Posts Tagged With: Mafia

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 21, 2011


Please see the blog:


Poster to urge Salvatore Cuffaro to resign aft...

Poster to urge Salvatore Cuffaro to resign after his conviction to five years for aiding and abetting Mafiosi using an image of Cuffaro serving cannoli after the sentence which did not convict him for collusion with the mafia, but only for aiding and abetting individual Mafiosi. The Italian text reads “Convicted to five years. Resign.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2006, May 28Rita Borsellino, anti-mafia politician and sister of late anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino who had been murdered by the mafia, loses to Salvatore Cuffaro, incumbent president and alleged mafia associate, in the 2006 Regional Election of Sicily.

2008, January 18Sicilian president Salvatore Cuffaro is found guilty of several mafia-related charges.


1. Since the recent Thai elections, there has been a drastic fall off of political news. Yingluck’s election has been confirmed by the Elections Commission and it is expected that she will soon be chosen Prime Minister and begin assembling her cabinet. Unlike her exiled brother Thaksin, she has been notably and admirably reticent to make any comments at all about either her appointments or her policies.

2. The International Court has ordered the military of both countries to vacate the disputed temple area on the border between Thailand and Cambodia and allow the residents therein to get on with their lives. The military of both countries are relieved, otherwise they would have continued to expend ammunition and material in the senseless shelling of each other. Nevertheless each side has announced that it would not begin to remove its troops until there is independent verification that the other side is removing theirs.

3. The members of Thailand’s military general staff, who had been instrumental on the coup that overthrew the democratically elected (although perhaps personally corrupt) Prime Minister Taksin, violently put down the Red Shirt protests and to all extents and purposes ran (although neither efficiently nor effectively) the country, when queried by reporters on whether they would be replaced by the new administration responded that they should not be replaced because they were only doing their jobs; that they and the military were the servants of the people and they (the Generals and the Military) instead of being removed deserve to be honored for doing their duty.

4. For those of you who recall opening AVA PUB in the then seedy Sukhumvit Soi 11, a recent travel article about Bangkok states, ‘…Soi 11 is gaining a reputation as a cuisine hall of fame.”


It is that time of the year in Thailand when overcast skies and the daily afternoon and evening downpours makes the heat nearly tolerable for westerners in Bangkok. I have just begun to shrug off the sluggishness and fatigue of jet lag and lack of exercise that have been dogging me since I arrived.

Yesterday, I suffered a serious economic calamity due exclusively to my favorite vice, Sloth (see TODAY’S QUOTE, below). Realizing that such a serious event could lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and in some cases despair and in order avoid those consequences, I am considering either temporarily upping my dosage of “happy pills” or having a three hour happy face massage.

To add to my melancholy it has been raining all day, but I suppose except for the end of times or the end of your time sooner or later the grey skies will part and the sun, if even briefly will shine. In a life filled with silliness and embarrassment, I cannot recall doing anything as embarrassing, silly and rediculess as writing that last line, unless it is writing this one.

I think I will try the massage first, then if that doesn’t work the happy pills.




Damon Morley, was Big Flo’s neighbor, sometime golfing partner and occasional investor in his development projects. He owned a large trucking company and was a close confident of the leadership of the area’s Teamsters Union local. McWerter had met several of these large beefy taciturn men at Damon’s house or on the golf course. The local had become a fairly large investor in several of Bog Flo’s projects also. He had heard the stories about the local’s organized crime connections, but their money was good and surprisingly easy to raise. Where it came from was their problem not his he reasoned.

After Big Flo indicated an interest in looking into the military procurement business that Damon seemed so high on, Damon began to bring him along to what he described as “prayer meetings.” Big Flo, although raised Catholic, was anything but devout. When Damon mentioned “prayer meeting” Big Flo scrunched up his face like he had just gotten a whiff of something that smelled bad. Damon quickly assured him that it was more like the Mason’s, sure there was some religion in it but it was more like a club set up for business men to assist one another.

The “prayer meetings” usually took place in the spacious home of a member located in one or another of the luxury subdivisions that dot the San Francisco Bay area. In addition to the host who inevitably was a CEO of a company doing business with the US military, or an executive with a New York based financial institution were four of five others in the same businesses. Big Flo liked that and preened in their presence.

There would also usually be one or two elected officials sometimes from as far away as the mid-west who were especially noted for their strong conservative views. Sometimes there was someone from the military present, resplendent in his dress uniform. There were never any woman who attended.

The meeting, if it could be called that, always began with a prayer led by Reverend Michael. Reverend Michael, did not have a church per se, that is a building to which worshippers came to pray. His flock seemed to be the men in the bay area who attended these meetings . Big Flo was later to learn that there were counterparts to Reverend Michael throughout the country, leading “prayer meetings” like these. They all seemed to report to a man named Robert Millicum who they mentioned in only the most respectful and reverential tones.

Finally, there were always one or two muscular young men present referred to as Guardians. Big Flo was informed that they lived in dormitories that were called “Academies” where they were trained to eventually take employment in the companies controlled or managed by the membership after a stint as an aid to one of the elected official members.

After the prayer there really was no meeting. For about an hour or so, they would drift off in small groups where they would speak to each other in hushed tones until signaled for a brief meeting with Reverend Michael and the host.

Although, unlike Big Flo, many of the attendees had had experience as high ranking military officers, almost none had been an entrepreneur growing his own business from scratch. Most seemed to have worked their way through the bureaucracy chosen more for consistency and loyalty than imagination. “But hell” thought Big Flo, “however they got there, they were on top.”

The Reverend Michael was a slight man, with a long narrow nose and a bloodless complexion that allowed his blue veins to show through like highways on a road map. His eyes were grey and hard but with a touch of moisture glistening in a way that made the pupils appear to float. He spoke is a soft voice and only inquired about simple things like family or business and the like.

Although everyone claimed they had “found Jesus” it sounded more like a ritual, than the falling on the floor and frothing at the mouth that he expected. So soon he found he could also say it also, without thought or embarrassment.

Following each of the meetings, of course there was the expected requests for donations, for the Brotherhood, the politicians who attended the meeting and various conservative and religious political causes. Damon recommended that Big Flo give generously and he did so.

Now and then, the gathering would include an attorney. He was introduced to Big Flo as Sam Coign managing partner of the firm McKenzie Reed. That, in retrospect, he thought, could have been the worst moment in his life maybe even worse than meeting Damon Morley.


a. Eponymous laws:

Reilly’s law of retail gravitation — People generally patronize the largest mall in the area.

(I knew that.)

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apophthegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/

“The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.”

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

John Coates, a former trader turned student of neuroscience, performed an experiment on the trading floor and found out that if a trader’s testosterone levels reach a little higher than the peak, their brain goes haywire.
According to Coates, “During the dot-com bubble, people who were working with me displayed all the classic symptoms of mania: They were euphoric, delusional, and overconfident; they couldn’t put a coherent sentence together; and they were unusually horny, judging from the number of lewd comments and the amount of porn that was showing up on their computer screens.”

(And these were the self styled Masters of the Universe, admired by many and models of success who obviously should and did receive thousands of times more in compensation than the teacher of your children or for that matter, you [not me however; at that time I was as crazy as they were and although I was making not nearly as much money as they did, it still was a hell of a lot and oh you should have seen what was on my computer].)


“As to the Seven Deadly Sins, I deplore Pride, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Greed. Gluttony and Sloth I pretty much plan my day around.”
~Robert Brault,


Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 14, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1982, Sicilian mafioso Filippo Marchese is killed. He was in charge of what became known as the Room Of Death, a small apartment along the Piazza Sant Erasmo Road. Victims who stood in the way of the Corleonesi of Totò Riina during the Second Mafia War were lured there to be murdered, usually by being garroted. Their bodies were either dissolved in acid or chopped up and dumped out at sea. Marchese was also garroted and dissolved in acid like so many of his own victims. He was so elusive that the authorities did not learn of his death until the late 1980s through an informant.

Today’s Petrillo comment:

Please review the attached important announcement.

Regarding my last post, some of you have commented that they prefer reading the travelogues. Others of you like my Historical riffs and observation on local customs best. Most of you who have commented say that they like the “Today’s factoid” while they could do without “Today’s Quote” (this surprises me since I rather enjoy the discovery of the “bon mot”).

A number of you have found my recitations of political or social opinion or observations about my body and those of others and the like, an acquired taste. Ruth has called them my “epistles”. Others of you have called them “weird” (a comment I alas have received quite often). Irwin, in his satirical survey a few weeks back that I shared with you requested, “keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, Thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully clothed or (worse) semi-nude.”

I fell a little like the media mogul juggling his lineup of shows so that he can make even more money than he needs in order to use it to corrupt the political process. I on the other hand do this for fun although, I must admit, I would love to be able to corrupt the political process too.

And so, until oh maybe the next post, I shall move my travelogue back to the front page. But, I intend to keep the titles and chapter headings which I have grown to like.

“Today’s quote”, will drop to the end just before “Ciao” and any attachments.

My epistles will now be relegated to attachments, however they will hereafter be entitled, Pookie’s Epistle to the “Thai email list” number X + __. This now being the first will be numbered X + 1.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:



The next morning I left my room and went down to the lobby to have coffee and to wait for the others. I assumed I would be waiting for a while since they had gone night-clubbing last night and did not return until about four in the morning.

It had rained last night and the busy street in front of the motel was flooded with water deep enough to entirely cover the tires of an ordinary car.

As I drank my coffee, I watched as the different vehicles drove or at times were pushed through the water. The motor bikes were especially interesting. Some of the riders would ride or walk their bikes through the water drenching their trousers or dresses. Others however would motor through the water happily perched on their seat, the soles of their feet gaily resting on the handlebars. Every now and then a motor bike would be swamped by the wake thrown off by the by the large buses rushing to wherever, as though there were no flood.

Eventually my companions awakened, we bid good-by to Lek and started off bleary eyed to cross the central.lowlands once again.

We reached Ayutthaya a little after midday and drove into the city.

Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand or Siam as it was then called from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth centuries when it was overthrown and destroyed by the invading Burmese. It was more or less governed as an absolute monarchy where much of the population lived in a form of serfhood or slavery. The kings in addition to their political status were also the religious leaders of the country, a lot like the Renaissance Popes in the Papal States. A number of the kings saw their monkish life to be at least as, if not more important than the affairs of state. Coupled with the fact that there lacked clear rules for succession when the old king died, the kingdom was often in a state of turmoil as one general or another or one royal prince or another rebelled and as often as not usurped the throne.

Nevertheless, the kingdom lasted for over 400 years as the dominant force in all or South East Asia (more than twice as long as the United States) until it was overthrown. During its heyday, it controlled in one way or another, in addition to the territory of modern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and much of Burma.

At one time during the Seventeenth Century the city of Ayutthaya was reputed to be the largest city in the world with about one million inhabitants. Now all that is left are the red brick ruins of the royal precincts standing like Ozymandias (See today’s attachment) as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of fame and power.

We drove around for a while looking for something, up and down the same back roads, past the same corners, calls were made, maps consulted, pedestrians interrogated. When I inquired as to what was going on, I was told that a friend of ours, Jo-Jo, who used to work at AVA now lived in this city with her husband and child.

Eventually it seemed we found what we were looking for in the center of the ruins of the old Siamese capital. We pulled to the curb and waited, then drove off and returned to the same spot by a different route. We waited again for about a minute than drove off again, taking a third route and returning again to the same spot for the same minute or so and then drove off again, this time not returning but proceeding back onto the highway and continuing our transect of the lowlands.

I did not ask what all the driving and stopping was about deciding that sometimes it is more interesting not knowing something than knowing it.

Today’s quote:

Buttercup: “We’ll never survive!”
Westley: “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– The Princess Bride

Today’s attachment:


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818)

If one wants to compare good poetry with the not so good compare Shelly’s poem above with the one below both published a month apart and covering the exact same subject.

In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

—Horace Smith.

Of course, with a name like Percy Bysshe Shelly one would have to grow up to be a poet,… or a serial killer. Someone named Horace Smith on the other hand probably became an accountant.


Today’s bonus attachment:

As a proud father, I send this along to you. It is the best birthday present I could imagine.

Tauscher Letter


Comments regarding the Post:

From Ruth Galanter:

Very cool about Jessica!
Remind me what ISN stands for.

My response:

International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau.

What makes me especially proud is not only the quality of the report, but that it sets the standard to be followed for all countries that are signatories to the Biological Weapons Non-proliferation Treaty. As far as I can tell, it is only through the amassing of these CBM reports can the provisions of the Treaty be implemented.

As a collateral benefit of the report, the institutions, resources and mechanisms mentioned in it are also applicable to the response to natural occurring plagues and epidemics.

One of the important although unmentioned impacts of the report is that it represents one of the few times that the multiple agencies in the national security (including international agencies) field have worked cooperatively with one another and with ,private and academic laboratories and scientists to produce something like this. I would guess that as long as the people involved remain in their positions with their current institutions, the promise of continued cooperation in times of crises may become a reality.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3T (Thorba the Thai) September 16, 2010

Today’s quote:
“Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating than intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none.”
Claude Chabrol, courtesy of Ruth Galanter quoting from Claude’s obituary in the New York Times.

(Ah, so that is why I find Fox News so fascinating. I always thought it was the “Fair and Balanced” reporting of the news.)

Today’s definition:
System justification — the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest. (See also status quo bias.)

(If that is so, than why do I think Alex Smith should be replaced?)

Today’s Corrections:
1. In my last email I mentioned my bucket list success occasioned by appearing in my ex-client Rick Elfman’s movie Modern Vampires. Originally entitled “Revenant”, it was supposed to be about a war in LA between Vampires and the Mafia in which I had a walk on role as a Mafia Don. Although I saw the rushes with my scene still in them, apparently, as is the case with most movies, they went back and reshot parts of the movie before release. The Mafia plot was dropped, Rod Steiger was recast as a bumbling “Van Helsing”and my scene replaced by a black hip-hop gang that has the job of wrapping Kim Cattrel in strings of garlic and throwing her into the back of a van, instead of me and my Mafia gang gleefully tossing her garlic wrapped body (Rick rejected, with some disdain, my suggestion that we also smear her with tomato sauce and add some pepperoni) into the trunk of a black limousine. Again,”Sic transit gloria.”

I guess my bucket list has to be satisfied with Sheldon’s portrayal of me in his books.

If you are interested in Rick Elfman things, here is a link to his blog Buzzine Magazine Online (His logo is attached below). Apparently, much to my surprise, there is to be a nationwide retrospective of Rick’s film “Forbidden Zone” this fall. You may want to check out the video of Rick promoting the festival. You need only to look at the first few seconds to understand all. Rick is the balding red-head in the uniform. I also learned that Danny married Bridget Fonda, so maybe he is an artist after all.

2. Irwin pointed out to me that Soupy Sales was only suspended for his “send me the green presidents that you fine in your parent’s pants and pocketbooks” joke. Irwin suggests that you look up Soupy’s write-up in Wikipedia if you are unfamiliar with the life and times of Soupy Sales.

By the way, “Pookie the Lion” was a character on the show whom Soupy would sometimes kiss.

Pookie in Paradise:
The US dollar continues its precipitous decline versus the baht, as a result Pookie is eating less and happily losing weight again. On the other hand, in the mornings Pookie has begun to go for long walks along the beach. I know,- he hates the sand-, but it is better than being kissed by Soupy Sales…then again maybe not.

I was visited on Sunday by two friends who I had not seen for a while, Pui and Gary. Pui stayed for a few weeks at my place in SF before meeting Gary and moving in with him. He now works in Singapore and she owns a Spa in Bangkok not far from AVA Bar.

A spa in Thailand is usually the name given to a massage parlor that generally does not provide “happy endings” among its services. They mostly replace the “happy endings” with things like hot rocks or strange smelling oils and higher prices.

After a few days of marvelous weather the sky has turned overcast again and although it has rained a lot in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, there has been little precipitation here. During that brief hiatus, the weather turned from the sudden wild storms of the monsoon to the peaceful softness that follows the passing of the rain. The air was warm with a strong benevolent breeze making the palms sway with gentle rustling rhythms. For the first time it feels like what a tropical paradise should feel like. The colors have been transformed from washed out pastels to the vigorous palette of the Caribbean. Sunsets’ splash orange across a great arc of the horizon turning undersides of the clouds into burning embers. In the evenings, the brown green of the water has been transformed into dark blue velvet, not translucent like the waters around the Bahamas or in parts of the Mediterranean but a shimmering opaque like a great dark rippling curtain stretching beyond the green palms and the rust-gold sands to the purple and orange sky.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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