Posts Tagged With: San Francisco

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

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

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

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

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

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

(Why?)

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

(How does a vending machine kill?)

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

(Another of life’s verities shattered.)

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. DeLong on Top:

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

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 

The Mystery

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

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

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

 

C. What’s wrong with professional football today?

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

 

D. Comments on my prior post:

From Naida:

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

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

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

 

From Barrie:

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

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3rd. 25 Papa Joe 0005 (October 14, 2016)

 

“Since large-scale human cooperation is based on myths, the way people cooperate can be altered by changing the myths — by telling different stories.”

Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 32). HarperCollins.

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANTHONY AND AARON

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Cloudless deep blue skies arch above the Golden Hills bringing autumn crisp temperatures in the mornings. I love swimming in water warmer than the air.

Since my return, I have not seen the Moonstone Peckerhead Turkey Gang strutting up the street. Perhaps, they are hiding out because it is getting close to Thanksgiving. Do Turkey’s migrate? If so, they cannot fly very far. They would have to walk or hitchhike. Or maybe they just do not go far away. Perhaps, they do not get much farther south than Ione or Merced.

One day while walking the dog, I saw four large deer standing on the verge across the street from me. They simply stared at us for quite a while, then scampered off up the hill.

Neither the deer nor the turkeys would survive long in Bangkok. Now that I think about it, the people there eat insects. Why don’t they eat the pigeons? Maybe that is what I am eating when I order chicken fried rice at the sidewalk food stands. I wonder what the pork fried rice is made from?

I cannot deny the gated communities that make up El Dorado Hills and its parks are beautifully landscaped and laid out. I assume the empty streets behind those gates, more than the gates themselves give a sense of security to those that live. Interesting things may be happening within the McMansions but not on the streets. That is the difference between rich and poor communities. The poor live more of their live’s in public, on the streets. The boredom also gives a sense of security, I guess — if nothing is happening then nothing is happening to me.

Recently, however, something has happened. Evan of EvanTube has moved into one of the mansions on the ridge that I can see across the valley from Dick’s deck. Evan, as a five-year-old, managed to make over a million dollars on YouTube opening up packages of toys and increased that take substantially every year until now at 9 or 10 he was able to move his family from Modesto or someplace like that so that he can attend the far above average schools here in the Golden Hills. This has excited those like HRM who have followed his spectacular career. According to HRM, everyone likes the young millionaire.

This shows the difference between today’s schools and those in my day and neighborhood. Then, someone with a rep would be immediately challenged in the schoolyard. You make your rep there or nowhere.

Speaking of young hoodlums in training. Because so many of the stately homes of the golden hills are rented out for one reason or another, not all the kids in the schools are from middle and upper-class families. In HRM’s class, there is a boy named Raul. Both his parents are in jail. Some of his classmates warned HRM to stay away from Raul. They say he vapes on the bus on the way to school and if you try to speak to him he will slap you. HRM wanted to find out if Raul really would slap him if he said hello, so he went up to him and said, “Hi, they call me Haystack. How are you doing?” Instead of slapping him, Raul gave HRM a high five.

 
B. TWO UPSIDE DOWN NOSES — 77:

Today is my 77th birthday. To me, that means, I have seen the beginning of many more things that never existed before then I will see in the time remaining to me. Although I was born into a world on the verge of the greatest slaughter of human lives in history, WWII, the Holocaust, The Great Leap Forward, I lived through what undoubtedly was the greatest Golden Age of Humanity. That’s not too bad when you realize that all you really have to show for your time here are your experiences —even if those experiences are merely watching it all unfold.

 

C. BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS:

Below are the California ballot recommendations for the coming election that Ruth and others developed. I found them very helpful even where I disagree.

BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NOVEMBER 2016

These are my recommendations for the state measures, informed by discussion among a dedicated group of Venice residents who undertake to share researching the propositions and try to arrive at either consensus or a clear statement of our disagreements. If you have questions, I will try to answer them.

I will send recommendations for the County measures, including judges, and the City of LA measures in a separate email.

FEDERAL OFFICES:

President: Hillary Clinton
US Senator: Kamala Harris
(Loretta Sanchez would not be bad, but our consensus was Kamala Harris would be better)
STATE PROPOSITIONS:

The biggest challenge is figuring out how many taxes/bonds you are willing to swallow for various good causes and then prioritizing the numerous relevant propositions. In addition to the state measures, LA County has two—one a bond and one a sales tax increase–, and LA City has at least two bond issues.

51: School bonds
School population is going down, but school buildings are aging. Many have no air conditioning. Some opponents think it’s better to have local school districts bond-fund rather than the state. Supporters of 55 think relying on locals doing it themselves puts an unfair burden on the poorer school districts.

52: Hospital fee program
Yes

53: Revenue bond issues over $2 billion must go to a vote of the people.
No!
If this passes, there has to be an election (and associated campaign) every time the state wants to engage in a massive infrastructure project. This proposition is aimed at stopping the Delta tunnel and the bullet train, both projects adopted by the elected officials. Campaigns are expensive and time-consuming, and the winds of public sentiment can change many times during the period it takes to complete a major project. It’s not only Rome that wasn’t built in a day. (We did split on this one—it turns out to depend on whom you trust least: elected officials or uninformed voters.

54: Legislation and proceedings.
No.
This is being promoted as increasing transparency in government by requiring that every change in every bill be publicly noticed and on the internet for 72 hours before any action. It sounds great, but it will make negotiating and compromise well nigh impossible. It would probably also prevent getting a budget out on time.

55: Extending an existing tax that was originally approved as “temporary.”
Yes.
It is a tax on incomes of $250,000 and up, funds schools and healthcare, and has been in effect without disrupting the economy.

56: Increase the tax on cigarettes.
Yes.
The tax hasn’t been increased in many years. This proposition also includes taxing e-cigarettes and funding programs to discourage those as well as the old-fashioned ones.

57: various changes to sentencing and parole.
Yes.

58: Multi-lingual education.
Yes.
This proposition undoes the English-only law adopted early 20 years ago in recognition that students learn subject matter best in the language most familiar even while learning a new language.

59: Advisory vote urging repeal of Citizens United.
Yes.
Although the vote has no practical effect, it has important symbolism.

60: Require performers in porn films to use condoms.
No.
There are all sorts of obligations to test and treat already in place, this proposition would create a whole new structure to police (probably ineffectively) the porn industry, and the industry which alas employs a whole lot of people could easily just leave the state. This is the brainchild of the same guy who is behind a totally different City proposition coming in March that would limit private real estate development.

61: Drug prices.
No.
(Surprise!) This would require that the state pay no more than the VA pays for drugs. The VA negotiates prices with the drug companies. Our fear is that adopting this proposition would mean the VA would get a worse deal. (Apply here Ruth’s Rule of Legislation: if it takes less than 30 minutes to figure out how to abuse the proposed law, just vote against it.) Bernie Sanders is doing major ads in favor of this. He must not have applied Ruth’s Rule.

62 and 66: Death Penalty
62 abolishes the death penalty; 66 is the prosecutors’ response to 62 and leaves it in place but shortens the long, expensive, and mandatory appeal procedures.
If you favor abolition, vote yes on 62 and no on 66. If you want to keep the death penalty, vote no on 62 and yes on 66.

63: Ammunition sales
Yes. (Do we really need to discuss this?)

64: Marijuana
We did not have consensus on this one but leaned yes.

65 and 67: Plastic bags
67 is a statewide ban on those flimsy plastic bags you used to get in grocery stores. 65 is the bag manufacturers’ bait-and-switch antidote to 67. 65 takes the fees grocery stores now charge for your paper bag away from the stores and puts them into a new environmental fund (which someone has to administer). The manufacturers’ argument is that the stores shouldn’t get to “make a profit” from the bags. Since the stores have to buy the bags anyway, it’s a safe bet that if they can’t charge for them, they’ll have to raise prices on the products that go into the bags in order to fund having to buy them.
I vote no on everything to do with banning “single use” bags because I don’t believe they are single use. Everyone I know uses them for household garbage or cleaning up after pets. What the ban proponents want you to do is buy genuinely single-use bags: you buy them for the sole and specific purpose of putting something in them to put in the landfill.
Everyone else at the discussion recommends no on 65 and yes on 67, the statewide ban.
Whatever you do, don’t vote yes on both of them because whichever gets more total votes is the one that will prevail. Thus if create-the-fund gets more votes than the ban, the ban does not take effect.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

The following is the continuation of something I began in a prior post a long time ago:

The First Centuries: Herod continued…

Certainly about the time of the Maccabees, the Judeans and the related people who followed the Septuagint and associated writings sought to remain in contact with one another. In addition to Judea, there were significant communities in Galilee, Egypt, Southern Mesopotamia, and the Syrian saddle and the Southcentral Turkish highlands from Aleppo to Tarsus. Many of these people had little of no relationship with Judea or Jerusalem. At first, contact probably occurred through itinerant traders but eventually, a more formal system developed which included instruction in the Law for the outlying areas and transfer of money for the operation in Jerusalem.

Herod being the consummate businessman and needing money for construction of the Second Temple and other things regularized the system, giving to members of the Judean nobility specific areas in which to operate and amounts to be returned to the Royal and Temple treasuries. While this does not have much to do with our story here, it does so not long after Herod’s death. And die he did, a rather gruesome death.

After his death, his kingdom was divided by the Romans among his three surviving sons and his sister. One son Archelaus became ethnarch of the tetrarchy of Judea. Another, Herod Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. the third son became tetrarch of territories east of the Jordan, and Salome I was given a toparchy including the cities of Jabneh, Ashdod, and Phasaelis. What an ethnarch, tetrarch, toparchy are, I have no idea.

Shortly after the dividing up of Herod’s kingdom, the shit hit the fan.
(to be continued)

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

Among my Cracked Histories, Tomyris and the Massegetae is one of my favorites. A version appears in the book listed below at the end of the piece. It can also be found in my blog Trenz Pruca’s Journal (https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/every-now-and-then-we-should-stop-what-we-are-doing-and-consider-tomyris-and-the-massengetae/)

“Every now and then we should stop what we are doing and consider Tomyris and the Massegetae.

I believe, it is worthwhile to occasionally contemplate Tomyris and the Massegetae, if not for its impact on history then for its elucidation of the ability of a determined woman to lead her country in a time of crisis.

Tomyris Queen of the Massegetae reigned over a semi-nomadic nation in South-central Asia at the time Cyrus the Great Emperor of Persia and ruler of just about every other place anyone had heard of, ravaged that part of the world. (This was about four or five hundred years before Jesus walked the earth preaching peace and unleashing, often in his name, 2000 years of bloodshed far beyond that which the world had experienced for the previous 4000 years.)

“One day, Cyrus marched his armies into the land of the Massegetae, an area he noticed he had forgotten to conquer. He exclaimed to his comrades in arms, “Hey here’s a place where I haven’t killed many people yet. Let’s have some fun.”

Tomyris’ son and about a third of the Massegetae troops rode out to meet Cyrus and his marauders. They were quickly defeated and Tomyris’ son (clearly not a chip off his mom’s block) taken prisoner. This was familiar stuff to Cyrus who, whenever he wanted to kill some people, usually was confronted by their young sons who shouted at him that they would fight back if he tries to kill them. He would kill them anyway and make the rest slaves. It was good being Cyrus.

So Cyrus walked or rode or however conquerers traveled back then, up to what passed for a wall surrounding what passed for a city to the nomadic Massegetae. With Tomyris son in tow, he strutted back and forth in front of those walls and shouted to Tomyris that she should surrender her town and country, such that it was.

Tomyris, that tough old bird, climbed to the top of those walls, hiked up her skirt, stared down at the strutting Cyrus, and shouted back:

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massegetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

Thus, Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae responded to Cyrus the Great, Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time.

Cyrus refused Tomyris’ advice. So, she personally led the charge of her forces and destroyed his army. After her victory, she searched the battlefield herself until she found Cyrus’ body, then she cut off his head and made his skull into her favorite goblet.

This leads me to conclude that one should never mess with a woman named Tomyris, or for that matter, a Massegetae who some ancient historians believe became the Huns. (I heard that there is a biker gang in South Dakota named the Massegetae whose leader is a six-foot-six-inch transsexual named Tomyris.)

For those interested in learning more about the Massegetae, this is what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus had to say about them:

“In their dress and mode of living, the Massegetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favorite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for headgear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.”

“The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife[…]“yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massegetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Jaxartes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.”

I have a few concerns and questions about the Massegetae life-style:
1. How does one have one wife held in common?
2. How old do you have to be before they come for you and boil you up with a cow or two?
3. How pissed off with your lot in life would you be if you were forced to live on beef, fish, sour milk and a grandfather or grandmother now and then? Enough to want to go and beat the shit out of someone, I would imagine.”

Excerpt From: J. E, Petrillo. “Trenz Pruca’s Musings.” iBooks. ”

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

All stories have at their heart either a great truth or a great lie. The better the story the less we can tell which one it is.
B. Today’s Poem:

My revision to the opening stanza of Taliesin:

I have been many things,
before becoming as I am.
I have been a narrow many colored sword.
I have been a tear in the air.
I have lived as the faintest of stars.
I have been a word among letters,
a book among words.

 

C. Correspondence with Peter:

From Peter

Your story suggests a possible sequel for Omar, a la Rocky II, III, etc.: Something about Omar and O.Henry attend the conversion of Charles Martel to Islam in the White Horse Tavern – the latter because the Alhambra was being rehabbed to condos; and of course Dylan Thomas sitting at the bar, raging about not going gently into the good night, and Omar, O. Henry, the now-beatific Martel, Baby Ruth and Mr. Goodbar come over to Thomas and say “Sadducee ya so glum, chum, let’s off to Soi Cowboy and find you a Comely Princess to take your mind off your troubles until you can wax poetic again.” Etc., etc.

So, back in EDH. That must be rather surrealistic after BKK, let alone Beijing airport. How about Trump Tower West to jazz it up a bit? Bankrupt in three. Windup Girl wins the Laguna Beach Pageant, settles in the EDH West Tower Suite as Trumpette #4, and, as biblical flood waters rise, floats away on her pet monitor lizard Saladin.

Sorry to hear about your mom’s fall and fracture; elderly broken hips are not happy.

Blast from the past: I stopped in to Ye Olde SCC for a brief chat with Sam Schuchat. Talk about weird. First time since 1994. They will move into the Oakland State building by the end of the year. Terminal dreariness…..

Band played for the recent SF Alzheimers Walk fundraiser. Biggest crowd ever, if only each for 30 seconds as they passed by, cheering. Next week we’re at the annual Oakland Plant Exchange again: people bring their plants to exchange for other people’s plants. Think of the angles. We’re adding to our collection of odd venues.

Speaking of Naga headhunters, my bandmate told of one of his island trips years ago, this one to Fiji. The fijians were cannibals up until not long ago. They witnessed a folk dance that was quite vigorous and militaristic – probably led to the cooking cauldron in times past. Which made me think of old man Seabrook, who traveled to west Africa during the 1920s, including visiting with some cannibals. He decided ‘when in Rome’, and tried the fare as offered by the villagers. Didn’t say it tasted like chicken. Later, he got up to Timbuktu, as did Geoffrey Moorehouse, who wrote of his trek across the Sahara in 1970 and had to leave after four days because of all the tourists. Now it’s islamic crazies burning books. Back in Rhinebeck, NY, Seabrook used to chain his wife up naked on a long chain out in the spacious yard, according to Barrie, who stayed there with her family — near where Seabrook’s place was — one summer many years ago when her father was doing summer theater up there. No ocelots, though.

Happy birthday, Joe, in advance, in case I forget while my hearing aids’ batteries die.
My response:

Thanks,

My mom seems ok. They fixed the hip but she seems unwilling to wake up. The doctors think they may have overdosed her with morphine. I hope she enjoys the trip.

EDH is so quiet after BKK that I keep thinking my hearing loss has gotten worse.

I wish it would have been possible for Seabrook and the Gemologist to meet each other — cannibals, headhunters, zombies, clouded leopards, jewels and women in chains — oh my.
Peter responds:

Sounds like they would have had a great time exchanging yarns. Oh my indeed.

Reminds me of that movie, I think it was The Once And Future King, with Michael Caine and Shawn Connery (??).

As to the quiet of EDH, why not open a combination Zen sasheen zendo (for the cognoscenti), health farm, spiritual energy alignment center, “happy ending” massage parlor, and Harbin Hot Springs operation? With a small track similar to the paseo that Mexican young people do around the zocalo but bigger to enable the Lamborghini/Ferrari/Jaguar/Henry J crowd to cruise around. Noise police would cruise the center with THX1137-somber looming menace in appropriate Armani/Versace garb. Housing values would soar, major eateries would flock, throngs would zoom to EDH to see and be seen, and Kardashian and other fabulous jewelry would be heisted weekly to provide a smidgen of zest for the otherwise somnolent, would be-narcisisst post-Trump crowd. Lots of material for HDH’s video show, which would broadcast continuously on screens in all the Best establishments. Periodic events such as the Basso Profundo contest to determine the best performers of “Ommmm”; or the Gossamer Wings Ephemeral Fly-By contest to choose the “Maxwell Parish would have chosen you” Floating Nymph award. Don’t know how all this would affect your hearing loss.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Lest there be any well-intentioned persons who do not perceive the difference … between religion and the cant of religion, piety and the pretence of piety, a humble reverence for the great truths of Scripture and an audacious and offensive obtrusion of its letter and not its spirit in the commonest dissensions and the meanest affairs of life, to the extraordinary confusion of ignorant minds, let them understand that it is always the latter, and never the former, which is satirized here. Further, that the latter is here satirized as being, according to all experience, inconsistent with the former, impossible of union with it, and one of the most evil and mischievous falsehoods existent in society…. It may appear unnecessary to offer a word of observation on so plain a head. But it is never out of season to protest against that coarse familiarity with sacred things which is busy on the lip, and idle in the heart; or against the confounding of Christianity with any class of persons who, in the words of SWIFT, have just enough religion to make them hate, and not enough to make them love, one another.”
Preface to the Charles Dickens Edition, THE PICKWICK PAPERS (1868).

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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The Namibia Superstar, a photograph by Richard K. Diran. (http://www.diranart.com/web/index.php?option=com_expose&Itemid=28 )

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 Papa Joe 0005 (October 2, 2016)

 

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”
~ Jimi Hendrix

 

 

Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Athena and Happy Anniversary to my sister MaryAnn and her husband George.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

One afternoon when it was not raining, we decided to walk to Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s central urban park. LM liked to feed the birds (mostly pigeons and a few large crows) and the fish (gaping toothy jaws large enough to swallow your arm).

As we began to climb the steps to the sky-path over the freeway and into the park, we were stopped by some police who told us to wait. After a little while, I saw a cavalcade of automobiles from the Royal Family’s fleet come speeding down the freeway. “Oh look,” I said and pointed to the cars. “It must be a member of the Royal Family.”

After the motorcade passed by, one of the policemen approached and got into a heated conversation with the Little Masseuse. “What’s going on,” I inquired? “They want to arrest you for pointing at the Royal Family entourage,” She answered. According to LM, they felt that what I did was disrespectful and they could possibly mistake my pointing for a gun.

I guess, unlike in the United States, the police in Thailand first announce their reasons for possibly killing you instead of waiting until after you are dead.

It was agreed, eventually, that I was adequately warned and could spend the rest of the day neither behind bars nor dead.

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Lumpini Park, like many great city central parks, is magnificent in concept but a bit seedy and down at the heel in places. Recently, the large Monitor Lizards that inhabit the lake have taken to the land and eaten a few joggers……. No, I’m kidding. They have not eaten any joggers but have frightened a few tourists, so there is a highly publicized effort by the authorities to capture them and transport them to a more appropriate location. Some have suggested that location is probably the woks in the kitchens of some of the authority’s families.
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One day at lunch, I asked the Gemologist how the cultures of those lost tribes of Burma that he spent so many years photographing are holding up. He said their cultures are mostly all gone. It happened faster than he had expected. Surprisingly, except for the Muslim Rohingya tribe, it has not been by the force of arms of the Burmese government but through the introduction of modern fashions and technologies. If the Naga people still go headhunting, they do so in Old Navy knock-off tee shirts and find their way through the jungle using google maps on their iPhones.
pasted-graphic-2

The next few days were spent trying to get some exercise in between the rains, struggling all one morning to get the presidential debate on my iPhone, and listening to more stories from the deep sea diver. One of the tales was a harrowing story about accompanying his flying instructor, a stunt pilot, to Columbia to pick up a small plane and fly it back to Key West. When they arrived, they found that although the plane lacked ignition, brakes and several other important mechanical parts, it carried a load of made in Columbia product and a baby ocelot (who got loose in the cockpit somewhere over Panama). The flight back to Key West included stops in Nicaragua, Mexico and one or two other places along the way. Apparently, there was also some problem with the gas since they had to fly with a fifty gallon can of gas in the cockpit along with a jury-rigged hose passing through the dashboard into the engine. Oh, and now and then there were women (there always are in stories like this) who had to sit on their laps because there were not enough seats. (What they did with the Ocelot during those times I never found out.)

And then, it was time to leave the teeming and steaming streets of Bangkok and return to the Golden Hills where the air is clean, the stories and people are few, and where the indigenous wildlife of pigeons, rats, and wandering packs of soi dogs are replaced by turkeys, coyotes, and tiny steam cleaned pedigreed canines on leashes.

 

B. From Bangkok to El Dorado Hills:

My return to America was long but nowhere as traumatic as the flight out. I had an entire row to myself on the flight to Beijing and so I stretched out and slept. I had a nine-hour layover in Beijing but luckily they have a by-the-hour hotel in the airport so I rented a tiny room, showered, slept — and dreamed.

I dreamt I was in a small kingdom in ancient China, appropriately. The king’s comely daughter had taken a liking to me. (In my dreams, I am usually younger and far more attractive than I am in real life.) Suddenly, a faction of the king’s retainers organized a coup and killed all the royal family except the Comely Princess who I saved. Together we organized a resistance, fought back and eventually killed all the coupsters only to find, at our moment of triumph, the Emperor with all his troops lined up outside the wall of the city wondering why there was so much turmoil in this tiny little kingdom in his empire and whether he should just burn it to the ground and kill everyone and be done with it. The Comely Princess suggested we set up two thrones on the top of the city walls in which she and I would sit and shout down at the Emperor that we were now firmly in control and were his loyal subjects. Well, he bought that little bit of theater and marched away. In celebration, the Comely Princess and I agreed to get married that evening. As I was preparing for the nuptials and drinking a glass of rice wine, the enraged princess stormed into the room and accused me of sacrificing one of our most beloved retainers to the cause. I tried to explain to the now not so Comely Princess that it was his choice but she was having none of it. So, I soon found myself seated on the horse I rode in on looking back at the city. I wondered whether the whole thing was simply a ruse by the Comely Princess to make herself a Regal Queen. It wouldn’t be the first time in my life something like this happened. For a moment I thought about gathering supporters, killing the now Regal Queen and taking back the kingdom. I decided against that. I am pretty good at fighting my way out of any imbroglio I find myself in, but starting from scratch was always too much work, so I rode off.

In case you are interested, I was dressed in Chinese boiled leather armor over my jeans with my straw fedora on my head. I may be young, handsome and competent in my dreams but I still dressed funny. By the way, my horse was gray.

During the ten hour flight from Beijing to SF, I watched two movies, The Huntsman, because I adore Charlize Theron, especially when she is tearing up the scenery, and the old Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster film Vera Cruz. Coop is an aging plantation owner and ex-Confederate Army officer who believes he fought for freedom and that the southern plantation life was built on land and big houses and not on slavery. Being freedom loving, he eventually supports the Mexican peasants against the Emperor Maximilian. Since they were peasants and only seemed able to sing and dance and throw themselves blindly at the Emperors machine guns, they obviously needed Cooper and Lancaster to save them. I will also see any movie with Lancaster in it just to see his insane smile.

Other than that, I took some valium to sleep the rest of the way. It took about 5 hours to get from SFO to El Dorado Hills where everyone seemed uncomfortable because I arrived a day sooner than expected. I also learned that my 99-year-old mom fell and broke her hip.

As I have said often, “Getting there is often far more interesting and pleasant than being there.”

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

This is a continuation of my somewhat irreverent retelling of some of my favorite eras of history:

It was Judea and especially Jerusalem that gave Herod agita. Most other the other parts of his kingdom seemed to accept his harsh but relatively peaceful administration with what passed for equanimity. But, in faction-riddled Judea, it seemed everyone hated everyone else and that all they seemed to agree on was that they all hated him, mostly for being Idumean and not Judean. So he did what all competent rulers do in cases like this, he threw money at them. He first lavished it on those who made up what passed for the upper class, the priests and Sadducees who he reasoned would then keep the other malcontents under some control.

When that didn’t work, he struck upon a more audacious scheme. He would rebuild their Temple and he would make it the greatest temple of the time and people from throughout the Levant and even the known world would flock to Jerusalem to see this wonder, worship there and spend their money. This he thought, reasonably so, would make everyone happy.

With his usual vigor, he set upon this task. First, he built a mountain in the city enclosed in walls so that it could be seen from everywhere and on the top of this mountain he built the most magnificent temple of his time.

While it made believers far and wide proud they had such a magnificent thing, alas, it did not stop the Judeans and especially the Jerusalemites from arguing even more about things they had been arguing about for at least a century and to his dismay they even found more things to argue about.

But while all this arguing and faction building is important, it is not important here for our story at this time but will be a little later. What is important is that Herod the businessman (like the not so successful but equally insane businessman or our time Donald Trump) did not want to use his own money to fund his largess. And what he came up with would change the world.
(to be continued)

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

Below is reproduced one of my favorite flights of fancy stories I wrote about six years ago. I also like it because its literary references could only be identified by people over sixty and so the piece effectively was born dead. I do, however, recommend reading O. Henry. He really was a con man, embezzler, and pharmacist until he joined the literary world and became a liar for hire.

Posted in FRACTURED FACTOIDS, VOYAGES IN MY MIND:
FROM RUBAIYAT TO RUBY OTT ON THE RUBY YACHT AND HOME AGAIN

All my life I have often taken voyages of the mind as I have pursued some research thread or another. Anyway, the internet is a marvelous vehicle for anyone who enjoys traveling without leaving one’s bed.

In my most recent voyage, I had been traveling north, escaping from the devastation of Ninth Century Southern Italy, with some Jewish merchants and settled with them in the Rhine Valley only to be forced to move eastward into the Pale, when the armies of Western Christendom had made that land too dangerous for my Hebrew brethren.

Shortly thereafter, I was at the home of the local Rabbi in a shtetl deep within the Pale somewhere in eastern Poland when that good man began to become quite emotional and upset about a radical Sephardic Rabbi named Maimonides who lived among the Muslims and was obviously corrupted by them. According to the Rabbi, this Maimonides was attempting, in his erroneous writings on sacred subjects, to humanize the faith of their fathers.

I decided to visit Maimonides at his family home in Egypt where he was working as the physician to the Sultan, Saladin. One evening shortly after I arrived, I asked the honorable doctor-rabbi to instruct me in his teachings. He responded to my request by saying“Pookie, before embarking on a voyage into Hebrew esoterica, you should first travel to Persia and stay a few evenings in a caravansary called ‘The Perfumed Garden.’”

I did so and one evening while relaxing in the hot tub after the day’s debauch, I met a fellow traveler who introduced himself to me as Mercury Ali. We got to talking about this and that and after swapping some tales of our respective voyages, he suggested that that evening we attend the salon of the well-known Hori, Scheherazade where he assured me that the finest stories in all of Persia could he heard. “Be careful,” he warned me, “the tales are so beguiling they can become addictive.” It has been rumored that some of the attendees at the salon had become so besotted that they remained there for over 1000 nights.

Assuring him that I will take his warning seriously, I accompanied him to the salon. I admit, I soon began to find myself becoming hooked on the conversation. After a few nights with Haroun al-Rashid, Delilah the Crafty, and any number of men named Sinbad (Aladdin and Ali Baba, to my regret, were off on some adventure or another), I met up with another attendee, the besotted tent-maker, mathematician and astrologer Omar Khayyam. He invited me to spend the next few days with him and a couple of Horis, and a few bottles of Napa Valley’s finest jug wine under some trees in the desert somewhere.

One morning, having finished off the jugs of wine, I found myself with Omar banging on the door of a local tavern demanding the proprietor open the premises so that we could resume our drinking.

After a downing a few cups of chardonnay in the cool common room of the tavern, I fell asleep on the table and woke up in the early part of the Twentieth Century in Greenwich Village in New York City at the house of two hippies who were dancing with each other while reciting Omar’s verses.

It seems that Bob Babbitt and his wife, Jessie, were having a party to celebrate the end of their short unhappy experiment with sobriety. Among the guests was a gentleman who went by the obvious alias of O. Henry. I was later to learn that he was a convicted embezzler, ex-con and drunken pharmacist from North Carolina who was hiding out in New York in the witness protection program under an assumed name.

He suggested that since the current party was winding down, that I join him at another get-together in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana hosted by a friend of his called Idaho. It was a reception in honor of the newest residents of the valley, Homer K. M. and, his girlfriend Ruby Ott.

The following morning, we joined Rocky and Bullwinkle on Bullwinkle’s boat the “Ruby Yacht” and traveled down the Bitterroot to Veronica Lake where we spent the day.

P.S. Omar (who was previously a member of the Taliban) and Scheherazade now are living together in an apartment in North Beach San Francisco with another illegal alien couple from Guatemala who formerly served in the Sandinista army. Omar and Sherry (the name she goes by now) are strong supporters of Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbara Boxer when they are not out campaigning for the “Green Party”. 

(https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/)

NOTE: If you read this far, here is the connection to the complete collection of O. Henry’s tales: (http://www.gutenberg.org/author/O._Henry), You can read his short stories, “The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball” and “The Handbook of Hymen” should you want to take my voyage in reverse.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Forty percent of all women who are married to police officers are abused.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

In the United States, we have often elected to public office the stupid and at times The crazy. It has only recently, however, that most of those we elect happen to be both stupid and crazy.
B. Today’s Poems:

1. Virago

I am Wo — Man
I break stallions to harness
They ride me for my pleasure
They tend my flocks
And in the end
I paste their memories
in my scrapbook.

2. Seize the Day.

“So seize the day! hold holiday!
Be unwearied, unceasing, alive
you and your own true love;
Let not the heart be troubled during your
sojourn on Earth,
but seize the day as it passes!
Ancient Egyptian poem 1160 BC

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Metaphysical naiveté always ends in murder. It fragments the world. Little acts of kindness and charity mask the monstrous evil they abet. And the system rolls forward. The polar ice caps melt. The droughts rage over cropland. The drones deliver death from the sky. The state moves inexorably forward to place us in chains. The sick die. The poor starve. The prisons fill. And the careerist, plodding forward, does his or her job.”
Chris Hedges, Truthdig

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 29 Cold Tits 0005 (March 14, 2016)

images

 

“Your mind, never active at anytime, is now even less than ever so. All I heard was a kind of rattle, unintelligible even to me who knew what was intended. I can’t go on, I’ll go on: You invent nothing, you think you are inventing, you think you are escaping, and all you do is stammer out your lesson. To every man his little cross. Till he dies. And is forgotten.”
Samuel Beckett

 

Happy Birthday Hayden

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S BRIEF ADVENTURE IN SAN FRANCISCO:

Every time I return to San Francisco, I am surprised at the changes to the City that have occurred since the last time I have been there — more high-rises, more coffee shops, more parks being re-landscaped, more people who do not dress like San Franciscans used to dress.

Anyway, I spent two nights with my son Jason and his family watching a sci-fi thriller and holding a small birthday party for my granddaughter Amanda (she is 11).
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A couple of afternoons with Peter Grenell sipping coffee at Bernie’s in Noe Valley talking old men’s talk and telling oft-repeated stories. One evening I traveled to Pacifica to hear his band “Blind Lemon Pledge” play at Cheers, an interesting night spot in that coastal community.

Then, a lunch with the ever vivacious and interesting Kathleen Foote at a nice little restaurant on Market Street named “Alta” where she regaled me with stories of her recent trips to India and Cuba. All in all, it was a pleasant four days. Then it was off to the Golden hills — home again, home again jiggity jig.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Back to breakfast at Bella Bru, swimming through the pain, long naps, short walks, bitter memories, and dreams of what could have been. As Marcel Proust observed, ”Experiences are less real when you have them than when you either remember them or imagine them.” Ain’t that the truth?

Meanwhile, the Wicked Witch of the East pads up and down the hallways like a crazed cockroach searching for its ball of shit.

Today, I wait for the rain. It is supposed to last for six days. The skies are already a deepening gray. I think happy thoughts about its beneficial effects on the current drought in order to prepare myself for the horror of spending most of the week cooped up in a house with a deranged wraith. It could be worse, I guess. I could be just a metaphor.

Thinking of metaphors brings me back again to Samuel Beckett. There was a time when I voraciously devoured all his works. It was a time I was more depressed than usual. I could never tell whether Sam was cynical, depressed or suffering from some as yet unnamed personality disorder. My favorite novel of his was “Krapp’s Last Tape.” It fascinated me how someone, who in his plays rarely had his characters speak more than one word of dialogue whenever it was their time to declaim, could expend so many words on the subtle miseries of dying.

“It’s so nice to know where you’re going, in the early stages. It almost rids you of the wish to go there. There is man in his entirety, blaming his shoe when his foot is guilty. Don’t wait to be hunted to hide. What a joy to know where one is, and where one will stay, without being there. You wiser but not sadder, and I sadder but not wiser. I don’t understand how it can be endured.”
S. Beckett

Two days of low gray skies and little rain. Perhaps today is the day the skies open up and wash the Golden Hills down into the Great Green Valley.

I disagree with writers like Proust. If it can’t be boiled down to one sentence (or two if you are especially loquacious) then it’s probably not worth writing about. It is certainly not worth reading about.

The difference between Donald Trump and Adolph Hitler is that Hitler, at least, believed the shit he was saying.

It is hard to believe that one political party considers the primary qualification for President of the United States is the size of the candidate’s dick. Perhaps it has always been that way.

I constantly see comments in Facebook and social media from men claiming they don’t hate all women, just Hillary, and all you women will simply have to wait until one we white men approve of comes along.
On Sunday, thanks to Stevie and Norbert, I escaped to Lone Buffalo Winery in Ophir for their Buffalo Chili feast. Stevie also gave me the DVDs of the entire Montalbano television series. I can see hours in front of the TV in my future.

Monday was HRM’s birthday. He baked his own birthday cake.
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Alas, Puff the Bearded Dragon’s short life has ended. The vet said he was sold to us with a birth defect. Both H and I cried — he for Puff and I for him.

I have surprisingly actually completed writing a book. It is essentially a collection of some of the posts from my blogs. Now that I placed them into a word processor that prepares them for publication, I cannot get them out again to do so. Nor, can I figure out how to format it so that it produces one rather than two columns in the final draft. I guess, I have to content myself with the satisfaction of having completed something. I suppose this is a good thing since it avoids the embarrassment of having others read it.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

The Problem with Electric and Self-driving Automobiles:

I support the movement toward electric vehicles and self-driving automobiles. They are a necessary component of any comprehensive assault on the looming crisis of human-induced climate change. There is, however, an emerging problem that should be examined and solutions proposed and implemented— the sooner the better.

The automotive system in the United States, as it is in most countries, can be described as predominately individually owned vehicles operated on collectively owned and maintained public rights of way. In the US, this system of right of ways is funded, not from the government’s General Fund, but chiefly by a type of user tax based upon levies on gasoline and other petroleum products used to power the vehicles.

Since about the turn of the Century, miles driven per person have fallen consistently year after year. Increased mileage rates per gallon of gasoline have risen putting additional stress on the various Highway Trust Funds. Major replacement of aging bridges and tunnels must now use the government’s general funds if they are to be repaired at all.

What will happen to the nation’s roads and highways during the 2020s when electric cars and trucks are expected to make up significant portions of the vehicles using the nation’s roadways? They are now given a free ride. That cannot continue. Solutions should not wait for the crisis to occur that may leave the highway fund in a hole that it may never be able to fill.

Although there appear to be several credible ways to resolve this emerging problem, we are talking about changing a nation’s entire system for funding its most significant transportation network upon which its economy is based. It will take time to work out the politics, procedures, and technologies of any system we settle on.

We should be doing this now before not after the crisis hits us.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

According to a Gallup poll,18% of Americans still believe that the sun revolves around the earth. Almost all of those that do, vote Republican and watch Fox News.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

The following is the seventh in the series containing excerpts from the Prologue to Quigley’s uncompleted magnum opus, WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND POLITICAL STABILITY. It discusses the relationship between security and power.

Security and Power

Introduction

“Just as our ideas on the nature of security are falsified by our limited experience as Americans, so our ideas are falsified by the fact that we have experienced security in the form of public authority and the modern state. We do not easily see that the state, especially in its modern sovereign form, is a rather recent innovation in the experience of Western civilization, not over a few centuries old. But men have experienced security and insecurity throughout all human history. In all that long period, security has been associated with power relationships and is today associated with the state only because this is the dominant form which power relationships happen to take in recent times. But even today, power relationships exist quite outside of the sphere of the state, and, as we go farther into the past, such non-state (and ultimately, non-public) power relationships become more dominant in human life.”

“For thousands of years, every person has been a nexus of emotional relationships, and, at the same time, he has been a nexus of economic relationships. In fact, these may be the same relationships which we look at from different points of view and regard them in the one case as emotional and in another case as economic. These same relationships, or other ones, form about each person a nexus of power relationships.”

“In the remote past, when all relationships through which a person expressed his life’s energies and obtained satisfaction of his human needs were much simpler than today, they were all private, personal, and fairly specific relationships. Now that some of these relationships, from the power point of view, have been rearranged and have become, to a great extent, public, impersonal, and abstract, we must not allow these changes to mislead us about their true nature or about the all-pervasive character of power in human affairs, especially in its ability to satisfy each person’s need for security.”

“The two problems which we face in this section are: what is the nature of power? And, what is the relationship between power and security? Other questions, such as how power operates or how power structures change in human societies, will require our attention later.”

The nature of power

“Power is simply the ability to obtain the acquiescence of another person’s will. Sometimes this is worded to read that power is the ability to obtain obedience, but this is a much higher level of power relationship. Such relationships may operate on many levels, but we could divide these into three. On the highest level is the ability to obtain full cooperation. On a somewhat lower level is obedience to specific orders, while, still lower, is simple acquiescence, which is hardly more than tacit permission to act without interference. All of these are power relationships which differ simply in the degree and kind of power needed to obtain them.”

The triple basis of power in our culture

“The power to which we refer here is itself complex and can be analyzed, in our society, into three aspects: (1) force; (2) wealth; and (3) persuasion. The first of these is the most fundamental (and becoming more so) in our society, and will be discussed at length later. The second is quite obvious since it involves no more than the purchase or bribery of another’s acquiescence, but the third is usually misunderstood in our day.

“The economic factor enters into the power nexus when a person’s will yields to some kind of economic consideration, even if this is merely one of reciprocity. When primitive tribes tacitly hunt in restricted areas which do not overlap, there is a power relationship on the lowest level of economic reciprocity. Such a relationship may exist even among animals. Two bears who approach a laden blueberry bush will eat berries from opposite sides of the bush without interfering with each other, in tacit understanding that, if either tried to dispossess the other, the effort would give rise to a turmoil of conflicting force which would make enjoyment of the berries by either impossible. This is a power relationship based on economic reciprocity and will break down into conflict unless there is tacit mutual understanding as to where the dividing lines between their respective areas of operation lie. This significant subjective factor will be discussed later.”

“The ideological factor in power relationships, which I have called persuasion, operates through a process which is frequently misunderstood. It does not consist of an effort to get someone else to adopt our point of view or to believe something they had not previously believed, but rather consists of showing them that their existing beliefs require that they should do what we want. This is a point which has been consistently missed by the propaganda agencies of the United States government and is why such agencies have been so woefully unsuccessful despite expenditures of billions of dollars. Of course, it requires arguing from the opponent’s point of view, something Americans can rarely get themselves to do because they will rarely bother to discover what the opponent’s point of view is. The active use of such persuasion is called propaganda and, as practiced, is often futile because of a failure to see that the task has nothing to do directly with changing their ideas, but is concerned with getting them to recognize the compatibility between their ideas and our actions. Propaganda also has another function, which will be mentioned later and which helps to explain how the confusion just mentioned arose.”

“On its highest level, the ideological element in power becomes a question of morale. This is of the greatest importance in any power situation. It means that the actor himself is convinced of the correctness and inevitability of his actions to the degree that his conviction serves both to help him to act more successfully and to persuade the opposition that his (the actor’s) actions are in accordance with the way things should be. Strangely enough, this factor of morale, which we might like to reserve for men because of its spiritual or subjective quality, also operates among animals. A small bird will often be observed in summer successfully driving a crow or even a hawk away from its nest, and a dog who would not ordinarily fight at all will attack, often successfully, a much larger beast who intrudes onto his front steps or yard. This element of subjective conviction which we call morale is the most significant aspect of the ideological element in power relationships and shows the intimate relationship between the various elements of power from the way in which it strengthens both force and persuasion.”

“It also shows something else which contemporary thinkers are very reluctant to accept. That is the operation of natural law. For the fact that animals recognize the prescriptive rights to property, as shown in the fact that a much stronger beast will yield to a much weaker one on the latter’s home area, or that a hawk will allow a flycatcher to chase it from the area of the flycatcher’s nest, shows a recognition of property rights which implies a system of law among beasts. In fact, the singing of a bird (which is not for the edification of man or to attract a mate, but is a proclamation of a residence area to other birds of the same habits) is another example of the recognition of rights and thus of law among non-human life.”

“Of course, in any power situation, the most obvious element to people of our culture is force. This refers to the simple fact of physical compulsion, but it is made more complicated by the two facts that man has, throughout history, modified and increased his physical ability to compel, both by the use of tools (weapons) and by organization of numerous men to increase their physical impact. It is also confused, for many people, by the fact that such physical compulsion is usually aimed at a subjective target: the will of another person. This last point, like the role of morale already mentioned, shows again the basic unity of power and of power relationships, in spite of the fact that writers like myself may, for convenience of exposition, divide it into elements, like this division into force, wealth, and persuasion.”

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

It seems to me that in the United States, the difference between conservatives and liberals comes down to the following:

Conservatives believe that Liberals are capable of preternatural genius in fomenting secret criminal conspiracies to assault what Conservatives are convinced is the fundamental rightness of their view of the world.

Liberals simply believe Conservatives are stupid.

 

C. Today’s Poems:

 

1. Bump by Spike Milligan

Things that go ‘bump’ in the night
Should not really give one a fright.
It’s the hole in each ear
That lets in the fear,
That, and the absence of light!
2. THE BIG STORM, not by Spike Milligan

They say,
it is coming,
THE BIG STORM.
They say,
it will knock down bridges,
with its howling wind,
flood valleys,
scrape the earth from the hills
and end the drought.
They say,
it will do all of that and more.

I stare
through the window
at the grey-black sky
and wonder
if I will be disappointed.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“More and more often one was obliged to initiate an investigation by trying to sort out what the police had been up to. Not infrequently this proved harder than clearing up the actual case.”
Sjowall, Maj; Wahloo, Per. The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 P0PS 0004 (August 31, 2015)

 

“Never under any circumstances interrupt a story!”
Bruen, Ken. Green Hell (Jack Taylor). Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

After a long, tiring and mostly uneventful trip back from Thailand, I met my sister in San Francisco and she drove us to Mendocino where I slept my jet lag away.

The next day Annmarie and her husband Dean, my grandson Anthony and Irene a relative from Sabina spending a few weeks in the US arrived. Anthony is having a difficult time. Arrested again for operating his marijuana business, he is in a lot of trouble.

Later that night my other grandson Aaron arrived. On the way up he crashed his car into the back of another car that had that had stopped in the middle of the road having struck and killed a large deer. Aside from that, he seemed in good spirits and happy about his burgeoning career as a chef.

The next day we visited Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. While walking along the path someone going the other called out to me, “How’re you doing Pops?” I was not amused.
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Later we attended the Art and Wine show at the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were a Coastal Conservancy project during my time as director. It was in danger of closing down. So, since it was considered a significant coastal resource for the area, we developed a plan for its preservation enabling it to redesign and reconstruct its physical plant and exhibits and to purchase a large parcel extending to the coast.
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There also was music to go with the art and wine.
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On Sunday, we went canoeing on Big River. It tired me out so I skipped lunch and took a nap.
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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Finally, I returned to the Golden Hills and things ground to a halt.

My sister dropped me off at the Trans-bay Terminal and after a riding a bus, a train, the light rail and another bus I arrived at EDH Town Center three hours later. The house was still over 2 miles away and there was no way for me to get there except by walking and dragging my luggage (Mr. Suitcase) behind me.
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I looked like a homeless old man searching for a place to sleep. I hoped that that image would so horrify the citizens of EDH that they would call the police who would arrest me and then, after I convinced them I belonged there, would drive me home in an air-conditioned police car. No such luck, so I struggled for another hour and a half walking with Mr. Suitcase, trudging from one bit of shade to another until I arrived home. I then took a nap.

The next day Dick and HRM arrived from Thailand. Since then I’ve returned to my usual routine — Drive H to school, eat breakfast at Bella Bru, go swimming, return home and play with the computer, pick up H from school, eat dinner and go to bed.

Today I met an old retired man from India. I was enjoying a cafe latte in the Starbuck’s at Target while waiting for H to shop for school supplies. The man sat down at the table where I sat. He was waiting for his family to finish shopping. He told me he spent half the year in New Delhi and the other half in the Golden Hills. He said that he used to be a sociologist and, although he now was retired, he sometimes still is called on to lecture about the differences between US and Indian culture. He said he often seeks out Americans to talk to in order to learn more about our culture. Then he said, in words to the effect, “Being old in America sucks. I have to hang out in this Starbuck’s in order to find someone to talk to.”

I have a new phone, an iPhone 6. It frightens me.

I went to the pool early this morning. Alas, the pool I usually swim in was occupied by an exercise class, so I sat on a beach chair to watch and wait until they finished and cleared out of the pool. One of the first things I noticed was the enormous size of the boobs that I observed. Not simply on women but on the men with their distended bellies and their man-boobs sparkling in the sun. Now I admit I had hoped to sit there and enjoy a visually erotic experience since at my age visually erotic is the only type of erotic granted me. Alas, it was anything but erotic. I then I looked down at my own body and realized I fit right in with the water exercise crew. Finally, the music accompanying the happy and vigorous workout eventually drove me to the much colder lap pool for my own usual morning workout.
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This week the trees with the red flowers were in bloom throughout the subdivision. As I have mentioned before, the landscape architect for the various subdivisions did a marvelous job in siting trees that bloom in different colors throughout the year delighting those with little going on in their lives and annoying many others who suffer from pollen allergies.

HRM report: Back in school in fifth grade. Currently, he is focused on his Youtube activities, “The Haystack Show.” He is the Chairman of the Board, Director and Star, his friend Jake is the CEO, Producer, and Editor.
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HRM, Pookie and Tyson HRM’s friend but not the CEO of “The Haystack Show.”

 

I find that spending my time with 10-year-olds is a rewarding and enjoyable as traveling around the world.

Alas, the pump that pushes the house’s wastewater up to the sewer that runs along the street broke requiring HRM and me to spend the nights until it is repaired in the Holiday in Town Center and eating in some of HRM’s favorite restaurants, MacDonald’s, Taco Bell and Panda’s.

I cannot believe I am reduced to writing about broken sewer pumps and Taco Bell.

Since I have returned to EDH my cuisine choices have been limited to McDonalds, Taco Bell, Panda and the snack bar at Target.
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Sometimes we go fishing at the Duck Pond. Where I lie on the grass and stare at the sky until I fall asleep but usually I do nothing.
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I guess I can report that the drought resistant spiders are back and have covered with webs the landscaping for the houses on the street prompting the migration of itinerant pest control experts knocking on our doors and promising to remove the pests in the most environmentally safe manner possible. I assume if that were true, they intend to pick up each spider individually and crush it between their thumb and forefingers.

C. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Earlier this month when a bomb blew up in Bangkok near a much-revered shrine killing almost 20 people and injuring almost 100 more, the unelected Prime Minister and leader of the country’s most recent coup said that it was an attempt to injure Thailand’s tourism industry, while completely omitting any expression of sympathy for those killed or injured.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“We usually think of Christianity as the great contrast to the Roman ideology, but this is to misconceive the whole civilization. Christianity as an organization was in no way incompatible with Romanism as an organized structure. The teachings of Christ were, but these teachings were so very alien and strange that no one took them very seriously and being a Christian soon meant, not belief in Christ’s teachings but belief in Christ, a totally different thing. The same thing happened in Islam where Muhammad’s teachings were soon ignored, and the requirements of Islam became a few rituals, plus monotheism, and so far as Muhammad was concerned, belief that he was the Prophet of the One God.

The Christians cut down Christ’s teachings to a minimum also, insisted only on the belief that Christ was the Son of God and some related beliefs and certain rituals, and then began to engage in violent controversy on minute details of implications of these, very remote from Christ’s teachings or attitude. On this basis, there was not much in Christianity which could not be reconciled with the Roman system, and the original enmity between the two came more from the Roman side than from the Christian.

…The willingness of the Christians to become part of the Roman system can be seen in the present survival of the Roman Catholic Church as a copy of the Roman empire, a system organized in municipalities and provinces under an absolute ruler who uses the robes, nomenclature, language, and modes of action of the late Roman empire.”
Carroll Quigley

 

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“When I won my Best Screenplay award several years ago, I had the great pleasure to see a number of films. One short film in particular caught my eye. It was a musical comedy called “West Bank Story,” and . . . you guessed it — it was a take on “West Side Story,” but set on the West Bank in Israel. I laughed so hard, I triggered muscle spasms in my back, and I had to go home and lay on a hot moist heating pad. It didn’t win, which I considered an enormous injustice, but I kept in touch with the film maker, a tremendously talented guy named Ari Sandel.

I saw it was nominated for an Oscar in the live action short film category, and I called Ari and arrogantly proclaimed that he would get an Oscar before Martin Scorsese would, and he DID . . . by about 2 hours! The Live-Action Short Film award was announced very early in the broadcast, with the major categories, like best actors, director, and picture of course saved for the end.

Now I see that Ari is dating actress Julianne Hough. Some guys have ALL the luck! Hey, Juli — for once, what about dating SCREENWRITERS, huh???

“West Bank Story, just shy of 20 minutes, is uploaded here:|

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgQfCUNf0no

But if you purchase it, Ari is donating all proceeds to a nonprofit in the Near East that benefits victims of the violence — Israelis AND Palestinians.”

 

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

I think this animal rights thing may have gone too far. I mean, what’s wrong about a tiger living in a zoo in a place made to look like the jungle it’s never seen and free from scratches and annoyances of the wild, where someone else catches, slaughters and cuts up his food into bite-sized bits while people pay good money to watch him lie around and yawn? Wouldn’t this make him a Kardashian?

After all, humans in their natural state were made to huddle around the entrance of a cave and be periodically culled by Saber Tooth Cats and Cave Bears — not working 80 hours a week in order to afford to live in a fake greek revival house far too large to ever be fully used with a new Ferrari parked in the driveway that inevitably his doped up kids will drive into a tree.

 

D. Today’s Poem:

The frost has known,
From scattered conclave by the few winds blown,
That the lone genius in my roots,
Bare down there in a jungle of fruits,
Has planted a green year, for praise, in the heart of my upgrowing days.
Dylan Thomas wrote this when he was fourteen-years-old. He remained blindly arrogant and mostly drunk for the rest of his life.

 

E. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Altschmerz

n. Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Republicans continue to refuse to extend [unemployment insurance]. You know what, I am beginning to think that they’ve got a point. If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else.”
Barack Obama

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: July through September 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

 

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN NEW YORK CITY:

1. A brief stop in San Francisco:

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

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

2. New York, New York:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

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

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

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

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

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

C. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

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

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

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

Or does it explode?
Langston Hughes

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 JoJo 0004 (May 19, 2015)

 

“When men cannot change things, they change words.”
Jean Jaurès, speech at the International Socialist Congress, Paris (1900).

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. A BRIEF SOJOURN IN SAN FRANCISCO:

After tearing through the Sunday NY Times in the morning and downing some strong black coffee, we left Mendocino for The Cool Grey City of Love to visit my mom for Mother’s Day.

The 98-year old’s short term memory may be in decline and her heart weakening but she gave as good as she got in the exchange of good-natured intra-family insults that characterize our family get-togethers.
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The matriarch and family.

After leaving the nursing home, I visited with Peter Grenell at Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley. Peter just had part of his shoulder replaced and was still feeling a bit of pain. We sat on a bench outside, drank our coffee and, in the increasingly halting style of the aging, swapped tales. Given that anyone over 70 has passed his dispose-by date, I lamented that our age we have become little more than cartons of curdled milk. Peter responded by advising, “when all you have is curdled milk, you might as well make cheese.”

On the way back to Peter’s house where I was to have dinner and spend the night, Peter pointed out the incredible prices commanded in the Techie Paradise that Noe Valley has become. The following photograph shows a house about three doors down from Peter’s that is on the market for four million dollars.
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A Four Million Dollar House

At dinner that night, I played with their granddaughter a one-year-old two-fisted eater whose Hawaiian name I do not recall but it sounds like Aurora. I also learned that Barrie, Peter’s wife, swims an hour every morning in frigid San Francisco Bay. I was shamed. I refuse to swim anywhere the water temperature is below 80 degrees.

In the morning, riding on the J Church on the way to the Amtrak office downtown, a large androgynous African-American female and a small, skinny equally androgynous white male began a loud altercation right above where I was sitting trying to avoid eye contact. They were shouting at each other about something; or rather the larger of the two was shouting and the other cringing while pleading with the driver to call the police. I pictured myself appearing on the local television news as the unwitting and unwilling victim of an only in San Francisco perplexing racial and gender contretemps. Luckily for me, at the next stop, the larger combatant ran off while the smaller continued trying to explain to the driver what happened.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I am back in El Dorado Hills. Alas, adventure does not seem descriptive of anything one does here. I get the impression that even a change of seasons can cause anxiety among some of the denizens of these golden hills.

It has been four days since I have returned and I can happily report the rose bushes in the back yard are in bloom — now the weekend cometh. I leave for NY next Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, the rains came. I was eating pepperoni pizza at Mama Ann’s in Town Center when the storm hit full of lightning and thunder. Like in the tropics, the deluge flooded the streets but lasted only about two hours. It departed as suddenly as it arrived leaving the air clear of pollen and dust. I slept well that night.

I read somewhere a doctor observed that patients as they aged experienced an ever increasing series of maladies most of which were curable but eventually they begin to occur so rapidly that the body simply gives up the fight. Today while eating breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe a piece of a tooth fell out and embedded itself in my bagel. Since I leave in a couple of days, I will be forced to travel with a dark black empty space in my smile until I find a reasonably priced dentist to insert a bridge.

The weekend flew by like an osprey falling on its prey. The weather was cold and overcast so no swimming for me. Instead, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road to get my blood pumping.

HRM’s flag football team lost the championship game to the hated Seahawks 34 to 6. The coach was devastated. The kids were happy with their ice-cream after the game.

Since I seem focused on aging this week, I thought I should mention the three phases of aging among old men: First you forget to zip it up; then you forget to zip it down; then you die. I am at phase-one. I’ve taken to wearing long shirts outside my pants because, no matter how much I try to remember, at least once a day I forget.

Monday came in cold and cloudy. I leave on Wednesday, so I set about on last minute things, the bank, the pharmacy and tackling the conundrum of how to pack a single carry-on for a two-month trip.

The last day before I bolt town. What have I forgotten?

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOID:

According to a study by Microsoft Corporation, human attention span has supposedly dropped from 12 seconds in 2002 to only eight seconds in 2013, which is a second shorter than a goldfish.

If this is true, perhaps we would be better off running a goldfish for President. I’m sure the goldfish would win the Republican presidential nomination debates hands down. Wouldn’t it be wonderful then to watch the goldfish and Hillary to go at it in the general election.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

Sovereignty

“Sovereignty has eight aspects: DEFENSE; JUDICIAL, i.e., settling disputes; ADMINISTRATIVE, i.e., discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, i.e., mobilizing resources: this is one of the powers the French government didn’t have in 1770; LEGISLATION. i.e., the finding of rules and the establishment of rules through promulgation and statue; EXECUTIVE, i.e., the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions. Then there are two which are of absolute paramount importance today: MONETARY, the creation and control of money and credit — if that is not an aspect of the public sovereignty, then the state is far less than fully sovereign; and lastly the eighth one, THE INCORPORATING POWER, the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with the right to hold property and to sue in the courts. Notice: the federal government of the United States today does not have the seventh and eighth but I’ll come back to that later.”
Carroll Quigley Ph.D. ”Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, AD 976 – 1976.”

B. Artie’s Death:

Stevie Dall commented on the death of the dragonfly riff in my previous issue of T&T:

“Similar moral quandaries here, too. I spent quality time this morning rescuing, drying, and relocating the spider who occasionally falls into the shower because last night sweet Artie, a cat who hung out at the canal beside our house, died.

Though Artie would eat treats placed for him on the counter outside our kitchen window, he would never allow himself to be caught.

Last week Artie pranced into the backyard carrying a deceased adolescent gosling. By the weekend he seemed under the weather, but he still evaded capture, and by last night he was a goner.

I’m thinking of giving the spider a name.”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“In the United States we have often elected to public office the stupid and at times the crazy. It has only recently, however, that most of those we elect happen to be both stupid and crazy.”
Trenz Pruca

(Note: Trenz Pruca is not me — nor is he my alter ego. Trenz is my Harvey; but instead of an invisible rabbit, he is a six-foot-two-inch invisible white rat with dark glasses wearing a black fedora and a red and white striped scarf. He carries a Mac-book with him wherever he goes. He can usually be found sitting in the dark corners of lightly patronized coffee houses in San Francisco or during the winter months, Marrakesh, typing away on his Mac-book and obsessively downing endless cups of strong doppio espressos. I only see him on my name day, March 15, when he stops by to celebrate with a glass of wine. Otherwise, he sends me reams of emails each day, most of which are gibberish. Every now and then, however, I find he has written a clever bon mot or an interesting sentence or two that I share with you in T&T or on Facebook.)

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

* A paraprosdokian with a mustache and a cigar is called a Groucho Marx.

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

“The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”
Line from a recent episode of Game of Thrones.

(Note: a dwarf’s member is considered an aphrodisiac in certain parts of Westeros, similar to the way some East-Asians regard a rhinoceros’ pizzle.)

F. Today’s Poem:

I live on borrowed things

I live on borrowed things
On stories and songs
On breath and brawn

Borrowed then left
When I move on.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

worldpopulat

This is perhaps one of the more informative charts explaining the source of many of the seemingly intractable problems we are facing today. Since 1915, only 100 years ago, population has grown from somewhat over 1 billion people in the world to slightly less than 8 billion today. About a seven-fold increase. It the next 35 years that population is expected to increase by almost 1/3, close to 10 Billion.

During the same one-hundred year period, the per capita use of energy has barely doubled but total energy use has increased more than twelve-fold.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Cold Tits 0004 (February 22, 2015)

 

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

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On Sunday following my morning swim, I escaped El Dorado Hills and headed to San Francisco to celebrate Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda’s birthdays. Dick drove me to the light-rail station. I traveled to Sacramento where I met with Norbert and Stevie who I accompanied to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn where I drank a little too much, bought some faux Indian woven goods and some very good wine.
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Then it was off by train to San Francisco and Amanda’s birthday party.
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That night Jason and I watched two pretty entertaining movies, The Cabin in the Woods and Hard Candy.

The following day my sister and I visited my mother. She was especially vibrant — a 97-year-old stand-up (or in her case lying down) comic who entertained us with her snide observations about the nuns at the nursing home. “I’m a real bitch and I don’t frigging care,” she said at one point.

I have always wondered about the word “frig.” Where did it come from? Why was it more polite than the word it replaced? Would I ever use it in a sentence? Does anyone still use it?
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Later my sister and I had dinner together at an Indian restaurant on the Lower Haight. I spent the night in a motel on Lombard Street. It was more comfortable than I expected.

The next day I returned by train to Sacramento and had dinner with Norbert and Stevie. Since I had not planned for this trip, having been requested to leave Dick’s place in order to accommodate another guest, I was basically homeless. The Dalls kindly offered me shelter for the night.

The next day, I strolled around my beloved trees in Capitol Park before returning to EDH.
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On Thursday, I had my second medical appointment this time with a specialist in pulmonary medicine. This did not go as well as the first and a biopsy is scheduled. The next day I found out that the doctor has ordered, besides the biopsy, a number of additional procedures including a blood test, a lung capacity test and an appearance before something called the Pulmonary Nodule Board (or Committee). This last is probably one of Obama’s death panels. Given my actuarial life span is only about 10 more years anyway, I suspect they will be deciding whether the expense of extending my life for such a brief period is worth it.
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The sewer pipe from Dick’s house to the street has broken requiring us to conduct some of our bathroom activities at the health club until it is repaired. It may also force us to spend a few days at a motel while the repairs are made.
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I treated, at least in my mind, the brief excursion to San Francisco as sort of an odyssey — to there and back again. Like Bloom or Bilbo. I wandered about mostly aimlessly but happily. Since returning to the Golden Hills, my days are again sadly regimented — not depressingly so but not too interesting either. I never liked knowing what would happen next in either my reading or in my life. Disaster or success, although I prefer the latter, makes little difference to me as long as there is a story in it and of course, I survive.
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PAPA JOE’S TALES:

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 Theban 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 its hem 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 Theban 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.”

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Some facts about the town I grew up in, Tuckahoe, NY

Late 1800s: The Toggle Bolt originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe NY by William H. Ruby.

(Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression, the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand.)

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

(Many Italian immigrants, my grandparents included, settled in Tuckahoe to work in the marble quarries.)

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A.Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

It should be pointed out, these soldiers were Christian and not Muslim.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Today’s newspapers report that an anti-climate change scientist has been on the payroll of several petroleum connected entities who paid him for the anti-climate change scientific papers he produced. He did not mention in his studies that they were paid for by interested parties in violation of the ethical standards of the institution for which he works.

Many people seem to be shocked by this disclosure. I don’t understand why. Often as a lawyer, I had been hired specifically by my clients to make their lies appear like the truth. Why would anyone be surprised by someone not bound by the strong code of ethics that we attorneys pledge to uphold doing the same? I guess, since I was a lawyer, everyone assumed I had been trained to prevaricate.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We live in a cancer society in which growth has become the enemy of life. In economics, this means that our economy cannot sell the consumer goods pouring out of existing factories unless we are simultaneously investing more capital and resources in new factories to make more goods or are otherwise providing more purchasing power to the market by inflationary spending on non-marketable products such as national defense. This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis,” 1974

 

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_20150212_130741_436 - Version 2
About five minutes after one PM.

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joseph 0004 (January 9, 2015)

“…people who make the most productive contributions, the ones who make lasers or transistors, or the inventor of the computer, DNA researchers — none of these are the top wealthiest people in the country. So if you look at the people who contributed the most, and the people who are there at the top, they’re not the same.”
Joseph Stiglitz

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Since the last week in September I have been either traveling, ill or overwhelmed by holidays. As a result, outside of posting a few photographs in T&T and reading a lot I have been unable to do much else.
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Yesterday, January 2 (13 Joseph 2004) I was finally able to get back to editing Quigley’s “Weapons Systems and Political Stability.” I am about at page 700 on my first edit and have about another 700 pages more to go. The first edit is intended only to familiarize myself with the material and catch the most egregious errors (there are a lot). My next edit will be to polish it up, add some headings for clarity and write a new introduction.

Because Quigley died before finishing his book, it ends at about 1500 AD. The previous edition includes Quigley’s article on the French Revolution in an effort to fill in the gap. I think that is inadequate. I probably will cross reference his major published work, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, or add an edited version of the post-1500 portion of that book.

I have begun editing the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests section of Weapons. It is interesting to note that the Arab political dominance of Islam lasted only 300 years or so, thereafter the Islāmic world was ruled mostly by non-Arab Muslims (Turks, Kurds [Saladin], Moors and the like) until at the end of WWI (1918) when the allies created the system of Arab-controlled states at the expense of those Islāmic tribes and nations that commanded the Near and Middle East for the previous 1000 years.

Also, the Arabs like the Hebrews were Semite language speakers from tribes that migrated out of grasslands south of the Fertile Crescent during dry periods. Thus, ironically, not only do they share the same language family, original culture and genetics but also the same religion in some respects. Islam can somewhat be looked at as a heretical form of ancient Judaism since the Koran acknowledges the Hebrew bible as among its founding documents and Gabriel himself supposedly directed the Prophet to begin his vocation as a prophet instead of going into his family business selling souvenirs to pilgrims visiting Mecca. (This abandoning of the family business continues a long tradition among religious leaders. After all, Buddha could not stand being a prince, Jesus was bored by carpentry, Paul saw no future in tax collection and Joseph Smith needed the money.)

Similarly, Christianity can be seen as a heretical form of Judaism. Christ, as a Jewish heretic, preached a different form of Judaism much as the Pharisees (another heretical group) did in creating a good deal of modern Judaism. Christ urged his followers to, “forget the forms and rules, how you behave and treat others is more important.” The rabbis (at least after Hillel) seemed to say, “the rules and prescriptions should not be taken too literally, but they are a good thing to contemplate and discuss in order to determine how to behave.”

Paul the Arch-Heretic, on the other hand, demanded his supporters, “forget the Hebrews and what Jesus had to say, think, do and behave as I tell you.”
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On Sunday I drove to the Bay Area where I had a very pleasant lunch with Kathleen who now heads the AG’s antitrust division. Later I visited my mom who was quite spry and alert. She believed that the place where she had lived for the past 10 years or so was a hospital that she had just entered a few days ago because she had suddenly taken ill. Earlier in the day she felt better so she began to change into her street clothes so that she could leave the hospital and find a job.
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Mom and her girls
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I have just about finished my revisions to the first half of Red Storm my still uncompleted stab at a novel. If anyone would like to review it and give me your thoughts and suggestions I will very much appreciate it.
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Well, I’m back under doctor’s care. A recent unusual shortness of breath while exercising prompted my visit to my him. Following a series of tests including a CT-scan, we have eliminated a return of a pulmonary embolism and heart disease, confirmed my long-standing gall stone problem and discovered what they euphemistically call a “lung nodule.” More tests and procedures to follow.
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In rereading the Stieglitz quote above it strikes me that those young people sent off to war to risk their lives so that those top wealthiest people can enjoy their good fortune, or those like my daughter and her compatriots, endeavoring to protect this nation and those same rich from the horrors of plague, as well as most of those who have dedicated their lives to helping others, are not payed very well either. One would think they should be included among those who have made productive contributions as great as and probably more than many of those wealthy people.
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Today I said to myself the hell with the temperature or my physical maladies I’m going swimming. So I dove into the outdoor pool at my new health club and swam for twenty minutes which is pretty good since I have not seriously exercised for over two months. After my swim I spent some time in the hot tub, took a steam bath and showered. It made me very happy.

B. BOOK REPORT:

The Martian by Andrew Weir, soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon (a man who will always look barely post-pubescent), is a man-boy novel without the killing and explosions. It is about science, engineering and manly pluck. I found it fascinating and enjoyable — being a man-boy myself. Dick McCarthy, however, pointed out that despite the intensive descriptions of electronic monitors, space suits, airlocks and the like, the Robinson Caruso of Mars almost never glances out the window and tells us what the planet actually looks like. It is sort of like writing about a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and describing in great detail the raft’s paddles and their uses but never mentioning what you saw when, not otherwise engaged with problems and vagaries of riverine locomotion, you looked up at the variegated walls of that magnificent chasm.

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY —2014 SCIENCE:

2014 saw science bring humans closer to exercising the attributes of Gods. A research laboratory in the US created a synthetic chromosome raising the possibility that we may soon become able to create complex life forms. Another team of scientists has demonstrated brain to brain communications creating the potential of direct neural communications between humans. Also, a way to make matter directly from light has been postulated. Finally a new theory about how life forms out of inert matter has been proposed.

About 80 years ago the paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin (“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”)
theorized that as humankind increasingly populated the globe it would through evolutionary processes, produce a new type of life that he called the Noosphere, the collective consciousness of humankind. This he claimed would become one with God. Alas, life being what it is, simply the search for a more efficient method of converting energy into matter by reversing entropy, I sincerely doubt this new life form, if it actually comes into being, will be much different from the mad, irresponsible homicidal gods postulated in humankind’s historical imagination.

DAILY FACTOID:

1550: In about this year the illustrious German (Franconian) Imperial Knight, Gottfried von Berlichingen, or as he was known, “Gotz of the Iron Hand” because he went into battle with a prostheses to replace the hand he had lost in a previous war and whose major claim to fame was a preternatural ability to piss everyone off, issued his legendary challenge, ”er kann mich am Arsche lecken” (“he can lick my arse”).
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The Iron Hand of Gotz

Gotz, as can be expected, was beloved of the Nazis who memorialized him by naming several instruments of death in his honor.

(It has been rumored that Marvel’s Winter Soldier was the reincarnation of Gotz.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…we usually think of Christianity as the great contrast to the Roman ideology, but this is to misconceive the whole civilization. Christianity as an organization was in no way incompatible with Romanism as an organized structure. The teachings of Christ were, but these teachings were so very alien and strange that no one took them very seriously and being a Christian soon meant, not belief in Christ’s teachings but belief in Christ, a totally different thing. The same thing happened in Islam where Muhammad’s teachings were soon ignored, and the requirements of Islam became a few rituals, plus monotheism, and so far as Muhammad was concerned, belief that he was the Prophet of the One God.

The Christians cut down Christ’s teachings to a minimum also, insisted only on the belief that Christ was the Son of God and some related beliefs and certain rituals, and then began to engage in violent controversy on minute details of implications of these, very remote from Christ’s teachings or attitude. On this basis, there was not much in Christianity which could not be reconciled with the Roman system, and the original enmity between the two came more from the Roman side than from the Christian.

…The willingness of the Christians to become part of the Roman system can be seen in the present survival of the Roman Catholic Church as a copy of the Roman empire, a system organized in municipalities and provinces under an absolute ruler who uses the robes, nomenclature, language, and modes of action of the late Roman empire.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Pookie enjoys himself at the Doria Pamphili Museum in Rome

Categories: January through March 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Papa Joe 0003 (October 4, 2014)

“Today the absence of government simply means government by corporations.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthdays to Athena, Aaron and Anthony

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. TWO MOTT STREET BOYS ON A CART, CIRCA 1900
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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC arrived this evening to assume my nanny duties. I continue preparations to leave. For some reason, I am more anxious about this trip than my previous ones. I have always believed that it is the surprises of travel, good or bad, that make it worthwhile. Too much planing raises expectations that are almost never met. Still, this time I worry whether I planned enough as I pack and unpack my little suitcase to make sure I have included everything I should.
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Well, today it rained slightly on the Golden Hills. Not much, just enough to smudge the dirt on the car’s windshield. Very little moisture made it to the ground but it seemed to have cleared the air of today’s load of ash and smoke.
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Early Sunday morning, I grabbed my two suitcases (mine, the light one, SWAC’s, the heavy one to be delivered to her brother in BKK) and my computer and set off for the train station. Dick drove me to the Sacramento. terminal. There I boarded the early train to SF.
Usually, the cars are mostly empty and finding a seat easy. This morning, however, I caught the 49ers game-day train and almost every seat was filled with maroon-shirted fans happily on the way to this afternoon’s game, many of whom were getting a strong start on the train version of a tailgate party. When we got to Emeryville and I had to change to a bus to cross the bay into San Francisco. It was filled with orange-shirted SF Giant baseball fans.
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B. Pookies Adventures in San Francisco

In SF I had lunch with my daughter-in-law Annemarie, grandsons Anthony and Aaron and the new grandparents Peter and Barrie Grenell at a Savor on 24th Street. Later we visited with my granddaughter Athena who was painting a mural at the Mission Street Fair.
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Peter, Anthony,Barrie, Aaron, me
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Amanda, Jason

For those interested, Anthony has just moved to Vallejo. Aaron has started two businesses, a catering business and a landscape business. Ann tells me he is depressed because at twenty-years-old, his life is not turning out how he expected. Athena wants to become an artist among other things. She also often participates in feminist rallies and hopes to attend one in Texas.
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Athena the muralist

2014-09-28 14.04.21

Pookie the muralist

Peter, besides his role as grandpa, now plays in four different bands and is looking forward to retiring from the harbor district next year.
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In the evening I had dinner with my son Jason, his wife Heromi and my granddaughter Amanda. Then it was off to the airport.

C. ALONG THE WAY

I had a long uncomfortable plane ride to BKK. As I was getting in my seat and checking things one last time, I realized that I had either lost or left at home the small bag holding my tooth-brush, shaving equipment and all my medicines. While trying to convince myself that I was not senile, terminally stupid or going to die a horrible death during on the flight, I spent the next twenty-seven hours, worrying, sleeping fitfully, eating far too much airplane food to be healthy and watching movies,

One of the movies was John Turturro’s wonderfully touching and comic Fading Gigolo starring Woody Allen as Murray an aging owner of a failed bookshop turned part-time pimp who is living with a black woman with four children one of whom has head lice. Murray persuades Fioravante (Turturro), a flower store employee, to service his beautiful, wealthy and married dermatologist and other lonely middle-aged women. The movie’s central story is a a semi-sweet but ill-fated and unconsummated love affair between the gigolo and the widow of the Rabbi of a highly orthodox community in Brooklyn beloved by a shomrin (look it up) named Devi.

I liked the movie since it reminded me of my singularly unsuccessful attempt, in Rome many years ago, to experience life as a gigolo. My only so-called success in that doomed attempt was due to the sympathy of an exceptionally kind woman named Mona. I think I may write a short story or a novella based on the escapade.
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Mona

D. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After twenty-seven hours of traveling including stops in Hong Kong and Singapore (where I spent the wait-over encased in a mechanical foot massage machine provided free by the airport for foot weary travelers), I arrived in BKK. The Little Masseuse who unfortunately had gotten the time of my arrival wrong, had come and gone from the airport. Surprisingly, I was spotted by my friend from the health club the old sailor and deep-sea diver who had just seen a friend off. We shared a two-hour taxi ride from the airport. When I arrived at my apartment I went immediately to sleep and did not leave my bed all of the next day and night.

On the third day I tried to leave but was still not feeling well so I remained in the apartment. By the fourth day I had located a supply to replace my missing medicines so I ventured forth to breakfast followed by a haircut, shave, facial scrub manicure and pedicure before lunch and then returned to the apartment for a nap.

First photo’s from Thailand:

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Me strutting along Soi Nana

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LM at breakfast in Foodland.

E. CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH AND DYING

Having lost my bag containing my medicines as I mentioned, the next day during one of my brief periods of fretful wakefulness, I realized that it would be several days before I could reach my Doctor, get the names of my medicines, and buy them at a local pharmacy. This fact confirmed my belief that my imminent death was highly likely. So, in my quasi-somnolent state, I contemplated what a good death in Bangkok would be for me. In no particular order:

Lying on a massage table, my face in the hole drool dripping from the corner of my mouth. The masseuse has just finished massaging my feet and lower legs and is spreading oil on the inside of my thighs.

Swimming in the health club’s outdoor pool, I have just taken a breath, and glimpse, floating on the water, the multi-colored fabrics of the indian woman who had entered the pool, as they do, fully clothed. As I dip my head under the water and exhale, silver bubbles flow behind me. Through the crystalline turquoise water I make out the sun dappled bottom of the pool.

Walking near my apartment, the sun shining, I fall through the sidewalk into the foetid canal and sewer that runs beneath BKK’s streets and as the slimy grey green ooze reaches my neck, I happily expire.

At the supermarket in the basement of Robinson’s I lean over a display of freshly opened Durian. The King of Fruit’s aroma reminds me of unwashed 1000 year old feet. I take a deep breath.

In Terminal 21 on the fifth floor, I sit at a booth at Baskin and Robins’. What passes for a root beer float in the area now that A&W can no longer be found, stands on the table in front of me. I press the vanilla ice cream deep into the soda and watch the foam fill the glass almost to overflowing. I suck deeply on the straw to see if I can forestall the foam from sliding down the glass and on to the table.

I am sitting in my room watching a Thai soap opera on the television. LM sits on the floor eating fish heads and munching on some foul-smelling Thai vegetable. The beautiful but dense ingénue in love with the handsome, quite stupid but rich leading man had just come from being physically and verbally abused by her rival for affection of said stupid, handsome but rich young man, now confronts a production value deficient ghost and stands mostly mute and unmoving through two sets of commercials. I expire, probably more from terminal boredom than the lack of medicines. My head leans gently against the wall where I remain until a little after midnight when the late night slapstick comedy shows end and LM shuts off the TV and realizes I had not collapsed on to my rock hard bed and covered my head with a pillow as I usually do.

At a sidewalk restaurant I sit and observe the the hazy street life in front of me while I chew on the first bite of my lunch. Two ladies of the evening on their way for an early start pass by, one dressed in a tight tan mini-dress that barely reaches the tops of her thighs and the other in a similar red dress. I topple forward and my face plunges into my one dollar plate of pork fried rice.

Standing on the Sukhumvit Road overpass, by Soi Nana observing the stopped traffic below I glance to my right and spy the King of Beggars sitting at his usual post on the sidewalk his leg, amputated above the knee, extended before him. I call him the King of Beggars because he always sits at the prime street corner in the area, is well dressed with a north African style skull-cap on his head and, unlike the other beggars, he always eats his lunch at one of the regular restaurants near by. His face is dark tan, his hair white. Above his well-trimmed white mustache his eyes grey as storm clouds meet mine.

Of course, I could always be run over by a speeding motorbike taxi, but that is just as likely if I am fully medicated as not, perhaps even more so.

Note: for those who have read this far and found the above entertaining the rest of this note is not for you. For those concerned about the state of my health (mental or physical) please know most of the missing medicines are various prescribed vitamins. Pretty much the only concern was with the loss of my doctor prescribed happy pills. True, sudden termination of the pills can produce withdrawal symptoms that are pretty awful. Also, should I decide to replace the drug with something like opium, LSD or Oxycontin it could be more than simply life threatening. Nevertheless, the withdrawal, jet-lag and exhaustion did make me feel as though death would be a welcome improvement.

I eventually manage to score the appropriate drugs from the pharmacy in Foodland. Everything else is the lies I tell myself. Lying to oneself is necessary for survival. If not, how would anyone make it through puberty? The ability to lie to oneself is natures compensation to those she has cursed with consciousness.
F. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

On the television news today it was reported that the country is experiencing an infestation of rabid ants who invade houses at night, climb into the beds of those who had been eating in the bed and not cleaning up before falling asleep and attacking every orifice of that person’s body in a crazed search for food.

LM assures me that she knows of a friend of hers who was so attacked and had to be hospitalized. I did not get much sleep again last night.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

From Pookie’s 2012 write-in campaign for President:

While reviewing old issues of T&T, I came across the following plank from my aborted write in campaign for President in 2012. I thought it remains valid today (the savings may be larger today).

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie’s platform includes a minimum of $600 billion over the next 4 years in budgetary savings by immediately ending the following welfare programs:

1. Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies.

There appears to be no conceivable impact on the nation’s oil and gas supply by removing these subsidies. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $80 billion.

2. Deferment of Taxes on Income of US controlled Corporations Abroad.

This subsidy seems to have little public benefit and only encourages offshoring of American jobs. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $200 billion.

3. Accelerated Depreciation on Equipment:

This is most often used by companies to avoid taxation entirely. It should only be allowed (as it was originally) as part of temporary stimulus legislation to encourage companies to buy equipment during recessions. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $140 billion.

4. Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing:

This deduction is simply a direct subsidy to companies. It is welfare pure and simple and has no place in the tax code. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

5. LIFO (Last in First Out) Accounting:

This is simply a method to hide true profits. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion

6. Agribusiness Welfare:

Another unnecessary welfare program. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $25 billion.

7. Allow Government to Negotiate Prices for Medicare:

A direct subsidy to providers. Estimated Savings over next 4 years: $75 billion.

8. Annual tax break for drug companies direct to consumer advertising:

Why should we pay for drug company marketing to us? Estimated savings over next 4 years: $20 billion.

I would require the resulting savings of about $125 billion per year to be set aside and used to reduce the National Debt in any year where the GNP (or another suitable measure of the economy and society) exceeds 2.5% in growth (minus inflation) for the year or used for non-tax reduction stimulus funding (e.g. public works), or safety net expenditures (e.g. extending unemployment benefits) when it falls below 2.5%.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…another cause of today’s instability is that we now have a society in America, in Europe and in much of the world which is totally dominated by the two elements of sovereignty that are not included in the state structure: control of credit and banking and the corporation. These are free of political controls and social responsibility, and they have largely monopolized power in Western Civilization and in American society. They are ruthlessly going forward to eliminate land, labor, entrepreneurial-managerial skills, and everything else the economists once told us were the chief elements of production. The only element of production they are concerned with is the one they can control: capital.”
Carroll Quigley, Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976”

Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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