Pee Wee Herman is the metaphor for our generation — a happy life in a children’s playhouse exposed in the dark theater of history.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD McCARTHY AND ANN VITA.
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
I have settled back into life in the golden hills — Drive HRM to school, have Breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe, a three-mile walk around the lakes in Town Center, and an hour or two exercising and swimming at the health club. After lunch, I return to the house and secrete myself in my room reading or what-have-you until it is time to pick up HRM again. Evenings are the most difficult times.
The doctor has given me some additional medicines to bolster my happy pills and to assist me in gaining back some of the weight I have lost. I think it is too strong because it makes me tired all the time and even more dizzy when I stand up suddenly.
Things at the house in EDH have descended into a series of grimaces, silences and feigned ignoring of one another’s presence. Meanwhile, I continue to plan for whatever comes next while HRM slowly descends back into the emotional vortex from which Richard and I thought we had rescued him. On the other hand, he is on the brink of teenager-hood.
One day, on a Sunday, I believe, Stevie and Norbert came by to take me to lunch and to accompany them to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn to pick up their wine club wines. I had been feeling a little down and it was good to see them and do something other than hanging around the house of the health club.
We had lunch at an outside table at the Bistro, a slightly upscale restaurant in Town Center. Perhaps the lethargy I felt for the past week was due to a new medicine my doctor prescribed. Anyway, I was not much of a lunch companion. After lunch, we traveled to the winery and picked up the wine. They returned me to The house in EDH where I ate a dinner of leftovers with HRM while the adults sat down for a formal dinner. It was sort of a Dickensonian experience.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
Red Sails in the Sunset
It was autumn in Paris. We walked down Rue de Grenelle on the left bank, my arm around her shoulders. She wore a long checkered coat. We stopped to look into the window of a shop selling antique playing and tarot cards. I pulled her towards me. We kissed. We were very much in love. We stood there arms entwined gazing at one another. She was very beautiful.
That was the point when, last night, I realized I had been dreaming. I could feel myself being pulled away into wakefulness. My dream me cried out. I, however, felt no tears. I lay there in bed the rest of the night unable to get back to sleep. It had been like a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.
The whole thing reminded me of a poem I had written many years ago when I was much younger and living in Rome. I fancied myself a poet then (more a lifestyle than a profession). I lived in a small pensione on the top floor of a building on a side street just off via Nationale across from St Paul’s within the Walls, the major American Protestant Church in Rome. In the evenings, I would sit in my room by the open window and listen to the then love of my life, practice on the piano in the church rectory where she lived having been sent there by her exceedingly wealthy Danish parents to study music at The National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. She was exceptionally beautiful, an accomplished musician, a doper and a bit of a groupie, especially attracted to bass fiddle jazz musicians with lots of hair.
Eventually, her family felt she was spending too much time with a certain Italian-American drifter and called her back from Rome to marry someone more appropriate. She is now Chairman of the Board of a major subsidiary of the family’s shipping empire. Sic transit Gloria.
In Rome during the late 60s, I hung out with a group of ex-pat would be poets none of whom ever made it as poets (one became a high school teacher in Santa Rosa) and a few con-man who also to my knowledge never made whatever it was they were hoping to make. In ex-pat communities world over, there are always a lot of those on the con. How much less interesting would the world be if there were no cons and no grifters to fashion them.
Movies often tend to make the grifters happy-go-lucky sociopaths, sometimes even with a heart of gold. Although they smiled a lot, most of the sociopaths I knew were anything but happy go lucky and as for their hearts, it was far more likely they were lined with lead.
The poem itself was part of a lengthy piece most of which I no longer recall. It was lost many years ago along with all my other attempts at turning doggerel if not into gold at least into something useful like molybdenum. Pretentious Imagist drivel, it went like this:
The wanderer travels not by hook
But sprawled upon the empty tides
Of fairy world and real
And the sham cult darkness lie that was
Yet will not be
Marks its passage on nothing
The entire poem ended with perhaps one of the more tragic images in all of literature, “Red sails returning.” The image comes from the story of Tristan of Lyoness and Iseult (Isolde) an Irish princess.
Tristan, before embarking from Cornwall on his latest war in Ireland, promised his beloved Isolde (Iseult), that upon his ships’ return, if he were still alive, he would unfurl his white sails but, had he died, his men would put up red ones.
Upon word of the ship’s approach to the harbor, Isolde sent her handmaid to the top of the tower to report what she sees. Tristan, still alive, orders his men to unfurl the white sails. Unfortunately, the sun was setting at just that moment causing the sails to blaze a bright red.
When the maid returned from the tower, Isolde asked her the color of the sails. “Red” she answered not knowing the significance of her response. So, in sorrow and despair, Isolde killed herself as did Tristan when he discovered his beloved’s body.
I always have envied Tristan in part because, as far as I know, there have been very few people who longed for my return even when I just only left the room.
It should be noted, there are several versions of the Tristan tale many of them that differ substantially from what I have described. In some, it is Tristan who dies after mistaking the color of the sails on Isolde’s returning boat. In a few, the colors of the sails were white and black. In others, the Isolde waiting in the castle in Cornwall was not the beloved Isolde, but Isolde of the White Hands, T’s wife who was waiting for him in Brittany. It seems that while T and the beloved Isolde were playing hide the salami, she was married to Mark the King who was also T’s boss. Eventually, the lovers agreed T would go away because, in part, they both liked Mark the King and felt bad about what they were doing, but mostly because Mark the King was the King and if he found out what they were doing he would cut off their heads as well as other important parts of their body. So T left and married the white-handed Isolde because he liked her name and she had a castle near the water.
Frankly, when T returned from his slaughter of his Irish kinsmen and found white-handed Isolde dead due to a mistaken perception, he really was not too broken up about it.
There are also many versions of how T died. Some have him poisoned, probably by a jealous husband, and others have him chopped to bits in the midst of one of his ethnic cleansing jobs. I, on the other hand, believe he died in a bar fight with some lesbian bikers in Pocatello Idaho.
“Remarkably, you can take this information—which describes the order of the bonds of guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine to a sugar and phosphate group—and plug it into a machine that will recreate the DNA by dripping nucleobases one by one into a solution.”
“Researchers have e-mailed text files across the Internet, uploaded them to DNA replicators, and then dropped the DNA copy into “blank” cells, which have then started up and become identical versions of the original organism.”
Mayne, Andrew. The Naturalist (The Naturalist Series Book 1) (p. 72). Thomas & Mercer.
(Can this be true?)
A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
A corporate CEO can best be described as a person exhibiting dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.
B. Today’s Poem:
Centre of the Universe
Every dawn as you open your eyes
this flask of tea
this desk and pencil and matchbox
these are the center of the universe
gathered in a house that doesn’t belong to you
Iraj Ziayi — born in 1949 in Rasht, north of Iran. His family moved to Talesh, a small town on the Caspian Sea when he was 4 and Iraj spent his childhood in a beautiful environment surrounded by forest, mountain, and sea. His family later moved to Isfahan where Iraj went to high school and joined ‘Jong-e Isfahan’ circle, a group of influential writers and poets.
C. Comments on past issues of T&T:
1. From Bill.
Wow, Joe, you have really mellowed. I started reading your screed about the coastal program expecting a good Petrilloish rant. There was not even a four-letter word. I am most grateful to you that you thought, based on my law school journal summary of the ’76 Coastal Act, that I might know “what the fuck the Coastal Commission was supposed to do” after the passage of the ’76 Act. You downplay your immense contribution to the protection of California’s coast at that critical transition from the Prop 20 coastal program to the ’76 Coastal Act in your brief summary. You were the perfect creative personality to ramp up the Coastal Conservancy. You were bold and aggressive when taking risks were essential to launching a conservancy program. There are several places on this coast that under your leadership the Conservancy helped restore and enhance — not to mention some of the ill-advised, short-sighted development proposals that the Conservancy purchased and reconfigured and somehow got approval from the Coastal Commission that you helped to transform. (Not that you were always pleasant to deal with at that time in your career or life.) I am most grateful for the start you gave me and the trust you had in my abilities as you helped me get my foot in the door at the Coastal Commission. Despite your impatience with those of us who did not get your brilliance at times, you are one of the most creative individuals I have ever known or worked with. You are also one of a handful of individuals that made the difference during that transitioning era. It was a good run. Thank you.
Thank you. I need to point out, however, that your lifetime commitment to the environment and the success of your endeavors put my meager contributions in their shadow.
3. From Harvey.
Had to take time from this once in a lifetime experience to say: “There will never be another ‘Knights’ tale that comes close to the original! The ‘Heaven’ gathering was a sham, the names unimaginative, the events uninspiring & nothing more than a sequel- and they all turn out the same!”. And it’s old news!
Back to the important stuff.
3. From Ruth:
Was that really your last trip to Thailand? Hard for me to imagine. I remember your anticipation of your first trip and what a thrill it turned out to be. How will you amuse yourself instead? And what about the people there?–which reminds me that I never found out the actual name of the woman you refer to as “the little masseuse.” She’s a person, Joe, not an object–at least I hope she’s not just an object to you. She must have a name.
It is an old Sicilian tradition to give people “nicknames.” We think it personalizes the person more than the name of the particular saint they were burdened with at baptism. Most of the nicknames were not necessarily demeaning (e.g., Nicholas [cockeyed Nick] Rattini, a mob boss of my youth). In Thailand, almost no one uses their given name, often adopting different names depending on circumstances. Anyway, her given name is Kesorn. An attractive name, but one that tells nothing about her.
4. From Peter.
Glad you survived the trip back from Thailand. Clearly, your vividly descriptive saga is publishable via this era’s document replacing The Lost Planet. Try to get it out there: “The Blog of Nightmare Travel” or sumpin like that. I expect it will generate much uproar in the travel world, even invitations to go on Weekend Update. I can almost feel the combined exhaustion, fury, frustration, and yet the perverse “anthropologist’s fascination,” re the latter, especially the phenomenon of someone, in each of the successive dreary situations unfolding, suddenly materializing amidst the confusion and escorting you precisely to your desired but to you invisible next point in the journey — hotel, plane. Could be a take-off on The Odyssey: Odysseus Petrillo making his way past the sirens, cyclops, and all those other chapters/stanzas — can’t remember them, I’m 78 – after much Sturm und Drang, back to, not Athens, but EDH!
These days I do my own version of walking: As I did several years ago first time recovering from hip surgery, walking up and down the hall every hour. Today, for the first time since the surgery on Aug. 8, I ventured out, making it to Bernie’s and back home without mishap, not really needing the cane but having in case. Thus, the wonders of the “anterior approach” to hip replacement, which avoids slicing and dicing the muscle groups thus resulting in a quicker surgical procedure, out of the hospital in a day, and recovery expected in 4-6 weeks instead of 12 weeks. This approach was in use in Paris, France 60 years ago, and is only now in regular use here within the past few years. Guess the wonder years of America’s Golden Age are long past.
D. From the Old Sailor on the Death of his Friend Augie.
to be part of his journey has been an adventure…
to be part of his life has been a priceless gift…
there is no perfect life…
but we fill in with perfect moments…
death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
love leaves a memory
no one can steal.
saying goodbye to a loved one is
surely one of life’s most difficult
tasks. there are no words powerful
enough, no music soothing enough,
to ease the pain at a time like this.
I shall miss my dear friend Augie, from whom I’ve learned so much. But I
know his life could not have been fuller, and I draw comfort knowing he died on his
own terms with courage, grace, and dignity. None of us could ask for more.
Good life, good death through control and choice.
I loved Augie not because of who he was, but because of who I was when I was with
him…to the world he may be only one person, but to me, he was the world…
maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one,
so that when we finally meet the person, we will know how to be grateful.
I don’t want to cry because it is over, let me smile because it happened…~Sylvia
born May 15th, 1930 transition on January 20th, 2016
Great guy. Friend. Of. Hari. Donut. ,, Hawaii
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
—T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
Taken by the Original Bill Gates on His Bucket List Trip to Africa this Month.