Posts Tagged With: South America

This ant that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 4. 2011


A blast from the past: The following is a Daily Factoid I posted way back in September 2010 that I thought might amuse some:

Myrceugenia correifolia is a species of evergreen woody flowering shrub native to South America belonging to the Myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The common name of this plant is Petrillo.

Why any plant should have a so-called common name “Petrillo” I have no f***ing idea. Why not Schatzman for example? Besides, I resent the appellation “common.” There is nothing common about a Petrillo; weird or strange perhaps, but common, never.

Nevertheless, you may be interested to know that one notable characteristic of the noble Myrtle family is that the phloem is located on both sides of the xylem, not just outside as in most other plants.

Chew on that for a while.

While on the subject of things Petrillo, as you may recall in a previous email I introduced most of you to the notorious murdering Petrillo brothers. Recently, I also learned that someone named Dominick “The Gap” Petrillo introduced Joe Valacci to the Cosa Nostra.

As coincidence will have it, Dominic Petrillo is also the name of a character in one of Sheldon Seigal’s books. Sheldon tells me that he modeled the character in part on me. Dominic is a fairly despicable individual. I seem to remember he ends up killing himself.

Sheldon is not the only well-known author to include an unflattering description of me in his novel.

In “Roses are Red,” James Patterson‘s protagonists attempting to solve a series of baffling bank robberies go through files of hate mail from the banks that were robbed. One letter in particular draws their attention. The man who wrote it lived nearby. The man’s name is Joseph Petrillo. Petrillo wrote a hate letter every week for the last two years. Petrillo also was a former security guard who was laid off by Citibank. The letters were intelligent and well written. They go to see Petrillo who shoots at them. Once back up arrives they burst in, but find Petrillo had blown his head off. ( “sic transit gloria”).

For those with some interest in the matter or in strained coincidences, my daughter briefly dated James Patterson’s son. I understand it was a relationship that she would just as soon forget.

Oh well, as long as I am on a roll with Petrillo and mayhem, I may as well add one particularly gruesome and tragic story.

On September 25, 2009, Annie Morrell Petrillo, daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas leaped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather Scott Douglas jumped to his death from on January 1, 1994, after murdering his wife. According to a witness, she stopped her car on the Tappan Zee Bridge and got out and jumped. A suicide note was found and its contents released on the ABC show 20/20 in 2010. Family friends stated that Annie never got over the senseless tragedy of her mother’s murder and she had been hospitalized several times for depression. At the time of Annie’s death, she was finalizing a divorce from Petrillo and that also may have contributed to her despair. (Knowing the Petrillo clan as well as I do, her marriage into our esteemed family I am sure was more than a contributing factor in Annie’s death. Just ask my mother.)

Just in case you have gotten the impression that the Petrillo clan is only associated with death, dying and violence, I will have you know that apparently we also like music (and of course sex).

It seems that the Grand Prince of Tuscany Ferdinando de Medici (1663-1713), also known as the “Orpheus Prince,” principal delight, aside from music, was in intimate liaisons and affairs, often with men. These included someone named (you guessed it) Petrillo. Petrillo was a musician (male), famous for his beauty. The oversexed prince also had an affair with a Venetian castrato by the name of Cecchino (I could be wrong, but I think Cecchino means either “little garbonzo bean” or “Frankie”).

Now there may be a gay Petrillo or two, but a castrato, never.


Thailand: The Thai protective amulet industry is worth about 300 million USD per year. There are thousands of articles in popular amulet collector’s magazines about the value and beauty of these small objects. There is a regular section in the popular Thai language newspaper, Thai Rath, called “Sanam Phra” which features new amulets on the market, stories of their production and occasionally a miracle story about how an amulet saved a person from drowning or helped her business. Some amulets have sold for as much as 1.75 million USD. However, there are many amulets that cost as little as 10 cents. These amulets, albeit rarely, can be made more powerful with the addition of “corpse fluid” (nam man phrai) from aborted fetuses or freshly deceased adults.

America: Researchers returning from an expedition to the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, the deepest part of the ocean, report they found the largest single cell organism ever discovered. The organism four inches long, lives under the crushing pressure of the water in the deepest and darkest part of the ocean, and it does not live there alone.


See Today’s Photograph for a view of LA from space. The Verdugo hills where I am staying now are those hills in the upper center left of the photograph below the large mountain range at the top. Torrance, where Monty lives, is located just behind the low range of hills by the water on the Pales Verde peninsula in the bottom center of the photograph.

So, here I am in La Canada eating breakfast at a café called “Hill Street,” Monty having dropped me off here after we got lost on our drive this morning to Glendale where I was going to spend the next few days. Fortunately, I found a bus that stopped directly across the street from the café and deposited me a block away from my destination. The bus had some sort of senior discount that allowed me to ride for free. Instead of the usual denizens of public transit I find in SF, the bus rapidly filled up with relatively well dressed seniors. Glendale, is America’s own little Armenia. There are perhaps more Armenians here than in the capital of Armenia itself, another example of the melting pot producing stew and not sauce.

After I arrived, I was immediately put to work shelling Tamarind, followed by squeezing limes for the Margaritas to be served at the Day of the Dead party this evening. Then I took a nap.

After my nap we travelled around downtown Glendale looking for Marigolds.

That evening the guests arrived all were Armenian except a distinguished physician of mexican descent and me, the Sicilian rhapsody. Mostly the guests conversed in a mix of Arminian and English. We drank Tamarind Margaritas, the first taste of which was like some horrid medicine, but immediately thereafter grew on you until it became delightful and habit-forming.

Against one wall in the living room a Day of the Dead altar was erected, containing skulls, the marigolds, candles and photographs or mementos of the departed.

Among the guests was an artist and the owner of the gallery in which his works are exhibited. There was also an author on Armenian matters and local talk show host on the Armenian television station. He was bald, rotund and sported a beard that would make Trotsky proud.

I had an interesting discussion with a child psychiatrist and his wife a medical anthropologist who had set up a foundation to oppose infant scarification (circumcision), cesarean births and support breast-feeding and the removal of infants from cribs and into their parents beds.

In the discussion with the psychiatrist, I learned that the Armenian nation that existed in eastern Anatolia for several thousand years until it was destroyed in the Armenian genocide during the early part of the 20th Century, being surrounded by muslim and other societies that practiced ritual circumcision and sought to impose them on the Armenians, steadfastly resisted, having the tips of their wieners chopped off.

Think about it, for thousands of years people have fought and killed one another over whether the bit if skin covering the end of the penis should remain intact, and the battle still is not over.

Another guest was introduced to me as an anarchist. With his flowing white beard and his ponytailed white hair he reminded me more of a rabbi than an anarchist.

Toward the end of the evening the psychiatrist and his wife and the physician got into a heated discussion regarding circumcision and childhood development. The physician said something that interested me, that since Roe v Wade, the number of abortions and the number of immigrants into the US have balanced each other and this was because it was recognized that labor was necessary for a healthy economy and a political decision was made to balance the loss of future laborers from abortion through immigration. While I felt the latter part of his assertion was bullshit, I wanted to find out if indeed abortions matched immigration.

So the next day, I researched the issue and found that, in fact, abortions almost tripled the number of immigrants. In addition, a fact that should surely fuel the paranoiac inclinations of my old classmate Pat Buchanan, the number of abortions by white women were in itself larger that the number of immigrants and except for abortions among black women which almost matched immigration, the abortion numbers among what ever the political classifications we score things by today was miniscule.




Cancelled today because Vince is befuddled, Isabella pissed off, Meg obsessed, Ike depressed and the author reduced to suffering alternating fits of annoyance and anxiety.


a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:

b. Real Headlines and Ads:


HEALTH FOOD STORE BROCHURE: “Herb Of The Month: Treats loss of memory and male importance”



c. What Occupy really wants:

Weaponized Keynesians: Those who believe, “the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.” (Barney Frank)

John Maynard Keynes noted the curious “preference for wholly ‘wasteful’ forms of loan expenditure rather than for partly wasteful forms, which, because they are not wholly wasteful, tend to be judged on strict ‘business’ principles.” Spend money on some useful goal, like the promotion of new energy sources, and people start screaming, “Solyndra! Waste!” Spend money on a weapons system we don’t need, and those voices are silent, because nobody expects F-22s to be a good business proposition.

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the New American Lexicon):

Frank Luntz, Republican Party consultant in a strategy memorandum sent out to Party insiders said:

“Sometimes it is not what you say that matters but what you don’t say. Other times a single word or phrase can undermine or destroy the credibility of a paragraph or entire presentation. This memo was originally prepared exclusively for Congressional spouses because they are your eyes and ears, a one-person reality check and truth squad combined. However, by popular demand, I have included and expanded that document because effectively communicating the New American Lexicon requires you to STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people.”

This new section of Pepe’s Potpourri will contain some of Luntz recommendations.

If you ever thought that you were able to reason your way to your own political convictions, this series will disabuse you of that conceit. What you thought you knew and believed is little more than clever cynical conditioning.

e. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Recently I wrote that Monty fought in the Middleweight division during Sugar Ray Robinson’s reign. In fact his career began as Robinson’s was ending. I apologize for the error.


“If you don’t start thinking about finance in this way–don’t start by classifying those who trade into savers, borrowers, risk-bearers, risk-shedders, principals, agents, gamblers, and marks–you do not, I think, have any chance of conducting a serious analyses of modern finance.”
Brad DeLong

Perhaps, my favorite description of what the world of finance is all about.


In other words, only about 17% of the federal Budget is discretionary spending. A little over 20% is spent on defense. The remainder is spent on mandatory payments; entitlements, interest and safety net programs. Allowing the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy to expire and cut defend spending by 20% would over the next 10 years save more that 2.2 trillion dollars and amount greater than that the so-called super Congress is required to make. So why, if it is so simple is it not done? That’s easy, the Republicans in Congress, with the assistance of some Democrats, refuse to either raise taxes or make significant cuts in weapons procurement [see Weaponized Keynesians above.]



Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: