Posts Tagged With: Sacile

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

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM ITALY:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN TRANSIT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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B. TAMIL AND SACILE:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

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

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

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

CRACKED FACTOID:

 

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

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

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The Young Trenz Pruca

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 JoJo 0004 (June 9, 2015)

 
Sam Spade: “Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.”
Kasper Gutman: “Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk. “

Happy Birthday Good/Bad David

 

TODAY FROM ITALY:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN VENETO:

Back in Sacile and Tamai:

Following my return from Venice, I awaited news whether HRM would be joining me here. On June 2 he arrived in Milan. I was very disappointed when I heard that he would not be coming to Sacile before I left for Rome. So, I moved my departure date up to June 5. Sadly I realized I probably would not see him again this summer.

On the other hand, my son Jason, through the formidable efforts of his wife Hiromi, finally notified me that he will be able to join me on this trip. That made me happy.

In the meantime, I spent my days roaming around the farm or walking in the mornings to Tamai about two miles away for coffee and a brioche.
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Vittorio plows his fields

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The farm. Barely visible in the haze, Mt. Cavallo rises in the background about 6000 feet above the flood plain, hiding the Dolomite and the Alps from view. From its slopes on clear days, one can see Venice and Trieste.

Some barnyard humor: Hens lay eggs. Roosters become dinner.

Vittorio once told me that Tamai was named after the sheds in which the local farmers dumped their cow feces to be reused as fertilizer. You may amuse yourself, as I have, thinking up ways to translate Tamai into English. My favorite, Cowpattyton.
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The cafe at which I enjoy my espresso and brioche and the Tamai clock tower in the background, tall enough for all the farmers in the area to see the time from their fields or hear the bells.

In the evenings, I joined Vittorio and his family for dinner. I have forgotten what daily meals in extended families were like; full of talk and noise, lots of arguments, some laughter and bits of unintentional cruelty. The food was always enjoyable and hardy and the wine mellow. I missed the presence of Vittorio’s father who died about a year ago. He would not consider the meal ended without a healthy dose of grappa.

Often I sat on the porch dozing or watching the intellectually challenged sister endlessly sweep the tile pathways that Vittorio laboriously installed the last time I was here.
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One evening I joined Vittorio for band practice in the nearby Town of Porcia. He plays Tuba in the Porcia Symphonic Marching Band (not its real name). I enjoyed myself immensely.
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Another evening we traveled to Pordenone, a somewhat larger city and the administrative center of the area. Vittorio disgustedly told me that the town of about 60,000 has over 400 lawyers. They were having a town wide antique sale that evening with booths lining the streets in the center of town. As we walked from booth to booth, I stopped at one specializing in antique sword canes. I used to collect walking sticks. I picked up some of the more interesting ones to examine more closely, then regretfully put them back down because I no longer could afford such extravagances.

On June 2 the holiday celebrating the foundation of the Italian Republic, Vittorio, dressed in his band uniform, invited me to join him in Pordenone to listen to the political speeches and occasional band music. I declined and instead spent the day wandering about Sacile taking photographs of things I have photographed before and a few I haven’t.
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One scene I had not photographed before.

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And one that I have.

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Where I had pizza and of course, prosecco.

While sitting outdoors in one of the cafe’s in the piazza, a cheeky pigeon landed on my table and boldly stared me in the eye. It then arrogantly strutted, as only a pigeon can, across the table. After looking into my eye once more as if challenging me to stop it, it dipped its beak into my espresso and flew off. I sat there staring at the cup wondering if I were enough of an environmentalist to view this as an opportunity to mystically bond with one of nature’s creatures and drink the rest of the coffee. I decided, in agreement with Bill Yeates, that I was not and left to continue my exploration of the city.
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The piazza with the cafe on the near left where my espresso was attacked by the pigeon.

One blissful evening while wandering through Sacile, I happened on a concert in the piazza. The Trieste Percussion Group, led by composer-director Fabian Perez Tedesco, performed a number of interesting pieces. They were fine musicians. One piece, performed by three drummers got everyone’s blood racing.
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Thursdays were market days in Sacile. The streets of the town were covered in stalls selling just about everything. I would linger by those selling flowers, cheese, fruit or leather enjoying the color and aroma.

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After shopping and completing our tour of the stalls, we would visit our favorite bar/cafes for coffee, prosecco and whatever before returning home to Tamai.

There are three bar/cafe’s in Sacile that I along with Vittorio and Anita frequent; Lucia’s with the happy Prosecco; Nadia’s near the piazza where the young man with the Elephant Boy’s disease can sometimes be found. Despite his facial deformity, it seems to me that when he speaks his voice is magnificently beautiful and angelic. He sounds so compassionate and humble that people gather around for the sheer pleasure of listening to him. He also owns the most spectacular tricked out Moto Guzzi I have ever seen. I did not see him this trip and Vittorio indicated that he had not seen him around in a while.

The third cafe is Maria’s. It is always open. From daybreak to about midnight every day, Maria is there behind the bar. That day, when I asked her if she served lunch, she brought me some wonderful chicken croquettes and local wild mushrooms that she had prepared for her family and which I washed down with two glasses of prosecco. She did not charge me for the meal. One evening I was at the cafe drinking some pear juice when Maria confided how much she likes the music of Queen.
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Vittorio, some of the regulars and I sit and smile in front of Maria’s cafe.

Another afternoon Vittorio pointed to a man who drops by Maria’s every day and sits in the bench by the window drinking wine and reading the newspaper. Vittorio said he was 99 years old and has been following this routine for many years now. He does not even wear glasses.

Like most of the bars and cafes, Maria’s has an electronic slot machine at which some of the local pensioners spend all their money within the first few days after receiving their checks and spend the rest of the month cadging drinks from their friends. Vittorio told me that when he asked a few why they did this when their pension money would allow them to live well in a low-cost jurisdiction like Thailand, they usually respond with something like, “Ah yes, I know, but this is home and this is what I choose to do and where I want to stay.”

In addition to Professor Hank, another of my American friends here is Brian the Teacher. He is the science teacher for the high school students and the American army base. He grew up in South Dakota somewhere near the Good/Bad David.

I love the towns, Vittorio and his family and the people I meet at the three cafes.

Across the street from Maria’s, behind a hedge of sweet smelling honeysuckle, there is a large palazzo originally owned by a man, now passed away, who most likely made his money manipulating the government (he may have started as a plumber or perhaps a farmer or a plastic fabricator). His wife I understand, now old and leaning toward infirm, lives there alone. Sometimes when I sit at the small table outside of Maria’s and look up at the palazzo I speculate whether or not she ever stands at the window looking down at us with our glasses of wine in hand laughing and talking and wonders if that life she had convinced herself was so much superior to that of her childhood friends, really was.
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And suddenly it was time to leave.

B. Book Report:

Although I am traveling, I still manage to put in time reading novels. Recently I read Arturo Perez-Reverte’s latest. Perez-Reverte whose taut but lush adventure and mystery novels generally take place in Spain during its long sad decline from world empire until the old order was finally snuffed out by the armies of Napoleon. His series of books, featuring the melancholy but indomitable soldier and peerless swordsman Captain Alatriste, are classics.

The Siege, as its name implies, takes place during the interminable multi-year siege of Cadiz where the armies of Napoleon and his brother Joseph, the imposed King of Spain, had chased the government of the tattered empire and its inconsistent allies, the English. Cadiz, however still had access to the sea and many of its merchants, smugglers and privateers flourished even while the bombs daily rained down on parts of the city. The plot revolves around the attempts by the brutal and corrupt Chief of Police to solve a series of exceedingly vicious murders.

Unfortunately, Perez-Reverte introduces a sub-plot, a bodice ripper straight out of Danielle Steele — A romance between the dashing but crude and dangerous, curly haired, handsome and muscular captain of a privateer, Pepe Lupo (Joe Wolf) and his employer, the refined, learned, capable, aristocratic, accomplished and almost beautiful owner of one of the city’s premier shipping companies, Lolita Palma. Lolita, virginal from to tip of her leather boots to the top of her lace mantilla, unfortunately is 32 years old and unmarried. In the Cadiz of that time, at 32 she hovered between the twilight of fuckable and the onset spinsterhood. Perez-Reverte, damn him, shamelessly introduces a scene where Joe confronts Lolita at an elegant ball, causing her to snap open her fan and rapidly cool down the rising warmth of a blush.

“At least,” I thought, “he does not have the poor woman wet her drawers.” Alas, not more than a couple of dozen pages later, as Joe Wolf’s cutter heads off on another venture in legalized piracy, the still virginal Lolita, standing behind the crenellations of the tower above her Palacio and staring at the corsair’s ship as it disappears over the horizon, does just that. Arturo Perez-Reverte, you should be ashamed of yourself

Nevertheless,
Pookie says, “check it out.”

“…all things have their allotted time in the suicidal order of things— in life, and in its inexorable outcome, death.”
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. The Siege: A Novel (p. 358). Random House Publishing Group.

Note: Reading this book makes me wonder if getting involved in the shithole that was Spain at that time was not as great a mistake for Napoleon as his march into Russia. It is usually the inability of empires to know their bounds that bring them to ruin. I wonder if that was the genius of Augustus Caesar; to recognize there were limits to expansion of empire beyond the need to establish secure boundaries. It probably enabled the Roman Empire to survive for another 1000 years until the thugs of the Fourth Crusade finally put it out of its misery.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

Will history repeat itself?

“In the west with which we are concerned here, there was a climate change after A.D. 200, marked, it would seem, by a retreat of the polar icecap and the polar area of high pressures; this allowed the prevailing westerly winds and rains to move northward so that they passed over the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, with great growth of forest in all northern Europe, and with greatly reduced rainfall in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and east of the Caspian Sea.

In the same period, war and disease resulted in a decrease of population of up to 60 per cent in Europe or in the Roman empire from about 200 to after 800, that is to say over six hundred or more years. Careful studies of the population of the Roman empire seem to indicate that its population fell from about 70 million persons at the time of Christ to about 50 million in 300. The wars, migrations, spread of plagues, and abandonment of much family life, including the spread of chastity for religious reasons and of sexual perversions for other reasons, all contributed to this decrease. This had a very adverse influence on economic production as well as on defense, especially when it was combined, after 200, by a flight from the cities to the rural areas, and a movement of economic activities toward self-sufficiency.

One of the chief characteristics of an economic depression is a reduction in roundabout modes of production by a decrease in investment, although not necessarily in savings, along with a reduction in the specialization of production and exchange of products. The links in any chain of activity from the original producer to the final consumer are reduced in number; individuals retreat from very specialized activities to more general ones; the use of exchange and of money decreases.

All of these changes are to be found in weapons systems and in defense, where we find a similar tendency to fall back on the simpler, less complex, and more general forms of weapons, tactics, and organizational arrangements, including, for example, the belief that the same man should produce food and fight (peasant militia) or a reduction of defense to a single weapon or only two. We may not notice these military consequences when the depression is brief, as the world depression of 1929-1940, but these effects do appear when such an economic collapse continues for centuries, in a dark age.

The effects of such a change are also important on the non-material aspects of the society, where we find a tendency for people to turn toward a more personal and existential life, with emphasis on day-to-day interpersonal activities, decreasing emphasis on planning for the future in this secular world, and a decrease in abstract thinking and generalizations, but instead, a great emotional and intellectual emphasis on a few symbols and words. Life tends to polarize into almost total absorption in momentary empirical activity, with intellectual life reduced to a few large symbols.”
From Weapons Systems and Political Stability (1976) by Carroll Quigley.

It appears that many of these things are occurring again today except for the population reductions, although in Western Europe and English-speaking North America immigration is all that is keeping those areas from experiencing a precipitous population decline.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Crises like climate change, food sufficiency and water availability probably cannot be resolved if human population continues to increase. Hydrocarbon emissions, food consumption and water use are not increasing on a per capita basis anywhere near rate of growth in the total use of those resources. The direct approach to dealing with population growth has been to provide greater access to birth control. This is a good thing and should be continued. Still, despite decades of trying, the growth of human population continues out of control. The only successful population control other than war, famine and plague has been the liberation and education of women. Wherever women are free and informed, rates of population growth decline.”
Trenz Pruca

C. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

Some people are like Slinkies … not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

*Paraprosdokian was not the name of a Governor of California.

D. Today’s Poem:

Watching blue mold of bread grow,
Birds fly, cocks crow,
Autumn leaves come falling by,
How many days before I die?

(As one wag said after reading this poem, “The sooner, the better.”)

E. A Skype message from The Old Sailor in Bangkok

“I have been drunk now for over two weeks
Passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I’ve got to stop wishin’, got to go fishin’
I’m down to rock bottom again.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Jo Jo 0004 (May 30, 2015)

 

“Fearlessness is for the insane and the arrogant.”
Koontz, Dean. Deeply Odd: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 132). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

TODAY FROM ITALY:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOMBARDIA:

1. International Food EXPO.

I spent the night in Nikki’s apartment in Busto Arsizio, a nondescript residential suburb outside of Milan.
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It took a day to sleep off jet lag after which we went to the International Food EXPO being held in Milan until October. If you get a chance, you should go also. It is fabulous. What is more enjoyable than a festival celebrating food and wine? It’s also gratifying to attend an international exhibition that replaces “my technology is better than yours,” with, “welcome, eat my food and drink my wine.”
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The exhibition is immense. A large covered promenade extending well over a mile lined with pavilions featuring form over function architecture (buildings with no conceivable use) formed the focal center of the EXPO. I especially appreciated, given that my aging legs soon gave out, that the whole fair was amply supplied with places to rest, to sit or lie down and, of course, to eat and drink.
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The Promenade                                             The mechanized EXPO centerpiece

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A Pavillion

In the twelve hours we spent there, we were able to visit only about six or so of the national pavilions.

At the Czech pavilion, we drank some excellent beer. The pavilion seemed to be one of the party centers of the fair. In front was a large shallow pool surrounded by beach chairs on which fair-goers would sit in the sun sipping their beer. Late at night, tipsy young people would jump into the pool and splash around. Nobody minded.
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At the Czech Pavilion

The Rumanian exhibit featured a log cabin on the roof of the pavilion at which Nikki and I sat, ate some Rumanian native foods and drank a bottle of strong almost black Rumanian wine.
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The Rumanian Pavillion

By the time we got to the Turkish pavilion, I collapsed in a small gazebo type structure with a fountain in the middle where I slumped comatose on the pillows until Nikki revived me with some strong Turkish tea.

We, also visited the USA pavilion (mostly meh!), the Brunei Pavilion, Slovenia (more beer) and one or two others. The various Arab pavilions, which we did not visit, seemed very popular, but I was told they did not serve food or wine. What they did in there I never found out.

By far my favorite place was the immense EATALY pavilion. EATALY, the company that builds and operates emporiums featuring Italian regional foods, created a site containing about 20 restaurants, each featuring foods and wines from a different region of Italy, along with a fabulous collection of artworks. Food, wine, and art, what is more civilized than that? We ate lunch and dinner there and drank lots of wines, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Chianti and a wonderful red from Piemonte.
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The EATALY Pavilion

We met up with a friend of Nikki’s, the last Count Visconti. The great Visconti family ruled Milano from the Thirteenth to the Fifteenth Century until one of their sons-in-law established the Sforza dynasty. The Count’s father managed to eat, drink, whore and generally misinvest the family fortune leaving Marco, the present Count, penniless and forced to seek work. He is, along with Nikki, a pilot for Alitalia. He was accompanied by his girlfriend a successful attorney, her son a precocious six-year-old who, when tricked into it, speaks English without a noticeable accent and the Count’s daughter, an adolescent who knows her own mind.
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The Count on Nikki’s left, the lawyer on his right, the Count’s daughter and, the Little Prince, Giacomo, above.

The next day I took the train into Milan to meet with Marco Gallo. Marco is the son of my friend Luigi who lives in Sicily and who I expect to visit in about three weeks. Marco is a doctor of nutrition specializing in sports nutrition. He is deeply in love with an attractive young woman the way only the young can be.

We went to the Piazza del Duomo, where we had lunch at a superb restaurant specializing in Neapolitan cuisine. The restaurant is located in an alley off the piazza right next to the Galleria. Unfortunately, I do not remember its name except that it ended with the word Ciminio.
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We at an excellent Mozzarella in Carroza and the most perfectly prepared Eggplant Parmigiana I have ever tasted in a restaurant. When I commented on it, Marco suggested that maybe Americans use the wrong type of eggplant for the dish. Sicilian eggplant has either more or less water, I do not remember which, than other types. We finished off with a Neapolitan pizza and of course espresso — the wonderfully thick kind from southern Italy.

After lunch, I visited Marco’s office located in the city’s canal district. As we passed through central Milan, I noticed a number of extremely tall, thin and unusually long-legged women rushing along the sidewalks. Although they were undeniably attractive, their thin bodies and exceptionally long legs made them appear deformed. When I mentioned this to Marco he explained that most of them were fashion models hurrying between photo shoots.

The canals of Milan long ignored and long derelict are being restored and a new urban waterfront is being created. 40 years ago, I lectured and wrote about the unrealized social, economic and environmental values of the urban waterfronts that most cities had turned their backs on or used for industrial sewers. Since then cities like Denver, San Antonio, New York City and a few others have enjoyed an urban renaissance along their waterfronts. Now Milan is having a go at it. Real estate prices have already sky-rocked.
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According to Marco, the original canal was designed by Leonardo da Vinci to carry Carrara marble from the quarries in Tuscany to Milan in order to construct the Duomo. From this bit of socialism emerged one of the sources of the West’s rise from also-rans to the economic and technological colossus that dominated the world for the next five hundred years.

Marco’s studio, located in the district, contains a consulting room, a waiting room and a small garden. While he met with a client, I dozed off.

We then left the office in search of one of the rent-a-cars (like Zip cars) parked around the city. On the way, we said hello to Marco’s friend, Italy’s arm wrestling champion who owns a vitamin supplement shop nearby. We soon found a car. They are operated by the national energy companies and are quite inexpensive. During the drive back to the train station Marco showed me some of the sights of Milan and demonstrated why he was at one time a championship race car driver.

3. Nikki in pain

The following day Nikki had an operation on his wrist for a cyst so I spent the day as his nurse, chauffeur and companion.
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Then it was time to leave and head for Sacile, Venice and the Biennale.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN VENETO

Sacile

The train slid across the plains of Northern Italy — the Alps looming all dark gray and white on the left. I arrived in Sacile late in the afternoon.

Sacile is an attractive little city at the base of the Dolomite. A photograph of it adorns my Facebook page. During Venice’s heyday, the river that formed one of the main trade routes between the Venice Lagoon and the North passed through Sacile. The series of rapids located there required trade goods be off-loaded and transported by land above the rapids. As a result, a port and town grew up around the portage. As often the case, first the workers moved into the village, then the merchants and finally it became a favored spot for Venetians themselves to locate their summer homes in an effort to avoid the miasmatic atmosphere of the lagoons. Eventually, it began to be called “Il Giardino della Serenissima.”
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My friend Vittorio picked me up at the train station and we drove immediately to one of my favorite places in the world, Lucia’s bar, “Le Petite Cafe.” Some wines achieve greatness because of the quality of the grape, others because of the location of the vine, still others on the ability of the winemaker, here in Sacile the greatness of the Prosecco is based on the person who pours it into your glass and that person is Lucia who adds a lot of happiness to the wine. If I were asked to recommend places to see before you die, Lucia’s bar would be right up there among the top.
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Lucia and Vittorio

Vittorio, Lucia and I were joined by Professor Hank and a friend. Professor Hank is an economics professor at a college in New Jersey who used to also teach at the huge American military base a few miles north of here and lives part of the year in Sacile. Not only do I enjoy his company and stories but I appreciate his gentle and passionate belief that his economic theories (with which I, less gently but also less passionately, disagree) are a force for good.

After lifting very many glasses of Prosecco, laughing too hard and talking too loud, we said goodbye to Lucia and Hank and set off for Vittorio’s farm in the Village of Tamai where I was to spend the next few days.

The next day was market day in Sacile. I happily lost my way among the flower, fruit and clothing stands that lined the streets of the town until I turned down a quiet little lane that smelled of honeysuckle and found myself, not surprisingly, at Lucia’s bar. Vittorio, Professor Hank and a number of other aging American ex-pats and their Italian wives joined me there. After some espresso to clear my mind, we began on the Prosecco and talk until it was time to return to Tamai for lunch.

After lunch and a brief nap, I walked around the small farm and spent some time talking to the chickens before returning to the house, sitting on the porch and for the next few hours staring at the traffic passing by.
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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“The economic expansion of industrialization has been based on plundering the natural capital of the globe that was created over millions of years: the plundering of the soils of their fertility; the plundering of the human communities, whether they were our own or someone else’s, in Africa or anywhere else; the plundering of the forest. In 1776 the wealth of forest in North America was beyond belief; within 150 years, it has been destroyed and more than ninety percent of it wasted. And it had in it three hundred years of accumulated capital savings and investment of sunlight and the fertility of the soil.

The energy which gave us the Industrial Revolution — coal, oil, natural gas — represented the accumulated savings of four weeks of sunlight that managed somehow to be saved in the earth out of the three billion years of sunshine. That is what the fossil fuels are. This is not income to be spent; this is capital to be saved and invested. But we have already destroyed into entropy — a form of energy which is no longer able to be utilized — eleven or twelve days of that accumulated twenty-eight days of sunlight. And we have wasted it.”

“Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition:A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976” by Carroll Quigley Ph.D.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Lying to oneself is necessary for survival. If not, how would anyone make it through puberty? “
Trenz Pruca
C. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

“You’re never too old to learn something stupid.”

*Paraprosdokian is a sickness that begins with a tickle in the back of the mind.

D. Today’s Poem:

Rhyme and alliteration

The sun sits
on worried wings
and soft sings
of dreams of fire
and ghostly things
with deep desire.

Without desire
for all those things.
he banks his fire.
Burned wood sings
through smokey wings
where he sits.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Normal human behavior, honed during evolution, is to meet people in the village center — dancing, competing, gambling, sharing food, or just getting water from the well. Those are the people you invite to your house, not a stranger.”
Naida West

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 4, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

8th Century: Ivar the Boneless, a Danish leader began his conquest and colonization of England.

Remember not every conqueror requires a name that strikes fear in the enemy some succeed by having their opponents die laughing.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) ITALY:

As long as I am in Italy, I thought I would skip the charts I have normally posted here demonstrating, over and over again, the dire straights the US (and the world) has found itself in and write something about the country in which presently I am idling away my time,

Since I have not kept up on Italian current events, I thought I would venture into some history of the area around the farm on which I temporarily reside, the Veneto and Friuli area of Northeastern Italy. Specifically the battles of WW I that brought this area into the then Kingdom of Italy

Following the disastrous defeat and collapse of the Italian Army at Caporetto a year before that I mentioned in the previous “Today’s Factoid” the supreme commander of the Italian military forces was cashiered and a new general staff put in place.

Battle of the Piave River

Battle of the Piave River (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian army was reconstituted with troops and officers from other parts of Italy and rushed north to the River Piave, a few miles from Venice, to form a defensive line about 140 kilometers west of Caporetto. The Piave was a river on a semi-arid outwash plain and drained the Dolomites, and the foothills to the Alps. Rejecting advice that the Italian forces retreat even further south, the new Italian general in charge, named Armando Diaz, believed that the Austro-Hungarian troops were exhausted from their rapid advance from Caporetto. Their supply lines he reasoned were stretched so thin that along with the effects of the Allied blockade of Germany’s ports, they effectively limited the supply of men and material to the army of the Central Powers in the quantity necessary for a prolonged campaign. In addition, the Piave River bed was generally a wide stoney generally empty expanse providing clear sight lines and with the river bisecting it, it seemed to him a relatively strong position to defend.

The war on the Western front (essentially France and Belgium) for the past few years had degenerated into a contest between the homicidal maniacs on the Allied side (France, Britain and recently the US) and their counterparts from the Central Powers (Primarily Germany) to see how many of their troops they could slaughter by pitting flesh against machine guns in a futile attempt to gain a few yard of militarily worthless ground, a strategy a grammar school child could soon recognize as silly. While both Britain, France and Germany were gradually exhausting themselves by the horrendous loss of manpower and material, the interjection by the US of the almost unlimited supply of cannon fodder and war material, although not actually altering the war on the ground, prompted the German High Command, which in general was smarter than their counterparts among the allies, to realize that they will exhaust their men and material sooner than their opponents.

Map of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, in which...

Map of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, in which the Italian Army decisively defeated the Austro-Hungarian invader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The southern flank of the war was fought basically by Italy on behalf of the Allies and the Austro-Hungarian Empire on behalf of the Central Powers. It was somewhat more mobile, but no less wasteful of men and material and if it were at all possible conducted by general staffs even more homicidal and less competent that their Western and Germanic allies. (To be continued…)

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

Having introduced ourselves to this family of strangers and having completed a pleasant tour of the farm we settled down to dinner with SWAC assisting in the cooking. Our hosts make their own wine from their vineyards and manufacture their own pressed meats such as pancetta, sopressa and salami. While the region is noted by gourmets for its cheeses (Parmigiano) the local variety of which is even more piccante, pressed meats (prosciutto) and wines, its basic cuisine is much less distinguished than that further south or west, consisting mostly of overcooked meats, bland pasta and beans.

We slept that night in various rooms vacated for our use. The next morning Nikki left to return to Milan. That evening SWAC cooked a portion of the meal. The following day, I guess tiring of domestic activities SWAC skipped lunch for an exercise session at the local health club, then meeting a male patron of the club, she also excused herself from joining us at dinner preferring to spend that time with her new friend rather than at the farm. The next day she departed for Milan and then on to Thailand leaving Hayden and I in the company of these strangers, albeit pleasant and enjoyable ones. She promised to return by the end of the month or so.

We enrolled Hayden in a local sport camp run by Vittorio’s sister and her husband, italy’s judo team coach. Every morning I drop him off at the camp and then spend the remainder of the morning sitting in a café in Tamai searching for stray wi-fi signals, drinking coffee and sipping prosecco.

One evening Vittorio invited me out for a night on the town and to accompany him to the rehearsal of one of his ensembles.

We traveled to Sacile and stopped first at Lucia’s bar where I met an American named Brian, originally from South Dakota, married to a Korean woman and living in Sacile. He worked as a chemistry teacher in the school at the local US air force base. While we conversed, Vittorio and Lucia’s boyfriend, who I was informed was a local architect and who always wore a dark suit, white shirt unbuttoned at the top and at the sleeves, a three days growth of a dark beard and stringy hair, argued over how best to free up the bar’s security gate that had jumped its tracks.

Later, after the gate was repaired and Lucia closed up her place, Vittorio, Brian and I strolled to another café operated by an extremely short stocky woman in a jeans jacket. One of the regular patrons of the bar was a man suffering from the same disfiguring disease as the “Elephant Boy.” He had a deep melodious voice and upbeat manner. I still found it difficult to look at him without staring. He also had a bitching, pimped out gigantic silver and chrome motor scooter that appeared larger than a Harley and probably producing more horsepower .

After drinking a few more glasses of wine, we accompanied Brian home to his condo building. It had originally been a centuries old villa on to which was grafted seamlessly a modern extension. He showed us the building’s modern garage equipped with elevators upon which to stack the cars and then gleefully demonstrated its use.

Vittorio and I then went to the rehearsal Hall where Vittorio’s ensemble practiced. The town, small as it is, had a building dedicated exclusively to music.

Vittorio’s group was called the Sacile Symphonia.

Actually, it consisted of about eight saxophone players one of whom also played the alto and bass sax, and two tuba players one of whom doubled on the trombone. It also had a trio of trumpet players, the oldest of which, a man who appeared to be in his mid eighties, was the soloist. A somewhat overweight young woman played the drums and other percussion instruments with gusto. Sometimes she would get carried away on a riff driving the rest of the ensemble into silence until she finished and sheepishly apologized. An elderly man with white hair and dressed in a dark suit and tie looking more like a professor than a musician played the flute. Next to him sat a very thin middle-aged woman whose role I could not determine as she appeared to play no instrument what so ever. Rounding out the players was a young man strumming on an electric guitar.

The conductor, appropriately alternatively dictatorial and put upon, managed the session with vigor.

They played a lively version of Glen Miller’s “In the Mood,” a couple of American show tunes and several marches before calling it a night.

After practice Vittorio and I returned to the farm. (To be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

My sincerest apologies to my devoted readers who wait anxiously for the latest installment of the trials and tribulations of Vince and Isabella that alas once again I must ask their forbearance in another delay. Unfortunately, my garrulous investment in other sections of this post, I fear will leave the reader too exhausted to wade through another red herring.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

I think here I should interrupt my usual narrative and share with you (well to be honest, impose upon you) my recent musings about traveling.

My approach to traveling is somewhat like my approach to life; it is not arriving at your destination that is important but what happened along the way.

For example, assume that I depart from San Francisco intending to travel to, say Rome to visit the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel. If that is what I efficiently did and returned home equally efficiently, I for one would be unsatisfied indeed.

If on the other hand I were to depart on that same voyage and along the way be diverted by circumstances outside of my control or through my stupidity and thereby facing perhaps danger, or passion, beauty or tedium and return home without ever getting to see Michelangelo’s frescos (the chapel would probably be closed anyway, for repairs or for some obscure holiday), I would consider my trip a success.

I guess, one could consider it something like Buddhism, but from somewhat the opposite viewpoint. Where Buddhism urges one to withdraw from the unreality of perception, Pookieism suggests you revel in it.

When I look back into my own life, anytime I single-mindedly pursued a goal and overcame many obstacles to achieve it, I almost always came away dissatisfied, became depressed and soon decided to spend my time doing something else. On the other hand whenever I was diverted from my path, or failed in achieving my goal or found myself hopelessly lost, I often was overjoyed. Why, because there was so much experience, so much pathos and so much joy. And, oh the stories…

Yes, of course there were things that to this day I wish never happened and if I could, I would want not to have occurred, but they did and the exquisite, if odious, memories of the experience accompanies me like tattoos on the skins of generation Xers.

For those males of a certain age, some of you may recall that time when you were a kid and in you imagination played the announcer of your life. “The great slugger stands at the plate. Here comes the pitch. He swings. He misses….” Or, “Here is the world famous runner running through the woods. Will he break the record? Oh no! He trips. He falls. Will he be able to get up, finish the race and break the record? Stay tuned.”

Well, I still do that. “Here is the aging hero walking along the side of the road recalling past loves, triumphs and failures. Out of the corner of his eye he spies a small yellow flower, stops and contemplates its beauty for a moment and then walks on, crosses the street, the freshly painted striping glowing so whitely in the sun it hurts his eyes. Suddenly he remembers he forgot to buy that bottle of milk. Should he return to the store or proceed on toward home? He stands there at the edge of the road, like the brave Ulysses on the beach contemplating whether to return home to the aging but loyal Penelope or spend another night in the arms of the beautiful Calypso?”

Speaking of Ulysses, Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.

One night the short, bandy-legged, scraggly bearded young man named Ulysses, who lived in a subdivision on a small island in the Adriatic, left the home on a cull-de-sac he shared with his wife, young son, various hangers-on, and a pack of dogs, telling everyone he was going to the store to buy a carton of milk, or an amphora of wine or new sandals or whatever. Now twenty years later he stood on the corner of the block down from his old home, broke, hungry and older. He contemplated the excuses he would tell his wife for his long absence. He concocted stories about ships and strange wars, jealous gods, wooden horses, one-eyed monsters and to cover up the long periods of time he spent living with a succession of comely young women, he fell back on the tried and true excuse of philandering husbands of the time, bewitchment.

On the other hand, the also aging but still zaftig and supposedly loyal Penelope wanted no part of the smelly midget bastard’s return. She had happily spent the past 20 years screwing the Mexican pool boy and every young stud in town. The assholes return would only mean she would have to give up the good life and return to working on that Goddamn loom. Besides, she needed an excuse of her own to explain why for the last 20 years the same old piece of cloth hung on that machine with no further work done on it since he left. She told all her boyfriends that she would choose one of them to settle down with when she finished weaving the cloth. They were so stupefied with the thought of getting into her toga whenever she lifted her skirt for them they forgot all about the status of that rotting rag.

She believed however that she would need something better to convince the crafty asshole of her unbelievable 20 years of fidelity. She decided to elaborate on the story and planned to tell her returning husband, if unfortunately he should ever return, that she weaved at the loom all day and every night she tore out what she had done during the day. If the simple and unbelievable story had worked on her lovers why wouldn’t this expanded version work on that scheming lying bastard Ulysses?

Nevertheless, she still was surprised when the testosterone poisoned dwarf suddenly and unexpectedly showed up at her door and started killing all of her boyfriends and the Mexican pool boy as well.

Sadly, Penelope was forced back to working all day at the Goddamn loom and at night diddling herself while the drunken scumbag lay snoring among his dogs after buggering some prepubescent boy-chick.

As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

If you cannot answer a man’s argument, all it not lost; you can still call him vile names.
~Elbert Hubbard

One of the most important rules for living a good life.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Sacile Symphonia in rehearsal

Lucia with a mysterious young man.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 2, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1917 October 24:The battle of Caporetto begins in which the

General Count Luigi Cadorna, Italian Chief of ...

General Count Luigi Cadorna, Italian Chief of Staff, visiting British batteries Español: General Conde Luigi Cadorna, Jefe del Estado Mayor italiano, visitando las baterías británicas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Central Powers (the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany) administers a divisive defeat to the Italian Army (a member of the Allied forces, Britain, France and the US).

The Italian commander Marshal Luigi Cadorna prepared for the battle by sacking 217 generals, 255 colonels and 355 battalion commanders. He also believed that soldiers fought better out of fear than out of commitment resulting in his troops intense hatred of him. He assembled his forces in a defensive line with no mobile reserves. As a result when the Central Powers launched the world’s first blitzkrieg there were no forces to move into action at the point of the breakthrough. Finally, he firmly believed that the place for a general was far enough behind the lines to be safely out of danger and mobile enough to be able to retreat faster than the rest of his army.

Map of the Italian Front, Battle of Caporetto.

Map of the Italian Front, Battle of Caporetto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a result the Italian army dissolved, losing over 300,000 men. Marshall Luigi was fired instead of shot, which only proves how much better it is to be a member of the ruling class than say a trooper who Marshall Luigi would have had shot for faltering in an advance into the throat of machine-gun fire. As a result over 250,000 Italian troops immediately surrendered as soon as the enemy blitzkrieg broke through their lines.

Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms,” immortalized the battle.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:


POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

Tamai is a tiny but apparently prosperous village nestled among the cornfields about six kilometers or so from Sacile. I was told that its name is derived from the sheds that populated the area at a time when the land thereabout was useful for little more than grazing cattle. The sheds were used to drive the cattle into to feed and from which the resulting dung was collected to be processed into fertilizer. Thus Tamai could be translated as “Town of the Cow Sheds” or I guess even “Cow Shit Village.”

Anyway we arrived at the “Farm.” It consisted of about 10 acres of which about two-thirds was planted in the cash crop for the area, corn. The main house, the various farm buildings and sheds, a chicken coop and extensive garden in which the family grew all their fruit and vegetable needs and some of their aesthetic needs in the form of a large variety of flowers occupied the remainder of the property.

I was introduced to the family that lived on the farm and learned that SWAC actually had never stayed with them before but had learned of their existence from one of our employees at our bar in Thailand whose mother had married our host. SWAC previously had visited them briefly while spending a few weeks with a wealthy italian boyfriend in nearby Sacile. This I assumed she believed qualified her to impose upon them for shelter and sustenance for the better part of a month. I also learned that she did not know their names and referred to the Thai woman and her italian husband only as Mama and Papa. I later learned their actual names were Anita and Vittorio.

Living in the house in addition to the aforementioned Anita and Vittorio were and older man and woman referred to as Nono and Nona. I still do not know if they were Vittorio’s parents or aunt and uncle.

Nono is 87 years old and extremely vigorous putting in full days working on the farm. He speaks with the gravelly voice of Brando’s Godfather and seems to see humor in everything. For example he laughed uproariously when I struck my head on a branch I was trying to duck under. During the Second World War he served in the Italian Army under German command on the eastern front in Russia. With the collapse of the Italian Fascist Regime in 1943, he along with most of the Italian soldiers fighting on that front were arrested by the Nazi’s. He spent the remainder of the war in various labor camps in Poland until liberated by the Americans before they were ordered to vacate the land in favor of the Russian Army.

Nono is also one of those fortunate creatures who always manages to look well dressed no matter what he wears. Where most of us tend generally to look a bit like an unmade bed, Nono, even in his work clothes consisting of a straw had, a Thai floral shirt, culottes and sandals, always looks like he just stepped out of a gentleman’s magazine (if there were a gentleman’s magazine for men over 70). When I used to be able to afford Brioni, Kiton or bespoke suits, Church or Ferragamo shoes and various designer shirts, ties and the like, I still managed to look like a basket full of soiled laundry.

Nona on the other-hand looks very much the farmers wife with her sack dress. She spends much of her day working in the garden primarily tending the tomatoes that are ripening nicely.

Both Nono and Nona when they are not working the grounds or gathered with the rest of the family for meals, spend their time occupied, pencil in hand, unraveling problems in various puzzle books.

Living also at the house is a 70-year-old or so women who is Vittorio’s aunt. Although she does not exhibit any of the physical deformities of those retarded from birth, nevertheless she seems to have terminated intellectual growth when she was about six. I do not know if it was genetic or caused by injury or disease. She is also a third stage diabetic and requires two shots of insulin every day as well as constant monitoring of her blood sugar levels. At dinner time, while the family is gathered around the table and before starting to eat, instead of saying grace, we watch Vittorio administer her evening insulin shot.

She always has lived with the family and their relationship is characterized by a lot of shouting (I assure you from experience, a common trait among italian families. We tend to be a loud race) as the family members try to get her to do those things, such as exercise (on an Exercycle on the porch), drink lots of water and avoiding fried foods necessary to keep her diabetes under control.

She tends to shriek rather than talk and Hayden who is a bit of a mimic has learned to copy her shriek and they seem to spend several more of less happy hours together during the day screeching at one another.

SWAC has told Hayden that the aunt is “not 100%,” so he now refers to her as the “100% lady” as he, like me, does not know her actual name.

Anita has two daughters from a prior liaison, one who used to work at Ava, married an American man and moved to Rochester NY. They subsequently divorced but she continued to live in Rochester, why, I have no idea. Her other daughter is married to a Thai man and has two children. They live in Italy nearby to the farm and visit almost every day. Anita also has a twenty something year old daughter with Vittorio. She looks more italian than a full-blooded italian with her unfeigned indolent sensuousness and permanent pout.

Vittorio is a wonderful 50 something farm boy, generally quiet and gentle. He always lived within a few miles of the farm, served as a Marine in the italian army, plays the Tuba in several local ensembles, all in all one of earths good guy’s. He retired last year from whatever work he was doing to supplement his farm income and loves to tell everyone, “I work to live, not live to work.”

It addition to the people and chickens the farm supports a tribe of feral cats and two dogs, actually more insects than dog. I truly believe I have discovered a new species indigenous to the farm, Canis Insectai. Luckily, like mules they are unable to breed otherwise they may be discovered by celebrities as fashionably grotesque pets and flood the world with them causing the human race to die out from revulsion.

One of the insect-dogs has patches of something that looks like a cross between used toilet paper and rusty wire that passes for hair or fur while the other has several teeth missing so that his tongue hangs grotesquely out of the side of its face. I, who am an inveterate dog petter, never missing the opportunity to scratch behind the ears or under the chin of just about any dog I come across even at times the Soi dogs of Bangkok, have not touched these creatures for fear it is catching. (to be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince looked up from examining the piece of note paper in the transparent evidence envelope the sheriff had placed on the desk in front of him, stared into Megs milky blue crazed eyes and said, “I haven’t the slightest Idea why she wrote this. I only know that yesterday she asked me to meet with her sometime today.” He realized too late that he had violated one of the rules every attorney learns by the time he finishes law school, never volunteer information unless you already know how it will benefit you.

“Well,” said the well endowed Sheriff smiling slightly, “perhaps you can educate me on what this meeting was to be about.”

“Uhh… I have no idea. She did not say.”

“Come now Mr. Biondi,” she said sounding more and more like a parity of a bad television crime show detective, “you must have some idea. Could it have been something about the recent death of her husband or perhaps something you and he were up to?”

Vince now felt himself getting angry at this muscle-bound Barbie Doll and was about to say something thoughtless in response when to his surprise he heard Ray’s voice asking a question.

“Sheriff” he inquired, “would you mind if I took a photograph of this note?”

Megs turned her head towards him and stared as though he had somehow just crawled through the transom. “Why,” she growled?

“I thought maybe we could save the County some money and have the handwriting analyzed. It seems pretty unusual all shaky ant the like. If we find it was not written by her that could change the focus of your investigation.” He stared back at her a broad innocent smile on his face.

After a few moments her stoney face softened, a slight smile appeared on her face. “Thank you, I think that may be a good idea.”

Ray took a small,l but to Vince a complex, looking digital camera from a large pocket in his camouflaged cargo pants and a six inch ruler. The ruler he carefully placed along side the note then snapped a series of photo’s, returned the camera and the ruler to his pocket, leaned back and smiled again at Megs. “Thank you.”

Megs smiled as though she had just received a birthday present.

Once again Vince found himself wondering at his own reactions. On the one hand he was relieved that Megs attention had swung from him to Ray. On the other hand he was nonplussed that Ray seemed to handle the situation better that he did. Finally, he was a bit jealous of Ray’s obvious effect on women.

“Well, Mr. Biondi,” she said, “I guess we will just wait to resume our conversation until your kind associate produces his report.”

As they walked down the steps outside the sheriff’s office. Ray noticed a tall thin man in a tee-shirt and jeans taking their picture. He quickly ran across the street toward the man, took the camera from his pocket and began snapping photographs of the man who in turn shot photographs at him, until the skinny photographer retreated to a late-model silver Lexus and drove off.

Ray returned to the stupefied Vince.

“I find that usually scares them off for a while,” he said.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Hanlon’s razor — A corollary of Finagle’s law, and a play on Occam’s razor, normally taking the form, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” As with Finagle, possibly not strictly eponymous. Alternately, “Do not invoke conspiracy as an explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, since conspiracy implies intelligence.”

(Don’t let Fox News hear about this.)

b. Testosterone Chronicles:

Researchers found that, “young male” CEOs — younger than 45 — “are more likely than older men or women to both initiate and kill M&A deals.” And they concluded that it was testosterone that caused that behavior.

Testosterone decreases in men as they age, which is another interesting fact in itself.

c. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Cow Shit Village” can never be considered and appropriate translation for Tamai. I was just having some fun.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Hayden, the 100% lady and Nono and Nona working on their puzzles.

The insect-dogs:

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

This and that from re thai r ment, by 3Th. June 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1863: May 18-July 4, Grant’s victory at Vicksburg marks the beginning of the end for the Confederate Rebellion that caused the American Civil War.

Less than 150 years later, the South wins the peace.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

About four hours later we arrived at Nikki’s condominium in Busto a small working class town located just outside of Milan adjacent to Malpensa Airport. We unpacked, cooked dinner and went to sleep. The following morning I was awakened by lot of shouting and banging of things being moved about. I left my room to find SWAC in the midst of packing and shouting. It seems that her period commenced (Her statement not mine) the previous night and that according to her, it was an absolute necessity we immediately depart the messy and cramped condominium for the supposedly spacious and elegant farm of her friends located almost completely across the top of the country from Milan, somewhere near Venice.

She insisted that I accompany them, stay the night and return to Milan the next morning, leaving Hayden and her to spent two or three weeks there. I demurred, explaining that I had had enough traveling for a while. Following somewhat emotional discussions and a series of telephone calls to the so-called friends, it was agreed that I would accompany them to the Veneto and remain with Hayden lodged at the farm while she returned to Milan with Nikki and departed for Thailand to return in about two weeks.

So, four or so hours later we drove into Sacile (pronounced Sah Chili) a town about 40 kilometers north of Venice. It is also known as “Il Giardino del Serenissima,” or something like that. It translates as “The Garden of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.”

Before reaching the center of town we stopped on a side street at a coffee shop/bar operated by a friend of SWAC and Nikki, a tall slender middle aged woman named Lucia. Outside the bar were a few tables, one of which was occupied by several locals playing the traditional Italian card games of Scopa and Brescola. They and the other patrons were generally drinking Prosecco, not the sweet bubbly crap one gets in the US but the refreshing local, hot weather afternoon, kick back and enjoy life drink. It was very good. We had two glasses and spent about an hour in pleasant conversation with Lucia, her strange boyfriend and some of the customers.

We then walked to the main plaza of the town that has a river running through it. Apparently, during the heyday of La Serenissima, barges from Venice would travel up the river to the small falls that made further travel difficult. The barges, carrying, I guess, things like Murano glass souvenirs, porcelain carnivalle mask and things like that would be off loaded and replaced by agricultural goods from the area and other things like cuckoo clocks carried over the alpine passes from Switzerland and Austria. The town sprung up to service this barge traffic, I assume to provide food, drink and entertainment to the lonely bargemen as they awaited their consignments.

The town is a picture postcard of what someone would imagine a venetian town should look like. At first blush it appears that the ancient town has reemerged from history. A closer look reveals something a bit more like one would find at the Venetian in Las Vegas, a use of post-modern architectural design flowing seamlessly into the few remaining vintage structures.

Post-modernism despite the acres of intellectual drivel generally written by those hoping to make some money off of it, is merely a form of colorful mostly straight edged Moderne (with pitched rather than flat roofs) as it existed before Walter Gropius sex crazed with Anna Mahler tarted it up into Bauhaus (Or had Gropius become a sexual deviant before the advent of Moderne, I never could remember which?). Essentially it consists of a series of rectangular planar facades painted or otherwise colored in earthy reds, yellows and beiges adorned with simple architectural elements, like plain arches ( now and then festooned with architectural artifacts). It was concocted by Venturi and Graves hungry for commissions out of their impression of the reconstruction of traditional domestic and small commercial structures in post war Italy as the local people filled in the bombed out spaces between the surviving historical structures with simplified copies of traditional design and painted them with a brighter version of the standard stucco. It spread back to Europe and It works here in Italy, since that was always the local vernacular architecture anyway.

In NY, Johnson, tired of living in glass houses and unable to diddle Anna himself, nevertheless attempted to capitalize on the post-modern craze by creating the worlds largest and perhaps ugliest misrepresentation of a piece of obsolete junk furniture as a New York skyscraper. San Francisco, ever ready to slavishly follow East Coast fashions adopted post modernism as the design element of its planning code thereby converting something generally simple into the gross monstrosity of pink tinged architecture that graces the City today.

Ah well, I liked Sacile a lot, even if it seemed little bit like an urban version of Danville.

As we walked about, I noticed that this was a town populated by people with prominent noses, from fleshy cyranoesque probiscai to hawk like aquiline appendages cleaving the air as they walked along like axe heads cleaving a log. These notable features adorned generally slender well dressed men and equally fashionable and sensuous women. Unlike the drab dark colors I found obliquitous in the US, here both the men and women were more colorfully attired. Although there was the usual excess of pre stressed jeans and off the shoulder tank tops, there was nary a velour exercise outfit to be seen,

After wandering around the city for about an hour our hosts arrived and we followed their automobile to their farm on the outskirts of a village with the pleasantly sounding name of Tamai. (To be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed because the author is exhausted. Besides the delay will give Vince time to think up an appropriate response to the question posed by the comely and muscular Megs. Knowing Vince as well as I do, I expect his answer to be as ineffective and unimaginative as always.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Godwin’s law — An adage in Internet culture that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Coined by Mike Godwin in 1990.

You probably did not realize this but all these laws were actually written by Nazi’s.

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

“Conservatives are irony deficient.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matthew 5:40-41)

So why is it that the religious right has so much difficulty accepting court decisions like Roe v. Wade?

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/)if you believe that:

“Bullies are manly but peacemakers are not.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

Researchers discovered that men with increased levels of testosterone “were more likely to use their own money punish those who were ungenerous toward them.”

The scientists concluded that, “Elevated testosterone causes men to behave antisocially.”

What a surprise.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I am full of crap about post-modern architecture.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.”

John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went;

Today’s Photographs:


Hayden by the River.

The Nattily Dressed Pookie in the Plaza.

Sacile the Picturesque.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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