Posts Tagged With: Sherlock Holmes

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    7 Pookie 0007. (November 21, 2018)

 

“It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. In the same vein, desperation is the father of compromise, panic is the sister of slapdash improvisation, and despair is the second cousin of quiet apathy.”
Pike, J. Zachary. Son of a Liche (The Dark Profit Saga Book 2) (p. 7). Gnomish Press LLC.

 

Happy National Welcome New Immigrant’s Day (Previously known as Thanksgiving).

Happy Birthday to my son Jason on December 8.

Happy Birthday to Annmarie (December 3)

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

After three days, while on our late afternoon walk, we discovered the mysterious orb still there. Now, however, with a sign affixed to its surface announcing “Fountain. Free. Take it away.” Mystery solved, perhaps.
IMG_5845

It is now three and one-half months since the growth on my neck first appeared and I went to my oncologist for the first time for a diagnosis. Since then, I have had a PET scan, two CT scans, four sonograms, three visits for biopsies, a stress test, two blood tests and at least 8 meetings with five separate doctors and I still have no treatment plan. Today, I am awaiting insurance company approval for a second opinion on the feasibility of surgery. During all that time, the swelling tumor on my neck has grown from an insignificant bulge to a goiter like bump and my diagnosis has gone from, “It is nothing to worry about” to “You’re probably going to die.” I am no longer amused.

Groucho Marx had a cousin from Argentina named Gaucho.

Days pass, I read a lot, watch the news on television, see the Niners lose again, spend too much time on Facebook — It is now Wednesday, I finally have an appointment scheduled in San Francisco at UCSF for my second opinion. Sometimes bitching and shouting works.

Thursday was a good day although the air quality made it better to stay indoors. San Francisco was reported to have the worst air quality in the world today because the smoke from the many fires in northern California hung over the city like a dirty shower curtain. Sacramento was not too far behind. Nevertheless, I felt good today. Whether it was from the valium I had taken last night to help me sleep or something else I do not know. In the afternoon, I felt good enough to brave the hazardous air and drive into the Golden Hills to pick up Hayden and Jake. The Skate Park was closed because of the hazardous air-quality, so we went to the house where we discussed the possibility of the three of us driving to a Mountain Bike track somewhere in the mountains this weekend. After doing some research about the various trails, I left them to ruminate on the alternatives and returned to the Enchanted Forest.

Back at the house, I busied myself posting various articles on Facebook from two of my blogs, “Trenz Pruca’s Journal,” and “Papa Joe’s Tales, Fables, and Parables.” I was doing this because I wanted to increase the number of views this year to more than any of the Blogs’ prior years. At first, I was afraid to mention here in T&T how I spend several hours a day (at least four) because it might reveal me to be an insecure recluse desperately seeking recognition for what I feared were my inept and odd scratchings. Eventually, I convinced myself that it was no more than an obsession to “beat my record.” So instead of revealing my pitiful insecurities, I exposed one of my more idiotic neuroses which I somehow believed was less embarrassing. Anyway, for “Papa Joe’s” I passed my best year in early November. For “Trenz Pruca”s Journal,” it will be close to the end of the year before I know if I will succeed or not.

In any bureaucracy, all the work is done low on the food chain. Everyone else just holds meetings.

Last night, I dreamed a movie, actually two, one complete and one half-way through. This is not unusual. I have dreamt movies before. Usually, in my dreams, I enter one of the movie theaters I remember that existed on Fordham Rd. in the Bronx way back when I was going to college at the end of the 1950s. They were grand old Egyptian-Baroque buildings. In my dreams (and probably in real life) the theaters had deteriorated to become purveyors of soft porn and old movies. Strangely, in my dream, I had to go downstairs to get to the theater. The movie was an old one I had never seen before — a melodrama about two families going through various domestic crises. I woke up briefly half-way through the second feature but fell back to sleep almost immediately. The movie was still running but had now become a porn flick and I was an actor in it. This was notable, not because of the nature of my involvement and the vigor of my participation, but because I have not experienced such dreams for years now.

I awoke that morning with Naida caressing my arm as it lay across her body. It made me both happy and sad. Happy because it is so nice to wake up in the morning with someone who loves you and sad because I fear those mornings are going to end far too soon.

Those who observe well, dream well.
Friday was a non-event and then came the weekend.

At five o’clock in the morning, Naida woke up and said that she had to go downstairs to write something in her memoir — something about her approach to math as a child, a complex method that included fingers, beacons and musical rhythms ( the left hand did the rhythm and the right counted the repetitions). I went back to sleep and fell into a marvelous dream. I was somewhere in the Mediterranean, in a colorful small town by the sea. I was younger, a drifter and con man. My friend Blackie had engineered a scam that had gone bad. I was accused even though I had no part in it. A younger Isabella Rossellini, who was a princess of some sort, rescued me somehow. We laughed a lot and got naked. Then Naida woke me up to go to the Saturday coffee at the Nepenthe Club House.

The weekly Saturday coffee was usually attended by the older members of the community. Women outnumbered men more than two to one. Although each person sported a name tag, I never could recall names even after staring at the tags so, as usual, I gave them nicknames — the football coach, the two spies (one a man who was a senior executive in the State Department, the other a woman with coiffed white hair whose job prior to retirement was shrouded in mystery), the leader, the cute lady, the model (an eighty-year-old ex-model), the model’s husband the architect ( a 90+ year old architect of some renown) and others. There was also a mother-daughter duo that one could not discern who was the mother and who the daughter. They whispered and laughed together in the corner. Also, there is always a woman there, usually without a name tag, that attended to the refreshments. I do not know if she is a resident or an employee of the HOA.

The Leader, a large woman, selflessly devotes herself to the task. She feels quite distressed and obviously hurt if anyone challenges or disagrees with her, so we don’t. She opened a small roll-on piece of luggage that accompanies her everywhere, pulled out some papers and a small bell that she rings to call us to order. Then, she announces the events scheduled, calls for volunteers for the myriad of charitable activities planned to be undertaken and so on. After that, we clean up the clubhouse and leave.

Naida and I then went shopping and had lunch at Ettore’s where I choked on a piece of turkey breast and threw-up all over my plate.

The mysterious orb remains, in the gutter by the house. No one has claimed it yet.

 

 

B. A SHORT TRIP INTO THE SIERRAS:

 

On Sunday, we decided to escape the fire-caused air pollution and drove into the Sierra foothills. We drove to Jackson. There is a bookstore that sells Naida’s books. The bookstore has a Sherlock Holmes museum on its second floor with a room made to look like the great detective’s Baker Street residence. While Naida went into the store to discuss book things, I took the dog for a walk around the time. The little fellow got into a snarling match with a large pit bull. I admired his courage, not his common sense.

After that, we went for lunch a Teresa’s one of the better restaurants in the town. It always saddens me that so many Italian restaurants here and even in Italy have passed from the families whose food came from the techniques and recipes that their mothers develop to please the taste of their families who ate the food every day, to others whose recipes and techniques are often designed to lower costs and aspire only to being merely acceptable. If you are ever in Jackson you should stop for a meal at Teresa’s.

While there, I learned the story of how Naida got her name. It was not an uplifting story. It was as remarkable and as disturbing as the rest of her life.

We drove back by way of Ione. While passing through the town Naida told me about a friend of hers, an Indian woman, who was Dave Brubeck’s piano teacher when he was growing up there.

 

C. OFF TO THE CITY — THE BIG ENDIVE:

On Monday, we set off for San Francisco. Before leaving we drove to the kennel to board Boo-boo for the night. It took a little time because the person typing the required forms was blind. He had to lay one eye on the computer screen in order to read the form. Then, after saying a teary farewell to the dog, we left.

By the time we had reached Vacaville, the smog from the Forrest fires was so thick our lungs began to ache. We had coffee and a brioche there and then drove on into The City. Noe Valley where Peter and Barrie live was only slightly less occluded with the smog. They gave us some masks and we walked down to 24th street for lunch. After lunch, Peter and I went to Bernie’s for coffee. The air was too unbreathable to sit at the “Geezer’s Bench” so we sat at a table by the window drinking coffee and complaining about the pains and burdens of growing old.

The next morning, we went to UCSF for my appointment. On the way, as we passed the Ferry Building, Naida told me that at one time she worked with the State Department of Corrections on a massive study on the effectiveness of various parole alternatives on the recidivism rates of violent criminals. The results showed that nothing works.

I met with a Dr. Ryan for a second opinion on the possibility of surgery on my neck. The surgeon’s office was located on the fourth floor of a hospital in Mission Bay. Many years ago I had some involvement in the approvals for the development of Mission Bay. Precisely what, I do not remember. It now has become a hub or medical treatment technology. The cancer department impressed me. It is set up so that most of the diagnostic and treatment needs of the patient can occur in one place without the usual delays.

The surgeon was a youngish man in his mid-forties, dressed in a dark blue suit (He did not have a bow tie). Following the usual prodding, he confirmed the opinion of the previous surgeon that an attempt to operate would probably be fatal. The tumor had entwined itself around the muscle like a lover and pressing up against the artery. If he operated he would have to cut a flap of chest muscles to fold over the wound. He did indicate that all the tests done so far do not show that cancer had spread any farther and those other treatments may work. I then told him I was also looking into various trials including with one of his office colleagues that Terry recommended. He then arranged for an appointment with the doctor in a trial that focuses directly on my problem.

Although this was a somewhat more positive result and made me feel much better, I realized that I am effectively dead in the very near future should these treatments not work.

We drove home that afternoon, picked up the dog, watched some movies and prepared for Thanksgiving.

And on Wednesday the rains came.
Have a Happy National Welcome New Immigrant’s Day.

 

 
,

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 
IS TREASON A REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN STRATEGY?

 

We now know that, in order to win the Presidency in 1968, Richard Nixon, with the assistance of Anna Chenault, committed treason in colluding with the then President of South Viet-Nam to sabotage the Vietnam Peace Talks on the eve of the election. Among other things, that treachery cost the lives of 20,000 American servicemen due to the prolongation of the war.

A scant 12 years later, Republicans working for the election of Ronald Reagan to the Presidency similarly resorted to treason in sabotaging the American Government’s attempts to free the hostages trapped in the American Embassy. Later in disregarded our treaties and laws they sold arms to our enemies and gave aid to those attempting to overthrow a legitimately elected democratic government.

In 2016 the same Republican playbook was used by Donald Trump or his associates in the Republican Party to collude with the Russian State, the enemy of this nation and one of our major competitors, in order to assist in securing his election to the Presidency of the United States.

There appears to be a pattern of behavior by the leaders of the Republican Party to hide, behind the pretense of patriotism, treasonous behaviors in the pursuit of power. In all three cases, after the treason was exposed, members of the Republican Party, many of whom were not involved in the original activities, worked diligently to cover it up and protect the members of their party that was implicated.

While it may be said that there are no patriots in the pursuit of power, unfortunately, that form of lust for power seems currently limited only to some members of a single political party.

What is perhaps even more tragic are those Americans who claim to love the flag, anthem and pledge of allegiance to this country and who post innumerable pleas on social media to support and remember our men and women in uniform far too often blindly support those same political leaders who have degraded our patriotic symbols and abetted the injury and death of good Americans protecting our nation.

Shame on them all.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

There are about thirty-trillion cells in a human body working more or less together to sustain life. Roughly the same amount of bacteria and fungus are along for the ride. A single human body contains about 5000 times more cells than there are humans on earth. At every moment in one’s life, some cells in one’s body are dying and others are being created. At some points in your life, all your cells are different from they had been at some other time, yet you still remain you. If all your cells die you die. If all your cells are separated and somehow kept alive you would not be. Biologists call organisms like humans superorganisms, swarms or ensemble organisms. Individually we are not you or me but we are each Borg.

 

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. Adventures with Hayden on Top:

 

A few years ago, while I was sitting at the table one evening doing little more than staring at the wall, I noticed Hayden writing away in a notebook. This was a very unusual thing for him to do. He typically spends the evenings watching television, building Lego Cities, running around the house screaming for no discernible reason and, just before bedtime, completing his homework. I asked him what he was doing. He said it was a secret and continued to diligently attend to whatever he was working on. When he finished he came over and showed me the notebook.

A few nights previously, I had promised him that we would write a short comic book together entitled “Hayden Without a Hat.” Each evening thereafter he asked me if I was ready to write the story with him and each night I gave some excuse or other.

The notebook contained the following (everything is as he wrote it including the punctuation, except for the quotation marks which I added). I promised him I would “publish” it. So here it is:

“Story for little boys, girls!

Hayden Without a Hat

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

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

“A hat…” says Hayden, “a hat.” “Let me think. Hmmm, ok” Hayden says. “I do need a hat!!!!

“Hey, we can go to the hat store.”

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

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

I told him that I also sent a copy to his mom because it would make her so proud of him. He said I should not have because she would make him do it again and again until he got bored.

 

 

 

B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 

It is my habit, whenever my mind ratchets into an obsession, to search the internet for information that either confirms my craze of the moment or questions it. Once I find something that either confirms or denies it, I usually stop my research. Of course, like many, my recent mania is focused on he who is not my president. As a result of my tripping through the tulips of the internet in search of information confirming my biases, I came across, FactCheck.org® A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center (https://www.factcheck.org/) that appeared remarkably unbiased in analyzing those so-called facts upon which we seem to so vehemently disagree in public discourse. It is a site I would recommend anyone consult before responding to some blog post of a Facebook item with which they disagree or agree. The authors seem remarkably and pleasantly blind to the emotions behind the so-called facts upon which they opine. For example, the following is a summary of Trump’s “Numbers” during his first year in office published in January 2018:

Here we offer key measures of what has happened since Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017, according to the most up-to-date and reliable statistical sources available. Some highlights:

Employment growth slowed by 12 percent. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate kept dropping, reaching a 17-year low. The number of job vacancies rose, also to a nearly 17-year record.
Economic growth picked up to a 3.2 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter from 1.5 percent for all of 2016.
The number of people caught trying to cross the border with Mexico fell by nearly half.
The number of refugee admissions fell by 70 percent.
Restrictions in the federal regulatory rulebook continued to grow, but at less than half the pace during the two previous administrations.
The number of coal mining jobs, which Trump promised to bring back, went up by only 500. Manufacturing jobs grew just a bit faster than total employment.
Real weekly wages rose 1.1 percent. Corporate profits and stock prices hit new records.
The number of people without health insurance went up — by 200,000 according to a government survey, and by 3.2 million according to a more recent Gallup poll.
The U.S. trade deficit that Trump promised to bring down grew instead, getting 11.5 percent larger.
The number of people on food stamps, which Trump wants to cut, grew by nearly 3 million.
The federal debt rose nearly 3 percent; projected annual deficits worsened.
Trump won confirmation for a dozen federal appeals court judges — quadruple the number Obama put on the bench during his first year.
The U.S. image abroad took a hit. The number of foreigners telling pollsters they have a favorable view of the USA fell nearly everywhere. The only big gain was in Russia.

This was updated in October as follows:

In the time Donald Trump has been in the White House:

The jobless rate dropped to the lowest in nearly half a century, and the number of unfilled job openings hit a record high.
Economic growth spurted to a 4.2 percent annual rate in the most recent quarter.
Median household income rose to the highest level ever recorded in 2017. Poverty declined.
The growth of federal regulations slowed, and has lately reversed.
Crime rates declined. The number of homicides went down 0.7 percent last year after rising for the previous two years.
Carbon emissions rose. Coal mining jobs went up a bit.
Corporate profits, stock prices and home values set record highs.
The trade deficit grew larger.
The federal debt increased by nearly $1.4 trillion, more than 9 percent. Yearly deficits increased.
The U.S. image abroad plunged.

As one can see, there is something on each side of the Great National Divide that someone can chew on. However, note that in their analysis of their summary they point out:

Employment – The average monthly gain under Trump is 190,000 jobs, which is 12 percent below the average monthly gain of 217,000 during Obama’s second term.

Trump will have to pick up the pace if he is to fulfill his campaign boast that he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

Household Income —However, a senior Census official cautioned that the latest “records” in 2016 and 2017 are due in part to a change in the survey questions in 2014. Starting then, the annual survey has picked up some sources of income that were previously missed. Taking this into account, Jonathan L. Rothbaum, chief of the Income Statistics Branch, said the 2017 median income would be in a “statistical tie” with incomes measured in 2007 and 1999.

Crime — In Trump’s first year, the murder rate dropped down a notch to 5.3 per 100,000 population — still higher than in each of the first seven years under Obama.

And so on. So a caution to those who use this site to read the entire article before jumping to conclusions. After you do that, please jump to whatever conclusions you like.

 

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

If you know whatever you do well enough to be terrorized by one’s own ignorance, you probably are competent at what you do. If, on the other hand, you feel supremely confident you know whatever you need to know to do whatever you do, then you can rest assured that you are most likely unqualified.

 

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Crossing The Border

Senescence begins
And middle age ends
The day your descendants
Outnumber your friends.
by Ogden Nash

 

 

 

D. Giants of History: Peter.

 

I received the following comments on my previous post from my ever interesting and a humorous friend Peter.

In response to my comment, “My mother always said I screamed constantly from shortly after birth until I began to talk and then I complained of everything until I became a teenager and then thankfully I only sulked.” Peter wrote:

I recall returning to Calcutta at the end of a 15 hour jeep ride during which I was continuously trying to avoid stopping the jeep to get out and barf because of whatever was ailing me, managed to reach Howrah across the river from Calcutta in the middle of the usual total traffic jam of conveyances and all manner of living creatures and feeling really sick and miserable (holding it in still), but reminding myself that I Would manage to reach the hotel, and that at least I had an air ticket out of there. Of course, “Terminal” leaves one with nothing ahead unless you happen to believe in whatever variety of hereafter you may subscribe to and which can (if you’re lucky) override the stuff to bitch about in the “right now”. Then, there’s always Lucretius.

In response to “bitching” he wrote:

An apt parallel, perhaps, is the true story of the famous scientist, J. B. S. Haldane, who we met in Bhubaneswar shortly after our arrival in late 1964 two weeks before he died. Haldane was from the well-known Haldane family in England; Viscount Haldane was a distant past relative. Years after he emigrated to India accepting an invitation to settle in Orissa (now Odisha) from its then Chief Minister, Biju Patnaik (noteworthy himself as the aviator who flew Sukarno out of Indonesia to safety during that country’s revolution that led to Sukarno’s eventual leadership of that country), as Haldane had decided he loathed the English and hated the Americans, so India was a welcome destination, Haldane became seriously ill.

In response to, “One of the good things about knowing your days are limited but you are otherwise in good health is that you have few restrictions on pandering to yourself.”

Absolutely. Re: one day at a time, etc. My uncle Herbie continued his lifelong habits of cigars and liquor until his end, despite my aunt’s entreaties to cease. He’s the one who played the piccolo; I periodically ponder whether indeed I should have done that, thus avoiding schlepping the band equipment around that I do; too late now, but also I wouldn’t have done that – wasn’t what I was listening to on the radio in NYC on WCKY (I think), top of the radio dial, broadcasting live from Small’s Paradise in Harlem [no relation to what just burned down, of course].
.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“He was a six-foot-three ex-boxer. He would never know what it was like to feel yourself small, weak and powerless. He would never understand what rape did to your feelings about your own body: to find yourself reduced to a thing, an object, a piece of fuckable meat.”
Galbraith, Robert. Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Book 3) (p. 432). Little, Brown and Company.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

 

DSCN1074

Waiting to pee-pee.

Categories: October through December 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Mopey 0002 (January 25, 2013)

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

 

Fear and loathing in ICU: Part II.

 

After a night of drifting between fitful sleep and stark terror, as the grey dawn light filtered into the room, I dimly overheard a conversation between two nurses as they busied themselves with things on or attached to my body or in my room.

 

 

“He lives in Thailand,” said the clearly recent arrival from the Philippines.“Is that in Southeast Asia?” “I don’t know” responded the other. Now obviously, although both nurses were exceptionally competent at their jobs, they were woefully ignorant of geography. So, that got me thinking about useless knowledge and that, in turn, led me to Sherlock Holmes. In one of the stories, Watson informed Holmes that the earth revolves around the sun. Holmes acknowledged that he did not know that and now that he does he will immediately dismiss it from his memory since there is no occasion that he could see that that information could help him to solve crimes.

 

I suddenly realized that through most of my life I minimized and devalued information usable in my daily activities, while reveling in useless factual tidbits. I decided, I did not care.

 

While I was contemplating this, a strange-looking gentleman entered the room. He was quite skinny, a bit hunched and wearing an exceptionally ill fitting greenish suit. He had a long relatively unkempt beard that extended halfway down his chest below which was pinned a badge that said “chaplain.”

 

If I had seen a roman collar, I would have expected a bunch of olive oil to be smeared over my body accompanied by some mumbling as he administered extreme unction. Or if he were wearing saffron robe, I would have expected some chanting to go with the mumbling and maybe the burning of a little incense. Both I could probably tolerate. After all, a little ritual to send you on your way couldn’t hurt. But this strange-looking individual with sad feverish eyes, I suspected was aiming at nothing less than a death-bed conversion. I immediately became wary and annoyed.

 

He said, unnecessarily, “I am the chaplain.” Added, “sometimes patients would like to ask me some questions.” I did not respond. He nodded briefly, continued, saying that in that case, he had a form that he identified with one of those poly syllabic words that end in y, like infinity or serendipity that when used by religious people could mean everything or nothing at all. He said, “usually one pays a lawyer to draft one up but that I could have this for free.” I took the form. Said, “I will read it later.”

 

“OK,” he said and stared at me with those wet sympathetic eyes. Eventually asked me, “is there anything I can do to help you.” I think I shook my head. He sat there a few more moments, said “OK,” again, wished me good luck and left. I looked at the form. It was a reasonably well done authorization for whomever I choose to turn off whatever machines were keeping me alive at the time.

 

He was followed almost immediately by another bearded gentleman in a white coat. His beard was long but not as long as the chaplain’s and slightly better barbered. When he spoke his accent identified him as a recent arrival from the South Asian Indian sub-continent. He told me that he was my new doctor, replacing the smiling Syrian. I do not know what became of the Syrian and did not care much; probably he went to the same place the happy Indian lady disappeared into. It was difficult for me to tell whether he was smiling also or whether his face had solidified into a grimace caused by some unbelievable shock he experienced in his early life. He spoke as though he was always on the verge of hysteria and told me what I was to expect my life to be like for the next day or two.

 

After he left, I turned to stare out the window where I first noticed that my view was filled by a magnificent huge valley oak tree, three or four huge twisted limbs crossed the window in great black slashes from upper left to lower right. In between the limbs the space was filled by the chaos of tiny branches typical of the species. It made me think of my daughter Jessica’s photographs. Most people, myself included, when taking a photograph tend to concentrate on focal points or design elements in the composition. Not Jessica, hers exhibit a sublime sense of anarchy; the design elements that one looks for always hovering just beyond reach. Then it registered that the diagonal thick branches were the design element that attracted me and I realized that she would probably ignore them and focus instead on the filigree of tiny branches that filled the spaces in between. What did I know?

 

While zoned out on my artistic musings, my first real visitor arrived. It was Joey, or “Papa Joey” as Hayden referred to him. I was very pleased that he took the time to come by and visit me. We mostly discussed his new venture. His environmental safety firm, that has offices in DC, Palo Alto and LA intends to start a franchise programs whereby his firm will provide the technical backup and regional marketing and the franchisee, the local sales and marketing.

 

Later that day a four person ambulance medical team arrived to transport me to another hospital where a titanium umbrella would be inserted into a vein in hopes that it would catch any additional blood clots before they reached my lungs and surely killed me. This was necessary because, as either the smiling Syrian or hysterical Indian repeatedly warned, the next clot would be fatal. The male members of the team were named, appropriately, Jason, Mark and Jeff.

 

Jason was the supervisor. He did not do much other than ask me if I was feeling all-right. Jeff was the driver and Mark the muscle. In the world of hospitals, white anglo-saxon males do the pulling, lifting and driving. They seem excluded from pursuits requiring greater mental capacity. They do appear slowly to be breeching the “glass ceiling” in the phlebotomist and nursing trades, although I suspect these pioneers were mostly gay.

 

They were accompanied by Cindy a middle-aged registered nurse who was there, “just in case something went wrong.

 

It dawned on me that I probably had expended more money in medical care in the past two days than I had during the entire rest of my life combined.

 

They told me to relax, they were going to do all the work. They lifted me from my bed on to the gurney and wheeled me through the hospital halls. I lay back and watched the ceiling rush by like those shots in those television programs focused on the lives, loves and hi-jinks of those mostly post adolescent beautiful people who work in hospital ER facilities. Mark lifted me all by himself into the back of the ambulance. I guess the ride to the other hospital could be added to my bucket list; a ride in the back of an ambulance while still conscious.

 

At the second hospital I was delivered to another UN medical strike team appropriately dressed in blue scrubs. The operating physician was definitely more loquacious than Dr. Greenberg. The Dr, whose name I forget, proceeded to explain, at length and in great detail everything that was going to happen to me in the next thirty minutes. His description in fact was so remarkable, that I overheard a masked member of the UN strike team tell one of the ambulance personnel that he had never heard it done so clearly and at such great length as on that night. The Dr. gravely explained that after about a month, I would have to return to have my throat slit and a catheter inserted into the thus exposed vein that would grasp the umbrella by a hook and pull it out of my body. If I did not do this, I would die. He also explained that some people forgot all about the umbrella for as much as a year before they died. He did not recommend this course of action.

 

The operation was anti-climatic since I saw and felt nothing following the slight pinch in my groin that accompanied administration of the local anesthetic. Then it was back to the ambulance, return to the first hospital and the lifting of my body back into bed. Everyone congratulated everyone else and I thanked my team profusely (I had begun to view them as my team). They left and I settled back into the unique rhythms of life in ICU.

 

I no longer remember precisely what else happened that day (or perhaps even the next) other than that night (or perhaps the next) at about 2 AM one of the nurses gave me a full bath while I laid there on my bed in the semi-darkness. I thought it was pleasantly erotic. It made me happy.

 

The next day all I really recall was my bout of Stockholm Syndrome. You know, the effect experienced by those kidnapped who become so dependent of their captors, they fall in love with them. I fell in love with my nurses and wanted to marry them. I told them so. I never saw them again.

 

The next day was the NFC and AFC football conference championship games. The SF 49ers won. For those who saw the game there were several moments of high emotion for those who become emotional about things like that. At some point near the end of the game, the room suddenly was filled with doctors, nurses and technicians. Apparently all my monitoring equipment had gone haywire. My blood pressure went through the roof and my pulse escalated to about 125 BPM. EKG,s, X-rays, emergency blood tests were called for. A lot of serious faces and head shaking. About an hour after the game all my vital signs returned to normal. I wonder if I should consider skipping the Superbowl? Go Niners.

 

A few days later at about two in the AM a nurse pushing a wheelchair entered the room and announced they needed the bed. I was wheeled off the ICU floor and into another less mechanically appointed room where I was left alone. The next morning a new Arab doctor came in and announced that they needed the bed for this room as well. They would discharge me in an hour. I begged him to let me stay until 5PM when Dick could pick me up without missing a day of work. He agreed with a shrug of his shoulders. I was left alone until about 4PM when a nurse came into my room and said that, to her, it appeared I did not want to leave. After she left I thought about that for a while. Maybe there was something to it. After all, some of my best friends are here.

 

At 5PM I was discharged. Dick and Hayden picked me up. Besides the wheelchair pusher, no one else was there to see me off.

 

We went and had dinner a Panda’s Express. After dinner we went home where I immediately went to sleep and did not wake up until the following morning.

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

 

ENTER THE DRAGON

 

Chapter 1.

 

Some people call me Dragon, not because of my fiery breath or temperament or even because I might be sitting on a pile of gold, which I definitely am not. I got that name for the perfectly pedestrian reason that my real name is Matt Dragoni. And, as with most nicknames you go with it or try to hide it out of embarrassment. I can live with Dragon. It beats, Matty, Drags or Goni Gonads.

 

I am part-time attorney and private detective working out of San Francisco and Bangkok Thailand. When I am not doing that, I mostly spend my time like today, sitting at a sidewalk café in San Francisco’s North Beach or some other place like that, sipping espresso, working on my novel and staring off into the distance. Mostly the latter. As for my novel, I began the current draft, my sixth or so (none either finished or published), about four months ago. I have reached the middle of page seven. I have however accumulated 35 pages of notes, clever sayings and obscure facts, that I am convinced some day I will integrate into the novel and win me a literary prize.

 

I used to be what many people call a success, a euphemism for asshole, but now I am mostly a bum. So it goes. I have a small stipend from what is left of my investments and I work now and then as a private eye and attorney hoping to eke out $1000 or so more per month to keep me in whatever it is at that moment that I crave.

 

Anyway, I was sitting there contemplating the appropriate simile with which to end a series of sentences that began, “[I] stood there is the shadows. It was freezing. My frozen nuts clanged against my thighs like….” I began considering something like, “ice cubes striking a cocktail glass” but was sure something like that had been done before. Suddenly a woman walked up and stood in front of my table.

 

If this were a noir mystery novel she would be a tall willowy blond with legs extending to heaven or some other improbable place like that. Given that when I was in my dream space my ability to switch back into reality is somewhat impaired, the appropriateness of a contest to decide the suitable metaphor or simile for where those legs actually did end up flashed through my mind.

 

Alas, she was not a tall willowy blond no matter how her legs connected to her body. She was short and sort of skinny. Decent breasts pressed against her jeans jacket. “Tits on a stick,” my friend Gary would call them. She also had a shiner around her left eye.

 

She had short spiky black hair. Actually, only some of it was black the rest was red, yellow and green. A spike in her nose holding what looked like a tiny dog biscuit (do they still do that?). The jagged edges of red, blue and green tattoos snaking up her neck above her collar and peeking out below her cuffs. Black leather leggings, metalled joints and motorcycle boots or Doc Martins, I could never tell which is which. Her face was heavily freckled and she had a small pinched nose. She looked a lot like the woman in the first two Indiana Jones films who always got into trouble that Harrison Ford got her out of and then screwed at the end of the picture.

 

I thought her look had gone out of style a few years ago. But, hey, this is San Francisco, weird dress never goes out of style here. Today I saw two men wearing berets and there are whole neighborhoods where people still sit around complimenting each other on their tie-dye T-shirts.

 

She said, “Can I sit down?”

 

“Depends, I am not good-looking enough or rich enough to expect an attractive woman to walk up and sit at my table. What’s up?”

 

“You’re The Dragon right.”

 

“Dragon, is enough. And, yes I am some times called that — among other less savory things, but you still did not answer my question.”

 

“Pino said you were a private detective.”

 

Pino was one of the shills that line Columbus avenue trying to entice passers-by into restaurants to eat generally atrocious, over priced, pretend Italian food.

 

“Pino is a fat asshole, and yes I sometimes do some detective work, but I am not very good at it.”

 

“That’s what Pino said. Can I sit now?” Which she did without waiting for an answer.

 

I looked over at the smiling Pino leaning against the parking meter and mimed a pistol shot at his head.

 

“Would you like a drink?”

 

“If you’re buying.”

 

She ordered a glass of Barbera. I signaled for two.

 

“How much do you charge?”

 

“$100 a day, plus expenses. Seven day minimum. Half up front and the rest when the week is up.” In other words $350. At my level, I figured I would never see the rest of the fee or the expenses.

 

“That sounds reasonable”

 

“Like everyone seems to agree, I am not very good.”

 

She chuckled, said, “What are the expenses.”

 

“You know transportation, telephone calls , cocaine. Things like that. The usual.”

 

Chuckled again. “Ok, except for the cocaine.”

 

“What’s your name,” I ask?

 

“Mavis Corcoran”

 

Thought, “who the fuck names their kid Mavis today.” Said, “Your shitting me, not Dawn or Sandy?”

 

She ignored me said, “I would like you to find my friend. He has been missing for a week.”

 

The drinks arrived. I took a sip of mine. She did not touch hers. Said, “Why would you pay someone like me? Why not go to the police? They have a department just for this.”

 

“Yeah, but they never do anything but wait and tell you to let them know if he ever shows up.”

 

“Did he give you that'” I said pointing at the shiner?

 

“Uh, no I fell at work.”

 

“Do you drive a Harley,” I asked?

 

“Huh?” “In fact I do. How did you know?”

 

“I’m a detective.”

 

“Ha, more likely a lucky guess. What happened if I said no?”

 

“You would be lying, and even if it were true I would have said I knew it all along.”

 

“So what?”

 

“So,” I added, “I know bullshit when I hear it. It is your right not to tell me what you do not want me to know. Your information as well as your money are what you pay me with. You get what you pay for. Why do you want to find this guy?”

 

Don’t you want to know his name?”

 

“We’ll get to that. This is more important now.”

 

So she told me her story about their being lovers for a while. The last few weeks he being nervous but he would not explain why. Something about an import-export deal with Clarence Reilly. Then he disappeared and the usual, “he would have told me if he were going away.”

 

In my past life I had dealings with Reilly. He billed himself as an “investment advisor.” You know he took your money and told you what you wanted to hear. If things worked out, he took some more. If it didn’t he still had your money but did not want to know you anymore. A gangster without guns. Reilly was up there among the hall-of-fame assholes. I hoped I would not have to deal with him. It would take weeks to wash away his stink.

 

“Tell me, do you ride your bike in the Gay Freedom Day Parade?”

 

“What what does that have to do with it,” she said reddening slightly?

 

“Humor me.”

 

“Yes” she said staring defiantly in my eyes.

 

“You drive or ride postern?”

 

“Drive. My girl friend rides behind.”

 

“So you have a boyfriend and a girlfriend?”

 

“This is San Francisco, and what does that have to do with him being missing?”

 

“Nothing I guess, this is San Francisco.”

 

I took her information and entered it into my computer; his name and address, work address, friends (he did not seem to have many), same information about the girl friend and a bunch of other bullshit things to make it seem as though I had a lot of work to do. I also got his name. Mark, Mark Holland.

 

I asked her for photographs of Mark and of her girl-friend. She fished in her back pocket pulled out a wallet and eventually handed my two photos. The first, a little out of focus, showed a young man, a little too much hair on his head and a little too little in what passed for a mustache and a beard. He was young man thin but already showing the signs of the bloating that was to come. He was flexing a poor excuse for a bicep to accentuate for the camera the spiky dark tattoo; something abstract, nordic, who the fuck knows. I hate tattoos. I took him for about 30 years old and a big time stoner.

 

The girl friend was another thing altogether. Lilly Park was her name. She was as they say drop dead gorgeous. She appeared Eurasian. I wondered how many more generations in the city it would take for these racial identification characteristics to disappear. Already, most of the teenagers I see around the city had lost any distinguishing visual racial markers that I had been brought up with that identified whatever it was they were supposed to identify. Another separation from life’s comfortable moorings. Probably a good thing that it also goes wherever it is that ethnic jokes went.

 

The photograph looked like a publicity shot. Taken from slightly above it showed blond smokey eyed beauty revealing plenty of cleavage. Said, “Those must have been some threesomes.”

 

Got the bitch look in return. You know the pupils crash down to pinpoints and the body goes rigid. That’s one of the differenced between men and women. Insult a man and it takes him time to work through his slow-thinking mind whether he was insulted. Then even more time to figure out whether he can take you or not. That usually gives you time to run, make a joke of it or hit him first. With women their reaction is instantaneous. You no longer have options.

 

Rather than risking further damage, I told her that I would take the pictures with me now and when I get home scan them into my computer and return them tomorrow. Actually I do not have a scanner. I said that just to avoid any protest from her in the matter.

 

Finally, I got her cell phone number and email address and asked where she works.

 

“I own Marky’s Tattoo Parlor on Columbus. I worked with Marky for years. He gave the place to me when he retired. Marky was a real artist.”

 

Thought she must have a thing for guys with that name. Said, “Oh, I was unaware that sticking needles in someone was considered an art form now.”

 

“Asshole”

 

I smiled, “so they say,” and collected the $350 fee.

 

I watched her walk off, skinny ass swinging in a tight, almost prissy, determined rhythm.

 

“I like them with a little more meat on their bones,” I thought.

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

LIVEBLOGGING WORLD WAR II: JANUARY 22, 1943

 

Eleanor Roosevelt:
WASHINGTON, Thursday—”I am back in Washington and today am flying down to christen the new “Yorktown.” I christened the first one and she acquitted herself well and I am proud that they have asked me to christen the second one. As she goes down the ways, I shall pray that she will see the end of the war and will be used in the future for peaceful patrol work. Whatever happens to her, I feel sure that ship and men will live up to the traditions of the Navy, which are becoming more glorious day by day.”

 

A FLOTUS for the ages.

Of course my right-wing correspondents will eventually email me their opinion [accompanied by appropriate photographs] that Ms. Roosevelt as well as Hillary Clinton, are not “pretty” enough to be taken seriously. This, of course, will be proven, in their minds, by pointing to Franklin and Bill’s extra-curricular activities. Why do you think conservatives so firmly believe a woman’s value and abilities reside in her vagina? Could it be because their brains reside in their tiny penises?

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“a gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense,”
Art Kellerman, Emergency Room Doctor and researcher.

 

The reason we keep guns in our home, we are often told, is to protect us from being shot by someone we do not want to be shot by. That is unless you are a Second Amendment gun-nut, who believes we keep guns in our homes because it is our constitutional right to shoot ourselves.

I understand that, really I do. But what I do not understand why you would not want the police or emergency services personnel to know you have the gun, given that you will most likely be calling on their services sooner rather than later.

 
TODAY’S CHART:

 

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Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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