This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Papa Joe 0001 (September 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

First things first; my most recent blog post for Smart+Connected Communities Institute has been published. It is about technological improvements in earthquake warning systems instituted by California’s Seismic Safety Commission. Click here if you would think you might be interested in reading it. Even if you are not interested in it click anyway (several times if you feel up to it) so that they may feel encouraged to continue to employ me.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Alas my time here in California is rapidly approaching its end. I will leave for Florida on September 29 and then in quick succession on to DC, NY and Italy before returning to Thailand sometime around the third week in October.

Since returning to Sacramento, I have resumed my nanny duties, usually with little to distinguish one day from the next.

On Saturday I spent my morning at a local coffee house. Weekend mornings brings parents from the surrounding subdivisions taking their children there for breakfast. While waiting on line to give my order, the man in the line in front of me with two sub-seven year olds in tow, having heard the man in line behind me call out the name of one of his own three sub-seven year olds, commented to him that he thought it was an unusual name (I did not hear the name). The other man explained that he was a wine collector and had named all his children after wines. This one he explained was one of his favorite varietals grown in Napa Valley.

Later that day, Dick, Hayden and I traveled to the Mekouleme Hill ranch of Congressman John Garamendi for his annual BBQ. On the way we stopped at Bill and Naida’s ranch in Rancho Murietta because I wanted to say goodbye to them before leaving for Thailand. Both Bill and Naida looked remarkably well. That made me happy.

While at the ranch we toured Bill’s classic car collection that included this wonderful Woody:
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Bill also had a classic red pickup from the 50’s that I lusted for. All of his cars are up for sale, if any of you are interested.

After leaving the ranch we travelled down route 49 that bisects the “Gold Country” and stopped at a place in Jackson called “Fat Freddy’s” where we sat at the counter eating lunch washed down with malted milkshakes and listened to the woman behind the counter’s stories about Jackson Phil (as opposed to Phil Jackson the legendary Lakers basketball coach) the legendary gold hoarding squirrel who stole one nugget too many and is now stuffed and adorns a shelf on the wall behind the counter.

We eventually arrived at the Garamendi ranch. The festivities featured country and western music, gold panning, petting zoos, aging politicians and more. The following is a photograph of Hayden on the tractor posing with the Congressman himself.
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I remember him (Garamendi) from his first days in the State legislature in December 1974. He had come to Senator Jerry Smith’s office to be mentored in legislative process because Smith was assigned as his mentor. I thought he was a dick-head. Someone described him as a real boy-scout. Like I said a dick-head. Since then I am told he has mellowed out a lot.

After spending some time at the event reminiscing with Norbert and Stevie, we left and returned home.

The next day I watched the 49rs lose, plunging me into such deep depression that it required me to lie in bed and sulk for the rest of the day.

During the following week I settled back into executing my nanny and chauffeur duties and began packing for my departure on Friday. As usual, contemplation of leaving someplace where I have become relatively content made me sad enough to mist my eyes now and then as I folded my clothing into the suitcase. Nevertheless, the idea of staying here too much longer filled me with as much dread as leaving did sadness.

On Thursday morning we headed off to the courthouse in Placerville in hopes that this morning’s hearing would end the child custody case. Opposing counsel had notified us that repeated attempts to contact the petitioner for instruction regarding a response to our motion to dismiss failed and he had no choice but to not appear at the hearing. At the hearing the petitioner, without notification to anyone, called into the court and claimed no knowledge of his attorney’s attempts to contact him. The judge put the hearing off until the second week in October to allow petitioner to straighten things out with his attorney or to find new counsel.

The law is pretty clear on the subject. If a woman is married at the time the child is born, the husband at the time is the presumed father. In general the presumption is absolute unless the party wishing to be declared father can demonstrate an intimate nurturing relationship with the child the sundering of which would be catastrophic for the child’s well being. I cannot see how Petitioner reaches the threshold required in the published opinions to overcome the presumption. It seems to me that seven years of taking no for an answer does not an intimate parental relationship make.

While waiting for our case to come up on the agenda, we listened to a hearing on a dispute between a husband and his wife. It seems that the husband, who has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Arizona, and his girlfriend, a medical marijuana user who admits to being stoned day and night, are living in the house that the wife previous lived in with the husband. The husband has not paid on the mortgage for 18 months or so and the mortgage company has not moved to evict him because the house is worth less than the mortgage. The wife, who has a series of arrests of her own on her record for shoplifting and other things, is pissed and wants the husband to be forced to sell the house and pay rent somewhere. When the judge hesitated, the wife produced a letter from a doctor claiming the loving couple’s 41/2 year old daughter had been sexually abused presumably while spending time with the husband and the stoner. The judge said he will have to read everything before deciding anything. Sheriff’s deputies had been called to protect the wife because the girl friend had made physical threats against the wife.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth [see below] was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement.

Later on in the day I took Hayden to his Taekwondo class. Sometimes parents while waiting for their children to finish their lessons read magazines and books to while away the time rather than to stare at their white uniformed loved ones jump around and grunt in make-believe mayhem. The place has accumulated a fairly well stocked library of bad novels and back issues of People Magazine left behind by the proud but bored parents. For the last few sessions, I had been reading a well thumbed through novel by John Gresham entitled The Bleachers and serendipitously I finished it up that but evening.

I normally avoid anything by Gresham. He writes with a very well written drab spare stylessness that passes for a style. His characters are one dimensional defined by the events around them. I think of him a similar to Elmore Leonard but without the wit and the humor. This novel was not his usual mystery, but a tear jerker for males about ex-football jocks returning to their small town to await the death of their high school coach. It was good enough to make me cry now and then. I like to cry when I read.

The following morning I hugged Hayden before he went off to school and we said our goodbyes. I cried some more. Than I left Sacramento on the first leg of my trip that may even eventually take me back to Thailand for the next few months.

TODAY’S MISLEADING FACTOID:
Graphic unavailable at this time
The yield per acre for wheat in England, France, and Germany and the yield for rice in Japan. These top-producing countries for the two most important cereals for direct human consumption have failed in the last 10 or more years to increase productivity.

(This chart was used by one of my otherwise generally reliable analysts, Jeremy Grantham, as evidence of one of the inevitable crises exacerbated by the effects of climate change and population growth; the leveling off of productivity increases for major food crops eventually breeding shortages and rising prices. [Grantham is an investment advisor after all.] What is misleading about this graph is that it shows the leveling off in four countries whose populations are not growing. Left unstated is whether or not per acre crop yields are increasing in countries with growing populations or whether additional acres of farm land are being devoted to these food crops in response to rising demand.

I expect crop yields are not increasing in any way as much as they did during the so-called “Green Revolution” of 30 or so years ago that, by keeping agricultural prices low, staved off wide spread social dislocation that could have been caused by rampant population growth at the time . Yes, hunger is a question of cost every bit as much as it is a question of ethics.

Similarly, I suspect that removal of crop land from production due to urbanization and climate change more than balances the unused acreage put into production due to the promise of higher prices.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso of Bokonon (Vonnegut):

“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
snapshot_051412_2.jpg
C. What Republicans say about Republicans:

Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.
Frank Schaeffer. His father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he write about his experience growing up in that family in the superbly written Crazy for God.

D. Electioneering:
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E. Testosterone Chronicles (“Men, Who Needs Them” Edition):

When I explained this (the biological irrelevancy of men to human species reproduction) to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
Taken from the NY Times opinion page article, Men, Who Needs Them? By Greg Hampikian.

The entertainment quality of men in general, in my opinion, is highly overrated.
F. Investment advice for those of us who are so foolish as to invest in anything Wall Street is peddling:

20 Ways Wall Street is Ripping Off Small Investors:

1. Providing nominal returns, not real returns.

2. Encouraging too much diversification, if that’s possible.

3. Hiding fees and expenses.

4. Turning you into a passive investor.

5. Convincing you that money markets are the same as cash.

6. Telling you that bonds are safer than equities.

7. Explaining that in the long run equities outperform bonds.

8. Simply by lying about their products.

9. Convincing you that their bank is a large, stable, safe operation to deal with.

10. Recommending products that have enormous sales commissions attached to them.

11. Cheating you on bid/ask spreads.

12. Selling you what they don’t want.

13. Measuring your success in dollars.

14. Lending your securities to others.

15. Ripping your eyes out if you ever try to close your account.

16. Grabbing any slight positive real return for themselves.

17. Sticking toxic waste to small investors.

18. Pretending they can pick stocks.

19. Acting like they are your best friend and they have your best interests at heart.

20. Knowing next to nothing about the value of holding real assets like gold and real estate.
John R. Talbott is a bestselling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash, the banking crisis and the global economic collapse.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
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I always liked Wilde. That one could write a passable jail-house poem, a reasonably good book, insult everyone, dress like he did and still become famous even before the creation of the internet, confirms my belief that God is the ultimate humorist.

Speaking of God and humor, did you know that while growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. [For those that get this — you are showing your age.] Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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This is accurate except that it omits the importance of Occam’s Razor to scientific theory. That is, in its most basic terms, Occam requires that the simplest explanation that accounts for all the observable facts be preferred over the more complicated [However, as Einstein pointed out, “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.”.

Nevertheless, Occam’s Razor does not apply to fantasy, religion, politics, economics or sales. Perhaps it should, but if it did so, those worthy examples of human endeavor probably would soon disappear. I would miss fantasy though.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Papa Joe 0001 (September 21 2012)

TODAY FROM  AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  CALIFORNIA:

So, this past weekend I returned to the Bay Area. My sister and her husband George picked me up at the Berkeley train station. We went directly to an exhibition at a local Japanese Tiako drum school in Emeryville. After listening to the students banging on their drums for a while we were all invited to take a lesson; which we did (including me). It was great fun and can be added to my bucket list.

I rejected signing up for lessons. I find the concept of repetition for the purpose of getting better at whatever — unappealing.

Here is a photograph of me banging on my drum.

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Later, after the lesson, we returned to my sister’s house where her son Brendan (he who recently had been released from the hospital following a serious operation to correct an intestinal obstruction caused by Crone’s Disease) was throwing a BBQ party. Brendan also plays the drums in a local rock band. After we ate through acres of several varieties of burned flesh, his band played music until the neighbors complained.

I went upstairs and watched three episodes of Game of Thrones.

The next day we took my mom out to lunch a Le Zinc, a bistro in Noe Valley, where we met up with Peter. After lunch Mary and George drove my mom back to the home. Peter and I drifted off to a local coffee-house where we sat on a bench in the sun, drank our coffee and reminisced.

I spent the night at my son’s house where after watching the Niners game (they won) and eating a pizza we argued over whether there is a world-wide conspiracy by the military to suppress evidence of mermen.

The following morning I returned by train to Sacramento.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

I could not decide if this belonged in Testosterone Chronicles (Penis Category) or in Bent News. I leave it for the reader to decide.

Mt friend Gary posted me the following that appeared in a Japanese newspaper:

“A man who cooked his genitals and served them up to diners at a Japanese restaurant has been charged with indecent exposure.

Mao Sugiyama, 23, had his penis and testicles surgically removed by a physician in March.

They had been certified free of infections and were frozen for two months before being served up at a banquet in Suginami, a residential area in western Tokyo.

He charged guests around £160 per person to eat the meal which was garnished with mushrooms and parsley.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said criminal papers against Sugiyama and three other people who helped organise the event were sent to the Tokyo district public prosecutors’ office.

Sugiyama who describes himself as an ‘asexual’ illustrator, could not be arrested for cooking or selling his genitals as there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.

If convicted of indecent exposure, Sugiyama, who has also had his nipples removed, could be jailed up to two years and fined up to 2.5 million yen ($32,000).

Mao, who goes by the nickname HC, said he had initially considered eating his own penis – but decided to serve them up instead.

He cooked the genitalia, which were removed in early April shortly after his 22nd birthday, himself while being supervised by a chef.”

(And for the twenty-fifth year in a row Japan wins the Academy Award for the Weirdest People on Earth.

— Alas, I sort of hoped the photograph of me banging on the Taiko drum would return the award to America.

— What the f**k is an “asexual” illustrator?

— At first, as I read this item I wondered why anyone would have his nipples surgically removed, but then I remembered that here in America many women have their noses surgically removed. At least they do not cook them up and serve them to their best friends.

— And before I forget, for those of you so inclined, there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

From Jake Needham through Gary:

“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Slide1
B. ELECTIONEERING:

1. “Describing the evolution of the Republicans’ racial appeal, the late Lee Atwater, one-time chair of the Republican National Committee and member of the Reagan administration, said in 1981. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing [and] states’ rights. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites … obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger’.”
GARY YOUNGE

2.

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(I show this not because it accurately describes Mitt but because I think it is amusing. To some extent Mitt is getting a raw deal. I view him as a somewhat more conservative Eisenhower Republican who unfortunately must appear to be something he is not to his much more socially and economically conservative base without whose support he has no chance to be elected and unfortunately for him he neither understands nor agrees with.

The modern Democratic party is actually the heir to the Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republicans (with a slight Organized Labor bias). Its base is economically cautious and socially somewhat liberal. Its left-wing has no greater function than to operate as a break on its inevitable drift to the right.

Instead of saying that if he were Mexican he would be President, Mitt would have been more accurate to have said if he were running as a Democrat he would be elected president by acclamation.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Lincoln’s greatest fear:

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood … It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”
A.Lincoln

(Alas, God chose not to grant this wish to Old Abe either.)

TODAY’S CHARTS:
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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. 33 Pops 0001 (September 17, 2012)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

Frederic Bastiat

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After spending the night at my sister’s house in Berkley, we visited my mom and took her out for lunch in North Beach. This was the first time, despite her 94 years, that she appeared truly old, depressed and lonely.

The next two days I visited with my son and his family. I got my quarterly dose of reality TV. This time I watched something about living in Alaska. I got to see men (almost always men) trapping and killing animals; in this case beavers and a lynx. We got to see the lynx with its foot caught in a trap struggle to break free. After they dispatched the creature we were entertained by the hunters skinning and eating it. I fully understand the need of those living in remote areas to hunt and trap game, but how broadcasting the vicarious experience to overweight, indolent couch potatoes (like me) can be considered entertainment escapes me.

On the next day, I got to watch 22 overgrown men (always men) beat up on each other in an effort to push the inflated swine skin over an arbitrary chalk drawn line. Unlike the prior evening, I considered this great entertainment. As I am sure most of you already know the SF 49rs defeated the Green Bay Packers. Go Niners!

After the game I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park with Amanda my granddaughter.

Early Monday morning, I returned to Sacramento. While riding the J-Church to the train station, I contemplated my contribution to the transformation of the happy-go-lucky child that was my son into an angry and unhappy adult. So there I was that morning, just another old man sitting on the trolley before sunrise with tears in his eyes. Less so because of what has been and the pain it has caused but because we know that tomorrow will come and the tears if not forgotten will be added to the increasingly heavy burden of unresolved guilt.

The next day I bought a copy of the new novel about the Kennedy assassination by that Shakespeare of digression, Steven King. Never has a writer written so much so well about things that have nothing to do with the plot than King. He was far less verbose as a stoned alcoholic. Beware of writers in AA.

On the other hand Sheldon Siegel, a much less tiresome author has a new book out, The Terrorist Within. I look forward to reading it. As far as I know Sheldon is not in AA.

I spent the week back in Sacramento mostly as a chauffeur. When not driving various people around, I spent time preparing the responses to discovery requests in the custody litigation and finalizing the new post for the Smart&Connected blog.

At the end of the week my sister told me that she had met with a company that, on behalf of international organizations like The World Bank and various large foundations, advises and assists non-profits on social media issues. One of the managers knew about the Coastal Conservancy and had a very favorable opinion of it. Since I will be leaving California in about two weeks, I decided to spend the weekend following up on this. It will also give me an opportunity to visit with my family and Peter one last time before I depart.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Conservatives are right, Liberals control the media and everything else.

A study reported in Psychology Today, on which I commentated a few posts back, pointed out that in general conservatives are less intelligent than Liberals. It goes on to state:

Conservatives often complain that liberals control the media or the show business or the academia or some other social institutions. The Hypothesis explains why conservatives are correct in their complaints. Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions. They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

(OMG, the Right is…well, right. Life is a Left-wing conspiracy.)

2. “We will never have the élite, smart people on our side.”
Rick Santorum

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few posts ago I wrote about the coming election as perhaps the last hurrah for the white male ascendency in American politics. Today in an article by Gary Younge quoted in Daily Kos, he confirms the situation (Note the quote by a Republican strategist that I underlined):

“This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarized election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past — in 2004 George W. Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate — white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.” […]”

(In my last post I quoted the following:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.”

I feel sad for these men; deluded by their history of ascendency over women of their class and other minorities, lied to by their political and religious leaders and misused by their employers, they have been misled to believe their ever so slight social standing was theirs by right and not earned by effort.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
why-have-we-developed-such-income-inequality-in-part-because-the-average-hourly-earnings-in-this-country-havent-grown-in-50-years.jpg
B. Electioneering:

“Obama ran on ‘change’ in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”
— Matt Taibbi, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Rolling Stone, August 29, 2012.

(Taibbi is a political polemicist who writes well. Although his basic facts are often correct, sometimes his rhetoric can be misleading. Romney may very well be considered a child of the conflict between manufacturers of transactions and manufacturers of products he was never a “pioneer.” The conflict, such as it is, has been going on for one hundred years or more.

The first break between the manufacturers of transactions, “transactionists” (In a broader context sometimes included among those referred to in classical economic literature as “rentiers”) and manufacturers of products occurred in the 1920s as they, the transactionists sought to obtain full partnership and ultimately dominate political and economic decision-making of society for their benefit. It brought on the Great Depression. Due to the New Deal’s emphasis on manufacturing, production and product development, the transactionists were reduced again to merely wealthy and fiscally conservative transaction managers for industrialists.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s they emerged again, but this time even the manufacturers of products were their enemies as they drove traditional manufacturing beyond our shores and persuaded the gullible and unwary that wealth accumulation does not require any products other than the transactions themselves.

Mitt was little more than a bench warmer on a very politically successful team.)

D. BOKONONISM – CALYPSOS:

The Fourteenth Calypso
When I was young
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St. Augustine.
Saint Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So, if I get to be one, also,
Please. Mama, don’t you faint.

The Fifty-third Calypso
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen–
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice–
So many different people
In the same device.

The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso
“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
TODAY’S CHART:
voting-infographic

(While this chart may contain interesting information, it is not very helpful. The presidential election, because of the electoral college system will be decided by the nature of the turnout primarily in Ohio. Without Ohio (and perhaps Florida) Romney probably cannot win . Obama on the other hand has a number of ways to put together 270 electoral votes required to prevail.

Control of Congress will depend more upon the number of women and minorities living in so-called competitive districts. If the district (or State) lacks minority voters in the percentages described the Republican will in most cases prevail.

Note: except for perhaps Florida the turnout percentage differences between men and women will remain constant. However the numbers of minorities varies greatly from district to district and state to state.)

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. 26 Pops 0001 (September 10, 2012)

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
–W. B. Yeats

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC has thrown her back out and now walks about like an arthritic octogenarian. Hayden has come down with some form of stomach flu and Dick is in LA chasing earthquakes. As a result, I have been pressed into the role of part-time nurse to supplement my ongoing role of part-time nanny.

Last Saturday while visiting with Bill and Naida, after noticing the butterfly net Hayden had brought with him to fish for crawdads, Bill told me about his youthful adventures as an accomplished Lepidopterist. For almost an hour I listened, fascinated, to stories about butterfly hunting in Northern California 60 years ago. When he and his friends, the Crocker brothers, were about 10 years old they persuaded the State Parks Department to allow them to replenish the deteriorating collections at several of the parks. I learned all about how to get the wings spread properly when mounting the specimens and the many varieties of swallowtail fluttering around in the Sierra’s.

On Thursday I took the train from Sacramento to San José. I looked forward to dinner that night with Bill Gates and Jerry Smith. I had not seen Jerry in over a decade. For those unfamiliar with Jerry Smith, he was the State Senator who was the principle author of the California Coastal Act of 1976. He was later appointed to the Appellate Court by Jerry Brown at the end of Brown’s first turn as Governor of California over 30 years ago. After retiring Smith spent some time as an international consultant advising countries recently freed from soviet dictatorship on how to set up Anglo-American type judicial systems. Well after the time most people retire, he returned to school to study fine arts. He now is an accomplished sculptor.

We are perhaps the first generation in history where many of us live long enough in good health that we can enjoy five or six distinct careers during our lives and where it is not so strange to embark on one or two more after we reach 70.

Upon arriving in San Jose,  Bill met me in his new shiny Ferrari racing red Jaguar. We had lunch at a local men only dining club where the food was pretty good. After lunch we smoked cigars and drank brandy and the like in the game room where we discussed politics and the coastal act with a few of the members. They were all local developers except one who owned a string of radio stations in Texas and Florida. They appeared to be the remnants of the Eisenhower wing of the Republican party. As usual my inclination to pontificate was in full flower and so I talked and talked.

We later travelled to Saratoga where we had dinner with Jerry Smith and talked some more about California Coastal protection program. Jerry was the legislator who carried the bill. Before dinner we drank some wine and watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Jerry had cooked a great ravioli dinner accompanied by local wines and olive oil. After dinner we toured his house to look at some of his sculptures including a fascinating cast bronze replica of tree branches and wonderful outdoor bamboo arrangement in bronze and copper.

On the way home we stopped off at Bill’s nightclub Myth in downtown Sacramento. It has become quite a popular venue. There were about 400 people there at the time we arrived. By then I was exhausted and on the down side of the alcohol euphoria induced by the copious quantities I had consumed earlier in the day. I could only barely acknowledge the noise and the crowding and the remarkably large breasts that seemed required to work as a waitress in the place.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh no, we cannot be the worst!

In a survey conducted in over 80 countries, 2,000 people were questioned on which countries have the world’s worst beer. The results listed the United States as #1, followed behind by China, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Italy. Budweiser was ranked as the #1 worst brand in beer by the takers of the survey.

2. Oh no again!

durex-sexual-wellbeing-global-survey-2

(Blame it on the beer.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

The Bangkok Post Reported on August 28, 2012:

“Thais top infidelity chart.”

Thai men are ranked on top and their women are ranked second as the world’s most unfaithul [sic] lovers, with well over half of them admitting to frequent infidelity, according to a survey conducted by Durex, a condom producer.

Women from Thailand are ranked the world’s second most unfaithul [sic] lovers, according to the survey report.

The survey of 29,000 women in 36 countries names the women of Ghana the world’s most unfaithful, with 62 per cent of the women questioned there admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands.

Thai women were just a little more faithful, with 59 per cent admitting to infidelity, followed by Malaysia with 39 per cent.

In fourth and fifth place were Russia (33 per cent) and Singapore (19 per cent).

As for men admitting to extramarital affairs, Thailand came out on top (54 per cent) followed by South Korea (34 per cent) and then Malaysia (33 per cent).

(But they still don’t do it as often as Greeks.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Pookie on Adultery:

I believe adultery violates God’s commandments, unless it is with a slave or concubine as the Bible permits. We should have uniform federal laws outlawing adultery, abortion and homosexuality unless you can afford it, or are a Republican candidate or are a priest, minister or Rabbi (Muslim clerics or rich people who profess Islam however are not excepted because to do so would be to condone sharia law. Also, they are not real Americans and they support terrorists.)

Adultery is a criminal offense in 23 states, with punishments ranging from a $10 fine in Maryland to life imprisonment in Michigan (at least according to one judge). It’s also prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That means, for example, that Newt Gingrich may have violated the law in some of those 23 states. Where does he stand on the issue of criminals running for office? What is the religious right and the Catholic Church’s stand on adultery? Is it such a sufficiently lesser sin than supporting a woman’s right to choose that it does not disqualify one from running for office? Is it a lesser sin than Homosexuality? If Newt were gay could he become president? Does the Religious Right have any morals what-so-ever? Does the Newtster? Why would anyone name their child after a lizard?

In fairness to the Newtster, I have searched but found no evidence that either Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid committed illegal adultery in one of the jurisdictions in which it is illegal. On the other hand it is probably safe to assume Bill Clinton did, but he did not divorce his wife although the weight of opinion, I believe, felt she should have divorced him. Ah well, they remain happily married and living separately so I guess every thing is ok.

I have it on good authority that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan have had heterosexual sex in over a decade. On the other hand it is a known fact that the muslim Barack Obama has been shtupping a black woman, but that does not count.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2000 years: For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the dreaded anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, translation of the very earliest known copy of the Book of Revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666! The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a paleographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. The team was led by Professor David Parker. (Listverse)

(Note: According to Wikipedia, area code 616 is the area code for the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Michigan metropolitan areas, which includes Kent, Ionia and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties.

[Beware of people from Michigan!]

Also, Earth-616 is the name used to identify the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.

[Beware of Spiderman!]

Finally, 616 is the 25th member of the [H-A-X-Z Sequence], coming after 265, 351, 465 (it is the sum of the first two of these). 616 is a polygonal number in four different ways: it is a heptagonal number, as well as 13-, 31- and 104-gonal.

It is also the sum of the squares of the factorials of 2,3,4. i.e.. (2!)^2 + (3!)^2 + (4!)^2 = 4+36+576=616.

The Roman numeral for 616, DCXVI, has exactly one occurrence of all symbols except for L whose value is less than 1000 (D=500, C=100, X=10, V=5, I=1)

[Beware of anyone who knows this!]
Today: 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is only 47 percent.

(No wonder the Japanese birth rate is falling. This also may explain the last place finish of the Japanese in the above sexual frequency Olympics standings chart. I understand that 616 in the model number of the most popular vibrator in Tokyo.

[Beware of Japanese women! They are just not that into you.])
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. It is about time to really deal with the deficit.
original
2. The Perceptive Republican:

Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has an article in The American Conservative entitled, “Revolt of the Rich – Our financial elites are the new secessionists.” I largely agree with it. He states:

“Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension — and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

B. Electioneering:

1. Use of words in political discourse, conservative style:

“The Right’s also better than us (liberals) at taking new phrases and using them to inject their terrible ideas into the public discourse. “Boning poor people” sounds awful and almost no one would support that, but call it “welfare reform” and people can really get behind it. Everyone likes the idea of eliminating supposed abuses, after all. “Privatization” sounds way less terrible than “giving away public assets for pennies on the dollar” or “taking Social Security and putting it all on black.” Creationism in public schools bothers a lot of people, but “teaching the controversy” about “intelligent design” sounds way more palatable. Fortunately for America, though, the public at large didn’t fall for this.”
Stumbling Through the Halls of Power

2. A voice from the crypt
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(Is Carville still alive or have I just forgotten that he always looked like a cadaver? I suppose the reason that Carville is usually the only Democrat commentator regularly invited to appear on Faux News is that he has been dead for the past five years.)

3. Which Group hates Obama most:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

C. Testosterone Chronicles: Penis file.

Researchers in Vietnam studying the marine life of the Mekong delta have identified a new species of the Phallostethidae family named Phallostethus cuulong . These are small fish found in rivers in South East Asia, easily distinguishable because of one bizarre anatomical feature – their penises are on their heads!

(On the other hand, dickheads are very common among humans.)

D. BOKONONISM: Sayings of Bokonon (Vonnegut)

On man’s power to control:
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.

Also on man’s power to control:
It is not possible to make a mistake.
[ It is described as a “customary greeting given by all Bokononists when meeting a shy person.” ]

On history:
History! Read it and weep!

On religion:
Of course it’s trash!

On man’s destiny:
Today I will be a Bulgarian Minister of Education. Tomorrow I will be Helen of Troy.
We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

On the ignorance of learned men:
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

On “the heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality, and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it:
Midget, midget, midget, how he struts and winks,
For he knows a man’s as big as what he hopes and thinks!
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
chart751

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. 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:
4854767464994632425

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.
Obama-spending-e1337904626667
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.”
DSCN0221

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
DSCN0149_2
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:
226339_10151011236836275_1206679155_n
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
.229193_457977387557465_540238268_n
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:
484548_10150966157921275_767134171_n4

 

 

 

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.
DSCN0134
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:
483957_10150988564821275_2124160774_n

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:
427273_10151011404496275_181893649_n

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:

383924_273594952754688_1626961118_n

TODAY’S CARTOON:
304543_458296074191409_517208181_n

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.

DSCN0125
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.
DSCN0142_2
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:
486477_460712743949742_1616563339_n
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:
395781_10151002774161275_1718019400_n
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:
302362_10150335423656275_1480438547_n

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:
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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. 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.

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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

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