This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Pops 0001 (September 3, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I arrived back in Sacramento only to discover that my East coast-Italy travel plans have been hopelessly screwed-up because the only date available for me to travel from NY to Italy with Nikki at a discount would be on the 12th of September. That would be too early for me to accomplish what I want on the East-coast. I am now considering the possibility of a separate East-coast trip after the 15th of September and returning to Thailand at the end of the month or in early October through LA.

The hearing on our motion to dismiss in the custody case was held yesterday. The judged scheduled a hearing date for the 28th of September to allow for the filings of the various responsive pleadings. The plaintiff has ten days to respond to our motion so I will not leave for the East-coast until after we receive his response and file our reply. In the meantime I plan a visit to the Bay Area next week for visits with my son and various grandchildren, my sister and her progeny and Peter, Jerry Smith and Gates.

I recently, and I expect briefly, have settled into the pleasantly mindless life of chauffeuring Hayden to school and Taekwondo lessons and reading with him before bedtime.

On Sunday Dick, Hayden and I travelled to “Apple Hill,” a tourist area near Placerville manufactured by a few apple growers and wineries as a family vacation destination. I would not recommend it to would be tourists with or without families. We then went to Coloma (where gold was first discovered in California) to pan for gold (bucket list item).
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Dick and Hayden looking for color

We found none and went home.

The following day Hayden and I visited Bill and Naida at their ranch on the Cosumnes River. Bill appears to be recovering nicely from his recent brushes with death. Naida has returned from a trip to market her historical trilogy about the settlement of central California during the 19th Century. I consider the books some of the finest historical novels ever written.

Hayden, Bill and I went fishing for crawdads in the canal that runs along the river (bucket list?) and then with Naida went black berry picking before heading home.
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Bill and Haden hunting crawdads

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Liberals are “unnatural”.

According to Psychology Today, liberalism is evolutionarily novel. Humans (like other species) are evolutionarily designed to be altruistic toward their genetic kin, their friends and allies, and members of their deme (a group of intermarrying individuals) or ethnic group. They are not designed to be altruistic toward an indefinite number of complete strangers whom they are not likely ever to meet or interact with. This is largely because our ancestors lived in a small band of 50-150 genetically related individuals, and large cities and nations with thousands and millions of people are themselves evolutionarily novel.

Examination of the 10-volume compendium The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which describes all human cultures known to anthropology (more than 1,500) in great detail, as well as extensive primary ethnographies of traditional societies, reveals that liberalism is absent in these traditional cultures. While sharing of resources, especially food, is quite common and often mandatory among hunter-gatherer tribes, and while trade with neighboring tribes often takes place, there is no evidence that people in contemporary hunter-gatherer bands freely share resources with members of other tribes.

My first reaction to the above is to note that it is mostly bullshit.

It fails to account for the common (mostly male) urge to have others in his community support him or his cabal by claiming that they have some superior abilities over the rest of them; an open channel to god, cleverness, strength or ruthlessness. All of these claims sooner of later demand creation of a threat from the “other” in order to be maintained.

On the other hand, if we assume the observations of the researchers are accurate and their conclusions relatively true, then it could be concluded that much of history has been characterized by the creation of ever larger cultural groupings within which the individuals are persuaded they are different from those not in the group. Usually this conversion occurs because it is to somebody’s advantage to have everyone else believe so.

Characterization of the perceived difference in outlook between “liberal” and “conservative” is misleading. If the distinction were as they describe it, then those businessmen pushing for free trade could be seen as Liberals and those leftist concerned about its deleterious effects on the health and livelihood of those in their own country considered Conservatives.

2. So are conservatives.

a. A Lake Park Florida man “obsessed with Fox News and the Republican party” is in jail today after he allegedly said that he felt he was going to have to kill his girlfriend because she was a “liberal.”

(As I pointed out that this election may be the last hurrah of the white male in America. They know it and may be willing to kill to prevent women and “others” from taking over what they believe is theirs by right.)

b. Also from Florida. “After 2007, all the work here disappeared,” Mike a construction worker told a reporter. “Now, if there’s work in town, they only hire Mexicans, and they pay ‘em eight bucks an hour,” or about 30 cents more than the state’s minimum wage of $7.67. “I refuse to work for $8 an hour. I’ve been doing construction for 20 years, and I won’t take being paid nothing.”

I feel for Mike. He represents the quandary faced by the poorly educated white male in America today. He will probably vote for Romney. If Romney wins, the minimum wage may drop (to encourage growth of the economy) and Mexicans and other “immigrants” discouraged from “taking” American jobs. Unfortunately for Mike, he still will refuse to work for minimum wage and will remain out of work.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

Although it hasn’t been called Bangkok for around 200 years, the city’s day to day name is actually Krung Thep (pronounced Grung Cape), and is referred to as such throughout Thailand. Only we ignorant foreigners call it Bangkok. Krung Thep means ‘City of Angels’ (the same as Los Angeles) and is an abbreviation of the full name, which is possibly the longest place-name in the world. The full official name is ‘Krungthep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahintara Yudthaya Mahadilok Pohp Noparat Rajathanee Bureerom Udomrajniwes Mahasatarn Amorn Pimarn Avaltarnsatit Sakatattiya Visanukram Prasit’.

In Thai, this is written as a single word of 152 letters. It translates roughly as ‘Great City of Angels the supreme repository of divine jewels, the great land unconquerable, the grand and prominent realm, the royal and delightful capital city full of nine noble gems, the highest royal dwelling and grand palace, the divine shelter and living space of reincarnated spirits’.

In fact it is none of those.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

Detritus 35 years later (PART II):

POINT CABRILLO LIGHT HOUSE (continued)
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Through sleight of hand including a land trade, the Coastal Conservancy and Peter Grenell managed to arrange a transfer of the 300+ acres of the headland including the lighthouse and several other buildings that housed the light keeper and other personnel from the US Coast Guard to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

At about the same time as the land transfer was being arranged, the Conservancy arranged for a non-profit to come in and operate the hostels and provided funds to begin conversion of the structures to visitor serving (not remodeling or significantly altering them, but simply maintenance repairs and painting and things like adding bathrooms where necessary). The result has been the creation of a marvelous place to stay and experience the California coast.

Unfortunately, there appears to have been limited follow-up by the Conservancy. Despite the multiple bond acts containing hundreds of millions or dollars available to them they appear to have not provided any additional funds to complete rehabilitation of the units. I suspect that once the jurisdiction changed, in true bureaucratic fashion, they assumed it was the Department of Parks and Recreations problem.

Also it seems that operation of the facility as a hostel has been transferred from the original non-profit to another entity that may be a for profit entity with the result that although the main house is well run and still not too expensive (about $400 per night for 4 to 5 bedrooms), the less costly more hostel type units appear to be languishing.

Nevertheless, for those interested in getting away from it all and vacationing on the beautiful Mendocino Coast, it is a bargain.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

France 1785:

“The enormous mass of the French citizenry were illiterate day laborers, beggars, mass unskilled people scraping for a tiny wage, all heavily taxed, leaving barely enough to purchase a daily loaf of bread…well, half bread, half plaster filler. Of course, with no food quality regulation there was no guarantee that your bread wasn’t infested with ergot fungus or other microbes. On occasion, whole villages would go mad and commit mindless sexual violence or kill themselves. The life expectancy was about 40. For girls, that meant they had to be “plugged and planted” as soon as the first pubescent signs appeared. There was no birth control. A family had to have at least eight children in hopes that the good Lord would let two of them actually survive childhood.”
Audreybeardsley Diary, Daily KOS.

For those eager to return to the “good old days,” please note; they were not so good. In case one thinks despite the privations it was a society that encouraged the enlightenment:

“For someone like Voltaire to escape grinding poverty and be independent enough to write, he had to practice insider trading on a lottery and support piracy, commit trading fraud, and engage in usurious loans, move to Switzerland, and finally have the freedom to express himself.”

On the other hand, I guess one could argue that Voltaire and the others like him were simply the Wall Street traders of their day and like Soros and Buffet became traitors to their class.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Who the hell invented the concept of honor, and more importantly why would anyone invent something that cannot be explained and probably does not exist and then encourage others (mostly young men) to die for it?

(Note, perhaps this explains it:

THE CREATION OF THE WORLDS FIRST MAN OF HONOR

To me, humanity’s predisposition to warfare is explained not by simply whether they were originally predator or prey but by the fact that when they first dropped from the protective trees and trembling stood upright so that they were able see above the grasses of the veldt, they looked warily about for four things; predators, prey, sex and someone to do the dirty work or to take the fall.

Imagine, if you will, a small band of proto-humans are set upon by a ravenous saber-toothed tiger. One of the men guarding the tribe turns to the one next to him and says, “Quick Smith run over there and punch that thing in the nose.”

Smith in his manly exuberance does so.

“Oh-oh” says the first man. “Too bad for Smith, brave of him though. Well, lets push on while the cat is busy with him.” He turns to the rest of the tribe as they prepare to run away and shouts, “We shall remember Smith’s sacrifice for all eternity.”
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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Another example of liberal bias. Obviously a CEO is more important to our society’s well-being than the soldier who defends our liberties, the teacher who instructs our children, the police and firemen who protect our homes or the emergency room nurses who treat us when we are injured (especially if they belong to a union). We would not pay him so much if he were not. I am sure that the CEO would not work so hard for the benefit of everyone else should he make only 250 times more per hour than the median wage worker instead of the 280 times he now does,

C. Electioneering:

1. Democrat’s exaggerate, Republicans lie dept.
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You see if Romney were a Democrat he instead would have said something like:

“Since President Obama assumed office three years ago. federal spending has accelerated at a pace that if it continues could bring on the end of the world as we know it.”

Hmm.. I am sure he said that too, but being a Republican he couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie as well.)

2. Is God Republican or a Democrat?

“Heaven sent a hurricane to hold off Gov. Romney’s coronation, so today we’re urging pro-life GOP delegates to abstain from any voting on Romney’s nomination until all GOP financial support for Todd Akin is reinstated and details of Romney’s income tax returns in connection with Bain’s Stericycle investment have been mad public,”
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

D. Nevertheless they remain God’s elect:

A study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, released recently, indicates that the middle class is much more charitable than the wealthy. According to the study, households earning between fifty-thousand and seventy-five thousand dollars annually gave 7.6% of their net income to charity on average, while households earning over a hundred thousand gave only 4.2%. When income broke two hundred thousand, the percentage given to charity dropped to a measly 2.8%.

Mathematically this means that a person making seventy-five thousand dollars per year gave $1700 more per year to charity that the average person making two-hundred thousand.

A political note: Although Mitt Romney’s only released tax return shows that he claimed about seven million dollars as charitable contributions out of a total Adjusted Gross Income of somewhere between twenty-one and forty-million dollars; a somewhat higher average rate of giving than most in his income class. However almost three million dollars of that amount represented his tithing to the Mormon Church much of which goes into church business investments and not social welfare, leaving four million in traditional charitable contributions, still perhaps a little higher than the average of even the middle class giving. Good for Mitt.

Unfortunately, he (Mitt) also bragged that he contributed more to charity [including to the Mormon Church] than he paid in taxes.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Saturn

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Pops 0001 (August 28, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I am sure we all have had days (and perhaps weeks) when things simply do not feel right; where things that annoy you seem greater than they are. The past few days have been like that for me.

I am off to SF until Monday. I move from my nanny occupation to baby sitter. Hayden will not join me in SF as he is being taken to the local boxing match where the boyfriend of someones daughter is fighting (I later learned the boyfriend lost badly). Instead I have been pressed into babysitting my grand-daughter Amanda while her mom is busy elsewhere. I have always assumed that this was more or less a destined role as one grows older. For much of my childhood I was raised by my grandparents. I never thought about whether or not they had better things to do than watch over someone else’s child.

While lying in bed at my son’s apartment I could hear his wife and he arguing loudly as they do every night, It reminded me of when I was a child lying in bed listening to my parents seemingly endless arguments. Neither then nor now did I fear that the arguments might end in violence, instead the sense of impotence and futility that I could do anything about them kept me awake. Perhaps I could have done something, but I did not.

The next day I took my granddaughter to watch the America’s Cup races on SF bay. After a few minutes she asked me, “Grandpa when will we be having fun.”
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B. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

Thinglish: Modern Thai slang

“O” means OK in Thinglish. Apparently OK is not short enough for Thais.

Another highly popular new Thai slang word is fin. It is not a fish winglike organ. In Thinglish slang “fin” often means to “have an orgasmic experience” when you “finish”. Younger Thais must be a very happy, orgasmic bunch as they seem to feel “fin” in the most mundane of activities, from eating a piece of cake or watching a TV show, to enjoying a new cool gadget. The other oft-quoted word origin is “finale,” suggesting a “climax” in the final episode of a show.
From, A Woman Talks

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Over two decades ago I had the opportunity to manage a governmental entity that among other things was charged with resolving conflicts between development, community and environmental concerns. We developed a process, relatively novel at the time, encouraging those involved or concerned (later to be called “stakeholders”) to solve their disagreements among themselves.

The process required a team of technicians that could immediately turn a suggestion into a visual representation. This included someone capable of converting the discussions as they occurred into visual and organized notes for all to see. It also included a compendium of the financial and fiscal resources currently available thus forcing the participants to consider the same type of tradeoffs government and private interests must make in deciding what can be done and how long will it take. Finally it required an entity, in this case our agency, who could more or less on the spot make commitments to carry out at least initial elements of the agreed upon program.

What surprised me the most was not that we were successful in almost all cases, as we were, but that despite the heated rhetoric expressed before regulatory or legislative bodies, or in the media the disagreements were so often so slight.

Although conflict resolution techniques and design charrettes continue to be used almost everywhere, our particular intensive program eventually fell into disuse. That was because the urban areas included in our jurisdiction were limited in number and once the specific issues in conflict were resolved in these communities they remained so for a decade or longer. Also the process was management and personnel intensive and inevitably such activities in any organization eventually are replaced by a more procedural and careerist focus.

Fast forward to today, modern communications technology and social networking appears to be transforming almost everything we do, from how and where we work to how we entertain ourselves and socialize.

In community and urban development we now have all the information we could want at our fingertips although not necessarily organized and usable. A simple internet research shows that we have a plethora online communities dedicated to community action of one kind or another. Yet what happens when these online communities conflict with one another? As anyone who has actually been involved in assisting in resolving significant conflicts, good intentions and talking things out are not enough. Not only must thoughts and ideas be converted into a communications medium so that each participant has the same understanding as everyone else, but immediate unbiased response on the technical facts must be available if the enthusiasm and commitment to the process is not to wither and die waiting for it. Finally the hard facts of the limits must be available in a usable form to the participants.

Social media, in regard to community planning provides an advanced medium for sharing of information and ideas and encouraging coöperation and should the participants agree collective action. However, before collective action can occur, especially for something a complex and contentious as community planning the most difficult form of group or collective action is resolving those conflicts that more often than not are the reason for undertaking the collaborative planning process in the first place.

Modern communications technology and social networks offer the promise of real resolution of community conflicts. Nevertheless, it remains a promise that needs to be addressed.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

Detritus 35 years later (PART II):

POINT CABRILLO LIGHT HOUSE
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In the nineteenth century the US, as well as most other industrializing countries in the world embarked, on a massive program of lighthouse construction. Although they aided somewhat in navigation, the main purpose of lighthouses was to reduce insurance costs for shipping (a welfare program for shippers) and as a side effect save the lives of a few sailors.

As a result, in the US at least, was the building of edifices as architecturally distinctive as those picturesque european castles built after gun powder rendered their predecessors obsolete.

By the 1970s communication and navigation technology had made lighthouses outmoded. Plans were made to begin tearing them down and using the lands on which they were situated for what was euphemistically called, “more productive uses.” In many cases it meant high cost housing for those with the wherewithal to live someplace no sensible person would.

Since the US at that time was a society wealthy enough to provide options to the human need to devour its resources in order to survive, organizations sprung up to protect these structures for their historic and esthetic values. Sentiment’s with which I heartily agreed. As a result, the Conservancy during my tenure set up a program to preserve these buildings along the California coast.

Since the Conservancy’s mandate included promoting public access to the coast, its program included opening these lighthouses and the lands surrounding them to the public and converting any associated structures (usually the Coast Guard light keepers residences) to low-cost hostels so as to provide lower cost overnight facilities to those unable to afford the usually higher cost visitor serving accommodations in the area or to serve specialized travelers such as hikers and bicyclists; thereby attempting to provide access for as many segments of the population as we could.

While I served as the Conservancy’s Executive Officer, the program assisted in preserving most of those lighthouses in California slated for closing.

Point Cabrillo was one of the first. It was located on over 300 acres of land covering the entirety of a large headland jutting out into the Pacific Ocean.

At comment on planning for this section of the California coast:

The first thing to recognize is that we often are talking about finite resources. In Mendocino there are only a limited number of coastal headlands along the coast. The mistake most land use regulators make is to assume the resources they are trying to protect are infinite in extent and the battle to preserve them never-ending . As a result they often propose such rules as “Coastal headlands shall be protected from adverse development and where possible…, etc.” Such policies generally neither protect nor preserve these areas in the long run since they are usually completely dependent on whether of not the economic development value of the parcels in question is significant enough to attract an excess of large well-funded developers competing to build on the parcel in question, or on the vagaries of changes in political winds. (In politics as in business and perhaps life itself, it usually comes down to a question of ROI)

By removing the most visually sensitive of these headland resources from the play of economic and political forces, what development potential there is would be redirected into the easier to regulate more forested areas inland and in the ravines and valleys between the headlands.

In addition to containing the lighthouse, this parcel (The Cabrillo Headlands) encompassed one of the larger and more significant headlands along this area of the coast.
(To be continued)

 

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Global Warming:
record-high-chart

B. AD 325: Jesus becomes God

The Council of Nicaea:

By a vote of 161 to 157, the surviving attendees at the Council declared that Jesus was God.

Wow, I guess it is true that every vote matters. If just three votes had switched Jesus would have remained a carpenter and we may have elected a Republican as God. Don’t forget to vote.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Scientists tell us we know nothing but only think we do.

Religious leaders tell us we know nothing, but someone who we will never meet knows everything.

Politicians tell us that they know and we don’t.

Business people tell us, if it cannot be bought and sold it is crap.

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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C. Electioneering:

1. All you ever need to know about elections:

Democrats exaggerate. Republicans lie.

Whatever it is, it is neither as good nor as bad as a Democrat says it is. Whatever a Republican says it is, one can be reasonably confident it actually is the exact opposite.

2. Voters
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Although this is a partisan political piece the underlying facts are accurate. What this tells me however, is that although it may be true Republicans are dumber than Democrats (see below), just because you are smart does not mean you will not act like an idiot and against what you know. It is sort of like the supposedly genius novelist that destroys his mind with alcohol.

D. Bokononism:

1. The Books of Bokonon: Excerpts from the Sixth Book

[ This book “is devoted to pain, in particular to tortures inflicted by men on men”. ]

If I am ever put to death on the hook, expect a very human performance.

In any case, there’s bound to be much crying.
But the oubliette alone will let you think while dying.

2. Favorite quotes from Bokonon

On maturity:
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

On parting:

It is never a mistake to say good-bye.

On love:

A lover’s a liar,
To himself he lies,
The truthful are loveless,
Like oysters their eyes!

On God:

God never wrote a good play in his life.

E. Testosterone Chronicles (penis file):

Relative to its size, a male water boatman (an insect about three-quarters of an inch in size) is the loudest animal on Earth. By rubbing their penis against their abdomen in an act called ‘stridulation,’ they can generate sound of up to 99dB. That’s louder than a jack hammer or train whistle. Luckily for us (as at this level sound can damage human hearing) the sound is dissipated by water and humans can’t usually hear the melodic sounds of water boatman rubbing their penises.

Do human water boatmen… you know the rest?

F. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Ruth, in commenting on my assertion that the NAZI’s during the 1930s attempted to solve their unemployment problem by simply sending woman who were working back home, wrote:

“May I remind you that the US did the same thing when the men came home from WWII. Some women got fired and others became fodder for the household appliance and the crinoline industries–until Betty Friedan came along.”

I stand corrected and apologize.

It should be pointed out that both Germany and the US ultimately solved their respective employment problems by sending their young men off to die shooting each other.

I guess the war on women is just part of the ongoing wars on the young, the old, the poor, the infirm and those we do not like for some reason. I suppose the question is, who is it that wants these wars and why?

 
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
Political ideology
Note: Huffington Post reports a study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

For example, among the American sample, those who identify themselves as “very liberal” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 106.4, whereas those who identify themselves as “very conservative” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 94.8.

Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology, the study’s lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice, he told LiveScience.

Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature “structure and order” that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice,” he added.

I think the study is nonsense. As was proven in Germany in the 1930s and in many other cases, smart but immoral people seeking power and wealth know full well how to appeal to ill-informed people in order to achieve their own ends. They also know, and other studies demonstrate this, that these same stupid people will believe that they thought it up all by themselves. This is why scapegoating so often works.

How do you really know who these people are that seek to gain power by these means? Not by whom they hate (we all do this to some extent), nor if they believe in supply side or demand (wrong though the supplysiders may be) or even at what point they believe a fetus becomes human, but whether they attack education, science and learning.

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: July through September 2012, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Pops 0001 (August 21 2012)

Today’s Question: Do you know where your wampeter is today?

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I returned to Sacramento on Wednesday and resumed the ambiguous life of living in someone else’s house and caring for a child rapidly assuming his own identity and beginning his life voyage; a voyage that I and others can at best be only temporary observers.

As I settle into my regime of nanny and part-time tutor, the distinction between days have begun to fade. The absence of readily available access to an automobile in this automobile oriented environment makes me feel like I am imprisoned in a velvet (or more appropriate manicured lawn) jail.

I look forward to next weekend when we plan to travel to SF to see the preliminary America’s Cup races.

Regarding the custody litigation, the hearing on the motion to dismiss has been tentatively set for August 30. Chances of success look very promising at this time. We are awaiting the responsive pleadings, if any.

Should we be successful, I assume my welcome as guest nanny will be withdrawn and I will, not completely regretfully, scurry off to eventually return to my room without a view adjacent to the BKK red light district where I will soon enough get to complaining about, followed by making plans to leave again.

B. NEWS:

My first paid post for a blog has been accepted and published. You can read it here. (If you would rather not read it, please click into the site once or twice anyway so that my new employer may be led to believe that I have a popular following and keep me on payroll for at least another post.)

As minuscule a success as it is, I am pleased, given that it is what I set out to do when I started “This and that…” (bucket list?). Now that I have done it, consistent with my history, I will soon tire of it, drift along for a while, get into arguments with everyone, quit in high dudgeon and set about searching for something else to occupy my time. In between I will be depressed.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

Thai View Olympic Success:
photo
(complements of Gary)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I have written at length regarding the 10 millennium subjugation of woman even to the point of half-jokingly suggesting that the survival of humanity requires men stepping aside in favor of woman assuming control our species destiny given the fact that we men have so placed that survival in jeopardy. I suggested in another post that the current US presidential election could represent the last hurrah of the white male. Perhaps, despite the fact that no woman heads the ticket of either party, instead it could be looked at as the first election in the emancipation of women, given the stark differences in approach on gender issues between the two parties.

In the 1930s the NAZI’s had a number of simple solutions to the problems rampant in German society at the time. Among them was to cure the unemployment problem by sending women who had jobs back to their homes. Today among the simple solutions proposed for addressing the problems facing US society one party proposes returning women to the role as mere machines for reproduction.

Perhaps one of the more perceptive articles, and one that I highly recommend, on how even the most accomplished women are not so subtly silenced by many men was written by Rebecca Solnit in which she commented:

“A Freudian would claim to know what they have and I lack, but intelligence is not situated in the crotch—even if you can write one of Virginia Woolf’s long mellifluous musical sentences about the subtle subjugation of women in the snow with your willie.”

For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

Detritus 35 years later.

During our recent trip to the Mendocino County Coast, Peter Grenell and I decided to look at some of the projects in the area that we had developed about 35 years ago during our stints running the California State Coastal Conservancy.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Coastal Conservancy was a novel concept at the time that I introduced it into California’s Coastal Plan in 1975 or so. It was proposed in response to the recognition that regulation alone could not deal with the deleterious impacts of pre-existing development that had prompted the call for regulation in the first place, nor with the continuing degradation of those resources that those pre-existing developments engendered. Nor could it effectively deal with many planning issues, such as setting firm urban limit lines (they almost always are ignored for a host of political, legal and equitable reasons). Similarly existing public acquisition agencies (Parks Departments or wildlife agencies) were unsatisfactory for dealing with these issues either because of the nature of their function (recreation or wildlife preservation) or absence of focus (e.g., creation of public ownership strips along urban limits, urban water from restoration and restoration of all kinds, individual access-ways to the coast and the like). And, finally there was no agency specifically dedicated to providing solutions to the often vexing conflicts between regulation, economic development and simple equity.

JUGHANDLE CREEK HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE NATURE TRAIL

One of the principle objectives of the California Coastal Program in general and of the State Coastal Conservancy in particular was to preserve and enhance access to coastal recreational resources for all. This included the poor as well as the handicapped. At that time providing facilities of any sort for the handicapped was a relatively novel concept. Over the next decade or so the plethora of regulations and programs for the handicapped that we are familiar with became prevalent.

Early in the existence of the Conservancy, I as Executive Officer was approached by John Olmsted to fund a handicapped accessible trail system along Jughandle Creek in Mendocino County. (For those who have read my previous posts on the subject, it was John and the issues surrounding the Jughandle Creek natural environment that got me involved in coastal resource protection issues in the first place.) He was busy trying to establish a cross California Natural Heritage Trail on which he spent the rest of his life working. He believed a trail on the coast with a handicapped accessible component would be appropriate beginning.

The Conservancy Board and I agreed and we funded the program. Designs were drawn up and the trail constructed. It was a bit of an engineering marvel since it had to traverse the terrain from ridge top to stream side as well as follows the winding path of the water course in a way that was accessible to the handicapped, environmentally sound and un-intrusive enough so that the visitors experience of the natural environment remained. It was completed relatively inexpensively with the help of volunteers.

Although constructed on lands owned by the non-profit educational entity run by John we expected that the State Department of Parks and Recreation would buy the farm as part of its Jughandle Creek State Reserve and Pygmy Forest State Park and assume the operation and maintenance of the trail. Alas for some reason, after I left the Conservancy, the acquisition was never completed.

Now over thirty years later Peter and I searched for the trail system but could not find it. We asked around, but nobody seemed to know what I was referring to. As we started to leave the area, I noticed some rotting wood along the path we were walking on. Upon closer examination I realized that this was all that was left of the trail system that had extended almost a mile through the forest. I assume without the park acquisition, the maintenance of the system became too great for the non-profit. Unfortunately my successors at the Conservancy failed to monitor their projects.
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All that is left of the Jughandle Creek Handicapped Access Trail

Next: Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.
TODAY’S FACTOID:
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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

A philosopher is someone who rationalizes from no evidence whatsoever. It saves the effort of going out and finding out what’s happening. It is an especially good occupation for old people. They can claim it has something to do with experience.
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
LobbyingRoi

C. Electioneering:
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This chart also explains why Republicans in Congress try to ban funding for NPR. I suspect they would like to ban MSNBC also.
D. Bokononism (Kurt Vonnegut):

1. Principles of Bokononism:

Bokononism is based on the concept of foma, which are defined as harmless untruths. A foundation of Bokononism is that the religion, including its texts, is formed entirely of lies; however, one who believes and adheres to these lies will have peace of mind, and perhaps live a good life. The primary tenet of Bokononism is to “Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

2. The Books of Bokononism: Excerpts from Book One.

Warning from title page: Don’t be a fool! Close this book at once! It is nothing but foma!

Verse 1: All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Verses 2-4 (?): In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.
3. My Favorite Bokononism Quotes:

1. Referring to one’s karass:
Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass.
If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons that person may be a member of your karass.
Likes and dislikes have nothing to do with it.

2. Referring to the wampeter:
No karass is without a wampeter, just as no wheel is without a hub.
Around and around and around we spin, with feet of lead and wings of tin…
Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

Differences between men and women: no woman would ever utter the word apotheosis in a conversation.

The essence of Abrahamic religions: My penis is mine and your vagina is mine also.
TODAY’S QUOTES:
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They are still all white guys except with less facial hair and hats. Note: Only the guy from Goldman Sachs is smiling, as well he should be.
TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Pops 0001 (August 16, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

Nikki decided to try Hayden’s scooter. Unfortunately it was not a scooter but a skateboard with handlebars; the kind that requires the physical dexterity of someone between the ages of seven and fifteen to manage properly. He took off plunging out of control down the hill, and promptly fell leaving bits of skin behind in the roadway. He injured himself enough so as to require me to attempt first aid. I am embarrassed to say that I was laughing so hard that I had difficulty applying the bandages correctly. The next day, in a less than ebullient mood, he left to return to Italy.

I dropped Hayden off at school for his first day in second grade.I met his new teacher. She appeared to be someone who did not so much look at the children as through them. It troubled me a lot.

Later that morning, I caught the train to San Francisco. I met up with Peter Grenell. We decided to have lunch at Pino’s restaurant, Tiramasu, located in Belden Alley where Pino plied us with enough Grappa for us to make fools of ourselves with some Swiss tourists; ultimately requiring Pino, for our own safety, to drive us to Peter’s house.

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Pookie at Pino’s cigar bar with some Swiss tourists

The next day we, very much less than 100%, picked up Peter’s car where we had left it and drove the almost 4 hours to my sister’s house in Mendocino where after dinner we promptly fell asleep.

The following morning, reasonably refreshed, we left for my friend Sally’s Pacific Star Winery about 30 miles north of the town of Mendocino on the coast near the tiny hamlet of Westport.

We had originally intended to spend the day with my sister and brother-in-law at a lavish BBQ Sally had planned. Unfortunately, Sally’s mother had been taken sick and had been hospitalized so she had to cancel the event. To make matters worse, my sister’s son was stricken with an acute attack of intestinal distress caused by Crone’s disease and had to be hospitalized to undergo an operation to remove a portion of his blocked colon. My sister and her husband remained at the hospital to be close to their son.

Peter and I arrived at the winery and after a brief discussion with Sally took a bottle of Charbono wine and two large Po’ boy sandwiches we had purchased along the way and sat on a bench above the surf crashing upon the rocks, drank the wine, devoured the sandwiches and discussed the significance of apotheosis. We concluded that one of the things that distinguishes women from men is that no woman would be so deficient in common sense and self-confidence as to attempt to use the word apotheosis while conversing with another human being.
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Peter and Sally

The next day in an attempt to cleanse out bodies from the effects of a second hangover in as many days, we spent the afternoon in a hot tub at a local spa and tried to avoid an apotheosis of any kind only to find ourselves helplessly contemplating the existence of God and the foundations of morality and concluding that no self-respecting woman, lounging in a hot tub would do that either. As a result of that insight we agreed that it is only fair and just that woman take over the running of everything that we males have so royally screwed up. So with that decided, we returned to my sister’s house where I took a nap and Peter read back issues of the New Yorker.

On Monday, morning my sister called to let me know that her son Brendan’s operation was successful. We later returned to Pacific Star Winery for another lunch of Po’boys and wine. We toured Sally’s home and then drove to Noyo harbor where we had a fish dinner and watched the sun set through the fog (See below)..

On Tuesday we returned to San Francisco. That evening I went to the International Cafe in the revitalized lower Height Street to listen to Peter’s Jug Band composed of musicians well over the age of 60 play such timeless classics as “The old Hippy” and “Good Night Irene” to their appreciative septuagenarian fans.

The next morning, I took the train back to Sacramento.
B. OBSERVATIONS:

The Apotheosis of Sex is Tantric Union.

Women refused to invent the concept of honor. They knew better.

TODAY’S FACTOID:
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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

We think we know, but we do not – we rationalize. That is what makes us dangerous.
Spirituality comes from the frightful realization, not that we do not know everything, but that perhaps we know nothing at all. Spirituality is what we believe keeps us from jumping off a cliff. A strong guard rail would do better.
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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C. Electioneering:
484019_10151006340031275_1966066337_n

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Aldous Huxley’s Point Counter Point. In one of the many elongated soliloquies dotted throughout the novel, one of the characters, Philip Quarles, delivers his take on what he saw as the false intellectual pursuit for perfection:

“Till quite recently, I must confess, I took learning and philosophy and science – all the activities that are magniloquently lumped under the title of ‘The Search for Truth’ – very seriously. I regarded the Search for Truth as the highest of human tasks and the Searchers as the noblest of men. But in the last year or so I have begun to see that this famous Search for Truth is just an amusement, a distraction like any other, a rather refined and elaborate substitute for genuine living; and that Truth-Searchers become just as silly, infantile and corrupt in their way as the boozers, the pure aesthetes, the business men, the Good-Timers in theirs. I also perceived that the pursuit of truth is just a polite name for the intellectual’s favourite pastime of substituting simple and therefore false abstractions for the living complexities of reality. But seeking Truth is much easier than learning the art of integral living.”

B. “The hand that stocks the drug stores rules the world.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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A foggy sunset at Noyo Harbor taken through the very dirty restaurant window.

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Joe 0001 (August 12, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

Sometimes sadness buries you like ash from a volcano buries a town.

While driving to breakfast a few days ago, we played a game in which each of us would tell the others a story. In response to Nikki’s retelling of the Christian myth in which he mentioned Jews, Hayden blurted out, “I know about Jews, they are jealous of everyone.” When I asked him where he had heard such a thing, he responded, “Everyone knows that. I thought it by myself.” Later he made a similar racist comment about blacks and Obama; again claiming that everyone knew it and that he thought it up all by himself.

When I pointed out his best friend James was black like Obama, he said that it was different. I asked him how many Jewish children he knew attended his school. He answered that they were the jealous ones.

Like the suffocating chilling stench of a newly open grave cripples ones will to breathe, I felt the overwhelming darkness plunge me into the pit of despair. My mouth felt filled with ash, things began to turn grey and dark. The innocent like the ignorant and ill-informed defend their insecurity by insisting their basest thoughts are their own.

What sort of despicable human being would teach hate to a seven year-old?

Recently I ran across the following in a Brad Delong column:

Diary of Chaim Kaplan in the Warsaw Ghetto4th August 1942

In the evening hours

I have not yet been caught; I have not yet been evicted from my apartment; my building has not yet been confiscated. But only a step separates me from all these misfortunes. All day my wife and I take turns standing watch, looking through the kitchen window which overlooks the courtyard, to see if the blockade has begun. People run from place to place like madmen….

[He describes how a friend has obtained a factory job by bribery]

My lot is even worse because I have neither money nor a factory job, and therefore am a candidate for expulsion if I am caught. My only salvation is in hiding. This is an outlaw’s life, and a man cannot last very long living illegally. My heart trembles at every isolated word. I am unable to leave my house, for at every step the devil lies in wait for me.

There is the silence of death in the streets of the ghetto all through the day. The fear of death is in the eyes of the few people who pass by on the sidewalk opposite our window. Everyone presses himself against the wall and draws into himself so that they will not detect his existence or his presence.

Today my block was scheduled for a blockade with Nazi participation. Seventy Jewish policemen had already entered the courtyard. I thought, ‘The end has come.’ But a miracle happened, and the blockade was postponed. The destroyers passed on to the Nalewki-Zamenhof block.

When the danger was already past I hurried to escape. Panic can drive a man out of his mind and magnify the danger even when it no longer exists. But already there is a fear that my block will be blockaded tomorrow. I am therefore trying to lay plans to escape with the dawn. But where will I flee? No block is secure.

Thousands of people in the Nalewki-Zamenhof block were driven from their homes and taken to the transfer point. More than thirty people were slaughtered. In the afternoon, the furies subsided a bit.

The number of passers-by increased, for the danger of blockade was over. By four in the afternoon, the quota was filled: 13,000 people had been seized and sent off, among them 5,000 who came to the transfer of their own free will. They had had their fill of the ghetto life, which is a life of hunger and fear of death. They escaped from the trap. Would that I could allow myself to do as they did!

If my life ends – what will become of my diary?

These are the last words written in his diary.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Recently I learned that the usual suspects have begun spreading the rumor that the red-headed Aurora shooter was a possible plant by gun-control advocates to inflame the passions of the ill-informed against those God-fearing protectors of American liberty, the firearms manufacturers and their lobbying arm the NRA.

TODAY’S FACTOID:
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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

“Just because an outcome is determined does not necessarily make it predictable.”

“The motion system of three or more stars acting on each other gravitationally is generically chaotic. Similarly no activity affected by the behavior of three or more human beings is predictable in the long-term. On the other hand in the long-term we all end up dead. But, not before someone does something so unpredictable it makes it all almost worthwhile.”C. Penis Chronicles: Thieves stole a man’s penis while he slept, according to police.

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

4854767464994632425

C. Penis Chronicles: Thieves stole a man’s penis while he slept, according to police.

Fei Lin, 41, of the Niqiao village near Wenling City, in east China’s Zhejiang province, told police he was asleep when the thieves burst into his room and put a bag over his head, according to CEN/EUROPICS and as reported in the Daily Star.

“They put something over my head and pulled down my trousers and then they ran off,” Lin said. “I was so shocked I didn’t feel a thing – then I saw I was bleeding and my penis was gone.”

Police believe the attackers were jealous lovers of several local women whom Lin was having affairs with, the Austrian Times reported. Lin denied taking part in any infidelity.

Emergency workers and police searched for Lin’s anatomy but turned up nothing, according to TNT Magazine. The penis thieves are nowhere to be found, but police said they’re looking for the jealous lovers.
Huffington Post.

D. Preparing our children to meet the challenges of the future:

threeguesses

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

(I love science.)
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me; if I am only for myself, what am I, and if not now when?”
Hillel

TODAY’S CHART:
NWLC
TODAY’S CARTOON:
483204_342026072543411_809233219_n
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Pepe 0001 (November 2, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

So after lunch with my mom, sister and her husband at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, I returned to El Dorado Hills.

I was wrong about the arrival of winter last week. The weather in Sacramento has turned balmy again.

Since I have returned to California I have noticed a substantial change in Hayden. He appears happier and his insecurity and fear diminished; replaced by a certain degree of confidence and assertiveness I had not noticed before.

I on the other hand have experienced a sudden decline in almost everything; vision and hearing, strength and endurance. Perhaps it is temporary and will pass. In the past during my bouts with depression and its physical effects, I have always been able to convince myself they would soon be gone. Now I feel like a specter or ghost watching life go on around me through an ever darkening scrim, unable to do anything about it until I eventually disappear into the wherever or whatever; something like the ineffectual angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I wonder if I will get my wings after it is all over. (This last is an allusion understandable only by those over 70 years old.)

After finishing Sheldon’s book and being in the mood to read more in the Jewish policeman genre, I began Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” It is a novel of dazzling style and inventiveness but lacking a soul. I much prefer Sheldon’s relentless humane optimism to Chabon’s unrelieved cynicism.

I like William Kotzwinkle however. He is an incurable optimist like Sheldon. He wrote “ET.” I do not think he was all that proud of it. But hell, it’s a living.

Like Chabon he could unleash the literary pyrotechnics. In one book, he was able to fill an entire chapter with the single word, “dorky.” Dorky repeated 400 times a page for the 10 pages of the chapter, 4000 dorkys (or is it dorkies?) in all. And this was while everyone was still using word processors.

Chabon, were he the one writing the same chapter after about the first hundred or so dorkys would probably write something like, “Shit, if I have to write dorky one more time, I going to plunge a zhmenye of cyanide up my tokhes” or something like that. Like I said Chabon is a real stylist.

To Kotzwinkle’s character, however, Dorky Day was the day he looked forward to. It was the day he said nothing except dorky. It was his favorite day, better even that Christmas or Passover or even Presidents day.

Speaking of President’s Day, what’s that all about? Why did we change from honoring two of our greatest presidents, one who wore wooden false teeth and liked riding his horses almost as well as sleeping with his slaves and the other who had a glandular dysfunction and was always hearing voices in his head, to honoring them all, even the non-entities and borderline loonys? Do we really want to honor, Chester A. Arthur, George Bush or James Buchanan at the same time as we honor Washington and Lincoln?

Buchanan by the way was our first openly gay president. He was called “Miss Nancy” by his political enemies and affectionately “Aunt Fancy” by his friends.

Miss Nancy was born on April 23rd. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for that to be the day to celebrate gay freedom, or better yet marriage equality day? April 23 is celebrated in England as Shakespeare’s Day. It is also the feast day of St. Adalbert of Prague, National Book Day in Canada and English Language Day in the UN. Unfortunately, I do not know the actual date of Dorky Day, but April 23 would be as good as any.

While I am at it and since I have little to do for most of the day except sit around the coffee-house and fool with my computer writing messages to myself like this,… why do the self-proclaimed serious literary critics appear to so often look down on “genre” fiction? Why do we so often consider the literary pyrotechnics of the borderline depressive, even a humorous one, serious literature while gentle optimism is dismissed as superficial? I am sure Ruth knows. She seems to understand these things.

Is it simply the strictures of plot required of genre fiction somehow make it more artificial than the meanderings through the minutia of life of much of modern “serious” fiction, even if that minutia is outside anyone’s experience, or beggars credulity? I mean, have you read “War in Peace?” Do your really give a shit about Pierre or Prince Andrei? As for other characters in the serious literary pantheon, most were despicable. Roskolnikov, Ahab and even Achilles were assholes. You can add Heathcliff to that list and don’t even mention Dorian Grey. OK, I admit Jane Eyre has something to recommend her, but talk about missing the obvious…. Did the reprobates that peopled Faulkner or Williams’ novels really do anything for you. The characters dreamed up by Elmo Leonard or Carl Hiaasan probably appear just as real, perhaps even more so, to most of us.

If one reads at all, by all means, one should read the classics and as much so-called serious fiction as he or she can digest but not too much. It can give one gas.

Nevertheless one should also read those authors not cursed with seriousness. Authors like Leonard, Hiaasion, Siegel, Weber (the Honor Harrington books the rest of his books suck), Terry Pratchett, Nora Roberts and on and on; even Danielle Steel (well maybe not her). There are thousands and thousands of people out there writing fiction. Even if they have little to say, they say something.

IMG_20150202_102913_390

Elmo Leonard’s tips on writing fiction.

Alas, in the age of u-tube and instant communication among perfect strangers, most of whom appear quite willing to spew out the most intimate and often embarrassing details of their lives, who needs fiction anymore? Maybe we are all becoming ghosts, viewing life through a LED display in a darkened room or an internet café somewhere.

Even that may be a passing fad. Given the amount of time we spend on our computers or smart phones socializing and collaborating or whatever, who has the time any more to take a video of oneself trying to jump off a roof into a tea-cup? Will future generations feature prehensile pinkies and double jointed thumbs?

Stay tuned to life, it always surprises.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

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(It should also be noted that the armed forces of a country are also part of government, a very big part.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The following is a revised portion of my post in the internet publication sponsored by “Smart + Connected Communities Institute. It is entitled “From the Bard to the Sun King: It’s Always Something.”

My friend Peter Grenell is director of the San Mateo Harbor District and a keen observer of history as well as an accomplished raconteur. He also is a musician who plays in several bands made up of mostly quite aged music makers. Sometimes he even sings. My favorite is when he sings, “The Old Hippie.” Ain’t it the truth.

In a discussion I had with him recently* about the speed and scope of change in the world today, he reminded me to:

“Never forget It was just 35 years more or less from Shakespeare to Louis XIV ; From the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase ; From ‘Et Tu., Brute’ to the kid in the manger; From Fred Allen to Laugh-In.”

We tend to look back into history and see social change as a slow process when we view it through the prism of technological transformation or the speed in which the changes are disseminated. But as Peter so sagely observed, those born into the frugal world of the Bard died in the extravagant age of the Sun King. Many of those that heard the cheers or jeers that accompanied the imperial pretensions of Julius Caesar, ended their days hearing the whispers of a new king born in the East. Social change is generational. What makes it appear more rapid at one time then another when we look back on it, is its scope and reach. It is the scope and reach of social change that are often dictated by the technologies of the time. For the serf in the field at the time, it made little difference that the world changed from idolizeng an ink-stained wretch in tights to obsession with a bewigged sex maniac whose idea of a good time was having a bunch of people watch him take a shit every morning.

Social change is also reflexive. The reaction to the changes also changes things, often in ways that cannot be predicted. That is why even the most perceptive among us are constantly surprised by the effects of these changes. This is also why your financial advisor is always wrong.

Tomorrow’s urban areas, that are being impacted by modern communications technology, will not be the same as the urban areas of today. The Cities of our fathers or grandparents that were the smoky chaotic centers of industry and trade were not the same as the urban areas of our time. Today they are uncertain places, slowly decaying as motorized transportation takes people, industry and commerce away to less stressful environments. The Cities of the future, fashioned in part by the effects of the communications technologies being used today will be different still, probably in ways we cannot imagine. These new cities will be neither as bleak as feared or as paradisiacal as hoped. In my opinion, the experience of those changes and how we accommodate them are much of what life is all about. As it has always been, it will be both frightening and exhilarating. Unfortunately, more often than not, it will be as boring as it always has been.

* This is not true. It was in an email he sent me. When we get together to talk it us usually about sex for the aged, the variety of ways to achieve apotheosis and Gene Autry singing “Happy Trails to You.”

In contemplating the world of the future Peter also surmised:

“…in the 19th century west of the Mississippi, people lived on the frontier. Space migrants will be an obvious new variant. But these App-People — call them App-Licants, perhaps are a new breed. Maybe just Apps. Do Apps do laundry? Do Apps have solar implants that get recharged when they take their morning constitutionals? End of electricity issue. Meanwhile, is a new sub-species agglomerating, consisting of those who power, run, life with/in the underground key facilities, like the Visa Central in Virginia, bank/computer complexes hidden wherever, NSA Maryland, USAF Colorado Springs, CERN/Switzerland, the secret central Greek kitchen serving all Greek restaurants everywhere, etc.”

(Note: Except for Peter’s quote many of those portions in italics above as well as in the * did not appear in the original post.)

DAILY FACTOID:

1960’s: The the true and tragic case of the Singing Nun.

Sister Luc Gabriel (Jeanine Deckers) was best known as the Singing Nun. Her song Dominque became such a hit that it knocked Elvis Presley off the charts! Overnight, the Dominican nun was an international celebrity with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). She gave concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Her fame went to her head and she eventually left the convent to spend more time on her musical career.

At the same time she shacked up with her lesbian lover and released a song “Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill” singing the praises of the contraceptive pill. After her first album none of her music was very successful. In 1982, she and her girlfriend committed suicide together by taking sleeping tablets with alcohol. (from Listverse)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Readings from the Bible:

Why women should think twice before trying the break up a fight between men.

“When two men are fighting and the wife of one of them intervenes to drag her husband clear of his opponent, if she puts out her hand and catches hold of the man by his privates, you must cut off her hand and show her no mercy.”
12. Deut. 25:11

B. Electioneering:

“Federal disaster relief is ‘immoral.'”
Mitt Romney at a GOP debate during the primaries.

“Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I’d much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them.”
Janis Lane, Central Mississippi Tea Party President, A Mississippi Tea Party Chat, June 14, 2012.

I assume Janis is aware of the biblical stricture:

“And he said ‘Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, where have you come from and where are you going?’ She answered, ‘I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.” The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to ill treatment at her hands.’”
14. Genesis 16:8

Janis may not like them, but according to God, a boss is a boss no matter his or her gender. As a good Republican, I would hope she would agree.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -
Sinclair Lewis

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Wonder is the desire for knowledge.”
Thomas Aquinas

TODAY’S CHART:

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The perfect storm also approaches the golden mean. Fibonacci (1170–1250) mentioned the numerical series now named after him in his Liber Abaci; the ratio of sequential elements of the Fibonacci sequence approaches the golden ratio asymptotically. Therefore it can be said that Sandy approached New Jersey asymptotically [Being asymptotic actually is illegal in New Jersey. On the other hand, Governor Christie certainly appears to be asymptotic.].

TODAy’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Joe 0001 (August 6, 2012)

 

“Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.”
Trenz Pruca

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

So, off I flew from Bangkok, leaving LM at the airport and about 20 hours later landed at LAX and for almost two hours worked my way through what must be the world’s worst international arrivals circumstances. Monty was waiting to pick me up. He looked better than I had expected given the dire reports about his health I had received.

We drove to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Redondo Beach where we met Ben and where I drank too much wine. The next morning I decided to leave for SF because Monty was busy on one of his deals and gypsy style had no permanent residence, moving from motel to motel as the need arose.

Before leaving I stopped at Jimmy’s clothing store in Redondo Beach. Jimmy is a delightful Pakistani gentleman and wine connoisseur. We spent about an hour sitting on a bench in front of his shop discussing the spiritual simplicities of Ramadan, the health benefits of fasting and commiserating about the lack of potential customers.

Ben drove me to the train station where I took the train to Berkley to spend the evening with my sister. Although it was not the Coast Starlight but instead traversed the Central Valley, I still loved the trip. It took about seven hours, but was much more comfortable than the plane, has free internet connection and tables at which I was able to comfortably work or nod off as the whim took me.

The next day my brother-in-law George and I drove into SF to visit my mom. She was feeling a bit under the weather because of back pains. After lunch we took her for a ride along Ocean Beach. We dropped her back at the nursing home and I than took the Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento.

Norbert and Stevie, picked me up at the station and regaled me with a fine salmon dinner at their home. We talked about events almost 40 years ago that still remain a significant obsession to us today.

They dropped me off in el Dorado Hills where after hugging Hayden, I fell asleep.

The next day, I worked with the attorney handling the custody litigation after which we both felt relatively confident about our eventual success. During a follow-up call regarding some new information I had received, the attorney reported that the opposing lawyer told him that his client is considering dropping the case.

Nikki arrived later that night. The next day Nikki, Hayden and I went to the water park in Roseville. Although all I wanted to do is float around on an inner-tube, they persuaded me to risk cardiac arrest by repeatedly climbing in 100+ degree heat into tall towers to slid down a twisted inclined plane into a tiny pool of water.

The next day SWAC held a garage sale where she sold things she had lying around the house; a lot of which I recognized I had purchased over the years. The night before SWAC noticed the fake L. Viuton wallet I had bought in Cambodia for $4 and decided to give me a real L. Viuton wallet she had never used, that I had bought for her 10 years ago for $300.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Urban Edginess:

While at the health club a few days ago, I ran into a middle-aged acquaintance, a sailor in his working life, busily engrossed in his smart phone applications. I asked him how the device affected his life.

“Well,” he responded, “I don’t go to the movies, they’re free on-line. I don’t read books either. I shop on-line and the stuff is delivered. I live in the city, closer to medical services so I don’t need a car. I kept my motor bike for getting around. I keep in touch with friend’s all over the world, it’s cheaper than going there myself. Mostly it helps me save money for health care.”

A few weeks earlier, I asked my 20-year-old grandson the same question. He recently moved from San Francisco to the small Central Valley town of Reading where he does a modest business selling things on the internet.

“I can do business from anywhere now. Living is cheaper here. I’m nearer the mountains for skiing. I keep in touch with all my old friends. I have time to kick back with friends who live nearby.”

I am sure most people have had or heard similar conversations before.

These type of life-style choices go on around us all the time now. They have consequences; economic, social and on the community and its physical design.

For example, a decision by as little as three percent of potential second car purchasers to delay or permanently do without, could affect the entire automotive industry and those dependent on it resulting in companies like, say, General Motors unable to adequately finance expansion and replacement of assets by sales of equity thereby forcing a greater reliance on debt financing and cost cutting with the costs to be cut coming primarily in the areas of labor and innovation.

Although the two people quoted are definitely not “Main Stream” (e.g., house in the suburbs and particular consumption patterns), nevertheless, in social and economic contexts, those on the margins or edges can and often do have effects far greater than their numbers suggest.

There are many things that can be drawn from these conversations that one can speculate about. Although I may discuss some in later blog posts, my focus here is on the realization by many like my sailor friend and my grandson that mobile communication and the internet can cut down on their living costs in several ways.

For individuals, like the two above, the ability to do more with less and do it cheaper through modern technology transforms their life choices in ways that are only now beginning to be appreciated. Both men imply that modern technology lessens their need for high income to achieve their non-subsistence needs. They seem to view work as only the minimum needed to allow them to enjoy the full benefits of modern technology.

Imagine if you will, before embarking on their life’s work the young Bill Gates and Warren Buffet were offered a billion dollars to spend however they like, but they first must choose between working more than 10 hours a day six days a week in an exciting job as upper management in a large innovative corporation, or 4 hours a day or so working in some burger joint. Now, I cannot guess what Gates or Buffet would choose, but I suspect for most of us having more time to enjoy the billion dollars including using it to improve oneself or to engage in some appropriate life’s work would outweigh the less psychologically rewarding aspects of the burger job.

For many today like my two interviewees, modern technology offers them just that choice. Compared to say seventy years ago, modern relatively low-cost technology conceivably is comparable to the entertainment, informational and interpersonal benefits they could buy with a billion dollars (or the equivalent in today’s dollars) then.

So what does this have to do with smart and connected communities of the future? A lot actually. Both the sailor and the young man, largely because modern communications technologies satisfy so much or their needs relatively inexpensively, have settled comfortably into what has been referred to as “resilient walkable” communities. Older communities, with existing and less expensive housing well served by local urban amenities such as better transportation options. Ironically these resilient walkable communities tend to be denser than the suburbs and foster more interpersonal interactions (coffee houses and the like)

Recent studies seem to indicate that American neighborhoods with better transportation choices have far more discretionary income than the average American family or those who live in the outer, “Auto-dependent” suburbs. An average family earning $40,000 per year can save over $4000 per year by moving into a transit oriented development. They can then use that money to pay off the debts that they incurred to the banks that persuaded them modern economics can violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics and grow forever or they can spend some of it upgrading their personal communication capability.

During my talks with them I got the impression that the nature of their more mobile lifestyles lead them to prefer inexpensive rentals rather than being tied down to a fixed asset and that their living space needs have shrunk also.

I also surmise that they are not searching for expensive upgrades to their homes or neighborhoods such as energy independence or technological displays, preferring to save their money for better and more versatile applications to those devices that remain as close to them as their clothing, go where they go, satisfy their needs and connect them to the world.

They seem to be turning Thorsten Veblen’s observation on its head. We may be changing from a society of “Conspicuous Consumption,” to one of “Conspicuous Non-consumption.”

Perhaps we are entering a time where for some, possibly even many, the future of community may be in an application and everything else merely a temporary accommodation.

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2011 – In America, for the first time in over 60 years urban populations have grown twice as fast as low density suburban populations.

2012 – 66% of Americans ages 24-35 own a smart phone

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Beauty is what I say it is.

If I can persuade at least one other person to agree with what I say is beautiful, I can call myself an “Artist.”

If I can pursued lots of people, I either am an “art critic” or I have created a religion.

If I sell it to someone who should know better, then I am a “gallery owner” or I work in the financial industry.
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
share_of_net_worth_by_percentile

C. Do Generals do this all the time?

During the suppression of the Philippines in the 1900s an American General Jacob H. Smith issued the following frightening order to kill all Philippine, men, women and children over the age of ten within the area of his command:

“I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States,”

Although he was subsequently court marshaled he got off with only a “reprimand.”

During the Vietnam war Lt Calley was forced to serve three years under house arrest for ordering the killing over 10 times fewer people in the village of Mai Lai under similar circumstances, but he was not a General. Calley said he was only “following orders.” I wonder what was General Smith’s excuse?

D. Preparing our children to meet the challenges of the future.

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

“One day in 1943 when I was already in Crematorium 5, a train from Bialystok arrived. A prisoner on the ‘special detail’ saw a woman in the ‘undressing room’ who was the wife of a friend of his. He came right out and told her: ‘You are going to be exterminated. In three hours you’ll be ashes.’ The woman believed him because she knew him. She ran all over and warned to the other women. ‘We’re going to be killed. We’re going to be gassed.’ Mothers carrying their children on their shoulders didn’t want to hear that. They decided the woman was crazy. They chased her away. So she went to the men. To no avail. Not that they didn’t believe her. They’d heard rumors in the Bialystok ghetto, or in Grodno, and elsewhere. But who wanted to hear that? When she saw that no one would listen, she scratched her whole face. Out of despair. In shock. And she started to scream.”
Filip Muller, Auschwitz survivor interview in the film “Shoah”

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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(Some of those cheeses can be pretty lethal.)

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Joe 0001 (July 31, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Instead of my usual daily schedule of Health club, food consumption, playing with my computer, watching Thai soaps, eating and sleeping, my schedule these last few days has gotten frantic.

I am in the middle of preparing for my trip including obtaining re-entry permits and airline tickets; acquiring and packing the under $2 gifts for my family and closest friends consisting of fake watches, cheap jewelry, and inexpensive scarves that will rarely be worn but that I am sure the recipients of such largess will treasure for ever.

Before I depart, I need to find places to stay and to arrange for lunches and the like during my travels around the US.

In addition, I am trying to finish up the annoyingly delayed draft business plan my sister and I have been working on these last few months.

I am also in the throes of the administrative details of my first paid blogging assignment and trying to get a draft of the article completed before I leave.

The custody battle has heated up too. I am working with the attorney to defend against the claim. The law is simple, no matter who the father may be or how unsuitable the mother may appear, if she was married to someone else at the time the child was born, the putative father has no rights except perhaps the right to the obligation to pay child support. However, since everyone is in such a tizzy (how long has it been since someone has used that word in a sentence) over the putative fathers allegations about the mothers lifestyle and child rearing skills, I have to spend hours on the phone (international calls no less) trying to get everyone focused on what really needs to be done.

All this, and the GOOD/BAD David returns to town tomorrow from Qatar. Not that I view enjoying a lunch or dinner with the genial gentleman from South Dakota as an additional distraction, but I fear my preoccupation with these other things may stunt our scintillating conversations about puerile sex in all its manifestations.

David and I may consider spending a day at the Oval Table in the Outskirts of Hell with Ray who may still be around.

Alas, since I have written the previous two paragraphs, it has become clear that David is delayed somewhere on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula and we will not make our visit to the oval table with Sinbad the Tentmaker.

Thai Soap Opera update:

It has been a while since I updated the status of the several soaps I watch while eating dinner in my apartment.

One of my favorites ended a few weeks ago. It concerned a young man who wore a cowboy hat and covered his face with a scarf when he would be up and about beating up other people for some reason. His nemesis was also a young man who could pass for the masked man’s twin. They would periodically battle because each thought the other was the bad guy. After many weeks of this, the real bad guy turned out to be the guy with the mustache who not only had a gang but had magic powers as well. Mustache could defeat each of the young men alone. So the two young men joined forces for the ultimate showdown with him.

Now unlike US melodrama where such confrontations are resolved in a blaze of gunfire, explosions and car chases, the low-budget Thai soaps are limited to climatic battles with hands, feet, at times swords and very bad special effects . After two full episodes where the young men are fairly well trashed by the mustache, they manage to combine their much weaker magic powers and destroy the source of the mustache’s magic powers and thoroughly beat him up. They were unable to kill him however, so they staked him out in the middle of a field so that the vultures could eat him alive; which they did in living color while I was eating my dinner.

In the following final episode the masked man put his cowboy hat and scarf into a trunk and with the girl who had on and off rejected him, stood somewhere in the country-side with his counterpart and his counterpart’s often imperiled girl friend and they all smiled at each other for a long time.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. The essence of politics in Thailand:

It has now become abundantly clear that the only issue in Thai politics is whether deposed, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible will be allowed to return to Thailand without facing arrest. Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl‘s administration appears capable of passing any legislation it wants as long as it does not make it easier for the ex-prime minister to return.

2. Did he or did he not dodge:

Ex-Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready, is under investigation by civil authorities for dodging the draft way back when. The chief of the armed forces says that such an investigation is unnecessary since the armed forces had already cleared him in an inquiry into the matter while he was serving as Prime Minister.

In response, Abhsit the Unready has sued someone for defamation.

3. Defamation as free speech.

Under Thailand’s defamation law, truth is not an absolute defense.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

In Thailand, like in most tropical countries, unless you live above the fifth floor of a modern condominium building, you soon become desensitized to tiny creatures crawling about your body, especially at nighttime.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.

Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).

In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?

Think about this; these same corporations mostly through the Republican Party but also with the support of a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection that are often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.

(A lot of this was written by someone other than me, but I have forgotten who.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a war to fight:

1917: David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the WWI Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs:

“[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”
Chris Hedges

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.

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

1. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?

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(It is not as though we are faced by an armed and dangerous Soviet Union spending itself into bankruptcy in a futile attempt to match us militarily. Do we need to spend ourselves into bankruptcy also in order to defend ourselves from a few ill equipped terrorist? How about if we just spend as much as all the other countries combined? I would think that would still keep us safe from armed invasion while also having the benefit of paying off the national debt.)

2. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?
gop-reid-taxplans

One must keep in mind that both plans maintain the existing middle class tax cuts. The Democratic Plan would allow the rates on the wealthiest Americans to return to what they were during the Clinton era when we last had a budget surplus.

The first thing to note however is that the Republican tax plan would remove the Obama stimulus tax cut for the middle class and effectively apply it to the wealthy. Therefor the middle class actually will experience a rise in their taxes.

The second, is that since the first about $5 million in value of an estate is already exempt from taxation, the Republican plan adds additional tax relief for the very wealthy that is not available to anyone else.

The Republican tax plan not only maintains the tax relief for the wealthy that had a lot to do with turning a budget surplus from the Clinton years into a deficit, but it actually increases tax relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the middle class.

By providing so much tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, the Republican plan increases the national debt so substantially that governmental expenditures cuts cannot balance it without eliminating almost all current governmental programs including national defense or by engaging in massive inflation of the economy.

The Republican proposal is premised exclusively on the belief that those who are most benefited by their plan will invest and spend in America the money they save from paying taxes thereby boosting the economy and raising tax revenues. This has not worked in the past.

As usual, those who publicly support the Republican plan and who are not generally included in the class that are rewarded by it, are nevertheless most often those who receive financial benefit from those actually directly advantaged by the plan.

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

(I love science.)
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:

America-is-violent-graph
This chart shows violence in America (basically assault) relative to other countries. While it reached rates as much as 5 times more than the most violent of other countries, the divergence is decreasing. To put this in perspective between 1975 to 1990 Americans were killing more of their own citizens per year than there were annual deaths of combatants in any war during that time. Since that time, Americans still kill more Americans per year than Americans die in all its wars and all acts of terrorism against Americans combined.

Interestingly, the decreasing rate of violent assaults in the US directly matches increasing rates of abortion availability. On the other hand the original rise in the rate of violent crimes exactly matches the entry of the baby boom generation into adulthood and falls as the pass on into middle age. So what does this all mean? The soldiers returning from WW II should have had better access to birth control and abortion. If they had the world would be in a much better place than it is now. History will probably consider the baby boom generation as the greatest calamity to infect earth since it coalesced out of cosmic dust.

Another point to ponder regarding the violent behavior of the modern American; during the past two decades Americans have killed more non-Americans than any and all other countries in the world have killed non-nationals. Admittedly some countries are as good as we are at killing their own citizens, such as in the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo and now in Syria. But none are as effective as us in killing each other in random violence or by public execution.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

XmaTq

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    12 Joe 0003 (July 29, 2014)

“An ignoranus, is someone who’s both stupid and an arsehole.”

Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Seven (p. 225). Random House Publishing Group.  

Happy Birthday: Brendan Dreaper, Katie Dreaper and Bruce Kittrell

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. RED FACADE WITH GREEN SHUTTERS

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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For the past few weeks I spent my weekday mornings driving Hayden to his swim team practice and then to the archery range so that he could shoot at the various targets while I sit in the shade.

One morning as we returned from swimming practice, the car crested a hill exposing before us a vista of the great valley and the clear cerulean sky. He stared at it a moment and then asked, “How did everything begin? Did God do it?” 

I knew this was going to be one of those seminal child – adult conversations of at least equal weight with, “Where do babies come from?” It made me a bit nervous. I did not want to screw it up.

Given my background and predilections, I labored to explain the “Big Bang Theory.” HRM broke in to my struggles by asking, “Yeah, but who caused the Big Bang?”  Suddenly I realized that I was presented with the problem of refuting the “uncaused cause” arguments of medieval philosophy that even its major proponent Fat Tom Aquinas believed was a weak proof of God. Nevertheless, I felt inadequate to disprove scholastic theology at this time in my life despite having virtually bathed in it in college 50 years ago. “Well,” I said, “some people believe that, but scientists on the whole agree that most things in the world can be explained without bringing God into it.”

HRM with a dreamy look in his eyes ignored me and said, “I’d like to meet God some day. I think that would be fun.” Unable to come up with a satisfactory response, I changed the subject to Archery.
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HRM at Archery Range.

On Saturday I attended the regional swimming championships with HRM. Youth swimming teams are a Sacramento cult with the championships the high mass. I do not think I’ll do it again. Oh, H won his heats.

The drought continues in California and the high temperatures in the lower foothills have exceeded 100 degrees for most of the week. Nothing else has occurred in El Dorado Hills for the past few weeks of note… in fact, nothing much ever occurs of note here except tea party meetings, NRA banquets and now and then the appearance in the otherwise solid blue sky of the odd cloud or two that flutter about a while and quietly disappear. The study of scholastic philosophy is more exciting. I sleep a lot.

C. EL TOPO AND JEANNE

In my never-ending quest for something to do in suburban El Dorado Hills, one afternoon I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky’s early film, El Topo. El Topo is said to have had a major influence on David Lynch, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Mason, George Harrison, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel and thousands of other stoners.

Jodorowsky  like many artists from Mexico and South America is addicted to symbolism in his art.  To many Americans and Northern Europeans all that symbolism appears a bit loopy. Unlike the Spanish artists who also favor strong colors and symbolism, the Central and South Americans seem to have a great affection for including the many meanings implied in blood and death. One of the main differences between Italian and Spanish and South American visual arts besides how they use symbolism to tell their story is that to the italians shadow is very much a part of the color palette.

Interestingly, when I ran my district of the New York Mental Health Information Service, I noticed Spanish, South American and recent Italian immigrants at the time of their breakdowns often spoke of seeing the suffering Christ. The Northern and Eastern Europeans tended to hallucinate Hell. Not a religious Hell, but a place of darkness, shadow and threat.

I first saw El Topo in 1970 shortly after arriving in San Francisco. I went with a woman I had just met on the bus. The theater was located near the Civic Center. It does not exist anymore.

The woman and I stayed together for three years. Her name was Jeanne. I was in love with her. She wanted to go to medical school and had to take extra  courses in science to do so since she had graduated from college a few years before with a liberal arts degree. She worked hard.  Eventually she succeeded in getting accepted. During the summer before medical school began we broke up. I tried to get back together with her. She by then was also seeing another man much younger than I.  I asked her to marry me. She said she would need time to decide. That weekend she went hiking in the Trinity Alps. She fell off a cliff and died. The young man and I accompanied her body back to Iowa where her family lived. Two weeks after the funeral the young man went swimming in a lake somewhere in the East Bay and drowned.

There is probably some symbolism hidden in there but I am too far removed from my roots and too close to death to see it. As we age, the past and future grow more shadowy only the present remains colorful. That’s a good thing I think.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In today’s newspaper there was and article that pointed out that Jet Blue which was rated one of the best in an Airline Quality analysis based substantially on customer perceptions. However, for no apparent reason other than it was rated among the lowest in that same analysis, Spirit Airlines stock was up over two times more than Jet Blue’s. According to a stock market analyst, the reason for this anomaly is that, “Some analysts view them as focussing more on the customer rather than the shareholder.”

Doesn’t this turn neo-liberal economics on its head? Wasn’t competition in the market supposed to produce better products and services at lower prices?

Perhaps this incongruity is best  explained by a Dilbert’s cartoon in the same paper that shows the bald pointy headed manager announcing to Dilbert that the Board of Directors debated between “creating fantastic products or attracting dumber stock holders.” They decided to do a stock split. The manager explained that it was the easier of the two options.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:
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When times were good and good times rolled.

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

3__#$!@%!#__unknown

It wants the US economy and governance to move closer to achieving Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed “Second Bill of Rights.”

Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

1. Khutulun, Mongolian Warrior Princess

“In the 13th century, when khans ruled Central Asia and you couldn’t go 10 minutes without some Genghis, Kublai or Mongke trying to take over your steppe, women were well-versed in badassery. In a society where skill on a horse and with a bow and arrow was more important than brute strength, Mongol women made just as stout herders and warriors as their men.

One woman, however, had the combination of both skill and might. Her name was Khutulun, and she was not only a devastating cavalry-woman but one of the greatest wrestlers the Mongols had ever seen. Born around 1260 to the ruler of a swathe of what is now western Mongolia and China, she helped her father repel — repeatedly — the invading hordes commanded by the mighty Kublai Khan, who also happened to be her great-uncle. Her favorite tactic was to seize an enemy soldier and ride off with him, the explorer Marco Polo recounted, “as deftly as a hawk pounces on a bird.”

Off the battlefield and in the wrestling ring, Khutulun went similarly undefeated. She declared that she wouldn’t marry any man who couldn’t beat her in a wrestling match; those who lost would have to give her their prized horses. Suffice it to say, Khutulun had a lot of horses. By the time she was in her 20s and a spinster by Mongol standards, her parents pleaded with her to throw a match with one particularly eligible bachelor. According to Polo, she initially agreed, but once in the ring found herself unable to break the habit of a lifetime and surrender. She overpowered her suitor who, humiliated, fled; she eventually chose a husband from among her father’s men and married him without submitting him to the evidently impossible challenge to out-wrestle her.”
Salon

2. Smedley Darlington Butler, a Profile in Courage

Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) a United States Marine Corps major-general obtained the Corps highest rank authorized at that time.  At the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. He also won two Congressional Medals of Honor.

Butler is well-known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences. He also exposed the Business Plot, a purported plan to overthrow the U.S. government and assassinate Franklin Roosevelt. After retirement from the military he ran for Senate as a Republican but was defeated. In 1932 he supported the military bonus marchers at their encampment in Washington DC and was there when Gen. Douglas MacArthur led the attack on them killing several veterans. He later became a spokesman for the “American League Against Fascism.”

Smedley Butler wrote a book called “War is a Racket.” In an interview he said:

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

According to Wikipedia, in his penultimate chapter of “War is a Racket,” Butler argues that three steps are necessary to disrupt the war racket:

“1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are:

“It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war-time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get”

2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited referendum to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.

3. Limitation of militaries to self-defense. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.”

Alas, todays war profiteers have learned how to earn enormous profits even in peacetime and therefore the wars we do have tend to be localized in extent and useful primarily for getting rid of unneeded inventory.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:
Robert F. Kennedy speech regarding a nation’s true GDP:

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads…. It includes… the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials… The Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America — except whether we are proud to be Americans.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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New York Harbor at Night a Century Ago.

Categories: July through September 2014, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Pops 0003 (August 16, 2014

“There was only one thing emptier than having lived without love, and that was having lived without pain.”
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer (A Harry Hole Novel) (p. 389). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. SPANISH MOSS
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B. REPORT FROM HOME:

Ruth often asks me to write more about my grandchildren. In her comments to the last issue of T&T, my daughter in law Ann-Marie sent the following update on their activities:

“First, I love the pic of you in the hat. Yes very handsome, and no, not like a broken mirror in a garbage dump… Just antiquated a bit. People really enjoy & cherish antique things you know.

Second, I’m still giggling about the commentary on Hayden wrestling, Metallica, etc. Very cute. Be worried, very worried. Haha. Then again, Anthony & Aaron have radically changed their ideas of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Anthony wanted to be a lawyer like his papa Joe, a pro baseball player or a historian. Go figure.

Aaron wanted to be a football player, now he’s a chef with ideas of opening a bar or restaurant. Athena was going to be a ballerina and a doctor. Now she’s going to be a welder who teaches yoga, and guitar to make extra cash to support her art passion.”

Hmm… antique or antiquated? I’m not sure I feel pleased by either one.

My granddaughter Amanda, is in Japan with her mom and should be returning this week.
C. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

This morning I am happy. It is the first day of school, I have just dropped HRM off and I am sitting in Bella Bru Cafe sipping a café latte and munching on a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. My emotions, I suspect, are similar those all mothers of pre-adolescent children who are not wealthy enough to afford paid help or childcare must feel this day, relief. For a short time the day is yours, at least until the school day ends. After breakfast I plan to get back into my exercise regime, catch up on some reading and enjoy an uninterrupted nap.

Funny, after writing the above, I suddenly feel at loose ends. Now that I think about it, I really do not know what to do with my time. Maybe I’ll go to the man-cave, smoke a cigar, drink lemonade and watch an old movie.

D. TRAVEL PLANS:

For those to whom this may be of interest, I plan to return to Thailand for a month at the beginning of October. I will be spending my 75th birthday there. Someones 75th birthday it seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. I’m sure, however, LM will knit me a scarf. Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.

Anyway, after leaving Thailand I will return through Italy, hopefully meeting up with my sister who may attend a conference in Rome. I plan to travel with her and her husband George to Sicily for a week or so. Then to NY and perhaps DC to spend a day or two with my daughter before returning to SF.

As has been the case for five years now planning for a trip like this a month and a half ahead usually means it will not happen quite as hoped.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Red Sails in the Sunset

It was Autumn in Paris. We walked down Rue de Grenelle on the left bank, my arm around her shoulders. She wore a long checkered coat. We stopped to look into the window of a shop selling antique playing and tarot cards. I pulled her towards me. We kissed. We were very much in love. We stood there arms entwined gazing at one another. She was very very beautiful.

That was the point when, last night, I realized I had been dreaming. I could feel myself being pulled away into wakefulness. My dream me cried out. I, however, felt no tears. I lay there in bed the rest of the night unable to get back to sleep. It had been like a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.

The whole thing reminded me of a poem I had written many years ago when I was much younger and living in Rome. I fancied myself a poet then (more a lifestyle than a profession). I lived in a small pensione on the top floor of a building on a side street just off via Nationale across from St Paul’s within the Walls, the major American Protestant Church in Rome. In the evenings I would sit in my room by the open window and listen to the then love of my life, practice on the piano in the church rectory where she lived having been sent there by her exceedingly wealthy Danish parents (Maersk – Moller) to study music at The National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome. She was exceptionally beautiful, an accomplished musician, a doper and a bit of a groupie, especially attracted to bass fiddle jazz musicians with lots of hair. Eventually her family felt she was spending too much time with a certain Italian-American drifter and called her back from Rome to marry someone more appropriate. She is now Chairman of the Board of a major Maersk subsidiary. Sic transit gloria.
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I hung out with a group of ex-pat would be poets none of whom ever made it as poets (one became a high school teacher in Santa Rosa) and a few con-man who also to my knowledge never made whatever it was they were hoping to make. In ex-pat communities world over, there are always a lot of those on the con. How much less interesting would the world be if there were no con and no grifters to fashion them. Movies often tend to make the grifters happy-go-lucky sociopaths, sometimes even with a heart of gold. Although they smiled a lot, most of the sociopaths I knew were anything but happy go lucky and as for their hearts, it was far more likely they were lined with lead.

The poem was part of a lengthy piece most of which I no longer recall. It was lost many years ago along with all my other attempts at turning doggerel if not into gold at least into something useful like molybdenum. Pretentious imagist drivel, it went like this:

The wanderer travels not by hook
But sprawled upon the empty tides of fairy world and real
And the sham cult darkness lie that was
Yet will not be
Marks its passage on nothing
But cognition.

The entire poem ended with perhaps one of the more tragic images in all of literature, “red sails returning.”

Tristan, before embarking from Cornwall on his latest war in Ireland, promised his beloved Isolde that upon his ships’ return, if he were still alive, he would unfurl his white sails but had he died his men would put up red ones. Upon word of the ship’s approach to the harbor, Isolde sent her handmaid to the top of the tower to report what she sees. Tristan, still alive, orders his men to unfurl the white sails. Unfortunately the sun was setting at just that moment causing the sails to blaze a bright red. Upon the maid’s return from the tower Isolde asked her the color of the sails. “Red” she answered not knowing the significance of her response. So, in sorrow and despair Isolde killed herself as did Tristan when he discovered his beloved’s body.*
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I always envied Tristan. As far as I know, there have been very few people who longed for my return after I left the room.

* It should be noted, that there are several versions of the Tristan tale many of them that differ substantially from what I have described. First of all, in a lot of them Isolde waiting in the castle in Cornwall was not the beloved Isolde, but Isolde of the White Hands, T’s wife.

It seems that while T and the beloved Isolde were playing hide the salami, she was married to Mark the King who was also T’s boss. Eventually the lovers agreed T would go away because, in part, they both liked Mark the King and felt bad about what they were doing, but mostly because Mark the King was the King and if he found out what they were doing he would cut off their heads as well as other important parts of their body. So T left and married the white-handed Isolde because he liked her name and she had a castle near the water. Frankly, when T returned from his slaughter of his Irish kinsmen and found white-handed Isolde dead due to a mistaken perception, he was not too broken up about it.

There are also many versions of how T died. Some have him poisoned, probably by a jealous husband and others have him chopped to bits in the midst of one of his ethnic cleansing jobs. I, on the other hand, believe he died in a bar fight with some bikers in Pocatello Idaho.

However it was that he died, I am not particularly jealous of this version of T. He seems to just be like a lot of men – completely fucked in the head.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles, Female Version:

Boudicca, the original Braveheart. After the death of her father the king, the Romans flogged Boudicca, raped her daughters, and, to add insult to injury, the financiers back in Rome called in their loans to the deceased monarch. This last probably really fried her bacon. Bat-shit with anger, she then led her tribe of British Celts in a bloody, and ultimately doomed, rebellion against their Roman occupiers. She took no prisoners and slaughtered all the Romans in the cities she conquered. As the town that was to become London burned, she had the breasts of the noblest women cut off and sewn into their own mouths before impaling them on spikes.
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Tomoe Gozen, one of Japan’s few known female warriors, who fought in the 12th century Genpei War. Described as a peerless swords-woman, horsewoman and archer, she had a taste for beheading her enemies.
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Mai Bhago, the 18th-Century Sikh Joan of Arc. Appalled to see Sikh men desert their Guru in the face of Mughal invaders, she shamed them into returning to battle, defeated the enemy, became the Guru’s bodyguard and later retired to devote herself to meditation.
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Maria Bochkareva, a Russian peasant who fought in World War I. She formed the terrifyingly named Women’s Battalion of Death and won several honors, only to be executed by the Bolsheviks in 1920. (Contrary to the belief of some of my commenters, she did not become a Russian mail order bride.)
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Nancy Wake, the New Zealand-born British agent commanded more than 7,000 resistance fighters during the Nazis’ occupation of France in World War II. She killed a SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him from raising the alarm during a raid. She became the Gestapo’s most wanted person, and the Allies’ most decorated servicewoman. After the war she refused offers of decorations from Australia, saying: “The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts.”
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B. More from Eric Spang (Jimmy Buffett “Boat Drink” Lyrics):

This morning I shot six holes in my freezer.
I think I got cabin fever
Somebody sound the alarm.
I’d like to go where the pace of life’s slow.

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

1. Auction or flea market:

Stevie points out an error in my previous edition of T&T:

“In return for that nice birthday shout-out I will concur that the hat is a fine addition to your wardrobe but must correct you on its provenance: that ain’t no FLEA MARKET – that’s THE AUCTION.

When I was a kid livestock was auctioned from a relatively small corral across the street from where the produce, Amish baked goods, and miscellaneous new but weird items could be bought on Saturday mornings. Jimboys got its start at a mobile taco stand at THE AUCTION. Sometime in the 1960s it became DENIO’s AUCTION and you could separate the natives from the newcomers by whether they went to THE AUCTION or to DENIO’s. About the same time THE AUCTION started operating on Sunday as well as Saturday.

The DENIO’s had two daughters – one a year older than I who was a solid citizen (at least for a Roseville teenager) and the other a bit younger who was less so, proving the point by taking my renegade brother to myriad formal affairs in which he would ordinarily have had no interest. They were both hovering around 6 feet in height and Kathy was as gorgeous as Buddy was handsome, making a striking couple in those dance photos my mother loved to save. Fortunately for the young lady and her family the romance did not long flourish.

Before we hit junior high we’d go to Diamond National with my dad on Saturday mornings, and the manager would frequently hire us and our neighborhood pals to put advertising flyers on the windshields of all the cars overflowing the huge dirt and gravel parking lots surrounding THE AUCTION – a job that paid well but left us covered in dust.

In fairness, I haven’t been there in decades so it may have become a flea market, for all I know, but if it is, it’s a flea market at THE AUCTION as far as I’m concerned.”

I stand corrected and apologize to all, including the Denio family – especially tall, gorgeous Kathy. (Is she still tall, gorgeous and looking for trouble?)

2. Apology to the Good/Bad David:

David I am extremely sorry for the photograph and comments below, but I just could not resist. I hope you are still willing to talk to me.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

”The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.
Most very wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually do so from jail.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
David 1976
This handsome devil is my friend the Good/Bad David in his coat of many colors at his graduation from university. In addition to excelling in sports, especially basketball, and spending time as a professional drummer in a band, David won that year’s Richard Pryor award for the best imitation afro by a white man from South Dakota.

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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