judgment to revise whatever I had written with which it disagrees.

I have received comments on things I have published in one blog or another such as, “Forgive him. It is obvious that English is his second language,” or “Your writing sounds like poetry,” and “If you are so smart, how come your use of grammar is so bad.” I wonder if I revised and rewrote whatever I write 80 times it would improve  — at least enough for it to be considered English. I doubt it. Anyway, that would make it too much like work and too little like fun.

Recently, I reviewed a post I had planned to repost in another blog. As I read it, I realized it was pure gibberish. I then tried to edit it into something that resembled English and failed. The most egregiously bad sentence was:

“They proved exceptionally helpful and often assisted in increasing production but the bankers need for timely repayment is not the same as the investors wish for profit and may at times suppress production in order to satisfy the need for repayment.”
(https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/musings-on-what-is-capitalism/)

Hall ends his book with a brief essay about a large maple tree growing in the yard of his ancestral home in New Hampshire that had been blown down by a recent storm. He recalls a swing hanging from a large limb of that tree that he played on when he was a child. He then describes the gathering of relatives and friends who assisted in taking down the remnants of the tree until only a large stump remained. The essay and the book concludes with the following passage:

“One more story derives from the death of my tree [A grand maple tree]. The tree blew down in July, and of course, nobody knows when my granddaughter Allison and her husband Will will move into this old house, extending one family’s residence since 1865. They will take over here when I die, but now I was able, with the help of a windstorm, to give them a wedding present that should last awhile. When I was a boy, elms lined Route 4, but by the time Jane and I arrived, Dutch elm disease had killed them all. A few years ago, Philippa told me of newly bred elms that were immune. She and I conspired, and acting as my agent, she bought a new American elm, and after the great stump was removed a slim four-foot elm sapling took the maple’s place. Philippa and Jerry, my son-in-law planted in on a Sunday in early September while Allison and Will and I looked on. It was Tree Day, which I proclaim a family holiday. For now, the elm will require watering, three doses of three gallons a week, applied by my helpers. The sapling came with a bronze plaque inscribed to the future tenants, to be affixed to the elm’s eventual trunk. I am free to imagine another grand-child swinging from another branch of another tree.”

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

 

 

This evening I watched the most recent of the interminable Democratic presidential nomination debates. I learned something from the commercials, however. The nation seems to be suffering from an epidemic of psoriasis and other heartbreaking skin diseases forcing citizens of the nation to avoid appearing in public for fear of embarrassment. This national problem was not discussed in the debate. I think I will withhold my support for any candidate until one of them comes up with a plan to deal with this crisis.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

 

The following reproduces Chapter 3 of my unfinished and never to be published novel “Here Comes Dragon.”

 

Dragon’s breath:

 

“A good detective should be afraid…always.”

 

 

Chapter 3.

 

I turned the doorknob and pushed the door open slowly. I only had opened it a few inches before it was wrenched from my hand. A big guy stood there holding the door and filling all the space between the door and the door jamb. He was not too much taller than I am, but he was big, with a body poised somewhere between muscle and fat.

“What do you want,” he growled?

I stepped back. Said, “I’m looking for Mark Holland.”

“Why?”

Thought this might be a good time for a clever story. Could not think of one. Went with the truth. “I have been asked to find him.”

“Why,” again?

Still lacking clever responses, said, “I’ve been hired to find him.” Took a business card from my pocket handed it to him. He looked at it for a long time. Said, “A Detective eh. Why don’t you come in and we’ll talk?”

I said, “If it is all the same to you, I feel better standing out here in the hall.”

The door opened a little wider. Another fat guy appeared. He had a phone pressed against his ear with one hand. In his other hand, he had a gun that was pointed at me. “Get in here,” fat guy number one ordered.

At that moment I noted a strange phenomenon. My clothing went instantly from dry to wet. At the same time, I felt like I shit my pants. Said, “I think my chances of being shot are greater in there than standing out here in the hall.”

I flashed on how stupid that sounded. The embarrassment of shitting in my pants began to leak into my consciousness. Did not get far with either thought as they were interrupted by an explosion to the side of my face. As I toppled toward the floor, my first thought was to protect my computer. The second was that I might be dead.

Thought I was shot. Actually, Fat Guy One suddenly had reached out with his ham sized hand and slapped me aside my head as they say. His heavy ring raked across my jaw.

Before landing on the floor, I was grabbed and dragged into the room. I looked down the hall in the vain hope that Ann had seen what happened and would call the cops. No such luck.

I was thrown onto a bean bag chair on the floor. Thought, “Who the fuck still has a bean bag chair?” Said, “Who the fuck has a bean bag chair any more?” But did not get it all out as the pain had finally hit and I realized that I had bitten my tongue and was dribbling blood down my chin. Got out “Woo fla bee or?” before giving up and grabbing my jaw. I was bleeding there too from the ring. Said, “Shiss!” Added “Blon.” My tongue was swelling up.

Fat guy one threw me a dirty dishrag. Thought I would probably die of sepsis if it touched my open wound. Spit the blood from my mouth into the rag folded it, and pressed it against the side of my face anyway.

Fats Two was talking on the phone. Whispered to Fats One. Fats One said, “Who sent you?”

Replied something that sounded like, “That’s confidential.”

Fats one raised his fist.

I quickly responded, “Gul fren.”

“Fucking Mavis,” said SF fats.

“No, na yeh” I commented. I thought I was being clever. They ignored me

Fats Two whispered to Porky One again.

Porky asked, “Find anything yet?”

“Hired hour ago. This first stop.”

More talking on the phone and whispering. Fats Prime asked, “What did Mavis tell you?”

What I answered sounded a lot like, “Not much. He’s missing. She’s worried.”

More talking on the phone and whispering.

I said more or less, “We could save a lot of time if I just talked directly to whoever is on the phone.” Although it did not come out quite like that, I actually was getting used to speaking through my swollen tongue and frozen jaw.

They ignored me. Fats One said, “What’s she paying you — tattoos or blow jobs?” Thrilled with his cleverness he let out a surprisingly high pitched giggle.

I did not answer as I struggled with a clever comeback and failed mostly out of fear of retaliation.

He said more forcefully, “What do you charge?”

“Two hundred dollars a day. One week minimum. One half paid in advance.”

Some more whisperings into the phone. There seemed to be some disagreement.

Fats Prime finally turned to me and said, “We’d like to hire you to help us find him.”

I was gobsmacked. Wanted to say, “Fuck you” or “What the fuck,” even. Said instead, “Can’t, conflict of interest.”

Prime Cut One turned red-faced and advanced on me. I quickly said, “On second thought, I can probably figure a way around it.”

He stopped, smiled reached into his pocket and pulled out a wallet. From it, he extracted 10 one hundred dollar bills and placed them in my hand not holding the towel. “You will get another thousand if you find him.”

Pocketed the money. Said, “Whose my client?”

Again with the whispering. “Me,” said First Lard Brother.

Asked, “What’s your name?”

“No name.” He scribbled on a piece of paper. Handed it to me. “My phone number. Call every evening at about five o’clock.”

“What can you tell me about Holland to help me along?”

Again the phone. The Fats One then said, “Ask Mavis. She knows more than she is telling you.”

They then both picked me up out of the bean bag and guided me toward the door.

“How do you know I won’t go to the police?”

“If you do we will have to kill you.” They both giggled in falsetto.

I knew that was bullshit but I was still scared shitless, literally and figuratively and I knew involvement of the cops was futile.

Once back in the hall, I ran to Ann’s door pounded on it and rang the awful buzzer. I do not know what I expected I’d do if she answered; cry in her arms perhaps. No response anyway. Pictured her standing in the middle of the room staring blank-eyed at the door.

Turned, grabbing the computer in one hand and the bloody rag in another, ran out of the building and back down the hill to Pino’s place.

When Pino saw me he said, “What the fuck happened?”

I ran by him and into the restaurant. Said as I passed. “Bathroom. Ice in a napkin quick.”

In the toilet, I threw the rag into the wastebasket. The bleeding had mostly stopped. Dropped my pants and drawers and sat. Saw that I really had shit my pants, a little not much, but enough to make me groan. My hands were shaking as was the rest of me.

When I left the toilet Pino was there with the ice in a napkin. Repeated, “What the fuck happened?”

Took the napkin with the ice, pressed it to my face, said, “Later, I need a taxi right now.” Pino went into the street flagged down a cab. I got in. Gave the driver the address of my condo on Fourth Street, waved to Pino and slunk into my seat as far down as I could go.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 
A. Naida and Pookies trip into the Northwest on Top:

 

Heading Home:

 

We left Salmon and set off through Idaho to Boise where we would take a plane back to Sacramento. Although we were driving across the entire State of Idaho as we did about 10 days ago, we were not traversing the high desert of southern Idaho as we did then. Instead, we were plunging directly into the remote alpine upland of the state and the Sawtooth Mountains.

We approached the highlands through some beautiful and scenic river valleys.
IMG_E7368

 
Soon the majestic Sawtooth Mountains sprang up before us.
IMG_E7371

 

We, of course, stopped for photographs before plunging into the narrow steep inclines of the passageway through the mountains.

IMG_7397

 

As we approached the far side of the uplands we noticed a number of outdoor natural mineral springs along the side of the road. The photograph below shows one of them.

IMG_7401

 
Then we were in Boise. We checked into a motel. We were too tired to partake in the Boise nightlife if any. Instead, we took a brief stroll through the mist along the pathway by the river, returned to the motel and fell exhaustedly into the bid.

The next morning, we caught out flight back home to Sacramento. It was a great trip.

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

Economics — The use of numbers to justify how the rich got that way.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Geronimo’s Song
by Geronimo (Goyathlay)

“The song that I will sing is an old song, so old that none knows who made it. It has been handed down through generations and was taught to me when I was but a little lad. It is now my own song. It belongs to me. This is a holy song (medicine-song), and great is its power. The song tells how, as I sing, I go through the air to a holy place where Yusun (The Supreme Being) will give me power to do wonderful things. I am surrounded by little clouds, and as I go through the air I change, becoming spirit only.”
MEDICINE-SONG
Sung by Geronimo

O, ha le
O, ha le!
Awbizhaye
Shichl hadahiyago niniya
O, ha le
O, ha le
Tsago degi naleya
Ah–yu whi ye!
O, ha le
O, ha le!
O, ha le
O, ha le!

Through the air
I fly upon the air
Towards the sky, far, far, far,
O, ha le

O, ha le!
There to find the holy place,
Ah, now the change comes o’re me!
O, ha le
O, ha le!

Geronimo’s changed form is symbolized by a circle, and this is surrounded by a mystic aureole. The holy place is symbolized by the sun, which is decorated with a horned head-dress emblematic of divine power. This is the insignia of the Holy Man.
(http://indians.org/welker/gerosong.htm)

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“You know what Trump is?”

“Tell me.”

“He’s Putin’s shithouse cleaner. He does everything for little Vladi that little Vladi can’t do for himself: pisses on European unity, pisses on human rights, pisses on NATO. Assures us that Crimea and Ukraine belong to the Holy Russian Empire, the Middle East belongs to the Jews and the Saudis, and to hell with the world order. And you Brits, what do you do? You suck his dick and invite him to tea with your Queen.”
le Carré, John. Agent Running in the Field (p. 141). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

fertility-rates

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_E7758
Boo-boo the Barking Dog after having done something he should not have done.

Categories: January through March 2020, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Pookie 0008. (December 12, 2019)

 

“When the Judgment Day comes, civilization will have an alibi: ‘I never took a human life, I only sold the fellow the gun to take it with.’”
Will Rogers

 

Have a very happy Christmas, Saturnalia, St. Lucia’s Day, Festivus, Ding Zhi, Shab-e Yalda, Into Raymi, Shalako, Hanukkah, Boxer Day, Toji, Kwanza, Three Kings Day, Las Posadas, and whatever other winter solstice ceremony you prefer,

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 
I am sitting here this morning in my favorite chair in Peter and Barrie’s house typing this. Naida sits at the table across the room reading the newspaper, her coffee cup at the ready by her right hand. Barrie has gone out into the misty morning to walk Ramsey. Peter has disappeared upstairs to prepare for the day. Boo-Boo the Barking Dog has just finished barking at imagined threats to the safety of the household and now lies quietly, head between paws, on the black sofa to my left. It is a good beginning to the day.

Naida and I arrived last night and today I intend to spend most of the day at the hospital for my immunotherapy infusion.

We agreed that Naida would spend the day here tending to the dog while I went to the hospital. I got into the car and had driven part of the way from Noe Valley to Mission Bay when I decided to check my wallet for my identification and credit card. I could not find either of them. In panic, I returned to pick up Naida so that at least I would have someone with me with the means to pay for whatever may be needed. Later I discovered the missing cards were in my wallet exactly where they were supposed to be. And so, another senior moment passes through my life.

The only interesting thing that transpired at the hospital was the doctor informing me that my previous CT scans seemed to show cancer spreading.  Adding that it was so small he could not hazard a guess at to what it may mean. So, he ordered new scans to be done before my next infusion and assured me that even if they do show some spreading of cancer he has me scheduled for participation in some clinical trials.

The next morning, after we left Peter and Barrie’s house, we stopped at Red’s Java House on the Embarcadero for breakfast with Anthony and his girlfriend. Anthony asked me to tell some stories as he has begun to take an interest in family history. I told a few of them including my midnight knife fight in the dark alley’s of Istanbul in the early ’70s. We then returned to the Enchanted Forest.

 

 
B. THE SATURDAY MORNING COFFEE.

 
The following morning we attended the Saturday Morning Coffee at the Nepenthe Club House. It was our “dear leader” Gerry’s birthday and so we had a cake and sang happy birthday to her. Later Winnie and I told each other a few stories. She told me that Ducky, the woman in the group whose white hair was always perfectly coiffed had some interesting stories also. Ducky lived and traveled in many places in the world with her husband who was in charge of a US submarine squadron. One of Ducky’s stories about her being kidnapped at knifepoint in Japan, she felt was worth hearing. So, she called Ducky over and left. I asked about the kidnapping. Ducky, said “it was nothing as serious as a kidnapping. It was more like being taken hostage.”

She explained that they were living in Japan at the time and she had gone to the bank. As she approached the teller, a Japanese man rushed up behind her, grabbed her, put a knife to her throat and demanded the teller give him money or he would kill the American lady. Ducky was proud of the fact that somehow for some unknown reason she had the presence of mind to signal to the teller to call the embassy. The teller cleverly gave the thief two large bags heavily filled with coins to slow him down as he tried to get away. The thief then dragged Ducky and the bags of coins across the floor of the bank and out into the street where he threw her down and tried to make his escape. Unfortunately for him, weighted down with the coins, he was quickly subdued by two policemen armed only with batons.

What happened later was the most interesting part of the story. Everyone, the thief, Ducky, the tellers, bystanders, and the two policemen were all taken to police headquarters, placed in a large room together where they sat around a table and each gave their account of the events. Then they were all taken back to the bank where they each, in turn, had to reprise their role and movements in the drama. They then were all returned to the station to review their statements once again. After about 12 hours of this, the embassy secured Ducky’s release. But wait there is more.

A few weeks later, Ducky received a visit from the parents of the thief. Apparently, following the trial, the parents were ordered to beg her forgiveness. Much to her embarrassment, they then crawled across the floor to lie at her feet and apologize for their son’s behavior.

Still later, she was ordered to appear at the prison to view the cell in which the miscreant was imprisoned. It was a small room. Ten prisoners were kept there. There were sleeping mats on the floor and a bucket by the wall. The jailer assigned to the room, she was told, checks the prisoners very closely every night because if one escaped the punishment was for the jailor, himself, to take his place. Finally, she was informed that when the thief in question was let out of prison he would be prohibited from appearing in public without a member of his family accompanying him.

 

 

C. SMOGY THINGS.

 
Naida drives a white 1991 Mitsubishi sports car. It is the model that allows one to choose a touring or sports mode as they drive. In sports mode, the car can reach into the 180 mph range. Alas, while seeking to re-register the car for 2019 (yes, we are grossly late), it failed its smog test. As a result, we agreed to switch cars (she the Toyota Forerunner and I the Mitsubishi) while I set about doing whatever needs doing in order to secure the smog clearance. We first sought the opinion of something called a “smog referee.” That worthy, we were told, was supposed to assist people whose automobiles fail the smog test. “Not so,” he said. His job, he informed us, was to do the same smog inspection as had previously been done. And so he did with the same results. So, after that I enlisted the assistance of my grandson, who had worked for a few years in an auto repair shop, as well as Hayden and the Scooter Gang — they being at that age when adolescent boys obsess about all things automotive.

On Monday, I drove the Mitsubishi into the Golden Hills to confer with my automotive consultant, Hayden. He informed me that he and the gang reviewed the referee’s report and believe that the repairs to the engine needed to bring it into compliance should not be too expensive. He agreed to seek out some estimates.

While driving back to the Enchanted Forest, I realized how much I enjoyed driving a sports car and decided to try to persuade Naida to make the switch of automobiles permanent.

 

 

D. AT NIGHT WITH NAIDA AND ANNABELL LEE.

 

 

One night, perhaps it was the same night, I drove the Mitsubishi into the Golden Hills, Boo Boo the Barking Dog lay strangely quiet on the chair beside me. Naida sat at her computer happily pounding the keys in order to produce the paragraphs making up volume two of her memoir. I, in my black vest over a red sweater, sat in my favorite reclining chair, my laptop set properly upon my lap, flipping through the poems in one of my favorite poetry sites (PoemHunter) when I happened to strike with the curser a tiny arrow and a somewhat reedy voice with what sounded like a British accent emerged and filled the room with a recitation of Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabell Lee.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

And so on.

The dog raised his head for a moment then returned to sleep. Naida suddenly stopped typing, turned from the computer and began reciting the poem word for word along with the narrator. When they both had finished, she sprang from her chair and exclaimed, “He said it all wrong. He sounded like he was selling aspirin. He is no poet or actor. To Poe, this was highly emotional. There were angels and demons and sadness and loss.” She then sat back down and returned to her typing. Shortly thereafter she got up and took the dog for a walk.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 
A. Naida and Pookie’s excellent adventure through the Pacific Northwest.  (continued):

 

Drive to Miller Ranch in Alder Montana and the Headwaters of the Missouri River.

 

The sun shone brightly on the morning we set out for south-western Montana to visit Naida’s cousin Julie Miller to our left on the green broad flat floor of the Yellowstone River Valley, a heard of pronghorn antelope bouncing along matched the speed of the car.

We drove through Livingston a picturesque old western town. This area of Montana is dotted with towns like this and peopled today mostly with aging ranchers, successful artists, and wealthy bourgeoisie seeking a bucolic refuge from the urban conurbations they helped destroy.

Eventually, we arrived at Alder, a town with little there except “Chicks Bar.” Although there are very few roads in the town and surrounding area and we tried to follow the directions Naida had been given, we nevertheless promptly got lost. We called Julie Miller, Naida’s cousin, at the number we had received when we called Chick’s Bar before leaving Gardiner. Julie answered but she could not hear us so we hung up or so we thought, but because of the oddities of the local phone system, Julie could still hear us while we engaged in a lengthy and emotional argument about what it is we should do now.

296647_2416192723764_858888901_n
Chick’s Bar, Alder Montana

 

Eventually, we managed to get through to Julie on the phone. She suggested we go first to Sheridan, a town about 10 miles away, to visit Julie’s mom who was living in a senior home there. Julie’s mom, Patty Miller, had often taken care of Naida during her childhood while she and her brother were passed around from relative to relative. Naida loved Patty ver much and wanted to visit her one last time before either of them died. After a bit of difficulty, we found the center and Naida and Patty had an emotional and tender reunion. Naida left patty with a copy of her Memoir.
IMG_7240
Naida and Patty (Three months after this photograph was taken Patty Miller Died)

 

 
We then drove back to Alder. Getting lost again we called Julie and she agreed to meet us and lead us back to the ranch. She arrived in an odd vehicle that looked much like a military golf cart. At the ranch, we met her husband who had had a hip replacement operation and had been laid up for a couple of months.
IMG_E7257
The golf cart Humvee.

 

 
We then strolled around the property, visited the horses and met one of the largest dogs I had ever seen, a breed she told us called a Turkish Boz shepherd dog. (Later after we returned home I read up on them. They are used to accompany the sheep and drive off predators and are also used by the Turkish military as attack dogs)
IMG_7246
Julie and Naida

 

 

IMG_7252
Naida and the Turkish Boz

 

 

 

Then we piled into the military golf cart for a tour of the ranch. Julie and her husband used to raise horses here but they are retired now and spend half of the year at their home in Mexico. The ranch mostly grows hay which is bailed up and sold to other ranches in the area as fodder for their herds in winter. Julie pointed out to us the small stream that crossed the ranch. It is called the Ruby River, I believe. She said it is the headwaters of the Missouri River.
IMG_E7263
The Headwaters of the Mighty Missouri River.

 

 

 
Then, after a brief break, we piled into the military golf cart again and drove through the backroads to Julie’s brother Johnny Miller’s home, a house he mostly built by himself.
IMG_7279
Johnny, Naida, and Julie.

 

 

 
While the cousin’s caught up on family news, I went for a brief walk around the property at the center of the ranch, examined the old sod and timber shacks their parents or grandparents built when they first came to homestead the land and leaned on the ancient wooden fence and stared across the ranch to the mountains in the distance.
IMG_7300
The Miller ranch near Alder Montana.

 

 

 
Then we left drove through Wisdom and other old western Montana towns and into the Big Hole Valley on our way to Salmon Idaho.
(to be continued)

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

Mist gives in bulk what it removes in substance.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

 

The River
Yes, we’ll gather by the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river.
They say it runs by the throne of God.
This is where God invented fish.
Wherever, but then God’s throne is as wide
as the universe. If you’re attentive you’ll
see the throne’s borders in the stars. We’re on this side
and when you get to the other side we don’t know
what will happen if anything. If nothing happens
we won’t know it, I said once. Is that cynical?
No, nothing is nothing, not upsetting just
nothing. Then again maybe we’ll be cast
at the speed of light through the universe
to God’s throne. His hair is bounteous.
All the 5,000 birds on earth were created there.
The firstborn cranes, herons, hawks, at the back
so as not to frighten the little ones.
Even now they remember this divine habitat.
Shall we gather at the river, this beautiful river?
We’ll sing with the warblers perched on his eyelashes.
Jim Harrison

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_7634

 

 

This is a copy of a painting I did about 20 years ago when I had dreams of becoming a commercial schlock artist like Thomas Kinkade. On the left is a portrait of Miguel (last name I have forgotten) a friend I met in Costa Rica. He was reputed to be the George Washington of Costa-Rican independence — a big game hunter turned prominent conservationist and creator of the Costa-Rican system of nature preserves. He was also a noted Lothario, claiming that at 86 years of age he still had nine girlfriends.  He admitted to me that because of his age he only slept with four of them. One day he introduced me to two books of the penis enhancement and health exercises that he does religiously every day. Miguel was also a noted Costa-Rican artist. The two women of the right are copies that I made of Miguel’s portraits of two of his girlfriends.

Categories: October through December 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 0008 (December 4, 2019)

 

“Just don’t take any course where you have to read Beowulf.”
Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) to Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) in Annie Hall.

 

HAPPY NATIVE AMERICAN AND ITALIAN PRIDE DAY.

 

Happy Birthday to my son Jason, to Annmarie and to Kesorn.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

I type this while riding on the train on the way to my tri-weekly immunotherapy infusion at UCSF. Later we will spend the night at Peter and Barrie’s house. We are approaching Suisun-Fairfield. The sky is overcast, gray and dark. Next to me, Naida naps. I think I will join her.

It is now the following morning. We’re sitting around Peter and Barrie’s home eating breakfast and watching Marie Yovanovich’s testimony in the impeachment inquiry. My treatment yesterday was same old, same old. They did discover my thyroid continues to underperform so they upped the dosage of whatever magic concoction they had me on. After the treatment, we headed off to Peter and Barrie’s. I enjoyed traveling around the Big Endive by the Bay on public transportation observing the antics of my fellow riders and watching the brief melodramas of the City as we pass by.

We arrived at Peter and Barrie’s home and spent a pleasant dinner together telling stories and laughing as we often do. The following morning, after breakfast, we all set off for North Beach. None of us had been there for many years. I used to live in North Beach for a few years but had not been back in over a decade. We passed the restaurant where I used to sit at one of the outside tables and eat lunch or dinner several times a week. It is also the site where, in my unfinished and never to be finished novel the main character, Dragon, would sit and conduct business lacking an office to do so. The novel opens with Dragon sitting at one of the tables when Mavis the beautiful Tattoo artist retained him to find her missing boyfriend. Dragon leaves the restaurant to pursue his first clue only too return a few minutes later bloody and frightened having been beaten by two mysterious fat guys. And so, the novel continues on to its non-conclusion. (I will be happy to send anyone interested a copy of the uncompleted novel.)

We also passed several of the sites where Carol Doda, she of the large naked breasts and hydraulic piano, and I during her declining years would meet now and then for dinner and tell each other stories, reminisces, and lies and laugh a lot.

We stopped first in front of a restaurant I intended to have us all eat lunch owned by a man who immigrated from the same town near Avellino in Italy where my grandfather grew up and whose wife was the chef and cooked some of the best Neapolitan food in the area. Unfortunately, it was closed.

Ultimately, we chose Cafe Sport on Green Street. Fifty years ago, when I first visited it, the place was a simple cafe with a pool table in the back room. Antonio (perhaps his name was Franco. I do not remember which), the owner, began also serving some full meals and added brightly colored tables. He also began decorating the place with whatever oddities he could find. Eventually, the pool table was replaced by more tables and more odd decorations. It became one of the favorite hang-outs of the Prop-20 Coastal Commission staff. For a short period, another room was added. To get there, one had to pass through the kitchen where Antonio, a cigarette in his mouth with its long ash drooping over the large pots of sauce simmering on the stove, held court. We would joke that it was the ash that made to food taste so good. That room became an unofficial meeting place of the Coastal Staff until the Fire Department realized it lacked fire exit and closed it down.

The four of us had a good meal, talked a lot and joked with the waiter. We then piled back into Peter’s car and he drove us to the Downtown Transit Station where we boarded the bus to the Emeryville train station to catch the train to Sacramento.
IMG_E7595

 

 
B. A DREAM BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

For the past two nights, I have been having a pleasant dream set in the dream world of my ancestral home in Sicily. It is nothing like the real place I have so often visited. In my dream life, I have several places that over the years I return to. They are nothing like the real places they are supposed to represent. For example, San Francisco in my dream world has no Golden Gate Bridge. Instead, when I look north, I see a crowded harbor filled with large ships and pleasure craft. Further north, there is a mountainous island or peninsular. I sometimes climb those mountains and stare at the endless ocean beyond.

Another dream place seems like a combination of Mendocino and Eureka. Strangely when I face north the ocean is in my left as though I am on the East coast. I spend a lot of my dream time here. On the way to the town, there is an old hotel or resort sited a short way from the ocean. It’s a bit rundown down and the owner is a mysterious dyspeptic man who alternately frightens and annoys me.

The Sicilian town of my dreams appears like it had just emerged from the middle ages or had just been bombed during WWII. Both the women and men wear dark clothing — the woman generally long dresses, the men old working men’s clothing. My friend Vittorio, Naida and I were in a tumble-down house. A middle-aged woman (perhaps the owner) acted strangely, perhaps angry at us for some reason.  Fortunately, she took a liking to Vittorio and pulled him off into the bushes. At the back of the house, there was a large shed open on three sides. The shed operated as an impromptu cafe and meeting place for the neighborhood. In the evening, parties were often held there with a lot of singing, dancing, and storytelling. We had a great time and I woke up happy.

 
C. A FEW TRIPS INTO THE GOLDEN HILLS TO MEET WITH HRM:

 
HRM and I got together several times during the past few days.  The first time we met, while sitting in Subway’s eating a meatball sandwich and discussing his schooling, he mentioned he was enjoying High School and liked all his teachers because they each keep a toy for him that he is allowed to play with in class. It seems that since he had been diagnosed with ADD and refuses to take his meds, the teachers have decided it was best to allow him to release some of his excess energy by fiddling with these during class.

A few days later, I returned for the opening of the newly remodeled skatepark. A large herd of young boys and a few girls on scooters and skateboards crammed the place. After, watching things for a while, Naida and I went to lunch in Town Center.

One day I picked him up at the skate park. On the way to lunch at Subway, I inquired about his welding class. Some time ago I had told both him and my daughter Jessica that between adolescence the onset of adulthood they should develop competence in science, art, math, sports, social science, as well as a trade. I believed given the changes we go through in our lives and the changes the society we live goes through,  flexibility is needed for our sustenance,  health, and happiness. In my daughter’s case art became photography, science virology, math (the statistical analysis necessary for her virology doctorate), sports soccer (she continued to play competitively until very recently), and for social science her minor was semantics.

H then showed me his unfinished steel cube designed to look like a die. It was quite heavy and obviously unfinished. He explained he still needed to file down the welded joints.

On Friday, we went to have lunch a Panda’s a fast-food place we favor. He showed me his finished cube. It looked great. We discussed his upcoming Thanksgiving vacation and the possibility of he and I going away somewhere for a few days.

Another time, I picked up Kaleb and him and took them to the hot dog place in City Center for lunch. They had buffalo wings and IItalian a sausage sandwich called “The Godfather.” Like teenagers everywhere they seemed at sixes and sevens about things to do, a bit bored but unwilling to give up the general comfort of home and running off into the woods or onto a ship and sailing away into an adventure.

 

 

D. ODDS AND ENDS:

 
Days pass, my short term memory slowly continues to shred. I have read a number of books these past few weeks (see E. Below). This is notable because, for about a month or so, I, for some reason, had substantially slowed my normal reading regime.

Naida and I continue our regular routine of spending most days and evenings sitting on our reclining chairs and watching either the impeachment hearings or old movies on TCM. In the early evenings, we walk Boo-Boo the Barking Dog through the Enchanted Forest or to the nearby dog park where instead of playing with the other dogs and running around with them helter-skelter he just sits and waits at our feet staring at us until we give up and take him home for his dinner. When we do go out somewhere to shop or to dinner and I get a chance to see us reflected in say a shop’s glass window I see two slightly dotty old people shuffling along on one of those mysterious errands the aged seem to enjoy.

One evening we watched the movie “Marty” on television. I had always liked it for its dialogue and portrayal of the social lives of young Italian-American men in the 1950s in the Bronx. And yes, I found Marty’s relationship with Clara endearing and appreciated the loneliness experienced by the two central characters, but I had not recognized or appreciated the fear of isolation that pervaded all the characters in the film. Angie’s anger and desperation of losing Marty’s companionship, the mother’s fear of abandonment by their sons and so on permeate the film making it less a comedy and more a caution.

It has been raining and cold for the past few days. The weather reports describe it as an atmospheric river flowing across California bringing with it the weather change. One morning when I went outside it was quite misty. The mist appeared almost solid giving in bulk what it takes away in substance.

We have spent the past few days inside, avoiding the cold and the rain. Naida works on editing portions of Volume II of her memoir while I write this or read a novel on Kindle. At other times we watch the news and political commentary on television. In the evening and at times during the day, we watch the flood of holiday movies on television. We also saw the Battle of Algiers, Giant, the silent film version of Joan of Arc and several other non-holiday fare. I am bored. If the rain and cold keep on much longer, I think I will shoot myself.

 
E. NOT REALY BOOK REPORTS:

 
As usual most of the novels I read are candy for the mind. I guess since I no longer ingest spun sugar, cotton candy for the mind will have to do as a substitute. Well, that’s not true, I have always preferred to flood my mind with fluff. I believe living in a fantasy world is every bit as rewarding as living in the real world — perhaps even more so

I am currently reading, The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss the third in a series whose principal characters include Mary Jekyll the Daughter of Dr. Jekyll, Diana the daughter of Mr. Hyde, Beatrice Rappiccini the daughter of a man who raised her on a diet exclusively of poisons leaving her “as beautiful and she was poisonous,” Justine Frankenstein, a significantly over six-foot woman created by the famous doctor Frankenstein originally to wed the equally famous monster, and Cathrine Moreau a puma transformed into a woman by Dr. Moreau. They find each other during the course of the first novel and decide to live together in Mary Jekyll’s home, name themselves the Athena Club and with the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson set about solving arcane crimes. Cathrine is the Dr. Watson of these estimable ladies’ adventures. One of the many conceits in the books is to have members of the club interrupt Cathrine as she writes criticizing and commentating on her work.

Another book I just completed by one of my favorite authors, Joe Abercrombie who in “A Little Hatred” begins a new series continuing the tales set in a world living in something similar to medieval England with a dollop of magic thrown in. Abercrombie clearly intended to feature a bit more magic in his series but his main character, The Bloody Nine, was so compelling, he focused more on the Barbarians of the north of which The Bloody Nine was one and their ceaseless slaughter of one another in the Ring, a battle to the death between two heroes to determine who would be king. These are adolescent boys novels which is probably why I enjoy them so much.

“Dark Pattern” by Andrew Mayne features a mathematical biologist who gives up his post as a college professor to track down serial killers using the techniques of his academic specialty to do so. He is as obsessed with pursuing them as they are in their chosen profession of murder.

“Not my Fae” by Tom Kelly a multi-book series about a Las Vegas cop who discovered the city is really run by fairies (Fae) and demons and what is worse he learns that he is a fairy and even worse he is a son of Gaia and the King of the Fairies. Needless to say the stories deteriorate in each successive novel to such an extent that the author has to explain why in the afterward of his most recent novel.

“The Vital Question” by Nick Lane sounds like another trashy detective story, but it is not. Lane is a biologist. I think it is best that he explains what his book is all about

For me the best books in biology, ever since Darwin, have been arguments. This book aspires to follow in that tradition. I will argue that energy has constrained the evolution of life on earth; that the same forces ought to apply elsewhere in the universe; and that a synthesis of energy and evolution could be the basis for a more predictive biology, helping us understand why life is the way it is, not only on earth, but wherever it might exist in the universe.
Lane, Nick. The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life (p. 16). W. W. Norton & Company.

It is a slow read, but I think important to help clarify my thoughts about the biosphere.

 

 

F. THANKSGIVING:

 
On Thanksgiving, I picked up HRM in the Golden Hills and drove him to Naida’s daughter’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. It was very enjoyable and the food was wonderful. I had to leave a bit early to take HRM back home. Naida, later told me the family spent a few hours after dinner playing word games and singing rounds.

IMG_E7614          IMG_7617

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

San-Francisco-from-Space-Station-by-André-Kuipers-Portrait
San-Francisco-from-Space-Station-by-André-Kuipers-Portrait.jpg

 

 

The above photograph of the San Francisco Bay Area taken from space demonstrates not only a marvel of technology but the beauty of this corner of the earth. When I look at the photograph, however, I notice the grey urban developed areas. It reminds me of mold in a scientist’s petri dish devouring the agar until it is all consumed and the mold first cannibalizes itself then dies. In fact, the photo may indicate something very much like that on a global level may be happening. Like the mold in the petri dish, the principle organism remaining the white areas of the photograph ( humans), having exhausted the resources in the area, seeks out additional resources (agar for mold and in the case of humans, a variety of other organisms and inert materials) and energy in order to convert them into substances of use (chemically and mechanically) ultimately producing waste and energy (usually in the form of heat.)

The organisms in the dead zone (us) now lacking resources and energy send out filaments (roads, railroads, electric transmission lines, etc.) to transport resources and energy back into the dead zone so that the remaining organisms living there can flourish while the resources and energy at the source are eventually used up.

Meanwhile, waste in the form of unusable garbage and energy build-up everywhere until all the living organisms gradually die. In the interim, the organisms (us) slaughter one another in competition for the resources. This may be a good thing if it reduces demand enough the resources have an opportunity to renew themselves.

A stable population, renewability, and technological advances that promote a reduction in per capita use of resources and energy is “good” technological advancement. Whether humanity, as it has evolved, is the organism that can recognize develop and implement the “good” technological advancement remains to be seen. If not, then, like the mold setting about to devour the last bit of agar in the Petri dish, it is time to be getting ready to begin chanting kaddish.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

 

While drifting through some old files on my computer, I came across an article I had written back in 1972. Shortly after I had helped put on the 1971 Buckminster Fuller’s World Games Workshop, I had a brief career as an education consultant, primarily for the Sonoma County Board of Education. During that time, I co-authored the following article. Only a brief portion was available through the internet. If I wanted to view it all, I had to go through some elaborate verification dance. I, to quote the members of the Scooter Gang, “Boring.” Nevertheless, I include here what wnNas immediately available.

 

 

“ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY WITH BUCKMINSTER FULLER’S GEOMETRY

MARTIN J. COHEN and JOSEPH E. PETRILLO

Cybernetics Systems Program, 125 South Seventh Street

San Jose State College, San Jose Ca. 95114

An experimental program in geodesics and Energetic and Synergetic Geometry was carried outwith third, fourth and fifth-grade students. This experiment was followed by a workshop designed to help elementary school teachers incorporate Fuller’s concepts into their teaching programs. Both programs included the building of geometric models, construction of geodesic domes, the study of basic structural patterns in the world, and the application of these patterns to environment and nature studies. In addition, the teacher’s workshop discussed methods of implementing the new studies through integration of study in mathematics, natural science, and social science. Both programs emphasized “learning through doing” — playing with, building, and experiencing physical models and structures and made extensive use of replicable media and learning aids.

 

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 
SET — WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I include this simply as an aide-memoire: there are more meanings for this innocent-looking trinity of letters than there are for any other word in the English language—fully 62 columns’ worth in the complete Oxford English Dictionary, and which naturally include such obvious examples as the condition of what the sun does each evening; a major part of a game of tennis; what one does if one embarks on a journey; what one does if one puts something down on a table; a collection of a number of items of a particular kind; and a further score, or more, of other disparate and unconnected things and actions. Set is a term in bowling; it is what a dog (especially a setter, of course) does when he is dealing with game; it is a grudge; what cement does when it dries; what Jell-O does when it doesn’t dry; a form of power used by shipwrights; what a young woman does when she wants to secure a man’s affections; the direction of a current at sea; the build of a person; a kind of underdeveloped fruit; the stake that is put down at dice … need I go on? In the search for a synonym it is worth pointing out, and only half in jest, that it is quite possible that one or other meanings for set might fit the bill, exactly, and will have you all set, semantically, and quite neatly, without nearly as much effort as you supposed.
Simon Winchester

Also, Set is an Egyptian God.

Set, also known as Seth and Suetekh, was the Egyptian god of war, chaos, and storms, brother of Osiris, Isis, and Horus the Elder, uncle to Horus the Younger, and brother-husband to Nephthys. His other consort was the goddess Tawaret, a hippo-headed deity who presided over fertility and childbirth. He is one of the first five gods created by the union of Geb (earth) and Nut (sky) after the creation of the world. His name is usually translated as “instigator of confusion” and “destroyer” and he was associated with disorder, foreign lands and people, and the color red. He is sometimes depicted as a red-haired beast with a forked tail and cloven hooves or a shaggy red dog-like animal. His symbols were the griffin, hippopotamus, crocodile, and tortoise, but he was mainly associated with the serpent. Epithets for Set include “Lord of the Desert” and “Ruler of the South” as he was originally a god of Upper Egypt (the south) and the barren lands beyond Egypt’s borders.

So, let us all set ourselves down and praise the great god SET.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 
A. Pookie and Naida’s Journey through the Northwest (continued) on Top:

 

Yellowstone Park and Gardiner Montana
The next morning, we woke up and left the BHB intending to return to Yellowstone Park and visit Tower Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As we left the building we were greeted with a magnificent view. A large valley spread out in front of us dotted with herds of elk and pronghorn antelope munching on the green and brown grass. On the far side of the valley, large hills rose up and beyond them, snow-capped mountains and the blue sky.
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_339c

 

 

We had a pleasant breakfast at the BNB, talking with the owners and other guests before setting off back into the Park to visit Tower Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As we passed back through the town of Gardiner on our way back into the Park, we passed herds of Elk along the roads and grazing on the lawns of the town. The town itself was a mix of western picturesque and tourist ugly. After entering the Park we passed additional herds of Elk and Bison grazing the rolling grasslands accompanied by gaggles of cars parked along the roadway disgorging piles of tourists taking photographs of the herds. We also passed some of Yellowstone’s more beautiful vista’s.

IMG_7211_2

 

 

The falls and the canyon were both impressive and picturesque.
IMG_7131

 
Naida and I got separated as she misplaced her purse and walked back to find it and I ambled off along the path above the canyon. It became a bit comical when she returned and saw me ahead on the trail and tried to catch up but for one reason or another, she got close but then fell back again. Eventually, she caught up and celebrated doing so.
IMG_7132

 
We returned to Gardiner with a stop at one of the mineral springs.
IMG_7149

 

 

That evening we ate dinner at a pleasant restaurant with mediocre food. We enjoyed sitting before the fire listening to western music.

The following day, we set off for Yellowstone Falls. We found it, along with hundreds of other tourists, marveled at its beauty and took off for the lakes.
IMG_E7169

 

IMG_E7163_2

 

 

Along the way, Naida told stories and entertained me identifying the plants and animals we passed by. To Naida, Yellowstone was in her backyard when she was a child. Her father would take her there often on day trips. During a stop for a quick lunch, she pointed out the bear-proof garbage cans. At one time Park garbage was piled up in large open dumps. The bear population of the Park exploded as the bears spent their time scrounging the dumps and the unsecured garbage cans. The park administration believed the bears and other animals were losing their wildness and becoming dependent upon the refuse so they stopped dumping refuse in the park resulting in a radical fall off in the bear population because they lost their ability to live in the wild.

Yellowstone Lake, a large expanse of water that fills a portion of the ancient Yellowstone crater was quite beautiful.
IMG_7199

 
We spent some time enjoying the view before retiring to the old hotel on the lakes where we bought some books and had a snack.
IMG_7197

 
It was at this hotel or perhaps at one in the Grand Teton’s National Park we visited a few days ago that Naida told me the following story:

Perhaps 70 years or so ago, Bill Geyer, Naida’s husband who passed away almost two years ago stopped at the hotel for a few weeks. He was about 11 years old at the time. He and his buddies found a small mouse inhabiting the room with them. They befriended it and even gave it the name Crunchmiller. When it became time to leave the boys became concerned that their friend Crunchmiller would be mistreated or killed by some future inhabitants of the room, not knowing he was a friendly and playful little rodent, so Bill decided to write a letter to the Hotel Manager pleading for the Crunchmiller’s life on the grounds he had become a rodent of character and discretion. The Manager becoming so impressed with the letter promptly sent it off to Reader’s Digest, the Fox News of its day where a few weeks later it appeared in print. Bill’s mother, so proud of the letter and her son’s compassion she wrote a book about it. When I enquired about what became of Crunchmiller she responded, “No one knows and no one seemed to care.”
On the way back to Gardiner we passed through the Park Headquarters at Marathon where a herd of elk grazed on the lawns including this big fella:
IMG_7222
That evening back at the BNB, we prepared for leaving the next morning to visit one on Naida’s relatives a cousin Julie Madison in Alder Montana. Unfortunately, she did not have her cousin’s phone number. Nevertheless, although people may no longer use phone books, Naida was able to locate her cousin’s phone number in the one-horse town of Alder Montana by calling “Chick’s Bar.” The bartender, sure enough, knew her cousin’s number and gave it to her. The next morning after saying goodbye to the BNB owners, we left to plunge into old-time Montana.
(To be continued)

 

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
Taxes never can be set so high that they could ever discourage the wealthy from pursuing their efforts to become even richer.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl
I tie my Hat—I crease my Shawl—
Life’s little duties do—precisely—

As the very least
Were infinite—to me—

.
I put new Blossoms in the Glass—
And throw the old—away—
I push a petal from my gown
That anchored there—I weigh
The time ’twill be till six o’clock
I have so much to do—
And yet—Existence—some way back—
Stopped—struck—my ticking—through—
We cannot put Ourself away
As a completed Man
Or Woman—When the Errand’s done
We came to Flesh—upon—
There may be—Miles on Miles of Nought—
Of Action—sicker far—
To simulate—is stinging work—
To cover what we are
From Science—and from Surgery—
Too Telescopic Eyes
To bear on us unshaded—
For their—sake—not for Ours—
Twould start them—
We—could tremble—
But since we got a Bomb—
And held it in our Bosom—
Nay—Hold it—it is calm—

.
Therefore—we do life’s labor—
Though life’s Reward—be done—
With scrupulous exactness—
To hold our Senses—on—
by Emily Dickinson

D. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 
Another snag from Jason Colavito (http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog) in his unending battle with the lunatic fringe. Today he pursues Nephilim hunters and SkyWatch.tv.

Steve Quayle Claims Fallen Angels Will Return Soon to Kill Us All
11/13/2019

This week, Nephilim hunter and Christian bigot Steve Quayle visited the Evangelical extremist broadcaster SkyWatch.tv to discuss UFOs, cataclysms, and giants, as well as the True Legends conference he held in America’s conservative entertainment capital, Branson, Mo., a few weeks ago. The True Legends conference builds on Quayle’s True Legends brand of Christian Ancient Aliens knockoff products, which like much of the Christian entertainment market involves copying something secular, adding sanctimony and hypocrisy, and reducing the quality by 40-50%. Things got off to a great start when Quayle told viewers that he believes that we live in a holographic universe dominated by demons who have created a “hell-o-graphic” world, and that UFO disclosure is imminent because Satan is using demon-driven flying saucers to undermine belief in Nephilim giants.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“The difference between our rich and poor grows greater every year. Our distribution of wealth is getting more uneven all the time. A man can make a million and he is on every page in the morning. But it never tells you who gave up that million he got.”
WILL ROGERS

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_E7572IMG_E7572.jpg

Categories: October through December 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Papa Joe 0008 (September 8, 2019)

 
“The measure of a civilization is in the courage, not of its soldiers, but of its bystanders.”
McDevitt, Jack. A Talent For War (An Alex Benedict Novel Book 1) (p. 204). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

 

We drove to the Bay Area and spent the night at Peter and Barrie’s. Hiromi and my granddaughter just returned from their summer in Japan, joined us for dinner. We told stories. I told about the time my son Jason and I hitchhiked across the United States. He was about six-years-old at the time. It took us about six weeks primarily because we stayed for three of those weeks with friends who lived in the Bitterroot Vally in Montana.
IMG_6720
Peter, Amanda and I.

 

The next morning, I went for my immunotherapy treatment. The doctor told me that I had a significant number of blood clots in my left leg and lungs. He hoped the anticoagulant he had prescribed for me would begin to clear them up. We will know better after my next visit when I will have some additional tests done. Later, one of my blood tests came back showing severely low thyroid levels which may be the cause of my constant fatigue. The doctor said I need to get more exercise.
Following my visit, we returned to Noe Valley and sat at the Geezer Bench in front of Bernie’s Cafe. We were joined by my grandson Anthony and his girlfriend. Anthony has always been a kind and considerate young man who had a very unhappy childhood and adolescence that sowed the seeds of anger and frustration inside of him. I try my best always to be supportive of him in the hope that his innate gentleness will eventually calm his internal demons.
IMG_6721
Naida and Anthony with me on the Geezer’s Bench.

 
B. BACK TO THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

The drive back was a horror, taking over four hours to cover the eighty or so miles. That evening, Naida suggested we get starkers and retire early. It was delightful. We lay on the bed in the dim light and talked for hours — about the light, our love, the day, the night, tomorrow and beyond, yesterday and the dim reaches of memory, our plans and our hopes for the brief time we have ahead of us. I slept well.

A few days pass like a spring breeze through the tattered remains of my memory. Let us work our way backward. It is Sunday, we just returned from a magnificent concert at the Nepenthe clubhouse. A Japanese jazz harpist (Motoshi Kosako) had given a performance far beyond that of the third rate bands that usually perform at the Sunday Jazz By the Pool nights in the Enchanted Forest. He was accompanied by an equally accomplished guitarist who played an instrument that seemed to be able to mimic any instrument in a symphony orchestra. True the Harpist, was no Miles Davis but was clearly a master Jazz musician. Jazz played on the harp was interesting, if to me a bit unsettling. There was none of that sense of sliding into the notes like one gets with traditional jazz instruments, like the sax, cornet or guitar. The sound of the harp is bright, not rounded. It would be like a jazz piano riff played on a harpsichord, everything musical would still there but it would sound, to me, a bit too vibrant and missing the auditory shadows I have come to expect in good jazz.

IMG_6750

 

That morning I drove the Scooter Gang (Hayden, Jake, Kaleb, and Tyson) into the Gold Country for a hamburger taste comparison between the hamburgers served at Giant Burgers to Go in Pine Grove and those cooked on the wood-fired oven at the Country Store in Volcano. H and I had always believed that the burgers cooked up at the Country Store were the best, but they were strangely dry that day so Giant Burgers to Go won the taste test that day.
IMG_6730IMIMG_6732GIMG_6731_2_IMG_6735_2

 
As for teenage chatter during the trip, alas, there was little of note. I hoped that they would show and interest in some of the sights along the way and suggest we stop and explore them (e.g., Indian Grinding Rock, Some old mines and Volcano itself) but they were too far into their existential adolescent blasé to consider anything but the torrent of recognition about their own emerging individuality to consider anything else intriguing.

On Saturday we attended the Saturday Morning Coffee at the Nepenthe clubhouse. It was also Dustan Hoffman day on TVM. After the coffee we returned home and watched “The Graduate,” Midnight Cowboy,” “Tootsie,” “Marathon Man,” and “Straight Time.” Hoffman was trained in “The Method” at the Actor’s Studio. That means, he may look more or less the same in each performance but he is a different person every time. Non-Method actors, look the same, are the same person, but behave differently as the script requires. It is difficult to claim one knows what Hoffman or DiNero are like in their private lives, but you are usually reasonably certain you know Gable or Olivier remain the same person away from the screen. There was a time, I was walking by a hotel located at the beach in Santa Monica. I saw Al Pacino, wearing an overcoat hanging down to his ankles hiding in the bushes and peering into the breakfast room of the hotel. I guess one might have expected something like that from Pacino. On the other hand, perhaps he was just getting into his character for some performance.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep, so I first went through the 49rs potential lineup as I sometimes do hoping the exercise would bore me enough to put me to sleep. That failed, so I went to my backup, counting my breaths backward from 99. When I got to about 10, I realized I was thirsty, so I got out of bed to get a drink of water. As I got up and started walking I began to feel dizzy so I grabbed the footboard as I usually do to keep me from falling until the dizzy spell passed. The next thing I recalled I was still lying in bed counting backward with Naida in my arms. Slowly, I began to realize that it was not a pillow behind my head but the rug instead. Also, Naida was not sleeping in my arms but holding me and calling my name. It dawned on me that I had fainted. The last time I had fainted like this was when I had a pulmonary embolism a few years back. Oh, I forgot, the dog lay on the rug near me, a concerned look in his eyes as he contemplated the possible loss of a secure source of food.

With Naida’s help, I got back to bed drank some water and laid back down. I still could not go back to sleep, but now I instead of NFL rosters or counting breaths, I worried about whether if I fall asleep I would ever wake up. I slept fitfully and awoke exhausted and muzzy and with a nagging sense of dread but pleased to have survived the night.

Now the title of this section of T&T includes the words “Pookie’s Adventures.” Most people, I suspect, view adventures as things like climbing a mountain, exploring a dank jungle, or being chased down a dark alley by white nationalists or Mafia hitmen. I, however, consider last night’s events an adventure. Think about it. It took place in the dark of night. There was clearly a danger. I was mystified about what was happening. There was a dollop of pathos and a pinch of bathos (not to mention a full dose of melodrama). Imminent death was a distinct possibility. A beautiful woman lay in my arms. The problem was successfully overcome and a residual shadow as to what it all means for the future remained. That’s what adventure is all about.

I asked Naida to review my unfinished mystery novel, “Here Comes Dragon,” that I had published here in T&T some years back. I wanted her opinion as to whether I should finish it and publish it as an ebook. After reading two or three chapters, she stopped. I asked her if she thought I should try to finish it. She responded that perhaps I should devote my time and effort to T&T. So noted.

On Friday, we walked over the bridge to Sacramento State and joined the Renaissance Society. An organization that allows us Vecchia Gente to attend lectures and classes. I was interested most in history, Celtic, Mesopotamian or Judean. Naida seemed more intrigued by courses music and writing.

IMG_6766

The view of the American River from the Guy West Bridge.

 

On Saturday I drove into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM and three other members of the Scooter Gang in order to drive them to Berkeley for lunch at a Mexican restaurant he likes followed by a visit to the Bone Room. When I arrived at his teenager cave, he said that since it was Labor Day weekend the traffic would be too heavy. So, instead, we went to a fried chicken place they like in Folsom.
IMG_6771

 
After that, we walked to the Natomas Reservoir nearby. HRM wanted to show me the 65ft high cliff from which he and some of his friends would dive into the water. On the way, we met Dick and his house guest Cristina’s daughter Julia from Italy who had been riding their bicycles around the lake. The boys (Jake and HRM) decided to show us their dive but luckily the park rangers came by boat and warned them off.

IMG_6780 10_2IMG_6782_2IMG_6777 7_4

 

During the drive, they told me about a conflict that has arisen during the first week of High School between a group I call “the Jocks” and another group, “The Slackers,” to which the members of the Scooter Gang belong. It seems the Jocks have been whispering to some of the girls in the class urging to stay away from the Slackers because they lack ambition and will never amount to anything in life. This has riled up the Slackers ( including the Scooter Gang) quite a bit.

In an effort to not so much calm the waters but salve the bruised egos of the Slackers, I explained that the difference between them is that the Jocks need someone to tell them how to exercise or what to learn, but the Slackers (at least the Scooter Gang contingent) prefer to explore things on their own. For example, they certainly get significant exercise at the Skatepark, mountain biking, and skiing, while the Jocks prefer to get theirs under the direction of the coaches on the sports teams. Similarly, the Scooter Gang prefers exploring and learning things in addition to school (which they find confining). Also, they are always dreaming about doing exciting, if less conventional things in addition to their plans for college and a career. They responded something like, “Yeah, we’re explorers. They are only interested in a conventional life.” I guess that is good.

On Wednesday, Naida and I visited another independent living facility. What happened in the past four days? I don’t recall much except I am sure it was nothing bad. A few calls from Frank in Florida and from David in South Dakota broke up days of watching old movies and cable news or playing with my computer — I did go swimming once. Anyway, the visit — it always makes me feel uncomfortable when I enter one of these facilities. I think I am visiting my temporary coffin, reserved for that period between decrepitude and death. Sort of like I picture purgatory to be. A cold misty place where one waits uncomfortably to finally graduate into the eternal boredom of Heaven.

Thursday was an interesting day. In the morning, Naida told me several spooky stories about events in her life that she plans to include in the second volume of her memoir. The first included a story about her grandmother’s house, strange music, and dancing candlesticks. Another story concerned her meeting a native American man who had read River of Red Gold, her novel of life along the Cosumnes River during the Gold Rush. He said he was enthralled by the way she treated Native Americans in her book. He claimed it changed his life. They visited the abandoned native American village on the banks of the Cosumnes and the tree of the spirit women described in her book. His spirit animal was a bear. The painting that graces the cover of Eye of the Bay reflects that spirit. It also reflects the orSwimmingange light that shone in his eyes. Strangely the painter was not informed of any of this but just decided on her own to paint the bear, the fire motif and the orange rendition of the San Jose Mission in his eye.
IMG_6812 - Version 2

 
Later I drove into the Golden Hills for lunch with SWAC after which I picked up HRM at the ESD Skatepark and drove him home. Confidentiality prevents me from writing here all that I learned.

That night Terry arrived in Sacramento on his way back to Dunsmuir. We had dinner at Zinfandel a restaurant nearby that Naida and I enjoy. After dinner, we invited him to stay the night in one of the now-empty bedrooms. The next morning we all had breakfast together and talked about many things — Politics mostly. In addition to current national politics, we also talked about our lives in politics and the sexual peccadilloes of those in politicians we all knew. Terry and I discussed the Catholic schools we attended and the malevolent morality of the diocesan hierocracy we all knew. Naida told about the Mormons in Idaho and Utah and their frightening hierarchy beginning with Bingham Young. Later, Terry and I reminisced about our time at Georgetown. I told about my friendship with the Buchanan family — of Pat Buchanan, speechwriter for Nixon, Presidential candidate and full-time racist and fascist. He was considered the smart one of the family. He was also violent and crazy. I was convinced he would eventually die in the electric chair. Psycho Buchanan was Pat’s brother, and a Jesuit seminarian at the time I knew him. He was called Psycho for a good reason. He was a close friend of mine. Then there was Buchs Buchanan who was usually referred to as the dumb Buchanan. A finally there was Bay Buchanan the sister who was thirteen when I first met her. That day I, as I was walking down the hallway of the Buchanan house and heard her speak, I was convinced she was the demon child. Whenever I see the possessed child in the movie The Exorcist, I can only see Bay in my mind as I first met her that day.

Terry and I then left. He to continue on to Dunsmuir and me off to EDH again to pick up HTM. Hayden and I set off for lunch. After lunch, I drove him back to his home to pick up his scooter. His mom came by and said she would tell him this week. I then dropped him off at the Skatepark and returned to the Enchanted Forest.

Saturday, we attended the Saturday Morning Coffee. Winnie was there. Her immunotherapy has stopped working. She was desperately frightened. I felt bad for her and a little scared for myself. The primary issue for discussion at the coffee was the recent break-in by two thieves of a home in the area and the beating of the homeowner. While such an event perhaps concerns old folks more than others, I was surprised at the high-level unemotional discussion that followed.

I think this is enough for this post. Next week following my trip to SF for my immunotherapy treatment, Naida and I leave for a two week trip to Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. We will be visiting some of the locations of many of the events in Naida’s newly published memoir as well as relatives and old friends. It is, in part, a sort of a good-by trip for Naida as she may never see most of these people again. We also plan to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Take care of yourselves and remember to keep on truckin.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

 
In the prior T&T post, I began a rumination about biological life, not in the hope of adding to the sum total of the earth’s knowledge or even to be correct. I have neither the knowledge nor the ambition to do either. I only want to see if I can come up with something with the information I have assembled that convinces me or if not convinced then leaves me bored enough to do something else. I have done this before in T&T with my posts on the spread of humanity out of Africa, as well as the First-Centuries and the rise of the Abrahamic religions we know today.

I ended the previous post with the following:

“When coupled with the fact that many believe the biosphere extends as a band from somewhere below the surface of the lithosphere (ground) up until it dissipates somewhere near the stratosphere, it helps me to explore a possible concept on which I believed I could replace my uninformed uncertainty with dogmatic bias.”

And continue here:

“Whitehead and Russell taught us that words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. In other words, it is all blah, blah, blah unless it has numbers. Goedel then taught us that mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. In other words, blah is still blah even with numbers.”
Excerpt From: J. E, Petrillo.Trenz Pruca’s Musings.” Apple Books.

In the early part of the 20th Century, it became generally accepted by scientists that words, the fundamental element of the system of aural and visual symbols that make up what we call language, was not adequate to describe some of the fundamental elements of physical reality. They chose the symbolic (or semantic if you will) system of numbers with which to describe the very small and very large aspects of reality. Later, they realized, numbers have their own problems as a system of description.

When we dropped from the trees and appeared to separate ourselves from other mammals, one of the indicators of that separation was our realization that we could manipulate and communicate our visual and auditory impressions. Other (perhaps most) organisms, including plants, seem to be able to communicate to some extent. What differentiates genus homo from the others is not just this ability but also the scope of the physical changes it induced in human physiology to take maximum advantage of that ability. It’s downside as Whitehead and Russell point out is its imprecision and subjective nature make it less than desirable for some of the needs of science. So what does this mean for understanding life?

Well, for one thing, in our efforts to understand life and communicate it we may be hindered by those symbolic concepts we have traditionally used. Even Schrodinger, after accurately predicting the basic building block of life, had to resort to invoking eastern religions to describe the more macro elements of the biosphere. Again, so what?
Well, perhaps the categories imposed upon us by our system of symbols to describe reality are misleading us.

Let’s take the biosphere. When say, dinosaurs evolved and dominated during the Triassic I believe some of them crawled along the land others swam in the sea and others developed the ability to fly. Later mammals when they achieved a similar form of existence within the biosphere, some swim in the water others travel along the land and others take to the skies. There seems to be a common evolution of large groups of related species when their phylum, domain, or family gain worldwide distribution. Teilhard De Chardin described this phenomenon as a precursor to the evolution or addition of a “more advanced” life form that in turn would circle the globe. Humans also have, in relatively large numbers, traveled on and under the oceans and waters of the earth and extracted resources for their benefit. Similarly, they have managed to fly through the air. Does this mean humanity has broken into separate species? If not then could the previous masters of the world be considered the equivalent of a single species? If not, then does this factor in the evolution of the biosphere mean anything?

The biosphere (life on this earth) is hugely complex. The universe is hugely complex also. Yet, Einstein through a clever thought experiment followed by its expression in mathematical symbols simplified much of it and made a lot of it predictable. Could something similar be done with the biosphere?
(to be continued perhaps)

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that he believes explains this capacity. The formula, based on established physics, indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.”

Natalie Wolchover. A New Physics Theory of Life, January 22, 2014

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

January 16, 1963,

 

Ugh, I seemed to have taken the pipe on the Domestic Relations exam. I made two mistakes — first, I did not properly read the questions and second I may have omitted many of the issues raised by the facts. I need to develop a better method for taking these exams.

Jack Lee called to moan about the test. It was funny listening to his concerns especially when they made mine appear trivial.

Tony Russo was on the verge of tears about the exam. He, of course, is taking it harder than anyone else because it is his second time around. He told me his girlfriend Denise cheered him up. It must be nice to have someone to cheer you up.

It will be interesting to see who received the highest grades.

I hope to do better on tomorrow’s test. I think I am less prepared for it, but somehow I feel more confident.

Kevin appears to be pulling a fast one on the travel business. I will stop him.

Last night I dreamed about a Shangri-la of my own. It is a beautiful place, warm — kind to all and generous, tolerant but restrictive. Perhaps all that goodness fascinated me. This feeling has lasted two days now. I wish it could last forever. At least it provides some hope and happiness.

 

(Kevin was a college classmate and my contact with the travel agency yay made the arrangements for the trip other than the securing of the planes and the selling of the travel packages. As I said, I kept the profit on the planes and the agency on the accommodations. I suspected Kevin wanted to take the operation for himself.

All my life I have taken refuge in fantasy. I guess most people do. I do not recall my Shangri-la fantasy, but I assume, as usual, I was the central character, brilliant, courageous, handsome and well balanced.)

 

 

January 18, 1963.

 

A little fact is worth a limbo of dreams.

I woke up today with a ferocious headache. It was followed by the usual depression for the rest of the day. I fought it by trying to sleep in off. When that did not work, I fantasized about becoming a wealthy hero.

Ah, I need to prepare for my personal property exam.

 

(Besides taking refuge in fantasy whenever I ran into problems, I also convinced myself I was an incurable depressive. Both delusions have lasted my entire life.)

 

 

January 19, 1963.

 

I read an article by H. L. Mencken today. His cynicism must be irresistible to those who doubt as much as I do. Perhaps ontologically he is right, all is doubt, all is changing and beyond our grasp. Then again maybe he is wrong. Psychologically, he may have scored a bullseye, however, by pointing out that belief in oneself allows us to unify the exterior world and enables us to act, produce and contribute to it.

The problem, I think, is how do we express ourselves? Not, I am sure by the drivel I have written here — I do not even know if I have been lying to myself. Maybe this page should begin:

Those who believe they know something completely are usually wrong.

 

(Twenty-three-year-olds who believe they know something. anything, are always wrong)

 

 

January 20, 1963.

 

What have I done today that makes me proud? Absolutely nothing. At least I can do no worse tomorrow.

Last night as I struggled to sleep, I tried to remember something I had done of which I was Proud. I came up empty there too.
Pat gave me some information that may be useful for the Puerto Rico trip. I need to get my brother Jimmy a free trip.

 

(“At least I can do no worse.” One thing I found out in the almost sixty years of my life since then is that I certainly can.)

 

 

January 21, 1963.

 

The study group today went better than usual. Ora seemed to grasp this subject better than he usually does. Personal property will most likely be our most difficult exam.

I need to get a date for Mike’s party on Saturday. But who?

Why the hell can I seem only to write trivialities? Am I so shallow? Probably.

Today was cold.

My brother Jim seems distraught. I think it is that college freshman sickness where the student takes himself and everything happening to him to seriously. Although it probably will pass, it could be dangerous. He needs watching.

 

(My brother started art school. He always dressed in a jacket and tie. The other students made fun of him. Eventually, he conceded but always remained the best-dressed artist around.

As to my shallowness, there is no probability about it.)

 

 

January 23, 1963.

 

After much procrastination, I called Bobbie. I thought I handled it well. Perhaps I will be able to find a way around my prejudice. That would be something to be proud of.

I got a date with Stephanie for February 1. I called her at work. She seems more pleasant than before.

I have my personal property exam tomorrow. I believe my problem stems from my failure to read the questions properly. I hope to do better tomorrow.

I no longer suffer shattered confidence when those I know appear to know more than I do about something or have accomplished more. Now I make a note of what knowledge I lack or set a new goal to surpass them.

About Bobbie, I discovered two sheets of paper dated January 7, 1963, hidden between the pages later in my diary, I include them here now:

“I received my reply from Lawyer’s Library Club. I cannot make up my mind which books to buy because I have no idea of their quality.

Yesterday Al said it would be better that I do not date Bobbie because it would be detrimental to my career because she is Jewish and Married. This upset me. I am tempted to change my decision and begin dating her again.

It revolts me when convention becomes as unfair as this. I want to reach out and smash this like someone bashing the head of a rattlesnake preparing to strike.

The reports of the Boston Strangler slayings to me are both horrible and fascinating.

 

The second sheet of paper had no date. I do not know whether it was written at the same time and the first sheet. I include it here assuming both notes were written at the same time.

 

At the party last night Bobbie disclosed that had been married. Why I mused, do people seem to choose to make dramatic announcements at dramatic events or times.

I felt closer to her than ever before. Later appeared to turn colder to me. I cannot explain why I felt so close to her. Perhaps I never will. Nevertheless, I believe our relationship is over.

Bobbie has made my thoughts dwell less on the past and concentrate on this one that is not really important.

I admit her legs were warm, inviting, as my hand moved along them while we sat in the darkness. The memories of pleasure past and dreams of future pleasure unite to heighten the pleasures of the moment. I will miss that more than anything, I think.

Al Spengler drove me home. I owe him.

(At that time in the early sixties New York we lived in separate communities, more of less — The Italian and Irish Catholic communities, The Jewish community, the black community, the Puerto Rican community, and so on with a white Protestant living in remote ghettos everywhere and running all those things remote from the neighborhoods. It was expected one would not marry outside one’s ethnic community and religion. It was also expected that one would seek work in those communities or with organizations run by the white Protestants. It was both difficult and uncommon to step away from our communities then. College was one way. We the young also had spending money or youthful ancestors never had. This all culminated in the false dawn of the late ’60s when we were persuaded we could leave that all behind, with a little music and little dope and a good dose of recreational sex.

At least my 1963 self, as much as I find him a jerk, seems to have come to a dull awareness of some of the chains that bind him. I can attest that even now 60 years later some of them still do.

Bobbie seemed important to me in 1963. Alas, here in 2019 I do not remember her at all.)

 

 

 

 

TODAYS FACTOID:

 

 

Abraham Lincoln: Besides being a distinguished attorney, President of the United States and a well-known depressive he was also an accomplished poet. Here is one of his short poems:

Abraham Lincoln,
His hand and pen:
He will be good but
God knows When.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. A Barely Begun Story on Top:

 

While rummaging through some forgotten scraps in the bowels of my computer, I came across the following effort to write a story. It contains barely two paragraphs, but I was attracted to its title and by the pseudonym, I chose for the author:
GOD IS A TRANSEXUAL STREET WALKER IN BANGKOK
Malcolm “Luke” DeLucca

He leaned against the wall in the tiny alley throwing up everything he had in his stomach. He felt like he was dying. No, more like he wanted to die. It could not have been the few beers he had downed at Hillary’s 4, the bar on Soi Nana next to the entrance to Nana Plaza, one of Bangkok’s flesh emporiums. It was probably something he ate at one of the sidewalk food stands that line the street nearby.

After the retching stopped he slowly sunk down on his haunches being careful to avoid any part of his body touching the muck he disgorged a few inches away. He could barely move. His head hung between his knees and he but stared intently at a spot on the ground directly in front of his eyes. He still wanted to die. The sickness made it…”

At that point, I stopped for some reason. I recall that I intended that time to have the drunken farang meet a beautiful transexual in that dank alley. She claims she is God and had chosen the life of a transexual prostitute in Bangkok because she was bored with heaven and felt she would meet a better class of people here in the sordid alleyways of “the village of wild plums” then she did in the land beyond the pearly gates. I never got around to finishing it though. I guess it is the thought that counts.

As for the pen-name I had chosen, I have no idea where that came from. I knew a kid named Louie De Lucca when I was a kid back in Tuckahoe. Why I would want to memorialize him as the author of a story like this, I haven’t the foggiest — I actually liked the kid.

 

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

Shouldn’t we consider it a greater insult to the American flag or anthem to display the Confederate Battle Flag or the Swastika, both of which represent not only gross inhumanity but also those who sought to replace our flag, anthem and way of life and replace them with their flags, anthems and reprehensible ideals, then it is to take a knee to protest injustice, which by the way is a constitutionally protected act?

 

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 
What Was Your Name in the States?
by Anonymous

Oh, what was your name in the States?
Was it Thompson or Johnson or Bates?
Did you murder your wife
And fly for your life?
Say, what was your name in the States?

This poem and song was common during the Gold Rush. It describes the nature of many of the first pioneers to emigrate into California and savagely fall upon the unsuspecting indigenous people and pristine resources of the area. These murderers, the thieves, the psychopaths, the loners unable to prosper in the more civilized parts of the world arrived first, often under assumed names, and created the ethical basis upon the society they built that is, in part, every bit as despicable as that society that developed under slavery. In California, they obliterated the indigenous people rather than building an economy around enslaving them. The rape of the State’s natural resources with psychopathic abandon continued, however, well into the later part of the 20th Century and became the foundation of its economy until replaced, in part, by defense industries and the digital revolution.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 
“We’ll keep a crystal vase near our pink and blue pillows, and after we wish and then after we kiss, we’ll lower our faces to the very brim, the very delicate edge of the crystal vase, and then we’ll let the syrup flow from our eyes into the gentle crystal vase. And every Christmas and every Easter and every other holiday known to man, we’ll feed the syrup to our seventeen children, and they will remain children forever. Their imaginations will be in full bloom forever…and they will never die. Everything will be forever…”
-Leonard Melfi from TIMES SQUARE.

 

Melfi, the well known off-Broadway playwright, an old friend who I last saw in the mid-sixties when we got very drunk in a friends apartment in Greenwich Village and believed in our boozy stupor that we had solved a notorious mass murder of the time only to discover a few years later we were utterly wrong. He died alone in 2002 at Mount Sinai Hospital of congestive heart failure due in part to his alcoholism. His body was misplaced and discovered four months later in a potter’s grave in Queens. His brother had him exhumed, flown to his home town of Binghamton NY, and following a funeral service and Catholic mass buried in his family plot. He would have appreciated the melodrama. Alas, nothing is forever.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_5301
My Grandson Anthony Laying Flowers at the Grave of My Parents.

Categories: July through September 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: