TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:
On early Monday morning I left for Bangkok.
The day before I took Hayden and his friend Roland to see the 3D version of Jurassic Park. I do not like horror movies. They frighten me. Ever since I was a kid terrorized by a movie poster advertising Bela Lugosi as Dracula and unable to sleep without hearing the flutter of vampire wings outside my window, I have avoided all horror movies. I cannot even watch those movies featuring randy adolescents camping next to a cemetery or exploring a haunted house who, one by one, get gruesomely murdered. I do not know why it is that they scare me so much. I can watch war movies and various thrillers without fear, but put in a zombie, a deranged creature (I could not watch Godzilla) or some guy in a hockey mask, I freak out. No amount of persuading myself that it is just a movie helps. So it was that as I exited the theater ashen faced and shaking (I am not exaggerating. My whole body was shaking and it was not even a well done or very scary movie) the two eight-year-olds smirked and informed me happily that they were not afraid at all. Well, good for them.
During the flight, every hour or so, I would leave my seat and, as my doctors recommended, power-walk up and down the aisles from one end of the plane to the other. Every once in a while I would slip into the lavatory to examine myself for symptoms of something amiss. While there I generally would apply copious amounts of the complementary skin moisturizer and cologne. I also made sure I flushed the toilet just before leaving to let everyone on line waiting to use the restroom know that I was in there doing my business and not just fooling around or sitting there thinking about what would really happen if I tampered with the smoke detectors.
The worst part of the 20 or so hour trip however was wondering about what people would say if I got another blood clot and died. I imagined something like, “What on earth possessed him to take such a risk.” Before I left I thought I had good and compelling reasons, but now I realized they were mere rationalizations for whatever was so deeply imbedded in my psyche that impelled me to act as I did.
Nothing new in that, I have become convinced most of the reasons we tell ourselves that we need to do something have little to do with why we do whatever it is we end up doing. They are merely a handy thing, whenever we are successful, to tell ourselves and others. You know, “I knew what I was doing all along.”
The Little Masseuse met me at the airport upon my arrival in Bangkok. I left it to her to take charge of getting me back to my apartment. Actually the Taxi ride was the worst part of the trip. Bangkok traffic being what it is, it took us an hour and a half on the freeway to travel a distance not much farther than from SFO to downtown San Francisco. Since I was cramped into the backseat of one of those tiny automobiles that serve as taxi’s in Thailand and unable to move my legs, I was sure I would die there in a traffic jam on the skyway. I didn’t.
We eventually arrived in front the apartment building. The temperature outside was above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the pollution was so thick you could see it. We went straight into the apartment and turned the AC on high. LM massaged my feet and legs and I fell asleep while she went to by some things with which to make dinner.
As we ate we talked. I’m of Italian heritage. Talking at meals is an important part of the dining experience. I have read somewhere that there are cultures that do not see it quite that way. Anyway, as usual for LM and I, it was a limited, halting discussion since her mastery of english was rudimentary and my grasp of Thai non-existent. She did tell me a few more stories about life as a masseuse in a Bangkok health club (see below).
After dinner I slept for about 16 hours.
For the next two days I stayed mostly in the apartment drifting on and off to sleep as I dealt with jet lag. On the third day I made it to the health club and swam a few laps.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
1. Oh where have you gone Annie Hall?
Recently I read that scientific studies have revealed that the fear of death in those suffering terminal illnesses can be ameliorated or eliminated by administering the active ingredient contained in a common over-the-counter pain reliever medication.
As a result, 10,000 years of one of the foundation pillars of human philosophy and art, speculation on the meaning of death, has been overcome by a bottle of Tylenol. What’s next? Will we find that the pangs of love can be ended by Preparation H ?….. Come to think of it, that would probably do it.
When I read the report I immediately felt sorry for Woody Allen. Imagine…”That’s it Woody, no more movies for you. Take two Tylenol and a suppository and after a good night’s sleep you will feel better in the morning.”
2. Back in Thailand.
When I left Thailand almost four months ago, the only serious political issue upon which the two major parties seemed to spend any time on was whether or not the deposed, exiled ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible brother of the current prime minister (or perhaps more accurately, prim minister), Yingluck Shinawatra, Princess LuckyGirl, would be allowed back into the country. Upon my return I have learned that the only serious political issue upon which the two major parties seemed to spend any time on remains whether or not the deposed, exiled ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible brother of the current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, Princess LuckyGirl, would be allowed back into the country.
3. It’s like this all over:
The standard governmental administered retirement benefit in Thailand used to be about $20 per month (no that is not a typo). The new so-called populist government recently raised it to about $23 per month. Those prognosticators hired by Thais making about 1000 times more than this warn that it will lead to the countries ruin.
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:
ENTER THE DRAGON
Brigid Shaughnessy: I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that’s good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.
Lilly Park in person was even more attractive than in her photograph. She wore a fresh white blouse that sparkled above the skirt of her power suit several shades darker and two inches shorter than that of her administrative assistant. Also unlike her administrative assistant, she was not wearing a jacket. A privilege of power, I suppose. She wore no jewelry except small pearl studs on her ear lobes and a fuck-you watch. Her hair was short, black and efficiently swept back across the tops of her ears. I made a mental note to ask Mavis if she had any tattoos.
She strode purposefully over to Joe Vu, who had risen from his seat and shook his hand. She greeted him warmly by name and mentioned that she had spoked with Martin Vihn last night.
She then turned her attention to me.
There have been studies that have shown that the two jobs containing the highest percentage of psychopaths are attorneys and corporate CEOs; more so than even cops and generals. So, when you look into the eyes of a lawyer or a CEO there is a relatively high probability a hardened criminal is looking back at you. Unlike the stone cold killers of the streets, who make up the psychopathic proletariat and who usually do the job by themselves, they, these psychopaths in suits, have learned how to destroy whoever gets in their way by using others. At least that’s how men do it. Other than to recognize that there are a lot fewer of them, what’s in the mind of women psychopaths, I cannot hazard a guess; except perhaps to observe that in my callow youth before it became misspent, I suspect some of them at least were those older woman we referred to as “Bad Girls.”
Bad Girls were those girls to whom your mind would wander from the Playboy Centerfold while you were doing your business in the bathroom and of whom you lived in fear because in some unguarded moment you might speak to them and they would ignore you.
I got the immediate impression that Lilly Park was a very bad girl and that I was seriously overmatched. Anyone that could ride on the back of Mavis’s Harley in the Dykes on Bikes segment of San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade and also comfortably sit in a partners chair in a major downtown law firm was someone to be reckoned with.
She held out her hand, not like men do at waist level, but as some super confident women do, at almost shoulder level and with a smile that did not make it up into her eyes. Said:
“I’m Lilly Park. Whom do I have the pleasure of meeting?”
No one speaks like that unless they were in an Edwardian costume drama or assumed you were an idiot.
Instead of grasping her offered hand, I handed her my business card and sat down at the conference table, mimicking her smile the best I could. Said:
“Most people call me Dragon.”
Her smile tightened slightly. She sat down stared at the card a moment and said:
“Well Mr. Dragon…”
“…Matt Dragoni rings a bell but I can’t place it. Have we met?”
“Maybe, at one time I was in the same racket as you a few buildings closer to the Bay.”
Her smile had almost totally disappeared by now.
“So what made you leave to become a…detective?”
“I thought looking into motel windows photographing errant husbands and wives would introduce me to a better class of people.”
“Well did it?” Her smile broadened a bit.
“Not really, I couldn’t see any difference.”
Her voice hardened. “So what brings you to my office today?”
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
B. Waste in Defense Procurement:
According to Dina Razor, investigative journalist:
“For decades, the DoD has decided what each new weapon will cost by looking at what historically similar weapons “did cost” in the past. So, if you decide to buy a new fighter plane, you look at what the previous plane cost as the baseline, and then add on more for all the new advances and gadgets you plan to put on the new plane. This has been disastrous because all of the contractor’s fraud, waste and fat that were tolerated in the past plane’s costs by the ever-appeasing DoD bureaucracy now become the baseline for the new plane. This makes every generation of weapon more and more unaffordable as the waste and fraud from generations before is rolled over to the new weapon. The result is that the bloated costs are expanded exponentially and we have fewer and fewer weapons for more and more money …”
(In other words, military contractors and DOD contracting procedures are not making you safer. They are making you poorer.)
C. The Banality of Evil:
(Photograph unavailable at this time)
Statement made by Josef Blösche following his arrest in 1969:
“The Liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto: I have looked at the given photocopy. Concerning the person in the SS uniform, standing in the foreground of a group of SS members and holding a sub-machine gun in firing position and wearing a steel helmet with motorcycle goggles, this is me.
The picture shows that I, as a member of the Gestapo office in the Warsaw Ghetto, together with a group of SS members, am driving a large number of Jewish citizens out from a house. The group of Jewish citizens is comprised predominantly of children, women and old people, driven out of a house through a gateway, with their arms raised.
The Jewish citizens were then led to the so-called Umschlagplatz, from which they were transported to the extermination camp Treblinka.”
(From Brad DeLong’s Journal: Grasping Reality with Both Invisible Hands)
(I cannot look at that photograph without becoming physically ill.)
B. Tales of the Little Masseuse:
In Bangkok there is a world-famous hospital to which people from all over the world flock, especially from the Arab countries of the Middle East and from India. Although cosmetic surgery is one of the hospitals most lucrative services, is also does a thriving business in artificial insemination.
The hospital is located a few blocks from the health club in which the Little Masseuse works. Every now and then a gentleman would show up at the health club, plastic cup in hand, seeking assistance from the masseuses in depositing the precious fluid into the cups.
This would occasionally cause difficulties between the masseuses and the health club management. It seems that the deposit is required to presented back at the hospital within twenty minutes of its collection. This, at times caused the client to have to rush out with his valuable cargo well before the hour of massage he paid for was up, leading the management to accuse the workers of providing poor service or of outright dishonesty.
Anyway, one day a distinguished and portly Indian gentleman appeared at the health club and presented himself and his plastic cup to the Little Masseuse. In making idle conversation as she often does during a massage she asked him, “Why are you doing this?”
“Because I want to have children, two of them in fact, and this is the only way I can.”
“May I ask,” she inquired, “why have you not done this by yourself instead of coming here to the health club?”
He responded, “Because I want my children to be happy.”
“My friends always ask me why I still have so much sex if I am not cumming, it’s not about the orgasm for me, it’s about the power and the energy I get from it. I am still frustrated because I haven’t cum but I get such a relief and a buzz from having that energy with another man. I love the excitement, the rush, the force and the overall act of sex. I also love seeing, hearing and feeling a man cum from having sex with me. I feel a sense of power once he has cum because he is delirious and exhausted where as I am completely in control of what has happened and I just feel satisfied, not sexually but mentally. I think that’s why I usually always go off a guy as soon as I have had sex with him because I have accomplished what I wanted to with him and now I’m bored so I want to go on to my next project. Whenever I go on a date with a guy I am not thinking about where this might go or what we may do on our next date, I’m thinking about how I can break him and manipulate him with sex. It’s like a game for me, I love finding out what will drive a man to do exactly what I want in bed, what gets him off and most importantly what his dirtiest turn on is as that is what fascinates and excites me the most.”
(Excerpt from a blog written by a woman who supposedly suffers from an addiction to sex describing her obviously unsuccessful efforts to break her habit.)
Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com
- The Puppeteer and His Puppet (thepastandpresentandfuture.wordpress.com)
- Thai trains are in a terrible state (ttrweekly.com)
- China to aid Thailand high speed rail projects (thebricspost.com)