Posts Tagged With: Music

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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NAGA
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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:
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Pilar Duran

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Cyoakha O’Manion

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 JoJo 0004(June 18, 2015)

 

“If I didn’t believe in the miraculous nature of talent and in the sacred duty of the recipient, by now I would have gone so insane that I’d qualify for numerous high government positions.”
Koontz, Dean. Odd Apocalypse: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 4). Random House Publishing Group.

 

TODAY FROM ITALY:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN SABINA:

The area of Sabina lies about 40 miles northeast of Rome. It was named for the Sabine tribe that lived around here about 2500 years ago*.
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The hills, sky and countryside of Sabina

Jason and I stayed at the home of his long time friend Gianantonio Rando, a farmhouse a short way from Casperia, the Sabina town Jason lived in for a few years when he was young. The farm house and assorted buildings were originally a monastery built in the 1600s. The area is crisscrossed by many tiny dirt and gravel roads. Here and there, fresh water springs still pour water into the tubs where the residents of the area met to do laundry and collect water needed for domestic purposes. Jason having drunk at these same springs every day he lived here as a youth considers the water the purest aqua minerale on earth. I’m not so sure.
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The two windows on the corner of the upper story open into my room.

Gianantonio rents, sets up and operates sound and recording equipment for performances and festivals and also produces music videos — one I particularly like, his own group playing “I can’t give you anything but love baby,” including cuts of film from the 1920s and 30s can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zd3RquVvWo (Listen to the follow-up video also. The singer in both is from the Naples Conservatory. The guitarist is a teacher and master of classical and jazz guitar at Santa Cecelia.) Gianantonio lives in Rome and uses the house in Casperia as a video, sound and recording studio, to store some of his equipment and as a weekend retreat.
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Gianantonio is also an accomplished musician, a graduate of Santa Cecilia in Rome with a Master on the double Bass. His musical group and company, Mad Cap Official Ensemble can be reviewed at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mad-Cap-Studio-Musicale-Sale-

The first day we searched for a restaurant for lunch and found most of them closed. (The first phrase in Italian both Jason and Hayden learned was “tutti chiuso,” [It is all closed] reflecting the general status of museums or anything in Italy one would want to visit at that moment.) We did find a fairly good place eventually. Jason ordered a marvelous linguini with local mushrooms and truffles.
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That evening Gianantonio and his friend Marcella prepared us a light dinner at the farm house. It included sausage made on the farm, local cheese, and wine, Parma ham, an excellent frittata and finished off with some grappa and organic ice cream that Marcella produces and sells throughout Europe.
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The next day at lunch we drank beer from a micro-brewery owned their friends. The beer was named Club 27 in honor of the many musical artists (e.g., Morrison) who died at 27.
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Another day, another food fest, this time with family at a Neapolitan restaurant near the Tevere. Most of us had pizza but Jason had tuna cacciatore. The high point of the meal was the antipasti, a collection of Neapolitan delicacies including various forms of zeppole, supli, and fried zucchini.
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The next day was barbecue day.
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Sitting beside Gianantonio is Claudio, Marcella’s son, who is trying to break into the events business. He and his family are longtime cacciatori (hunters) and so the talk got around to hunting and fishing. What was most interesting to me was that he also hunts mushrooms and truffles on a few properties nearby. He showed us a photograph of mounds of black and the rare white truffles he found recently. When we questioned him about his ability to find truffles without the assistance of specially trained dogs or pigs, he took us out into the nearby countryside and filled a bowl with truffles in about a half an hour. “It’s all a matter of knowing where to look,” he said, “and I do.”

It seems, since arriving in Sabina, all I do is eat and sleep. After lunch and an adequate time for conversation over coffee, I took a long nap.

Eventually, I did manage to get sick — stomach pain and constipation requiring a trip to the emergency room, purchase of various medications and confinement to my room. Nothing has worked yet.

One night Gianantonio’s recording business brought an Italian Ska group in for a recording session and a promotional video. The video required the studio to appear like a nightclub with flashing lights and a smoke machine. About 50 people showed up effectively turning the small house into a nightclub. They sold Club 27 beer, wine, and grappa to the attendees. I was not feeling well enough to get out of bed, but I loved listening to the music nevertheless.
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Gianantonio’s music group (Mad Cap Official Ensemble) is headlining a concert on American Jazz (Maratona Jazz a Roma) next week, so the musicians came by the studio today to practice. I felt I had time-travelled back to tin-pan-alley and the Jazz of the 20s and 30s which they treated with the same reverence and respect as the New York Philharmonia treats Beethoven or Mozart. For some reason, I started to cry. They played many of the old standards. Their amazing singer was able to change her voice and phrasing to sound like Josephine Baker, Lady Day or Ella Fitzgerald as the song required.

I spent the day listening and taking a few videos which I cannot send with T&T because of technical space limitations, but here is a photograph.
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In spite of my illness, this was one of my life’s more transcendent experiences.

Tomorrow we leave for Sicily. I am still in pain, have not eaten or shit for three days. Perhaps the overnight boat ride from Naples to Sicily and the sea air will cure me of whatever sickness I’ve got.

Because of an airline strike, Nikki will not be able to join us for a night in Naples so I put off leaving here for one more day. The pains have lessened.

Today I had a mild success, some symptoms of whatever I have passed so, Jason and I went to a friends restaurant in Cantalupo and I enjoyed hand-made spaghetti unique to the area in a heavenly mushroom sauce.
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Jason with pasta
The next day the sun was shining brightly while we left the farm. After breakfast, we drove to the Autostrada to Naples.
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Another photograph of Sabina.

About one o’clock, we had a mediocre lunch and drove up the many switchbacks to the famous Monastery of Montecassino. While there I gave Jason one of my bullshit lectures on the history of the monastery until his eyes glazed and he mumbled “Nice building.”
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The Grand Staircase at Montecassino

Returning to the Autostrada, we drove to Naples.

The stress on a 75-year-old father traveling together with his 50-year-old on a long trip like this, is roughly equivalent to the stress on a 50-year-old son traveling on a long trip with his 75-year-old father. I remember taking this trip almost 50 years ago with my 50-year-old father. My brother and I were insufferable, but my father took it all with surprising grace (for him) and reasonable good humor — certainly better than I am now. But, hell, he was only 50 at the time about my son’s age now and I was 25. So it goes, same old, same old. Or, what goes around comes around. Or, about 1000 more tired old cliches.

Arriving a little early in Naples for embarkation onto the boat, I suggested that we drive on to Sorrento and have dinner at a hotel where at least five generations of Petrillo’s have stayed including Jason when he was only a lad. I always stopped there for a night or two whenever I happened to be in Sorrento. It sits right on the edge of the bluffs with Vesuvius to our right and Capri to the left. The last time I had been there was with Margret Azevedo, Denise, and the very young Jessica.

I was shocked when we got there. The place was closed and in ruins.
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So sad, so sad.

So, after dinner at a local restaurant that was not to bad, we returned to Naples and boarded the car ferry for the overnight trip to Palermo.
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Another picture of me eating.

Although I felt better, I still was not over whatever illness I had contracted and felt exhausted so, I collapsed on to my bed in our cabin and fell right asleep while Jason explored the nightlife of car ferries. There is none.
*Pookie’s fractured history: It was the conflict between an outlying village of Sabines encamped on the Quirinale Hill across the pestilent swamp that became the forum and the Roman tribe camped upon the rocky, smaller, less fecund Capitoline hill that the famous story was written about. One night, the Romans, annoyed that the wealthier Sabines considered themselves superior in intelligence and ability and also believed that the Roman penury was due to their lack of intelligence and general laziness and not the crappy soil of the rocky promontory they lived on, or the sharp dealings of the bastards inhabiting the Quirinale Hill, snuck across the marsh and, in biblical fashion, killed the men and took the women for wives and slaves. (There was little difference between being a wife or a slave at that time, except that a wife could lord it over the slaves now and then.) The Romans realizing how simple it was to get rich and how much less work was needed to kill people and take their land than work the land themselves, attacked other tribes in the area, took their land and made them slaves. Eventually, the Romans began to think they were superior to those others and began to consider them ignorant, lazy and menial — and the rest is history.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“For years, I have told my students that I have been trying to train executives rather than clerks. The distinction between the two is parallel to the distinction previously made between understanding and knowledge. It is a mighty low executive who cannot hire several people with command of more knowledge than he has himself. And he can always buy reference works or electronic devices with better memories for facts than any subordinate. The chief quality of an executive is that he has understanding. He should be able to make decisions that make it possible to utilize the knowledge of other persons. Such executive capacity can be taught, but it cannot be taught by an educational program that emphasizes knowledge and only knowledge. Knowledge must be assumed as given, and if it is not sufficient the candidate must be eliminated. But the vital thing is understanding. This requires possession of techniques that, fortunately, can be taught.”
Carroll Quigley. The Evolution of Civilizations. 2nd ed. 1979. p. 420

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Western Europe during the Middle Ages was the only society in history to prohibit their brightest minds from reproducing by forcing them into celibate religious orders if they evidence the slightest curiosity or passion for knowledge  while at the same time encouraging the most sociopathic and violent to rule and breed at will.”
Trenz Pruca

C. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

*A collection of paraprosdokians is called a paradox.

D. Today’s Poem:

Steamboat Willie

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

(Eat your heart out Emily)

E. Apologies, Regrets, and Humiliations:

Popes: Last issue I indicated the Barberini Pope was Urban VII. That is a mistake. It was Urban VIII. Urban VII was Pope for only 13 days before he died. I should be burned at the stake. Mea culpa.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The offices of officials were stormed, and the records destroyed. Serfs became lords. The land was revolving like a potter’s wheel. The high-born were starving, and the fat lords had to work in place of the serfs. Their children were hurled against the walls. High honors went to female serfs, who wore precious ornaments, while former great ladies went around in rags begging for food. Weeds were eaten and water was drunk; food had to be taken from the pigs. The learned man had only one wish: ‘May the people perish and no more be born.’ Those who had been poor suddenly became rich. Upstarts now rule, and the former officials are now their servants.”
Papyrus from the Middle Kingdom Egypt 1991-1786 B.C.

(Same old, same old)

 

Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 19, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1964, November 4: Terry Reilly’s minimalist masterpiece “In C” premiered in San Francisco. Alfred Frankenstein, the San Francisco Chronicle said about listening to it, “At times you feel you have never done anything all your life long but listen to this music and as if that is or ever will be.”

Steve Reich another prominent American composer played the electric piano that night.

Several years later, through my then friends Mel Moss and Rasa Gustitus, I got to know Reilly, the marvelous sitar virtuoso Krishna Bott and many other musicians (Hamza el-Din, Ali Akbar Kahn, and even Peter Grenell) in the vibrant Bay Area music scene that existed during the 1970s and continued until it began to fade at the end of the 80’s. Reich had left the Bay Area and returned to New York before I had arrived in 1970. Reputedly he couldn’t stand California’s descent into hippiedom and mysticism. Besides the job prospects for composers were better on the East Coast.

Many of those same musicians would show up at the cottage in the rear of Mel and Rasa’s home on Jersey Street to jam on the amazing collection of home-made and folk musical instruments Mel had collected and stored there. Sometimes I would join them. The music at times would go on from early afternoon until two or three in the morning. Although, I understand that Reilly attended some of these sessions, I do not recall if I was there at the time he did. Everyone was usually too stoned and into the music making to know, care or remember.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Songkran:

The government of Bangkok was among the sponsors of what was reputed to be the world’s biggest water gun fight. Guinness is now checking if Bangkok mêlée has surpassed the size achieved by the current title holder for a similar event previously held in Spain.

b. Insurance:

Insurgents in the southernmost provinces of Thailand have begun setting up their own businesses to help finance the increasing cost of the rebellion. Among their new business ventures are firms that charge other companies doing business it those provinces 3000 baht per month to assure the covered companies that their assets will be immune to damage due to insurgency attacks.

c. Electioneering:

.”THAKSIN THINKS, PUEA THAI ACTS”
Puea Thai election slogan.

(Wha…?)

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I plan to return from Paradise by the Sea at SWAC’s urgent request that someone (me) needs to attend to Hayden as she and the maid are too busy with their responsibilities at AVA Wine Bar to do so. I expect grief, anguish and conflict when I tell her that I have to return to PbS on Tuesday evening to finish packing in preparation for my trip to the US. She has volunteered to book my flight to SF for me so that I can accompany Hayden and her on their voyage to wherever. I suspect that she will attempt to pry some money out of me as commission for arranging the flight, claiming EVA has raised their prices.

Here in PbS, I continue my morning walks and afternoon swims. This evening, I went down to the pool for my swim and sat on one of the pool side lounges to finish up reading today’s newspaper. Upon finishing, I leaned back and suddenly felt awash with anxiety that I had something to do and I was wasting my time. I realized that I often feel that way, that I must be doing something and not be idle. Luckily for me, doing something included reading and watching television. While contemplating this, I also realized that I was sitting up in the lounge chair and that when I was lying prone, say on a bed, I had no such feelings of anxiety. So I decided, not to take my swim but return to my apartment and lie down. I did so and my anxiety disappeared.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 18 (cont.)

The First wrinkled his aquiline nose slightly as though he detected a whiff of something that smelled bad. He then spoke. “That is an interesting question and request.” “Hmm… are you sure you want to get in to that,” he asked buying some time?

“Yes.”

“Well, then, ah, I will have to look into whether my representation of the partnerships as a whole under those changed circumstances, may affect my obligations to the individual partners, and of course whether or not there is anything in the partnership agreement that may limit that course of action.”

Vince knew that normally such hesitation by any attorney is a prelude to opening negotiations regarding fees, but here he got the distinct feeling that the First appeared ill-disposed to the request. “Well,” he said, “please look into it and let me know what you think by the end of the day, if that is at all possible.” And with that Vince without further ceremony excused himself and left the First’s office.

Convinced that the First was unwilling to antagonize potential future clients represented by his tainted clients, Vince decided to seek other advice. He first called Mike Daly of the firm of Daly and Perez. Although crime of the white-collar variety was not Mikes specialty, he knew Mike and his partner and ex-wife Rosie and followed their careers for a while now. He liked and admired them and trusted their advice.

Mike answered his cell phone on the first ring. After an exchange of greeting and inquiries as to the welfare of their respective families, Vince explained his quandary.

“Vince, since you have been away, Rosie and I closed up our practice and returned to the Public Defender’s office. We were always happiest there. Anyway, as you know that federal corporate stuff is not my field or interest. However, I can recommend that you confer with someone who I think is one of the most brilliant practitioners in the area. But I have to warn you he is quite unusual, and may be too unconventional for a white shoe firm like yours.”

Seamus, Arroyo, Cohen agreed to meet Vince at the Starbucks at the corner of Market Street and Drum Street in downtown San Francisco. It seems that attorney Cohen practiced out of the basement of his home in a large restored Italianate stick Victorian house on Liberty Street in the Mission District.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Projected Patterns of Precipitation Changes:


These maps, prepared by the IPCC in 2007, display the anticipated changes in precipitation (in percent) for the period 2090–2099, relative to 1980–1999. The values indicated are multi-model averages (that is, assembled out of many different computer models) for December to February (left) and June to August (right). White areas are where less than 66% of the models agree and stippled areas are where more than 90% of the models agree.
(I assume the white areas indicate a disagreement among the models over gradations and not of trends. If that is so, the maps are even more disturbing. For example in the June to August map the United States is entirely white between two large areas where the models agree to a substantial drop in precipitation from normal. Does this mean the US as a whole is in for increased wetness or increased dryness and the only disagreement is how much? The answers, would, for example, indicate whether the central portion of the US would or would not experience substantial migration.*)
If they accurately predict the future weather patterns pictured, what these maps show is that (as I mentioned in a previous post), precipitation in Northeast North America and Northeast Asia may increase up to 20%, while Southwest North America (from Southern California through Texas and south to Panama) and the Mediterranean basin (Southern Europe and North Africa) and the Near and Middle East will substantially dry up.
These projections signify on a social level , among other things, the probability of significant human migration from the drying regions and increased weather caused catastrophe costs in the areas receiving greater rainfall.
Two things should be noted. The first is the potential expanded cloud cover due to greater precipitation over much of the northern hemisphere may slow and even reverse shrinkage of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheet melt, thus slowing sea water rise. Secondly the highly populated portions of northeastern US and Asia (China, Korea and Japan) may for a while experience the feeling of a cooling trend.

* While a single weather event cannot be generalized into a trend, the recent unprecedented rash of tornadoes throughout the middle of the US, would be consistent with the type of weather events that could be expected within that particular white area on the maps.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) :


“There is no such things as supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A wasteland, dominated by these maniacs, these creeps, who were trying to make everyone write this crazy creepy music”
American composer Steve Glass describing the European musical avant-garde he encountered in Paris during his studies there during the 1960s.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment July 19, 2010

Thought for the day:
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
Thomas Jefferson

Daily factoid: 1976 The US Department of Labor upgraded the definition of ‘Chef’ from ‘domestic’ to ‘professional.’

I have spent the last week in Chiang Mai, staying with Choti, Gerry and their son Leo. I could never repay them for the kindness they have shown to me and especially to Hayden during his troubles. I leave this evening to return to the shore by overnight train.

Hayden is quite anxious, especially after returning from an outing with Nikki and me and finding all his toys packed away by his mother in preparation for the possible renting of the house and return to the US.

One day Nikki, Hayden and I ate lunch at one of our favorite restaurants located under a pair of domes each of which is over 100 Ft. in diameter and surrounded by lagoons and jungle vegetation. Hayden struck up a friendship with three children about his own age who each coincidentally spoke the same three languages he does (Thai, English and Italian). They were the children of three families of men from Italy with Thai wives. One of the men named Nicola is from Bari and was a wedding singer and guitar player in Italy and had his own band. Another named Marco was from Como and owned an italian restaurant in Chiang Mai. The third was from Palermo and I did not get his name or occupation. I introduced Nicola to my friend Cordt who plays the guitar in a band here in Chiang Mai at a restaurant called “The Guitar Man” and we agreed to meet the following evening at the Restaurant so that Cordt and Nicola would jam.

That evening Hayden’s mom did not want him to go and so both he the other children were disappointed. Nikki and I went anyway. Nicola had brought some wonderful antipasti from Italy and we ate dinner. Following dinner, while Nikki and I drank significant quantities of black sambucca, the two guitarists played music.

I guess the music, sambucca and company made me nostalgic and my mind drifted back to the early seventies in SF when the City seemed to be one of the centers of the universe for rock, international and experimental music and I remembered attending many all night jam sessions. One of the jam sessions I attended a lot with my daughter Jessica who was about 11 years old at the time, was held in a shed behind the house where my friends Rasa (a writer) and Mel (an artist and musician) lived. Mel had either made or collected an astonishing assortment of instruments hand-made of wood and metal from the local junk yards and fashioned into flutes, whistles, drums, gongs and a host of other things that could be banged upon and blown into to make a huge variety of sounds. Many professional musicians (such as Krishna Bhatt the famous sitar player) would assemble along with a few amateurs like me and after the adults had prepared ourselves with various substances, we would begin to blow into the flutes and bang on the drums and other instruments for several hours at a time.

A few years later my daughter who had gone off to school in conservative Houston told me that although she tried, she was unable to describe to her friends these sessions in any way that they believed her.

Ciao..

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

This and That from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. ( 12 Joseph 0001) January 1 2012


TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

     1. Education matters, so does music:

Music lessons are linked to higher IQ throughout life, according to research by E. Glenn Schellenberg, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto at Mississauga. Six years’ lessons lifted children’s IQ scores an average 7.5 points; those gains eroded to two points by college age, says a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

In a study this year, researchers at the University of Kansas found practicing musicians who are active for a decade or more continue to post higher IQs beyond age 60.

     2. US motor vehicle deaths:

(I do not know what this graph in intended to tell us except that, since “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published in about 1970 and the regulation of automotive safety began, the highway death toll has dropped dramatically.)

     3. Watt?!

You eat 2000 kcal/day. Thatʼs 97 Watts (W).

Your house used 306 kWh last month. Thatʼs 400 W.

The tag on the refrigerator says it will use 400 kWh per year. Thatʼs 45 W.

The hot water heater says it produces 30,000 Btu/hr. Thatʼs 8800 W.

Your natural gas bill is 30 Therms per month. Thatʼs 1200 W.

The U.S. generates about 4000 TWh per year. Thatʼs 450 GW.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND KEY WEST, FLORIDA:

     1. Menu item of the year (from Crutchley):

The menu of restaurant in Udon Thani features “flied ponk.”

(As Crutch points out, “a must for all ‘ponk’ lovers in the kingdom.”)

     2. Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl at year’s end:

With her good looks and style, refusal to respond to direct questions and Board Chairman approach to management has made her the teflon Prime Minister, immune from all that could undermine her continuing popularity. Even a natural disaster and her administrations arguable inept and confused handling of it, has not appreciably dented her supporters enthusiasm. What else would one expect with someone named Yingluck.

     3. Lese majesté:

It is fascinating to me to observe the insistence of the Thai Military that they are the protectors of the Royal Honor, while steadfastly retaining their independence of Royal wishes or direction. For example, they firmly oppose changes to the Lese majesté law under which a foreign translator who had translated an unauthorized biography of the

Royal Family, and a 80-year-old man who had text 4 lines of questionable text to friends both received prison sentences of over 15 years each. They insist that it is their duty to protect the Monarchy, vaguely threatening a coup should the law be tampered with.

On the other hand, the King himself’s insistence than he does not need the law because public criticism is the means by which he can judge whether of not he is doing a good job for the country is equally steadfastly ignored by the General Staff.

     4. New Years celebrations in Key West Florida:

In summer temperatures at Key West, Fla., three separate New Year’s Eve drops were planned for midnight celebrations:

A giant facsimile of a conch shell would be lowered at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering hole when he lived in Key West.

At the Schooner Wharf Bar, the bar owner dressed as a pirate wench would drop down from a mast of a tall sailing ship.

And at the Bourbon Street Pub complex, a drag queen named Sushi would descend in a glittering 6 foot red women’s high heel.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN 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 at 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.

Later that evening at dinner in the tiny restaurant near the apartment where we usually eat dinner when we go out, the only other table was occupied by three young people, obviously students. One was a very tall slender Thai woman sporting dread locks down to her waist. I later learned she was a student studying English in Singapore, home for the holidays. They were singing karaoke on a portable machine supplied by the proprietor of the place. They asked me to join in and still in my manic stage, I did, singing a soulful and doleful version of “100 (or was it 500, I can never remember) Miles.” I wanted to follow it up with “My way” and “Country Road,” but desisted because I felt I would be pushing my welcome. The Little Masseuse said it was ok for me to sing as long as I did not dance on the street corner. She asked me if I did that back in the US and promised to take me to a place where I could sing and dance to my heart’s content.

New Year’s Eve in Bangkok:

On New Year’s Eve, at about 6pm I decided to treat myself to a slice of pizza. I walked up Soi Nana to one of the two pizza parlors on the street, the one calming it serves New York style pizza. I ordered a slice of what looked like pepperoni and a coke for $1.33 and read my book. In was the latest from Eco entitled “The Prague Cemetery.” As usual with most of Eco’s books since Foucault’s Pendulum, it was erudite, well written, fascinating and a little bit superficial.

My pizza slice tasted better than the last time I ate there, so I ordered another, ate it and set off for an early evening stroll on Soi Nana.

The street, usually a somewhat serious place of business and commerce purveying sex, alcohol and drugs, was more festive this evening. A forlorn but enthusiastic group of dragon dancers accompanied by loud noises and acrobatics moved from bar to bar, thrusting its giant dragon head as far into the open front of the establishments as they could. There were a few fireworks set off by the local street children and along the sidewalks some of the locals had set up small barbecues for picnic parties.

The Ladies and Lady-boys of the night were out, dressed in their holiday finest. In any contest of fashion splendor, however, the lady-boys win hands down. The fashion sense of their undress were more spectacular, their hairdo’s and makeup finer, and their breasts much larger, exposing all but the dreaded, illegal and shameful nipple. The physics of achieving such upthrust exposure would make Steven Hawking marvel.

The Ladies, on the other hand, were more subdued and seemed more relaxed. Gone was the grim determination of the normal working day, usually begun with an early morning visit to the temple to pray that someone would buy their body that day, replaced with a sense that today was a holiday and the desperate plying of their trade could be put off for a day.

Not so the Lady-boys, they were going for the gold tonight.

After returning to my apartment and taking a nap, I went to the area around the World Center where BKK’s New Year’s Eve countdown festivities would take place. There were thousands and thousands of people there aimlessly milling about much like New Year’s Eve in Times Square except there you got to mill about in crushing crowds while freezing your ass off while here you got to do the same until you felt faint from heat prostration.

There was some entertainment, mostly by a third level American pop singer, but most people merely waited and milled about. Then at midnight a pleasantly noisy fireworks display brought in the new year.

We were standing by the local McDonald, which was hosting a VIP party on the sidewalk in front. Ronald McDonald left the party and graciously posed and preened for photographs with some of the crowd.

Then the crowds began to disperse. We waited a few minutes for the worst of the crush to move on, then began to make our way toward Sukhumvit and home.

At one point the crowd was funneled through a narrow area, bounded on one side with the fence separating the entertainers from the masses and on the other a wall about 10 feet high supporting a plaza area upon which was another VIP gathering.

Here the crowd moving in one direction met up with those going in the other and pandemonium erupted. The rent- a-cops on the plaza at one end of the wall were urging the crowd forward into the vortex, while those at the other end were doing the same. The security guards in the middle however were urging everyone to turn around and go back.

Now, the Thais do not seem to be as prone to panic as westerners, but it began to break out nonetheless as the mass of bodies crashed and vibrated. People began passing children up to those on the wall to remove them from the danger of suffocation or trampling, followed by some women who were also passed up. Then the “me first,” men began scrambling up leaving the remaining women and children to fend for themselves.

At first I sort of enjoyed abandoning myself to the ebb and flow of the crowd and being taller that most Thais avoided the confusion and anxiety of those who could not see what was going on around them.

After a while, I grew tired of all this. Being larger and heavier than most Thai’s and knowing the Thai abhorrence of confrontation, I decided to simply bull my way through, Ugly American style, dragging along whomever in my wake.

I felt uncomfortable pitting my bulk against the much smaller Thai men, so I tried to direct my path through the largest men I could find and simply push them out-of-the-way. Unfortunately, I could not avoid bumping into some of those much smaller than I. I still remember the look on one young man’s face as I inadvertently broke his sunglasses as I pushed past him.

Nevertheless, without too much difficulty, I waded through the human mass, reached the end of the impasse and turned into a side street where much to my surprise were hundreds of BKK’s finest police lounging around in their busses or sitting on steps. Not a single one had been deployed in crown control.

Anyway, feeling a bit elated by my bath of adrenaline and testosterone, we walked the mile of so back to Soi Nana, then took a motorbike taxi the rest of the way to the apartment.

I hope you all had a Happy New Year also.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Alas, poor Vince, he will have to remain trembling in that stairwell for a few more days

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

     1. The 14 defining characteristics of Fascism:

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each. Here are the final four:

          11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

         12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

         13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

         14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

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

          a. Let’s get the largest return for our money:

          b. Corporations should pay their fair share:!

     3. Signs you are smarter than average:

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that female and male adolescents with

an IQ score below 70 or above 110 are more likely to be virgins.

(I wonder if this means the first time I did it I got smarter or dumber? If I remember correctly I was pretty stupid as an adolescent, given the number of years I spent trying to do it and failing. Anyway it finally it happened. We were both drunk so, I guess it could be considered a form of rape, although I am not sure I recall who was the raper and who was the rapee. Oh well, at least, as a result, my IQ may have increased from “borderline deficient” to “below average.”)

     4. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Peter G wins the prize for pointing out that, in England the pubs would close at that time to give the publican a chance to clean the place out. I recall in NY the closing time was somewhere around 4 to 5AM for the same reason. Way to go Peter.

He also points out that since this is the end of the Age of Kali, he expects the train to eventually depart again from out of the rubble of the station. He adds also that the world will not be taken over by a race of giant spiders, but he remains silent about the bright future of the Naked Mole Rat.

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

     1. Buddy Roemer on Super PAC’s:

Politics has been completely corrupted by “Super PACs” and other special interest money, and the worst offender is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who received $1.8 million from Freddie Mac, the troubled government sponsored mortgage giant, for providing dubious strategic advice. “I want as president a woman or a man who is clean, who has the power to lead and who tells the truth,” Roemer says. “Newt does not fit those characteristics.”

     2. Clarence Thomas on Republicans:

“Even as someone whoʼs labeled a conservative – Iʼm a Republican, Iʼm black, Iʼm heading up this organization in the Reagan administration – I can say that conservatives donʼt exactly break their necks to tell blacks that theyʼre welcome.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S STATISTIC:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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