Posts Tagged With: Music

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.

 

 

 

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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:

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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


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

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

 

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

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

DAILY FACTOID:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

 

Correlation or Coincidence?
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM ITALY:

     

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

     

    Sacile and Tamai

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

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

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

    The dinner, in good Italian style, lasted from 7:30 when we arrived and until 1 AM when we left. It began with Prosecco, moved through Thai main courses (Vitorio’s wife and several other people there are Thai) and finished off with Italian pastry, sweets, liqueurs and cherries marinated in grappa. It was a truly multi-cultural meal.
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    Professor Hank, a thoughtful gentle man whose company I find extremely enjoyable. As usual, when he and I get together, we talked about many things including the possibility next summer of he and I traveling together to visit his friend who lives in Marshall Tito’s old villa on the Ischia coast of Croatia. Thereafter we would take the ferry to Bari and tour Calabria, his wife’s birthplace. After that, I could go on by train to Sicily and visit Antonio and my family before setting off to Thailand. This excited me because I had hoped to take a similar trip this year but had to cancel it because I had not yet fully recovered from my treatment.

     

    Venice

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

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

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

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

     

    B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ROME:

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

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

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

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    The “Ukrainian Organist” at the Borghese Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

    PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

     

     

     

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

     

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

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM ITALY:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN TRANSIT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    B. TAMIL AND SACILE:

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

     

     

    PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

     

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

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

     

     

    MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

    CRACKED FACTOID:

     

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

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

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    The Young Trenz Pruca

     

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM AMERICA:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:
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    Why are these people smiling?

     

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

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

    On Sunday, we went to the Casper Community Breakfast and Flea Market. Mary and George set up a few tables in the grassy area at the side of the Casper Community Center. On the tables, we placed a few things they had lying around their garage to be sold at the market.
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    I headed off for the community breakfast leaving them to their commercial endeavors. The community volunteer waitpersons sat me in a middle seat at a rectangular table seating six. I did not know anyone else at the table. Having as a result of my therapy an upset stomach, lost most of my hearing and taste, and blurry eyesight, I had little expectation of enjoying either the food or the company. Suddenly across the room, I saw a nose — Not just any nose but a magnificent nose. The nose was appended to the face of one of the woman volunteers waiting on the tables. As noses go, it was extremely well shaped. It was also huge as though insisting we all acknowledge its magnificence. It moved through the dining room like an icebreaker through the Arctic. I was enthralled.

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

     

    1indians420
    Now that is a Nose to Remember.

     
    B. BACK TO THE GOLDEN HILLS:

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

     

     

     

    MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

     

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

     

    January 17, 2010: From Thailand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    January 11, 2011: From Thailand.

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

     

    January 1, 2012: From Thailand.

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

     

    January 4, 2013: From El Dorado Hills.

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

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

     

    January 16, 2014: From El Dorado Hills.

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

     

    January 9, 2015: From El Dorado Hills.

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

     

    January 14, 2016: From El Dorado Hills.

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

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

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

     

    January 1, 2017: From El Dorado Hills.

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

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

    Magic Mouthwash:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “I can well understand that,” I responded.

     

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    A. Iroquois on Top:

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

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

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

     

    B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

     

    C. Today’s Poem:

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

     

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

    or a world,

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

    His name is Louis

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

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

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

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

     

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

     

     

     

     

    TODAY’S CARTOON:
    403833_452167268137623_53805153_n

     

     

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
    IMG_2748

    The Second Most Embarrassing Photograph Ever Taken of Me.

     

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

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Pepe 0005 (November 4, 2016)

     
    “I see great things in baseball.”
    ― Walt Whitman

     

     

    My condolences to Bill Yeates and his family for their great loss.

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM AMERICA:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO:

    One Sunday, I traveled to San Francisco to visit my mom, my son Jason and his family, and to have coffee with Peter. While sitting outside Bernie’s coffee shop in Noe Valley, I realized that something about the Golden Hills and my life there has been lacking, Laughter. Laughter seems in short supply in El Dorado Hills. Smiles, there are plenty. Why wouldn’t there be smiles? It is as close to being an ideal place to live as one can imagine. Nevertheless, I rarely hear the sound of laughter, real deep booming out of control laughter. Without laughter is one truly alive — or even healthy? When I am with HRM, I often laugh, but otherwise nada. I need to either find someone up there in the Golden Hills like Peter who can make me laugh or perhaps, I should start rewatching my favorite comedy movies or maybe old Groucho, You Bet Your Life, reruns. Laugh more — you won’t regret it.

    As for my mom, she has recovered nicely from her broken hip. She even played an enjoyable game of tossing the ball around with my granddaughter and me. She would throw the ball at me when I wasn’t looking, bounce it off my head and then break out laughing. It annoyed the hell out of me.
    IMG_2489_2

    While sitting outside of Bernie’s drinking our coffee, Peter started a story about a trip he took many years ago. A little way into it, he stopped and said that he could not remember if what he was saying was true or if he was just making it up. I urged him to continue in any event because it seemed like a good story. So he did — and it was — something about Frank Lloyd Wright, a burning automobile, and an old lady sitting and looking out her window someplace in Nebraska.

    About a week later, I returned to SF to show my cousin Frederica around the city. She had just arrived from Italy and had never seen the City before. While there, I received a call from my doctor with the most distressing news possible. Nevertheless, we continued our tour of the most impressive sights in the city and ended up for coffee with Peter at Bernie’s in Noe Valley. (Peter can be considered one of the city’s more impressive sights.) Frederica was indignant that instead of a spoon to stir the sugar into her espresso she was given one of those disposable wood stirring sticks. After a crazy time maneuvering through rush hour traffic in downtown, she took the train back to Menlo Park where she is staying with some friends and I proceeded on back to the Golden Hills.
    IMG_2517
    Frederica and I

     

    B. BOOK REPORT: THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE by Tahir Shah.

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
    Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu
    While conversing with Peter in front of Bernie’s coffee shop, for some reason, we got into a discussion about India where Peter and Barrie spent many years and where I have, for a long time, longed to go. I mentioned a book about India I read several years ago of which I was quite fond. I could not remember its name but promised Peter I would search for it and let him know. After three days of searching on my computer, I located the book and sent the information to Peter. I also decided to buy the book on Amazon and reread it on my Kindle to see if it was as enjoyable as I remembered.

    After reading a few pages, I recalled that the book was also one of the reasons I had put off traveling to India. You see, when I travel, I prefer traveling alone and although I enjoy the “Great Sights” like anyone, I especially like searching for the odd and a little dangerous — like the night I found myself in a knife fight in a rural town in Turkey that eventually prompted the leader of the Turkish mafia to demand I persuade him why he should not have me killed. I knew India for me would never be merely a visit to the Taj Mahal or the Red Fort and the like, but a lifetime commitment.

    “A journey, I reflected, is of no merit unless it has tested you. You can stay at home and read of others’ experiences, but it’s not the same as getting out of trouble yourself.”
    Shah, Tahir. The Complete Collection of Travel Literature: In Search of King Solomon’s Mines, Beyond the Devil’s Teeth, House of the Tiger King, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Travels With Myself, Trail of Feathers. Secretum Mundi.
    Anyway, I guess the book can be considered a travelogue. There are many great travel books, like “A Short Walk Through the Hindu Kush,” and several by Krakauer that read like great novels. Tahir Shah’s book is one also — where the travel leaves off and the novel begins, however, is difficult to discern.

    The book begins with Tahir Shah as a young boy in England visited by Hafiz Jan, the hereditary Afghan guard of the tomb of his ancestor the great Muslim general Jan Fishan Kahn (a nom de Guerre that translates to, “He that Scatters Souls.”) He traveled to England because he had a vision of young Tahir, the last of his line, falling into a culvert and dying. He believed it was his duty to prevent it. Hafiz Jon is welcomed by Tahir’s father and takes up residence in Tahir’s home where he sleeps on the floor in front of his bedroom door. The Afghan guard had also spent some time before assuming his hereditary duties guarding the tomb as an apprentice to a great magician in India. The magic we are talking about here is not magic but illusion — the illusion of Houdini and the Indian god-men and sadhus for thousands of years. He began teaching the eager young Tahir the secrets of illusion. The training went well until one day, during an exhibition of Tahir’s magic educational accomplishments, a mishap occurred that almost set his parents on fire. Soon after, Hafiz Jan was sent back to India to resume his hereditary duties.

    Years later, Tahir, as a young man, traveled to India found the guard, apprenticed himself to the guard’s teacher, a rather overbearing sort and after a mostly unpleasant education sets off at the request of his teacher to travel throughout India searching for “insider information.” What one learns along with Tahir are the tricks of the trade of the god-men, sadhus and the like that have enthralled millions of poor and gullible Indians and attracted hundreds of westerners to journey there to sit at the feet of holy mystics absorbing their wisdom — for a price.

    “Because,” he called out, “we were on a quest . . .” “A quest for what?” “For a third eye. You see, in the seventies, India was Disneyland … it was the Disneyland of the soul.”… “[W]e had all been to India in search of the third eye, but had left with nothing but diarrhea.”
    Shah, Tahir. Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Incredible Journey into the World of India’s Godmen. Arcade Publishing.

    Among these Godmen, Tahir and his sidekick, a 13-year-old thief and con-artist named Balu, spent some time at a luxurious mostly pink ashram of a well known Guru and in addition to describing at length the oddness of the entire set up, recounts some of his more private weirdness:

    “When it came to divine eccentricity, Sri Gobind was no exception. His followers took great pride in the tales of their teacher’s irregularities. Every so often, gripped by an insatiable desire, the guru would jump naked from his bed. Running into the heart-shaped gardens, he would relieve himself in the bushes. Or, in the middle of an address, he had been known to rip off all his clothes and anoint his flabby belly with buffalo milk butter. Each morning, his fans averred, the holy man would douse himself in a bath of potassium permanganate. The immersion gave his skin its exotic purply-brown tinge. He would dress his hair with a pomade of seasoned egg whites,-dab his earlobes with witch hazel; and spray his nether regions with his own blend of catnip cologne.”
    Shah, Tahir. Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Incredible Journey into the World of India’s Godmen. Arcade Publishing.

    Along the way, Tahir explores the economic and social life of India through stories about the people he meets such as the cadaver collectors and their business of providing the bones for the skeletons in most medical school classrooms of the world, and the women who rent cows after the owners milk them in the morning then stand on the street corners during the day selling the pleasure of feeding the cow to passers-by and in the evenings selling the cow patties to brick makers and so on. The reason why India with its incredibly concentrated population is not sitting on a pile of garbage and human refuse is that that very garbage and refuse is the resource that supports much of the population.

    “Real travel is not about the highlights with which you dazzle your friends once you’re home. It’s about the loneliness, the solitude, the evenings spent by yourself, pining to be somewhere else. Those are the moments of true value. You feel half proud of them and half ashamed and you hold them to your heart”
    Tahir Shah

    Pookie says, “Check it out.”

    PS: Amazon had a special on where one could buy all of Tahir Shah’s travel books for the price of one, so I bought them all. I am now enjoying his story about finding a fake map of the mythical King Solomon’s mines in a curio shop in Jerusalem and setting off to Ethiopia where he believes the mines described in the fake map might have been located — if they were real. There he hires a taxi driver as an interpreter, travels by some of the most uncomfortable and dangerous modes of transportation imaginable, explores an illegal gold mine where children are sent into the narrow tunnels and many of them die, spends several nights in an Ethiopian jail, just misses a dinner with Idi Amin, is befriended by the manager of a government gold mine who wants to emigrate to America, travels to a land where the men, instead of head hunting for a hobby, cut off the testicles of their enemies and carry them in sacks around their necks and so on and on. Alas, despite the danger and discomfort he finds nothing but adventure.

    “Most journeys have a clear beginning, but on some, the ending is less well-defined. The question is, at what point do you bite your lip and head for home?”
    Tahir Shah

    (It sounds a lot like life, doesn’t it?)

     

     

     

     

    DAILY FACTOIDS:

     

    1. For every human on Earth, there are 1.6 million ants. The total weight of all those ants, however, is about the same as all the humans.

    (Hmm, this would mean a single human would weigh the same as 1.6 million ants. Those must be very small ants.)

    2. Ten percent of all the photos ever taken were taken in the last 12 months.

    (I bet more than half of them are of cats or dogs and posted on Facebook.)

    3. Shakespeare made up the name “Jessica” for his play Merchant of Venice.

    (Why?)

    4. Your chances of being killed by a vending machine are actually twice as large as your chance of being bitten by a shark.

    (How does a vending machine kill?)

    5. Nowhere in the Humpty Dumpty Nursery Rhyme does it say that Humpty Dumpty is an egg.

    (Another of life’s verities shattered.)

     

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    A. DeLong on Top:

    “The authors say the US went off the rails in the 1980s, when government suddenly became the problem, and hundreds of years of institutions were torn down and simply not replaced. The result is a flabby, bloated economy that is bland and non-productive. Moves in the 80s have resulted in a “negative sum healthcare system” that is entirely about processing claims, with providers hiring armies of clerks to do battle with clerks of the insurers and government over codes and reimbursement. Totally nonproductive, consuming hundreds of billions of dollars every year. There is also the financial sector, producing literally nothing, except massive amounts of new money out of thin air, or rather from computer entries in accounts. Cash issued by governments now accounts for just 6% of the money supply, as central banks have been bypassed completely. The nonproductive financial sector siphons the brightest minds and has more than doubled its share of the economy, without producing, improving or exporting anything. Quite the opposite, as wealth is concentrating to the detriment of the vast majority, including to the detriment of governments that enabled it all. Healthcare and finance account for a quarter of the American economy.”
    Review by David Wineberg of, Concrete Economics: The Hamilton Approach to Economic Growth and Policy by Stephen S. Cohen, and J. Bradford DeLong.

     

    B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

    “Life is one-half lies — lies you tell yourself or tell others, and one-half truth — truth that batters your beliefs or demands your acceptance. Without both, there are no stories. Without stories, what is there to life?”

     

    C. Today’s Poem:

     

    The Mystery

    This poem is ascribed to Amergin, a Milesian prince or druid who settled in Ireland hundreds of years before Christ. It is taken from the Leabhar Gabhala, or Book of Invasions and translated by Douglas Hyde (see note below).

    I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,
    I am the wave of the ocean,
    I am the murmur of the billows,
    I am the ox of the seven combats,
    I am the vulture upon the rocks,
    I am the beam of the sun,
    I am the fairest of plants,
    I am the wild boar in valour,
    I am a salmon in the water,
    I am a lake in the plain,
    I am a word of science,
    I am the point of the lance of battle,
    I am the God who created in the head the fire.
    Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
    Who announces the ages of the moon?
    Who teaches the place where couches the sun?
    (If not I)

    Note: ”The three short pieces of verse ascribed to Amergin are certainly very ancient and very strange. But as the whole story of the Milesian Invasion is wrapped in mystery and is quite possibly a rationalized account of early Irish mythology no faith can be placed in the alleged date or genuineness of Amergin’s verses. They are of interest, because as Irish tradition has them as being the first verses made in Ireland, so it may very well be they actually do present the oldest surviving lines of any vernacular tongue in Europe except Greece.”
    Douglas Hyde, The Story of Early Gaelic Literature.

     

    C. What’s wrong with professional football today?

    Professional football viewership has begun to decrease sharply. There have been many theories proposed to account for this. I believe the real reason is evident by simply looking at the sidelines during a game. It used to be that the coaches who prowled along the sidelines had that lean and hungry look, like Bill Walsh and Tom Landry. Now when one looks at those same sidelines it seems as though the coaches are auditioning for the role of Santa Claus in a Christmas pageant. If in an activity where the participants are expected to maintain a regime of rigorous self-improvement, how can one expect from them high performance when their mentors are advertisements for self-indulgence?

     

    D. Comments on my prior post:

    From Naida:

    Hi Joe
    Thanks for Ruth’s ballot advice— enlightening and entertaining. I hope she keeps sending that summation in election years. Every time I’m in the voting booth looking at the propositions I feel angry. People are elected and paid to decide those issues, yet I must do that work! — an old lady out here with many other things to do, putting off those pesky propositions until it’s too late and then hoping I know enough, usually skipping most of them and fearing that hoards of people more ignorant than I, are randomly stabbing at yes or no and collectively making wrong decisions. Hiram Johnson meant well, and the Initiative was good for a several decades, but no longer. IMO

    Re turkeys:
    In their brown-feathered, genetically-unaltered state turkeys are good travelers, following the waterways and making good time. They coast for long distances between wing flaps. The rivers are not barriers (Suisun Strait would be). But they can’t travel during hatching time. The moms form babysitting co-ops, 3-4 per group, about 12 pullets per mom. Those flightless fuzzy balls on long legs observe their aunties and moms pecking and scratching for seeds, bugs and more. The moms relieve each other as sentries, hopping to a high boulder. Round and round she turns, slowly. Intently watching for potential enemies. If she sees anything suspect, she emits a loud piew-piew-pieu, and they all vanish into the brush.

    Someday I should publish my article on the dispersal of turkeys in CA, escapees from missions Carmel and San Jose. The State Dept of F & W tells everyone that turkeys were first introduced to CA in 1906. Actually they were re-introduced after being exterminated along with 100s of other bird species during the gold rush. Brown turkeys are smart. I’ve seen them dive-bomb our horse in coordinated attacks, circling and taking turns. They like to see him buck and kick out. They sleep in oak trees. In the early morning the leader floats down and stands there long enough to know the place is safe. Then, on signal, they all go down to breakfast.

     

    From Barrie:

    My family lived in the Seabrook house in Rhinebeck in 1953, the summer my dad was an actor at the Hyde Park Playhouse. There was a death mask of Wm Seabrook at the top of the stairs. He committed suicide. It was a wonderful summer and we went to tea at Valkill, Elinor Roosevelt’s home. My mother had introduced herself when Mrs. Roosevelt came to see Pygmalion in which my dad was Col Pickering.

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

    “A good traveler has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving.”
    Lao Tzu

     

    Categories: October through December 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Papa Joe 0005 (September 23 2016)

     

    Happy Birthday, Richard McCarthy (Uncle Mask), and Ann Vita (Who my calendar says is nine years old).
    “Uber is ubiquitous.”
    Peter Grenell

     

     

    TODAY FROM THAILAND:

     

    A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

    Today a rat ran between my legs and tripped me as I walked along Soi Nana back to my apartment.

    Outside of that little event, the days here have been mostly rainy and devoid of drama. In the mornings the sun comes out long enough for me to get in my swim at the health club — then off to my massage and back to the apartment and lunch before the rains begin. One weekend, we went to Jomtien Beach and stayed at the guest house of the sad-faced woman with the child whose maladies condemn her only to lie on a cot and be fed. During the mornings and the evenings, we walked along the beach and enjoyed stirring sunrises and magnificent sunsets.
    img_2387IM

    Other than that, I have mostly spent time talking with a few friends and acquaintances and swapping stories.
    The Deep Sea Diver.

    Several times during my stay, I visited with the deep sea diver who, after seeing the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, left the potential of life as a mob enforcer in Pennsylvania to become a commercial deep sea diver in Florida and the Caribbean. After a career of underwater construction, treasure hunting, salvage, commercial sailing and various less savory occupations, he washed up in Bangkok where he lives in a small hotel room near my apartment.
    img_0962IM
    The Deep Sea Diver posing before a massive anchor he salvaged using only truck tire inner-tubes that he transported to salvage sites in the van in the background.

    In his locker at the health club, he keeps a couple cigar boxes filled with the ashes of two friends who had asked him to spread them around their favorite Bangkok Bars and Night Clubs after they died.

    The walls of his room are covered with pictures of his adventures and mementos of friends who have passed away. Each time a friend dies, he pins a remembrance onto his wall, drinks a pint of cheap Thai whiskey and morns.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
    Matthew 5

    The most recent death was of Manfred Dietrich, 83. Hung on the wall is a piece of sail-cloth Dietrich had made for the deep sea diver and pinned to it, Manfred’s obituary.

    Manfred left Germany at an early age and when he was seventeen he sailed as a crew on the three-masted ship to Si.Thomas in the Caribbean. He found an abandoned house 0n an Island in the middle of St. Thomas Bay where he settled and became a well-known sailmaker. He never learned to swim and rarely left the island except for short trips into St. Thomas in a small sail boat. The deep-sea diver and his gang also lived on the island for a while. They became friends with the sailmaker. The sail-maker was found next to his sailboat. He apparently planned to take it out to go to St. Thomas, fell out of the boat, and drowned.

    One day, while I was visiting, the old sailor he told me about the time he lived on Easter Island for several months with his then girlfriend. It was all quite spooky, the large statues everywhere and the Chilean Government who administers the island had been sending criminals to the island to replace natives who expressed any interest in independence. One afternoon, he and his girlfriend attended the annual Rodeo at which they round up the wild horses on the island, herd them into a large stone circle and under the solemn eyes of those somber effigies, slaughter them in the most horrendous and bloody way possible well into the night — like something out of a Lovecraft novel.

    Although he is a bit laconic and not given to lengthy stories, during our visits, I toured the world through him, from the South Pacific to the gigantic WWII statues in Moscow, to crossing Australia from Perth to Sidney and back again and living for a month or two in the shadow of Ayres Rock — from the Florida Keyes during the days of the cigarette-boat runs to Lisbon where some of the dealers invested their money.

    As he told me, “I loved diving and sailing, but I lived my life to travel and see the world.”
    The Gemologist.

    There are those lucky few of whom it can be said, “They lived a life of adventure.” Richard, with whom I had a few boozy story filled afternoons during my current stay in Bangkok, is one of them. Described as an American adventurer, gemologist, artist, ethnographer, trader in gemstones, art and ethnic arts dealer, and restauranteur, I was introduced to him about a decade ago, by the Canadian author and Bangkok resident Christopher G. Moore. In several of his novels, Richard appeared as a soldier of fortune whose derring-do assisted Vinny Calvino, Moore’s fictional ex-pat detective, to a successful resolution of his case.

    He grew up in the Bay Area, graduated from the California institute of Art, owned a restaurant in San Francisco’s Japan Town and attended the Gemological Institute of America before his love affair with the area and his business interests led him to South-East Asia. I first met him in the Lone Star, an ex-pat dive in Bangkok’s Washington Square Area. The area was a haunt of the US military, especially Air-America personnel and others during the Viet Nam War and after. It also attracted ex-pat writers and other artists. Unfortunately, the Washington Square area has recently been demolished and replaced with a large condominium development. Here is a cite to the mystery writer Dean Burdett’s elegy to the passing of Washington Square http://www.wowasis.com/travelblog/?p=5166 . It contains Richard’s (Burma Richard as he has been called at times) painting of the last day of the Lone Star.
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    Southern Chin

    It was about 1980 when Richard began crossing the border from Thailand into Burma and into the dangerous mountains of Burma where he found not only rubies and sapphires but long lost and little-known tribes. These tribes were in danger of disappearing due to their decades-long battles with the Burmese government. Richard began photographing them and eventually produced an ethnographical masterpiece, The Lost Tribes of Burma. Here are two of those photographs.

    naga_01

    NAGA
    akha_01
    AKHA

    (The male in the photographs is from the Naga tribe that is reputed to still practice head hunting.)

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    Rubies on Gold, from Richard Durian’s ‘Burma Collection” http://www.diranart.com/web/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

    As a gemologist in South-East Asia, his business brought him into contact with interesting people and involved in fascinating situations, such as meetings with agents of South American drug dealers looking to buy gems or dealing with hard-nosed Chinese gem dealers. Here is part of a story that appears in his blog about a gem deal gone bad:

    “In strand fashion, the room boy in a starched white suit arrived with the tall glass of Cointreau on a silver tray and brought it to my table. Giving him a few hundred kyats, I waited until the door shut behind him and picked up my diamond with the tweezers, the one I had brought with me, and suspended it underneath the thick clear liquor to break the surface tension, and dropped it in a liquid free fall. I mentally noted the known diamond’s rate of falling as I brought it nearly to the surface and released again.

    Then I took the Chinese seller’s diamonds and one by one, holding them under the surface of the Cointreau, released them and watched the rate of sinkage. Invariably, his diamonds fell at a rate almost twice that of my diamond. I compared my diamond to the rate of sinkage with my ruby. The ruby, possessing a greater density than my diamond, sank noticeably quicker. I then submerged his diamond with my ruby and released them into the Cointreau at the same time. Holding my face closely to the glass of Cointreau, I saw his diamond sink more quickly than my ruby. Something was definitely wrong. Estimating a ratio of sinkage between the two materials, I determined his diamond must be substantially softer than natural diamond owing to the distinct polishing marks on the girdle of every one of his stones. I crossed the room and had the Chinese seller and the European buyer observe the test with their own eyes. Several times I performed the hydrostatic test in the Cointreau as they looked on incredulously.

    I told them that in my opinion as a gemologist that these stones were not diamond, in fact could not be diamond, but were a Russian stimulant, cubic zirconium, which has a specific gravity of 5.70 nearly double that of real diamond, and that is why they fell twice as fast while submerged in the Cointreau.

    The buyer hastily gathered up his money and stuffed it into a bag. The Chinese seller became the red color of a thermometer bulb, spitting in Cantonese staccato, and in English how thirty years in the business made him an expert and how his people in Hong Kong were beyond reproach, but he knew that the test could not lie. If he wasn’t trying to swindle, then he had been swindled. Either way, the deal was off.” http://www.diranart.com/

    For those interested in learning more about him here is a cite to an article in Asia Week: http://edition.cnn.com/ASIANOW/asiaweek/98/0227/feat2.html and here is his own version of his travels among the Lost Tribes of Burma in a speech he gave in Rangoon where he was introduced by the Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the occasion of his donation of the photographs to the National Museum on Yangon. http://www.burma-richard.org/2013/11/the-vanishing-tribes-of-burma.html
    The Musician and the Newspaperman.

    My long time friend Cordt, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute who now lives in Chiang Mai, came to Bangkok one weekend. Cordt is a musician who plays in a classical rock/rockabilly group in Chiang Mai. Although the government discourages foreign musicians from performing in local clubs, by last minute announcements and the internet, his group has been able to build up a considerable a local following.

    Cordt is also an artist, specializing in collages and has begun showing his work at local galleries.
    pasted-graphic

    Cordt Holland, Rockabilly. http://www.cordtholland.com/

    We agreed to meet at a bar on Soi 11 where Chris Moore was previewing a documentary he produced about the controversial painter Peter Klashorst.
    12037984_1062466807098266_8229943913127404178_n
    By Peter Klashorst
    As usual with documentaries of this sort the subject is allowed to go on incessantly about himself as though the director fears to cut out any of his immortal words. There are no immortal words. There is only confirmation of our current biases.

    Anyway, after the show, Cordt, Scott (the newsman of the heading, recently retired for the Bangkok Post), LM and I went to a Mexican restaurant further along the Soi where we drank pitchers of Margaritas made with bad tequila, ate some Mexican food and laughed a lot until we were quite drunk.

    img_2206Cordt, Scott, and LM

     

     

    PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

    This is a continuation of my ramble through my favorite eras of history that I began in a previous post.

    The First Centuries:

    The Romans were a different breed of conqueror. They did not conquer simply because it was there, or for the glory of the kingdom, or to expand the marvels of their culture or even to rape and steal the land and wealth of those they conquered. No, the Roman conquests were a business and only a business, and in the Levant when the Romans arrived along with them came Herod who the Romans installed as king of most of their holdings in the area — sort of like a branch manager or CEO of a subsidiary.

    Now Herod is one of those people called The Great, and great he was. He was undoubtedly the greatest architect and city builder of his time. He was one of the greatest business minds of his generation capturing the date trade and arranging business deals with other world leaders like Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. He kept his kingdom relatively peaceful and prosperous and made his pastiche of a kingdom more than just an intersection for the armies of the great empires to pass through on their way to slaughter each other. For the first time, Judea meant something among the nations of the world, maybe not as much as Rome but certainly as much as anyone else in the area.

    Herod was also insane. He liked killing his wives (of which he had a good number) and his children (also a good number). He thought they all were out to kill him and take away his kingdom (probably a good guess). When later in his reign he retreated to Masada, he built a massive palace on one end of the mesa and carved out a 24-hour orgy pit in the face of the bluff about 100 feet from the top where he could look out from his aerie and see a good portion of his kingdom. At the far opposite end of the mesa, he built a few McMansions for his wives and children so that he could keep an eye on them and they could not sneak up on him at night or scramble down the sheer cliffs and escape to cause trouble.

    He also was good at taking care of the Judeans who were suspicious of him. You see, he wasn’t a Judean, he wasn’t even a Galilean he was an Idumean. When the Maccabees went on their little conquering spree they took over the adjacent kingdom to the southwest, Idumea. The Idumeans did not belong to the same club as the Judeans and Galileans and others who lived in Egypt, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia. So, after their defeat, the more ambitious of the Idumeans, among which were Herod’s parents, surrendered a body part and joined the club. As a result, the Judeans were wary of him and he knew it and so he took action mollify them. None of which, by the way, included living his own life according to Judean Law.
    (to be continued)

     

     

    DAILY FACTOID:

    Code of Hammurabi —value of a fetus and of a woman:

    209. If a superior man strikes a woman of superior class and thereby causes her to miscarry her fetus, he shaHerodll weigh and deliver ten shekels of silver for her fetus.
    210. If that woman should die, they shall kill his daughter.
    211. If he should cause a woman of commoner class to miscarry her fetus by the beating, he shall weigh and deliver five shekels of silver.
    212. If that woman should die, he shall weigh and deliver thirty shekels of silver.
    213. If he strikes a slave-woman of a superior man and thereby causes her to miscarry her fetus, he shall weigh and deliver two shekels of silver.
    214. If that slave-woman should die, he shall weigh and deliver twenty shekels of silver.

    Biblical marriage:

    ‘If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife’ (Deuteronomy 22: 28-9).

    (By the way, when I first traveled to Sicily in the late 1960s that was still the law in certain parts of the island. If you wanted to marry the girl of your dreams and she refused you, you and some of your best buds broke into her house, abducted the object of your affections and raped her. Now, despoiled of her dowry value she was required to marry you. You did not even have to pay the 50 shekels.)

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

    A.Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

    Muriel Rukeyser opined; “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

    While I agree about the stories, I disagree about atoms.

    The universe, as we have known for about 100 years now, is made of quanta and not atoms. And, as science tells us, quanta do not exist until observed. (You know Heisenberg’s cats and all that.) And, when we observe quanta, then we can know things like their location, state, history and even gain a glimpse of their possible future. In other words, things exist only when we know their story.

    The question remains, however, do stories exist before they are told to another?

     

    B. Today’s Poems:

    Steamboat Willie

    I saw Mickey Mouse
    As Steamboat Wille
    On the telly
    Last night
    We both have skinny arms
    But I can’t whistle.

    The Avatar

    On worried wings.
    he softly sings
    of dreams of fire
    and ghostly things
    with deep desire.
    C. Comments on my previous post:

    1.Aline.

    Joe, I love your dreams. Who cares what they mean — if they make you laugh, keep dreaming! I am retiring on 11-30-16 so please change my email to ——————so I do not miss any of your further adventures, be they in Mendocino, Thailand or your dreams.

    My response:

    Thank you. I do not know how the office will manage without you. Hopefully, you’ll get to travel more and take more of those wonderful photographs.

    2. Peter.

    So you made it to BKK, Joe-good! Of course, your travel tale reminds me why Travel can be fascinating except for the Systems and Functionaries that Get In The Way and make it complicated and dreary. Being a hypochondriac doesn’t help, but that’s your cross to bear.

    Little Masseuse is perceptive.

    Thinking of which (bearing crosses), your First Centuries musings remind me that I just finished reading Christopher Moore’s (not “G” Moore) book “Lamb”. If you haven’t, you must read this. It’s told by Biff, best childhood friend of Jesus. ‘nuff said.

    Incidentally, I couldn’t remember what I just read and had to get up and check the bookshelf to find out that it was “Lamb”. The potential bright side to this is that if it starts occurring for/to/by you, you’ll forget about the stuff you get hypochondriac about. Further, you could photo the rich red ketchup pee, wait a bit and eat some beets, and photo the deep purple pee from that (wear your Prince outfit). Do this with a few more colorful foodstuffs, create an exhibit with picture captions from suitable bits from your dreams, and display it at one of the galleries in the newly rediscovered and now-hip Dogwatch neighborhood, get noticed, become really rich and notorious (famous is fleeting), and travel in your own plane named in big letters the mysterious “REDPEE”.

    Alternatively:

    The Moonstone Circle glamor car riff is brilliant. You must acquire, rent, or otherwise obtain a beat up, mauve, anonymous Pinto or Henry J and slip into the “drive around” and see what happens. Have HRM video the reactions. Put That on Youtube.

    I assume Maryann is recovered, and Mendocino too.

    Meanwhile, muse news: Half of the band recorded an album of Americana-like originals in a proper studio (Grammy winner) in Oakland Jack London Square area. Others will record when schedules permit. The thing is aimed to surface next March. Technology uber alles. (Uber is ubiquitous.) Tomorrow we play at a spot along the annual Alzheimers fundraising walk (Ft. Mason-Marina-and back) – if I remember to get picked up. Our recent gig on the Sacramento Wine Train was fun in its own fluid fashion. The train got burglarized the night before our event; some train gear got ripped off. Nothing is sacred except the right to get as fabulously wealthy as you can at everyone else’s expense – and the Wailing Wall.

    Non sequitur: The Coastal Conservancy will move from 1330 Bway into the Oakland State office building at the end of the year.

    Anon.

    My response:

    Hypochondria is not a very good companion when you travel. But then it doesn’t do much for you at home either. On the other hand, I guess it is a comfort lying in your own bed when you’re having an imaginary illness.

    LM is usually right, unfortunately.

    As for the First Centuries, I still have to go through Herod the Insane, The Good Gay Jesus and Paulie the Apostate Mafioso.

    Purple Pee would be a good name for a Hip Hop movie.

    I have been meaning to read “Lamb.” Maybe this is a good time to get to it. Has anyone ever had a friend named “Biff,” or for that matter even known anyone named “Biff?” Maybe only God can have a friend called “Biff?” Maybe Biff pees purple. I bet Jesus would have liked that. Biff is a dogs name. Maybe Biff is a dog. Have I gone on long enough on this Biff riff? I’ll stop now.

    MaryAnn is getting better — Mendocino, not so much.

    Glad to hear that now that you are entering your late 70’s, your music career is taking off. Next, they will book your group at Carnegie Hall and the building will be stolen — by Biff. I can’t get Biff out of my mind. I’m Biff addled.

    I agree it’s a Non-Sequitur. Perhaps Biff……..
    3. AnnMarie.

    Thank you for sharing the amusing story of hypochondria on your flight. It made me giggle out loud. I hope you are feeling better, and most of all, I’m glad you didn’t die. 😉

    My response:

    Thank you, I am glad I didn’t die too.

     

    Categories: July through September 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Cold Tits 0005 (February 24, 2016)

     

    “Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo” (“I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”)
    Epicurean epitaph

    Happy Birthday, Giannantonio.

     

     

     

    TODAY FROM AMERICA:

     

    A. POOKIE’S CONTINUING ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

    The Pygmy Forest.

    One day I decided to hike through Mendocino’s Pygmy Forest Reserve. Saving the Pygmy Forest was what got me into coastal resource preservation many years ago. A chance meeting with John Olmstead beneath the shadow of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid caused me to spend the next fifteen years of my life trying to protect the coast of California. John, the grandson of Fredrick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame, is one of the unsung heroes of the conservation movement.

    To be perfectly honest, when he showed me the scrawny little trees that made up the forest, I was less than impressed. But, after passionately explaining to me how they came to be and the importance of preserving the Mendocino Ecological Staircase, as he so poetically described it, on which they grew, I threw my hat into the ring so to speak.
    IMG_1193

    John was my idol. There was little he would not do, no amount of money he would borrow with little hope of paying it back, no lie, no level of begging he would stoop to, no machinations of government and individuals he would not engage in, all in order to preserve these forlorn little twisted trees from disappearing beneath the bulldozers blade — all with no benefit to himself, no wealth, no fame, and few real friends.

    The Lost Coast of Cape Mendocino.

    On another day, I decided to drive up to Westport and into Cape Mendocino and the Lost Coast.
    IMG_1207

    Westport is a tiny town on a bluff above the Pacific supposedly riddled with ghosts. It is the last town before Highway 1 turns inland in order to avoid the dark mountainous terrain of the Lost Coast. I always liked this stretch of the highway. It is one of those places in the world where calling it somewhere that time forgot is justified.
    IMG_1334

    Passing beyond the town and turning inland, I found one of the dirt roads that lead into the heart of Lost Coast.
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    Over forty years ago Joe the Hippie and his flower child girlfriend driving a beat up Plymouth 1957 sedan would also turn off here and brave the ruts and washouts to hike, camp, smoke and then drive on through to Ferndale and beyond. We would sometimes pass through Whitethorn and Honeydew, two of the tiny towns hidden in the Cape Mendocino forests, where the cultivators of the major cash crop in the area, big fierce bearded men and long-faced and long dressed women, would stand in front of their clapboard home and silently stare at us as we drove by.
    IMG_1229

    The road I chose traversed two ridges and passed high above the surf. I traveled through dark redwood groves festooned with signs that warned “No Trespassing. Area Patrolled.” I chose this to mean “shoot on sight,” not because I believed I would be shot if I wandered about but to persuade myself not to park the car and go hiking into the forest just for spite — and get lost.

    I drove by a moss encrusted redwood that I called the “Old Man in the Tree” for obvious reasons.
    IMG_1312
    Finally, descending from the ridge, I entered a relatively broad valley with a creek (Usal Creek) running through it. A bridge crossed the creek into a sprawling primitive campground containing a few tents and some vans fitted out for camping.
    IMG_1240
    After parking my car at the edge of the black sand beach, I went for a hike through the woods that bordered the creek. As I sauntered along I ran into this:
    IMG_1284

    There were at least six bucks in the herd and two does. Not wanting to disturb them, I made my way back to the beach and walked along it until I feared the rising tide would cut off my return.
    IMG_1261

    After wandering around a bit and sitting on a log staring at the surf, I returned to my car and began the drive back to Mendocino. Along the way, I stopped at the store in Westport to buy a cream soda and a bag of potato chips.
    IMG_1337
    A Stroll along South Noyo Headlands Park.

    On Saturday, we visited South Noyo Headlands Park. If anything, it is even more spectacular than the North Park. When they are connected in the next year or two, the park system will extend almost 12 miles along the coast passing through several magnificent landscapes. I have no doubt this park is destined to become one of the great urban/rural oceanfront parks of the world.
    IMG_1355 - Version 2
    The Druid Sisters’ Tea Party.

    That evening, we attended the Druid Sisters Afro, Celtic, Belly Dance Tea Party at the Hill House in Mendocino. The group Soul Elixir, with Pilar Duran (daughter of the great jazz guitarist Eddie Duran) and Claudia Paige (who played drums for the Grateful Dead and other groups) was the first to perform. They were magnificent. The Second group the Druid Sisters (vocals, drums, and fiddle) followed with a marvelous fiddle player (Kathy Buys) and a strong-voiced singer with red hair that the princess in “Brave” would envy (Cyoakha O’Manion). Claudia Paige played the drums here also. Both groups also performed together while the belly dancers wound their way through the audience.

    Many of those attending the festivities were of a more advanced age and dressed like they thought Druids would dress — lots of beads and crystals, flowing clothing and even sandals on some. They also danced to the music with the undulating abandon I had last seen at the hippie encampment on the beach below the Mendocino bluffs over 40 years ago. It was great.

    One woman, perhaps even older than I, done up in a long flowing dress with a hunting knife hanging from her belt, danced the entire night or at least swayed about waving her hands like she was casting a spell on us all. My sister thought that with her long slender hands and knobby knuckles she was a Witch and not a Druid. I expressed no opinion on the matter.
    IMG_1424

    The Druid Sisters and Soul Elixir Together on Stage.

    The B. Bryan Wildlife Preserve.

    Our veneration of nature having been reinforced by the Druids, we set off the following morning for Point Area and a 200-acre estate dedicated to endangered African hoofed animals. We toured the reserve in a safari vehicle, saw the grazing gazelle, antelope, zebra and giraffe herds, fed the giraffes carrots held in our mouths and learned a lot — that certain types of Zebra, are not only obnoxious, but they plan their births during the rainy season so that they could hide their foals from predators in the newly grown brush; all the things one can tell about the health of wild animals by examining their poop; and, that there are only 760 Rothschild Giraffes, the tallest on earth, left in the wild.
    IMG_1517
    Pookie and the Rothschild Giraffe.

    As we left the preserve I thought California with its large open grasslands, the demise of its logging industry, and relatively strong environmental and land use laws could be a wonderful place for establishing large preserves in order to save many of the world’s endangered ruminants and perhaps some of the large predators.

    SAVE THE ROTHSCHILD GIRAFFES.

    Leaving Mendocino.

    I spent my last few days here trying to figure out how I would occupy myself during the four days between when I had to leave here and when I was scheduled to return to El Dorado Hills. Camping for a night or two seemed attractive. I always liked short turns of camping. Many years ago I did a lot of it. I was never a “gear” person. Usually just throwing down a sleeping bag under a tree sufficed.

    B. BOOK REPORT: SWAN’S WAY.

    Actually, this is not a report about a book I have read, but it is a report about a book. While rummaging through the marvelous little bookstore on Main Street in Mendocino, I happened upon a graphic novel pro-porting to tell the story, Swan’s Way, that makes up the first part of Marcel Proust’s seemingly endless magnum opus about memory. According to the book jacket, the graphic novel was created so that those who found wading through Proust’s rumination’s on social minutia tedious would find this format more interesting and thereby be able to enjoy the marvel that was Proust. As I leafed through the book, however, I found it to contain mostly panels of people sitting or standing in various Edwardian rooms along with the visibly unhappy little Swanie sulking somewhere. I could not understand how that was supposed to alleviate the tedium.

    Fiction is the art of the storyteller. Should you read something written by a storyteller and find in it anything transcendental, it is likely that the transcendence you find lives in you and not in the words of the storyteller — unless, you are responding to a reviewer who insists that if you do not see in the work what he or she sees you are clearly defective.

    That is why we read fiction, not for what the storyteller or even the erudite reviewer brings to it but what we take away from it. It is ours alone.

     

     

     

    PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     

    A. Quigley on Top:

    Communities and cooperation:

    “In the most general terms ,we might say that men live in communities in order to seek to satisfy their needs by cooperation. These needs are so varied, from the wide range of human needs based on man’s long evolutionary heritage, that human communities are bound to be complex. Such a community exists in a matrix of five dimensions, of which three dimensions are in space, the fourth is the dimension of time, and the fifth, which I shall call the dimension of abstraction, covers the range of human needs as developed over the long experience of past evolution. This dimension of abstraction for purposes of discussion will be divided into six or more aspects or levels of human experience and needs. These six are military, political, economic, social, religious, and intellectual. If we want a more concise view of the patterns of any community, we might reduce these six to only three, which I shall call: the patterns of power; the patterns of wealth; and the patterns of outlook. On the other hand, it may sometimes be helpful to examine some part of human activities in more detail by subdividing any one of these levels into sub-levels of narrower aspects to whatever degree of specific detail is most helpful.

    In such a matrix, it is evident that the patterns of power may be made up of activities on any level or any combination of sub-levels. Today, in our Western culture we can deal with power adequately in terms of force, wealth, and ideology, but in earlier history or in other societies, it will be necessary to think of power in quite different terms, especially social and religious, which are no longer very significant in our own culture. The great divide, which shunted our culture off in directions so different from those which dominate the cultures of much of Asia and Africa down to the present, occurred about the sixth century BC, so if we go back into our own historical background before that, we shall have to deal with patterns closer to modern Asia or Africa than to our own contemporary culture.

    B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

    “One of the most important things in deciding which candidates to vote for in an election is whether you believe you can persuade them to your position after the election not whether or not they agree with you before it.”

    C. Today’s Poem:

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    ‘I live with my brat in a high-rise flat,
    So how in the world would I know.’
    Roald Dahl

     

     

    TODAY’S QUOTE:

    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me; if I am only for myself, what am I, and if not now when?”
    Rabbi Hillel

     

     

    TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:
    IMG_1387
    Pilar Duran

    IMG_1440

    Cyoakha O’Manion

     

    Categories: January through March 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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