TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
I have still not ventured far from my apartment. Perhaps in a few days I will go to the health club. Then again maybe not.
The dreams have come again. Not those frightening, exhilarating or annoying things that disturb your sleep and leave you groggy in the morning and then completely disappear from memory a few hours later. These other dreams I have while I am floating between sleep and fully awake. They frequently recur again and again. They do not disappear in the morning. I remember them for a long time.
It used to be that some of those dreams became so imprinted in my memory that they became as real as anything else that I could recall of my past. About a year or so ago in “This and that…” I wrote that I eventually realized many things that I thought had happened to me were mere dreams. When I went through them and understood that what I remembered could not be true, they disappeared from my memory just like the normal nighttime disturbances did. Their sudden disappearance would leave me with a strange sense of emptiness as if a piece of my past had gone missing leaving behind a hole in my life.
For example, I convinced myself that I spent several enjoyable summers at a resort on the north coast near the ocean. When I sat back and thought about it however, I realized it could not have been true. It happened on the wrong coast and too far from where it should have been. The moment I realized the memory was bogus, it fled like a thief from the scene of his crime.
Strangely, I get these dreams only in Thailand now, never in the US. I do not know why. I have some suspicions, however.
There have been two since I returned to Thailand.
In the first, I am at a party in my sister’s house. Of course, dream-like, it is not her house at all. There is a grand piano by a window. Standing next to it is a tall man with blond hair wearing a pale plaid jacket. He would now and then pick out something someone says and would lean over the keyboard sing a few words of whatever he had overheard and rhyme it with a few more while playing some brief simple tune. When he finished his little riff he would then stand back up and with a large smile on his face and with shining eyes look around the room for appreciation before hunting for the next snippet of conversation. He reminded me of a 50’s lounge singer or one of those hacks banging out tunes on Tin Pan Alley during the Depression. When the conversation moved away from him he would remain anxiously standing the by the piano never moving from his post alongside of it.
I watched him from across the room. Now and then our eyes would meet but he would quickly glance away and nervously move on in search of the next snatch of conversation to play around with. Gradually, the party-goers left until only he and I remained. He looked at me for a moment before turning and with that wistful aura that surrounds musicians after a gig as they pack up their instruments, wires, stands and other paraphernalia, picked up his coat and quietly left.
The second dream concerned a young Thai woman. She was tiny but not skinny, rounded somewhat. Her black hair was shorter than usual and cut in bangs. For some reason, what she was wearing made no impression on me. She was new to Bangkok having arrived only three months ago. The big city still awed her a bit. She found work in a local bar in Bangkok that specialized in oral sex. Today was her day off and she was spending it alone wandering around the Big C market, a slightly down-scale shopping mall, somewhat like Sears is downscale compared to Macy’s.
She often went there, not to shop but because she liked to wander about and look at things. She would stop and stare for a while at the various shows on the sets that lined the walls in the television department. She specially liked the animal and travel shows. She would wander about, fiddle with the smart phones and cameras in the electronics department or pick up a plate or a bowl in housewares, turn it over and closely examine its bottom. Whenever she passed by the clothing department, she would stop and finger the fabric of various items of clothing that caught her eye. All the while her mind would flit from thought to thought and memory to memory. She would often think about her tiny village somewhere in Issan and her parents, brothers and sisters. She pictured in her mind the fading image the little baby she left behind when she came to Bangkok to earn money to support him. She sent most of what she earned home to her parents to take care of the child and to save something for her for when she returned to the village. She lived a frugal life in Bangkok, sharing a tiny room with four other working girls, eating at the least expensive sidewalk food stands and entertaining herself by wandering around the malls.
At one point, she drifted into thinking about her little school girl uniform with the short pleated skirt and the plaid tie she wore at work. She liked the way she looked in it. She preferred working in the BJ bar than in the other bars. She did not like going to the short-time hotels or to the man’s hotel room. It made her feel shy and uncomfortable to take off her clothes. She thought about the old farang man who came to the bar and regularly choose her. That excited her. She hoped he would soon begin buying her things like some of the customers do with the other girls. Maybe he would take her here to Big C and buy her a smart phone.
As she stood in the electronics department holding a smart phone connected to the stand on which it was displayed and aimlessly played at pressing the icons, she saw herself with him walking up the stairs at the bar, waiting for him to sit on the bench then taking the pillow and placing in down and kneeling on it while he prepared himself. She could not recall what he looked like, only the liver spots on the backs of his hands and his few strands of wispy gray hair floating around his head. The image suddenly fled as she delightedly struck the icon for one of the games and started to play it.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
New not to be missed theme park opens in Korea:
In South Korea a new theme park has been opened called the Restroom Culture Park dedicated to the toilet industry and toilet behavior. It also contains a museum with exhibits demonstrating toilet technology through the ages. The park also displays fun facts about poop and statues of people going to the bathroom. The park is dedicated to former mayor Sim “Joe” Duck aka “Mr Toilet” who was reportedly fascinated by bathrooms.
I am always happy to transmit something that interests me written or said by one of my “This and that…” correspondents. The following was published in the New York Times letters to the editor section. It contains some interesting background on the training received by some of the nation’s general staff at West Point.
I take great exception to the description of David H. Petraeus as a “phony hero.” Far from being a “phony,” Mr. Petraeus is part of a long line of soldier-scholars trained by the department of social sciences at West Point. Founded by a legendary colonel, George Lincoln, after World War II, the department recruited outstanding cadets to be soldier-scholars and future generals who had more than the ability to lead troops in battle. Inspired by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colonel Lincoln tried to develop officers with political and diplomatic skills, sending them to outstanding graduate schools like Harvard and Princeton. His goal was to develop soldiers who could deal with the complexities of the late 20th century.
Mr. Petraeus is only one of many such officers, but he is probably the most famous. And for good reason. He used his diplomatic and political skills to end the Sunni uprising in Iraq and to turn the Afghanistan conflict from a certain defeat into a marginal “good enough” success.
I know Mr. Truscott. Some 40-odd years ago I taught him at West Point. It’s sad to see him kick sand in the face of a real hero.
TERRENCE P. GOGGIN
New York, Nov. 19, 2012
The writer was an Army captain and assistant professor at West Point.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)
In Tuckahoe, like most towns in the US at that time, the calendar followed by most little boys was not the Gregorian with its celestial seasons. Nor was it marked by the simple alternating rhythms of school and vacations. It was the round of sports seasons that directed our lives. There were three “Great” seasons, Football, Basketball and Baseball. They did not overlap each other as they do at the college level and in professional sports. Instead when one ended the next one began, often the following day. I never knew how the other kids knew one season ended and another started. It was a mystery. I would wake up one day and everyone would be there playing at something other that that which they were so obsessed with the night before. Hockey, Lacrosse and other sports did not penetrate our consciousness. Soccer was some weird thing the italian immigrants played, not we sophisticated first generation types and our African-American comrades.
There were however a few minor game seasons that intruded or sometimes overlapped the big three. For example just before baseball season began, for about two weeks we all played “marbles” with deathless concentration on both the games and on the collecting and trading of our marbles. These little glass balls had more arcane and mysterious names for them then the Eskimos have for snow; gobaloons, pee-wees, bowlers, aggies, clearies, steelies and on and on. There were basically two types of games played. One common in Mount Vernon and Yonkers consisted or drawing a large circle in the dirt. The players would each put up an agreed number of marbles in the center of the ring and then stand on the outside of the ring taking turns trying to knock the marbles out of the circle. The other game, favored in Tuckahoe, would be to draw a football sized and shaped “pot” in the dirt into which we would place the agreed upon marbles. Then a line was drawn about four feet away behind which the players would take turns trying to knock the marbles out of the pot. Only the first shot was taken from the line. Thereafter one would take his shot from wherever his shooter landed.
Near and during Christmas vacation we would buy chestnuts from the local chestnut vendor who appeared on the sidewalks of downtown about that time. We would drill a hole through the chestnut into which a string was knotted. We would then take turns striking each others chestnut until only the winner’s was left unbroken.
I do not recall ever seeing Dondi playing any or the sports and games the rest of us did (I was mostly an inconsistent participant hating games in the first place. It did not matter, most of the other kids thought I wasn’t very good anyway.)
In high school Don joined the Tuckahoe High School football team called the Tuckahoe Tigers. He became a local legend.
Donald Lundy, number 12, catching a pass for the Tuckahoe Tigers (From Don’s son Donald Lundy’s Facebook page)
Football in Tuckahoe, at least the team that Don ultimately joined, had an interesting history. The gang began playing tackle football together when we were all in the first grade. No one had a full uniform or equipment until we got to high school. Mostly we played in our street clothing augmented by a piece of equipment here and there acquired over the years. Each year they would play four or more pick up games against teams from other neighborhoods or schools. There were no coaches or adults of any sort involved. Sometimes I would play with them (when they were desperate for players) and sometime against them when I lived somewhere else or attended a different school. No one was particularly big, strong or fast and none except for Peter White would one consider a natural athlete. Yet they won all their games that first year, and the year after that and in fact every year even all through high school where they formed the core of the Tuckahoe Tigers football team on which Don was the star running back. (Continued)
Late 1800’s: The Toggle Bolt, originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe N.Y. by William H. Ruby.
Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand. Perhaps it was my gobaloons or more likely, my pee-wee.
1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800’s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part I.
“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest”
“You are not a loan.”
“In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35 percent to 40 percent cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed,” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.”
Ellen Brown, Truthout
B. Yiddish words everyone should know:
A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
Or bisl – a little bit.
Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” – less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English, chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets, and it’s related to the Hebrew “kibbutz” or “collective.” But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn’t originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else’s game – that’s an American innovation.
Now, why you might ask would it be important for we goyim to learn a few words of yiddish. Well, in addition to the fact that many of these words are already common and well-integrated into English, there is another reason as well. You see, some languages have many words that essentially describe what a non-speaker would imagine to be the same thing. For example, 200 words or so for snow or a hundred and fifty words for a camels hoof. Yiddish enriches English because it contains hundreds of words to describe human foibles. Even when it ostensibly refers to a thing like a knickknacks, the yiddish word “tchatchke” seems to say more about the observer and the owner than about the object itself.
“Although capitalism is not a Ponzi scheme, credit-based economies, sic capitalism, and Ponzi schemes share the same fatal flaw. Both must constantly expand or they are in danger of collapse.”
– Darryl Robert Schoon
“Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.”
~Investors Business Daily
- MAX BOOT NOT SO HAPPY WITH LUCIAN TRUSCOTT IV: Petraeus’s Phony Critics. A lot of military folks i… (pjmedia.com)
- Petraeus’s Phony Critics (commentarymagazine.com)
- Holiday memories – Thailand (exploreeveryday.wordpress.com)