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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Joseph 0006 (January 2, 2018)

 

 

 

GOOD RIDDANCE TO 2017

 

“We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. It is held in reverence. Some think it the voice of God.”
—MARK TWAIN, “Corn-Pone Opinions” (1901)

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Bill.

I went to see Bill on Thursday having received an email from Naida asking me to come to visit him as soon as possible and containing the following:

“I have been sitting with Bill next to his bed. His coughing woke me at 5 a.m. He asked me what my name was. I told him and, when asked what I’ve done all day, explained that I am his wife and I’ve been taking care of him. He said he’d been put away into in some attic. I told him he’s downstairs. He said he wants to see out the window. I explained that the sun wouldn’t come up for a couple of hours. He said, ‘OK. When it’s light I want to see out the window.’ He also said, ‘I feel weird like I’ve been separated from all civilization’— followed by his characteristic sarcastic ‘huh’ of a laugh.”

I found Bill lying in bed. He appeared relatively upbeat. While Naida was out of the room scurrying about with the two full-time caregivers and the visiting nurse, I sat with him and held his hand. Later, Naida brought us some cookies and milk. As we drank the milk and ate the cookies, Bill turned to me and said, “You know, I always thought I was going to die with a shot glass full of whiskey in my hand, now it looks like instead, I will go out holding a glass of warm milk and a soggy cookie.”

We mostly sat in silence but now and then we talked about old times or about our respective maladies. After a few hours, the skies began to darken and I left promising to return again tomorrow or Saturday on my way to San Francisco to return the cane Peter left behind at my sister’s house.

On my way home, I wondered about how brave people die and why we do not throw up monuments to all those who face the endless dark with grace and humor.

I have not gone swimming in the pool since I returned from Mendocino. It is not that it has been too cold. It is more than I have felt too cold. I walk and lift weights but I feel especially tired and lethargic. Is it a harbinger or merely a result of sleeplessness? My nights are spent in repetitive dream states both exciting and disturbing. I wake often and now and then fear going back to sleep. I have a disturbing feeling in my stomach — heavy like constipation but it does not move.

Moe.

Moe has died. I received this from Ruth today:

“I’m not sure how far the grapevine has already reached, so you may already know that, alas, Moe passed away yesterday afternoon.”

“His last round of difficulties began a few days after Thanksgiving with overwhelming inability to breathe. Luckily the property manager stopped in as he was gasping and called 911. I didn’t find out about any of this until the following Monday, by which time Moe was able to talk on the phone. He made it out of hospital into rehab a few days after that, and Jeoff and I visited him on Saturday 12/15 where we ran into Olga and Marshall. He was to go home, with help, the next Thursday–which was the day I flew to Vancouver, where I still am. Apparently, he did go home but then had another no-breathing episode which put him back in the hospital. He was in a ventilator, but they were unable to wean him from it and he seemed to lose brain function, at which point friends and family did what they (and I) were sure he would have wanted.”

“All I have heard so far is there will be a memorial but not immediately.”

“Please notify anyone you think may not already know and would want to.”

“And I wish you a happier year next year.”

More than an acquaintance and less than a companion, Moe was someone whose life and mine have intertwined or another one way for over 40 years. Rest in peace Moe.

Is it my age or the time of the year that is bringing such sorrow and loss? I do hope it will be a happier year next year.

HRM’s winter vacation is drawing to a close. I do not see him too often. He is at the age where he drifts in and out of the house, a sly smile on his face as though he has just discovered something that the rest of us could not possibly know or understand.

Bill.

I was too ill on Friday to drive to Sacramento and visit Bill but on Saturday, feeling a bit better, I set off again. I first stopped at Raley’s and bought some cookies, candies, and dates for them. Remembering Bill’s quip about milk and booze, I purchased a small bottle of Jack Daniels.

When I got to the house, I found Bill fairly comatose and Naida understandably distressed. When I showed Naida the whiskey and explained my reasons, Bill, who we had thought was asleep, let out an explosive laugh and whispered something that sounded like, “I don’t believe it.” Naida found a shot glass and we put it into his hand, filled it with the Jack and helped guide it to his lips. He drank it down, gave the expected cough and went back to sleep. It was probably my imagination but I thought I saw a bit of a smile play across his lips.

Back in EDH, I drove HRM and his friends here and there, read a bit, and spent more time than I would like in bed feeling a bit under the weather. On New Year’s Eve, we all retired early. The next morning I drove HRM and his friend, Tyson, to the Skate Board Park. From there I called Naida to see how Bill was doing. She told me that he had died in the middle of the night just as the old year also passed. She was understandably quite distressed. During her ramblings about his last hours, the many things that need doing now and reminisces she mentioned something about Bill that I had not known before.

Apparently, many years before Bill, Naida and many other parents in the neighborhood were upset with Little League because its rules and regulations excluded many children from participating, so Bill created and for several years managed a youth baseball league open to everyone, boys, girls, and those too young or too un-athletic to thrive in the Little League. The kids loved it. Naida added that throughout the years since they would run into people who had played in that league who would tell them how much it meant to them and how much they enjoyed it.

I spent the rest of the day moping around the house.

2017 was an awful year. It began awful and ended even more so. It began with “Not My President” taking the oath of office and me in treatment for throat cancer and ended with the death of friends, fear of cancer’s return and “Not My President” still in office. I hope for all our sakes we do not experience its like again.

2018.

January 2, 2018, began with clear cold sunlight slashing through the windows. Dick had already left for work and Hayden was still asleep in his room. I puttered around a bit hoping that H would wake up soon so that I could take him and his friend Tyson to the Skate Park. After all, this is the first day of the rest of my life and I am determined to make it a good one. A great day is not required, pleasant will do —even better than average would be acceptable but I will try for great. I think I will do the laundry today.

As that great American philosopher Scarlett O’Hara opined, “Tomorrow is another day.” I certainly hope so.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

Who am I?

I am at that point in my life where, I suppose like many people, I begin to contemplate that ineffable question, “Who am I?” — or perhaps “Why?”— then again maybe not. Who cares?

Let’s cut to the chase. I have always thought of myself as… Well, in a quantum world “always” does not exist or matter. So let me instead begin with — As I write this, I think of myself as an ascetic hedonist. That makes no sense you may say. How can one be both ascetic and a hedonist at the same time? (I guess, a person who gets pleasure out of self-flagellation can be described that way. But, that is beyond what I can handle right now.)

Anyway, let me explain the image I have of myself. I picture myself as a hermit living in a remote cave in the middle of a great desert somewhere. Every morning I get up just before sunrise, go out to some miserable rocky place, contort myself into an unpleasant and uncomfortable pose and contemplate or hum or something else all day.

I would contemplate life’s meaning — real meaning like, “Why was I doing this in the first place?” “Am I just a sick human being?” “What happens after this, whatever this is ?”

If I may digress from my digression, let me discuss my problems with what some large groups of people say comes after this, whatever this is?

There are, for example, a large group of people who believe that if you are male and an efficient killer after you die you get to be locked up forever with a bunch of young virgin women who probably will not remain virgins for long. Everyone else, other than other killers locked up like you, gets to sit on the outside doing nothing apparently except wondering what you guys are doing inside. I think I would prefer to be with the outsiders, at least we probably get to shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes now and then.

Another large group seems to believe that if in your life you get to avoid people who disagree with you, or force them to agree with you, or kill them if they don’t or they get too close to you, you then get to spend all eternity staring a some self-important serial killer surrounded by armed hermaphrodite thugs and listening to Gregorian Chant. Those not so lucky get to spend their time boiled in flaming vats of sulfur and oil. Now I have nothing against Gregorian Chant, but I think I prefer being boiled in sulfur and oil if I could not hear something else now and then — even country and western. Well, maybe not that.

Then, there are those that believe if you do nothing but not hard enough or if you do something during life after you die you return as a maggot. If you’re lucky, you get eaten by a crow before you do anything and if you come back again, say a thousand times, doing nothing you may get to be good enough at doing nothing other than thinking about yourself so that after you die you then get to come back as… well, nothing, forever. What’s the point?

There are also those who believe that, if you spend your life running around killing people and you get to be so good at it that other people make up songs about how efficient you were at mayhem, or they erect statues to you, you then get to spend all eternity with homicidal maniacs like yourself in a sunny place with a lot of grass playing something like football and drinking warm beer. Everyone else gets to live in a cold dreary place weeping and crying forever, except for one or two who get to push rocks up hills or have their liver torn out every day by hawks. Given the choice of eternal football and warm beer or weeping and crying in a cold dreary place, I’ll take the latter. It seems more like life, doesn’t it?

Well, enough of that. Let’s get back on topic, “Who am I?”

On the Hedonist side, I would want my cave to have a nice bed, internet connection, food delivery, maid service, a sauna and of course hot water. Even at a minimum, I could tolerate a well-padded sleeping bag as long as all the other things were included especially hot water preferably in a tub or a pool and in my espresso.

Once a week, I would travel to nearby podunk town, go to a loud crowded bar (if loud and crowded were unavailable any bar would do) order a beer, take it to a table in a far corner or the far edge of the bar and sit quietly nursing my beer and watching everything or if there is no one but an old drunk sitting at the other end of the bar then staring at my beer wishing I were back in my cave tucked warmly in my bed. Later, I would return to my cave and, after a warm bath and a joint, crawl into bed, spend a few moments of what is euphemistically called self-love and then drift off to sleep contemplating the pleasures of crouching on the stony ground pondering “what’s it all about?”

What’s it all about? Well, it’s not existentialism. After all, I think I have meaning even if you don’t. It’s not about, oh,… say solipsism. When you think about it, when you’re deaf dumb and blind crawling face down through a sea of mud and you strike something else, it is not just you alone, is it? There are other isms too, a lot of them, but I think they all end up in more or less the same place— usually not someplace I want to end up. As for a Supreme Being who actually cares for you, I think we’ve disposed of that above.

So what else is there? There’s you and there’s me. We may never meet or be the same, but I think that’s the way it should be, don’t you?

And, that is who I think I am —then again, maybe not.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

America was built on the premise of avoiding the question of whether something is true or is fantasy. Whenever, however, such questions could not be avoided, Americans usually chose fantasy.

 

B. Today’s Poem:

The God Who Only Knows Four Words

Every
Child
Has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
Anything weird,
But the God who only knows four words
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with Me.”
Come
Dance.
Hafiz (14th Century Sufi poet)

 

 

C. Some Comments on Previous Post:

Ann Marie.

I loved reading about Christmas in Mendocino, brings back many wonderful memories. We always said it doesn’t feel like Christmas until Christmas Eve at MaryAnne’s. The sentiment remains true. I am thinking next year I’d like to go away to Mexico.

Reading about Molly warmed my heart. She has indeed been like a daughter to me since the first summer she spent here with us.

I’m so sorry to hear about your friend Bill. Much love to you ❤️

Let me know if there’s any possibility of traveling with you in September. The kids & I will look forward to it.

From Peter.

We returned then because Blind Lemon Pledge had a street gig on 24th St the next day. The Noe merchants each year in this holiday season promote some music in the mini-parks on the street where car parking used to be. We’ve played these a couple of years now. Small world frolic — or, a vigorous response to the stochastic dreariness of large numbers – During our performance, a man came up, listened, and after the song introduced himself as a music writer (among other things). Turns out he wrote the article in the recent N.V. Voice that mentioned that Chez Marius, our local bistro, was having music. I had read this and arranged for us to play there (including last night!) and told the writer that he, and his article, were responsible for that.

More Peter.

All those Buddhist monks in their gompas have it, but they have to do a Lot of work, drink that nasty yak butter tea, and wake up at 3 a.m.

Still More Peter.

On the other hand, non-Americans look bemused at Americans’ apparent overriding fixation on money. What is happening just now with the recent American elections and the now-very visible triumph of The Oligarchy of the Billionaires couldn’t make this fixation clearer.

Even More Peter.

Consider: Rather than face the prospect of continued human existence within a limited, enclosed artificial environment where you never feel the fresh sea breeze blow in (assuming, of course, that you had a ticket to ride), people could stop burning fossil fuels, causing droughts and mass migrations, and other suicidal nest-fouling activities. But, seems there are too many who say “apres moi le deluge” and carry on. Survey question: How many of them think that (a) they will go to heaven, or (b) come back as a boddhisatva, or (c) simply don’t give a shit?

Peter Once Again.

It’s Oy Vay. [Technical Note: I had to type this twice because the code-writers, who want to be So Helpful, made the unilateral decision to make this machine show Oy Way (and right here just now, it tried Oy Bay!). This helpful intention results in inefficiency and irritation. Of course, the code-writers are all goyem. (Get this: it just typed “gooey” instead of goyem.) Start a movement: More Yiddish-fluent code writers needed. Fill the Washington DC Mall with hundreds of thousands chanting and waving banners emblazoned with “Oy Vay! All The Way!” (it just tried Oy Bay again).

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Marx famously called religion the opium of the people, and when Lenin founded the Soviet Union, he agreed, saying it was ‘used for the…stupefaction of the working class.’ But neither man had ever been to the United States, to see that for Americans it was as much or more a stimulant and hallucinogen than a stupefying opiate.”

Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 292). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: January through March 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Pookie 0006 (December 9, 2017)

 

 

 

 

“Religious insanity is very common in the United States.”
Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
It’s been ten days or so since my last post before I got around to begin this one. Usually, I at least print out the headings for a new post when I send out the previous one. I do not know why it seems so hard to get started. Perhaps I need to adjust my medicines — or maybe it is the coming holiday season. I always found the holidays to be more stressful than joyful.

The intermittent rains have stripped the leaves from most of the trees except for the Indomitable Oak which the remains fully clothed while the other oak trees all around it stand spindly and naked.

On the weekend I traveled to SF — stayed the night with Peter, Barrie, and Ramsey. On Sunday I had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch with Peter, Ruth, and Don at a local French restaurant in Noe Valley. We discussed, old times, old friends and getting old. We laughed a lot.
IMG_3654
Ruth and Her Boys

Meanwhile, back in the Golden Hills life crawls on. HRM, now in the first blush of adolescence, spends his free time among his peer group in what now is referred to by most as “the Scooter Gang.” When not touring the fake hills and valleys of the local skate parks they gather in one or another’s family garage endlessly disassembling and reassembling their outrageously expensive scooters.

For the past few months, my dreams have been especially enjoyable. The difference between the usual ennui of my days and the excitement of my nightly dreams were such that I could hardly wait to go to bed in the evenings. Last night things changed.

I dreamt I was at a very enjoyable party. Eventually, some friends and I decided to leave to get something to eat. After walking through some dark but crowded San Francisco streets, we passed through a busy elegant cocktail lounge where I somehow got separated from them. A youngish (anyone under 60) man with sandy hair called me over to his table. He was a psychiatrist —mine apparently. We discussed my psychological problems at length which I will not bother you with here. Eventually, his sister arrived at the table. She was attractive but blind in one eye which was all dark and milky. This should have warned me.

Anyway, she left and the psychiatrist and I and another gentleman departed from the bar to go somewhere else. As we walked along, I tried to talk to the psychiatrist but he ignored me and continued walking on like he was in a trance. He then climbed up an outside staircase of a building and disappeared inside (second warning). I and the other person continued on and then the shit hit the fan. As I write this, I no longer remember what happened but it was enough sufficiently frighten me that it forced me to wake myself up.

Since I could not go back to sleep fearing I would fall back into my nightmare, I decided to read a book.

The book concerned a man working for a secret British agency combatting the depredations on humanity by beings from the supernatural. The agency’s offices were accessed through a secret door behind a toilet stall in a London train station. Our hero was attending an agency training session when a creature of the underworld, or another dimension or something like that escaped and took over the body of one of the other students (“there were luminous worms writhing behind his eyes”), an agency accountant attending the class to better familiarize himself with the agency’s activity and procedures. Our hero had to kill the accountant in order to save the professor and the other students and was promptly suspended from active duty pending a thorough review of the matter. He arrived back home distressed only to find his roommates, Pinky, and Brains by name, attempting to cook an omelet without breaking the eggs.

At this point, I decided the dream could be no worse than the book so I turned out the light and slept soundly until morning.

Sometimes I speculate whether or not there is any difference between dreams and awareness, reality and fiction, mind and matter. After all, consciousness is located somewhere at the base of our brain stem. The brain stem controls our perception and thought. Didn’t the poet say, ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.’ I wonder if we dream after death, the sleep from which we never wake.

Will we eventually know what is consciousness? Do we care? Will we eventually be able to break it down into some irreducible bits like the Meletians insisted comprise reality? Even if we do, it is basically simply descriptive and perhaps even predictive but it does not tell us what it is. Like quantum theory when it tells us that time is broken into bits and in the space between the bits there is no time. Well, what actually is no-time?

The theory certainly is descriptive, we can assign numbers to it, and it has proven to be predictive. Beyond that, whether it makes any sense to anyone remains a question. Maybe that is one of the failures of a pure science like physics, it is only descriptive and predictive and sometimes we somehow feel that is not enough. Mostly, I think most of us don’t care. Some people believe in God in order to avoid the effort of thinking about things like this. Others probably think that those who think like this need a little God or a drink. Certainly, God is little more than place-saver for whatever we wonder about but do not know and do not want to spend too much time on it. Perhaps, Science, as we have come to perceive it, has become an itch deep within our minds. It may be inventive, provide physical comfort and expanded knowledge and more efficient ways of producing the energy we require to survive as a species, but do we really feel we know what we always have wanted to know — why us and who am I? On the other hand, does anyone really care? Perhaps we need to consider a “NEW SCIENCE.” On the other hand, perhaps ennui and disassociation many of us are feeling have less to do with who we are than what we are. Or maybe I just read too much fantasy fiction.

The next evening Dick returned from wherever he had been the past two days and suffering from a bad cold. HRM, after a day of scootering, arrived with three members of the scooter gang for a sleepover. They were very well behaved. In the morning HRM cooked breakfast for everyone. HRM was fascinated by one of the new members of the gang. He lives on the top of the hill in Serrano “where the rich people live.” “All the houses have double doors,” he marveled

This is all new to me. When I grew up boys never had sleepovers, girls had slumber parties, however.

Anyway, Dick retired to treat his cold. The scooter gang piled into HRM’s room, the heavy stench of pre-teen sweat and emerging testosterone crept out from under the door like miasmatic swamp gas. I returned to reading the adventures of the silly supernatural spy until I could feel bits of my brain turning to rot. So, I closed the computer, shut the light and went to sleep.

When I go for my morning walks lulled by the click of my walking stick on the path and the rasp of my breath in my ears, I sometimes pass into a state a lot like dreaming, except here my mind-voice keeps up a patter of words into my mind, like a boring lecturer going on about something until you pass into a trance hearing only the buzzing of the phonemes — click, breath, words —click, breath, words and so on. Sometimes these lectures I give myself seem quite good and I try to remember them so that I can post them here in T&T. At other times they are just trash, detritus to be left on the side of the path like a pile of leaves.

On Friday morning, dawn flung its delicate rosy fingers along the eastern horizon above the golden hills. As I drove HRM to school we played silly buggers and laughed a lot. Then it was off to breakfast at IHOP followed by a short trip down Bidwell for my doctor’s appointment before heading off to my sister’s house in Mendocino. I was in a great mood looking forward to the drive and the week on the coast.

After a bit of an annoying wait, the doctor arrived and announced that the CT scan I took last week showed the lymph nodes in my neck were enlarged. “This is bad, very bad,” he said. He sounded like he was angry and it was my fault his precious chemotherapy may not have worked. “You will have to get a PET scan, probably followed by a biopsy of the lymph nodes and if the biopsy is positive we will have to do immediate invasive surgery on your neck.” I was, to say the least, thunderstruck. Only two weeks ago the doctor managing my treatment, after shoving a tube through my nose and down my throat, announced that I was still in remission. What the hell happened in those two weeks?

The doctor then told me that everything has to proceed very quickly because if cancer has spread it will move rapidly throughout my system. I was devastated. I have appointments with my other two doctors on Tuesday and Friday of next week and await a call to set up the PET scan. I am worried, frightened depressed and angry.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

The following is a work in progress. I am trying to find some generalizations that I can get my mind around that may help to give me some meaning to what we are experiencing in the US today. Any assistance will be appreciated.

A. The Five World Wars and Who Won Them:

World War I — 1914-1918 (The War to End All Wars)
Protagonists: German Empire (Allied Austria-Hungary Empire, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) vs British Empire (Allied with French Empire, United States of America, Russian Empire, Italian Empire and the Empire of Japan)
Causes: Political opportunism by the armaments industry, lust for control of nearby resources and industries, corrupt and weak hereditary autocracies
How fought: primarily men, guns and tactics.
Winner: British Empire et.al.
How won: Superior manpower, and economic strength.
Result: Overthrow of hereditary autocracies and replacement with elected business autocracies, crushing economic burdens on the losers with a weakened autocratic leadership guaranteed to encourage resentment and search for a strong leader who would restore the nation’s glory. The collapse of the Russian Empire, German Empire, Ottoman Empire and the disappearance of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

World War II — 1939-1945 (The Second World War)
Protagonists: German Empire, Italian Empire and Empire of Japan vs British, American and French empires and the Russian Communist Empire (The Soviet Union).
Causes: Mismanagement of economies and corruption by the business autocracies that emerged after WW I. Emergent “strong-man” leadership and ideologies.
How conducted: primarily guns, men, ships, technology (air power, sonar, rockets, etc.) strategy.
Winner: American Empire (Allied with British Empire, French Empire, Chinese Empire ) and The Communist Russian Empire (The Soviet Union)
How Won: Manpower, economic strength, superior applied warfare technologies.
Result: Overthrow of Axis Fascist autocracies and replace with business autocracies. The world divided between business and financial elite led governments and bureaucratic dominated ones. The demise of German, Italian and French Empires followed soon by the disbandment of the empires of Britain and France.

World War III — 1948-1945 (The Cold War)
Protagonists: The American Empire (allied with client states in western Europe and military treaty organizations) vs The Soviet Empire (Allied to all so-called Communist countries including the Empire of China)
How conducted: Through economic competition to finance and assemble largest military organizations.
Winner: American Empire (Allied with NATO Nations and other US treaty nations)
How won: the economic collapse of loser due primarily to unsustainable defense budget competition and cost of sustaining allied regimes.
Result: Collapse and dismemberment of much of the Russian Communist Empire and hegemony.

World War IV — 2016-2017 (The Cyber War)
Protagonists: The remnant of the Russian Empire vs The American Empire.
How conducted: Cyber warfare, corruption, and bribery.
Winner: remnant of the Russian Empire.
How won: Application of cyber technology, bribery of political leaders lusting for power.
Result: American hegemony collapses.
B. Advice
Even a placebo can cure an imaginary illness. If you still feel sick then you should see your doctor or your psychiatrist. Similarly, when you are fearful or anxious you should confront those emotions. If they remain after you do so, then perhaps, you have something to be truly afraid of.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

The following is the last post in the Gun Girl series that I wrote several years ago. If you want to read about my wild week-long trip across Thailand you can find it at https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/category/the-adventures-of-gun-girl-and-pookie/.

 

GUN GIRL’S RETURN (ALMOST) – AND CELINE DEION SINGS

A few day’s ago, Gun Girl called inviting me to join her for dinner at a restaurant she likes nearby. She offered to pick me up at my condo at 7 PM that evening.

Following my late afternoon nap, I showered, shaved, powdered and scented myself, brushed my teeth, swirled some mouthwash, put on a new pair of pants and a just laundered shirt and waited.

At about 7:20 she called and said she had gotten into an accident with a motorcycle at a street corner close to my condo and asked me to assist her. I left and walked to the intersection of the street she mentioned and Beach Road. I did not see her and called her cell phone. She said that she was actually at the corner of the street a few blocks down from Beach Road but that she was getting things in order and no longer needed my help. She asked me to go back to the condo, promising to call when she had finished. I told her I would wait for her call at Cafe Le Mar instead.

I walked back to the restaurant and sat at the bar, ordered a coke and watched a music video of Celine Deion in concert. She would often stop between songs and speak to the audience for a very long time. As she spoke, the audience would alternately, cheer, laugh or cry. I had no idea what she said since I do not understand French.

She impressed me as a remarkably ungainly woman. She moves with all the awkwardness of a 13-year-old girl.

Her songs all sounded eerily the same. The same breathy two or three notes over and over again.

After watching and listening to her for over an hour, I thought I had gone insane.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

In about 1992 fewer than 2 percent of Americans used the Internet. By 2002 most Americans were online. This seismic social change we must remember is now only a little over 15 years old.

But once the Internet came along, we were definitely on a superhighway to a certain destination with no likely looking exits. Before the Web, cockamamie ideas and outright falsehoods could not spread nearly as fast or widely, so it was much easier for reason and reasonableness to prevail. Before the Web, institutionalizing any one alternate reality required the long, hard work of hundreds of full-time militants—the way America’s fundamentalist Christians spent decades setting up their own colleges and associations and magazines and radio stations. In the digital age, every tribe and fiefdom and principality and region of Fantasyland—every screwball with a computer and a telecom connection—suddenly had an unprecedented way to instruct and rile up and mobilize believers, and to recruit more.

In every pocket, there is now a library, a phonograph, a radio, a movie theater, and a television, as well as a post office, a printing press, a telegraph, a still and video camera, a recording studio, a navigation system, and a radio and TV station. It is advanced technology indistinguishable from magic.
Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 260). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Anderson on Top:

In his remarkable recent book Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, Kurt Anderson quotes a conspiracy theorist during the Civil War commenting about spiritualism and Abraham Lincoln.

“[I]n an 1863 exposé called Interior Causes of the War: The Nation Demonized and Its President a Spirit-Rapper, the author, a ‘resident of Ohio’ said it was no coincidence that abolitionism and the craze for communicating with the dead had taken off simultaneously during the late 1840s and 1850s. The spirits, dead people, “have a magnetism peculiar to themselves, fired with vengeance [and] hatred.” In other words, ghosts and their living American interlocutors—the spiritualists—were scheming to destroy the nation. “For a number of years before the war, the spiritualists were promised, by spirits, a president of their own faith.” Lincoln “sprang mysteriously from the prairies,” “selected by spirits for the very work—the equalization of white men and negroes—which he is now endeavoring to perform.” “These spirits…are now in control” of the Union. By means of “a secret hole in the White House, a rapping table,” “Mr. Lincoln, and at least a portion of his cabinet…are now holding spiritual circles in the executive mansion, and consulting spirits in regard to the prospects and conduct of the war.” The spirits had essentially hypnotized Lincoln and the Union leaders into thinking they’d win the Civil War in order to send America “down the broad road to ruin.”
Andersen, Kurt. Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History (p. 94). Random House Publishing Group.

As Anderson points out conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie and baseball. Well, thankfully, at least Lincoln was not accused of being a member of the Illuminati.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

One’s good deeds belong to someone else. Only one’s mistakes are truly one’s own.

 

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

“There’s a correlation between men in high-testosterone lines of work and women in adult industries.”
Mayne, Andrew. Name of the Devil: A Jessica Blackwood Novel. HarperCollins.
D. Today’s Poem:

Y Gododdin

I’m no weary lord,
I avenge no wrong,
I laugh no laughter,
Under crawlers’ feet,
My legs at full length
In a house of earth,
A chain of iro
About both ankles,
Caused by mead, by horn,
By Catraeth’s raiders.
I, not I, Aneirin,
Taliesin knows it,
Master of word-craft,
Sang to Gododdin
Before the day dawned.

This is the beginning of a lengthy late Sixth Century poem by Aneirin commemorating a battle in Northumbria where the Breton Gododdin tribe and nation was wiped out by the Picts and their allies and in which, the bard describes in exquisite detail how each member of the tribe’s war-lords met their death on the battlefield. This is one of those rare cases that history was written by the losers. In it is also the earliest mention of Arthur, the once and future king.

 

E. Correspondence:

1. Sadness:

I am always glad to see TNT from Re Their r meant. I lean back in my chair knowing entertainment will ensue and hoping no bad news about you comes with it. You look good in the photo, and we are very glad that the horrendous bout with mouth-throat cancer is over. We would enjoy having you drive down to Sacramento to visit us in our new digs: Campus Commons.

Having not written, really written, for nearly a year, I am rusty. So this: We sold the ranch while I recovered from open-heart surgery. During the time I docu-signed seemingly endless forms (Bill continues to be cyberphobic and now can’t read small print) and I disclosed the problems of our old place, the ones that came to mind — lying only about having read and understood rafts of boilerplate — Bill’s vascular doctor told him he must have both his legs amputated above the knee. Distracted, I continued to stumble through the paperwork. For a couple of weeks Bill refused the surgery, but during escrow 3 specialists lined up to inform him that his condition had worsened and leg amputations would kill him promptly due to his weakened heart, lungs and kidneys. He tried to negotiate with them to amputate one leg only, the one with the gangrene spreading quickly on the heel of the toeless foot. But they stuck to their guns, claiming that one leg amputation would probably kill him, and if not, the strange wounds in the remaining leg would develop gangrene too and need to be amputated. The day the money arrived in our bank Bill was assigned to Hospice. Palliative care only, and likely 6 months or less to live.

 

2. From Neal:

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been trying to gin up interest in putting money into a fund through the Coastal Conservancy to buy up fire prone lots and redesign development potential. I make sure to tell people that the Conservancy was conceived of as an environmental redevelopment agency patterned after Robert Moses authorities in New York. I recount how the creator of the Conservancy, one Joseph Petrillo, was a New Yorker who loved “The Power Broker”. I’ve got Doug Bosco and others on board. We may have a play. Your legacy survives!!!

 

Response to Neal:

I should relate a tale of how small is our world. My sister, as you know, runs an economic development non-profit in Mendocino County and advises the County on marketing. Today while discussing various matters including your initiative with the county CEO, the CEO suggested my sister contact the communications director of the organization of the counties in the state.

After the meeting, she called him and the first words out of his mouth were, “Are you related to Joe Petrillo?” Her response was, “It depends on who’s asking.”

As you have probably guessed, the person my sister was talking to was your brother.

 

Neal’s response:

And yes, my family does now control the world….. Greg works for the League of Counties. My brother Bill’s wife is chair of the Santa Rosa Junior College Board. Bill is a lawyer in Petaluma. Their son Scott is a public defender in Santa Rosa. Their son Brian is the key terrorism expert at Facebook. Brother Leland owns the biggest Janitorial supply business in Sonoma County with both his sons working with him. My daughter Jessica works for a startup in Seattle called UTRIP. It’s a travel website and she is the content director. My son Sam just got a job with the World Bank after spending a year in Kenya.

And we just keep plugging along, trying to stay relevant.

 

3. From Burma Richard:

Hope all is well. A very unique opportunity came my way last week when some Ethiopian tribal elders came in with a half kilo of uncut Emerald crystals.
The material as you can see below is fantastic, and all natural ( no oil treated) because they are the folks mining their deposit themselves the prices are excellent.
For those interested, the stones are ethically sustainable mining by hand and profits are returned to the community under the tribal elders.
We are just beginning to cut this crystal and are looking for private buyers, wholesalers, Jewelry manufactures,

If you have any leads please let us know.
As for pricing I can provide a list once there is interest but the stone on the left certified as 3.88ct would be $10,000 total.
Incredible value.
This emerald simply glows.

IMG_0741IMG_0741.PNG

 

More from Burma Richard:

You know Junko reminded me of a guy recommended for us to meet a couple of years ago who was a French documentary filmmaker. We went out to dinner and the guy asked me all kinds of questions about access to Chin State which I gave him.
He ate almost the entire dinner by himself including our portions and then proceeded to fill his pockets with the complimentary nuts on the table.
Then he was reluctant to pay.
Sounds like the same name.

Hope all is well and we miss you!
Much love.

 

4. Adrian:

Wanted to say thanks ….. reading your blog today gave me a brief interlude from a hectic and often tedious schedule of meetings, stress, and worry. I continue to pursue my dream of wealth and happiness.

I am in Hong Kong and leave tonight for Bangkok and I am hoping for a calming few days at Temple where I hope to recharge my overloaded batteries.

Back USA with she who must be obeyed December 7.

You may be interested to know that I will be entertaining an Oncologist friend (Alessandra) and possible business partner in EDH December 10-12. She is quite well known and is resident at a cancer hospital in southern Brazil. She also dreams, not so much of wealth but of creating technology that truly helps her patients to lead more productive and longer lives. She is a very pleasant lady.

Have a great day

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out.”
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. US: Harper & Brothers. 1851.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Pepe 0006 (October 30, 2017)

 

 

“Lawyers do favors like cats take mice for a walk.”
Hill, Reginald. The Roar of the Butterflies (p. 105). HarperCollins.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

Image-1
My Beloved Friend Luigi (Gigi) Gallo, His wife, Lia, and Their Son, Marco, at Dinner in Sicily. Gigi and Marco were Award Winning Race Car Drivers. Marco is Now One of Italy’s Premier Sport’s Nutritionists.

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The skies over the Golden Hills have turned blue again. Alas, as good as it is for us who live here, for those living on the other side of the Great Valley suffering from the still blazing conflagration, it only means their lives have probably gotten even worse. A week after the fires began, they still rage on, thousands remain homeless and many unaccounted for.

On Sunday, HRM baked a birthday cake for me. He, Dick, and Sharkie the Goldfish gave me a nice warm jacket as a present accompanied by a birthday card signed by each.
IMG_3441

The weather has gotten warmer in the golden hills. A new species of geese recently has taken up residence in the lake by our house. These geese, unlike the Canadian variety that are common at the lake this time of year, have white necks and a bump on the top of their beak. I have never seen them around here before.
IMG_3455
The new geese on the lake being led around by the local white duck. Perhaps the duck is the lake’s resident real estate agent.

Dick left for a week in Thailand. Nikki arrived a day or two after Dick departed. HRM and Nikki attended a big concert at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Dick came down with food poisoning in Bangkok. I swam in the pool a lot and seem to be gaining weight again — about four pounds in the past week.

After Nikki left, Adrian arrived for the weekend. Since he will be available to care for HRM, I decided to spend the weekend in SF with Peter and Barrie. So, on Saturday, after downing a bowl of Raisin Bran and watering the plants, I left for the city by the bay.

That evening, I accompanied Peter to the El Cerrito Free Folk Festival where Peter was to perform with his Blues band, Blind Lemon Pledge, and where I played temporary roadie.
IMG_3462
Blind Lemon Pledge with Peter on Bass.

I also enjoyed the music of an engaging trio harmonizing folk songs. It was the group’s final appearance together as one of them was to depart to the East Coast within the next few days to commence a solo recording career.

Then we returned to Peter’s house where we talked mostly about getting old. The next morning, after Barrie returned from her morning swim in SF Bay, we ate a breakfast of locks, bagels, and cream cheese. I then returned home —No Bernie’s and coffee while sitting on the Old Man’s Bench talking with Don on this trip —a pity that.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S RANT:

As citizens of the United States of America, our allegiance is to the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States created neither flags nor banners nor pledges or anthems.

What it does do, and does so clearly, it preserves the right of any individual to peacefully express his or her objection to perceived violations of their Constitutionally protected rights and to petition for their redress. No anthems, pledges or banners no matter how fervently held by some can alter or deprive a citizen of those rights, and the peaceful exercise of those rights remain available to the citizen in all cases until a ruling adverse as to that specific exercise of those constitutionally protected rights are adjudicated by a competent judicial tribunal as beyond such protections in that particular case.

This is a sacred ideal bound into our founding documents at the birth of our nation. It is these ideals that ostensibly we as a nation have gone to war to protect and for which citizens of this nation have died doing so. No banner no matter how bloody, no anthem no matter how fervently sung, and no pledge no matter how passionately believed can be more sacred to a citizen of the nation than this.

We see around us throughout the world a darkness descending as nation after nation falls to that ideology against which we fought our revolution and most of our wars — the evils of the autocracy of wealth, privilege, might, and ideology.

Even where our leaders may have misled us as to their purposes, citizens of our nation have fought and died believing they did so to protect their fellow citizens and the ideal enshrined in our Constitution that the individual citizen has the right to effectively protest perceived injustice.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

When I was a child, I was an obnoxious sharp tongued little snot especially to my mother who so loved me and sought some return of affection from me that she would do just about anything that she thought might please me. For example, every morning, she always laid out my clothes, freshly cleaned and pressed — every morning of my life until I left the house to live with my first wife. When I was just a child, she would over-starch everything even my underwear. I would sometime bleed from the chafing.

It is not that I am sloppy or wear any old wrinkled thing I find on the floor where I may have left it the night before or last week out of some misguided belief in fashion independence, but actually, because I have no knowledge and less will to do anything else. Come to think of it, my mother often told me that for the first nine months or so of my life I cried and screamed without letup almost the entire time. I would have murdered me in my cradle — but not my mom she was convinced I was destined for great things — a saint or even Pope. Alas, I failed to achieve either.

I was going to continue on in this dyspeptic vein writing about my annoyances and missteps throughout my teenage years and then jump to my declining years, but it’s been a few days after I wrote the above and I am feeling quite chipper— almost optimistic — so, I decided to stop here. Maybe, I will pick it up again in a later post. Meanwhile, I discovered this photograph of me taken in early 1944. I am wearing my sailor suit (a patriotic gesture to WWII) and appear to be either uncomfortable with the amount of starch my mother put in it or suspicious about something — probably everything.
IMG_2739 - Version 2

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

An amicable pair is two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.

(So, if I am 220 who is 284? Do I get to choose? What would Pythagoras do?)

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Xander’s Perceptions:

Good for Lebron. Michael Jordan was criticized — rightfully — for not speaking out on issues and problems within the African-American community (who did he think bought his overpriced shoes, anyway?). Colin Kaepernick is still blacklisted and jobless for having the temerity to exercise his First Amendment rights by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Until very recently, most football teams stayed in their locker rooms until after the playing of the anthem.

The national anthem wasn’t even proclaimed as our national anthem until Woodrow Wilson did so just before our entry into World War 1, and Congress didn’t make it official until 1931. And yes, I was actually in attendance at the Padres-Cincinnati twi-night doubleheader in which Roseanne Barr sang the anthem . . . before the SECOND game, BTW. It was supposed to be a tribute to working women, but Barr was booed as she took the field. Whether she just has a crappy singing voice or whether she decided to stay in character — or to deliberately piss off the crowd in conservative tight-ass Navy-town San Diego — she was given no respect beforehand. I suspect she did it on purpose to give the crowd some payback for booing her mere presence (the Padres at the time were owned by a group of investors headed up by Tom Werner, the producer of “Roseanne”).

Colin Kaepernick, BTW, was hardly the first athlete to stage a protest during the national anthem. Sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos famously raised their fists — covered in black gloves — at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City to protest the treatment of African-Americans in the U. S. You’d have thought they dropped their pants and crapped on the podium.

This country STILL hasn’t lived up to the lofty ideals expressed in the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution. Virtually no one in the country understands what the phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” truly means.

Did you ever doubt I was going to explain it?

The phrase “in Order to form a more perfect Union” was mentioned because the Articles of Confederation were an unmitigated disaster. There was no central federal government, and we were FAR from being a united nation. We were thirteen nations, each going its own way, with everybody printing their own currencies, passing their own laws, and just daring some foreign nation to come in and take us out. Most importantly, there was no authorization to raise taxes for “the common defence [sic],” among many other things. This more perfect union fixed that problem by creating a stronger federal government with the power and ability to raise taxes to fund a nation of thirteen independent little countries into a functioning whole.

So, now you know: Paying federal taxes is patriotic! Have fun with that little fact.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

In life, there is right and wrong but in law, there is only what can or cannot be proven.
Trenz Pruca by way of R. Hill.

 

C. Today’s Poem:

A Man Said to the Universe

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Stephen Crane

 

D. From Peter:

“For some reason, I couldn’t scroll past a few early paragraphs to reply, so here goes. The technical nonsense fits with a couple of other recent things resulting from our switching our Wifi network; some company (Sonic) says it’s faster; apparently, it is, but adjusting stuff has been tedious. Minimal compared to losing one’s domicile and everything in it in a fire. That, coupled with declining memory, leads to endlessly reciting the Diamond Sutra while swigging last drops from a bottle of white port on a Tenderloin curb, oblivious to whatever else surrounds until you can’t remember whether you said ‘Om’ enough; or, if you’re lucky(?), you’ve been put in a home where your days pass, as my brother commented on his first wife’s mother who was in such a home with some variety of dementia, where you are “happy as a clam”…….

H’s comments about his schoolmates suffering having unhappy home lives are deeply depressing, chilling for the future, and in the context of the country’s frightening political and psychological ills, seriously gloomy.

Survival— keeping on, as the next day might actually dawn beautiful and worth having stayed around for. Meanwhile, the physical therapy continues, with probably another month to go before the occasional aches finally vanish. Could be worse.

As to eyes, yes re: survival, but I’d venture that as the vast majority of what prehistoric humans ate was not animal flesh but roots and tubers painstakingly gathered daily by The Women, eyes were indeed needed for that even more than, though as well as, for gazelles.

Joys of context: observing based on one’s beliefs- drop acid and Observe.

Meanwhile, on Nov. 17 (a Friday), the fine folk of Noe Valley are throwing a fundraiser event to benefit victims of the Sonoma/Napa fires, at the “Town Square” on 24th St., where the farmers market is held, from 5-9pm. All the bands that play at the farmers market will play during the event, everyone doing their bit. They Call Me Lucky will kick it off at 5, followed shortly by Blind Lemon Pledge; so I get to play in both early. Bannon will not be speaking.

Before I forget, Om.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:
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Photographic Study: Sunset on the Golden Hills

Categories: October through December 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    17 Papa Joe 0006

 

 

“True peace requires the presence of justice, not just the absence of conflict.”
Jemisin, N. K. The Dreamblood Duology. Orbit.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Today, September 21, It was cool enough for me to wear a long-sleeved shirt. Summer is officially over. I still don a Hawaiian shirt over my long-sleeved T-shirt to maintain a touch of color. In a few more weeks it will be jacket time again.

A few days ago, while walking around the lakes at EDH Town Center, a woman stopped me to comment on my wooden walking stick. I told her I was somewhat obsessed with walking sticks and used to have a fairly large collection before I gave them all away when I retired. She said her husband, who had joined us by then sporting a handsome hand-crafted walking stick, made walking sticks when they lived in Sedona. She said he made the one he was carrying out of Sedona hardwood. We discussed walking sticks and the beauty of Sedona for a while and then went our separate ways.
IMG_3417
On My Walk Through Town Center.

We had a small but raucous birthday party for Dick (Uncle Mask) on Thursday night.
IMG_3434

After the blowing out of the candles and the opening of presents, the evening ended in a long discussion about SWAC’s murderous brother-in-law who, along with another 6000 convicts, will be released from prison next month due to the Kings clemency in celebration of his ascension to the Throne of Thailand. The brother-in-law, who was also the mayor of the village before his murder conviction, has promised revenge upon SWAC’s family. Among the 8 or so killings for which he was suspected were the murder of his wife (SWAC’s sister) and SWAC’s brother a local cop. He blames her family for his imprisonment. Once, I arrived in that town a day after the Mayor’s opponent in the election was killed in front of the house I was to stay at.

Two days ago, I received my new hearing aids. While I am sure others have had similar experiences, I marvel at mine so far. I hear things I have not heard for 15 or 20 years — the rustle of some small critter in the brush as I walk by; the constant screech of birds unseen in the trees; the annoying clack of my walking stick as it strikes the pavement; the rumble of automobiles off in the distance. The soundscape fills my consciousness just like my visual environment does. As I take my morning walk, I sometimes just stand on the path swinging my head about trying to catch whatever made the most recent sound to capture my attention. I know the novelty will cease as soon as I get comfortable with my new ears, but it is all a pretty cool experience while it lasts.

 

B. A BRIEF TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO

On Saturday, I decided for my mental health to split from the golden hills and spend the weekend in SF.

I stopped in Folsom to have breakfast at IHOP. After breakfast, as I was walking back to my car, I was surprised by HRM tapping me on the shoulder. He told me that he, Dick, and HRM’s friend Jake had just arrived for breakfast. So, I returned to the restaurant for some coffee and conversation.

After they finished eating we left and I resumed my trip. It took me four hours of driving to cover the 120 miles from Folsom to Peter’s house in San Francisco.

At Peter’s, I had some more coffee and conversation with him and Barrie. She then left to monitor the Swim to Alcatraz event at her swim club on the Bay. Peter and I drove to a relatively new French restaurant in the overly gentrified Noe Valley for a late lunch and more coffee and conversation.
IMG_3435_2
Peter and I at Lunch

The next day, Peter and I left early and drove to Bernie’s. We met Don there and sat on the Old Men’s Bench in front of Bernie’s for coffee and conversation. Three old men in straw hats sitting on a bench reminiscing and telling stories. Then it was time to go. I left them to walk back home along 24th Street and got into my car for my drive back to EDH. It took only two and a half hours to drive back. That pleased me.

Coffee and Conversation — the glue that holds society together.

 

C. BACK IN THE GOLDEN HILLS:

I returned and resumed my daily swim in the health club pool, one half of my usual 30 or 40 minutes swimming laps and the other half running back and forth across the pool.
IMG_3430
The Blue Bullet-Head at the Pool

I have begun to get used to my hearing aids. The rustling of the bushes, clack of the birds and rumble of traffic now simply background noise. It’s a shame really. But, like traveling to some transcendentally beautiful spot on your bucket list and dreaming about living there, if you did live there, the beauty of the place would disappear from your awareness soon enough. Most likely, you’ll stop to enjoy the view less often than you look at television and certainly much less than you look at your smartphone. Sooner or later, you’d probably start dreaming about being someplace else.

When I take my hour-long morning walk around the lakes in Town Center, I always walk widdershins. Some of the other walkers I meet regularly walk widdershins also, while others walk clockwise. I noticed that, like me, those that walk widdershins always do so as do those walking clockwise. I assume there is a generalization that can be drawn from these observations. I also assume any such generalization would not be significant. Nevertheless, since I do not have earphones pumping loud music or the sound of someone reading a breathlessly suspenseful novel into my ears, I ponder things like this as I walk along. I am sure whatever the generalization is, it is more significant than “people are creatures of habit” and less significant than the fact that the rotation of the earth causes the water to swirl clockwise in the northern hemisphere when you flush your toilet.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

There was a time in my life when my daughter Jessica and I used to fly every year during the autumn to London for the theatrical season. We would also attend the New York theater season as well. Nevertheless, the sheer breadth of the offerings in London and the excellence of the acting were incomparable.

We attended the opening of Le Miserables and were left teary-eyed and at a loss for words. Of course, at the time, a number of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals were always running. We saw the opening of Starlight Express there.

Cats and the Phantom of the Opera we saw in New York. In New York, we usually got the box over the stage. During the performance of Cats,( Jessica was about eight years old at the time), we were surprised by a panel opening in the wall behind us. An actress dressed as a cat emerged, slinking out and crawling along the rim of the box. The cat meowed and encouraged Jessica to pet her. Jessica was thrilled.

In London, two shows stand out in my memory. One, Pirandello’s Henry IV with that aging Enfant terrible Richard Harris in a stunning performance left us breathless. The other memorable production was the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet. It was a musical spoof on the movie Forbidden Planet that starred Leslie Nielsen during his early years as an action hero before he discovered he could make more money as a goof-ball.

The musical featured a host of 1950 and 1960 Rock and Roll tunes including “Mr. Spaceman,” ”Monster Mash,” “Great Balls of Fire”. “Johnny B. Goode,” “Telstar,” “Good Vibrations,” “A Teenager in Love,” “Who’s Sorry Now?”, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Only the Lonely,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and many others. By the end, everyone in the theater, including us, were dancing in the aisles and some even had climbed onto the stage to dance with the actors.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

100,000 BP (Before Present):

As the last Ice Age impacts the world lowering sea level and leaving vast areas that were submerged now accessible, the diet of Homo sapiens began to include fish and seafood. Some scientists theorize that fish oil was key to the growth of the brain of Homo sapiens. Evidence suggests that no other hominids such as Neanderthals, who had been well established in Europe since at least 500,000 years before present, ate fish. (See Broadhurst, 2001.)

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Peter on Top:

Peter’s observations on Bill’s comments regarding my tendency to rant when under stress:

Five minutes and a candy bar would take care of the rants — except for the recently arrived young man who, after ten days at the old SCC sadly admitted that although the work and situation and your leadership were exciting, he just couldn’t put up with the Rants, notwithstanding your inevitable rapid return to calm and humor and no recriminations within minutes. Dennis and the rest of us knew better.

My response:

The rants were my way of releasing anxiety. To Southern Italian-Americans from NY, this was a fairly normal reaction to stress. It got the fear out of our systems before we did something really foolish.

Eventually, I realized I had to do something about the pain I was causing innocent people like the young man. So, after several profitable, if not especially rewarding years with various law firms, I got my analyst to prescribe happy pills for me. They made me more mellow but absolutely worthless. I was then faced with the choice between stopping the pills and remaining a raving but successful asshole or continuing with them and becoming a benign parasite. I chose the latter. I feel much better for the choice.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

One wonders if pursuant to Quantum Mechanics, the Big Bang is simply consciousness observing The Singularity.

And, if like me, you question the existence of God or a supreme consciousness, then do you wonder if our understanding of consciousness or observation is faulty?
C. Today’s Poem:

In the desert, I saw a creature, naked, bestial, who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it. I said, “Is it good, friend?” “It is bitter—bitter,” he answered; “But I like it Because it is bitter, And because it is my heart.”

Stephen Crane, The Black Riders, and Other Line

 

D. Aftermath:

The following is an email from a friend of the Old Sailor describing life on St. Johns after the hurricane.

the whole island is a Catastrophic mess…
it is really hard to believe…
Just trying to save things for now… there are 5 of us living together…eating well & sharing laughs…
Putting on different meaning on what’s important in life…definitely roughing it…taking one day at a time…will move back to town once they get power…& need a roofing on 2 cottages…
Will stay in touch the best I can..

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

From my daughter Dr. Jessica E. Petrillo Ph.D.

I am a Ph.D. virologist. I was always interested in why things work; the opportunities I had through school enriched my love of science. I pursued a Ph.D. in Virology not to study one aspect of one virus — but to gain the skills and understanding to help make real what science is: for the people, by the people. I have had the amazing good fortune to do just that. For the past eight years, I have used my scientific knowledge and training in critical thinking, strategic planning, and communication to promote global health security in unique and innovative ways. This is my investment in the future — for all people. My hope is that today folks take a moment to embrace science as one of the many facets (creativity, annoyance, beauty, work) that makes us… us, and that makes life… life. From star wars to soap bubbles, baking to basketball we are scientists at heart.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Sunrise over the Foothills

 

 

 

 

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Papa Joe 0006 (September 21, 2017)

 

 

Pee Wee Herman is the metaphor for our generation — a happy life in a children’s playhouse exposed in the dark theater of history.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RICHARD McCARTHY AND ANN VITA.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I have settled back into life in the golden hills — Drive HRM to school, have Breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe, a three-mile walk around the lakes in Town Center, and an hour or two exercising and swimming at the health club. After lunch, I return to the house and secrete myself in my room reading or what-have-you until it is time to pick up HRM again. Evenings are the most difficult times.

The doctor has given me some additional medicines to bolster my happy pills and to assist me in gaining back some of the weight I have lost. I think it is too strong because it makes me tired all the time and even more dizzy when I stand up suddenly.

Things at the house in EDH have descended into a series of grimaces, silences and feigned ignoring of one another’s presence. Meanwhile, I continue to plan for whatever comes next while HRM slowly descends back into the emotional vortex from which Richard and I thought we had rescued him. On the other hand, he is on the brink of teenager-hood.

One day, on a Sunday, I believe, Stevie and Norbert came by to take me to lunch and to accompany them to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn to pick up their wine club wines. I had been feeling a little down and it was good to see them and do something other than hanging around the house of the health club.

We had lunch at an outside table at the Bistro, a slightly upscale restaurant in Town Center. Perhaps the lethargy I felt for the past week was due to a new medicine my doctor prescribed. Anyway, I was not much of a lunch companion. After lunch, we traveled to the winery and picked up the wine. They returned me to The house in EDH where I ate a dinner of leftovers with HRM while the adults sat down for a formal dinner. It was sort of a Dickensonian experience.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

Red Sails in the Sunset

It was autumn in Paris. We walked down Rue de Grenelle on the left bank, my arm around her shoulders. She wore a long checkered coat. We stopped to look into the window of a shop selling antique playing and tarot cards. I pulled her towards me. We kissed. We were very much in love. We stood there arms entwined gazing at one another. She was very beautiful.

That was the point when, last night, I realized I had been dreaming. I could feel myself being pulled away into wakefulness. My dream me cried out. I, however, felt no tears. I lay there in bed the rest of the night unable to get back to sleep. It had been like a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.

The whole thing reminded me of a poem I had written many years ago when I was much younger and living in Rome. I fancied myself a poet then (more a lifestyle than a profession). I lived in a small pensione on the top floor of a building on a side street just off via Nationale across from St Paul’s within the Walls, the major American Protestant Church in Rome. In the evenings, I would sit in my room by the open window and listen to the then love of my life, practice on the piano in the church rectory where she lived having been sent there by her exceedingly wealthy Danish parents to study music at The National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. She was exceptionally beautiful, an accomplished musician, a doper and a bit of a groupie, especially attracted to bass fiddle jazz musicians with lots of hair.

Eventually, her family felt she was spending too much time with a certain Italian-American drifter and called her back from Rome to marry someone more appropriate. She is now Chairman of the Board of a major subsidiary of the family’s shipping empire. Sic transit Gloria.
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Anne Moller

In Rome during the late 60s, I hung out with a group of ex-pat would be poets none of whom ever made it as poets (one became a high school teacher in Santa Rosa) and a few con-man who also to my knowledge never made whatever it was they were hoping to make. In ex-pat communities world over, there are always a lot of those on the con. How much less interesting would the world be if there were no cons and no grifters to fashion them.

Movies often tend to make the grifters happy-go-lucky sociopaths, sometimes even with a heart of gold. Although they smiled a lot, most of the sociopaths I knew were anything but happy go lucky and as for their hearts, it was far more likely they were lined with lead.

The poem itself was part of a lengthy piece most of which I no longer recall. It was lost many years ago along with all my other attempts at turning doggerel if not into gold at least into something useful like molybdenum. Pretentious Imagist drivel, it went like this:

The wanderer travels not by hook
But sprawled upon the empty tides
Of fairy world and real
And the sham cult darkness lie that was
Yet will not be
Marks its passage on nothing
But cognition.

The entire poem ended with perhaps one of the more tragic images in all of literature, “Red sails returning.” The image comes from the story of Tristan of Lyoness and Iseult (Isolde) an Irish princess.
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Tristan, before embarking from Cornwall on his latest war in Ireland, promised his beloved Isolde (Iseult), that upon his ships’ return, if he were still alive, he would unfurl his white sails but, had he died, his men would put up red ones.

Upon word of the ship’s approach to the harbor, Isolde sent her handmaid to the top of the tower to report what she sees. Tristan, still alive, orders his men to unfurl the white sails. Unfortunately, the sun was setting at just that moment causing the sails to blaze a bright red.

When the maid returned from the tower, Isolde asked her the color of the sails. “Red” she answered not knowing the significance of her response. So, in sorrow and despair, Isolde killed herself as did Tristan when he discovered his beloved’s body.

I always have envied Tristan in part because, as far as I know, there have been very few people who longed for my return even when I just only left the room.

It should be noted, there are several versions of the Tristan tale many of them that differ substantially from what I have described. In some, it is Tristan who dies after mistaking the color of the sails on Isolde’s returning boat. In a few, the colors of the sails were white and black. In others, the Isolde waiting in the castle in Cornwall was not the beloved Isolde, but Isolde of the White Hands, T’s wife who was waiting for him in Brittany. It seems that while T and the beloved Isolde were playing hide the salami, she was married to Mark the King who was also T’s boss. Eventually, the lovers agreed T would go away because, in part, they both liked Mark the King and felt bad about what they were doing, but mostly because Mark the King was the King and if he found out what they were doing he would cut off their heads as well as other important parts of their body. So T left and married the white-handed Isolde because he liked her name and she had a castle near the water.

Frankly, when T returned from his slaughter of his Irish kinsmen and found white-handed Isolde dead due to a mistaken perception, he really was not too broken up about it.

There are also many versions of how T died. Some have him poisoned, probably by a jealous husband, and others have him chopped to bits in the midst of one of his ethnic cleansing jobs. I, on the other hand, believe he died in a bar fight with some lesbian bikers in Pocatello Idaho.
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DAILY FACTOID:

“Remarkably, you can take this information—which describes the order of the bonds of guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine to a sugar and phosphate group—and plug it into a machine that will recreate the DNA by dripping nucleobases one by one into a solution.”

“Researchers have e-mailed text files across the Internet, uploaded them to DNA replicators, and then dropped the DNA copy into “blank” cells, which have then started up and become identical versions of the original organism.”
Mayne, Andrew. The Naturalist (The Naturalist Series Book 1) (p. 72). Thomas & Mercer.

(Can this be true?)

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

A corporate CEO can best be described as a person exhibiting dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.

 

B. Today’s Poem:

Centre of the Universe

Every dawn as you open your eyes
objects
are awake
this lamp
this book
this flask of tea
this desk and pencil and matchbox
these are the center of the universe
gathered in a house that doesn’t belong to you
Iraj Ziayi — born in 1949 in Rasht, north of Iran. His family moved to Talesh, a small town on the Caspian Sea when he was 4 and Iraj spent his childhood in a beautiful environment surrounded by forest, mountain, and sea. His family later moved to Isfahan where Iraj went to high school and joined ‘Jong-e Isfahan’ circle, a group of influential writers and poets.

 

C. Comments on past issues of T&T:

 

1. From Bill.

Wow, Joe, you have really mellowed. I started reading your screed about the coastal program expecting a good Petrilloish rant. There was not even a four-letter word. I am most grateful to you that you thought, based on my law school journal summary of the ’76 Coastal Act, that I might know “what the fuck the Coastal Commission was supposed to do” after the passage of the ’76 Act. You downplay your immense contribution to the protection of California’s coast at that critical transition from the Prop 20 coastal program to the ’76 Coastal Act in your brief summary. You were the perfect creative personality to ramp up the Coastal Conservancy. You were bold and aggressive when taking risks were essential to launching a conservancy program. There are several places on this coast that under your leadership the Conservancy helped restore and enhance — not to mention some of the ill-advised, short-sighted development proposals that the Conservancy purchased and reconfigured and somehow got approval from the Coastal Commission that you helped to transform. (Not that you were always pleasant to deal with at that time in your career or life.) I am most grateful for the start you gave me and the trust you had in my abilities as you helped me get my foot in the door at the Coastal Commission. Despite your impatience with those of us who did not get your brilliance at times, you are one of the most creative individuals I have ever known or worked with. You are also one of a handful of individuals that made the difference during that transitioning era. It was a good run. Thank you.
My Response.

Thank you. I need to point out, however, that your lifetime commitment to the environment and the success of your endeavors put my meager contributions in their shadow.

3. From Harvey.

Had to take time from this once in a lifetime experience to say: “There will never be another ‘Knights’ tale that comes close to the original! The ‘Heaven’ gathering was a sham, the names unimaginative, the events uninspiring & nothing more than a sequel- and they all turn out the same!”. And it’s old news!
Back to the important stuff.

 

3. From Ruth:

Was that really your last trip to Thailand? Hard for me to imagine. I remember your anticipation of your first trip and what a thrill it turned out to be. How will you amuse yourself instead? And what about the people there?–which reminds me that I never found out the actual name of the woman you refer to as “the little masseuse.” She’s a person, Joe, not an object–at least I hope she’s not just an object to you. She must have a name.

 

My Response.

It is an old Sicilian tradition to give people “nicknames.” We think it personalizes the person more than the name of the particular saint they were burdened with at baptism. Most of the nicknames were not necessarily demeaning (e.g., Nicholas [cockeyed Nick] Rattini, a mob boss of my youth). In Thailand, almost no one uses their given name, often adopting different names depending on circumstances. Anyway, her given name is Kesorn. An attractive name, but one that tells nothing about her.

 

4. From Peter.

Glad you survived the trip back from Thailand. Clearly, your vividly descriptive saga is publishable via this era’s document replacing The Lost Planet. Try to get it out there: “The Blog of Nightmare Travel” or sumpin like that. I expect it will generate much uproar in the travel world, even invitations to go on Weekend Update. I can almost feel the combined exhaustion, fury, frustration, and yet the perverse “anthropologist’s fascination,” re the latter, especially the phenomenon of someone, in each of the successive dreary situations unfolding, suddenly materializing amidst the confusion and escorting you precisely to your desired but to you invisible next point in the journey — hotel, plane. Could be a take-off on The Odyssey: Odysseus Petrillo making his way past the sirens, cyclops, and all those other chapters/stanzas — can’t remember them, I’m 78 – after much Sturm und Drang, back to, not Athens, but EDH!

 

More Peter.

These days I do my own version of walking: As I did several years ago first time recovering from hip surgery, walking up and down the hall every hour. Today, for the first time since the surgery on Aug. 8, I ventured out, making it to Bernie’s and back home without mishap, not really needing the cane but having in case. Thus, the wonders of the “anterior approach” to hip replacement, which avoids slicing and dicing the muscle groups thus resulting in a quicker surgical procedure, out of the hospital in a day, and recovery expected in 4-6 weeks instead of 12 weeks. This approach was in use in Paris, France 60 years ago, and is only now in regular use here within the past few years. Guess the wonder years of America’s Golden Age are long past.

 

D. From the Old Sailor on the Death of his Friend Augie.

to be part of his journey has been an adventure…
to be part of his life has been a priceless gift…
there is no perfect life…
but we fill in with perfect moments…
death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
love leaves a memory
no one can steal.
saying goodbye to a loved one is
surely one of life’s most difficult
tasks. there are no words powerful
enough, no music soothing enough,
to ease the pain at a time like this.

I shall miss my dear friend Augie, from whom I’ve learned so much. But I
know his life could not have been fuller, and I draw comfort knowing he died on his
own terms with courage, grace, and dignity. None of us could ask for more.
Good life, good death through control and choice.
I loved Augie not because of who he was, but because of who I was when I was with
him…to the world he may be only one person, but to me, he was the world…
maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one,
so that when we finally meet the person, we will know how to be grateful.

I don’t want to cry because it is over, let me smile because it happened…~Sylvia

born May 15th, 1930 transition on January 20th, 2016

Great guy. Friend. Of. Hari. Donut. ,, Hawaii

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
—T. E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Taken by the Original Bill Gates on His Bucket List Trip to Africa this Month.

 

 

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Pops 0006 (September 11, 2017)

 

 

“It is not enough to get what you wish for, there has to be someone around who envies you for it.”
Trenz Pruca (adapted from a sentence in Reginald Hill’s novel, The Woodcutter).

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

So, on Wednesday, I left The golden hills and took route 20 to Mendocino. I like that drive, not much traffic, then through the lake country and into the redwoods before hitting the coast just south of Fort Bragg. It took a little over five hours with a break for a hot fudge sundae on the shores of Clear Lake at Lucerne.

The sun was shining brightly on the coast, a good sign that the weather might be pleasant for the weekend. George got me settled in the Tower House and I went right to sleep. The drive had exhausted me. I love staying at the Tower House. Unfortunately, it is usually rented out on weekends so I stay in one of the bedrooms in the main house.
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The Water Tower House

The next few day, I spend the mornings walking along the Mendocino Headlands and through the town. In the afternoons, I sleep and later I read or play with the computer until dinner and then off to bed. This continues until Saturday, the day of Brendan and Ashley’s engagement party. Brendan is Maryann and George’s son.

After breakfast and my morning walk, there was a lot of frenetic activity around the house to prepare for the arrival of the guests at 4 PM. The specially made Game of Thrones themed cookies arrived.
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Game of Thrones Cookies

Then came Ashley’s mom and a few others who began cooking up various Philippine delicacies.
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Philippine Delicacies

Finally, The Paella Lady arrived and the party began.
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Paella Lady

Ester one of my favorite people was there.
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Ester, My Sister and I

It was all quite pleasant.
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I retired early and slept well.

The next day, after breakfast, we attended Paul Bunyan Day in Fort Bragg a few miles up the road.
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There were many activities all around the town. We, appropriately, attended the logging competition. There we saw sawing,
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chopping,
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throwing,

 

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and we generally had a good time.

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That evening about 18 of last night’s partiers who remained (a number of whom set up tents in the backyard) joined us for a pleasant dinner and BBQ. The next morning I left for SF. It took as long to travel the 150 miles to SF as it took to travel the 250 miles from EDH to Mendocino.

 

B. SAN FRANCISCO WITH PETER, DON, BARRIE, AND RAMSEY.

I spent the evening in an excess of talking with Barrie and Peter. Ramsey their new rambunctious half-grown puppy, enjoyed leaping on me until got him to understand that sitting quietly with his head on my lap and staring at me with those limpid eyes will get him petted longer and more vigorously than any exuberant physical demonstrations of how good it was for him to see me.

The next morning Peter and I met with Don on the old man’s bench in front of Bernie’s. Don, one of the most creative planner’s I have known, now, among other things, teaches eighth-grade students in Oakland’s flatlands two days a week. He has developed some interesting innovative teaching methods there.

Then it was the long ride back to the golden hills. When I arrived I was told by the powers that be that I will have to move out and leave. Although I had been contemplating this possibility for a month or so, it still came as a shock especially since the initial phase of my rehabilitation from my cancer treatment continues for another three months or so and more significantly it would remove me from daily contact with my beloved HRM.

But then again, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

 
C. SOME BAD NEWS:

The Old Sailor told me that some of his old friends in the Virgin Islands did not make it through Hurricane Irma.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Musings about the California Coastal Program after 40 or so years.

Those who know me know that many years ago I played a role in the fight to protect California’s coastal resources. As chief counsel to the initiative (Proposition 20) created California Coastal Commission, I managed the development permit process and wrote most of the Governmental Powers and Funding element of California Coastal Plan from which the legislation implementing California’s Coastal Program emerged from the legislature in 1976.

That program contained three parts. The first part proposed a reconstituted California Coastal Commission with significantly expanded jurisdiction and very specific rules and standards with which to regulate new development.

The second part recommended the creation of a new entity, the California Coastal Conservancy. There were several reasons for this proposal:

1. Some resources were too valuable to be left to the vagaries of a regulatory process.
2. Their purchase was often inconsistent with the mandates and programmatic requirements of the state’s park and wildlife acquisition agencies.
3. To restore those resources where pre-existing development had damaged or degraded them.
4. To construct public access-ways to the State’s beaches and to other waterways in the coastal zone.
5. To plan and assist the rehabilitation of environmental and public recreational resources in the coastal zone.

The third element urged the passage of a bond act to fund the Conservancy and the other land acquisition agencies in order to purchase critical coastal resources thereby removing them from potential destruction due to the unending political/economic battles to use them for purposes inconsistent with their environmental values.

These proposals were presented to the California State Legislature in three separate bills.

Following completion of the Plan, I joined the legislature as the staff consultant to the Special Senate Committee on Land Use. When the original bill we had drafted reconstituting the California Coastal Commission faltered, then-Senator Jerome (Jerry) Smith took up the fight and became the principal author of the legislation that became the Coastal Act of 1976. I served as staff for Senator Smith. I worked with him and others to successfully shepherd all three elements of the plan the program through the legislative process.

After the passage of all three bills, I left the legislature and was appointed, the first Executive Officer of the California Coastal Conservancy.

About eight years later when I felt that agency was running effectively and well funded, I left and went into private law practice where I sometimes represented those to whom the markedly increased value we had unintentionally created for those obtaining a coastal permit to develop land in the Coastal Zone was irresistible.

I write the foregoing as background and evidence that I have some experience in coastal matters that enables me to comment and evaluate the effect of the California Coastal Program now over 40 years old.

The California Coastal Commission, the agency charged with regulating development in California’s coastal zone has been remarkably effective in carrying out its mandate to assure that new development does not irreparably damage irreplaceable environmental and recreational resources along the coast. Of course, now and again, it has failed on specific development approvals or resource protection but in operating for over 40 years now, it has been astonishingly successful avoiding consistent agency capture by the industry it regulated, a common problem with governmental regulation.

One of the reasons it has been able to do so and often overlooked is that among governmental agencies its process up until now has been remarkably open to all and free of secret influence and collusion. Absent that, as with many regulatory entities, real decision making would be pulled back to Sacramento where accountability is often hidden; where money talks and not technical analysis; where laws can be ignored in return for favors.

Since its creation, the Commission has adopted ever increasingly strict regulations on disclosure and the behavior of all the participants in the process including the staff and the commission itself. Decision making has been brought out into the public arena.

True, I and others have at times criticized the Commission for notable failures to protect a specific resource or the staff for callous behavior and its tendency to avoid preserving or restoring resource where it could in favor of simply denying development, but on the whole the process seems to work and has grown over the years to be relatively free (not, of course, absolutely free) of corruption and political influence.

Those seeking permits have to rely on those knowledgeable about the Commissions procedures and provide generally technically competent information to the Commission. The Commission Staff has developed the ability to analyze the information and present their conclusions in public. Communications from those trying to influence Commissioners are required to be disclosed. The public, generally, has access to the information and reasonable confidence in the independence and competency of the process.

 

As for the Coastal Program and the State’s Coastal resources as a whole, they are in generally good shape. For the past 40 years, vast amounts of critical resource lands have been removed from the vagaries of development. Significantly more public recreational use of the coast has been provided for all. Local communities, land trusts and state agencies have begun the process of restoring those resources damaged by pre-existing development.

The great environmentalist David Brower once told me, “All our victories are temporary and all our defeats permanent.” That may be so. But here in on California’s coast, at least for the past 40 years, we have been pushing back.

During the battle for passage of the various pieces of Coastal Legislation a legislator asked me, “I fly all over California and when I look down, I see lots and lots of wild natural lands why do you want to stop development on this little bit?”

“That’s just the point,” I responded. “With all that land, much of it not particularly sensitive, why must you build on this irreplaceable resource?”

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Note: As some of you may recall, about six years or so ago, I published six or eight tales by Giufra regarding the legendary Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table (https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/category/geriatric-knights/). At that time, some criticized them as puerile and adolescent. I ignored the criticism. After all, what is wrong for the aged to try and re-live their adolescence and this time perhaps get it right?

Alas, as usual, I never completed publishing them all, leaving out the Tale of Sir Harvey and the Woman Who Screamed. Recently, (well if about three years ago can be considered recent) I learned of another gathering of some of the Knights of this distinguished order.

Here is that tale:

My name is Giufra. I am a member of that slightly less than noble order The Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table. Several years ago, the members of our company dispersed around the world. I believed I would never see their like again. But recently, Sir Spy, one of the original knights, told me about the planned initiation of new members into that obscure band and agreed to take me there to observe and perhaps participate.

On the boundary between Paradise by the Sea and The Outskirts of Hell, there is a tiny building called “Heaven.” The entry into Heaven, is dark, filled with large vases containing slightly wilted flowers, and its walls draped over with golden fabric. It looked very much like the entrance to a mortuary. And, that may be appropriate for an entryway to a place called Heaven.

Once inside, however, the place appeared more plush and opulent. Sort of like a piano bar in Las Vegas during the 1950s. A hostess led us to the back and into a small room at the center of which stood an oval table. Now while the original oval table was made of faux marble and gilt this one was jet black, as black as the nearby gates of hell.

At the table, we were joined by other Knights and initiates. There was Gold, so named because he was rumored to deal in precious metals. But even if that were not true, he was so kind and genial, sort of like those golden Buddhas, that the name was apt.

There was also someone named The Hungarian because he was from Hungary. Sitting nearby was an elderly man I came to call the Photographer because he insisted on showing me photographs on his iPhone of his naked girlfriend who happened to be sitting beside me, smiling demurely and definitely not naked.

Also attending was Tina who used to be Tai and was called Angelina at the previous oval table. Back then she miraculously cured me of arthritis in my hand and woke up one of Sir Harvey’s Chakras although Sir Harvey maintains his Chakra was just dozing and was never asleep. Tina had mysteriously disappeared for the previous two years but now had suddenly returned again as Angelina. She clearly had been ennobled and like Eleanor of Aquitaine presiding over the Courts of Love in the 12th Century, she dictated the fashions and deportment of those attending this evenings ceremony around the oval table. And, like Eleanor herself, she assumed a major role in the evening’s entertainments.

For some reason or other, I did not get the names of most of the others except for one woman who I called the Valkyrie or just as well Brunhilde because she had blond hair falling halfway down her back and the build of a rugby player or an NFL linebacker. She was dressed all in red and suddenly leaped on to the table and began what I could only describe as terminal Pilates. While doing this, she uttered sounds that resembled a cross between an orgasm gone wrong and the scream of a berserker smelling blood.

I admit, I was startled, concerned, and somewhat frightened so I hid away for a while in the toilet. When I emerged several of the attendees had gone swimming in the pool at the center of Heaven’s patio. Brunhilde no longer occupied the table, replaced by a lounging Angelina holding Court. In the corner, Spy was busy instructing whoever cared to participate in the principles of knight-errantry, or errant knights.

We drank a lot, laughed a lot, and everyone ate a lot. We also played amusing games that required intelligence, cunning, and physical dexterity.

After about five hours, Spy and I left, got into Gold’s tricked out four door short bed truck, and drove to my hotel where I immediately fell asleep.

So ends Giufra’s tale, such as it is.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

The Nose Knows.

The ancient Mayans considered people with large noses to be much more beautiful that lesser nosed people. In fact, those with deficient proboscis took to wearing ceramic noses in an effort to make themselves more attractive.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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Categories: July to September 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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:

 

 

5996022514000020002c3580 2

 

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:
Pasted Graphic 2
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.”

 

 

 

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.
IMG_2968

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.
PastedGraphic-1

 

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. 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:
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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

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