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Trenz Pruca’s Observations: Rumination on the Long Generation.

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If when I was five years old and shook the hand and listened to the stories of someone who was the age that I am now, he would have been born during the Civil War. If he in turn, when he was five, shook the hand of another old man and listened to his stories, he might have learned that that man when he was young had shaken the hand of someone who had shook the hand of someone who may have known Shakespeare. Three handshakes by old men represent a chain of history from Donald Trump to William Shakespeare.

(Hmm——This may evidence that, as a species, we may have been devolving faster than we realize.)

Recently, my partner told me that when she was young her Grandmother told her that when she was young and growing up near Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she used to watch Queen Victoria and Prince Albert traveling in their carriage to the local church to attend Sunday services.

This is a long generation.

Everybody needs someone to look down on. There’s a comfort in it.

 
 
Being very poor and destitute is not a mental illness. It’s about money. Getting money because they are very poor — anyway they can, because they are destitute. The destitute poor are a nuisance. That is how the public who are not very poor and destitute see it. They hate the destitute poor, and, if truth be known, the destitute poor hates them.
 
Oh, yes, there are those of us not among the destitute poor who help out and who wonder why the mass of the rest of us do not do so also. Well, to most of the rest of us they, the destitute poor, those we see living in tents along the sides of the road, abandoned buildings, rooms without heat, or adequate plumbing, run down trailer parks, the poverty stricken sick, lame, and mentally disturbed, those who have to sell their bodies to stay alive, or destroy their bodies and minds to shield themselves from the pain and degradation or their lives, are not really alive to begin with. They are, to most of us, subhuman. They do not matter.
 
Do not say you do not think them less than human, these destitute poor, because of the nature of their lives or what they must do to stay alive, when you click your tongue as you walk by them and say to yourself, I wish someone would do something about them. Are you willing to take them in to you home, give them half your income? Why not? You would probably do it for a relative or dear friend who has fallen on hard times. Why is assisting the destitute poor a collective necessity and not an individual mandate?
 
 

 Sicilian Mores and Tales from Giordano: The Mafia.

Mario Giordano, the author of the rollicking Auntie Poldi and an astute observer of things Sicilian, comments on Sicily’s most well known export, stories about the M word — the Mafia.

 
    “The historic Mafia is a romantic fiction,” he said. “It doesn’t become really interesting until 1860, after Garibaldi’s unification of Italy. The capital was far away, and the Sicilians could never assimilate. The clocks here have always told a different time. The Mafia found it all too easy to fill the vacuum with terms like honour, pride and betrayal. When the building boom started in the sixties, it went over to speculative construction, combining this in the seventies with the drug trade. It was also into protection rackets, but they aren’t as lucrative these days. And the Mafia families have always been at each other’s throats. Mind you, “family” no longer implies blood relationship but only describes a group with the same organizational structure. Things got very bad in the eighties, when the murders became more and more atrocious. There were shootings and bombings every day, and the Mafia took to attacking representatives of the state. Policemen, state attorneys, judges. It was a killing spree. Then some courageous prosecuting magistrates like Falcone and Borsellino had had enough and began to investigate. And, ecco là, there was a sudden emergence of renegades willing to spill the beans, because they’d become genuinely sick of murders and deaths and having their families wiped out. Since then, we’ve known that the Mafia is structured like a regular commercial firm and has a regular name.”
 
  “It’s headed by the supreme boss and his advisers. Today we’d call him the CEO. Then come the underbosses, or vice presidents, then the operational captains and soldiers, and finally, at the bottom, the ordinary members—​the shareholders, so to speak. Falcone and Borsellino found that out and paid with their lives. After that, Sicilians had also had enough. People took to the streets en masse and demonstrated against the Mafia. The wall of silence crumbled, and that was how they caught Totò Riina, Bernardo Provenzano, Leoluca Bagarella and many others. Major Mafia trials were held. They even tried to nail ex-premier Giulio Andreotti, but he was one size too big, though there’s a photo of him kissing a capo dei capi on both cheeks.”
 
“Today? The Cosa Nostra still exists, of course—​what do you expect?—​but it has changed, modernized, altered its fields of business activity. They rob banks via computer, and the bosses are revered again like heroes. The current boss of bosses is Messina Denaro, who’s supposed to have killed fifty people with his own hands. He’s been living undercover for years, but he used to throw wild parties on the beach at Selinunte. These days he represents himself in letters to the press as an opponent of the system.
                Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio (An Auntie Poldi Adventure) (p. 151). HMH Books.
 
 
 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY: Tana French on Morals, Manners, Etiquette, and Code.





While reading Tana French’s most recent novel The Searcher, I ran across a short scene in which the main character, a hulking ex-cop from Chicago now living in the Wicklow Mountains in rural Ireland, tries to explain to a thirteen-year-old Irish girl his approach to living. I found his attempts to distinguish between morals, manners, etiquette and code intriguing..

“Etiquette is the stuff you gotta do just ’cause that’s how everyone does it,” he begins. “Like holding your fork in your left hand, or saying ‘Bless you’ if someone sneezes,” 

“Manners is treating people with respect,” he goes on.”The thing is that many of their most passionate moral stances …have to do with what words you should and shouldn’t use for people, based on what problems they have, what race they are, or who they like to sleep with. … [Y]ou should call people whatever they prefer to be called…this [is] a question of basic manners, not of morals.”

“Morals involve something more than terminology. Morals…is the stuff that doesn’t change. The stuff you do no matter what other people do. Like, if someone’s an asshole to you, you might not be mannerly to him; you might tell him to go fuck himself, or even punch him in the face. But if you see him trapped in a burning car, you’re still gonna open the door and pull him out. However much of an asshole he is. That’s your morals.”

“My Code is I just try to do right by people.You gotta come up with your own code.” 


I wonder if I have a code or if I just drift through life and respond to things based just on long forgotten experiences and how I am feeling at the time? I would think long and hard about this if I were a lot younger. At my age etiquette, manners, morals, and code seem to be simply a matter of comfort.
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MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES: THE HEARTBREAK OF MAN BOOBS.

 
 

FROM POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND, MAY 19, 2012.

 
 
It rained again today in Bangkok. The Little Masseuse equipped me with one of those umbrellas that cleverly fold up every which way until they are small enough carry in your pocket. When opened it becomes a tiny umbrella, not that much larger than a paper parasol in a Mai Tai. It is just about large enough to keep the rain off of my already hat protected head, but too small to prevent the rest of me from becoming drenched.
 
I have lost over 25 pounds as a result of my diet and exercise regime as well as about two and one half inches from my waist. I have even begun to see little bumps emerge from my body’s subcutaneous fat that I assume are muscles. Either that or I am sicker than I imagined. Nevertheless, when I look into the mirror to observe the changes, my eyes are inevitably drawn to that persistent bane of the aging male, my man boobs. They stare back at me. Those pendulous D-cup protrusions seeming even bigger than ever.
 
When I searched the internet for exercises that promise to eliminate drooping man boobs like there are for sagging bellies and those draperies of flesh that dangle beneath your upper arm, I was disappointed to find that there are none.
 
Is this then the way it is with most men; no matter what we do we will still die with, sagging man boobs? At least with older women those derelict appendages arguably had a purpose (perhaps several purposes) at one time, but what have my boobs ever done for me?
 
 

DAILY FACTOID: OBJECTIVE REALITY DOES NOT EXIST.

 
 
On September 20, 2019, Massimiliano Proietti and his associates published the results of quantum experiments that demonstrated that Objective Reality does not exist. By experiment they proved that two observers of a quantum interaction can observe two different realities, which are both equally real and correct simultaneously, even if they contradict each other. The implication of this assertion is that in quantum physics there is no objective reality; that reality itself is observer-dependent. 
 
 
Abstract
 
The scientific method relies on facts, established through repeated measurements and agreed upon universally, independently of who observed them. In quantum mechanics the objectivity of observations is not so clear, most markedly exposed in Wigner’s eponymous thought experiment where two observers can experience seemingly different realities. The question whether the observers’ narratives can be reconciled has only recently been made accessible to empirical investigation, through recent no-go theorems that construct an extended Wigner’s friend scenario with four observers. In a state-of-the-art six-photon experiment, we realize this extended Wigner’s friend scenario, experimentally violating the associated Bell-type inequality by five standard deviations. If one holds fast to the assumptions of locality and free choice, this result implies that quantum theory should be interpreted in an observer-dependent way.”
 
 
But, of course, we all knew that. Hell, anyone who has dropped a psychedelic has experienced it.
 
 It should be pointed out Lindgren and Liukkonen from Finland in a recent article disagree:
 
“The results suggest that there is no logical reason for the results to be dependent on the person conducting the measurement. According to our study, there is nothing that suggests that the consciousness of the person would disturb the results or create a certain result or reality,”
 

                   

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 Sicilian Mores and Tales: Nonverbal Communication.

 

 
 
Conquered by so many peoples over so many centuries, this island has developed a unique culture of nonverbal communication. I don’t mean random gesticulations, but a genuine language capable of attracting someone’s attention or warning them, affirming something or denying it, flattering, flirting or insulting—​and all at a safe distance.
 
There are age-old gestures that have become so ingrained in Sicilians as to be practically innate. Gestures also keep up with the times, and children’s can often differ from those of their parents.
 
The best known is, of course, the “little crown,” in which the thumb and all the fingers are brought together and the hand or hands loosely or violently shaken in front of the body. This is a gesture of general activation with which to lend one’s words emphasis or convey that the other person is talking utter poppycock.
 
If you want to persuade someone or beg them to do something, you fold your hands loosely in front of your chest and shake them up and down.
 
To signal to a friend that it’s time to go or tell someone else to push off, you slap the back of one hand with the palm of the other.
 
The sign for a hoodlum is a thumb drawn across the cheek like a knife. The gesture meaning “fear” is the little crown rapidly opening and closing.
 
Thumb and index finger splayed and shaken signifies “Nothing to be done.”
 
Both index fingers extended close together and moving to and fro a little means “They’re a couple, let’s talk about them behind their back.”
 
If you quickly brush the underside of your chin with the back of your hand, it means “No, no way, never, forget it!”
 
As children, my cousins and I had a gesture meaning “I’ll kill you.” This was two extended fingers rapidly applied to the lips. Nowadays children extend a hand and tap the clenched fist with the thumb as if operating a game controller. There are hundreds of gestures. They fill the whole of Palermo like a strange flock of birds excitedly fluttering along with its inhabitants and never coming to rest.”
                     Giordano, Mario. Auntie Poldi and the Handsome Antonio (An Auntie Poldi Adventure) (p. 154). HMH Books. 
 
 
 
 

FIVE DAYS TO REVEAL.

David was equipped with only five pebbles when he killed the giant Goliath. I knew Goliath. DT is no Goliath. Will the next five days spell the end of the Mango Menace? Who knows. He wants a military send-off when he leaves the White House. A police escort to jail would be more appropriate. Today, the media reports indicate that the Capital rioters intended to capture and assassinate elected officials during their assault. Meanwhile, the turmoil continues:

“We don’t follow you. Be quiet and get out of our way.”     

               A telegram to the White House following the defeated Presidents belated criticism of those rioters who assaulted the Capital building.

 

“burn down” the Capitol, launch “an armed revolt,” “pop some libtards” and “TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK WHATEVER IT TAKES!!”  “Civil War is here. Group up locally. Take out the News stations.” “LET’S HANG THEM ALL.” “LET’S FINISH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.”

              Posts on social media since the Capital riot.

 

“Theres a war coming, and cowering in your home [while] real patriots march with rifles … will make you a traitor.”

              Comment by a member of an encrypted Boogaloo chat.

Tens of thousands of new subscribers have signed up on right-wing social media within the past ten days. The orange mini Goliath may be packing his bags, but his deranged children and sycophants are running helter-skelter throughout the nation, stirring up trouble. Some reports indicate that the insurrectionists have infiltrated the armed forces and the police.

The question in my mind is, on Inauguration Day, five days from now, on whom will the national guard and police turn their guns? Will Trump declare martial law as the Pillow Guy suggests?

Hysteria or threat? Five days to reveal.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to slaughter its way through the American populace, and today, we discover that the reserves of the vaccine intended for second doses have disappeared.

Despite the turmoil, the sun shines brightly here where I live. It floods the studio relieving the room of its usual dimness where we watch the shoulders and faces of well-coiffed commentators endlessly repeat the same few bits of news, opinions, and surmises.

 

 

Terry on Top: The King is Dead.

 

Once again Terry provides an optimistic view of our political future. It was written a little over a month before the Trumpenoids assault on the Capitol.  Will Biden prove to be the crafty politician Terry thinks he will be?

 
 
   “The dust is settling, the King is Dead, the Republic stands and a legislative journeyman is in charge.”
 
“I don’t think the media really quite understands what happened this week. The old order just died. In the space of three days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the President Elect took the bipartisan moderate Senators’( all six of them) $906B stimulus package, told Pelosi and Schumer to back it( they really didn’t want too) and presto , Biden has a working majority of at least 51 in the Senate and 230 or so in the House ( counting the bipartisan “ Problem Solvers caucus”). Not too bad for an old veteran.“
 
“But it’s just the opening play for a foxy legislator like Biden. I’ve seen this movie before: Willie Brown ran CA. when he was the minority leader in the mid 80s, Deukmajian was Governor, and he matched his minority with 5 Republican Assembly members, and effectively controlled the legislature. Now it’s not the same in 2021 Washington, but the maneuver is the same: create a bipartisan working majority on the big legislative proposals and the rest will take care of itself. While the Senate still has the filibuster requirement of 60 votes, the real problem has been getting reasonable legislation to the floor for a vote. In the last 10 years McConnell, for various reasons, has been able to obstruct normal legislative action on the floor. In this new era of a Biden Presidency, that apparently will no longer be possible.” 
 
“In the last three days McConnell has been put in a corner. At least three members of his own caucus have said enough is enough, they want to legislate and move bills  to the floor for a vote. McConnell doesn’t have the horsepower to stop that now that Trump is a lame duck and Biden is the new power player in Washington. And Biden is an old fox with lots of tricks.”
 
“My prediction: a nice warm stimulus package will pass in December. And it’s just the start of a new era of bipartisan legislating. It’s the Biden Congressional majority in the making.” 
 
 
 
 

Giants of History: The Rabbi from Nazareth.

The Rabbi from Nazareth
 
 
   In the US we have a problem regarding the good gay messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Many people say they love Him very much.
 
The problem is Jesus went on and on about things like helping the unfortunate, forgiveness, healing the sick and things like that. He liked women and hung out with them a lot. He did not think they should be punished if they happened to have done things other people did not like, even if it had to do with sex. He even often had a handsome man around him who he called his beloved and they would lay their heads on each others breast. He also said that unbelievers could be better in God’s eyes than believers if they behave kindly toward others. Jesus hated those who used religion to benefit themselves financially. He preached that it is the good things you do, not what you believe that matters to God.
 
Unfortunately, many of those who claim they love Jesus a lot, also believe that those who like what Jesus said they should do like oh, feed the poor, actually hate Jesus.
 
This seems to be a common situation among men to claim to love someone for no discernible reason but despise what the object of their adoration tells them to do whenever it benefits someone other than himself.
 
Yes, this sounds like another screed about conservatives. And yes conservatives tend to behave like this in Thailand, back in Jesus time and even in the US and elsewhere today. And yes, their leaders are often the society’s rich and powerful.
 
But liberals have their own problems. Liberals seem to often fall in love with a messiah whose words they agree with. If Jesus were alive today liberals probably would urge Him to run for office. And if He succeeded in getting elected, they would all go home and happily wait for their Messiah to perform His miracles and make everything like they think it should be. When that does not happen, they will become disappointed and would probably go to Him and complain. He would point out that He said that the miracles could happen only if they all changed their ways together and worked at it along with Him. The liberals would not like that and go home. This then would allow those who loved Jesus but not what He told them they should be doing to come in and toss Him into the garbage or worse.
 
In fact, that was what happened during Jesus time. The liberals, known then as the Apostles and Disciples, urged him to run for King, then when the shit hit the fan they all ran and hid. They only came out again after things quieted down.
 
Note: Everything written above applies to Men only. Remember, the women did not run and hide. They bravely appeared at the crucifixion and at the tomb despite the danger [and, if I recall correctly, so did the beloved disciple].
 

Mopey’s Memories: My first visit to Sacile, June 2011.

Sacile the Picturesque.
 
 
About four hours later, we arrived at Nikki’s condominium in Busto a small working class town located just outside of Milan adjacent to Malpensa Airport. We unpacked, cooked dinner and went to sleep. The following morning, I was awakened by lot of shouting and banging of things being moved about. I left my room to find SWAC in the midst of packing and shouting. It seems that her period commenced (Her statement not mine) the previous night and that, according to her, it was an absolute necessity we immediately depart the messy and cramped condominium for the supposedly spacious and elegant farm of her friends located almost completely across the top of the country from Milan, somewhere near Venice.
 
She insisted that I accompany them, stay the night and return to Milan the next morning, leaving Hayden and her to spent two or three weeks there. I demurred, explaining that I had had enough traveling for a while. Following somewhat emotional discussions and a series of telephone calls to the so-called friends, it was agreed that I would accompany them to the Veneto and remain with Hayden lodged at the farm while she returned to Milan with Nikki and departed for Thailand to return in about two weeks.
 
So, four or so hours later we drove into Sacile (pronounced Sah Chili) a town about 40 kilometers north of Venice. It is also known as “Il Giardino del Serenissima,” or something like that. It translates as “The Garden of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.”
 
Before reaching the center of town we stopped on a side street at a coffee shop/bar operated by a friend of SWAC and Nikki, a tall slender middle aged woman named Lucia. Outside the bar were a few tables, one of which was occupied by several locals playing the traditional Italian card games of Scopa and Briscola. They and the other patrons were generally drinking Prosecco, not the sweet bubbly crap one gets in the US, but the refreshing local, hot weather afternoon, kick back and enjoy life drink. It was very good. We had two glasses and spent about an hour in pleasant conversation with Lucia, her strange boyfriend and some of the customers.
 
We then walked to the main plaza of the town that has a river running through it. Apparently, during the heyday of La Serenissima, barges from Venice would travel up the river to the small falls that made further travel difficult. The barges, carrying, I guess, things like Murano glass souvenirs, porcelain Carnivale masks and things like that would be off loaded and replaced by agricultural goods from the area and other things like cuckoo clocks carried over the alpine passes from Switzerland and Austria. The town sprung up to service this barge traffic, I assume to provide food, drink and entertainment to the lonely bargemen as they awaited their consignments.
 
The town is a picture postcard of what someone would imagine a venetian town should look like. At first blush, it appears that the ancient town has reemerged from history. A closer look reveals something a bit more like one would find at the Venetian in Las Vegas, a use of post-modern architectural design flowing seamlessly into the few remaining vintage structures.
 
Post-modernism despite the acres of intellectual drivel generally written by those hoping to make some money off of it, is merely a form of colorful mostly straight edged Moderne (with pitched rather than flat roofs) as it existed before Walter Gropius sex crazed over Anna Mahler tarted it up into Bauhaus (Or had Gropius become a sexual deviant before the advent of Moderne, I never could remember which?). Essentially it consists of a series of rectangular planar facades painted or otherwise colored in earthy reds, yellows and beiges adorned with simple architectural elements, like plain arches ( now and then festooned with architectural artifacts). It was concocted by Venturi and Graves, hungry for commissions, out of their impression of the reconstruction of traditional domestic and small commercial structures in post war Italy. The local people filled in the bombed out spaces between the surviving historical structures with simplified copies of traditional design and painted them with a brighter version of the standard shades of reds and browns that they had painted the stucco in the past. It eventually spread back to Europe. It works here in Italy, since that was always the local vernacular architecture anyway.
 
In NY, Johnson, tired of living in glass houses and unable to diddle Anna himself, nevertheless attempted to capitalize on the post-modern craze by creating the worlds largest and perhaps ugliest misrepresentation of a piece of obsolete junk furniture as a New York skyscraper. San Francisco, ever ready to slavishly follow East Coast fashions adopted post-modernism as the design element of its planning code thereby converting something generally simple into the gross monstrosity of pink tinged architecture that graces the City today.
 
Ah well, I liked Sacile a lot, even if it seemed little bit like an urban version of Danville.
 
As we walked about, I noticed that this was a town populated by people with prominent noses, from fleshy cyranoesque probiscai to hawk like aquiline appendages cleaving the air as they walked along like axe heads cleaving a log. These notable features adorned generally slender well dressed men and equally fashionable and sensuous women. Unlike the drab dark colors I found obliquitous in the US, here both the men and women were more colorfully attired. Although there was the usual excess of pre stressed jeans and off the shoulder tank tops, there was nary a velour exercise outfit to be seen,
 
After wandering around the city for about an hour our hosts arrived and we followed their automobile to their farm on the outskirts of a village with the pleasantly sounding name of Tamai. 
 

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