Posts Tagged With: United States

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Pops 0007. (August 20, 2018)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

The weekend passed by quickly — mostly waiting for the biopsy on Tuesday. Not having an automobile (it is in the shop having its crumpled fender and other maladies attended too), cuts down on my activities. I had to turn down an assignment from the Scooter gang over the weekend. So, I read and went on walks through the Enchanted Forest. I get all the angst and despair I can handle from social media and television news.

Well, well, — I went for my biopsy yesterday and for the third time during my age of physical deterioration, the doctor, in this case wielding his sonogram, could find no reason for a biopsy. In other words, he could not find a mass in which a malicious deranged cell would hide. I do not know whether or not to be embarrassed after spending a month or so in gloomy speculation and endlessly disclosing my fears to all who would listen — I guess at my age I should not be embarrassed by anything I do anymore. Anyway, I know it is, at best, only a temporary reprieve.

Onward and upward as Terry always advises. Lack of a car limits my mobility and the awful air pollution from the fires restrict my walks and swimming. So, I sit at home, watch Naida work on her memoir, read as much junk as I can, and nap a lot. So goes the winter of my life. It’s not too bad. I could still be sitting around wondering about the results of my medical tests.

This evening was spent watching Janette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy movies. The last movie ended with the Canadian Mountie and the Opera star in an embrace and singing:

You belong to me
I belong to you.

We then rolled up the stairs to bed singing, one with a professionally trained voice and the other with a throat ruined by radiation therapy:

When I’m calling you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh ooh
If you answer too, ooh , etc.

That means that I offer my love to you
To be your own
If you refuse me, I will be blue
And waiting all alone

But, if when you hear
My love call, ringing clear, ooh, etc.
And I hear you’re
Answering a call so dear, ooh, etc.

Then I will know
That our love will be true

What could be better than that?

The next day I swam in the Nepenthe pool. It is my first time swimming in over a month. It felt good. While sitting by the pool a woman got out of her car and started banging on the gate demanding to get into the pool area. Eventually, she somehow got in. She was hugely pregnant. She took off her shoes, then jumped, fully clothed, into the pool, swam its length, got out, picked up her shoes, returned to her car and drove away. I did not realize it was that hot out. Life is wonderfully surprising even when you are doing nothing but staring at the leaves of some trees.

Today I spent the morning watching Doris Day — Gordon MacRae movies. Listening to them sing “Tea for Two” is an experience I rank somewhere between being drowned in a vat of medicinal cannabis or smothered in meringue.

Later I went to the pool and fell asleep in the shade only to be awakened by the sound of ten-year-olds doing flips into the water. I did my laps while trying to determine if I was in a good mood or bad. Gave up and went home.

My sister Maryann and her husband George dropped by on their way back to Mendocino from Nevada City where they were making arrangements for the wedding of their son Brendan to Ashley his intended. A few weeks ago, I discovered that a friend of mine from my childhood who I haven’t seen in almost seventy years, Snookie Salerno, now lives in Nevada City. I have been told he never returns calls from his old friends (Would you return a call to someone who called you Snookie?). He did not return my calls. So I left him a message inviting him to the wedding.

Anyway, I took Mary and George on a walk around the Enchanted Forest and along the banks of the river. Mary seems well recovered from her bout with breast cancer. I am well recovered from my bout of hypochondria.

I did not watch movies of any sort this evening. Instead, I went to bed at 8PM. Tomorrow the automobile comes out of the shop. I am relieved. I now can drive aimlessly about. I like that better than “tea for two.” Check that, it depends on whom I am having tea with and what kind of tea.

Picked up the car. Have not yet driven it aimlessly but have driven it between the shop and the house with great determination to avoid another crushed fender.

The days pass on — driving the scooter gang around, walking through the Enchanted Forest, swimming in the pools, singing show tunes, drinking margaritas, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, petting the dog, crying over Aretha Franklin, watching old movies, laughing at old jokes — the wheel turns on. And then there is this:

“For the past 2,700 years we have been evolving through the ascending Kali Yuga, and this Yuga is coming to an end in 2025. The end of the Yuga will inevitably be followed by cataclysmic earth changes and civilization collapses,…”
Bibhu Dev Misra

This morning when I left the house I ran into one of the TURKEY GANGS right beyond the front door. Yes, the Enchanted Forest is plagued by several TURKEY GANGS. They lounge along the pathways, mumbling threatening sounds and forcing residents to walk around them. They litter the sidewalks and don’t clean up after they leave. They terrorize small children and small dogs. They are huge, hulking, ugly creatures often four feet tall or more. Something needs to be done about them by the HOA. Perhaps once a year say in November we could have a community Thanksgiving Party and eat a few. They are so large they could each feed several families.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, isn’t that the celebration of a group of immigrants saved by the citizens of the area who in turn demonstrated their gratitude by slaughtering their rescuers and taking their land? Instead of Thanksgivings Day shouldn’t the day be called something like Ingratitude Day?
On Saturday morning, we attended then weekly Saturday Morning Coffee put on by the Nepenthe HOA in the Enchanted Forest. The usual group had assembled. I had a lively discussion with the 93-year-old architect about our various maladies. Later the woman that seems to run these things announced she was not going to run the “Sock Hop” in September (don’t ask — I think it is some attempt at replication of an ancient mating ritual that everyone believes existed and they experienced but it didn’t and they only imagined it. Ask yourself, “Did you ever attend a ‘sock Hop?’” And if you did, did you think the experience was such that you would want to replicate it in your old age?). This set off a flurry of whispers. Later I learned that there is a conflict between the Nepenthe HOA and the nine other HOAs over the running of the social events. I did not understand the politics involved but agreed with Naida who leaned over and said to me sotto voce, “It seems pretty silly to argue over who gets the right to volunteer.”

There are three Age of Declines:

The first Age of Decline is now. It is the first time in history that a majority of a generation lived to old age together, declined together and ultimately will die together. As usual for the past 80 years or so, we have, for better or worse, been the pacesetters.

The second type of Age of Decline is the end of an era. In our case, the end of the greatest Golden Age the world has ever seen.

The third version of an Age of Decline is experienced by all of us that live beyond 75 or so years. Not only do our bodies begin to undergo the inevitable physical and mental failures faced by all biologic creatures who have exceeded their use by date, but also our functions in society at large begin to dissipate. Oh yes, some of us keep on working and striving — and good for those of us who do. Others of us can sometimes pass through a brief period where we are consulted (not very seriously) or honored (weekly or monthly visits) by younger relatives or friends. But really for most of us, we ultimately gather in homes for the elderly or periodically meet with other elderly friends where we attempt to create a small replica of the society that we strode through in our past life — much like the members of the Nepenthe morning coffee, complete with its politics, petty annoyances, and amusements. Lucky are those of us who instead fall in love and experience a decline no less painful but much more blissful.

For the second time in a little over a month, I have been attacked by a Russian Bot. Three critical comments from the same person appeared on my Blog, Trenz Pruca’s Journal — https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/. This is unusual because almost no one ever comments on my blog. Two of the comments were general criticisms of my writing competence in two of my blog posts. A criticism I believe fully justified. In the third comment, this time on my blog about Vladimir Putin (https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/petrillos-commentary-who-is-vladimir-putin-and-why-is-he-an-enemy-of-the-united-states/. Also, reproduced below.),

He not only objects to my writing style but included an example of how it could be improved by changing my criticism to a justification of Putin’s behavior. I am so proud to have been noticed.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 
WHO IS VLADIMIR PUTIN AND WHY IS HE AN ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES:
It is important to explore the motivations of Vladimir Putin in order to understand much of the actions and policies of the Kremlin in the past few years.

First, as is true with most revolutions, the inevitable reaction reinstitute the structures of the old regime but with new titles (but often the same slogans). In Russia, the new oligarchs, like the Soviet Commissars before them, have decorated their dachas and palaces like the Tsars from whom they have taken them. The old prisons have been reopened and refilled with the enemies of the state. The so-called secret services have been restored and given new names.

The Tsar’s rentier aristocracy was replaced by the industrial Commissars. The Commissars have now been replaced by a financial/commercial oligarchy. True, the Commissars were governmental employees at the time they acquired their wealth and power and the oligarchs are not, but like the landed aristocrats they still owe their wealth to the Tsar in the Kremlin and they cross him at their peril.

Second, Putin is not only the head of the Russian government but the chief and undoubtedly the largest oligarch of them all.

Third, Putin is a Russian, a child of the Rodina, and as such the humiliation of Soviet Russia by the American commercial and military empire is a stain on its honor that any patriot would work tirelessly to remove.

Fourth, he was a low-level bureaucrat in the Soviet secret service (KGB) trained in espionage. As such, one would assume he is more comfortable with the strategies of subversion that those of military conquest.

Finally, he is extremely popular in Russia (and in many other areas of the world). Ninety-six percent of Russians approved of his military initiatives in Ukraine; ninety-five percent believed that America was goading Kiev to persecute ethnic Russians in that country. Ninety-two percent believed the same situation existed in Russian enclaves in the Caucasus, Moldova, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.

In brief, we have in Vladimir Putin an exceedingly popular, short (he is a tiny but exceptionally athletic man), greedy, subversive nationalist with a special antipathy for the United States.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

‘’ When the long nights would come long ago, the people of this and another village would gather together every night sitting beside the fire or wherever they could find room in the house. Many a device they would resort to shorten the night. The man who had a long tale, or the man who had the shorter tales (eachtraithe), used to be telling them. At that time people used to go earning their pay working in County Limerick, County Tipperary and County Cork, and many a tale they had when they would return, everyone with his own story so that you would not notice the night passing. Often the cock would crow before you would think of going home.”
Leabhar Sheáin Í Chonaill (1948)

 

MEMORIES OF BLASKET ISLAND, IRELAND.

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40 years or so ago, I traveled to Great Blasket Island off the Western Coast of Ireland. This bleak and barren island located off the tip of the Dingle Peninsula housed between 100 to 150 souls until the 1940s when the Irish Government in a fit of uncharacteristic responsibility removed the remaining twenty-two of them and resettled them in other parts of the country. As far as I know, none of the islanders objected to the relocation nor made any attempt to return.

I ferried there from mainland Ireland in one of those tar-covered little leather boats that used to be common in the western part of the country.
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Drying the boats. The village is in the background.

 

I met the ferry-man in the pub that stands on the bluff overlooking Blasket and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. For a few dollars, I persuaded him to row me there. There was no regular motor ferry to the island then but there is now.

Although the passage from the mainland to the islands is no more than a couple of miles, during much of the year when the Island was inhabited, it was too stormy and impassable for the small traditional row boats available at the time to make the crossing. As a result, the residents of Blasket were often marooned and had to live exclusively on what they could glean there on the island.

Even though the sea was relatively calm during my trip, the waves and currents in the straight threw the little boat around quite a bit causing the oarsman to strain at the oars and me to question the rationale for my visit.
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A traditional leather covered boat (a type of coracle) approaching Blasket Island. I took a boat like this on my trip.

 

We landed on a tiny bit of dressed stone surrounded on three sides by large rocks making an anchorage about ten feet or so wide. We tied up to a rusty and corroded iron ring.

I left the ferry-man there with a promise to return in an hour and a half.

In the only habitable place on the lee of the island lay a tiny village in ruins and deserted. I climbed through the ruins and into the abandoned cottage — Peig’s cottage. It was my reason for the trip — to pay homage Peig Sayers.

Peig was an old woman and seanchai (storyteller) who when approached by a representative of the Irish Folklore Commission and asked to write the story of her life on that forlorn island, did so. Much to the surprise of all, it became perhaps the greatest work of Gaelic prose literature.

The Book opens with the words:

I am an old woman now, with one foot in the grave and the other on its edge. I have experienced much ease and much hardship from the day I was born until this very day. Had I known in advance half, or even one-third, of what the future had in store for me, my heart wouldn’t have been as gay or as courageous it was in the beginning of my days.

 

In the evenings the people on the Island would gather in Peig’s cottage to listen to her stories. Seosamh Ó Dálaigh wrote the following about these sessions:

‘I wish I had the ability to describe the scene in Peig Sayers’s home in Dunquin on a winter’s night when the stage was set for the seanchaí’ ‘When the visitors arrived (for all gathered to the Sayers house when Peig was there to listen to her from supper-time till midnight) the chairs were moved back and the circle increased. News was swapped, and the news often gave the lead for the night’s subject, death, fairies, weather, crops.’ All was grist to the mill, the sayings of the dead and the doings of the living, and Peig, as she warmed to her subject, would illustrate it richly from her repertoire of verse, proverb and story…

Great artist and wise woman that she was, Peig would at once switch from gravity to gaiety, for she was a light-hearted woman, and her changes of mood and face were like the changes of running water. As she talked her hands would be working too; a little clap of the palms to cap a phrase, a flash of the thumb over the shoulder to mark a mystery, a hand hushed to mouth for mischief or whispered secrecy. ‘When the fun is at its height it is time to go,’ runs the Irish proverb; and when visitors went each night Peig would draw the ashes over the peat-embers to preserve the fire till morning, reciting her customary prayer: ‘I preserve the fire as Christ preserves all. Brigid at the two ends of the house, and Mary in the centre. The three angels and the three apostles who are highest in the Kingdom of Grace, guiding this house and its contents until day.’

 

Her home there on Blasket was now little more than rocks piled on one another for walls with more rocks added to make the roof (I understand it has been made into lodging for a small hostel now). Peig’s home contained a single room in which she spent most of her life.
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Peig in her cottage.

 

Beyond the village, exposed to the fierce winds off the Atlantic, the island was covered in a thick mat of furze, Irish gorse, and heather, with peat (or bog or turf) beneath. When walking on it, although it supported my weight, it felt as though I was walking on a springy mattress.

There were no trees or bushes to be seen anywhere. I climbed part way down a steep incline towards the cliffs on the island’s north side where the residents would scramble down to pilfer the eggs of the shorebirds that nested there. I did not go further than perhaps 10 feet or so because the cliff quickly became much steeper. It was on those steep cliffs according to Peig that Blasket’s citizens often met their death trying to secure enough food to carry them through the winter storms.
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The North side of Blasket Island and the cliffs.

 

As hard as life was on Blasket, during the Irish persecutions and famines several mainland families settled on the island, “Because life was better there.”
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A Better Life?

 

Perhaps the most astounding thing about Blasket was that Peig was not the only one from there who authored a Gaelic literary classic. Two others, Twenty Years a Growing and The Islandman, were written by Blasket natives also.

How hard was life on Blasket? Tomas O’Crohan in The Islandman wrote the following about his children:

“Ten children were born to us, but they had no good fortune, God help us! The very first of them that we christened was only seven or eight years old when he fell over the cliff and was killed. From that time on they went as quickly as they came. Two died of measles, and every epidemic that came carried off one or other of them. Donal was drowned trying to save the lady off the White Strand. I had another fine lad helping me. Before long I lost him, too.”

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Blasket Island Today.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

 

In his fascinating book In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, Alfred McCoy relates some facts about the collapse of the American education system that should give every American concern about what sort of a society we a leaving to our children.

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tested 510,000 fifteen-year-olds in thirty-four developed nations, finding those in Shanghai came first in math, science, and reading, while those in Massachusetts, “A strong-performing U.S. state,” placed seventeenth in reading, twentieth in science, and twenty-seventh in math. The OECD also found that American students “have particular weaknesses in performing mathematics tasks with higher cognitive demands, such as … interpreting mathematical aspects in real-world problems.” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan rued these results as “a picture of educational stagnation.” The National Intelligence Council noted that the country’s educational advantage “has been cut in half in the past 30 years,” meaning that without major investments in schools Americans “will increasingly bring only mediocre skills to the workplace.”

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4973-4975). Haymarket Books.
After leading the world for decades in twenty-five-to thirty-four-year-olds with university degrees, the United States sank to twelfth place in 2012. That same year, the World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre forty-seventh among 144 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction. Two years later, its position slid to fifty-first.

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4978-4981). Haymarket Books.

A survey of some 150 major American universities in 2010 found that more than half of all graduate students in the sciences were foreigners: 70 percent in electrical engineering, 63 percent in computer science, and 52 percent in materials engineering.

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4982-4984).

 

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 
A. Lou Bronico on Top:

Something I received from my cousin Lou:

Letter to My Boss:

I have enjoyed working here these past several years. You have paid me very well and given me benefits beyond belief. Have 3-4 months off per year and a pension plan that will pay my salary till the day I die and then pay my estate one year salary death bonus and then continue to pay my spouse my salary with increases until he (or she) dies and a health plan that most people can only dream of having i.e. no deductible whatsoever.

Despite this, I plan to take the next 12-18 months to find a new position. During this time I will show up for work when it is convenient for me. In addition, I fully expect to draw my full salary and all the other perks associated with my current job.

Oh yes, if my search for this new job proves fruitless, I will be coming back with no loss in pay or status. Before you say anything, remember that you have no choice in this matter. I can, and I will do this.

Sincerely,

Every Senator or Congressman running for re-election

Are we stupid or what?

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

History: A few truths surrounded by a lot of little lies and one or two big ones.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“If there is one person a fanatic is predisposed to hate, it’s a moderate who is almost but not completely aligned with their program.”

Stross, Charles. Dark State: A Novel of the Merchant Princes Multiverse (Empire Games) (p. 343). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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Two interesting aspects of this chart:

1. In general, it shows that since the Reagan Administration, interest payments on the national debt as a percentage of GDP have generally risen during Republican administrations, while under the Democrats, it has usually fallen.

2. Trump has already sharply increased that percentage from what it was in the last few years of the Obama administration.
The relationship between interest payments on the federal debt and the nations GDP is perhaps the most critical relationship in the debate regarding the appropriate size of the Federal Debt. If the interest payments get too high then a nation generally has to raise taxes, reduce expenditures or modestly inflate the economy (usually by keeping interest rates low during a rising economy ) in order to retain its credit rating.

Raising taxes is problematical because those whose taxes should be raised are the same people who fund the election of those who would vote on the action.

Cutting expenditures has its problems also. There are really only three sources of governmental expenditures large enough to make a difference if cut, defense, social security, and Medicare. Cutting defense is problematical because defense funding also provides much of the income for those paying for the elections of those who would vote on the cuts while cutting the latter two would be unconscionable to anyone but elected Republicans.

Finally, moderate inflation by keeping interest rates low thereby reducing the value of the dollar also runs up against the opposition of those who fund the elections of those who would vote on any such approach. In this case, the creditor community, the banks, etc., who would oppose any approach that would make their loans less valuable in the future.

Until we find an alternative to the media-entertainment-financial control of the political system, the solution to the Republican policy of increasing the debt-payment problem while choosing the worst of the remedies will remain elusive.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Exodus #6 a Wall Sculpture by Bruce West.

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 35 JoJo 0005 (June 19, 2016)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age, we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have. Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Baba Giufa

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On Saturday, Dick suggested a drive through an area of the foothills I had not visited before. I welcomed the diversion because I had become desperately bored spending my days in the Golden Hills without even HRM’s antics to divert me. Also, spending hours alone allowed me the time to pathologically dwell on my health problems, every twinge a creeping threat every small pain a message of more to come.

We set off down Latrobe Road.  Latrobe, as the main rail head 150 years ago, used to be the center of things in the area  until new roads and rail lines bypassed it. Now all that remains is a few stores and a gas station.
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I always liked this drive. As I watched the lonesome beauty of the oak-studded foothills pass by, I remembered long ago stopping by the side of a road like this, sneaking through the fence and climbing to the top of some gold carpeted hill. We lay in the shade of an oak tree drinking wine, eating some bread and cheese and smoking a joint. Later, beneath a cloudless sky, we made love. I was not very good at it. Not the drinking of the wine or eating the cheese, I was always good at those. Over the years, I learned the importance of pleasing your partner. It doesn’t just happen because you are in love or whatever. It no longer matters now, alas.

We turned east further into the foothills of Amador County and passed through some tiny hamlets I had never seen before.
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Small wineries began to appear here and there some with elegant restaurants attached.
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The wine region did not consist of large valleys filled with vineyards like in Napa, or the Dordogne or the rolling hills of Tuscany, but looked more like the vineyards of the Apennines — the crossing of a pine covered ridge into a tiny valley with a few vineyards then over the next ridge to another valley and more vineyards.

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Eventually, we arrived our destination, the town of El Dorado and a one-time biker bar now tourist attraction for aging ex-bikers named Poor Red’s. Poor Red’s was originally built as a weigh station for Wells Fargo. It was called Kelly’s Bar from 1927 until around 1945. A guy named “Poor Red” won the bar in a game of dice, and he and his wife “Rich Opal” took it over soon after. They ran it for many years until recently when Poor Red and Rich Opal were convicted of tax evasion. They now are serving time in prison and a new owner runs the place. The Gold Cadillac cocktail was invented here and the place is reputed to be the largest purveyor of the Italian liquor Galliano in the world — not much of a claim to fame but good enough for a tiny town in the foothills. After downing their signature drink and eating a not too bad pulled pork sandwich, we returned home.
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During the past few days, something occurred interesting enough that it prompted me to want to record it here. I decided to first spend a few days thinking over how I would write about it. Alas, I then forgot what it was that got me so excited. So, I decided to go to the movies instead.

The first movie I saw was Neighbors. I thought it was just meh. Two days later I went to see Nice Guys and liked it a lot. It was good to see a movie with clever patter to go along with an enjoyably unbelievable plot. A lot of people died. That was ok since most of them were bad guys and it was a comedy after all. I liked Russell Crowe as a fat PI — there was something Wellsian (Orson not H. G. ) about him. i then watched “my Cousin Vinny” on television for the umpteenth time and fell in love with Marisa Tomei once more.

After spending several days watching movies, staring at my computer screen and worrying about the health of my kidneys, I decided it was time for me to get away for a few days, so I left for Mendocino.

 

B. NONNA TERESA MAKES A BREAK FOR FREEDOM:

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Recently I got news that my 98 or 99-year-old mother (my sister and I disagree about her actual age and my mom refuses to tell us) fell and injured her head while trying to break out of the nursing home at which she resides. She was taken to the hospital where she had two stitches inserted in her forehead. She returned to her bed in the nursing home not too much the worse for wear.

A couple of years ago I read a novel entitled “The One-Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Ran Away.” It told the story about a 100 year-old-man who ran away from his nursing home as they were preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday. He fell in with a group of criminals, grifters, and a sympathetic cop, made a lot of money and ended up living in Indonesia or someplace like that with his 70-year-old Thai girlfriend.

I always suspected that should my mom ever successfully break out of confinement, she would probably immediately organize a criminal gang of her own made up old ladies specializing in shoplifting and random muggings. She would then take her ill-gotten gains and settle down with her boyfriend in someplace like Colma in an apartment above a restaurant named “Nona Teresa’s Eggplant and Ditalini House.”

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The senseless tragedy in Orlando Florida saddens me — people slaughtered only because of whom they chose to love. Once again in America, an angry young man armed with a gun murdered a bunch of people he did not know because he did not like or approve of them for some reason or other. Shame on us.

What is worse, I am neither shocked nor horrified. I fear I (and perhaps many of us) am becoming inured to this senseless mayhem. Mass murder with guns is to be expected in today’s America. It has become as constant as the tides. Yet, we do nothing. Shame on us.

We are urged by those who profit from the nation’s sorrow, to pick up guns to defend ourselves in order to be able to kill those we do not like and fear before they do so to us. Alas, in all likelihood, this will all end only when the last of us kills the last of them and they pry our guns from both of our cold dead hands. Shame on us.

We live in a reign of terror where we never know if or when some young man with hate in his heart and a gun will turn that gun on us or on our children. Shame on us.

And yet, our government that under the Constitution is charged with ensuring “domestic tranquility” does nothing while many of our elected representatives tell us that this same Constitution requires this reign of terror in order to preserve our freedom and liberty. Shame on us.

I am sure we all have noticed that rarely does an angry young woman pick up a gun and slaughter a bunch of innocent people solely because she does not like something about what they believe or who they choose to love. Perhaps we are approaching gun control all wrong. Of the almost 1000 mass shootings in America since Sandy Hook all, every single one, has been carried out by a man (one San Bernardino, he had a female accomplice). Maybe only women should be allowed to possess and carry guns. Not only might this eliminate these horrid mass killings, but reduce the incidence of rape and domestic violence as well

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Since 1945, no independent country recognized by the UN has been conquered and wiped off the map.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 370). HarperCollins

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“By now it is clear to most thinking people that every decision we make on major public problems simply makes matters worse.”
Carroll Quigley in his review of Ferkiss “In Search for a Solution to the World Crisis”,’1974.

 

B. Hierarchy of American belief in equality.

“Despite its proclamation of the equality of all men, the imagined order established by the Americans in 1776 also established a hierarchy. It created a hierarchy between men, who benefited from it, and women, whom it left disempowered. It created a hierarchy between whites, who enjoyed liberty, and blacks and American Indians, who were considered humans of a lesser type and therefore did not share in the equal rights of men. Many of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were slaveholders. They did not release their slaves upon signing the Declaration, nor did they consider themselves hypocrites. In their view, the rights of men had little to do with Negroes.”

“The American order also consecrated the hierarchy between rich and poor. Most Americans at that time had little problem with the inequality caused by wealthy parents passing their money and businesses on to their children. In their view, equality meant simply that the same laws applied to rich and poor. It had nothing to do with unemployment benefits, integrated education or health insurance. Liberty, too, carried very different connotations than it does today. In 1776, it did not mean that the disempowered (certainly not blacks or Indians or, God forbid, women) could gain and exercise power. It meant simply that the state could not, except in unusual circumstances, confiscate a citizen’s private property or tell him what to do with it.

The American order thereby upheld the hierarchy of wealth, which some thought was mandated by God and others viewed as representing the immutable laws of nature. Nature, it was claimed, rewarded merit with wealth while penalizing indolence. All the above-mentioned distinctions — between free persons and slaves, between whites and blacks, between rich and poor — are rooted in fictions.

Yet, it is an iron rule of history that every imagined hierarchy disavows its fictional origins and claims to be natural and inevitable. For instance, many people who have viewed the hierarchy of free persons and slaves as natural and correct have argued that slavery is not a human invention. Hammurabi saw it as ordained by the gods. Aristotle argued that slaves have a ‘slavish nature’ whereas free people have a ‘free nature’. Their status in society is merely a reflection of their innate nature.

Ask white supremacists about the racial hierarchy, and you are in for a pseudoscientific lecture concerning the biological differences between the races. You are likely to be told that there is something in Caucasian blood or genes that makes whites naturally more intelligent, moral and hardworking. Ask a diehard capitalist about the hierarchy of wealth, and you are likely to hear that it is the inevitable outcome of objective differences in abilities. The rich have more money, in this view, because they are more capable and diligent. No one should be bothered, then, if the wealthy get better health care, better education and better nutrition. The rich richly deserve every perk they enjoy.
Harari, Yuval Noah . Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 134). HarperCollins.

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

The two great lies:

The first is, ‘if you work harder, you will have a better life” — For some perhaps but probably not you. For society as a whole. however, every time we passed the threshold where working longer and harder, such as during the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the health, happiness and yes even wealth of the mass of people declined. But, some would point out, it allowed us to produce and accommodate far more of us. A questionable benefit if there ever was one.

The second lie is,“If we work harder, our children will have a better life.” Again yes for some, but, historically, for most the benefits were short-lived and eventually many of the children lived worse lives.

So what does this tell us? Work less, spend more time with your families and friends, live frugally replacing things with experiences, have fewer children with more adults caring for and loving them.

 

D. Today’s Poem:

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand
But came the waves and washed it away
Again I write it with a second hand
But came the tide and made my pains his prey.”
Edmund Spenser

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.”
Aaron Burr

 

 

 

A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM JOE HILL:

Long-haired preachers come out every night
To tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
But when asked how about something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet:

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
That’s a lie

And the starvation army they play
They sing and they clap and they pray
‘ Till they get all your coin on the drum
Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:

You’re gonna eat, bye and bye, poor boy
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
Dirty lie

Holy Rollers and jumpers come out
They holler, they jump, Lord, they shout
Give your money to Jesus they say
He will cure all troubles today

And you will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, boy, live on hay,
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

If you fight hard for children and wife
Try to get something good in this life
You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell
When you die you will sure go to hell

You will eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die

Workingmen of all countries, unite
Side by side we for freedom will fight
When this world and its wealth we have gained
To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:

Well, you will eat, bye and bye
When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry
Chop some wood, it’ll do you good
You will eat in the sweet bye and bye

Yes you’ll eat, bye and bye
In that glorious land above the sky, way up high
Work and pray, and live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die
That’s a lie….
Joe Hill, 1910

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Joey 0005 (April 13, 2016)

“If you find yourself thinking in circles, stop thinking.”
Wight, Will. Of Dawn and Darkness (The Elder Empire: Sea Book 2). Hidden Gnome Publishing.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN El DORADO HILLS:

So, I returned to Kirkwood with my grandson Anthony who was to give a skiing lesson to a truly remarkable three-year-old. I also met their equally remarkable parents, a Thai couple who fled Thailand to avoid an arranged marriage and spent weeks homeless in Detroit. He eventually got his engineering Master’s Degree and she completed her education also. At some point, they moved to California where she works at Stanford Hospital in the Neurology Department and he quit his job to become a full-time house-husband.
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We spent the evening in a comfortable cabin with a great view.
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Since then it has been back to the same old grind, in between driving HRM to and from school, I swim, nap, eat and read. Sometimes I drive HRM to his Flag Football games and to his Basketball training.
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One day, with little else to do, we visited The Serpentarium to search out a replacement for Puff the Bearded Dragon.

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Not at night, however, is my existence so peaceful. My dreams are not nightmares since there is no fire breathing mare bearing down on me, no fear of injury or death, just hopelessness and a suffocating frustration. I drift, not knowing if I am awake or not until I hear my heartbeat and feel the room around me.

A few posts ago, I wrote a poem, The Night of the Succubus. While I drift in my half-wakened state, I feel as though I had just encountered it in those dreams leaving me exhausted and disturbed. Often I cannot get back to sleep for hours. Strangely, unlike my usual dreams they disappear from my memory almost instantly when I wake up — gone without leaving a story behind, only dread.

A few days ago, I realized that a memory I had cherished was fake. Many years ago I lived in Little Italy in New York City, on the top of a seven-story walk up while attending Law School. After I passed the bar and began to try cases, whenever I would win at trial (and I always did) in the nearby law courts, I would walk to Vincent’s for a dish of Calamari covered their hottest hot sauce (it was almost purple) and begin my drinking for the night. Little Italy, where I also remember nights walking down the steps to the mob run Blue Grotto for Lobster Fra Diavola and fried mozzarella.

I also carried other memories of Little Italy — its tiny restaurants in a covered bazaar with Chinese produce markets next door — travels with my grandfather to meet relatives on a side street, Mafiosi all, silent unsmiling men and stern-faced women. These last two memories I realized were only dreams I thought were real. Dreams I had carried throughout my adult life as real to me as anything I had experienced. Gone now.

Will my memories, one by one, prove to be fakes and disappear until none remain when I die? Perhaps it’s that I have been dreaming about these past few days.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto — Update.

Pasted Graphic 2

About 4 years ago, I wrote a series of humorous and not so humorous posts about us, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, that we, in a fit or pathological grandiosity named ourselves and that can be translated as Wise Wise Men, Very Smart Guys, Wise wise Guys, Smarty Smarty Pants, Smart Asses and so on. We needed to repeat Sapiens twice because we discovered guys, way back when, who looked pretty much exactly like us but seemed to be not so smart so we added another Smart to make sure no one confused us with them. And, before I forget, we called ourselves Homo, Man, and not human or men and women, or us even, because in the beginning, most of this stuff was written by men who liked to use a dead language to show that they were very smart and you weren’t and that women were not men and not worth a fig.

The previous posts were prompted by some new scientific discoveries about these wise guys and girls that had blown the minds of the Latin-spouting smarty, smarty pants (Homo Sap. Saps.) The first discovery was that although there were a number of what the Latin-spouting smarty pants named Homo something or other living at the time Smarty, smarty pants dropped by, such as, Homo floresiensis [Flower man from Borneo or someplace like that. Only three feet tall and perhaps an early Leprechaun or Hobbit]; Homo Erectus [Erect man — don’t think to hard about this]; Homo tsaichangensis [The guys from Taiwan]; Homo neanderthalensis [The big German guys]; Homo rhodesiensis [Our man in Rhodesia or Zimbabwe]; Homo sapiens idaltu [Fairly smart folks from Ethiopia {Tall too}]; Archaic Homo sapiens [Cro-Magnon or not so wise old people] and Red Deer Cave people [your guess is as good as mine], there lived someone in a cave in a God forsaken part of Russia, without a Latin name. Well, this shook everyone up who was into this sort of thing. After all, who knows how many people were out there at that time without Latin names. Anyway, they gave her and her people the temporary name Denisovans after the God-forsaken cave they found her in entertaining some big Germans and Wise Wise Men and who knows what else.
Pasted Graphic 4Pasted

Oh, and by the way she was obviously a her and that’s really when the bones began to hit the fan.

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Deni Denisova herself.

You see, at about the same time, DNA sequencing (similar to NSA spying but smaller) became all the rage and someone decided to do a DNA sequencing on Deni’s (my name for her) knucklebone and tooth, about all of her they found, to see if they could discover something and become famous on social media. And oh did they find something!
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Deni’s Tooth — One can tell by the state of her tooth Deni chose another profession over becoming a dental hygienist.

First, we have to understand that perhaps three or four hundred years ago some guy living in Europe decided it would be good and perhaps even biblical to give all living things Latin names. And it would be even better to divide them between those that looked a lot alike but each thought the other was so ugly they did not want to breed unless it was closing time and they were both blind drunk and if they did, their children, if there even were some, would be so screwed up they would avoid bars altogether. These they called species another Latin word meaning species. For example, in the Genus (see below) that includes Horses, Donkeys, and Zebras, we know that horses find donkeys as ugly and sin and vice versa, but should they be forced into it would produce an unwanted bundle of joy that would be a mule and have no Latin name and no prospects.

The other word was genus which meant all the species that looked more alike than they looked like others. Then they gathered all these genuses into something called Families for some reason and Families into other Latin names and so on. But, we do not have to concern ourselves with that now.

So, what was the surprise? Well, even though my old college professor Carroll Quigley said it was not so, most of the Latin namers believed the various Homo’s ( By the way, having realized that more than half of the members of the species were not men which is what the Latin word homo means they tried very hard to make amends by insisting Homo really meant “human or something else or changing it to something like hominoid (mannoid) all of which remains, at best, problematical solutions to repairing bruised egos.) Anyway, they believed these species thought each other unredeemablely ugly and so avoided having children with them or at best played lonely shepherd in the night.

Well, low and behold, what they discovered was that Deni was keeping a cave for more than just getting in out of the cold. Not only was Deni offering her services to those hunky but low brow Germans, but us, or at least our long dead grandparents as well. Later, we discovered our long ago grandmothers and grandfathers were doing it with the Hunky Germans and God knows who else also. It seems that about 60,000 years ago those caves were the hookup bars of the Stone Age.
Pasted Graphic 3

It was bad enough to find out that our ancient grandparents did not honor family values but that the parts of our genes our brawny cousins gave us were often the best, like our immunological resistance. Since it was not too long after this that our cousins disappeared, it perhaps could be argued that the portions of DNA we gave them was similar in effect to the small-pox the Europeans gifted the Native Americans with.

Since then there have been additional developments, perhaps not so momentous, but those will have to wait for my next post.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Some have asked where the name Pookie came from. I have explained that when HRM was a little over one-year-old, I used to call him ‘pookie’ whenever I came home from work. He, thinking I was saying my name, began calling me Pookie. So the name stuck to me and not to him.

But that begs the question — What is a Pookie? Well perhaps it comes from the old Irish word Pooka (or Phouka or Puca)

THE POOKA (PHOUKA, PUCA)
Pooka
Pooka

No fairy is more feared in Ireland than the pooka. This may be because it is always out and about after nightfall, creating harm and mischief, and because it can assume a variety of terrifying forms.

The guise in which it most often appears, however, is that of a sleek, dark horse with sulfurous yellow eyes and a long wild mane. In this form, it roams large areas of the countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms.

In remote areas of County Down, the pooka becomes a small, deformed goblin who demands a share of the crop at the end of the harvest: for this reason several strands, known as the ‘pooka’s share’, are left behind by the reapers.

In parts of County Laois, the pooka becomes a huge, hairy bogeyman who terrifies those abroad at night; In Waterford and Wexford, it appears as an eagle with a massive wingspan; In Roscommon, it appears as a black goat with curling horns.

The mere sight of the Pooka may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk, and it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to swoop them up onto its back and then throw them into muddy ditches or bog-holes. The pooka has the power of human speech, and it has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight dashes. If that person refuses, the pooka will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.

The origins of the pooka are to some extent speculative. The name may come from the Scandinavian pook or puke, meaning ‘nature spirit’. Such beings were very capricious and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock. Alternatively, the horse cults prevalent throughout the early Celtic world may have provided the underlying motif for the nightmare steed.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Two great lies.

“If you work harder you will have a better life” — For some perhaps but probably not you. For society as a whole, however, every time we passed the threshold where working longer and harder were required, such as during the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions, the health, happiness and yes even wealth of the mass of people declined. Those who worked less, royalty, administrators, merchants and military fared much better. But, some would point out, there were far more of us. A questionable benefit if there ever was one.

“If we work harder our children will have a better life.” Again yes for some, but historically for most, the benefits were short-lived and eventually most of the children lived worse lives.

So what does this mean? Work less, spend more time with your families and friends, live frugally replacing things with experiences, have fewer children with more adults caring for and loving them.

B. Today’s Poem:

I Am Not Old

I am not old…she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
~ Samantha Reynolds ~

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens have thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of rivers, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and corporations. As time went by, the imagined reality became ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagined entities such as the United States and Google.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 32). HarperCollins.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

on-the-sensation-of-dying
The Death of Cleopatra, painted by somebody with an overwrought imagination.

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Pepe 0004 (November 10, 2015)

 

IMG_0388_2
“Homo homini lupus.” (Man is a wolf to man.)
Plautus

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Halloween came and went. I dragged myself begrudgingly along the by-ways of El Dorado Hills following pint-sized beggars in outlandish costumes as they greedily panhandled the local burghers for flavored sugar.
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Local Sight on Halloween Night

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The Day after Halloween

After a day or so of a good rain, gentle so it soaked into the parched soil, the trees seemed happier. Their branches drooped less and their leaves began to unfold. The next day the sun came out so I went for a swim at the health club. I love swimming when the air is cool (it was in the mid-fifties) and the water warm. I floated more than swam, staring at the sky or idly watched the bottom of the pool edge by as I slowly completed my laps.

HRM baked another chocolate cake most of which I devoured. A few days later, he made some tasty artisan bread from a recipe that he and his friend Jake found on u-tube.

I am reading two books at the same time — one chapter from one and then one from the other. I guess you can consider both of them sf/fantasy novels. One written by cj cherryh leans more towards swords and sorcery science fiction with an underlay of the Welsh legends of Morgaine who later morphed into Morgan le Fey of King Arthur and Merlin fame
255px-Morgan_spencer_stanhope_3
Morgan le Fey

— the other, by China Mieville, more a steampunk story about conflicts over language in a world far in the future.
embassytownart FINAL_1

Despite the vast differences between the stories and the styles of their authors, they have begun to intertwine in my mind into the semblance of a third story — Morgaine, her deadly (Vorpal?) sword Changeling in hand, rides madly across the cosmos toward that lonely, small, strange, planet at the edge of the universe where humans have taught the hugely competent and hugely huge indigenous people how to lie and then addict them like crack freaks to the sound of someone talking shit to them. Then these native metaphor junkies start killing each other and everything else until they are persuaded to enter a linguistic twelve-step program. Meanwhile, in Eddy Poe’s world, the Raven still cries “Nevermore Lenore.”

I cannot wait to get back to Bangkok where the bizarre is real life, the government an indolent autocracy, everyone lies and the sex is twenty dollars retail.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Goodfellas

Wiseguys Jimmy Burke, Tommy DiSimone, and Henry Hill:

“In 1970, there is a welcome party in Robert’s for the just free from prison William “Billy Batts” DeVino of the Gambino family. Present were Jimmy Burke, Tommy DiSimone and Henry Hill, Batts is busting DiSimone’s balls and DiSimone tells his friends that Batts is a dead man. 11 June 1970 William “Billy Batts” DeVino (49) comes to Hill`s bar “the Suite” to drink something and later also arrive Tommy and Jimmy. Jimmy keeps Batts talking while DiSimone goes out to get a pistol and a bodybag. The two then start to beat up William “Billy Batts” DeVino while wiseguy Alex Corcione is still present and Hill sends him away, they kill Batts and had his body disappear. “
Gangsters Inc. http://z14.invisionfree.com/GangstersInc/index.php?showtopic=1097

C. NOMINATION FOLLIES CONTINUED:

1. For about a week following the third debate debacle, the Republican candidates for the nomination have been meeting behind closed doors in an effort to decide among themselves how to avoid being asked questions from the debate moderators they do not want to answer. One proposal that seems to have gained some traction avoids having them forced to think on their feet and answer questions posed by the “liberal” media they chose to host the debate. Instead, they suggest replacing the questions with the candidates reading statements written by their campaign staffs, then go home and call it a debate. Fox news has described those meetings as reminiscent of the Mafia conclave at Appalachia.

Meanwhile on the Democrat side, The Blond Dreadnaught laughs at the Republican imbroglio and tells the nation she loves everyone especially women and children. She demonstrates she is the most experienced candidate on foreign policy by claiming, “Putin (Ivan the Disrober) can take off his shirt all he wants, but I am the only candidate who can de-pants him.” What one does with a naked Putin is anyones guess. But you can be sure of one thing, the Republicans in Congress will hold hearings to get to the bottom of the scandal.

The Green Mountain Socialist, by taking his grandchildren trick or treating, celebrates that least socialist of holidays, Halloween — those without, begging handouts from those with (real socialists don’t beg). Later he introduces legislation to decriminalize marijuana. Republicans are thought to be considering supporting his initiative because stoners don’t vote.

2. In the two weeks since the disastrous Republican third debate, everyone seems to have gone to ground. The media living on rumors and conjecture while the candidates remain cocooned within the protective arms of their campaign apparatus, firing warning shots at any of their competitors who dares to stick their heads out of their foxholes.

3. The Brain Surgeon opined that the pyramids in Egypt were not built by aliens (illegal of not) but by the biblical Joseph to store grain. The fact that most of the pyramids were made of large stone blocks and the space within tiny indeed would make Joseph the first proponent of modern conservative economic ideology — expending huge sums of money and enslaving a nation in order to build a granary that could only store enough grain to feed the idle rich one percent.

4. The lesser of the lesser Bushes stated that he would make a better President than he is a candidate for the nomination.

5. Marco The Water Boy Rubio claims he has a solution for all the nation’s fiscal problems but still needs time to figure out his own financial affairs. He is expected to blame the government for his failure to understand what is going on in his own life.

 

 

REMEMBRANCE OF POSTS PAST:

I have been writing T&T for about six years. Many of the stories in them I have reposted in my blogs. I thought I would post the cites here for a few of them.

My first blog post in “Papa Joe’s Tales, Fable and Parables,” concerned Peter and the Master of the Lingam:

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/the-raising-of-the-lingam/

Later I wrote a group of “Parables for Our Times”:

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/parables-for-our-time-the-parable-of-the-lions-and-the-gazelles/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/the-parable-of-the-thoughtful-gladiator/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/the-parable-of-the-fair-and-just-society/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/the-parable-of-the-gazelles-and-the-lions-ii/

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

1950: Just under 750 million people lived in urban areas. Today, that figure has ballooned to more than 4 billion — more than half the world’s entire population — and the upward trend is set to continue. By mid-century, about 6.3 billion people will live in cities.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“ I’ll just touch on something else: secrecy in government. Secrecy in government exists for only one reason: to prevent the American people from knowing what’s going on. It is nonsense to believe that anything our government does is not known to the Russians at about the same moment it happens.“
“Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976” by Carroll Quigley Ph.D.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“If you cannot impose your will on someone without guns or force, you do not have the power you thought you did.”

C. Today’s Poem:

Found as a comment to publication in, http://flavorwire.com/217118/10-poems-everyone-needs-to-read of William Carlos Williams poem “This is just to say.”

“This isn’t poetry. This is complete bullshit. Oh, I’m sorry–how about if I wrote it like this?

This isn’t poetry.
This is complete bullshit.
Oh, I’m sorry
How about if
I wrote it like this?”
NishiHundan 1

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“F × S = k. The product of Freedom and Security is a constant. To gain more freedom of thought and/or action, you must give up some security, and vice versa. These remarks apply to individuals, nations, and civilizations. Notice that the constant k is different for every civilization and different for every individual.”
Larry Niven’s Fourth Law of the Universe.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pepe 0004 (October 24, 2015)

 

“Were traditions rational, they’d be procedures.”
Butcher, Jim. The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass. Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On my actual birthday, Dick and Hayden had a party for me featuring a chocolate birthday cake Hayden baked alEll by himself. It was delicious.
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The turkey gangs still stalk the neighborhood streets looking for trouble.
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Following our visit to the Reptile Show a few weeks back, HRM has been lobbying us to buy a Bearded Dragon lizard he intends to name “Puff.” So far, we have resisted his entreaties by requiring him to achieve behavioral standards we are confident he could never meet. And, if he does meet them, sharing the house with Puff the Bearded Dragon would be a small price to pay.

This is my favorite time of the year to swim in the health club’s pool. The air is as cool or cooler than the water. Much quicker than at other times, I move beyond consciousness into an endorphin high. (Endorphin High is a place for deprograming annoyingly happy people.)

I plan to depart for Bangkok on the 12th of November and return the 2nd week in December.

On the weekend, there was a book sale at the local library. In the free bin was a 1944 edition of the Tales of Edgar Allen Poe illustrated with those black and white woodcut prints that I used to hate so much as a kid but which I now love. I look forward to reading some of his lesser known tales like Mellonta Tauta, The Imp of the Perverse and The Unparalleled Adventures of Hans Pfaall.
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Woodcut from Ligela

My planning blog Urban Edginess ( https://planningimplementation.wordpress.com/) is now being followed by someone self-identifying as MASTER NECRO MEGA-DAMAGE RAPEFACE. In his blog, he pushes a book entitled “Behead All Satans” that I assume he has written. He describes it as “…a modern-day Mein Kampf, only funnier.” I am pleased I am finally getting noticed. Eddie Poe, eat your heart out.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Nomination Follies:

a. The Donald threatened to boycott the presidential debates hosted by CNBC because he did not want to make an opening statement explaining why he is running for President or stand on his feet insulting everyone for as long as he did for Fox News. CNBC capitulated, not wanting to lose the debates biggest comedy star.

Grim Carly insisted that The Donald and the Brain Surgeon, who also threatened not to appear, were not real candidates since real candidates like her will suffer any sort of humiliation in order to win. One wag opined that if Grim Carly really wanted to destroy Planned Parenthood she should get herself appointed CEO.

b. The Brain Surgeon raised the second highest haul of money among the candidates. Almost 75% of that haul went to pay for the cost of obtaining the money. After securing the loot, he promptly decided to leave campaigning for awhile and go on a book tour to sell his book explaining how he will run the country if he is elected. He promised to deal with our tax dollars with the same efficiency that he treats his campaign fundraising and the Federal Government with the same commitment that Caribou Barbie showed to the Government of Alaska. Most recently he told the nation that he no longer goes around stabbing people or beating them with a baseball bat. He refused, however, to agree not to do so if he becomes President.

The Brain Surgeon, according to one poll, is now leading the Republican field in Iowa. I understand he has secretly offered free lobotomies for anyone willing to vote for him. Most of those who were offered the deal responded that they did not need them.

c. Meanwhile on the Democrat side: The Green Mountain Socialist explained why we should be more like Denmark — that is, we should be a country of six million tall blond people with free college tuition and health care and a fondness for cheese, light beer and vacationing near the Mediterranean. Many people agree. On SNL Larry David gave an impression of Bernie that was so good that I am tempted to vote for David as a write-in candidate.

Joe “Smiler” Biden, who had not been running, decided not to run. He did, however, leave open the option to run for something somewhere at a time and place to be decided later.

Hillary, the Blond Dreadnaught, promised that she will not use a gun in her hunt for sound bites. She then, after suffering through an 11-hour hearing, shot the Republican members of the Benghazi Committee dead with a 45 she had hidden in her brassiere. The Republican National Committee accused her of not being truthful with the nation. She responded, she opposes the NRA but supports 2nd Amendment rights for hunting, especially for those hunting Republican elected officials. The remaining Republican members of the House decided that investigating Planned Parenthood would be safer.

Among the also-rans, Lincoln (Mr. Bean) Chafee assured the press that in the first few weeks of the presidency he will do whatever a lot of people seem to want him to do. About two weeks later Mr. Bean dropped out of the race because all 10 people who supported his candidacy were too embarrassed to show their faces in public. He said he wanted to concentrate on World Peace instead. Deadeye Jim Webb after shooting a terrorist at his fund-raiser shouted, “I bet that will get their attention.” When it didn’t, he dropped out of the Democratic primary to run as an Independent, or maybe a Whig or a Mugwump. Meanwhile, Martin (the Man) O’Malley took off his shirt to flex his muscles for the cameras. Later he played the guitar and sang a Taylor Swift tune on the View. None of them could explain why they were running in the first place, although The Man O’Malley said that now that the other two have dropped out, he will be better able to get out his message — whatever it is.

d. Among the Republican still running for some reason, the Lesser of the Lesser Bushes pointed out that 9/11 was a shining example of keeping America safe. His big brother M, in an attempt to help his struggling sibling out, announced he never liked The Munster. Meanwhile The Munster, plotting to end something or other, hides out somewhere in Alabama while Marco “Water Boy” Rubio told his wealthy contributors that he may or may not be for or against whatever. Finally, ex-Governor of New York Pataki — who unbeknownst to most of the world is also running for the Republican nomination — indicated that although in his opinion neither the Donald nor The Brain Surgeon were qualified to be president, if either of them win the nomination, he would probably vote for them rather than The Blond Dreadnaught despite her obvious qualification.

2. The Real Immigration Problem.

The real immigration problem facing the US is not the legal or illegal movement of humans across our borders (which by the way is decreasing). It is the invasion by viruses, bacteria, and disease-carrying parasites from the tropical and warmer sections of the globe to the more temperate areas, including the US. This migration is brought about by human-induced global warming (or if you do not believe humans are causing climate change, then the historical variation in climate caused by volcanos, sunspots and/or God). Whether it is dengue fever creeping into areas previously free of the disease or sand flea-born organisms causing human physical deformation, or insects, mold, and parasites that threaten our agriculture and forests or something else, they represent perhaps today’s greatest threat to our society. An economic and social threat to our nation that both the Defense Department and the CIA believes may be as great as, or even greater than, that posed by terrorists or armed invasion. Unfortunately, neither political party has addressed this menace.

Simply stopping further global warming is not sufficient. Global temperatures have already climbed enough to allow these organisms to relocate across our borders or to travel beyond their previous boundaries. Even if we take all the necessary steps to halt climate change right now, the best estimates have the global temperature rising another degree or two Celsius. These organisms have begun their migrations and its magnitude is sure to increase. The clock is ticking.

C. BOOK REPORT:

Peter and Barrie Grenell gave me a number of books for my birthday. One of which, 50 Shades of Grey, I explained that although I appreciated the thought behind the gift, I would not read — not because I am averse to deviant sex or even enslaving your sex partner but since the male protagonist is a billionaire, I felt I could not relate. The perverse fantasies of a retiree on Social Security are far less grandiose and focus more on the capacity to function than the ability to compel.

I have however read two of the other books so far.

The first was a fantasy novel by a first-time author Bill O’Malley entitled Rook. It concerns a secret British governmental agency dedicated to countering supernatural threats to the Country. Since it deals with the activities of a governmental agency, a lot of the book has to do with the foibles of bureaucracy. Its chief protagonist is an engaging and highly competent bureaucrat. Unfortunately, she no longer exists. Her body is inhabited by a woman with no memory who must operate on notes left to her by her body’s prior occupant. Like many first novels, its inventiveness is not entirely matched by its style or cohesion.
The second book, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, is a more conventional fantasy based on traditional Polish fairy tales. It features a damsel in a tower. But, imagine instead of Rapunzel, the Beauty and the Beast are locked therein except that the Beast is a handsome asexual wizard with a Pygmalion complex. It is a delightful book for those who enjoy reading novels directed at post-pubescent adolescent girls. It is wonderfully well written as one would expect of an experienced novelist based in Manhattan who could just as well have written for The New Yorker. I loved it immensely.

Pookie says, “check them out.”

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“Many people assume that dissent and the demand for reform are the first step toward revolution. They are mistaken. My study of history shows pretty generally that revolutions do not come from dissent. They come from a failure to reform, which leads to breakdown. It is quite true that misguided reforms which fail to attack real problems may also result in breakdown. But dissent, and reform responding to dissent do not lead to revolution. They lead away from it.”
Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Destiny never gets there before you do. So, there’s no need to rush.”

C. Today’s Poem:

Where is the world we roved, Ned Bunn?
Hollows thereof lay rich in shade
By voyagers old inviolate thrown
Ere Paul Pry cruised with Pelf and Trade.
To us old lads some thoughts come home
Who roamed a world young lads no more shall
roam.
Herman Melville, excerpt from To Ned.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The very wealthy have little need for state-provided education or health care; they have every reason to support cuts in Medicare and to fight any increase in taxes. They have even less reason to support health insurance for everyone, or to worry about the low quality of public schools that plagues much of the country. They will oppose any regulation of banks that restricts profits, even if it helps those who cannot cover their mortgages or protects the public against predatory lending, deceptive advertising, or even a repetition of the financial crash.

To worry about these consequences of extreme inequality has nothing to do with being envious of the rich and everything to do with the fear that rapidly growing top incomes are a threat to the wellbeing of everyone else.”
Angus Deaton, winner Nobel Prize for Economics 2015.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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This woman is a completely computer generated image. Virtual reality indistinguishable from real life is imminent.

 

Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Papa Joe 0004 (September 20, 2015)

 

“Greed is a powerful tool for making bad things invisible”
Mather, Matthew. Darknet (p. 251).

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Photograph of some rice paddies in China. It was taken in the morning or evening, I do not know which and published by non-profit National Geographic, soon to be the for profit “Fair and Balanced” National Geographic.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The skies are a clear deep blue above the Golden Hills. The days are very warm. A slight breeze makes them tolerable. All in all, it seems like paradise. But, the leaves curling at their edges, the yellow lawns, and the silence tells us all is not well. Ants rush around desperate for moisture while we humans complain that we have less water to waste.

One day I went into Sacramento to wait for the car to be serviced. I had coffee at Chicory, the coffee house with the tattooed baristas that I like so much. After, I walked across the street to Capital Park. I felt a bit down for some reason. Passing by the Weeping Lawson and Mourning cypress trees did nothing to raise my spirits. They perked up, however, while I sat on a bench under a Magnolia tree in the center of the park contemplating whatevers. I love this park. It is a tree museum.

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Another day I drove down to Vallejo to deal with my grandson’s legal problems. We interviewed a highly regarded criminal law specialist. He was an impressive older man. Unfortunately, his firm represented the other defendants, so he had a conflict. Nevertheless, he spent about a half hour with us giving some background on the judge, DA and other criminal law attorneys.

While listening to him drift off into stories and insights, I began to feel I had taken a wrong road in life. When I began law school, I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. I could not see any other purpose in being a lawyer. Throughout law school, I interned with legal aid at 125th St and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. I was there for the great Harlem riots of the early 60s.

During the riots, I traveled back and forth between Harlem and Rikers Island arranging bail and interviewing detainees. It was then I first learned the great difference between the riots, demonstrations, and crises reported by the media and its reality.

At times, during the riots, I stood on the corner of 125 and Lenox along with some of the denizens of the area, drinking coffee or something stronger. Every once in a while, a young man would detach himself from the group of young men who were shouting and chanting in the middle of the street and throw a rock at the line of cops just waiting for something like that. They would rush forward and our rock thrower would run back to the safety of his compatriots. Sometimes the rock thrower would slip and fall or be too slow and the cops would catch him beat him a few times with their billies and haul him off to the paddy wagon for the trip to Rikers. The locals on the corner with me would cheer or hoot as the case may be and then go about their business. Now and then, a garbage can would be set on fire. In the evening, the looters would come out and break the windows of a few stores. Tear-gas canisters are shot off. Often it seemed that there was more media personnel on the scene than cops or protestors. On TV that night, it would appear as though the entire area was devoured by fire and smoke with hoards of dark beings struggling with each other in the foreground. Meanwhile, away from the corner of 125th and Lenox, life continued more or less normally.

Anyway, after law school, for some reason I felt that legal aid would not be the best place for beginning my criminal law career. I also rejected the DA’s office. Instead, I joined an insurance defense firm, the lowest of the low, in order to get the maximum trial experience possible. I amassed a record of consecutive victories among the three best in NY history at the time, thereby denying justice to many people who had been injured through no fault of their own. Then things happened and my dream died. But that is a story for another time…

Back in EDH, one morning the sun came up red like blood. I later learned that there was a massive fire down near Jackson about thirty miles away southeast of us. For the next few days, the skies hung heavy with black smoke —the air filled with grit making breathing difficult. The fire is still raging as I write this but the smoke and grit has lessened.

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This is a photograph, posted on Facebook, of one of the fires devouring the State. It sort of resembles the end times, doesn’t it?

Then to make matters worse, SWAC arrived like the evil one herself, breathing fire and self-pity. I think it’s time to get out of town.

On Sundays, we have breakfast at The Train Stop in Roseville. After breakfast, we usually go to Denio’s where I look for walking sticks (with little success) and $2 Hawaiian shirts (more success here). Then we search out newly open malls or stores. Last week, we went to the new Bass Pro Shop in Rocklin. The huge store is dedicated to the sale of things usable in the type of outdoor recreation that generally involves killing, like guns, bows or fishing gear. With the disappearance from the environment of large animals and things like that, I wonder what they can use those things to kill now. It has been estimated that in about 70 years from now the human population will reach over 11 billion that is 4 billion more than we have now or more than the current population of China, India, and the US combined. Maybe everyone is just preparing for a new kind of outdoor sport…well, maybe not so new.

IMG_0221
Bass Pro Shop
My Kindle for Mac stopped working. Back to paper books? — Pookie the recidivist.

The sun has emerged again from the curtain of smoke. All is well again in the Golden Hills. The victims of the fires are not fortunate. The emergence of the sun does not brighten the aguish of losing ones home. I would suggest praying for them, but I believe praying usually only benefits the prayer. It helps alleviate the guilt of not doing more. On the other hand, I guess if you tell the victims that you prayed for them, it may make them feel better. Food, clothing and health services would probably make them feel even better.

Ha, I fixed my Kindle — Pookie the computer expert. Now I can help make Jeff Bezos even richer and bury myself in ebooks so that I can avoid doing anything for the victims of disasters and instead insist that government handle it — but not raise my taxes to do so. Hmm, that is a lie. I do not pay taxes so I probably will not care if they raise someone else’s.

Sometimes, in the evening, I just sit in the park.

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B. ANNOUNCEMENT — Pookie runs again.

I have decided once again to run as a write-in candidate for the Republican nomination for President. Since I abhor working hard, I decided to reissue my posts from the last time I ran, four years ago. Not much has changed except the names so I could not see any downside to repeating myself. I have republished my announcement on Facebook.

I thought I would entertain those who patiently have read this far with the campaign post that set out what I believe may be the most important issue facing the nation today:

IRONY

“Back when this great nation of ours was founded our four fathers were drinking tea, freedom’s drink, when they heard the bells and decided to leave the tea party meeting there in Boston, Massachusetts and march down to the docks to tell the British that were around there that they were not going to pay their taxes anymore.

“So all four of our founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, everyone a good Republican, marched right down there to those docks and wharfs. When they got there, they found the British were preparing to unload crates, disguised as tea bags but secretly containing irony to impose on the American people.

“So they jumped on those ships and dumped all that irony into the bay and saved our freedom because irony is not American since it would replace our guns as it has done in socialistic places around the world. As a result, we Americans remained free. Unfortunately, all that irony polluting their bay is one of the reasons those poor people in Boston remain socialist to this day, but the rest of America was saved except for San Francisco and maybe Oregon and New York City.

“You may ask how our four fathers knew those crates that were all marked with the word “Tea” stenciled on the outside actually contained irony. Well, they realized that “Tea” spelled backward is “Aet” which sounds like ate, which, if you think about it, is very ironic.”

Note: Sarcasm, however, is as American as [add your own analogy]

Note ii: Donald Trump, however, is ironic — like a Ringling Bros. clown is ironic. Jeb Bush is not ironic. He, unfortunately for him, is a tragedy.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Contrary to Stephen Hawking and others, the creation of Artificial intelligence is not the thing we should fear most. It is the proliferation of Decentralized Autonomous Corporations (DACs). They already exist and their numbers are growing.

Matthew Mather describes a Decentralized Autonomous Corporation (DAC) as a network of artificial intelligence agents which divides its labor into two parts: (1) tasks it pays or incentivizes humans to do, and (2) tasks which it performs itself.

It can be thought of as an organization run without any human involvement, under the control of an incorruptible set of business rules.

Like most corporations, it generally cannot be terminated except by the investors, often has more rights than ordinary citizens and cannot be imprisoned if it breaks the law. Moreover, its investors are shielded by law — responsible only to the extent of their monetary investment for the actions of their creation.

Recently, a group of large banks announced that they will begin exploration of DAC’s for integrated banking services. At first look it may appear beneficial since, among other things, transactions will be more transparent and access for customers simpler. The banking transactions, however, will have no human control. Whether that will be good or not in the long run, I cannot guess. But, at a minimum, the owners, and their descendants, having done no work other than hiring the technicians to set up the system, could nevertheless receive fees forever, ultimately draining off huge amounts of money from the users. Someday, in the not too distant future, they may inherit the earth — or what’s left of it.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“To me, the most ominous flaw in our constitutional set-up is the fact that the federal government does not have control over of money and credit and does not have control of corporations. It is therefore not really sovereign. And it is not really responsible because it is now controlled by these two groups, corporations, and those who control the flows of money. The new public financing of the Presidential elections is arranged so that they can spend as much as they want: voluntary contributions, not authorized by the candidate, are legal.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Income inequality and the overwhelming influence of wealth on our political process will resist any long term resolution without reform of the basic elements of the corporation: immortality, limited liability, and personhood.

C. Today’s Poem:

On Seeing Weather Beaten Trees

Is it as plainly in our living shown,

By slant and twist, which way the wind has blown?
Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“One of the great attributes of discretion is that it can mask ignorance of all the most common and lowly varieties”
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 397). Little, Brown and Company.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Secret Worlds, https://xkcd.com/52/

Categories: July through September 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 JoJo 0004 (May 19, 2015)

 

“When men cannot change things, they change words.”
Jean Jaurès, speech at the International Socialist Congress, Paris (1900).

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. A BRIEF SOJOURN IN SAN FRANCISCO:

After tearing through the Sunday NY Times in the morning and downing some strong black coffee, we left Mendocino for The Cool Grey City of Love to visit my mom for Mother’s Day.

The 98-year old’s short term memory may be in decline and her heart weakening but she gave as good as she got in the exchange of good-natured intra-family insults that characterize our family get-togethers.
IMG_20150510_134909_140
The matriarch and family.

After leaving the nursing home, I visited with Peter Grenell at Bernie’s Coffee Shop in Noe Valley. Peter just had part of his shoulder replaced and was still feeling a bit of pain. We sat on a bench outside, drank our coffee and, in the increasingly halting style of the aging, swapped tales. Given that anyone over 70 has passed his dispose-by date, I lamented that our age we have become little more than cartons of curdled milk. Peter responded by advising, “when all you have is curdled milk, you might as well make cheese.”

On the way back to Peter’s house where I was to have dinner and spend the night, Peter pointed out the incredible prices commanded in the Techie Paradise that Noe Valley has become. The following photograph shows a house about three doors down from Peter’s that is on the market for four million dollars.
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A Four Million Dollar House

At dinner that night, I played with their granddaughter a one-year-old two-fisted eater whose Hawaiian name I do not recall but it sounds like Aurora. I also learned that Barrie, Peter’s wife, swims an hour every morning in frigid San Francisco Bay. I was shamed. I refuse to swim anywhere the water temperature is below 80 degrees.

In the morning, riding on the J Church on the way to the Amtrak office downtown, a large androgynous African-American female and a small, skinny equally androgynous white male began a loud altercation right above where I was sitting trying to avoid eye contact. They were shouting at each other about something; or rather the larger of the two was shouting and the other cringing while pleading with the driver to call the police. I pictured myself appearing on the local television news as the unwitting and unwilling victim of an only in San Francisco perplexing racial and gender contretemps. Luckily for me, at the next stop, the larger combatant ran off while the smaller continued trying to explain to the driver what happened.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I am back in El Dorado Hills. Alas, adventure does not seem descriptive of anything one does here. I get the impression that even a change of seasons can cause anxiety among some of the denizens of these golden hills.

It has been four days since I have returned and I can happily report the rose bushes in the back yard are in bloom — now the weekend cometh. I leave for NY next Wednesday.

On Thursday evening, the rains came. I was eating pepperoni pizza at Mama Ann’s in Town Center when the storm hit full of lightning and thunder. Like in the tropics, the deluge flooded the streets but lasted only about two hours. It departed as suddenly as it arrived leaving the air clear of pollen and dust. I slept well that night.

I read somewhere a doctor observed that patients as they aged experienced an ever increasing series of maladies most of which were curable but eventually they begin to occur so rapidly that the body simply gives up the fight. Today while eating breakfast at Bella Bru Cafe a piece of a tooth fell out and embedded itself in my bagel. Since I leave in a couple of days, I will be forced to travel with a dark black empty space in my smile until I find a reasonably priced dentist to insert a bridge.

The weekend flew by like an osprey falling on its prey. The weather was cold and overcast so no swimming for me. Instead, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road to get my blood pumping.

HRM’s flag football team lost the championship game to the hated Seahawks 34 to 6. The coach was devastated. The kids were happy with their ice-cream after the game.

Since I seem focused on aging this week, I thought I should mention the three phases of aging among old men: First you forget to zip it up; then you forget to zip it down; then you die. I am at phase-one. I’ve taken to wearing long shirts outside my pants because, no matter how much I try to remember, at least once a day I forget.

Monday came in cold and cloudy. I leave on Wednesday, so I set about on last minute things, the bank, the pharmacy and tackling the conundrum of how to pack a single carry-on for a two-month trip.

The last day before I bolt town. What have I forgotten?

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOID:

According to a study by Microsoft Corporation, human attention span has supposedly dropped from 12 seconds in 2002 to only eight seconds in 2013, which is a second shorter than a goldfish.

If this is true, perhaps we would be better off running a goldfish for President. I’m sure the goldfish would win the Republican presidential nomination debates hands down. Wouldn’t it be wonderful then to watch the goldfish and Hillary to go at it in the general election.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

Sovereignty

“Sovereignty has eight aspects: DEFENSE; JUDICIAL, i.e., settling disputes; ADMINISTRATIVE, i.e., discretionary actions for the public need; TAXATION, i.e., mobilizing resources: this is one of the powers the French government didn’t have in 1770; LEGISLATION. i.e., the finding of rules and the establishment of rules through promulgation and statue; EXECUTIVE, i.e., the enforcement of laws and judicial decisions. Then there are two which are of absolute paramount importance today: MONETARY, the creation and control of money and credit — if that is not an aspect of the public sovereignty, then the state is far less than fully sovereign; and lastly the eighth one, THE INCORPORATING POWER, the right to say that an association of people is a fictitious person with the right to hold property and to sue in the courts. Notice: the federal government of the United States today does not have the seventh and eighth but I’ll come back to that later.”
Carroll Quigley Ph.D. ”Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, AD 976 – 1976.”

B. Artie’s Death:

Stevie Dall commented on the death of the dragonfly riff in my previous issue of T&T:

“Similar moral quandaries here, too. I spent quality time this morning rescuing, drying, and relocating the spider who occasionally falls into the shower because last night sweet Artie, a cat who hung out at the canal beside our house, died.

Though Artie would eat treats placed for him on the counter outside our kitchen window, he would never allow himself to be caught.

Last week Artie pranced into the backyard carrying a deceased adolescent gosling. By the weekend he seemed under the weather, but he still evaded capture, and by last night he was a goner.

I’m thinking of giving the spider a name.”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“In the United States we have often elected to public office the stupid and at times the crazy. It has only recently, however, that most of those we elect happen to be both stupid and crazy.”
Trenz Pruca

(Note: Trenz Pruca is not me — nor is he my alter ego. Trenz is my Harvey; but instead of an invisible rabbit, he is a six-foot-two-inch invisible white rat with dark glasses wearing a black fedora and a red and white striped scarf. He carries a Mac-book with him wherever he goes. He can usually be found sitting in the dark corners of lightly patronized coffee houses in San Francisco or during the winter months, Marrakesh, typing away on his Mac-book and obsessively downing endless cups of strong doppio espressos. I only see him on my name day, March 15, when he stops by to celebrate with a glass of wine. Otherwise, he sends me reams of emails each day, most of which are gibberish. Every now and then, however, I find he has written a clever bon mot or an interesting sentence or two that I share with you in T&T or on Facebook.)

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

* A paraprosdokian with a mustache and a cigar is called a Groucho Marx.

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

“The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”
Line from a recent episode of Game of Thrones.

(Note: a dwarf’s member is considered an aphrodisiac in certain parts of Westeros, similar to the way some East-Asians regard a rhinoceros’ pizzle.)

F. Today’s Poem:

I live on borrowed things

I live on borrowed things
On stories and songs
On breath and brawn

Borrowed then left
When I move on.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

worldpopulat

This is perhaps one of the more informative charts explaining the source of many of the seemingly intractable problems we are facing today. Since 1915, only 100 years ago, population has grown from somewhat over 1 billion people in the world to slightly less than 8 billion today. About a seven-fold increase. It the next 35 years that population is expected to increase by almost 1/3, close to 10 Billion.

During the same one-hundred year period, the per capita use of energy has barely doubled but total energy use has increased more than twelve-fold.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 Capt. Coast 0004 (May 1, 2015)

 

“We live in a distressed culture where anything like a conspiracy theory will be embraced by more people than will the simple and obvious truth,”
Koontz, Dean. Odd Hours: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 178). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Another weekend rolled down from the Sierras bringing cool rainy days until Sunday when the warmth slowly returned. The dregs of my cold kept me wheezing and coughing and in and out of bed. Saturday we attended HRM’s flag football game.
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On Sunday, we visited the Archery shop where we bought HRM some new arrows and watched him shoot at targets for almost an hour.

That evening, feeling outdoorsy but unwilling to submit myself to the whims of nature, I began to re-read one of my favorite novels Blood-Sport: A Journey up the Hassayampa. It is a comic novel about manly men at play (see below).
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Speaking of manly men, I learned from Facebook that this weekend Bill Yeates ran in the Big Sur Marathon and won Best in Class. Way to go Bill. I hear that after the race he rode his bicycle all the way back to Sacramento stopping only to clean out a nest of meat-eaters attending a barbecue somewhere near Vacaville.
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Karen Cogan, Dick’s long-time administrative assistant and someone who I have known for almost as long as I have known him, has achieved what I call the “Delightful Life.” She travels to exotic places she likes and paints. When she paints a picture of, say a restaurant, she tracks down the owner and gives them her painting. This has allowed her to meet many interesting people ( e.g., the Cipriani’s of Harry’s Bar fame).
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The office manager of one of the law firms of which I was a member (and a recipient of T&T), Aline Pearl, also spends her vacations traveling. In her case, often places rich with wild nature, like Africa. Her art is professional quality nature photography. I remember the pleasure I got from sitting in her office and looking at the wall full of well-mounted pictures of African animals in the wild. Alas, I have no examples of her photographs to post.

Ruth Galanter, on the other hand, likes to add the truly exotic destinations like Antartica and Mongolia in between trips to Nantucket.
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Ruth by her Ger
________________________________
Regarding travels, it is time for me to begin to seriously focus on this summer’s trip to Italy, Sicily and Thailand. I hope to spend a few days in New York also. This year I will be traveling through Italy and Sicily with my son Jason who, although he spent much of his childhood there, has not returned in almost 30 years.

In Milan where I will begin the Italian portion of my trip, Expo 2015 Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life will be under-weigh. Marco Gallo the son of my good friend Gigi and a renown expert in sports nutrition has invited me to attend the festival. Marco sometimes posts a few of his recipes on my Facebook page. If you would like me to forward them to you, please let me know.
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On Tuesday, it was warm enough and the severity of my cold had diminished enough for a swim. The next day we all went to the passport office to submit the complicated application for HRM’s passport. And so it went until another weekend rumbled around again.

Meanwhile, the valley heat slowly crawls up the slopes making the golden hills appear like old melted wax candles slumping beneath a deep deep blue sky empty but for columns of brilliant white mushroom clouds standing motionless on the mountains far to the east.

B. BOOK REPORT:

In 1974, Robert F. Jones an editor for the magazine Field and Stream, wrote a critically acclaimed but relatively unknown satiric novel on acid (it was 1974 after all) about a manly man obsessed with hunting and fishing who takes his almost pubescent son on a camping trip in order to toughen him up. The trip takes them up the mythical but mighty Hassayampa River to its headwaters and back. The Hassayampa winds its way from eastern China through upper Wisconsin until it flows into Croton Lake near the sleepy town of Valhalla in Westchester County NY. During their trip, they manage to slaughter and eat a goodly number of representatives of most species that now live on earth, some that do not and never did and a few such as aurochs and mastodons that no longer exist anywhere other than along the river. They also dispatch a few Communist Chinese troopers and various criminals until they run into the famous, feared and immortal bandit, “Ratanous.” Ratanous persuades the son to abandon his father and join his band of brigands. In order to save his son’s soul, the man tracks down the bandits and challenges Ratanous to a deadly duel to the death by fly rods with poison hooks.

This is not a novel for the esthetically, intellectually and morally squeamish. Its violence would make William Burroughs proud and its gonzo style cause Hunter Thompson to blush. There is a certain amount of cannibalism complete with recipes. Also there is a morbid fascination with vaginas and their infinite variety. After all, to manly men a woman is merely a vagina with tits, everything else is superfluous. It is a man’s book even as it satirizes them. There is no sentimentality about killing and little risk avoidance — and almost no women (other than participants in orgies) except for an absent wife and daughter, a lusty Ukrainian laundress and a young bandit named Twigan.
Pasted Graphic_2_1

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

“My madness was total: sublime, ecstatic, unmarred by any doubts or sulks. At no point during the months I roamed that mean, lean country, killing for food and pleasure, do I recall one moment of reason, one instant of unhappiness. It was as if a caldron of liquid laughter had come to a slow, steady boil behind my eyes, perking joyfully there, sending shots of giggly steam down my nostrils and up my throat, exploding from time to time in scalding, superheated guffaws that left my vocal cords raw and aching with delight. I felt no fear, no hunger, no worry— only the immense, ridiculous power of my freedom.”
Jones, Robert F. Blood Sport: A Journey Up the Hassayampa . Skyhorse Publishing.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

During the past decade or so in America, we may have witnessed an extremely rare event in history. Not since the hay-day of JP Morgan and his cronies has such a small group of oligarchs managed to stage a, more or less, bloodless coup over a major democracy. What makes it so unusual is that this time they have captured control of two of the significant instruments of ideology in the society — the media and religion — while silencing perhaps the most potent voices in opposition, the scientific and intellectual community. In doing so, and with the assistance of the Supreme Court, they have arranged to assume almost absolute control over one of the two major political parties in the country such that all policies of that party must now meet the needs of that select group.

In order to achieve this coup, it was essential that growth of certain groups underpinning the middle class be halted — such as those in the intellectual trades (teachers, researchers, artists and the like), the technocrats (engineers, scientists and technicians) and very small business owners (shops etc.) and replaced with a smaller middle class primarily made up of clerks, financial analysts, and accountants, in other words those servicing the financial and service industries. As a result, the middle class not only has collapsed but what remains lacks the vibrancy to even be considered a politically significant class. The poor and the working class and in between what used to be called the lumpen proletariat, as they always have been, are usually servants of the dominant ideology that is now firmly in control of this small group of oligarchs.

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Today: In the state of Kansas, poor people soon may be prohibited from swimming in public pools but not from buying guns.

(I wonder if they can trade in their food stamps to buy guns?)

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“The state is a good state if it is sovereign and if it is responsible. It is more or less incidental whether a state is, for example, democratic. If democracy reflects the structure of power in the society, then the state should be democratic. But if the pattern of power in a society is not democratic, then you cannot have a democratic state. This is what happens in Latin America, Africa and places like that, when you have an election and the army doesn’t like the man who is elected, so they move in and throw him out. The outcome of the election does not reflect the power situation, in which the dominant thing is organized force. When I say governments have to be responsible, I’m saying the same thing as when I said they have to be legitimate: they have to reflect the power structure of the society. Politics is the area for establishing responsibility by legitimizing power, that is, somehow demonstrating the power structure to people, and it may take a revolution, such as the French Revolution, or it may take a war, like the American Civil War. In the American Civil War, for example, the structure of power in the United States was such — perhaps unfortunately, I don’t know — that the South could not leave unless the North was willing. It was that simple. But it took a war to prove it.“
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability,

 

 

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“I was an idealistic 13-year-old who went with my mom to a Democratic Party club in Southeast San Diego. The United Community Democratic Club met on Sunday evenings at Johnson’s Barbecue, and it was there that I began my keen interest in politics. But when Bobby Kennedy campaigned that June in the California primary, it was for all of the marbles. Kennedy’s win in the hotly contested primary election on June 5th, 1968, presaged the movement that would carry hm to the White House and restore Camelot — the representation of the hope of a nation that we could be better and needed to be better.

Kennedy made a mad dash through San Diego on Monday, June 4th, even including a swing through the South Bay Plaza shopping center in National City. When school ended that afternoon, I ran the approx. 1 mile from my junior high to where Kennedy’s car was making its way slower than a snail, through the throng of people who had showed up to see Bobby in person. In fact, just as I had my hand grabbed by Kennedy, I was shoved off my feet by the crowd pressing against his car, and I dangled for a split second before Kennedy made sure I landed on my feet.

Kennedy’s victory celebration and speech at the Ambassador Hotel in L. A. was more of a sports story — Dodgers ace Don Drysdale had set a major league record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched, and THAT seemed as much a part of Kennedy’s victory as anything else. He congratulated Drysdale, quickly thanked everyone for their support, and said “. . . and it’s on to Chicago!” He flashed the peace sign to the crowd.

Minutes later, he had his head blown apart by SIrhan Sirhan, and America was never the same . . . nor was I.”
Pete Xander

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Today the absence of government simply means government by private corporations.”
D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

(A Paraprosdokian is not an extinct species of bird.)

E. Today’s Poem:

Moses was a strange man

Moses was a strange man.
He lost his way
in the desert
for forty years.
He told his people
they were better off
in the desert
for forty years
than in Egypt
where they had
running water
and food.

There was no food
in the desert.
Moses did not know
how to farm so,
God had to feed
his people.

Moses told his people,
he would,
lead them out
of the desert
to a land
where people
had milk and honey.
He said
they should kill
those people,
take their land,
drink their milk
eat their honey.

When some of his people thought
another God
might get them out of the desert sooner,
he killed them.

Moses brought God’s law
to his people.
One law said
“Thou shalt not kill.”

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I’m feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the Speaker of the House as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means … orange really is the new black!”
– President Obama

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

CalWater1

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Django&Grappelli

Django&Grappelli

 

Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Capt. Coast 0004 (April 24. 2015)

 
“There’s nothing more dangerous than to give an American hope.”
Caldwell, Ian. The Fifth Gospel: A Novel (p. 103). Simon & Schuster.
In Memory of the Armenian Genocide — 1915:
Pasted Graphic 6
Armenian Women Crucified During the Genocide*

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S SLIGHTLY MEMORABLE OVERNIGHT ADVENTURE:

On Wednesday, I left the golden hills for the Bay Area to meet with the trustee of some coastal property in order to advise him about options available to the trust. We met for lunch in a building that survived the ’06 earthquake. The building was the home of a men’s club established in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.
IMG_20150415_151648_137
Club membership includes the captains of industry and commerce in the area. About 50 years ago many doctors and dentists were also allowed to join, as well as some Italian-Americans. I recall that when I was growing up the emphasis was exclusively on the word before the hyphen. Then, through the efforts of some of the least ethical and most dourly aggressive and greedy members of our community, some of us gained enough wealth that American began to gain prominence in our minds and in the minds of many of those exclusively pale hyphenated Americans whose ancestry did not include the word Native.

I remember when the darkness was bleached from my soul and I simply could call myself an American and look down in sadness at the dark souls of members of other hyphenated communities who had not yet received the miracle of the Blessed Bleach. I remember fondly that day when I noticed that my skin had gotten two shades lighter than it was the day before

In all likelihood, there are only one or two members of the club that are Democrats. On the other hand, most of the staff are.

I learned that many of the members also belong to an organization called the Greco-Roman Dentists’ Fishing Society (truly, it was organized by the Greek and Italian dentist in the club). They gather once a year somewhere in the northeastern part of the state for a weekend of fishing and other things.

Since I was to sleep that night in one of the club’s guest rooms, I ate dinner there and met a few of members. One guy was referred to at the “Corn King,” another owned a string of radio stations. He was forced to sell because Rush Limbaugh was not pulling in the listeners like he used to. I had a pleasant conversation with a man whose parents came from Genoa. Like many of the club members, he had a few vacation homes. One was on the beach in the Italian Riviera.

I met the manager of the club. He used to manage the well-known men’s club in Sacramento. When I worked in that city, I received some minor notoriety by refusing to attend meetings and conferences there because of their policy on women members. Of course, I would periodically slip in there for lunch. My moral standards permit minor acts of hypocrisy and one or two large ones now and then.

All the governors that I was familiar with had been members and used the clubs facilities extensively — except Jerry Brown who refused to step foot into the place. Apparently, Governor Arnold used to impress the club members by carrying a large marble chess table from room to room. The members were not so thrilled when the same immigrant governor placed armed guards at the elevator and prevented the members from using the floors where he lounged about — relaxing, I assume, between feats of strength. The members told the muscled one that, if he ever did that again, he would be publicly thrown out of the club.

That night after dinner we played poker. I also thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the recent diagnosis clearing me of lung cancer by smoking a cigar. At the table with me were the Corn King, the Media Lord, a dentist, a retired gynecologist and a few others whose professions I did not know.

Now, as a rule, I do not like gambling and avoid it whenever possible. It was one of my father’s most appalling vices. However, when I do play poker, I have a few rules:

1. It is always preferable for the other players to believe you do not know what you are doing.
2. Fold early and fold often. Unless by the first bet you know you have the best hand on the table, fold. Hoping to improve your hand is as worthless as drawing to an inside straight.
3. Never raise someone else’s bet.
4. If the game chosen by the dealer allows wild cards, quietly fold before the first bet.
5. Never forget that it is not how much you win that counts but how little you lose.

The retired gynecologist was the big winner followed by the Corn King. I was the only other winner.

That night I spent in the club’s guest room. For some reason, I was unable to sleep well and woke up muzzy. After breakfast, I headed back to the golden hills. Because I was so out of it, I kept taking the wrong turns and ended up in Stockton by way of the Delta. Normally I would enjoy a ride through the Delta, but not today. I was lost. This being California I knew that as long as you do not drive around in circles you will eventually cross a freeway. And so I did, except the on-ramp was closed for construction. So I continued east and eventually found another freeway and wound my way home, where I immediately went to bed and slept the rest of the day.

The weather is warm enough now in EDH to begin wearing the $2 shirts of many colors that I bought at the flea market. It makes me happy. I enjoy looking in the mirror at myself dressed in my new shirts.
IMG_20150416_195004_283
Another weekend slid by — breakfast in Roseville, a trip to Denio’s, a flag football game, one or two books, a lot of naps and, of course, a lot of time to feel sorry for myself — then it was Monday. Two days gone from the 3000 or so the actuaries say that an average man of my age has left to live.

The pool at the health-club was closed this weekend for annual maintenance. Perhaps that explains the depression gnawing at the edges of my consciousness.
__________________________________________
During the past few days the weather has cooled and I have come down with a cold so I spend most of my day in bed. This more likely explains the malaise I mistook for depression.

The photograph at the top of this page shames me. Given the nature and extent of the suffering going on in the world, here I sit (SOS) complaining about feeling bad because I have a runny nose or the pool is closed.
__________________________________________
The weather continues cool and the skies overcast. While I wait for my cold to pass, I spend most of my days puttering around the house. I have even taken to watching television to pass the time. I watched Rambo III. In it the honest and brave Americans befriend the engaging, non-Muslim, soon to be Taliban, noble natives in Afghanistan and slaughter the gross and evil Russians who for no apparent reason have been torturing and killing the peace loving Afghanis especially their non-combatant women and children. A few years later in the movie of life, it is the Americans who get to portray the Russians in the sequel and slaughter their erstwhile allies, the murderous, suddenly Muslim Taliban. The question, I asked myself was who got to play John Rambo?
_________________________________________
Speaking of glorious wars and martial memories, EDH is planning to build a large memorial park to celebrate, not those who have given their lives but the military as a whole. In it will be large memorials to, the Viet Nam War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Cold War, the War on Terror (but not the War on Drugs or Christmas) with seemingly smaller memorials commemorating WWI and WWII. No mention or memory is made of The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, or the Civil War or the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War or any other American imperialist military victories. I guess the good citizens of EDH are secret Anti-America radicals ironically seeking to celebrate wars we lost rather than those we won. I assume, however, if I complain vigorously enough I could get them to include memorials to the wars against Grenada or Panama.
_____________________________________________
As long as I’ve begun to rant I may as well get this off my chest. No matter what you may think of Hillary Clinton — the Devil’s Handmaid or the patron Saint of Feminism (there does not seem to be a middle ground) — don’t you think it odd that the speculation, even if true, that she somehow gave special consideration to the rich in order to take their money to give to the poor is somehow worse than the fact that almost every political critic of her alleged actions including those currently running for the presidency has also taken money from the rich, bragged about it, given them special consideration, but kept the money for themselves.

Also as to the Russian uranium deal in specific, besides it having to have been approved by many independent governmental entities other than the State Department, isn’t it odd that those in Congress complaining about this sale of American uranium assets to Russia never publicly objected to it at the time, even though they presumably knew or should have known all about it.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few months ago I wrote a series of posts here in T&T in which I pointed out that the current turmoil in the Near-East is, in many ways, a replication of events 1400 years ago when, following the drying up of the grasslands, some Arab pastoralists adopted an ideology (Islam) encouraging them to invade lands of the more productive societies nearby, take over their wealth and overthrow the ideologies and governments that controlled those lands.

According to Scientific American’s article regarding the Defense Department’s 2014 review of the effect of climate change on the area:

“Drying and drought in Syria from 2006 to 2011–the worst on record there–destroyed agricCulture, causing many farm families to migrate to cities. The influx added to social stresses already created by refugees pouring in from the war in Iraq, explains Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who co-authored the study. The drought also pushed up food prices, aggravating poverty. “We’re not saying the drought caused the war,” Seager said. “We’re saying that added to all the other stressors, it helped kick things over the threshold into open conflict. And a drought of that severity was made much more likely by the ongoing human-driven drying of that region.”

Arable land in the area has been drastically reduced over the past 20 years and expected to continue to decrease. Population, on the other hand, has exploded and estimated to double over the next two decades.

It appears more and more apparent that the immediate goals of the modern Arab insurgents (ISIS, Al Qaeda and so on) is, as it was in the Seventh Century, to capture the wealth of the richer societies that control the littoral areas of the Near-East (Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, Israel, Yemen and the like) and replace the ideologies of those countries with their own.

It is no Arab Spring but it well may be the beginning of an Arab Winter.

Yemen, a country much in the news recently, is a key in the insurgents strategy. It has the second largest population on the Arabian Peninsula, dominates the southern entrance to the Red Sea and if controlled by the insurgents, forces the oil sheikdoms to face threats on two fronts.

The insurgents in Yemen have toppled the government and appear to be on their way to subduing the entire country. The Saudis responded with air strikes but shied away from commitment of troops. Without troops on the ground, they may impede but not halt the insurgency. Unfortunately, heavily militarized societies that spend a lot on military hardware have only too often proven incapable of successfully engaging in armed combat with a highly motivated adversary. American or other Western nations’ involvement with “boots on the ground” may defeat the insurgents but not the insurgency. I suspect some of the oil sheikdoms now are considering payment of “protection” in the form economic support for ISIS activities in Syria/Iraq in return for temporary relief from attack. This is the same strategy used 1400 years ago. It did not work then and it will not work now. Eventual adoption of the ideology, however, did preserve their wealth and power.

Of the three major non-Arab or non-Sunni regimes on the periphery, Turkey, Iran and Israel, none of them sees ISIS as a significant threat to its physical integrity. All of them see political and economic gains in the prolongation of the conflict and all three would be pleased if the oil sheikdoms find themselves preoccupied and under stress.

(It should be pointed out, the particular form of Islamic terrorism and ideology practiced by ISIS and others appears to be lacking [or at least, weak] in most non-Arab Muslim countries except perhaps Iran.)

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

A few years ago I traveled to New York City for some reason. I arrived in NY on the A train. After a few days, I left it by taking the A train again to Far Rockaway. “Far Rockaway.” It sounds exotic. One could almost imagine emerging from the subway onto a sandy beach by clear blue waters — perhaps there is a boatload of buccaneers waiting offshore to attack. One does not usually associate NY with broad sandy beaches. Actually, it is one of those few major cities with large beaches within its city limits, like Rio. True Rockaway Beach, Jones Beach and Coney Island do not quite conger up the same images in one’s mind as Copacabana or Ipanema, (or even Venice Beach in LA) but they do have their own quirky and gritty charm. In the summer, those beaches were packed with beach-goers and sunbathers like subway cars during rush hour.

When the train emerged from the tunnel and into the sunlight over a section of outer Brooklyn or Queens (I never could remember which it was out here near JFK) we rode above the rows of brick attached homes and trees, lots of them, and passed Aqueduct Raceway. I left the A train at Howard Beach and boarded the AirTrain, taking it the last mile or so to the terminal at JFK.

Boarding the car with me were two New Yorkers dressed in SF Forty-niners shirts on their way to SF to see the Niners play the Giants. One of them was a large pear-shaped man with a pencil thin mustache and wearing a Joe Montana shirt. He announced to everyone in a very loud voice that he was a Niner and Montana fan for all his life no matter what his friends and coworkers thought about it. In an accent that could only be from Brooklyn, he told several of the other passengers that he was a scraper, someone who scraps the paint off bridges in preparation for repainting and that this was only the second air flight he had ever taken.

So while listening to the two of them express their excitement and their plans about what they wanted to see when they get to SF (Fisherman’s Wharf and the Crookedest Street), I pleasantly passed the time until we arrived at the terminal where I boarded the plane and left NYC behind.

The Niners lost that game.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“Reich, a 42-year-old professor of law at Yale, is concerned with the mutual interpenetration of public and private power which constitutes the American way of life today and determines, within constantly narrowing limits, how resources are used, how we live, and what we hear, eat, wear, believe, or do. This nexus of anonymous and irresponsible power, which Galbraith called “the New Industrial State” is called by Reich “the Corporate State,” both unfortunate terms because the chief feature of this monstrous system, emphasized by both writers, is not public authority but a fusion of public and private power in which the private portion is by far the more significant part. The combination brainwashes all of us, influencing our outlook on the world by mobilizing social pressures and organizational structures to coerce our behavior and responses in directions which are increasingly destructive.”
Carroll Quigley. Review of Greening of America by Charles A. Reich.

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“Whenever my kids made disparaging remarks about labor unions, I politely informed them that hundreds and hundreds of people DIED for the rights they take for granted today — child labor laws, minimum wage laws, mine safety regs [which are roundly ignored even today, since the fines are a pittance], job safety regs and laws, and on and on.

Millennials ought to study the goddamned history of this country and see just what “rights” they enjoy today came at a horrific price over many many years of suffering. The early 1900s were an especially violent time, when union organizers and strikers were clubbed by thugs hired by corporate owners, whether it was UMW miners, or Teamsters being beaten and killed, or UFWA grape pickers working for slave wages in horrendous living and working conditions, the short-handled hoe and pesticides just being two of the many horrors.

When the brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged, “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,” they were committing treason for which they could have been hanged.

Could you imagine wealthy white men in America today, pledging THEIR fortunes for the benefit of common people and for doing the right thing?”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“In America today. you can make more money inventing a new conspiracy theory than you can by curing cancer.”

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

(Paraprosdokians are found in the darkest places of the mind right next to the root cellar where puns are kept.)

E. Today’s Poem:

From childhood’s hour
I have not been
As others were;
I have not seen
As others saw;
I could not bring
My passions from
A common spring.

From the same source
I have not taken
My sorrow;
I could not awaken
My heart to joy
At the same tone;
And all I loved,
I loved alone.
—EDGAR ALLAN POE, “ALONE.” (excerpt)

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A little mixing of genes never hurt the species.”
Naida West

In the late 1950s when I was President of the Catholic Interracial Council, all sides rushed to assure that equality did not include sexual relations or marriage between the races. At a conference of the major civil rights organizations at the time sponsored by CIC, I gave the welcoming address in which I said:

“We can never achieve true equality, if one of the central features of what it means to be human, the love between two people, forever remains segregated. Racial harmony would reign in America if everyone had a spouse of a different color and a Jewish mother.”

 

TODAY’S CHART:
TeachersNugget

As usual, with graphs of this type, it confuses more than it explains. It would be more informative if it also included student performance by country. According to the OCED, the top performing students come from Korea, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and Austria. Among the poorer performing students are those from USA, Mexico, Greece, and Spain. Those countries not listed above include Canada, China and Poland among the best and among the worst Brazil and Russia.

Based upon the above, neither teacher hours worked nor relative pay appear to be very determinative of student performance.

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
blind-painter-john-bramblitt-3-L
Painting by the Blind Artist John Bramblitt.

 

*Note: Regarding the photographs of the crucified Armenian women that begins this post, it is important to mention that a few compassionate Turkish Muslims managed to save some of those women by taking down from their crosses those women that had not dies before their crucifiers had left.

It should also be noted that Hitler acknowledged his debt to the Turkish approach to ridding themselves of their hated Armenian and Greek compatriots for many of the ideas he used to rid himself of the Jews, Gypsies, non-Nazi homosexuals and Slavs living on land slated for German Lebensraum (In the US it was called Manifest Destiny**).

By the way,it seems to me, for some Turks to justify the Genocide as they do by claiming it to have been caused by some Arminians who vigorously opposed governmental policy and sought international assistance would be like Americans justifying lynching all African-Americans because the protests in Ferguson against police brutality caused foreign press to express sympathy with their plight.

** In Manifest Destiny, because the US was somewhat more democratic, we allowed citizens to kill or enslave the non-white, non-protestant inhabitants living in the lands conquered, with the government stepping in only when the native reaction was too strong or effective for the good white citizens to handle.

 

Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Joey 0004 (March 23, 2015)

 

” I just can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone who has been inside me.”
Sex and the Shameless.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Yesterday we went to Denio’s Auction, in Roseville. It is a large mostly outdoor market combining a flea market with a farmer’s market. Although you can buy almost anything you want there, you rarely end up buying what you actually need. I bought two 1970 era Hawaiian shirts for $2 each, one with images of old Woodys along its border.
photo 3
Pookie’s new shirt

Nikki got an arctic military jacket with a fur-fringed hood he insisted on wearing as we walked around in the 80-degree heat. H bought a very large picture/painting of John Cena leaping feet first toward the viewer. In the afternoon, we swam a lot and that evening we drank a bottle of Lone Buffalo Port given to me by the Dall’s that I had been saving for a special occasion. The next morning Nikki left to return to Italy — Arrivederci Nikki. ____________________________________

I am uncertain about what to pack for my trip to Washington DC next week. The weather has been brutal back there. I have only a small carry-on. Will winter still squat on the East Coast or will spring slide in on time for my trip? It’s tweener time, a time between seasons. How does one pack for that?

My daughter and I had planned this trip for the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. We have fond memories of traveling there together many years ago when the trees were in bloom. Here in the golden hills, the cherry blossoms have come and gone. Their petals fluttered to the ground, were swept about in eddies of spring breezes or rudely disturbed by leaf blowers until they turned brown and morphed into suburban detritus.
IMG_20150307_124321_551
Blossoms before the fall
_______________________________

The following weekend we returned to Denio’s. I refrained from adding to my wardrobe because my refined fashion sense was unsatisfied with this week’s stock of $2 Hawaiian shirts.
IMG_20150321_103102_255
Pookie at Denio’s
HRM, however, spent his Denio’s budget enjoying the balloon ride at the market.

IMG_20150321_104321_064

Then we ate dinner at a new positively reviewed Chinese restaurant in a strip mall in Folsom. On the next day, HRM had his first flag football game. His team won 18 to 8.
IMG_20150321_171953_821 - Version 2

These seemingly innocent days ended when my happy pills protection collapsed and despair raced through the breech like the Russians at Stalingrad. Interest in continued existence crumbled before the humiliation of knowing that I have so much less a cause to feel this way than others (in fact I have none to think of). I know it’s physical, like a nearsighted baseball player who has forgotten to wear his contacts. To him, the ball appears fuzzy and gray but he knows it’s not that way at all. But, it is his reality. He has no option but to swing and hope no one laughs. Or as Odd Thomas points out:

“We are not strangers to ourselves; we only try to be.”
Koontz, Dean. Odd Thomas: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 384). Random House Publishing Group.
____________________________________

On Monday SWAC returned to Thailand. I prepared for my DC trip. Richard and HRM braced themselves to spend the week alone together.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY

A Snarky Trip Through Poetry or Skipping Among the Doggerel

I hate poetry. At least, I hate wading through modern poetry to find something that I enjoy. It’s like plowing through Facebook to find something to like. Thankfully, any Facebook entry that takes more than a tenth of a second to absorb I skip anyway.

Poetry originated as stories with sound effects to help remember them. Later the rhythm of the language developed into different forms. English, at about the time of the Renaissance, began importing foreign forms. In Italian, a sonnet could recite a laundry list and still sound good. English sonnets suck.

Modern poetry it seems to me falls into a few recognizable categories.

First there is imagist shit. You know, a poem about a leaf on a tree that is incomprehensible, never mentions trees and uses the word leaf only once, if at all.

The sun warms my body
It spreads to the world around me
I think of you enfolded in its arms
My sweaty balls itch.

Or, we have love poems celebrating modern sexual sensibilities.

I dream of doing you doggy style,
In the meadow of the night
Your eyes
Like comets streak across the sky
Striking deep into my heart.

Or, poems focused on common domestic scenes.

Little Maisie,
Stumbles across the floor
Through the tortured shadow
of the window frame.
Takes a shit on the hardwood
and says,
Yuck!

Or attempts at humor:

I saw Mickey Mouse
As Steamboat Wille
On the telly
Last night
We both have skinny arms
But I can’t whistle.

Or sociological and political doggerel:

I am Wo-Man
I break stallions to harness
They ride me for my pleasure
They tend my flocks
And in the end
I paste their memories
in my scrapbook.

Among the foreign forms, haiku seems popular today even though it makes no sense in any language but Japanese. Take the quote at the beginning of T&T above:

I can’t go anywhere
Without bumping into someone
Who’s been inside me.

(18 syllables instead of 17 but close enough.)

Rap on the other hand, is real poetry. Although it is derived from black urban argot, it reflects the dialect and the social experience well. Its explosive beat at the end of each phase welcomes violent urban images. For this and other reasons, it is difficult to replace,

Hey muthafucka, I’ll cap your ass

with,

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

and expect it to sound right. On the other hand, who knows or more importantly who cares?

(Note: If you think I am kidding [and, if truth be known, I am. I love Denise Duhamel’s Snow White’s Acne], here is an excerpt from John Ashford’s poem Daffy Duck in Hollywood:

Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
Over the Fudds’ garage, reducing it–drastically–
To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on
A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover.
Suddenly all is
Loathing.

At least, I agree with Ashford that, “Suddenly all is Loathing.”

Or, this snippet from Nick Flynn’s Bag of Mice:

I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paper bag,
& in the bag were six baby mice.)

 

DAILY FACTOID:

2015: The Social Security System in running a surplus of over $150 billion a year and has run a surplus every year since 1983. The accumulated surplus over that time exceeds $2 trillion. So where has it gone? Mostly it has been used by Congress to reduce the political impact of tax cuts, to pay for unbudgeted military spending and to provide for social welfare. A significant portion of the national debt that the political parties complain about is the money owed to the nation’s seniors. Money those seniors had deposited into the trust fund for their retirement years.

2015: Parasites feed off many independent organisms in nature. If the host dies the parasites do not survive. Among humans, if the rich die the poor and the middle class will continue as always. If the poor and middle class disappear, the rich do also.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Xander’s Perceptions:

My disability and lack of income — having to live on what I get from Social Security — don’t make me all that marketable. I did date a really nice woman a few times, and she was looking for an instant hook-up, but she lives in Santa Clarita, and the kids were still in high school for another 18 months, and I wasn’t going to leave them until after Kristen graduated. She didn’t care that I was disabled. I told her in our very first phone conversation that I was essentially bedridden for weeks or months at a time. Her reaction? “I prefer to think that my presence would be helpful.”

So, I’d gotten color, was close to having the leader in my hand . . . and I broke it off, to use tuna fishing jargon. So what did the dude she married look like? Um, brown hair with gray; mustache and beard, kept from being unruly; and glasses.

Oh well. But maybe Il Papa will rewrite the Catholic canon and supply some defrocked nuns or whatevers. But who’d have thought we’d ever have a Pope who was every bit the socialist I am???
Pete Xander

B. Today’s Paraprosdokian*:

“I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

(*Note: Paraprosdokian is not an Armenian rock band.)

C. Today’s Poem:

Now as I was young and easy under the
apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the
grass was green. . . .

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days,
that time would take me. . . .
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Dylan Thomas

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Fear breeds superstition,”
Bento Spinosa (“Benedictus, Baruch)

“His vanity required constant stimulation, and constant proof that the ongoing creation of his selfhood was a project that he himself controlled.”
Catton, Eleanor. The Luminaries (Man Booker Prize) (p. 328). Little, Brown and Company.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_20141127_124425_406
A path less taken

 

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

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