Posts Tagged With: Princess Bride

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 15, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2004, June. Yiddish schlimazel was one of the ten non-English words that were voted hardest to translate by a British translation company.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Sign emblazoned on the front of an Indian made to order tailor shop on the main road between Paradise by the Sea and the Outskirts of Hell:

“ONCE TRIED, NEVER TRUSTED.”

2. Jomtien Beach Paradise Condominium pool rule # 5:

“MONTHLY VISITED; SKIN DISEASE NOT ALLOWED”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I leave today. I do not know when I will get a chance to write again, but if I do not get an opportunity before I return, please have Happy Holidays.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Attached is Chapter 2. It is primarily back story and semi-autobiographical (the bane of inexperienced writers like me. I assume one grows out of it) It most likely will be dropped or redistributed in any final version, if there ever is a final version.

RED STAR

Chapter 2

He arrived at SFO at 11:30 in the morning. If he rushed he could check in at the posh Fairmont Hotel on the crest of Nob Hill in San Francisco, shower, shave get a bite to eat from room service and walk the one block from the Hotel to the Cathedral where the service was to begin at one o’clock.

During the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel, the thought of Sam’s death prompted him to drift into musing about his own life.

Vincent Joseph Biondi was the eldest son of Marsha Cohen Biondi and James (Jack) Biondi. Vince as he was called was named in the Sicilian tradition after his paternal grandfather Vincent Biondi who with his new wife Elisa during the early part of the twentieth century left the little mountain top Sicilian town of Muselmeli whet they lived and whose only claim to fame was that it was the home and hideout of long time mafia chieftain Salvatore Rinna and emigrated along with many of their neighbors to the United States.

Vincent and Elisa settled in the working class Italian neighborhood in Yonkers New York called Nanny Goat Hill. Vincent eventually got a job in downtown Manhattan as a cutter in the fur trade. They had two daughters Regina and Seraphina neither of whom ever married but they were inseparable and happily lived together their entire lives.

James the middle son called Jack because his name was Giacomo in Italian, was born in 1925 in their rented house on the slopes of Nanny Goat Hill. After a stint in the Army, at the end of World War II , Jack returned to the Yonkers and joined his father’s trade. There he met his wife to be, Marsha.

The New York fur trade at that time was mostly run by Eastern European Jewish families with italian and jewish working class laborers doing the cutting and sewing of the fur coats that would then adorn the backs of the wealthy New Yorkers who could afford such things.

Marsha was a refugee who along with her aunt Estelle were the only members of their family to escape the Holocaust in Poland.

She worked for the same company that he did. They worked together in a large room, matching thin strips of fur, usually mink, to one another, tacking them to large plywood boards containing the pattern for the garment and finally stitching the narrow pieces of fur together to make the fur coat. The job was tedious and required great skill in matching and sewing the pieces together.

They married, in spite of the strong objections of Jack, Elisa and Estelle. They settled in Yonkers in a duplex on the Hill near Jack’s parents and Estelle came to live with them. Two years after Vinnie was born Marsha gave birth to a baby girl who they named Estelle. Jimmy the youngest was born three years later and Marsha declared that was rough children for her.

In the neighborhood, because his mother was Jewish, Vinnie was often called neighborhood the older boys in the “Kike”. His parents wanting Vinnie to have a good education struggled to send Vinnie to private and, parochial schools or when they just could not afford it, to public schools in good neighborhoods where they lied about their address to get him in. In these schools, not knowing his mother was jewish and often bereft of many other italian students, Vince was at times referred to by the other students as “Guinea” and by one teacher as the little WOP. Vinnie had a lot of fights during this time in both his neighborhood and his various schoolyards. At times he seemed to get into a fight or two almost every day. He lost most of them. That is probably where he developed his pugnacious nature and his heightened sense of insult.

Anyway after a checkered academic career through high school and a local Jesuit run university he drifted into law school, a fitting career given his Jewish and Sicilian genetic makeup except Sicilians in Italy and here in America preferred government service to the private practice of law while their Jewish brethren appeared more attracted to private practice. Vinnie, true to his genetic background bounced around between government jobs and private practice.

After the breakup of his first marriage Vinnie, as he usually did when things got bad, decided to pull up stakes and get away from it all. So he migrated to San Francisco California where due to a number of unforeseen events he, to his surprise, ended up as a partner with the esteemed McKenzie Reed Law Firm.

Vinnie never considered himself a particularly good lawyer. What attracted the Firm to Vinnie was not his legal acumen but his knowledge and experience with and in politics. Not the glad handing, back slapping and stabbing kind but the back room deals and payoffs that real politics was all about. Vinnie excelled in negotiating and revising bits of pending legislation so that the firms clients could maintain or preferably increase their income and wealth at the expense of the public.

It was also a plus that Vinnie was also a staunch member of the Democratic Party in an otherwise Republican firm. While the firm had many contacts within the Republican party, they needed entrée to the Democrats on behalf of their clients whenever that party was in power in the state or federal government. Vinnie fit the bill.

Vinnie mostly hated his clients as well as many of his partners. But because he was quite vocal in firm meetings about injustices he perceived being foisted on the employees, paralegals, associates and junior partners, as impervious to personal approbation, the other partners elected him to the management committee, primarily to shut him up he figured.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “You never said anything about killing anyone.”
Vizzini: “I’ve hired you to help me start a war. It’s an prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition.”

2. The Wisdom of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: “Baba Giufa, what is the nature of God?”

Baba Giufa: “Kingfish.”

Seeker: “Kingfish! What does that mean?”

Baba Giufa: “Do you agree that in God is contained the ideal of all things?”

Seeker: “Yes, I think so.”

Baba Giufa: “And do you not also agree that when you look around you in the world most of what we consider success has been obtained by fraud and deceit?”

Seeker: “Well yes, I guess I mostly agree with that too.”

Baba Giufa: “Then you must also agree that, Kingfish is God.”

3. Today’s Cognitive Bias

Information bias – the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A father shall immediately put to death a son recently born, who is a monster, or has a form different from that of members of the human race.”
Roman law of the Twelve Tables (Table IV, Law III)

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 13, 2010

English: The thirteen retired Crayola crayon c...

English: The thirteen retired Crayola crayon colors: Lemon Yellow, Violet Blue, Blue Gray, Orange Red, Maize, Raw Umber, Orange Yellow, Green Blue, Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Mulberry, Teal Blue, & Thistle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DAILY FACTOID:

1990: Eight Crayola crayon colors– Maize, Raw Umber, Lemon Yellow, Blue G ray, Orange Yellow, Orange Red, Green Blue and Violet Blue– are retired into the Crayola Hall of Fame in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Emerson Moser, then Crayola’s most senior crayon moulder, also retired after 37 years. After moulding approximately 1.4 billion crayons, he revealed that he is actually color blind.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Today’s Bangkok Post reports that the American DEA has posted notices in Thailand containing the face of the ethnic Wai tribe’s leader, and reputed drug lord, Wei Hsueh-Kan emblazoned on beer holders used to serve customers so that they can contemplate the $2 million reward while flirting with the bar girls.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

This morning I learned that the english language “Golden Oldies” radio station that I enjoy listening to while I drink my morning café latte is indeed broadcast from Thailand, in fact just down the road from here in the Outskirts of Hell.

As the date for my departure to the US becomes closer, I become more anxious. Why is that? I become older too. Are they related?

Last night I went out to buy presents for people I plan to see during my trip. Haggling made me tired so I gave up, ate a pizza and went home to bed.

Recently, while I was walking to the beach for my morning stroll, I met the old man from Texas with the walker. After exchanging pleasantries, he mentioned that he felt that things are going bad in the US with unemployment and Wikileaks and the like, but as a result of the election he hoped it would get better and there would be lower taxes and more jobs. “I do not like that socialism,” he opined. “It’s a lot like Communism.” He is on Social Security, medicare and disability and receives a veteran’s pension.

For those who wonder about these things, Petey the Wonder Dog still mans his post guarding the sand against the tide.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

A few months back I promised to send to you drafts of a potential mystery novel I have been playing around with. Here is the very rough draft of chapter one. The working title is “Red Star.” Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

RED STAR

Chapter one:

“He was shot in the head. Please Vince come to the funeral. I think there is something we need to discuss.”

As he flew back to the US and to San Francisco to attend the funeral, he kept replaying in his mind yesterday’s telephone conversation with David Kitchen.

Sam Coign the mercurial Chairman of the law firm of McKenzie Reed had been found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. The death occurred at his home in Woodside, a posh suburb of San Francisco where many of the captains of the Bay Area’s high Tech industry choose to live along with their parasites, the lawyers, CPAs and investment advisors who lived off of the fruits of their industry. He was found by his wife lying on the floor of his home office at the back of the house overlooking Sam’s beloved flower garden. A handgun was found near by. The police initially suspect suicide.

Kitchen explained all of this to him over his cell phone while Vinnie sat by the pool that serviced his condominium in Jomtien Beach Thailand where he had retreated to after taking early retirement from McKenzie Reed in a fit of piqué.

Kitchen served with him on the Firm’s so-called management committee. It was so-called because its members spent more time arguing than managing. Usually the arguments were between him and other four. He was almost always out voted. As a result Sam ran things as he saw fit. One day after several hours of bitter argument and shouting back and forth, he asked for and received early retirement. This was last year and he was 54 at the time.

He was tired of practicing law and tired of his life. All he wanted to do was go off somewhere and do nothing. But that would cost money, his divorce settlement and a series of disastrous investments left Vinnie with very little of it.

Nevertheless, having been long divorced, his children from his second marriage grown and hating the practice of law, he left to spend retirement with a restricted income in a low-cost jurisdiction. He chose Thailand for its tropical climate, relatively low-cost of living and frankly for its liberal view of sex.

When he asked if anyone had any idea about why Sam would do something like this Kitchen cryptically answered that he would rather not discuss it over the phone.

This did not disturb Vince at the time but coupled with Kitchen’s statement about the wish of the other members of the firm to speak with him about his, “arrangement,” it made much of the 21 hour trip across the Pacific Ocean a time of considerable anxiety.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

[Buttercup kisses the senile King]
The King:What was that for?”
Buttercup: “Because you have always been so kind to me, and I won’t be seeing you again since I’m killing myself once we reach the honeymoon suite.” 
“The King: “Won’t that be nice…. She kissed me.”

2. Teachings of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: “Baba Giufa, tell me, how is one to know the truth?”

Baba Giufa: “If you do not have enough information to know the truth of a statement (and you never do), you should assume it is a lie and seek for a motivation. And if you find one, no matter how far-fetched, then you are better off assuming it is more true than the original statement.”

3. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Endowment effect – “the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it”.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A state increases by being the asylum for the persons that are expelled and dispersed by other states.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesman.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 8, 2010

Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach, Sa...

Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach, San Francisco. Saints Peter and Paul Church towers over the neighborhood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF BABA GIUFA

Baba Giufa and the Irritating Young Man.

On day Baba Giufa and two of his female Dharmanoids were sitting at a sidewalk café in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Baba Giufa had become successful enough that he had replaced his bus-boys jacket with a resplendent white designer blazer. His pants were no longer string tied and off-white in color, but bright white slacks from the same designer. He had abandoned the pink flip-flops for the latest fashionable pair of trainers and although on his head he still wore a Panama hat with its black band and its brim cut off, it was no longer the old beat up one that he had previously sported.

His two Dharmanoids were dressed in scarlet gospel singer robes. He originally had them dress in white robes but when the laundry bill got too high for his tastes, he changed the color to that of the local football team of which he was an ardent fan. He called his female Dharmanoids his Befanas because they brought him presents.

Now it came to pass that on this day a group of about three young men passed by and seeing them sitting there drinking their espresso began to laugh and point at them. The leader of that particular group being, as leaders often are, also the most aggressive, came up to the table where Baba Giufa and his Dharmanoids sat.

“You three look ridiculous”, he shouted loud enough so that his friends could hear.

Baba Giufa ignored him.

“What’s your name weirdo,” the youth challenged?

Baba Giufa now looked directly into the young man’s eyes and after a moment or two responded calmly, “They call me Baba Giufa.”

“Bullshit,” cried the young man. ” Whats your real name?”

“My real name is unpronounceable,” said Baba Giufa in a soft voice.

“More bullshit, “ said the young man becoming redder in the face. “Everything is pronounceable, asshole.”

“So you think you can pronounce my real name then?” asked Baba Giufa.

“Ha, of course,” said the boy.

“I will tell you what” said Baba Giufa, “If you can pronounce my name, I will buy you and your friends each an espresso, and if you cannot then you and your mates will move along and leave us alone. Does that seem fair?”

“Stupid, but sure, ok” he responded turning and grinning at his friends, “Go ahead.”

And with this agreement in place Baba Giufa leaned forward slightly and simply stared even more intently into the boy’s face.

Finally after a while the young man became uncomfortable and said “Well? Say Something.”

To which Baba Giufa responded, “Ah, so you admit you cannot pronounce my real name?”

“What?” the young man exploded, “You haven’t said anything yet.”

“And that’,” responded Baba Giufa, “is why I am called Baba Giufa.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

The Princess Bride (film)

The Princess Bride (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a. Wisdom of the Princess Bride:

Westley: “Hear this now: I will always come for you.”
Buttercup: “But how can you be sure?”
Westley: “This is true love – you think this happens every day?”

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Trait ascription bias – the tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable.

c. From God’s mouth to your ears:

“He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”Deuteronomy 23.1.

Say what? So it is God that we must blame for man’s peculiar preoccupation. If we are so afflicted He says we cannot go to church. I always thought it had to do with something else. But God never liked that either.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Expenditures engender exactions, and exactions produce complaints.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesmen.

BONUS QUOTE:

“God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”
-Braveheart

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

In 1950, there were 83 cities with populations exceeding one million; by 2007, this number had risen to 468.

Hmmm…. that is more than a five-fold rise. During this same period the total number of people on the earth only tripled. If things keep going at this rate, we will soon have more cities of over one million than we have people.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

Although the stories are generally all the same, their location varies. I have seen Thai soaps set in the homes of the rich, and others in the homes of the poor living beside a klong somewhere. I have also seen them set in grocery stores, health clubs and farms. Some occur in modern times others in old Siam and still others are set in times of magic or in some guerilla campaign somewhere.

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

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

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

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

FURTHER TALES OF BABA GIUFA

Dolores Park, San Francisco, California

Dolores Park, San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now Baba Giufa’s guru business prospered and he eventually moved into a large house near Dolores Park in San Francisco where he lived with his acolytes whom he called his Dharmanoids. Now the Dharmanoids consisted of eight young women, the skinny, bearded long-haired inquisitive young man named Babu Beardo who handled the business side of the operation and a heavy-set silent man named Edgar.

The largest room of the house had brightly polished dark wood floors and a great number of cushions strewn about on which the Dharmanoids, visitors and worshipers sat. The only furniture in the room was a large comfortable overstuffed chair in which only Baba Giufa sat. He sat on the chair because he hated sitting on the floor. He considered it very uncomfortable.

Here he sat, smoking his chillum, listening to music from india or by Bob Dylan and enjoying the smell of incense. Here he also greeted visitors and instructed the Dharmanoids and worshipers. He called this room his Shamrock.

One day one of the worshippers asked Baba Giufa, “Since most other religious leaders call their places of worship their ashram, temple or church, why do you call yours ‘Shamrock'”?

To which Baba Giufa responded, “The Shamrock is a plant with three equally sized and shaped leaves.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

Inigo Montoya: “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is to marry Humperdink in little less then half an hour so all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape, after I kill count Rugen.”
Westley: “That doesn’t leave much time for dilly-dally.”

b. Today’s Featured Cognitive Bias:

Authority bias – the tendency to value an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., an art performance) according to the opinion of someone who is seen as an authority on the topic.

c. Yiddish for the beginner (from Wikipedia) (cont.):

fleishig: made with meat.
ganef or gonif: thief, scoundrel.
gelt: money; chocolate coins eaten on Hanukkah.
glitch: a minor malfunction.
golem: a man-made humanoid; an android, Frankenstein monster.
goy: a Gentile, someone not of the Jewish faith or people.
haimish (also heimish): home-like, friendly, folksy.
huck; sometimes “hock”, “huk”, “hak”. etc.: to bother incessantly, to break, or nag.
kibitz: to offer unwanted advice, e.g. to someone playing cards; to converse idly, hence a kibitzer.
klutz: clumsy person.
kosher: conforming to Jewish dietary laws; (slang) appropriate, legitimate.
kvell: to feel delighted and proud to the point of tears.
kvetch: to complain habitually, gripe; as a noun, a person who always complains.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The people are rich when the money does not go out of their country, when they are content with what their country produces, and when money is constantly brought into their country by those who want the products of their industry, which they supply to foreign countries.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesman.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 27, 2010

St John Zachary blue plaque

St John Zachary blue plaque (Photo credit: sleepymyf)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

15th century. In the parish of St John Zachary in London there was a church service of a very remarkable kind. It provided a brothel exclusively for priests and friars …

No doubt the women selected for this place felt that they had a special vocation.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

TRAVEL PLANS

I am scheduled to arrive in SF on the evening of December 15th and depart on the 6th of January. I plan to remain in SF for most of that time with short trips to LA and Sacramento. I hope to visit with most of you during that time.

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

A TALE OF PERPLEXED CONSCIOUSNESS

“Well here I am. Where am I?”

“You are here,”

“I am? Who are you?”

“I am you, who else could I be?”

“OK, is this all there is?”

“Well some think so. They think everything else is just your imagination. They call it many things, but I like Monism best.”

“A bit lonely isn’t it?”

“Yes, that’s why most of us believe there is you and there is everything else. We like to call that Dualism. There are some who have been toying around with three, but none of them seem  able to understand it, so they are always fighting about it'”

“OK so how do I know about this other? It seems a bit hard to figure out .”

“Reason”

“What the hell is that?”

“It is what you use when you think about the other.”

“Wait a minute, now we have me, the other and reason. Sounds a lot like those crazy people.”

“Well maybe, but we think we can make it better. Some guy named Pythagoras suggested replacing reason with mathematic, you know, number. We already have one, two and three and somehow one way or another they seem to encompass everything.”

“Well OK. but I still am not convinced. When I look at the other, everything seems like it is moving around. How do I know what’s going on?”

“Essence.”

“Say what?”

“Essence, everything has an essence, that is what it is and what you see is the essence of the other.”

“Sounds like bullshit to me”.

We have the answer.'”

“Who are you?”

“We are the Liebnitz-Newton Siamese twins and by using numbers we can stop things from moving around so that you can know where they are, where they come from and where they are going. We call it the calculus.”

“That’s great. We now have, me, the other and number, which is sort of like the holy spirit and with the use of the holy spirit I can find out whats going on over there with the other.”

“Uh, not so fast.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Einstein and I have discovered through number that what is over-there depends on what you are doing over here”.

“Crap! Let’s see if I got this right, according to number what goes on over-there is contingent on what I am doing here. Doesn’t this sound a bit like old-time Monism? There is me and then there is that that depends on me”.

“Well no, there is still the other but it is relative.”

OK , I will keep that in mind. Can I go about my business now?”

“Excuse me, my name is Planck and I think there is something else you should know before heading off. According to number, that business with the calculus that lets you know where things are and the like, well it to not be quite accurate. You see things in the other are here and there but not in between.”

“We seem to be going backwards”.

“I am afraid I have even more bad news”.

“OK, hit me with it. Who are you by the way? ”

“I’m called Heisenberg, and according to number you really cannot know about the other because every time you try to, you change the other”.

“Aren’t we back to where we started? And doesn’t that mean…?”

“Yes, everything is possible and nothing is also”.

“Oh my”

“Hi, my name is Goedel and you really need to know this. You know that mathematics and number thing you worked all this out with. Well you made it all up. You see it all depends on the assumptions you choose”.

“Crap and worse, I am really back to where I started, I feel like I am deaf, dumb and blind without arms or legs crawling face down through a sea of mud”

“Don’t worry about it. We are working on something that will make everything work out. Its called ‘Strings'”.

“Strings, first we have one, then two and then maybe three and when they did not work out we now have strings. What the fuck are strings and what number are they?”

“Well we don’t really know what they are but we do know that they are not one two or three, but precisely seven, or ten or eleven or another number. We don’t know that either, but we are working at it and you will just have to be patient for a while.”

“Hmmm. OK, what do I do in the mean time?”

“What you always do, fight a few wars, foul your nest, bugger your neighbor and things like that”

“Well all right, but hurry up, I don’t think I have much time.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

THANKSGIVING DINNER

In the afternoon Thanksgiving Day, I went to a place called Kinnerie, a bar frequented primarily by Americans. The dinner was free. There I met with two friends of mine, David (whose name has been changed by SWAC from “Our David” as we used to refer to him to “Bad David”) and Gary. The place had about one hundred men lined up for the free food. I guess it was a little like the Thai version of St. Anthony’s Mission (Homeless men – free food).Unfortunately the Turkey ran out about 3/4 of the way. Luckily we knew Carmine the owner and he gave David some turkey he was saving in the kitchen for the local police. Carmine by the way is from SF.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. The Princess Bride:

Inigo Montoya: “I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There’s not a lot of money in revenge.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44
TODAY’S QUOTE:

Italiano: Statua di Niccolò Machiavelli, opera...

Italiano: Statua di Niccolò Machiavelli, opera di Lorenzo Bartolini, sita a Firenze sulla facciata esterna degli Uffizi. Fotografata da Frieda (dillo a Ubi) il 18 settembre 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Now, in a well-ordered republic, it should never be necessary to resort to extra-constitutional measures. . . . ”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Book I, Chapter XXXIV.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 23, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium (Photo credit: voyageAnatolia.tumblr.com)

Seventh CenturyThe veil, beloved by Muslims, began in the courts of Christian Byzantium. When Arab armies captured the cities of Syria and Egypt in the 7th century they adopted the practice for their own women.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. The catastrophic decline of the dollar’s value continues, but appears to be slowing. At the bank yesterday I received a little under 28 baht per dollar, down from the over 36 that I received when I arrived in January.

b. Russian, Chinese and Japanese travel agents are pre booking huge numbers of Thai hotel rooms for between 30 and 50 percent of standard rates.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday I went to Central Mall in the Outskirts of Hell to do some banking in preparation for my trip back to the US. On my return I thought it would be a good idea to walk back to my apartment along the sand the entire length of Beach Road.

As I walked, I approached one of the large boat ramps that lie across beach every kilometer or so. It was a fairly low tide, so instead of walking around the ramp by returning to Beach Road I decided to cross it. As soon as I stepped on to the ramp, I discovered it was slick with algae. I slipped and fell, banged my head on the cement and slid into the surf. I tried to get up but the ramp was too slippery and I continued to slip and fall. I rolled around in the surf helplessly for a while until two Thai fishermen hauled me out. After checking my head for blood, I went on my way thoroughly drenched with an aching head, scraped and bloodied knees and feeling greatly embarrassed. I also lost my eye-glasses. As I continued to walk along, I tried to convince myself it was not all my fault.

Today is Loy Krathung, the Thai festival of lights. Loy Krathung along with the Water Festival in April at the start of the monsoon, are the two most significant holiday’s in the country. They are analogous to Easter (the spring planting festival) and Christmas (The festival of lights) in the West.

It is my favorite festival. The Thai women dress up in traditional costumes, all silk with gilded floral headdresses and everyone goes down to the shore and launches small boats (Krathungs) made from flowers and containing candles and incense into the waters in and around Thailand.

Tonight, I went to the beach and waded out into the surf to launch my little flower boat. The scene was quite amazing, thousands of other boats had already been launched into the surf. They bobbed up and down lighting up the bay with their tiny twinkling lights. While up above additional thousands of large rice paper cylinders with a small flame in the bottom of each launched from the sand slowly and majestically floated up into the sky, filling it with a mirror image of the drifting lights on the sea below.

The following morning those krathungs that had not drifted out to sea or been picked up by the children swimming among them last night, washed up on to the sand. The umbrella and beach chair concessionaires were busy raking up the residue, sometimes assisted by the children of the tourists. Every now and then groups of tourists would gather up some mostly intact Krathungs and make figures ( hearts and circles) with them on the sand.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. More from the Princess Bride:

Prince Humperdinck: “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

– Numbers 31.17,18.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“. . . the governments of the people are better than those of princes.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first Ten Books of Titus Livius. Book I, Chapter LVIII
“Ciao…

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 22. 2012

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C., USA on February 3, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1984 to 1992. Rieti Italy (located near very close to Roccantica mentioned in a previous email). American basketball player Joe Bryant played for Rieti in the Italian professional basketball league. His son Kobe Bryant, now an NBA player, attended school there and as a result speaks fluent Italian to this day.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

The Thai army plans to step up monitoring soldiers’ mobile and fixed-line phones and internet activity to “keep tabs on acts of lèse majesté” for any trace of insult to the [royal] institutions well as to see if anyone was leaking army secrets to anti-government red shirt operatives.

New regulations include prohibiting  soldiers  bringing mobile phones to meetings and restricting the use the use of PowerPoint presentations.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Following my trip to the immigration office to get my re-entry permit, I decided to walk along the beach the three kilometers back to my apartment . As I walked I realized I may be going native, not Thai native but Farang native. I walk barefoot on the sand, something I long swore never to do and I wear the dreaded short pants. I also realized that since living here at Paradise by the Sea, I have begun to exercise regularly, eat heathy foods for the most part (occasional Pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiched excepted), get massaged once a week, have my room cleaned and keep my mind active and hold most of my worries at bay, all on Social Security. Nevertheless, I have begun to feel that sense of unease that I always feel when things seem to be going more or less right.

English: The view from the top of the ski jump...

English: The view from the top of the ski jump at the Olympic ski jump venue in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Taken by Reywas92 on April 6, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess the metaphor for my life is something like that old Wide World of Sports commercial, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” I picture my self, skis over my shoulder, trudging to the bunny slope, pissed off that I am here in the cold doing this, probably because someone has goaded me into it. I happen upon the steps to the ski jump. Curious about what it looks like from the top, I mount the steps, strap on my skis and stand at the edge of the jump looking down and realize my mistake. Unable to decide between my fear and the shame and hassle of climbing back down the stairs I suddenly feel the pressure of a hand on my back and hear the voice of the starter, “Hey buddy, shit or get off the pot.”

Out of sheer embarrassment I launch myself down the ramp and feel the wind bite against my face as I descend. I hit the end of the jump perfectly and spring off into space. I lean far over the ends of my skis. Loose bits of clothing pressed back by the wind stand straight up behind me as though stiffened with super glue.

I land flawlessly, hear the cheering. Then removing my skis and seeing my future as a famous ski jumper full of wine, women, money, drugs and what have you, I run back up the steps, climb to the top and this time without encouragement launch myself again.

Three quarters of the way down, I fall on my ass, tumble a few times and smash over the edge of the jump landing below in a heap of fractured bones and broken dreams.

I awake in the hospital, realizing my ski jumping career is over, so I call the nurse for a booster shot of morphine and drift into a haze where I see myself walking along a beach searching for the perfect wave, the seventy year old surfer dude, with bleached blond spiked hair…Yes “to sleep perchance to dream”, Ay there’s the little nubbin, perhaps if I rub it hard enough my lingam will rise….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “I fight gangs for local charities and stuff.”

b. – Traditional Viking Battle Song

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
where the midnight sun and the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
our only goal will be the western shore!

(What are the circumstances in your life that would prompt you to shout out, “Valhalla, I am coming!”?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 11 2010

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Flore...

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Florentine squares along the course of the marathon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

The Medieval and Renaissance government of Florence, Italy (called the Signoria)was chosen by lot. Guild members over thirty years old and who were not in debt, nor served a recent term and had no relation to the names already drawn were eligible for office.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Planning for my return to the US continues apace, implementation, not so good. I grasp at any excuse to avoid the hassles; the latest being the arrival of my masseuse this week on Wednesday instead of Friday. It seems a co-worker has gone on vacation to Sweden so her vacation day was switched to Wednesday. I don’t understand it, but so be it. Anyway instead of doing anything about my trip I had a massage, went for a swim in the pool and took a nap. Later I went for a walk on the beach. Tomorrow is another day.

I am still hoping to get up to Chiang Mai briefly before I leave. I was depending on Gun Girl for transportation. But, once again she has disappeared. Maybe I will just fly up for a day or two next week.

I realize that with my potential return to the US, “This and that…” will most likely come to an end. That saddens me because I so enjoyed writing it.

Papa Joe’s Tales and Fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE – THE SLEEPING CUSTOMER

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Dega...

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Degas. Location: Dallas Museum of Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My masseuse M mentioned that one day a co-worker at the health club had a customer who paid for a one hour massage. Shortly into the massage he fell into a deep sleep only waking up when the hour was over and the massage finished.

He then told the masseuse that he really wanted a “Happy Ending.” The masseuse told him that she was sorry but his time was up and he would have to pay for another hour if he wanted a “Happy Ending.” The customer became upset and left.

I asked M, what she thought about that.

She said, “If you’re looking for happiness don’t fall asleep or it will cost you more.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Anyway, as it so happened, Black Mike and Joe were rivals of some sort.

When he was not off on business, Black Mike could usually be found sitting on an overturned milk box in front of the candy store on Columbus Avenue that served as his headquarters and office, leaning on his cane containing a gun inside. Joe would drive by in his horse-drawn wagon. As is common among Italians from the south of Italy they would call out jibes and gentle insults to each other.

One day the rumor around the village was that a high-class beautiful young women was immigrating from a village near to Rome (hence the high-class) to their town. As young men sometimes will do, Joe and Black Mike made a bet as to which of them will date the beautiful Elisa Bargellini (for that was her name) first. I do not know the stakes.

Determined to win the bet, Joe, as he was to do many times, paid someone to read the newspapers to him and so he found out when the object of their wager was due to arrive and on which ship.

When that day arrived Joe hitched up his wagon put on what passed for his best clothes and set off for the docks in New York City. He was there when the ship docked and somehow located her. He told her that he had come all the way from Tuckahoe to drive her back to the village. This flattered her and after all, Joe also was a handsome man by any standards and so she accepted the ride and they set off back to Tuckahoe.

Back then the sixteen mile or so ride from the docks to the village must have taken most of the day. Anyway when they arrived Joe was careful to drive down Columbus Avenue and past the candy store with Black Mike mustache and all, silting outside.

A few months later he and Elisa had wed.

They settled down in the village and Elisa bore three sons and a daughter, Giacomo (Jack), Joseph (uncle Joe), Marcella and Aldo.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Inigo Montoya: Are you the Miracle Max who worked for the king all those years?
Miracle Max: The King’s stinking son fired me, and thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We’re closed.
The Princess Bride

2. Something from the distant past:

Developer Drops Plan for 3 Malibu Mansions
Los Angeles Times, Metro Digest / Local News in Brief
October 13, 1990
Developer Sheldon Gordon has abruptly withdrawn his latest plan to build three mansions in Malibu’s exclusive Sweetwater Mesa area before the California Coastal Commission could consider the matter.

“Emotions are simply running too high,” said Joseph Petrillo, Gordon’s attorney.

Today’s quote:

“Present wars impoverish the lords that win as much as those that lose.”

Niccolo Machiavelli 1

Niccolo Machiavelli 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

 

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 10, 2010

Today’s factoid:

2007, On June 2nd, David Shayler (‘Sheylr’ in Hebrew) a former British M15 secret agent was anointed Messiah. He claims divine power to influence the weather, prevent terror attacks and predict football scores.

David the Messiah lives in a squat (SRO in the US) in Surry England as a transvestite he calls “Delores Kane”. The Messiah(ess) recently has been quoted as saying, “I don’t give a fuck what other people think of me, A bloke in a frock is a whole lot less offensive than blowing up innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

More recently it has been reported that during his eviction from his squat, he commented that it did not matter to him since he was “the son of God”‘.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

20,000 mostly Karen tribe people have fled Myanmar (Burma) to escape the fighting raging between the Karen and the Burmese government forces. Many of the Karen refugees have entered Thailand through the crossing point’s I recently visited during my trip with Gun Girl. I would imagine people in “The Town of the Beautiful Children” and the sole soldier manning the “Lonely Outpost” have their hands full just about now.

Further north along the border similar clashes between the Burmese forces and those of the rebel Shan State create additional refugee problems for the Thai government.

Papa Joe’s tales and fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE:

One day during my weekly massage, I asked my masseuse, who I shall call M, to tell me some stories about her life in the massage business. One of her tales follows:

Among her regular customers was an Indian woman. She and her husband were members of the health club in the Bangkok hotel in which M worked. The couple would exercise several times a week and have a massage about once a week. Generally, they both chose male massage therapists, but when two were not available, the woman would request M’s services.

The woman would always ask for the same treatment from M and explained why:

“Every time my husband wants sex.” she explained. “he would start grabbing at my sari, trying to pull it off until I agreed to go to bed with him. He would get on top, move up and down for a few moments, finish, then get up and go into the shower where he would wash and sing happily to himself. After, his shower he would return to the bedroom and ask:

‘Are you happy?’

I being a good wife always nod my head and say, ‘yes very much.”

So as a result .whenever I have a massage, I choose a male masseuse and I tell him that all that I want from him is to mount me like a buffalo and pound me for one half an hour, no more and no less.”

She then explained to M, that she wanted M to massage only one part of her body for precisely one half an hour and instructed M, on the proper placement of M’s fingers and preferred repetitive movement.

At that point I asked M what she thought about all that.

She answered, “My arm hurt a lot, but she gave me a nice tip.”

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

During this time the Padrone system prevailed among the Italian immigrants living in the town. In that system, the owners of the local bars or rooming houses would advance the funds needed to emigrate to the United States to prospective immigrants from certain areas of rural southern Italy. In return the lender required the immigrants to live in rooms usually located above the bar and turn over their wages from the jobs the Padrone arranged for them to pay the Padrone back for the money lent for their passage and for the room and board the Padrone’s provided at his establishment. They were not allowed to eat, drink of live anywhere but at one of the Padrone’s enterprises.

As a result. few immigrants under this system were ever able to pay off their debts to the Padrone. Many were forced into assisting the Padrone in carrying out his other mostly illegal business such as loan sharking, petty theft, protection and the like.

Many of the Padrones affected the fashion of growing long mustaches. The were given the name Mustache Petes. They were the forerunners of the Southern Italian organized crime system that grew up in the American Cities of the Midwest and Northeast twenty or thirty years later.

Neither Joe nor his family were under any obligations to the Mustache Petes of the village. In fact, because of his great, strength, business success and reputation growing out of his murder conviction, he was able to resist their attempts to interfere in his businesses. Because of this, those members of the Italian community independent of the Padrone system begrudgingly admired him and surprisingly eventually elected him town constable. The constable was the villages peace officer since small communities at the time did not have police forces as they do now.

Among the several Mustache Petes, of the village, one emerged to dominate the others. He was called Black Mike. In addition to his role among the Padrone’s of the village, Black Mike operated as an assassin and informer for the larger Italian gangs in nearby New York City and Yonkers. He is reputed to have killed at least 17 men in his career. He also became the oldest man to ever die in the electric chair in Sing Sing Prison

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. O...

English: Sing Sing prison, with warden T. M. Osborne. Date unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located a little way up the Hudson River on isolated Croton Point.

During the summers when I was a child growing up in the village, I would spend two weeks each year in a county camp for disadvantaged youth located just across the river from Sing Sing. Whenever there was to be an execution at the prison that for some reason were always held in the evening, we would be marched to a point where we could see the prison and its lights as well as the lights of the nearby town of Ossining reflecting on the water. The high point of the night was to watch the lights of the prison and the town dim as the executioner threw the switch. Lesson learned, we were then marched back to our camps.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I’ll ask him.
Inigo Montoya: He’s dead. He can’t talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What’s that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s chart:

Today’s quote:

“On that occasion there was much discussion as to which was the most ambitious, he who wished to preserve power or he who wished to acquire it; as both the one and the other of these motives may be the cause of great troubles. It seems, however, that they are most frequently occasioned by those who possess; for the fear to lose stirs the same passions in men as the desire to gain, as men do not believe themselves sure of what they already possess except by acquiring still more; and, moreover, these new acquisitions are so many means of strength and power for abuses; and what is still worse is that the haughty manners and insolence of the nobles and the rich excite in the breasts of those who have neither birth nor wealth, not only the desire to possess them, but also the wish to revenge themselves by depriving the former of those riches and honors which they see them employ so badly.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 7, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1968 – A divorced Dutchman named Louwrens Voorthuijzen who proclaimed himself God and renamed himself  “Lou the Eel Vendor”, died. He mixed marketing European eels with proselytism. His followers considered him a living God on a mission against evil.

Petrillo’s dyspeptic advice for the unwary traveller in Thailand:

Always remember, nothing is what it seems.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

Pookie awoke the next morning feeling not much better than he had the night before. Nevertheless, he got up and went out to have breakfast because he thought it would be best to get some food into his stomach even if he could not keep it all down.

At the café he thought about how lucky he was to get sick while at the pharmacy and not somewhere else and how fortunate it was that the pharmacist was so kindly.

He also began to contemplate the decision that had been plaguing him for a while, whether to remain here in Paradise by the Sea or return to the US, at least briefly. It did not appear that his preference to drift and allow circumstance to decide for him was going to save him the trouble of figuring out what to do.

His plan was to travel to the US in late November of early December, remain there for two weeks or so and visit with family and friends that he was finding he missed more and more. He could also see, for perhaps the last time, his mom, now 91 years old and living is a rest home. Toward the end of the month he would travel to Italy with Hayden and stay in Milan until H’s mom returns from visiting her parents and boy friends in Thailand. Then he could return to Thailand or go to Ghana, Ecuador or another low-cost jurisdiction.

But it all ment too much planning and effort for him. What about his apartment? Give it up and perhaps lose the opportunity to live in a place he had grown accustomed to? What about the hassle of Thai Immigration again? And finally there was the cost. He would have to dip into his meager savings. What to do” What to do?

He finished his breakfast, went for a brief stroll along the beach and returned to his apartment, feeling exhausted. He laid on his bed trying to deal with these matters as well his feelings of inadequacy to do so. Eventually he drifted off to sleep. The last words he recalled bouncing around in his mind were “Tomorrow is another day.” And indeed it will be.

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT,)

JOE

Although this story is mostly about Joey, me, it is appropriate that it begins with my grandfather Joe or Peppino as he was sometimes called, because of the shadows that his life and legends cast upon the family, especially me. I always considered him as heroic character. A view not shared by everyone, especially his wife Elisa and my mother.

Joe was a big man. Not as tall as most Americans, but above average for italian immigrants of the time. He was the ideal mesomorph, broad and blocky with heavy strong muscles. His body looked a lot like that of Rocky Marciano the undefeated Italian-American Heavyweight boxer. This physical type is not uncommon in the mountains surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

These mountain people differed in culture and history from those people who lived in the lowlands. They were probably the original inhabitants driven into the highlands by the waves of invaders that swept across the mediterranean basin for thousands of years. There they remained undefeated except by economic adversity. The mountains were harsh and unproductive, good only for the herding sheep and goats and the hiding of the smugglers and brigands who provided additional sustenance to the meager resources available to these mountain people.

Joe was born in a small village called Prato on the slopes of Mt. Vergene in the mountains above Naples. Prato is not far from Avellino a largish mountain town. I know little about the town, never having visited it. The little I do know I learned from uncle Aldo, my fathers youngest brother, who visited it shortly after the Second World War and found the partisans and fascists still shooting at one another as though the war continued unabated. He left quickly. As far as I know no one in our immediate family has ever visited the village since.


.
Prato

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” 
The Princess Bride

2. Today’s album cover:

(I don’t know what to say.)

Today’s quote:

” War makes thieves, and peace hangs them.”
Nicolo Machiavelli The Art of War

Ciao…

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: