Posts Tagged With: Health

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Pops 0006. (August 29, 2017)

 

 

 

 

“Jefferson warned that without economic democracy there can be no political democracy”.
Fred Harris

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

 

A. Traveling from Bangkok to El Dorado Hills.

I do not know why it is but I usually find the most unpleasant trips the most interesting. It was that way on my trip back from Thailand. We left the apartment at about 7PM in order to get to the airport early enough for me to get a good seat. Suvarnabhumi Airport was more crowded and disorganized than I had ever seen it. After a difficult time securing my ticket, I was told the flight was delayed until 6:30 in the morning.

I arrived in Shanghai just as my connecting flight to the US was leaving. I had forgotten how the Chinese bureaucratic system differs from that in the US. In the US, probably for reasons of cost, people relating to the public are trained, for better or worse, to handle a number of somewhat discretionary activities. The Chinese it seems are not. Each functionary there appears to have been assigned only a single, not particularly discretionary, action.

As I exited the plane, I saw a young man with a sign that announced, “Transfer Passenger Assistance” and showed him my ticket. He looked confused. Walked away to speak to someone, returned and pointed vaguely toward a corridor leading from the hall. After passing through several hallways, I entered a large room containing several counters. Above one was a sign in English that read, “24-hour transit passengers.” I guessed that was the counter I was looking for. There was a long line and only one clerk. When I got to her and showed her my ticket she responded, “Transit Hotel.” I asked “Where?” She handed me a paper with my name on it and pointed to another traveler and said, “Follow that woman.”

“That woman” proved to be another lost and confused American who missed the same connecting flight as I. We passed through another warren of hallways until we came to a room even larger than the previous one with a lot of counters around the walls in front of which were crowds of clamoring travelers. We noticed a group of people in the center of the room who we recognized from our plane and asked them if they knew what was happening. One said, “I think we are supposed to wait here until someone comes for us.”

I noticed a counter over which was a sign that read something like “Transit Supervisor.” I approached him and asked what it is we should do. He pointed at a bunch of chairs against one wall and said, “Sit there, someone will come for you.”

So, we sat there for a long time and to our relief eventually, someone came and ordered us to follow him. We asked where we were going but received no answer. He marched us to a bus, too small to sit all of us and our luggage so many had to stand in the aisle amid the piled suitcases.

After a long long ride that ultimately brought us back to an airport hotel across the street from where we began, we disembarked and entered the hotel and milled around the lobby until one of us thought it would be a good idea to approach the reception desk. We did and at first, they did not seem to understand what we were all doing there. Then one of the women behind the desk motioned to us and began assigning rooms. When I approached and asked for a single room she said brusquely, “Two to a room” and assigned an elderly Japanese man to room with me. At first, I was offended that I had to share a room and with another, an old man no less, but I then realized he was no older than me. He spoke barely any English and I no Japanese but I soon discovered him to be one of the nicest and kindest people I had ever met.

I then asked about dinner and there ensued a several hour hullabaloo where I turned into the ugly American. I thoroughly enjoyed it, shouting away and laughing until everyone turned their back on me except for the servers who laughed with me (or at me, who knows).

The next morning at the airport the lines and confusion were staggering until a guard asked if I was on the plane to SF. When I answered in the affirmative he whisked me through everything and off I flew.

Having slept well the night before, I could not fall asleep during the flight so I watched all three episodes of Lord of the Rings. I found Frodo’s bulging eyes disconcerting and wondered why everyone had blue eyes.

It took five hours or so to get from SF airport to Hobbitown in the Golden Hills.

 

B. Back in El Dorado Hills.

Now some might wonder how I could equate EDH with the Shire. Easy, they both have a certain picturesque attractiveness; they both are set among rolling hills; they both are self-indulgent inward looking societies; they both see the outside world as full of orcs, goblins, sorcerers, violence and malevolence and; the citizens of both have hairy feet and do not wear shoes. Well, actually, the citizens of EDH do wear shoes.

I have resumed my life here as before; wake in the morning; drive HRM to school; Bella Bru for cafe latte and cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese; walk about three miles around the lake; return home and read a book; nap; have dinner and; retire to my room for my daily dose of existential anguish.

On Wednesday, I leave to spend a week at my sister’s home in Mendocino. She is hosting an engagement party for her son Brendan and his intended Ashley. She expects about 60 people to spend the weekend in and around the house. The Paella Lady and her huge paella pan will be there. Also, lots of Italian and Philippine food to eat and I expect a lot of music too.

On Sunday we plan to attend Paul Bunyan Day in Fort Bragg.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

When he was about 5 or 6, I used to tell HRM stories every evening. The following is one of them:

“So, last night, at bedtime, I continued telling the series of stories to Hayden that I had begun about two years ago. The stories concerned the adventures of Danny (Hayden’s alter ego) and his trusty pony Acorn (who Hayden now and then rides whenever we visit Bill and Naida’s ranch).”

“Danny was resting at an oasis in the desert following his besting of ‘The Old Man Under the Mountain.’ With him were his two friends; “The Black Knight,” a gorilla (Whose alter ego cuddly toy shares my bed) who is “The World’s Strongest Knight” and rides a white horse with brown spots like a cow and is called appropriately “White-brownie or Brown-whitey,” and; “The White Knight Who Used to be ‘The Old Man who Dressed Like a Beggar’ and was The Worlds Most Powerful Magician,” until Danny, in the throne room of the Green Castle, defeated him in a duel of magic aided by “The Monster Who Lives in the Closet and Who Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags,” and turned him into a mouse. In order for Danny and The Black Knight to escape from the dungeon of the “Old Man Under the Mountain,” Danny, again with the aid of “The Monster who lives in the Closet but Now Lives in Acorn’s Saddlebags” turned him from a mouse into a young handsome human except with less magical power so that his full name now became, “The White Knight Who Used to be an Old Man Dressed Like a Beggar and the Worlds Most Powerful Magician Until he was Turned into a Mouse and Then into A Young Man who was Not so Powerful a Magician.” The White Knight rode a black horse named, “Blackie.””

“They had just finished dinner and were drinking their milk while staring into the campfire when a troop of musicians and actors who were camping nearby came by and offered to put on a performance for the famous Knights.”

“The knights agreed that they would enjoy that and the chief musician tuned up his Lute and began his song by introducing his main protagonist a skinny boy of indeterminate age named ‘Heimlich.’ Heimlich lived in a not so great but good enough castle in a dreary country somewhere that was always foggy. Heimlich was sad because his father, who was called Pruneberry the King of the Castle (and, if truth be known, King of little else) had just died. In addition almost before the body became cold or whatever it is body’s become after its inhabitant dies, his mother Natasha Dewlap married Heimlich’s uncle, Julius Caesar (we both thought that was a very funny name).”

“Anyway, Heimlich and his friend [who strangely did not have a name but it could just as well be something as ridiculous and Guildenstern or Rosencrantz or even Miracle Max] one evening, for some unknown reason, decided to go the cemetery to visit the site where Pruneberry was buried. Along the way, they came upon a pile of bones and a skull. Heimlich thought the skull reminded him of “Mortimer” his old kindergarten teacher.”

“Anyway, Heimlich’s friend decided to return home after they discovered the bones because he was a sensible lad and was creeped out by the bones and Heimlich’s weirdness. Heimlich went on by himself.”

“When Heimlich arrived at the gravesite, a Ghost popped out and said, ‘Heimlich I am your father, Pruneberry and I was killed by Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar who put poison up my nose while I was asleep.’”

“At this point, Hayden asked me ‘How can a ghost speak after he died?’”

“‘A keen observation,’ I acknowledged. ‘That is why Heimlich did not believe him and went back home.’”

“The next morning, as coincidence and fairy tales have it, a group of traveling actors came by the castle and asked Heimlich if he would like to have them perform a play. Maybe, Heimlich thought, if they perform Pruneberry’s death like the Ghost told it in front of Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar one of them would be reminded and say something like, “Say that looks familiar,” and Heimlich would then know what the Ghost said perhaps could have been true.”

“And so, the traveling players put on the show and at just the right moment, Julius Caesar turned to Natasha Dewlap and said, ‘Say Natty does this look familiar to you?’ At which point Heimlich became furious and drove Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar out of the castle where they were forced to live in a tent and sell apples and rutabagas to passers-by.”

“Hayden then asked me, ‘What are rutabagas?’ I said, ‘I did not know.”’

“Heimlich, thereafter spent every day alone in the little castle in that dismal country with his furry white cat named ‘Snowy,’ looking out of his window and down upon Natasha Dewlap and Julius Caesar trying to sell their apples and rutabagas to passers-by, except for once a year when the troop of actors came by and they had a party.”

“The End.”

“I then told Hayden that the actors would perform another tale that I would tell him about tomorrow [I was already working on a children’s version of King Lear]. But, Hayden asked me if Danny was ever going to go back home to visit his mom who lived in the cottage by the “Deep Dark Wood,” before setting out on another adventure. He thought it would be a good idea if he did.”

“I told him that Danny told the musicians that he would not listen to the story now because he needed to get a good night’s sleep so that tomorrow he would be well rested for his trip back through the ‘Deep Dark Wood’ to visit his mom.”

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

“Perhaps the greatest challenge of the algorithm revolution is that as machines and the algorithms that drive them have become ever-more complex, we are rapidly losing our ability to understand how they work and anticipate unexpected behaviors and weaknesses. From just 145,000 lines of code to place humans on the moon in 1969 to more than 2 billion lines of code to run Google in 2015, today’s systems are labyrinths of interconnected systems.”
Kalev Leetaru, Forbes Magazine.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Levinson on Top:

 

1948 — 1973 a golden age like no other.

“The second half of the 20th century divides neatly in two. The divide did not come with the rise of Ronald Reagan or the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is not discernible in a particular event, but rather in a shift in the world economy, and the change continues to shape politics and society in much of the world today.”

“The shift came at the end of 1973. The quarter-century before then, starting around 1948, saw the most remarkable period of economic growth in human history. In the Golden Age between the end of the Second World War and 1973, people in what was then known as the ‘industrialized world’ – Western Europe, North America, and Japan – saw their living standards improve year after year. They looked forward to even greater prosperity for their children. Culturally, the first half of the Golden Age was a time of conformity, dominated by hard work to recover from the disaster of the war. The second half of the age was culturally very different, marked by protest and artistic and political experimentation. Behind that fermentation lay the confidence of people raised in a white-hot economy: if their adventures turned out badly, they knew, they could still find a job.”

“The year 1973 changed everything. High unemployment and a deep recession made experimentation and protest much riskier, effectively putting an end to much of it. A far more conservative age came with the economic changes, shaped by fears of failing and concerns that one’s children might have it worse, not better. Across the industrialized world, politics moved to the Right – a turn that did not avert wage stagnation, the loss of social benefits such as employer-sponsored pensions and health insurance, and the secure, stable employment that had proved instrumental to the rise of a new middle class and which workers had come to take for granted. At the time, an oil crisis took the blame for what seemed to be a sharp but temporary downturn. Only gradually did it become clear that the underlying cause was not costly oil but rather lagging productivity growth — a problem that would defeat a wide variety of government policies put forth to correct it.”

“The great boom began in the aftermath of the Second World War. The peace treaties of 1945 did not bring prosperity; on the contrary, the post-war world was an economic basket case. Tens of millions of people had been killed, and in some countries, a large proportion of productive capacity had been laid to waste. Across Europe and Asia, tens of millions of refugees wandered the roads. Many countries lacked the foreign currency to import food and fuel to keep people alive, much less to buy equipment and raw material for reconstruction. Railroads barely ran; farm tractors stood still for want of fuel. Everywhere, producing enough coal to provide heat through the winter was a challenge. As shoppers mobbed stores seeking basic foodstuffs, much less luxuries such as coffee and cotton underwear, prices soared. Inflation set off waves of strikes in the United States and Canada as workers demanded higher pay to keep up with rising prices. The world’s economic outlook seemed dim. It did not look like the beginning of a golden age.”

“As late as 1948, incomes per person in much of Europe and Asia were lower than they had been 10 or even 20 years earlier. But 1948 brought a change for the better. In January, the US military government in Japan announced it would seek to rebuild the economy rather than exacting reparations from a country on the verge of starvation. In April, the US Congress approved the economic aid program that would be known as the Marshall Plan, providing Western Europe with desperately needed dollars to import machinery, transport equipment, fertilizer, and food. In June, the three occupying powers – France, the United Kingdom, and the US – rolled out the Deutsche mark, a new currency for the western zones of Germany. A new central bank committed to keeping inflation low and the exchange rate steady would oversee the Deutsche mark.”

“Postwar chaos gave way to stability, and the war-torn economies began to grow. In many countries, they grew so fast for so long that people began to speak of the ‘economic miracle’ (West Germany), the ‘era of high economic growth’ (Japan) and the 30 glorious years (France). In the English-speaking world, this extraordinary period became known as the Golden Age.”
Marc Levinson, End of a golden age, Aeon

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

We would not expect someone to have the talent to pitch for the New York Yankees simply because he is wealthy, so why would we give to the wealthy, solely because they have been successful in making money, the right to tell us how we live, how our money invested in government is to be spent and a host of other things of common interest. After all, their expertise is limited to making money, usually in a very narrow field of endeavor. Why would we not expect their advice to be biased to favor them making more money?

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation”.
~Howard Scott

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

 

 

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At 7, I could not speak a second language and except for a passing acquaintance with Italian, I still cannot.
At 18, my mind concentrated on baser pleasures than the quality of its processing.
At 22, I could not remember anyone’s name. I still cannot.
At 23, I was in law school. It was not compatible with life satisfaction.
At 25, I was as weak as a baby. Still am.
At 26, I was married — the first of many.
At 28, I had not yet run a marathon. I still have not.
At 30, I do not know about bone mass but my adipose mass was clearly increasing.
At 31, it had been 10 years since I had last played a game of chess.
At 32, I could remember faces. I still can. There are some I wish I could forget.
At 39, whatever peaked was not applicable to me.
At 40, I had not won a Noble Prize — still, haven’t. I have never been nominated either.
At 48, I had not reached my peak income. That occurred 15 years later. I lost it all a few years after that. Is there a peak year for losing your money?
At 50, I could not balance my checkbook — still cannot.
At 51, I did not understand peoples emotions — never could, never will.
At 69, I was dissatisfied and moved to Thailand.
At 71, I began to use more profanity whenever I spoke with anyone.
At 74, you have got to be kidding.
At 82, I sure hope my psychological well-being will peak— nothing else will.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Richard K. Diran. Danae and the Shower of Gold.

“The King of Argos had only one child, a daughter named Danae. Although beautiful, the king wanted a son and went to the Delphic oracle to ask if there was any hope of having a son. The oracle said, ‘no’ and worse that Danae would have a son who would kill him. The king could not put his innocent daughter to death so he built a room sunk underground but with part of the roof open to the sky so that light and air could come through. “

“As she lay there a mysterious thing happened. A shower of gold fell from the sky, it was Zeus in this form who impregnated her and she would bear the son who would kill her father the king.”

 

 

 

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Categories: July to September 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Shadow 0006. ( July 18, 2017)

 

“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”
Jake Needham

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS TO MY BELOVED SISTER MARYANN AND TO BOTH HER CHILDREN KATIE AND BRENDAN DREAPER AND ALSO TO MY FRIEND MARCO GALLO.

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The extent of my explorations of Bangkok during the three weeks or so I have been here have been limited to the streets along a narrow mile long corridor between my apartment and the health club with occasional digressions to Terminal 21, the large mall at Asoke. Packed in along that short passageway, I encounter lifestyles as diverse as any I have seen anywhere. I sometimes feel I am in a movie where the universe changes with every step.

These streets are not a place for the rich or the petite bourgeoisie. Their habitats are the gleaming silver towers that loom over these streets. Nor are the people on these streets the teeming spitting masses. They live elsewhere, in squalor, and forgotten enclaves, along the rivers or in dark alleys behind the gleaming high-rises.

The people I encounter within the corridor are the hucksters, petty criminals, ladies of the night, and sneak thieves; those who never rest from scrabbling and fighting for a few baht to survive another day in order to hopefully rise up out of these streets to where they can feign respectability or in the case of the tourists sober up and return home where they reassume their pretend decency. Those that fail are here also, overdosed on alcohol or drugs and staggering along or lying on the streets and sidewalks.

I am old and bent now. I lean on my walking stick as I trudge the streets. Perhaps, I have become one of them now, a denizen of the Bangkok streets. Fortunately, I’ll be leaving here soon, flying back to the Golden Hills. Few of those I see on my daily walks will ever leave.

Peter, in responding to my last T&T post, reminded me that Mumbai and Calcutta are every bit as exciting — appalling, fascinating —wretched, and glorious — degraded as my little slice of Bangkok. That may be true and perhaps there are many more cities like those, but this is my here and now.

Sometimes when I take my walks through my Bangkok I feel a little like or pretend to feel a little like, Ulysses. Not the Greek Ulysses but the Jewish guy from Dublin, Leo Bloom who “ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls”. The difference between him and me, besides the relish for inner organs and his obsession with Blazes Boylan both of which I can do without, is that he was actively involved in the events of his day and in the city around him. I, on the other hand, mostly simply observe, avoiding involvement wherever possible. I stop a few moments and stare at whatever catches my attention and move on. Like, for example, the tiny pool in the sidewalk in front of the restaurant I eat at sometime. It is filled with giant Koi. Not the restaurant, the pool is filled with giant Koi. I stand there a second or two and wonder how the fish survive the night. Why haven’t the rats or the soi dogs scarfed them up — what about all the homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks? Surely some of them are hungry? Do the owners of the restaurant take the Koi in at night like someone would bring in their cat? That seems odd. Perhaps the Koi are fierce or mythical. See there, just like Bloom in Dublin, I also get to ponder the mundane, ridiculous and superficial as I wander about in my Bangkok.
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HRM arrived from Milan after having visited London, Paris, and Dubai. He liked Dubai best. We had dinner with N and Adrian at a Korean BBQ place. The next day, Nakoul (Nong), my old business partner in Ava Bar, invited me to visit his new venture a little further down Sukhumvit Soi 11. It is one of those upscale non-surgical cosmetic clinics that are becoming increasingly popular in BKK. It is called Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic. It offers Botox and ultrasound treatments to adjust facial alignments, vitamin injections and a number of generic facials and the like. I opted for a facial treatment that lasted for about an hour and a half.
IMG_2988

I am much prettier now after my treatment.

 

A few days later, I had lunch with the Gemologist and met his lovely wife. She was born and raised in Nagoya Japan. She is also a gemologist. They first met in Japan during the 1970s. He returned to the US and enrolled in gem school. They then completely lost contact with each other. She, later traveled to San Francisco to enroll also in gem school. While coming out of I. Magnin on Union Square in San Francisco, she bumped into someone who was not looking where he was going. It was the Gemologist. It was a better story listening to them both tell it while gently correcting each other on the details. They eventually, finished Gem school (he two years before she) and opened a well known Japanese Restaurant next to the Miyako hotel in San Francisco’s Japan Town before settling in Bangkok and a life of adventure.

Recently, the Gemologist, Richard Diran, who is also a well-known ethnologist and photographer had one of his photographs included for consideration in the LensCulture Portrait Awards for 2017.
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Every couple of days, I drop in on the old sailor in his room above a small plaza off of Soi 8. He doesn’t leave the room as much as he used to except for long morning and evening walks. He serves me fresh coconut water and regales me with stories of his life in the Caribbean.

One evening I went to the movies with Hayden, Adrian, and the Little Masseuse. We saw the newest Spiderman feature. As Superhero movies go, it was one of the more enjoyable. The acting was better than the writing. My favorite scene was the very last one in the movie.

Nikki then arrived. He, HRM and I spent a day at the health club pool and then they were off to Pattaya and the Little Masseuse and me off to Angkor Wat in Cambodia,

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Vittorio and Teacher Brian arrived in Santiago de Compostela after their almost 30-day hike from France, through the Pyrenees and across Northern Spain.

2. A representative of the Thai government, in response to criticism that the military government had not done enough for the poor, proposed that the top prize in the State lottery be increased so that members of the poorer classes, who waste their meager income on lottery tickets, would stand a chance to be even richer if they win. A quick and unscientific poll on the proposal by the newspapers indicated that the members of the poorer classes addicted to the lottery thought it was a great idea.

3. A seemingly effective reformist head of a small rural community in Thailand and his family were killed in a home invasion by several hooded men in military uniforms carrying military weapons. The Thai police, upon arresting a suspect, announced the motive for the killing was a dispute over a mortgage on the headman’s property. The suspect, the lender on the property, apparently took back a mortgage and then promptly re-mortgaged the property to someone else. When the headman returned with the final payment on the property, the lender refused to honor the mortgage terms so the headman took him to court.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

I cannot help being amused by the misunderstanding most people have about power—that presidents or anyone else with executive power merely sat in their offices and decided what should be done next, then their eager minions hurried out and turned these whims into fact. In truth, managing or ruling anything, let alone a large country, is a process of learning about and reacting to hundreds upon hundreds of small problems, some of which would quickly become larger problems if left unsolved, and then persisting with them until they had been solved or at least reduced from crisis to mere irritation. And standing between a president and these solutions is not a horde of loyal citizens waiting only to be told what to do, but thousands of individuals, each with his own plans and wants, most of them quite willing to break the rules if they could get away with it, and yet each of them also furious at any idea their own rights might be somehow abrogated. And of these citizens, the wealthy are the worst, prickly and full of righteous demands. And alas, it is these wealthy, whose wealth allows their voices to clammer the loudest, who, more often than not, get heard first — generally to the dismay of everyone else and to the disadvantage of the nation.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

Five Years Ago Today In T&T:

This weekend I returned to “Paradise by the Sea” (Jomtien Beach) to visit with Bill who was spending a few days in “The Outskirts of Hell” (Pattaya) about two miles from “Paradise by the Sea.” He had just returned from a brief trip to Malaysia scoping out business opportunities there and unwinding somewhere between the gates of paradise and the portals of hell from the rigors of Muslim Puritanism.

I met him and Ray at the “Oval Table” where about a year ago the Geriatric Knights set off on their adventures. Three of the original five Knights were there, Density, Harvey, and Giufa. Horace who prefers to be called Jerome we would meet up with that evening. Spy was off knight erranting somewhere south of Outremer searching for the Grail or a stray yoni or two which was hard to find where he was at.

We decided to dub Ray into the club (The Rub a Dub Club?). We could not decide on a suitable heraldic name for him. We were stuck between “Omar the Tent Maker” and “Sinbad the Sailor.” I decided to compromise on “Sinbad the Tent Maker.”

Alas, Angelina-Tai, Selma-moo, Princess Oy and the other houri had long ago departed for other caravansaries, and soon so did we.

I checked into the guest house on Jomtien Beach Road Soi 3 where I stayed the last time I was there, napped and waited for LM.

That evening we met Bill, Mike, and Ray for dinner at a restaurant on the Walking Street. After dinner, we went to a nearby go-go bar where Ray was to meet with the ex-owner to discuss business opportunities in Pattaya. The ex-owner’s claim to fame was that he managed to sell his failing go-go bar to someone else and now passes himself off as an expert in doing business in Thailand.

The tiny club consisted of a row of booths surrounding a small stage upon which about 10 poles reaching to the ceiling were set. A selection of slightly overweight women, naked from the waist up, one hand on a pole, moved their bodies in a desultory fashion to some over loud 20-year-old rock music while staring bored at themselves in the mirrors that covered the walls behind the booths. We were the only customers.

We then went to a place called the Windmill a few steps away from the go-go place. Here the joint was packed. It featured various fully naked women performing simulated sex acts and others, equally naked, jumping in and out of Jacuzzis, while various old over-weight men with wallets out were peeling off notes from wads of Thai money and handing it to other naked women whose bodies were pressed against them.

For those who picture the Outskirt’s of Hell as a simply an aging white male sexist paradise, you could not be further from the truth. Unlike God, who seems to prefer well muscled male mesomorphs, Lucifer is nothing if not an equal opportunity corrupter. Within the Outskirts of Hell, there are alley’s devoted to transsexual (Be all that you can be) clubs, lesbian sex clubs and the standard run of the mill gay bars.

You can also shop for souvenirs and buy the sex enhancement medication of your choice at the many establishments specializing in selling those products. And of course, restaurants by the ton located on the land or on boats anchored offshore. Food, sexual indulgence, and gross corruption are never too far apart.

After a few minutes of observation, LM and I excused ourselves and returned to the hotel.

The next morning LM and I took the ferry to Koh Larn one of the several islands in the Bay of Thailand located off Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. It contains a small village and several tiny beaches adjacent to which one can enjoy lunch for about twice the price of similar fare on the mainland and stare at the high-rises lining the shore across the straight.

We ate lunch at a tiny place by a beach of strange maroon and lemon yellow stones. We were the only customers. After lunch, we returned to Pattaya and continued on back to BKK and our apartment.

Also:

Alas, it finally happened as it had to happen, the Sauna Nazi, decided to bump chests with me and scream because I put my bathing suit in the sauna to dry (as does almost everyone) so I punched him in the jaw. He staggered back and did something almost comical, he started dancing around and flicking out his leg like some Asian martial artist expert. As expected, the health club security intervened before things got further out of hand. After things quieted down they wanted to know if I intended to press charges. I declined but requested that they instruct him in the value of the word, please. I am amazed at how much pleasure I get, even at seventy-two, from involving myself in adolescent male adventures in foolishness.

Hayden asked me if that was how attorneys do it; insult their opponents in court before throwing punches. I explained that we generally refrained from the physical part, but that slander and defamation are our stock in trade. He said he still wanted to become an airline pilot when he grows up.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

This Equation Contains Everything We Know about the Universe.

the-whole-thingt

 

Although I have lost the cite, the above equation supposedly sums up everything we know about the known universe (Quanta, Relativity, the Higgs Bosun and what have you). The mathematician who put this together spent many months doing so. After he was done and his work was reviewed, it was discovered that somewhere he had inadvertently switched a sign. He was too exhausted to go back through everything to find it. No one else has been willing to do so either.

It should be noted the formula begins with a minus and ends with an empty set raised to zero power (which I think equals 1 in maths notation or the Higgs Field in physics). One might conclude from this that either the universe does not exist or, we are confused and know little or nothing about it or, it is what it is. If one did conclude one of these was true, he would probably be wrong and would in all likelihood have to begin at the beginning again. No rational human should under these circumstances go through all this again especially since it only exists when we observe it and who has the time. I can only conclude that we would all be happier considering the universe irrational and let it go at that.

I noticed there is no sign for square or any other root in the equation. Perhaps that means in our universe there are no square roots of anything. Millions of high school mathematics students forced to try to compute roots can now thank the gods that their ignorance has not been in vain.

On the other hand, as it often is the way with the universe, after writing the above, I discovered a much shorter equation by another mathematician:
Everyday-Equation 2
http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/04/the-world-of-everyday-experience-in-one-equation/

 

If I understand the maths symbols correctly, everything in the Universe but quantum mechanics is a set. That seems about right. In quantum mechanics, nothing is set until the damned cat gets out of the box.

Quantum questions — Once the box, that may or may not contain the cat, is opened and you see a cat lying at the bottom without moving, is it dead when you observe it or only when you feel for its heartbeat and find there is none? Does anyone care that the cat is dead? Did the cat know whether or not it would be found dead when the box was opened?

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. A Thai comments on his society:

 

Arglit Boonyai, the highly respected and sometimes brilliant columnist for The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s most respected English daily newspaper recently wrote:

“Thailand – and I am trying to be fair here — is as honest as a North Korean press release on famine. We steal, we cheat, we lie, we treat people with a lower social status badly, we’re racist, the list goes on and on. For years we successfully hid all that behind the famous Thai smile and the ‘mai pen rai’ attitude. And by gosh and by golly, most of those suckers fell for it.”

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

“In America today you can make more money inventing a new conspiracy theory than you can from curing cancer.”

 

C. From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

 

“Zenosyne”

 

The Sense That Time Keeps Going Faster

“Life is short. And life is long. But not in that order.”

http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/tagged/dictionary-of-obscure-sorrows

 

D. Today’s Poem:

 

O what can the matter be
And what can the matter be
O what can the matter be
Johnny bydes lang at the fair

He’ll buy me a twopenny whistle
He’ll buy me a threepenny fair
He’ll buy me a Bunch o’ Blue Ribbons
To tye up my bonny Brown Hair

O saw ye him coming
And saw ye him coming
O saw ye him coming
Hame frae the Newcastle fair
English Ballad 1770

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“Some people knew what they wanted like they knew they needed to breathe—as though they had been born with goals written into the very fiber of their beings. They were a gifted minority of humanity in possession of a valuable thing. Those without purpose could not imagine what it was to have one—because to be able to imagine a true purpose was to have one. People like himself searched and searched within, only to find a void where there was supposed to be a mission. They had an absence—a space inside where nothing seemed more important than anything else, and the search for what mattered became the closest they could get. He’d envied those who had no need to search.”
Hodges, T. Ellery. The Never Paradox (Chronicles Of Jonathan Tibbs Book 2). Foggy Night Publishing.

What struck me about this quote was neither its eloquence nor its profundity but its resonance with my life. I cannot recall ever having a goal in my life other than now and then to complete whatever I found myself doing at that time. More often than not, even in those cases my goal usually was to avoid as much work and responsibility as possible. Even if this is not the best way to be, it is probably how most of us behave. There are a lot worse ways to live our lives.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
Pasted Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:
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A Few Short Years — HRM Grows Up As I Grow Old.

 

Categories: July to September 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    10 Shadow 0006 (June 30, 2017)


Please note on your calendars that July 15 is NATIONAL BE A DORK DAY. 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:
I arrived in Bangkok, the city of the “Sidewalks of Death.” Should one stroll about the town one might: find the sidewalk beneath of him suddenly open up, plunging him into the fetid miasmatic water below and carrying him off to the equally pestilential waters of some ancient canal, there to drown —  trip on a crack in the pavement sending him tumbling into the street where he is maimed or killed by hoards of crazed bikers trying to beat the traffic light — be attacked by rabid soi dogs and sewer rats who gnaw off his ankles — be abducted by an evil tuk-tuk driver and disappear forever — be set upon by a group of manic ladyboys pouring out of an alley who either ravish his body or beat him senseless and steal his money. I love this city.
The flight from Rome to Bangkok was uneventful except during the leg from Kuwait to Bangkok where the young man sitting next to me, who appeared to be a religious of some sort, insisted that I listen to a recording of incessant chanting by some Iman or something. That was OK because there is nothing I prefer to sleep through than chanting.
Bangkok is hot (but not as hot as is parts of California right now). It rains every afternoon and evening— often big grumbling thunder showers. So, I go about whatever I go about these days in the mornings and lie in my bed and stare at the ceiling or tap away at my computer in the afternoon and evenings.
Thailand is billed by the Thai Visitors Bureau as the “Land of Smiles.” Thais have at least 15 types of smile, none of which means I’m pleased to see you — except for of shopkeepers, grifters and bar girls who unfortunately see you only as an ATM machine.
In the morning, as I walk from my apartment to the health club, I check to see which of the denizens of the street I have come to recognize over the years are missing since the last time I visited. The massive homeless young man often seen sprawled in a stupor on the sidewalks of Soi Nana or wandering in a daze down the street seems to be gone. The one legged “king of the beggars” as I named him because of his handsome features, meticulous trimmed hair and beard who I now and then see entering for lunch some of the better restaurants on Soi 11, has resumed his post on the sunny corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 5.
My part of Bangkok continues to change and disappear. The old buildings with the cheap restaurants, go-go bars, and nightclubs get torn down, replaced with gleaming silver towers boasting that they contain the greatest award winning condominiums, or offices, or the finest of the three or four other luxury hotels with the same name in the city. The people who lived worked or played there move out and new people move in — the ongoing migration of a vibrant urban area. The extent of pain and dislocation caused by it is usually a function of how rapidly it occurs.
One of Thailand’s major preoccupations is with massage. It is ingrained in the religious and cultural subconscious of the country. The Thais even developed their own brand of massage that is taught in the most prestigious temples throughout the nation. It consists of vigorous application of the hands, elbows, forearms, and feet by the masseuse to various points on the customer’s body accompanied by periodic sudden stretching or wrenching of his joints. Although a Thai massage can make you feel great after it is over, many people find the process too painful. As a result foreigners often, after a brief flirtation with “the real thing,” eventually turn to more traditional massage with its vigorous rubbing of the body with oil, with or without a happy ending. Many “legitimate” massage establishments do not provide happy endings (it is, in fact, illegal).
Speaking of legitimate massage in Bangkok, I would like to make a pitch to those who may visit the city to try Silk Spa on Sukhumvit Soi 13. It is rated by several travel magazines as one of the best massage parlors in Bangkok. My old friends, Gary and Pui, own the place. Gary is Canadian. He plays ice hockey in the Thai ice hockey league. The Spa is located on Soi 13 about 50 yards off Sukhumvit. Inside, it is a little gem of a place. Gary spends many days designing and building the interior. The evidence of his craftsmanship is everywhere, from the handsome gray slate floor and attractively painted walls of the massage rooms to the marvelous two person sauna with its shining blond wood. I go there three or four times a week after I finish my mornings at the health club.
Pasted Graphic
Although I like Bangkok a lot, there is one thing I despise. That is when I am riding the bus or the Skytrain and hanging onto the strap because it is crowded and I see someone, who I am convinced is older and more decrepit than I, get up out of his or her seat and offer it to me. I usually reject the offer somewhat coldly, unless of course, I am very tired. Then, I take the seat and sit there mortified (a word not often used anymore) on the one hand and relieved on the other. It is these internal conflicts that…Hmm, I think I’ve gone on about this long enough.
I spent a couple of delightful hours with my friend the Old Sailor. He is a kind man who has lived a fascinating life as a sailor, commercial deep sea diver, treasure hunter, and the like. He lived most of his life in places by the sea in south Florida (Key West), the Virgin Islands, Easter Island and French Polynesia (Bora Bora). He now resides in a second rate hotel in Bangkok. The walls of his room are covered with photographs organized by year. When I asked him about that, he said that he was beginning to have trouble remembering things. He had, he went on, an interesting life and he did not want to forget any of it before the inevitable dimming of the light.
One day, at a nearby Italian restaurant, in the course of our rambling conversation, he began a sentence with the words, “I sailed the Windward Passage three times.”  It seemed to be an interesting story was in the offing and I was right.
One time, he either worked for or partnered with the Captain of a boat docked somewhere in South Florida. The Captain was having a dispute with someone over money or ownership or something like that. So, in the middle of the night, he and the Captain took the boat, leaving with no money between them and almost no gas to power the engines. So, they broke into a nearby refueling dock during the dark of night, refueled, and set off for wherever. Needing money, they stopped in the Virgin Islands and found a gig towing a large sailboat through the Windward Passage south of Cuba to Jamaica.
Somewhere near Cuba, a storm came upon them. At that most inopportune moment, their engine decided to quit and the boat slowed down. Unfortunately, the large sailboat did not and it smashed into their stern grabbing onto it like a shark grabbing onto a seal. Even more, unfortunately, the bowsprit of sailboat broke off and began thrashing back and forth across the deck making it impossible for the two adventures to get to it and untangle the lines and separate the boats. So, they spent the night hoping they would live to see the sunrise. The tale stopped there. Obviously, at least the Old Sailor survived. I do not know what became of the boats or the Captain or whether whatever he was fleeing from eventually caught up to him. I see in this a potential Hemingwayesque novella, “Captains Not So Very Courageous.”
A few years ago, some travel magazine commissioned a poll in which people from many countries of the world were asked if they thought it was ok to cheat foreigners out of their money. The citizens of no country responded with acceptance of such callous amoral behavior anywhere near 50% except for the Thais, over 80% of whom could see no problem in that conduct.
On Wednesday, I had lunch with the Gemologist. He is also a well-known ethnologist (The Vanishing Tribes of Burma), artist (sculpture and painting), adventurer, writer, businessman, raconteur, and man about town. I have written about him before. He has recently returned from several trips into the hill country of Burma where he photographed one of the hill tribes in their traditional dress and re-established his trading connections with the Gurkha miners and gem merchants working there. He has resumed trading high-value rubies and sapphires and showed me photographs of several beautiful examples (in the one million dollars and up each range).
IMG_1181
A Million Dollar Flawless Sapphire Recently Sold
It is always a pleasure spending an afternoon with him. We spoke of many things, mostly our disappointment with the political situation in America and the rigors of getting old.
IMG_2952
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
In California.
. Naida’s heart surgery has been successful and she is back home recovering. Unfortunately, Bill continues to suffer increasingly debilitating effects from his diabetes.
. Peter’s hip replacement surgery has been put off for a month. Although he continues to experience ever increasing pain, he still performs several times a week with other geriatric musicians at his various euphonic gigs.
In Spain.
The intrepid pilgrims, Vittorio and Teacher Brian have reached Burgos the historic capital of the Kingdom of Castile on their 30-day trek to Santiago de Compostela.
In Bangkok
. In Bangkok this week, five people died after falling into a sewer pipe.
. The Thai Prime Minister recently banned the police from continuing the practice of parading suspects before the press and re-enacting their crimes for the benefit of the cameras.
. The Thai Prime Minister, previously a general who headed the nation’s military, denied that the main purpose of the upcoming meeting in Washington with Donald Trump was to negotiate the sale of military hardware for the Thai armed forces. He seemed to indicate that since they are already getting military hardware from China and other countries, procurement of armaments from the US is not even on the agenda.
The day after the above statement was issued the Thai English language newspapers reported that the US has agreed to sell five Blackhawk helicopter gunships to the Thai military.
. TheThai Labour Ministry plans to improve the professional standards of massage therapists and promises those interested in becoming certified therapists a guaranteed standard wage ranging from 440 baht (about $14) to 815 ($27) baht per day.
“It’s important to standardize the practice of Thai massage, which is not only good for relieving muscle pain but also promotes good health,” said Labour Minister Gen Sirichai Distakul who described it as the art of health care and healing with a simple touch of the hands.(The Bangkok Post)
I assume, “Happy endings” remain negotiable.
. Also from the Bangkok Post:
PATTAYA: A 33-year-old man (A western tourist most likely) has learned a painful and embarrassing lesson after an experiment with penis rings went terribly wrong.
Identified only as Moss, the man had to seek help after the two rings he had attached caused the organ to swell painfully and he was unable to remove them himself.
He went to Pattaya City Hospital to see if the staff there could handle the consequences of his bold decision. Doctors tried in vain to remove the rings and finally had to call rescue workers from the Sawang Boriboon Foundation to handle the delicate procedure.
The rescue experts used a small metal sheet to shield the organ and very carefully applied a cutting tool to break the rings open.
The relieved patient thanked his rescuers for their help and went away in considerably less pain than when he arrived. He did not tell them why he had put the rings on.
So goes a day in Bangkok, “The Place of Olive Plums.”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

It is true, as Donald Trump claims, that he has accomplished more in the first 150 days of his presidency than any other president during their entire term. At least in foreign policy that is so. And, no, it is not because he manages to become the laughing stock of the entire world. While that is certainly an accomplishment of some sorts and no other president can touch his level of success in that endeavor, I am thinking of something else.
In a few short months, he has managed to destroy the world order that has been in place since the beginning of WWII. It was a world order led by the US and supported by a community of nations more or less democratic and more or less prosperous, to resist those nations both large and small they saw as less democratic or wedded to an economic dogma inconsistent with their own.
It was a world order more or less agreed upon by the two major political parties in the United States. The Democrats tended to exercise American leadership more through International economic development and assistance to both friend and foe who were not bound to our perceived adversaries. The Republicans preferred strong military development and reduced economic aid. They were generally less concerned with commitments to democracy and economic improvement than in a commitment to oppose those adversaries and a willingness to engage in the vigorous development of joint defense arrangements.
In practice, it was often difficult to see the policy differences between the two parties. In fact, there often were not any differences that those we were allied with and supported could perceive in the actual programs that carried out those policies. It is also true that for the most part, those programs were far more beneficial to our own interests than to those of our allies.
It was a world order despised by both extremes of American political thought, the extreme right, and the extreme left. The extreme left often saw this as merely a cover for the exportation of regressive American economic and social policy, the support of fascist dictatorships and opposition to legitimate desire of the people of a country to change a political system they saw as repressive. The far right saw this policy as a creeping commitment to Internationalism and reduction of our national independence. They both were right in some ways.
Nevertheless, despite the cynicism and self-interest (as there is in any significant socio-political initiative), there was the glimmer of an ideal upon which the people of the world and their governments could rely. That ideal was that a great power, rather than subjugating the lesser states, would commit their wealth and power, at least in part (and often grudgingly), in alliance with like minded nations to make things better and assume the burdens of leadership in their mutual defense from those they saw as a threat to their way of life. That underlying confidence had remarkable historical consequences. Political systems changed, most for the better, international cooperation blossomed, economies flourished, and the arts and sciences advanced. This order produced a golden age like none other in history with more people than ever enjoying its benefits.
In a scant 150 days, Donald Trump has managed to utterly destroy that world order and it shall not rise again in the foreseeable future. Why did he do it? I doubt even he knows for sure. Why will it not arise again after he is gone? Because no government and no people can ever again rely upon America to exercise trustworthy leadership. It is the old confidence issue. How can any level of confidence be regained by a government or its people when that trust has so rapidly been shattered in the past?
I do not know whether it may or may not be a good thing that, as a result of this, the smaller nations of the world combine into blocks to try to effectively deal with the two remaining active super-powers and far off the United States should it ever again attempt to engage its historical allies in any manner other than as an adversary.
I do know, however, that although Donald Trump has failed to “make the US great again” in his first 150 days, in international relations he certainly has made us mostly irrelevant.

DAILY FACTOID:

The English form of  Bangkok’s actual name ( In Thai: Krung thep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahinthara ayuthaya mahadilok phop noppharat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amon piman awatan sathit sakkathattiya witsanukam prasit.  Alternative forms include Krung-dēvamahānagara amararatanakosindra mahindrayudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānī purīrāmasya utamarājanivēsana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi, Krungthep mahanakhon amonrattanakosin mahintharayutthaya mahadilokphop noppharatratchathani burirom-udomratchaniwet mahasathan amonphiman awatansathit sakkathattiya witsanu kamprasit,  Krungthep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amonpiman avatansathit sakkathattiya visnukamprasit) is “The City of Angels, the Great City, the Eternal Jewel City, the Impregnable City of God Indra, the Grand Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious Gems, the Happy City, Abounding in an Enormous Royal Palace that Resembles the Heavenly Abode where Reigns the Reincarnated God, a City Given by Indra and Built by Vishnukam.”
The word Bangkok means, “The Place of Olive Plums.”
 .
 

TODAY’S CHART:

 

Correlation or Coincidence?
10556257_1244581772235301_473175251672495876_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

230201_1733319261870_7639091_n
A Thai Fishing Boat Gets Ready for a Day at Sea.
  • Categories: April through June 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Shadow 0006 (June 22, 2017)

     

     

    “Almost everyone would be rich if great wealth came to people from hard work.”
    (Someone, I do not know who)

     

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM ITALY:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SACILE, TAMAI, AND VENICE:

     

    Sacile and Tamai

    On Saturday, Vittorio and Teacher Brian intend to go off on a 30 hiking pilgrimage from France, through the Pyrenees Mountains, and across northern Spain to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela a journey of about 500 miles. Their friend Marco decided to hold a bon-voyage party for them at his house.

    Both Vittorio and Brian are accomplished hikers. Vittorio hikes 20 kilometers several mornings a week. Brian, an American originally from South Dakota, who now teaches physics and other sciences to high school students at the nearby American military base (hence the nickname Teacher), has an interesting back story about his commitment to hiking. When he was a young man serving in the military he was diagnosed with a large growth in his lower spine. After its surgical removal, it was feared he could never walk again. But he did and now hikes regularly through the Veneto plain and the pre-alps.

    Anyway, we gathered at Marco’s for the party. I was pleased to see Professor Hank and his wife there. He is a professor (hence the nickname) of economics at a college in New Jersey and used to teach the same at the military base. Like Teacher Brian, he and his wife have a home in Sacile and spend summers there.

    The dinner, in good Italian style, lasted from 7:30 when we arrived and until 1 AM when we left. It began with Prosecco, moved through Thai main courses (Vitorio’s wife and several other people there are Thai) and finished off with Italian pastry, sweets, liqueurs and cherries marinated in grappa. It was a truly multi-cultural meal.
    IMG_2832

    Professor Hank, a thoughtful gentle man whose company I find extremely enjoyable. As usual, when he and I get together, we talked about many things including the possibility next summer of he and I traveling together to visit his friend who lives in Marshall Tito’s old villa on the Ischia coast of Croatia. Thereafter we would take the ferry to Bari and tour Calabria, his wife’s birthplace. After that, I could go on by train to Sicily and visit Antonio and my family before setting off to Thailand. This excited me because I had hoped to take a similar trip this year but had to cancel it because I had not yet fully recovered from my treatment.

     

    Venice

    On Monday I set off to Venice. I wanted to see how the Biennale exhibits had changed since I visited there almost two years ago.

    Although I visit it often, Venice is not my favorite city. Perhaps, it is because of having read Thomas Mann or seen the movie made from his book. Perhaps, I am terrorized by people who creep about at night in masks and garish costumes. Perhaps, it is the signage for the route back to the train station that always seems to lead me through a section of the city I had never visited before, usually, one that I never even knew existed, and lose me there (this visit was no different). But mostly I think, it is because I have never eaten a good meal in that city. Despite whatever it is that puts me off, I still find myself returning again and again and happy I did so.
    IMG_2909

     

    Back in Sacile and Tamai

    The rest of the week included trips to the markets, mornings and evenings in the cafe’s talking with Hank, Lucia and others. I marvel at how these few people, Vittorio and Anita, Lucia, Professor Hank and Teacher Brian have become such close and important friends of mine despite having first met them only a few years ago and having visited with them only briefly since. I consider them as close and as dear friends as any I have made in my life.

    On my last full day there like my first, I accompanied Vittorio to a nearby town where he marched with his band in a religious procession. Although growing up in Tuckahoe where religious processions were common, I have rarely seen them since then. Along with the procession, the town held a soccer tournament and hosted a dinner beneath a grand tent where I watched some men play “scopa” (a popular Italian card game) well into the evening.

     

    B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ROME:

    On Friday, Vittorio drove me to the train station for my five hour trip to Rome. The train ride was uneventful other than when somewhere in the middle, I noticed my suitcase was not where I had left it. After some frantic searching, I found it at the opposite end of the car. The car itself was full of American college students on their way from Venice to Rome so I guessed it had been moved to make room for their mountains of luggage and backpacks. I otherwise dozed, read, or watched the hill town pass by my window. Sometimes, I tried to guess their names and recall if I had ever visited them.

    Having lived in Rome for three years back in the late sixties and early seventies, I consider it my home. There are four cities I think of as home; Rome (and Sabina), New York City (and Tuckahoe), San Francisco, and Bangkok. I have lived for a considerable length of time in all of these cities. Whenever I return to any of them, I find myself just as happy sitting quietly or strolling around as I would in some more energetic or social activity; so it was with this trip. I am still too weak and ill for anything more than the briefest of walks. Nevertheless, on Saturday morning I ambled to my beloved Borghese Gardens and sat on a bench near the magnificent Borghese Museum that as usual had sold out its tickets for admission about a week in advance.

    I sat where I usually do, on a bench near the accordionist. I have been coming here for about 10 years now and sitting on that bench listening to him play. He bills himself as “The Ukrainian Organist,” but I suspect he is just an ordinary Slavic accordion player. He plays light classical music which I always felt had been written specifically for sunny days in a park with breezes rustling the leaves of the trees, filtering the sunlight and dappling the ground in shadow or destined to be stolen by some modern musical comedy composer caught in a momentary lack of inspiration. Today alas, he, the musician, seemed distracted. He’d play only a few bars of a piece before jumping on to another. Even his piece de resistance the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach(what the phantom of the opera plays in his grotto under the Opera House whenever he has agita) seemed forlorn and discordant — at least, more so than it usually sounds.

    IMG_2918
    The “Ukrainian Organist” at the Borghese Gardens

    On Sunday my delightful cousin, Federica picked me up at my accommodation in the Castro Pretoria section of Rome. She first drove us to the “Quartiere Coppede a fantastical mix of Ancient Greek, Roman Baroque, Mannerist, Medieval, and, overall, Art Nouveau mixture created by the mostly forgotten architect Coppedè in 1919.
    IIMG_2931.jpg

    Fede and Pookie Footloose in Rome.

    After that, we drove out to Sabina where we had a great lunch with her parents and another cousin Andrea.

    Lunch was the typical 3 or more hour affair. It began with kisses and hugs all around followed by the antipasto. I do not recall all the ingredients included in the antipasto but I remember fried zucchini and potatoes, tomato and peppers (or perhaps just red peppers) and olive oil on a lightly baked breaded cracker of some sort, I think. Small mozzarella balls, mixed vegetables, and cantaloupe with Parma ham. The pasta course contained cold Ziti (?) mixed with vegetables. Then we had turkey involtini and a salad. A fruit compote followed by ice cream cake (chocolate) made up the dessert —followed, of course, by coffee. This was all accompanied by interesting conversation and a very good chilled white wine that I, unfortunately, was unable to drink more than a sip.

    We also spent some time looking at old family photographs and watching the finals of LeMans on television. (Andrea is service manager for Ferrari and had a professional interest)
    IMG_2943 - Version 2
    The Cousins and me

    After the lunch, Fede drove me back to Rome and the next day I set off for Thailand.

     

     

     

    PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

    Recently my daughter, who is a scientist herself, expressed her concern about the anti-science mania rampant in our body politic. For example, there is distrust of the findings of almost every scientist who has produced a peer reviewed article regarding climate change. Not only is this response unscientific it is irrational as well. What is the down side to moving to renewables and lowering our carbon footprint? Even if all these scientists were ultimately proved wrong we still would have a better world.

    The issue is financial and political, the understandable reluctance of those few individuals and institutions who believe they own the wealth of hydrocarbons yet untapped to surrender their prospective fortunes. But who owns the billions of years of accumulated sunlight trapped in the ground— certainly not those few. At best, they have a revocable contract to invest their funds in extracting those resources in exchange for a reasonable return on their investment. It is not a scientific issue.

    There is a similar negative and unscientific reaction also to things like GM crops. GM is merely a more efficient and safer method of improving crops than the radiation method we have been using for the last 100 years. Yes, there is probably not a single bite of food that you eat today that has not been genetically modified. Almost anything conceivable produced by GM can be produced by other means, but probably not as efficiently at this time.

    The problem is not a question science or safety, but of adequate regulation and those who would subvert that regulation. Nevertheless, there remains those who are fearful of putting their safety in the hands of others and try instead to stop or deny the science. Although, I for one having been intimately involved in difficult regulation from all vantage points, am sympathetic with their concern, nevertheless, I believe the worst of all options is to try to halt the growth of knowledge through Luddite over-reaction.

     

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

    “Remember,” he said to the two beloved faces crowding the carriage window. “No drinking out of wet glasses. No betting on slow horses. No—” The jokes died in his throat. “Oh, Jesus God Christ, what am I going to do without the two of you?” He turned away, bleak with loss.
    Delaney, Frank (2009-10-13). Ireland: A Novel (p. 226). HarperCollins.

     

     

     

    TODAY’S CHART:
    1525410c3f1938edbd7c8de7c5dc43e0

     

    The interesting thing to note about this chart is that almost all the non-stressful careers are in engineering and are relatively highly paid, while most of the highly stressful jobs are dangerous or low paying or both. So, one would think, if you are young and looking for a career you should head off to engineering school.

     

    Alas, here in America over the last score or so of years, we have been closing our engineering schools or being forced to fill them with students from other countries. Yes, the continued health of our modern technological society depends on the despised immigrants. Apparently modern white American males shun the hard work required to earn an engineering degree. And yes again, engineering in America has been often seen as a male only profession. Perhaps, it is the time that American woman should be encouraged to flood the remaining engineering schools and begin taking over this sector of our economy. Obviously, the men find it too difficult. Maybe, that well-represented tee-shirt slogan should be amended to read: “A woman’s place is in the House, Senate and in engineering school.”

     

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
    498

     

    The Mormons believe Native-Americans are descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. Anthropologists argue over whether they are descended from East-Asian immigrants to the continent, or Central-Asian or even European. Some Native-American religions believe they are descended from those who migrated through a hollow log or a long deep cave. I believe, however, that by studying the noble noses of some these dignified and proud people one can only conclude that they are Italian.

     

     

     

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

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 30 JoJo 0006 (June 16, 2017)

     

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM ITALY:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN TRANSIT:

    The last few days before leaving on a trip are usually part of the voyage itself, even if, like me, you just fuss and fume about not doing anything to prepare. A few days before departure, I did manage to throw some clothes and medicines into a suitcase.

    Usually, I have no anxiety about going on a trip — no matter how long and arduous it may be. This time, however, I was apprehensive. Perhaps, it is because of the state of my health or maybe it is my age. In any event, whenever I think about my travels this summer an indefinite shadow of concern rattles around the back of my mind.

    On Wednesday evening, Dick drove me to Sacramento Airport for my overnight flight to New York. After saying goodbye to him and to HRM, I walked into the airport. I decided to act the part of a bent and befuddled and creepy old man. An easy task since I am, in fact, a bent and befuddled and creepy old man. So, leaning heavily on my imitation black thorn shillelagh cane, I stumbled around and forced everyone to repeat whatever they tell me twice. I did this because I thought it would help me get assigned better seating and boarding preference (it did), and also because many, many years ago when introduced to “method” acting one of the exercises was to stumble around like an old man. Now that I am an old man, I thought it would be interesting to see how accurate we had been. It was great fun.

    In New York, I managed to spend a bleary-eyed day at Kennedy Airport waiting for my flight to Milan. It doesn’t matter how old, bent and befuddled you may be, in New York they will still tell you to “go fuck yourself” or the like if your responses are too slow.

    No matter how tiring and uncomfortable traveling may be, especially by airplane, there is usually something interesting to watch. That is probably because unlike passing strangers on a street or in a restaurant, on a plane or waiting around an airport boarding area you are involved in a short term community and with people with similar goals— to survive the trip.

    While waiting in New York’s Kennedy Airport at what I thought was the correct gate, I noticed that the boarding area across from me was fitted out with tables and chairs decorated as though a party was going to be held soon. Waiters spread out among the other gates in the area offering everyone free fruit juice. Soon strangely dressed people began to drift in outfitted in various odd costumes usually including a strong dose of sequins. It all began to resemble a Fellini film. Then the star of the show arrived. At least I think it was the star since almost everyone in sequins and some without would come over to her, smile and then kiss and hug her. She was about six feet two inches tall with one of those tight skinned expressionless faces like Trump’s wife’s that are the frightening wonders of modern cosmetic surgery (you wonder how and why). Her breasts were out of a porno comic, her butt something that would make JayLo’s appear malnourished and her dress easier described by what it did not cover than what it did.

    Anyway, eventually they all gathered at the tables and after about 20 minutes or so of partying and picture taking, they all got up, including the super-star, and marched through the gate marked “Vienna.” So, if you read or hear about anything unusual happening in Austria during the second week in June, I’d love to hear about it

    Shortly after the carnival departed, I learned I that I had been waiting at the wrong gate. So, I rushed across the airport to the correct one where I was met by Frank Cozza, an Alitalia employee, who Nikki arranged to take me through security and generally ease my transit. He told me that he had paged me for an hour or more. But, I guess, with my diminished hearing and all the partying, I did not hear it. Frank arranged for me to decompress for a half hour in the first class lounge.

    The most interesting thing about the flight was that sitting a few rows from me was about five deaf Italian women who had been visiting the US and were now returning to Italy. Although I cannot read sign, I could understand them easily since I am proficient in Italian facial expressions and hand gestures. In the US and most other places, I guess, signing carries the message with facial and hand gestures used for emphasis. In Italy, or at least among these women, facial expressions and hand gestures carried the message while the signs seemed to be used only for emphasis.

    They were loud also. At the luggage carousel, everyone’s eyes were drawn to them as they talked or argued in sign over the various pieces of luggage that trundled by.

    .
    B. TAMIL AND SACILE:

    The following day, I arrived in Italy, the land of expressive hands and dramatic noses. Nikki met me as I exited the plane at Malpensa near Milan. He was scheduled to fly a plane to Tokyo in a few hours. We had lunch. I ate spaghetti and lobster. I actually could taste the lobster. Perhaps my taste is returning. Or, perhaps I can only taste things that come packed in their own slime.

    Then it was off across northern Italy by train to Sacile where I was met by Vittorio who promptly drove me to a cafe where the two women owners implored me to assist them with drafting their proposal for developing a techie way of assuring artist profits in the face of discount sales. I agreed. At a little after one AM, I finally got to bed following well over two days of traveling with little sleep.
    IMG_20150602_123436_352
    Sacile

     

    At 8 AM the next morning, Vittorio and I drove across the Veneto farmlands toward another town where he was to play in a marching band during a commemoration ceremony for the town’s Alpine troops who died in the two world wars. As we drove, on our right the pre-alps rose above the fertile plain like a Roman shield wall before an assault by the Gauls. It was a lovely day.

    Vittorio plays tuba in a number of bands and orchestras in the area. Like with Peter Grenell, who I often follow along to his various gigs, I happily follow Vittorio along to his whenever I am here. I guess I can be viewed as a “geriatric groupie.”
    IMG_2889
    Vittorio and His Tuba

    Vittorio’s band mates and the Alpini veterans all wore their distinctive hats with one stiff erect eagle feather jutting above each. I learned that the dark feathers ment the person had been an enlisted man and the lighter stiff erect eagle feather signified an officer. I could not help noticing that the stiff erect feather of the officers was, on the whole, distinctly smaller than those of the enlisted men’s except for one or two of the officers whose stiff erect feathers were larger than everyone else’s. You may make whatever sociological conclusions from that you want.

    Upon our return, we stopped in Sacile for Prosecco at Lucia’s “Le Petite Cafe.” Disney-world is not the happiest place on earth, Lucia’s “Le Petite Cafe” is.
    IMG_20150527_163447_667
    Lucia and Vittorio at “Le Petite Cafe” in Sacile.

     

    Following an afternoon nap, we set off for a bon voyage dinner in honor of Vittorio and Teacher Brian’s impending 30-day walking pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain. But, that is for my next post.

     

     

     

    PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

     

    There is a proposal to privatize the Nation’s air traffic controller system. Air traffic controllers are responsible for airline safety in take offs and landings at the Nation’s airports and the skies around them. In other words, like traffic cops except with more authority and responsibility.

    I guess, the first question that comes to mind is how comfortable will passengers be knowing their safety rests in the hands of the lowest bidder on the contract. Will we find ourselves sooner or later hearing a corporate executive of the traffic controllers private company paraphrase that infamous pharmaceutical exec and claim his job is not to assure the safety of the passengers but the profits of the shareholders?

     

     

    MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

     

    The Secret of Thai Soap Operas as Revealed by the Little Masseuse:

     

    During my weekly massage, my masseuse likes to watch Thai soap operas on television while she administers the various pains and pleasures of her therapy.

    Now, as I am sure we all know, soaps are a window into the dark, twisted soul of a society, so it is with Thai soap operas.

    To me, all Thai soaps appear to tell the same story and contain the same characters. There is usually the beautiful innocent heroine and another equally beautiful though not so innocent young woman. You can usually tell them apart by their eyebrows. The innocent heroine’s eyebrows are somewhat rounded, while her evil counterparts appear straighter. They are accompanied by two equally attractive young men, one good and the other not so good. Both men are clearly in charge although in general, they are often remarkably oblivious and at times stupid. These four then are supported by a cast of actors and actresses of varying ages often playing family members of the protagonists. There are also one or two comic characters, usually played by ladyboys.

    Although the stories are, generally, all the same, their location varies. I have seen Thai soaps set in the homes of the rich, and others in the homes of the poor living beside a klong somewhere. I have also seen them set in grocery stores, health clubs, and farms. Some occur in modern times others in old Siam and still, others are set in times of magic or in some guerrilla campaign somewhere. One, although clearly set in Thailand, had everyone dressed in American cowboy clothing. There was even a western saloon with swinging doors. Ghosts are popular but production values are low.

    Anyway, this particular day, the masseuse was watching a soap in which the straight-browed beauty dressed all in black and carried a sword had just done unspeakable things to a group of poor people locked in cages.

    Viewing this through my western acclimated eyes that see everything as a conflict between good and evil no matter the atrocities performed by either side, I commented, “She must be the bad girl.”

    To which my masseuse responded, “Good or bad, it makes no difference. She is beautiful and everyone cares about her and what she does. If she were not so beautiful no one would give a damn at all about her or anything she does.”
    IMG_0611
    The Little Masseuse

     

     

    CRACKED FACTOID:

     

    According to David Wong, who is definitely not an authority on anything, monsters come in two types — those that breed and those that do not. Frankenstein is one of the latter. Once he is dead everyone can go back about their business. The breeders, however, are another matter. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves are breeders. That means, if you come across one of them, you can be reasonably sure there are more of them out there.

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

    Life is a maximum security prison in which all the inmates live on Death Row.

    images
    The Young Trenz Pruca

     

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

    “The English language needs a word for that feeling you get when you badly need help, but there is no one who you can call because you’re not popular enough to have friends, not rich enough to have employees, and not powerful enough to have lackeys. It’s a very distinct cocktail of impotence, loneliness and a sudden stark assessment of your non-worth to society.”
    Wong, David. This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It (John Dies at the End 2) (p. 23). St. Martin’s Press.

    English does have a word for it dude. It’s the second word in the phrase “you’re fucked.”

     

     

     

    TODAY’S CARTOON:
    tumblr_n24l3bhqb41rlvrwdo1_400

     

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
    IMG_2823
    Pookie in Tamai, a Child of the Corn.

     

     

     

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

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 JoJo 0006 (June 4, 2017)

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM AMERICA:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:
    IMG_0358

    Why are these people smiling?

     

    So, I spent the Memorial Day weekend at my sister’s house in Mendocino. The sky was overcast and the ocean calm and gray. It was abalone hunting season. Parked cars filled the side of the road along the bluff disgorging their black-rubber suited occupants and their tire irons. The divers lined up and marched down the sinuous steep paths that snaked along the bluff face to the water below. From the top of the bluff, they looked like a dark ant army covering the rocks and invading the kelp beds. A lot of them were Asian, Japanese and Chinese tourists I guess, flown over here for the abalone hunting season. I suspect, if they were Muslim the current administration in Washington would suddenly become abalone conservationists.

    Most of the time, Mary, George and I sat in the house by the large windows overlooking the ocean talking and laughing among ourselves or buried in some book or reading the NY Times.

    On Sunday, we went to the Casper Community Breakfast and Flea Market. Mary and George set up a few tables in the grassy area at the side of the Casper Community Center. On the tables, we placed a few things they had lying around their garage to be sold at the market.
    IMG_2807

     

    I headed off for the community breakfast leaving them to their commercial endeavors. The community volunteer waitpersons sat me in a middle seat at a rectangular table seating six. I did not know anyone else at the table. Having as a result of my therapy an upset stomach, lost most of my hearing and taste, and blurry eyesight, I had little expectation of enjoying either the food or the company. Suddenly across the room, I saw a nose — Not just any nose but a magnificent nose. The nose was appended to the face of one of the woman volunteers waiting on the tables. As noses go, it was extremely well shaped. It was also huge as though insisting we all acknowledge its magnificence. It moved through the dining room like an icebreaker through the Arctic. I was enthralled.

    As many of you know, I abhor the cult of small noses and people who have them. It is insulting to those individuals proud of their prominent noses to know that others are encouraged to cut theirs off so they may become fashionable. Why are tiny-tot noses so fashionable anyway? What are they hiding behind those tiny nostrils? How do they enjoy the full aromas of life around them? Where is the facial drama — the character — the pride?

     

    1indians420
    Now that is a Nose to Remember.

     
    B. BACK TO THE GOLDEN HILLS:

     

    On Monday, Memorial Day, I drove back to EDH. It was a long but relatively pleasant drive— past Lake Mendocino, Lucerne (The Switzerland of California), Clear Lake, through the wildfire ravished forests of blackened trees, the folded hills and out into the green expanse of Great Valley and into the Golden Hills. Since returning, I have resumed exercising — walking around the lakes in Town Center and swimming in the pool at the health club.

    One day, I took HRM to the orthodontist to have his braces removed. I was startled when, following the removal, I was invited to watch everyone, including the orthodontist himself, sing, dance and throw around balloons to celebrate HRM’s relief from two years of discomfort.

    IMG_2809

    That is the orthodontist on the right showing off his dance routine.

     

    When I was a kid I never heard of dancing dentists. I still think it is odd. Lampedusa in his novel Il Gattopardo has his main character, the aging Prince, after observing the antics of the younger nobility at the great ball of the Sicilian nobility, comment, “Just look at them. In another generation, they will be climbing back into the trees.”

    My departure next week for Italy and Southeast Asia has me a bit anxious. A few months ago I spent two days planning the trip knowing I will still be suffering the side effects of my treatments. I researched and listed in a notebook all the things I absolutely should bring along with me and how they should be packed. I planned out meticulous itineraries and identified all the pertinent phone numbers and contacts I would need. Finally, I prepared a detailed budget. Then as I always do, I promptly ignored everything finding it all too complicated and deciding instead to wait for my departure date, grab whatever is near at hand and take off hoping for the best.

     

     

     

     

    MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

     

    For eight years I have sent out This and that from re Thai r ment to my best and closest eighty or so friends.(I have also published them in a blog https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/ ) I thought it would be interesting (to me at least) to go back and look at my first post from each year. Here are some excerpts:

     

    January 17, 2010: From Thailand.

    “I arrived safely in Thailand and am now attempting to cope with jet lag in my hotel.

    Normally, I despise 20-hour plane rides, but sometimes, like on this trip, the movies make up for the discomfort. I managed to see:

    ‘The Bastards’: Great Tarantino. All the gratuitous violence you could want wrapped into an engaging story.

    “Surrogates,” with Bruce Willis. He seems to make a career out of appearing beat up and disheveled. This was a lot like, but not as good as, “Twelve Monkeys” but worth seeing nevertheless.

    “Zombie Land.” I expected to hate it but enjoyed it a lot. A road picture with 4 misfits who hook up and find a life, if only to fight zombies. Great bit with Bill Murray.

    Some coming of age French flick with the usual, but much more intelligent, teenage angst and starring an actress whose name I did not catch playing the mother of one of the slightly wayward girls and who is one of the most engaging actresses I have seen in a while.

    Well, that’s all for now, most of the rest has been sleep.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/this-and-that-january-17-2010/

     

    January 11, 2011: From Thailand.

    “I guess leaving Paradise by the Sea and traveling to the Big Endive by the Bay can be looked at as an adventure that at least began in Thailand and ended back there as well.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-january-10-2011/

     

    January 1, 2012: From Thailand.

    “Yesterday I was in my manic state, the drooling but happy one. On my way to exercise in the morning, I felt good enough to do an impromptu little soft shoe on the street corner including a Durante-like shuffle with my hat waving in my hand by the side of my face. The Little Masseuse was embarrassed and asked me to stop before people began to think I was not 100 percent.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-12-joseph-0001-january-1-2012/

     

    January 4, 2013: From El Dorado Hills.

    “I am considering starting a new blog. It will focus on commentary about historical events. Of course, if it is anything like my current and past attempts at blogging, I can expect that after a year of effort, I will have received about 35 hits and perhaps a dozen comments. About half of the comments will be from Nigeria or someplace like that letting me know that my efforts have changed their lives and inquiring if I would be willing to open up a bank account in their name where they could deposit $20 million they just happened to find lying around in the jungle that, for “technical” reasons, they cannot move out of the country. The other half will come from people with names like Cindy, Mindy, Sandy, Darla, and Isabel telling me how “awesome” (yes, that is the word they use) they found my post to be and how awesome (again) it would be to get together sometime where we could exchange blogs in private.

    Anyway, I am thinking of naming the blog, ‘A Commentary on Historical Events or What the Fuck Happened?’”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-16-joseph-0002-january-4-2013/

     

    January 16, 2014: From El Dorado Hills.

    “I have not written here for about three weeks in part because I have grown a bit tired of T&T, but mostly because my blood clots have returned and I am too depressed to do much of anything. Today was the first day I have been able to walk for any length of time since the clot was discovered. I walked this afternoon to the duck pond and back. It felt good to be up and about. The sun was shining and the weather was quite warm for this time of year.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-27-joseph-0003-january-16-2014/

     

    January 9, 2015: From El Dorado Hills.

    “Today I said to myself, “The hell with the temperature or my physical maladies I’m going swimming.” So I dove into the outdoor pool at my new health club and swam for twenty minutes which is pretty good since I have not seriously exercised for over two months. After my swim, I spent some time in the hot tub, took a steam bath and showered. It made me very happy.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-20-joseph-0004-january-9-2015/

     

    January 14, 2016: From El Dorado Hills.

    “On this the first day of the year 2016 of the Gregorian Calendar, my 76th year of life on this minor piece of interstellar detritus, I decided to review the 200 or so books I read in the past year. I discovered, to my not so great surprise, that I would classify all but about 20 of them as entertaining trash. My first resolution of 2016 is to reduce the number of non-trash novels I read to below 15. At my age, I see no pressing need for self-improvement.

    My goal in life is to have no goals — a few desires perhaps but nothing greater than the most ephemeral of longings. When I was 5 or 6 years old and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded, “ a bum” or “a hobo.” It seemed to me, even then, that any other life choice demanded submission to the desires usually of others but sometimes my own and not to the simple limits of nature. I guess this means I craved a minimalist life of aimless wandering punctuated by brief moments of inconsequential obsessions. It is a very hard thing to do. I usually just take a nap and consider the day a success.

    Speaking of naps, I take them not so much to rest but to enter an alternate reality when my waking life seems to be on re-run. As an example, on Sunday HRM was gone on a play date, Dick decided to take the day off to rest and I had no car. It was cold and rainy, so going for a walk was out. I was soon bored with reading Facebook posts and decided to nap and visit my alternate reality. In this case, I found myself in a large log structure during the dead of a snow-filled winter day. There were several families living there in a communal arrangement. Most of the families were led by women but some were led by men. Children happily played around the fire pits. We seemed not to be stressed by any outside events that may have caused us to be there but, in fact, we appeared quite happy… and then toilet overflowed and things got weird — I could not get the plunger into the bowl, people kept telling me I was doing it all wrong, strange creatures appeared in the snow then disappeared and the overflow topped my shoes and drenched my socks. “Shit,” I exclaimed unnecessarily. So I woke myself up before things got worse and I went back to Facebook which although just as weird as my dreams at least my socks stay dry.”
    https://josephpetrillo.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/this-and-that-from-re-thai-r-ment-by-3th-25-joseph-0005-january-14-2016/

     

    January 1, 2017: From 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 and that I considered balancing that against 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.

     

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    A. Iroquois on Top:

    “Who were the Haudenosaunee? (Pronounced Ho-deh-no-shaw-nee.) We know them as the Iroquois, a league of six nations of the Northeastern Indian tribes, consisting of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas (the original Five) and later the Tuscaroras. Their confederacy stretched across most of New York State to Lake Erie, south to the Adirondack chain, west to the Ohio Valley, and north into Ontario. Iroqu (meaning rattlesnake) was the name given to them by their enemies the Algonquins. The French added the suffix “ois,” as an insult, thus the name Iroquois. They preferred to be called the Haudenosaunee (People of the Long House).”

    “Dekanawidah, born in Ontario, founded the Iroquois and bound the original five nations together into a Confederacy, establishing the Gayanashagowa – The Great Binding Law – which ensured a lasting peace among these independent tribes. They were bound together with this formal “constitution.” To this day the Iroquois are the oldest, continuous participatory democracy on Earth! The Ha do no sau nee, living in peace under one common law. They have practiced this representative form of government for centuries. In the Iroquois’ Book of the Great Law, there are striking parallels with our country’s Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches. It is well acknowledged by historians that the democratic principles of the Six Nations influenced and shaped the Constitution of the United States.”

    “Apart from this remarkable fact is an even more astounding item. The clan mothers (or Gantowisas) were female officials who enjoyed political, economic, religious and social powers unprecedented and unparalleled in any civilization! These ladies owned the land and homes, and all the children. They had the right to adoption, to determine life and death. They declared and ended wars. They conferred or retracted citizenship. They had the exclusive right to raise up or depose Chiefs. They had to be represented in all councils. They made or abrogated treaties. They also held trusteeship of tribal property. The tribes relied on their opinion and ability to make wise decisions. These women were the political and social backbone of all the Confederacy.”
    Gregory Christiano

     

    B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

    I have always craved a minimalist life of aimless wandering punctuated by brief moments of inconsequential obsessions.

     

    C. Today’s Poem:

    Excerpt from Lyrics to “The Crickets Have Arthritis,” by Shane Koyczan.

     

    It doesn’t matter why I was there, where the air is sterile and the sheets sting.
    it doesn’t matter that I was hooked up to this thing that buzzed and beeped every time my heart leaped, like a man whose faith tells him:
    God’s hands are big enough to catch an airplane

    or a world,

    doesn’t matter that I was curled up like a fist protesting death,
    or that every breath was either hard labor or hard time,
    or that I’m either always too hot or too cold
    it doesn’t matter because my hospital roommate wears star wars pajamas,
    and he’s nine years old

    His name is Louis

    and I don’t have to ask what he’s got, the bald head with the skin and bones frame speaks volumes.
    The Gameboy and feather pillow booms like, they’re trying to make him feel at home ‘cause he’s gonna be here a while

    I manage a smile the first time I see him and it feels like the biggest lie I’ve ever told.
    so I hold my breath
    cause I’m thinking any minute now he’s gonna call me on it
    I hold my breath
    cause I’m scared of a fifty-seven-pound boy hooked to a machine, because he’s been watching me, and maybe I’ve got him pegged all wrong, like

    maybe he’s bionic or some shit.
    so I look away…
     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

     

    “They say Los Angeles is like The Wizard of Oz. One minute it’s small-town monochrome neighborhoods and then boom— all of a sudden you’re in a sprawling Technicolor freak show, dense with midgets.”
    Wong, David. John Dies at the End (p. 23). St. Martin’s Press.

     

     

     

     

    TODAY’S CARTOON:
    403833_452167268137623_53805153_n

     

     

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
    IMG_2748

    The Second Most Embarrassing Photograph Ever Taken of Me.

     

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

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 JoJo 0006 (May 28, 2017)

     

    “Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.”
    Horowitz, Anthony. The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel (p. 54). Little, Brown and Company.

     

     

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY’S TO MY BELOVED DAUGHTER JESSICA, MY FABULOUS BROTHER IN LAW GEORGE DREAPER, NIKKI REFFO, AND NEAL FISHMAN.

     

    CONGRATULATIONS TO TOM AND KATHLEEN ON THEIR UPCOMING WEDDING.

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM AMERICA:
    IMG_2793

     

     

    A. FUNERAL

    On May 18, we held my mom’s funeral at St. Ann’s Home in San Francisco. Although a sad occasion, I felt uplifted and a sense of closure due primarily to my sister and George’s efforts. They made the event a celebration of her life with a display of memorabilia, photographs, my mom’s artworks and with their eulogies — especially Maryann’s (see below).

    I drove to SF the day before the funeral and spent the night at Peter and Barrie’s house. Because El Dorado Hills is such a silent place, I had an excess of words bundled up inside of me which, in an unbroken monolog of stories, observations, comments, and opinions that I spread across the floors of the house until I emptied myself. Then, exhausted and slightly embarrassed I trundled off to bed.

    At the funeral the next day, I was pleasantly surprised by who showed up. Of course, my sister, her family, and a few of their friends were there including one of whom traveled all the way down from Mendocino. My son Jason and his family, Annmarie and the grandchildren were there also. Peter and Barrie attended along with Kathleen Foote (outside of family members, Kathleen and Ruth Galanter are the women I have known the longest), and Bob Uram, my partner at Shepard Mullen and one of the nation’s best environmental lawyers. In a welcome surprise, Don Neuwirth who I had not seen for over 20 years also dropped by.

    The funeral brochure included a beautiful poem written by Ruth:

    Teresa Petrillo departed this earth
    Leaving grief and relief among those she gave birth.

    To watch someone aging is hard while you do it;
    In some ways as hard as yourself going through it.

    So much as you’ll miss her, remember she’s free
    And keep all her stories in your memory.

    Teresa was tough, as her tough life required
    To raise her three children. She should be admired!

    And so as she passes from this life to next
    Let’s think of her life in its broader context:

    An immigrant child when few folks had phones,
    She lived to see spying conducted by drones!

    She had strong opinions, as all of you know,
    And it’s likely that she chose the time she would go.

    And so as she passes, remember her strength,
    Tell others her story, but not at great length,

    Be glad that you knew her because there’s no other
    Relationship quite like a child with its mother.

    Be sure as she’s watching from heaven above
    That she sees you with pride and, above all, with love.

    IMG_2796_2
    My mother as a young woman.

     

    B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

    After a brief reception at Annmarie’s, I returned to EDH. The next day, too exhausted to move much, I stayed in the house and rested.

    The sun has begun its annual baking of the Golden Hills transforming them from spring green to summer gold. The skies, now and then dotted with cottony clouds, have turned deep blue.
    IMG_2701
    Clouds over the health club pool.

    My doctors seem to think I am doing well and continue to try to persuade me that my complaints of various pains and physical difficulties are simply signs that I am recovering. In fact, I do feel a bit better and have begun to eat and exercise more. In addition to swimming, my exercise consists primarily of seemingly endless walks around the lakes in City Center. To avoid collapsing and expiring from ennui in the middle of the path during those walks, I have taken to talking to and arguing with myself. This I suspect is a sign of terminal mental breakdown.

    Along the walkways, wild grape vines have taken over the landscape like kudzu vines take over a forest. Depending on how I feel that day, I am either happy to be strolling between those lush green walls or terrified that the twisted tendrils reaching out will grab me and swallow me up. I think I am becoming delusional. Perhaps, I have been so for a while now.
    IMG_2798.jpg

     

     
    C. MENDOCINO:

    Having had enough of the excitement of the golden hills, I set off to spend the Memorial Day weekend with my sister and George. I took a different route than usual. I traveled along Route 5 up the Central Valley and then along State Route 20 to Ft. Bragg. Although this route was slightly longer in miles and did not avail itself of as much freeway n my usual way, once past Sacramento I avoided the traffic slowdowns at the Yolo Causeway, Davis, Route 37, Petaluma and Santa Rosa cutting my actual driving time by two hours — even with stopping for a pleasant walk along the shores of Clear Lake.
    IMG_2799
    Since arriving in Mendocino, I have gone for walks along the coast, eaten well, napped a lot, and talked at length with Mary and George. Some friends of their son Brendan arrived to scout out sites for a music video. I suggested a few likely places that I was aware of and thought might fit their needs and they trundled off to look at them. The next day they left leaving Mary, George, and I to face the weekend.

     

    D. JERRY SMITH:

    Pasted Graphic
    On May 7, 2017, Jerry Smith passed away. He had been my boss and a great friend. Jerry had been a California State Senator. He carried the California Coastal Act of 1976 to passage. I was his committee consultant responsible for shepherding the bill drafting and negotiating with the various interest involved. Together, we also passed a major revision of CEQA, Victims of Crime rights, and several other significant pieces of legislation.

    Following eight years in the Senate, he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Appellate Court. Upon his retirement from the court, Jerry became a consultant to countries seeking to reform their judicial systems.

    Later, he became a well-known local sculptor whose work appears in many public places in Santa Clara Valley. In the photograph below, Jerry stands near his bronze sculpture of St. Cardinal Bellarmine at Santa Clara University. I think of everything, he loved being an artist best.
    Pasted Graphic 1

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    A. Mary Anne on Top:

     

    1. The Entrepreneurial Mindset and Women’s Empowerment.

    My sister wrote an interesting article in a local Mendocino publication about entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment the first two paragraphs of which I especially liked.

     

    CELEBRATING THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
    By Mary Anne Petrillo, Executive Director West Company

    The youngest daughter of the first born son of a patriarchal New York Italian family generally does not stray far from home. But somehow a crack occurred in the continuum of the universe and at the age of 16, my father gave me his blessing to travel to California to visit my oldest brother. The year was 1974. What I and my family did not know at that time, was that my brother was bushwhacking his way up and down the California coast using his legal chops to save the coast from development. Shortly after my arrival he put me on a Greyhound bus and said go to Mendocino it’s like nothing you have ever seen, it will change your life. Arriving at midnight, it was not until morning light broke when I walked outside to see the Pacific Ocean in all its glory for the first time. The experience did change my life because I knew, as only one does when they feel a physical transformation that I would one day live here. Two years later I was in California. Thirty years later Mendocino became my home.

    But the journey from then to now was more than just a location swap. When I arrived in California it was the 80’s and anybody with a little bit of knowledge, some office space, and a telephone could open up shop and start a business. I jumped in and joined the fray. Business was booming. There were no PC’s no internet and no social media. Cold calling was king. Big shoulder pads, a briefcase, and a business card was all the armor you needed. I ran my own business, hired staff, and fired staff, balanced checkbooks, and embraced the technology vortex as it radically transformed the work environment and dramatically transformed how we communicated. While I was trying to build my reputation as a woman entrepreneur little did I know there was another woman with a mission laying the groundwork for women empowerment in my future home.
    http://realestatemendocino.com/images/REM%20697.pdf

     

     
    2. My Sister Mary Anne’s Eulogy for our Mom:

     

    For Mom

    She was the youngest daughter, born to the oldest son, of a patriarchal Sicilian family
    By rights, her place in life should have been secured, as the youngest girl it should have been the life of a princess, but

    By age 7, she was an orphan
    By 10 she was an indentured servant living in a foreign country, gripped by hunger
    By 15 she had found true love and began to believe there was a future
    By 16, she lost this love to a tragic death (her next true love would not come for another 63 years)
    At 19, she married a man who adored her but was plagued by his own demons and insecurities
    Throughout her 20’s and 30’s, she struggled to raise her two sons while fighting off cancer, epilepsy, leukemia, anemia, colitis, ulcers and depression.
    At 40, as her middle child lay in a hospital bed struggling to live after a severe car accident, she gave birth to her last child, a daughter
    At 50 she learned to drive and received her first paycheck … as a waitress
    At 70 she celebrated 50 years of an unhappy marriage
    At 80 she found the community of St. Anne’s that brought her the peace of mind and heart she never knew
    At 82 she met her second true love and at 84 she lost him
    At 85 she picked up a paintbrush for the first time and astounded everyone with her capacity for creativity
    At 90 as her mental state precariously rocked between a woman who was for so long was my best friend and cheerleader and a contrarian who sadly saw the glass … half empty

    This was the life of Teresa Corsello known to everyone as Terry Petrillo and known to me as mom.

    I was the recipient of all she learned of a life that brought endless challenges and also quiet joys. It falls upon me today to speak about my mother to many of you who knew her during only one phase of her life.

    Throughout her long life, my mother was many things. She was an incredible cook who always seemed to produce endless amounts of comfort food no matter what time of day you dropped by unannounced. Once during college, I came to her house with a group of friends unexpected and within what seems like minutes there was 10 roasted chickens, 3 green vegetables and 2 yellow vegetables and spaghetti and meatballs followed by cheesecake!

    She was what we today might call a fashionista. In her late 50’s she held a sales job at Niemen Marcus. They loved her and she was like a sponge absorbing the latest fashion trends. Her sense of style carried on well into her elder years as she always knew how to put together an outfit. Whether the clothes were bought at the thrift shop or Sak’s Fifth Avenue she intuitively understood color and style.

    Long after her children were grown she became a creative force. Brief as this time was in her life she surprised us all with her capacity for creativity. Who knew! Learning first to be hula dancer and then picking up a paint brush at 85 to become an extraordinary painter. Had she lived I have no doubt she would have tried her hand at music and gone on tour with her grandson!

    She was a grandmother of the first degree. Loving her grandchildren with abandon. There was no bowl of sugar cereal too big and no ice cream cone too large for her grandkids. As a child, I couldn’t always see the unconditional love my mother gave me but observing her with my children I witnessed a love so profound and so pure that now when I see how confidently my children walk through this world I know it is because of her unbridled love for them.

    She, of course, was a mother and wore that role with pride. But she suffered from the Mother’s conundrum which is to raise your children to be fiercely independent so that they stand on their own but then keenly feel the loss of your children once they were gone. There are no recipes to be the perfect mom. And she had few role models to pull from so she relied on the belief that you can never love too much. And love her children she did.

    And finally most of all she was a friend. If I close my eyes today and think back on what I witnessed most during my childhood it was the multitude of friends that walked through our tiny apartment. My mother was a confidant. She was the type of person you could tell your troubles to and she never criticized or diminished your need to tell your story. Today we live in an age where so many things vie for our attention. What made my mother unique and why she was such a good friend is because when she was with you she was with you 100% you always felt that you were the most important person there was and she was listening just to you.

    She knew when, as a child, I had no friends so she became my best friend. She knew that I loved art but had no role models, so she took me to museums. She didn’t pretend to know art she just took me to the place where it existed. When I had no boyfriends like most teenage girls were supposed to have she never once stopped believing that I would one day find my true love and she knew he would be a good man. And when I made her wait an incredible 10 years before having grandchildren she never chided, guilted or pressured me. She believed in every single one of my choices and never held back in expressing that belief.

    She fastened me with wings so that I never once believed there was a situation I could not rise above. The wings she gave me were made of steel, honed by the endless stories of her childhood, her fears, and her failures. Without the benefit of lofty analysis or intellectual pursuits, she took what life lessons she acquired as an immigrant with no family of her own and she spoke her stories to me in the hope that they would somehow protect and prepare me for life.

    They have and they will forever more…..

     

     
    B. Peter’s Comments on the Previous Issue of T&T:

    I galumphed through two gigs yesterday: The first, with the old Beardos, was at the Lilienthal School’s annual Mayfair. Our respective children went there, and one year Barrie was in charge of entertainment for the Fair, which is held in the school yard (fun and fundraising). She said to me: “You’re playing at the Mayfair.” At that time I hadn’t been doing any of that for some time. I replied negatively. Then, of course, she and three other wives/mothers caballed and the four husbands/fathers became the Beardos; this after we actually played at the Fair where no one threw tomatoes and we discovered we had a good time. Followup: the Beardos stayed together and played for eight years; and, we have played at the Mayfair each year for 25 years; yesterday was the silver anniversary. We noticed that the children and most of the adults weren’t around when we first played what became our ‘greatest hits’. Time passes. My morning pain pill and the stool I now sit on to play got me through that one.

    Later on, I went over to Emeryville to join the Blind Lemon Pledge folks to celebrate the release of James’s and BLP’s new album, Backwoods Glance. The event was at a place called Strings, a performance venue (an auditorium-like room, with living room feelings, created by an old hippy named Joey). Prior to a downed another pill. I’m now almost out and the doc needs to refill the prescription; he assumed one a day would do; it doesn’t. Limping toward Bethlehem…..

    I chose to have the hip surgery in late June because for May and June I have 22 gigs between the two bands. Not a matter of getting it up: rather more, one of getting up in the morning. Fortunately, the recurring necessity of what my grandmother (in a triumph of her pseudo-victorian pretensions) used to call “voiding” drives me to the loo. Down the primrose path to senility…..

    Peter’s response to my statement that I am a wuss and complain too much about my infirmities:

    Actually not. I noticed the other day that I’m kvetching a bit too much about my current ‘infirmity’; people notice my limp and that sets off the grumble. However, I do not blog. As to others, probably many men are caught in the stiff upper sphincter approach to maintaining their external manliness presentation and remain silent about their various imperfections. Another take on it: On TV, 5-6 pm is prime time for pharmaceutical ads during the news programs. Weird as this may seem, I recently counted 29 different drugs advertised during this one hourly period, such as Eliquis, Premarin, Repatha, Claritin, Flonase, Humira, Xeljanz, etc. Why grumble when you can scarf down an endless chain of pills and be part of Making America Great Again.
    I also thank everyone who, in response to the previous issue of T&T, expressed their condolences upon learning of my mother’s passing.

     

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

     

    “Whoever would make a name (i.e. glory) loses the name; he who increases not [his knowledge] decreases; whoever learns not [in Ab. R. N. xii.: “who does not serve the wise and learn”] is worthy of death; whoever exploits for his own use the crown (of Torah) perishes” (Avot. 1:13).
    Rabbi Hillel

     

     

     

    TODAY’S CHART:
    2013_08_Happiness_0

     

     

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
    IMG_2745

    From the mid-1950’s. Me and my bud’s from Tuckahoe NY, Charles (“Charlie”) DeVito and Peter (“Sir Rince”) Cirrincione. I am the dork on the far left — Shades of “The Lords of Flatbush,”

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

    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

    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.

     

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