“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
~Seneca the Younger
In about 440-470 AD Moses of Crete convinced the Jews of Crete to attempt to walk into the sea to return to Israel; he disappeared shortly after that disaster.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
The news here in Thailand, as it probably is in most of the world has been focused on the demonstrations occurring in the Arab countries of the near and mid east and north Africa. It has become fashionable for the press to describe these protests as an apparent nascent awakening of democratic sentiment in the authoritarian Arab world. I have always found that, as a rule, news reporters are generally a lazy lot, always looking for the easy story and conventional insight and analysis. As in Thailand with the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts, all is usually not what it seems. To paraphrase Seneca the Younger quoted above. Popular demonstrations for change in governance is regarded by the common people as a sign of beneficial change, by the wise as a conflict among the elite over a countries resources and by potential new political leaders as useful.
As I see it, what we are observing are the some of the earliest effects of the conflict between local population growth, reduced water resources and increased desertification in the area engendered by climate change and the falling political influence of petroleum economics and wealth. What will probably occur in most of these countries is that if there is a regime change at all, it more than likely will be either a quickly failing representative democracy replaced by another authoritarian regime or simply the replacement of the current authoritarian regime with a more vigorous one.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
I spent a few days back in Paradise by the Sea with Hayden and “the little masseuse.” One morning we swam in the pool then watched “Casper the Friendly Ghost” on television. Later I learned that SWAC sold the last bit of Hayden’s real property potential inheritance. The proceeds have disappeared into the Rattanaphan family coffers. Still later I had a massage and we then all went for another swim in the pool.
After returning to Bangkok, as I was taking a sauna at the health club a rather large man entered, mixed into a plastic cup some water from the bucket containing eucalyptus, a white powder that looked like cocaine but I assumed wasn’t because no sane person would throw cocaine onto hot rocks and some liquid from a small green bottle. He then poured the concoction over the hot coals. Almost immediately the air in the sauna became noticeably hotter, my skin began to prickle and I began to sweat profusely. The usual camphor smell of the vapors from the eucalyptus water changed subtly to a more citrus taste and smell and penetrated much more deeply into my lungs. The alchemist and I sweated together in the small room until I gave up and left to take a cool shower. I felt unusually light-headed for a awhile.
Now you may wonder why I did not inquire of the mysterious stranger what he was up to. Alas, in my life I have preferred the adventure of discovery to the safety of knowledge.
Later that day, I ate lunch at AVA. Hayden and I along with two older children of one of the employees at AVA (the woman with one eye) returned to the apartment where I was to baby sit them overnight. The youngest boy, about 10-year-old, seemed shy and just sat while Hayden and he children from the apartment downstairs romped up and down the stairs from apartment to apartment. Later the teenaged boy fixed the interactive sport game and they all played with it until it was time to sleep. The two other children decided to leave and return their own house. The maid returned in the early morning with a young man whom she introduced to Hayden and me as her “son.”
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
Attached is Chapter 9 in which Vince and I, the author, ruminate on what to do next.
I have begun to consider that current fiction in the form of a novel is dying because it lacks immediacy. Future fiction will probably be written in chapters of 140 characters or less accompanied by a series of U-Tube clips.
Later that day Vince left his office and decided to walk the ten or so blocks from his office where he was to meet with Isabella and later attend a strategy meeting with David Kitchen and with whichever members of the executive committee he could round-up. He thought the walk would do him some good. It was the only exercise he was likely to get that day. He also found that a brisk walk often helped him to contemplate the seemingly intractable puzzles that were common place in any attorney’s practice. Let’s face it, more often that not the attorney is brought in after the client has screwed up the situation often beyond repair and expected to make it right, for a price.
And today the puzzle was more intractable than usual. As he crossed Market Street the busy main street that bisected San Francisco’s downtown and entered into the area known as SOMA, he tried to reconstruct and understand what he now knew about the firm of McKenzie Reed and the job he had probably foolishly assumed.
The firm, like most large law firms had been buffeted and by the recent downturn in the economy. The strategies he fought so hard to implement during his last stint on the executive committee had enabled the firm to weather the storm better that many of the other large law firms. Coupling cyclic practices like bankruptcy and real estate where one does well in an up economy while the other does better in a down, although slightly lowering profits in boom years lowered losses during down turns was one of the strategies. Successful attorneys, like those on the executive committee, essentially being greedy bastards opposed this vigorously, arguing that struggling cyclic practices should be jettisoned quickly to increase the profits that they, the currently more successful attorneys, shared well out of proportion to the rest of those that worked in the firm. The increased use of paralegals, while of great benefit to the client in lowering costs were resisted for some of the same reasons.
But it was not the mundane issues of management and administration that concerned him this evening, but the revelations surrounding Sam’s death and the Red Star imbroglio that occupied his attention and the mysterious Ms Isabella Yeung. He hadn’t had sex for two weeks now and the image of her sitting across from him in his office kept sliding back into his consciousness whenever his mind wandered.
While the revelations about Sam and Red Star were surprising and curious they seemed primarily the problems of those partners involved. His job he reasoned was to keep any potential fallout from harming the firm. He would jettison this partners involved immediately if necessary to protect the firm and the other partners and employees whose livelihood depended upon the firms economic health.
He made a note to himself to spend some time tomorrow with the firm’s outside counsel to strategize how best to separate the firm from those involved partners and inoculate it from their actions. He preferred to suspend all involved until the issues were resolved. Most of them would fight that and that he realized could be even more destabilizing. Preparation and drift appear to be the soundest course of action, as it usually is.
He had arrived at one of the trendy new SOMA night spot that spring up like weeds after a rain storm, flourish for a moment and wither just as quickly as they grew. He looked up at the sign above the door announcing the name of the establishment and chuckled. “Bizarre” it said.
“Amen brother,” he mumbled as he entered the noisy establishment.
a. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or one thereafter:
The ongoing story of Thursday inviting three characters into her home.
‘Allow me to introduce Arkady Ivanovich Svidrigailov.’
‘Actually,’ said the second man leaning over to shake my hand. ‘I’m Dmitri Razumikhin, Raskolnikov’s loyal friend.’
‘You are?’ said Raskolnikov in surprise. ‘Then what happened to Svidrigailov?’
‘He is busy chatting up your sister.’
‘My sister? That’s Pulkheria Alenandronova Raskolnikov, right?’
‘No,’ said Razumikhin in the tone of a long-suffering friend, ‘that’s your mother. Andotya Romanova Raskolnikova is your sister’
‘I always get those two mixed up. So who is Marfa Petronova Svirigailova?’
Razumikhin frowned and thought for a moment.
‘You’ve got me there.’
(to be continued)
b. Definition of the day:
“Inspiration: a peculiar effect of divine flatulence emitted by the Holy Spirit which hisses into the ears of a few chosen of God.”
“He didn’t say that. He was reading what was given to him in a speech. ”
~Richard Darman, director of the Office of Management and Budget, explaining why President Bush wasn’t following up on his campaign pledge that there would be no loss of wetlands.