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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.

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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.”
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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.

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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:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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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. 12 Joseph 0006 (January 1, 2016)

 

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

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can well understand that,” I responded.

 

A Christmas story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 10 2012)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM (94 YEARS OLD)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. “This and that…”:

I have entered all of my 2010 posts of “This and that…” into a blog. The first five months or so include comments from some of you as well as Irwin’s correspondence and entries from my journal. You can access the first 3 months here they appear in reverse order of posting — (now that I think about it, if I entered them in the blog in the reverse order to when I originally posted them they would appear in the proper order in the blog — No, that would screw up my head too much). I have also completed the posting of the first quarters of 2011 and 2012. I look at it as sort of a partially interactive journal.

2. Followers and following:

I have written often about my fruitless quest to increase the number of “hits” on my various blogs. The application that sends bloggers to my site so that I may “follow” theirs has become a source of entertainment if not particularly effective for marketing. This mornings batch included the blog “Sex and the Shameless” by an ex-stripper who writes a lot about the various men she sleeps with. When I opened the site it began with these immortal words:

“I’m female, 23, single, a stripper, in therapy and completely clueless.”

She then proceeds:

“I have only slept with 2 men this week which isn’t two [sic] bad for me, one guy was Antonio who I have slept with a few times and the other guy was Keith who I hadn’t slept before and would never again!”

Actually I like this blog a lot. Here is the link. Read about the customer to the strip club that had the strippers crush toy cars with their bare feet.

This I get with my morning coffee. It is almost as good as the Thai soaps. Speaking of which:

3. Thai Soaps Update:

Since the end of the soap featuring the ghost or demon with horns and acne, I have begun following a few others. One that I may have mentioned before, concerns a young nubile female who is beaten or slapped around about four of five times per evening, mostly by the slapper in chief, her step-mother.

This formidable woman also has slapped around just about every other young woman in the show, as well as the obligatory comic relief ladyboy. She is often seen posed, preparing to strike with hand raised, elbow above the shoulder exhibiting the ideal form for an NFL quarterback getting ready to throw a pass.

The young ingénue’s boyfriend often comes upon his girl friend in the midst of being slapped around by several different cast members (and once in the middle of an attempted rape). But when the slapper explains what is going on, he just nods and goes on his way leaving them all to get on with their business.

Also the ingenue suffers from claustrophobia. So every once in a while she gets tied up by someone and thrown into a dark closet. Sometimes she is starved while she is in the closet. The boyfriend doesn’t do anything about this either.

After several months of this, the ingénue, and the ladyboy as well, seemed to have had enough and beat the hell out of the evil step-mother and her insipid daughter. Apparently it did not do any good because in the most recent episode, the ingenue was tied up and back in the closet.

The reason for all these assaults seems to be that the insipid daughter and another woman have designs on the ingenue’s boyfriend who also happens to be rich as well as stupid. The second woman is married to a man who seems unhappy with his wife’s obsession but does nothing about it but look sullen. LM says it is because he loves her.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Can an entire state win a Darwin Award?

Shades of King Canute! North Carolina’s State legislature is considering a bill that would require the government to ignore new reports of rising sea levels and predictions of ocean and climate scientists.

Other states may want then to close off their borders to people from North Carolina to keep them from breeding with their citizens.

2. Internet peril:

A woman who operates an on-line newspaper in Thailand was convicted of insulting the monarchy by allowing several comments to online news items to appear that were deemed a violation of the law.

It may interest you to know that now that I post these emails on the internet, I may be subject to fines and imprisonment under the “les majeste” laws of Thailand.

3. Turnabout is fair play, I guess:

Given the spate of recent news stories regarding severed members, I thought this provides some balance: In Afghanistan a man was arrested for trying to cut off his wife’s tongue during an argument.

It is the obvious symbolism behind severing the particular appendages mentioned in the various news stories that I find inane. People! let’s use a little imagination in our demonstrations of rage and revenge.

4. Social Media and the Advertising Industry:

 

Heat, a San Francisco-based ad agency, surveyed 150 advertising/marketing people and 150 civilians about their relationships with social media (and, oddly, their relationships with alcohol at office parties).

It turns out that not only do people in the ad world watch brands on Facebook and Twitter overwhelmingly more than normal people, but they are also way more likely to use drugs, throw up, and hook up with a coworker at office parties. Probably to numb the pain that no one is clicking on their sponsored stories.
(From my sister Mary Anne by way of Business Insider.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

This chart fascinates me. Some commentators have suggested that the decline in church building may represent a fall off in church membership or religious commitment. Others see current economic uncertainty affecting church finances. I suspect something a bit more complex may have influenced this particular decline, especially recently when the slide accelerated.

The sale of religious belief over the past few years, I suspect, to some extent has migrated from church pew first to the airways and now to the internet. It may become more profitable for ambitious divines to take their ministry out of the stationary pulpit and move it to wherever a believer may be at the time; home, car, work. Now through the wonder of mobile communication, social media and the internet, believers now can be reached from anywhere at any time by the Word of their choice. In addition, no longer need anyone sit silently in a pew while the sermon washes over them since they now can participate as well; comment on the message, share enlightenment with other believers, contribute to the ministry’s missionary work or political lobbying activity through Pay-Pal.

This is just another example of the many ways new communication technologies may affect society, community and physical development. Will a new community need a building in which to worship or will God dispense his grace electronically? If a building is still desired, does it have to be big or just plush? Does it require soaring ceilings, stained class windows and gleaming organs, or just a chair, a modem, i-tunes and a wandering u-tube crew.

Will fewer churches be built, office buildings constructed, shops opened, parking lots needed? Will city halls and governmental buildings be necessary? If not, what will new communities look like? What happens to already existing structures? What happens to the economy if we build fewer churches, offices, stores, parking lots, governmental buildings than we did in the past? What will all those people who built things now do to make a living? Will we live closer together or farther apart?

What will the society be like were fewer people to get their religion in churches, work in office buildings, shop in stores and drive about? What will we do with all that time we do not spend going to and from those places? We certainly will fill up the time. That is what people do. One thing we know we will not do with all that time; improve ourselves. That we never seem to get around to do.

None of these changes need to be universal or even particularly large in order to have a major effect on society. If say just five percent fewer churches, office buildings, stores and the like are built than past experience dictated would occur in similar populations, how great an impact would that be? What happens to jobs and profits? Is this what is already happening? Could it be that the whole foundation of economics is wrong? That neither demand creating supply or supply creating demand is anything more than a temporary phenomena generated by technological change?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

1. Notes from my diary:

a. On January 13, 1963: “I had an argument with my mother over my refusal to teach her to drive on the grounds that we would only have an argument over how I was teaching her to drive.”

b. January 21, 1963, weather report: “Today was very cold.”

c. I was one of the founders of the Young Democrats of Yonkers. On February 14, 1963, we met to elect the organizations first officers. I was expected to be elected president. Later that day I wrote:

“Tony Russo was elected president. I was forced to admit that I was a registered Republican. I must get that changed if I am ever to do anything in the organization.”

Do you really think so genius? I can see you are going to have a very successful life ahead of you.

2. Assumption Church:

This is a photograph of the Assumption Church in Tuckahoe NY. It is the Catholic church that, when I was a child, I and other italian immigrants and their families in the village had to attend if we wanted to attend a Catholic church, because the Church “discouraged” us from attending the “American” Catholic church nearby that was reserved for “white people” only. The few black Catholics and Puerto Ricans in the village also attended the Assumption Church.
My grandfather Joe donated the statue of St Francis standing in the niche in front. He brought it back with him from Italy when he was rich. After he lost his money in the 1929 crash, my grandmother became deranged and could be found some nights in her underwear lying in front of the statue of the Saint of the Poor, praying for his help with the return of the family’s wealth.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A. 17 Century New York City

1643 – The start of Kieft’s War between Lenape or Wappinger Native Americans and Dutch colonists took place within what would become the five boroughs of New York City. Allied with their trading partners, the powerful Mohawk, the Dutch defeated the Wappinger by 1645. The Mohawk and Dutch killed more than 1500 Wappinger in the two years of the war. This was a devastating toll for the Wappinger, whose population in 1600 was estimated at only 3,000.

1668 – First yellow fever epidemic strikes New York City.

Probably in punishment for what they did to the Wappingers.

B. How the 60s began:

1961 – Chico Marx and Carl Jung die.

Carl Jung’s final words are, “Does Chico yet live?”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A recent series of studies by a Brown University political scientist and by others at UCLA has revealed that most issues that conservatives disagreed with Obama about were closely associated with race.

When asked two similar sets of questions regarding a particular issue, one connecting the issue to Obama the other not, the conservative respondents answered negatively to those where Obama was mentioned and positively when he was not.

To test their conclusions, they associated one set of questions with a well known white liberal and the same ones to Obama and the same results ensued. There was no such difference when liberals were given the tests. To further verify the results, the scientists resorted to such things as showing a picture of Obama’s dog to the participants. Those shown just a photograph of the dog received generally positive reactions to questions regarding the dog’s “cuteness.” When informed that the dog was Ted Kennedy’s, the responses were essentially the same. For those told that the dog was Obama’s, the conservatives became overwhelmingly critical about the dog’s looks.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

BONUS QUOTE FROM THE PAST:

“The world is a ball of dung and we are the worms that live in it and eat each other. The one who eats all the others wins — but he is still the last living worm in a lump of shit.”
Tad Williams, Shadowrise.

TODAY’S CHART:

I am not sure this chart tells us anything we did not already know, but I like the graphic. What I do know is that if a real (not corporate) individual did something like this to a corporate (not real) individual he or she may be looking at some serious jail time.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Elmo wishes you all have a good day.

Elmo is considered by some to be a communist [he is red after all] and efforts are underweigh to ban him and Big Bird from appearing at events in some American schools.

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

This and That from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (16 Joseph 0001) January 4, 2012

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

More about the Naked Mole Rat (NMR):

As you know I have postulated that NMR are most likely our evolutionary successors. I believe that we, humanity, should get to know our heirs better and I propose the creation of the NMR Appreciation Society. I have attached below a recent photograph of the handsome fellow (He looks a lot like some of the farangs I see sitting at the bars in Bangkok).

Recently Peter G, (not related to Kenny G.), a sometime faithful reader of these posts, sent me what I believe is the clearest, most thoughtful and insightful analysis of our beloved successor.

“Known among bureaucrats as NMRs, the [dare I say it?] NMR does indeed have a bright future. As the depredations of the Corporate Humans, southern white male radicals, Newts, and other assorted dimwits and brigands dismantle the fragile remnants of civilization and hasten the total environmental breakdown from global warming, the NMR will thrive. How and why?

 This little critter barely breathes oxygen and its metabolism is the opposite of ADD. So, as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase exponentially with global warming, the NMR will kick back in salubrious delight and thrive in its subterranean burrows while the humanoids tear each other apart and gasp for breath. The real rats and the cockroaches and mosquitos won’t bother with the NMR’s underworld; they’ll have enough to feast on above.

The warming will only benefit the NMR, which, to avoid overheating in this post-petroleum fumed world, will change its bundling habit when it’s cold (no longer necessary) and expand its habitat range. NMR burrows will increase in extent by orders of magnitude, so more room will be available and overheating will not be a problem.

Now, sharper teeth and endurance will be needed to extend the burrow network of the NMR. The NMR will adapt — after all, what’s evolution all about? — and thus be able to enhance its tuber intake, becoming bigger and stronger and eventually enabling its burrow network to underlie all of eastern Africa. Then the fun will begin, as the NMR expands its domain Out Of Africa, learning Danish in the process and having its queen becoming the toughest bitch in the hood. Oxfam, whose few workers in the region will be the last surviving humanoid remnant before oblivion, will document this NMR evolution, which is how all of this is known. Remember that the cycle continues after the Age of Kali, and the data will have reposed in the Cloud for some time already, available to those who have access.

The NMR will also evolve spiritually, it’s becoming the superior mammal simply ineluctable. The NMR eats its own feces, which aids digestion of its main source of sustenance, the tough tubers (not to be confused with The Tough Tubers who used to open for the Rolling Stones). Here’s the key: a former Indian Finance Minister routinely drank his own urine as part of his whole spiritual discipline and enhancement. The evolving NMR will obtain similar benefits from recycling its own waste matter. As its habitat range expands, so, too, will the spiritual and physical dominance of the NMR become manifest.

And so, Naked Mole Rat über alles, with a super queen whose name is Alice, ubiquitous but without malice, looking like a tooth-ed phallus. NMR Zindabad!

I invite any and all of the readers of these posts to share with me your thoughts about this formidable, yet beloved, rodent. Together we can raise world-wide awareness of NMR and its destined role in evolutionary development.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

     1. 2012 Climate Change:

Departure of precipitation from average for 2011, as of December 6, 2011. Remarkably, more than half of the country (56%) experienced either a top-ten driest or top-ten wettest year, a new record. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.

Note: Although the above map is consistent with most climate change models, one cannot and should not refer to statistics for any single year or any region as proof of the process exists or does not exist. However, this map describes precipitation in 2011 as it relates to a ten-year or more period and may be more indicative of long-range trends.

In a post about a year ago, I predicted the general outlines of the information displayed on this map would develop as some of the potential long-term impacts expected from carbon induced climate change trends; escalating dryness in south and southwest US and wetness along the northern portions of each coast. What I did not expect is the level of precipitation in the north-western Rocky Mountains and in the upper eastern Midwest. Nor did I foresee the significant drying trend along the California and Oregon coasts and the US southeast coast.

The increased moisture northwest of the Appalachian Mountains are easily explained by the prevailing northwest winds in northern North America carrying the enhanced moisture leaden air against their western flanks and dropping that moisture as rain or snow as the air rises over the mountain crests. I am not sure about the cause of the greater precipitation along the eastern Rockies or the lack of it along the western Sierra’s although in the latter case the map seems to merely indicate normal year precipitation patterns over the decade.

As for the extreme coastal dryness in the two areas mentioned, some drying was expected in both areas as one progressed southward. Again in California’s case and much of the Colorado River drainage, it appears 2011 was simply an average year.

The real news, however, is not whether or not these trends are continuing and long-term, but the rapidity at which they are occurring. Most information I have seen indicates that the climate induced weather changes, whatever they may ultimately be, are quickening. If that is the case, then grappling with solutions may be less appropriate than personal and societal preparation for the inevitable impacts.

Nevertheless, we should all become aware that, 300 million years ago when, due mostly to vulcanism, the earths climate changed by between 10 and 16 degrees Fahrenheit, over about 20,000 years. During that period more than 75% of all life on the planet disappeared. Currently even the most avid climate change deniers agree that in less than a century the worlds average temperature will probably increase by at least 3.6 degrees. Most scientific peer-reviewed analyses, on the other hand see that increase to be somewhere between 6 and 7 degrees.

The current debate between these who have the most to lose now from actions taken to try to halt or delay these trends and those who have little to gain from them is over whether we are merely entering a period demanding greater AC availability or whether we should begin re-arranging the deck chairs. That debate resolves itself into an argument between those that maintain we should do nothing because something always turns up and those who believe that nothing turns up unless you do something.

     2. 2012, Climate Change Debate: ! ! Regarding the so-called climate change debate I discovered the following in my review of “Climate Progress” website:

“97 out of 100 climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

Several independent surveys find 97% of climate scientists who are actively publishing peer-reviewed climate research agree that humans are causing global warming. On top of this overwhelming consensus, National Academies of Science from all over the world also endorse the consensus view of human caused global warming, as expressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, movements that deny a scientific consensus have always sought to cast doubt on the fact that a consensus exists. One technique is the use of fake experts, citing scientists who have little to no expertise in the particular field of science.

 For example, the OISM Petition Project claims 31,000 scientists disagree with the scientific consensus on global warming.  However, around 99.9% of the scientists listed in the Petition Project are not climate scientists. The petition is open to anyone with a Bachelor of Science or higher and includes medical doctors, mechanical engineers and computer scientists.”

     3. The most dangerous drug in the world:

Members of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, including two invited specialists, met in a 1-day interactive workshop to score 20 drugs on 16 criteria: nine related to the harms that a drug produces in the individual and seven to the harms to others. Drugs were scored out of 100 points, and the criteria were weighted to indicate their relative importance.

MCDA modeling showed that heroin, crack cocaine, and met-amphetamine were the most harmful drugs to individuals (part scores 34, 37, and 32, respectively), whereas alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine were the most harmful to others (46, 21, and 17, respectively).

Overall, alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack cocaine (54) in second and third places.!

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Since my New Year’s Eve adventure, I have been lying low, swimming, napping and enjoying my massages.

The Little Masseuse seems to be losing her hair. I had an image of an aging Sinead OʼConnor as my masseuse. Recently she hinted about getting a wig, a red one. That did not surprise me as much as that, for some reason, I began to fancy one for myself. Not that I am losing my hair. Far from it. Although I now keep it short, we Petrillos are genetically incapable of losing our hair. Nevertheless, I could not understand my obsession. It was not because I was going completely grey, there are still some strands of black yet. No, I dreamt of sporting a bright red wig beneath my yellow Panama hat. If I were then to dye my neck wattle red then with my red coxcomb I would resemble a rooster wearing a straw hat. Life is strange, weird really. I think someone once said, “Dying is easy Life is hard,” or was it that boozy clown W. C. Fields who said, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” Whatever. Actually, if you think about it, life is interesting, death is a bore, thereʼs nothing to do anymore.

PETRILLOʼS COMMENTARY:

In 1950, finance and insurance in the United States accounted for 2.8% of GDP, according to US Department of Commerce estimates. By 1960, that share had grown to 3.8% of GDP, and reached 6% of GDP in 1990. Today, it is 8.4% of GDP, and it is not shrinking.

The problem raised by this statistic is that if the finance industry were doing what it and its captured economists tell us, that their activities were necessary to provide the financial resources to grow the economy, their percentage share in GDP should have remained the same or even decreased. Instead their share of GDP increased at a greater rate than any other sector of the economy, even greater than government, whose share of GDP actually decreased during most of this time.

What this tells me is that the financial industry rather than contributing to the growth of the economy, is focused instead on its own growth at the expense of the economy. So who needs it?

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

     RED STAR. Chapter: Escape (cont.):

Realizing that escape through the lobby might put innocent people at risk, Isabella chose the door to the alley. Pushing on the pressure lock with her back she swung into a crouch as she followed the door into the alley. She saw no one. Motioning for Vince to follow, she began to run toward the street. She had only gone a few feet when a car screeched to a halt blocking their way. Isabella dropped to one knee, gun outstretched prepared to fire. Vince trying to stop slipped and fell onto his already damp backside uttering the unnecessary and redundant expletive “shit.”

Before Isabella could fire the vehicle’s window descended revealing a smiling face waving at them.

“Ray,” exclaimed Isabella. She stood up and reached down to pull Vince to his feet. They ran to the car. She opened the rear door, pushed Vince in and followed.

Ray, carefully avoiding bringing additional attention to them by screeching the tires in a cinematic escape, drove carefully toward Market Street.

“Where to? Everyone OK? How you doing boss?” he asked in quick succession.

Vince, seething with resentment from his embarrassment and Isabella’s manhandling, just glared.

“Were ok. Drive to my place. I have security there. Thereʼs probably none at Vince’s apartment,” Isabella

“I need to change,” Vince interjected. “I’m sure you can do it at my place and it is safer there.”

They could hear the police sirens as they converged at the hotel. It reminded Vince of the law firm shooting at the high rise nearby. He had lost several friends there. It also took the cops a long time to get there then he thought bleakly.

They arrived at the plush high-rise condo hotel in which Isabella lived.

“Hold on to me as we cross the lobby, as though we are a little drunk,” Isabella directed. “It will help disguise why we look the way we do,” she added while wiping as much of the blood off her face with the tissues Ray handed to he when they entered the car.

Vince remained sullenly silent, but has he got out of the vehicle he, hesitated turned to Ray and said with the hint of a smile, “How come I seem to run into you everywhere?” (to be continued) !

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1.You may be smarter than you think you are:
Business Insider reports that an online survey of 895 Web users and experts found more than three-quarters believe the Internet will make people smarter in the next 10 years, according to results released on Friday. !! But 21 percent said the Internet would have the opposite effect and could even lower the IQs of some who use it a lot. !! Time will tell, but most experts believe the internet benefits intelligence.

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

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”:

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

     1. Why are they devouring each other?

“George Will was wrong: Newt Gingrich is a Marxist Two weeks ago, George Will wrote a column in which he said Newt Gingrich “would have made a marvelous Marxist.” At the time, it seemed a little over the top, but Gingrich managed to prove Will right yesterday when he leveled this attack Mitt Romney:

 Romney and Gingrich, from bad to worse I would just say that if Gov. Romney would like to give back all of the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, that I would be glad to listen to him.’

These are not the words of a conservative who believes in the free market system. This is the world view of a socialist bent on redistributing wealth.

Conn Carroll Senior Editorial Writer at the very conservative Washington Examiner calling Newt a “Marxist”.

     2. P.J. O’Rourke, author and conservative political commentator discusses the differences between the parties:

“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesnʼt work and then get elected and prove it.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Just as I was instrumental in exposing the bribery of the Clintons by China during their administration, concerned citizens need to be hard at work uncovering the bribery of Obama by the Iranians. I for one am investigating this likelihood. Bill Clinton and his criminal wife, Hillary, were the “Manchurian Candidates,” but Obama and Hillary are now the “Islamic Iranian Candidates,” an analogy the movie that depicted how Chinese communists infiltrated the highest reaches of our government. The primary explanation for Obama and Clinton rolling over for the Iranian Islamist mullahs is that they

were paid off, that is, bribed. This occurred during the Clinton years with communist China, so it is not farfetched that it is happening now. Obama and Clinton need the campaign cash to win the next elections, just as Bill and Hill needed it in 1996 to defeat Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole.”

Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and the current head of Freedom Watch and major supporter of the so-called Christian Right.

(Wow! Aren’t you glad you have someone like Larry watching over our Democracy?)

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON”

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


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THE INHERITOR — THE NAKED MOLE RAT — IT IS OUR FUTURE

Now some of you may not consider Heterocephalus Glaber here as the epitome of beauty, but we must remember, during the Pleistocene, when our first ancestors swung down from the trees onto the veldt, to those sitting atop the food chain they must have appeared unprepossessing in the extreme. In a land populated by sleek, magnificently fanged felines, lithe and graceful gazelles, handsome dire wolves and muscular and gloriously horned ruminants these scrawny creatures must have been met with disdain and revulsion. Instead of the magnificent dentition of the predators of that age, their teeth were repulsively tiny and virtually worthless. They ambulated unsteadily on two legs like diseased creatures. Neither claws nor shiny hooves graced their extremities. Instead of a lustrous pelt they were virtually naked with hair sprouting in tufts seemingly at random about their bodies. And, the face, squashed in like it had been stepped on by a Mastodon. These creatures, our ancestors, were down right ugly and revolting.

So look again at H. Glaber of the future. Imagine this magnificent creature striding across its world, the master of all it surveys.

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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