“Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo” (“I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”)
TODAY FROM AMERICA:
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
On Sunday following my morning swim, I escaped El Dorado Hills and headed to San Francisco to celebrate Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda’s birthdays. Dick drove me to the light-rail station. I traveled to Sacramento where I met with Norbert and Stevie who I accompanied to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn where I drank a little too much, bought some faux Indian woven goods and some very good wine.
Then it was off by train to San Francisco and Amanda’s birthday party.
That night Jason and I watched two pretty entertaining movies, The Cabin in the Woods and Hard Candy.
The following day my sister and I visited my mother. She was especially vibrant — a 97-year-old stand-up (or in her case lying down) comic who entertained us with her snide observations about the nuns at the nursing home. “I’m a real bitch and I don’t frigging care,” she said at one point.
I have always wondered about the word “frig.” Where did it come from? Why was it more polite than the word it replaced? Would I ever use it in a sentence? Does anyone still use it?
Later my sister and I had dinner together at an Indian restaurant on the Lower Haight. I spent the night in a motel on Lombard Street. It was more comfortable than I expected.
The next day I returned by train to Sacramento and had dinner with Norbert and Stevie. Since I had not planned for this trip, having been requested to leave Dick’s place in order to accommodate another guest, I was basically homeless. The Dalls kindly offered me shelter for the night.
The next day, I strolled around my beloved trees in Capitol Park before returning to EDH.
On Thursday, I had my second medical appointment this time with a specialist in pulmonary medicine. This did not go as well as the first and a biopsy is scheduled. The next day I found out that the doctor has ordered, besides the biopsy, a number of additional procedures including a blood test, a lung capacity test and an appearance before something called the Pulmonary Nodule Board (or Committee). This last is probably one of Obama’s death panels. Given my actuarial life span is only about 10 more years anyway, I suspect they will be deciding whether the expense of extending my life for such a brief period is worth it.
The sewer pipe from Dick’s house to the street has broken requiring us to conduct some of our bathroom activities at the health club until it is repaired. It may also force us to spend a few days at a motel while the repairs are made.
I treated, at least in my mind, the brief excursion to San Francisco as sort of an odyssey — to there and back again. Like Bloom or Bilbo. I wandered about mostly aimlessly but happily. Since returning to the Golden Hills, my days are again sadly regimented — not depressingly so but not too interesting either. I never liked knowing what would happen next in either my reading or in my life. Disaster or success, although I prefer the latter, makes little difference to me as long as there is a story in it and of course, I survive.
PAPA JOE’S TALES:
Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.
One night the short, bandy-legged, scraggly bearded young man named Ulysses, who lived in a subdivision on a small island in the Adriatic, left the home on a cull-de-sac he shared with his wife, young son, various hangers-on, and a pack of dogs, telling everyone he was going to the store to buy a carton of milk, or an amphora of wine or new sandals or whatever. Now twenty years later he stood on the corner of the block down from his old home, broke, hungry and older. He contemplated the excuses he would tell his wife for his long absence. He concocted stories about ships and strange wars, jealous gods, wooden horses, one-eyed monsters and to cover up the long periods of time he spent living with a succession of comely young women, he fell back on the tried and true excuse of philandering husbands of the time, bewitchment.
On the other hand, the also aging but still zaftig and supposedly loyal Penelope wanted no part of the smelly midget bastard’s return. She had happily spent the past 20 years screwing the Theban pool boy and every young stud in town. The assholes return would only mean she would have to give up the good life and return to working on that goddamn loom. Besides, she needed an excuse of her own to explain why for the last 20 years the same old piece of cloth hung on that machine with no further work done on it since he left. She told all her boyfriends that she would choose one of them to settle down with when she finished weaving the cloth. They were so stupefied with the thought of getting into her toga whenever she lifted its hem for them they forgot all about the status of that rotting rag.
She believed however that she would need something better to convince the crafty asshole of her unbelievable 20 years of fidelity. She decided to elaborate on the story and planned to tell her returning husband, if unfortunately he should ever return, that she weaved at the loom all day and every night she tore out what she had done during the day. If the simple and unbelievable story had worked on her lovers why wouldn’t this expanded version work on that scheming lying bastard Ulysses?
Nevertheless, she still was surprised when the testosterone poisoned dwarf suddenly and unexpectedly showed up at her door and started killing all of her boyfriends and the Theban pool boy as well.
Sadly, Penelope was forced back to working all day at the goddamn loom and at night diddling herself while the drunken scumbag lay snoring among his dogs after buggering some prepubescent boy-chick.
As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”
Some facts about the town I grew up in, Tuckahoe, NY
Late 1800s: The Toggle Bolt originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe NY by William H. Ruby.
(Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression, the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand.)
1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.
(Many Italian immigrants, my grandparents included, settled in Tuckahoe to work in the marble quarries.)
A.Tales of inhumanity:
“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”
Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.
After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.
Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.
It should be pointed out, these soldiers were Christian and not Muslim.
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
Today’s newspapers report that an anti-climate change scientist has been on the payroll of several petroleum connected entities who paid him for the anti-climate change scientific papers he produced. He did not mention in his studies that they were paid for by interested parties in violation of the ethical standards of the institution for which he works.
Many people seem to be shocked by this disclosure. I don’t understand why. Often as a lawyer, I had been hired specifically by my clients to make their lies appear like the truth. Why would anyone be surprised by someone not bound by the strong code of ethics that we attorneys pledge to uphold doing the same? I guess, since I was a lawyer, everyone assumed I had been trained to prevaricate.
“We live in a cancer society in which growth has become the enemy of life. In economics, this means that our economy cannot sell the consumer goods pouring out of existing factories unless we are simultaneously investing more capital and resources in new factories to make more goods or are otherwise providing more purchasing power to the market by inflationary spending on non-marketable products such as national defense. This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis,” 1974
About five minutes after one PM.