Posts Tagged With: Game of Thrones

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Jo-Jo 0008 (May 19, 2019)

 

“I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted.”
Mae West

 
Happy Birthday to my Daughter Jessica.

 

 

To those that celebrate the end of Ramadan, have an enjoyable Eid al Fitr.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

Argh! This morning after I had written a substantial portion of this post, somehow I managed to erase it all. I spent much of the day trying various Apps and searching the net for help retrieving it. Eventually, I gave up and tried to recreate it from memory — with only partial success. Some things are gone forever from the computer and others just from my memory but gone nonetheless.

It seems that at my age, adventures are more medical than physical, more psychological than hazardous and more fantasy than reality. Nevertheless, they remain as idiosyncratic and as personal as ever. Unfortunately, for me and for anyone who chooses to read or listen to them they become more garrulous and tedious the older I get. Forgive me my trespasses O. Lord for I am rounding the far turn and on my way home.

The early summer heat has settled on the Great Valley. The breezes of springtime have begun to slow and the sun’s warmth lightly caresses the morning. It is a fine day.

Today, I received a message from Hayden insisting I pick him up at the skatepark after school. I was worried. He rarely demands my assistance. So, I drove off into the Golden Hills. I stopped for lunch at an upscale Italian restaurant near Town Center. I had wanted to try it out for some time now. Its interior reeked of suburban elegance. It’s menu limited but expensive. The wine list, however, was extensive but overpriced. I ordered gnocchi in a squash and butter cream sauce along with a glass of prosecco. The meal was tasty but too heavy for my liking.

After lunch, I picked up Hayden along with Jake and Caleb. As he was getting into the car, I asked him what was so urgent. He said, “I want to buy a hat for my trip this summer to Cozumel with Jake and his family. I picked one out at Tilly’s in Folsom.” So, off we drove to Tilly’s in Folsom to buy the hat following which I drove them back to Dick’s house where, after warning them not to get into too much trouble, I drove out of the foothills and back to the Enchanted Forest.

On Saturday morning, we attended the Saturday Morning Coffee at the Nepenthe Club House. Winnie, the ex-model was there. She had not attended the Coffee for several months. She told me she is suffering from inoperable brain and lung cancer and is now on immunotherapy. Her prognosis is bleak and she began to cry as she told me this. She said she now spends her days walking her dog through the neighborhood enjoying the trees and flowers. She said that she had hoped to live into her nineties but now she would be fortunate to live until year’s end. After she left, I sat there for a while trying to asses how I felt after talking to her. Sad for her yes but in general puzzled about the lack of depth of my feelings as though a barrier had been thrown up to mask my own fear.

On Mothers’ Day we had Naida’s daughter, Sarah, and husband, Mark, and their son, Charlie over for lunch and had an enjoyable discussion about our respective travel adventures in Europe. We toasted all our moms. There were a lot of flowers also — mostly roses.
IMG_6142IMG_6145

 

In the evening we watched the movie “I Remember Mama” on television. Although it all could be considered a pleasant Mother’s Day, still my mom wasn’t there. I miss her. Mother’s Day seems like just any other day without her around.
IMG_2792.JPG

 

As a counterpoint to the day, that evening I watched Episode 5, Season 8 of The Game of Thrones in which the mother from hell, Cersei Lannister gets buried alive along with Jamie Lannister her lover, father of her children and twin brother (all one person) while Daenerys Storm-born of the house Targaryen, first of her name, the unburnt, queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the first men, queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the great grass sea, protector of the realm, lady regnant of the seven kingdoms, breaker of chains and mother of dragons from the back of her fire breathing dragon, Drogon, goes bat-shit crazy and destroys Kings Landing as well as burning to a crisp thousands of innocent woman and children who lived there. Sleep well tonight Pookie.

I did nothing the next day except sit in my chair, play on my computer and doze. That evening, Naida and I watched the Orson Wells directed movie, Mr. Arkadin. The movie featured Wells fondness for sometimes fascinating and at other times annoying camera angles and idiosyncratic plotting. In fact, when the movie was over, I realized I did not understand it at all, so the next morning I tried to find a synopsis of the plot. The first thing I discovered was that the critics understood what they saw as little as I did. Eventually, I found an adequate summary, but it still left me confused, not about what occurred on the screen but why and who cares. Wells never finished editing the film before the producers forced its release. Some critics have called it one of the greatest movies ever made. Wells considered it a “disaster.” Oh, before I forget, there were a lot of close-ups of Wells’ face all bearded and goggle-eyed.

For the past eight months or so, I have published my various blog posts on Facebook in order to increase the “hits” on my blogs — not because I cared who or if anyone read them but to “beat my yearly hits record,” a game on which I spent not a little of my time. Now I believe Facebook has completely cut off my postings of the blog articles. Perhaps, they think I am a Russian bot.

Last night, Naida described how that morning she marveled at the many odd angles I had contorted my limbs into while I slept. We agreed on a new nick-name for me, Pythagorean Pookie. I like it.

On Tuesday, Maryann and George arrived. Maryann had to attend a training session regarding Federal Economic Development regulations in preparation for an exam she was to take on Monday that would if she passes, authorize her to administer ED grants. George had recently had his hip replaced needed someone to keep him company — just another decrepit old man with a cane like me. After they arrived, we had dinner in a local Mexican restaurant. The next day, Mary trundled off to her conference and George and I headed out for breakfast. Following breakfast, we drove to EDH to pick up HRM from school and drive him home. In mid-afternoon, after finishing her review course, Mary picked up George at our house and drove off to far Mendocino.

The next day, Suzie arrived in Sacramento for a meeting with a State Agency. After her meeting, Naida and I picked her up and drove to a local Japanese sushi restaurant for lunch. It was great to see her again. It has been too long. Naida and Suzie discussed growing up in Carmel. And we all told mostly funny stories about our experiences in coastal protection and politics as well as a few always interesting and often amusing tales featuring Terry and his many imbroglios.

The weekend arrived not as a lion nor for that matter as a welcome respite from the boredom or irritations of the week but unobtrusively sliding in like an introvert slipping into to a raucous party. The weather was meh, neither warm nor cold, nor sunny or stormy. I had no expectations or plans but an abiding curiosity to see what if anything may meander past my window.

On Friday, I picked up HRM and as I dropped him off told him the following: “Let me know if you need transportation this weekend. I say this not because I am eager to be your chauffeur, but because seniors like me approaching decrepitude just like adolescents often find themselves bored and for similar reasons. We need each other.” He seemed to grunt an assent as he exited the car.

Saturday brought the Saturday Morning Coffee. Winnie was there. She seemed better this week. Back at the house, I watched, The Men from Laramie with Jimmie Stewart then took a nap. Followed that with The Manchurian Candidate, and Cabin in the Sky. Then I looked out the window to see if there were any meanderers passing by. It was raining, no meanderers out and about yet.

Waking up Sunday morning in Naida’s arms was delightful. The weather, however, was not. It broke grey and drizzly, The needles on the Deodar Cedars drooping by our window glistened with tiny droplets of water. But for the ashen skies, it might have added a sparkling beauty to the morning. Later, while standing before the mirror, I noticed my neck appeared a bit swollen in the area around my tumor. It felt so too. Naida also examined it and said, “I really feel no difference — but then my opinion may be affected by my not wanting to find any change and yours colored by your fear that there may be.” Perhaps next Saturday I can challenge Winnie to a race to the finish line. In any event, tomorrow is another day, a new week begins, additional adventures loom. As Rosanna Rosannadanna sagely observed, “It’s always something.”

Pookie says, “Be cool and stay well.”

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

 

Several Posts ago, in an effort to entertain myself, I wrote here in my commentary an admittedly somewhat garbled proposal for reforming the structure of the US Senate as it appears in the Constitution in order to make it more amenable to the election of each of its members by an equal number of voters. After, thinking it over and convincing myself that, in addition to the unlikely possibility of it being enacted, it was not all that much an improvement over what we have now.

Recently I came up with an alternative that while still unlikely to be enacted pleased me more. I thought that instead of changing how Senators are elected a change in the nature of their authority would be worth considering.

The reasons for assigning two Senators to each State in the Constitution appear to me have become obsolete over time, but at least one reason still has some validity. That is, there may be issues of State interest and not necessarily individual interest that is not detailed in the Constitution. So I thought the following might be appropriate:

The US Senate as currently elected would remain. It would retain its authority over things that appear to be of interest to the states including:
—Approval of treaties with foreign governments (including Trade agreements).
—Advice and consent of Presidential executive and judicial branch appointments.
—Oversight of the Executive and Judicial branch activities.
—Declaration of war
—Trying impeachments

These authorizations would be exclusive to the Senate.

It would also be provided the opportunity to advise and comment on legislation approved by the House of Representative.

The House of Representatives would have the exclusive right to initiate and approve any legislation and the Federal budget as well as any other constitutional rights it may currently enjoy. It would retain its role to impeach members of the executive and Judicial branches.

In addition, the Senate could be granted an enhanced role in supervising foreign affairs and foreign military activities and intelligence.

Appointments to the Supreme Court would require a majority vote of both houses of Congress except that the Senate will initiate the process and the House would be limited to only and up or down vote of the nominee approved by the Senate.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

While looking unsuccessfully for my deleted version of this T&T, I came across the following. It records my musings while riding the train from Sacramento to San Francisco several years ago.

I took the train from Sacramento to San Francisco. The tracks ran through Susuin Marsh. I recall a time in my life when I would have moved Heaven and Hell to prevent even one acre of a wetland from falling beneath the blade of a bulldozer. Of course, I fully understand and agree with the intellectual, economic and ethical reasons for their preservation. At times when great flocks of birds fly screeching above the vegetation or mucking about in the shallows or at certain times of the year when they are bathed in the colors of spring or autumn, one can almost breathe in the tendrils of poetic inspiration rising from their fetid depths.

On the other hand at times like this, when the skies are overcast and grey, the vegetation a sickly yellow-brown and the waters a dingy black, I can understand a man coming upon them and thinking, “What a waste.” He would, I suspect, be likely to aspire to kill it in order to create something that would profit him more than basking in the glow someone else’s idea of aesthetic pleasure.

I would like to think most women coming upon the same marsh would dream instead about how the marsh itself could benefit them and their families without killing it first.

Being male, today those same marshes look like shit to me. I would not mind seeing them disappear beneath the antiseptic familiarity of a few Starbucks or MacDonald’s or the like. By the time we left the marshes behind and chugged into Richmond, however, I changed my mind and decided that, if I were not the one making the money from the deal, I would prefer leaving the wetlands pretty much as they are.

At night at my sister’s house in Berkeley, I began reading Sheldon’s newest novel “The Terrorist Next Door.” Its main character is a cop who, I suspect, to the disappointment of his Jewish parents, failed to become a doctor, lawyer or famous writer of mystery novels and ended up a Chicago homicide detective. He is teamed up with a black partner in a relationship reminiscent of that between Danny Glover and that famous anti-semite Mel Gibson in the “Lethal Weapon” series of movies.

There are three things I noticed and appreciated about the novel. First, it is an incomparable travelogue about Chicago (one should read the book with a map of the city nearby). Second is what one learns about Michelle Obama, a girl from the neighborhood. Third, Sheldon, in his own good-hearted and upbeat way, puts his finger upon the essential flaw in the American character and gives you a glimpse of how good things can be without it and how truly and horribly destructive it really is.

For those of you familiar with and aficionados of the Siegel cannon, he began his writing career trying to write a novel about a young Jewish attorney wrongfully accused of the murder of one of his partners, a fictional stand-in for a partner of ours at the time whose removal both Sheldon and I agreed probably would immeasurably benefit humanity. Alas, in his writing of the initial drafts, this character was overwhelmed by a fast-talking Irish criminal lawyer and his estranged Chicana attorney wife. This resulted in the beloved character’s prominence being eclipsed. He disappeared entirely by the third novel in the series; even his name is now lost to memory.

My experience is similar to Sheldon’s. I attempted to write a mystery (“Dominium”) here in T&T. The main character, a stand-in for yours truly, managed to come across as a boring jerk. He was ultimately replaced in interest and importance by a musclebound bisexual female deputy sheriff from San Mateo County.

Detective David Gold is made of stronger stuff. I see and hope for Gold’s career to be at least as long and as distinguished as Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman, also a Chicago detective and also a disappointment to his parents.

I suspect Sheldon always wanted to write a novel with Chicago, the city he grew up in, as a setting.

I have visited Chicago only a few times. Nevertheless, for me given my ethnic heritage, it has always been one of the sacred places; like Umberto’s Clam House in New York’s Little Italy. For over a decade the stain remained on the sidewalk where, having staggered out of the restaurant after being shot, Joey Gallo fell down and bled to death. Every year, I would make an annual pilgrimage there until time and the City’s acid-laced rains erased every vestige of the epic event.

Chicago was the home of the sainted Scarface Al. Alas, I have never visited any of the pilgrimage sites there; such as Murphy’s Garage. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to the relics of my legendary ethnic heroes. Are they in a museum somewhere? Where now, for example, are the artifacts such as Anastasia’s barber chair, Mo Green’s massage table, St. Frank’s used condoms, Deano’s shot glass, and Mario Puzo’s typewriter? And, while I am at it, where have you really gone Joe DiMaggio? And, why did Tony Benedetto, (nee Bennet), a New Yorker who chose to live in LA, decide to leave his heart in SF?

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 
By some estimates, there are more than 50 billion planets in our galaxy alone (there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the universe). With all these planets potentially capable of supporting life, Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, famously remarked, “Well, where are they.” Where he questioned, are the inevitable alien civilizations that must exist, given this vast number of planets capable of supporting life. For the past 50 years, scientists have been vigorously looking for evidence of life somewhere else in our galaxy, to no avail.

Many options have been proposed for why these efforts evidence of life or contacts with alien civilization have not succeeded including we are unique (highly improbable); Star Trek’s First Law of Contact, “Do nothing” (perhaps); and, advanced cultures kill themselves off before contact (possible).

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 
As some of you may know, I have a fondness for rummaging through the internet for blogs that feature obsessions with odd and arcane history. Several years ago I saved to my bookmarks a blog entitled Realm of History (https://www.realmofhistory.com/) that featured unusual articles like 10 Facial Reconstructions from History You Should Know About, or Anubis: History and Mythology of the Ancient Egyptian Jackal God. Recently, I returned to peruse the site and discovered a newly published article entitled 8 Of The Oldest Known Songs, You Should Listen To (https://www.realmofhistory.com/2019/04/25/oldest-songs-in-history/). It contains recordings of musicians playing these songs of replicas of the instruments of the time. The songs range from The Oldest Known Song In The World-Hurrian Song to Nikkal (circa 1450 – 1200 BC) through to Earliest Surviving Secular English Song –
Mirie it is while sumer ilast (circa 1225 AD).

Since I cannot reproduce the actual recordings her, I recommend that one go to the site to hear them. I have however included here the background text accompanying the article about an ancient Greek tune entitled Oldest Known Complete Song – Song of Seikilos, from the Seikilos epitaph (circa 1st century AD):

From the historical perspective, many scholars believe that music played an integral role in the lives of ordinary ancient Greeks, given its role in most social occasions — ranging from religious rites, funerals to the theater and public recitation of ballads and epic-poetry. Both archaeological and literary pieces of evidence rather bolster such a theory that points to the crucial nature of music in ancient Greece.

In fact, the Greeks attributed the ‘creativity’ of musical compositions to divine entities, and as such etymologically the very word ‘music’ is derived from ‘Muses‘, the personifications of knowledge and art who were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Interestingly, Mnemosyne herself was the personification of memory and was also one of the Titans, the children of Uranus the Sky and Gaia the Earth.

As for the historical side of affairs, scholars came across the world’s oldest (known) complete song — and this musical piece (in its entirety) was etched on the Seikilos epitaph. Judging by the ancient Greek characters on the inscription, the song is Hellenistic Ionic in origin, and the etching was probably made sometime in the 1st century AD. The vocalized recreation presented above was made by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble (SAVAE). And in case one is interested, the lyrics roughly translated to English, excluding the musical notation, goes like this –

While you live, shine
have no grief at all
life exists only for a short while
and time demands its toll.

The discovery of the epitaph was made way back in 1883 by Sir W. M. Ramsay in Tralleis, a small town near Aydin (Turkey). The epitaph, according to some stories, was lost again, to finally reemerge after the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, due to its rediscovery in Smyrna in 1923. And interestingly, the region of Aydin has had a long tryst with human civilization in its flowering form, so much so that Aydin in itself translates to ‘lettered, educated, intellectual’. Consequently, the archaeological site in Tralleis boasts many cultural artifacts from human history, including theatrical masks that were symbolically arrayed alongside human burials.

Furthermore, when it came to the ancient Greek musical instruments, the musicians had a penchant for lyres (and kithara), aulos pipes and syrinx, and even the hydraulis — a setup that was the precursor to the modern organ. And with the aid of the flurry of archaeological and literary pieces of evidence of vocal notations and musical ratios, combined with the identification of these instruments, researchers have been able to recreate precise renditions of ancient Greek music.

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
“Humans are simply bipolar apes.”

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 
While rummaging through the internet one day, I found a site produced by my old university, Fordham, intended for use by historian’s and students (https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/india/indiasbook.asp). In the site, I found the following poem, a portion of the Rig Vedas. Along with the poem, an interesting introduction was written by someone identified only as Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Autumn of 1996. Enjoy.

 

Introduction

There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding the exact history of the Veda, the most ancient of Hindu scripture, which was first translated into European languages in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At this time, it was the contention of the expanding scientific, philosophical and religious doctrines of western European culture, that these writings simply could not be more ancient than the classical roots of European civilization. Whereas this hypothesis was strongly held by the expanding western educational regime, in recent times there has been cause to re-examine its claims.

In any event, although further references to this controversy are presented at the conclusion of this document, there is no doubt that these ancient Hindu scriptures are older than 1000BC. The word “Veda” is a Sanskrit word which means “knowledge” or “wisdom”. There are in fact four Vedas: the Rig Veda” or “Veda of Hymns”, the Samah-Veda or the “Veda of Chants”, the Yajur-Veda or the “Veda of sacrifice” and the Atharva-Veda, which is later in date than the earlier three.

Although the Vedas are the earliest of the Hindu scriptures, they are by no means the only body of writings to have originated from the ancient sub-continent of India. The Katha Upanishad is part of a large set of literature known as the Upanishads, and in the presentation of this, you will find some interesting mappings between the science of the east and that of the west.

The reference work which I have used in the presentation of the following selection of verses from the Rig Veda is one from the “Everyman’s Library” and entitled “The Hindu Scriptures”. It is translated and edited by R.C. Zaehner as recently as 1966.

For a more in-depth research concerning the Rig Veda, I would recommend reviewing Hymns to the Mystic Fire, an extensive publication in 1946 by Sri Aurobindo – in particular, the introductory sections in which he outlines the Doctrine of the Mystics.

I wish all research students the optimum of courage and determination concerning the pursuance of their common goals and have pleasure in presenting the following texts from the Rig Veda.

Peace,

 

The Sacrifice of Primal Man

[1] A thousand heads had [primal] Man,
A thousand eyes, a thousand feet:
Encompassing the earth on every side,
He exceeded it by ten fingers’ [breadth].

[2] [That] Man is this whole universe, –
What was and what is yet to be,
The Lord of immortality
Which he outgrows by [eating] food.

[3] This is the measure of his greatness,
But greater yet is [primal] Man:
All beings form a quarter of him,
Three-quarters are the immortal in heaven.

[4] With three-quarters Man rose up on high,
A quarter of him came to be again [down] here:
From this he spread in all directions,
Into all that eats and does not eat.

[5] From him was Viraj born,
From Viraj Man again:
Once born, — behind, before,
He reached beyond the earth.

[6] When with Man as their oblation
The gods performed their sacrifice,
Spring was the melted butter,
Summer the fuel, and the autumn the oblation.

[7] Him they besprinkled on the sacrificial strew, –
[Primeval] Man, born in the beginning:
With him [their victim], gods, Sadhyas, seers
Performed the sacrifice.

[8] From this sacrifice completely offered
The clotted ghee was gathered up:
From this he fashioned beasts and birds,
Creatures of the woods and creatures of the village.

[9] From this sacrifice completely offered
Were born the Rig- and Sama-Vedas;
From this were born the metres,
From this was the Yajur-Veda born.

[10] From this were horses born, all creatures
That have teeth in either jaw;
From this were cattle born,
From this sprang goats and sheep.

[11] When they divided [primal] Man,
Into how many parts did they divide him?
What was his mouth? What his arms?
What are his thighs called? What his feet?

[12] The Brahman was his moth,
The arms were made the Prince,
His thighs the common people,
And from his feet the serf was born.

[13] From his mind the moon was born,
And from his eye the sun,
And from his mouth Indra and the fire,
From his breath the wind was born.

[14] From his navel arose the atmosphere,
From his head the sky evolved,
From his feet the earth, and from his ear
The cardinal points of the compass:
So did they fashion forth these worlds.

[15] Seven were his enclosing sticks
Thrice seven were made his fuel sticks,
When the gods, performing sacrifice,
Bound Man, [their sacrificial] beast.

[16] With the sacrifice the gods
Made sacrifice to sacrifice:
These were the first religious rites (Dharma),
To the firmament these powers went up
Where dwelt the ancient Sadhya gods.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH

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Wilt Chamberlin and Andre the Giant on the set of the movie Conan the Barbarian. Arnold Schwarzenegger stands in the middle. Arnold is a short man but here he looks Tyrion Lannister short. Arnold in real life is not as short as Tyrion, however, as an effective Governor, Arnold was no Tyrion Lannister.

 

Categories: April through June 2019, October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 JoJo 0005 (June 11, 2016)

 

“Justice ought to be a synonym for mercy, not an alternative
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 215). Little, Brown and Company.
Happy Birthdays to Bill Yeates, my daughter Jessica and my mom (Nona Teresa).

Remember July 15 is National Be a Dork Day.
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Hold the Door, Hodor. R.I.P.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

Hot weather has struck the Golden Hills this week. The green grass has begun to show off its flaxen locks. The trees seem to bend beneath the weight of the sullen sun.

The Indomitable Oak Haiku

Of all the trees here,
the indomitable oak
Is my favorite.

A few weeks ago at my pre-travel medical checkup, they found urine in my kidneys and so I now carry around a catheter and bag. It is uncomfortable in the heat but, thankfully, will be removed well before I depart.

As far as my summer travels are concerned, it appears that instead of visiting Sicily after my sojourn through Milan, Sacile, Rome, and Sabina, I will be spending a week or so in Copenhagen and Malmo Sweden before departing for Thailand. The entire trip to Europe seems a bit too hectic for my tastes.

HRM, Dick and I spend our evenings agonizing over the Warriors’ playoff games. After the game, Dick and I would watch episodes of the Alec Gluiness’, Smiley Series. It really is time for me to begin traveling again and get a life .

The temperature has soared to over 100 degrees now for several days — close to boiling the piss in my urine bag. I had not checked the temperature at the beginning of the heat wave. Thinking it was only about 80 degrees, I persuaded myself that I was suffering heat flashes and exhaustion prior to my imminent demise. It was a relief discovering that I was expiring from simple heat stroke instead of some disgusting malady buried deep within my body.

One day, I went to a bar in Town Center named “The Relish Bar.” It specializes in serving hotdogs and hamburgers along with its drinks. I sat at the bar instead of one of the tables and ordered a hotdog with mustard and relish and a craft beer they had on tap. Next to me sat a woman with long straight brown hair. She was young, probably in her early twenties. In front of he was a half eaten hotdog smothered in ketchup, relish and sauerkraut and a whiskey of some sort on the rocks. I am highly prejudiced against people who put ketchup on their hotdogs so I decided to ignore her.

My order arrived and as I lifted my hotdog to my mouth I heard a sob. I glanced at the woman and noticed she seemed to be crying. “Mixing sauerkraut with ketchup will do that to you,” I thought. Nevertheless, I turned toward her and asked, “Is something wrong miss?” She turned towards me, a few strands of hair falling in front of her face, eyes fear wide with tears and said, “I don’t want to have to move to Canada.”

The catheter did not remedy the problem. So, I now have to submit to a series of tests and examinations. As a result, I had to cancel my trip to Italy and Sweden. I am disappointed to miss visiting friends and family in Italy and my trip to Sweden and Denmark. On the other hand, I was quite happy to avoid traveling with SWAC. So I hugged HRM and bid them both goodbye and left for Mendocino and the film festival.

Sadness at leaving
The ones who brighten our days
Makes journeys longer.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

Equipped with a new more comfortable urine bag, I hit the road to Mendocino stopping for a few hours in Petaluma to visit with Neal Fishman and his wife Maxine. Both Maxine and Neal worked with me at the Coastal Conservancy. He became the highly effective legislative liaison for the Conservancy.

We often forget that the real heroes omf a movement or an organization are those who labor at moving them ahead at critical points. Following my agreement with the Speaker to place 300 million in the first of a series of bond acts, Neal was instrumental in securing an additional billion dollars more in several park and open space bond acts that enabled the Conservancy to save much of the open space and develop many of the restoration projects that have preserved and enhanced coastal resources for all of us. His intelligence, openness, and understanding of legislators concerns helped make the Conservancy trusted on both sides of the political divide.

After leaving them, I drove on to my sister’s house, dropped off my things and walked to the theater to see the first film, “Jaco” about the great and tragic bass guitarist Jaco Pistorius. The next day I saw a film entitled “Trash Dance,” a documentary about dancing garbage men and women exposing their equipment. Both movies were entertaining despite the annoying tendency of most documentaries to interrupt the story line with interminable interviews.

Later, we attended a birthday party at the house of the Llama people (they breed llamas) next door to my sister where we ate magnificent paella made by the paella lady.
IMG_1916
Llamas always remind me of the Ogden Nash Poem:

The Lama
The one-l lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-l llama,
He’s a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-l lllama.*
— Ogden Nash

Two days later, I left for San Francisco and my mom’s birthday party. My sister and I disagree about her age. She maintains mom was born in 1918 and I believe it was 1917. In either case Happy Birthday mom.
IMG_1922_2

IMG_1928

Birthdays for the old
Like flowers in the springtime
Vibrant but too brief.

Then back to the Golden Hills and my medical tests.
* to which Nash appended the footnote,
“The author’s attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh.”

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In previous posts, I explored the Federal Government debt-deficit definitions and history. (https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/national-debt-and-deficit/ and http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/02/14/1485087/-National-Debt-and-Budget-Deficits).

This post examines the historical size of interest payments on the Federal Debt and their impact on the Government’s ability to manage its budget. I hope it is easy to understand and possibly corrects some of the hysteria and misstatements on all sides about the Country’s ability to service its debt and its impact on governmental programs and national security.

Perhaps the most significant concept to keep in mind is how the interest on this debt relates to income. One of the easiest ways to understand this is to think about it in reference to a person’s household debt. Basically, it is not how much debt you have but whether your income is sufficient to meet the periodic payments to pay off your debt and allow you to retain enough money live a good and decent life and you expect that income not to change dramatically for the worse all of a sudden.

Now, some recent history:

1. Interest payments on the Federal Debt as a percentage of total federal outlays:

According to a White House report on the budget released in 2014 (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2016/assets/ap_4_borrowing.pdf) the following are Interest payments on the National Debt as a percentage of total federal outlays at the beginning of each decade since 1950:

1950 (About end of Truman Administration) interest payment on Federal Debt amounted to 11.4 percent of all Federal Government spending.

By 1960 at the end of Eisenhower’s reign it had dropped to 8.5 percent.

1970, despite costs of the Vietnam War during this decade (through the Kennedy, Johnson, and half of Nixon’s administration), it had decreased to 7.9 percent .

By 1980, when Reagan assumed office, the ratio of interest payments to debt had increased to 10.6 percent largely because the inflation crisis of the 1970s increased borrowing costs.

Despite the end of the inflation crisis, by 1985, about half way through the Reagan administration, it had ballooned to 16.2 percent of Federal outlays where it remained until Clinton took office.

In 2000, when Clinton left office, it had fallen to 13 percent.

By 2014, it had further decreased to 7.4 percent where it has more or less hovered since.

So, today the ratio of interest payments on the Federal Debt to total federal outlays is among lowest it has been since 1950 (except for the early years of the Bush II administration as they used up the Clinton budget surplus).
2. Interest Rates as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP)

Perhaps more significant is the ratio of interest payments to GNP.

Interest payments on the Federal Debt as a percentage of GNP stood at 1.7 percent in 1950 and held relatively steady until 1980 when Reagan assumed the presidency. In 5 years it ballooned to 3.6 percent. Beginning with the Clinton Administration, It has steadily fallen until reaching 1.4 percent just before the Great Recession after which it grew to 1.8 percent by 2015. In great part, the recent growth was held in check by historically low-interest rates.

To conclude, it appears the ability of the Federal Government to pay our debts remains more or less equivalent to its ability to pay its debts at any time in the last 65 years or so and substantially better than during the Reagan years. So, the sky is not falling.

If there is something to be worried about, it is the explosive growth of private debt especially household debt. Government debt has not grown much over the years and when it has it has usually been to bail out overextended private Financial and Corporate interests of to fund a war.

 

So what about the future?

There are estimates that, if we do nothing, by 2020 Federal Debt interest payments as a percentage of total Federal outlays will rise to 12.4 percent and to 2.7 percent of GNP. High but still lower than during the Reagan years when it was “Morning in America.”

Nevertheless, perhaps, something should be done to moderate that potential rise. Cutting Federal Spending seems unlikely. As the following chart indicates, Defense spending, Medicare and Social Security seem to make up an outsized portion of Federal spending. Cutting Food Stamps may please some people and assist others in their re-election but they have no significant effect on either the deficit or the debt. Democrats will riot in the streets to prevent tampering with Medicare and Social Security while Republicans, the Military Industrial Complex and a few Democrats will fight to the death to prevent the cutting of a favored military system.

www.usnews

So what to do?

Well, modestly raising taxes on non-productive income and wealth such as capital gains could probably do wonders.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

I regret that in my last T&T I did not notify everyone that several years back, I had declared May 8 PUN DAY. A quick check of the internet turned up May 15 as Pun Day based on an algorithm that measured how many times Pun Day was mentioned on social media. In the UK, it falls on February 8. Other days also have been proposed. Austin Texas held an O’Henry Pun-Off World Championship on May 16.

Anyway, I wrote the following:

PUN DAY
During my travels, like many who go on vacation, I like to send to close and not too close friends emails (today’s postcards) regaling them of my good fortune in traveling the world and their ill-luck at being forced, for whatever reason, to remain at home. Not too long ago, I settled for a while in Jomtien Beach, Thailand and began to send out an incessant stream or emails regarding my new life. During a particularly frustrating period of trying to adjust to life there, I received a few emails from some of my correspondents commenting that my recent emails dwelled too much on the difficulties of my ex-pat life and were becoming a bit of a downer.

Although I thought I was just providing a humorous take on the foibles of my current situation, I took the criticism seriously and I realize that perhaps I may have fallen into a rut. So one morning when I awoke I decided to do something different and declared that day May 8, Pun Day.

I got the idea for this, as I usually get most of my ideas, from one of my favorite authors William Kotzwinkle. As with Henry David Thoreau, he is a favorite of mine — not necessarily because of his literary output (Although he did write the screenplay for “ET the Extraterrestrial” and the stories for the “Walter the Farting Dog” series) but for the audacity of attempting a literary career with a name like Kotzwinkle.

Anyway, in his novel “The Fan Man,” about an archetypical New Yorker who, during the hot sticky days of the New York City summer, travelled about the City holding in front of him one of those little battery operated fans to cool himself off (Hence “The Fan Man” in case you have not already guessed). In one of the chapters of the book our Fan Man wakes up and declares that day to be “Dorky Day” in which he would only speak the word Dorky throughout the day [By the way for those with interest is such things Dork is a common and respected name for boys in Armenia]. The remainder of the chapter, for about 10 to 12 pages, consists exclusively of the word Dorky repeated endlessly (Dorky,Dorky, Dorky… for those who may need help visualizing) broken only by the variously perplexed or angry responses of the other citizens of the City whose paths may have crossed that of our hero on that day.

Shakespeare must have eaten his heart out. Can you imagine what the world of the theater would have been had Hamlet instead of “The play’s the thing, in which we’ll catch the conscience of the King,” announced, “today is Dorky Day?”

Anyway, Pun Day comes also from one of my other literary mentors, Cuzin Irwin (to whom I beg forgiveness) who sent me the following:

it’s Snow White’s birthday.
The dwarves buy her a camera as a present.
She is ecstatic and takes pictures of everything she sees.

She takes the film in to be developed.
She goes back the next day to pick the pictures up.
The man behind the counter shakes his head as if to say, “No”.

Snow White cries.
The man behind the counter says
“Don’t worry Snow White, someday your prints will come.”

And for all you Snow Whites out there, may you prints come soon, but please always use protection or you may end up with a Kotzwinkle.

Have Pun.

Ciao…
Alas, with the coming of the smartphone, poor Snow White’s prints never did arrive. So, she went home with an Android.

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

A. The politics of race and age:

The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white (89 percent, in fact). 75 percent of Tea Partiers are 45 years old or older, moreover, roughly 60 percent are men. It is a movement of and for old white men.

B. Blame the immigrant is as old as America:

“The first known outbreak of yellow fever had occurred in 1703, before its malignancy even had a name. It was simply called “the great sickness.” The blame that first summer fell on a ship from St. Thomas that arrived in Manhattan peculiarly close to the beginning of the outbreak. Ever since, suspicion attached itself to these “vessels from one of the sickly ports of the West Indies.”
Collins, Paul. Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery. Crown/Archetype.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. A Story about the First Moon Landing:

“On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo II astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals.

One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favor.

‘What do you want?’ they asked?

‘Well,’ said the old man, ‘the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’

‘What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts?

The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorized it correctly.

‘What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts?

‘Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’

When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorized, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorized so carefully said, ‘Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.’
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 287). HarperCollins.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

1. 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.
2. Alas, the purpose of electoral politics in a democracy, such as ours, often seems to be to instill fear into the ignorant, ill-informed, naive and hopeless and to persuade them that they can become part of a great movement to find and eradicate whatever causes that fear.

It also seems that whenever the politics of fear overflows, it would be an appropriate remedy to choose as a leader of government someone chary of simple solutions with unknown consequences and repulsed by the cascading wall of emotions directed at punishing those whom the fearful have been led to believe are responsible for their problems.

C. Today’s Poem:

Jumping Off a Rock — “Haiku”

I jump off a rock.
The wind rushes by my face.
A splash of water.
By HRM

D. Today’s Psychobabble:

The four stages of competence:

1. Unconscious incompetence:

The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.

2. Conscious incompetence:

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.

3. Conscious competence:

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.

4. Unconscious competence:

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become “second nature” and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.

I have always preferred to settle my life into Unconscious Incompetence and leave consciousness to those believing there is a benefit in competence.

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 JoJo 0004 (May 19, 2015)

 

“When men cannot change things, they change words.”
Jean Jaurès, speech at the International Socialist Congress, Paris (1900).

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. A BRIEF SOJOURN IN SAN FRANCISCO:

After tearing through the Sunday NY Times in the morning and downing some strong black coffee, we left Mendocino for The Cool Grey City of Love to visit my mom for Mother’s Day.

The 98-year old’s short term memory may be in decline and her heart weakening but she gave as good as she got in the exchange of good-natured intra-family insults that characterize our family get-togethers.
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The matriarch and family.

After leaving the nursing home, I visited with Peter Grenell at Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley. Peter just had part of his shoulder replaced and was still feeling a bit of pain. We sat on a bench outside, drank our coffee and, in the increasingly halting style of the aging, swapped tales. Given that anyone over 70 has passed his dispose-by date, I lamented that our age we have become little more than cartons of curdled milk. Peter responded by advising, “when all you have is curdled milk, you might as well make cheese.”

On the way back to Peter’s house where I was to have dinner and spend the night, Peter pointed out the incredible prices commanded in the Techie Paradise that Noe Valley has become. The following photograph shows a house about three doors down from Peter’s that is on the market for four million dollars.
IMG_20150511_084004_593
A Four Million Dollar House

At dinner that night, I played with their granddaughter a one-year-old two-fisted eater whose Hawaiian name I do not recall but it sounds like Aurora. I also learned that Barrie, Peter’s wife, swims an hour every morning in frigid San Francisco Bay. I was shamed. I refuse to swim anywhere the water temperature is below 80 degrees.

In the morning, riding on the J Church on the way to the Amtrak office downtown, a large androgynous African-American female and a small, skinny equally androgynous white male began a loud altercation right above where I was sitting trying to avoid eye contact. They were shouting at each other about something; or rather the larger of the two was shouting and the other cringing while pleading with the driver to call the police. I pictured myself appearing on the local television news as the unwitting and unwilling victim of an only in San Francisco perplexing racial and gender contretemps. Luckily for me, at the next stop, the larger combatant ran off while the smaller continued trying to explain to the driver what happened.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I am back in El Dorado Hills. Alas, adventure does not seem descriptive of anything one does here. I get the impression that even a change of seasons can cause anxiety among some of the denizens of these golden hills.

It has been four days since I have returned and I can happily report the rose bushes in the back yard are in bloom — now the weekend cometh. I leave for NY next Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, the rains came. I was eating pepperoni pizza at Mama Ann’s in Town Center when the storm hit full of lightning and thunder. Like in the tropics, the deluge flooded the streets but lasted only about two hours. It departed as suddenly as it arrived leaving the air clear of pollen and dust. I slept well that night.

I read somewhere a doctor observed that patients as they aged experienced an ever increasing series of maladies most of which were curable but eventually they begin to occur so rapidly that the body simply gives up the fight. Today while eating breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe a piece of a tooth fell out and embedded itself in my bagel. Since I leave in a couple of days, I will be forced to travel with a dark black empty space in my smile until I find a reasonably priced dentist to insert a bridge.

The weekend flew by like an osprey falling on its prey. The weather was cold and overcast so no swimming for me. Instead, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road to get my blood pumping.

HRM’s flag football team lost the championship game to the hated Seahawks 34 to 6. The coach was devastated. The kids were happy with their ice-cream after the game.

Since I seem focused on aging this week, I thought I should mention the three phases of aging among old men: First you forget to zip it up; then you forget to zip it down; then you die. I am at phase-one. I’ve taken to wearing long shirts outside my pants because, no matter how much I try to remember, at least once a day I forget.

Monday came in cold and cloudy. I leave on Wednesday, so I set about on last minute things, the bank, the pharmacy and tackling the conundrum of how to pack a single carry-on for a two-month trip.

The last day before I bolt town. What have I forgotten?

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOID:

According to a study by Microsoft Corporation, human attention span has supposedly dropped from 12 seconds in 2002 to only eight seconds in 2013, which is a second shorter than a goldfish.

If this is true, perhaps we would be better off running a goldfish for President. I’m sure the goldfish would win the Republican presidential nomination debates hands down. Wouldn’t it be wonderful then to watch the goldfish and Hillary to go at it in the general election.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

Sovereignty

“Sovereignty has eight aspects: DEFENSE; JUDICIAL, i.e., settling disputes; ADMINISTRATIVE, i.e., discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, i.e., mobilizing resources: this is one of the powers the French government didn’t have in 1770; LEGISLATION. i.e., the finding of rules and the establishment of rules through promulgation and statue; EXECUTIVE, i.e., the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions. Then there are two which are of absolute paramount importance today: MONETARY, the creation and control of money and credit — if that is not an aspect of the public sovereignty, then the state is far less than fully sovereign; and lastly the eighth one, THE INCORPORATING POWER, the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with the right to hold property and to sue in the courts. Notice: the federal government of the United States today does not have the seventh and eighth but I’ll come back to that later.”
Carroll Quigley Ph.D. ”Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, AD 976 – 1976.”

B. Artie’s Death:

Stevie Dall commented on the death of the dragonfly riff in my previous issue of T&T:

“Similar moral quandaries here, too. I spent quality time this morning rescuing, drying, and relocating the spider who occasionally falls into the shower because last night sweet Artie, a cat who hung out at the canal beside our house, died.

Though Artie would eat treats placed for him on the counter outside our kitchen window, he would never allow himself to be caught.

Last week Artie pranced into the backyard carrying a deceased adolescent gosling. By the weekend he seemed under the weather, but he still evaded capture, and by last night he was a goner.

I’m thinking of giving the spider a name.”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“In the United States we have often elected to public office the stupid and at times the crazy. It has only recently, however, that most of those we elect happen to be both stupid and crazy.”
Trenz Pruca

(Note: Trenz Pruca is not me — nor is he my alter ego. Trenz is my Harvey; but instead of an invisible rabbit, he is a six-foot-two-inch invisible white rat with dark glasses wearing a black fedora and a red and white striped scarf. He carries a Mac-book with him wherever he goes. He can usually be found sitting in the dark corners of lightly patronized coffee houses in San Francisco or during the winter months, Marrakesh, typing away on his Mac-book and obsessively downing endless cups of strong doppio espressos. I only see him on my name day, March 15, when he stops by to celebrate with a glass of wine. Otherwise, he sends me reams of emails each day, most of which are gibberish. Every now and then, however, I find he has written a clever bon mot or an interesting sentence or two that I share with you in T&T or on Facebook.)

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

* A paraprosdokian with a mustache and a cigar is called a Groucho Marx.

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

“The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”
Line from a recent episode of Game of Thrones.

(Note: a dwarf’s member is considered an aphrodisiac in certain parts of Westeros, similar to the way some East-Asians regard a rhinoceros’ pizzle.)

F. Today’s Poem:

I live on borrowed things

I live on borrowed things
On stories and songs
On breath and brawn

Borrowed then left
When I move on.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

worldpopulat

This is perhaps one of the more informative charts explaining the source of many of the seemingly intractable problems we are facing today. Since 1915, only 100 years ago, population has grown from somewhat over 1 billion people in the world to slightly less than 8 billion today. About a seven-fold increase. It the next 35 years that population is expected to increase by almost 1/3, close to 10 Billion.

During the same one-hundred year period, the per capita use of energy has barely doubled but total energy use has increased more than twelve-fold.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

11205050_1583800991894638_2783161004579459659_n

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Capt. Coast 0002 (May 12, 2014)

“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”
Terry Pratchett

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE DREAPER

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE VISITS THE STATE CAPITOL:

1. A walk in the park:

A few days ago the car needed to be serviced. After dropping off the automobile, Dick drove me to Sacramento where I waited for the repair shop to complete the repairs.

He left me by the Capitol. After some coffee at a café with tattooed lady baristas, I walked into Capitol Park located directly behind the Capitol building. I love Capitol Park. It is one of my favorite urban parks. Although smaller than Central Park or Golden Gate Park, I find that I enjoy my time there as much as I do in those larger parks. Basically it is a large arboretum with hundreds of fully mature trees from all over the world. I wandered around for an hour or so contemplating each tree and reading the little information plaque identifying its species and common name. It is a little known fact that there are three or so redwood trees in the park that were grown from seedlings that traveled to the moon on one of the Apollo missions. They are referred to as the “Moon Trees.” For years their location was a secret in order to forestall eager collectors from removing the trees until they got big enough to fend for themselves.

Another thing I enjoy there is visiting the small memorials to various wars and other things nestled among the trees. They’re a lot more humble than the garish marble mausoleums demanding our worship that abound Washington DC.

2. BT and me:

While walking I came upon a plaque dedicated to BT Collins embedded in the concrete in front of a bench. I sat down on that bench to reminisce.

For those who did not know him, BT lost an arm and a leg leading a Guerrilla team in the early days of the Viet Nam War when we were still assisting the South Vietnamese government defend itself before deciding to take over the entire war. He returned, was fitted with prothesis’ attended Santa Clara Law School and was working in the first Jerry Brown administration in the Governor’s office when I met him. Ultimately he served in many capacities in State government most often as the person who actually got things done. He was outrageous in word and deed. While Director of the State’s Civilian Conservation Corps during the controversy over aerial spraying of pesticides to combat a fruit fly invasion, in order to prove its safety he famously drank a glass of the pesticide in front of reporters.

One day while sitting in a bar with BT and getting seriously drunk, we, as drunks often do, became sloppily nostalgic about our past lives. We traced our paths from those adjacent bar stools back to NY, to Westchester County, to Stepinac High School and into the same classroom. Until that point neither of us and recognized the other as having known each other previously. He sat in the back of that classroom at one side among the Irish toughs and I sat on the other side of the back row among the Italian thugs.

Every year while I was working in Sacramento he and I would collaborate on a bill to reform portions of the Civil Service law. We would appear together before the appropriate legislative committee each year and never receive a single vote in favor of our proposal.

A life-long Republican, he could teach many so-called liberals about compassion for the underdog.

Rock on BT….

3. I know a Reuben when I see one:

At about lunch time I sat at some outdoor tables on L Street directly across from an entrance to the Capitol. I thought that as the people in the Capitol left for lunch I would recognize some and perhaps have lunch with them and talk of old times. I recognized no one and no one recognized me.

I then tried to guess which of the people walking by was a legislator. I identified one by the sneer he wore on his face when he thought no one was looking at him.

I ordered a Reuben sandwich for lunch that turned out to be fried chicken.

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A Selfie of Pookie at the Capitol

4. On monuments and things:

In the afternoon I resumed my walk through Capitol Park. I sat for a while at one of my favorite monuments dedicated to those that served in WWII. The monument itself is an elongated pyramid with a broken top and a crack down the middle. Its smooth facades are imprinted with actual photographs of scenes from the war that appear like ghosts emerging from the mists of time.

World War II I consider one of this nation’s three “good” wars.The other two were the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. For whatever other objectives one can also ascribe to these wars, a major purpose of each was to establish a transcendental ideal of freedom.

The Revolutionary War was fought to free the nation from government by hereditary wealth and power by those who controlled the nations resources. The sons and daughters of the homicidal maniacs who established the dynasties managed one of the greatest PR coups of all time by persuading everyone to refer to them as “Nobles.”

The Civil War engaged in an effort to end that pernicious institutional representation of the concept that human beings were merely economic objects that could be bought and sold at will.

In World War II the allied nations took up arms against the ideology that humanity can be divided into classes in which some enjoy the full rights of citizenship and respect and others were not quite human and so forfeited their rights even to their own lives solely because of the accident of their birth or the nature of their beliefs.

Of course these wars against those three curses of humanity: Government by inherited wealth; Monetizing a person’s value and; Classification of groups of people where some groups enjoy fewer rights, including the right to live (racism is but one aspect of this) did not end those scourges. They only addressed the clear and present danger presented by those institutions that promoted or represented them. The scourges are always with us only their names change over time. They always change their names.

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The World War II Memorial in Capitol Park

B. POOKIE’S DREAMS (Continued):

I called someone over to run and find one of the paramedics that worked in the village. We bundled the injured child into an old Land Rover and drove him to the hospital.

The hospital located about 10 miles away on the other side of the valley was quite new and surrounded by a small town. I assumed the town was peopled by medical personnel who worked at the hospital and those who worked in the preserve but were unwilling to live the spartan lifestyle enforced by Mama in the village.

Tre, Yu and I sat outside the emergency room waiting. Mama arrived a few minutes later and waited silently with us.

The child, all bandaged up and still unconscious was placed in a hospital room after emerging from the emergency ward. There we spent the night. Tre, Yu and I alternately napping and talking quietly among ourselves. Mama sat in a chair rigid and silent, never moving her eyes from the child as though she was willing him to recover. Recover he did and we all returned to our various duties.

Following this I learned that the preserve had been under political, economic and physical assault for many months. Terrorists, resource extraction organizations and the like all hungered for access to the reserve and its resources.

It was a though having fouled every place else (their own nests so to speak) they now ravenously looked at this unspoiled place like the rapist observing his next victim.

Many preserve workers had been injured and some killed. On one of my visits another child had been attacked and Mama and I spent another sleepless night at the hospital.

I noticed on each of my visits the stress on her exacted a greater and greater physical toll. Then on day when I returned to the village I learned that she had been taken to the hospital. I rushed there and into her room. She was lying in bed. He body was horribly shriveled. Her skin had lost its luster and appeared dry and brittle like a piece of cardboard.

I stayed there with her day and night. She still ran the preserve from her bed. She continued to decline. Finally I told her that I had some experience it managing organizations like the Preserve and I would be happy to do so until she got better. She said, “No, this is my life, my world. Your life is somewhere else.” I woke up back in my bed. I knew she had died.

I returned to the village two more times after that to visit with my friends. But, the colors of the place seemed washed out and I had trouble holding on to the dream for more than a few moments. Eventually I stopped going there.

Since then every once in a while in that period between sleep and wakefulness the image of us in the hut, or on the rock outcropping or even in the hospital hovers for a while before disappearing. It comforts me knowing that this is not a dream but a memory. END.

C. ABOUT PEIG, A BOOK REPORT:

“I am an old woman now, with one foot in the grave and the other on its edge. I have experienced much ease and much hardship from the day I was born until this very day. Had I known in advance half, or even one-third, of what the future had in store for me, my heart wouldn’t have been as gay or as courageous it was in the beginning of my days.”
Peig Sayers, Peig,

Peig Sayers’, Peig, is considered one of the classics of Gaelic literature as well as all literature. She lived much of her life on Great Blasket Island off the Western Coast of Ireland. The island at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is bleak and barren. It housed between 100 to 150 souls until in the 1940’s the Irish Government in a fit of uncharacteristic responsibility removed the remaining twenty-two of them and resettled them in other parts of the country. As far as I know, none of the islanders objected to the relocation.

Peig was an old woman when approached by a representative of the Irish Folklore Commission and asked to write the story of her life on that forlorn island.
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Peig in her cottage

40 years ago I travelled to Blasket. I was ferried there from the mainland in one of those tar covered little leather boats that used to be common in the western part of the country.
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Drying the boats

I met the ferry-man in the pub that stands on the bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and persuaded him (for a few dollars) to row me there. There is a regular motor ferry now.

Although the passage between the islands is no more than a couple of miles wide, it was too stormy and impassable during much of the year for the small traditional row boats available at the time the island was inhabited. So, the residents of Blasket were often marooned and had to live exclusively on what they could glean on the island.

The tiny village on the lee of the island lay in ruins and deserted. I climbed through the ruins and into Peig’s cottage. It was little more than rocks piled on one another for walls with more rocks to make the roof (I understand it has been made into lodging for a small hostel now). Peig’s home contained a single room in which she spent most of her life.
IMG_20141020_192628_845
Peig’s cottage today

Beyond the village exposed to the fierce winds off the Atlantic the rest of the island was covered in a thick mat of furze, Irish gorse and heather, with peat (or bog or turf) beneath much of it. When I walked on it it supported my weight. It felt as though I was walking on a springy mattress. There were no trees or bushes. I climbed part way down the cliffs on the island’s north side where the residents would scramble down to pilfer the eggs of the shore birds that nested there. I did not go further than perhaps 10 feet or so because the cliff quickly became much steeper. It was on those steep cliffs according to Peig that several of Blasket’s citizens met their death trying to secure enough food to carry them through the winter storms.

As hard as life was on Blasket, during the Irish persecutions and famines several mainland families settled on the island, “Because life was better there.”

Perhaps the most astounding thing about Blasket was that Peig was not the only one from there who wrote a Gaelic literary classic. Two others, Twenty Years a Growing and The Islandman, were written by Blasket natives also.

How hard was life on Blasket? Tomas O’Crohan in The Islandman wrote the following about his children:

“Ten children were born to us, but they had no good fortune, God help us! The very first of them that we christened was only seven or eight years old when he fell over the cliff and was killed. From that time on they went as quickly as they came. Two died of measles, and every epidemic that came carried off one or other of them. Donal was drowned trying to save the lady off the White Strand. I had another fine lad helping me. Before long I lost him, too.”

images-1
Blasket Village ruins. Ireland in the distance.

DAILY FACTOID:

2013: During this year 146 American children were given the name Khaleesi at birth. Khaleesi is the word for “Queen” in a made up language found in the “Game of Thrones.” Before 2013 no one in real life had ever borne that name.

In about that same year a Restaurant named Khaleesi’s was opened in Mission Texas featuring pizza.

Pizza was the favorite food of the Targaryan nobility. They cooked the pizza in dragon fire.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
MilitarySpendingSince1947

It is often said that generals (and countries) fight new wars using the strategies and tactics of the last. Unfortunately for the generals and many politicians alike, it appears that the real wars of today among the major powers are economic and not military.
B. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

Re: The NEW YORKER

As you know I like to post some of the well written and interesting comments I receive about things I have written in T&T. This from Stevie:

“Over half a century ago as an 11-year-old growing up in a California railroad town that, for all I know, still doesn’t have a book store, I had the good fortune to make friends with a recent transplant from New York whose mother subscribed to The Atlantic, The Nation, The New Republic, The Saturday Review AND (always my favorite) , The New Yorker.

This was definitely a horizon widener over the Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Boys Life (my brother’s), True Magazine (my father’s — and mine), True Story Magazine (my mother’s), Saturday Evening Post, and Newsweek (mine) that we received at my house, and my grandparents’ Life, Look, and Reader’s Digest, all of which I read from cover to cover.

The one thing they (almost) all had in common were cartoons, and I attacked every new issue from the back thumbing through quickly to read every one of the cartoons as quickly as I could. In The New Yorker, though, I would again go through, once more starting from the back, to read the poetry, followed by the book and movie review.

Only then would I turn to the fiction (there were frequently multiple stories, as I recall, at that point) to savor it the way I do the last morsel of lobster or abalone, leaving everything else to be read (of course I read everything else — there were just so many books one could carry back and forth to the library on a bike!) haphazardly, in no particular order.

That’s still the way I read The New Yorker. I did attempt reading the electronic version on my iPad but gave it up when I couldn’t even muster the interest to make it through the cartoons, which don’t seem to read as well from front to back…

This past issue had a Shirley Jackson story — almost 50 years posthumous — but I keep hoping something new and exciting will come along, and I’ll read it in The New Yorker :o)”

The Huffington Post reports:

“The New Yorker led the pack Thursday night at the annual National Magazine Awards, winning four prizes…

Love the magazine as I do I still find its Poetry inept, the articles too long and at times insipid and the cartoons, amusing but not funny. I suggested to Stevie that some rap lyrics could greatly improve things.

big_mac_rap_lyrics_by_nicoletheawesomehog-d5m59xv

According to Matt Daniels (http://rappers.mdaniels.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com) a designer, coder and data scientist at something called Undercurrent in New York City, after analyzing the percentage of unique words used by various rap artists with Shakespeare, fifteen rappers use of unique words exceeded The Bard’s for roughly equivalent sets. Aesop Rock came in first by a mile followed by Wu-Tang Clan, Kool Keith and Cunnlynguists.

So, no apologies this time.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such abominable business.”
Albert Einstein

“Once guns were made, who would unmake them?”
Hough Howey. Wool Omnibus Edition (p. 319). Broad Reach Publishing.
TODAY’S CARTOON:
20110504_113932_15263

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 23, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A Child Shall Lead Them: Recently a 13-year-old boy has discovered a means of making solar cells 20 to 50 percent more efficient by altering the normal design for solar arrays to that of a spiral as found in the usual arrangement of branches in trees.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

My last view of Bangkok as I winged away to return to the US was of the gathering clouds of the monsoon rains that quickly obscured the city below. The adventures of Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible, Cheeky Cherlerm and Abhsit the Unready have already begun to fade from my consciousness, as The Little Masseuse, who accompanied me to the airport, faded from my sight as I passed through security and customs into the boarding area.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN AMERICA:

I arrived in San Francisco last night at about 8pm and was pickedup by my daughter-in-law Anne and my grandson Anthony. The flight was remarkably unremarkable. I spent the time that I was not asleepwatching the video of the first 12 episodes of The Game of Thrones that I enjoyed very much. Like many others, I have read the novels over the years and became convinced the author has not the slightest idea about how he was going to resolve the many plot lines that he unleashed in his novels, a number of which seemed to just peter out. Like many of the aficionados of the work I was furious at his refusal to complete the set, promising to deliver the concluding book than failing to do so year after year until coterminous with production of the first book in the HBO mini-series, he published an over 1000 page tome, that I have not yet read but which I understand still does not tie everything up. I assume he hopes the mini-series lasts a decade or more.

First Impressions:

Sleeping: Last night I enjoyed a good sleep, on a soft bed, covered with a warm blanket and the windows open. In Thailand I sleep on a rock hard bed (as do most Thais) without covers (usually starkers) since the temperature in BKK even during the coldest part of the night rarely drops below 80 degrees and even the AC, if it exists and is working, rarely drops the temperature below 77. If I set the AC below that temperature, the Little Masseuse starts shivering and covering herself up with multiple blankets. When I explained that Americans prefer to sleep with the temperature in the high 60’s and in SF at least, I prefer it even cooler, she shuddered.

Dressing: Putting on more clothing than a light shirt and shorts (which, except for questions of modesty, in BKK is still too much clothing for me at least and I suspect most Westerners) was delightful.

English: Bernal Heights, San Francisco

English: Bernal Heights, San Francisco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walking: Today I walked the over six miles from Bernal Heights where I am staying to Downtown and then on to lunch in North Beach. I tell you this, not because I am proud of walking that far, but because the last time I was in the city I could not conceive of walking that far in one trip. It is one of the benefits of my exercise regime of the past two months that I can now spend hours doing something that a sensible human being would take minutes to do by riding in a car or a bus. I would never walk that far in BKK, first because it is too hot and second because Thais believe walking from place to place is a sign of low-class.

Banking: One purpose of my trip this morning was to get to my bank and withdraw my money before the Franchise Tax Board (California’s tax storm troopers) took it to pay my back taxes. Last time I was in the US and travelled to Italy I decided not to remove the pension funds the day of their deposit but to wait until I had returned to Italy. Sure enough, the FTB looted my account. This was especially bad for me since they effectively took my savings for the year as well.

Hats: The second purpose was to buy a Panama hat to replace the one destroyed by the little masseuse. She had complained that my existing Panama had begun to look and smell bad, a criticism I could somewhat agree with. So, one day while I was out, she decided to wash it in the washing machine and then scrub it with strong soap and a brush. When I returned she presented me with a mat of very clean Ecuadorian straw. When I complained that not only was I fond of the hat but that it was expensive, she replied, “Expensive maybe, but not very strong.”

Anyway, I had purchased that hat on Union Street during my last visit to the City. As I walked past the shop, the hat spoke to me, so I just had to go in and buy it no matter its impact on my budget. This morning I searched again for the shop and after I found it I told the shop girl, that I had travelled all the way here from Asia to replace the hat that spoke to me. She smiled, took my money and hustled me quickly out the door.

beatniks in the summer of 1969

beatniks in the summer of 1969 (Photo credit: Martin Pulaski)

Lunch: After banking and before buying my hat I walked to North Beach to eat lunch. For those unfamiliar with SF, North Beach is the so-called Italian neighborhood, home of overpriced generally mediocre italian restaurants and the ghosts of Beatniks past (Kerouac, Cassidy, Burroughs et al.) Two of my favorite places were closed. Franchetti’s which not only serves some of the best Southern Italian cooking in the area, but the husband and wife who run it and do the cooking came from a little town near Avellino in the mountains outside of Naples, not more than a mile from the town from which my grandfather emigrated. Panta Rai is the other restaurant. Its food, while acceptable, is not so good. What I like about the place, however, is that when I lived in the neighborhood, I got to know the waiters and owners. And, the owner always hired beautiful young Russian student waitresses who flirted with me. Also, I like to eat at the sidewalk tables since, as any italian knows, dining al fresco improves the taste of the food. In addition, the location ofthe place is at the Green St. and Columbus Street intersection, the busiest in the neighborhood. Another reasons why italians enjoy eating al fresco is that it is much more interesting to watch the world go by while eating, than simply sitting in a room with other diners burying their faces in the food.

Anyway, unfortunately, I ended up eating mediocre Spaghetti Bolognese at a sidewalk table at another near-by establishment.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed because the author is busy traveling.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I Didn’t Know That:

In the old days in Europe, people cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: ”Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old”.

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up their bacon, to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “Bring home the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around talking and “chew the fat”.

b. What Adam Smith (Considered by Some as the “Father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favor of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164]

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less.”
D. James Kennedy one of the theological progenitors of Rick Perry’s fundamentalist brain trust.
d. The Difference Between a Traditional Conservative and a Modern Conservative:

A traditional conservative believes that government is necessary but that its costs and efficiency are what matters. A modern conservative believes government is the problem.

e. Today’s Screed:

Some of you who have read these posts (and although I write these primarily for my amusement, I am pleased some of you do) have wondered about my fixation with religion in my posts over the past few months, often quoting unsympathetically from the Good Book and modern christian divines and at other times posting tidbits about the notorious personal lives of various religious leaders throughout the ages. One reader asked if I were a communist atheist. Communist I will leave for another time, atheist, hardly.

To me atheism and religion both represent the same syndrome, a fixation on what they do not and never can know. The organizing principle of most religions are based not on any morality but on exclusion (I’m saved but you’re not), except for something like Buddhism who’s organizing principle seems to be “I don’t give a shit what you believe because it doesn’t matter anyway.” Atheists, although generally a fiercely independent and curmudgeonly bunch, are equally affected, especially when they get together, as we experienced in, say, Soviet Russia where they practiced merely a less virulent form of intolerance.

No, what fascinates me is the penchant of these religious elites to blithely ignore the horror of their own history and their so-called sacred writings in their mad rush to control (Dominion, if you must) the fruits of society.

I find it frighteningly amusing to observe, certainly in the case of modern fundamental christianity, their leaders alliance with capitalism and its ideology (Atheists appear to mostly prefer communism). Their goal seems to be to expropriate the fruits of liberal democracy and capitalism without having to participate in the risks of the market, work hard, increase productivity and all the other requirements of a free enterprise economy. The purpose of the religious élite has always been to secure for themselves a by on what the rest of us have to do to survive.

(Have you noticed the tendency among most politicians to ape the religious élite more than their industrial padrones. They, especially those of a conservative bent, frantically seek to make money without working, while at the same time their voices thrash with emotion in anger at some of those whose labor affords them this option to live on the dole, who instead, taking the pols and religious élite as role models, attempt to get something for nothing.

I say send them all into the tomato or cotton fields to work alongside some illegal aliens and learn something about real life. Lets have our own “great leap forward,” except that instead of sending our intellectual elites out to enjoy the pleasures of rural and industrial toil we send out our conservative religious and political brethren (and perhaps a few of those classical economists who argue with a straight face, unemployment does not exist). It could not have any worse impact on our economy than that inflicted on it by our own brand of parasites; the politicians, bankers, fundamentalist preachers, lawyers and economists.)
f. Trolley Test iii:

Now let us look at the 5 woebegone people on the track facing the onslaught of the out of control trolley car.

Would your answer to the questions in the last to posts be the same if those five people were:
1. Illegal aliens, Mexicans fleeing from the border patrol.
2. Nuns
3. Children between the ages of 3 and 8 years of age.
4. Ghetto teenagers decked out in their colors or whatever else it is that the use today.
5. Your children or other members of your family.

White obviously this test cannot be validly used for scientific analysis lacking controls, priming and the other techniques required by this type of scientific study, I have used it to explore my own biases and morals. I have found in my case not only do my morals and ethics sadly range from situational to essentially nonexistent, but that without a doubt I would be so fearful and indecisive that I know that I would be unable to act relegating 5 people to their certain death.

But what about the default option, the one that says these five people are somewhere they should not be, whether through intent, mistake or ill-fortune they should not be there so what happens to them is not my fault? I should feel neither guilt for their misfortune nor take it upon myself to weigh their lives against any other. If I was the motorman and could not stop, it is their problem and not mine to play God.

On the other hand what about if they were my children or family members? What then?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Now the Jedi are all but extinct.”
~ Obi-Wan Kenobe

TODAY’S CHART:

Rick Perry patron of illegal immigration?

Or, do immigrants work harder than indigenous white Americans? In the early part of the last century, a group of Italian immigrants in Louisiana, in the largest mass hanging in American history, were lynched because, in part, they were willing to work harder for lower wages than native rednecks. In this case, hanging them raised the cost of labor for employers, sort of like raising the minimum wage.

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 2, 2012)

FREE ANNA MACKOWIAK

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

In addition to the heat wave induced misery, my unhappiness was exacerbated by the realization that it also was that time again when I had to renew my visa in order to prolong my stay here in Thailand. So, on Friday morning at about 8 AM I gathered the requisite documents that I had spent the past few days assembling and set off with LM to go to the Thai Government Center in BKK.

We had just walked a few blocks to hail a cab, when LM ran into a co-worker of hers from the health club with her Dutch boyfriend in tow. They were also heading to the Government Center so we agreed to share a taxi. The co-worker was an attractive 40-year-old woman. Her boyfriend, a 66-year-old from Holland, told me that he travels between Thailand and Holland for his job.

During the taxi ride, while the two co-workers talked, the Dutchman and I remained steadfastly silent. He, I assume because of the natural reticence of the Germanic people of northern Europe, and I alas, unable to blame it on the any leanings toward social restraint inherent in the culture of my Mediterranean forbearers, must lay the responsibility exclusively on my dyspeptic personality.

After arriving at the Government Center and going our separate ways, LM told me the background story. Her co-worker was married to a Thai man and has three children. About five years or so ago, the man from Holland showed up at the Hotel Health Club for a massage. The co-worker was the masseuse on duty. The Dutchman fell for her and kept returning. After about six months or so, he divorced his wife back in Holland and bought the co-worker an apartment in BKK into which she promptly moved her husband and three children, telling the unsuspecting gentleman that they were her older brother and younger siblings. And so they have lived happily, if not ever after, at least up to now. LM said the coworker begged her not to tell her boyfriend the truth about their domestic situation.

For a moment I contemplated the moral dilemma I was put in. Should I warn this man about the precarious circumstances into which he had placed himself? Since I would have had to expend some effort to find him, I decided to forget the whole thing justifying my decision by rationalizing that she was doing no more than any worker would do in order to benefit her family.

Following the not so dehumanizing venture into the Thai bureaucracy (not nearly as dehumanizing as a trip into the US embassy) and successfully obtaining my visa, we left to return home.

We decided to take the bus. On the bus LM and I were separated and when a seat next to her opened an American of about my age slipped in and hit on her heavily. I was happy for her. After sweltering in the heat, enduring the assault to ones ego from a trip into the bureaucracy and depressed from fatigue, it is always a boost to ones sense of self-worth to be hit upon. Regrettably no one hit on me; not even a stray soi dog.

Bangkok is one of those cities like Rome and a few others that I have experienced where one cannot get from where one is to where one wants to go without first going someplace where one does not want to go… unless one takes an uncomfortable, slow, and inefficient bus (in this case over two hours and four bus changes) and accepts the ignominy of the Duchess of Westminster’s dictum, “Anyone seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life”

Arriving at the corner of the street leading to the apartment, I left LM to continue on to the Health Club to attend a staff party that evening and I headed back to the apartment.

I decided to save myself the walk by riding on the back of one of the motorbike taxi’s. Despite the fact that I have taken the ride many times before and the fares being printed and posted on the wall, they insisted on a fare twice as high. When I objected they said that I was too heavy and therefore need to pay more. I responded with my best New York style verbal (accompanied by appropriate and emphatic gestures) recommendation that they do what for most would be physically impossible. The sound of their sputtering indignation ringing in my ears made my walk home enjoyable, indeed.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Weather follies:

Today the average temperature over the entire country of Thailand was more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (Thailand north to south is about equal in length to the US west coast from Mexico to Canada). The resulting air pollution in BKK has begun to affect me; not like the burning of the rice crops in Chiang Mai that made it so difficult to breathe I feared for my health and possible life and had to flee to the seashore. Here my lungs are clear but my eyes ache as though I have not slept for a week.

As a result of the heat and drought, it has been reported that most of the lychee crop in the Chiang Mai area is in danger of failing. So, stock up on your lychee before prices rise.

2. Massage:

English: Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Insti...

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Speaking of Chiang Mai, the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution (a prison) offers to the general public Massages by the prisoners.

 

 

 

 

3. Japanese Hot Tub:

The Wine Spa  located at the Yunnesun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Resort in Hakone near Mount Fuji,  among other things allows you to bathe in wine, or if that does not appeal to you it also allows you to immerse yourself in authentic sake …

… or, if you’re driving back home and would rather not do it reeking of booze, you can relax in a hot tub filled with green tea.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

From my notebook, written two months ago during my trip to California:

It was one of those unseasonably warm February days in San Francisco that seem to pop up briefly now and then in between the strings of normal overcast cool days that mark the City’s winter months. I was early for my lunch appointment, so I decided to spend a few minutes in Sidney Walton Square park indulging in the slack-jawed wool gathering of old men everywhere who wallow happily under a warming sun.

I sat at the edge of the small fountain and stared at the frantic shadows of the pidgins as they swooped around and fluttered down in front of an elderly man feeding them at the other end of the park.

I noticed a small, also elderly, asian man enter into my view. As I refocused from the murmuring shadows in the distance on to his face, he stared back at me wide-eyed as though seeing something in me that surprised him. He continued to so stare as he walked by until he almost passed beyond my view. As I began to refocus on other things he turned abruptly, still staring and shouted, “Fuck You,” then he turned and walked off.

Now, although I was startled, surprisingly my first thought was of Thoreau passing under a bridge during his boat trip down the Connecticut River closely observing a man standing on the bridge who promptly responded to Thoreau’s gaze by spitting in his face. Henry David, instead of expressing either surprise or indignation turned that moment into a transcendental experience somehow connecting the man on the bridge to all that was noble about humanity. I waited a moment for my own transcendental experience, but none came. It was just an old asian man on this particular sunny day in this park stopping on his walk and shouting “Fuck you” at me.

Fortunately, I could not afford to give it all that much more thought since my attention had turned to focus, as it often does, on an attractive young woman. She had stopped in front of a bronze bust on a pedestal dedicated to the ego of the parks benefactor, the aforementioned Sidney, after whom the park was named. Like the old man and most of the people in the park that day, she was asian. San Francisco has become an asian city built to european aesthetics. At least here they were not forced to become shopkeepers, just like jews were no longer required to engage in the financial trades or italians to open restaurants. While they could still do well in those trades, the wonder of America was that they did not have to do so if they did not want to. Perhaps that is America’s greatest gift to the ascent of humanity, the freedom to screw up ones life without being forced to do it in the same way their parents did.

Anyway, she stopped to photograph the bust which stood in the center of a small tableau that also included two bronze representations of the benefactor’s pet dogs. They appeared to be Pomeranians.

After taking a few pictures from several angles, she strode off. Nothing transcendental there either; just a pretty girl taking photographs in the sunlight, in this park, on this day, in this city, watched by an old man sitting on the edge of a fountain.
THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for rehabilitation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012, Social Media:

In Tokyo and Osaka Japan approximately 5400 homeless persons bed down every night in internet cafes.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

1. The statistic that more than any other explains the state of the Nation and the Economy:

In 1975 when I first went to work for the California legislature in Sacramento it would have been difficult to find much more than one full-time lobbyist for every 24 legislators.

It is not that the 1% that has grown out of control, but the parasite community; the lobbyists, lawyers, brokers, consultants and economists that have. In fact, in can be argued that the explosive growth of the 1% is due for the most part to the numbers of this same parasite community that have joined their ranks.

2. How about a real return to the “good old days” that the right is so infatuated about:

Between 1947 and 1979, productivity in the US rose by 119%, while the income of the bottom fifth of the population rose by 122%. But between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose by 80% , while the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%. In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%.

In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in this country from 26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, discovered that the apparent belief of financial high fliers that their success is earned by talent and hard work is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers, across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

Such results have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers all across Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out to the Street, they ignored him. “The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture,” he observed.

C. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

In my last post I named my newly filled tooth, “The Good David’s Molar.” Some of my most literal readers have pointed out that in fact, “The Good David’s Filling” would be more accurate. Although I believe the Good David deserves the entire dentition of my left maxilla in his name, the criticism at first appeared to have some merit. However upon thinking it over, it must be pointed out that without David’s intercession I may have lost the entire tooth. So no, I will not change the name and I will not apologize.
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

For Game of Thrones fans; parallels with American presidential politics. (Who do you think could be Cersei Lannister – Michelle Bachman, Michelle Obama or Hillary? I think Bachman with a blond wig could pass for Cersei’s older sister. Catlyn Stark? Littlefinger? Verry’s? A White Walker?):

In case you miss the full humor in the last two pictures recall:

“The truth of the matter is that winter is coming. I realize that it’s inconvenient, but there it is.”

Ned Stark

TODAY’S QUOTES:
A. Conservatives on Conservatives:

1. “We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”
Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein.

2. “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.”
~Barry Goldwater

3. “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’.”
~William F. Buckley, Jr.

4. “I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow.”
Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska

5. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,”
Republican Congressional Staffer Mike Lofgren
6. “Even as someone who’s labeled a conservative – I’m a Republican, I’m black, I’m heading up this organization in the Reagan administration – I can say that conservatives don’t exactly break their necks to tell blacks that they’re welcome.”
~Clarence Thomas

7. “Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.”
~George Will

8. “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.”
~P.J. O’Rourke

B. More from Kitten Natividad:

When asked what it was like working in a movie with the legendary sexploitation director Russ Meyer she responded:

“It was great, but we fucked during all of our lunch breaks. He was a horny dude, a dirty old man.”

(For those who may have a negative reaction to the use of the operative vulgarity in the above quote, you are in distinguished company. The Supreme Court has spent decades trying to avoid mentioning it, even when it is the subject matter of the case. See HERE [Thanks to Ruth for the cite])

C. Mel Brooks:

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (13 Joey 0001) April 4, 2012

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I made it to Mendocino, but whatever illness it is that I caught laid me low, so I spent almost two days in bed hoping for it to pass while outside the wind and the rain battered the house. It rained ever since I arrived, so I felt it was just as well that I curl up under the blanket and feel sorry for myself. I also thought about Bill and Naida and how much more serious and real were the difficulties they now are facing than mine.

On my last night in Mendocino following a pleasant game of scrabble at which I lost horribly, I made my way to bed feeling a bit better in that the cold, flu or whatever I had been laboring under for the past few days appeared to sit a bit lighter upon my chest .

I stacked the blankets, electric and conventional, to cover me so as no hint of chill could penetrate. For the first time in about a week I fell asleep without tossing about from coughing and other discomforts.

I dreamt deeply about the events of my last week in El Dorado Hills in that metaphorical, time place and character shifting way with dreams. There even appeared a character who announced that he had just returned from a week of introspection on the Iles of Tikkun who promised to aid me in some way but who I deeply distrusted. It did not matter, it all ended in frustration, sadness and despair anyway. And so it went on interminably replaying the same things over and over until some stray morning light penetrated my cocoon and I awoke, rolled over recovered my head and drifted back to sleep where shards of despondency attacked my reverie like angry crows. And so I gave in, got up and went downstairs for coffee.

After weeks of cold, overcast and rain, the sun was shining and for the first time in weeks I went for a walk. I hiked a short way along the Mendocino Headland bluffs and stared down at turmoil of the glaring white waves breaking upon the dark rocks.

Back at the house my sister and I worked on the business plan for a while and then we drove back to Berkley where we had dinner with Brendan my sister’s son, his girl friend, a Hastings law student, and two friends. I was pleasantly surprised by a quick succession of telephone calls I received from Jason, Jessica and Hayden. Whatever melancholy I had been feeling for the past few weeks dissipated.

We all watched the first episode of the second season of Game of Thrones,” and then George and I dashed off to the airport for my flight back to Thailand.
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The above chart represents the responses of a large group of economists to the question about the efficacy of current economic policy. It demonstrates what I and many other people have been saying and what many others believe, that economists do not know that they are doing and to bestow upon their area of study the title of a “science” whether modified by the word “social” or not is ludicrous. In fact, to me the predictive power of their field of study is not appreciatively greater than divination of the future from goat entrails. It has all the indicia of a religion. One might just as well flip a coin as ask an economist for advice on what policies to pursue to achieve a healthy national economy.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Still in process.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1.

2.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Alas, Obamacare will probably end our splendid isolation wherein we in America pay far more for health care and die younger than in those awful socialist nations. Just another example of Obama’s anti-American policies. Paying more and dying younger is one of the things that made America great.

2. THE BANALITY OF EVIL:

World War 2: March 27, 1942, Joseph Goebbels’ Diaries:

“Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government [of Poland] are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 per cent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only about 40 per cent can be used for forced labor.

The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure through, is doing it with considerable circumspection and according to a method that does not attract too much attention. A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophesy which the Fuehrer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner.

One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It’s a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution of this question. Here, too, the Fuehrer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution necessitated by conditions and therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.

The ghettoes that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government now will be refilled with Jews thrown out of the Reich. This process is to be repeated from time to time. There is nothing funny in it for the Jews, and the fact that Jewry’s representatives in England and America are today organizing and sponsoring the war against Germany must be paid for dearly by its representatives in Europe – and that’s only right.”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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