Posts Tagged With: Thomas Jefferson

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 11, 2010

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

thailand sukothai parade 02

thailand sukothai parade 02 (Photo credit: FriskoDude)

a. Department of where have I heard that before:

The two cases before the Constitutional Court of Thailand seeking dissolution of the ruling party have been thrown out not on the merits or failure of the plaintiffs to follow correct procedures but because the ruling parties appointees or the courts own personnel failed to do so. (Shades of Gore v. Bush).

As a result of the decision, the Emergency Decree prohibiting political demonstrations or anything else deemed  political has been recommended to be lifted for the Bangkok area.

b. Department of media matters:

The top Google searches in Thailand are; the Red Shirt protests, a Korean Boy Band and a Thai country tune about a prodigal son.

The Thai version of “A boy Named Sue”?

c. Department of you heard it here first:

A report of the Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong reported that in Thailand, “…forces opposed to human rights and their allies had reemerged to take control of key national institutions….These forces were digging in to fight for political control of the country…The reemergence of the ‘Internal Security State’ in Thailand was following a similar pattern to the past but with more refined public relations and a sharper concern for noes types of political and technological threats to its authority.
Expanded use of emergency regulations to legitimatize all state actions while also producing impunity; failure to meet obligations under international human rights law; the obfuscation of truth and curtailment of justice; the failure of the country’s human rights institutions to perform according to their mandate.”

Now we know where Dick Chaney retired to.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

As the days go by, I become more and more pleased with my life here. Either that or I have begun to go senile. I walk along the beach, swim, exercise in the weight room, write eat and sleep. Once a week I have my massage and dinner with friends. Bill has left and returned to the US already and Gary and David have also departed. As a result my evenings are free so that for the last few days I have had time to prepare for my trip back to the US for the holidays., Christmas shopping and packing.

This morning I walked to the place where I have my double café latte before going on to breakfast. I like the place because it has a radio tuned into some station that plays golden oldies from Do-Whop to Disco. I think it is a Thai station although they mostly speak American English. I sit there every morning listening to Frankie Lyman or whomever… Actually I lie, I have not heard anything from Frankie Lyman in over 40 years. Who is Frankie Lyman you may ask?… in the late 50’s he was the first black cross-over teenage singer (“Why do Fools Fall in Love”), that is a black musician liked by a majority of whites of which Michael Jackson a few years later was the prime example. He was not a “Black” musician like Little Richard or Chuck Berry who needed white singers such as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis to introduce their sound to white America. And anyway at the time almost all the early Rock bands and singers, white and Black together were considered somewhat outlaw and not respectable. (Who can forget Pat Boone’s attempt to hi-jack this new music of behalf of racist America). Jackson eventually bridged that gap and made black music mainstream.

At that time in the late 50’s and early 60’s my friend Bob Cavallo and I began producing concerts for college kids featuring a mix of Jazz and the new Rock music. Bob ultimately went into the business (I went on to law school — bad choice) eventually specializing in this cross-over music with his management of Earth, Wind and Fire and Prince.

Anyway I sat there drinking my café latte and listening to the music and let my mind wander off to wherever is chooses to go. I will never understand why the meditation hucksters insisted on purging ones mind in order to achieve and altered state when simply giving it free rein achieves the same thing and is a lot more enjoyable. (This seems like something for a Baba Giufa tale.)

As my mind rummaged through its detritus, for some reason it stopped and played around with my memories of my theatre programs during my early years at University. Perhaps it was because last night I watched a movie starring Denzil Washington who attended the same program I did.

The director of the program was an old queen with the improbable name of Vaughn Dearing. He always looked like he slept in his clothes and was slightly drunk. He also never remembered to zipper up his fly.

I liked Vaughn’s approach. What I had experienced previously was that one auditioned and if successful was assigned a part. The director then spent most of the rest of the time in rehearsals making sure you learned your lines, remembered your cues and hit your mark on time.

Vaughn on the other hand, after selecting his cast through auditions, would not assign roles. Instead every day each actor and actress would assume a different role from the day before and work through the entire play (men played women’s roles and vice versa), You did not know which role you would play in the production until the last week of rehearsal.

PAPA JOE’S FABLES AND TALES:

Today I thought I would break into my cycle of tales and fables and include for your entertainment, a guest tale written by Cousin Irwin.

A (TRUE) DAY IN THE LIFE OF I R SCHATZMAN

Setting: irwin is in New Jersey. it is the first day irwin has seen his birth-father in eighteen years having left New Jersey with his mom and grandmother when he was about six years old and never having a father who secured a percentage of irwin’s growing up time. irwin comes to New Jersey seeking something (yikes! close the windows we are coming to Secaucus) and to visit his father, aunts, grandfather (the only person who cried when greeting irwin), and cousins. He is carrying a guitar, wearing a beard and a moscow fur cap. He has no money in his wallet, having secured a vehicle ride across country by answering an ad from someone looking for someone to share the drive time.

Solomon Schatzman: “you know irwin, during these last eighteen years i often thought about coming out to California and kidnapping you”.

Irwin Schatzman: says nothing, blinks, and thinks, “Well, why didn’t you?”
FIN

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride.

Westley: “I told you I would always come for you. Why didn’t you wait for me?” 
Buttercup: “Well… you were dead.”
Westley: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” 

b, From God’s mouth to your ear:

Ahijah's prophesie to Jeroboam

Ahijah’s prophesie to Jeroboam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this time, Jeroboam‘s son Abijah fell ill.
Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Go to Ahijah the prophet in Shiloh. Take some bread, cakes, and honey. He will tell you what will happen to the child.’
Jeroboam’s wife set out and arrived in Shiloh at the house of Ahijah.
Now Ahijah was old and blind, but Yahweh had said to him, ‘Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask about her son, for he is ill. Here is what you will say to her…’
As she entered the door, Ahijah said to her, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam, for I have been ordered to give you bad news. Tell Jeroboam that this is what Yahweh says…’
‘”You have committed more evil than all who came before you. You have angered me by making other gods made of metal, so now I will commit evil upon the family of Jeroboam!”‘
“I will exterminate all those who piss against the wall, men and boys! I will burn the family of Jeroboam the way one burns dung, until it is completely gone!”‘
“Those of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the country will be eaten by birds!”‘
‘Yahweh has spoken. Now go back home. As soon as you set foot in the city, the boy will die.’
So Jeroboam’s wife went back, and as soon as she crossed the threshold of the palace…”
…the boy died.
1 Kings 14: 1 – 17.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.” 
Thomas Jefferson

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th November 15 2010

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey's 2006 pr...

Laura Rees as Lavinia in Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production at Shakespeare’s Globe; note the ‘realistic’ effects and blood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1995: A critic with too much time on his hands while reviewing Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus determined that the play,“…has 14 killings, 9 of them on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or 2 or 3 depending on how you count), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity, and 1 of cannibalism—-an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one for every 97 lines.”

(Sounds like the typical summertime Hollywood blockbuster movie to me)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Chao Phyra River

Chao Phyra River (Photo credit: Rodney_F)

The Thai authorities in response to the recent flooding of the capital have announced that instead of spending more money on things like sandbags, they intended to invest in constructing a series of underground viaducts to channel future flood waters from the city into the Chao Phyra river that runs trough Bangkok.

What they failed to mention was that Bangkok used to have a perfectly adequate system to channel off flood water in its canal system. The canals were filed to make roads thereby causing many of the current problems plaguing the city, not the least of which is periodic flooding.

Also they did not mention that like New Orléans, significant portions of Bangkok are below sea-level and merely directing more water into an already constrained system will do nothing to prevent flood waters from backing up from the river on to the city’s streets except perhaps to shift the areas of the city subject to flooding from where they are currently to along the densely populated riverside.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Nothing much has occurred during the past few days. I am still feeling under the weather. I occupy myself with the usual breakfast at the café, walk along the beach, swim in the pool and then rest in my apartment as I try to kick whatever it is I have.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

ELISA

I guess it is appropriate now to break into JOE’S story to say a little about his wife Elisa, my grandmother. After all she had as great an influence on my imagination as did my grandfather JOE.

Elisa Bargellini, was born in a small village called Roccantica

Roccantica RI

Roccantica RI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

located in Sabina about 60 kilometers northeast of Rome. She was one of 12 children. Which number of the 12, I do not know. I also do not know the date of her birth, perhaps around 1890 of so.

Ultimately, most of the children emigrated from the town, four went to Australia, four to America and four remained in italy.

The house that she was born in had two large rooms, a bed room with a heavy wood beamed ceiling and a kitchen-living area with a large fireplace built into the wall that separated the two rooms.

Many years later, during 1968 through 70, I was living in Rome and rented one of my relatives apartments in the town. There I would spend my weekends.

Every night, I would leave my apartment and climb the steps that served as streets in the village and visit the house in which my grandmother was born. Philomena, my grandmothers sister still lived there with her son Mauro and her daughter in law Rosanna.

Whenever I arrived, I would usually find Philomena sitting by the fire with three of her women friends, her daughter-in-law puttering around in the background. Mauro was usually at the little café he ran in the village. The only light in the room came from the fire.

I would take my accustomed seat on the floor to the right of the fire, partially inside of fireplace cavity and lean back against the warm stones.

There would also always be an empty extra chair set out.

I would sit there and listen to the old women talk about the day’s gossip but mostly about their real or imagined aches and pains, their faces glowing red in the glint of the light from the fire.

Every so often there would be a knock on the door and someone from the town would enter and take the empty chair. The visitor would be offered coffee and biscuits. Then between sips of coffee they would relate their tales of the day’s happenings.

When they had finished, each visitor would get up, politely thank the women for their hospitality and leave and the women would go back to their discussions until the next knock on the door intervened.

My favorite visitor during those nights was the village blind man who arrived every evening at about the same time. He began talking even before knocking on the door, shouting out his helloes and continuing his patter as he opened the door and walked into the room. Since the empty chair was always in the same place every night he would walk directly over to it, feel for it with his cane and sit down. He always wore dark clothing and had a great round face that hung there in the flickering firelight like a benevolent Jack-o-lantern. He was a wonderful story-teller.

Roccantica (RI), 2006

Roccantica (RI), 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He would tell, in great detail and animation, about his wanderings that day along the paths in and around the village. He would tell of the different sounds made by the small animals as they slithered away when he walked by. He described the songs of the birds and what they ment to him and how they made him feel. The touch of the wind on his face and the feel of the plants that grew along side the path as he took them into his hands would fill him with delight. Every conversation he had during the day was recalled precisely and because he was by necessity inquisitive, contained a tale of its own. Then once he was finished, he would rise from his chair and tap his way to the door and leave. After he closed the door he would shout out to us inside that he would see us all again tomorrow. Then there was silence except for the hiss of the burning logs as we all meditated on his absence until after a while the analyses of the medical symptoms that accompanies aging would begin once more.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: You got any money?
Inigo Montoya: Sixty-five.
Miracle Max: I’ve never worked for so little. Except once, and that was a very noble cause.
Inigo Montoya: This is noble, sir. His wife is… crippled. His children are on the brink of starvation.
Miracle Max: Are you a rotten liar?
Inigo Montoya: I need him to help avenge my father, murdered these twenty years.
Miracle Max: Your first story was better.
The Princess Bride

2. Yiddish for beginners (from Wikipedia):

bagel: a ring-shaped bread roll made by boiling then baking the dough.
blintz: a sweet cheese-filled crêpe.
bris: the circumcision of a male child.
boychick: boy, young man.
bubkes (also spelled “bupkis”): emphatically nothing, as in “He isn’t worth bubkes” (literally ‘goat droppings).
chutzpah: nerve, guts, daring, audacity, effrontery.
dreck: (vulgar) worthless material, especially merchandise.
dybbuk: the malevolent spirit of a dead person that enters and controls a living body until exorcised.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
Thomas Jefferson

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. September 27, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1633 The Inquisition in Rome forces Galileo to renounce his theory that Earth revolves around the sun.

But even in the face of possibly being burned at the stake he refuses to abandon his claim that pepperoni is the best topping for pizza. The inquisition backs down.

Today’s quote:

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
Thomas Jefferson

Petrillo’s Comment:

In reviewing my past posts I have noticed that they have gotten progressively longer and as a result I fear may be boring many of you. Therefore, I decided to limit the body of my future posts to “Pookie’s Adventures.” I will however consider adding an attachment for those who may be interested in reading more. Since they would be attachments, no one except those curious enough to open the attachment need be confronted by the excess of words.

Since I have been in Thailand, in addition to my emails, journals and submissions to the left-wing blog, I have begun the following writing projects:
A mystery novel
An irreverent retelling of the sacred books of the Abrahamic religions.
A semi-autobiographical and at times probably apocryphal history of the seedy Petrillo clan.
A political blog.
Some children’s’ stories.
Obviously I have completed none of them preferring instead to nap rather than to write.

I thought, if I started attaching portions of these efforts to my posts, it may be of interest to a few of you and would help incentivize me to finish some of them. Your comments and criticisms would also be helpful.

I was originally going to add to this post an attachment containing a portion of my retelling of the Bible, but decided against it because I was afraid it would offend most of you.

So instead, those that are interested, please let me know which of the above you would be most interested in reading excerpts from first.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Paradise:

Actually, little has occurred since I last wrote. I have had a massage or two, swam in the pool and except for foray’s to Cafe Le Mar for breakfast, spent the rest of the past two days in my condo reading, writing and looking at French movies. I love French movies they rarely make any sense at all even though they approach their plots with deadly seriousness.

Yesterday, Slattery, the landlord and alleged rock drummer and backgammon master, dropped by to renegotiate the lease and collect the rent. He was accompanied by a new girlfriend. He appeared to have lost a lot of weight. It may have been good for his health, but it did not seem to improve his looks any.

We agreed on proceeding on a month to month basis until I get around to deciding what I am going to do next.

Todays medical chart:

In addition to the inanity of the content and the awful graphics, please note full heterosexuality is 0 on the scale while the opposite sexual preference is awarded a 6. Really now…

Ciao…

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 17 2010

Today’s Factoid:
1978 A 55 foot long, two ton squid was caught in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland, the largest ever caught. (What was the name of that bay again?)

Today’s Quote:
“What luck for the rulers that men do not think.”
Adolf Hitler quotes (German Chancellor, leader of the Nazi party, 1889-1945)

Today’s correction:
It has been pointed our to me that Jefferson’s below the stairs amatory interest’s first name was Sally not Sarah. Pity, I always liked the name Sarah

Today’s report:
It is my second full day (August 15) in Thailand’s south (Southern Paradise?).

Some of you may wonder how I got here since my the last email before the loss of internet service in the wilds of Southern Thailand intervened did not indicate and plans for an immediate journey. Others may be concerned for my safety during my sojourn in the land of muslim uprisings and warring clans. I address both of these below.

In my last report in the Hayden and Joey (or Pookie as I am now referred to) saga (melodrama), we were anxiously awaiting the Mother’s Day celebration at Hayden’s school when it was assumed that SWAC would sweep in, gather up the boy and depart for places unknown. Of course, I should have known that the immutable rules of life that make living for at least one more day so interesting and exciting,( “Tomorrow is another day” and “it’s always something” first enunciated by those great American sages Scarlett O’Hara and Rosanna Rosanna Dana), would come into play.

Mother’s Day arrived at the happiest place on earth (yes, even more so than Disneyland) Sunshine kindergarten and the children began their performances for their mothers and other doting family and friends. SWAC with some friends from Italy arrived late but in time for Hayden’s class’ successful performance of Ce Cera Cera (?) and another song whose name I do not recall.

Following the performance the Italian guests left and Hayden came up to me and announced that SWAC would like to talk to me again and asked if I would like to accompany them on their trip to the South to spend a few days with SWAC’s father before his angioplasty. With the O’Hara-Rossanna Dana proscriptions ringing in my head , I agreed. So, after saying my good-bye’s to Choti, Gerry, Leo and Grandma, I followed them to Bangkok on a later plane. During the flight I tried to figure out what this change of heart was all about. Was my contract as babysitter/nanny being extended or was I being lured to the South to my imprisonment or death?

Anyway, we spent two days in BKK during which Hayden and I saw “Toy Story 3” in IMAX 3d. The next day we departed for the Airport and flew to Trang, a city on the lovely Andaman Sea. There we were met by a brother-in-law named “Cookie” and we all piled into his pick-up truck for the ride over the mountains to Phattalung the provincial capital of the province of the same name. We skirted the city and drove into the jungle, passing through a little market town servicing the villages and hamlets surrounding it (Kuan Kukanon I think it is called). Ultimately we arrived safe and sound at this remote jungle hamlet whose name I always forget. I still do not know why I am here but in any event this morning I have been told that tomorrow morning we will depart again for BKK a full three days prior to Kuhn Pa (Phonetic spelling) entering the hospital for what turns out to be an angioplasty and triple by-pass surgery.

As for my safety, although I am quite familiar with the Sicilian way of Vendetta, I have no understanding of the Thai rules of clan warfare.

For those with some interest in the matter, in Sicily death by Mafia was limited to ones direct relationship to the Honorable Society. The rule was simple, cross them and you die. Vendetta on the other hand applied to all of Sicilian society.

Here is how it worked. If someone kills or otherwise seriously injures a member of a family, then the oldest male of the injured family was obligated to kill the miscreant and revenge the family’s honor even if he only remotely was acquainted with the deceased or injured family member or even did not know him at all. Then of course the oldest male of the now deceased miscreant was obliged to repay that favor in kind. And, so it went until all the male members of one of the families were dead. Woe to the family with few sons.

As a result of this mayhem, in the early part of the twentieth century the Sicilian population had been reduced 10% or more as a result of the ravages of the Vendetta. In fact, much of the emigration from Sicily during the first half of the twentieth century was not the result of economic deprivation but Sicilian males attempting to flee the Vendetta.

As for here in Phattalung, we are too far north to be affected by the current muslim separatist movement. However during the late unlamented Vietnam War the violence did reach this far north. At that time the fathers of the current rebels were called Communists and not Muslim Terrorists as they are referred to today.

At the time Kuhn Pa was the Mayor and Police Chief of the Hamlet, a member of a local prominent military family and reputed head of a death squad. SWAC has told me about the time when she was a little girl leaving the house to go to school only to see a severed head on a pole in her front yard leering at her. She tells of another time when during the night their compound was attacked by a band of rebels and while her father hid in the bedroom in terror, her mother grabbed a broom and ran out into the yard and sent the attackers fleeing. Then there was the time a younger female member of the family was sexually attacked by four of five young men. The wrongdoers were tracked down and dispatched one by one.

One evening six or seven years ago, while I was sitting where I sit now writing this, about fifty yards from here, Kuhn Pa’s successor as Mayor and Police chief was called out of his house to meet someone and was shot by an assassin hiding in the trees across the road.

During most of my visits here in the past, Suvit, SWAC’s brother would, with his gun ready, periodically patrol the perimeter of this house. Eventually he became the chief of police and was in turn killed by his brother-in-law while taking a pee in the bushes outside his house. The Brother-in-law, who was a one time mayor, had already killed five other people and was reputed to be a distant relation of the family competing for political dominance in this place. The killer remains free and living in his house about 100 yards from here. He has threatened to kill the rest of the family (his wife SWAC’s sister died under mysterious circumstances that was nonetheless ruled a suicide). Kuhn Pa’s heart problems are blamed by the family to be caused by his anxiety over these more recent events.

Other than that I feel perfectly safe. Anyway we are leaving tomorrow.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and rhat from re Thai r ment. August 16, 2010

Today’s Factoid:
In 1789 Thomas Jefferson returns to the United States with the first pasta maker in America after serving as the American Ambassador to France. Among his lesser accomplishments were drafting the Declaration of Independence, serving as the third President of the United States and sleeping with his slave Sarah Hemming. What a man!

Today’s Quote:
In keeping with the Jeffersonian theme:
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
Thomas Jefferson

I do not know when and if this email will get to you since the remote Thai village in the deep south of Thailand where I write this lacks , as far as I know, internet “hot spots” (today is Saturday August 14). I write this sitting where I can usually be found whenever I am residing here, on the front balcony of the house I had built here almost a decade ago. Today,s photograph shows the house as it appears now, taken from across the road. The balcony I mentioned sits prominently in the center of the photograph on the second floor of the house.

I have not visited the house and the village for about four of five years or more. The fruit trees I had planted, Durian, Jackfruit, Papaya, Mango and others are almost full grown now and their foliage obscures the ground from where I am sitting and the large “Sala” I had constructed at the end of the property has disappeared into the gloom of the shadows from the surrounding trees. The tall coconut palms that existed on the property when the house was built appear even taller than I remember and drop into the yard gigantic coconuts whose protective husks lying on the ground appear to be at least a foot to eighteen inches in diameter.

One of the most pleasant sights from my balcony eyrie always has been the butterflies that flutter from flower to flower in the front yard below me. I have not seen yet any of the large blue butterflies whose wingspan reaches almost four inches, but there are plenty of others. My favorite is the large one with deep black wings and yellow dots and stripes on them.

Looking across the road from where I sit, the traditional wooden houses on stilts have been replaced by modern cement walled bungalows. The “Sala” along side of the road in which the local basket maker used to sit constructing his wares by hand is gone. It has been replaced by another small “Sala” where the family across the street displays butchered meat for the vendor’s with their motor bike fitted carts to come by and pick up the day’s inventory for sale. Today’s second photograph shows the “Sala” and a vendor loading up his cart.

Just now a young man walked by driving a few of the humped back cattle along the road to feed on the stubble of the rice paddies surrounding the village.

This morning, while Hayden and about six or seven other children screamed and chased each other around in the yard below me, N scurried around from the Buddha shrine in the house to the Spirit house in the garden laying out the fruit, vegetable incense and candle offerings to the Buddha (He eats better than we do) and saying a brief prayer.

Suddenly with a flourish of parasols, plastic bags of food and flowers for the Buddha, the children and adults all scrambled, onto several motorbikes, two or three to each vehicle and roared off to the Temple for more praying and offering.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 10, 2010

Daily quote:
“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
Thomas Jefferson

Daily Factoid:
1444 Bavarian merchants discovered selling adulterated saffron are burned alive. (I bet you thought that was reserved for witches and heretics)

Daily correction:
After further research regarding the recently deceased nun that I commented upon it my last email, I have discovered the incident took place in the soon to secede State of Virginia and not in New Jersey. My apologies to the Garden State. The driver was indeed someone here illegally, a Latin American brought here by his parents when he was only about three years old. He grew up here and was educated in the United States. He is employed and is an alcoholic who has been cited for DUI two times before. The INS had him in custody following the previous infractions and released him pending investigation of his status. Everything else however is correct. I am not Fox News. I sometimes acknowledge my mistakes. Sometimes I don’t, but then I don’t claim to be “fair and balanced” either.

Daily Weather Report:
It is the monsoon season here in Thailand. In this happy valley, most days feature cumulus mountains white and black on the horizon and a dark grey sheet of clouds directly overhead with blue sky in between. Then, in the evenings or at night it rains. The air is hot and muggy but thankfully the horrible air pollution that almost did me in in March is gone. The heavy monsoon rains were late this year. If they do not come much heavier in the time remaining for the season, the multi-year drought will continue. I surmise the impact of climate change has displaced the monsoon westward (more for Pakistan and less for SE Asia).

Daily Status Report:
My room here is also the habitation of several wall lizards. I find them pleasant company but not very good conversationalist. I will leave here on Thursday. I shall miss them.

Daily Political Report:
Thailand is in a pissing match with their neighbor Cambodia over a few acres of land I suspect neither knew they owned nor cared about. Then Cambodia realized that the land in question contained a temple built during its years of empire when Cambodia ment something in South East Asia instead of a bombing run, killing field or playground for pedophiles. Cambodia claimed the land upon which the temple sits and asked the UN to declare it a World Heritage Site. Both sides have threatened war to defend their sacred honor and patrimony. The World Court found that the land upon which the temple sits is in Cambodia, but Thailand still claims that the surrounding land is theirs and that by constructing a road to access the long forgotten historical site, Cambodia is infringing upon sovereign Thai lands. Meanwhile a group calling itself the Patriotic something or other has been pressuring the government to assert strongly Thailand’s claim. I do not know if the Patriots are allied with the Red or the Yellow shirts or have a color all their own. Stay tuned.

Daily Hayden Report:
Today, while he was having his after school ice cream, he asked me if I was rich. I told him that I had some money once but that it is mostly gone now but I always hope I will have some again. “Why do you ask?”, I inquired. “Because I would like you to be rich again,” he responded.

Daily Photographs:
The first is a picture of my condominium building taken from the beach at Paradise by the Sea Two Miles from the Outskirts of Hell. The Restaurant, Cafe del Mar at which I usually eat my breakfast and write these emails is the orange roofed building directly behind and above the umbrellas.

The second picture is of Hayden under his umbrella. It is his favorite photograph.

Ciao

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thar r ment. July 28, 2010

Daily Factoid: In 500 BC Turkey domesticates the, you guessed it, turkey. (Hmm could this be right, I always thought the turkey was something the American Indians gave as a gift to feed colonists so just before they were exterminated?)

Quote of the day:
“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
Thomas Jefferson

CORRECTION: One of my correspondents more familiar with the Thai language has pointed out that the name “BOY” mentioned in my previous email in spoken Thai could mean “often”. I leave it to your imagination to deduce what was on the father’s mind when he named his son “OFTEN.”

Thai Politics: The preferred replacement for the Thai police chief has been announced in the newspaper. As I previously pointed out this appointment is politically important as the police were generally seen as sympathetic to the Red Shirts. Also a bomb has been exploded in downtown Bangkok killing one person. The Red Shirts claim that they were not responsible and that it was the military government who planted the bomb to make it look like a red shirt action so they could extend the state of emergency (which is what appears to have happened). As I commented in another email this could be plausible since the conflict is no longer a socio-economic one, but a conflict over control over the dominant institutions of Thailand with the military general the most eager to defend their prerogatives. On the other hand it is equally plausible that some elements of the Red Shirts set off the bomb. I mentioned before that I expected the more heavily armed members of the Red Shirts who escaped the army sweep of downtown BKK, like most suppressed rebels will degenerate first into terrorism (e.g., bombing) and then into criminality (e.g., robbing banks etc). One the other hand it could be neither of these. Stay tuned….

This morning began inauspiciously. “It was a dark and stormy morning.” Since, however, it had not begun raining and a brisk breeze was blowing making the temperature almost pleasant, I decided to walk the two kilometers from my condo to the Thai immigration office for my renewal of my 90 day residency authorization. As I walked along, as I often do, I lapsed into deep daydreams about who knows what and promptly walked into a low hanging sign and was knocked onto my back. A couple of Thai me rushed to help me up. I thanked them and told them I was all-right. My embarrassment peaked as I limped off (I had slightly twisted my ankle) and could hear their giggles. Further proof of the genetic and intellectual deficiencies of the fat, clumsy, white farang in their midst.

The immigration office visit was relatively painless, A short wait, a lot of stamping of documents and I was sent on my way again a legal resident for another 90 days.

In my role as a bit player in the Hayden drama, Tomorrow or Friday I will leave again for CM. It appears that the heroes of the play, Choti (the school principal) and Gerry her husband have persuaded SWAC to leave Hayden with them and their son Leo at least until September so that he could finish this semester at school before going to the US. Since the big house has been rented Choti and Gerry kindly offered to allow Hayden and me to stay in their home until he departs. They have steadfastly refused all offers of compensation from me. I do not know how I could ever repay them for their kindness. My traditional obliviousness to politeness and gratitude makes it even more difficult for me to figure out what to do. Perhaps if I ever get back to my attempts of writing fiction, I could write a detective story with them as the detectives. Choti, as the school principal would find herself (as she already has been) involved in the lives of their Baptist, Thai-Farang and wealthy Thai family problems. Her tall, thin, long-haired, tattooed, motorcycle riding, book reading, rugby obsessed ( go All-Blacks) and music loving husband assisting her in solving the mysteries. Since Gerry is a New Zealander, I would have to learn a bit of their slang, a lot of “mums” and “mates” and the like.

Anyway Nikki, Hayden and H’s two 14-year-old cousins showed up in Paradise by the Sea a few days ago. They rented a two bedroom suite in a toney hotel nearby. in fact it was the same suite in the same hotel that I used to stay in when I did not understand the use of money as anything more the entitling me to stay is such places and fly first class.

Today’s photos were taken during their stay. The first on is of me and Hayden in the hotel pool and the second is of part of the hotel grounds.

Finally, as most of you know I have done a bit or writing for a left-wing blog. Recently, I started a blog of my own, basically to store those same submissions usually in a revised and reedited form in response to comments and additional research. While I have no ambition to have this later blog achieve any recognition, I have been troubled by a graphic on my home page that shows the number of “hits.” The absence of “hits” makes me feel inadequate. While I do not wish to urge on you need to read the entries since they were written primarily for practice and the whet the appetites (or insult as the case may be) of the rabid readers of the parent blog, you may want to connect into my blog and then immediately disconnect just so that the hit counter shows some movement and I can persuade myself that I am engaged in something other than self-flagellation. The email address is http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/.

Ciao


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment July 19, 2010

Thought for the day:
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
Thomas Jefferson

Daily factoid: 1976 The US Department of Labor upgraded the definition of ‘Chef’ from ‘domestic’ to ‘professional.’

I have spent the last week in Chiang Mai, staying with Choti, Gerry and their son Leo. I could never repay them for the kindness they have shown to me and especially to Hayden during his troubles. I leave this evening to return to the shore by overnight train.

Hayden is quite anxious, especially after returning from an outing with Nikki and me and finding all his toys packed away by his mother in preparation for the possible renting of the house and return to the US.

One day Nikki, Hayden and I ate lunch at one of our favorite restaurants located under a pair of domes each of which is over 100 Ft. in diameter and surrounded by lagoons and jungle vegetation. Hayden struck up a friendship with three children about his own age who each coincidentally spoke the same three languages he does (Thai, English and Italian). They were the children of three families of men from Italy with Thai wives. One of the men named Nicola is from Bari and was a wedding singer and guitar player in Italy and had his own band. Another named Marco was from Como and owned an italian restaurant in Chiang Mai. The third was from Palermo and I did not get his name or occupation. I introduced Nicola to my friend Cordt who plays the guitar in a band here in Chiang Mai at a restaurant called “The Guitar Man” and we agreed to meet the following evening at the Restaurant so that Cordt and Nicola would jam.

That evening Hayden’s mom did not want him to go and so both he the other children were disappointed. Nikki and I went anyway. Nicola had brought some wonderful antipasti from Italy and we ate dinner. Following dinner, while Nikki and I drank significant quantities of black sambucca, the two guitarists played music.

I guess the music, sambucca and company made me nostalgic and my mind drifted back to the early seventies in SF when the City seemed to be one of the centers of the universe for rock, international and experimental music and I remembered attending many all night jam sessions. One of the jam sessions I attended a lot with my daughter Jessica who was about 11 years old at the time, was held in a shed behind the house where my friends Rasa (a writer) and Mel (an artist and musician) lived. Mel had either made or collected an astonishing assortment of instruments hand-made of wood and metal from the local junk yards and fashioned into flutes, whistles, drums, gongs and a host of other things that could be banged upon and blown into to make a huge variety of sounds. Many professional musicians (such as Krishna Bhatt the famous sitar player) would assemble along with a few amateurs like me and after the adults had prepared ourselves with various substances, we would begin to blow into the flutes and bang on the drums and other instruments for several hours at a time.

A few years later my daughter who had gone off to school in conservative Houston told me that although she tried, she was unable to describe to her friends these sessions in any way that they believed her.

Ciao..

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (17 Mopey 0001) February 1. 2012

TODAY FROM CALIFORNIA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Thanks to the generosity and quick thinking of Stevie and Norbert Dall (may they live long and prosper), I found a place to stay the night after arriving in Sacramento at about midnight. The next morning they picked me up and we drove to El Dorado Hills where we had lunch in a lakeside restaurant located in a vast shopping center designed to look like a traditional french village with parking.

After lunch they dropped me off at the house that I would be staying at to await Hayden’s return from school. SWAC arrived before he did and explained that instead of coming home, Hayden was spending the weekend at the apartment of SWAC’s friend Joey who the last time I was here she was furious with for calling her, in effect, a tart. He would return on Sunday morning at about the same time she leaves for the airport in San Francisco on her way to Thailand to remain there for about a month. Joey will drive her to the airport and then go on to Fresno to visit his family for a week leaving Hayden with me until he returned. Hayden then would resume living with him until SWAC’s reemergence. Although Dick, SWAC’s husband in whose house she lives (Dick lives at his mother’s home in Roseville), could have minded the boy for the week, he unfortunately had to go out of town for business and so the job fell to the default nanny, me.

Anyway, on Saturday we went to Joey’s house. Both Joey and Natalie were going off on separate errands and I was importuned to watch over Hayden and Joey’s two adopted boys for a few hours. The boys had constructed a rough treehouse in a gnarled chestnut tree located behind the apartments. I spent my time enjoyably watching the boys running back and forth from the tree to the apartment’s refuse bin, rooting out treasures to carry back and boost into the treehouse to enhance that mysterious ambience coveted by small boys.

Hayden decided he did not want to spend the night at Joey’s and returned with SWAC and me to Dick’s house where both Dick and SWAC spent an inordinate amount of time instructing me on my duties even though I had done them all innumerable times during my previous visits.

Hayden, himself, seemed to have advanced from the wounded neediness of the insecure child to the dreamy independence of the seven year old to whom the vagaries his life had become normal reality.

That night while trying to get to sleep, my mind drifted here and there as I tried to gain, if not understanding of things, the comfort of post hoc rationalization. I realized that since stopping my psychopharmacological drugs (happy pills), my tolerance for accepting circumstances that I find objectionable has diminished to at least what it was prior to beginning the medication regime. It is time for me to get on with things.

The following day, after SWAC left for the airport, Hayden, Dick and I visited with Bill and Naida at their ranch. Hayden rode one of the horses for a while. We then all went for a wonderful walk along the Cosumnes River to a rocky area downstream containing 19 or more grinding holes that Naida believes were made by the ancient predecessors to the indians featured in Naida’s novels that settled about a mile up river. Bill, who is still recovering from open heart surgery, heroically accompanied us. We stopped at the golf course club house for lunch and to give Bill the opportunity to rest and recover from the exertions of the hike.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

In the Beginning: an oft told story (continued).

The litigation:

Before coming to California, I had practiced law in both New York and Italy. In New York I amassed one of the longest streaks of consecutive victories in jury trials in the history of the state until that time. In Italy, I practiced International tax law, a subject I knew nothing about.

I had given up the practice of the law in favor of hippiedom when I migrated to California and, therefore, at that time was not a member of the bar. For that reason, with regard to any litigation affecting Jughandle Creek, I could only operate, more or less, as a volunteer clerk or unofficial paralegal. I worked with two distinguished and very good attorneys; an older man named, if I remember correctly, Ferguson and a young attorney, Dick Gutting (or Cutting, I no longer remember which). Ferguson was a well known volunteer of his time and efforts on behalf of environmental causes, while Gutting, although at that time an associate in a distinguished law firm, had set his sights on a career in the emerging field of environmental law.

Like I said they were very good attorney’s while I, even with my enviable record that might mark me as a successful advocate, was at best a mediocre attorney. Almost immediately disagreements arose as I prepared the first draft of the briefs to challenge the Environmental Impact Report on the proposed motel development at Jughandle Creek.

Before addressing the disagreements, a little background on the issues. A few years previously the California legislature passed a law requiring that prior to taking an action governmental entities prepare a study of environmental impacts that may flow from that action. The law was more or less modeled on a similar Federal law enacted at the urging of then President Nixon. At the time it was assumed that the requirement applied, like the Federal law, only to governmental projects. In California however a court subsequently had held that it applied to private projects requiring governmental authorization also. The Jughandle Creek litigation would be one of the first that addressed the issue as to what if anything was demanded of the governmental entity should the report indicate that substantial adverse environmental impacts could be caused by the project.

The law suit was dismissed at the trial court and was now on appeal.

The disagreement between those working on the brief was over, not only my ability to frame the legal agreement itself (which for this discussion we will skip over), but also the nature of advocacy itself.

You see during my career as a trial lawyer, I discovered that no matter how polished and convincing my presentation or how devastating my cross examination of opposing witnesses, whenever I questioned the jury following a verdict as to what it was I said or did that convinced them, they would say, “nothing” and insist that the facts themselves were overwhelmingly in my clients favor.

Confused, I demanded that my firm give me only those cases the other lawyers did not wish to try because they believed them to be losers. I still won and the juries still gave the same explanation for their decision.

I deduced from this many things, most of which are quite obvious. The most significant insight was that no-one likes to admit his or her actions were based upon the urging of others. I had stumbled on to this truism inadvertently and had conducted my advocacy accordingly. For example, I rarely cross-examined my opponents witness in an effort to damage his credibility since it risked juror dissatisfaction with the domineering lawyer putting words into the witnesses mouth. Rather, I would try to lead him into expanding his story so as to stretch the bounds of credulity.

The legal argument we were, in part, trying to make was over the technical and often arcane issue of divining legislative intent. You see, without some prior legislative authorization to do so, a governmental body is never obligated to act, even in the face of obvious substantial adverse impacts (with the exception of gross human rights violation). To do so whenever an adverse impact is perceived invites chaos. This is one of the fundamental tenants of the rule of law. Even the human rights exception relies upon the fiction that somehow these rights are fundamental and exist even if not written down and adopted by a legislature.

In the EIR statute no specific language existed that in anyway directed the local government to do anything once they had accepted the document.

I argued that the brief had to strongly highlight the significance of the damage (not really an issue in the litigation other than it was so) and that the legislature specifically provided a mechanism for uncovering that impact and failure to act on the information would render the legislative action futile (not really a legal argument) and then lay out the various legal arguments by which the appellate court could find a legislative intent to justify what I hoped appealed to the judges sense of equity.

Ultimately we agreed on some form of the above approach, the briefs submitted, the case argued and the judgement rendered in our favor. Alas, I was not there to savor the victory, my six year old son Jason, Jeanne and I had departed on a several month tour of Europe when the decision was announced. (To be continued.)

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

Chronicles:

The more I struggle with my attempts to fashion stories and tales fitting an imagined evolution of NMR’s unique society, the more frustrated I become. It is not simply some “Watership Down,” imagining a recognizable human culture reduced to fit little furry creatures that live in burrows. Nor is it like some fantasy author postulating some spacefaring Panthera Leo community. NMR society is alien to almost all recognizable mammalian cultures. I searched through hundreds of tales and stories hoping I could find one or more to adapt. None that I found was adaptable to NMR society. How does one write a tale if the sex and survival instincts are unrecognizable? Only the NMR queen seems to fit our archetypes. Yet, the other individuals in the NMR community lacking either sex drive, or competitive urgings, nevertheless seem to live relatively self directed social lives lacking among insectoid species.

Any suggestions??

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR: Chapter, Rachel (continued).

Without thought, Rachel threw herself into the car diving across the transmission hump separating the front seats seeking whatever protection from impending doom the automobile offered and hoping the hulking stranger’s self preservation instincts were somewhat higher then hers at this moment. He slid in behind her, miraculously inserted the key into the ignition without fumbling, started the motor and plunged directly ahead as two more bullets bit into her car and shattering the front window.

The automobiles tires struck the curb and the car lurched across the sidewalk, traversed the plaza, careened off a parking meter and sped off down the Embarcadero. He squealed around the first corner he could heading west throwing her body against the dashboard. He did not seem to notice. Then he zigzagged back and forth from street to street apparently believing it would somehow put off pursuit or make him difficult to find. They continued like this until arriving near the intersection of Van Ness and Mission Streets by the hulking Goodwill Industries store where he pulled over by an unoccupied meter. He placed his head on the steering wheel, breathing deeply, hands shaking.

Rachel silent until now said, her voice deep and cracking slightly, “City Hall’s a few blocks away. The police are there.”

He turned toward her as though just noticing her. His round face shiny with sweat. Blue eyes wide with fright. He dug into his pocket pulled out a business card and handed it to her. Said, “Here call me I will pay any damage.”

She almost screamed, “Are you nuts? We have been shot at, almost killed. You highjack my car kidnap me and you give me your business card and offer to pay for damage to my car. I want the fucking cops.” She realized she was beginning to lose it. Whatever hormonal cocktail her body had mixed to carry her this far was evaporating.

Her outburst, on the other hand, seemed to shake him from wherever he was at. His eyes cleared and what appeared to be the beginnings of smile played with his lips.

“You’re right. I am sorry. You saved my life. I cannot ever pay you enough.”

“I did not save your life. You attacked and kidnapped me and you are right you can never pay me enough.”

“Listen before we bring in the cops, let me try to explain what happened,” he pleaded.

Although clearly the large hulking man sitting across from her seemed at the end of his rope, she nevertheless was unsure, whether from fear or curiosity, to open the door and run to the police or to stay and listen. Curiosity got the better of her and she said, “Ok go ahead, but make it quick.”
(to be continued)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012: Child poverty in the US:

Child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

2012: Net worth:

According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

If you can believe it, 37 percent of all US households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

2012: National Efficiency.

The US uses about 221 tons of oil equivalent to produce every million dollars of GDP, while the comparable number for Britain is 141, for France 170 and for Germany 164.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

B. : You might be a conservative if (by Bruce Lindner) [continued]:

8: You believe in putting American jobs first, except when president Obama rescued 1.5 million GM and Chrysler autoworkers, because that was socialism.

9: It angers you that you can’t communicate with the Mexican busboy at your local Olive Garden, but when you took a vacation to San Francisco’s Chinatown, you thought it’s quaint that so many Chinese-Americans are holding fast to their traditional language. Because that’s America!

10: You deny that the lunatic who tried to murder Gaby Giffords was a conservative, even though he targeted a Jewish, pro-choice, pro gay rights, Democratic Congresswoman.

11: You thought it was perfectly normal that every president in history had an untethered right to raise the debt ceiling when warranted, but when Obama asked the GOP held congress to do it, you thought it only natural that it be tied to cutting Social Security and Medicare.

12: When the new 112th Congress was sworn in, you swooned as they promised to focus on “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” But when they pivoted, and went after NPR, Planned Parenthood and gay rights, you cheered.

13: You accuse president Obama of raising your taxes to the highest point ever, even though they’re lower today than at any time since 1950.

14: You believe the wealthiest Americans are “job creators,” and they are — but it doesn’t bother you that all the workers in those positions are in India, China and Malaysia, and they’re doing the jobs that our fathers once did.

15: You believe gays are anti-American, because their lifestyle is a threat to the children… unless they’re married to Tea Party-backed presidential candidates from Minnesota.

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

“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

The insufferable ignorance of the right:

My right wing correspondents are at it again. If you recall these are the same persons who among other things floods me with emails containing what no rational person one could possibly deny are racist images of the First Lady or the President and then when challenged deny, in high dudgeon, any racist intent insisting they were forwarding them because of its substantive and humorous intent.

A few days ago, I received a video of the very right wing Congressman King, calling for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to leave the United States. Now not only would my correspondents probably shake with indignation (and probably did) at calls for W’s impeachment or for war crimes trials of members of his administration, but they go on to maintain that those who object to King’s statement are left wing racists because King is black. They forget that only 3 years ago, they nag their cohorts were apoplectic regarding the then candidate’s black pastor’s sermon that Blacks have had little benefit from the Constitution. They claimed their outrage was not racist in nature but indignation at the insult to America.

I mention it here, not because I am surprised or shocked, but to further indicate the level to which any sensible political discourse has fallen due to the pervasive nature of Faux Think and ditto-heads.

To again quote David Frum who remains a life-long committed Republican and thoughtful consultant to conservative causes:

“The business model of the conservative media is built on two elements: provoking the audience into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources (so that they never change the channel). As a commercial proposition, this model has worked brilliantly in the Obama era. As journalism, not so much.”

“But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”

King subsequently recanted his outburst. I guess that proves he must be a racist also.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We have now, it seems a National Bible Society, to propagate King James Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better, to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate those Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America! “

John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson’s response:

“These Incendiaries, finding that the days of fire and faggot are over in the Atlantic hemispheres, are now preparing to put the torch to the Asiatic regions. What would they say were the Pope to send annually to this country, colonies of Jesuit priests with cargoes of their Missal and translations of their Vulgate, to be put gratis into the hands of every one who would accept them? and to act thus nationally on us as a nation?”

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2012 through March 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. (Frbruary 2, 2012) 17 Mopey 0001

TODAY FROM CALIFORNIA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Thanks to the generosity and quick thinking of Stevie and Norbert Dall (may they live long and prosper), I found a place to stay the night after arriving in Sacramento at about midnight. The next morning they picked me up and we drove to El Dorado Hills where we had lunch in a lakeside restaurant located in a vast shopping center designed to look like a traditional french village with parking.

After lunch they dropped me off at the house that I would be staying at to await Hayden’s return from school. SWAC arrived before he did and explained that instead of coming home, Hayden was spending the weekend at the apartment of SWAC’s friend Joey who the last time I was here she was furious with for calling her, in effect, a tart. He would return on Sunday morning at about the same time she leaves for the airport in San Francisco on her way to Thailand to remain there for about a month. Joey will drive her to the airport and then go on to Fresno to visit his family for a week leaving Hayden with me until he returned. Hayden then would resume living with him until SWAC’s reemergence. Although Dick, SWAC’s husband in whose house she lives (Dick lives at his mother’s home in Roseville), could have minded the boy for the week, he unfortunately had to go out of town for business and so the job fell to the default nanny, me.

Anyway, on Saturday we went to Joey’s house. Both Joey and Natalie were going off on separate errands and I was importuned to watch over Hayden and Joey’s two adopted boys for a few hours. The boys had constructed a rough treehouse in a gnarled chestnut tree located behind the apartments. I spent my time enjoyably watching the boys running back and forth from the tree to the apartment’s refuse bin, rooting out treasures to carry back and boost into the treehouse to enhance that mysterious ambience coveted by small boys.

Hayden decided he did not want to spend the night at Joey’s and returned with SWAC and me to Dick’s house where both Dick and SWAC spent an inordinate amount of time instructing me on my duties even though I had done them all innumerable times during my previous visits.

Hayden, himself, seemed to have advanced from the wounded neediness of the insecure child to the dreamy independence of the seven year old to whom the vagaries his life had become normal reality.

That night while trying to get to sleep, my mind drifted here and there as I tried to gain, if not understanding of things, the comfort of post hoc rationalization. I realized that since stopping my psychopharmacological drugs (happy pills), my tolerance for accepting circumstances that I find objectionable has diminished to at least what it was prior to beginning the medication regime. It is time for me to get on with things.

The following day, after SWAC left for the airport, Hayden, Dick and I visited with Bill and Naida at their ranch. Hayden rode one of the horses for a while. We then all went for a wonderful walk along the Cosumnes River to a rocky area downstream containing 19 or more grinding holes that Naida believes were made by the ancient predecessors to the indians featured in Naida’s novels that settled about a mile up river. Bill, who is still recovering from open heart surgery, heroically accompanied us. We stopped at the golf course club house for lunch and to give Bill the opportunity to rest and recover from the exertions of the hike.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

In the Beginning: an oft told story (continued).

The litigation:

Before coming to California, I had practiced law in both New York and Italy. In New York I amassed one of the longest streaks of consecutive victories in jury trials in the history of the state until that time. In Italy, I practiced International tax law, a subject I knew nothing about.

I had given up the practice of the law in favor of hippiedom when I migrated to California and, therefore, at that time was not a member of the bar. For that reason, with regard to any litigation affecting Jughandle Creek, I could only operate, more or less, as a volunteer clerk or unofficial paralegal. I worked with two distinguished and very good attorneys; an older man named, if I remember correctly, Ferguson and a young attorney, Dick Gutting (or Cutting, I no longer remember which). Ferguson was a well known volunteer of his time and efforts on behalf of environmental causes, while Gutting, although at that time an associate in a distinguished law firm, had set his sights on a career in the emerging field of environmental law.

Like I said they were very good attorney’s while I, even with my enviable record that might mark me as a successful advocate, was at best a mediocre attorney. Almost immediately disagreements arose as I prepared the first draft of the briefs to challenge the Environmental Impact Report on the proposed motel development at Jughandle Creek.

Before addressing the disagreements, a little background on the issues. A few years previously the California legislature passed a law requiring that prior to taking an action governmental entities prepare a study of environmental impacts that may flow from that action. The law was more or less modeled on a similar Federal law enacted at the urging of then President Nixon. At the time it was assumed that the requirement applied, like the Federal law, only to governmental projects. In California however a court subsequently had held that it applied to private projects requiring governmental authorization also. The Jughandle Creek litigation would be one of the first that addressed the issue as to what if anything was demanded of the governmental entity should the report indicate that substantial adverse environmental impacts could be caused by the project.

The law suit was dismissed at the trial court and was now on appeal.

The disagreement between those working on the brief was over, not only my ability to frame the legal agreement itself (which for this discussion we will skip over), but also the nature of advocacy itself.

You see during my career as a trial lawyer, I discovered that no matter how polished and convincing my presentation or how devastating my cross examination of opposing witnesses, whenever I questioned the jury following a verdict as to what it was I said or did that convinced them, they would say, “nothing” and insist that the facts themselves were overwhelmingly in my clients favor.

Confused, I demanded that my firm give me only those cases the other lawyers did not wish to try because they believed them to be losers. I still won and the juries still gave the same explanation for their decision.

I deduced from this many things, most of which are quite obvious. The most significant insight was that no-one likes to admit his or her actions were based upon the urging of others. I had stumbled on to this truism inadvertently and had conducted my advocacy accordingly. For example, I rarely cross-examined my opponents witness in an effort to damage his credibility since it risked juror dissatisfaction with the domineering lawyer putting words into the witnesses mouth. Rather, I would try to lead him into expanding his story so as to stretch the bounds of credulity.

The legal argument we were, in part, trying to make was over the technical and often arcane issue of divining legislative intent. You see, without some prior legislative authorization to do so, a governmental body is never obligated to act, even in the face of obvious substantial adverse impacts (with the exception of gross human rights violation). To do so whenever an adverse impact is perceived invites chaos. This is one of the fundamental tenants of the rule of law. Even the human rights exception relies upon the fiction that somehow these rights are fundamental and exist even if not written down and adopted by a legislature.

In the EIR statute no specific language existed that in anyway directed the local government to do anything once they had accepted the document.

I argued that the brief had to strongly highlight the significance of the damage (not really an issue in the litigation other than it was so) and that the legislature specifically provided a mechanism for uncovering that impact and failure to act on the information would render the legislative action futile (not really a legal argument) and then lay out the various legal arguments by which the appellate court could find a legislative intent to justify what I hoped appealed to the judges sense of equity.

Ultimately we agreed on some form of the above approach, the briefs submitted, the case argued and the judgement rendered in our favor. Alas, I was not there to savor the victory, my six year old son Jason, Jeanne and I had departed on a several month tour of Europe when the decision was announced. (To be continued.)

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES:

Chronicles:

The more I struggle with my attempts to fashion stories and tales fitting an imagined evolution of NMR’s unique society, the more frustrated I become. It is not simply some “Watership Down,” imagining a recognizable human culture reduced to fit little furry creatures that live in burrows. Nor is it like some fantasy author postulating some spacefaring Panthera Leo community. NMR society is alien to almost all recognizable mammalian cultures. I searched through hundreds of tales and stories hoping I could find one or more to adapt. None that I found was adaptable to NMR society. How does one write a tale if the sex and survival instincts are unrecognizable? Only the NMR queen seems to fit our archetypes. Yet, the other individuals in the NMR community lacking either sex drive, or competitive urgings, nevertheless seem to live relatively self directed social lives lacking among insectoid species.

Any suggestions??

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR: Chapter, Rachel (continued).

Without thought, Rachel threw herself into the car diving across the transmission hump separating the front seats seeking whatever protection from impending doom the automobile offered and hoping the hulking stranger’s self preservation instincts were somewhat higher then hers at this moment. He slid in behind her, miraculously inserted the key into the ignition without fumbling, started the motor and plunged directly ahead as two more bullets bit into her car and shattering the front window.

The automobiles tires struck the curb and the car lurched across the sidewalk, traversed the plaza, careened off a parking meter and sped off down the Embarcadero. He squealed around the first corner he could heading west throwing her body against the dashboard. He did not seem to notice. Then he zigzagged back and forth from street to street apparently believing it would somehow put off pursuit or make him difficult to find. They continued like this until arriving near the intersection of Van Ness and Mission Streets by the hulking Goodwill Industries store where he pulled over by an unoccupied meter. He placed his head on the steering wheel, breathing deeply, hands shaking.

Rachel silent until now said, her voice deep and cracking slightly, “City Hall’s a few blocks away. The police are there.”

He turned toward her as though just noticing her. His round face shiny with sweat. Blue eyes wide with fright. He dug into his pocket pulled out a business card and handed it to her. Said, “Here call me I will pay any damage.”

She almost screamed, “Are you nuts? We have been shot at, almost killed. You highjack my car kidnap me and you give me your business card and offer to pay for damage to my car. I want the fucking cops.” She realized she was beginning to lose it. Whatever hormonal cocktail her body had mixed to carry her this far was evaporating.

Her outburst, on the other hand, seemed to shake him from wherever he was at. His eyes cleared and what appeared to be the beginnings of smile played with his lips.

“You’re right. I am sorry. You saved my life. I cannot ever pay you enough.”

“I did not save your life. You attacked and kidnapped me and you are right you can never pay me enough.”


“Listen before we bring in the cops, let me try to explain what happened,”
he pleaded.

Although clearly the large hulking man sitting across from her seemed at the end of his rope, she nevertheless was unsure, whether from fear or curiosity, to open the door and run to the police or to stay and listen. Curiosity got the better of her and she said, “Ok go ahead, but make it quick.”
(to be continued)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012: Child poverty in the US:

Child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

2012: Net worth:

According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

If you can believe it, 37 percent of all US households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

2012: National Efficiency.

The US uses about 221 tons of oil equivalent to produce every million dollars of GDP, while the comparable number for Britain is 141, for France 170 and for Germany 164.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

B. : You might be a conservative if (by Bruce Lindner) [continued]:

8: You believe in putting American jobs first, except when president Obama rescued 1.5 million GM and Chrysler autoworkers, because that was socialism.

9: It angers you that you can’t communicate with the Mexican busboy at your local Olive Garden, but when you took a vacation to San Francisco’s Chinatown, you thought it’s quaint that so many Chinese-Americans are holding fast to their traditional language. Because that’s America!

10: You deny that the lunatic who tried to murder Gaby Giffords was a conservative, even though he targeted a Jewish, pro-choice, pro gay rights, Democratic Congresswoman.

11: You thought it was perfectly normal that every president in history had an untethered right to raise the debt ceiling when warranted, but when Obama asked the GOP held congress to do it, you thought it only natural that it be tied to cutting Social Security and Medicare.

12: When the new 112th Congress was sworn in, you swooned as they promised to focus on “Jobs, jobs, jobs.” But when they pivoted, and went after NPR, Planned Parenthood and gay rights, you cheered.

13: You accuse president Obama of raising your taxes to the highest point ever, even though they’re lower today than at any time since 1950.

14: You believe the wealthiest Americans are “job creators,” and they are — but it doesn’t bother you that all the workers in those positions are in India, China and Malaysia, and they’re doing the jobs that our fathers once did.

15: You believe gays are anti-American, because their lifestyle is a threat to the children… unless they’re married to Tea Party-backed presidential candidates from Minnesota.

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


“POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT”

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

The insufferable ignorance of the right:

My right wing correspondents are at it again. If you recall these are the same persons who among other things floods me with emails containing what no rational person one could possibly deny are racist images of the First Lady or the President and then when challenged deny, in high dudgeon, any racist intent insisting they were forwarding them because of its substantive and humorous intent.

A few days ago, I received a video of the very right wing Congressman King, calling for President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to leave the United States. Now not only would my correspondents probably shake with indignation (and probably did) at calls for W’s impeachment or for war crimes trials of members of his administration, but they go on to maintain that those who object to King’s statement are left wing racists because King is black. They forget that only 3 years ago, they nag their cohorts were apoplectic regarding the then candidate’s black pastor’s sermon that Blacks have had little benefit from the Constitution. They claimed their outrage was not racist in nature but indignation at the insult to America.

I mention it here, not because I am surprised or shocked, but to further indicate the level to which any sensible political discourse has fallen due to the pervasive nature of Faux Think and ditto-heads.

To again quote David Frum who remains a life-long committed Republican and thoughtful consultant to conservative causes:

“The business model of the conservative media is built on two elements: provoking the audience into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources (so that they never change the channel). As a commercial proposition, this model has worked brilliantly in the Obama era. As journalism, not so much.”

“But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”

King subsequently recanted his outburst. I guess that proves he must be a racist also.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We have now, it seems a National Bible Society, to propagate King James Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better, to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate those Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America! “
John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson’s response:
“These Incendiaries, finding that the days of fire and faggot are over in the Atlantic hemispheres, are now preparing to put the torch to the Asiatic regions. What would they say were the Pope to send annually to this country, colonies of Jesuit priests with cargoes of their Missal and translations of their Vulgate, to be put gratis into the hands of every one who would accept them? and to act thus nationally on us as a nation?”

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON”

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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