Posts Tagged With: Tuckahoe

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 31 Jojo 0008. (June 15, 2019)

 

“One feels empathy when one has been there; sympathy when one has not.”

Matthews, Jason. Palace of Treason: A Novel (The Red Sparrow Trilogy Book 2) (p. 216). Scribner.

 

 

Happy Birthday to the Good/Bad David

 

 

Have a great Juneteenth everyone

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

 
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST AT THE EDGE OF RIVER CITY:

 
Graduation Day from Middle School for my granddaughter Amanda happened on Monday. Unfortunately, having to drive from Mendocino that day prevented me from attending. Her mom Hiromi, however, sent me some photographs that she took at the ceremony.
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My Son Jason and my Granddaughter Amanda.

 
On Tuesday, on the other hand, I was able to attend HRM’s graduation from Middle School in the Golden Hills. Even though the event had been scheduled for what was for me very early in the morning, I still managed to drive there from the Enchanted Forest and arrive in time. It was a very hot morning. The attendees sat in the bleachers in the boiling heat. Toward the end of the ceremony, I began to feel faint and left to return to my car.

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While returning to my car, I passed a crowd of people milling about and an ambulance. Dick told me a woman standing next to him collapsed. He said that the first responders told him that she had stopped breathing and had no heartbeat. Later, Hayden said he had heard that she had recovered.
The next day, HRM left for Cozumel for a week and I spent most of the day in bed recovering from the rigors of driving from Mendocino and attending the Graduation ceremony. We decrepit Vecchi are quite delicate you understand.

I wonder why I keep writing T&T. Maintaining a journal in order to record one’s stumbles from event to event or from adventure to adventure is probably a good thing. Unfortunately, in my case, there are a limited number of times one can write about walking the dog, the beauty of the flowers along the path or complaining about my health or boredom. I usually spend only about half an hour in any day writing. Why not more? Well, primarily because I refuse to spend time and effort editing what I write or struggling for excellence in expression. Why would I? It’s boring and I’m not getting paid. I spend most of my time instead reading or searching the internet for my favorite blogs, entering bits and pieces of some past T&T in various blog sites, watching MSNBC, CNN, old movies on TCM, walking the dog, looking at the flowers, eating, taking naps and so on.

This morning I woke up depressed. I did not know why. I did have odd dreams during the night. I remembered them for a while then, as the morning wore on, forgot them. Maybe that is why I was depressed. Not forgetting the dreams, although that could be depressing I suppose, but because of the nature of the dreams themselves. All I recall about them was my frustration, like when I was younger dreaming about being unable to get to a class on time or something like that.

Today the nation celebrated D-day. This evening I watched, “The Longest Day” and “Overlord” on television. That’s a lot of killing and dying. Of the two, I thought Overlord was the better movie. It told the tragic story of one callow young man who was a tiny cog in something he neither understood nor controlled. It was not a vehicle for aging cinema stars who avoided combat and young wannabes to strut their stuff in an epic glorifying war. As many of those soldiers who survived Omaha Beach said, “There were no heroes at Omaha Beach, only those who were lucky and those who were not.” If one adds to that the fact that the allied decision to pursue the difficult amphibious invasion in Normandy instead of continuing to push into Germany from the existing allied bases in Italy was a political, not a military one, the suffering and death of those forced to charge directly into machine-gun fire along the Normandy beaches that day seem even more tragic and unnecessary. As the two time Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Major-General Smedley Butler said, “War is a Racket.” There are no glorious wars, only effective propaganda. We fight to preserve the rulers we have and know, rather than submit to tyrants we don’t. Or, more likely, we are forced to fight by the rulers we have because they fear replacement by the tyrants they may know but we do not.

Moving on from, mayhem and massacres — on Friday evening while helping Naida with some problems finding a book designer for her memoir, we fell into a discussion about Malcolm Margolin, a Bay Area publisher and author and a friend of Naida’s. Margolin wrote The Ohlone Way an acclaimed and seminal book describing the culture of the Native Americans who inhabited the Bay Area prior to the arrival of the Europeans. I, of course, trolled through the internet to find whatever could about the man and his work. Ultimately, to my surprise what most captured my attention was neither his work nor accomplishments but this photograph:
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I spent a lot of time staring at the photograph wondering what I was really looking at. Margolin disappeared. In his place was my image of God or Gandalf, the Rabbi for us all, a gnome, Mr. Natural, an ancient elf, or perhaps even the aging Aristotle. Whatever it may have reminded me of, I knew that if I ever had the urge to find a guru for myself, I would want him to look like that. Naida described him as an intelligent, creative and compassionate man, part rabbi and part Native American who was changed by coming to California and changed California in return. (See quote below)

Saturday, Naida and I attended a luncheon hosted by the Sacramento Book Collectors Club. I realized, in my now getting on to be a long life, I have not gone to many events like this. Most of the thirty or so attendees were around our age. A few were local authors like Naida. I kinda enjoyed it. The guest speaker was the director of the Sacramento Library which I was surprised to learn was organized as a special district and as such was not part of the general City and County government. She spoke about the library of course and her role in running it.
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She also told stories about growing up and her love of books, mentioning several of her favorites including, The Wind in the Willows which was one of mine too. It got me musing about my own relationship with books.

Being read to in two languages while still in my crib led soon to me often being recruited to recite to family and friends the songs, poetry, and stories I had learned. I was, after all, the family’s Golden Child — I had blond hair. Not long into my burgeoning career as the Petrillo family child star, my hair turned black and I stopped performing. Things started going downhill for me soon after.

I began reading when I was a few months into my third year of existence. It was not an unmixed blessing for I soon came to be more fond of books than people. When I began formal schooling, I found it boring and would fake being sick so that my mom would keep me home where I would spend my time reading, especially the Collier’s Encyclopedia my parents were cajoled into buying. When I became a little older, I would slip out of the house after my parents went off to work or to some other adult activity and walk to the local public library in order to entertain myself there rummaging through the stacks and reading any interesting books that I found. I recall there was a children’s section and an adult section. All the books were marked on their spines with the Roman numerals, I, II, or III. I was for children and III were adult books. I do not recall what II designated. Because the librarians were very vigilant in making sure I would not read the III books, I would often pick out a large, colorful children book and prop it up on the library table I sat at so it would hide whatever III book I was reading at the time.

During the times I actually went to school and attended class, I would locate myself at the desk nearest the bookcase that graced each classroom and read the books stored there, usually history books, rather than pay attention to whatever was going on around me in the classroom. By the time I got to high school, I rarely attended class. When I was not skipping school and running off with some other delinquent, I would sit in the school library. I had challenged myself to read all the books in that library before I graduated, beginning with A and continuing to Z. I got as far an Emily Post if I remember correctly. The problem was not that I did not have time to read through to Z but rather the existence of one bookcase containing whatever new books that entered the library that month. These would remain in that bookcase until, in about a month’s time, they were removed and re-shelved in the general stacks. I simply had to read each new book as it came in before I would return to my trip through the alphabet. All this, of course, played havoc with my grades in school given that I rarely, if ever, did any homework as well as missing most class assignments. Nevertheless, I tested well enough to scrape through.

Later In life, as one would expect, I collected books, building up personal libraries of between 6 and 12 thousand books. Given how I conducted my adult life, — occupying myself with some obsession for about five to ten years and then suffering some real or imagined crisis causing me to abandon everything while I ran off somewhere to bury myself in overindulgence until I regained my balance and started off on some new obsession — I must have abandoned and reassembled those personal libraries at least three times so far. Alas, I fear the smart-phone and social media are killing off the age of paper books (1450 — 2020). Sad but inevitable.

One of the attendees at the luncheon mentioned she writing a book or article about California’s Coastal Program and some friend of her’s who apparently was very active in it but who I never heard of. When Naida mentioned my past involvement in things coastal, she asked to interview me for some background. I agreed.

Sunday was another nap day and Monday started out the same. Naida and I went out to eat lunch at a nearby restaurant named Roxy. I ordered a hotdog. While eating it a piece of the hotdog got caught in my throat and I threw up onto my plate. When we returned home, I took a nap. Vomiting up my lunch was enough excitement for me today.

By Tuesday, the local temperature outside approached 100 degrees. Naida and I took the dog for a morning walk. We tried to walk as much as possible in the shadow of the trees that grace the Enchanted Forest in order to enjoy the meager coolness that it afforded us. I began to sense fatigue and a slight faintness as we walked along, so we stopped and sat on a bench and talked about the trees around us — Well mostly Naida talked, answering my questions about this or that species of tree. She also had some interesting stories about how the different types of non-native tree ended up here in California. Eventually, I no longer felt faint, so we returned home and I took a nap. I need to keep in mind something I read recently, “If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.”

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A little later Naida joined me and we slept until late in the afternoon. Later, I rummaged about in my computer, while Naida reviewed her notes for the second volume of her memoir. While doing so, she discovered an 80-page notebook and journal that she had been assembling as background for the memoir but had abandoned and forgotten. She read me excerpts and worried that some of the things she had noted should have been included in volume one. I recall one of the excerpts she read. It related to the fact that she spent most of her childhood with her aging grandparents in rural Idaho and Montana. She wrote in the notebook that, as a result, she felt herself more a child of nineteenth-century culture than the mid-twentieth century and that it was reflected in her novels.

It is Friday morning, I cannot recall much of what I have been up to for the last three days. Last night we went to a restaurant nearby for “happy hour” with those who usually attend The Saturday Coffee at the clubhouse. Winnie sat beside me. We discussed our various maladies, treatment, and prognoses. I drank the specialty of the house made with some local vodka and cranberry bitters. It was not very good.

The next morning while waiting for the plumber to arrive Naida discovered that the dedication in her book “Rest for the Wicked” included a reference to the old ragtime tune, “The Preacher and the Bear.” We then spent some time singing, along with a Phil Harris rendition of that song, the refrain of which goes like this:

Oh Lawd, you delivered Daniel from the lion’s den
Also delivered Jonah from the belly of the whale and then
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace
So the good book do declare
Yes! Lord, if you can help me,
For goodness sake din’t help that bear.

Then for some reason, we sang a few refrains of “Rag Time Cowboy Joe” along with some shaking of our booties and waving of our arms. All in all, it was a good morning. Even the dog held off barking at every bird or car that passed within two hundred feet of the house. Instead, he just curled up and slept while we danced and sang around the room. Whether he was just exhausted by his job as a household morning wake up alarm clock, or expressing a comment on our behavior, he didn’t say.

Last night we attended the annual Cinco de Mayo dance at the Campus Commons Community Center which for some reason was held over a month late. Many of the attendees were also those who attend the Saturday Morning Coffee and the Thursday Happy Hours. The themed dance is held every month and is referred to as The Thank God It’s Friday Dance. Why they name these events after the day of the week they are held, I have no idea. Maybe, because most of the attendees are ancients like me and subject to failing memories, they think it will help us to remember.

Anyway, at last nights dance many attendees dressed up in what I assume was supposed to be Mexican peasant or Zorro-like mustachioed brigands costumes. Since there were no Mexican peasants or brigands there to ask, I have no idea how realistic they were. Not very, I imagine. Last year at this same event, I was volunteered to act as bartender. Halfway through the evening, I was summarily fired for opening the bar a half hour before I was supposed to, filling everyone’s mixed drinks mostly with alcohol, getting a number of the good old girls roaring drunk and generally having a good time.

Naida and I had a great time. Naida got a bit tipsy. I went for a long walk around the lake. We sat on the veranda perched above the water and listened to Ducky (also known to be one of the two CIA operatives in the subdivision) tell the story about how her son crashed in a plane in the desert, crawled two miles to shelter and survived with only several years treatment in the local burn center. Oh also, he is a lawyer. We sat on the veranda with another old couple also. His name was Bob and hers I forgot. Bob seemed to think that Proposition 13 was a good thing for California. He may have been a lawyer too. We also listened to live music (sort of) played by a small band.

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The Band — I said it was small.

 

Now you all have a good week, hear.

 

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

 

legislature

 

Recently, rummaging through some documents in long-ignored files that I had accumulated on my computer over the years, I came across a draft post describing a critical and amusing point in the process during the passage through the legislature of California’s Coastal Program forty years ago. In an effort to emphasize it as a humorous but accurate example of the legislative process in general, the draft does not identify the legislation nor the parties by name.

 

 

How Legislation Gets Passed — A Case History.

 

For three days we sat in the Senator’s office mostly in silence. A little over four years before, I began the drafting, redrafting and editing, cajoling supporters and threatening the opposition where I could not persuade them to compromise on what eventually became what many were calling the most significant legislation of the decade. It was the Senator’s job to persuade and maneuver the bill that now bore his name through the legislature. About a week before, we had received commitments from seventeen of the twenty-one senators needed to pass the bill and send it on to the Governor to be signed into law. Since then, not a single additional legislator agreed to support the bill. Only three days remained before the session ended. If we did not have the votes before then, the bill would die.

Now and then, the Senator would return to the floor for required votes on other pending legislation or to try to find someone willing to consider voting for the bill. I would sometimes call around to one or another of the legislation’s supporters urging them to keep up the pressure on the uncommitted legislators and lying to them about our chances for success.

Mostly, however, the Senator and I just sat in his office in silence and waited and hoped.

It was close to noon that day when the phone rang. The Senator picked it up and after a series of grunts, yeses, a few okays and one right away, he turned to me with a big smile on his face and said, “That was the Governor’s Chief of Staff. The Governor has decided to come out in support of the bill.”

A little background may be helpful here. The bill itself was very Party-oriented, one Party generally supported it while the other did not. Nothing unusual there. The Party that supported the legislation was in power and the Governor was a member of that Party as was the Senator. However, one of the Party’s staunchest interest groups and some of the Party’s largest campaign contributors strongly opposed it and for all extent and purposes controlled the last remaining votes needed to pass the bill.

Early on in the session, the Senator and I met with the Governor to solicit his endorsement because during his election campaign he had expressed strong support for legislation like this. In response to our request, he said, “You have no bill. When you are down to needing one vote to pass the legislation come back to me and I will think about it then.” I could not help but recall Franklin Roosevelt’s response to his staff when they urged him to support the creation of Social Security. “Make me,” he told them.

The Senator instructed me to meet with the Governor and his Chief of Staff to try to come up with a strategy that would gain the required votes. He had to stay close to the Senate chambers in order to respond to vote calls and to present other bills he was carrying.

So, I traveled through the Capitol and on to the large doors that guarded the entrance to the Governor’s suite of offices. I announced myself to the receptionist and then waited for someone to escort me to the Governor’s private office. To my surprise, instead of a secretary or an intern showing up to accompany me, it was the Chief of Staff himself. He beckoned me to follow him. He then turned and without a word strode off down the long hallway that extended from the reception area to the Governor’s inner sanctum.

The chief of staff, an austere character, was as grey and colorless as his name. He was reputed to eat and breathe politics, at least that half of it that consisted of manipulation and strategy. The other half that entailed charisma and bonhomie he hadn’t a clue.

We walked down that long hallway to the room furthest from the reception area. We entered. The Governor was seated behind the large dark wood desk one expects in the offices of the big kahunas of large powerful organizations. I was impressed that he made no pretense to be working on anything. Instead, his sharp eyes followed me as I walked across the room and went to sit on one of the uncomfortable under-upholstered armchairs that faced his desk. The Chief of Staff rounded the desk and took up a position slightly behind the Governors left shoulder. He remained standing.

The Governor was an unprepossessing man, balding slightly, somewhat hawk-faced, round shoulders, rather smallish in stature and bulk. He radiated no charisma other than that imparted by the room, the desk and his position as Governor of the State. Perhaps that was why, in my opinion, he ranked as a better Governor than the average Governor I had known. Still, had he appeared before me for a management position in an organization that I might have run, I would not have chosen him. He seemed to lack that hubris and aggressive arrogance that we all too often mistake for ability in men.

On the other hand, he possessed his own quirky brand of arrogance, often greeting proposals from his own staff with responses that bordered on disdain. Sometimes he would propose alternatives that even his admirers would call bizarre. Surprisingly, however, many of those alternatives seemed to work out.

“How many votes do you got?”, he said in that gravelly and slightly unpleasant voice of his. I had not fully sat down yet. I stopped my descent and answered, “We’re three short.” That was a lie. We were four short but what the hell difference did it make. Three sounded better than four.

“Well, who’s holding out?” he barked.

I named seven legislators from the Governors Party.

The Governor turned to the Chief of Staff and asked, “Of that group, who do you think is dumb enough that I could get him to switch and maybe get the ball rolling?”
(to be continued)

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

 

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1590. Death of Maddalena Casulana, Italian composer, lutenist, and singer. She was the first female composer in the history of western music to have her music printed and published.

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 
A. Something Silly on Top:

 

 

Recently, one of my aging and by now well-aged friends sent me the following:

 

Now that I’m older, here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.
3. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
4. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
5. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
6. It was a whole lot easier to get older than it was to get wiser.
7 Some days, you’re the top dog, some days you’re the hydrant.
8. I wish the buck really did stop here; I sure could use a few of them.
9. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.
10. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
11. It is hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.
12. The world only beats a path to your door when you’re in the bathroom.
13. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he’d have put them on my knees.
14. When I’m finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess.
15. It is not hard to meet expenses . . . They’re everywhere.
16. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth..
17. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I’m “here after”.
18. Funny, I don’t remember being absent-minded.
19. It is a lot better to be seen than viewed.
20. Have I sent this message to you before…or did I get it from you?

 

 

B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

 

Yesterday evening, while Naida was busy writing her memoir and I busy wasting time, I came across an email from the Sacramento Historical Society containing an announcement of an event to be held later this month entitled “Wicked Sacramento.” The brochure featured photographs from the turn of the nineteenth century of a few “women of easy virtue” (“Courtesan” is perhaps a bit too aristocratic for an ex cow-town like Sacramento) and men of violent temperament. I asked Naida if she would like to attend the event. She responded in the affirmative and added that the third volume of her California Gold Trilogy, Rest for the Wicked, featured a well-known woman of ill repute named Helen Beulah Mrose. She gave me a copy of the novel. I turned to the back and found a lengthy note about Helen Mrose including that while living in San Francisco she had married John Wesley Hardin, perhaps the deadliest gunslinger and murderer in the American West. Helen had met Hardin in Texas. He had been the attorney for Mrose’s husband who had been charged with cattle rustling. Together they killed her husband, cleaned out his bank account and left for the high life in The City by the Bay’s burgeoning red-light district. I learned early in law school that this is the stock in trade of all good attorneys if they can get away with it.

Intrigued I began to search further about the darling duo and I came upon an internet magazine entitled “TrueWest” (https://truewestmagazine.com/). It contained brief but interesting articles about some of the West’s better-known characters, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Calamity Jane, and others. There is even an article about how Johnny Ringo really died (not well by the way).
Here is a little more I discovered in TrueWest about Helen Beulah Mrose and John Wesley Hardin:

On August 6, 1895, gunman John Wesley Hardin nearly got into a strange shootout. He and his lover Helen Beulah Mrose were in an El Paso (photo) lodging house. Their relationship, often fueled by alcohol, had been getting more and more violent.

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Mrs. Mrose pulled a pistol and threatened to kill Wes, whose own gun was on a table across the room. The house proprietor walked in and defused the situation—although Mrs. Mrose threatened to shoot Hardin in the head while he slept. That didn’t happen; Hardin was killed by John Selman three weeks later.
Mark Boardman features editor at TrueWest and editor of The Tombstone Epitaph.

 

Another tidbit from the site regarding someone named Bill Beck:

Bill Beck was a well-known character to the bartenders around Arizona. He’d studied law as a young man in Texas but didn’t practice long. No sooner than he opened an office the court assigned him to defend a cow thief who had no money. The thief took one look at him and said, “I plead guilty.”

Bill said the blatant lack of faith from his first client caused him to quit practicing law and go to punching cattle.

 

I find it intriguing to read about attorney’s turning from the practice of law to a life of crime and mayhem. I always felt there existed a strong streak of psychopathy among my colleagues at law. I should not be surprised. After all, Practical Psychopathy is a first-year course in law school,
On Calamity Jane:

The year 1876 proved the turning point in Calamity Jane Canary’s career. It began with two quick trips to the Black Hills with Gen. George Crook and his army in the winter and spring of that year. Calamity may have served informally as a scout (so a good source claims), but primarily she was a camp follower, hitching rides with soldiers and sneaking in among the teamsters and bullwhackers until she was discovered, chased out and sent back south. Several travelers on these trips and other observers reported her with Crook—and not always traditionally dressed or sober. One teamster described her as “dressed in a buckskin suit with two Colts six shooters on a belt.” To him, she was one of the roughest persons he had ever seen. Calamity’s travel itinerary in the late spring and early summer of 1876 was chockablock, and more. In March she was with Crook to the north, in May back in Cheyenne, where she was arrested for stealing clothes, but was declared “Not. Guilty” [sic]. In early June she zipped back north for a second jaunt with Crook. Heading out of Cheyenne, “greatly” rejoicing “over her release from durance vile” [jail], she “borrowed” a horse and buggy. After overindulging in “frequent and liberal potations” of “bug juice,” she headed for Fort Laramie, 90 miles up from Cheyenne. By mid-June, Calamity was celebrating with soldiers from Fort Laramie. The rhythm of her life, already in uncertain high gear, whirled into overdrive in the coming months.
Excerpted from Richard W. Etulain’s Calamity Jane: A Reader’s Guide (University of Oklahoma Press, 2015)

Calamity did not attend law school but only because women were not admitted then.
One last brief article from the magazine:

Jim Clements was a member of a gunfighting family, which included at least four other pistoleers in addition to John Wesley Hardin. He was also related by marriage to contract killer Jim Miller.

Clements was born in the 1840s. In 1871, he accompanied his cousin Wes on a cattle drive to Kansas—and killed two men en route (Hardin downed another four himself).

Historian Bob Alexander says Clements was last seen alive on May 22, 1897. He had been having trouble with his estranged wife, who went home to Gonzales. Her in-laws warned him to leave her alone, but he followed her. Bad move. His body was never found.
David Lambert. Menifee, California

 

Murder and mayhem seem to have run in the family. Perhaps, it was just the family business. I am sure they were not all lawyers — some may have been accountants and perhaps there was a lobbyist or two.
C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

Today we are 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. Unfortunately, we lack the mechanism to prevent the collapse of even a single system much less a series of them.

 

 
D. Today’s Poem:

 

 

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Bhagavad Gita — Introduction
Introduction

I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.
When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and unto the feet of all Vaisnavas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami along with his elder brother Sanatana Gosvami, as well as Raghunatha Dasa and Raghunatha Bhatta, Gopala Bhatta, and Srila Jiva Gosvami. I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Krsna Caitanya and Lord Nityananda along with Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara, Srivasa, and other associates. I offer my respectful obeisances to Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna along with Their associates, Sri Lalita and Visakha.
O my dear Krsna, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation. You are the master of the gopis and the lover of Radharani. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
I offer my respects to Radharani whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vrndavana. You are the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krsna.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord who can fulfill the desires of everyone, just like desire trees, and who are full of compassion for the fallen souls.
I offer my obeisances to Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all others in the line of devotion.
hare krishna hare krishna, krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama, rama rama hare hare.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

elcerritoview

 

“The Bay Area of today is vastly different from what it was two centuries ago. The grizzly bears, elks, bald eagles, ospreys, antelopes, wolves, and condors have totally disappeared. Introduced European annual grasses have seized the meadowlands from the native bunch-grasses. The widespread logging of trees for lumber, tanning bark, firewood, railroad ties, and fence posts have altered the forests. Ponds and lakes have been drained, rivers channelized, and thousands upon thousands of acres of marshes and swamps have been destroyed. The immense flocks of geese, ducks and pelicans, the great runs of salmon and steelhead, the enormous schools of smelt, the once numberless seals and whales are now a mere remnant of what they once were. As for the Ohlones — forty or so tribelets, some 10,000 people, indeed a whole way of life — that too is totally gone, replaced by a civilization technologically more advanced than theirs but in many respects, ecologically, socially, and spiritually more backward.”
Malcolm Margolin, The Ohlone Way (1978). Heyday Books: Berkeley.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

 

 

 

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What the graph does not tell you is that although the overall rate of population growth seems to be falling, it is not so in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. So, even if we make it through the next 30 years or so, they will be leaving their too hot and too dry lands and coming north. Never forget the old saying, “Demographics is destiny.”

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Cold Tits 0004 (February 22, 2015)

 

“Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo” (“I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”)
Epicurean epitaph                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On Sunday following my morning swim, I escaped El Dorado Hills and headed to San Francisco to celebrate Hiromi and my granddaughter Amanda’s birthdays. Dick drove me to the light-rail station. I traveled to Sacramento where I met with Norbert and Stevie who I accompanied to Lone Buffalo Winery near Auburn where I drank a little too much, bought some faux Indian woven goods and some very good wine.
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Then it was off by train to San Francisco and Amanda’s birthday party.
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That night Jason and I watched two pretty entertaining movies, The Cabin in the Woods and Hard Candy.

The following day my sister and I visited my mother. She was especially vibrant — a 97-year-old stand-up (or in her case lying down) comic who entertained us with her snide observations about the nuns at the nursing home. “I’m a real bitch and I don’t frigging care,” she said at one point.

I have always wondered about the word “frig.” Where did it come from? Why was it more polite than the word it replaced? Would I ever use it in a sentence? Does anyone still use it?
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Later my sister and I had dinner together at an Indian restaurant on the Lower Haight. I spent the night in a motel on Lombard Street. It was more comfortable than I expected.

The next day I returned by train to Sacramento and had dinner with Norbert and Stevie. Since I had not planned for this trip, having been requested to leave Dick’s place in order to accommodate another guest, I was basically homeless. The Dalls kindly offered me shelter for the night.

The next day, I strolled around my beloved trees in Capitol Park before returning to EDH.
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On Thursday, I had my second medical appointment this time with a specialist in pulmonary medicine. This did not go as well as the first and a biopsy is scheduled. The next day I found out that the doctor has ordered, besides the biopsy, a number of additional procedures including a blood test, a lung capacity test and an appearance before something called the Pulmonary Nodule Board (or Committee). This last is probably one of Obama’s death panels. Given my actuarial life span is only about 10 more years anyway, I suspect they will be deciding whether the expense of extending my life for such a brief period is worth it.
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The sewer pipe from Dick’s house to the street has broken requiring us to conduct some of our bathroom activities at the health club until it is repaired. It may also force us to spend a few days at a motel while the repairs are made.
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I treated, at least in my mind, the brief excursion to San Francisco as sort of an odyssey — to there and back again. Like Bloom or Bilbo. I wandered about mostly aimlessly but happily. Since returning to the Golden Hills, my days are again sadly regimented — not depressingly so but not too interesting either. I never liked knowing what would happen next in either my reading or in my life. Disaster or success, although I prefer the latter, makes little difference to me as long as there is a story in it and of course, I survive.
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PAPA JOE’S TALES:

Ulysses:

Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.

One night the short, bandy-legged, scraggly bearded young man named Ulysses, who lived in a subdivision on a small island in the Adriatic, left the home on a cull-de-sac he shared with his wife, young son, various hangers-on, and a pack of dogs, telling everyone he was going to the store to buy a carton of milk, or an amphora of wine or new sandals or whatever. Now twenty years later he stood on the corner of the block down from his old home, broke, hungry and older. He contemplated the excuses he would tell his wife for his long absence. He concocted stories about ships and strange wars, jealous gods, wooden horses, one-eyed monsters and to cover up the long periods of time he spent living with a succession of comely young women, he fell back on the tried and true excuse of philandering husbands of the time, bewitchment.

On the other hand, the also aging but still zaftig and supposedly loyal Penelope wanted no part of the smelly midget bastard’s return. She had happily spent the past 20 years screwing the Theban pool boy and every young stud in town. The assholes return would only mean she would have to give up the good life and return to working on that goddamn loom. Besides, she needed an excuse of her own to explain why for the last 20 years the same old piece of cloth hung on that machine with no further work done on it since he left. She told all her boyfriends that she would choose one of them to settle down with when she finished weaving the cloth. They were so stupefied with the thought of getting into her toga whenever she lifted its hem for them they forgot all about the status of that rotting rag.

She believed however that she would need something better to convince the crafty asshole of her unbelievable 20 years of fidelity. She decided to elaborate on the story and planned to tell her returning husband, if unfortunately he should ever return, that she weaved at the loom all day and every night she tore out what she had done during the day. If the simple and unbelievable story had worked on her lovers why wouldn’t this expanded version work on that scheming lying bastard Ulysses?

Nevertheless, she still was surprised when the testosterone poisoned dwarf suddenly and unexpectedly showed up at her door and started killing all of her boyfriends and the Theban pool boy as well.

Sadly, Penelope was forced back to working all day at the goddamn loom and at night diddling herself while the drunken scumbag lay snoring among his dogs after buggering some prepubescent boy-chick.

As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Some facts about the town I grew up in, Tuckahoe, NY

Late 1800s: The Toggle Bolt originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe NY by William H. Ruby.

(Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression, the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand.)

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

(Many Italian immigrants, my grandparents included, settled in Tuckahoe to work in the marble quarries.)

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A.Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

It should be pointed out, these soldiers were Christian and not Muslim.

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Today’s newspapers report that an anti-climate change scientist has been on the payroll of several petroleum connected entities who paid him for the anti-climate change scientific papers he produced. He did not mention in his studies that they were paid for by interested parties in violation of the ethical standards of the institution for which he works.

Many people seem to be shocked by this disclosure. I don’t understand why. Often as a lawyer, I had been hired specifically by my clients to make their lies appear like the truth. Why would anyone be surprised by someone not bound by the strong code of ethics that we attorneys pledge to uphold doing the same? I guess, since I was a lawyer, everyone assumed I had been trained to prevaricate.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“We live in a cancer society in which growth has become the enemy of life. In economics, this means that our economy cannot sell the consumer goods pouring out of existing factories unless we are simultaneously investing more capital and resources in new factories to make more goods or are otherwise providing more purchasing power to the market by inflationary spending on non-marketable products such as national defense. This same characteristic feature of our society, that we cannot use what we already have for the satisfaction of our needs unless we devote increasing increments of time and resources to different future desires, now pervades all aspects of our society. Everywhere our activities now have built-in feedback loops which require investment in future technical innovations creating new activities or there will be sudden collapse of our existing activities.”
Carroll Quigley review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis,” 1974

 

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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About five minutes after one PM.

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0002 (January 21, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

1. A Hayden Tale:

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 creäture 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 in EDH 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.

2. Fear and loathing in ICU – Part I

Ever since I arrived in California I had been feeling quite ill; headaches, fatigue and pains in my left leg. The latter, I assumed, was caused by sitting for 10 hours in a center seat during my flight. About five days after my arrival, I had dropped Hayden off for school, had a coffee and bagel at my usual place and returned to the house feeling exceptionally tired. I went back to bed and did not wake up until almost three PM. It was nearly time to pick up Hayden at school and cart him to his Taekwondo lesson. I got up and blacked out. I fell back onto the bed for a moment. When I regained my senses, I discovered I was too fatigued to move further than to the living room sofa. I called Dick at work and told him about my condition, that I couldn’t get to the school and pick up Hayden and that I thought I needed to go to the hospital.

After picking up Hayden, Dick drove us to the local emergency hospital. I staggered into the emergency room and was immediately placed in a wheel chair. While Dick handled the preliminary admission formalities, I fussed over my feelings of helplessness, guilt over the burden I was placing on Dick, and concern about how it all must affect Hayden.

They wheeled me into a room with three people in it where my EKG was taken. A man in green scrubs sitting at a computer asked me questions about my symptoms. When I finished explaining them, he said it sounded to him like I had a pulmonary embolism.

I was then carted off to one of the emergency treatment rooms and put into a bed while a succession of various information scavengers and blood gatherers trooped through.

While I lay there I could see into the main area beyond intake and observe hospital life. It had always found it remarkable that no matter how white bread a neighborhood the hospital is located it, its staff inevitably appears like a branch of the United Nations. It is difficult for me now to identify an ethnic group that did not have a hand in my treatment somewhere along the line. Of course, the highest level of the medical staff, the doctors, is populated primarily by members of the high performing caucasian groups, Ashkenazi Jews, Middle Eastern refugees and Indians.

The other noticeable physical feature of the hospital staff was obesity, and they mostly seemed quite happy and content about it. I was not so sure how I felt about that. It is a hospital after all.

The final information scavenger was a woman with serious determined eyes who collected at least some money against the final medical bill just in case I died so they will have recovered something on account. After she left, the ER doctor, Dr Greenberg, came in, asked a bunch of questions, opined that it sounded as though I had a blood clot on my lung, and announced he was going to have a few more tests run before deciding what to do about me. He left.

Doctors, ask questions, give orders and render opinions. Most of the rest of the hospital medical staff actually do things.

So, I was wheeled through a CAT scan, sonograms and a number of other tests after which I was deposited back in the room to await results.

While waiting, Hayden opined that he thought Dick was rich and Pookie was handsome.

Dr, Greenberg returned and without much in the way of preliminaries, in that deep serious voice doctors often use to announce the death of the patient, said that I had suffered a “very very serious’ pulmonary embolism” that had affected most of my lungs and that I was being admitted into the ICU unit immediately. He, once again, left before I had time to either digest the information or ask any questions, like ‘what did you just say?”

While waiting for the transportation to arrive and trying to understand the information I had just received that I interpreted to mean that I was effectively dead and they were now going to try to resuscitate me, two more doctors entered the room. They were surprisingly cheery and introduced themselves as the co-chief doctors of the ICU unit as though welcoming me into a five-star beach resort. One doctor a Syrian gentleman who maintained a slight smile as he explained to me how sudden death was inevitable in my case without immediate treatment. The Indian woman seemed very happy to visit with me and asked me many of the same questions the information scavengers had asked. I never saw her again.

They transported me to ICU and placed into bed by a number of suspiciously cheery hospital personnel who then vigorously and repeatedly punctured me to extract blood and other bodily fluids and inject me with clear liquids from several bags hung above my head. I was also attached to several monitors and the various blinking lights and beeping one associates with intensive care.

At some point the smiling Syrian appeared at the side of my bed and explained again, how dead I was and what they were planning to do to correct that condition. He left and one of the cheery nurses injected me with morphine, explaining unnecessarily that it would make me feel better. They woke me up about every hour or two to have my blood taken or my body injected with something important. I counted over 30 puncture wounds to my body over the first 24 hours.

I did not sleep much or well that night. In the past, whenever I thought about death, my thoughts were often accompanied by fear – no more accurately terror. Strangely tonight, I felt only sadness; sadness about Jason, Jessica and Hayden and my grandchildren, sadness that I might not be there to see how the next chapters of their life stories played out. (to be continued–perhaps)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Creation myth update #3: Maybe we are not in Mr Rogers’ neighborhood anymore Toto, part III.

Delayed pending reduction of my morphine ration and/or proof that I am still alive.

DAILY FACTOID:

From Harper’s Index:

• Projected annual revenue Mexican drug cartels stand to lose from pot legalization in Colorado and Washington: $1,400,000,000

• Percentage rate at which Arcata, California, plans to tax excessive electricity use in an effort to punish marijuana growers: 45

• Percentage of children living in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture who have thyroid abnormalities: 40

• Number of hours before power was restored to the majority of Long Island residents affected by the storm: 361

• Estimated cost of maintaining Afghanistan’s national security forces in the year after U.S. troops leave: $4,100,000,000

• Annual budget of the Afghan government: $3,300,000,000

• Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”
Department of Psychology, UCLA, Berkeley, California and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

I suspect the conclusions in the studies probably will not surprise anyone. Remember these are the same upper-class people who pay other people to tell you that greed is good and that charity and human kindness, if not actually bad, is simply a wrongheaded example of selfishness.

B. Testosterone Chronicles: Gun Control.

I keep hearing from conservatives and gun advocates that race has nothing to do with the gun ownership debate, but that it is about freedom and rights (you know Nazi’s restricted gun ownership and all that.) A few posts ago I argued that race may very well be lurking in the background. Nonsense, say others, it has always been about rights and freedoms.

If so then, how does one explain:

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It should also be noted that the second amendment’s inclusion in the Constitution when it was pointed out that proposed  Article 1 section 8 permitting the federal government to raise and supervise a militia could also be used to subsume state militias that in the south were often called “slave patrols.”

The fear was that without without the second amendment, the slaves could revolt and the southern states would not have the authority and the personnel to put them down. The individual unregulated right to own guns had nothing to do with it and even those most in favor of the second amendment at that time would have considered that concept ludicrous.

Perhaps the best way to get gun control would be for someone to fund a program to provide free assault rifles for black teenagers so that they can protect themselves.

C. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter five: At the airport with no place to go – Part 5):

Of course I did not know the elevator did not stop on the second floor until it passed that floor and halted on the first. I took the escalator to the second floor in search of the Immigration Office. The second floor was the arrivals level and lacked the bustle of the 4th floor departure level. There were essentially only the money changing kiosks and two large openings in the far wall from which people arriving in BKK were disgorged. I could not see anything that announced it had anything to do with immigration. Eventually I spotted a door before which stood a woman dressed in a uniform different from most of the others, lighter in color and lacking braid or ribbons. I walked up to her and explained my story and showed her the slip of paper. She smiled and said, “I understand. Follow me.”

She led me into a small room where a man in a similar uniform sat next to a table smaller than a card table. He seemed to have little of no english capabilities, nevertheless I explained everything again showed him the slip of paper and my passport. He leafed through my passport and seemed confused and looked to the woman with what I interpreted as a look of bewilderment.

I said, “Immigration Office. Second Floor. The people on the fourth floor told me to go here. Where is it?” The woman seemed to translate it for him. He fumbled some more through my passports. Eventually I tired of this and asked her “Where is the Immigration office on the second floor?”

She said “in there” and pointed to a door at the back of the room.

“Great” I said. “I will go in there.”

After another brief discussion in Thai with the man, she said, “you can’t”

“What do you mean I cannot. The people on the fourth floor sent me here.” I was clearly getting upset my voice was rising.

They spoke again briefly, then the woman said come with me and took me back into the main hall, vaguely pointed toward the opposite wall and said, “Ask at information counter over there.”
TODAY’S QUOTE:

David_Frum

TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Tuckahoe

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Pookie 0001 (December 4, 2012

(Happy Birthday Jason [24 Pookie] and Annmarie [21 Pookie])

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’SPookieandHippy2 ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My favorite Thai holiday is Loi Krathung. It falls on the night of the full moon of the 12th month of the year. On that night Thais launch, into the nearest suitable body of water, tiny boats adorned with candles, flowers incense and sometimes nail clippings an bits of hair for good luck. It is also the same day as the Lanna (the old Thai kingdom centered at Chiang Mai) Yi Peng festival when thousands of sky lanterns are launched into the air. LM and I went to the lake beside the Emporium shopping center on Sukhumvit Road to launch our boats and plead with the gods and goddesses for good luck. As with most holidays, it was much more pleasant in the anticipation than in the actual experience.

A few days later we went to the movies to see The Impossible, a film about an european family’s experiences while vacationing in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. The scenes showing the fury of the water and the devastation caused by the inundation were riveting. Even more so were the images of its aftermath – the makeshift hospitals, the body bags, the injured, frightened, lost people and the frenzy of those searching for their missing loved ones. The movie brought back to me some long forgotten memories.

One evening, about four years after the tsunami, a friend and his wife invited me to join them at a reception in a home in Mill Valley, California. The homeowner’s family and another family, like the family in the movie, were vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami struck. The purpose of the reception was to raise funds for the ongoing tsunami relief efforts that the two families were heavily involved in.

The host’s family had been vacationing in Phi-Phi Island in the heart of the Andaman Sea. They had their two children with them, both girls; one about six or seven years old and the other perhaps eleven. They had just walked from their hotel to one of the two main beaches on the island about 200 yards apart on opposite sides of its wasp-waisted middle. They arrived at the beach just as the water suddenly rushed away exposing the sea floor almost to the horizon. Many people were standing around dumbfounded, staring at the curious phenomena. When the wife wondered aloud “What do you suppose that is all about,” an older Thai woman standing next to her responded, “I do not know, but if I were you I would take your child and run.” And so they did, as soon did almost everyone else when they noticed a ten meter high wall of water surging across the uncovered sea bed toward the shore. They all turned and ran toward the beach on the opposite side of the island where they thought they would be safe.

For some reason the oldest child yelled “no not there, up here,” pointing to the nearest of the two high hills sitting at each end of the tiny island. And so they ran up the mountain with the water literally lapping at their heels. Up they ran until, near the peak, they found a grove of trees in which they took refuge and there they remained along with a number of other survivors for the two or so days it took to be rescued.

Those that ran to the opposite beach all died as the second of the two tsunami waves struck that beach from the opposite direction.

The other family was not so lucky. They had been vacationing at Khao Lak (the site depicted in the movie, where over 4500 people died). In addition to the husband and wife, the family included a daughter, 14, and a son about 12 years old. They were all avid scuba divers and had spent much of their vacation happily diving off the dive boats that took them out to the reefs and the nearby islands where the water was clearer for diving than it was closer to the mainland. It was the final day of their vacation and the father wanted to spend one last morning diving before they left. The children did not. They preferred to spend their last day relaxing near the hotel. So early in the morning, the parents took the dive boat with a few other committed divers to a favored spot over a reef out of sight of land.

While diving, they felt a slight but powerful up thrust of the water. When they rose to the surface and looked about, they discovered that they were hundreds of yards from the boat. The other divers, who had been close by, now had been dispersed as much as a mile away from each other. After they were all picked up by the boat, they decided to head back to the mainland. As they came in sight of the land, they saw the ocean in front of them thickly covered with debris extending several miles out from shore.

As they slowed and got closer to the debris they noticed what appeared to be hundreds of dead dogs floating amongst the refuse. Closer still they realized that these “dead dogs” were in fact many types of dead animals including dogs and to their horror humans as well. A few were still alive and the boat trolled around a bit picking up those that they could locate.

When they arrived at the shore, they found much of the hotel destroyed and the casitas, in one of which the family had been staying, utterly demolished. The parents desperately spent the next few days searching for their children. The boy was eventually located alive, lying in a field about two miles inland from the hotel with a piece of fencing driven through one of his thighs.

The boy told his parents that he and his sister had been lying on separate beds in their room, he reading and she napping, when they heard a noise like hundreds of freight trains roaring together down the tracks. Water suddenly burst through the walls, picked him up and carried him out the open door at the back of the casita. For some reason, he was borne on the top of the leading edge of the wave as it roared inland through the village and then out into the countryside. He was unable to move until the flood spent its fury and gently deposited him in the field where he was discovered.

The daughter was not found. The father, in much the same way as the father in the film, spent the next month in a lonely search for his daughter through the hospitals and the refugee camps. And, one by one he went through the thousands of body bags opening each one to see if his daughter was inside. They never found her body.

The family that invited me to the reception also experienced the tsunami but in a slightly different way. They too were vacationing in Thailand at the time but decided to fly off to Sri Lanka to spend some time at a recently opened resort on that islands southeastern shore owned by an acquaintance. After they landed, they learned that the Tsunami had just hit. Not knowing the extent of the destruction, they decided to rent a car and drive to the hotel. As they drove along the coastal roads, they were perhaps the first outsiders to view the devastation (33,000 Sri Lankans died). When they realized the full extent of the damage the wife and children returned to the airport and left to go back to the US. He remained behind for several weeks helping to co-ordinate the relief efforts.

I had forgotten about all this until the image on the screen of the desperate father wandering through the ruins in search of his family jogged my memory.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

You get what you pay for:

A recent study, the results of which were published in the Bangkok Post, examined the incidence of HIV from those engaged in different high risk activities and compared to male on male sex, intravenous drug users, infidelity and the like and found that sex workers and those who engage them had by far the lowest rate.

Thus, you get what you pay for…or since this is Thailand, you get what you overpay for.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A recent report indicated that President Obama has received 43,830 death threats during his first four years in office. If true, this would make him the most threatened president in the Nation’s history. Included in those threats was the plot by white supremacists in Tennessee to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history. Some people say that these threats have nothing to do with race but merely reflect ravings of the deranged or an unfortunate over exuberant disagreement about policy. They accuse those that disagree with this assessment of “playing the race card.”

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (cont.)

I had gone off to college at Georgetown and Don went off to Idaho. About two years later during a school vacation, I got on to a bus somewhere in Westchester County and saw Don sitting in a seat about half way toward the back, staring out the window. I was happy to see him. I slid into the empty seat beside him and started jabbering away about how good it was to see him, how exciting it must be to go to school out west and things like that. After prattling on like that for a while I asked him, “What’s Idaho like?”

He turned to me. His eyes were cold and angry. I had never seen him like that before.

“You have no idea what it is like. You haven’t the slightest idea about anything,” he said. And with that he turned back toward the window and resumed staring out of it. We sat there in silence a few minutes until the bus arrived at my stop. I said, “Good to see you again Don.” He nodded slightly without turning from the window.

As I left the bus, I glanced back to where he was sitting, for a moment his eyes shifted in my direction. They seemed to me to lose their anger for a moment. He appeared to me at that moment just a young man suddenly realizing he was alone in a hostile world.

I later learned that he left Idaho for another University. I lost all connection with him from then until a few months ago when I received his son’s comment on my blog informing me that Dondi had died a few years back.

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Don Lundy and his wife (Photograph taken from the Facebook page of Don’s son.)

DAILY FACTOID:

Since 1980, the insured losses due to natural weather related catastrophes in the US amounted to $510 billion, and some 30,000 people lost their lives. According to several insurance resellers, the size and frequency of these weather related catastrophes are increasing.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“We used to have a framework for understanding the time dimension of inequality in the United States: we called it the “Kuznets Curve”. The United States starts out as a country that is relatively equal–at least among white guys who speak English. Free land, lack of serfdom, the possibility of moving the west if you don’t like the wages you’re being offered in the east–all of these produce a middle-class society. Then comes 1870 or so, and things shift. The frontier closes. Industrial technologies emerge and they are highly productive and also capital intensive. So we move into a world of plutocrats and merchant princes: people in the cities, either off the farms or from overseas, competing against each other for jobs. And we get the extraordinarily stark widening of American income inequality up until the mid-1920’s or so.

This then calls forth a political reaction. Call it progressivism, call it social democracy, call it–in Europe–socialism. The idea is that the government needs to put its thumbs on the scale, heavily, to create an equal income distribution and a middle class society. Progressivism and its candidates are elected to power in democratic countries in the North Atlantic in the twentieth century–in spite of everything you say about Gramsci and hegemony and the ability of money to speak loudly in politics. Thus from 1925 to 1980 we see substantial reductions in inequality in the United States–the creation of a middle-class society, at first only for white guys and then, gradually, for others.
In 1980 things shift again. Since 1980 we have had an extraordinary explosion of inequality in the United States. This explosion has taken place along two dimensions.

First, we have seen extraordinarily rapid growth between the top twenty percent and the lower eighty percent. The benefits to achieving a college education skyrocket–for reasons that I don’t really have time to go into, and for reasons that are still somewhat uncertain.

Second, we have an even larger explosion of inequality between the top .01 percent, the top 15,000 households, and the rest of the top twenty percent. This second explosion is the most puzzling and remarkable feature of the past generation. It puts the American political system under substantial long term threat, if only because equality of opportunity in the next generation will require substantially greater equality of result in this generation than we see today: a world in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney puts his wealth into a blind trust but that blind trust then decides just as a matter of chance that what it should fund Tagg Romney and he then raises money from interests that want the Romney clan to think well of them. That is not a society fulfilling a democratic commitment to equality of opportunity, not at all.
Brad DeLong

B. Can you still trust these guys:

In 2001 the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation opined in support of the pending Bush Tax cuts:

•Under President Bush’s plan, an average family of four’s inflation-adjusted disposable income would increase by $4,544 in fiscal year (FY) 2011, and the national debt would effectively be paid off by FY 2010.

•The plan would save the entire Social Security surplus and increase personal savings while the federal government accumulated $1.8 trillion in uncommitted funds from FY 2008 to FY 2011.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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TODAY’S CHART:

True_Size_Of_Africa

This map shows the actual size of Africa relative to many countries of the world. It corrects for that misperception caused by the Mercator Projection map you had in your grammar school classroom that showed the continent as smaller than Greenland. To me one of the more interesting thing about the map is that India with over 1.2 billion people fits comfortably within the Horn of Africa an area that currently supports a population of less than 10% of India’s.

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Pookie 0001 (November 29.2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have finally ventured beyond the café about a block from my apartment that marked the limit of my world since arriving here in BKK. I travelled all the way to the health club to resume the exercise regime that had been suspended during the almost four months I spent in the US.

I left the apartment with LM well before six am. It was still dark. As we passed Nana Plaza, the sidewalks were filled with Ladies of the Night trolling for customers. Whether they were trolling for the last trick of the evening or the first of the new day, I have no idea. Perhaps there is something about their occupation or constitutions that allows them to work around the clock without sleeping.

You can always tell the Ladyboys from the others because they were usually so much better dressed and made up. While most of the women at that time in the morning sported looks of various degrees of dishevelment, the Ladyboys paraded about without a hair out-of-place or a wrinkle on their tight tiny dresses.

Several bars were open spilling their noise and golden light into the street where it mingled with the blue-grey light of dawn and the police sirens. I do not know why they were open at that hour. The police require bars in Bangkok to close at midnight or one o’clock in the morning. Perhaps they had closed and just now were reopening. Or, maybe they were the bars owned by the cops themselves.

Bangkok is a funny place, so much to see – so much more hidden.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Cat causes chaos:

In Sidney Australia a man ran down his sister with his car after her cat urinated on his computer.

I guess he was pissed off because he couldn’t watch cute cat videos anymore.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

Before Don became such a big local football star, Tuckahoe produced another village football legend, Al Carapella who became the University of Miami‘s first All American. He later had a distinguished, if brief, NFL career. The town was proud of Al. He was their first All American too.They had a parade for him and dedicated some sort of monument in his honor.

We kids were not so impressed. We all snidely referred to him as “Al Carapella, All American.” One Sunday I attended mass in the Assumption Church, the parish in the town specifically set up by the Diocese for the Italians to stop us from attending the “American” Catholic church up on the hill. I was about 10 years old at the time. I was standing in the line to go to Communion and “Al Carapella, All American” stepped into the line just behind me. I was awed. We all had our heads bowed and our hands pressed together in prayer and piety. As the line moved forward, for some reason, I moved backward or perhaps I did not move fast enough, I do not know. Anyway I stepped on “Al Carapella, All American’s” foot. Without lifting his head “Al Carapella, All American” growled, “Get the fuck off a my fucking foot kid.”

As I said, no one in the gang was especially large or fast and except for Peter White showed no great natural athletic ability. Nevertheless, over the years that they played together each learned his job. Each had to figure out by himself how to do his job even if the guy in front of him was bigger, faster and more athletic. This ad-hoc accommodation to the situation was the bane of coaches. Once the coach got involved he would demand you be bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic otherwise you would not play. They usually loved to see “their boys” bang themselves silly against the opposing player.

The gang did not have this problem when they entered Tuckahoe High School. The coach was an alcoholic who reputedly spent most of his time with the school nurse locked-up together in his or her office. So, for the most part the team was left to fend for itself. The school was tiny, only about 90 boys in the whole school. Almost all the gang played on the varsity beginning with their freshman year and with Don in the backfield they won and kept on winning.

Since I went to a different high school than the rest of the gang and no longer lived in Tuckahoe, I did not attend many of their games. But I followed them in the local newspapers. The few times I did get to see their games Don was astonishing. He was like the Ghost in the Backfield. Not too tall and a bit on the skinny side so that his uniform always looked a bit to big for him, he seemed to disappear from view until he was given the ball and then something amazing happened.

Don was never a great fan of running over people or of being tackled. He did not run through his opponents, nor did he stutter step to trick potential tacklers. With a fluid grace he played “catch me if you can.” Although he was fast, he was not blistering so and he did not make his mark simply running around the ends but instead when presented with just the slightest of openings in the center of the line he would almost magically slip through and be gone. He often left the would be tackler tackling air. Like a ghost he was there and then he was not.

Because the school was so small they were forced to play other small schools in the area. But as they continued to win by ever increasing scores they eventually were paired with larger schools. But still they continued to win.

Don received a number of football scholarship offers, not as many as he would have received had he attended one of the larger schools in the county like the one I attended that had two thousand boys. To the surprise of all of us he chose a school in Idaho (Idaho State or the University of Idaho, I do not know which) (to be Continued)

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Don looking a lot like when I knew him (a bit heavier in the photo) with his son who misses him a lot.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012- The Tuckahoe Tigers Basketball Team won the State division C title after posting a perfect 25 – 0 win season. The prior year the school won the State football and baseball championships for their division. The football team played in three state championships in the past 6 years. (The school still is tiny, containing only about 250 students)

1956: Tuckahoe defeats Feildston 30-0 in Football. (More than likely Dondi scored almost all the points.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part II.

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“If all bank loans were paid, no one would have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent monetary system. When one gets a complete grasp upon the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible-but there it is. It (the banking problem) is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it is widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.”
Robert Hemphill, for 8 years credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. January 24, 1939

Hemphill’s warning has not been heeded because, up until now, productivity has increased while commodity prices have fallen producing a growth in wealth greater than the inexorable ever-increasing cannibalization of that wealth by interest. What Hemphill’s insight means is that the nation or for that matter the world’s monetary system will eventually fail because debt levels must increase exponentially in order to grow the economy. A growing economy requires more money, and money is debt. Exponential debt levels are mathematically impossible after a certain point. That is simple math. And the result? KABOOM!

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

klutz
Or better yet, klots. Literally means “a block of wood,” so it’s often used for a dense, clumsy or awkward person. See schlemiel.
kosher
Something that’s acceptable to Orthodox Jews, especially food. Other Jews may also “eat kosher” on some level but are not required to. Food that Orthodox Jews don’t eat – pork, shellfish, etc. – is called traif. An observant Jew might add, “Both pork and shellfish are doubtlessly very tasty. I simply am restricted from eating it.” In English, when you hear something that seems suspicious or shady, you might say, “That doesn’t sound kosher.”
kvetsh
In popular English, kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,” but in Yiddish, kvetsh literally means “to press or squeeze,” like a wrong-sized shoe. Reminds you of certain chronic complainers, doesn’t it? But it’s also used on Yiddish web pages for “click” (Click Here).
maven
Pronounced meyven. An expert, often used sarcastically.
Mazel Tov
Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”) but it’s a congratulation for what just happened, not a hopeful wish for what might happen in the future. When someone gets married or has a child or graduates from college, this is what you say to them. It can also be used sarcastically to mean “it’s about time,” as in “It’s about time you finished school and stopped sponging off your parents.”
mentsh
An honorable, decent person, an authentic person, a person who helps you when you need help. Can be a man, woman or child.
mishegas
Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. If you want to insult someone, you can ask them, ”Does it hurt to be crazy?”
mishpocheh
Or mishpokhe or mishpucha. It means “family,” as in “Relax, you’re mishpocheh. I’ll sell it to you at wholesale.”
nosh
Or nash. To nibble; a light snack, but you won’t be light if you don’t stop noshing. Can also describe plagiarism, though not always in a bad sense; you know, picking up little pieces for yourself.

Many people have the mistaken notion that yiddish is a Jewish language like Hebrew. True it was spoken primarily by Jews. However unlike Hebrew which until the establishment of the state of Israel served as the “religious” or “intellectual” language of most Jews; much like Latin was used in western Europe until the last century, yiddish generally was spoken by only one of the major branches of the Jewish diaspora. That branch, known as the Ashkenazi were those Jews who lived primarily in eastern Europe and originally included Northern France until various pogroms forced them further east. Like the Kurds of today they were a nation without a land of their own. Until the 19th century most Jews spoke a pastiche of Aramaic, Hebrew and the indigenous language of the place they were living at the time. The roots of Yiddish is primarily German with Aramaic and Hebrew influences. It also includes words and expressions from several Slavic languages in varying degrees depending upon where the speakers lived. There are several different “yiddish dialects” including that spoken as the official language in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian far East near Vladivostok. Its capital is Birobidzhan. The First Birobidzhan International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture was launched in 2007

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. The Little Masseuse:

“Dog shit in the morning.”
LM warning about the sidewalks of Bangkok after the nights rain had cleared away the prior day’s refuse.

A sentiment well taken by anyone believing they cleared away the debris of their past and are about to something new.

B. Paul Krugman

“[O]n economic issues the modern Democratic party is what we would once have considered “centrist”, or even center-right. Obama’s Heritage-Foundation-inspired health care plan is to the right of Richard Nixon’s. Nobody with political influence is suggesting a return to pre-Reagan tax rates on the wealthy. Fantasies about Obama as a socialist, redistributionist hater of capitalism bear no more resemblance to reality than fantasies about his birthplace or religion.

Second, today’s Republican party is an alliance between the plutocrats and the preachers, plus some opportunists along for the ride — full stop…. Someday there may emerge another party with the same name standing for a quite different agenda…. But that will take a long time… Finally, it’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded…. But… “seem to be”… they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda…. Anyone who imagines that there is any real soul-searching going on is deluding himself or herself.”

It should be noted that beginning with the election of Franklin Roosevelt in fifty years we went from the probably worst economic calamity in our nation’s history to witnessing the greatest growth of income and widest and most equitable distribution of wealth ever achieved. During this period, both Republicans and Democrats accepted the basic concepts of what became standard economic thought.

During the thirty years following the election of Ronald Reagan on the other hand we have seen our nation tumble from that period of broad, equitable and high economic growth into the second greatest economic contraction in our history accompanied by the largest divergence of wealth between the fortunate few and the rest of us since the heyday of the Southern plantation economies. During that time, both Republican and Democratic administrations grew to accept the new economic and fiscal paradigm introduced in Reagan Administration.

What caused this change from a seemingly workable beneficent economic consensus to one so manifestly deficient? The only political event that bridges transition from one paradigm to the other that I can see that makes sense as a cause is the civil rights movement. Not that it, in itself, engendered a simple reaction by racists who then swept away 50 years of economic agreement. But it did encourage the rural white southern and working class Northern poor who for the most part benefited (and supported) the New Deal, to make a political alliance with those who hated it in an effort to roll back the threats to their precarious existence that they imagined were being generated by the civil rights movement. Many of them, the working class and the southern white voter believed it when they were told by those who stood the most to gain financially by reversing the progressive economic consensus, that that economic consensus was responsible for financing “welfare state.” That the “welfare state” allowed the civil rights and other progressive movements to threaten their precarious hold on their newly won social and economic stability.

The tragedy for those folks who joined on to the bandwagon, was that while this alliance has been very successful in rolling back the previous economic consensus, it abjectly has failed in halting the ever-expanding tide civil rights and other progressive programs. This result has thrown that wing (that we now call “social conservatives”) of the alliance into ever-increasing paroxysms of insanity even to the point of lashing out against virtually all science and their own self-interest.

The irrationality of this wing has grown so outlandish, that recently some of the more insightful of those most opposed to the old New Deal economic paradigm see in them, their allies, a greater danger to their interests, than all but the most radical wing of their traditional opponents in the Democratic Party. They, these few, seem to be beginning to see in the current Democratic Party, the Reagan economic consensus without the socio-theologic crap.

After all, they may now reason, a few years of diminished expectations is a small price to pay for fattening up the pig again.

TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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When all or most of us work at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart for minimum age, who will do the shopping there — the owners, management?

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Pookie 0001 (November 25,2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have still not ventured far from my apartment. Perhaps in a few days I will go to the health club. Then again maybe not.

The dreams have come again. Not those frightening, exhilarating or annoying things that disturb your sleep and leave you groggy in the morning and then completely disappear from memory a few hours later. These other dreams I have while I am floating between sleep and fully awake. They frequently recur again and again. They do not disappear in the morning. I remember them for a long time.

It used to be that some of those dreams became so imprinted in my memory that they became as real as anything else that I could recall of my past. About a year or so ago in “This and that…” I wrote that I eventually realized many things that I thought had happened to me were mere dreams. When I went through them and understood that what I remembered could not be true, they disappeared from my memory just like the normal nighttime disturbances did. Their sudden disappearance would leave me with a strange sense of emptiness as if a piece of my past had gone missing leaving behind a hole in my life.

For example, I convinced myself that I spent several enjoyable summers at a resort on the north coast near the ocean. When I sat back and thought about it however, I realized it could not have been true. It happened on the wrong coast and too far from where it should have been. The moment I realized the memory was bogus, it fled like a thief from the scene of his crime.

Strangely, I get these dreams only in Thailand now, never in the US. I do not know why. I have some suspicions, however.

There have been two since I returned to Thailand.

In the first, I am at a party in my sister’s house. Of course, dream-like, it is not her house at all. There is a grand piano by a window. Standing next to it is a tall man with blond hair wearing a pale plaid jacket. He would now and then pick out something someone says and would lean over the keyboard sing a few words of whatever he had overheard and rhyme it with a few more while playing some brief simple tune. When he finished his little riff he would then stand back up and with a large smile on his face and with shining eyes look around the room for appreciation before hunting for the next snippet of conversation. He reminded me of a 50’s lounge singer or one of those hacks banging out tunes on Tin Pan Alley during the Depression. When the conversation moved away from him he would remain anxiously standing the by the piano never moving from his post alongside of it.

I watched him from across the room. Now and then our eyes would meet but he would quickly glance away and nervously move on in search of the next snatch of conversation to play around with. Gradually, the party-goers left until only he and I remained. He looked at me for a moment before turning and with that wistful aura that surrounds musicians after a gig as they pack up their instruments, wires, stands and other paraphernalia, picked up his coat and quietly left.

The second dream concerned a young Thai woman. She was tiny but not skinny, rounded somewhat. Her black hair was shorter than usual and cut in bangs. For some reason, what she was wearing made no impression on me. She was new to Bangkok having arrived only three months ago. The big city still awed her a bit. She found work in a local bar in Bangkok that specialized in oral sex. Today was her day off and she was spending it alone wandering around the Big C market, a slightly down-scale shopping mall, somewhat like Sears is downscale compared to Macy’s.

She often went there, not to shop but because she liked to wander about and look at things. She would stop and stare for a while at the various shows on the sets that lined the walls in the television department. She specially liked the animal and travel shows. She would wander about, fiddle with the smart phones and cameras in the electronics department or pick up a plate or a bowl in housewares, turn it over and closely examine its bottom. Whenever she passed by the clothing department, she would stop and finger the fabric of various items of clothing that caught her eye. All the while her mind would flit from thought to thought and memory to memory. She would often think about her tiny village somewhere in Issan and her parents, brothers and sisters. She pictured in her mind the fading image the little baby she left behind when she came to Bangkok to earn money to support him. She sent most of what she earned home to her parents to take care of the child and to save something for her for when she returned to the village. She lived a frugal life in Bangkok, sharing a tiny room with four other working girls, eating at the least expensive sidewalk food stands and entertaining herself by wandering around the malls.

At one point, she drifted into thinking about her little school girl uniform with the short pleated skirt and the plaid tie she wore at work. She liked the way she looked in it. She preferred working in the BJ bar than in the other bars. She did not like going to the short-time hotels or to the man’s hotel room. It made her feel shy and uncomfortable to take off her clothes. She thought about the old farang man who came to the bar and regularly choose her. That excited her. She hoped he would soon begin buying her things like some of the customers do with the other girls. Maybe he would take her here to Big C and buy her a smart phone.

As she stood in the electronics department holding a smart phone connected to the stand on which it was displayed and aimlessly played at pressing the icons, she saw herself with him walking up the stairs at the bar, waiting for him to sit on the bench then taking the pillow and placing in down and kneeling on it while he prepared himself. She could not recall what he looked like, only the liver spots on the backs of his hands and his few strands of wispy gray hair floating around his head. The image suddenly fled as she delightedly struck the icon for one of the games and started to play it.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

New not to be missed theme park opens in Korea:

In South Korea a new theme park has been opened called the Restroom Culture Park dedicated to the toilet industry and toilet behavior. It also contains a museum with exhibits demonstrating toilet technology through the ages. The park also displays fun facts about poop and statues of people going to the bathroom. The park is dedicated to former mayor Sim “Joe” Duck aka “Mr Toilet” who was reportedly fascinated by bathrooms.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I am always happy to transmit something that interests me written or said by one of my “This and that…” correspondents. The following was published in the New York Times letters to the editor section. It contains some interesting background on the training received by some of the nation’s general staff at West Point.

Re “A Phony Hero for a Phony War,” by Lucian K. Truscott IV (Sunday Review, Nov. 18):

I take great exception to the description of David H. Petraeus as a “phony hero.” Far from being a “phony,” Mr. Petraeus is part of a long line of soldier-scholars trained by the department of social sciences at West Point. Founded by a legendary colonel, George Lincoln, after World War II, the department recruited outstanding cadets to be soldier-scholars and future generals who had more than the ability to lead troops in battle. Inspired by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colonel Lincoln tried to develop officers with political and diplomatic skills, sending them to outstanding graduate schools like Harvard and Princeton. His goal was to develop soldiers who could deal with the complexities of the late 20th century.

Mr. Petraeus is only one of many such officers, but he is probably the most famous. And for good reason. He used his diplomatic and political skills to end the Sunni uprising in Iraq and to turn the Afghanistan conflict from a certain defeat into a marginal “good enough” success.

I know Mr. Truscott. Some 40-odd years ago I taught him at West Point. It’s sad to see him kick sand in the face of a real hero.

TERRENCE P. GOGGIN
New York, Nov. 19, 2012

The writer was an Army captain and assistant professor at West Point.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

In Tuckahoe, like most towns in the US at that time, the calendar followed by most little boys was not the Gregorian with its celestial seasons. Nor was it marked by the simple alternating rhythms of school and vacations. It was the round of sports seasons that directed our lives. There were three “Great” seasons, Football, Basketball and Baseball. They did not overlap each other as they do at the college level and in professional sports. Instead when one ended the next one began, often the following day. I never knew how the other kids knew one season ended and another started. It was a mystery. I would wake up one day and everyone would be there playing at something other that that which they were so obsessed with the night before. Hockey, Lacrosse and other sports did not penetrate our consciousness. Soccer was some weird thing the italian immigrants played, not we sophisticated first generation types and our African-American comrades.

There were however a few minor game seasons that intruded or sometimes overlapped the big three. For example just before baseball season began, for about two weeks we all played “marbles” with deathless concentration on both the games and on the collecting and trading of our marbles. These little glass balls had more arcane and mysterious names for them then the Eskimos have for snow; gobaloons, pee-wees, bowlers, aggies, clearies, steelies and on and on. There were basically two types of games played. One common in Mount Vernon and Yonkers consisted or drawing a large circle in the dirt. The players would each put up an agreed number of marbles in the center of the ring and then stand on the outside of the ring taking turns trying to knock the marbles out of the circle. The other game, favored in Tuckahoe, would be to draw a football sized and shaped “pot” in the dirt into which we would place the agreed upon marbles. Then a line was drawn about four feet away behind which the players would take turns trying to knock the marbles out of the pot. Only the first shot was taken from the line. Thereafter one would take his shot from wherever his shooter landed.

Near and during Christmas vacation we would buy chestnuts from the local chestnut vendor who appeared on the sidewalks of downtown about that time. We would drill a hole through the chestnut into which a string was knotted. We would then take turns striking each others chestnut until only the winner’s was left unbroken.

I do not recall ever seeing Dondi playing any or the sports and games the rest of us did (I was mostly an inconsistent participant hating games in the first place. It did not matter, most of the other kids thought I wasn’t very good anyway.)

In high school Don joined the Tuckahoe High School football team called the Tuckahoe Tigers. He became a local legend.

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Donald Lundy, number 12, catching a pass for the Tuckahoe Tigers (From Don’s son Donald Lundy’s Facebook page)

Football in Tuckahoe, at least the team that Don ultimately joined, had an interesting history. The gang began playing tackle football together when we were all in the first grade. No one had a full uniform or equipment until we got to high school. Mostly we played in our street clothing augmented by a piece of equipment here and there acquired over the years. Each year they would play four or more pick up games against teams from other neighborhoods or schools. There were no coaches or adults of any sort involved. Sometimes I would play with them (when they were desperate for players) and sometime against them when I lived somewhere else or attended a different school. No one was particularly big, strong or fast and none except for Peter White would one consider a natural athlete. Yet they won all their games that first year, and the year after that and in fact every year even all through high school where they formed the core of the Tuckahoe Tigers football team on which Don was the star running back. (Continued)

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

Late 1800’s: The Toggle Bolt, originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe N.Y. by William H. Ruby.

Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand. Perhaps it was my gobaloons or more likely, my pee-wee.

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800’s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part I.

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest”
Albert Einstein

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35 percent to 40 percent cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed,” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.”
Ellen Brown, Truthout

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

baleboste
A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
bissel
Or bisl – a little bit.
bubbe
Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
bupkes
Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” – less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
chutzpah
Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English, chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
feh!
An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
glitch
Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
gornisht
More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
goy
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
kibbitz
In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets, and it’s related to the Hebrew “kibbutz” or “collective.” But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn’t originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else’s game – that’s an American innovation.

Now, why you might ask would it be important for we goyim to learn a few words of yiddish. Well, in addition to the fact that many of these words are already common and well-integrated into English, there is another reason as well. You see, some languages have many words that essentially describe what a non-speaker would imagine to be the same thing. For example, 200 words or so for snow or a hundred and fifty words for a camels hoof. Yiddish enriches English because it contains hundreds of words to describe human foibles. Even when it ostensibly refers to a thing like a knickknacks, the yiddish word “tchatchke” seems to say more about the observer and the owner than about the object itself.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Although capitalism is not a Ponzi scheme, credit-based economies, sic capitalism, and Ponzi schemes share the same fatal flaw. Both must constantly expand or they are in danger of collapse.”
– Darryl Robert Schoon

 

TODAY’S CHART:

WEBcaphill01_1120_600-e1353565733721

“Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.”
~Investors Business Daily
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

66057_502673193087030_1729657523_n

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Pookie 0001 (November 22,2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA AND THAILAND:

At some point shortly before one leaves on a trip or the like, whatever else you may do it still feels like waiting for the trip to begin. I do things now just like before, chauffeur Hayden, play on my computer, eat and sleep but in my mind I have already left and am just waiting for my body to catch up.

The sudden change in the weather has left the trees undecided between in dressing in red or brown leaves for the season and so, in sadness, they just decided to drop them and enter the holidays naked. The rains came for a few days grey and cold. Then it was time to leave. I teared up at the station as I hugged H. He asked me not to cry. Then I shook Dick’s hand and they drove off. While standing on the platform I remembered that I had left my glasses on the table by the bed. I called Dick, He returned and we drove back to the house retrieved the glasses and repeated the leave-taking.

After spending a few hours with my sister and brother-in-law I flew off back to Thailand. Upon arrival, I immediately went to my apartment and went to sleep for the next 20 hours. The tail end of the rainy season hovers over the city leaving the temperature comfortably in the high 80’s. I a few days I hope to bestir myself enough to venture beyond the one block from my apartment to the restaurant where I eat.

Local television news is filled with images of Obama’s visit; meeting with the King, visiting temples, traveling to the newly liberalized Myanmar and attending the ASEAN conference in Cambodia. It is interesting to see how much he appears to be admired by most people in Southeast Asia in contrast to the hatred directed at him by the opposing party back in the US.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1.Thailand’s best:

Thailand is the world’s second-largest pick-up truck market after the US. It also holds the Guinness records for longest condom chain, most couples married underwater and most Mini Coopers in a convoy (444 cars parked to spell out ‘Long Live the King’). Thailand has a 92.6% literacy rate though reading anything other than the newspaper or comic books is regarded as an eccentric.

2. Where have you gone Bevo Francis?

Sixty eight years after the great Clarence “Bevo” Francis of Rio Grande college set the single game scoring mark for basketball by scoring 113 points, a sophomore at Grinnell College bettered that mark by scoring 136 in a single game. I am crushed. Does anyone still remember Bevo?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

I always felt that I wanted to be Don’s friend more that he wanted to be mine. Everyone liked him, as well they should. During that time, when we were children, he had not yet blossomed into the star athlete he became during high school. He was just Don. He seemed to find the world about him somewhat humorous. He smiled at almost everything. A sly smile that came on with a rolling of his lips as though he had first to enjoy its taste before sharing it with everyone else.

By the time we began Junior high school we became friends with a boy named Dean Wilkes. Dean lived in one of the houses on top of the ridge adjacent to Bronxville. It was a small tract home with a family room in the basement. As far as I recall none of the other members of our group lived in a house owned by their family. To us Wilkes house was the closest thing to a palace that we knew of. We formed our official gang in Wilkes basement. We cleverly named it, “The Skull Gang.” Each of us sported a cheap ring made into a skull as evidence of our membership. Despite the fact that as gangs of the era go we were one in name only, the cops in the town began to stop and question us whenever we walked down the street.

Wilkes wanted to become a soldier. He liked to play war in his back yard, an overgrown weed filled lot. We thought he was weird to be still playing games like that at that age. But, we humored Wilkes and played along. Interestingly, Don who was the most amused of all of us was the best at it.

My parents sent me to different schools than the other children I played with. They would lie about our address in order to get me into the “better” schools usually in Eastchester a town that bordered Tuckahoe and was not restricted too much. Later they sent me off to a parochial high school named after a fascist Cardinal suspected of war crimes during WWII. I only went to the same school as Don and the other kids for one year when I attended junior high school. As a result my relationships with the other members of our gang was often tenuous. We also moved around a lot eventually moving to the nearby city of Yonkers.

It was a surprise to me and I imagine to the rest of us to to discover what a superior athlete Don proved to be in High School. Before High School Don rarely participated with the rest of us in the ceaseless rounds of sports through the year.(continued)

I received the following comment from Don’s son in response to my post to him that I share with you in my previous “This and that…” post.

“Great Story. And I can picture you guys doing that and rattling the cages of the Bronxville residents. My parents were married in 1966 and lived in Yonkers (near cross Country Shopping Center) where I lived until I was in the 6th Grade, then Hartsdale then we moved to Pasadena, CA. My mother was from Bronxville and my brother and I spent many a day after school hanging out at my grandmothers house next to the Bronxville HS. Having one grandmother living in Tuckahoe & one in Bronxville I understand the contrast between the two towns. I still remember some of my friends in Bronxville being afraid to go into Tuckahoe, as though it was worst or most dangerous place in the world.

Would be an honor to meet you too. But it will have to happen in Los Angeles. Unfortunately have not been to Tuckahoe in years.

-DL”
DAILY FACTOID:

2012: “The latest estimate shows life expectancy for white women without a high school diploma was 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated white men compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better.

The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the United States in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010, American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database.”
Paul Krugman

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy

0415web-leonhardt2-popup

Exclusions from adjusted gross income are the largest drain on tax revenues at this time (even larger than the Bush Tax cut on the wealthy [only about $1-200 million yr.]). They are also one of the primary means by which the wealthy avoid paying the same rate of taxes as most of the rest of us (I can assure you, I took full advantage of them in the past). They probably are as much to blame for the increasing disparity of wealth in the nation as the Bush Tax cuts. For example, costs of carrying out a trade or business for non-employees could include things like yachts excluded from gross income by claims that they are used to conduct business meetings. Except perhaps for low-income self-employed individuals, it is difficult to conceive an individual (not a corporation) honestly requiring more than 15% of his and her income to carry out a trade or business. Instead of searching for supposed specific tax “loopholes,” that could be closed, one approach has been to urge that Congress simply consider capping of these exclusions at say 15-20% of Gross Income? This would discourage the most outrageous tax avoidance by accounting scams in one fell swoop and reform the tax code as well. It should not affect most taxpayers since it would fall most heavily on those who can afford high-priced tax attorneys to argue that the above mentioned yacht is a business necessity.

Similarly, Itemized deductions and lower dividend and capital gains rates allow people like a recent candidate for President to pay taxes at a lower rate than a secretary or almost anyone who actually works for a living and earns a salary or wages. Why not, some urge, limit the itemized deductions, dividend and capital gains rates to 15-20% of taxable income for people earning over $150,000? This will have the unintended but probably positive consequence of encouraging those earning less that $150,000 to invest more. It would not have the negative impact on housing construction as those who oppose eliminating the deduction fear, but instead provide a premium for lower cost middle class affordable housing and discourage the unwary from spending more than they can afford on their homes.

Obamacare already addresses the above in part. In order to pay for the program, the legislation imposes a 3.8% surcharge on investment income (dividends etc.) for those earning over $200,000. Also, the program places a cap on flexible spending plans and a tax on “Cadillac” medical plans, two programs that discriminate among employees of corporations allowing the wealthier to reduce their tax burden in excess of and at the expense of those less so.

According to one analysis, unless Congress compromises, on January 1, dividend taxes for those in the top tax bracket will jump from the current 15% back to the Clinton-era 39.6%. Add to this then the new 3.8% surcharge to pay for Obamacare, the top bracket for federal dividend taxes will nearly triple on January 1, from 15% to 43.4%.

Caps or limits on deductions and other tax avoidance options could reduce Congressional disputes about the appropriate rate for taxing unearned income or whether the middle class should be entitled to a tax deduction on the mortgage interest they pay on their homes. This also avoids forcing Boehner to identify those so-called specific tax loopholes he would be willing to close.

Note: the refundable tax credit was a Republican (Reagan) tax program to discourage the working poor from choosing to go on to welfare when their wages on the private market dropped below what one could make on the dole. I would keep that program intact even though it is an indirect subsidy to business. At least everyone sort of benefits.

The administrations plan actually does a little of both; increase the tax rate for the most wealthy and close some of the loopholes like those described above.

goldman-sachs-obama

According to Goldman Sachs they expect the following to happen:

The agreement that policymakers will (hopefully) reach before year end seems likely to involve an increase in tax rates from current levels and it could also involve a limitation in tax preferences. Our fiscal assumptions for 2013 include a tax increase equivalent to allowing the upper income tax cuts to expire. This amount–$56bn in 2013 and a little more than $800bn over ten years–is halfway between the President’s proposals and what Republicans would prefer.

The White House seems likely to succeed in raising at least this much revenue, though it remains to be seen whether it will come in one agreement at year-end, or a two-stage process involving a debate on more comprehensive tax reform next year.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-sachs-on-obama-taxes-for-wealthy-2012-11#ixzz2Cq4yaLE2

B. God speaks:

“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
5. Kings 2:23

Do not mess with bald men they are beloved of God.
Does this includes gay bald men and bald liberals as well as Gary Williams?

C. More nouns of association:

1. A flush of plumbers
2. A Rand of Objectivists
3. A yap of Chihuahuas
4. An ogle of office boys
5. A descent of relatives
6. A flourish of strumpets.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
Thomas Aquinas

“Twinkies are to food what Lindsay Lohan is to culture.”
Joe Wicht
TODAY’S POSTER:

o-GENTLEMANS-GUIDE-TO-AMPUTATION-570

TODAY’S CHART:

396358_4856468769128_600775260_n

This proves beyond a doubt that education like science and truth are liberal plots. Actually, like many charts such as this one, it is mostly a set up since it fails to indicate how those over 25 with a college degree actually voted in each state. On the other hand, it was based on data from Faux News so it should be ________. Choose one from: correct, incorrect, full of shit, ordained by God.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

189627_10151135425756275_1130717667_n

She also is an immigrant and has balls. Instead of moving to Australia, how about just moving their Prime Minister into the White House? I love Julia Gaillard. She is a right-wing liberal who takes no prisoners.

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Pepe 0001 (November 10, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

The election in over. The world is saved to stumble along as it always does from crisis to crisis hopefully liberated for a few weeks from those voices trembling with indignation (including mine) in fear of catastrophe if things did not go the way they wanted.

This week I head back to the Bay Area for more medical tests. When I return to El Dorado Hills, I will begin preparation for my return to Thailand on the 19th of this month. It is always a sad time for me when I leave. I will be leaving friends and relatives who I keep promising myself I will visit or call and do not. Whatever guilt that I have been able to forestall by promising myself that I will get around to calling or visiting them the following week I now get to replace with the even less believable promise to myself that I will surely do so on my return.

While whiling away my time in the golden hills, I noticed the rafter of turkeys (see below– somehow I always thought it would be a gobble or a basting) that live on our street have taken up roosting in the dying oak tree in our front yard. I learned this one morning when, as I was leaving the house to drive Hayden to school, I commented upon observing the state of the driveway that we must have had a light dusting of snow the night before. Hayden set me straight.

Speaking of rafter’s of turkeys, the golden hills are full of them. Some of them are quite large. The largest that I have seen struts around in our own rafter. It appears to be almost 4 feet tall from toenail to head feather. It scares me a lot.

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The US election came and went. The President was reelected, the Democrats increased their representation in both the House and the Senate while increasing their majority in the latter. The pundits when not castigating Romney personally have begun to echo what I have been writing here for months now, this election could be seen the last hurrah of the straight (and unfortunately too often uneducated) white male that had dominated American electoral politics since Andrew Jackson. Remember, the combination of women, latino, black, homosexual and Asian men currently makes up over 70% of the electorate. This election marks the first time they have been recognized as the nation’s majority, courted as such and have become aware of it themselves.

What this means is that the major economic interests, specifically the extractive industries and the financial transactionalists that have effectively dictated the economic and fiscal agenda of the nation since 1980 will have to ally themselves with this new majority and abandon their old allies if they wish to preserve and expand their wealth. I suspect wedge issues such as illegal aliens, and contraception and the like will disappear as attempts are made by those who set the political agenda to connect things like a women’s right to choose and reducing regulation of financial transactions with the concept of reducing governmental intrusion into people’s lives.

It will take at least a generation however for that new rhetoric to coalesce into a new majority to benefit those who currently own our natural resources and control our access to money.

O’Reilly, that old reprobate from Faux News sums it up in a rant of racist fury:

“The white establishment is now the minority. And, the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them, and they want stuff. You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?”

Yes Bill, these people, this new majority, will clamor for just about the same things, entitlements as you phrase it, from their elected officials as the old majority did…that is whatever they thought they wanted or needed. It is nothing new. Live with it.

It also should be noted that Romney’s electoral vote throughout the nation outside the South totaled about 1/4 of his entire vote. More than ever it appears the Republican Party is not a national party but regional one. Only in the South, does the Republican Party claim any credibility as a viable political party. The Southern Republican style of conservatism and the so-called Southern strategy appears to be little more than continuation of the South’s belief that they are still fighting the Civil War. Perhaps this is finally the time we put that lost cause behind us?

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In my last post I mentioned a comment that I received from the son of a friend of mine from when I was child living in a small town called Tuckahoe in New York. He had read what I had posted about his father in my blog, “This and that…”. I promised him and you to republish them and complete the series that I inadvertently did not do at that time. Here is the first post:

Old man’s memories; Donald Lundy:

Until I entered junior high school when we moved to the nearby city go Yonkers, I lived in a tiny village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River as it careened through Westchester County, a mostly wealthy suburb adjacent to New York City.

Unlike much of the rest of the county, the village residents were mostly poor people; italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals from those three ethnic groups from living within their borders, even if they could afford to do so. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those towns, where they could not live, as gardeners or domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas on the East Coast at that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter. Most nights I would lie in bed and jealously listen to the other children playing under the street lights near my home well into the night.

our gang valentine

our gang valentine (Photo credit: carbonated)

Several of the village boys in my age group spent most of our play time together. As boys tend to do, we envisioned ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house we called the Itch.

As we grew older and outgrew “The Little Rascals,” we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids (also called, The East Side Kids and the Bowery Boys), a series of mostly humorous movies about a teenage gang in the Lower East side of Manhattan. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cerrincione, referred to as “sir rinse,” even adopted Gorcey’s strutting walk. I guess the character I would have been considered most like was the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the rest of group. He probably had less of a role in the plots than the appropriately named

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from...

screenshot of Leo Gorcey and James Cagney from the film Angels with Dirty Faces (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

character, Whitey” who as far as I recall never spoke. My character’s only purpose seemed to be to warn the others that Gorcey and Huntz Hall’s plans were faulty. In the “serious’ episodes of the series he was the one who most often was in trouble requiring the others to rescue him. Unlike some of the other actors in the series like Hall and Gorcey, the actor who played my character often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular. Like me, he was mostly irrelevant to the lives of the other gang members.

Much like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I ended up fighting a lot with the rest of the kids. I also preferred to spend my time reading. As a result, I appeared arrogant to the others because I often corrected things they would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole (probably more ig than it).

(To be continued.)

 

DAILY FACTOID:

311195_494659567221726_857384526_n

correlation is not causation

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“… over the past generation the U.S. government has decided more or less by accident–in the same way, that Britain decided by accident to conquer two-thirds of the world starting in 1750–that it wants to shift seven percent of GDP out of manufacturing and other sectors and into what the market was telling us were the sectors of the future.

So we shifted three percent of GDP into health care administration, and four percent of GDP into finance.

Now even at the time we noticed that shifting an extra three percent of GDP into health care administration was a huge mistake. What the extra three percent of people working in health care administration are doing was working for insurance companies trying to find ways not to pay for the treatment of sick people. They are not only not producing anything useful, they simply increase risk and fear–and make people scared that if they do go to the doctor they then will not understand the bill they get and will not be able to pay it.

There is also the four percent increase in the share of GDP going to finance. This, too, is surely a zero or a negative sum game.

Anthony Scaramucci, Wall Street mogul thinks that what the world really needs is far less regulation of Wall Street, and far more room for Anthony Scaramucci to go about his business.

What is his business? His business is charging people one percent of their wealth each year for the privilege of hearing him tell them which hedge funds will do best over the next year and thus which hedge funds they should invest in.

Now if Anthony Scaramucci actually knew enough about hedge funds to know which would do best over the next year, he would be making even more money by running a successful hedge fund himself. He would be competing with Renaissance or Bridgewater. He’d be up there as someone who was making money for his clients. But he doesn’t.

He’s in a position where lots of people want an expert to tell them what to do, have been told by their friends that he is the expert to listen to.

As near as I can see, what the extra four percent of U.S. GDP devoted to finance is doing is taking money not so much from the bottom eighty percent but from the rest of the top ten percent that wants to know where to put their money–through price pressure, through arbitrage, through fees. It doesn’t do anything productive in terms of spreading risk, improving corporate governance, or diminishing moral hazard in the credit channel–rather the reverse. But it does increase uncertainty. And it has brought us our current depression.

So we have moved seven percent of the U.S. economy into activities that are at best completely unproductive. Now we have to figure out how to move resources out of these sectors. At the moment we’re unable to do so because we’re still fighting the lesser depression and trying to keep it from turning into a greater depression.
Brad DeLong

B. Nouns of Association, Part II:

1. A thought of barons
2. A knot of toads
3. A parliament of owls
4. A covey of quail
5. A passel of piglets
6. A rascal of boys
7. A rafter of turkeys
8. A skein of geese (in flight)
9. A shrewdness of apes
10. A cete of badgers

D. Electioneering:

In what I hope will be my last comment on the subject until 2014, I believe Rachel Maddow best summed up the effect of the election when she said:

We are not going to have a supreme court that will overturn Roe versus Wade.
We are not going to repeal health care reform.
Nobody is going to kill medicare and make old people fight it out in the open market to get health insurance.
We are not going to give 20% tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and children’s insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.
We will not need to consult our boss if we need to get birth control
We are not going to amend the US constitution to stop gay people from marrying
We are not scaling back on student loans because the government’s new plan is that you borrow money from your parents.
We are not vetoing the dream act, nor are we self deporting.
Ohio really did go to president Obama and he really did win.
And he really was born in Hawaii and he really is the legitimate president of the United States, again.
And the bureau of labor statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the congressional research service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections to make conservatives feel bad. He was doing math.
And climate change is real
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is real.
And the Benghazi was an attack on us, not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away people’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up and the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Sadam Hussein did not have weapon of mass destruction.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps
And moderate reforms of the regulations of the insurance industry and financial services industry are not the same thing as communism.

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”
Thomas Aquinas

“Who are these people?” Hertz Shemets says. “They’re yids. Yids with a scheme. I know that’s a tautology.”
Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.

“You are as unhappy as the least happy of your children.”
Mary Anne Petrillo

 
TODAY’S CHART:

404713_494657980555218_564092358_n

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

317288_491838394170510_160564942_n

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

o-SIENNA-MILLER-NUDE-570
Sienna Miller

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Pepe 0001 (November 5.2012)

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Halloween came and went with Hayden dressed as “the Scream” and me handing out candy to whatever goblins and ghosts might ring the door bell.

DSCN0481

I was quite anxious, fearing that no one would come begging at the door. I could not face the humiliation of failing at the simple task of providing children something to rot their teeth and endanger their health. I kept jumping up and down from sofa and running to the door to see if anyone was coming.

Finally a shy tiny little blond girl dressed all in bandages showed up. Overcome with excitement and with a big nervous and undoubtedly scary smile on my face I held out to her the bowl of candy. She hesitatingly reached into the bowl and timidly plucked out one piece and dropped it into the bag she was carrying.

Interpreting her hesitation as  rejection of my sincere efforts to corrupt the innocent, I shouted “no,” stepped suddenly toward her and in one quick move dumped the entire contents of the bowl into her still open candy bag.

With a surprised squeak and eyes so wide I feared they would fall out of her head and follow the candy into the now almost full bag, she turned and ran off into the darkness.

I spent the remainder of the evening wondering if I were going to receive a visit from the police and questioning whether Halloween candy maven was a suitable career choice for me.

In the days following the trauma of Halloween, I returned to my role as nanny and in my spare time threw myself into my newest career as URB.im’s Bangkok Bureau Chief. That impressive title requires me to write four posts a month about those who believe they are saving the world by interfering in the lives of the poor and destitute of Thailand.

My pay would be barely adequate to keep a homeless Bangkok street beggar in two bowls of rice and broth a day. It was suggested that, as soon as possible, I find someone who otherwise is unemployed to take over the job, preferably a young local woman living at home with her parents since that was the usual situation of the other Bureau Chiefs. My new employers seemed dubious about entrusting their important work to some overweight broken down old attorney ex-pat who in his dotage would likely slip into some hole in the sidewalk and disappear into the city’s sewer system leaving them without their man or woman in Bangkok.

My first assignment is to write about organizations providing parks for squatters living in tar paper shacks perched on stilts over the same sewers it was expected that I would fall into.

On Saturday I drove to Cameron Park for H’s first Taekwondo Tournament. I believe it is one of the functions of the elderly to assume periodically the role of chauffeur of children and relieve parents of that obligation. God knows it is not that we (the elderly), have so much else of interest to do that we cannot spare the time.

I was somewhat anxious on the drive. This was my first time driving my charge to a tournament. I worried I would get lost and he would be disqualified (I did but he did not).

Taekwondo is one of the those Asian so called martial arts that makes one less competent in a street fight then if you knew nothing about it. At least if one were ignorant, he would not believe throwing long distance bombs would help him against a stronger opponent but instead would grapple with him in hope that he could pin down his arms before having his lights punched out. The martial art seems to be a cross between an athletic sport and dance; the quick controlled explosiveness of most athletic endeavors coupled with the grace and formalism of dance.

H. whose athleticism and technique leaves a lot to be desired, surprised me with his aggressiveness, chasing one of his opponents all over the gym to win 5-0. After the bout the other boy dropped to ground and started to cry. H went over to him and told him he should not feel sad because he, Hayden, had a secret. He explained that his Pookie told him that as soon as the referee signaled the bout to begin he should rush his opponent and hit him as hard as he can. “Now,” that you know the secret,” Hayden continued, “I am sure you’ll win your next bout.”

Flushed with excitement and with H clutching his medal we drove back down the hill, ate a pizza lunch and went to the movies to watch Wreck-it Ralph attempt to redeem his life in 3D animation.

DSCN0499_2

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Some time ago in this section of “This and that…”, I wrote about a childhood friend of mine who I discovered had died not too long before. I never finished the story, having been distracted by one or another of my reoccurring ADD attacks. As most of you know, I eventually republish these emails in my blog of the same name “This and that…” Recently, I received a comment from the son of that deceased friend. Here is a copy of his comment and my response:

Mr. Petrillo – My name is Donald Lundy Jr. and from time to time as I get bored at work I Google my name or my dad’s name and I happened to come across your blog and the Mopey Joe’s memories (December 15, 2011) discussing Tuckahoe, the Old Gang and my dad. What really brought back memories was the mention of my dad enjoying the Italian cuisine. I remember him saying how you guys would trade lunches as the Italian kids were tired of eating the Italian meal of the day and the black kids tired with whatever they were given to eat.

Dad passed away in 2005 but would be honored that the recollection of him would prompt you to begin your post of Tuckahoe and your old gang. He has always had a special place for the town as any kid would growing up there. With that in mind since 2006 I have worked on providing a small scholarship at Tuckahoe High School in his name that provides $1,000 per year to a Scholar/Athlete each year. This past June we had our 7th recipient.

Anyway I wanted to say hello and say I enjoyed your story and I hope you continue the story of Tuckahoe & my dad.

Sincerely,
Donald Lundy, Jr.

Dear Donald,

I am so happy to receive your comment. Your dad was a special friend to me while growing up. I left Tuckahoe to live in Yonkers before the 10th grade, so I did not experience his athletic prowess in high school. To me he was always just “Dondi,” a kid I hung out with and liked a lot. Thank you for reminding me that I forgot to complete my reminisces about him. I will return to them as soon as I can.

I do not know if I mentioned it in my reminisces, but we kids in Tuckahoe could not afford a boy scout troop so we made one up of our own. We put together enough money to buy most of a single uniform that we distributed among us. Once a year we would troop over the hill to Bronxville, at that time a white community in which we were not allowed to live and were discouraged from visiting, to have our own Boy Scout Jamboree. We would set up camp on the lawn of the Bronxville City Hall until the local cops kicked us off. Our troop flag, hung on a broken tree branch, rose proudly above our encampment. On our march over the hill, Dondi, in front, always carried that flag.

I do not know when or if I will get back to Tuckahoe again, but if I do, I would be honored to meet you.

Joe…

In my next issue of “This and that…”, I will repeat my prior posts about Don Lundy and hopefully follow it up with  continuation of where I left off.

DAILY FACTOID:

1. 1865 – Today

Over 600,000 Americans were killed in during the American Civil War a full 2% of the population at the time. The war was begun by the Southern states of the Union to protect the right of 1% of the population of those states to keep fellow human beings in slavery. The South insisted that liberty required that states rights trump human rights and that whether a person should or should not live life as a slave be dictated by the market.

Compare this with WWII fought 90 years later where 416,000 (less than .1% of the population) Americans died. WWII was fought by the allies against perhaps the most evil government on the planet since establishment of the Confederate States of America.

2. Today

Even though women are 51% of the U.S. population, they hold only 16.8% of seats in the House of Representatives and 17% of seats in the Senate. And this year, the Fortune 500 had more female CEOs than ever before! Eighteen. Out of 500.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Kos-85-teaser

B. Readings from the Bible: The Good Host.

“Look, I have two daughters, virgins both of them. Let me bring them out to you and you could do what you like with them. But do nothing to these men because they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
11. Genesis 19:8

C. Nouns of Association:

1. A clowder of cats
2. A parenthesis of cellists
3. A coalition of cheetahs
4. A shock of corn (with stalks included)
5. A brace of dogs (2 dogs)
6. A leap of leopards
7. A coterie of Orchids
8. A dray of squirrels
9. A midden of shells
10. A murder of crows

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”
Thomas Aquinas

“I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted.
Mae West

“Humans are simply bipolar apes.”
Trenz Pruca

“A willingness to kill members of ones own species is apparently correlated with high intelligence. It may be that chimps and people are the only species able to figure out that the extra effort to exterminate and opponent will bring about a more permanent solution than letting him live to fight another day.”
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade

TODAY’S CHARTS:

1. Map of the land of OZ

400px-map-of-oz

2. Life on OZ

416876_494665083887841_352752699_n
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

253094_483084368392171_518387623_n

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 15, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. In my continuing effort to demonstrate fairness by incorporating comments from both sides of the political divide, I have included the following regarding Larry Klayman one of the nations leading conservative bloggers and founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch:

In his latest column, Larry Klayman predicted that people will increasingly stock up on firearms because President Obama’s “dishonest, non-responsive and incompetent government” is “invading our individual and family rights and taking away our liberties,” and are just waiting “for the revolution to come.”

The founder of Judicial Watch went on to argue that Americans see “no one on the horizon who can lead this nation back from Armageddon” and worries they will eventually turn to violence: “Let us pray that violent revolt will not break out before all other options are exhausted, but our Founding Fathers, faced with a similar dilemma, were forced to eventually choose this path by risking, and in many cases sacrificing, their fortunes and lives”

To those liberals out there, when I discover a main stream liberal blogger or political leader suggesting the violent overthrow of the government, I promise, in all fairness, to post it.

2. Why Parody is impossible:

“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
~Newt Gingrich, arguing that it’s okay for politicians to be bought and paid for.

Should I find any other politician, Republican or Democrat, who says something even remotely like this, I promise I will post it.

3. Buddy Roemer candidate for the Republican nomination for President, a candidate we should all get the chance to hear. Why does Faux News exclude him from the debates?

“Here I am, running for president, and I’m different, No big checks, no PAC money. That’s my issue. I’m successful at what I do, a successful businessman, the only congressman and governor running who had both experiences, and I can’t qualify [for the debates] because I can’t get a poll number, and I can’t get a poll number because I can’t get on the debates. How about that for shutting a man down?”
Roemer in a wide-ranging interview with The Fiscal Times

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 2011: Education Matters:


2. 1941: DECEMBER 12, WORLD WAR II, JOSEF GOEBBELS RATIONALIZES THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE HOLOCAUST:

“Regarding the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to clear the table. He warned the Jews [back in January 1939] that if they were to cause another world war, it would lead to their own destruction. Those were not empty words. Now the world war has come. The destruction of the Jews must be its necessary consequence. This question is to be regarded without sentimentalism. We are not here to have sympathy with the Jews, but rather with our German people. If the German people have sacrificed 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, so the authors of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.”

And we still have not learned that no rationalization no matter how convincing justifies either murder or discrimination for what people are; their race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, or gender identity.

3. Sixth Century BC: Discussion between Demaratus and King Xerxes prior to the latter’s march upon Greece:

“Xerxes sent for Demaratus the son of Ariston, who had accompanied him in his march upon Greece, and said to him:

“‘Demaratus, I would like you to tell me something. As I hear, you are a Greek and a native of a powerful city. Tell me, will the Greeks really fight against us? I think that even if all the Greeks and all the barbarians of the West were gathered together in one place, they would not be able to stop me, since they are so disunited. But I would like to know what you think about this.’

“Demaratus replied to Xerxes’ question: ‘O king! Do you really want me to give a true answer, or would you rather that I make you feel good about all this?’
“The king commanded him to speak the plain truth, and promised that he would not on that account hold him in less favour than before.

“When he heard this promise, Demaratus spoke as follows: ‘O king! Since you command me to speak the truth, I will not say what will one day prove me a liar. Difficulties have at all times been present in our land, while Courage is an ally whom we have gained through wisdom and strict laws. Her aid enables us to solve problems and escape being conquered. All Greeks are brave, but what I am about to say does not concern all, but only the Spartans.

“‘First then, no matter what, the Spartans will never accept your terms. This would reduce Greece to slavery. They are sure to join battle with you even if all the rest of the Greeks surrendered to you. As for Spartan numbers, do not ask how many or few they are, hoping for them to surrender. For if a thousand of them should take the field, they will meet you in battle, and so will any other number, whether it is less than this, or more.’

“When Xerxes heard this answer of Demaratus, he laughed and answered: ‘What wild words, Demaratus! A thousand men join battle with such an army as mine! Come then, will you — who were once, as you say, their king — fight alone right now against ten men? I think not. And yet, if your fellow-citizens really are as you say, then according to your laws as their king, you should be twice as tough and take on twenty all by yourself!

“‘But, if you Greeks, who think so hightly of yourselves, are simply the size and kind of men as those I have seen at my court, or as yourself, Demaratus, then your bragging is weak. Use common sense: how could a thousand men, or ten thousand, or even fifty thousand — particularly if they are all free, and not under one lord — how could such a force stand against a united army like mine? Even if the Greeks have larger numbers than our highest estimate, we still would outnumber them 100 to 1.

“‘If they had a single master as our troops have, their obedience to him might make them courageous beyond their own desire, or they might be pushed onward by the whip against an enemy which far outnumbered them. But left to their own free choice, they will surely act differently. For my part, I believe that if the Greeks had to contend with the Persians only, and the numbers were equal on both sides, the Greeks would still find it hard to stand their ground. We too have men among us as tough as those you described — not many perhaps, but enough. For instance, some of my bodyguard would willing engage singly with three Greeks. But this you did not know; and so you talked foolishly.’

“Demaratus answered him- ‘I knew, O king, that if I told you the truth, I would displease you. But since you wanted the truth, I am telling you what the Spartans will do. I am not speaking out of any love that I have for Sparta — you know better than anyone how I feel about those who robbed me of my rank, of my ancestral honours, and made me a homeless exile…. Look, I am no match for ten men or even two, and given the choice, I would rather not fight at all. But if necessary, I would rather go against those who boast that they are a match for any three Greeks.

“‘The same goes for the Spartans. One-against-one, they are as good as anyone in the world. But when they fight in a body, they are the best of all. For though they are free men, they are not entirely free. They accept Law as their master. And they respect this master more than your subjects respect you. Whatever he commands, they do. And his command never changes: It forbids them to flee in battle, whatever the number of their foes. He requires them to stand firm — to conquer or die. O king, if I seem to speak foolishly, I am content from this time forward to remain silent. I only spoke now because you commanded me to. I do hope that everything turns out according to your wishes.'”

“This was the answer of Demaratus, and Xerxes was not angry with him at all, but only laughed, and sent him away with words of kindness.

–Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Histories

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. Thailand: Cracked News from “Not the Nation”( the Thai “Onion”):

PM Declares Inner Bangkok Safe As Giant, ‘Croc-zilla’ Terrorizes Pathum Thani

4 Dec 2011, Pathum Thani – As tens of thousands of Thais still trapped by flood waters in Pathum Thani fended off a giant, mutant “croc-zilla,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today assured residents and businesses in inner Bangkok that they would not be impacted.

Pathum Thani residents who have survived croc-zilla’s attacks say the amphibious beast is 72 meters tall, walks on two legs, has the jaw and tail of a crocodile, breathes fire and has a Medusa-like mane of poisonous green mamba snakes.

“Croc-zilla,” as dubbed by the Thai media, is believed to have destroyed at least 600 homes and torn 300 people to pieces in the last 48 hours. The beast is also said to have ambushed several Red Cross deliveries yesterday and started its own horde of Mama noodles and sanitary napkins.

2. America: Are the Hyenas turning on each other?

ST PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 12, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the daily devotional he has written every morning for 12 years on the issues of the day from a Biblical worldview, is warning Christians that entertainer Glenn Beck is Satan, “masquerading as an angel of light,” and using Christians to further his agenda and advance the satanically inspired cult he belongs to.

Firstly, this is not a liberal media attack on Beck, but statements by a denizen of the religious right that up to now generally sympathized with Beck. Secondly, on the specifics of this allegation, I stand with Beck. He is not Satan. He is not painted red and he lacks horns.

3. Thailand: The Thai way:

The Bangkok Post, the nations leading english language newspaper, lists an email address for submitting Letters to the Editor that does not work.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I continue to spend my days exercising in the mornings and on the internet in the afternoons. Now and then I take in a movie or watch a DVD before going to bed. I had gained over 12 pounds during my US trip and lost whatever benefits I gained from my Thai fitness regime.

It is the high tourist season in Thailand, in the mornings the temperature is equivalent to that of late spring afternoons in a temperate climate, and the afternoons although hot are not uncomfortable as long as one avoids the direct ray’s of the sun.

I have begun to feel the effects of Bangkok air pollution with the return of my Bangkok cough.

I received a telephone call from Hayden and Nikki during their stop over in NYC on their way to Italy for the Christmas Holidays. Hayden told me he had gotten me a flashlight for Christmas because he knows I do not see so well and he thought it would help.

Nikki told me that Hayden had developed a serious eye tic that he did not have when I left a few weeks ago. His mother, SWAC, indicated that she was considering giving the child up to another man (one of the several SWAC hinted may be the child’s father). SWAC would return to Thailand to live and the child would be raised in this man’s household in Washington State. He has a daughter about Hayden’s age. I understand his prior marriages devolve amidst accusations of violence and he lost custody of his children from those marriages. He also is the one who recently “spread the word” about SWAC to her friends in Sacto.

We shall see if these rumors are true or if the child finds himself trapped in another cycle of insecurity.

Sad as I may feel, I have begun to realize that my efforts may have only increased the boy’s rejection fears since, for whatever reason, I like almost everyone else comes in and out of his life and often am not there when he needs stability the most. I fear I may be exacerbating, his situation. Perhaps it is time we both get on with our lives, such as they are.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMOIRS:

Old man memories, Don Lundy (Cont.):

Most of us, born into the Italian tradition had nicknames. In addition to “sir rinse,” our gang included, “Soupy,” Frank Supa, “Louie,” Louis DeLago, “Chazz,” Charles DeVito, “Whitey,” Peter White (Whitey, was non ethnic originally from Saugertes NY and considered a “hick.” He was the groups best all around sports athlete. (He had a sister who was not 100% and who the older boys had their way with.)), and “Neddy,”Ned Callaghan, a small Irish kid who was my rival in non-sport athletics such as climbing trees and buildings.

I used to like to climb tall trees in the neighborhood until I reached the tallest and thinest branch that inevitably would break under my weight sending me tumbling through the lower branches as I tried to slow my fall before striking the ground. At that time school buildings often were made of red brick with marble cornices about 1/2 thick marking the separate floors. Ned and I used to like to climb up the brick facing by squeezing our fingers and toes into the slight indentions made by the mortar until we reached the cornice and then we would inch along the cornice until we had encircled the building and then climb to the next floor and repeat circumnavigation of the building.

There was me of course. Every now and then someone in the group would call me “Mopey Joe.” I hated that name and so often a fight would ensue. I was given that name by one of the Blount brothers, (the Blounts were older and not members of our group), because I usually walked slowly, at a steady pace with my head down. The reason I did so was that I suffered constant pain from flat feet forcing me to generally gingerly walk more on my heels while tipping my upper body forward for balance. Anyway the Blounts were black, part of the vast migration north of rural southern blacks that began during the war. The black community in town was split between those immigrants and those free blacks who could trace their residence in the village back to the Civil War and before. They, this latter group, actually made up most of the village’s middle class.

Nick-names were part of italian culture, mostly prosaic and based either on some rearrangement of ones name, something peculiar about the person (I knew a guy call “Beefsteak” because of his fondness for that food) or insulting like “Gimp.” Blacks however tended to bestow nicknames whether from affection or insult more playfully and seemed to revel in the poetry. Mopey Joe had a certain ring to it, don’t you think? At that time, I was ashamed of it and hated it. It was only when I decided to start using it in this section of “This and that…” that I got to like it. I now have several nicknames some of which would normally be considered a bit insulting; “Pookie” and “Mopey Joe,” being two of them. Pookie I have grown to love and refer to myself that way. It was given to me by a small child out of love and trust and how could one be ashamed of that? If I were to rank the various names that people referred to me by, Pookie would be first, then followed by Papa Joe, Mopey Joe, Joe, Joey, Asshole, Bastard and Motherfucker.

There were a few other members of the gang whose names I have forgotten. Then there was Donald Lundy, “Don” or “Dondi.” My recollection of whom prompted this post.

Dondi was a black kid or “colored” as people of that time referred to what we have today agreed to refer to as black or African-American. In my experience no-one used the N word not even blacks with blacks as became fashionable later. The only people that used the N word were southerners we were told, classless white guys and crazy angry and often drunk people. I assumed, since my black friends at the time informed me, we were, in private, referred to in turn as Dagos, Wops or Guineas. Typically the complexities of racial and ethnic profiling and insults escaped the understanding of the children in my peer group in that village.

Anyway, Don’s family was of the older black settler group. I wanted to be his friend and we spent a lot of time together apart from the gang, playing and talking about those things of interest to little boys. We never fought as I did often with other friends. Dondi was too good-natured for that. We often ate at each others houses. Dondi used to like to come over to my house because at that time Italian Cuisine was still considered exotic and spicy. Dondi developed a taste for it. (To be continued.)

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about a fan and feces (cont.):

She returned to look at him again.

“You do not know what you’re, talking about.”

“I know what I felt since the first time you walked into my office,” he responded.

“No, it is impossible,” she said while lowering her eyes and gripping her purse.

“Why, is there someone else? Is it because you are supposed to be my body-guard or we are on opposite sides,” he said raising his voice slightly in exasperation?

“No” she said in almost a whisper.

The waiter and cart arrived by their table and she turned to watch the waiter approach with the salad fork in his hand. Vince ignored the server and stared at her trying to think of a follow-up to his question.

The waiter placed the salad fork down on the table at the top of Isabella’s plate opposite her and turned, took a few steps over to the serving cart and bent down to retrieve something. Isabella stared at the fork for a moment then picked it up. (To be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GAMMA RAYS FROM SPACE

When a supermassive star is in its dying moments, it shoots out two beams of high-energy gamma rays into space. If these were to hit Earth, the immense energy would tear apart the atmosphere’s air molecules and disintegrate the protective ozone layer.

Danger sign: The sky turns brown and all life on the surface slowly dies.

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

1. A greater percentage of our tax dollars should be spent on education our future requires it and our present employment crises demands it.

2. End the lie that debt from public spending is the reason for the financial crisis.


3. Tell the truth about the costs of private heath insurance:


Medicare actually does a better job of controlling costs than private insurers — not remotely good enough, but better…

If Medicare costs had risen as fast as private insurance premiums, it would cost around 40 percent more than it does. If private insurers had done as well as Medicare at controlling costs, insurance would be a lot cheaper.

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“The revolt of the plutocrats has now been ratified by the Supreme Court in its notorious Citizens United decision last year. Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five pro-corporate conservative justices gave “artificial entities” the same rights of “free speech” as living, breathing human beings, they told our corporate sovereigns “the sky’s the limit” when it comes to their pouring money into political campaigns. The Roberts Court embodies the legacy of pro-corporate bias in justices determined to prevent democracy from acting as a brake on excessive greed and power in the private sector. Wealth acquired under capitalism is in and of itself no enemy of democracy, but wealth armed with political power — power to shake off opportunities for others to rise — is a proven danger. Thomas Jefferson had hoped that, “we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country.” James Madison feared that the “spirit of speculation” would lead to “a government operating by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty.”

d. Profiles in Presidential courage:
“In name we had the Declaration of Independence in 1776; but we gave the lie by our acts to the words of the Declaration of Independence until 1865; and words count for nothing except in so far as they represent acts. This is true everywhere; but, O my friends, it should be truest of all in political life. A broken promise is bad enough in private life. It is worse in the field of politics. No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after election; and, if he makes such a pledge and does not keep it, hunt him out of public life. I care for the great deeds of the past chiefly as spurs to drive us onward in the present. I speak of the men of the past partly that they may be honored by our praise of them, but more that they may serve as examples for the future…”
Teddy Roosevelt:
e. The difference between Americans and Europeans:

Americans are more pro-religion and anti-homosexuality.

Image unavailable at this time.

I guess I will have to stop eating French Fries again.

f. Testosterone Chronicles:
“…The Paccius letter having been answered, let me tell you the rest of my news. A letter from my brother contains some quite extraordinary things about Caesar’s warm feelings towards me, and is corroborated by a very copious letter from Caesar himself. The result of the war against Britain is eagerly awaited, for the approaches to the island are known to be ‘warded with wondrous massy walls’. It is also now ascertained that there isn’t a grain of silver on the island nor any prospect of booty apart from captives, and I fancy you won’t expect any of them to be highly qualified in literature or music!”
Marcus Tullius Cicero to Titus Pomponius Atticus: 89 (iv. 16): Rome, about 1 July 54 BC.

What no silver, no booty! Oh well, I guess slaves will do. Another tale of “The Biker Gangs Conquer the World.” Did you think that Caesar conquered Britain just to bring the benefits of Roman Civilization to the barbarians?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you want to be rich, you must first build roads.”
Old Chinese proverb.
TODAY’S MAP:

It is interesting how this map’s information and ranking, like so many others, roughly correlates with latitude.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Because the young Uma Thurman looks like a nymphet from outer space. There is no doubt in my mind that, given the chance, she would kill Bill.

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:


A REUNION OF OLD FRIENDS.

Monty, Pookie, David and Frank

Between the 4 of us in our lives so far, we have collectively made and lost somewhere between $50 and 100 million and perhaps more. Today we are all old and broke except Frank who is not old. Congratulations to us, we have managed to amass many more stories than toys.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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