Daily Archives: February 13, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. February 14, 2011

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
~John Stuart Mill


1805. The Viennese man Johann George Lehner invents the Frankfurter.

(I always thought his name was Nathan and he lived on Coney Island.)


Today while sitting on the beach at Paradise by the Sea with Nicky and Hayden watching the Siberian hoards filling the strand around us like grunion during a full moon, I commented that I thought it strange that it was so rare to see any of them smile. Nicky observed that during his travels through Russia and Siberia a few years ago, outside of the larger cities, running water into homes was rare. I responded that if that was true Thailand must appear to them to be a first world country.

Of the few times I have seen what passes for a smile among the Siberians, they appeared to scrunch their mouth into a brief frozen rictus somewhere between a grimace and a grin. Americans on the other hand, in addition to smiling easily when amused, often smile as a signal of non aggression and sometimes embarrassment. During my stays in Europe, that often prompted many Europeans that I encountered to consider us Americans slightly addled and empty-headed. In Europe smiles were reserved for humor. Meeting people required a more serious demeanor. It was a matter of respect.

Thailand has been called, “The Land of Smiles.” I read somewhere that a Thai has 13 types of smile. I believe nine of those smiles mean, “I’ll get you later, you son of a bitch.” One means, “I have gotten even with you.” One is, “You lost face and I haven’t,” and one is for pleasure, usually exhibited when some farang embarrasses himself. The final type of smile is reserved for other Thai’s and we foreigners never get to see it.


When she was not too much older that Hayden, my daughter Jessica suffered similar fears of the night and of sleeping that he does, and for similar reasons. So, every night at bedtime, I used to tell her long involved tales within a never-ending story. To her great annoyance often the stories would put me to sleep well before her.

With Hayden, I make up separate shorter stories every night in an effort to avoid nodding off during the telling. Last night’s story was a tale in a series about Danny, a boy of about Hayden’s age, and his pony Acorn. Danny had ridden Acorn to school where the Good Princess Zoe (the same name as Hayden’s teacher) sent him on a quest to the Mountains of the East to free the Prince of Words from the evil witch Miss Spelling and prevent her from turning the world into a dark place of unreadable books and a babble of unintelligible speech. Danny had to spell his way to dispatch Miss Spelling, free the prince and save the world. When I finished, I asked him what he thought of the story.

“Who is Miss Spelling’s mommy?” he responded.

I could not answer him but promised to reveal it to him in a later story. I could use your help. Does anyone out there know Miss Spelling’s mommy?


Chapter 8, in which Vince, still in search of a plot for his story, contemplates giving it all up and returning to Thailand.

Chapter 8

As he sat in the automobile trying to digest the news of Charlie’s disappearance into the Alaskan wilderness, Vince put a call into his cross-dressing secretary Ray to instruct him to go to Sam’s house and collect all the files in the “Secret Room”.

“OK I will get right on it,” he answered. “Would you like more information on Ms. Woo-woo,” he added?


“You know the background of that Isabella Yeung woman you asked me to look into.”

“No, I’m too busy.” Then he remembered that he had agreed to meet with her tonight. “OK what did you find out?”

“I think her parents or relatives were Theodore Yeung a successful computer scientist specializing cryptography and Isabella Zeffino Yeung a well known neurosurgeon. They died 15 years ago in an unexplained small plane crash in upstate New York 15 years ago.”

“So, what makes you think they were related?”

“I located an order of the probate court in New York City three years ago releasing the contents of Theodore and Isabella’s Estate to an Isabella Yeung. What is odd however there is no record of the Yeung’s having a daughter only a son, David. He apparently was a Navy Seal and went missing about eight years ago on some hush hush mission in central America and is presumed dead.”

So, he could have married this Isabella.”

“No marriage license.”

“Could have married anywhere. What makes you think it is our Isabella?”

“Similar ages names and nothing else on the record.”

“Hm, sounds pretty flimsy to me. Look don’t waste any more of your time on this, just get on over to Coign’s house and pick up those files as soon as you can.”

“OK boss,” and he hung up.

Vince thought for a moment about today’s surprises and tried to make sense of them. He quickly gave up and drove back to the office.

When he arrived Nina told him that there were some people in reception wanting to meet with him. He walked into the reception area and found three people sitting on the low uncomfortable furniture that seems to be the standard for reception areas in doctor and lawyers offices. They stood up when he approached them.

“I am agent Kittrel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” said the beefy one. “And this is Agent Gonzales,” he continued indicating a dark stocky woman on his right “and this in Mr. Jessel from the Department of Defense.”

Jessel appeared to be far beyond retirement age for a federal employee, tall, wispy white hair, stooped.

“Wait right there,” said Vince. “You know better than this. If this is about Red Star, the firm has retained counsel and all communications must go through him”

Ronald Bekker of the well known white collar crime boutique firm in the City named Bekker and Schulman had been retained by the firm to represent it in the investigation. The attorney’s of the firm potentially involved also had all hired their own lawyers.

“We are not here to discuss the investigation,” beefy said. “But since you are the new managing partner of the firm we thought it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves to you”

“OK, you have and it is still inappropriate. Thank you for your consideration in stopping by. The firm wants to cooperate fully with the investigation. I trust I will be seeing you all again in the presence of Mr. Bekker, not too soon I hope.” Vince gestured toward the elevator bank.

“Oh,” said the spokesman, “I am sure you will, and very soon.” As they moved off toward the elevators. The old one lagged a bit behind the other two and with a wintry smile said, “It was a pleasure meeting you Mr. Biondi. I have heard a lot about you.”

“I doubt it. Both the pleasure and the lot,” responded Vince as he turned and made his way back to his office.

Once back in his office he slumped forward in his chair. He shook his head and thought, this is all too much stress, maybe I should just quit and return to Thailand.

Then he sat back, looked up at the ceiling as a hard smile crossed his face and said aloud, “God, how I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”


a. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or one thereafter:

The ongoing story of Thursday inviting three characters into her home.

“Welcome to my home, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.”
‘Oh,’ said Raskolnikov, impressed that I knew who he was. ‘How did you know it was me? Could it have been the subtle way in which I project the dubious moral notion that murder might somehow be rationalized, or the way in which I move from denying my guilt to eventually coming to terms with an absolute sense of justice and submitting myself to the rule of law?’
“Neither,” said I. “It’s because you’re holding an axe covered in blood and human hair.” (To be continued…)

b. Today’s cognitive bias:

Availability heuristic — estimating what is more likely by what is more available in memory, which is biased toward vivid, unusual, or emotionally charged examples.


“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
~Bill Gates

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. February 10, 2011

Instead of being born again, why not just grow up? ~Author Unknown


1862 February 10–Battle of Elizabeth City. Destruction of the Confederate Mosquito Fleet by Union gunboats.

(Don’t forget to celebrate)


Little appears in the Thai news these past few days except for the fighting and political maneuvers regarding the disputed temple area between Thailand and Cambodia.

Superficially it appears that Abbisit the Unready has managed to gather criticism from all sides, while the specter of Thaksin the Terrible‘s possible return has the military on alert. In spite of the potential for new elections in April, the political interests aligned with the military have been proposing a national reconciliation government containing the “best” people as an alternative. Sort of like Burma. Even more commentators now seem to be suggesting that some type of military putsch is in the offing.

Meanwhile the world-wide rise in the cost of food caused in great part by the severe weather effects of climate change that is causing political upheaval in other countries has not adversely affected Thailand yet as it (like the US) is a net exporter of food.

It would be truly ironic that the US, the industrialized country that more that any other ushered in the climate crises that world currently faces, by the sheer genius of its stupidity in stumbling into the demise of its own industrial prominence causing its descent into a resource exporting third world economy, will be the prime benefactor of the environmental havoc it strives so mightily to deny.

A prediction: By about 2014 to 17 expect a sudden increase in social turmoil in the industrial cities and many of their suburbs as the realization and impact of permanent loss of industrial job growth bites into US society. We also can expect an increasing conflict between agribusiness and independent farm interests in the middle west (agribusiness wins).

As the central land area of the US and Canada warms, migration will increase from the East Coast and Deep South into the expanding and northward moving farm belt in the US and Canada. Canada will begin to experience a resistance to out of work immigrants from the US seeking employment in its suddenly flourishing agricultural/resource based economy. The increasing instability of the weather will continue to push up agricultural prices. The economies of rapidly industrializing states such as India and China will stall and social unrest will follow as food prices continue to escalate. Border wars are inevitable.

Increasingly disruptive weather events such as mega-storms, wet seasons and catastrophic snowfall in winters because of the atmosphere’s enhanced capacity to hold moisture can be expected to render much of the US East Coast, North-western Europe and eastern China even less desirable. Heat waves in Russia and floods and snow storms in the US Midwest and Canada will probably make food harvest from these agriculture exporting areas unreliable from year to year.

Political power will drift from the hands of the financial industry back in the direction of those controlling large agricultural and other resource based industries supported by military elites (sort of like a new feudalism). Migration across national boundaries will increase as people flee, climate, economic and social unrest with the resulting rise of even more nativist sentiment in opposition to the new immigrants. The real unknowns in all this is the impact of the increase in armed conflict that usually accompanies times of stress and the role and impact of control of the internet.

Modern representative governments are proving incapable of exerting effective control on the activities of the largest financial, industrial or religious corporations (Note: “A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.” ~Howard Scott). They have won the battle for control of the resources and economy of the world. The public seems to have accepted the reality of a weakened national state, except in military or police matters. The concept of liberal democracy is withering. The liberal democracy, increasingly unable to deal with the political power of the religious and industrial corporate elites will slowly succumb to the control of these elites and in most cases be replaced with a version of the type of corporate state espoused by some in the 1920s and 30’s as a solution to the collapse of the Royal order and the seeming inability of the constitutional democracies that replaced them to deal with the climate and economic catastrophes that broke upon them following WWI.

It is almost prescient that the conflicting political forces in Thailand are tentatively coalescing around and alternative to representative democracy, the return to an appointed aristocracy if you will.


I have begun to settle in to my new surroundings. More or less my day goes as follows: 8:30 walk Hayden to school; 9:00 to gym to swim, exercise and take a sauna; at noon lunch in an inexpensive restaurant close to my apartment; 1 PM nap; 2-3 read or work on computer; 3 PM pick up Hayden from school and help him with his home work; 4 PM read or computer time while Hayden plays with the children down stairs; 7 PM dinner; 8:30 prepare for bed.

On weekends I go to my apartment in Paradise by the Sea and on Wednesday and Thursday I include my massage in my daily activities.

The maid has moved into the spare bedroom. I assume that now that the maid is in place to supervise Hayden, SWAC will find some pretext to encourage me to leave and return full-time to Paradise by the Sea. The apartment has maid’s quarters located off the kitchen with its own separate entry into the hall. The room is windowless and feels more like a dungeon. There is a small toilet, actually more a hole in the floor of a closet. The maid will not be relegated to these quarters but will have one of the three bedrooms for her own.

The results of my medical tests have revealed that although the CT scan of my abdomen shows my kidneys looking like road kill, my kidney functions are normal. I need to have an operation to clear up the remainder of my plumbing in the near future in order to avoid possibly living the rest of my life in dialysis. I will probably have the procedure done in the US as early as April.

The street on which we live in BKK begins (or ends if you prefer) at a gate to a huge parcel of land in the center of the city. The gate announces that beyond is “The Tobacco Monopoly if Thailand.” I have no idea what it is about. The property is filled with a great number of ramshackle low-rise wooden buildings and a few run down parks. From this gate Soi 4 travels generally north past my apartment building and a few other mid to lower class condominium building and hotels. Family restaurants and push carts line the street along this section of the road until it passes Hayden’s school where in begins to become progressively more populated with massage parlors, bars and budget hotels until it disgorge into the traffic nightmare known as Sukhumvit. Across Sukhumvit, Soi 4 becomes Soi Nana and passes through Arab(and Indian) town before going on to wherever.

On Soi 4 just before it meets Sukhumvit sits Nana Plaza, the first neighborhood one arrives at when one passes the gates into Hell. There, surrounding a small crowded plaza, rises three and four-story interconnected buildings where one can whatever perversions and titillation one desires from ordinary Go-Go bars, to ladyboy lounges to short time units.

Like in the US where urban private schools tend to locate in transition zones (the rent is cheaper), so it is with Hayden’s school. This morning as I walked Hayden up to the gate of the school across the street along an extended platform in front of some shops, a beefy fortyish bald farang, naked to the waist, reeled obviously stoned. He had scars on his head and body but was surprisingly bereft of tattoos. Accompanying him was a naked lady-boy clearly showing the major points of her conflicting sexes (known as “pre-op”) and another professional woman. It appeared that they had spent the night there and as the lady-boy put on what seemed to be the man’s shirt to cover the most conflicting parts of her, the man himself staggered across the street and tried to enter onto the school grounds.

Now like most private schools and important buildings in BKK, four or so regular BKK police are stationed by the gate in the morning and evening to direct traffic. The School also has its own set of uniformed security. One spiffy dressed cop (all BKK cops dress spiffy) held up one hand palm vertical to the ground in the universal sign of stop and with the other made a no-nonsense gesture that the farang should return to the other-side of the street.

Now it is important to understand that at no time did the Thai cop in any way indicate he would touch the farang nor did he evidence any demonstration of anger. That would cause him to appear less than human and lose face. Imagine what people from this culture must see when they view western entertainment that shows uncontrolled fury and violence as a manly virtue. John Wayne must appear to them to be like a circus clown (come to think of it…). American football with its glorification of anger and violence probably appears to be played by water buffalo rather than humans.

Anyway, the bald farang took the hint, returned to the other-side of the street and after a short period of slack-jawed milling about the trio ambled off in the general direction of the gates of hell.

After it was all over, I asked Hayden what he thought.

He said, “The girl was naked and the policeman had a gun.”

Just in case you may think that Hayden is too young to know the meaning of the word naked, I few nights ago while we were preparing for bed, he took off all of his clothing and put a paper bag on his head like a hat, pranced in to the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth and announced, “Look at me. I’m the Naked Chef.”


Delayed pending inspiration.


a. Book World from Jason Fforde and Thursday Next or one thereafter:

“I opened the door to find three Dostoyevskivites staring at me from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.”

b. Poe’s law:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.


When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.
~Frank Sinatra

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. February 5, 2011

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. ~Aristotle


1958: The 64-color assortment of Crayola crayons—with a built-in sharpener—debuts.


For the past week or so the news in Thailand has focused on the so-called conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over 4.5 hecters of land on which sits an ancient Khmer temple declared by the UN to be an international historical site. The ardent nationalist wing of the ruling coalition has called for war with Cambodia is necessary in order to preserve the Honor of Thailand and the King. They, the nationalists, of course have totally ignored the conflict in the south of Thailand where three whole provinces threaten to secede from the country.

The reason for this bit of selected blindness has more to do with the potential upcoming election than the country’s honor. It is in the long cherished and more often than not successful political ploy of the extreme right to manufacture a crisis attributed to a non-existent foreign threat in order to scare the general public to supporting their candidates. We witnessed it in the most recent US elections in which the threat of invasion by hordes of illegal Mexicans played so heavily in the election debate. Of course, after the election, the threat disappears almost as though electing the right people itself solved the problem. The Mexicans may still be coming but it is no longer as great a problem because the right people are there to protect us.

Anyway all this turmoil has spawned talk of a military coup which of course the military does not deny, if the good of the country requires. (Translation, if the Red Shirts may win the election or the current government appeases the opposition too much in order to win reelection, the military will act to carry out their duty to protect King and country.)


In my previous email I indicated my creeping ennui and the risk it implied for me to do something foolish to banish it. Well, of course right on time, things changed. First SWAC proposed that I leave Paradise by the Sea and relocate to an apartment in Bangkok that she would provide me rent free in which Hayden and I would live so that I could act as Hayden’s part-time tutor and nanny during his next semester in school. Since that appeared to be something at least as foolish as falling in love, I decided to look into it.

The apartment in question turns out to be in a building slated to be torn down within a year or so. It is as large (three bedroom three bath) as it is run down. On the other hand it is almost across the street from Hayden’s new school and in walking distance of Nana Plaza (If Pattaya sits on the outskirts of hell, Nana Plaza is what one finds within after passing through hell’s gates.)

Hayden’s school appears to be one of the better bi-lingual schools in BKK.

Of course, I must assume that this is all a trick. Sort of like Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football. (I suspect this is all a ruse to get back some sheets she alleges that I improperly took from the Chiang Mai house several months ago.) Nevertheless, just like CB since I do not know for sure what the trick is this time, I will probably try kicking the football again. In order to protect myself, I have retained my residence in Paradise by the Sea.

Another incipient change in my life resulted from my annual check-up this past week. It appears that in order to forestall spending the remainder of my life hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine, I require an operation. The cost of the operation here although much less than it would be in the US is still prohibitive given that I have no medical insurance here, so I will have to return to the US to take advantage of medicare. I am hoping I can delay my return until spring when I had planned to return anyway. Tests this coming week will let me know if that is possible.


In my last chapter, I mentioned a new character, Charlie Bowman. I had no idea who he was until I wrote him in. Now I have to figure out if he has any role to play at all. He could have been just about anybody. Imagine if I chose David or even Vince’s new secretary as Stephanie Coign’s “good friend”. Wholly cat-scat, what a concept, a story where the characters are interchangeable.

So far the only action in my attempted novel has been Sam’s death. I have to liven things up soon. Maybe Vince punches someone, or he is punched by someone, probably the latter. Elmore Leonard described his writing style as “…leaving out what the reader usually skips over”. I have been leaving out a lot, to no avail. One would think that given everything he has learned so far that Vince should simply quit and go back to retirement in Thailand. Usually Leonard’s main character has something special about him, he had done something or had failed miserably. Vince, I am afraid is an “almost man”. Whatever he does seems to be almost but not quite good enough, so he probably will not quit and stumble along simply trying to find out what he had gotten himself into. He has neither the balls nor the good sense to leave when things look so bad.

I should try writing some stories about “Vince ‘Mr. Almost’ Vicino”. A person like most of us who almost succeeds or almost fails or almost lives.


a. Sayings from ‘The Princess Bride.’

Alas, it appears that I have come to the end of the quotes from The Princess Bride, so I will leave you with one of the last lines in the movie:

Grandpa: [reading to his grandson] Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The end.

b. Today’s cognitive bias:

Just-world phenomenon – the tendency to rationalize an inexplicable injustice by searching for things that the victim might have done to deserve it.


I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, ‘Stop! Don’t do it!’
‘Why shouldn’t I?’ he said.
I said, ‘Well, there’s so much to live for!’
He said, ‘Like what?’
I said, ‘Well…are you religious or atheist?’
He said, ‘Religious.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?’
He said, ‘Christian.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?’
He said, ‘Protestant.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?’
He said, ‘Baptist!’
I said, ‘Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist church of god or Baptist church of the lord?’
He said, ‘Baptist church of god!’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you original Baptist church of god, or are you reformed Baptist church of god?’
He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god!’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?’
He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!’
I said, ‘Die, heretic scum,’ and pushed him off.
~Emo Phillips

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. January 24, 2011


2271 BC.Battle of Uruk – King Sargon of Akkad defeats the Sumerian force led by king Lugal-Zage-Si at Uruk.


Recently there has been several articles in the Thai newspapers about aged Westerners (Farang) living in Thailand who, after losing all their money to some young Thai woman, become ill, are hospitalized and unable to pay their bill, thus becoming a burden on Thai society. This seems to be all part of the rising anti-farang movement accompanying the current political instability in the country. It appears no different from the nationalism and anti-immigrant hysteria that exists in the US as it wrestles with economic and political insecurity. It is always good politics to blame the foreigner. It used to be that the Burmese and Cambodians were the Mexicans of Thailand. It now appears that the western retirees are.

Anyway, I have attached for your reading pleasure a dyspeptic screed taken from an internet forum of some kind discussing the relative merits of Thai men and Thai women as it relates to their relationships with Western men. (This was graciously forwarded to me by Gary Williams)

Yeah Yeah and I might get run over and killed by a fucking Baht bus as well… Where were you when you got attacked buy chairs and bottles… Oh you were in a bar half Mao ??? Was it some of those nice Thai men you were talking about that attacked you ??? I don’t drink and I don’t hang out in bars… I have never read as much shit as you just wrote… The girls are no better than the men ????? Ummmm the girls are a lot better than the men…. It’s the Thai men standing over the girls taking the money off them, not the other way round… It’s the Thai men doing the daily Pattaya armed robberies and drug related shootings not the girls…. Like you say, maybe if i venture a little outside Beach Road and Walking Street the Pattaya men get nicer… You mean like all the lovely Thai men that live around Sukhumvit way… No one ever got hurt around there…lol… As for the girls LOVING THAI MEN where do you get this shit from… 95% of the girls despise Thai men, For a lot of them Thai men are the reason they end up in Pattaya in the first place… And god help any girl that is foolish enough to date a Pattaya Thai man… In Pattaya Thai boyfriend = Pimp… Let me run this down for you… Thai men standing around on beach = Scum… Motorbike taxi Thai men = Scum… Thai men hanging around bars = Scum… Thai men riding around on motorbikes grabbing gold chains = Scum… Thai security guards = Scum… Thai men smashed on drugs and whiskey = Scum… Thai jet ski operators = Scum… Thai men motorbike hire = Scum… Thai Police officers = Scum… Every fucking Thai man in Pattaya = Scum…. Or maybe you can tell us where all the nice Pattaya Thai men choose to spend their time ????? Please for anyone reading this trust me…. Adopt my Pattaya Thai Man = Scum approach on your next visit to Pattaya…. And have as little to do with Pattaya Thai men as you possibly can… It is the best safeguard you can ever have !!!!! Oh before I go Dow is sitting here with me right now, She wants to have her little say… These are her exact words… ” Thai man no good for girl… Make big problem for she” Now fuck this bullshit we are going back to bed !!!!!!!!!!


Humor is… despair refusing to take itself seriously. ~Arland Ussher

For reasons that I can only guess at, since my return from the US, as I power walk my mornings through “little Crimea” and “Siberia del Sud,” things do not appear to amuse me as much as they did a month ago. (However, see Today’s Photograph below)

(Speaking of Crimea, I just finished reading another retelling of “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” It never ceases to amaze me how young men are so willing to throw their lives away so stupidly and for so little. It only confirms my belief that the male sex has outlived its evolutionary usefulness and men should be put out to pasture and periodically milked for their sperm.)

Anyway, back to more amusing things like my loss of humor, I usually just wait things out when I feel like this, after all, tomorrow is another day and almost anything can happen to banish my ennui. Nevertheless, waiting around for something to happen does not increase anticipation. Instead, it tends to decrease interest. Anyway, since whatever happens when one waits around for something to happen appears to me to more often than not be something bad when it does happen, I think I will be better off doing something foolish now, on my own, rather than waiting for it to be done to me. The problem however is that the most foolish thing I can think of to do right now is to fall in love or a reasonable facsimile thereof and frankly at my age that seems to be too much effort. There must be easier foolishness one can do, something that can be done say from the comfort of a beach chair. I guess I will give it more thought after my nap.


Another mysterious beautiful woman enters the story. Is that one too many? Does Vince care? Does anyone?

Chapter 6

Vince grabbed a burger and coke from McDonald’s to eat as he drove to Woodside. His destination was Sam’s house. He wanted to have a chance to talk to Sam’s wife and to pick up any of the firm’s files that Sam may have had with him when he died.

He had had Nina call ahead to let Stephanie, Sam’s wife, know that he was on his way.

She met him at the door dressed in tight black slakes and a green blouse that stretched tight over her large reengineered breasts. Her blue eyes appeared shiny and bright and she smiled warmly when she greeted him. She was Sam’s third wife. Sam had met her at a deposition in one of the few cases he handled during his term as Managing Partner. She was the court reporter and soon became the correspondent in Sam’s divorce from his second wife.

She was much younger than Sam, in her late thirties. As she air kissed him, Vince felt that she held him a little too uncomfortably close to be seemly for a grieving widow. On the other hand maybe she just felt the need for companionship following her loss.

They went in the large living room. She motioned to him to sit on a leather chair next to a leather sofa and asked him if he would like a drink. He requested ginger ale with ice, She went to the drinks cabinet and prepared the drink for him and what appeared to be a vodka and orange juice for herself.

“I am so happy to see you Vince and so glad to see you back at the firm,” she said as she pored a large amount of vodka into a glass and then splashed in a lesser amount of orange juice.

Stephanie had rarely even acknowledged him the few time before that they had the occasion to meet socially Vince thought, after all Sam and he were far from friends. “Yes, Thank you. There was not much of an opportunity during Sam’s ceremony, so I thought I would come to express my condolences personally.”

“Well, thank you for being so considerate,” she said while handing him his drink and seating herself on the sofa, her knees almost touching his. She took a sip of her drink then settled back into the sofa clutching the glass to he breast like it was a newborn. She looked at him calmly, smiling.

“I know the memory is probably upsetting and you don’t have to answer, but I am curious if you noticed anything different about Sam before he ah…”

“Killed himself?”She smiled and leaned forward. “I’m a big girl Vince, I am quite able to handle it, but thank you for your consideration. No, he seemed just like Sam always was. You know what Sam was like.” She laughed quietly. “He could be difficult. But there was no change in him that I could see other than that he was having more prayer meetings with that group of his”.

“Prayer meetings?”

“Yes, a few years ago and joined a prayer group with some partners of the firm and others. He said he found Jesus. You knew that didn’t you?”

“No actually, I knew very little about the private lives of the other partners other than the usual office gossip.”

“You mean which partner was sleeping with which secretary”

“Yeah like that. Ah, did you ah find Jesus too?”

“Me, hardly.” She laughed and took a drink. “Neither did Sam, if you ask me. I had the impression it was like being a Mason or Rotarian. It was good for business.”

“It must have been quite a shock finding him like that.”

“Oh it was. I do not know what I would have done without Charlie.”


“Yes, Charlie Bowman. He lives near-by and came over when I called him right after I found Sam.”

Charles Francis Bowman was the firms white collar crime partner and a member of the firm’s executive committee.

“You called him before calling the police or an ambulance?”

“Sam was clearly dead Vince and I thought Charlie would know about these things. You know, dealing with the police and the like.” Then she added, “Charlie’s a good friend.”

Vince was stunned. Suspicion and questions flooded into his mind with a roar confusing him. He stared at her.

She leaned forward, placed a hand on his knee and looked at him with what appeared to be concern and said, “Vince, are you ok? Can I freshen up your drink?”

“Ah, no, no. I just remembered something,” he said attempting to get himself under control again. “David said Sam had some of the firms files with him. Do you know where they are?”

“Everything on his desk was covered in blood. I do not recall seeing any and the police did not take any files with them that I noticed… I was too upset so I did not pay too much attention.”

“Well, maybe Bowman took them or David was mistaken?”

“Charlie did take some things from Sam’s secret office”

“Secret office?”

“Yes, yes Sam has a smaller office behind a panel in his home office where he keeps things he doesn’t want anyone to know about. It’s more like a closet then and office. Sam spent a lot of time in there”

“Did the police check it out?”

“Of course not. Charlie did not think it was a good idea to tell them, neither did I”


a. Sayings From the Princess Bride:

Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up:

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Choice-supportive bias — the tendency to remember one’s choices as better than they actually were.


I came across the following quote that I had previously sent but I liked it so much I thought I would send it again.

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae to Cyrus the Great Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time. Cyrus refused and Tomyris personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. She cut off Cyrus’ head and made his skull into her favorite wine goblet.


We should distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes. ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. January 20, 2011


1961 – Chico Marx and Carl Jung die.

(Carl Jung’s final words are, “Does Chico yet live?”)


1. A recent poll of voters in Thailand revealed that over 50% would be willing to exchange their vote for money.

2. The Pattaya times reported a crack down by the police on foreign owned sex bars in an effort to clean up the City’s image by rooting out illegal drugs and sex operations. It is assumed that Thai owned sex bars do not deal in illegal sex and drugs.

In an interview with a Times reporter a young man had just settled down with a young woman on a sofa in a bar along notorious Soi 6 when the police broke in, he indicated that it all appeared to be more of a warning since the police found nothing illegal. He added, “…except that some of the women in the bar I learned were men. But when I realized that it also took 300 Thai policemen to discover the difference, I didn’t feel so bad.”


I have been in a bit of a funk for the past few days. I do not know why, so, until it passed, I settled down to read some of the books that I have brought with me from the US.

One of these books is “Eye of the Bear” by my friend Naida West with whom Hayden and I spent a wonderful three days at the ranch along the Cosumnes River near Sacramento. It is a marvelous story and one that I recommend highly.

Although the book is identified as an historical novel, it is so like “The Grapes of Wrath” is an historical novel. And even as an historical novel it stands unique. As Naida herself points out “In most historical novels a fabricated plot is imposed upon an historical setting. Instead, I used documented events as story guideposts…”. And what a story it is. Every bit as exciting as “Leather-stocking Tales” and every bit as much an examination of the American experience as “Huckleberry Finn.” It is one of the best novels that I have read in years.

During my stay at their ranch, Hayden and I accompanied Naida and her husband Bill Geyer on a walk along the river near their ranch. I stood under the oak tree in which Eagle Woman lived, saw the rude parking lot that covered the village of the Lopotsumne, climbed over the rocks pocked with the grinding holes used by the village women to prepare their acorn flour now partially covered by refuse thrown there by the developers of the adjacent subdivision, walked on the playing fields now a garbage dump and climbed the hills overlooking the village.

While I listened to Naida tell me about these places and about the lives of the people, I listened politely with that detachment that one reserves for docent tours through museums of archeological sites. It was only by reading the book that her words became alive. I saw myself there for the “Big Times” and the “Rattlesnake Dance,” Morning Owl‘s orations and Grizzly Hair and Oak Gall‘s bathing in the cool of the river mornings. I experienced Grizzly Hair‘s shock at first contact with horses, Padres and mountain men and saw the suffering and death at the Missions.

It is a great story and a great novel.

(Attached is a photograph of Hayden and me not more than a dozen places from the “Home Place”, the village of Morning Owl‘s people,)


Finally, the beautiful woman arrives. She must be beautiful otherwise as my masseuse pointed out “no one will care what happens to her.”
Chapter 5

After they left, as he was trying to figure out what he had to do next, his secretary Nina rang to tell him that there was a woman at the receptionists desk on the top floor named Isabella Yeung, who wanted to meet with him.

“I’m too busy, schedule a meeting for two weeks from now”

“She says that she is a private investigator and that it is important that she see you now.”

“I don’t care,” he began but his curiosity got the best of him as it always did. “Ok, tell her I only have 15 minutes available.”

Isabella Yeung walked into his office as though she owned it. Strode over to one of the wooden chairs and sat down on it before he could even rise from his own chair to greet her.

She was dressed in what was obviously expensive business suit, very dark grey with light blue pin stripes and a very short skirt. Her hair was long black and curly and hung down to her shoulders. Her eyes black and calm never venturing from staring into his, announced her Asian heritage, but nothing else did. She was tall, almost as tall as he was.

He decided to get right into it, feeling uncomfortable under her almost unblinking gaze. “Ms. Yeung, I understand that you are a private investigator. Who is your client?”

“That, I am afraid is confidential,” she responded cooly.

“Then this meeting is over. I have no intention of providing information to anyone I do not know.”

She continued to stare at him, then replied cooly, “I am not here to get information from you but to give you some. I suggest that you spend some time familiarizing yourself with a group called the Brethren before spending too much time in your new job. Also, the Red Star Industries matter is not one of simple corruption. Take care Mr. Biondi.”

With that she rose elegantly our of her seat and walked to the door.

“Wait,” he called out to her as she was about to open the door’

She turned, looked at him again with that dark placid expression.

“That sounds like a lot of crap.”

No expression marred her calm demeanor,

“OK, I am willing to talk about it some more.”

Still no expression but there did appear to be a slight tightening around her lips as though a smile was about to break through.

“Look, I really do have another important meeting now. This evening I will be having a dinner meeting at ______. Can we meet there before, in the bar then, say 6:30? Maybe then you can tell me why you really came here today.”

“6:30 then,” she repeated calmly and walked out.

The door swing closed behind her.

He remained sitting, staring at the door wondering if he was being scammed and annoyed that the only reason he asked to meet with her was because she was attractive. As so often in the past he let a pretty face persuade him to do the exact opposite of what he should do.

There was an email on his computer from Ray, “Only the Name, Isabella Yeung Investigations and a California cell phone number appears on the business card she left with Nina, Yeung is a common Chinese name. There is probably a 100,000 people with that name in the Bay Area. But none with the first name Isabella. I did locate a Yeung Investigations on 133 East 61st street in New York City but when I tried the number, it had been disconnected. Would you like me to keep trying?”

“Probably unimportant. Not a priority. Only if you have some spare time,” he typed in reply.


a. Sayings from “The Princess Bride.”

Vizzini: And you: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed in Greenland!

b. The wit and wisdom of Baba Giufa.

Seeker: Baba Giufa, what is truth?

Baba Giufa: All that is not a lie.

Seeker: Then what is not a lie?

Baba Giufa: Nothing.

c. From Gods Mouth to your ear.

She caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said:

‘I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves’

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him … He went after her straightway, as an ox goes to the slaughter …

She has cast down many wounded … Many strong men have been slain by her … Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”
– Proverbs 7


Christianity was the first creed in history to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love.

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Edition – This and that…Afternoons of the Gieriatric Knights of the Oval Table. January 16, 2011

Last afternoon of the Geriatric Knights in which the Knights Get Down to Business (Cont.).

The virile member, to please women, must have at most a length of the breadth of twelve fingers, or three handbreadths, and at least six fingers, or a hand and a half breadth.

There are men with members of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths; others of ten fingers, or two and a half hands. And others measure eight fingers, or two hands. A man whose member is of less dimensions cannot please women.
The Perfumed Garden, Richard Burton, trans.

Giufa Comes Home.

So, Giufa, fortified with the “Blue Pill,” a “Gold Pill”, Density’s magic Chinese “Black Pill” and a testosterone shot, felt he was more than ready for the celebration of the festival of coitus.

So, that day he reserved one of the “Love Temples” located off of the pool room at the Kennel Club and took Selma with him into the room to assist him with the rites.

They began with the customary removal of clothing and proceeded to the ritual of the “Fondling and Kissing of the Nipple.,” This was then followed by the ceremonial “pee-pee” by each of them. The shower service followed with the formal “Soaping and Washing of the Genitals.” Thereafter they entered upon the “Altar of the Bed” and proceeded to the “Laying Out of the Condom on the Nightstand” ceremony. Then following completion of the liturgical foreplay, they performed THE SACRED SHTUP that ended with Giufa shouting “Oh God” as proscribed in the literature.

After the completion of the ritual during which they attempted to exchange bodily fluids in every orifice they could imagine and after a brief period of rest, they commenced to perform the rituals in reverse, to unwind, so to speak, the completed ceremony; first the shower, then the pee-pee, the final “Fondling and Kissing of the Nipples” and the donning of the clothing. At last there was the obligatory wait while she put on her make-up.

They left the quiet of the temple and emerged into the raucous noise of the pool room. Density and Harvey looked up from their game of pool with several of the “Ladies-in waiting” smiled and nodded to Giufa.

Giufa now sanctified, threw back his shoulders, smiled, nodded and passed out from the Kennel Club and into the sunlight, eager to begin his quest.

Next issue, “Harvey gets his wish.”

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. January 14, 2011


1888 New York City

July 5 – Danny Lyons kills rival pimp Joseph Quinn in a gunfight over prostitute Kitty McGown.
August 21 – Danny Lyons, leader of the Whyos street gang, is executed for the murder of Joseph Quinn.

(How’s that for quick justice?)


Yesterday was my first day back on my old schedule since I returned. This morning I walked along the beach observing the mornings doings. I know previously I commented on what I saw that, what at least to me, I felt was humorous or interesting but to others may appear, at best, dyspeptic. The exotic culture of “little Crimea,” the acres of bleached flesh and so on have all caught my attention. But, I have recently come to the realization that perhaps the strangest denizen of the strand is one aging farang striding purposefully along the shore in a geriatric power walk, half stagger and half step.

Who could it be? Why it is me! With my crushed straw hat, walking stick, flowered shirt and sandals tucked into my belt, I am greeted by smiling Thai vendors with “Hey Papa, getting your exercise today. Good for you!” Of course being a farang, to them I am a bit crazy and stupid for, at my age, walking out in the hot sun while anyone with any sense is lying in the shade under the beach umbrellas. ( I would guess that their amusement also could be directed at the Siberian hordes, stagnating together like marble statues in the shallows.)

Despite the provocation, I keep trudging along, a smile on my face and earphones in my ears leading from my newly purchased Isomething, that I cannot get to do anything except play music. The music I am listening to is “A girl from Ipanema” (I know it indicates my advanced age. As one gets older and one loses friends, one is left with memories and “A girl from Ipanema.”) At least it is somewhat appropriate music for a walk on the beach and so I walk on with a smile on my face and a Samba hitch in my gait. Unfortunately, I have not learned how to get the Isomething to do anything other than play the same song over and over…”…when she passes, I smile, but she doesn’t see…Ahhh”…still I smile and walk on.


Chapter 4. Thickening the plot is like cooking Gumbo, no matter how lumpy the soup it is still has to simmer.

Chapter 4.

Three days later Vincent Biondi could be found in a small office located in one of the less desired floors leased out by the Firm of Mckenzie Reed. His one small window looked directly at a similar window in the next building. He sat at a utilitarian metal desk. On the other side of the desk facing him sat his two secretaries in uncomfortable old wooden chairs that appeared to have been locked away in storage somewhere for at least a century.

Nina Garcia his old secretary was a fourty-ish women with a nest of black hair just beginning to go grey here and there. He had no idea if she was a good secretary relative to other secretaries in the firm, but she had always been good enough for his needs. She was pleasant and unperturbed by the normal almost daily crises in a large law office. In her spare time after work she also made quilts for sale. One of Vinnie’s faults was he tended to judge people on the nature of their idiosyncrasies rather than the quality of their work.

The other secretary was named Ray Ronald. He had a light tan skin but otherwise manifested the features of just about every ethnic group in the City, down to his Norwegian blue eyes. His hair was tight curly bleached blond with black and pink highlights. He had a number of rings on his ear and a nose stud. He was dressed in tight jeans, a pale blue tight fitting shirt unbuttoned half way down his hairless chest and on his feet were what looked women’s low-heeled shoes. Vince could not decide if he was gay or just an outlandish exhibitionist. This was San Francisco after all.

Vince had just gone over their duties, responsibilities and initial assignments when he added, “One more thing, whenever either of you sets up a meeting for me I would like one of you to immediately get on your computer and get me whatever information you can on this person and make sure I have it during the meeting.”

“Does this include other attorney’s in the firm” said Nina seemingly somewhat distressed by the intrigue of it all?

“Especially firm partners” he laughed, “and any gossip as well”

“Awesome” Ray exclaimed.

Nina just looked at rainbow haired young man and sniffed.

After they left Vince sat alone in his office he thought about what David had told him yesterday.

It seems that a firm client, a company called Red Star Industries, with the firms assistance, received a no-bid contract to build and operate military warehouses in Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait and other places where material and supplies to be used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars could be stored prior to transshipment when needed in the war zone.

A no bid contract is usually used by the government where a company has a unique expertise and there is an emergency of some sort that would make the traditional bidding process too slow. Unfortunately the company “Red Star Industries,” had no expertise. It was formed solely for the purpose of getting this contract by two politically connected individuals. Damon Morley, owner of a long distance trucking company located in Riverside California, and a Bay Area home builder named William “Big Bill” McWilliams. The firm maintained that given the individuals experience in shipping and construction they were uniquely qualified to carry out this contract even though there must be a thousand other individuals and companies at least as qualified as they were.

After obtaining the contract and commencing operations, a routine audit uncovered the fact that a lot of material stored in the warehouses had gone missing. A more comprehensive investigation was commenced and it appears that not only could the company not account for the missing material but that it may have had a hand its sale. Also evidence surfaced that there may have been bribery or undue political influence in the awarding of the contract.

Finally, he learned that eight partners in the firm had varying degrees of ownership in the company, Sam, all the members of the management committee, the partner in charge of the client Sheldon Seigal, and two partners in the firm’s Washington DC office, Phil Mikkleson the partner who handled most of the relationships on the Republican side of the political deifie, and Gerald Dine, a Democrat that worked as an attorney in the Defense department during the Clinton administration and Fred Carpenter a retired colonel in the Army Judge Adjutant Generals Corps in charge of procurement issues who headed the firm’s Governmental Contracts practice group.

Besides the ethical issues involved, this was all done in violation of firm policy. A policy that Vince had strongly supported required that any potential, non fee related, income or financial opportunity generated by a partner as a result of his representation belongs to the firm as a whole. Vince believed that not only was this fair to everyone in the firm, but supposedly the firm could then monitor the ethical implications of any arrangement as well.

When he heard this Vince demanded that the partners disgorge any money that they had received and put it into a trust fund to be held until the investigation is complete, then if it is determined that the proceeds were legal they would be distributed to the firm as a whole.

“I never received any money” said Kitchen, “and everyone else claims they did not either.”

But the federal audit showed that the company’s books indicated that substantial profits were paid to all the owners and investors.


a. Sayings from the Princess Bride:

Westley: We are men of action, lies do not become us.

b. The wit and Wisdom of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: Baba Giufa, tell me, how does one meditate properly?

Baba Giufa: Do you like to chew gum?

Seeker: Er…yes..what does that have to do with it?

Baba Giufa: Then chew some gum and concentrate on how much you enjoy it. Soon you will be meditating. There is no need to suffer in order to find enlightenment.

c. Jokes for Mathematicians:

1. Moebius always does it on the same side.

2. Heisenberg might have slept here.


Today’s quotes come through the generosity of Cordt Holland.

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.
Groucho Marx

A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
Groucho Marx

A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.
Groucho Marx

A man’s only as old as the woman he feels.
Groucho Marx

A woman is an occasional pleasure but a cigar is always a smoke.
Groucho Marx

Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.
Groucho Marx

All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats.
Groucho Marx

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
Groucho Marx

Before I speak, I have something important to say.
Groucho Marx

Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.
Groucho Marx

Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.
Groucho Marx

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.
Groucho Marx

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Groucho Marx

Go, and never darken my towels again.
Groucho Marx

Humor is reason gone mad.
Groucho Marx

I didn’t like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions – the curtain was up.
Groucho Marx

I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.
Groucho Marx

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
Groucho Marx

I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.
Groucho Marx

I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.
Groucho Marx


“I’ve had Thai women look at me incredulously and shake their heads in amazement when I’ve told them that women, in the western world, do it for free. “Have they no pride” is the reaction I got from one Thai lady.”

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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