“There are only two great currents in the history of mankind: the baseness which makes conservatives and the envy which makes revolutionaries.”
~Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt
Approximately 1250 BC Achilles dies on the Plains of Troy from an arrow shot into his heel by Paris, the instigator of the Trojan War. He was 28 years old at the time of his death. Two days before his death, Achilles in turning down a request from a delegation of Greek nobles that he return to lead them in their struggle against Troy, said:
“I for my part did not come here for the sake of the Trojan spearmen to fight against them, since to me they have done nothing.”
“…For not worth the value of my life are all the possessions they fable were won for Ilion…”
“Of possessions cattle and fat sheep are things to be had for the lifting, and tripods can be won and the tawny high heads of horses, but a man’s life cannot come back again, it cannot be lifted nor captured again by force, once crossed the teeth’s barrier.”
Within 50 years of their triumph over Troy, the victorious Achaean Greek society collapsed plunging Greece into a “Dark Age” of almost 600 years. They even lost the ability to write.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:
Gaddafi, Libya and the border clash between Thailand and Cambodia seems to have become the primary preoccupation of the english language media in Thailand. Meanwhile, the various political parties and factions as well as the major institutions (Palace, Military, Police, Chinese business community , etc.) are jockeying for position prior to the upcoming elections. Promises are being made with no intention of implementation while deals are struck in back rooms. Nothing new there; nothing new from here either.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
Last night, I received a telephone call from friends Frank Gatto and Monty Ormsby. They were luxuriating on a beach in Florida. I was happy to hear from them since their phone numbers had been changed and neither reads their email. I was especially pleased to hear from Monty who I had not heard from for over a year and was worried that time had finally caught up with him.
Hayden is off with his mother and “an uncle” to Koh Samet an Island in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast to Rayong not too far from Paradise by the Sea. Koh Samet is a more of less working class resort without the glitz of Phuket and Koh Samui. Most of the resorts are low-rises and aging. I have always liked it. The white sand on its beaches is as fine as talcum powder.
Given that my babysitting duties were in hiatus, I had thought about heading of to the beach myself, back to Paradise by the Sea, but I decided instead to remain in Bangkok with the “little masseuse” and to spend the weekend shopping for books that I would give Hayden for his sixth birthday on Monday.
JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:
At the dinner in a quiet corner of the dining room, Vince sat with David and the only two members of the Executive Committee that David had been able to round-up. Vince, responding to the evasive answers to his questions, began to lose his composure. “I want the files that Charlie took from Sam’s house,” he said through clenched teeth.
“I am sure Charlie will give them to you when he returns from his vacation,” said Gerry Dine, the portly and avuncular governmental contracts law expert.
“I do not want to wait for who knows how long. I am sure this has something to do with the “Red Star” investigation and I am not sure if it is your problem or the firm’s problem. But I intend to find out sooner rather that later.”
“You know Vince,” David continued. “these contracts with the Defense Department have all sorts of controls, checks and audit requirements and the Defense Departments employees in charge of monitoring these things are pretty good. In fact they are usually dammed too picky if you ask me,” he added.
Vince stared at him for a moment trying to get his emotions under control. “Bullshit” he shouted, finaly. “They are like everyone else, they have families to worry about , bosses to please, they are constantly going up against legions of guy’s like you, who are paid more to be better prepared than they are and who have access to their bosses and members of the administration and Congress, that they never will have”.
He then leaned forward and looking at each of the others in turn and said, “Besides I probably should not be meeting with any of you. You all have a conflict of interest. Tomorrow I will be seeing our outside attorneys. I will ask them for an opinion on the extent of the conflict and what to do about it. I suspect they will suggest that you all take a leave of absence from the firm. I also am going to send someone out into the Alaskan wilderness to find old Charlie and get him to return. I think his long-planned “vacation” is bullshit too.”
There was silence, then David suggested that maybe Vince was getting a little ahead of himself, but acknowledged that it was probably a good idea to confer with outside counsel for all their sakes.
Later back in his apartment Vince woke from his sleep having suddenly made that decision that is often results from the sub-consciousness workings of the brain during sleep as it wrestles with a problem unsolvable by the waking mind.
The next morning he called all the Executive Committee members and resigned, and caught the next flight back to Thailand. I few days later he called Isabella and suggested that she visit him.
a. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or one thereafter:
“‘It’s very simple,’ said the third Russian, indicating who did what on her fingers, ‘Nastasya Petronova is Raskolnikov’s landlady’s servant, Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova is your sister who threatens to marry down, Sofia Semyonovna Marmeladova is the one who becomes a prostitute, and Marfa Petrovna Svidrigailova – the one you were first talking about — is Arkady Svidrigailov’s murdered first wife.’
‘I knew that’ said Raskolnikov in the manner of someone who didn’t, ‘so… who are you again?’
‘I’m Alyona Ivanovna,’ said the third Russian with a trace of annoyance, ‘the rapacious old pawnbroker whose apparent greed and wealth lead you to murder.’
‘Are you sure you’re Ivanovna?’ asked Raskolnikov in a worried tone.
‘And you’re still alive?’
‘So it seems.’
He stared at the bloody axe.
‘Then who did I just kill?’
‘Listen’ I said ‘I’m sure everything will come out fine in the epilogue. But for the moment, your home is my home.”’
b. Barry Goldwater’s warning:
On religious issues there can be little or no compromise.
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs.
There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being.
But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly.
The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.
They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent.
If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D.
Just who do they think they are?
And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?
And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate.
I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.
“A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.”