Posts Tagged With: Sicilian Mafia
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:
Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
2006, May 28 – Rita Borsellino, anti-mafia politician and sister of late anti-mafia magistrate Paolo Borsellino who had been murdered by the mafia, loses to Salvatore Cuffaro, incumbent president and alleged mafia associate, in the 2006 Regional Election of Sicily.
2008, January 18 – Sicilian president Salvatore Cuffaro is found guilty of several mafia-related charges.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
1. Since the recent Thai elections, there has been a drastic fall off of political news. Yingluck’s election has been confirmed by the Elections Commission and it is expected that she will soon be chosen Prime Minister and begin assembling her cabinet. Unlike her exiled brother Thaksin, she has been notably and admirably reticent to make any comments at all about either her appointments or her policies.
2. The International Court has ordered the military of both countries to vacate the disputed temple area on the border between Thailand and Cambodia and allow the residents therein to get on with their lives. The military of both countries are relieved, otherwise they would have continued to expend ammunition and material in the senseless shelling of each other. Nevertheless each side has announced that it would not begin to remove its troops until there is independent verification that the other side is removing theirs.
3. The members of Thailand’s military general staff, who had been instrumental on the coup that overthrew the democratically elected (although perhaps personally corrupt) Prime Minister Taksin, violently put down the Red Shirt protests and to all extents and purposes ran (although neither efficiently nor effectively) the country, when queried by reporters on whether they would be replaced by the new administration responded that they should not be replaced because they were only doing their jobs; that they and the military were the servants of the people and they (the Generals and the Military) instead of being removed deserve to be honored for doing their duty.
4. For those of you who recall opening AVA PUB in the then seedy Sukhumvit Soi 11, a recent travel article about Bangkok states, ‘…Soi 11 is gaining a reputation as a cuisine hall of fame.”
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
It is that time of the year in Thailand when overcast skies and the daily afternoon and evening downpours makes the heat nearly tolerable for westerners in Bangkok. I have just begun to shrug off the sluggishness and fatigue of jet lag and lack of exercise that have been dogging me since I arrived.
Yesterday, I suffered a serious economic calamity due exclusively to my favorite vice, Sloth (see TODAY’S QUOTE, below). Realizing that such a serious event could lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, depression and in some cases despair and in order avoid those consequences, I am considering either temporarily upping my dosage of “happy pills” or having a three hour happy face massage.
To add to my melancholy it has been raining all day, but I suppose except for the end of times or the end of your time sooner or later the grey skies will part and the sun, if even briefly will shine. In a life filled with silliness and embarrassment, I cannot recall doing anything as embarrassing, silly and rediculess as writing that last line, unless it is writing this one.
I think I will try the massage first, then if that doesn’t work the happy pills.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Damon Morley, was Big Flo’s neighbor, sometime golfing partner and occasional investor in his development projects. He owned a large trucking company and was a close confident of the leadership of the area’s Teamsters Union local. McWerter had met several of these large beefy taciturn men at Damon’s house or on the golf course. The local had become a fairly large investor in several of Bog Flo’s projects also. He had heard the stories about the local’s organized crime connections, but their money was good and surprisingly easy to raise. Where it came from was their problem not his he reasoned.
After Big Flo indicated an interest in looking into the military procurement business that Damon seemed so high on, Damon began to bring him along to what he described as “prayer meetings.” Big Flo, although raised Catholic, was anything but devout. When Damon mentioned “prayer meeting” Big Flo scrunched up his face like he had just gotten a whiff of something that smelled bad. Damon quickly assured him that it was more like the Mason’s, sure there was some religion in it but it was more like a club set up for business men to assist one another.
The “prayer meetings” usually took place in the spacious home of a member located in one or another of the luxury subdivisions that dot the San Francisco Bay area. In addition to the host who inevitably was a CEO of a company doing business with the US military, or an executive with a New York based financial institution were four of five others in the same businesses. Big Flo liked that and preened in their presence.
There would also usually be one or two elected officials sometimes from as far away as the mid-west who were especially noted for their strong conservative views. Sometimes there was someone from the military present, resplendent in his dress uniform. There were never any woman who attended.
The meeting, if it could be called that, always began with a prayer led by Reverend Michael. Reverend Michael, did not have a church per se, that is a building to which worshippers came to pray. His flock seemed to be the men in the bay area who attended these meetings . Big Flo was later to learn that there were counterparts to Reverend Michael throughout the country, leading “prayer meetings” like these. They all seemed to report to a man named Robert Millicum who they mentioned in only the most respectful and reverential tones.
Finally, there were always one or two muscular young men present referred to as Guardians. Big Flo was informed that they lived in dormitories that were called “Academies” where they were trained to eventually take employment in the companies controlled or managed by the membership after a stint as an aid to one of the elected official members.
After the prayer there really was no meeting. For about an hour or so, they would drift off in small groups where they would speak to each other in hushed tones until signaled for a brief meeting with Reverend Michael and the host.
Although, unlike Big Flo, many of the attendees had had experience as high ranking military officers, almost none had been an entrepreneur growing his own business from scratch. Most seemed to have worked their way through the bureaucracy chosen more for consistency and loyalty than imagination. “But hell” thought Big Flo, “however they got there, they were on top.”
The Reverend Michael was a slight man, with a long narrow nose and a bloodless complexion that allowed his blue veins to show through like highways on a road map. His eyes were grey and hard but with a touch of moisture glistening in a way that made the pupils appear to float. He spoke is a soft voice and only inquired about simple things like family or business and the like.
Although everyone claimed they had “found Jesus” it sounded more like a ritual, than the falling on the floor and frothing at the mouth that he expected. So soon he found he could also say it also, without thought or embarrassment.
Following each of the meetings, of course there was the expected requests for donations, for the Brotherhood, the politicians who attended the meeting and various conservative and religious political causes. Damon recommended that Big Flo give generously and he did so.
Now and then, the gathering would include an attorney. He was introduced to Big Flo as Sam Coign managing partner of the firm McKenzie Reed. That, in retrospect, he thought, could have been the worst moment in his life maybe even worse than meeting Damon Morley.
a. Eponymous laws:
Reilly’s law of retail gravitation — People generally patronize the largest mall in the area.
(I knew that.)
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apophthegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):
“The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.”
c. Testosterone Chronicles:
John Coates, a former trader turned student of neuroscience, performed an experiment on the trading floor and found out that if a trader’s testosterone levels reach a little higher than the peak, their brain goes haywire.
According to Coates, “During the dot-com bubble, people who were working with me displayed all the classic symptoms of mania: They were euphoric, delusional, and overconfident; they couldn’t put a coherent sentence together; and they were unusually horny, judging from the number of lewd comments and the amount of porn that was showing up on their computer screens.”
(And these were the self styled Masters of the Universe, admired by many and models of success who obviously should and did receive thousands of times more in compensation than the teacher of your children or for that matter, you [not me however; at that time I was as crazy as they were and although I was making not nearly as much money as they did, it still was a hell of a lot and oh you should have seen what was on my computer].)
“As to the Seven Deadly Sins, I deplore Pride, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Greed. Gluttony and Sloth I pretty much plan my day around.”
~Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.com
- Democracy: Today, 80 Years ago, it was the end of Thai “Absolute Monarchy” (thaiintelligentnews.wordpress.com)
1828. E. Leslie uses the word cupcake for the first time.
Obviously not too much of note happened that year. Other contenders for news story of the year 1828 were Brazil and Argentina recognized the independence of Uruguay and Kaspar Hauser the feral wolf-boy was found roaming the woods of Nuremberg, Germany.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
Today at breakfast while reading the Bangkok Post, I came across a review of the Nobel Prize in literature winning, South African author J.M.Coetzee‘s latest novel. It seems to be another of his semi-autobiographical novels; a format appears the current rage among serious writers. Bolanno and Vollman among others have made careers out of it. I call this the double lie format. First the author makes up the story of his own life that he wants you to believe. Then he makes up the people and their stories about observing the made up life of the author.
In his novel Coetzee invents a series of interviews with people (mostly women) asking them to give their recollections of Coetzee during that period in his life just before he began to become famous.
They mainly express the distress of the author’s friends and family at his indolent and unproductive lifestyle as an unlicensed tutor and lay about. The women often describe affairs that they had with the budding author or affairs that they knew about. As with love affairs in general, they usually proved unsatisfactory for everyone, those involved as well as for those merely observing. ( As Prince Humperdinck in the Princess Bride observes,”You truly love each other and so you might have been truly happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the story books say. And so I think no man in a century will suffer as greatly as you will.”)
After achieving his first success, Coetzee gets a job as a temporary lecturer at a local university and promptly begins another unhappy affair with one of his students or another lecturer (I do not recall which and it really doesn’t matter since one way or the other it was inevitable).
Unlike his fictional character, Coetzee himself has been described as:
“… a man of almost monkish self-discipline and dedication. He does not drink, smoke or eat meat. He cycles vast distances to keep fit and spends at least an hour at his writing-desk each morning, seven days a week. A colleague who has worked with him for more than a decade claims to have seen him laugh just once. An acquaintance has attended several dinner parties where Coetzee has uttered not a single word.”
What this all brings to my mind is not that artists tend to be incorrigibly self-indulgent and ego-maniacal, but only that what is written, sung, photographed or constructed is just the story, the truth is usually what has been left out.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
Yesterday Bill arrived in Thailand. I met him and Gary in The Outskirts of Hell (known locally as Pattaya) and had dinner at a Sizzler Steak House in the local shopping mall. The dinner was actually quite good. After dinner we went to visit the famous Walking Street of Pattaya where I saw things that one does not normally see in one’s day. This led me to surmise that the difference between heaven and hell is the difference between ignorance and knowledge and between boredom and experience.
PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:
Sometimes poetry can bubble up from the depths of despair. This from Irwin:
“Friday i came out of the bank. there was a man who came into the lobby and then went outside. i don’t know how to describe him except to say he looked scruffily dressed and reminded me of a former city councilperson who was one of the last white faces in Santa Ana government; outside of the long-time city manager who lives in Coto de Caza as does the former mayor who now is the right hand man at the irvine Company. i got the distinct feeling this fellow was either going to rob Citibank or was waiting for me so when i got into the oyonemobile i locked the doors started the car and drove away.
Yesterday morning i went to the market and was waiting at the fish counter (dover sole $9.99 a pound) when the guy came in and peered into the red meat display. When he left, i breathed a sigh of relief. When i checked out of the market and got to my car i could see him at the end of the parking lot next to the small free-standing building which houses “drs. r us.” Who is this guy and am i really seeing him again and again? i quickly drove away.
Today i thought about it a lot. i was thinking that maybe it was “death” following me around and checking me out. What i had to keep death away i don’t know but i suspect it was those adolescent tendencies of mine that when confronted i have just a few choices, to whine, freeze and/or make it to the closest door. What kept death at arms reach? Surely death could appreciate and have a real taste for a coward. Did he just decide that it wasn’t my time or that I was the wrong person?
At 2:30 am, i couldn’t sleep so i checked my email. i received an email from a former county CEO. In it he explained that he didn’t know what day or time it was; that his three year old romance ended when the woman died in their bed at the age of 37. i guess Mr. Death found somebody; hopefully it wasn’t in place of me by mistake. i have enough bad karma on my conscience.”
a. Wisdom from The Princess Bride:
Inigo Montoya: ” Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.”
Westley: “Have you ever considered piracy?”
b. From God’s mouth to your ears:
“And so humankind became abundant on the earth.
And daughters were born to them.
The sons of God saw that the daughters of humankind were good.
And they took for themselves any women they chose.
The sons of God had sex with the daughters of humankind.
Yahweh saw that the wrongdoing of humankind was abundant on the earth, and their thoughts were only toward wrongdoing at all times.
And he regretted having made humankind on earth, and it pained his heart.
And Yahweh said, ‘I will wipe out humankind from the face of the earth. Humans, animals, creatures, and birds. For I regret having made them.'”
From this I deduce that God is Sicilian. See below.
“I don’t want any woman other than my Ninetta, and if they [her family] don’t let me marry her, I’ll have to kill some people.”
Sicilian Mafia Boss Salvatore Riina’s statement on love Sicilian style.
Note: in most other cultures frustrated love often ends in suicide. See Romeo and Juliet.