Posts Tagged With: Health care

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Capt. Coast 0006 (May 13, 2017)

Brigid O’Shaughnessy: I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that’s good because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.
From “The Maltese Falcon.”

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. Teresa Petrillo, June 7, 1917 — May 8, 2017

On May 8, 2017, at about 4 PM my mom died. Her passing was relatively peaceful.

IMG_1928

My mom has led a life of great adversity from the moment she was born until the last few years or her life. She met every challenge with implacable determination and good humor never giving an inch to despair or defeat. Even the Grim Reaper was forced to sneak up on her while she slept.

Memories of her flood me with sadness now — never more new memories made — no more laughter together.
REST IN PEACE MOM, WE WILL MISS YOU A LOT.

The funeral will be held at St. Ann’s, 300 Lake St. San Francisco on May 18, beginning at 9:30 AM.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

 

A week or so ago, I got the news from one of my doctors that according to my recent PET-scan, my throat cancer is in full remission. When one parses the fog of physician speak and happy talk what this means is that they can’t find the little buggers right now so we will wait five years to see if I am still alive. Nevertheless, I guess I should feel good about this, but then why do I still feel like road kill?

Any delight I may feel from this news has been tempered by sadness after learning about my mother’s passing and the sufferings of some of my dearest friends. Peter is gradually having joint after joint in his body replaced due to the ravages of arthritis (but he still weekly performs music with his several bands) and Naida is due for open heart surgery next week. It The suddenness with which our bodies descend from the satisfaction with being older (and if not wiser, at least a little smug) to the devastation of being aged is incomprehensible to me —
Pasted Graphic 1
Peter (2nd from left) and the Blind Lemon Pledge Blues Band.
(This photograph makes me happy. Just look at these old guys, even if they can no longer get it up, they still can lay down a few bars of the Blues.)

The winter rains seem to be over and the California sunshine now rules the days. In preparation for my travels this summer, I am trying to exercise more — walking and swimming for the most part. I dislike being indoors when I exercise which is why I enjoy the pool at my health club. It is outdoors and heated. My walks take me around the lakes in Town Center. I do this, mind you, not for the health benefits or to keep in shape but in order to prepare for my planned summer travels. I would rather not find myself nodding off in some god-forsaken sidewalk cafe in Bangkok or falling down the stairs that pass for streets in the Italian hill towns I plan to visit.
IMG_2040
A Lake at Town Center in El Dorado Hills

 

C. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Outside Dick’s Home across the driveway from the front door there is a tall hedge growing. I assume, it was planted to shield the occasional pedestrians on the street from a view of our garbage cans. On one side of the hedge, barely visible from either the front door or the street is a large dark gap or hole in the foliage. From this gap, for as long as I have lived here, there issues several rivulets of water that tumble down the slope for about 30 feet or so before disappearing into a drain at the side of the garage. During the rainy season these rivulets grow quite large and at times flood the driveway.
IMG_2692

Not too long ago, while leaving the house, I noticed some kid standing by the garbage cans behind the hedge peeking out at the street. Curious, I shouted, “ Hey, what the fuck are you doing here?”

At the sound of my voice, he spun around and stared at me, a surprised look on his face. That’s when I realized he was not some kid, but a very short old man with a scraggly grey beard. Old, about my age with wrinkles on his face that stood out like scars. He was short, well under five feet I guessed and dressed oddly too. On his head he had on what looked like a black or dark blue felt fedora with its brim cut off. His coat, dark brown in color, had shiny buttons, yellow piping, and hung almost to he knees. Below the coat were wrinkled tan pants tucked into dirty white socks. On his feet, he had what looked like old hiking boots.

He hesitated a moment then turned, ran through the mud, up the slope and dove head first into the gap in the hedge. I noted that he was far more spry than I.

“Hey!” I shouted and ran across the driveway after him. Well, I actually didn’t run, that’s beyond me at this age — shuffled more likely. Also, I was wearing my imitation Crocs that I bought in Thailand for two dollars. There’s no running in them — waddling perhaps.

I crossed the driveway, then slipped and slid through the silt and the mud and turned toward the dark gap. “I’ve got you now you rat bastard,” I thought.

As I approached the hole and tried to reach in to grab the little jerk, I slipped and slid feet first into the gap. I fell thinking I was going to land hard on my ass. Instead, I kept falling down and down and down. As I slid down, one of my faux Crocs slipped off my foot. For some reason, I believed it essential I save the thing and so I did by grabbing it and clutching it to my breast. It felt like I was dropping down the chute at a water park. I tried to turn my body so I could apply some friction to slow or stop my fall. I got part way around when I popped out of the tube, flew about five feet through the air and with a loud “oomf,” landed face down onto what felt like soft moss. I was sopping wet and in pain all over. I was still grasping the phony Croc like it had saved my life. Eventually, I moved my head a bit and glimpsed a small pond a few feet away from where I lay. I could hear the plopping sound of water dribbling into the pond. I appeared to be lying in a small clearing a forest. I spied the little guy standing at the edge of the clearing. When he saw me looking at him, he ran off into the woods and disappeared. “You rat bastard,” I croaked after him.

Slowly and agonizingly, I worked my way onto my back, looked up into the clear blue sky, and shouted “I am not Alice.”

Four days later, I returned home. Neither Hayden nor Dick seemed aware that I had been gone. What was even more strange was that they also seemed not to notice my appearance. I was almost naked wearing only a few rags and of course the phony Crocs. My beard was long and braided. On my chest I sported a tattoo of a naked mole rat standing fully erect and above it in large red bank gothic the words “Fuck Trump.” A stud, shaped like a human thigh bone, pierced my left earlobe.

Disappointed at their lack of reaction, I stomped off the bathroom, showered, shaved, removed the thigh bone stud and put myself to bed. The next morning Dick woke me up to drive Hayden to school.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

IRWIN’S TALE – I

Sometimes poetry can bubble up from the depths of despair. This tale was sent to me seven years ago by Irwin. I include it here in memory of a fine man and a good friend who passed away shortly thereafter:

“Friday I came out of the bank. There was a man who came into the lobby and then went outside. I don’t know how to describe him except to say he looked scruffily dressed and reminded me of a former city councilperson who was one of the last white faces in Santa Ana government; outside of the long-time city manager who lives in Coto de Caza as does the former mayor who now is the right hand man at the Irvine Company. I got the distinct feeling this fellow was either going to rob Citibank or was waiting for me so when I got into the oyonemobile I locked the doors started the car and drove away.

Yesterday morning, I went to the market and was waiting at the fish counter (Dover sole $9.99 a pound) when the guy came in and peered into the red meat display. When he left, I breathed a sigh of relief. When I checked out of the market and got to my car I could see him at the end of the parking lot next to the small free-standing building which houses “drs. r us.” Who is this guy and am I really seeing him again and again? I quickly drove away.

Today I thought about it a lot. I was thinking that maybe it was “death” following me around and checking me out. What I had to keep death away I don’t know but I suspect it was those adolescent tendencies of mine that when confronted I have just a few choices, to whine, freeze and/or make it to the closest door. What kept death at arms reach? Surely death could appreciate and have a real taste for a coward. Did he just decide that it wasn’t my time or that I was the wrong person?

At 2:30 am, I couldn’t sleep so I checked my email. I received an email from a former county CEO. In it he explained that he didn’t know what day or time it was; that his three-year old romance ended when the woman died in their bed at the age of 37. I guess Mr. Death found somebody; hopefully it wasn’t in place of me by mistake. I have enough bad karma on my conscience.”

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

The True Story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Pasted Graphic 1_1

The fairy tale is based on the tragic life of Margarete von Waldeck, a 16th century Bavarian noblewoman. Margarete grew up in Bad Wildungen, where her brother used small children to work his copper mine. Severely deformed because of the physical labor mining required, they were despairingly referred to as dwarfs. The poison apple is also rooted in fact; an old man would offer tainted fruits to the workers, and other children he believed stole from him.

Margarete’s stepmother, despising her, sent the beauty, to the Brussels court to get rid of her. There Prince Philip II of Spain became her steamy lover. His father, the king of Spain, opposing the romance, dispatched Spanish agents to murder Margarete. They surreptitiously poisoned her.
Pasted Graphic
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-ogden/fairy-tale-true-story_b_6102602.html

I would like to see Disney make a movie out of this version of the tale.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.
Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“What’s true? What’s false? In case you haven’t noticed, the world has pretty much given up on the old Enlightenment idea of piecing together the truth based on observed data. Reality is too complicated and scary for that. Instead, it’s way easier to ignore all data that doesn’t fit your preconceptions and believe all data that does. I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe, and we’ll agree to disagree. It’s liberal tolerance meets dark ages denialism. It’s very hip right now.”
Hill, Nathan. The Nix: A novel (p. 601). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Pasted Graphic 2

While the time line on this chart is too brief to demonstrate a trend, is does show something that has been occurring in the American economy for over a decade. Manufacturing continues to decline while the highly unproductive finance and insurance sector massively increases.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_2361
Clouds over Pattaya, Thailand

Advertisements
Categories: April through June 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Cold Tits 0006 (February 17, 2017)

 
“When weird comes knocking, gray hairs count.”
Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (p. 8). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

There has been little adventure in the rain-swept Golden Hills this past week or so, and for that matter even less for Pookie unless one considers watching one’s body become foreign to oneself an adventure.

It has rained pretty steadily for a while now, forcing me indoors except for my daily trips to treatment and chauffeuring HRM to and from school. As for my body, no longer am I amused by one or another side effect of my treatment. It seems as though my whole body has rebelled from the attacks upon it. Neither food nor drink nor locomotion seems any longer of interest. Even breathing seems to take a conscious effort. I try to content myself with the knowledge that only two more weeks remain before the assault ends. But that seems a long way off — two weeks too far. I try to boost my morale by telling myself that others have gone through this and much worse with less complaining. I see them every day at the treatment centers, sitting quietly, sometimes with slight smiles on their faces — not like me slumped on my chair scowling. I guess, for a confirmed hypochondriac and wuss like me, I shouldn’t expect more of myself than scowling and complaining.

Actually, what bothers me most — other than the dark thick viscous scum that now seems to permanently coat my mouth and throat that, when I spit into the bathroom sink, sticks there like an alien being. It cannot be washed away by water but must be scrubbed off. What is something like that doing in my mouth? …… Where was I? Oh yeah, what bothers me most. What bothers me most is that it is all-consuming. It is hard to notice other things — just me and the effects of the treatment. It has become hard to see the humor in things. It doesn’t matter whether it is dark, cynical or cruel, eventually, seeing the humor in my experiences has always been important to me — maybe even more important than anything else. There certainly have been a lot of absurdities during these weeks of treatment to smile at. Perhaps, I will describe some of them further on, but not now. Now is the time for bitching. Bitching is therapeutic.

The rain

Those who live in Northern California are experiencing “The Rain” caused by a storm surge that occurs only every 10 years or so driven by something called the “Pineapple Express” which delivers warm moist air from somewhere near Hawaii and drops it on us in Northern California. It has been raining fairly steadily for about 10 days. Although I spend most days indoors, every few days I like to drive around the subdivision observing the water as it flows in the streams and along the drainage ditches that run by the roadways and are disguised to look like natural streams with rocky bottoms and clever landscape. Unlike natural streams, however, they are as straight as a ruler and conveniently disappear whenever they meet up with suitably developable properties. Near our house, they empty into the Duck Pond in several pretty little waterfalls. The pond itself is swollen, drowning the willows that line its banks. With all this rain, I expect spring to be especially flamboyant this year.

Ends and beginnings

All thing end, I guess. Good things seem to end long before I would like them to and the bad things generally hang around far too long. On Friday my treatment ended weeks after it had worn out its welcome. The doctors told me that the side effects, the pain, the blood filled pus and the general feeling that death would be a welcome option would remain for a while and they have proven to be right.

Following my last radiation treatment, the radiation technicians congratulated me for making it through as though it was some aboriginal coming of age right where most of the participants die – – I guess it was in a way. After the technicians and other nurses left the room, one nurse, a tall slender black haired woman with round black rimmed glasses, remained. She gave me a tight long hug. I could feel her breasts and hips pressed against my body. She kissed me and then hugged me again for a long time. I did not know what I was supposed to do or say. I mumbled, “You guys were great” as I untangled myself and shambled out of the room with my hospital gown flapping open at the back and ran back to the changing room.

Now I wait for a few weeks for the results of some testing and meetings with the doctors to find out if I am a dead man walking the short or the long mile. One thing I know, if it is the short mile, I refuse to do this again no matter the promises.

The sun

The sun has broken through the clouds over the golden hills for the first time in over three weeks. I felt good enough to exercise by walking around the lakes in Town Center. I have not exercised since treatment began. It was good.

False recovery

I am now ending the third week since treatment has ended. The doctors told me that things would get far worse before getting better and some things may not get better at all. As for the side effects getting worse, the doctors were right. I have never felt this bad in my life. Nothing seems amusing anymore.

A light between tunnels

My brother-in-law George came by and spent three days with me. He has gotten me to eat and drink a bit and feel better about myself.

 

B. BOOK REPORT: The Marriage Tree by Christopher G, Moore.

banyan-tree-on-pipiwai-trail

While passing through those empty times during my treatment when there is little to do other that dwelling on my discomfort or sleeping, I read. Mostly, I read things that pass the time, amusing but like after taking some narcotic and trying to remember what you did while stoned, you know you did it but cannot recall what it was you did while you did it. Along the way, I read my friend Christopher G. Moore’s book, The Marriage Tree. This was different.

To Moore, Bangkok is a mirror revealing the dark soul of humanity. In Thailand, that dark soul, that we like to pretend does not exist wherever we live, drips out bloody and foeted onto the streets of Bangkok. Like gods, the rich and powerful are immune from judgment and punishment, except by other gods like them. The rest of us are condemned to seeking a rough justice for those of our peers who may have harmed us. Those who truly set into play our small difficulties and tragedies are almost never forced into any court to answer for their complicity.

How many people have died or suffered from the products and services of the corporate entities these godlings control? How many wars have been fought to protect private interests and not the public interests? Has slavery really disappeared where laws have been passed to prohibit it, or are some of the powerful still able to command indenture of the less powerful?

This is perhaps the darkest of Moore’s books. Even the soiled hero of most of his novels, Vincent Calvino, a half Jewish, half Italian disbarred attorney from New York City, who has taken up life as a private detective in Bangkok, finally accepts that true justice, the capping of the godling responsible, is hopeless except by chance, and even then there is always someone else willing to take over and step in to play the godling role. Although it is cloaked in the guise of a detective thriller, it is not. It is a scream against the gathering darkness across our world as those wealthy and powerful self-styled godlings take control and the rest of us slowly realize we all now live in Bangkok without happy endings to content us.

Moore is Canadian and like most Canadians, his moral outrage stops just short of throwing the bomb.

When I am in Bangkok, I sometimes see Moore across the street or at some artist do. I no longer see in his face that little knowing smile he seemed to effect. He now appears haunted as though he’s glimpsed the future and found only more hopelessness there … or perhaps a local godling has happened to read his book and begun to turn his hooded eyes in his direction.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. The New Yorker Magazine halo as the nation’s best-edited magazine slips a bit:

“Because her subject was longitudinal change across the span of hours, days, and years, she needed to set her spatial position in order to see time move across the proscenium of her subjective imagination.”
A review by Dan Chiasson in the Books section of the New Yorker Magazine, December 5, 2016, reviewing a new book about the Poetry of Emily Dickenson.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age, we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.”
“Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Paul

Among those who have created great religions, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Paul perhaps receives the least recognition. After all, he took the tiny organization of a Hebrew cynic and miracle worker and created the largest religion of them all.

Who was he? His family had been ennobled by the Herodian reforms of the Hasmonean aristocracy. He undoubtedly had a franchise to collect the Herodian temple tax from among the diaspora Jews of the Syrian saddle and south central Anatolia. He was quite active in Second Temple politics. Whether he was also a tentmaker or that was just a metaphor is of minor importance.

So what happened? According to Big Paulie himself, about three short years after Jesus’ death, somewhere along the road to Damascus where he was to impose the Jewish form of Inquisition upon a nest of Jesus followers, Jesus himself struck him blind and suggested that instead of persecuting these unfortunates wouldn’t be better if he became one of their Apostles.

Now, whether or not one believes in gods or their wish to speak with members of our species, one must ask why would Jesus after spending a number of years carefully choosing and instructing its leaders, suddenly decide they were not doing a good job with the good word and would be better off following some random guy with mayhem in his heart walking along a road to Damascus after speaking with him for all of a minute or so?

So, what sort of a man was Big Paulie? Well, from his own words in Galatians 1:7 Paul made it clear that he did not discuss with the apostles and disciples chosen by Jesus (“Pillars of the Church”) after he had received his revelation to be an apostle,[Gal. 1:15-16] that he saw no one except Cephas (Peter) and James when he was in Jerusalem three years after the revelation[Gal 1:18-24] and implies he did not explain his gospel to them until 14 years later[Gal 2:1-2] in a subsequent trip to Jerusalem. Also, he declared himself an Apostle and passed himself off as one without informing the Apostles themselves he was doing so. I would think, at the least, he was a man on the make if not an out and out crook.

At the time Big Paulie was rapping with Jesus alongside the Damascus Road, the original Apostles, disciples, and believers in Jesus brand of reform Judaism were part of Second Temple Judaism, in other words, a Jewish sect of the time period, the Jesus sect. Gentiles that wished to fully join the movement were expected to convert to Judaism, which likely meant submission to adult male circumcision for the uncircumcised, following the dietary restrictions of kashrut, and more. During the time period, there were also “partial converts,” such as gate proselytes and Godfearers. Paul insisted that faith in Christ was sufficient for salvation and that the Torah did not bind Gentiles. That was not what the other Apostles believed, the ones who spent years with Jesus and actually heard his preaching. While they were willing to bend over backward to make it easier for gentiles to join the Jesus sect, they required not just the faith that Big Paulie based his religion on but also to those good works implied in the Law and preached by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and other Rabbi’s in the Hellenic Judaism tradition, like Hillel. At the very least they should subscribe to the Noahaid Laws.

After years of accusing the other apostles of being virtual heretics and fighting for his turf among the Jews living north of modern day Israel and the uncircumcised living there, Peter and James who was the spokesman for the remainder of the Apostles who supported the Law and Jesus interpretation of it met with Don Paulo at his home base, Antioch in Syria one of the largest cities in the empire.

Peter was probably in fact and effect the person who did more than any other to hold together the diversity of first-century Jesus movement. James the brother of Jesus and Paul, the two other most prominent leading figures in the development of first-century Christianity*, were too much identified with their respective “brands” of the movement, at least in the eyes of those Jews and Gentiles at the opposite ends of this particular spectrum. But Peter, as shown particularly by the Antioch episode in Gal 2, had both a care to hold firm to his Jewish heritage, which Paul lacked and an openness to the demands of developing Christianity, which James lacked.

Later Paulie brags in his epistles how he bested Peter and James at this meeting. This was probably not true since left Antioch, the site of the meeting and Paulie’s long time center of operations, in a huff and never returned.

But enough of Paulie, whatever one may think of Big Paulie and his character, he would probably be at best a footnote in history but for events in that occurred Jerusalem at the end of the first century and the beginning of the second.

* We must remember, at this time, Peter, Paul, James and all the believers still thought they were part of Second Temple Judaism. It was not until the end of the first century before the then bishop of Antioch first referred to the believers as Christians.

 

Categories: January through March 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Joseph 0006 (January 1, 2016)

 

“Friends don’t let friends measure Page Views. Ever.”
Avinash Kaushik
Happy New Year: May 2016 have left you with only a headache and not a heartache and 2017 be not as bad as many of us think it will be.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Treatment has begun to take on the feeling of a deadly boring job. Get up, off to work, come home and prepare for the next day, catch a few social interactions and some entertainment where one can.

HRM has settled happily into the Christmas dither, shopping for presents and planning the cake he intends to bake for us. I asked him what he would like for a present. He said, “A toy I can play with for a day and then forget.”
Magic Mouthwash

The week that began with great promise as to the course of my treatment came to a close with me feeling more like road kill. So, I complained to the hoards of technicians attending me at the hospital that I was beginning to question the value of experiencing the pain I was having balanced against the possibly living five more years or so. They gave me a prescription that I was to pick up the next morning at a pharmacy near the hospital.

The next morning, I arrived at the pharmacy and was given a bottle filled with a pink liquid. The medicine was labeled, “Magic Mouthwash.”

Now, I am of that generation where referring to something as Magic this or that was usually not medicine and certainly not approved by the FDA. In addition, this particular medicine did not come accompanied by those inserts containing, in small and unreadable print, descriptions and warnings about your purchase. Instead, it contained a one-page notice that read in part:

Uses: Consult your pharmacist.
How to Use: Consult your pharmacist.
Precautions: Consult your pharmacist.
Drug Interactions: Consult your pharmacist.
Side effects: Consult your pharmacist.
Overdose: Call 911 or local poison control center.

So, I asked the pharmacist. He took me into a corner and, sotto voce, rattled off several long GrecoRoman words representing the contents of the medicine. I gleaned there were a least two antibiotics and a pain control substance. The other two or three ingredients escaped me.

Anyway, I took the magic mouthwash with me to the hospital parking lot where, in my car, I poured the amount of liquid the pharmacist recommended into a small plastic cup and swished it around my mouth.

Suddenly pain shot through my entire body and everything went white. Sort of like what happens when one takes those magic potions that appear so prominently in the cheap fantasy novels I am so fond of reading. When my eyes cleared, I fully expected to see a few pixies tossing gold dust dancing in the car in front of me, a unicorn in the parking space beside me and Marley’s ghost. Instead, I found myself free of pain and washed in a warm comfortable glow.

So, I left the car, skipped through the rain and into the hospital to find the chief nurse of the Radiation Oncology Department.

She was in her office dressed in fuzzy antlers and Santa Claus cap and a dark green tunic covered in Christmas ornaments. “What do you know about “Magic Mouthwash,” I enquired?

The nurse is from England and speaks with a Cockney accent so thick that, at best, I could understand only every other word. She also refers to me as “my darling” instead of Joe, or Mr. Petrillo or even Pookie. “Oh that,” she responded. “That’s your doctor, Dr. Jones’, favorite potion.(yes she used that word).” “He and the pharmacist cooked it up for when the patients are experiencing too much pain.” She then listed the ingredients like the pharmacist did. This time I caught that one of them was a steroid. That, I thought, explained the skipping through the rain.

“Oh,” I said. “Uh, what about the FDA?”

“Don’t worry my darling, all the ingredients have been approved. They only mixed them together. The patients seem to like it a lot.”

“I can well understand that,” I responded.

 

A Christmas story:

Twas the night before Christmas. I had spent much of the day searching through Amazon for a book I could read that did not make me unhappy. You know, slightly better than trash but not enough content to engage my emotions. You would think Amazon would be full of such things. But, I have already read most of those remotely tolerable and the blurbs describing the content of the books I had not read pained my recently damaged gag reflex. So, I took a swig of Magic Mouthwash, forced myself out of bed and went searching the house for entertainment. Perhaps, I would surprise Santa Claus stealing Christmas presents.

When I was just a young nubbin at Christmas time, I would pray that the gathering of my family for that joyous holiday would not end in a drunken brawl. That prayer was never answered. I also prayed I would get a long list of presents that greed and an inflated sense of self-worth convinced me I was entitled. Alas, usually on Christmas morning, if even one item on my list appeared under the tree, I would be surprised indeed.

I believed that the only person roaming around the house from the time we all went to bed until I woke up in the morning and rushed to the tree to gather my loot was that fat, phony Santa Claus. The god’s of gift giving, I was positive, had heard my pleas but that corpulent poser had lifted the presents from my house, thrown them into his sleigh and along with his eight flying antlered rats whisked them off to the North Pole where he could spend the year playing with them.

I swore that when I became old enough I would buy a gun, secrete myself somewhere near the tree and when that red-suited miscreant exited from the fireplace shoot him right between his beady thieving eyes.

Alas, long before I was old enough to get a gun, I stopped believing in that villainous mercenary elf or that Christmas was all about me.

Now that I am older, I have a better understanding of what Christmas means — nothing in heaven or hell can stop members of a family from despising one another if they choose to and, you should consider yourself lucky if, in life, you get anything you wish for.
Stumbling into the new year.

Christmas came and went, obviously it is not my favorite time of the year. I think of it as the Donald Trump of holidays — all bluster and fraud.

After another week of treatment, the new year began. I had little to do this week but to travel back and forth to my treatments and obsess about them. This week I was alarmed and amused by their side effects. The information I had been given when I began this adventure listed a whole host of potential side effects up to and including sudden death. All of them, the materials assured, were expected to be experienced by only a small minority of patients. It has been my misfortune to have found myself experiencing to a greater or lesser degree a majority of them, two of which I have found to be both interesting and amusing.

The first was brief periods of confusion and memory loss similar to dementia. For a few days, I found myself having difficulty remembering almost anything or understanding what people were saying. I would sit at the table with a smile on my face listening to Dick talk about something and not understand a word. When it all passed and I thought about it, I was more amused than horrified. The experience was more like being a young child again wondering what was going on, sort of like that period between the first toke on a joint and the paranoia as the high begins to dissipate.

The second side effect I was warned about was the possibility of a rash covering parts of the head face or upper body and in rare cases all three. Alas, my face, head, and chest are now covered with something that looks like it falls somewhere between a bad case of teenage acne and smallpox. I am confident it has not progressed to the bubonic plague level because my pustules have not turned black and dripping bloody pus.

The explanatory materials state that the rash usually clears up in a week or two or shortly after treatment is terminated. In some cases, unfortunately, it is permanent. That, of course, got me thinking about becoming permanently disfigured and looking like some cinema monster. Now, for the young, attractiveness is something to be concerned about in that ceaseless search for sexual partners and also, because many studies have shown that in competing for a job where attractiveness and intelligence were measured, the more attractive but less intelligent usually got picked.

Since neither a job nor competitive sexual encounters are any longer an interest of mine, I thought this had interesting possibilities. To walk into a room and have it all go silent with someone moaning, “Oh my God” or being approached on the street by some kindly soul who would exclaim, oh, you poor man, I feel so sorry for you. I will pray for you,” and then walk on by, had some real potential for chasing away the doldrums of boredom.
All in all, except for becoming stone deaf, bleary eyed and losing my sense of taste and wallowing in a miasma of dyspeptic emotions, I am feeling pretty good.That is what a cocktail of Benadryl and steroids and can do for you. I believe I am gaining muscle mass on my hallucinations,
Like many, I am not all that optimistic for 2017. I came into this world in 1939, 77 years ago, while the winds of chaos blew strong around the world and the world as we knew it ended plunging us into a decade of misery and slaughter never before seen. Now those chaotic winds are blowing once again and stronger than ever. In 2017, I am afraid, we may experience other endings, of our nation, our world and of course me. It is great, I guess, to have lived one’s life in the golden age between two great tragedies, but not particularly satisfying. Perhaps I can content myself with contemplating Jasper Fforde’s question in Today’s Quote below — have I done anything vaguely useful in the time I have been around? Who knows? Perhaps more accurately, should I even care about that now?

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

He lay on his bed with the smartphone lit to his Facebook page. He typed in the words, “I refuse,” and sent it on to all his Facebook friends. Then he turned his face up towards the ceiling and screamed, “Eat your heart out Marcel.”

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everything comes to an end. A good bottle of wine, a summer’s day, a long-running sitcom, one’s life, and eventually our species. The question for many of us is not that everything will come to an end but when. And can we do anything vaguely useful until it does?”
Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (p. 2). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Another fact about Jesus and, for that matter, the Apostles is that they were not poor. They have educated members of the middle class and perhaps even the upper classes. Jesus father is described as a carpenter. This would indicate he was an artisan, a home builder and furniture maker and not a laborer. Jesus and his apostles included rabbis and temple priests. The tax collector (Matthew) could not have gotten his position without political connections. As such, they were fully cognizant of the various streams of intellectual and religious thought that permeated Galilee at the time.

Finally and importantly, Jesus was a Jew, a Hellenic Jew, But a Jew nevertheless. He never said or even hinted at the creation of a new religion. As a Hellenic Jew, like Hillel and other great rabbis, he believed there was a meta-concept that transcended and unified the Law.

So, now that brings us to Big Paulie, or Don Paolo as I like to refer to him.

Categories: January through March 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 Joey 0001 (April 17. 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The Songkran holidays have ended. In other good news, the Good David’s medical tests have been negative. Cordt unfortunately (not for him) is returning to live in Chiang Mai. Hayden called to report to me that although he has been good, SWAC has not.

The water in the health club pool that I reported a week or so ago was delightful has become unpleasantly warm. Nevertheless, today for the first time I have been able to match the effort level I had obtained before I left for the US in January.

The business plan I have been working on with my sister Mary Anne has been put on hold while her company considers her ideas.

Bangkok has become unbearably hot in the afternoons (it is the “mad dog” days after all) so I spend them napping in my apartment, air conditioner on high.

I try to read the english language Thai newspapers every day so I could be up to date on things like politics, business and fashion in the country. I have been disappointed. It seems as though the entire country has decided to spend its afternoons like me, napping. Local politics seem to have gone into a lull ever since it appeared that Thaksin the Terrible, the deposed fugitive exiled ex-Prime Minister and brother to Princess Young and Lucky, the current Prime Minister, and Prodigious Prem, leader of the coup that ousted him, have come to some sort of agreement that Prodigious Prem would suffer no reprisals should Thaksin the Terrible be allowed to return to the country and assume some sort of power.

It seems as though Thailand like the rest of the world is just waiting to see how things turn out since no one seems to have any credible idea of what to do about anything.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock Texas:
Melissa Borrett, 26, began Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock as a way to make extra money. She charges customers $100 per hour to clean their homes, and at their request, she can do the dusting in lingerie or in the buff, according to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The young entrepreneur started the service in February. Now, just a few months later, she has three other women working for her. The Lubbock Police Department has announced that they are keeping a close eye on Ms Borrett’s enterprise.

I bet the whole town would like to also.

2. Lawrence Deptola Of Utica New York Attempts To Rob Three Banks With A Toilet Plunger.
About a week ago, Utica Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at a Key Bank location. Deptola, plunger in hand, entered the branch and started screaming obscenities, demanding that bank employees put money in a bag. He threatened tellers with the suction-stick, police said.

3. Vampires in Politics:
In 2010, CBS reported that Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey ran a little-known campaign to become America’s first vampire president. As for presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he’s firmly anti-vampire, according to Washington Monthly. President Obama, meanwhile, at least in one filmmaker’s view, is capable of becoming a vampire hunter.

4. St Stupid’s Day

In case you missed it, on April 1 San Francisco celebrated St. Stupid Day with the annual St Stupid’s Day Parade.

(Graphic unavailable at this time)

I apologize for the chauvinism, but I will take St. Stupid’s Day over Songkran any day.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Financial Industry continues to believe that gambling with your money and taking a substantial house cut is good for the economy. Many political leaders seem to have become sympathetic to the idea that war in Iran is good for the economy. In the US John Kyle and several other Senators have taken the position that lowering taxes on the wealthy and raising them on the less wealthy is good for the economy. There appears a consensus is building that encouraging global warming by increasing the use of hydrocarbons then later embarking on a “Manhattan Project” style crash program to remove them from the environment can be good for the economy. Limiting availability of health care, it has been argued, is good for the economy. More guns are obviously good for the economy.

With so many things that are good for the economy how come the economy is so bad?

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

Still in hiding

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. Asia Rising:

2. Public opinion on environmental proposals:

3. What is really newsworthy:

Recently Reuters reported on a study that found 12 percent of men aged 16-24 wanted sex less often.

The world will end soon.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Wait, it costs more to drive in Canada? Well, there you are; that just goes to show what socialized medicine does to a nation. In fact, all those high gas cost countries have socialized medicine. Perhaps they are healthier than we are, but we get to drive more. Then again what we save on gasoline we can spend on health care. It all works out.

2. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

A few posts ago I confused Songkran with Songkhla. Songkran is the water festival celebrated in Thailand in April. Songkhla is a city and province in southern Thailand noted for its beaches, large fresh water lake and occasional bombings. I could not keep my songs straight. I am sorry.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie believes that separation of church and state does not mean a President of the US should completely ignore  the nations religious leaders opinions. He might wish to consider the following 10 policies suggested by leaders of the Catholic Church while still disagreeing with proposals to impose limitations on personal choice based upon sectarian religious doctrine.

1. War in Iraq. Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq.
2. Health Care. The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans.
3. Death Penalty. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations.
4. Minimum Wage. The US Conference of Bishops has urged that the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor.
5. Welfare. The bishops want welfare for all needy families, saying “We reiterate our call for a minimum national welfare benefit that will permit children and their parents to live in dignity.
6. Right to Work.The US bishops say that “the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions…”.
7. Near East. Catholic bishops demand the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
8. Immigration. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops ripped into Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants, Cardinal Roger Mahony characterized Arizona’s S.B. 1070 as “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law,” saying it is based on “totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.”
9. Illegal Immigration. The Bishops have urged that illegal immigrants not be treated as criminals and that their contribution to this country be recognized.
10. War with Iran. The US Conference of Bishops has denounced, as has the Pope, the Bush idea of ‘preventive war’, and has come out against an attack on Iran in the absence of a real and present threat of an Iranian assault on the US.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

Why is it that Republican politicians seem to always run against “big government,” but grow it the most when they are in power? It must be like Dick Chaney said of the size of the deficit; that it really does not matter when Republicans are in control.

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. September 29, 2010

Today’s factoid: THE TRUE STORY OF MOCK DUCK

1900. Mock Duck leader of the Four Brothers and Hip Sing Tongs begins a gang war with Tom Lee’s much larger On Leong Tong over Mock Duck’s demand for 30% of Tom Lee’s gambling revenue in New York’s Chinatown.

1904 November 4 – Hip Sing Tong leader Mock Duck is wounded in a gunfight by three On Leong hatchet men near his Pell Street home.

(Apparently Mock Duck, when in a gunfight would squat down, close his eyes and fire off his two guns until he ran out of ammunition.)

1908 August 15 – The Tong war becomes even more violent after Low Hee Tong, a member of the Four Brothers Tong, purchases a rival Tong slave girl Bow Kum who is later murdered.

(you may want to click on Bow Kum above and read about her tragic story).

December 30 – Ah Hoon, a comedian

(apparently to his regret, the chinese version of Don Rickles)

and member of the On Leong Tong, is killed in his home by rival Hip Song members.

1912. Mock Duck is convicted of running a policy game and sentenced to imprisonment at Sing Sing Prison.

1913. A peace agreement is signed, with the exception of the Four Brothers, ending the gang war between the On Leongs, Hip Sings, and the Kim Lan Wui Saw Tongs.

1918. Tong leader Mock Duck, upon his release from Sing Sing Prison retires from crime.

1924. The gang war between the On Leong and Hip Sing Tongs begins again after several members of the On Leongs defect to the Hip Sings with a large amount of money.

1941. Mock Duck dies in bed of natural causes.

Today’s quote:

“And as to sexual desire, my body’s need is satisfied by what comes first to hand.”
Antisthenes, from The Economist by Xenophon.

Today’s news from Thailand:

The Bangkok Post reports that a pregnant Thai women went into a Thai hospital, where the baby was successfully delivered. Unfortunately, about 5 days after the delivery it was discovered that a nurse mistakenly stitched up the woman’s anus. The stitches were then removed, the woman relieved and an investigation begun.

Today’s medical chart:

I am not sure if this chart was intended to be posted on the examination room wall or used as a reference for some psychologist.

In reading it over I realized that I have succeeded in accomplishing everything listed on the chart often multiple times, except for Jail Term (unless nights in the drunk tank count) and Pregnancy for which I am unqualified. I wonder if one adds up the score from this chart and it totals more than 1000 will he or she win something, like two weeks in the rest home of your choice or a years supply of Valium?

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

I spoke with Hayden for only the second time since he arrived in Sacramento. He sounded in good spirits. He was quite excited that, “Uncle Mask,” the owner of the house that he is living in, broke his ankle while walking the dogs. He also told me that he spends a lot of time picking his nose, but he hasn’t found any treasure yet.

The monsoon rains are still with us. They have honored us with their presence for the last three days, forcing me back into my apartment to watch reruns of old Simone Signoret movies on the french channel.

Today’s attachment:

So far the responses to my request for advice on which work in progress I should begin with to send you as an attachment have been all over the lot. The irrepressible and always reliable eight ball in the corner pocket Shotz Man replied:

the petrillo email survey
Please mark by coloring red (BOLD) the selection(s) of which of the below you wish to be in effect

0 keep me on the list so that I may receive a copy of all of the petrillo emails.

0 keep me on the list so that I may receive all of the petrillo emails except the one’s asking for money.

0 keep me on the list for emails that contains only the tales of pookie;and maybe petey.

0 keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully closed or (worse) semi-nude.

0 keep me on the list for anything pornographic involving animals.

0 keep me on the list for anything about petrillo being arrested for being an american friend of the red shirts, or for that matter, shorts.

0 keep me off the list for anything that mentions “cuz I”, “irwin”, “schatzman”, or, “the master of written disguise”.

0 keep me off the list that contains an email from Nigeria asking for money.

Nevertheless, surprisingly I received strong support for beginning these attachments with excerpts from my political blog posts. My first attachment, therefore, is a discussion entitled “Populism and Fred Harris.” I originally published it back in April of this year. I thought it was the most polished and least controversial thing I could begin with.

I will follow that in my next email with some of the initial chapters of my mystery novel work in progress.

Ciao.
__________________________________________________

Populism and Fred Harris
by trenzpruca

This is my first attempt to write a diary for this venue. While I have made a living writing on behalf of my clients or for publication, it is normal for one to be timid and uncertain when attempting to enter a new arena and so it has been for me. After drafting and discarding several attempts to write what would appear to me to be a fitting and informative discussion, I turned to divert myself from escalating frustration by straightening out the papers that had accumulated over the years in various boxes and drawers. While doing so I discovered, The Fred Harris Campaign Handbook. It is probably the only remaining copy in existence.

For those not as old as me and for those who may have forgotten or missed it completely, Fred Harris briefly ran for President of the United States during the primaries of 1972 and 1976. In 1976, Jim Hightower was his national campaign manager and I was a volunteer on the California campaign tasked with preparing a handbook for his efforts in the California primary. The handbook was a collection of selections from the writings and speeches of Fred Harris arranged by topic so that campaign workers could respond to inquires about the candidate in his own words.

After rereading the contents of that long ago document from a now forgotten campaign, I realized how much of what Fred had to say remained relevant now despite the subsequent destruction of the historical American political consensus by the Californian and Texan presidential administrations. So I thought I would begin my diaries by examining some of the issues we face today in the light of what Fred Harris had to say about them 34 years ago.

But first a little about Fred Harris. Fred had been an US Senator from Oklahoma when that state still had a strong progressive populist tradition. Although he started out as a classic liberal, he eventually classified himself, and was in turn identified by the media, as a populist.

Populism deserves a diary of its own. It is a word often used in political discourse, but lacking a clear referent, is more a space filler than informative. For the purpose of this diary I believe it is probably sufficient to view Populism as a response by the populace of that time to specific perceived threats to their liberty and economic well-being.  Beyond dealing with those threats populism has little more to say.

What differentiates populism from the more ideological based political philosophies such as liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary and libertarian is just that, ideology. Populism usually focuses on the current threats and has no ideology beyond dealing with them. It freely borrows responses to those threats from the proscriptions suggested by the more ideological political movements without acknowledgment of their philosophical underpinnings.

There are I believe at least two main types of Populist that I shall call Liberal/Progressive Populists and Conservative/ Libertarian Populists. Liberal/Progressive Populists tend to see the immediate threats to be from government as well as other large organizations, usually corporations or financial institutions. They often believe that government shorn of its threatening aspects can and should control the ravenous appetites of the other institutions.The Conservative/Libertarian Populist sees the current threat emanating primarily from government alone and may be relieved by the elimination of those specific governmental activities they object to. Fred clearly was the former and not the latter.
Let’s turn then to what Fred had to say in 1976 regarding an issue recently front and center of the political debate, health care.

“If you step north of the Canadian border, you have free medical care. No deductibles or co-insurance, no limits on hospital stays or how many times you see your doctor. When that system went into effect twelve years ago, there were those who said the hospitals would be hopelessly overcrowded. Not so, as people are getting preventive care, and as they’re entitled to care without having to be sick enough to go to the hospital.

If you step back across that boundary to the south, you find in this country-the richest country in the world the best medical care in the world for rich people, and awfully sorry medical care for a lot of people. We rank seventeenth among nations in infant mortality, which is a euphemism that means, ‘Your baby’s dead’. We don’t have to put up with that.

We ought to have a universal health care system, paid for out of the federal treasury, rather than an insurance system that might be regressive. There should be much more emphasis on group medical practice and preventive care. And a great more emphasis on paramedical personnel.”

(Fred Harris Campaign Handbook)

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” (citation unnecessary). It has been 34 years since Fred’s proposal and although we have gotten a pretty good start on health insurance reform, we are still awaiting health care reform.

Fred goes on, in the continuation of the above quote, to address the baleful influence of doctor dominated institutions on attempts to make fairer and more effective the delivery of health care in the United States. In 1976 health care, for good or ill, was controlled primarily by doctors or doctor dominated institutions. It was those institutions such as the AMA that successfully resisted health care reform at the time.

In 1976, the Reagan and Bush fire sale of American institutions to Wall Street, insurance companies, energy corporations and the defense industries had not yet begun but once started, it effectively wrested the United States health care system from the hands of doctors and other medical delivery personnel and placed it in the willing hands of accountants, investment advisors and bankers.
It is interesting to note that Obama’s strategy of allying with the doctor and medical community was probably a major factor in achieving the level of reform that was obtained with the passage of the recent health reform legislation.

My next post shall examine Fred’s positions on Wall Street, a subject that makes the blood of all true populists quicken.

(This article first appeared in Daily Kos April 24 2010)

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: