Posts Tagged With: Taxes

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Pepe 0008 (August 21, 2019)

“Time narrows as it passes.”
Saying on a Tarot card my brother Jim gave to Peter Grenell many years ago.
To my friend Eric, the old sailor, deep-sea diver, and pirate — Keep on Truckin.
To my beloved sister, Maryann, best wishes for a successful “Startup Mendocino” on August 25 in Ukiah.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
Today I went swimming for the first time since last October. I walked to the Nepenthe pool here in the Enchanted Forest and sat on one of the reclining beach chairs in the shade of some redwood trees until I felt ready to swim. It was not much of a swim. I couldn’t complete even one lap, but I paddled around a bit and did some walking back and forth across the shallower end of the pool. It’s a start.

That evening after we went to bed, I remembered that I had not driven the car from the overnight no-parking tow-away zone in front of our house to where I normally park it during the night. I jumped out of bed, threw on Bill’s red velvet robe and ran out the door to attend to the problem. Now Bill was a big man, much bigger than I am, five or six inches taller and about 100 pounds heavier so his red velvet robe hung down to the tips of my crocs and draped loosely around my body. It appeared more like a paint tarp thrown loosely over an armchair than a robe. I looked like a disheveled dissolute medieval Cardinal newly returned from the grave running around at night searching for heretics to burn at the stake. I got into the car and drove it to the proper parking area and then walked back home through the paths and streets of the Enchanted Forest like a crimson specter carrying a Shillelagh. I suspect I will be brought before the HOC to explain why I had chosen to haunt the neighborhood.

As Frank tells us, “Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few.” The last precious few days have not only dwindled down to smokey memory but most of those memories have disappeared.

I swam again a few days later — more vigorously this time. That evening, we watched Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remmick, George C. Scott, and Ben Gazzara. The Gazzara family (Ben’s relatives) owned the shop, a grocery store, in Canicatti, Sicily next door to my family’s “Tabacci.” How is that for a remote and inconsequential factoid? (Another inconsequential factoid is that the presence of Zs in the last name of southern Italians signifies that they are descended from the Arab and Moorish settlers during their more than 300 years (Ninth to the Eleventh Centuries) occupation of the Island and the southern mainland. OK one more: Jews were the only ones to migrate to Sicily instead of invading it. In 1492, the same year that Columbus arrived in the Americas beginning the conquest, genocide (ethnic cleansing), and repopulation of those two continents, the Spanish Kingdom of Aragon, recent conquerors of Sicily and sponsors of Columbus’ expedition, expelled those Jews, many of whom resettled in those parts Germany beyond the reach of the Christian crusaders and thus became a major component of the stateless Jewish nation of the Ashkenazim.)

This morning, I took a shower. I know that’s nothing momentous, but while my PICC line was in, I could neither shower nor swim. I thought to myself as I stood there for a long, long time with the water crashing down on me, how wonderful it was to shower again after eight months of sponge baths. That, in turn, reminded me of when I was a kid, in the second grade. We lived in a storefront with a soaped-up window. We had only a toilet and cold water, so every evening my mom would heat up water in a kettle on the stove and pour it into a galvanized tub in which she bathed my brother and I. Yes, it has been a long time from May to September.

Later, Naida and I discussed something amusing and interesting that I wanted to write about here but I forgot what it was. Only the sense that it was amusing and interesting remains. That’s good enough for me.

On Thursday night, we went to the B-street Theater housing Sacramento’s premier live theater group. We saw The Last Match, a one-act play about a tennis match at the US Open between the aging US champion on the verge of retirement and the young upstart Russian challenger, and their wives. It was a well-staged fascinating comedy-drama. The only problem with the show was that even with my hearing-aid turned up, I could only make out about a quarter of the words spoken by the actors. I blamed it on the failure of modern acting schools to focus on projection and diction and not on any deficiency in me or my auditory equipment.

The next day I planned to spend the morning swimming. Instead, I occupied the entire day extending well into the evening watching old Red Skelton movies. I know, I should be shot and put out of my misery. Who watches Red Skelton movies today? Whoever watched Red Skelton movies? I didn’t when I was a kid —not even Saturday mornings at the Tuckahoe Itch where for 25 cents we watched a double feature, a bunch of cartoons and Movietone News of the Week. OK, I admit, I enjoyed watching them this week, especially “The Whisperer” series — truly an adventure in silliness.)

hayden… teenage forgetting — grandparents v parents — Bella bru — sunglasses — lake — zumba pool — condo — rose garden — bookstore — Hamilton quote — epstein

I wrote the above as a mnemonic device so I could come back after a few days and hopefully recall what happened. It is now a few days later. Let us see how well it worked.

Hayden — I recall leaving home at 8AM and driving into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM and Jake in order to drive to a large skatepark camp near Tahoe. I stopped in the Bela Bru parking lot and called H because I suspected he would have changed his mind and forgotten to call and tell me.

Teenage forgetting — He answered the phone and said they changed their mind and had forgotten to call and tell me.

Grandparents v parents — I have no idea why I added this except perhaps grandparents and the very old (alter cocker?) tend to be more forgiving of the foibles of the young than parents because, I guess, but for a vague sense of one more disappointment among many, they have little enough to do anyway so there was usually nothing else they had to give up.

Bella Bru — so, having little else to do, I entered Bella Bru ordered my favorite breakfast of Cafe Latte and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with Cream cheese.

Sunglasses — for the rest of the day, I believed I had lost my favorite sunglasses. I tore the car apart and searched the house for them. That evening, as I sat in the recliner, I looked down and found the glasses had been hanging from one of my shirt buttons all day.

Lake — After breakfast, I went for a walk around the lakes at Town Center.

Zumba pool — I walked past the morning Zumba dancing class exercising in the health club pool.

Condo — and past the construction of the new and controversial 200 unit condominium project. It was not the best planned and designed concept. I would have preferred a walking street through the site with additional commercial on the ground floor. In any event, I support adding residential units to large shopping centers like Town Center so it had my silent approval for however much it is worth.

Rose Garden — After my walk around the lakes, I sat there and enjoyed myself contemplating something I no longer remember.

Book store — After meditating or whatever in the rose garden I walked to the bookstore, A Clean Well Lighted Place For Books. I seem to recall there were a few books that interested me. I no longer remember the titles of any of them.

Hamilton quote — I have no idea what this relates to or to what quote I was referring to unless it was this one I had read a few days ago:

Pasted Graphic
Epstein — Given the current news surrounding everything about this man, this could refer to almost anything.
A strange and mysterious thing came flying over the back fence today — a small box. In that box nestled a coffee cup filled with candy. It is sitting on a cabinet next to where I am typing this. I wonder about it. Perhaps it is a magic cup. Maybe if I rub it three times, a coffee genie will pop out and offer me three wishes. This requires some deep thought.

On Monday, I drove again into the Golden Hills. It was HRM’s first day of high school. I stopped again at Bella Bru, this time for lunch. As I was ordering, to my surprise N, Hayden’s mom, called to me. She was there with Jake’s mom. I joined them and we spent most of the lunch discussing the problems of teenagers. I then picked up H and Jake at the skatepark. They were very excited and happy about their first day of high school. I dropped them off at D’s house and returned to the EF.

A few more days have passed by. I assume I must have done something of at least moderate interest. Yesterday, I felt sick and spent most of the day in bed. Today, I felt better. That interests me even if it does no one else.

Well, today is Wednesday. Last night Naida could not find her wallet. We tried to remember when she used her credit card last. One of the places we considered she may have left it was at the Theater. In our attempts to recall the day we attended the play, I was convinced it was Saturday. She was not sure and thought we went there on Friday. Today at the theater we discovered it was Thursday (as I had written above but had not checked). My memory failures are going beyond simply humorous stories about the foibles of aging.

How about that, It is Friday evening already. It is Irene Dunne day on TCM.

We attended the Saturday Morning Coffee. I am beginning to enjoy talking to the people there rather than just sitting in the corner observing them and writing about it here. Perhaps I am growing up. Winnie, who is on immunotherapy, seems to be doing well. She was distraught when she first was diagnosed with brain cancer. Now that it seems to have been halted, at least for a while, she tries hard to enjoy every day as much as possible. Good for her. I also had a lengthy conversation with another woman, She worked in the legislative bill room while the Coastal Act was going through the process. Later, while working for a workman’s comp. company, she retained one of the attorneys from my firm for some legal work. This is another example of the “small world” aspect of coincidence. She also told me that one of Senator Henry Mello’s sons often attends the coffee but was not there today.

After that, I left again for the Golden Hills and picked up HRM, Jake, and Kaleb and drove to Placerville where we had lunch before I dropped them off at “Joe’s Skate Park.” While they were skating the cement hills of the park, I nosed around through some of Placerville’s shops. Later on the way back to EDH, the chattered on about their excitement over starting high school. I tried to leave them with Pookie’s Ten Cent Words of Wisdom for Adolescents by explaining that their high school years would be among the most memorable of their lives, but they should understand that because this is the time in one’s life most open to deep feelings and emotions inevitably they would find some things as bad as they had ever experienced before but they needed to know and remember that they will pass. Pretty mundane if you ask me.

The next day, was Ice Cream by the Pool Day where many of those who attend the Saturday Morning Coffee sat around the pool, ate ice cream and talked. Naida and I had an enjoyable conversation with Winnie about life and loves past. On the way back to the house we ran into the new neighbor who had worked for Lehman Brothers and now sells memberships in some sort of a travel club. He told us the man who had moved into the other side of us (The one who tried to chat up Naida) used to be an immigration lawyer in the Bronx. Small world indeed.

On Monday, I picked up HRM and Jake after school and took them to lunch. Alas, they wanted to go to Chick’a’fil which I am trying to boycott because of their support of Trump and their stance on LGBT. I decided to remain silent about political issues and went with them.

This morning, Naida and I woke-up and began chatting to each other about our dreams. We had both dreamt about summing up our lives, our successes, and failures. She on the difficulties, successes, and failures of being a woman trying to make her way in the world and me about the places I have been and the things that I have seen and the places and things I would never see and experience.

So, now it is time to travel again to the Big Endive by the Bay for my immunotherapy infusion.

Take care of yourselves.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

 

 

In an effort to keep my mind from obsessing on the state of the world which I am convinced is rapidly approaching the end of times and away from trashy novels and old movies, I sometimes like to dwell for a bit on why things are like they are. No, not why did Trump get elected or why is the environment in a terminal tailspin, but the bigger picture like, is there a general rule explaining the why? Sort of like a thought experiment. Not because I expect to come up with any general principles of use to anyone, but only to amuse myself and then forget.

Let’s take agar in a Petri Dish. Place something in it like cells, bacteria or whatever and if properly prepared and some outside source of energy, such as light, is added, they grow and grow until either an external event occurs to halt the growth or they consume the agar and die. Life on earth is a bit like life in a Petri Dish, just add some light and the life grows until it consumes all that it feeds on and dies. But life on earth has lasted for billions of years and hasn’t consumed the resources that sustained it. Well, perhaps once or twice it consumed one or more of the resources necessary for its survival and it died in one or more of the five or six mass extinctions earth experienced. So what?

In Harvard, a young physicist/mathematician postulated that life is a mathematical formula and can (will) occur always and everywhere. It is probably true for the organic compounds necessary for life as we conceive it, but others who have studied this seem to believe that to go from organic compounds to bacteria or to eukaryotes requires a very unique environment such as certain deep ocean thermal vents with a complex composition. This is all well and good, but we need some generalization as to “what is life” to help make things clearer.

Schrodinger back in 1944 postulated that life is something small in size and permanent in time (crystals he believed at the time). Watson and Crick proved this up except instead of a crystal they discovered it was a complex molecule (DNA). In order to maintain that life does not violate the second law of thermodynamics, Schrodinger seems to argue that the biosphere is not an isolated system because the cost of this order is the release of heat into the environment and the capture of free energy mostly from the sun.

This I found interesting and helpful. When coupled with the fact that many believe the biosphere extends as a band from somewhere below the surface of the lithosphere (ground) up until it dissipates somewhere near the stratosphere, it helps me to explore a possible concept on which I believed I could replace my uninformed uncertainty with dogmatic bias.
(to be continued if I feel up to it)

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

The following continues the reproduction of the entries in my diary from 1963 that I had begun in the previous T&T post. It also includes my current comments and clarifications on the entries.
January 9, 1963

Today started well. I saw some of the prettiest women on the subway this morning. Fatigue, however, from lack of sleep dulled my whole afternoon. I even cut class so that I could come home early and rest.

I am falling behind in my studies. I do not think I will finish Introduction to Law by exam time.

(All this worry about the exams turned out to be just my usual flight into hysteria. In fact, when the exam results came out, I placed second in the class. This convinced me law school was a snap, so I began cutting class and ignoring my studies. I even arrived drunk to my spring partnership exam. As a result after the spring exams, I almost flunked out. From then on I tried to get back on top but, at best, my marks were undistinguished. I went on to be a very mediocre attorney, but a better than average advocate.)

 

January 10, 1963

I received a letter from Tad. He really is in the Army. All along, I thought he was pulling one of his frauds again. His vocabulary has gone Army.

He wrote about meeting Suzi, Kevin’s old girlfriend, in Washington on New Year’s. She told him that I was “harmless.” Maybe I am. Nevertheless, no man should take such a blow to his devoutly cultivated reputation lying down. I need to get of a few defamations about her and her girlfriends. I need to write back to Tad soon.

On a brighter note, I got nine more girls to sign up for the trip to Bermuda.

My studies are still going poorly and I am concerned.

My parents had another argument tonight. They tried to use me as a mediator. I refused hoping to avoid trouble. No such luck, I ended up in trouble anyway for refusing.

(Tad was one of those Georgetown boys (like Justice Kavanaugh), a trouble maker and carouser with a strange, to me at least, sense of morality (more a doctrinaire commitment to ritual than a sophisticated understanding of ethics). He was also a close friend. He was one of a group of students I hung with including Pat Buchanan and the entire Buchanan clan as well as David Hearne, one of the Irish ambassador’s sons who a decade later made headlines by running over an elderly pedestrian with his car and claiming diplomatic immunity to avoid liability. The oldest of the ambassador’s sons, Maury, was a compulsive gambler. Bob, my roommate at the time (and later manager of Prince, The Lovin Spoonful, and Earth, Wind, and Fire among others) and I used to make some extra change indulging Maury’s passion by fleecing him at a crooked card game in our rooms. He knew it was crooked but didn’t seem to mind. Later, Maury died by shooting himself while practicing quickdraws with a loaded pistol from a shoulder holster.

We all spent a lot of time together drinking, fighting, general carousing, and very little studying and going to class. We ran Pat for his first office, president of the off-campus student government. We cheated and he won (that’s a long story). I had always believed Pat, who I considered both violent and nuts, would end up in the electric chair. Imagine my surprise when a decade or so later, I was sitting in the American Embassy in Rome on election night and hearing that he was Nixon’s speechwriter (another Zelig moment). Anyway, back to Tad, I persuaded a young woman (an heiress from New Jersey) to give Tad another chance after she told him she never wanted to see him again because he had done something unconscionable which he often was wont to do. They eventually married. She regretted it bitterly until about 20 years later when she got it together enough to throw him out. Sometime later, I ran into her mom (a woman who had born 12 children and always claimed that bearing 12 kids had made her certifiably insane) somewhere in New Jersey. She blamed me for ruining her daughter’s life.

Place it all somewhere in Italy in the Fifteenth Century, add a few poisoning and a sword fight or two, and it would all be quite Shakespearean, don’t you think?)

 

January 11, 1963.

I met with the study group immediately after class today.

I wrote a return letter to Tad containing a defense to Suzi’s slander, and a few other absurdities.

The study session pissed me off today. I thought I knew enough but I often was bewildered, muddled, and wrong. I hope this does not happen during the exams.

I must get in touch with Pat and push him to promote the trip to Puerto Rico at Hunter College.

Dammit, I must make an extra effort at my studies.

Today, I learned that “Twentieth Century” is doing a program on “Winnie” Churchill (My sort of friend from College) as a “typical” Rhodes Scholar. He is anything but typical — ego-centric yes. Nevertheless, I am glad to learn that at least one of my classmates is making it.

(Winnie had been my classmate and not so friendly competitor at Fordham. I have written about him before (https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/category/winnie-and-i/). He was a scion of the American side of the famous English family.

While I was attending law school, I also had a business chartering airplanes and flying college students to Bermuda and Puerto Rico for Spring Break. A few years before I had broken the IATA rule that no airplane could be chartered except by an organization whose members traveling on the proposed flight had been members for over six months prior to the retention of the charter. I broke it by simply attesting that the members had been such for six months. I then walked out of the airline office and backdated their membership cards when I sold them their tickets. This loophole in the rule eventually permitted the establishment of charter airline services with often disastrous results. In 1963, I had chartered four airplanes, two for Bermuda and two for Puerto Rico. The travel agency I was working with took the profit on the lodging and me on whatever I could make on the sale of tickets on the planes.)

 

January 12, 1963.

I met with the study group again today. It was a bore. I wonder if any of the others in the group will make it. T. Russo, A. Shifler, O. Shimshidian, G. Cantarella, N. Guarneri, J. Little, and M. Ryan. It will be interesting to watch them develop.

I got into a fight today with one of the Burns Guards.

(Tony flunked out of law school. Al graduated. I do not know what happened to him. Ora became a highly respected admiralty attorney in NY. Gino graduated. I do not know what happened to him either. Nunzio who looked a lot like Arnold Stang, graduated and became a small-town lawyer and lived in Bronxville, I think. John graduated, practiced law in JAG, and spent a lot of time acting in summer stock. Mike, I have no idea what happened to him.

I do not recall the fight with the Burns Guard or whether it was a fistfight or just an argument. Could have been either.)
January 13, 1963.

I was not going to write anything here today for lack of anything interesting to write about, but, this evening, I just finished an argument with both my mother and my father.

It all began with an argument with my mother that started when she asked me to continue teaching her how to drive. I tried to explain to her that because we are family when one of us takes up the role of teacher to another, tensions resulting in arguments often result as they had in my previous attempts to teach her how to drive. My efforts to explain this failure. I tripped over my words and became more and more frustrated.

Mom responded by claiming “no one in this family was willing to sacrifice for her.” With that dad jumped in stating that he had paid fifty dollars for her driving lessons.

I then came in on mom’s side and, of course, dad and I then became combatants. He suggested that I leave. I responded, “perhaps we both should.” I obviously botched the whole argument so I stormed off to my room. Mom and dad then went at it again at the top of their lungs. Dad threatened to leave home.

(As you can guess by now my parents argued a lot. Years later after they retired, and I brought them to California from the East Coast to live in my house. My father achieved a bit of local renown for, after some of their more passionate arguments, running out onto San Francisco’s Douglass Street, the street in front of the house, and with arms raised to the heavens screaming, “Why me God? Why Me?”)

 

January 14, 1963

Today I listened to the President’s State of the Union Address. I don’t think there has been someone who could speak lime him since Churchill. At a time as dangerous and confused by crises, he speaks with the power and conviction of the greatest orators of the past.

I wonder if the last phrase of the speech could be stricken by the Supreme Court. He said, “… with the help of almighty God we shall prevail.”

I think he is the right man at the right time. He seems to have begun to turn back the advance of communist totalitarianism and may be leading the US to victory in the Cold War.(As Churchill and Roosevelt, Lincoln, Wilson, and Washington led us in prior wars against totalitarianism.)

As far as the material content of the message is concerned, it appears to be only a general summary of the Domestic and International situation. The only new point relates to the Tax-Cuts that appear, after listening to the commentators, to not be the ones that had been expected, but Tax-cuts that were more acceptable to the public.

 

(The President referred to of course is JFK. A few years before, I worked parking cars at his marriage to Jackie. RFK left the ceremonies to personally thank each one of us for helping out. I always looked at RFK as someone special after that.)
(More in a few weeks)

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

In the dark alleyways of history, a woman alone is always prey.

Dress a woman in man’s clothing and she can safely negotiate those dank streets. A man in a dress will be shocked at his own vulnerability.

A woman’s option is to either submit or band together with other women to rule over men. This means, for their own protection, women must control at least one of a society’s social mores, economic power or political leadership.

 

B. Today’s Poem:
Given the events of the recent weeks in the United States, the massacres of innocents by White Nationalists, the abandonment of the fight against climate change, shredding of protections against nuclear holocaust and the looting of the national treasury, this poem by William Butler Yeats captures the dread we in America feel at this time as well as it did one hundred years ago. Then the slouching beast crept towards Berlin. Today its claws grip the heart of our nation while the worst in our citizens march into our cities and towns, our schools and shops our churches, synagogues, and mosques full of passionate intensity and carrying assault weapons.

The Second Coming
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born
.
William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the 17th century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality. Although he lived in London for 14 years of his childhood (and kept a permanent home there during the first half of his adult life), Yeats maintained his cultural roots, featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays. He was equally firm in adhering to his self-image as an artist. This conviction led many to accuse him of elitism, but it also unquestionably contributed to his greatness. As fellow poet W.H. Auden noted in a 1948 Kenyon Review essay entitled “Yeats as an Example,” Yeats accepted the modern necessity of having to make a lonely and deliberate “choice of the principles and presuppositions in terms of which [made] sense of his experience.” Auden assigned Yeats the high praise of having written “some of the most beautiful poetry” of modern times.
(www.poetryfoundation.org/)

 

C. Apologies, Regrets, and Humiliations:
1. Naida says she never told the tale of the giraffes and the acacia trees that appeared in the preview T&T post. She said it was me who told the story after reading one of my books about trees that talk to one another. Although, I apologize if in fact, it was me that made up the story. Nevertheless, I refuse to change it as written.

2. Terry, I think, also wrote that I had made a mistake about something, but I no longer remember what. So, I apologize both for the mistake and my failure to remember what it was about.

3. Over the last month or so, I have not responded to a number of e-mails from readers of T&T. I am not sure why I failed to do so. To those whose emails I have not responded I apologize and promise I will try to do better in the future.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“It was the best of crimes, it was the worst of crimes; it was born of love, it was spawned by greed; it was completely unplanned, it was coldly premeditated; it was an open-and-shut case, it was a locked-room mystery; it was the act of a guileless girl, it was the work of a scheming scoundrel; it was the end of an era, it was the start of an era; a man with the face of a laughing boy reigned in Washington, a man with the features of a lugubrious hound ruled in Westminster; an ex-Marine got a job at a Dallas book repository, an ex-Minister of War lost a job in politics; a group known as the Beatles made their first million, a group known as the Great Train Robbers made their first two million; it was the time when those who had fought to save the world began to surrender it to those they had fought to save it for; Dixon of Dock Green was giving way to Z-Cars, Bond to Smiley, the Monsignors to the Maharishis, Matt Dillon to Bob Dylan, l.s.d. to LSD, as the sunset glow of the old Golden Age imploded into the psychedelic dawn of the new Age of Glitz. It was the Year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and it is altogether fitting that this crime of which we speak should have been committed in one of Yorkshire’s great country houses, Mickledore Hall, and that its dénouement should have taken place in that most traditional of settings, the Old Library …”
Hill, Reginald. Recalled to Life . MysteriousPress.com/Open Road.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Screenshot_20190810-123722_Gallery
The Old Sailor, Deep-sea Diver, World Traveler, Pirate, Treasure Hunter, and Raconteur Getting Acupuncture.

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 SHADOW 0008. (June 27, 2019)

 

“We were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments?”Ap
Robert Ardrey, African Genesis: A Personal Investigation into the Animal Origins and Nature of Man. StoryDesign LTD (September 2, 2014)

 

 

Happy 80th Birthday Peter Grenell.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 
Wednesday, tomorrow, we are off to The Big Endive for my Immunotherapy treatment on Friday. I look forward to the trip. It is always enjoyable for me to spend some time with Peter and Barrie.

Today, I just lazed around the house and watched the Democrats on TV attack one another with far greater vigor than they attack The Orange One. As Will Rogers opined many years ago, “I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

Vaca Santa (Holy cow) and Mole Santa (Holy moly — a bad pun) it is hot outside. While the temperature has not broken 100 degrees yet, it feels well above that.
B. OFF TO XUČYUN AND THE BIG ENDIVE:

 

 

Today we left for the big Endive, but first, we stopped at Leila’s Cafe on San Pablo Avenue in Xučyun (The Ohlone name for Berkeley) to meet Malcolm Margolin. It was the beginning of a very interesting and enjoyable day. It had been overcast and quite cool when we left Sacramento but was sunny and warm by the time we arrived at the cafe so we sat at the outside tables at the back of the cafe and ordered breakfast. It was a large pleasant place with an impressive statue of the Buddha resting in the corner.

As we were digging into our meals, Malcolm arrived and joined us. He was a bit thinner than I imagined but, he proved every bit as delightful as Naida had described him. He spoke in a very soft voice and stuttered frequently. He told us his speaking difficulties were due to his suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for the past 12 years.
IMG_6335
Naida West with Malcolm Margolin
Malcolm then invited us to join him for lunch at the Ohlone Cafe in downtown Xučyun. The Cafe, he said, served authentic native Ohlone food. We accepted his invitation and drove together to his home to meet up with another couple who were joining us for lunch.

Margolin’s home was located in the Berkeley flatlands off Delaware Avenue. The house was small. Inside, books and papers were stuck into all the nooks and crannies. Unusual artworks filled up almost every other open space. They mostly consisted of shallow boxes separated into smaller enclosures each filled with small objects representing the theme of the larger box. Malcolm’s wife is an artist of note and I assume the works were hers.

The two other guests who were joining us at lunch arrived — Debra Schwartz, who runs Tam Hiking Tours in Mill Valley, a company that takes people on environmental walks through the Marin highlands (an upland Mrs. Terwilliger if you will) and Gary Yost a cinematic 3D 360 artist. After saying goodbye to Mrs. Margolin we left for lunch.

The Ohlone Cafe is located in the terraced back patio and kitchen space of University Press Books and Musical Offering Cafe at 2430 Bancroft Ave., Xučyun (Berkeley). The Cafe is only opened Thursdays for lunch as well as for a few other meals during the week. The lunch began with a little talk by one of the remaining Ohlone still living in the area. He described his efforts and that of the other remaining Ohlone to preserve their language and their culture of which their native food was a part. We then were served a meal of traditional Ohlone fare cooked in the customary way from native plants still growing in the area that were recently collected by them. It also included quail eggs and a delightful herbal tea. The meal was surprisingly tasty.

IMG_6352

 

After lunch, we visited the workshop in Emeryville of Reuben Margolin, Malcolm’s son. Reuben constructs remarkable mobile structures many of which have been installed in museums, corporate offices, hotels, and concert halls around the world. It is difficult to describe how breathtaking these kinetic sculptures are when they are in motion. You can see them in action on Reuben’s website (https://www.reubenmargolin.com/) Here is a photograph of one:

IMG_6368

 

We then sampled Gary Yost’s 3D 360 work. One moment you stand in the middle of an artist’s workshop and the next you are whisked into the center Grace Cathedral all shimmering stained glass and gothic columns with people strolling about. Suddenly, mysterious dancers appear in front of you. Their writhing morphing into large black snakes crawling among the dancers and across the marble floor. You turn around. The cathedral is now empty. Only you, the dancers, and the black snakes remain. Great stuff. You can learn more about Yost and his work at https://www.360filmmaking.com/.

IMG_6378

 

We then said our reluctant goodbyes to everyone who contributed to making the day as enjoyable and interesting as it had been and drove across the Bay Bridge to The Big Endive by the Bay and Peter and Barrie’s house.

When we arrived at the house, Peter along with my son Jason and granddaughter Amanda were standing on the sidewalk waiting for us. My son and granddaughter were both suffering from bad colds. They said they wanted to see me while I was in town but would not come into the house for fear of infecting me. We spoke for a while. I gave Amanda a graduation present.

That evening Barrie prepared another wonderful meal. The next morning we went to the hospital for my treatment. The only thing novel and interesting that came out of my visit was that I learned the immunotherapy drug administered to me had been approved for use without the need for prior chemotherapy treatment. I do not know what this means for me since I have already suffered through Chemo, but it sounded like confirmation that the effort to find cures for cancer are proceeding apace.

After, the treatment we returned to the Enchanted Forest.

 
C. BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

The next day, we were exhausted from our trip and spent most of the day watching on MSNBC the speeches of Democratic candidates for President at the North Carolina Democratic convention. After Biden gave his talk, we left for a long walk with the dog along the American River. It was hot. I got tired often. We stopped and rested on every bench we came to. At one of our rest stops, I fell into musing about old people like me walking through the forest. I thought it would be a good idea if the Enchanted Forest provided paths for we anziani including locating a bench every 100 yards or so where the aged could stop, rest, talk with others also taking the walk, perhaps play mahjong or something and then move on to the next bench. I would name it “Un percorso per anziani,” a path for the old ones. It could be considered a parcourse for the aged.

This had been the longest walk I had taken since I began Chemo six months ago. When we got home, I flopped into the chair, watched Pacino and Cazale tear up the scenery in Dog Day in the Afternoon followed by another Pacino film that co-starred Gene Hackman called Scarecrow. Then we went to bed. All in all, an excellent three days.

On Saturday, I left to visit HRM in the Golden Hills. It was Hamburger Day. He and his friend Caleb cooked their special recipe hamburgers. It seemed to me to be quite a bit of effort just to prepare a hunk of ground beef. But, after a lot moving about, discussion, and a few arguments with SWAC, a heated, buttered bun filled with fried onion, cheese, tomato, and a delicious, smooth-tasting well-cooked beef patty was placed on the table in front of me. After lunch feeling well fed, I left HRM and Caleb with a few bits of Pookie’s Words of Wisdom for Adolescents and returned to the Enchanted Forest.

IMG_6389

 

On Monday afternoon, we took a nap and then in the evening I watched the Reading of the Mueller Report. Everyone should see it. Later Naida and I watched several movies ending at about one in the morning with Taxi Driver — not something to experience just before going to sleep expecting to have happy dreams.

The next morning, I drove to Folsom for my eye exam. Nothing to report there. I then drove to the skatepark in the Golden Hills, picked up HRM, Caleb and Big Tall Long-haired Jake and drove them to the Subways near Town Center for lunch. They were all a-dither about Jakes father buying him a dirt bike that was expected to arrive that day or the next. HRM wanted one also. He had lobbied SWAC vigorously and she agreed to buy him one. HRM was concerned about the conditions she would impose on him in return for her concession.

After lunch, I drove them to Jakes house where they planned to spend the remainder of the afternoon swimming in the pool behind the house. During the drive, Jake, in response to my question whether or not his father was the manager of the FBI’s Roseville office, explained that his father originally had been an agent and tiring of that switched to becoming an interrogator. This required him to travel all over the world sometimes being away from home for months at a time. Eventually, becoming weary of the traveling and extended absences from his family, he requested a shift to management. He was transferred to Roseville to manage an interrogation squad and appears quite happy. He now spends his weekends doing things like going camping with his family instead of flying off to some godforsaken place administering water torture or something like that to some poor benighted individual in order to learn how he or she planned to overthrow the US government from their base in some malarial jungle or uninhabitable desert.

As they left the car at Jake’s house, as is my habit, I dispensed a bit of Pookie’s of Words Wisdom for Adolescents by telling them to, “Remember to keep each other safe.” I know it is impossible for one person to keep the world safe. We usually, however, automatically try to keep our children and family safe. I think it is a good thing to extend that consciousness to our cohorts, even and perhaps especially if it is just a gang of hormonal intoxicated teenagers.

It is now the morning before the first debate among the Democratic candidates for president. Usually, during the presidential nominating extravaganza, I write something I consider humorous about the spectacle. For example, during the 2015 nominating campaign, I wrote:

The Republicans candidates for their Party’s nomination completed the third of their scheduled 10 debates. They primarily attacked the moderators as being part of the liberal media for asking questions they did not want to answer. The Donald tweeted during the debate that he was embarrassed being there. So were most of those watching, I suspect. Everyone criticizes CSMB for not keeping control over the debate. In fairness to the moderators, it should be pointed out that they are news readers and not kindergarten teachers. Anyway, most commentators believe Water Boy won the debate by responding to The Lesser of the Lesser Bushes’ claim he has missed the most votes among all Senators because he keeps “French Hours,” that he is not lazy because other Senators miss votes too. (I cannot wait for the SNL version.) Others thought Cruz the Münster won because he was best at refusing to answer the questions. Nevertheless, the consensus among the common folk was that The Donald won because he was… well, The Donald.

After three years of He Who Is Not My President, I find there is nothing to laugh about any more only sadness in watching the Democratic candidates tearing each other apart.

That evening we watched the debate among ten of the 20 announced candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. I thought all the candidates did relatively well. It seemed to lack the collection of ignorant idiots that usually mark the Republican debates. The only thing I found annoying occurred after the debate when the commentators told us who “won,” as though we had not also watched or we were too ignorant to make up our own minds.

One of the things I found both amusing and interesting was De Blasio cowering the debate moderators into changing the focus of their questions away from the candidates who were leading in the polls standing in the center of the debate stage and refocusing it on the candidates at the edges of the stage. Tomorrow, we will have the opportunity to see the other ten Democratic candidates debate. Actually, it is not a debate at all. The candidates merely answer questions as they would do in any employment interview.

After the debate, we walked the dog. When we got home we tried to turn on the TV to see if there was any movie worth seeing. The TV was not working for some reason so we went to bed.

I received the following in an email from my friend Gerry with a G who lives in Thailand and rides motorcycles:

“A rabbit runs, and hops, and only lives15 years, while a tortoise doesn’t run, and does mostly nothing, yet it lives for 150 years. And they tell us to exercise? I don’t think so.”

Take care of yourselves — Get a lot of sleep. Live like a tortoise.

 

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

 

While recently cleaning out some of the detritus saved on my computer, I came across the following. It is, most likely, a copy of something I wrote for a blog at the time of the controversy over Colin Kaepernick’s kneel down to protest racial injustice during the playing of the National Anthem at an NFL game. Recently, the issue has been raised anew. Megan Rapinoe, a player on the US National Team playing in the Women’s Soccer World Cup, has also taken a knee to protest injustice and inequality.

As citizens of the United States of America, our allegiance is to the Constitution. The Constitution of the United States creates no flags or banners, no pledges, and no anthems. All those, flags, banners, pledges or anthems can be changed by simple acts of Congress. Not so with the Constitution.

What the Constitution does do, and does so clearly, is preserves the right of any individual to peacefully express his or her objection to perceived violations of their Constitutionally protected rights. No anthems, pledges or banners no matter how fervently held by some can alter or deprive a citizen of those rights, and the peaceful exercise of those rights remain available to the citizen in all cases until a ruling adverse as to that specific exercise of those constitutionally protected rights are adjudicated by a competent judicial tribunal as beyond such protections in that particular case.

This is sacred in our nation. This is what ostensibly we as a nation have gone to war to protect and for which citizens of this nation have died doing so. No banner no matter how bloody, no anthem no matter how fervently sung, and no pledge no matter how passionately believed cannot be more sacred to a citizen of the nation than this.

We see around us throughout the world a darkness descending as nation after nation falls to that ideology against which we fought our revolution and most of our wars — the evils of an autocracy of wealth, might, or ideology.

Even where our leaders may have misled us as to their purposes, citizens of our nations have fought and died believing they did so to protect their fellow citizens and the ideal enshrined in our Constitution that the individual citizen has the right to effectively protest perceived injustice and petition for its redress.
We also have by an act of Congress or Executive Action, in addition to a national anthem, a national animal: the Bald Eagle, national Motto: “In God We Trust,” national floral emblem: Rose, and a national tree: Oak. Wouldn’t it be just as unpatriotic to protest some perceived injustice in front of a rose, an oak tree or while a bald eagle soared overhead?

We must never forget that allegiance and dissent are the opposite sides of the same coin. Without allegiance, an organized society cannot continue to exist for long. Nevertheless, a society also cannot continue to exist for long if it is incapable of reforming itself. The prerequisite to reform is dissent.

When one thinks about it, what is the greater insult to the flag or the anthem, someone kneeling to protest injustice or someone marching in a parade or during the playing of the National Anthem carrying a Swastika or the Confederate battle flag? Interestingly, the Constitution protects all three.

 

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

In my previous T&T post, I published a portion of a long lost draft describing a critical point in the approval of legislation creating California’s coastal zone protection program over forty years ago. The following continues that story:

The Chief of Staff pointed out that all the recalcitrant Senators were very committed to the interest groups opposing the bill but suggested one Senator that he felt would have the qualifications the Governor desired. I readily agreed.

While, in my experience, most legislators seem unqualified for most things, especially formulating public policy and the legislation necessary to carry it out, they are as a whole experts in getting elected. The Senator in question was an expert in busses. He owned a two-bus company and had managed to acquire a contract to provide bus service to a rural elementary school in his district. He entered his first political race for the State Senate as a very dark horse candidate and then surprised everyone by, in conjunction with the other bus owners in the district, appearing at the polls with many busloads of voters mostly from his ethnic group and who had rarely, if ever, voted before.

Following his stunning upset victory, he settled into the life of an elected representative by rarely speaking at legislative hearings and voting reliably for the interests of those who now financed his reelection campaigns in sufficient amounts for him to mostly forgo the busses at election time.

The Governor turned to the Chief of Staff and directed him to call the Senator and set up a meeting with him. He also told him to assemble all the parties in interest, the lobbyists involved and the members of the agency affected by the legislation. I then left the office and returned to my own.

A few hours later, I received a call from the Chief of Staff directing me to attend another meeting with the governor. This time he sent me to a room just off the temporary legislative chambers. The legislative chambers had been moved to temporary quarters because the Capitol building was undergoing restoration at the time.

I arrived at the designated room. It was a large space recently constructed for some unknown purpose and located near the temporary legislative chambers. I entered through a long ramp. The room was empty of furnishing except for a folding card table, two folding chairs and a lone telephone sitting on top of the table. About 20 or so people were milling about. I could see several representatives of the Party’s staunchest interest group standing together in a line looking like undertakers at a funeral. I was told that when the state police were ordered to round up the interested parties and bring them to the meeting, one of the leading members of this particular group escaped out the back door of his house and drove away to hide somewhere. I do not know how true that story was, but given the impact of the legislation on his interests, his absence was notable and curious.

There were also a few lobbyists and representatives of other interests there. I spotted the director of the governmental agency most affected by the bill who was talking with the lobbyist that represented many of the groups supporting the bill. I caught their eyes and nodded to them, but before I could move over to join them, the Governor walked down the ramp and without speaking to anyone went directly to the card table and sat down on one of the folding chairs.

Almost immediately following the governor’s entrance, I noticed the Chief of Staff and the Senator in question also moving down the ramp. The Chief of Staff leaned toward the Senator and spoke to him in a low voice. I was close enough to the ramp to hear what he said. “Senator,” he whispered, “ we are only one vote short on the bill and you are it.” That, of course, was a lie, but lying, after all, is the stock in trade of politics.

The Senator, a short roly-poly man then entered the room and saw all those assembled there. He stopped. His eyes widened. He then spotted the lineup of the representative of the Party’s powerful supporting group, blanched slightly, and nodded to them. He then moved on to the table at which the Governor sat and plumped himself on the chair across from him. “Hello Governor,” he said in a low and somewhat wary voice.

Instead of greeting him in return, the Governor leaned in and asked, “Senator, what’s your problem with the bill?”
(To be continued)

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week: Another Snag from Logarithmic History.
As anyone who reads T&T should realize by now that, as a history buff, I have a fondness for this particular blog. The entry reproduced below is both more humorous and prurient than most in the blog focusing as it does on the differences between early humans and our great ape brethren in the physical equipment available for procreation.

What do women want?

As we noted in the last post, human females conceal ovulation (no chimp-style monthly sexual swellings) but advertise nubility (with conspicuous fat deposits). Presumably, this has to do with sexual selection, via male mate choice. But sexual selection may have operated in the opposite direction, on male anatomy, as well.

Males of most primate species have a baculum or penis bone. Human beings and spider monkeys are the exceptions. (A mnemonic: the mammals with penis bones are PRICCs – primates, rodents, insectivores, carnivores, chiropterans=bats.) The baculum helps to retract the penis when it’s not in use, so males in our species, lacking a penis bone, have more conspicuous dangling organs than most primate males.

This information comes from a recent book The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us, by Robert Prum. Prum also cites a paper arguing that Adam’s “rib” (Hebrew tsela), the thing God used to make Eve (Genesis 2:21-23), was actually his baculum, providing a creationist explanation of “congenital human baculum deficiency.” The book contains lots of interesting tidbits like this, although its central argument — that sexual selection via mate choice is largely a result of non-adaptive aesthetic preferences — is shaky.

Men’s penises lack something else found in most primate species: most male primates have keratinized spines on their penises. But a gene involved in the development of penis spines got turned off in our evolutionary lineage, sometime after our split with chimps, but before our split with Neanderthals. We’re not sure why. Penis spines might be favored in promiscuously mating species if they help one male dredge out sperm left by earlier matings with other males. So (relative) monogamy in our lineage might remove the evolutionary advantage of spines. But a non-spiny penis might also be less sensitive, and make for more prolonged intercourse.

If all this doesn’t answer the question “What do women want?”, it at least narrows down the possibilities a bit: not men with bony, spiny penises, apparently.

 

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
The age-old bind in politics — is the candidate an ideologue or idiot?

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Flower Song of Nezahualcoyotl in Nahuatl and in English Translations:

 

SONG OF THE FLIGHT

In vain I was born. Ayahue.

In vain I left the house of god and came to earth. I am so wretched! Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

I wish I’d never been born, truly that I’d never come to earth. That’s what I say. But what is there to do? Do I have to live among the people? What then? Princes, tell me! Aya. Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

Do I have to stand on earth? What is my destiny? My heart suffers. I am unfortunate. You were hardly my friend here on earth, Life Giver. Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

How to live among the people? Does He who sustains and lifts men have no discretion? Go, friends, live in peace, pass your life in calm! While I have to live stooped, with my head bent down when I am among the people. Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

For this I cry – Yeehuya!- feeling desolate, abandoned among men on the earth. How do you decide your heart – Yeehuya! – Life Giver? Already your anger is vanishing, your compassion welling! Aya! I am at your side, God. Do you plan my death? Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

Is it true we take pleasure, we who live on earth? Is it certain that we live to enjoy ourselves on earth? But we are all so filled with grief. Are bitterness and anguish the destiny of the people of earth? Ohuaya, Ohuaya!

But do not anguish, my heart! Recall nothing now. In truth it hardly gains compassion on this earth. Truly you have come to increase bitterness at your side, next to you, Oh Life Giver. Yyao yyahue auhuayye oo huiya.

I only look for, I remember my friends. Perhaps they will come one more time, perhaps they will return to life? Or only once do we perish, only one time here on earth? If only our hearts did not suffer! next to, at your side, Life Giver. Yyao yyahue auhuayye oo huiya.
Romances de los Señores #36 (21r-22v)

(Composed when Nezahualcoyotl was fleeing the king of Azcapotzalco, either during his first flight in 1418, when he was 16, or during his second flight, around 1426, when he was 24. This is the earliest poem that we can date.)
IN CHOLOLIZTLI CUICATL

O nen notlacatli. Ayahue!

O nen nonquizaco teotl ichan in tlalticpac. Ninotolinia. Ohuaya ohuaya!
In ma on nel nonquiz in ma on nel nontlacat ah niquitohua yece. Yeehuaya! Tlen naiz anonohuaco tepilhuan? At teixco ninemi? Quen huel xon mimati. Aya Ohuaya ohuaya!

Ye ya nonehuaz in tlalticpac? Ye ya tie in nolhuil? Zan nitoliniya tonehua noyollo tinocniuh in ayaxcan in tlalticpac ye nican. Ohuaya ohuaya.

Quen in nemohua—Aya!—in tenahuac? Mach ilihuiztia nemia tehuic teyaconi. Aya! Nemi zan ihuiyan zan icemelia. In zan nonopechteca zan nitolotinemi a in tenahuac. Ohuaya ohuaya.

Zan ye ica nichoca—Yeehuaya!—nicnotlamati no nicnocahualoc in tenahuac tlalticpac. Quen quinequi noyollo—Yeehuaya!—ipal nemohuani? Ma oc melel on quiza a icnopillotl. Huiya! Ma oc timalihui—Aya!—monahuac titeotl. At ya nech mikitlani? Ohuaya ohuaya.

Azomo ye nelli tipaqui ti ya nemi tlalticpac? Ah ca za tinemi ihuan ti hual paqui in tlalticpac. Ah ca mochi ihui titotolinia. Ah ca no chichic teopouhqui tenahuac ye nican. Ohuaya ohuaya.

Ma xi icnotlamati noyollo. Yeehuaya! Maca oc tle xic yococa. Yeehuaya! Ye nelli in ayaxcan nicnopiltihua in tlalticpac. Ye nelli cococ ye otimalihuico in motloc monahuac in ipal nemohua. Yyao yyahue ahuayye oo Huiya.

Zan niquintemohua—Aya!—niquilnamiqui in tocnihuan. Cuix oc ceppa huitze in cuix oc nemiquihui? Zan cen ti ya polihuia zan cen ye nican in tlalticpac. Maca cocoya inyollo itloc inahuac in ipal nemohua. Yyao yyahue ahuayye oo Huiya.
Romances de los Señores #36 (21r-22v)

 

Discussion.
Nezahualcoyotl (Hungry Coyote) was considered by his peers to be the greatest poet of ancient Mexico. His compositions had vast influence, stylistically and in content. Filled with thought, symbol, and myth, his poetry moved his people’s culture so deeply that after his death generations of poets to follow would stand by the huehuétl drum and cry, “I am Nezahualcoyotl, I am Hungry Coyote,” and sing his poems and keep them alive.

Nezahualcoyotl was not only a great lyric poet but was famed as an architect, engineer, city planner, reluctant warrior, law-giver and philosopher. The cultural institutions he established included a library of hieroglyphic books, a zoological garden-arboretum, and a self-governing academy of scholars and poets. He led his city-state out of foreign domination and transformed it into a wellspring of art and culture. The seventh ruler (tlacatecuhtli) of Tezcoco, a large pueblo on the north shore of Lake Tezcoco, ten miles across the water from the capital of the Aztecs, Hungry Coyote promoted a renewal of Toltec learning, based on the peaceful religion of Quetzalcóatl, at the very moment when the Aztec cult of sacrifice was coming into ascendancy. All the Nahuatl-speaking city-states in the Valley of Mexico looked to Hungry Coyote’s Tezcoco as the cultural center of their world.

 

 

 

D. Comments on previous T&T Post:

 
1. In a very nice message to me about the previous T&T post, Ruth Lansford included the following fascinating story:

You touched on several stories I’m quite familiar with — Gen Smedley Butler and John Wesley Hardin, among them. My late husband, Bill began his writing career in NYC doing stories for what used to be called “men’s magazines”. Lots of them were westerns and war stuff. Did one on “Old Gimlet Eye” Butler and one on Hardin. He was quite familiar with the Hardin story because his father, born (1886) and raised in El Paso, recalled the day Hardin was killed. He was out on the street when Hardin rode into town, passed by him and told him not to hang out on the street. A little while later, Hardin was killed in that saloon. As for Butler, he was one of Bill’s heroes because of the role he played in the bonus march and his blunt assessment of the military. (Bill was a USMC vet.) Now, of course, Butler is a USMC hero, but at the time he was hated by the spit and polish regulars.

 

2. Regarding my comments on the debate during WWII about initiating a second front by either a risky amphibious attack along the Normandy coast by Allied forces or continuing the push into Germany using the troops already engaged on the Italian peninsula, Terry Goggin opined:

A short note on WHY D DAY in Normandy, rather than continue the Italian offensive through the Italian or Austrian Alps.

An easy answer is that it’s far faster to get to Berlin by going through France than through the Alps. But the real strategic reason was the fear that the Soviet Union could go through Germany, crossing the Rhine and not stopping until the Soviet armies reached the Atlantic, while the Anglo American Army was stuck in the Alps or the Balkans.

In addition, we were losing lots of men in Italy to no strategic purpose. Italy was a dead end so far as Gen George Marshal and FDR were concerned. War is hell no matter where you fight it. Lots of death and destruction. The only question is where can you achieve the most for the least cost. And it was fairly obvious, at least to them, that that was through the flat plain of northern France through the Rhineland and on to Berlin. In fact, Churchill and the Brits consistently opposed a direct assault on the French coast, preferring attacking at the periphery: North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. But FDR put his foot down at the 1943 Tehran Big Three Conference and announced (in secret of course) that the USA would land in France in early 1944. And so it happened and, my view is, it was not a “racket “ but an absolute requirement to liberate Europe from the Nazis and keep it from being overrun by the Russians.

 

So noted.

Terry also commented on my story about the passage of the Coastal Act of 1975.

I am fascinated by your description of Jerry Brown’s tactics to pass the coastal act. I was in the Assembly at the time and had no idea of the difficulties you had in the Senate. I just assumed Jerry Smith and the Governor had it in the bag. Obviously, that was not true. I’m anxious to hear the balance of the story and how you got your four votes. As I recall there were a few judicial appointments made after that vote. What else?

 

I do not know anything about any judicial appointments, but I would not doubt it.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

One of the commentators on CNN recently opined:

“The media confuses celebrity with power. AOC is a celebrity, Nancy Pelosi has power.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

 

Pasted Graphic

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

16996379_10212804685208972_2276347137766292037_n
My Granddaughter Athena Dressed for Carnevale in Venice.

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Jojo 0008 (June 4, 2019)

 

“Nothing convinces a fool to believe in a scam better than turning him into a scammer too.”
Liu, Ken. The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty Book 2). Saga Press.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE GOLDEN HILLS:

 
Today, I drove into the Golden Hills to pick up HRM after school and drive him home. It was the first day in about a week neither overcast nor raining. Instead, big giant battleships of cottony white clouds, floating on a cerulean sea, filled the sky. It was warm — not the warmth of late spring, light with a promise of warmer weather to come, but more like the autumn warmth, sharp-edged to resist the march of winter cold.

As he entered the car he told me he had ordered a new hat and was waiting for it to arrive.

“I thought you bought a hat when I drove to Tilly’s last week,” I said.

“I did,” he responded, “but I wanted another one also.”

When we arrived at the house we saw a package leaning against the front door. Hayden eagerly tore open the box and pulled out his new hat. Here it is:
IMG_6150
Hayden Haystack the Hombre in the Hat.

 

Being a hat guy myself, I like it.

As I ponder over H’s emerging fondness for Hats, I recall that several years ago when he was five or six years old, 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 for not doing so. Finally, being tired of my evasions and convinced I would never get around to it, he decided to write the story in his notebook by himself. One evening, instead of asking me again he handed it to me. 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.”

Later, after reviewing my mail and happily downing a dozen mint flavored Oreo cookies dunked in milk, I went to HRM’s room to tell Jake and him that I was leaving to return to the Enchanted Forest and to leave behind some crumbs of “Pookie’s Wisdom for Adolescents.”

 

 

B. POOKIE’S LIFE IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 
(I have temporarily changed the heading here from the usual “Pookie’s Adventures…” to, “Pookie’s Life…” because I understand that many people believe adventure and life to be very different things. I do not, unfortunately. Still, my life here in TEF would be considered an adventure only if the novelty of being happy and content in one’s life could be termed an adventure. I guess, given my history, being happy and content may very well be an adventure — it is certainly novel.)

At the end of the month, we are planning to leave for Mendocino to visit Maryann and George and to see some of the films being shown at the film festival that weekend. I look at it as a vacation, although what it is that we are vacationing from I can’t imagine. I guess a change of scene would be a more appropriate description.

While driving into the Golden Hills a few days ago, I thought of something that seemed to be very insightful and that I should include here in T&T so that I don’t forget it. Of course, I forgot whatever it was before I got back to my computer. It went wherever those brilliant ideas go that one gets while driving, on drugs, or during the muzzy confusion of waking up in the morning.

This morning, while watching on MSNBC the latest outrage by he who is not my president, I disgustedly turned to Facebook on my computer. To my surprise I discovered the following photograph posted there:

18622269_10211871292991858_4088717537052341010_n

 

That is me on the left, Peter Cirrincione in the middle and Freddy Greco on the right. The photograph was posted by Peter’s wife Loretta also a dear friend of mine. We were at Playland by the Beach in Rye New York sometime during the 1950s when this picture was taken. Although I was a bit skinny back then, I agree with the comments to the post that I read — we indeed were handsome devils. Alas, no longer.

My cousin Lou to whom, among others, I sent a copy of the photograph wrote back that he had a similar photograph taken at the same place with two of his friends also from Tuckahoe. I recall that my father and uncles also had taken a similar picture in the same setting years before I did.

And, after seeing the photograph, Peter Grenell opined:

“Those were the days! Pretty spiffy. Could do a retake at the Geezers Bench with canes, walker, Prosecco, and family size bottles of pharmaceuticals — and hats. Or not….”

Here is the photograph Peter mentioned of him and me on the Geezers’ Bench, more than sixty years after the photograph at Sloppy Joe’s Bar had been taken.
IMG_4243

 

One day, I think it was Memorial Day, I spent several hours reading a Ph.D. dissertation by Eric Jones about the Iroquois Population History and Settlement Ecology, AD 1500-1700 (https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/files/final_submissions/1734). I came across this while I was researching the background to a poem that was reputed to be the opening lines to the Iroquois Constitution, The Great Law of Peace. While I failed to confirm the provenance of the poem, I found the treatise fascinating. It attempted to determine if evidence existed that proved there had been significant decline in the nations population post contact with European settlers (there had been, but it took over a decade before manifesting — just prior to contact (1634) the entire population of the Iroquois nation totaled 20,000 people and by 1660 it had decreased to about 7000). The author also tried to discover what, if any, were the factors that prompted the locations of the over 50 settlements that made up the Confederacy (distance to trails and well-drained farmland).

While searching the internet for information about the number of European settlers who populated NY in the 1660s, I came across a very lengthy letter by an Episcopal minister John Miller to the Bishop of London that after railing on at length about the general immorality of the colonists detailed his suggestions for the conquest of Canada and the conversion of the Indians. When it comes to conquest, murder, and destruction of indigenous societies the dolorous activities in the name of religion by men of the cloth never changes.

The great, most proper, & as I conceive effectual means to remedy and prevent all the disorders I have already mentioned & promote the settlement & improvement of Religion & Unity both among the English subjects that are already Christians & the Indians Supposed to be made so is That his Majesty will graciously please to send over a Bishop to the Province of New York who if duly qualified empowered & settled may with the Assistance of a small force for the Subduing of Canada by God’s grace & blessing be Author of great happiness not only to New York in particular but to all the English plantations [colonies] on that part of the continent of American in general. . . .

When I speak of converting the Indians ⎯ by Indians I mean principally those five Nations which lie between Albany & Canada & are called 1) Mohawks or Maquaes, 2) Oneidas, 3) Chiugas, 4) Onundagas & 5) Senecas, of whom though most of the Mohawks are converted to Christianity by Dr. Dellius & Some of the Oneidas by the Jesuit Millet, yet the first not being yet established in any good order at all & the last being converted to Popery, I look upon the work as yet wholly to be done & if what has been already done is not a disadvantage to it, yet that little advantage is gained thereby except a demonstration of the inclination of the Indians to embrace the Christian religion. . . .

1. The first thing then to be done in order to the conquest of Canada is to pitch upon a General for the conducting & carrying it on. The General then is to be but one to come & all forces both by Sea & land that are sent or appointed for this purpose: for long Experience has taught us that equal & divided commands have ruined many noble Undertakings & great Armies. . . .
2. The Second thing to be provided for is forces & warlike Provisions Sufficient for Such a design & those to be either sent for England or prepared in America. . . . (http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/growth/text1/newyorkmiller.pdf)

 

Miller then continues his letter with extensive and detailed plans for the invasion of Canada and its settlement by English colonists.

And this is how I spent Memorial Day instead of exercising, feasting, listening to music and enjoying whatever other amusements would make my declining years more pleasant.

Ugh! I just found out that, unlike my chemotherapy appointments which were scheduled automatically, my immunotherapy appointments are not and therefore I will not be going to SF this week. I still plan to travel to Mendocino this weekend, however.

It was a good morning today lazing away in bed. Naida brought me a cup of coffee that we sipped together while we told each other stories, played a little geriatric hanky-panky and discussed our plans for the weekend. It was all very pleasant until I tipped over the coffee cup and flooded the bed causing a great deal of mutual hysteria to erupt.

I know that I often complain here about my more sedentary life now that I am well into my declining years, but with the state of my rapidly deteriorating memory, I wonder if it is more likely that I still am quite active but when I sit here at my computer intending to write about it in T&T, I forget whatever it was that I did.

 

 

C. OFF ONCE MORE TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

On Thursday we set off for Peter and Barrie’s house. The usually boring drive seemed to pass more quickly and pleasantly than usual. We listened to the music of Leon Redbone whose death was reported that day. Redbone never recorded a song that one could not sing along with or dance to. So we passed our time on the drive listening to that deep voice of his singing funky jazzy renditions of such tunes as Shine on Harvest Moon, Ain’t Misbehaving, Please Don’t Talk about Me When I’m Gone, and Moonlight Bay and singing along with old Leon.

After we arrived, Peter and I went to Bernie’s in Noe Valley, ordered coffee and sat on the Geezer Bench (See Photo above). We were joined by Don Neuwirth and spent some time catching up on our lives and various maladies as well as reminiscing about people and events during our time when we all worked together protecting California’s coast. A friend of Peter’s walked by, he was a drummer in some of the band’s that Peter also played in. He told odd and interesting stories about his life that began in the Riverdale section of New York City, and attending high school with Ruth Galanter, continued with traveling around the US holding odd jobs and engaging in radical politics. He ended up becoming a drummer in a few geezer bands and rabble-rouser here in the City By The Bay. An admirable life.

 

 

C. MENDOCINO DREAMING, MOVIES, FLOWERS, AND MARYJANE:

 

Following my morning immunotherapy treatment at UCSF, Naida, Boo-boo the dog, and I left for Mendocino. Although it was a foggy morning in SF, the weather during the drive remained sunny and warmth until once again we reached the coast. We stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant in overcrowded Healdsburg. Healdsburg used to be a pretty, little, laid-back town. Now it is a booming gourmet ghetto with too much traffic and too little parking to go along with the rapidly escalating prices for a slightly better than average meal.

That evening at Maryann and George’s house overlooking the ocean in Mendocino, we enjoyed a nice meal featuring mama Petrillo’s secret recipe ditalini. Following dinner, Mary and George left to see one of the films in the movies competing in the film festival, a film entitled A Tuba to Cuba about members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the son of that group’s founder who was also the director of the film. His father had played the tuba and loved Cuban music, hence the name of the movie. Meanwhile back at the house, Naida and I watched four episodes of the HBO’s series, My Brilliant Friend based on Elena Ferrante series of novels about two women growing up in Naples. It was fantastic.

The next morning, after breakfast, my sister, Naida, and I went for a stroll through the town. It was warm and sunny. The marine fog had not yet arrived on shore. Flowers bloomed everywhere. I decided flowers to be the theme of the trip.
IMG_6207_2

IMG_6214.jpg

 

We stopped at Maryjane’s shop, one of my favorites. There, we shopped for a long time. After buying some very attractive clothing for Naida and listening to a few of Maryjane’s stories and jokes, we left.
IMG_6201
Naida and Maryjane in the dress shop,

 

 

By then the marine fog layer had arrived on shore turning the air chilly and misty so, we hurried on home.

That evening, we saw two of the films featured at the festival. The first, directed by the woman who was staying in Maryann and George’s tower house during the festival, was called “Guardians”. It depicted people in British Columbia Canada who count salmon for a living and who are now being phased out by the conservative government. It was marvelously photographed and directed. The second movie, called “Amazing Grace,” a filming of the recording session back in the 1970s that produced Aretha Franklin’s great Gospel LP, the largest selling LP featuring Gospel music ever. Because of technical difficulties, the film was never released and had been thought lost. Recently rediscovered and along with advances in sound technology allowing it to be remastered, it was able to be released. Wall to wall Gospel music, it presented Aretha at her most magnificent.

The next morning we saw Ron Howard’s Pavarotti. It may be one of the most magnificent movies I have ever seen. How he was able to get the shots, assemble the story, use the music as part of the story while also being entertaining I could not fathom since Howard admitted he knows nothing about opera. At one point, shortly after Pavarotti learns he is dying of pancreatic cancer, Howard has a lone violin playing in the background playing the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio when the orchestra swells into the music of Pagliacci and Pavarotti appears in clown costume and makeup to sing Canio’s great bitter and tragic aria Vesti la Giubba. Pookie says, “Whatever else you do in the next few years no matter whether you love or hate opera, see this movie.”

Following the movie, we went to the newly opened wood-fired oven outdoor Pizza place linked to The Beaujolais restaurant in Mendocino. We were joined my Maryjane and her husband Johan. Maryjane, in that low expressionless voice she effects, told us a number of jokes. One of them was, “Why did the shark not eat the clown? ——— “Because he thought it would taste funny.” I am thinking about creating a new section in T&T, “Maryjane’s Joke of the Week.” OK, here is another one, “Three Irishmen walked out of a bar. ——— That’s it. That’s the Joke.” After downing some of the best pizza I have eaten in years, we returned to Maryann’s house and I took a nap.

IMG_6253

Naida, Johan, Maryjane, George, Maryann and the Pizza.

 

The following morning we arose early, packed and left for home. We stopped for breakfast in Ft Bragg then set off to cross the coastal range on the way to Sacramento. We had gone a little way up into the mountains when Naida noticed she had forgotten her phone. We retraced our drive, picked up her phone and set off again. By then it was noon. We stopped at Lakeport, walked the dog and enjoyed the view of Clear Lake for a while.
IMG_6291
Old Baldy at Lakeside

 
We arrived home at about 5PM and went to bed almost immediately.

Travel is exhausting for oldies like us.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

12.3-11.7 million years ago
Ramapithecus (Rama’s ape) is no more. Another Hindu god has taken over the franchise; Ramapithecus is now subsumed under Sivapithecus, an earlier discovery, and is no longer a valid taxon name.

The story is interesting from a history-of-science point of view. Ramapithecus used to be presented as the very first ape on the human line, postdating the split between humans and great apes, maybe even a biped. This was given in textbooks not so long ago as established fact. Then geneticists (Sarich and Wilson) came along and declared that the genetic divergence between chimps and humans is so low that the split had to be way later than Ramapithecus. There was a lot of fuss over this. Paleoanthropologists didn’t like geneticists telling them their job. Eventually, though, the paleoanthropologists found some new fossils. These showed in particular that the line of Ramapithecus‘s jaw was not arch-shaped, like a human’s, but more U-shaped, like a non-human ape’s. So after thinking it over a while, paleoanthropologists decided that Ramapithecus (now part of Sivapithecus) looked more like an orangutan re(lative: likely ancestor of a great radiation of orangutan kin that left just one genus, Pongo, in the present.
(https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/)

So now you know.

One wonders why someone like me would collect what is obviously useless information. I used to collect things, lots of things and store them in my home as well as in eight large shipping containers. Is this what I do with bits of arcane information, pack them away in T&T? Why? They still exist on the internet and are easily retrievable. Compulsive collecting is a form of mental illness, like the fear of heights, claustrophobia or hypochondria all of which I suffer from. If truth be known (and it rarely is) I am afflicted with just about every phobia to which they have affixed a Latin or Greek name and a few that the namers have not gotten around to yet. Maybe, I just compulsively collect phobias.

Anyway, about ten years ago, I abandoned the house and everything in it as well as the eight shipping containers and fled to Thailand. Will I, a few years from now, erase everything from my computer and flee again to somewhere odd but sensual? Hmm, probably not.

Anyway, what interests me most in this off the wall factoid is that Siva (also written Shiva) replaced Rama among the early apes — that and the amount of smug pleasure experts in one field of study appear to get in pissing on the favorite theories of their colleagues in another.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 
Another snag from the blog Logarithmic History (https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/bikers-and-hippies-and-apes/). The post entitled, Bikers and Hippies and Apes, begins with a Tajik proverb:

Maimoun angushti shayton ast.

“A monkey is the Devil’s fingers.”

It continues on to discuss the fascinating differences and surprising similarities between our closest cousins in the animal community, chimpanzees and bonobos.

[I]t may be informative to consider our closest relatives, chimpanzees, and bonobos. The two species are closely related, having diverged only about 2 million years ago. They remain physically quite similar, and people didn’t even figure out that bonobos are a separate species until the twentieth century. There are some broad similarities in their social organization. Both species have fission-fusion societies, in which subgroups form and reform within a larger, more stable community. Both species have male philopatry: males spend their lives in the community they were born in, while females transfer out of their natal community to a new community when they reach sexual maturity. In both species, females commonly mate with many males over the course of an estrus cycle. But there are some important differences.

Jane Goodall began studying chimpanzees in the wild at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, in the 1960s. The early reports from Gombe captivated the world with stories of chimpanzee social life, tool use, and interactions with human observers. It was the 1960s, and chimpanzees — hairy, sexually promiscuous, grooving in the jungle ­-looked familiar: they were hippies.

The picture darkened a lot in the 1970s when the community at Gombe split in two. Between 1974 and 1978, the two daughter communities were effectively in a state of war. Males from the larger of the two communities carried out a series of raids against the smaller, with raiding parties opportunistically picking off and killing isolated individuals, eventually eliminating all the males and some of the females. Subsequent studies of other chimpanzee populations have made it clear that this was not an isolated incident: intergroup warfare and group extinction are general features of chimpanzee life. Chimpanzees are still hairy, still sexually promiscuous, but they now look less like hippies and more like bikers. Really scary bikers.

Bonobos look like the real hippies. They are more peaceable. They show less violence between groups, with members of neighboring groups sometimes even feeding peacefully in proximity to one another, something unthinkable for chimps. There is also less within-community male-male violence among bonobos. Bonobo females play a major role in regulating and intervening in male-male competition, and may even be dominant to males. There are tensions within bonobo communities but these are often resolved by (non-reproductive) sexual activity. For example, females, who are generally not related to one another because they were born elsewhere, might be expected to find themselves fighting over food. Instead, they settle potential feeding conflicts peaceably by “g-g (genital-genital) rubbing,” rubbing their sexual swellings together until they reach orgasm. Or do a pretty convincing job of faking it: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

However recent DNA tests have revealed an unexpected twist to the chimpanzee/bonobo comparison. In spite of the more peaceable nature of male bonobos compared to male chimps, it turns out that there is actually greater reproductive inequality among male bonobos and a stronger relationship between dominance rank and reproductive success! Dominant male bonobos are more successful than dominant male chimps in monopolizing reproduction. If bonobos still look like hippies, then they are the kind of hippies where a lot of free loving is going on, but the whole happening is run by and for the leader (backed up by his mom) and his groupies.
(https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/bikers-and-hippies-and-apes/)

 

 

 

B. Today’s Poem:

 

This poem is a translation of one of the opening paragraphs of the Great Binding Law, Gayanshagowa of the Hauduonasee (Iroquois) nation that was given to that nation by Dekanawidah and written down by Hiawatha. The poem here was written by someone (I do not know whom) who put the words of Dekanawidah into a somewhat western-looking poetic format.

“From the Iroquois Constitution”

“The Tree of Great Peace”

Roots have spread out
One to the north,
One to the east,
One to the south,
One to the west.
The name of these roots
Is the Great White Roots
And their nature
Is
Peace
And
Strength

 

 

C. Pookie’s Musings:

 
Musings on a Peter Grenell comment about something in the previous issue of T&T.

In response to my remark:

Last night, Naida described how that morning she marveled at the many odd angles I had contorted my limbs into while I slept. We agreed on a new nick-name for me, Pythagorean Pookie. I like it.

Peter wrote:

Now, the alliteration is cool, but “Hypotenuse” is fewer syllables simpler and elegant. And lends itself to the nickname “Hypo”.

If I should choose this nickname, perhaps it might qualify me to become a Marx brother. Then there would be six Marx brothers, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo and Hypo. Alas, that would make me the last of the Marx brothers still living.

It saddens me to think of a world without the Marx brothers. Hayden and his cohorts probably have no idea who they were or their importance to civilization. Groucho and Harpo were, in my opinion, two of the greatest philosophers humankind has ever produced. Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and all the others may have been admirable and brilliant men but could any one of them demonstrate the heights of the ideal contemplative life as did the mute Harpo playing the harp. Could anyone of those worthies of the past match the succinct reasoning regarding the mysteries of existence as did Groucho when he declaimed:

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Or,

“I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.”

And,

“What have future generations ever done for us?”

Yes, it is a far less interesting and amusing world now that they have left us. Sob!

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954): Letter to Edgar Newton Eisenhower:

“The Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid…

Alas, it may have taken over 60 years but they finally assembled enough stupid people to take over the Republican Party and elect a President even more stupid than they are. Perhaps, a corollary quote could be:

“Never underestimate the ability of a few stupid rich men in a democracy to persuade over time a lot of even more stupid but much poorer people to agree with them and take over the government.”

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_6124
Naida West

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 31 Capt. Coast 0008 (May 10, 2019)

 
.
“War is for defending ideals, not exercising them.”
Bancroft, Josiah. The Hod King (The Books of Babel). Orbit.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE.

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY TO ALL

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 
This morning I woke up and bleary-eyed looked into the mirror. I was surprised by what I saw there — something I haven’t seen for about five months. There on my upper lip hair was growing. I felt mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, now that my Chemotherapy has ended, this bit of fuzz on my upper lip signified my hair might be growing back and that is good. On the other hand, it means that I will have to begin shaving again and getting haircuts — Or, I could just let everything grow out. More decisions.

After the Barr testimony before the Senate a day or two ago, I get the impression that the White House is under siege again. The question I have is, why is He Who Is Not My President so frightened of having the Mueller report, his taxes, and business records released? It is difficult to imagine that his opposition to their release is simply a question of principle.

Also, is it just my imagination or does He Who Is Not My President seem to vociferously attack every potential Democratic opponent he may meet in the 2020 Presidential election except Bernie Sanders?

The weekend has arrived and so has Nikki. The weather is sunny and warm. The azaleas are still blooming. Naida busily works on volume two of her memoir. I sit here at my computer wondering what I will do today knowing full well I have ignored or forgotten things I should be doing. That is one of the aspects of arriving at the age of decrepitude, doing things are less important than having pleasant thoughts.

I drove up into the now once again Golden Hills and parked at the skatepark. Nikki met me there and we gossiped while waiting for Hayden and the scooter gang to show up. A large contingent of the gang soon arrived, including HRM, Jake, Caleb and a host of others. I imagined them all on motorcycles roaring into a tiny town in the foothills somewhere like something from a biker flick of the 60s. I shuddered and put the image out of my mind.

After a long time spent meeting and greeting all the adolescents on scooters that descended on us, HRM, Jake, Caleb and I piled into the car Nikki was driving and went off in search of a pizza. Milano’s, H and my favorite pizza place, seems to have closed permanently (sob). We found another place nearby, ordered the pizza and returned to Dick’s house. The adolescents disappeared into the basement to devour their pizza and play video games. Nikki and I retired to the back deck to sit in sun, eat ours, and continue our gossip session. After exhausting the scuttlebutt and gobbling down a few slices of pizza, I left and returned to the Enchanted Forest.

On the drive back, I couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow I am failing HRM and that I simply am unable to give him the counsel, guidance, security, and friendship that he needs and deserves. Of the three children I have contributed to raising, I believe that somehow my efforts to guide them to happy and successful lives were horribly inadequate. It’s just another load of guilt we add to the pack on our backs that gets heavier and heavier as we grow older. Sometimes I think it is the crushing weight of accumulated guilt and failure that kills us in the end.

The weekend brought with it relief from my fit of melancholy. Perhaps it is because I keep lengthening my walks — you know, boosting my serotonin or dopamine or whatever. Perhaps it is because Naida wrote me a lovely poem — no one has ever done that for me before. Perhaps, it is because I was amused by attending a meeting at the clubhouse to meet those running for the Nepenthe HOC board — it seemed most of the people there favored the election of “anyone but the incumbents.” Of the pressing issues discussed, everyone seemed to agree they all hated leaf blowers. Naida suggested they be banned as they had been in LA.

Last night, Naida gave me a marvelous ring. It was made by one of her uncles, a prominent leader in the Methodist church. Naida said that when he was not doing minister things he would often wander into the desert looking for gemstones that he would bring home and, in a workshop in his basement, fashion them into jewelry. He made the ring from silver that he fashioned into lacework in which he set a remarkable opal he had found somewhere in the desert. The stone itself flashes through the spectrum from brilliant turquoise to a spectacular fiery red when light shines on it. I love it.
IMG_6131_2

I have noticed, after reading the last few T&T posts, my life has become dreadfully dull. Not traveling, wrestling with a crisis, or suffering through a real or imagined emotional or physical disaster makes retelling the day to day plod of an old man’s life tedious. After all, how many ways can one describe spending his days, reading the newspaper, checking his email and watching old movies on television? On the other hand, except for these fits of boredom and impatience, I am quite content and happy with my life as a grumpy old man starring at the end of his existence. It could be worse. I could be an adolescent again or I could be working in the Trump White House.

Today I drove back into the Golden Hills, picked up HRM and Big Tall Long Haired Jake at the Skate Park and drove them to the house where I left them after imparting to them today’s words of wisdom. “Remember.” I told them, “always keep on truckin.”

The next day HRM called me and asked me to pick him and Jake up again after school. I did. This time, after a brief stop at Dick’s house, I drove them to Caleb’s house in order for Caleb to give Jake his birthday present since it was Jake’s fifteenth birthday today. I then drove them back to Dick’s house where they picked up their bicycles and pedaled off to practice with the EDH mountain bicycling team.

 

 

B. OFF AGAIN TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:
Another beautiful sunny day. While Sacramento is no Paradise, here in the Enchanted Forest nestled between that city’s slurbs and a gentle curve of the picturesque American River this morning broke as close to that as can be and still not be considered a dream. Alas, we spent the morning rushing around preparing to leave for the foggy Great Endive by the Bay for my immunotherapy infusion. That preparation included getting Boo-boo settled with the dog-sitter. He wasn’t happy.
IMG_6133

That night at Peter and Barrie’s house where we spent the night, Barrie prepared a delightful meal that featured pasta with a sauce of garlic, butter, parsley, lemon, and topped with asparagus. It was accompanied by chilled Prosecco. (It has only been in the last few years that drinkable prosecco has been imported from Italy.)

They had invited a friend to join us for dinner. He was an aspiring author and wanted to discuss with Naida his literary ambitions and get her advice on publishing. He hoped to publish several works including a play about the travails of a man named Thomas White who had homes in San Francisco, Mexico and Thailand. He was accused by several alleged victims (boys) of having who sex with them when they were underage. He was tracked down in Thailand extradited to Mexico where he was tried, convicted and jailed. After spending almost seven years in jail White learned that the attorney who represented the alleged victims and reaped several millions of dollars in payoffs, he along with his accomplice as well as one of the underaged youths were convicted in California of murdering the target of another scam. The alleged young victim also confessed to lying about sexual contact with White. With the new evidence, he was released from jail but died soon afterward.

We had an enjoyable evening listening to the discussion of things literary and the pitfalls of publication. Over dinner, we all told stories. Peter told several about the early days of the Coastal Conservancy. I could not remember much about the things that he talked about although I was a major actor in the drama or more appropriate comedy. It seems my memory lately resembles a ragged lace curtain blowing in the breeze — more holes than substance.

I told the story of the developer who had been stymied by Denise, my wife at the time, in his plans to build a large spec house in our neighborhood and who had shot and killed his two investor threatening to withdraw their financing for the development. He then, gun in hand, jumped into his car and drove up into the Twin Peaks area, presumably to do to Denise and I what he had done to his investors. At the corner down from our house, I guess he thought better of the idea or perhaps he was stricken with guilt and decided to shoot himself rather than us.

As we finished dinner, Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda showed up bringing dessert, a wonderfully light cake and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
IMG_6137.jpg

The next morning, we drove to the hospital for my immunotherapy treatment. The nurse explained that the immunotherapy was intended to halt reactivation of the cancerous cells that still remain in the tumor. Most of the time, however, was spent with the nurse and Naida discussing books and book clubs.

After the treatment, we drove home directly.

 

 

 

MOPEY’S MEMORIES:

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES: The depressing state of the American airline industry; two days in Orvieto; and a bunch of Giacomini’s.
June 2011

The following morning we left for LAX and our flight to Italy.

The depressing state of the American airline industry is additional evidence that the terrorists won. It was not the taking down of buildings, the killing of Americans or airplanes falling from the sky that was the goal of their attacks, but the subtle certainty of their understanding of the American psyche was their actual weapon. Their focus was to destroy the American economy by knowing precisely the reaction of America’s conservative elite’s thirst for power and profit. And we fell into the trap. Instead of making ourselves even stronger economically at home we wasted American treasure and dollars in unnecessary wars in the deserts of the middle east until we rewarded our attackers their victory, destruction of our economy. I consider the architects of our response nothing less than cynical traitors who wrapped themselves in the flag for personal benefit and power.

The American sad state of Airline travel is small but significant evidence of the extent of the terrorist success.

Anyway, following an especially uncomfortable flight, I arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport with swollen legs, aching back and a foul temper. We were met by Nikki, who had arrived from Chicago a few hours earlier.

After about two hours of trying to secure a rent-a-car for our trip to Milan during which we experienced the full fury of Italian efficiency, we set off.

Within minutes it became obvious that we were not going to make the 4 or so hour drive to Milan that evening as both SWAC and I began to complain to Nikki of our various discomforts. At my suggestion, we agreed to spend the night in Orvieto a small hilltop city not far off the Autostrada.

As we entered the town, SWAC became quite excited. She thought she recognized the town as the site of George Clooney’s escapades in the movie “The American” or some such.

We located a pleasant B&B called “Las Palmas,” dropped off our luggage and set off in search of dinner which we found at an attractive restaurant a few doors away. Following a very enjoyable meal and the downing of two liters of local red and white wines among the three of us, we stumbled back to our respective rooms and to sleep.

The next morning we checked out of the B & B and set off in search of the Duomo as well as to hunt for the locations of scenes in the film that SWAC might recall.

Orvieto’s Duomo is an interesting church with a large Romanesque interior and Italian gothic façade decorated with large Bas-reliefs, statues, and glittering mosaics. On the piers, about 30 feet high are carved a series of Bas-reliefs depicting biblical stories from the Old and New Testament that along with the view from the city walls are the towns glory.

Orvieto_cathedral
The Facade of the Duomo in Orvieto

 

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Orvieto

 

Orvieto like many of the hill towns in this part of Italy specialize in a type of pottery called Faience. Each town promotes in a slightly different design on the pottery and ever since Faience pottery became beloved of collectors, each town has developed its own pottery “artist.” In Orvieto, the renowned artist is the daughter of the owner of a pottery shop on the Plaza del Duomo called Giacomini.
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Giacomini’s

For those with knowledge and experience with the California Coastal Commission, yes they are the relatives of the late beloved suspender wearing, rotund, ex-Marin County Supervisor and Coastal Commissioner, Gary Giacomini sometimes also referred to as “Farmer Brown”.

Gary was an ardent environmentalist as long as it did not interfere with his and his family’s economic and political ambitions.

I spent about a half an hour swapping “Gary” stories with the family before we departed to search for the supposed locations of scenes from the movie, take photographs and return to the Autostrada to complete our journey to Milan.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 
The following was posted in T&T in 2011 before Faux News became the all-encompassing mouthpiece for the radical right it is today. It is interesting to note, however, that in eight years many of the pundits mentioned are still with us and would probably be ranked in the same categories were this poll to be taken again today. Of course, Russ Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, and a few others deserve a category of their own — Deplorables will do.

2011: “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air”:

Students at Hamilton College sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major newspapers and/or appeared on the three major Sunday television news shows (Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week) over a 16 month period from September 2007 to December 2008. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “will not happen,” 5 being “will absolutely happen”) to rate each prediction the pundits made, and then they evaluated each prediction for whether or not it came true.

What did they find? Basically, if you want to be almost as accurate as the pundits they studied, all you have to do is a) root through the cushions of your couch, b) find a coin, and c) start flipping it. Boom! You are now pretty close to being a political genius. Only nine of the 26 pundits surveyed proved more reliable than a coin flip.

Using the students’ statistical methodology, the 26 pundits were broken down into three categories: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Here’s how they break down:

THE GOOD: Paul Krugman, New York Times (highest scorer); Maureen Dowd, New York Times; Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor; Chuck Schumer, New York Senator; Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader; Kathleen Parker, Washington Post and TownHall.com; David Brooks, New York Times; Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury

THE BAD: Howard Wolfson, counselor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor/Fox News host; Newt Gingrich, eternal Presidential candidate; John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator; Bob Herbert, New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC; Thomas Friedman, New York Times, David Broder, Washington Post (deceased); Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune; Nicholas Kristof, New York Times; Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

THE UGLY: George Will, Washington Post/This Week; Sam Donaldson, ABC News; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Senator; Carl Levin, Michigan Senator; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator; Cal Thomas, Chicago Tribune (lowest scorer)

In their executive summary, the students note:

“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to not come true. The second was partisanship; liberals were more likely than conservatives to predict correctly. The final significant factor in a prediction’s outcome was having a law degree; lawyers predicted incorrectly more often.”

As for the factor of partisanship, it certainly didn’t help pundits if their predictions were primarily based on who they happened to be carrying a torch for in the 2008 election — Lieberman and Graham, obviously, did poorly in this regard. The students noted that “[p]artisanship had an impact on predictions even when removing political predictions about the Presidential, Vice Presidential, House, and Senate elections,” but I still imagine that this particular script may have flipped if the period of study was the sixteen-month period between September 2009 and December 2010.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Terry Pratchett on Top:

“Wen the Eternally Surprised.”

“Why was he eternally surprised?” And they are told: ‘Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.’”
Pratchett, Terry. Thief of Time: A Novel of Discworld (p. 31). HarperCollins.

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations
Trickle down economics is an enviable thing. It affords those who promote it the appearance of concern for the people — with no responsibility for delivering anything to them.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

Good Morning

In slow rhythm I awoke in a bundle
of comfort and peace made of arms and legs
and torsos in sync with your low-pitched
intake of breath from our air-pool, forehead
snug against cheek, and then our exhale moans
through my chest while somewhere deep
in our bundle a spark flares to another beat.

I love you tells only half what I feel
when you are the other half of me.
N.W.

 

 

D. Joey’s Mystery Novel:
My partially completed unfinished novel, Dominion, can be found at, https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/dominion-an-unfinished-and-never-published-novel/. Below is one of the draft chapters in which the main protagonist, Vince Biondi, is confronted by San Mateo County Sheriff Megs Polan.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL: “Dominion.” When Vince Meets Megs.

Chapter whatever:

Vince took into the office washroom the overnight suitcase he always kept available in his office in case he had to make a sudden short business trip or pulled an all-nighter like this one. He washed as best he could, shaved, changed his clothing and returned to his office just as Ray arrived to accompany him to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office. Ray had obviously been called by Ike and was dressed in what for him passed for business attire, pearl button earrings, a military-style camouflage jacket, matching camouflage pants and neon green Crocs on his feet.

When they arrived at the Sheriff’s office, they were immediately ushered into the office of Sheriff Megan (Megs) Polan, former beauty queen, bodybuilding champion and a rising star in local Republican politics. Vince and Ray sat in chairs across the hygienically clean desk behind which Megs sat enthroned like a medieval duchess. Her still super toned body so filled out her tan uniform that it looked painted on. She had curly auburn hair that hung down to her shoulders and the steely blue eyes of either a stone cold killer or paranoid schizophrenic. She did not rise to greet them or speak but leaned across her desk and pushed a transparent evidence bag containing a small piece of paper towards them. As she bent forward, Vince caught a glimpse of cleavage struggling to escape the casually unbuttoned shirt. He also noticed the large black pistol riding high on her hip. Vince disconcerted that he found himself turned on, covered his embarrassment by dropping his eyes to the proffered evidence bag and studying its contents.

Inside the bag was a piece of paper torn from a small spiral bound notebook and on it, written in a shaky hand, was the message, “If anything should happen to me, call Vincent Biondi,” along with Vince’s personal mobile phone number.

“So Mr. Biondi,” Megs intoned in her surprisingly whiskey edged voice, “what can you tell me about this note and what may have happened to Mrs. Stephanie Coign last night?”

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

“Or an amicable pair,” said Sam. “Sorry?” “In math, that’s what we call two numbers each of which is equal to the sum of the divisors of the other. The smallest ones, 220 and 284, were regarded by the Pythagoreans as symbols of true friendship.”
Hill, Reginald. The Stranger House (p. 191). HarperCollins.

Consider telling your bestie, “I am 220 to your 284.” How long do you think your friendship will last? The Pythagoreans were always a pretty strange group. On the other hand, closer to our time, even Albert Einstein can appear somewhat otherworldly:

“We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.”
Albert Einstein

Try telling that to your bestie.

Categories: April through June 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Capt. Coast 0008 (April 20, 2019)

 

“[R]estraint is a sign of weakness.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2). HMH Books.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
Joy! Auntie Poldi has returned — finally (See Book Report below). I cannot resist posting here the magnificently exuberant and perhaps shameless bit of overwriting with which the author begins his novel:

“Although in the past few months Poldi had temporarily thwarted death thanks to solving her handyman Valentino’s murder, her romantic encounter with Vito Montana (Polizia di Stato’s chief inspector in charge of homicide cases), her friendship with her neighbours Valérie and sad Signora Cocuzza, my aunts’ efforts and, last but not least, her own love of the chase, we all know the way of the world: peace reigns for a while, the worst seems to be over, the sun breaks through the clouds, the future beckons once more, your cigarette suddenly tastes good again, the air hums with life and the whole world becomes a congenial place pervaded by whispers of great things to come. A simply wonderful, wonderful, universally familiar sensation. And then, like a bolt from the blue, pow! Not that anyone has seen it coming, but the wind changes. Fate empties a bucket of excrement over your head, chuckling as it does so, and all you can think is “Wow, now I really need a drink!” And the whole shitty process starts again from scratch. So it was no wonder my aunts became alarmed when Poldi still had no running water after two weeks and Lady was murdered. No doubt about it, the wind had changed and the ice was growing steadily thinner.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2). HMH Books.

It is Saturday morning and time for the weekly Saturday Morning Coffee Hour at the Nepenthe Club House. The Club House is nestled in a corner of the Enchanted Forest a short distance from our home. Under a bleak sky, Naida and I walked there along the meandering pathways that run beneath the flowering trees and bushes — I, leaning heavily on my fake shillelagh cane, and Naida gaily reciting some long poem by Longfellow or now and then breaking out into a few stanzas of song.

By the time we arrived, I had become so dizzy from the exertion of the walk, I plopped down on the sofa in the hope that the merry-go-round in my head would soon subside. Naida busied herself assembling coffee and various pastries.

Sitting around on a circle of chairs were the usual attendees at these weekly get-togethers: the Leader of course, the spy, Billie the cute woman, the artist, Big Bill, the short-haired lady, Good Old Dave who looks like someone named Dave should look, Silent Gordon, Jan who selflessly scuttles around making sure the place is set up and we all have our coffee and name tags, and a few others. The woman who suffers from what appears to be CP arrived a bit later and settled herself by the large fireplace.

When we all were in place with our coffee and pastry, our leader, Ginnie, rang the little bell she carries around with her and began making her announcements — where this months TGIF would be held, the date of the Take Me Out to the Ballgame Party, and various other housekeeping items. She then announced it was Jan and Good Old Dave’s birthdays. Jan brought out a cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. Then with the announcements over everyone got down to talking to one another other except for Young Silent Gordon who stared morosely at the floor and me.

I decided to slowly examine the other attendees in an effort to understand better why I am beginning to become so fond of these Saturday morning gatherings. I did not reach any conclusion on that but I did notice that Billie the Cute Woman seemed to be the most fashionably dressed, from her patent leather flats, to her tight black leather pants, to her poncho-like black and white buttonless jacket, black sweater, and large golden outline of a heart hanging from a chain around her neck. Her fingernails were colored a light gold to match her jewelry. The rest of us were dressed in sports or casual outfits except for Naida who sported a smashing tight multi-colored blouse.

Good Old Dave told us his father owned the historic hotel in Murphy’s. Naida told him about a book she had read, The Black Sun of the Miwok, a collection of six stories about the deaths of the last six Miwok in the area, one of which tales was set in the hotel. Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print after several Native-American groups objected to it because it focuses on how the miners and settlers ridiculed the death and suffering of those individuals.

Sunday — the wet weather departed for a day or two restored the sun to the sky, cleared the air and drove the annual Great Valley spring pollen assault into hiding. The flowering bushes and trees in the backyard are in full bloom.
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Backyard in Full Bloom.

 

Monday morning — it is hydration day. I sit in my comfortable reclining chair typing this while saline solution slowly drips into my arm. The sun is out. Naida hard at work on her computer prepares the version of her memoir that will be sent to the printers. The dog, freshly bathed, naps on the chair next to me. What’s not to like?

On Tuesday, my urologist informed me my plumbing showed no immediate threats to my current existence. I ate a hot dog and drank a root-beer float for lunch. After lunch, I washed the car. I apologize, but as one approaches 80 years of age, days like this are what passes for excitement. I look forward to tomorrow. I get my hearing tested.

I got my hearing tested and ordered new hearing aids this morning. This made me happy. At my age, it does not take much to make me happy. I also saw it all as a bit of adventure. For we Vecchi, little things often seem more significant than they are — sort of like a form of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AiWS). In addition to finding little things a big deal, I now often see minor events as great adventures. On the other hand, perhaps, I always did.

After my adventure with the certified audiologist, I drove into the Golden Hills, now a lovely green due to all the spring rains. The sun was out and the clouds were bunched up high on the Sierras like Miracle Whip on an ice cream Sunday. I picked up HRM and the Scooter Gang, Jake, Caleb, and Hamza at the Skatepark. After a brief stop at Dick’s house for some mysterious reason, I then dropped them off at Caleb’s — but not before urging them not to get into too much trouble although listening to them talk it seems they are well into the adolescent we versus them syndrome. Yes, I worry. Teenage alienation is not just a fact of life but also a concern for the adults involved.

This morning while I was lying in bed trying to decide if it was worth getting up, my eyes fell on a small red diary that lay among the books littering the floor at the side of my bed. I had kept this diary way back in 1960. Strangely, given the number of times in my life when I rid myself of everything I had accumulated, it is one of the two things I have retained from more than a few years ago. How it survived for almost 60 years I do not know.

The diary details an almost one-year relationship I had with a woman. Strangely, the woman’s name does not appear in the diary. I was clearly in love with her, at least as much as a callow 19-year-old can be, and perhaps she was in love with me also. Alas, like most of us at that age, I believed I knew all that I needed to know about life and love.

We met in January and our relationship ended the following December. According to the diary, much of my preoccupation that year was the conflict, in my mind at least, between my affection for her and my anguish over the fact that she had a three-year-old child and was Jewish. While in retrospect, I could berate myself for my shallowness, but this happened almost 60 years ago and I had lived my life until then within a relatively closed Catholic Italian-immigrant society and had little experience with much outside that culture. But that is not what I pondered this morning. You see, I had no recollection of that year, not her, not my name, not my anguish — not anything.

If someone does not remember something does that mean it does not exist? Does it then return to existence if one suddenly recalls it? Does everything we experience somehow exist in our subconscious or some configuration of our neurons? I spent perhaps an hour this morning contemplating those questions until the dog started barking at the garbage truck as it passed by on its rounds and I began to feel a desperate need for my morning coffee.

On Friday, I, once again drove into the Golden (Green?) Hills to pick up HRM and Jake. H told me his mom did not want him traveling with me during his spring break, We had planned a trip to Portland to visit Naida’s son who works assisting a noted sculptor, Bruce West, another Naida relative. There he was to be introduced to high-quality welding, something he was eager to learn. After that, we had planned to travel to Sun Valley Idaho so that he could get in a day or two snowboarding. Then a few days at a large cattle range in Montana with other relatives. Alas, H is now a latch key kid, forced to spend his vacation bunking with Jake at his family’s house.

Sunday came around. I do not recall what happened Saturday. Not very much I assume. Perhaps I slept most of the day. Anyway, On Sunday morning we received a call from Sarah, Naida’s daughter. She was suffering from an overabundance of Cala Lilies growing in her backyard and urged us to come over right away and take some. So, after a stop to buy a vase large enough to accommodate the flowers, we arrived at Sarah’s home and proceeded to the backyard where in addition to the Cala lilies, irises, roses and a host of other flowers were in bloom. Sarah’s husband Mark busily pushed a hand-held mechanical plow through the ground in order to begin the planting for this summer’s vegetable garden. Then we all retired to the deck and had an enjoyable lunch.
IMG_6089
The Backyard
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Drinks on the Deck with Sarah and Naida

 

IMG_6094
The Cala Lillies at Home

 

B. ONCE AGAIN OFF TO THE BIG ENDIVE BY THE BAY:

 

Under a sunny sky, we left for SF. That evening at Peter and Barrie’s house, Judy, who lives across the street and is my most consistently responsive Facebook friend brought over two framed photographs of Peter and I sitting on the “geezer bench” in front of Bernie’s coffee shop that she made from a Facebook post of mine. Barrie again prepared a tasty meal this time featuring spaghetti with clams.

The next morning we left for my appointment at the hospital for my immunotherapy treatment. The doctor gave me the most ambiguously optimistic opinion I have received since my original oncologist opined that the swelling in my neck was nothing to be concerned about. He told us that the CT scan I had taken that morning showed some shrinkage in the tumor and he could not tell if it was now scar tissue caused by the previous radiation treatment or not but may be inactive. He also explained that chemotherapy does not cure cancer and the immunotherapy program I am starting on helps the body’s immune system to fight reactivation of cancer.

After the treatment we returned to Peter and Barrie’s home where Barrie prepared a delicious anchovy, garlic and parsley spread from a recipe of Leo’s mother.

Who is Leo?

The next morning I woke up and realized the aches, pains and general malaise caused by the side effects of chemotherapy are gone replaced by the sniffles, runny nose, itches and the normal aches and pains of life and age.

After breakfast, we left and returned to the Enchanted Forest.
C. BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST

 

We arrived back in the Enchanted Forest at about 1PM. After a brief rest, I took Boo-boo for a walk. During the three days we have been away, spring has given way to summer. The fruit trees have shed their flowers and the camellias are gone. The branches of the deciduous trees sport their new shiny green leaves. We stopped at the small community center with the tiny pool and sat in the sun. It was perhaps the first day it has been open for swimming. There were two families there, an elderly couple in swimsuits taking in the sun and a mother and her three young children playing and shouting in the pool, The dog and I sat there under a cloudless blue sky and enjoyed the doings in the pool. I felt good but a little sad that swimming was out for me for a long time.
D. BOOK REPORT: Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2) by Mario Giordano.

 

I have just finished reading the second installment in the series of my current book crush, The Adventures of Auntie Poldi. Although purporting to be detective stories, I, frankly, do not recall who was killed or why in either of the two novels of the series I have read so far. Nor can I claim they are great or even good literature. So, what attracts me to these books?

Perhaps it is Auntie Poldi herself, a lusty sixty-year-old German woman who had married a Sicilian immigrant to Bavaria and who after his death retired to her husband’s ancestral town on the slopes of Mt Etna there to “drink herself to death with a view of the sea.” Poldi wears a wig, dresses usually in brightly colored caftans, enthusiastically and vigorously enjoys sex, and as the daughter of a Bavarian chief of detectives is compulsively drawn to solving crimes, photographing cute policemen in uniform and bedding dusky and hunky Sicilian detectives (well one in particular). The quotation from the novel with which I began this post may give a glimpse of Poldi, herself.

On the other hand, Poldi was a woman of strong opinions as well as strong appetites. As she explained to her nephew whom she had appointed to be the Watson to her Holmes:

“I’ve never been devout,” she explained later before I could query this in surprise because I knew that Poldi harbored a fundamental aversion to the Church. “I’m spiritual but not devout, know what I mean? I’ve never had much time for the Church. The mere thought of it infuriates me. The males-only organizations, the pope, the original-sin malarkey, the inhibited cult of the Virgin Mary, the false promises of redemption, the proselytism, the misogyny, the daft words of the psalms and hymns. Mind you, I’ve always liked the tunes. I always enjoyed chanting in the ashram, you know. I screwed every hippie in the temple of that Kali sect in Nevada, I’ve meditated in Buddhist monasteries, and I believe in reincarnation and karma and all that, likewise in people’s essential goodness. I don’t know if there’s a god and if he’s got something against sex and unbelievers, but I can’t help it, I’m Catholic. It’s like malaria: once you’ve got it you never get rid of it, and sooner or later you go and make peace with it.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2). HMH Books.

 

On the other hand, perhaps it is the authors alter ego himself, Poldi’s 34-year-old unmarried nephew, the narrator in the books, a self-described but inept author who works at a call center in Bavaria. He has been attempting to write the great Bavarian novel for years now but seems to have only recently gotten inspired to write the first four chapters the last of which he enthusiastically describes in a blaze of overwriting:

“I was in full flow. I was the adjective ace, the metaphor magician, the sorcerer of the subordinate clause, the expresser of emotions, the master of a host of startling but entirely plausible turns of events. The whole of my fourth chapter had been completed within a week. I was a paragon of self-discipline and inspiration, the perfect symbiosis of Germany and Italy. I was a Cyclops of the keyboard. I was Barnaba. All I lacked was a nymph, but my new Sicilian styling would soon change that.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2) . HMH Books.

 

He found himself periodically called to Sicily to reside in an attic room in Poldi’s house whenever the Sicilian relatives believed Poldi was skating on the thin edge of reality or Poldi herself needing someone to beguile and complain to demanded his return.

Or perhaps, it is the denizens of my beloved Sicily like the three aunts fascinated, often shocked, and at times participants in Poldi’s escapades. Or her partners in crime, so to speak, sad Carmina and the local priest. Or, Poldi’s French friend, Valerie her forlorn nephews love interest who Poldi steadfastly refuses to allow him to meet.

“For Valérie, like Poldi, happiness possessed a simple binary structure, and the whole of human existence was suspended between two relatively distant poles. Between heaven and hell, love and ignorance, responsibility and recklessness, splendour and scuzz, the essential and the dispensable. And within this dual cosmic structure there existed only two kinds of people: the deliziosi and the spaventosi, the charming and the frightful. Rule of thumb: house guests, friends and dogs are always deliziosi, the rest are spaventosi. At least until they prove otherwise.”

“‘You see,’ Poldi told me once, ‘Valérie has understood that happiness is a simple equation. Happiness equals reality minus expectation.’”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2) . HMH Books.

 

Or perhaps it is just that I am a child of Sicily, have lived as well as visited many times and loved that large rocky Island whose citizens have suffered almost two thousand five hundred years of continuous occupation by a host of invaders— Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans, French, Spanish, Bourbons, Nazi’s, and even British and Americans. Where the inhabitants were considered so irrelevant by their foreign overlords their cities, unlike the rest of Europe, were built without defensive walls. Where the people are reticent with strangers but boisterous and generous with friends and family, where Bella figura reigns, the cuisine is wonderful, people speak in gestures and revel in the mores of their medieval culture and where “Being Sicilian is a question of heart, not genes” (Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna, An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2. HMH Books.)

Whatever, the reasons for my own enjoyment of the books,

Pookie says you should check them out, after all, as Auntie Poldi advises:

“Moderation is a sign of weakness.”
Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna (An Auntie Poldi Adventure Book 2). HMH Books.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:
Another snag from Brad Delong’s Grasping Reality with Three Hands (https://www.bradford-delong.com/2019/04/economics-identity-and-the-democratic-recession-talking-points.html#more), this time an outline of a paper he wrote entitled Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Talking Points. I have included here that portion of the outline dealing with Economic Populism.

I would like to draw a sharp distinction between:

On the one hand, populists: who have a coherent theory about how the market economy is rigged against ordinary people by an upper class and have practical plans for policies to fix it;
On the other hand, a different group: a group who believe that a true people, among whom some are rich and some are poor, are being deceived culturally, sociologically, and economically by internal and external enemies, and need to follow a leader or leaders who have no patience with established constitutional powers and procedures to point out to them who their internal and external enemies are.
It is this second set of movements—true people-based, leader-based, enemy-based, that has been by far the most powerful since the breaking of the real populist movement before 1900 by the hammer of racism: the discovery that a large enough chunk of the populists potential base were easily grifted by a white identity-politics assignment of the “enemy“ role to African-Americans.
Powerful both in America and—except for when under the shadow of Soviet threat—in Western Europe since the day Benito Mussolini recognized that rich Italians who liked order would not fund Benito’s socialist movement, but would gladly fund Benito’s “we are stronger together, for a bundle of sticks tied together with leather thongs is strong even though each individual stick is weak“ movement.
Today looks to me like nothing that special: Recall:

Harding and Coolidge, Taft and Nixon, Goldwater, Nixon, and Buchanan:
Harding and Coolidge’s mobilization of the revived Klan and of nativism against blacks and immigrants to geld progressivism in the 1920s.
Taft and Nixon’s mobilizing McCarthy against the communistic New Deal at the end of the 1940s.
Goldwater’s transformation of the Republican Party from the party of upward mobility and those who believe they have something to gain from economic growth and creative distraction to the party of those who believe they have something to lose if uppity Negroes and the overly educated overly clever are not kept in their place.
Richard Nixon’s idea to drag out the Vietnam war for four more years at the cost of 40,000 American and 3 million Vietnamese lives. Why? So that he and Pat Buchanan can break the country in half, but with him getting the bigger half—until enough Republicans plus Mark Felt of the FBI were sick of him and willing to help bring him down.
How is today different? Possibilities:
Concentration of the easily-grifted, somehow the internet, Rupert the Kingmaker, the Gingrich model, unlock:
Tyler Cowen’s observation: 20% of the population have always been crazy— easily grifted by some variant of white identity politics—but they used to be evenly divided between the two parties and now they are concentrated in one.
Somehow the internet.
Blowback from Rupert Murdoch’s insight that if you could scare the piss out of all the people you could glue their eyes to your product and then make money by selling them fake diabetes cures and overpriced gold funds.
Rupert the Kingmaker: In the fifteenth century the marcher Earldom of Warwick was uniquely able to mobilize those in the affinity of Earl Richard for the battlefield—and so became known as “Warwick the Kingmaker”. There are analogies here…
The Gingrich model: We now have two generations of Republican politicians who believe that technocratic policy development is for suckers, and then what do you need are:
tax cuts for the rich,
regulatory rollback,
perhaps a short victorious war or two, plus
Whatever culture war currently resonates with the base—notice that “women need to stay in the kitchen and the bedroom“ and “we need to shun homosexuals“ have passed their sell-by date, but transsexuals and anyone who fails to shout “merry Christmas” every five minutes between Halloween and New Years are still fair game.
Or perhaps we have simply been unlucky—and we had gotten used to luck running in our favor:
Otto von Bismarck, perhaps: “a special providence watches over drunkards, fools, and the United States of America”…

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:
Too much happiness is a precarious state, it eventually leads to anxiety.
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Considering the current fear and anguish over migration, refugees, and asylum seekers, I thought it would be interesting to see what Homer may have thought about it over three thousand years ago.

SOME SHELTER FROM THE WIND: HOMER ON OUR DEBT TO EXILES
Homer, Odyssey 6.205-210

“We live at a great distance from others amid the much-sounding sea,
Far way, and no other mortals visit us.
But this man who has wandered here, who is so ill-starred,
It is right to care for him now. For all are from Zeus,
The strangers and the beggars, and our gift is small but dear to them.
Come, handmaidens, give the stranger food and drink;
Bathe him in the river, where there is shelter from the wind.”

οἰκέομεν δ’ ἀπάνευθε πολυκλύστῳ ἐνὶ πόντῳ,
ἔσχατοι, οὐδέ τις ἄμμι βροτῶν ἐπιμίσγεται ἄλλος.
ἀλλ’ ὅδε τις δύστηνος ἀλώμενος ἐνθάδ’ ἱκάνει,
τὸν νῦν χρὴ κομέειν· πρὸς γὰρ Διός εἰσιν ἅπαντες
ξεῖνοί τε πτωχοί τε, δόσις δ’ ὀλίγη τε φίλη τε.
ἀλλὰ δότ’, ἀμφίπολοι, ξείνῳ βρῶσίν τε πόσιν τε,
λούσατέ τ’ ἐν ποταμῷ, ὅθ’ ἐπὶ σκέπας ἔστ’ ἀνέμοιο.”

D. Readings from the Mueller Report:

 

In a section related to episodes involving the president and possible obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team explains how it “determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment.” But the special counsel’s team also said it was unable to definitively conclude that Trump did not commit obstruction of justice:

“Apart from OLC’s constitutional view, we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting President would place burdens on the President’s capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct … The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“You have imposter syndrome,” He says, “but paradoxically, that’s often a sign of competence. Only people who understand their work well enough to be intimidated by it can be terrified by their own ignorance. It’s the opposite of Dunning-Kruger syndrome, where the miserably incompetent think they’re on top of the job because they don’t understand it.”
Stross, Charles. The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files) (Kindle Location 4514). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
6a00e551f0800388340240a44e61df200c

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
Children

Categories: April through June 2019, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    18 Pookie 0007 (December 1, 2018)

“Why does our innovation never extend to our conscience?”
Bancroft, Josiah. Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel) (p. 132). Orbit.

 

Happy Birthday, Jason.

Happy Birthday, Ann.

Happy Hanukkah.

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 

A. NATIONAL WELCOME NEW IMMIGRANT’S DAY (Previously known as Thanksgiving).

 
Thanksgiving Day brought with it an intermittent sun to play hide and seek with the rain. We had lunch in the Golden Hills with HRM, Uncle Mask, Adrian and N. I was surprised to see N there. She had come to California a few days before and will remain until late December when she will take HRM to Italy for the Holidays. The lunch featured a well-made ham with several toppings to choose from. I was a bit disconcerted because I had expected I would be minding H during Dick’s absence in early December but with N there, I expect that would not be necessary.
 N and HRM.

Later, we drove back to Sacramento for dinner with Naida’s Daughter Sarah, her family, and their two dogs, a black and white brindled standard poodle named George Washington and Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, a large mixed pit bull and retriever. We brought along Boo-boo, a mixed Chihuahua and whatever, who although he may have lacked the size and prestigious name of the other two dogs, by the end of the night had clearly acquitted himself as an equal.

Dinner included turkey with all the fixings and pumpkin pie and cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake made by Sarah’s son Charlie, who happily explained to all of us the secret of making a perfect cheesecake — first rule “do not beat your eggs,” mix them slowly using only a certain rotation of one’s arms and shoulders. He then demonstrated the movement. It looked quite painful.

IMG_5864_3

N and HRM.

  

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:
The rains have returned soft and gentle. The streets, lawns, and pathways in the Enchanted Forest glisten a brilliant red and yellow. Here and there pods from the Deodar Cedar litter the walkway like little banana slugs. For the first time, it seemed like autumn.

As usual, we attended the Saturday morning coffee at the clubhouse. Surprisingly, as many men attended this week as women. I sat a bit off to the side observing as I often do. I could not help noticing the usual neatly coiffed hair on the spy who goes by the name “Ducky.” It always looks as though she just came from the hairdresser. Unlike most of us at this advanced age whose hair of various colors gone drab, interlaced with streaks or dreary grey, and winds about our heads like birds nests, hers, a brilliant white, sparkled like icy snow in the sunlight.

I decided to survey hands today. Most of the woman had long slender fingers gone knobby with age. The model’s fingers were the longest. Like many whose movements are often characterized as elegant, the tips of her fingers seemed to move as though they were independent of the hands to which they were attached. Naida’s hands, unlike the others, were the hands of someone who spent a life of a farm or a ranch, thick and strong.

I noticed while most kept their hands relatively still when they talked they would now and then gesture whenever they were making a point. Naida again was an outlier. Her hands flew about vigorously as she talked. She would not be out of place in Southern Italy. In fact, in Sicily, the Sicilians would consider her an uplifting and ebullient person before even hearing a word she had spoken. Alas, to these same people, her had movements would appear to them as gibberish — meaningless noise. Americans use their hands while speaking only as punctuation. Without words it is meaningless. In Sicily, the gestures are words and have meaning independent of what is spoken.

We then returned to the house, Naida to work on her Memoir and me to write this. Later we walked the dog along the levee beside the American River. The setting sun shining through air recently washed clean by the rains lit up the autumn colors like fireworks.

IMG_5871

On Sunday we sat around the house. Naida read to me sections from her memoir. As she read the words, in my mind they transformed them into a movie — the frightening 25 mile skate down the frozen Big Hole River; learning of her parents divorce; the comical introduction to her father’s new girlfriend; the infatuation of a 13 year old girl with her handsome uncle; the fight with her brother over a plate of macaroni and cheese; the dreams, the fears and the sorrows… It will be a wonderful book — a Little Women with real drama.

IMG_5883

The Author at Work in Her Studio

 

Monday I had an appointment with my primary care physician. As he entered the examining room, I said, “Since my surgeons agree I am a dead man walking, I intend to go out happy, pain-free and without my bowels turned into cement. So, I need you to prescribe the pills that will allow me to do so.”

“We are from birth all dead men walking, ” he responded. “Nevertheless, I think I can provide what you need. I even know of something that relieves pain without constipation.” He added that he understood what I was going through because he has had two bouts of his own with cancer. Also, his seven-year-old child was struck with bone cancer and had to have his leg amputated below the knee.

Once again, I found myself embarrassed and humiliated by my misplaced sense of humor.

The doctor a youngish man, in his late thirties or early forties, is built like an NFL linebacker and specializes in sports medicine. At my prior visits to his office, I noticed a deep sadness in his eyes that made me wonder. Now I know why.

He prescribed a healthy supply of Xanax to keep my spirits up, a pain reliever that keeps my bowels lubricated and even a topical that eliminates the irritation caused by my clothing rubbing against the tumor. Finally, he explained that the most important thing he’d learned from his own experience with cancer was that one ought not to concern one’s self about the future but concentrate only on what needs to be done that day. In other words, take it one day at a time. I am not a fan of platitudes but appreciated the effort.

 

 

C. TO SAN FRANCISCO AND BACK AGAIN:
On Tuesday we left for San Francisco to spend the evening with Peter and Barrie before my visit with the physician at UCSF early the next day. We brought the dog along with us because Barrie thought it would be a good idea to see how he got along with their dog, Ramsey.

That evening, leaving the dogs with Barrie, Naida and I went to a French restaurant on 24th Street where Peter’s trio was performing. They were very good as was the food. Peter played bass, the leader of the group, guitar, and the third member, the violin. Peter told us he is or was first violinist in the LA Symphony. If you’re ever in the Noe Valley area on a night they are playing you should drop in.

IMG_5889

The Boys in the Band.

 

The next day, I met with the oncologist at UCSF to explore potential treatment options including clinical trials. As usual, I began with an inappropriate joke. When the doctor entered the room and settled into the chair opposite me, I said, “Now that two surgeons have agreed that ripping out a part of my throat and slicing off parts of my body with which to fill the resulting hole was not advisable, what options are available to me?”

The doctor a youngish Korean-American oncologist with a national reputation was not amused. Nevertheless, after asking some questions he played out a treatment program that appeared to me to be promising if we could get the insurance company to approve it in a reasonable amount of time.

 

D. BACK IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST AND A VISIT TO THE RIVER OF RED GOLD:
On Wednesday, I rested all day and Thursday, I turned my attention primarily to a request of Terry’s that I am sure, as usual, will turn out more interesting than beneficial. I also received a call from my doctors that the insurance company approved my treatment plan and it will start early next week. Hooray!

If I have learned anything from life (I am pretty sure I have not), it is that that one learns less from success than from failure and it’s more interesting too. Also, behaving foolishly is a lot more fun than propriety could ever be.

On Friday, I accompanied Naida to Meadowlark Inn at Slough-house on the old Jackson Highway. There Naida had a luncheon with a small book club (about eight women). They discussed her California Gold Trilogy. Later we all went to the historical Slough-house cemetery where a number of the characters in her books were buried. Naida told some fascinating stories about the area — the Native American, Chinese and European settlers, the gold discoveries, the massacres and the private lives of the people buried in the cemetery that she had garnered from their diaries. She even found the grave of the old woman who had become her friend and whose diary had begun her interest in the area and became an important part of her books.

IMG_5895

The Girls at the Cemetery.

 

Following that, we drove to the bank of the Cosumnes River in Rancho Murieta where the Indian village described in her books stood. She became quite upset when she saw that the great old mother oak, sacred to the Native Americans who were buried in the ancient midden that lay beneath its branches, had been chopped down by the developer. We then walked along the river bank and explored the rocks containing many native grinding holes and the stepped stone platform where she was sure the natives gathered to listen to the orations of the head man whenever there was a festival or a party. Naida mentioned that the area was so productive that it has been estimated the average time native male worked (built things, hunted and so-on) was only 45 minutes a day and the average women 3 hours. It was a peaceful paradise that existed for over 600 years until it was utterly destroyed by European immigrants from the United State in 20.

IMG_5912

On the Banks of the Cosumnes.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

1901: The First Nobel Prize for Literature Awarded.

 

(A sign of the times: this year, 2018, as a result of sexual harassment allegations, the Swedish Academy will not award a Nobel Prize in Literature. They’ll hand out two prizes in 2019.)

The Nobel Prize in Literature goes back to the beginning of the twentieth century when the Nobel Prize Committee decided to look beyond the sciences. The first prize was to be awarded in 1901. There wasn’t much question who deserved it. Leo Tolstoy was still alive. He was not only the greatest novelist ever, probably, but also an imposing moral figure, a champion of non-violent resistance who would eventually inspire Gandhi and Martin Luther King. So the first Nobel Prize in Literature went to …

Sully Prudhomme

No, I haven’t read anything of his. Have you?

Next year they could still have awarded the prize to Tolstoy, although it would have been pretty embarrassing to have him getting it only after Prudhomme. So instead the prize went to the historian Theodore Mommsen. Thus began a century-plus long tradition of hit-and-miss awards. In some years, the awardees were acknowledged, great writers. In other years, the winners were less well-known, but arguably merited the wider recognition that came with the prize. But many of the choices — and omissions — were just plain weird.
https://logarithmichistory.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

 

A. Charlie Stross on Top:
All large organizations are either superorganisms whose cells are human bodies, or very slow artificial intelligences that use human beings as gears in the Babbage engines that run their code. Pick a metaphor and stick to it: I prefer the biological one, but it’s a matter of taste. Some of the superorganisms cells are formed into organs that carry out various vital functions. Human Resources is the liver and kidneys, dedicated to purifying and excreting unwanted toxins. Quality Assurance and Standards are the immune system, stamping out rogue cells and insidious infections and other parasitic activities. Project Management is the circadian rhythm, and board-level executives form the cerebral cortex, the source of the organism’s emergent self-directed behavior. Behold Leviathan, anatomized.

Different countries have different bureaucratic cultures, and different cultures are prone to their own distinctive types of malfunction. In the UK we’re unreasonably prone to regulation by accountancy or, failing that, tradition. Whereas in the US intelligence community, Taylorism and rule-by-MBA run rampant. They’re prone to random reorgs and overstaffing, so wherever they can they try to outsource ancillary work. . And their executives counter this by trying to reduce the number of human bodies they employ. The preferred ways of reducing the number of employees in the twenty-first century are automation and outsourcing. About 80 percent of the NSA’s total body count are actually employees of various consultancy firms because that way they don’t show up on the org chart. Their remaining internal managers can point to the black boxes that do the job and sneer, “Employees? We don’t have no steenking employees!” (Tell that to Edward Snowden.)

Stross, Charles. The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files) (Kindle Locations 4256-4259). Tom Doherty Associates.

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

In a Democracy, voting is not a right it is a duty.

 

 

C. Today’s Poem:

 
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
BY EDWARD LEAR


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea 
    In a beautiful pea-green boat, 
They took some honey, and plenty of money, 
    Wrapped up in a five-pound note. 
The Owl looked up to the stars above, 
    And sang to a small guitar, 
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love, 
    What a beautiful Pussy you are, 
          You are, 
          You are! 
What a beautiful Pussy you are!” 

II 
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl! 
    How charmingly sweet you sing! 
O let us be married! too long we have tarried: 
    But what shall we do for a ring?” 
They sailed away, for a year and a day, 
    To the land where the Bong-Tree grows 
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood 
    With a ring at the end of his nose, 
             His nose, 
             His nose, 
    With a ring at the end of his nose. 

III 
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling 
    Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.” 
So they took it away, and were married next day 
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill. 
They dined on mince, and slices of quince, 
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon; 
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, 
    They danced by the light of the moon, 
             The moon, 
             The moon, 
They danced by the light of the moon.

 

 

D. Adventures with Hayden:

DSCN0951

 

Since Hayden was four years old, almost every night I have been with him, I have told him an ongoing bed-time story regarding a little boy about his age and his pony Acorn (the name of the pony H rode at Naida and Bill’s ranch). The stories concerned Danny and Acorn’s adventures with their friends: the White Knight and his horse, Blackey-whitey; the Black Knight and his horse, Whitey-blackey; the Knight of the Burning Toilet; the Monster that Lived in the Closet; the Wizard that lived in a Castle on the Mountain; and Prince Sammy who lived in a palace in Rivertown with ten princesses whose names were, Brandy, Cindy, Candy, Fannie, Ginnie, Mandy, Sandi, Tammi, Winnie and Abigail Fort and Go Braugh. (I sometimes would forget the names, but Hayden had them memorized and would correct me if I did.)

Danny lived in a small house with a barn for Acorn located next to THE DEEP, THE DARK, FOREST (said in a deep scary voice), in the center of which lived, Grandpa Pookie.

It seems that on the last night before I left two months ago, I had begun an adventure about Zeekie a small green creature and Three Giants. I did not finish it that night. Instead, I promised him I would do so when I returned. Of course, by the time I got back, I had forgotten all about it.

On my first night upon my return to in El Dorado Hills, he took me into the bedroom and asked me to finish the story. After I admitted that I had forgotten what it was about, he nodded sagely, went to a drawer in his headboard and took out a piece of paper. On it he had written out the entire story I had told so far. The words were all phonetically written but understandable.

This surprised me. When I had left only two months ago, I thought he could not yet write. It amazed that he had taken the time and effort to write it down and had the insight to realize that I would probably have forgotten it all.

That night I told him the rest of the story. It wasn’t bad as those stories go and it even had a moral with a twist at the end. The implications of the twist concerned Hayden a lot.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

There are concepts that cannot be imagined but can be named. Having received a name, they change, flow into a different entity, and cease to correspond to the name, and then they can be given another, different name, and this process—the spellbinding process of creation—is infinite: this is the word that names it, and this is the word that signifies. A concept as an organism, and text as the universe.

Sergey and Marina Dyachenko. Vita Nostra. Harper Voyager.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Shadow 0001 (July 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Bill Gates and Ray arrived from Pattaya where they had spent the past week scoping out business opportunities. We spent a few hours rummaging through Bangkok’s riotous Chinatown markets, looking for things that could be resold in the US. Some, like decorative mobile phone covers, apparently have a mark-up value ten times greater than the Thai purchase price. Bee, one of the first employees at AVA when Bill, Dick and I opened it some 13 years ago, accompanied us and served as an interpreter.

After leaving AVA Bee married a man from the piedmont region of North Carolina who had a string of carts selling inexpensive jewelry in several shopping centers in North and South Carolina. She had worked for her husband as a buyer in Thailand for a while. She was here in Bangkok visiting family and seeing her daughter off to college in BKK.

Later that evening, Bill, Bee, LM and I had dinner at the “Fish Market” restaurant that we always liked so much. We reminisced.

LM and I went to the movies to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.” We shouldn’t have.

After a short trip to Malaysia, Bill and Ray returned to Pattaya. I hope to join them for a day or two.

Resurrection:

Today, while walking back to my apartment I discovered the “dead man” I commented on at length a few post ago, lying comatose and spread-eagled at the base of the steps to the Nana Skytrain station, thus reducing my guilt ridden ethical quandary to another example of simple self-indulgence. Had I found the cop I was looking for at the time, while I am sure he would not have laughed in my face, I expect he would have smiled the way Thais do, assured me he would do something about it and after I left, utterly ignored it.

Unless it is some student art project using an embalmed cadaver, obviously he had not died where last I had seem him, although he could actually be dead now, but I think not. As I thought about my inert friend, I suspected that he must be able to raise some money, enough to feed himself and to support his evident alcohol (coconut milk beer?) or drug habit. He probably was not a trust fund baby and I was relatively certain he did not beg. So he must work at something. If so, that raises him from the realm of what some consider pure parasites (trust fund babies and those needing the assistance of others). I reasoned that he probably, stole, defrauded tourists or gleaned from garbage cans, thereby raising enough money to be able to lie insensate in the sun, sort of like the Wall Street barons lying on the beach or by the pools of their estates, equally comatose on the more expensive drugs of their choice; alcohol, cocaine, tranquilizers and steroids.

But wait you say, you cannot compare what they, the Wall Street barons, do with someone who defraud tourists, steals and makes a living off the refuse of others? If you believe that they are not comparable, then I suggest that you plan a stop at your local moral service station and have your ethical dip-stick checked. You are probably running low on your ethical conscience level.

Travel:

My travel Schedule firmed up a bit. I depart BKK for LA July 30. I will be staying with Monty and hopefully spending some time with Ruth, Ben and Greg. I leave LA by train to San José on the 5th of August and see Gates. On the 6th I will arrive in SF and visit with my son and grandchildren as well as my sister and her family. I leave on the 10th with Grenell for some Ragout and Charbono with Sally in the Benioff Zone returning to SF by mid week. After that I hope visit with friends in SF and spend some time with Hayden, the Dalls and Geyers in Sacto. Toward the end of September, I plan to depart for Florida, Washington, New York and Maine, before returning to Thailand by way of Italy.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Trumped:

I recently read where Donald Trump attended my alma mater, Fordham University, but he received no degree. So did “Captain Kangaroo,” but he graduated. I take from this that, “Captain Kangaroo” was smarter than Trump. But everyone already knew that.

2. Do your trust these men:

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
(Huffington Post-Reuters Report)

3. Non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report on Taxes:

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, due in part to tax cuts obtained by President Obama to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

However the Wall Street Journal points out that the average tax rate for the top 1%—those with average incomes of about $1.2 million—rose to 28.9% from 28.1% a year earlier…

Wow, a whole .2% increase in taxes. How they must be suffering. That explains why they will spend a billion dollars to defeat the man. Clearly the rest of us do not understand the unfairness of it all.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND.

1. Perhaps the most amazing talent of the Thais is the ability of Thai women to maneuver flawlessly along the despicably decrepit sidewalks of Bangkok in spiked heels.

2. If it is overcast and rainy, Thais consider it a good day.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Chinese Taoism, cunnilingus is revered as a spiritually fulfilling practice that is believed to enhance longevity

Once again the East gets it right. The older I get… no I am not going there.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

Does anyone have any idea what this chart is about?

B. God; one of the guys:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44

Leviticus also seems to say that if guys get it on with guys, they should be put to death. Why would God consider it ok for gay guys to have slaves but not sleep with another guy? I wonder if God thought it was acceptable for guys to sleep with the slaves of either sex, but not with a non-slave of the same sex. I am pretty sure some of the slave-owning patriarchs did, didn’t everyone? Perhaps it was not necessary for slaves to “increase and multiply.”

By the way, did you notice that the sly old God did not prohibit women sleeping with women? Perhaps like most guys He liked to watch.

C. Fun with the Mormons:

The temple garment (or the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, or informally, the garment or garments) in some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, is a set of sacred underclothing worn by adult adherents who have taken part in a ritual ceremony known as washing and anointing ordinance, usually in a temple as part of the Endowment ceremony. Anti-Mormon activists have publicly displayed or defaced temple garments to show their opposition to the LDS Church.

According to generally accepted Mormon doctrine, the marks in the garments are sacred symbols (Buerger 2002, p. 58). One proposed element of the symbolism, according to early Mormon leaders, was a link to the “Compass and the Square,” the symbols of freemasonry (Morgan 1827, pp. 22-23), to which Joseph Smith (creator of Mormonism) had been initiated about seven weeks before his introduction of the Endowment ceremony.

Adherents of this practice consider them to be sacred and may be offended by public discussion of the garments.(Listverse)

I agree. I would not want someone making fun of my underwear.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

This is a cheap shot. People with wealthy parents are not necessarily parasites. He could have lived off his inheritance, instead Mitt chose to increase the “talents” given to him by making sure others had none. That was a cheap shot too. I apologize. I actually am one of the few on either side of the political spectrum who actually likes Mitt. I like the fact that he can continue to smile no matter what he is saying. He reminds me of a polished used car salesman. There I go again. I really am sorry.

Actually neither of men running for the highest office in the land impresses me as strong enough to resist the gathering storm rising up against us and eventually against them. The fabric of an American consensus has been ripped apart on every issue. We no longer (if we ever did) differ on emphasis or direction, but contest every issue raised as if there is no common understanding between us.

Left to their own devices, and not pushed by the needs of politics, from a policy standpoint they, Obama and Romney, probably are not hugely dissimilar (1960s liberal Republicans). However, I suspect that by inclination and by commitment and frankly by choice of party, Obama will prove to be more steadfast.

We are, after all, faced not with a single crisis or even a succession of crises.

We are faced instead with a series of system collapses each making the others more severe. Yet, the resolution of one requires the resolution of the others.

The liquidity crises reflects the collapse of demand and thus in turn eroding the value of the all too abundant liquid assets. Currently the plan is to move the unused assets around from one ginned up speculation to another until something happens that will remove the threat to their value.

The employment crisis represents in part a collapse of resource growth that will not be corrected merely by rebuilding outdated infrastructure. Helpful though that may be, it does not appreciably improve productivity. It only slows its deterioration. It probably cannot be improved anyway, at least not by any options available to us that we know of. Shipping jobs overseas is at best a short term solution.

A war will not be among the answers to the current economic crisis. It will only make it more grievous.

The environment is collapsing in that it no longer is an esthetic/conservation issue corrected by preservation. Nor is it making us sick in ways that can be remedied simply by removing the source danger. Today the environment has begun to turn deadly to individuals, humanity and most life forms. It cannot be resolved by more production furnishing surplus resources that enable us to preserve what is important. Nor is it adequate to remedy the specific activity that makes us sick. These solutions only make it worse.

World comity, which had been steadily increasing since WWII also is in danger of collapse and nations and their internal politics demand that they turn inward and protect themselves from the economic, social and environmental maelström that threatens to engulf them. But while that may be good internal politics it is probably disastrous policy (Germany is a good example. While Merkle’s policies may be good for her re-election, they are disasters for Germany in the long run).

The impacts of coming migrations caused by global warming can at best be delayed in hopes that a long-term solution evolves. But from where is this miracle to come? In almost none of these integrated world wide collapses is there a concerted effort to deal with either the specific collapse or the effects of them upon each other.

On the economy, the approach appears to be to hold on and reduce our efforts and expectations, whether short or long term, and hope something happens like it did once or twice in the past.

On the social level, while a huge number of efforts are underweigh, they are a drop in the bucket from what is required and anyway they tend to address results and not causes.

Dealing with the rapidly evolving homicidal environment is left not to a concerted effort to combat it as though we were in a war but to vague hopes that something will happen at some point in the future that will save us.

If Roosevelt and Churchill listened to those who preached a similar religion then, we all will be speaking German or Japanese today (Except for Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and a host of others (most likely Russians and blacks) who would all be dead).

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Peter Grenell, July 1 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”

TODAY’S CHART:

What I do not understand about this chart, is that all 100,000 people must die eventually, so what is it that the remaining 999,400 die of? And, If only 600 out of 100,000 die each year then some people must live forever. [Actually what it tells us is simply that at some point in the future there will be a massive die off of the old]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July through September 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. October 26, 2011

Never forget, it is all your own fault that you are not rich.

(Paraphrase of a statement by Herman Cain, candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Is Parody enough?

According to Kansas City-based International House of Prayer founder and evangelist Mike Bickle–who played a major role in the August 6 “The Response” prayer event that served as the de facto kickoff for Rick Perry’s presidential bid–in the near future Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity and move to Israel will be pursued by “hunters” sent by God and can expect to be thrown into “prison camps” and “death camps.”

IHOP Kansas head Bickle says that, “the most famous [heaven-sent] hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler,” and has claimed that Jews collectively are “under the discipline of God because of… perversion and sin.”

In Mike Bickle’s view, a lucky one-third of the world’s Jewish population to survive the apocalyptic persecution he predicts will “get radically saved and become lovesick worshipers of Jesus.”

Notably, not a single candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, despite their public support for Israel, has specifically rejected Bickle or his views nor have they repudiated the many others and their followers with similar views, much less rejected them with the fervor with which they reject the “socialism” of the “OCCUPY” protests, or for that matter, unemployment insurance or Social Security.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The world’s population has reached 7 billion this week and expected to reach 10 billion before the end of the century, more than 3 times the population of the earth that existed just 50 years ago. That means that since 1959 world population has increased by 4 billion and by 2050 or so it will have added 7 billion, all since I was 20 years old.

Is it all my fault?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

Thailand: A few years ago, a Buddhist novice monk, Han Raksachit, was arrested after he released a video tape of himself piercing, bleeding, roasting, chanting and collecting the drippings from a nearly full-term baby’s corpse at Nong Rakam Monastery in Saraburi Province (central Thailand). These drippings, which he called ya sane (lust medicine), he sold to visitors. Although he was forced from the monastery and arrested, he did not serve jail time and was arrested again in 2005 for tricking several women into sexual acts and defrauding them of money in exchange for dubious claims that he could help them attract their true loves. He is serving time now on 23 counts of rape.

You see, although Buddhist are considered non-violent and other worldly, they can still be as despicable as you and me.

More Thailand: (AP) — Workers and volunteers piled sandbags outside buildings in central Bangkok and erected barriers in its subway to ward off possible weekend flooding as high water that devastated parts of central Thailand flowed toward the low-lying metropolis.

Also, latest updates about the flood water surrounding Bangkok include warnings that the water supplies may become contaminated. There has already been a run on bottled water from the big box stores. Also a story about the US Navy pulling anchor and sailing away after the failure to receive a clear signal as to whether their assistance was needed.

See Today’s Photograph below.

America: “Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?”
Republican commentator David Frum

Maybe the Republicans should put up Krugman for their nominee.

Budget Priorities: Determined to avoid spending reductions that would hit troop numbers, aircraft, ships and weapons, Senators Levin (D) and McCain (R) and other lawmakers are urging budget-cutters to scrutinize the military entitlement programs.

Say what! What about cutting military contractors profits, before cutting benefits for those who thought (wrongly it seems) they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of us?

More Budget Priorities: Republicans are objecting to new infrastructure spending because they don’t want the top 1/500 of American taxpayers to pay an average of 1/217 more of their income in taxes.

*If the new infrastructure proposal were enacted, the surtax on millionaires would impact a grand total of 345,532 taxpayers nationwide — or 0.2 percent of American taxpayers.

* If the new infrastructure proposal were enacted, the 0.7 percent surtax would amount to all of $13,457 on average for the millionaires that would pay it. Given that their average income is $2,923,000, this means they would be paying on average an additional 1/217 of their overall income, or just over an additional 0.4 percent. That’s less than one half of one percent.

Of course but for the threat of taxes, they [the 0.2 percent] would on their own expended more than $14,000 each on infrastructure to put their fellow Americans back to work. They would do this because it is right and they are patriots.

Occupy Schmarcupy: Police in Albany NY have defied both the Governor of the State and the Mayor’s orders to remove the “Occupy” protestors stating: “We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble. The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor.”

Oh, Canada: Bank of Canada (The Canadian equivalent of the Fed) head, Mark Carney, in a television interview, acknowledged that the “Occupy” movement is an understandable product of the “increase in inequality’’ — particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest. He added, “If some institutions feel pressure today, it is because they have done too little for too long, rather than because they are being asked to do too much, too soon.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Recently I have been looking without success for a soft sided collapsible travel bag for short trips. As a result, I have been carrying a paper shopping bag into which I put my clothing, tooth-brush and the like for short trips. While the semiotics of it leaves something to be desired, the paper shopping bag as practical matter worked quite well. Stevie surprised me by generously buying me the perfect bag. I am quite proud of it. Now as I travel, I no longer look like a homeless derelict but I have ascended in class to that of an aged vagrant.

Norbert and Stevie kindly drove me back from Sacramento. We went to lunch at Pino’s restaurant, Tiramisu, in Belden Alley. We lunched on Sand Dabs Dore. For those unfamiliar with Sand Dabs, many localities have a particular seafood delicacies for which they are noted, sea urchins in Eastern Sicily, Walleye in the upper Midwest, Abalone in coastal northern California, Conch in the Bahamas and Stone Crab in eastern Florida, Crayfish in Louisiana. In San Francisco in addition to Dungeness Crabs, that delicacy is Sand Dabs. It is a bottom dwelling fish that is rarely available in local restaurants except during that season where the waters in and around San Francisco Bay are warm enough to allow them to rise out of the mud to feed and in turn be netted by fishermen. It is served most often either lightly breaded and fried or in a Dore sauce.

The following day, I had lunch with my friend and NY Times best-selling author Sheldon Siegel, who many of you who read “This and that…” know. We met at a financial district restaurant named Harrington’s. Our waitress was from Dublin. When I enquired of her whether or not the restaurant’s hamburgers were as good and those at the place next door that claimed theirs had been voted, “Best Hamburgers in San Francisco,” she assured us that Harrington’s were much better. So, I ordered a hamburger and Sheldon a cheeseburger. We then talked for a while about the state of the publishing industry and the impact of electronic publishing. Sheldon’s new book has been completed and is awaiting resolution of some issues regarding publication. His new book departs from his previous novels that featured Mike Daley and Rosie by introducing all new characters. It takes place in Chicago, where I understand Sheldon grew up. He promised that it will be a real pot boiler.

I have met a number of published fiction authors in my life and found they generally fall into two types: the assholes who are so full of themselves and the reflected glory of their involvement in great art that they either are bitter dyspeptic twits desperate and furious because they had not received the glory and recognition (and remuneration, especially remuneration) that they believed they so justly deserve, and; the professionals who approach their life’s work as we all approach our own, with enjoyment or frustration as they go about it with not too much fuss. Sheldon, however, is one of the few who approach it with undisguised joy.

Lunch was interrupted by a telephone call from SWAC in Thailand. She said she heard that I was planning to return to Thailand next week and urged me not to do so. She claimed that BKK was inundated, the stores emptied and the people eager to evacuate.

Now, it is never a profitable endeavor to struggle over determining th veracity of  communication from SWAC, but it is much more advantageous to determine the motive. It could not be that her presence in BKK at the same time as mine would lead to some discomfort, because we rarely see each other during the few times we inhabit the same continent together. She, however, also mentioned that Joey had called and told her that he had to return to work soon and was urging her return to take care of Hayden.

On the other-hand sometimes she just says things for no reason whatsoever other than the circumstances are not neatly tied up within her frame of reference.

Whatever, I still intend to travel to LA on October 27 and visit with friends but instead of leaving from there to return to BKK I will come back to northern California for another week or two.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Ike Agonistes.

Ike put down the phone following his call to the US attorney’s office, negotiating his client Vince Biondi’s offer to tell all he knew about Red Star to the government investigators. Although Ike knew that Vince knew next to nothing he also knew that Vince was using him, Ike, to deliver a message to those who did know something about that mysterious company. The message was simple, you do not know what, if anything, I know about it, so you have to talk to me to find out. Ike thought this tactic was foolish and worse impetuous. Ike wondered how long it would be before Russell called.

He heaved himself out of his chair and took the small elevator to the hot-house on the roof where he tended his orchids while he waited. About a half an hour later his cell phone rang. It was Russell. Russell always spoke in measured speech, never raising his voice. The only way one could detect Russell’s anger was by how sharply he clipped off the ends of his words. In this phone conversation, his words were sharply clipped indeed.

Finally he said, “I am sorry Russell, I cannot tell you any more than what I told the US Attorney, client confidentiality you know, but I will pass your message on to him.”

After he ended the call, Ike sat in a large wicker chair in the midst of his Orchids and tried to reason through what he knew; to see if he could figure out actually what was going on. He soon gave up. He knew only too well that magical deductions and sudden insight were the mother’s milk of mystery novels, but in the real world, the only way to manage events was to control them by action, even arbitrary action, because once one acts others must react if they want to stay in the game and if they do, then you have grasped control, for whatever that was worth. Obviously, that was precisely what Vince was doing. Unfortunately, unless you had some idea of strength of your adversaries and of your own resources that sort of action is more often than not merely evidence of foolhardy panic. And Vince clearly did not know what or who he was dealing with.

He let out a long sigh and thought, here the game is afoot and I sit idly among my Orchids unable to figure out what best to do or even how to do it.

Finally he decided to join in the game of the blind men and the elephant in hope that if he hit the beast hard enough it would cry out and from the sound he would be able to guess its name. So before calling Vince to relate to him Ike’s conversations with the US Attorney and with Russell, he decided to make a few other calls beginning with one to Fat Al.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:


Q: In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?

A. When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game ‘golf.‘ So he had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.
b. What the “OCCUPY”movement is all about:

Are you better off today now that these CEOs have proven to be obviously so much better at their jobs than you are at yours or is it really just all your fault?

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“The bonus system has gone beyond a means of rewarding talent and is now Wall Street’s primary business. Institutions take huge gambles because the short-term returns are a rationale for their rich payouts. But even when the consequences of their risky behavior come back to haunt them, they still pay huge bonuses.”
USA TODAY

Well, perhaps not from God’s mouth, but when USA TODAY criticizes Wall Street, divine intervention must be considered.)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


(I bet that is something you do not generally see when the Mississippi floods.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

On his blog [Dan] Savage posted an open letter to Herman Cain:

“Dear Herman,
If being gay is a choice, show us the proof. Choose it. Choose to be gay yourself. Show America how that’s done, Herman, show us how a man can choose to be gay. Suck my dick, Herman. Name the time and the place and I’ll bring my dick and a camera crew and you can suck me off and win the argument.
Very sincerely yours,

Dan Savage”

Is this the right-wing Savage or the left-wing Savage? Are they the same person? Does it matter? They both seem pretty savage to me, even if they are actually the same person.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. March 28, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

a. 10,000 BC The Middle East domesticates goats (they later domesticate sheep).

(And the jokes have not ended yet.)

b. 2010 General Electric managed the remarkable task of paying absolutely no taxes on US profits of $5.1 billion.

(37 companies like Citigroup and AIG that received more in tax credits than they paid.)

c. 2006 Jackson Pollock’s 1948 painting entitled No. 5 sold for $140 million (Inflation-adjusted value: $151.8 million).

(Not a bad wage for spilling a can of paint.)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. There was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in northern Burma just across the border from Thailand. There was some damage to buildings in the area. As usual after events of this kind there are calls for strengthening the building code. Developers claim current codes are adequate (even though buildings did fall down). As far as I know Thailand has no significant zoning codes or planning laws. I am not sure if it has a building code or has code enforcement capability.

b. Apparently here has been a military reshuffle that has consolidated the power of the dominant “Tigers of the East” faction. This faction spearheaded the suppression of the Red Shirt protest.

c. Thailand has purchased 200 tanks (yes 200) from the Ukraine (yes the Ukraine). Many of the troops are unhappy with the purchase preferring a South Korean model over the Ukrainian. Apparently the Ukrainian model has to stop moving to reload.
(What foreign enemy does Thailand require 200 new tanks to repel? Stops to reload!!!)

d. A recent report in the Bangkok Post raises fears that a potential victory by the opposition party could lead to replacement of the current army chief (protegé of the leader of the military coup that toppled previous democratically elected regime) resulting in another coup attempt.

e. Fake Buddhist monks (usually foreigners) are becoming a problem in Thailand. It appears that these fake monks are wandering the streets of the country alms-collecting after 10 AM, the time the local monks end their activity and return to the temple precincts.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I am writing this from Paradise by the Sea where I have been residing the past four days. I will probably return to Bangkok today and post this from there.It is still overcast and both the sky and the waters of the bay are a shimmering grey with almost no discernible horizon. The only colors are provided by the beach umbrellas and the flags fluttering from the fishing boats as the chug out to lay their nets in the bay.

I have done little since I have been here except enjoy the solitude and the break from parenting.

Of course Hayden’s impending departure is sad for me. I have the option of returning to the US with him and SWAC in early May. I may consider it since I have to arrange for my operation during May or June anyway.

SWAC is now contemplating sending him to boarding school in a year or so. For a young boy whose separation anxiety has become almost pathological, such a course of action seems incomprehensible to me. On the other hand he is now getting to that age where whatever trauma he has suffered begins to become hard-wired into his personality. Here may be a boy growing up too quickly being forced to face down life. What was once and endearing little boy suffering under the vagaries of adult insensitivity, within a year or two may congeal into the personality of an uncontrollable brat, making such drastic solutions the only options for such inept parenting. On the other hand, and there is always another hand, maybe not.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 15:

The next sensation Vince had was of a strong hand pulling him up by his arm followed by blinding pain in his head. Slowly his vision cleared and he saw that it was Isabella pulling him upright with one hand. In her other she grasped a gun. As he gained his feet and leaned into her for support and the world continued to spin about he noticed a body lying in its back on the sidewalk bleeding profusely from its nose and mouth and gasping for breath.

“Whaa..” he got out of his mouth slowly before feeling her push him toward the car.

“Quick,” she said, “lean on me.”

As he turned for support he glimpsed what appeared to be the other assailant limping away around the corner.

“Give me your keys,” she demanded when the reached the car. She took the keys unlocked the doors and helped him into the passenger seat,got into the driver’s side, threw the gun into the back seat, started the car and squealed off down the street in the opposite direction from which the other attacker fled.

“Where are we going?” he asked, grabbing the back of his head and pressing on it in a futile attempt to stop the pain.

“To the hospital to have you checked out, you may have a concussion.”

“No, no,” he said. “Lets go somewhere I can walk around for a while. I am sure I will be all-right.”

So she drove them to Noe Valley, a fully gentrified San Francisco neighborhood. A one time working class ghetto, than artist hangout in the sixties and seventies, followed by an influx of yuppies flush with money from dot-com startups seeking a picturesque community in which to set down roots and drive up property values which they did with a vengeance until at one time property values were the third highest neighborhood in the City. With the collapse of the dot-com bubble, those who had not already cashed out of their inflated properties were trapped by their mortgages just like the working class families of a generation or so ago.

She parked about a block off the main commercial drag, 24th St, of the neighborhood and after walking about for about an hour or so they found themselves sitting in one of the overabundant coffee shops that sting up in neighborhoods like this like crab-grass in a suburban lawn.

“What happened back there?” Vince asked.

She stared at him for a moment with that placid look she affects. “You were very brave. You stepped in from of me and threw a punch into the face of that guy. He fell down and dropped his gun.”

“Why did I fall?”

“You probably swung so hard you tripped”

Later after driving him to his apartment and parking in the parking lot, she said,“I have to be going. I’ll take a taxi.”

“Won’t you come up? I may need medical assistance during the night.”

She laughed. “I am sure you will be all-right. I will call tomorrow,” and walked off.

He now stood in his bathroom the following morning, swallowing a handful of Tylenol to kill the pain. He stared in the mirror and began to have an uncomfortable feeling. At first he thought is was chagrin at his failure to appear attractive enough to he for her to accept his clumsy invitation to spend the night. No, although that was hard enough to deal with, it is something else he thought. Then he looked at his hands…

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Collins:

` “…[N]ilism is a male disease of the soul, because we are not bearers of life. Men do not carry hope the way women do.”

b. Pookie’s Epistle on Economics:

THE PROBLEM WITH ECONOMICS TODAY-

My underlying criticism of economics today is what it leaves out and not what it includes. Among the many things left out in its idealized systems is that in the real world markets are manipulative. The basic drive to avoid competition by gaming and controlling either supply demand or the markets themselves appear to be either downplayed or ignored by resorting to the myth of the “invisible hand.”
.
Let me begin by repeating the insightful quote by HM Keynes:

“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.”

I think we all for the most part agree with his observation. I would, however, substitute Classical (or Neoclassical) Economic Theory for capitalism. It appears most economic theory essentially ignores the reality that these nasty men won’t work for the benefit of all of us and perhaps more importantly some of them will unduly effect the course of economic events affecting the rest of us in a negative way. Many economists appear to approach this problem in one or more of the following ways:

1. They wring their hands and call for political intervention (Keynesians, etc.).
2. They ignore it claiming it could never happen (Neoclassical economists).
3. They consider it an externality along with the host of other externalities that are outside of the scope of their discipline (All).
4. They think it is a good thing (Neoclassical again and others).

To some extent they are all right that this and other supposed defects are external to the discipline. Such things like ethics, fraud and the commons and so on are beyond the tools of their profession. Looked at another way however, these so-called “externalities” represent almost everything that is important and necessary in life and in society. Nevertheless, these panjandrums of industry, academia and government are asked to advise us and even to act on our behalf on such things as jobs, education, food supplies and even our national interest all of which are fundamentally determined by ethics, fraud, the commons and a host of other so-called externalities. Unless these externalities, especially the thirst for power, are brought into a sociological system, the discipline will remain both defective and dangerous.

A recent article in WIRED discusses the seemingly inevitable domination of goods and serves by the uncontrolled few and examines its genesis.

“It is the cycle of capitalism. The story of industrial revolutions, after all, is a story of battles over control. A technology is invented, it spreads, a thousand flowers bloom, and then someone finds a way to own it, locking out others. It happens every time.

Take railroads. Uniform and open gauge standards helped the industry boom and created an explosion of competitors — in 1920, there were 186 major railroads in the US. But eventually the strongest of them rolled up the others, and today there are just seven — a regulated oligopoly. Or telephones. The invention of the switchboard was another open standard that allowed networks to interconnect. After telephone patents held by AT&T’s parent company expired in 1894, more than 6,000 independent phone companies sprouted up. But by 1939, AT&T controlled nearly all of the US’s long-distance lines and some four-fifths of its telephones. Or electricity. In the early 1900s, after the standardization to alternating current distribution, hundreds of small electric utilities were consolidated into huge holding companies. By the late 1920s, the 16 largest of those commanded more than 75 percent of the electricity generated in the US.

Indeed, there has hardly ever been a fortune created without a monopoly of some sort, or at least an oligopoly. This is the natural path of industrialization: invention, propagation, adoption, control.

Now it’s the Web’s turn to face the pressure for profits and the walled gardens that bring them. Openness is a wonderful thing in the non monetary economy of peer production. But eventually our tolerance for the delirious chaos of infinite competition finds its limits. Much as we love freedom and choice, we also love things that just work, reliably and seamlessly. And if we have to pay for what we love, well, that increasingly seems OK. Have you looked at your cell phone or cable bill lately?”

And the writer identifies a rule that describes this tendency to control over the so-called market by individuals or a small groups:

“Monopolies are actually even more likely in highly networked markets like the online world. The dark side of network effects is that rich nodes get richer. Metcalfe’s law, which states that the value of a network increases in proportion to the square of connections, creates winner-take-all markets, where the gap between the number one and number two players is typically large and growing.”

To me it seems that this dolorous progression; invention, propagation, adoption and control — and some version of Metcalfe’s law are vital to a valid description of the economic process. But, in the public debates and analysis of economists on the current state of our society, I rarely observe any recognition that this problem even exists.

The great historian Fernand Braudel pointed out that a “capitalist” does not participate willingly in markets or specialize but instead he searches the world to find whatever it is that would give him control over supply. In other words the last thing they want is competition.

Perhaps instead of capitalist (which like the word Capitalism) has become defined more by emotion, politics and private interest than any referent , we should call them by the name coined by Buckminster Fuller, “The Great Pirates”.

Although individuals may open shops and small businesses as alternatives to working for someone else, the Great Pirates enter into an enterprise only if in fact there is sizable unmet demand that can be easily controllable, or they perceive the potential for controlling the supply of some good or service. No other purpose makes any sense. To the Great Pirates competition is anathema.

Nor do the Great Pirates plan much beyond the next quarter or to counter immediate perceived threats to their own income and wealth. Nothing else appears to be of particular significance to them except to game whatever system is available for their own benefit (They hire consultants, economists, accountants and attorneys for everything else). As Stephen Herrington put it:

“I’ve never met anyone that was that smart and that ruthless at the same time. Maybe I’ve just not met the man in charge. Bernie Madoff was not that smart, only ruthless. He, like our global finance system, adapted to conditions as they presented themselves. He had no plan other than the next paycheck… Madoff gamed the low-interest rates arising from government policy of monetary easing necessitated by tax cuts. He promised higher returns and security where banks and stocks could not. He created a Ponzi scheme not too dissimilar too what global finance undertakes internationally right now. Global finance is loaning, secured by nation/state assets, on assets that will eventually run out and leave the countries loaned to in default and the banks failing because of defaults. They, like Madoff, do not have a plan.

Global finance now preys on government’s obligations to meet the needs of people. They loan and government pays, never quite reaching the horizon in which the returns on Keynesian investments in national economies pays off. This has become a global socioeconomic hamster treadmill in which no one benefits except the brokers. Eventually the global economic decline this predicts will affect bankers too. They just refuse to see it coming, like Madoff.”

The Huffington Post, May 13, 2010

These Great Pirates individually or in concert exert a significant influence in the creation of distortions of the so-called market. Failure to account for their influence as sooner or later a given in every market is a core defect in economic theory and if it is treated at all it is treated as an anomaly or dismissed as impossible.

Exacerbating this problem with market capture or dominance is that we are also currently experiencing a fundamental shift in the nature of the institutions that provide the vehicle for this. Corporations were originally created by government for a specific manufacturing or trading venture or task intended to benefit the state. Because often the uncertainty was so high and the potential size of the loss so great, the then existing debtor laws placed the investor’s estate at risk for confiscation on account of the debts occasioned by the potential failure of the enterprise, therefore it was necessary for the state to protect the investors estate in order to encourage investment in these ventures. After a certain amount of time estimated to be required to achieve the goals of the venture, they were supposed to go out of existence and the market system returned with all its risks intact.

This governmental intrusion (the creation of corporate institutions exempt from individual responsibility) into the supposed normal workings of the market for a public purpose, has over the centuries evolved first into exempting them from any time limit on the existence of the enterprise except organizational suicide or bankruptcy. The latter in most cases merely being a reorganization of their immortality.

Currently, this public exemption from the basic risks upon which the entire edifice of classical economics is founded has progressed to where these publicly chartered entities appear to be successfully grasping for the right to be treated as individual citizens under the Constitution but with fewer, if any, duties (including paying taxes should the corporate tax structure be shifted onto a consumption tax as these entities clearly desire).

Nor are they required to adhere to any standard of patriotism other than that needed to sell their products. (When has a corporation gone to war like the citizen solider is required to do?) As one of our founding fathers put it:

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. Thomas Jefferson

As an aside, if the so-called bond market vigilantes as so dead set on threatening the government by raising their bond ratings if their income from prior bonds purchased by government are put at risk, shouldn’t they be considered to be traitors or terrorists. The kings of old were willing to throw a few of them in jail whenever they attempted that brand of extortion.

Perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts imbedded in the United States Constitution is the objection to and prohibition of the establishment of hereditary nobility controlling the resources and power of the nation. After 200 years or so the corporate entities created by we the people for a limited and comprehensible reason, now stand on the threshold of something the nobles of old could only dream about, immortal control of wealth and power.

Add to this creep to an enduring aristocracy of the corporate elite is the evidence that these same entities originally created by us but now almost laws onto themselves have begun to take over (as did the nobles of old) the very functions of government that here in the United States were reserved by our Constitution to we the people.

Corporate officials and employees are involved in all aspects of governing and negotiating “over policy making, implementation, and enforcement,” as one legal scholar has noted.

Yet contractors’ imperatives are not necessarily the same as the government’s imperatives. Contractor companies are responsible for making a profit for their shareholders; government is supposedly answerable to the public and the nation in a democracy.

Amid this environment complicated by mixed motives, new institutional forms of governing have gathered force as government and contractor officials interact (or don’t) in the course of projects; as chains of command among contractors and the agencies they supposedly work for have become ever-more convoluted; as contractors perform inherently governmental functions beyond the capacity of government to manage them; and, as contractors standing in for government are not subject to the same rules that apply to government officials. Wedel and Keenan, Shadow Elite The Huffington Post, August 26, 2010.

One cannot have a market system where major players in the market are exempt for the risks inherent in the concept. Instead of focussing on returning capital to the rules of the market, the elite seek the Economists as their mouthpieces who dutifully obsess with other thing things like breaking up community land holdings in order to bring them into the market (See DeSoto______)

Despite the obviousness of it all and irrespective of the fact that these entities (The Great Pirates and the Multi-national Corporations) are major players on the economic stage and have garnered to themselves the power and ability to destroy and enslave whole societies, should the worst occur, the economic consultant community I expect, once again, will claim they could not have seen it coming.

Make no mistake about it, this is not Capitalism. Marx was wrong. He did not comprehend the sociology or psychology of it all. This lust for wealth, power and control is fundamental to humanity and the various so-called economic systems (Capitalism, Feudalism, Mercantilism, yes and even Socialism and Communism) are merely the mechanism used to assure that the fruits of society are reserved for its most socially irresponsible members. Fraud is endemic to all these systems and yet mostly ignored in their intellectual underpinnings.

As a result of this, the basic concepts of supply and demand are ephemeral at best since both are almost infinitely manipulate (e.g., advertising manipulates demand and monopolization manipulates supply).

Another thing missing in most economic discussions that I have read or listened to, is the impact of transition costs (fees, etc.)inherent in a market as well as the independent entities (brokers, etc) managing the transactions in distorting the ephemeral efficient market (ultimately it is the parasite who usually does the best).

While many astute and responsible people call for a paradigm shift in the essential bases of economics (such as Krugman [New York Times September 2, 2009]) they must be approached with caution since they themselves are practitioners of that very discipline that has been found so wanting.

In Science a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered to be the truth only until it is falsified. Once falsified the theory looses its status and should be thrown away. The Economists wish their discipline to be considered the next best thing to a hard Science but they seem unable accept their theories may be added to the trash heap of history. Not only is it lacking in its central concepts but almost without exception its practitioners work for the very interests that seek to preserve their hard-won ascendency. You would be considered a fool to believe an attorney retained by his opponent when he tells him that is looking out for your best interests. Why then do we believe the economists?

It we must choose a discipline with which to begin a reformation of this world view, I would much prefer sociology at least there the pretense of a panglossian world is muted. It also does not look back to a founding prophet (Adam Smith) from which all deviations can be described as evolution of the essential truth (whether or not referred to as paradigm shifts). That is a religion and not a science.

What I think is required now is to begin with the basic concept of the society that we wish to live in and the social science we call Economics today should be developed as a mechanism to describe how to get there, that is if we the people hire them before they go to work for those who would prefer we not get there at all.

c. Today’s chart:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.”

~Alfred E. Wiggam

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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