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.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
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.)
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
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.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
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.