Posts Tagged With: New York

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Joe 0008 (August 6, 2009)

 

“UBUNTU”
I am because we are.”

 

“Top Tip: If you find yourself ‘speaking the hard truth’ that ‘we are all to blame,’ this a good indicator that in fact you, in particular, are to blame.”
KJ Healy

Happy Birthday Katie Dreaper

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
Today, I awoke feeling chipper (an appropriate but seldom used word). After a good nights sleep, I was awakened by the bright sunlight slanting through the shutter’s slats and onto the bed. The still air of morning moderated the heat of what was destined to become a sultry scorching day. The sound of the dog barking at every squirrel and cat in the neighborhood that chanced to step within fifty feet of the house accompanied me into the kitchen. Two Thomas’ Original English Muffins lay on my plate all crispy and slathered in butter and fig preserve. The coffee hot and especially tasty made the morning complete.

I was sitting in my reclining chair enjoying the morning, happily dunking my muffins into the cup of coffee when Naida came downstairs ready to leave for a day at the Fair selling her books. She wore tight dark navy blue slacks and a very attractive navy blue blouse. She asked me how she looked.

I felt a bit of jealousy as I looked her over imagining the 70 and 80-year-old lotharios at the Fair joking with her and sweet-talking her. Now you may think that boinking and boffing among 80 year-olds is an image best avoided and that in our dotage jealousy is far from our minds — we being more mature and significantly less capable. On the contrary, even in our decrepitude, we are as randy as ever and far less constrained by social mores.

Upon first reaching the not so tender age at which I have recently arrived, this state of affairs surprised me. I thought the days of sweaty nights, and ceaseless desire was behind and if truth be known, beyond me (although I believe I remain a pretty good kisser, hugger and nibbler of ears).

A month or so ago, an elderly gentleman (younger than me, alas) moved into the empty house next to ours and immediately began energetically chatting up Naida until the man who lived in the house across the way told him to knock it off since she already had a significant other. Now, this amused me greatly. I realized we had reached that age where we became teenagers again.

In keeping with my newly revived teenager-hood, I entertained myself with thoughts of smacking him across the head with my cane. In my adolescence, I may have done so were we standing toe to toe, bathing in testosterone and shouting at each other. I would, however, never go in search of someone in order to deliver the blow, comforting myself with the fiction I would do so were we ever to meet in a dark alley. Now, in my dotage, I am certain almost nothing would prompt me to leave my recliner and certainly not on this lovely morning. Besides, Naida undoubtedly would think I had gone nuts. That is another pleasure of growing old, you can become as crazy as you want in your own mind without feeling guilty or worried about your sanity — after all the next stop on the train is childhood.

Never forget laddie, today is the oldest you’ve ever been, yet the youngest you’ll ever be. So, enjoy the day. It is never coming around again. And so, I did.

On Friday I took Hayden, Jake, and Kaleb to the State Fair. I picked up Hayden and Jake at Dick’s house. They were lazing in HRM’s teen-ager cave. A few more wall posters have been added to the decor and the small fridge is now full of soft drinks. We then picked up Kaleb at his mother’s apartment. During the drive to the Fair, I listened to teen-talk — about cars and motorcycles and what they would do once they get their driver’s license.

At the Fair, I left the three of them to wander about while I sat in air-conditioned building A eating a Cinnabon. We did visit the animal barns together. Today was sheep, longhorn cattle, and llama day. There was one section that featured attack llamas. Large vicious-looking beasts trained to protect herds of sheep from wolves and coyotes.

IMG_6520

Jake, HRM, and Kaleb at the Fair standing near the Attack Llamas pen.

 
When I got home that evening and told Naida about the attack llamas, she asked, “What could they fight with, they have no fangs and their hooves are not that hard?” “Spit,” I responded. “Wolves and coyotes are very fastidious. They do not like to be spat upon.”

We then had dinner and Naida told me the story of the two angora goats she owned when she lived with Bill on the ranch along the Cosumnes River. It was a long and fascinating story of escape, punishment, sorrow, affection, return the use of angora fleece for hair on dolls and the ability of acacia trees to repel giraffes.

I think this is a good time to insert one of my favorite Ogden Nash poems:

The one L lama, he’s a priest
The two L llama, he’s a beast
And I will bet my silk pyjama
There isn’t any three L lllama.
— O. Nash, to which a fire chief replied that occasionally his department responded to something like a “three L lllama.”

All things considered, it was a good day in spite of the heat and the national news.

The next day I left for the Bay Area for my sister’s birthday party at her daughter’s home in Oakland.

 

 

B. A BRIEF TRIP TO THE EAST BAY:
The traffic was brutal on I-80 that morning. It took almost three hours to travel the 90 miles from Sacramento to Oakland. I arrived at a rather fancy apartment complex in a newly built-up section of Oakland. Thirty-years ago during the eight years I was the director of the State Coastal Conservancy, my office was situated in downtown Oakland. Often, I visited this area at lunchtime since there were a few decent restaurants I liked that had located in the mostly empty decaying warehouses that then marked the neighborhood. About 15 years later, the younger Shorenstein and Pappadopolus teamed up to propose to the then-Mayor Jerry Brown, a massive development project in the area. It was about then that I last ventured into Oakland. Terry and I had proposed to Mayor Jerry, the rehabilitation of the old Fox theater that recently had been landmarked. The deal ultimately fell through as they almost always did whenever Terry and I teamed up.

Katie, Maryanne’s daughter, and her intended Quinn live in one of two newly constructed buildings built by the same developer. Inside, it is lavishly equipped with everything the young techies would want, a super large exercise room, swimming pool, and even a coffee and wine lounge. On the roof where the party was held, a large party terrace had been built equipped with a huge television screen, kitchen, and even a fire sculpture with real fire. Perhaps its purpose was not art but for toasting marshmallows.

IMG_6539

 

On the outside, the public amenities were less lavish. On the good side, the first level was well stocked with spaces for shops. I saw a barbershop and a tavern open with tables and chairs on the sidewalk outside. Less happy is the lack of greenery and pedestrian amenities.

I enjoyed the party. Members of Maryanne’s cooking group were there along with some of her friends from when she lived in Berkley. I had some enjoyable conversations about drugs, living in Costa Rica and food.

IMG_E6534

Maryanne, her daughter Katie and the Birthday Cake.

 
After the party, I drove to 4th Street in Berkeley to meet with Terry. I had not been to 4th street in over twenty years. I marveled at how little had changed — the same Peet’s Coffee, kitchen shop, cafe, paper shop and so on. I met Terry at Peet’s and we reminisced over our past legislative battles. Prompted by my behind the scenes story here in T&T about the passage of the Coastal Act, Terry described the background of the enactment of his legislation prohibiting LNG terminals in California. Governor Brown opposed Terry’s bill. Eventually, Terry won but at the cost of his removal as the author of the bill. I then told about my CEQUA reform bill. It was drafted in response to a court victory for CEQA but considered too environmental to pass the Senate. Nevertheless, we did pass it in that house. Unfortunately, in the Assembly, Speaker McCarthy told us that the price of approval was that, like Terry with the LNG bill, Senator Smith had to be removed as author and Assemblyman Art Agnos inserted in his place. So it goes in the hurly-burly of politics.

We then decided to get a drink at a restaurant nearby. I ordered prosecco and he a red wine from Lombardy. We sat in front of a display of shucked oysters. Suddenly, I felt a great urge to have some. I had not eaten an oyster in years. In fact, I had not eaten much of interest since my most recent illness began. So, we ordered some Kumamoto Oysters. Later, on my drive back to the Enchanted Forest, I reminisced about one of my favorite eateries, the Oyster Bar in New York’s Grand Central Station. I would stop there almost every evening after I left my office in Rockefeller Center. And even after leaving NY, I would try to stop there whenever I returned for a visit. I remember sitting there at the Oyster Bar with my son Jason. We had stopped in NY on our way back to Europe. It was the first time he had tried Oysters. His verdict, “interesting.”

 
C. ONCE MORE IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
The next day I drove into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM, Jake, Kaleb, and Ethan. They wanted me to drive them to Costco for lunch. For some reason, they believe that Costco’s pizza is the best in the area.

Today is Tuesday. It is early afternoon. It has been about two days since the trip to Costco with the Scooter Gang. I recall nothing that may have happened since then except Naida and I had dinner at a local Indian restaurant and went shopping at Raley’s. That means, as far as I am concerned, nothing else existed for two days but for that dinner at the local Indian restaurant and shopping at Raley’s. Life is brief, but if I don’t record it here it is briefer still. I guess that is one reason for keeping a journal.

For some reason, despite shedding myself of everything at least four times in my life, two diaries I had kept way back in the early sixties remained with me. Some time ago, I decided to read one written in 1960, I think. The entire diary consisted only of a story about a torrid but doomed love affair that began in January of that year and ended appropriately in December. Despite what from the Diary appeared to be a momentous romance, I recalled nothing about it. Not even the women’s name that for some reason never appeared in the Diary. Does that mean the love affair never existed until that day I happened to pick up that Diary and read it? Then again, maybe I made it all up, but why?

Perhaps, I will copy it out and write it as a story — Poe like. The old man on a dreary night in bleak December sits alone by the fire — no no-one has a fireplace any more — by the flickering light of the computer screen. He picks up the long-forgotten diary and begins to read… Nevermore… Hmm, could her name have been Lenore? Alas, as far as I recall, there were no Raven’s in Tuckahoe, NY.

Later in the afternoon Naida and I ate at one of my favorite places in Sacramento. — Not for the quality of the food but because of the lovely outdoor garden to eat it in.

IMG_6541

Pookie in the Tower Cafe garden.

 

 
D. BACK AGAIN TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

Once again it was time to return to the Bay Area for my immunotherapy treatment. On Wednesday, Naida and I left Capitol City for Peter and Barrie’s house. After a rather uneventful drive, we arrived to find the house delightfully full of people. We were greeted not only by Peter and Barry, but also by their two granddaughters both under four years of age, Alex their father (Peter and Barrie’s son), and Peter’s brother’s son’s two teenage daughters. The granddaughters were suitably giggly and alternated shyness with jumping into your arms for a hug. The teenagers exhibited the usual reserve of teenagers observing us Vecchi as though we were not completely grown up. They did happily carry the little ones around in their arms whenever they felt the need for affection and security. Alex was fatherly stern while Peter, Barrie and we smiled happily at the turmoil.

As usual, Barrie made something tasty and interesting for dinner. She made it from a recipe given to her by a woman from India. Its main ingredients consisted of yams and pineapple-infused hot dogs. I found it delicious.

The following morning, after goodbyes and hugs all around, we left for the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor told us that the CT scans showed that the tumor had not grown (good for me). Unfortunately, it also showed what looked like a dormant clot in my lung. The doctor then scheduled a sonogram on my legs to be performed directly after the infusion. Following those two procedures, the doctors at my request removed my PICC line freeing me to swim and travel. We then returned the oncologists office and he informed me that another dormant clot had b found behind my left knee and so, in order to be on the safe side, he prescribed a very expensive anticoagulant. I am unsure whether I prefer a long painful death as cancerous cells devour my insides or sudden death from a surprise heart attack or stroke.

On the way back to the Enchanted Forest, we stopped at a senior development in Davis to see if it was someplace we would like to move to as we grow older. It was an elegant fairly high priced center with many benefits. The residents were mostly professors and other professionals. It is a highly desirable senior community with a long waiting list. It gave me the creeps. Not because of anything about the development, but because although my body may be falling apart my mind feels young and vigorous (except for memory problems). It made me feel as though I would be in prison while I waited to die. Some of the residents we talked to do not think that is the case. They still travel and enjoy themselves. I guess soon it will become time to face the fact that taking care of a house, shopping and things like that begin to steal from the time one has left.

 

 

D. AN AFTERNOON IN THE GOLDEN HILLS WITH HRM AND THE SCOOTER GANG:

 
During the morning of the next day, I received a call from HRM requesting I take the Scooter Gang to lunch. In keeping with my obligations as chauffeur and comic relief, I leaped from my recliner, grabbed my cane and hat, kissed the dog, said so-long to Naida, walked to the car and drove off into the Golden Hills.

The gang was at Kaleb’s house. HRM, Kaleb (tall and skinny) Jake (tall, long-haired) and Ethan (not so tall, not so skinny and not so long-haired) piled into the car. (Hamza, another member of the gang, was spending the summer in Morocco at the small town from which his family migrated. When asked how he liked spending summers in Morocco he usually replies “I hate it. It’s a shithole.” ) They asked to be driven to a new, fast-food fried chicken place in Folsom they wanted to try out (they all are breaking out with adolescent acne. Nevertheless, fried foods remain at the top of their teenage food pyramid.)

As I drove, I listened to the teen-age chatter. I worry about these kids. Although they live in an upscale suburb, they believe themselves poor and each one has his own set of problems. Kaleb, in addition to his difficult home life, suffers from some sort of heart trouble. At lunch after eating he vomited up everything he had eaten. The others said he does that often. Perhaps that is why he is so skinny. Jake has a steel bar through his chest to hold it up. Whether it was to remedy a birth defect or to correct a later injury, I do not know. I was told he also has a pinhole opening in his heart. Ethan seems to have no physical problems, but his mother was murdered and his father went to prison for killing the man who killed his mother. He is out of prison now but does not live with Ethan. Ethan lives with his grandmother. As they grow older and school and family provide less and less of a nurturing environment they seem slowly to becoming slackers and are gradually slipping into nihilism. I try to offer them a bit of mature companionship, some sophomoric words of wisdom, and a little encouragement but I am afraid, in the long run, it will not be enough.

 

 

E. BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
On Saturday, we attended the Saturday Morning Coffee at the Clubhouse. Because Naida was busy at the Fair, we have not attended one of these for over a month. I enjoyed being there and actually talked to people rather than sitting off to the side watching.

The rest of the day, N worked on her Memoir while I reviewed the latest from the 49rs training camp, reading Herman Melville’s comic novel Pierre: The Ambiguities and playing on Facebook.

We also watched the news. There have been two assault rife massacres in the US within a week. The first at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California and now today in El Paso Texas. The assassins in both cases were young white men professing an alt-right point of view and a hatred of Latino immigrants The response from the right and the Republican politicians appear to be coalescing around characterizing these men as disturbed and focussing the remedy on identification and removal rather than on the ideology that inspires them or the weapons that enables them. This approach arms the police only with a vague and arbitrary standard that is difficult to understand and implement and easily subverted by politics or ideology. Why empower often poorly educated and trained but heavily armed police to make decisions on issues where even those who study them disagree, rather than simply requiring them to remove the means of mass mayhem and urging the media and the spokesmen for society to condemn the ideology that motivated them?
.
In the evening, we watched “A Dry White Season” with Donald Sutherland and Marlon Brando a movie about the Soweto uprising. It gave both of us nightmares. Not simply because of the horrors inflicted on the repressed members of that society, but it also seems to be occurring here.

The next day it was more of the same. We awoke to the news of another mass killing. This time in Dayton Ohio. We spent the rest of the day as we usually do, in the studio working in the case of Naida and playing as generally do. Wondering whether this is another existential threat to our society and what we at 80 years of age can do about it. Vote of course, but that simply does not seem to be enough.

Take care of yourselves and remember always:

th

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

 

During my life, more than a few times, I have abandoned everything, taking only a suitcase and leaving all else behind — From New York, to King of Prussia Pennsylvania; from there to Rome Italy and then back to Naw York; then to Cape Cod; then across the continent to San Francisco; then to Chiang Mai Thailand, followed by Jomtien Beach and Bangkok; then back to the US to El Dorado Hills and finally to Sacramento. Through all those changes, I was rarely accompanied by more than a single suitcase.

Every time I opened that suitcase, I would find two diaries at the bottom. One from 1963 and the other from 1964. One with a brown cover and one with a red. I do not know why they were there. I never remembered packing them and rarely, if ever opened them. Instead, I would throw them into the bottom of the drawer there to remain unopened until I moved again. A few weeks ago, I opened the one from 1963 (brown cover).

I decided to post the entries here. I do not recall most of what was written there including many of the people and events mentioned and certainly not my thoughts and interpretations of them. Although I am sure the diaries were written by me (I recognize the penmanship), I do not recognize that me. I was a bit of a shit. Probably always have been. I cannot apologize for what I wrote or did. It is what it is. I was callow and shallow, sex-obsessed, and had not yet experienced the magical but alas ultimately fraudulent liberation of the Hippy Years.

I have added some commentary from myself to myself from 60 years later — sort of like a memoir with a critique of my young self by my old self. But who will critique my old self? Worms, I guess.

January 2, 1963

I drove my brother Jim to Pratt University in Brooklyn where he attends art school.

I must not waste time. I do not know why I feel the need to accomplish anything but I believe I should not aspire to accomplish nothing.

(Hmm…)

January 3, 1963

A classmate said to me today, “I do not remember you. Who are you?” It completely shattered my confidence.

Later, Tony said, “You will get a bad reputation if you continue to speak like that.” Dick then said, “Maybe that is what you want.” Perhaps it is.

Perhaps I despise myself enough to want to destroy myself by a bad reputation. After all, although a bad reputation is often pleasantly wicked, a good one, I guess, is worth living for. I try to be good and honest but trying to be while struggling to avoid hypocrisy, I often manage to bungle it and then if not to become ostracized then to be considered odd, and in this case bad.

(What the hell was that all about?)

January 4, 1963.

“To dream is to taste heaven.”

I spoke to professor O’Keefe today. He advised me to stay out of my brother’s lawsuit. O’Keefe loves to talk, like an old woman, but with a more spicy vocabulary.

Today, I felt good, because I topped several of my fellow students. Tomorrow, I’ll probably feel bad again when they top me.

My parents’ party this evening annoys me. I cannot get to sleep. Perhaps my mother is right, they are a most unusual collection of people. (Rae Fred’s mistress seems to have a roving eye. However she is 45 at least — well maybe that is not too bad.)

(Well, aren’t you the prissy little shit.)

January 5, 1963

“Passion is often the wellspring of action.”

We had an excellent study session. I need to memorize more if I am to get a good mark on the exam.

I saw Stephanie at school. She is looking better. Perhaps I will begin dating her again.

I have decided to try for the summer internship program with the Federal government.

My start in politics begins tomorrow. We will see if I can play the political game. I had better be able to.

(Ambitious little punk aren’t you? What the hell are those little sayings at the beginning supposed to mean? Why are they here?)

January 7, 1963

“Fortunes always make manners.”

On Sunday, I attended the Young Democrats of Yonkers meeting. I did well. Most of my proposals were accepted into the new constitution. Jack Tobin and Tony Russo are the men to watch. Jack is a big fellow with a strong even voice — very persuasive, articulate and ambitious. Tony is a straight politician from the old school.

I must use to my advantage the clause in the constitution requiring a Ward Leader to have ten members behind him in order to vote or have it changed.

Things are looking up for the tour business. I need to keep my fingers crossed. It all is too uncertain.

I am worried about the exams. I need to fight hard to get a high position in the class.

Today, I saw a girl with the prettiest ass I have seen in a long time.

(More naked ambition and a bit of chauvinism too.)

January 8, 1963.

It is pride that makes the blood noble.

I finally met Pat at the bus stop. We had a general conversation about this and that, then she mentioned her boyfriend. That put a crimp in my plans. She is not really pretty, but she is attractive. She lacks that dull dead-eyed look of photographers models that are supposed to be beautiful. Her eyes are alive.

I will not go to the general meeting of the Young Democrats tonight. I need to study. I feel good that today’s efforts seem to be paying off.

I hear my parents arguing over something. I need to get back to my studies.

(This is a little better except for that bit about pride at the beginning.)

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 
At its earliest, life begins at implantation, not at conception.

“There is no big bang, no ‘moment’ in conception. There are a half dozen processes that must occur before an egg is fertilized and the processes take about 24 hours. More than half of those will never become a live birth because they are not implanted in the womb. At its earliest life begins at implantation.

“And how are those zygotes, those fertilized eggs that are more sacred than a pregnant woman treated? They are flushed from the body like human waste. Neither religion nor government make any effort to give them rights or rites. No effort is made to save them or give them dignity. There are no pickets, no protests, no parades, no threats of violence, no homicides.”
American Jews Lose Religious Freedom — Robert Flynn
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/7/27/1874872/-American-Jews-Lose-Religious-Freedom?utm_campaign=recent

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 
A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week: Colavito takes on the Russians and their Space Alien allies.

 
I am growing quite fond of Colavito and his battle against the clithonic purveyors of conspiracy theories who prowl the sewers of our nation. In one of his most recent posts, he takes on the Majestic-12 documents that purport to be US government documents related to a council of scientists and military officials who in 1947 supposedly studied recovered alien spacecraft and communicated with their occupants. He also critiques an author, Nick Redfern, who believes among other things it is all a Russian plot. Colavito writes:

“Redfern’s first article discusses 47 pages of MJ-12 documents publicized by Heather Wade in 2017. These pages include a supposed 1947 interview with a space alien, who criticizes Western civilization, comparing the United States to Nazi Germany. When an American boasts about Western freedom, the alien retorts like any good Russian chauvinist, by likening Jim Crow to the Holocaust: “…tell that to the millions of Hebrews your western civilization has destroyed in the past decade, or the millions of Negro families whose sons died to stop the madman Hitler, but who do not have plumbing in their homes.”

“Aliens are rather specific in their criticisms.”

Colavito goes on:

“Redfern overstates the case for the documents being a 1980s Soviet hoax. Redfern couldn’t date the hoax, speculating that it occurred sometime between the 1980s and 2007, but we can be more specific. The hoax document makes a bizarre reference: “…in a remote part of the nation you call Yugoslavia, we visited and helped the people there to build a very advanced culture over seven thousand years ago.” This is a fairly transparent reference to the so-called Bosnian pyramids, natural formations that Semir Osmanagić has promoted since 2005 as the remains of a lost civilization known as the Illyrians, who lived in the region around 7,000 year ago. In 2017, he expanded his claim out to 34,000 years. Besides this obvious temporal signature, Redfern’s claim that the alien’s reference to Yugoslavia gives glory to communism isn’t a marker or Russian chauvinism since Yugoslavia broke with Moscow at the start of the Cold War and was at odds with much of the communist world down to the collapse of communism in 1989.

“In the second and third articles, Redfern states that two earlier batches of Majestic-12 documents are also the work of Russian propagandists, including the infamous first set from the 1980s that were investigated by the FBI and determined to be fake. The second set from the 1990s seemed to reflect Russian conspiracy theories that America had developed the AIDS virus as a bioweapon.

“Redfern doesn’t provide direct evidence that the documents were created by Russia, though he raises several important instances where the Majestic-12 documents reflect anti-American conspiracy theories. That said, while Russia may be the most likely source, there are plenty of others with anti-American views who might also have been responsible. It’s an interesting circumstantial case, and one worth reading, but I would have liked to see more direct evidence connecting the documents to Russia.”

I have always found most conspiracy theories entertaining. They resemble the fantasy novels I enjoy reading. However, the modern conspiracy theorists have ceased being the tellers of the amusing stories of fantasists but only too often the deranged gunman in the shadows firing bullets of perfidy at the heart of democracy and civilization.

 

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 
Power is a drink that always makes you thirsty for more.

 

C. Today’s Poem:

Cloony The Clown by Shel Silverstein
I’ll tell you the story of Cloony the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.

He had a trombone to play loud silly tunes,
He had a green dog and a thousand balloons.
He was floppy and sloppy and skinny and tall,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.

And every time he did a trick,
Everyone felt a little sick.
And every time he told a joke,
Folks sighed as if their hearts were broke.

And every time he lost a shoe,
Everyone looked awfully blue.
And every time he stood on his head,
Everyone screamed, “Go back to bed!”

And every time he made a leap,
Everybody fell asleep.
And every time he ate his tie,
Everyone began to cry.

And Cloony could not make any money
Simply because he was not funny.
One day he said, “I’ll tell this town
How it feels to be an unfunny clown.”

And he told them all why he looked so sad,
And he told them all why he felt so bad.
He told of Pain and Rain and Cold,
He told of Darkness in his soul,

And after he finished his tale of woe,
Did everyone cry? Oh no, no, no,
They laughed until they shook the trees
With “Hah-Hah-Hahs” and “Hee-Hee-Hees.”

They laughed with howls and yowls and shrieks,
They laughed all day, they laughed all week,
They laughed until they had a fit,
They laughed until their jackets split.

The laughter spread for miles around
To every city, every town,
Over mountains, ‘cross the sea,
From Saint Tropez to Mun San Nee.

And soon the whole world rang with laughter,
Lasting till forever after,
While Cloony stood in the circus tent,
With his head drooped low and his shoulders bent.

And he said,”THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEANT-
I’M FUNNY JUST BY ACCIDENT.”
And while the world laughed outside.
Cloony the Clown sat down and cried.

 
D. Today’s Haikus:

 
The Indomitable Oak Haiku

 

Of all the trees here,
the indomitable oak
is my favorite.

 
Sweet is the water

 

Sweet is the water
that satisfies long held thirst
at a journey’s end

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“Misogyny is easy to locate and to cite in the texts from antiquity, but biological race was not a recognized category in the ancient world.[1] As historian of slavery Omar H. Ali has stated, race is not a product of genetics or biology, but is rather a “function of power.” Ali remarks that the empowered also create definitions for society: “(those in power disproportionately determine standards of beauty, morality, comportment, and intellect), race, like all other identities, has been a constructed and shifting term in world history.” Analyzing how white men have created and imposed definitions that benefit themselves is pivotal to understanding both racism and misogyny in our current political climate.”
Book Note | Not All Dead White Men by Sarah Bond in Book Notes (https://www.ancientjewreview.com/articles/2018/10/9/book-note-not-all-dead-white-men#_ftn2)

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Jojo 0008 (June 4, 2019)

 

“Nothing convinces a fool to believe in a scam better than turning him into a scammer too.”
Liu, Ken. The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty Book 2). Saga Press.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE GOLDEN HILLS:

 
Today, I drove into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM after school and drive him home. It was the first day in about a week neither overcast nor raining. Instead, big giant battleships of cottony white clouds, floating on a cerulean sea, filled the sky. It was warm — not the warmth of late spring, light with a promise of warmer weather to come, but more like the autumn warmth, sharp-edged to resist the march of winter cold.

As he entered the car he told me he had ordered a new hat and was waiting for it to arrive.

“I thought you bought a hat when I drove to Tilly’s last week,” I said.

“I did,” he responded, “but I wanted another one also.”

When we arrived at the house we saw a package leaning against the front door. Hayden eagerly tore open the box and pulled out his new hat. Here it is:
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Hayden Haystack the Hombre in the Hat.

 

Being a hat guy myself, I like it.

As I ponder over H’s emerging fondness for Hats, I recall that several years ago when he was five or six years old, I had promised him that we would write a short comic book together entitled “Hayden Without a Hat.” Each evening thereafter, he asked me if I was ready to write the story with him and each night I gave some excuse for not doing so. Finally, being tired of my evasions and convinced I would never get around to it, he decided to write the story in his notebook by himself. One evening, instead of asking me again he handed it to me. The notebook contained the following (everything is as he wrote it including the punctuation, except for the quotation marks which I added). I promised him I would “publish” it. So here it is:

“Story for little boys, girls!

Hayden Without a Hat
Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Hayden Without a Hat.

“Oh, no!” says Grandpa Pooky. “Oh no!!!” Grandpa Pooky says “You need a hat.”

“A hat…” says Hayden, “a hat.” “Let me think. Hmmm, ok” Hayden says. “I do need a hat!!!! “Hey, we can go to the hat store.”

So Hayden picked out his favorite hat. It was just like Grandpa Pooky’s hat.

Remember kids always have a hat!!! And mom’s and dad’s.”

Later, after reviewing my mail and happily downing a dozen mint flavored Oreo cookies dunked in milk, I went to HRM’s room to tell Jake and him that I was leaving to return to the Enchanted Forest and to leave behind some crumbs of “Pookie’s Wisdom for Adolescents.”

 

 

B. POOKIE’S LIFE IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 
(I have temporarily changed the heading here from the usual “Pookie’s Adventures…” to, “Pookie’s Life…” because I understand that many people believe adventure and life to be very different things. I do not, unfortunately. Still, my life here in TEF would be considered an adventure only if the novelty of being happy and content in one’s life could be termed an adventure. I guess, given my history, being happy and content may very well be an adventure — it is certainly novel.)

At the end of the month, we are planning to leave for Mendocino to visit Maryann and George and to see some of the films being shown at the film festival that weekend. I look at it as a vacation, although what it is that we are vacationing from I can’t imagine. I guess a change of scene would be a more appropriate description.

While driving into the Golden Hills a few days ago, I thought of something that seemed to be very insightful and that I should include here in T&T so that I don’t forget it. Of course, I forgot whatever it was before I got back to my computer. It went wherever those brilliant ideas go that one gets while driving, on drugs, or during the muzzy confusion of waking up in the morning.

This morning, while watching on MSNBC the latest outrage by he who is not my president, I disgustedly turned to Facebook on my computer. To my surprise I discovered the following photograph posted there:

18622269_10211871292991858_4088717537052341010_n

 

That is me on the left, Peter Cirrincione in the middle and Freddy Greco on the right. The photograph was posted by Peter’s wife Loretta also a dear friend of mine. We were at Playland by the Beach in Rye New York sometime during the 1950s when this picture was taken. Although I was a bit skinny back then, I agree with the comments to the post that I read — we indeed were handsome devils. Alas, no longer.

My cousin Lou to whom, among others, I sent a copy of the photograph wrote back that he had a similar photograph taken at the same place with two of his friends also from Tuckahoe. I recall that my father and uncles also had taken a similar picture in the same setting years before I did.

And, after seeing the photograph, Peter Grenell opined:

“Those were the days! Pretty spiffy. Could do a retake at the Geezers Bench with canes, walker, Prosecco, and family size bottles of pharmaceuticals — and hats. Or not….”

Here is the photograph Peter mentioned of him and me on the Geezers’ Bench, more than sixty years after the photograph at Sloppy Joe’s Bar had been taken.
IMG_4243

 

One day, I think it was Memorial Day, I spent several hours reading a Ph.D. dissertation by Eric Jones about the Iroquois Population History and Settlement Ecology, AD 1500-1700 (https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/files/final_submissions/1734). I came across this while I was researching the background to a poem that was reputed to be the opening lines to the Iroquois Constitution, The Great Law of Peace. While I failed to confirm the provenance of the poem, I found the treatise fascinating. It attempted to determine if evidence existed that proved there had been significant decline in the nations population post contact with European settlers (there had been, but it took over a decade before manifesting — just prior to contact (1634) the entire population of the Iroquois nation totaled 20,000 people and by 1660 it had decreased to about 7000). The author also tried to discover what, if any, were the factors that prompted the locations of the over 50 settlements that made up the Confederacy (distance to trails and well-drained farmland).

While searching the internet for information about the number of European settlers who populated NY in the 1660s, I came across a very lengthy letter by an Episcopal minister John Miller to the Bishop of London that after railing on at length about the general immorality of the colonists detailed his suggestions for the conquest of Canada and the conversion of the Indians. When it comes to conquest, murder, and destruction of indigenous societies the dolorous activities in the name of religion by men of the cloth never changes.

The great, most proper, & as I conceive effectual means to remedy and prevent all the disorders I have already mentioned & promote the settlement & improvement of Religion & Unity both among the English subjects that are already Christians & the Indians Supposed to be made so is That his Majesty will graciously please to send over a Bishop to the Province of New York who if duly qualified empowered & settled may with the Assistance of a small force for the Subduing of Canada by God’s grace & blessing be Author of great happiness not only to New York in particular but to all the English plantations [colonies] on that part of the continent of American in general. . . .

When I speak of converting the Indians ⎯ by Indians I mean principally those five Nations which lie between Albany & Canada & are called 1) Mohawks or Maquaes, 2) Oneidas, 3) Chiugas, 4) Onundagas & 5) Senecas, of whom though most of the Mohawks are converted to Christianity by Dr. Dellius & Some of the Oneidas by the Jesuit Millet, yet the first not being yet established in any good order at all & the last being converted to Popery, I look upon the work as yet wholly to be done & if what has been already done is not a disadvantage to it, yet that little advantage is gained thereby except a demonstration of the inclination of the Indians to embrace the Christian religion. . . .

1. The first thing then to be done in order to the conquest of Canada is to pitch upon a General for the conducting & carrying it on. The General then is to be but one to come & all forces both by Sea & land that are sent or appointed for this purpose: for long Experience has taught us that equal & divided commands have ruined many noble Undertakings & great Armies. . . .
2. The Second thing to be provided for is forces & warlike Provisions Sufficient for Such a design & those to be either sent for England or prepared in America. . . . (http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/growth/text1/newyorkmiller.pdf)

 

Miller then continues his letter with extensive and detailed plans for the invasion of Canada and its settlement by English colonists.

And this is how I spent Memorial Day instead of exercising, feasting, listening to music and enjoying whatever other amusements would make my declining years more pleasant.

Ugh! I just found out that, unlike my chemotherapy appointments which were scheduled automatically, my immunotherapy appointments are not and therefore I will not be going to SF this week. I still plan to travel to Mendocino this weekend, however.

It was a good morning today lazing away in bed. Naida brought me a cup of coffee that we sipped together while we told each other stories, played a little geriatric hanky-panky and discussed our plans for the weekend. It was all very pleasant until I tipped over the coffee cup and flooded the bed causing a great deal of mutual hysteria to erupt.

I know that I often complain here about my more sedentary life now that I am well into my declining years, but with the state of my rapidly deteriorating memory, I wonder if it is more likely that I still am quite active but when I sit here at my computer intending to write about it in T&T, I forget whatever it was that I did.

 

 

C. OFF ONCE MORE TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

On Thursday we set off for Peter and Barrie’s house. The usually boring drive seemed to pass more quickly and pleasantly than usual. We listened to the music of Leon Redbone whose death was reported that day. Redbone never recorded a song that one could not sing along with or dance to. So we passed our time on the drive listening to that deep voice of his singing funky jazzy renditions of such tunes as Shine on Harvest Moon, Ain’t Misbehaving, Please Don’t Talk about Me When I’m Gone, and Moonlight Bay and singing along with old Leon.

After we arrived, Peter and I went to Bernie’s in Noe Valley, ordered coffee and sat on the Geezer Bench (See Photo above). We were joined by Don Neuwirth and spent some time catching up on our lives and various maladies as well as reminiscing about people and events during our time when we all worked together protecting California’s coast. A friend of Peter’s walked by, he was a drummer in some of the band’s that Peter also played in. He told odd and interesting stories about his life that began in the Riverdale section of New York City, and attending high school with Ruth Galanter, continued with traveling around the US holding odd jobs and engaging in radical politics. He ended up becoming a drummer in a few geezer bands and rabble-rouser here in the City By The Bay. An admirable life.

 

 

C. MENDOCINO DREAMING, MOVIES, FLOWERS, AND MARYJANE:

 

Following my morning immunotherapy treatment at UCSF, Naida, Boo-boo the dog, and I left for Mendocino. Although it was a foggy morning in SF, the weather during the drive remained sunny and warmth until once again we reached the coast. We stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant in overcrowded Healdsburg. Healdsburg used to be a pretty, little, laid-back town. Now it is a booming gourmet ghetto with too much traffic and too little parking to go along with the rapidly escalating prices for a slightly better than average meal.

That evening at Maryann and George’s house overlooking the ocean in Mendocino, we enjoyed a nice meal featuring mama Petrillo’s secret recipe ditalini. Following dinner, Mary and George left to see one of the films in the movies competing in the film festival, a film entitled A Tuba to Cuba about members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the son of that group’s founder who was also the director of the film. His father had played the tuba and loved Cuban music, hence the name of the movie. Meanwhile back at the house, Naida and I watched four episodes of the HBO’s series, My Brilliant Friend based on Elena Ferrante series of novels about two women growing up in Naples. It was fantastic.

The next morning, after breakfast, my sister, Naida, and I went for a stroll through the town. It was warm and sunny. The marine fog had not yet arrived on shore. Flowers bloomed everywhere. I decided flowers to be the theme of the trip.
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IMG_6214.jpg

 

We stopped at Maryjane’s shop, one of my favorites. There, we shopped for a long time. After buying some very attractive clothing for Naida and listening to a few of Maryjane’s stories and jokes, we left.
IMG_6201
Naida and Maryjane in the dress shop,

 

 

By then the marine fog layer had arrived on shore turning the air chilly and misty so, we hurried on home.

That evening, we saw two of the films featured at the festival. The first, directed by the woman who was staying in Maryann and George’s tower house during the festival, was called “Guardians”. It depicted people in British Columbia Canada who count salmon for a living and who are now being phased out by the conservative government. It was marvelously photographed and directed. The second movie, called “Amazing Grace,” a filming of the recording session back in the 1970s that produced Aretha Franklin’s great Gospel LP, the largest selling LP featuring Gospel music ever. Because of technical difficulties, the film was never released and had been thought lost. Recently rediscovered and along with advances in sound technology allowing it to be remastered, it was able to be released. Wall to wall Gospel music, it presented Aretha at her most magnificent.

The next morning we saw Ron Howard’s Pavarotti. It may be one of the most magnificent movies I have ever seen. How he was able to get the shots, assemble the story, use the music as part of the story while also being entertaining I could not fathom since Howard admitted he knows nothing about opera. At one point, shortly after Pavarotti learns he is dying of pancreatic cancer, Howard has a lone violin playing in the background playing the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio when the orchestra swells into the music of Pagliacci and Pavarotti appears in clown costume and makeup to sing Canio’s great bitter and tragic aria Vesti la Giubba. Pookie says, “Whatever else you do in the next few years no matter whether you love or hate opera, see this movie.”

Following the movie, we went to the newly opened wood-fired oven outdoor Pizza place linked to The Beaujolais restaurant in Mendocino. We were joined my Maryjane and her husband Johan. Maryjane, in that low expressionless voice she effects, told us a number of jokes. One of them was, “Why did the shark not eat the clown? ——— “Because he thought it would taste funny.” I am thinking about creating a new section in T&T, “Maryjane’s Joke of the Week.” OK, here is another one, “Three Irishmen walked out of a bar. ——— That’s it. That’s the Joke.” After downing some of the best pizza I have eaten in years, we returned to Maryann’s house and I took a nap.

IMG_6253

Naida, Johan, Maryjane, George, Maryann and the Pizza.

 

The following morning we arose early, packed and left for home. We stopped for breakfast in Ft Bragg then set off to cross the coastal range on the way to Sacramento. We had gone a little way up into the mountains when Naida noticed she had forgotten her phone. We retraced our drive, picked up her phone and set off again. By then it was noon. We stopped at Lakeport, walked the dog and enjoyed the view of Clear Lake for a while.
IMG_6291
Old Baldy at Lakeside

 
We arrived home at about 5PM and went to bed almost immediately.

Travel is exhausting for oldies like us.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

12.3-11.7 million years ago
Ramapithecus (Rama’s ape) is no more. Another Hindu god has taken over the franchise; Ramapithecus is now subsumed under Sivapithecus, an earlier discovery, and is no longer a valid taxon name.

The story is interesting from a history-of-science point of view. Ramapithecus used to be presented as the very first ape on the human line, postdating the split between humans and great apes, maybe even a biped. This was given in textbooks not so long ago as established fact. Then geneticists (Sarich and Wilson) came along and declared that the genetic divergence between chimps and humans is so low that the split had to be way later than Ramapithecus. There was a lot of fuss over this. Paleoanthropologists didn’t like geneticists telling them their job. Eventually, though, the paleoanthropologists found some new fossils. These showed in particular that the line of Ramapithecus‘s jaw was not arch-shaped, like a human’s, but more U-shaped, like a non-human ape’s. So after thinking it over a while, paleoanthropologists decided that Ramapithecus (now part of Sivapithecus) looked more like an orangutan re(lative: likely ancestor of a great radiation of orangutan kin that left just one genus, Pongo, in the present.
(https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/)

So now you know.

One wonders why someone like me would collect what is obviously useless information. I used to collect things, lots of things and store them in my home as well as in eight large shipping containers. Is this what I do with bits of arcane information, pack them away in T&T? Why? They still exist on the internet and are easily retrievable. Compulsive collecting is a form of mental illness, like the fear of heights, claustrophobia or hypochondria all of which I suffer from. If truth be known (and it rarely is) I am afflicted with just about every phobia to which they have affixed a Latin or Greek name and a few that the namers have not gotten around to yet. Maybe, I just compulsively collect phobias.

Anyway, about ten years ago, I abandoned the house and everything in it as well as the eight shipping containers and fled to Thailand. Will I, a few years from now, erase everything from my computer and flee again to somewhere odd but sensual? Hmm, probably not.

Anyway, what interests me most in this off the wall factoid is that Siva (also written Shiva) replaced Rama among the early apes — that and the amount of smug pleasure experts in one field of study appear to get in pissing on the favorite theories of their colleagues in another.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 
Another snag from the blog Logarithmic History (https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/bikers-and-hippies-and-apes/). The post entitled, Bikers and Hippies and Apes, begins with a Tajik proverb:

Maimoun angushti shayton ast.

“A monkey is the Devil’s fingers.”

It continues on to discuss the fascinating differences and surprising similarities between our closest cousins in the animal community, chimpanzees and bonobos.

[I]t may be informative to consider our closest relatives, chimpanzees, and bonobos. The two species are closely related, having diverged only about 2 million years ago. They remain physically quite similar, and people didn’t even figure out that bonobos are a separate species until the twentieth century. There are some broad similarities in their social organization. Both species have fission-fusion societies, in which subgroups form and reform within a larger, more stable community. Both species have male philopatry: males spend their lives in the community they were born in, while females transfer out of their natal community to a new community when they reach sexual maturity. In both species, females commonly mate with many males over the course of an estrus cycle. But there are some important differences.

Jane Goodall began studying chimpanzees in the wild at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, in the 1960s. The early reports from Gombe captivated the world with stories of chimpanzee social life, tool use, and interactions with human observers. It was the 1960s, and chimpanzees — hairy, sexually promiscuous, grooving in the jungle ­-looked familiar: they were hippies.

The picture darkened a lot in the 1970s when the community at Gombe split in two. Between 1974 and 1978, the two daughter communities were effectively in a state of war. Males from the larger of the two communities carried out a series of raids against the smaller, with raiding parties opportunistically picking off and killing isolated individuals, eventually eliminating all the males and some of the females. Subsequent studies of other chimpanzee populations have made it clear that this was not an isolated incident: intergroup warfare and group extinction are general features of chimpanzee life. Chimpanzees are still hairy, still sexually promiscuous, but they now look less like hippies and more like bikers. Really scary bikers.

Bonobos look like the real hippies. They are more peaceable. They show less violence between groups, with members of neighboring groups sometimes even feeding peacefully in proximity to one another, something unthinkable for chimps. There is also less within-community male-male violence among bonobos. Bonobo females play a major role in regulating and intervening in male-male competition, and may even be dominant to males. There are tensions within bonobo communities but these are often resolved by (non-reproductive) sexual activity. For example, females, who are generally not related to one another because they were born elsewhere, might be expected to find themselves fighting over food. Instead, they settle potential feeding conflicts peaceably by “g-g (genital-genital) rubbing,” rubbing their sexual swellings together until they reach orgasm. Or do a pretty convincing job of faking it: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

However recent DNA tests have revealed an unexpected twist to the chimpanzee/bonobo comparison. In spite of the more peaceable nature of male bonobos compared to male chimps, it turns out that there is actually greater reproductive inequality among male bonobos and a stronger relationship between dominance rank and reproductive success! Dominant male bonobos are more successful than dominant male chimps in monopolizing reproduction. If bonobos still look like hippies, then they are the kind of hippies where a lot of free loving is going on, but the whole happening is run by and for the leader (backed up by his mom) and his groupies.
(https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/bikers-and-hippies-and-apes/)

 

 

 

B. Today’s Poem:

 

This poem is a translation of one of the opening paragraphs of the Great Binding Law, Gayanshagowa of the Hauduonasee (Iroquois) nation that was given to that nation by Dekanawidah and written down by Hiawatha. The poem here was written by someone (I do not know whom) who put the words of Dekanawidah into a somewhat western-looking poetic format.

“From the Iroquois Constitution”

“The Tree of Great Peace”

Roots have spread out
One to the north,
One to the east,
One to the south,
One to the west.
The name of these roots
Is the Great White Roots
And their nature
Is
Peace
And
Strength

 

 

C. Pookie’s Musings:

 
Musings on a Peter Grenell comment about something in the previous issue of T&T.

In response to my remark:

Last night, Naida described how that morning she marveled at the many odd angles I had contorted my limbs into while I slept. We agreed on a new nick-name for me, Pythagorean Pookie. I like it.

Peter wrote:

Now, the alliteration is cool, but “Hypotenuse” is fewer syllables simpler and elegant. And lends itself to the nickname “Hypo”.

If I should choose this nickname, perhaps it might qualify me to become a Marx brother. Then there would be six Marx brothers, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo and Hypo. Alas, that would make me the last of the Marx brothers still living.

It saddens me to think of a world without the Marx brothers. Hayden and his cohorts probably have no idea who they were or their importance to civilization. Groucho and Harpo were, in my opinion, two of the greatest philosophers humankind has ever produced. Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and all the others may have been admirable and brilliant men but could any one of them demonstrate the heights of the ideal contemplative life as did the mute Harpo playing the harp. Could anyone of those worthies of the past match the succinct reasoning regarding the mysteries of existence as did Groucho when he declaimed:

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Or,

“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”

And,

“What have future generations ever done for us?”

Yes, it is a far less interesting and amusing world now that they have left us. Sob!

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower:

“The Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid…

Alas, it may have taken over 60 years but they finally assembled enough stupid people to take over the Republican Party and elect a President even more stupid than they are. Perhaps, a corollary quote could be:

“Never underestimate the ability of a few stupid rich men in a democracy to persuade over time a lot of even more stupid but much poorer people to agree with them and take over the government.”

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Naida West

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 JoJo 0004 (May 26, 2015)

 

“…a cheapskate always pays twice.”
Rus, D. The Clan (Play to Live: Book # 2) (p. 302).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN NEW YORK CITY:

1. A brief stop in San Francisco:

As I sat on the train from Sacramento to San Francisco grieving about leaving HRM behind, I amused myself trying to understand what I find so objectionable about the golden hills. Compared to most places, it is a paradise; well-designed subdivisions with ample natural areas and parks, stately homes, excellent schools and recreational facilities and large automated gates. What are the gates protecting? Attacking hordes of tattooed skinheads and black insurrectionists would sweep then aside with ease. The sneak thief who traveled all the way from the city to rifle a chosen house will not be hindered. The lunatic or the drunk, those are better handled by neighborhood policing, less expensive than the building and maintaining of gates and walls. But, that would require associating with one’s neighbors and trusting them as well.

My first stop in San Francisco was Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley and a conversation with Peter Grenell. I learned that the navigator of the clipper ship Flying Cloud, when it made its record 89 day run from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn, was a woman, the captain’s wife. And, that the ship’s owner was named Grenelle. Later we had pepperoni and pepperoncini pizza. Still later we had dinner at Peter’s house where we drank Pacific Star Winery Charbono. I did most of the talking. When I got to the airport I discovered my flight was delayed.

2. New York, New York:

I took the A Train from Kennedy Airport. We passed Brooklyn stations with mysterious names like Schermerhorn, Rockaway, Nostrand, Van Siclen and Euclid; places rarely visited by outsiders. In fact, there are neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens that have not seen outsiders for almost 100 years. Google Street View still probably has not penetrated some of the by-ways of Bedford-Stuyvesant. In all likelihood, many of the video-equipped cars and vans that ventured there probably lie about 25 yards within its boundaries, burned, on blocks, stripped and the expensive video equipment sold to the Russian Mafia in Canarsie.

I left the subway in the old Garment District where rolling racks stuffed with dresses used to have the right-of-way over everything even automobiles — no longer, unfortunately they have disappeared. When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I’d accompany my grandmother, who I lived with at the time, on her monthly buying trips to the district. She owned a dress shop. I would crawl around the racks of clothing, slightly drowsy from the fibers in the air, reveling in the feel of the cloth sliding across my skin and dreaming of becoming a dress designer.

It was always my secret ambition to become a clothing designer. I used to design some of the outfits for the women who worked in my bar in Thailand. I had hoped to open a boutique featuring my designs called “Dress Like A Bar Girl.” Alas, it never happened, the Thais stole my designs whenever I returned to the US.

After bribing the bellman $20 to check my luggage at the hotel, I set off walking the thirty blocks up Broadway from Herald Square to Lincoln Center to meet Terry Goggin for lunch.

The walk amazed me. New York City has the ability to transform itself every score or years of so — this time into an ongoing outdoor street festival. All along Broadway, the street’s uptown lane was closed off and converted to bicycle lanes, table and chairs and markets.
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Times square has become one great urban park with events occurring everywhere, delighting both tourists and city dwellers alike.
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I saw a group of people standing on the sidewalk beneath a Revlon display so I joined them.
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Every once in a while, a camera would turn on the crowd. They would wave and scream at their images on the giant screen above.
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Where’s Pookie?

As I continued north, a beautiful woman with a derby hat, bow tie, cutaway jacket and black tights tap-danced across the sidewalk to present me with a brochure for a new production of Chicago. I began noticing places I had known that were no longer there, like black spaces in an aging smile — The Stage Door Deli, several blocks of buildings, Power Memorial High School. Even my old law school at Lincoln Center, where I was a member of the first class in the newly built building, was gutted. I remember Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) walking by the law school after school at Power Memorial next door. The coach at Power had prohibited Lew from ridding the NY Subways because at that time they still had rotating ceiling fans.

I sat in the park across from Lincoln Center recalling my time at the law school located on the Center’s southern edge (Juilliard sits on its north border). The old needle park near by lost to gentrification and the deteriorating hotel that was priced right for assignations by performers at the Center and law students, now remodeled as upscale accommodations.
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At lunch, Terry reminded me that the US Constitution was constructed to make it difficult to get anything done or as the case may be undone. Difficult to get things like Obamacare and Social Security enacted and difficult to repeal them. One has to work hard to get laws passed and equally hard to defend them when nature of the political environment changes.

After lunch, I walked back to the hotel.
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A typical NY scene along Broadway today — a woman fiddling with her Smart Phone, rental bicycles awaiting riders and a guy giving me the finger.

That evening Nikki, Terry and I had dinner at a Barbecue place that served meat and more meat. With apologies to Bill Yeates, I have included a photograph of our meal.
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The meat                                                         Nikki and Terry

The next day, I had coffee in the park on Herald Square.
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Nikki and I then walked south on Broadway past more street markets and festivals to the Strand Bookstore one of the World’s great bookstores. Browsing through the Strand makes me want to throw away my Kindle.
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Nikki sitting on the dog sofa and standing in front of Strand’s

After we left The Strand we walked to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. It was graduation day for some Students at NYU. We had coffee at Figaro’s.
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We then walked over to High Line Park and strolled along the park until we returned to our hotel where we hurriedly packed and caught the bus to Kennedy Airport.
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Nikki was the Captain of the flight and I was his guest. Alas, I was not able to join with him in the cockpit during the flight, but I did enjoy eating the first class food and drinking their wine with the crew. And so, about 8 hours later we arrived in Milan.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

1. “All men who have made history have been socialized. Thus they respond to desires and not to needs. In fact, it is very doubtful if men have any innate recognition of their needs, except as they have been socialized in a particular social context to respond to drives (which are innate) by desires (which are socialized responses).”

2. “Men have no more innate appreciation of what makes security or even when they are secure, than they have of what objects are edible or poisonous. The desires which a society or a tradition may associate with security are not only often self-defeating, but they are usually unconscious, so that a people may know that they feel secure or insecure, but they often do not know what it is in a situation which engenders such feelings or what security is made up of in their own traditions and experience.”

3. “In most periods of human history, exploitation of natural resources to satisfy human needs could be achieved with less expenditure of energy and with less danger, even in less desirable territories. In other words, war has never been a rational solution for obtaining resources to satisfy man’s material needs. …

…But of course, men have never been rational. They are fully capable of believing anything and of adopting any kind of social organization or social goals, so that warfare became at least a minor part of life in most societies.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Western civilization’s eternal quandary: How does one evade responsibility without feeling guilty?”
Trenz Pruca

C. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

* A fat bigoted paraprosdokian drunk on brandy and lying in bed smoking a big cigar is a Winston Churchill.
D. Today’s Poem:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
Langston Hughes

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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It is hard to imagine how much time and effort went into creating this work of art for our edification. The next time when you feel your own efforts have no value, make someone laugh.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Pepe 0001 (November 10, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

The election in over. The world is saved to stumble along as it always does from crisis to crisis hopefully liberated for a few weeks from those voices trembling with indignation (including mine) in fear of catastrophe if things did not go the way they wanted.

This week I head back to the Bay Area for more medical tests. When I return to El Dorado Hills, I will begin preparation for my return to Thailand on the 19th of this month. It is always a sad time for me when I leave. I will be leaving friends and relatives who I keep promising myself I will visit or call and do not. Whatever guilt that I have been able to forestall by promising myself that I will get around to calling or visiting them the following week I now get to replace with the even less believable promise to myself that I will surely do so on my return.

While whiling away my time in the golden hills, I noticed the rafter of turkeys (see below– somehow I always thought it would be a gobble or a basting) that live on our street have taken up roosting in the dying oak tree in our front yard. I learned this one morning when, as I was leaving the house to drive Hayden to school, I commented upon observing the state of the driveway that we must have had a light dusting of snow the night before. Hayden set me straight.

Speaking of rafter’s of turkeys, the golden hills are full of them. Some of them are quite large. The largest that I have seen struts around in our own rafter. It appears to be almost 4 feet tall from toenail to head feather. It scares me a lot.

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The US election came and went. The President was reelected, the Democrats increased their representation in both the House and the Senate while increasing their majority in the latter. The pundits when not castigating Romney personally have begun to echo what I have been writing here for months now, this election could be seen the last hurrah of the straight (and unfortunately too often uneducated) white male that had dominated American electoral politics since Andrew Jackson. Remember, the combination of women, latino, black, homosexual and Asian men currently makes up over 70% of the electorate. This election marks the first time they have been recognized as the nation’s majority, courted as such and have become aware of it themselves.

What this means is that the major economic interests, specifically the extractive industries and the financial transactionalists that have effectively dictated the economic and fiscal agenda of the nation since 1980 will have to ally themselves with this new majority and abandon their old allies if they wish to preserve and expand their wealth. I suspect wedge issues such as illegal aliens, and contraception and the like will disappear as attempts are made by those who set the political agenda to connect things like a women’s right to choose and reducing regulation of financial transactions with the concept of reducing governmental intrusion into people’s lives.

It will take at least a generation however for that new rhetoric to coalesce into a new majority to benefit those who currently own our natural resources and control our access to money.

O’Reilly, that old reprobate from Faux News sums it up in a rant of racist fury:

“The white establishment is now the minority. And, the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them, and they want stuff. You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?”

Yes Bill, these people, this new majority, will clamor for just about the same things, entitlements as you phrase it, from their elected officials as the old majority did…that is whatever they thought they wanted or needed. It is nothing new. Live with it.

It also should be noted that Romney’s electoral vote throughout the nation outside the South totaled about 1/4 of his entire vote. More than ever it appears the Republican Party is not a national party but regional one. Only in the South, does the Republican Party claim any credibility as a viable political party. The Southern Republican style of conservatism and the so-called Southern strategy appears to be little more than continuation of the South’s belief that they are still fighting the Civil War. Perhaps this is finally the time we put that lost cause behind us?

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In my last post I mentioned a comment that I received from the son of a friend of mine from when I was child living in a small town called Tuckahoe in New York. He had read what I had posted about his father in my blog, “This and that…”. I promised him and you to republish them and complete the series that I inadvertently did not do at that time. Here is the first post:

Old man’s memories; Donald Lundy:

Until I entered junior high school when we moved to the nearby city go Yonkers, I lived in a tiny village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River as it careened through Westchester County, a mostly wealthy suburb adjacent to New York City.

Unlike much of the rest of the county, the village residents were mostly poor people; italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals from those three ethnic groups from living within their borders, even if they could afford to do so. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those towns, where they could not live, as gardeners or domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas on the East Coast at that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter. Most nights I would lie in bed and jealously listen to the other children playing under the street lights near my home well into the night.

our gang valentine

our gang valentine (Photo credit: carbonated)

Several of the village boys in my age group spent most of our play time together. As boys tend to do, we envisioned ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house we called the Itch.

As we grew older and outgrew “The Little Rascals,” we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids (also called, The East Side Kids and the Bowery Boys), a series of mostly humorous movies about a teenage gang in the Lower East side of Manhattan. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cerrincione, referred to as “sir rinse,” even adopted Gorcey’s strutting walk. I guess the character I would have been considered most like was the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the rest of group. He probably had less of a role in the plots than the appropriately named

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from...

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from the film Angels with Dirty Faces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

character, Whitey” who as far as I recall never spoke. My character’s only purpose seemed to be to warn the others that Gorcey and Huntz Hall’s plans were faulty. In the “serious’ episodes of the series he was the one who most often was in trouble requiring the others to rescue him. Unlike some of the other actors in the series like Hall and Gorcey, the actor who played my character often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular. Like me, he was mostly irrelevant to the lives of the other gang members.

Much like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I ended up fighting a lot with the rest of the kids. I also preferred to spend my time reading. As a result, I appeared arrogant to the others because I often corrected things they would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole (probably more ig than it).

(To be continued.)

 

DAILY FACTOID:

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correlation is not causation

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“… over the past generation the U.S. government has decided more or less by accident–in the same way, that Britain decided by accident to conquer two-thirds of the world starting in 1750–that it wants to shift seven percent of GDP out of manufacturing and other sectors and into what the market was telling us were the sectors of the future.

So we shifted three percent of GDP into health care administration, and four percent of GDP into finance.

Now even at the time we noticed that shifting an extra three percent of GDP into health care administration was a huge mistake. What the extra three percent of people working in health care administration are doing was working for insurance companies trying to find ways not to pay for the treatment of sick people. They are not only not producing anything useful, they simply increase risk and fear–and make people scared that if they do go to the doctor they then will not understand the bill they get and will not be able to pay it.

There is also the four percent increase in the share of GDP going to finance. This, too, is surely a zero or a negative sum game.

Anthony Scaramucci, Wall Street mogul thinks that what the world really needs is far less regulation of Wall Street, and far more room for Anthony Scaramucci to go about his business.

What is his business? His business is charging people one percent of their wealth each year for the privilege of hearing him tell them which hedge funds will do best over the next year and thus which hedge funds they should invest in.

Now if Anthony Scaramucci actually knew enough about hedge funds to know which would do best over the next year, he would be making even more money by running a successful hedge fund himself. He would be competing with Renaissance or Bridgewater. He’d be up there as someone who was making money for his clients. But he doesn’t.

He’s in a position where lots of people want an expert to tell them what to do, have been told by their friends that he is the expert to listen to.

As near as I can see, what the extra four percent of U.S. GDP devoted to finance is doing is taking money not so much from the bottom eighty percent but from the rest of the top ten percent that wants to know where to put their money–through price pressure, through arbitrage, through fees. It doesn’t do anything productive in terms of spreading risk, improving corporate governance, or diminishing moral hazard in the credit channel–rather the reverse. But it does increase uncertainty. And it has brought us our current depression.

So we have moved seven percent of the U.S. economy into activities that are at best completely unproductive. Now we have to figure out how to move resources out of these sectors. At the moment we’re unable to do so because we’re still fighting the lesser depression and trying to keep it from turning into a greater depression.
Brad DeLong

B. Nouns of Association, Part II:

1. A thought of barons
2. A knot of toads
3. A parliament of owls
4. A covey of quail
5. A passel of piglets
6. A rascal of boys
7. A rafter of turkeys
8. A skein of geese (in flight)
9. A shrewdness of apes
10. A cete of badgers

D. Electioneering:

In what I hope will be my last comment on the subject until 2014, I believe Rachel Maddow best summed up the effect of the election when she said:

We are not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade.
We are not going to repeal health care reform.
Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people fight it out in the open market to get health insurance.
We are not going to give 20% tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and children’s insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.
We will not need to consult our boss if we need to get birth control
We are not going to amend the US constitution to stop gay people from marrying
We are not scaling back on student loans because the government’s new plan is that you borrow money from your parents.
We are not vetoing the dream act, nor are we self deporting.
Ohio really did go to president Obama and he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii and he really is the legitimate president of the United States, again.
And the bureau of labor statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the congressional research service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections to make conservatives feel bad. He was doing math.
And climate change is real
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is real.
And the Benghazi was an attack on us, not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away people’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up and the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Sadam Hussein did not have weapon of mass destruction.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps
And moderate reforms of the regulations of the insurance industry and financial services industry are not the same thing as communism.

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”
Thomas Aquinas

“Who are these people?” Hertz Shemets says. “They’re yids. Yids with a scheme. I know that’s a tautology.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.

“You are as unhappy as the least happy of your children.”
Mary Anne Petrillo

 
TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

o-SIENNA-MILLER-NUDE-570
Sienna Miller

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Pepe 0001 (October 22, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND NEW YORK, NEW YORK:

TRAVELOGUE THREE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, PART TWO.

High Line Park 10/10/12

There are few examples of urban architecture that can be considered masterpieces of urban design. In my opinion, High Line Park is one of them. Built upon abandoned elevated RR tracks it embodies everything several of us urged on urban planners many years ago and more; more clever and more imaginative than any of us could have foreseen.

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Pookie at High Line Park

One thing that I loved is a small arena like sitting area where the tracks crossed over 10th avenue. It is like sitting above a brook or a stream except in this case the stream is the ever-varied patterns of traffic as it scurries away from you eventually to disperse and disappear from view somewhere in upper Manhattan.

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The “window” overlooking 10th Avenue.

Alongside the park, developers taking advantage of the immense value their properties were gifted with by this public-private public benefit venture, have begun construction of high-rises or conversion of the district’s warehouses into incredibly expensive residential units. Many of them proudly and greedily proclaiming their proximity to High Line Park (they did it all by themselves).

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Some of the new buildings built to take advantage of their location to High Line Park. The High rise on the left was designed by Frank Gehry

After Mary left to go to a meeting, I walked over to the Hudson River and ambled down the new Riverside Park, constructed as part of reconstruction of West-side highway after they took down the elevated roadway. The removal of the roadway has allowed conversion of the derelict port-side warehouses to residential. It appears these two neighborhoods (The Chelsea waterfront and High Line Park areas) are becoming part of the “New” New York.

The shoreline park is nowhere as well planed as High Line Park. Its layout, an unimaginative unitary government type design, would be considered bleak but for its location. It will not enjoy the popularity of High Line Park, in my opinion, until the upgrade of the nearby warehouses are fully completed, filled with people and the push-cart vendors move into the park.

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Battery Park City walkway

As I got closer to Battery Park City, my vision of what an urban waterfront should be, the sameness of the waterfront park began to change into a more varied and interesting landscape.

Within Battery Park City, I came upon one of the most interesting sights of the city. Built upon an inclined plane was a memorial to the victims of famine in general and the Irish famine in particular. A cottage from Ireland abandoned during the famine was imbedded into what was made to look like an irish hillside. I thought it honored those it sought to remember much more that the WTC memorial.

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The memorial to the victims of the Irish famine.

My day with the Gogster 10/11/12

This morning I met with Terry Goggin (the Gogster) at his apartment high above 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. We then climbed into a car with a driver that he explained serves as his office. (If it sounds a bit like Connelly’s the Lincoln Lawyer, it is in many ways). We set off to the site of his new restaurant in the lower east side of Manhattan on the corner of Allen and Houston. If I remember correctly this was the site of Katz’s, for many years a NY institution.

The Restaurant is under construction and is designed from bottom up as a work of art by the Gogster’s son Brian, a fairly well-known sculptor in the Bay Area. Most of its visible area is to be constructed from recycled materials. For example, the walls are paneled from old doors and hung on the walls of the piano bar are actual grand pianos. The two signature, if you will, art works in the place are a stairway made to look like a bridge and stairway to the old El and a Requilary containing a large block of ancient ice rescued from Greenland before it all melts away.

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The Gogster amidst the construction. The wood burning pizza oven made to look like an old boiler is behind him.

While Terry attended a meeting, I went around the corner to eat lunch at a place that served only meatballs. Apparently single food item restaurants or shops are the current rage in NY. Yesterday I saw a restaurant in Chelsea Market in which everything was made out of or covered with chocolate.

The Lower East Side and the Bowery that separated it from Little Italy had changed beyond recognition. No longer the haunt of the iconic Bowery Bum, it was now lined with boutiques and trendy restaurants. Gone are the flop houses where the “guests” slept on the floor cages or between chalk marks on the floor (I know, I have spent several somewhat sleepless nights in several of them). These places are now all boutique hotels charging a minimum of $250 a room per night.

During the time I attended law school over forty years ago, I lived on Mott Street a few blocks away from where I was eating lunch. So, after lunch I decided to take a stroll around the area and see if the old apartment building was still there. At the time I lived there, Mott Street was still considered part of Little Italy. Mott and the neighboring streets were dotted with “social clubs;” store fronts with blacked out windows into which women were not allowed and presided over by one or another Mafia Don. These “social clubs” still remain and retain their names but now have all been converted to cute little restaurants (Where have all the Don’s gone. Gone to Vegas every one).

My old apartment building was a rent controlled seven floor walk up. I lived on the top floor. The other residents were all Italian families. As an apartment was vacated, a family would move its children or other relatives into it, until on most floors every unit was occupied by a family member. Every evening the family on my floor sent me dinner of whatever it was that the rest of the family on the floor was eating. I rarely ever ate better than I did then.

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The apartment building on Mott Street. One of the old “social clubs” all tarted up appears under the red awning.

After my little walk we drove over to a metal shop in Brooklyn specializing in fabricating art works where Brian was supervising construction of the “Art Staircase” that would adorn the restaurant. Apparently there was some conflict going on with the owner of the shop over cost and payment. I wandered about looking at the other works under construction while discussions in hushed tones were held.

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Gogster and son by the staircase sculpture.

Travel to airport 10/12/12
I arrived in NY on the A train and I left it on the A train to Far Rockaway. Far Rockaway, it sounds exotic doesn’t it. One could almost imagine emerging from the subway on to a sandy beach by clear blue waters; a boatload of buccaneers waiting offshore to attack. Actually, NY is one of those few major cities with large beaches within its city limits, like Rio. True Rockaway Beach and Coney Island do not quite elicit the same images in one’s mind as Copacabana or Ipanema, but they do have their own quirky and gritty charm.

When we emerged from the tunnel and into the sunlight over this section of outer Brooklyn or Queens (I never could remember which it was out here near JFK) we rode above the rows of brick attached homes and lots of trees and passed Aqueduct Raceway. I left the A train at Howard Beach and boarded the Airtrain and took it the last mile or so to my terminal at JFK.

Boarding the Airtrain car with me were two New Yorkers dressed in SF Forty-niners shirts on their way to SF to see the Niners play the Giants. One of them was from Rockaway Beach, a large pear shaped man with a pencil thin mustache and wearing a Joe Montana shirt. He explained he had been a Montana fan for all his life and was Niner fan no matter what his friends and coworkers thought about it. In an accent that could only be from Brooklyn, he told several of the other passengers that he was a scraper, someone who scraps the paint off off bridges in preparation for repainting. He also told all of us that this was only the second airplane flight he had ever taken.

So, listening to the two of them in their excitement plan what they wanted to see when they get to SF (Fisherman’s Wharf and the Crookedest Street), I pleasantly passed the time until we arrived at the terminal where I boarded the plane and left NYC behind.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Never forget It was just 35 years more or less from Shakespeare to Louis XIV ; From the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase ; From ‘Et Tu., Brute’ to the kid in the manger; From Fred Allen to Laugh-In.”
Peter Grenell, 2012.

Peter Grenell proves that whatever you believe the world is like when you begin your adult life, it will not be so when you end it.

“Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.
St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas proves that God is not needed to prove anything about existence.

Note: it is not simply serendipity that caused me to place Peter Grenell and St. Thomas Aquinas in the same item.

TODAY’S CHART:

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Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Papa Joe 0001 (October 15, 2013)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND NEW YORK:

TRAVELOGUE THREE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

At the bus station in Roslyn Virginia dressed in my Panama hat, yellow vest over a gold sweatshirt, black pants and a powder blue pullover jacket draped over my shoulders I waited for the bus to take me to New York. A woman I later learned was a retired hostess for American Airlines who was also taking the bus to NY approached me and asked me if I was an Actor.

Taken aback I answered “No, why do you think so?”

“You dress so very differently than anyone else around here,” she explained.

Upon arriving in New York City’s Penn Station, I hauled my luggage into the subway station. I intended to take the A train. For those of you who understand the allusion, you are older than you think.

I suddenly felt I had come back home. The subway and its denizens are part of the old NY that I remembered growing up in. While standing in the center of the platform, no one else within 10 or fifteen feet of me, I saw a woman, obviously a New Yorker since she was striding along the center of the platform rapidly and purposefully. When she got up to me she shouted, “Choose one side or the other. Don’t stand here in the middle.” She then walked past me and down the platform shaking her head and muttering to herself. I really was home.

New York is not a city like most others whose class distinctions are horizontal, based upon the neighborhood where you live. It is vertical. There are those who travel by subway, those who travel by surface transportation and those who live above the third floor.

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano...

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano del es:Metro de Nueva York Français: Carte du métro de New York en octobre 2011. Română: Hartă a metroului din New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two notable things about the New York Subway. The first is everyone looks different. Not like in the rest of the world where no-one but identical twins look exactly alike, but really different where everyone appears to be a member of a one person tribe where ones idea of conformity is to look different in some way than anyone else.

The other thing is weirdness. In New York weirdness is not something that distinguishes a person from the general population as odd. In NY, especially on the subway, weirdness is its own ethnic group.

For example, while riding the subway later in the day a man of about 45 or so, normal looking, slender with curly sandy hair wearing casual clothing more traditional than most others riding in the car with us, sat down across from me. He had the standard wires hanging from his ears leading to a mobile device of some sort. He then proceeded to remove his athletic shoes and socks and began cleaning his bare feet of something that only he could see. After doing this awhile, he slowly replaced his socks making sure they were absolutely to his liking. He then replaced his shoes tieing and retieing them several times. No other passenger even looked at him. The either had their eyes closed, were fiddling with their smart phone or reading. Yes, people on the subway read. I told you they were weird.

My hotel is located in a part of Brooklyn that has no name. In this neighborhood downscale would be an improvement. I expected to be mugged one evening on the way home .

After checking in, I returned to Manhattan and met my sister near Madison Park on 23rd St. and Broadway. We went to Eataly. Eataly is part of the new New York. It is a large warehouse filled with only Italian food and restaurants; Little Italy without the automobiles and twice as expensive. We ate at a fish restaurant. We ordered Sicilian style Scallops and Swordfish washed down with Prosecco. It was very tasty although the size of the portions was barely enough for a starvation diet and the Sicilian part nonexistent.

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Mary at dinner in Eataly

While eating I noticed the noses. New Yorkers have real noses; immense honkers, beaks like deadly hatchet blades, rapier like pointed sniffers poised to attack, nostrils that appeared as though God himself had inserted His fingers and pulled them heavenward or spread them across the face almost reaching the ears like a second smile, as well as unlimited other shapes and sizes. Thais have no noses. Even in California noses appear genteel as though modesty demanded they be lopped off or at least discreetly hidden like ones sexual parts suggesting only a mysterious potential. Not so among New Yorkers. The city is a riot of pornographic probosci, a symphony of shnozzolas.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We later walked down Broadway toward Washington Square. On 12th Street we passed the Strand Book Store. About a decade ago, Don Neuwirth told me it had closed. That news ended NY for me. I loved the Strand. Even while I lived in California, I used to fly back to NY periodically and buy four or five hundred dollars worth of books and have them sent back to California.

I used to hang out there for hours on end in the basement where few people ventured. The basement was the repository for books no one read. I always hoped someone would offer me a job sweeping floors in the place. There was one spot in the furthest part of the cellar I especially liked. It was where they would throw unwanted stuff that, for one reason or another, they did not throw into the garbage; broken chairs, boxes of books not yet opened, books no one wanted and so on. I would often sit back there and read. No one came there, ever. I dreamed of having a cot and living there, sweeping floors during the day and perhaps shelving books and reading at night.

Katy, my niece who is a student at NYU joined us. She and my sister eventually left, leaving me alone to prowl the store. For the next hour or so I went through the stacks and through the one dollar bins outside. I knew I could only afford one book. The number of choices however drove me to a state of indecision and anxiety that caused me to leave the store without a purchase and return to my hotel.

On the subway ride home I contemplated the current fashion preferences of New Yorkers. Men mostly dressed in the ubiquitous bagginess that men all over the world seem to prefer to wear at all times except when they are wearing sports gear or in bed. They all look like ambulatory piles of soiled laundry. In NY, the predominant color is black. The windows of the GAP and Banana Republic stores in the City lacked the cheery colors of the GAP or the earthy browns and yellows of Banana Republic we know in California and instead appeared committed to demonstrating the latest fashions suitable for attending funerals.

Woman’s fashions were different as they almost always are. The dominant outfit featured black tights and nothing else until they reached the waist and disappeared into various layers of fabric. They all appeared as though they were naked below the waist.The result was that their legs seemed almost abnormally long, their line not being cut off as usual by shorts or skirt somewhere around mid thigh. Tall slender women whose lower appendages often began in black spike heeled ankle boots and ended just above the waist in a ball of fabric, appeared to me like those cartoon birds, a puff-ball on top of long pipe-stem legs.

It was quite late when I arrived at my stop. I had prepared myself to be mugged and almost welcomed it. To my surprise about 20 other people exited at my stop with me and when we arrived at street level, I found the place awash with people. This also is the new New York.

The next day I met my sister at the World Trade Center Memorial. Several years ago there was a nationwide competition to choose the design for the memorial. Barry Grenell was part of a group of non-profits who had gotten together to submit a proposal. I was included as an advisor. The design was essentially a series of contemplative gardens and small fountains and a large billboard-like structure the surface of which would shimmer in the breeze. We did not win. The award went, as expected, to a standard design firm.

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Mary at the WTC Memorial.

Maya Lin who won the competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC stunned the art world by rejecting the bombastic approach to memorials by producing a design of elegant simplicity that placed those who were being memorialized foremost and her structure the humble and elegant backdrop. As a result of the memorial’s success, the design world fell in love with her reductionist approach. Alas, they soon forgot the design’s essential humility and dignity.

The World Trade center takes this reductionist approach and infuses it with gigantism while forgetting the humanism of Lin’s design. What is worse it appears almost to forget victims themselves while memorializing the fallen buildings instead. The victims names are difficult to read cutouts into the balustrade surrounding two gargantuan reverse fountains marking the locations of each tower. The names virtually disappear as the viewer is compelled to ignore them and stare at the spectacle beyond; two vast squares with water cascading down bare walls to pool below for a moment before tumbling into the depths of a smaller square far below where it vanishes from view. The fountains exclude the public from a greater part of the site. They are bereft of either warmth or interest other than the wonder of their size and engineering. A collection of well ordered trees and a few black stone blocks set in orderly rows upon which a visiter may uncomfortably rest, make up much of the rest of the site. It was a place I felt I was being encouraged to view the extravaganza and hurriedly move on. I never felt invited to consider or contemplate what it was all about.

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One of the gigantic fountains at the 9/11 Memorial at WTC.

After that we went to lunch at Chelsea Market another example of the new New York. The old Nabisco factory and warehouse has been remade into a vast food emporium. We ate a lobster role from one of the restaurants and listened to a cellist play more or less (depending on your age) contemporary music.

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The Cellist at Chelsea Market playing “La Bomba”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

A. Who are the one percent?

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This chart seems to indicate that you can become a member of the 1% even if you are dead, not working or an airline pilot. I always suspected that a lot of dead people are Republicans and surmised a number of them do not work, but Republican pilots? That’s scary.

B. Pookie at Zuccotti Park where it all began:

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

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TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Jo-Jo 0001 (May 19, 2012)

SUPPORT PAIGE SULTZBACH

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

It rained again today. LM equipped me with one of those umbrellas that cleverly fold up every which way until they are small enough carry in your pocket. When opened it becomes a tiny umbrella, not that much larger than a paper parasol in a Mai Tai. It is just about large enough to keep the rain off of my already hat protected head, but too small to prevent the rest of me from becoming drenched.

I have lost over 25 pounds as a result of my diet and exercise regime as well as about two and one half inches from my waist. I have even begun to see little bumps emerge from my body’s subcutaneous fat that I assume are muscles. Either that or I am sicker than I imagined. Nevertheless, when I look into the mirror to observe the changes, my eyes are inevitably drawn to that persistent bane of the aging male, my man boobs. They stare back at me. Those pendulous D-cup protrusions seeming even bigger than ever.

When I searched the internet for exercises that promise to eliminate drooping man boobs like there are for sagging bellies and those draperies of flesh that dangle beneath your upper arm, I was disappointed to find that there are none.

Is this then the way it is with most men; no matter what we do we will still die with, sagging man boobs? At least with older women those derelict appendages arguably had a purpose (perhaps several purposes) at one time, but what have my boobs ever done for me?
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are number one:

Time Magazine reports that the US is the world’s largest exporter of sperm. Hooray for us!

The article goes on to mention that sperm of a growth sector in the American economy, “From just a handful of vials 10 years ago, American sperm exports have grown into a multimillion dollar business.”

Time also reports that in the last decade that Virginia’s Ben Seisler’s frozen sperm has impregnated at least 21 women producing oner 70 offspring. Atta boy Ben! Ben when asked why he did it,  admitted  needing the money for college and added, “I guess I was just dumb.”

Incidentally, Ben is Jewish. Apparently there is a high international demand for Jewish sperm. I do not know why that is or what it means in the greater scheme of things. Should the male children of Ben’s sperm be circumcised? It is times like this when I miss Irwin most. He was my expert in Jewish theology.

Ben’s sperm’s conquests, however, pale in comparison to a donor in Britain who over 30 years has sired more than 1000 children. I do not know if the unnamed Brit is Jewish.

I see a PhD thesis in the making.

2. Don’t cry for me Argentina:

After selling off their national energy company in 1997 during a fit of privatization, the nation found that its oil and gas production was declining, fewer wells being drilled and exploration for new reserves virtually nonexistent. The privatized company, a non-Argentinian conglomerate based in Europe, had prioritized  repatriation of dividends over production, an approach favored and encouraged by the international banking community. In addition the conglomerate valued the Argentinian company not for its production but for its assets since they could be collateralized, borrowed against and gambled with in the derivative market in search of higher returns.

Argentina recently re-nationalized the company they sold off a little over a decade ago in an effort to refocus it on Argentina’s energy needs.

The US, Britain and the EU were furious. Primarily their anger was, not about “free markets,” oil, profits or the bad precedent it may set, but concern over Argentina’s disruption of the chain of securitization anchored in the real world by Argentina’s oil and gas reserves at one end and investment banks in New York and London holding the debt and liabilities of the conglomerate on the other.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Here in Thailand they have a King. I like the King. As Kings go he is great. Most people here love their King. Many of the country’s leaders claim they love the King and are willing to root out anyone they believe does not love him as much as they claim they do.

The problem is that the King believes things like the environment should be protected, poverty eliminated, aid for individual subsistence farmers, management and maintenance of the flood plains to diminish the scourge of floods  and things like that. He spends a lot of his time going around the country doing those things that he says should be done to better the kingdom and the lives of the people.

Those who claim to love the King the most, love him so much so that they are willing to imprison or even kill people they believe do not love the King as much as they do. I have seen these people all dressed up in their white uniforms whenever there is a televised function for the King.

The problem is, although these people love the King a lot, they do not love much of anything he tells them that they should be doing for the good of the kingdom. In fact, other people in the kingdom who believe what the King tells them and try to do those things he advises are often hunted down by the white uniformed lovers of the King and accused of disrespecting the King.

Now why is that?

Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus...

Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus of Nazareth. Eighty Pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the US we have a similar situation regarding the good gay messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Many people say they love Him very much.

The problem is Jesus went on and on about things like helping the unfortunate, forgiveness, healing the sick and things like that. He liked women and hung out with them a lot. He did not think they should be punished if they happened to have done things other people did not like, even if it had to do with sex. He even often had a handsome man around him who he called his beloved and they would lay their heads on each others breast. He also said that unbelievers could be better in God’s eyes than believers if they behave kindly toward others. Jesus hated those who used religion to benefit themselves financially. He preached that it is the good things you do, not what you believe that matters to God.

Unfortunately, many of those who claim they love Jesus a lot, also believe that those who like what Jesus said they should do like oh, feed the poor, actually hate Jesus.

This seems to be a common situation among men to claim to love someone for no discernible reason but despise what the object of their adoration tells them to do whenever it benefits someone other than themself.

Yes, this sounds like another screed about conservatives. And yes conservatives tend to behave like this in Thailand, back in Jesus time and even in the US and elsewhere today. And yes, their leaders are often the society’s rich and powerful.

Picture of Jesus with American flag

Picture of Jesus with American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But liberals have their own problems. Liberals seem to often fall in love with a messiah whose words they agree with. If Jesus were alive today liberals probably would urge Him to run for office. And if He succeeded in getting elected, they would all go home and happily wait for their Messiah to perform His miracles and make everything like they think it should be. When that does not happen, they will become disappointed and would probably go to Him and complain. He would point out that He said that the miracles could happen only if they all changed their ways together and worked at it along with Him. The liberals would not like that and go home. This then would allow those who loved Jesus but not what He told them they should be doing to come in and toss Him into the garbage or worse.

In fact, that was what happened during Jesus time. The liberals, known then as the Apostles and Disciples, urged him to run for King, then when the shit hit the fan they all ran and hid. They only came out again after things quieted down.

Note: Everything written above applies to Men only. Remember, the women did not run and hide. They bravely appeared at the crucifixion and at the tomb despite the danger [and, if I recall correctly, so did the beloved disciple].

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Twentieth Century:

According to historian Mark Largent, more than 63,000 people were forcibly sterilized under eugenics-inspired official state programs in the US between 1907 and 1980. It was a horrifying exercise in genetic engineering. The intent was to strengthen the gene pool and reduce welfare rolls. The victims were usually women, including African-Americans, Asians, Jews, Latinos, Southern Europeans, Native Americans, alcoholics, the disabled, epileptics, illiterates, the mentally ill, petty criminals, the poor, the promiscuous, rape victims and “anyone else who did not resemble the blond and blue-eyed Nordic ideal the eugenics movement glorified,” as Edwin Black noted in his book “War Against the Weak.”

In the 1990s a more humane method of reducing the welfare rolls was instituted by simply ending welfare.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Do you trust these men?

They run your country. They can put you out of work. They can destroy the country’s economy. Each one has been either caught at or was responsible for actions that has cost the nation and the nation’s taxpayers trillions of dollars and in some cases were illegal or borderline so. They each make more than 50 times the income of the President of the United States. Yet you collectively cannot remove any one of them from their position of almost absolute power. Nor can you use the traditional free market means of expressing dislike or disapproval by not buying their products. This is neither a democracy nor a free market system. They are the enemy.

As Abraham Lincoln said:

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

PHASE THREE

Given corporate control of legislative bodies, enact laws to the benefit of corporate interests. For example, those laws sponsored by weapons manufacturers wherein people may carry concealed weapons and shoot and kill anyone by whom they feel threatened.

Give the running of state prisons over to private corporations whose profits increase with the increase in inmate populations. See to it that a majority of prisoners are African-American.

When possible, treat immigrants as criminals.

Deplete and underfinance a viable system of free public schools and give the education of children over to private for-profit corporations.

Make college education unaffordable.

Inject religious precepts into public policy so as to control women’s bodies.

Enact laws prohibiting collective bargaining. Portray trade unions as un-American.

Enact laws restricting the voting rights of possibly unruly constituencies.

Propagandize against scientific facts that would affect corporate profits. Portray global warming as a conspiracy of scientists.

Having subverted the Constitution and enervated the nation with these measures, portray the federal government as unwieldy, bumbling and shot through with elitist liberals. Create mental states of maladaptive populism among the citizenry to support this view.

C. What thoughtful Republicans think of their party:

“One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
N. Ornstein (a thoughtful Republican) and T. Mann (unfortunately an ill-informed Democrat who probably grew up in San Francisco and was educated at Berkley.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“If it is too big to fail, it is too big to manage.”
Trenz Pruca

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their parents fought to obtain”
Thomas Jefferson in an 1802 letter to Secretary of State Albert Gallatin

TODAY’S CHART:


What this chart means is that in the US private, not public, debt has risen to unsustainable levels. Public debt vs GDP has generally fallen under Democratic administrations and risen under the Republicans. When in 2008 (and 1929) the out of control rise in private debt collapsed as it must, public debt rose to compensate for it in an effort to forestall an even greater depression or recession.

Contrary to the beliefs of both Liberal and Conservative economists, neither the rise in public debt nor its reduction will solve the problem although  the liberal inspired temporary rise in public debt was all that kept the nation from collapsing immediately into financial Armageddon.

Until private debts are readjusted by either massive defaults or inflation and the resulting temporary collapse of the nation’s major financial institutions absorbed, we cannot get out of this mess. Increased public spending on infrastructure without an increase in production of goods and services is at best a temporary, and, in my opinion, necessary stop-gap.

Unfortunately, mature economies with stagnant population growth like in Europe or Japan do not require new production; only replacement production for worn out goods. They must live mostly on exports. Although US population continues to rise, so long-term demand may continue to grow for a while, current demand is stagnant. Alas, the US has catabolized its industrial capacity in favor in an orgy of asset securitization and has replaced its industrial economy with a service economy. A service economy regrettably has a limit to how many hamburgers per person can be consumed or insurance policies acquired.

So, what can the average person do about it? Nothing, except to prepare oneself for a relatively low-income existence. In the foreseeable future, those with the least needs will probably do better than those with the most wants.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S SNARK:

Obviously Winston Churchill was equipped with more than just balls [Alternative title: Winnie’s Junk]


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

This ant that fro re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 4, 2010

Today’s Factoid:

1910 Eastman Gang leader Chick Tricker’s Park Row dive bar is closed by the New York City Committee of Fourteen. However he is able to move his operations to the vice district known as Satan’s Circus purchasing Dan the Dude’s Stag Cafe on West 28th Street later renaming it the Cafe Maryland.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

About two weeks ago I had dinner with a long time Thai woman friend of mine. I will call her M. She had just come from divorce court, having divorced her husband and was feeling sad and she cried a lot. She said she needed to get away and suggested driving me to Chiang Mai so that I could visit Cordt, Choti, Gerry and Leo. We agreed to leave in a few days but she then disappeared and I had to cancel the trip.

On Wednesday last week she called, telling me she had been in the hospital. Whether she was there to cure some malady or to dry out from drinking too heavily, I never got straight. She suggested that we go away together for a few days.

Since my massage was to be on Thursday rather than Friday that week, we agreed to leave at 8 AM Friday morning. I was expecting to spend a day or two on Koh Chang or one of the other islands I had not visited but always wanted to.

On Friday at eight thirty she called and said she would arrive by about 9:30. There being no sign of her at that time, I took my suitcase and went to breakfast to await developments.

At about 10:15 she arrived. I invited her to join me for breakfast. She said she was not hungry and took my luggage to her car. When she returned she told me that some friends and family would be going with us. I was annoyed because when a Thai woman tells a Farang that friends and family will join them, it usually only means one thing, the Farang pays for all. When we got to the car, I saw that there were three young men in the back seat. Being Thai young men they could have been anywhere from 17 to 35 years old or more.

One seated in the back seat to the far left was clutching what appeared to be a well-worn large orange teddy bear. I was later to realize instead of a teddy bear it was a stuffed ox or water buffalo complete with large horns, but it was too late. Having failed to catch his name, I already started calling him Teddy Bear Boy in my mind.

The second, who spoke english fairly well and was sitting in the middle, I recognized. He worked in a local upscale restaurant called Mata Hari as a waiter or bartender. He I named Mata Hari.

The third was a sullen looking young man wearing a S.W.A.T tee shirt who said little during the entire trip. I called him the Sullen One.

I got the impression that the Mata Hari and Teddy Bear Boy were gay. It would be a mistake however for a foreigner to take anything about a Thai at face value. This is not because it is the so-called inscrutable orient, but just that different cultures give off their own cultural signals. I learned this in Italy when I lived there during the late 60’s. What I thought were facial and gesture signals that would signify no in America, actually indicated consent among the Italians.

Now with the three young men sitting behind me and being annoyed already, I became even more uncomfortable as we took off, not down the coast as I expected, but into the rural areas behind Paradise by the Beach where the paved roads disappeared for long stretches and every now and then a new subdivision named something like Grand View or Hillside would suddenly loom out of the jungle vegetation. For some reason, I pictured in my mind that scene in Godfather II where Clemenza sat in the back seat of the automobile behind Michael’s sister’s errant husband as they drove into the Medowlands.

Finally we came to a large barn like building that in the US would be called a Roadhouse. We pulled into the gravel parking lot. M. drove to the far end of the lot and backed up to the edge and parked so that we faced the entrance to the building.

She then reached down onto the area separating the front seats where the change and cup holder usually reside and picked up a handful of large bullets that I had not noticed before. The casings were shiny brass and the blunt points, bright copper.

My first thought was that M., who often engaged in producing crafts that she would then sell, had acquired these to make some sort of strange jewelry. When she was a little child she would make and sell those flower arrangements that are sold on just about every street corner in Thailand.

The image of the little 5-year-old flower girl quickly dissipated however, when she then reached down beside her seat next to the door and pulled up a very large and very mean looking 45 caliber pistol. While admittedly it was not yet a Holy Shit moment, there was a sharp intake of breath on my part.

She then, with the gun placed next to her ear and pointing straight up towards the roof of the car, shouldered the car door open and got out. She had what appeared to me to be a look of grim determination on her face. At the same moment the back doors flew open and the boys in the back scrambled out and disappeared somewhere behind the vehicle.

I did not look for where they went because I was too fixed on watching her stride determinately, gun in hand now down by her thigh, across the gravel parking lot, up the two wooden stairs leading to the entrance of the building and then disappearing into the darkness.

I thought, for a morning that started out so unpromising, it may after all turn out to be an interesting day after all.

Stay tuned…….

Today’s Attachment:

I apologize but my recent trip so occupied my time, that I was unable to prepare anything to send.

Ciao…

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. January 14, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1888 New York City

July 5 – Danny Lyons kills rival pimp Joseph Quinn in a gunfight over prostitute Kitty McGown.
August 21 – Danny Lyons, leader of the Whyos street gang, is executed for the murder of Joseph Quinn.

(How’s that for quick justice?)

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday was my first day back on my old schedule since I returned. This morning I walked along the beach observing the mornings doings. I know previously I commented on what I saw that, what at least to me, I felt was humorous or interesting but to others may appear, at best, dyspeptic. The exotic culture of “little Crimea,” the acres of bleached flesh and so on have all caught my attention. But, I have recently come to the realization that perhaps the strangest denizen of the strand is one aging farang striding purposefully along the shore in a geriatric power walk, half stagger and half step.

Who could it be? Why it is me! With my crushed straw hat, walking stick, flowered shirt and sandals tucked into my belt, I am greeted by smiling Thai vendors with “Hey Papa, getting your exercise today. Good for you!” Of course being a farang, to them I am a bit crazy and stupid for, at my age, walking out in the hot sun while anyone with any sense is lying in the shade under the beach umbrellas. ( I would guess that their amusement also could be directed at the Siberian hordes, stagnating together like marble statues in the shallows.)

Despite the provocation, I keep trudging along, a smile on my face and earphones in my ears leading from my newly purchased Isomething, that I cannot get to do anything except play music. The music I am listening to is “A girl from Ipanema” (I know it indicates my advanced age. As one gets older and one loses friends, one is left with memories and “A girl from Ipanema.”) At least it is somewhat appropriate music for a walk on the beach and so I walk on with a smile on my face and a Samba hitch in my gait. Unfortunately, I have not learned how to get the Isomething to do anything other than play the same song over and over…”…when she passes, I smile, but she doesn’t see…Ahhh”…still I smile and walk on.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 4. Thickening the plot is like cooking Gumbo, no matter how lumpy the soup it is still has to simmer.

Chapter 4.

Three days later Vincent Biondi could be found in a small office located in one of the less desired floors leased out by the Firm of Mckenzie Reed. His one small window looked directly at a similar window in the next building. He sat at a utilitarian metal desk. On the other side of the desk facing him sat his two secretaries in uncomfortable old wooden chairs that appeared to have been locked away in storage somewhere for at least a century.

Nina Garcia his old secretary was a fourty-ish women with a nest of black hair just beginning to go grey here and there. He had no idea if she was a good secretary relative to other secretaries in the firm, but she had always been good enough for his needs. She was pleasant and unperturbed by the normal almost daily crises in a large law office. In her spare time after work she also made quilts for sale. One of Vinnie’s faults was he tended to judge people on the nature of their idiosyncrasies rather than the quality of their work.

The other secretary was named Ray Ronald. He had a light tan skin but otherwise manifested the features of just about every ethnic group in the City, down to his Norwegian blue eyes. His hair was tight curly bleached blond with black and pink highlights. He had a number of rings on his ear and a nose stud. He was dressed in tight jeans, a pale blue tight fitting shirt unbuttoned half way down his hairless chest and on his feet were what looked women’s low-heeled shoes. Vince could not decide if he was gay or just an outlandish exhibitionist. This was San Francisco after all.

Vince had just gone over their duties, responsibilities and initial assignments when he added, “One more thing, whenever either of you sets up a meeting for me I would like one of you to immediately get on your computer and get me whatever information you can on this person and make sure I have it during the meeting.”

“Does this include other attorney’s in the firm” said Nina seemingly somewhat distressed by the intrigue of it all?

“Especially firm partners” he laughed, “and any gossip as well”

“Awesome” Ray exclaimed.

Nina just looked at rainbow haired young man and sniffed.

After they left Vince sat alone in his office he thought about what David had told him yesterday.

It seems that a firm client, a company called Red Star Industries, with the firms assistance, received a no-bid contract to build and operate military warehouses in Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait and other places where material and supplies to be used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars could be stored prior to transshipment when needed in the war zone.

A no bid contract is usually used by the government where a company has a unique expertise and there is an emergency of some sort that would make the traditional bidding process too slow. Unfortunately the company “Red Star Industries,” had no expertise. It was formed solely for the purpose of getting this contract by two politically connected individuals. Damon Morley, owner of a long distance trucking company located in Riverside California, and a Bay Area home builder named William “Big Bill” McWilliams. The firm maintained that given the individuals experience in shipping and construction they were uniquely qualified to carry out this contract even though there must be a thousand other individuals and companies at least as qualified as they were.

After obtaining the contract and commencing operations, a routine audit uncovered the fact that a lot of material stored in the warehouses had gone missing. A more comprehensive investigation was commenced and it appears that not only could the company not account for the missing material but that it may have had a hand its sale. Also evidence surfaced that there may have been bribery or undue political influence in the awarding of the contract.

Finally, he learned that eight partners in the firm had varying degrees of ownership in the company, Sam, all the members of the management committee, the partner in charge of the client Sheldon Seigal, and two partners in the firm’s Washington DC office, Phil Mikkleson the partner who handled most of the relationships on the Republican side of the political deifie, and Gerald Dine, a Democrat that worked as an attorney in the Defense department during the Clinton administration and Fred Carpenter a retired colonel in the Army Judge Adjutant Generals Corps in charge of procurement issues who headed the firm’s Governmental Contracts practice group.

Besides the ethical issues involved, this was all done in violation of firm policy. A policy that Vince had strongly supported required that any potential, non fee related, income or financial opportunity generated by a partner as a result of his representation belongs to the firm as a whole. Vince believed that not only was this fair to everyone in the firm, but supposedly the firm could then monitor the ethical implications of any arrangement as well.

When he heard this Vince demanded that the partners disgorge any money that they had received and put it into a trust fund to be held until the investigation is complete, then if it is determined that the proceeds were legal they would be distributed to the firm as a whole.

“I never received any money” said Kitchen, “and everyone else claims they did not either.”

But the federal audit showed that the company’s books indicated that substantial profits were paid to all the owners and investors.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Sayings from the Princess Bride:

Westley: We are men of action, lies do not become us.

b. The wit and Wisdom of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: Baba Giufa, tell me, how does one meditate properly?

Baba Giufa: Do you like to chew gum?

Seeker: Er…yes..what does that have to do with it?

Baba Giufa: Then chew some gum and concentrate on how much you enjoy it. Soon you will be meditating. There is no need to suffer in order to find enlightenment.

c. Jokes for Mathematicians:

1. Moebius always does it on the same side.

2. Heisenberg might have slept here.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Today’s quotes come through the generosity of Cordt Holland.

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.
Groucho Marx

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
Groucho Marx

A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.
Groucho Marx

A man’s only as old as the woman he feels.
Groucho Marx

A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.
Groucho Marx

Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.
Groucho Marx

All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats.
Groucho Marx

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
Groucho Marx

Before I speak, I have something important to say.
Groucho Marx

Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.
Groucho Marx

Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.
Groucho Marx

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.
Groucho Marx

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Groucho Marx

Go, and never darken my towels again.
Groucho Marx

Humor is reason gone mad.
Groucho Marx

I didn’t like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions – the curtain was up.
Groucho Marx

I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
Groucho Marx

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
Groucho Marx

I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.
Groucho Marx

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.
Groucho Marx

QUOTE OF THE MONTH:

“I’ve had Thai women look at me incredulously and shake their heads in amazement when I’ve told them that women, in the western world, do it for free. “Have they no pride” is the reaction I got from one Thai lady.”
StickmanBangkok.com

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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