“Almost any version of history can be supported by interpreting the facts in just the right way.”
Belateche, Irving. Einstein’s Secret (p. 5). Laurel Canyon Press.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
On Monday, the day before departure to DC, I planned to do a lot of things, swimming, preparing for the trip, paring down my to-do list and so on. I did none of them. After dropping HRM off at school and eating breakfast, I returned home, crawled back in bed, read and napped.
Tuesday on the way to the airport, I realized that I forgot my wallet and so Dick had to drive me back home. After retrieving the wallet and returning to the airport, I flew to Washington DC and again had the opportunity to witness the depth to which the airline industry has fallen.
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN WASHINGTON DC:
1. Help Wanted
My daughter is doing some work on the international potential for using restored wetlands to remove drug (antibiotic) pollutants from sewage wastewater. There has been research done on wetlands restored using processed urban wastewater in Sweden and at the Prado Wetlands in Orange County that show those wetlands are effective in removing antibiotic pollutants from the environment. The antibiotic pollutants may contribute to the proliferation of drug-resistant micro-organisms. This is important internationally because, as people migrate to urban areas, properly designed urban sewage systems may significantly aid in reducing the harm to human health of waste from pharmaceuticals and synthetic compounds. This may also help in reducing the serious threat of antibiotic resistance.
Please let me know if you know anything about restored wetlands coupled with sewage treatment and examples of such. Also I would like information on any water quality studies associated with those wetlands.
2. First things first:
After arriving in DC, my daughter presented me with a US State Department jacket to keep me warm. The jacket comes complete with the department logo and secret pockets in which to hide clandestine diplomatic messages.
Pookie in his new official US State Department jacket. (Note: The hat and the scarf are not regulation, but should be.)
3. Days one through four.
On the first day, we toured the old town of Alexandria where I bought my daughter a present for her soon to be 40th birthday. Later we took a class in Qi Gong together. After the lesson, I felt I had just taken a short trip back into the counter-culture of the 1970s.
The Birthday Present
The following day we planned to explore Capitol Mall but it rained. So instead, we went to look at a house my daughter may buy. In the afternoon, the weather cleared up. But, reminded of my perfidy a decade ago, I was rendered psychologically incapable of leaving the apartment.
On Friday, we traveled to the Antietam Civil War Battlefield site, where it was again proven that, unlike any other war, the American Civil War history was written by the losers.
Lee placed his forces and the reprehensible slavery defending Southern cause in jeopardy and was saved from total defeat only by the timely arrival of A.P. Hill’s division after a remarkable eight-hour 17 mile forced march from Harpers Ferry. Nevertheless, the beaten secessionist army avoided annihilation and successfully fled back to their Virginia refuge due to the overcautious behavior of the American commanding General.
Pookie by Bloody Lane at the Antietam Battlefield Site.
Jessica in Front of Burnside Bridge
Later we had a pleasant visit with the mother of Jessica’s friend at their farm in the Appalachian Mountains. Her friend’s father is a leading researcher in HIV medicine. The barn on the property was constructed by the local Amish in an old-style barn raising a few years back after their original barn burned down.
Pookie by the Amish Barn
On Saturday we had planned a trip to Baltimore but, because of the rain that forced us to cancel our trip to Capitol Mall on Thursday, we decided to go there instead. It was cold, very cold. We first visited the Smithsonian Native American Museum and had lunch there. The cafeteria at the Native American Museum is one of my favorite restaurants.
Pookie at the Native-American Museum Eating a Southwest Native-American Buffalo Taco and a Northwest Native American Dessert of Some Sort along with a 21st Century American Lemonade.
We then went to visit the Library of Congress which, surprisingly, I had never visited before. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the Jefferson Library and the First Contact display.
Pookie at the Library of Congress Standing in Front of a Mosaic of Minerva the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge.
It was too cold to continue walking around downtown Washington, so we went back home and watched television.
B. BOOK REPORT:
The 100-year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson is a novel about a 100-year-old man in Sweden who on his 100th birthday slipped out of the window at his nursing home and disappeared. After a series of adventures he marries a young 84-year-old Balinese woman and settles down in a hotel in Bali owned by his wife, He is joined there by the friends he made during his adventures, including:
A man who went to college for 30 years until his inheritance ran out and he opened a hot dog stand.
The aging collegian’s girlfriend, a foul-mouthed woman, who stole an elephant from the Stockholm Zoo and has an Alsatian dog.
The elephant named Sonya and the Alsatian.
A wannabe master criminal whose attempt to organize a criminal gang in the Swedish prisons was upset due to humiliation caused by the release to the other convicts his mother’s letter urging the warden to make sure her son ate well and went to bed early.
The master criminal’s 82-year-old mother.
The 30-year student’s brother who hated his brother for using up all their inheritance money on his education and who dealt in watermelons adulterated with extra sugar and water in order to make them taste better and more profitable.
A hermit and small time thief who liked to fish.
The Chief of Investigations for the Swedish police who pursued the 100-year-old man when, after escaping from the nursing home, he had been accused of mass murder.
Pookie says, “Check it out.”
“Compulsion to Post: A degenerative disorder, essentially a subset of narcissism/IQ-impairment, characterized by a self-perpetuating delusion that fame will be achieved by repetitive revelation of antisocial conduct. The mirror to this is commenting upon, “analyzing,” or publicly denouncing such conduct in the belief that one’s opinion is eagerly sought by the same non-existent “audience.” Distinguish from Folie à Deux as the delusional mindset is antithetical to actual closeness to others.”
An apt definition of my compulsion to continue writing T&T. I apologize to all for submitting you to my long-standing illness.
A. Quigley on Top:
“History shows us that we often erroneously assume that by dealing with the immediate causes of deleterious consequences of individual or collective actions we can resolve them. Often the more effective solutions lie in addressing the social or institutional arrangement that encourage these undesirable consequences even where they do not appear to be directly related.”
Alas, unfortunately, history also shows us that the politics of interest groups often make directly addressing those social or institutional arrangements impossible. So, dealing with the immediate causes of deleterious consequences or collective actions are the only feasible option.
Tragically, the central point of Quigley’s works informs us that when we reach that point, the institution, society or civilization is near collapse.
B. Xander’s Perceptions:
Pete Xander, on a post in Facebook reporting that Pope Francis accuses Fundamentalists as being no better than ISIS.
“Bang! Frankie bitch-slaps more fundie assholes! Man. If there was a church nearby with a priest who actually is in lockstep with Pope Francis, I might actually go there.
Not that his wildly progressive attitudes that reflect virtually all of my opinions and beliefs could overcome my absolute rejection of transubstantiation, the existence of an all-knowing God Who watches everything and everybody all of the time but still allowed the Crusades, Hitler, and bloody war after bloody war, and an entity who hasn’t shown up here for over two millennia (funny — spell-check rejects “millennia” and okays “millenniums,” even though “millennia” is correct, and “millenniums” reflects our fucking ignorance of anything knowledgeable or of correct English. Amazing).
The Jews might have been a “stiff-necked people” (and maybe still are) necessitating the presence of God inside the tabernacle inside the Holy of Holies — well, a tent and a curtained off space). But if He knows that I forgot to brush my teeth on one occasion 7 years ago but allows the slaughter of 500,000 Rwandans, well, as the Greeks said about their gods all of the time, “Fuck you.”
I cannot and will not believe in a vengeful, petty, and short-tempered God. Rather, I have my own interpretation of “God” that was agreed with by a former Pastor and great personal friend in Lake Arrowhead, CA, Dave Farmer, who met an untimely death in 2003 at a far too young age .
Seems to me that “God” could have helped out that man instead of answering the prayers of ministers and priests who molest the children of parishioners or congregations. Who needs that kind of God?”
C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
“I think it was Darwin who pointed out that one’s chances of surviving to breed are greatly diminished by disparaging the size of someone’s junk when that other person is carrying a machete.”
D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. “
(Note: There has never been an Armenian accountant named Dork Paraprosdokian as there never been a Sicilian-American mother called Ma Fanculo.)
E. Today’s Poem:
Snow White’s Acne
At first, she was sure it was just a bit of dried strawberry juice,
or a fleck of her mother’s red nail polish that had flaked off
when she’d patted her daughter to sleep the night before.
But as she scrubbed, Snow felt a bump, something festering
under the surface, like a tapeworm curled up and living
in her left cheek.
Doc the Dwarf was no dermatologist
and besides Snow doesn’t get to meet him in this version
because the mint leaves the tall doctor puts over her face
only make matters worse.
Snow and the Queen hope
against hope for chicken pox, measles, something
that would be gone quickly and not plague Snow’s whole adolescence.
If only freckles were red, she cried, if only
concealer really worked.
Soon came the pus, the yellow dots,
multiplying like pins in a pincushion.
the greasy hair.
The Queen gave her daughter a razor
for her legs and a stick of underarm deodorant.
Snow doodled through her teenage years—”Snow + ?” in Magic Markered hearts all over her notebooks.
She was an average
student, a daydreamer who might have been a scholar
if she’d only applied herself.
She liked sappy music
and romance novels.
She liked pies and cake
instead of fruit.
The Queen remained the fairest in the land.
It was hard on Snow, having such a glamorous mom.
She rebelled by wearing torn shawls and baggy gowns.
Her mother would sometimes say, “Snow darling,
why don’t you pull back your hair? Show those pretty eyes?”
or “Come on, I’ll take you shopping. ”
staying in her safe room, looking out of her window
at the deer leaping across the lawn.
Or she’d practice her dance moves with invisible princes.
And the Queen,
busy being Queen, didn’t like to push it.
“There is nothing one man will not do to another.”
Carolyn Forche. Poem, The Visitor.
Should Palm Springs be abolished?
Pookie’s Painting of Ruth’s Photograph of Him Walking along the Beach at Point Reyes.