Daily Archives: May 17, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 24, 2010

Today’s fractured factoid:

1492 August, Christopher Columbus sails from Spain and arrives in the Bahamas in October.

There he vacations on the beach and invents the Mai Tai, but it failed to achieve much success because, since he did not get to China as he set out to do, he did not have any of those tiny paper umbrellas.

Undeterred Columbus goes to a gambling casino in hopes of winning enough money to demonstrate to the King and Queen back in Spain who paid for his holiday because he knew how to make a hard-boiled egg stand on its end, that they had made a wise investment. Unfortunately Columbus lost all of his money and two of his three boats besides.

Desperate, Columbus fills his remaining boat with cocaine and smuggles it into South Florida where he makes enough money to buy back his two boats and return to Spain’

1493 Columbus returns to Spain.

The King and Queen greet him as a hero, relieve him of most of his loot and promptly order him to return and get some more. This pissed Columbus off. He had hoped to retire to a villa on Mallorca with his ill-gotten gains. Instead he all he could look forward to was spending another six months in a leaky wooden boat with a bunch of scurvy sailors. Nevertheless:

1494 Columbus sets sail again from Spain.

He lands in Jamaica where the Arawak indians call him Jerk, because Columbus looked to them like desiccated meat. This insult so enraged Columbus that he promptly enslaved the Arawaks and gave them small pox so that they all died.

But the Arawaks had the last laugh because in return for Columbus’ gifts the Arawaks gave Columbus Syphilis that he then brought back to Spain. This did not please the King and Queen as much as the loot from the smuggled cocaine so they sent poor old Columbus back to sea again and then things got even worse.

Today’s medical chart:

We have all had the experience upon entering the examination room in a doctor’s office, seeing on the wall those gruesome full color charts exposing sections of the human body sliced open for all to see. Usually the part of the body exposed is that part that is the doctors specialty.

I always found it somewhat distressing sitting in my urologist’s office waiting for his arrival and staring at a giant-sized rendering of half a penis and uterus.

I do not know why they put up these charts. I am sure I have never seen the doctor refer to the chart to check out what he was doing while he examined me. Then again I rarely actually saw what my proctologist was up to during his examination. Actually, I knew what he was up to. I just could not see it.

Anyway, while sitting at breakfast and rooting through the internet after reviewing the football scores, I came across a site featuring doctors charts. I have included one of my favorites below. It must be intended for a fertility clinic.

After staring at it for a while, it struck me that it could also be used in a psychologist’s office as a description of certain emotional states.

Grade 4: I’m feeling good.
Grade 3: I feel like I am just going around in circles.
Grade 2: I can barely move my tail.
Grade 1: I must be either catatonic, in a coma or asleep if I am not already dead.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 23, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1501 The German botanist Leonhard Fuchs was born. He compiled the first modern glossary of botanical terms. The color fuchsia is named in honor of him.

(Lenny died of embarrassment.)

Today’s Quote:

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

News from Thailand:

The Bangkok Post recently pointed out that the growth rate of Thailand’s tourist industry has fallen behind that of its competitors in the area. Their tourism growth rates often more than doubled that of Thailand.

These countries were also more aggressively pursuing and more successful in attracting retirees and those foreigners wishing to own real property or to open a small business. On the other hand, Thailand’s visa and property ownership rules have become ever more cumbersome and restrictive.

Malaysia offers simple long-term visas (as much as 10 years and property ownership to foreigners, Cambodia welcomes small foreign owner businesses and Borneo, has begun to surpass Thailand as a location for foreigners wishing to retire as well as for those interested in setting up small businesses.

Petrillo’s response:

Some of you after reading my last email have asked whether there was anyone notable bearing the Petrillo name who was not a criminal or suffered a tragic death,

Actually, I had been looking through the internet to find a positive model to use in a semi-autobiographical fable I was planning to write for a blog.

I could only turn up three.

One was Sophia Petrillo who was played by Estelle Getty in “The Golden Girls” television series. Sophia was the Bea Arthur character’s mother. Unfortunately, she was a fictional character and anyway she was reputed to have burned down the retirement home before moving to Miami to live with her daughter and friends. (There was an August Petrillo who at the time the show was popular was the racist mayor of Mount Vernon N.Y., a city I lived in briefly, but he was not the role model I had in mind.)

There was also James Caesar Petrillo, the head of the musicians union from the 1930’s until the 60’s. There was a band shell in Chicago named for him. That had some promise.

And then there was some guy named Petrillo from Pennsylvania who wrote a book called “The Ghost Towns of North Mountain.”

I could perhaps use as a model the pretty musician named Petrillo that was the plaything of the Prince of Tuscany, but I don’t do costume dramas.

On the other hand I could possibly revise his story to make it more contemporary.

In that case the story might go something like this:

Ferdinando, “Freddy Megs” Medici, the dissolute son of Vincent, “Vinnie the Hump” Medici a well-known Mafiosi, one day decided that he wanted to be a producer and manager of rock bands and using his father’s money started doing so.

Francis “Franny” Petrillo was the back-up Bass guitarist of the band “Pepperoni Suicide” that was managed by Freddy Megs. Franny was the product of a series of abusive foster parent situations. He was also an exceptionally pretty boy and Freddy Megs fell for him, hard.They began an affair.

Since the homophobic mafioso leadership frowned on such things, Freddy Megs kept his dalliance with Franny very secret. He also had very public affairs with women that convinced most of those that knew him that Megs was no finocchio. Anyway he was not yet a made man so something like this if it did get out could always be considered just a youthful indiscretion.

Freddy Megs promised Franny that one day he would have his own band.

Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs was also having an affair with a transsexual drummer in a punk grunge Dyke band called The Bloody Rags, also managed by Megs. The drummer’s name was Melanie.

When Franny found out about Melanie he became very jealous and decided to do away with her. He rigged up her drums to burst into flames when Melanie struck them in a certain way.

And so, at the concert where the Bloody Rags were performing, Melanie’s drums burst into flames on cue. Unfortunately for Franny, Melanie escaped without a scratch and the pyrotechnics were so well received by the audience that the Bloody Rags incorporated it into their act and as a result became famous. Melanie and the band, now insanely popular, promptly hired a more successful manager then Megs and took off for a tour of Europe, leaving Megs pissed off and Franny temporarily happy.

Freddy Megs soon grew tired of the music business, sold off his bands, told Franny it was over between them and joined an artist community in Taos.

Franny distraught and hoping to punish Megs with guilt, then hung himself from a telephone pole by the E-string of his favorite guitar, right outside the door of Freddy Megs house .

Unbeknownst to Franny, Freddy Megs had already moved to New Mexico and had sold the house to Franny’s long-lost father, a mega-millionaire who had made his money as Bernie Madoff’s silent partner.

His father coming out of his house in the morning to meet with his lawyers because he was under indictment for his association with Madoff, seeing Franny hanging there promptly dies of a heart attack leaving all his money to Franny. Since Franny is already dead the money goes to the alternative beneficiary in the will, a non-profit dedicated to reprogramming gay artists.

Eat your heart out Charlie Dickens wherever you are.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. September 21 2010

Today’s news from Thailand:

Explanation given to Saudi’s for The promotion of Somkid Boonthanom, who has been indicted for alleged involvement in the 1990 disappearance of a Saudi businessman, to assistant national police chief: Under Thai law, the senior policeman’s promotion was appropriate due to a blanket amnesty given to all state employees facing disciplinary charges on the occasion of the King’s birthday in 2007.

Unfortunately,the amnesty does not apply to criminal matters. Somkid is a strong opponent of the Red Shirts so, although the Saudi government requested a meeting to discuss the matter, the Thai government appointed him anyway. The Saudi’s are pissed. Stay tuned.

Today’s factoid:

Myrceugenia correifolia is a species of evergreen woody flowering shrub native to South America belonging to the Myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The common name of this plant is petrillo.

Why any plant should have a so-called common name “Petrillo” I have no f***ing idea. Why not Schatzman for example?

Nevertheless, you may be pleased to know that one notable character of the noble Myrtle family is that the phloem is located on both sides of the xylem, not just outside as in most other plants. Chew on that for a while.

While on the subject of things Petrillo, as you may recall in a previous email I introduced most of you to the notorious murdering Petrillo brothers. Recently, I also learned that Dominick “The Gap” Petrillo introduced Joe Valacci to the Cosa Nostra.

As coincidence will have it, Dominic Petrillo is also the name of a character in one of Sheldon’s books. And to continue on, Sheldon is not the only well-known author to include an unflattering description of me in his novel.

In “Roses are Red,” James Patterson’s protagonists attempting to solve a series of baffling bank robberies go through files of hate mail from the banks that were robbed. One letter in particular draws their attention. The man who wrote it lived nearby. The man’s name is Joseph Petrillo. Petrillo wrote a hate letter every week for the last two years. Petrillo also was a former security guard who was laid off by Citibank. The letters were intelligent and well written. They go to see Petrillo, who shoots at them. Once back up arrives they burst in, but find Petrillo had blown his head off. (Again, and hopefully for the last time, “sic transit gloria.”)

For those with some interest in the matter, I seem to recall that my daughter briefly dated James Patterson’s son. As I understood it, it was a relationship that she would just as well forget.

Oh well, as long as I am one a roll with Petrillo and mayhem, I may as well add one particularly gruesome and tragic story.

On September 25, 2009, Annie Morrell Petrillo, daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas with first ex-husband Anthony Morrell, jumped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather Scott Douglas jumped to his death from on January 1, 1994 after murdering his wife. According to a witness, she stopped her car on the Tappan Zee Bridge and got out and jumped. A suicide note was found and its contents released on the ABC show 20/20 in 2010. Family friends stated that Annie never got over the senseless tragedy of her mother’s murder and she had been hospitalized several times for depression. At the time of Annie’s death, she was finalizing a divorce from Petrillo and that also may have contributed to her despair.

Just in case you have the impression that the Petrillo clan is only associated with death, dying and violence, I will have you know that apparently we also like music (and of course sex).

It seems that the Grand Prince of Tuscany Ferdinando de’ Medici (1663-1713), also known as the “Orpheus Prince,” principal delight, aside from music, was in intimate liaisons and affairs, often with men. These included someone named (you guessed it) Petrillo. Petrillo was a musician, famous for his beauty. The over sexed prince also had an affair with a Venetian castrato by the name of Cecchino (I could be wrong, but I think Cecchino means either “little garbonzo bean” or “Frankie”).

(Now there may be a gay Petrillo or two, but a castrato, never.)

Petrillo’s cracked historical analyses:

Analysis of Executions in Connecticut From 1600 to 2000, with Conclusions.

From 1600 to 1699 12 people were executed in the then colony of Connecticut of which 4 were for sodomy, 7 (Women) for witchcraft and one Native American for Murder.

Conclusions: Only Native Americans committed murders, white males were too busy buggering each other and woman too occupied casting spells (maybe just to get some of the men to show an interest in them. Then again probably not.)

From 1700 to 1799 there were 16 executions of which 7 were of Native Americans (including two women) for murder . Two white women along with two white men were also executed for murder. Two men both black, were put to death for rape. One man was executed for robbery and two for treason.

Conclusions: After being prevented from casting spells, women went on a killing spree; Native Americans continued to exhibit a greater tendency to violence then white men and; it suddenly became obvious to white males that black men were obsessed with white women and would soon be sleeping with their wives or daughters if not stopped. Males learned to hide in the closet.

From 1800 to 1880 there were an additional 19 executions of which three were for rape all by black men. Two Native Americans were executed for murder. No women were executed during this period.

Conclusions: White men do not rape, women learned their lesson and for some reason there appeared to be fewer Native Americans around to kill.

From 1881 until 1999 there were 78 executions in the State of Connecticut of which 25 were of Italian men ( someone named (surprise!) August Petrillo was one of them), 3 were black men and two were Asian. There were no executions for rape. No women were executed during this time.

Conclusions: Since there were no Native Americans left, Italians stepped up to fill the “violent savages” role; women continued on good behavior, and; blacks prevented from sleeping with white women went on a killing spree. And as for the two Asians, it is uncertain if this is the beginning of a trend or just an anomaly.

Finally, the Petrillo clan clearly are violent, anti-social and a danger to society. They must be suppressed.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3T. September 20, 2010

Today’s factoid:
1494 Columbus meets the Arawak Indians in Jamaica. The Arawak used allspice to smoke and season meat and it is this recipe that Jerk seasoning is based upon.

(That’s funny, I alway’s thought that jerk was one of the many names the Arawak had for Columbus.)

Today’s quote:
“As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.”

(Not only was Socrates a misogynist, but he was also a pedophile and once slept with Alcibiades who almost single handily destroyed Athenian civilization. This latter tragedy should not be blamed on his and Socrates’ single night of passion.)

Today’s news from Thailand:
In some previous emails I described the ongoing conflict between Thailand’s military general staff and the other institutions of government. Except for one short interlude after WW II, from 1932, when the Thai military and some civilian leaders overthrew the absolute monarchy, until 1973 Thailand was governed by a military regime similar to that which exists in Burma today. In 1973, to some extent in response to a dispute regarding the ever-increasing size of the military budget, a form of civilian rule was instituted. Nevertheless since then, no civilian government, except for that of Thaksin in his original election and that of his party following the 2006 coup has taken office except as a result of an uprising of sorts, usually led or abetted by the military. No matter what one thinks of Thaksin, a corrupt, greedy opportunist or the second coming of FDR as a traitor to his class, one cannot deny that the military general staff remains the dominant political institution in Thailand. Recently the Bangkok Post in an article about the 2006 coup quoted a political science professor at Chulalongkorn University opined:
“Since Sept 19, 2006, the military’s budget has almost doubled – going from 85 billion baht at that time to 154 billion baht this year. That number is set to jump to 170 billion next year. There are some 1,100 generals in the army. There has not been such a consolidation of power by a single class of army graduates since the rise of Class 5 led by another coup-maker Gen. Among our neighbors, military power has only reached this level in Burma. The increased role of the military overtook the space for a civilian government. In fact, the army has actually taken on a new role as political manager.”

Pookie in Paradise:
I have attached hereto a photograph of the skinny woman who I mentioned in my previous email I saw by the pool. She is sitting on the beach today. In the background one can see one of the fishing boats heading in and several others on the sand preparing to go out at high tide.

Now some of you may think that I am prejudiced against the corpulent. Far from it. As a charter member of the bleached, whale like, rotund, blubber filled sedentary class, I reflect only sadness at my own lethargy.

I have also included a photograph of the white dog that I referred to in my previous email. Irwin wondered if it could be a descendent of “Petey” the white dog with the black spot around his eye that appeared in “The Little Rascals” movies. I responded that I thought that it was Petey himself who after his career in cinema retired to the beach in Thailand.

You may believe that all dogs are retired, but that is not so. Dogs work hard, scratching for fleas, marking their territory, finding food, licking their genitals, having sex, sniffing rectums, barking and so on. It’s a dogs life I tell you.

Now Petey as I have named him, really is retired. He does none of that aforementioned stuff. During the day all day he lies in the sun on the beach road next to the food vender stalls forcing the cars traveling along the road to detour around his supine body. And at night he sits on his spot of sand starring at the waves. He appears so content that I am considering joining his daily routine.

Today’s photos:

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3T. September 18, 2010

Today’s quote:
“Pluck your magic twanger Froggy.”
Smilin’ Ed McConnell.

Smilin’ Ed was the almost 300 pound host of a children’s radio and TV show of the 1940’s and 50’s sponsored by Buster Brown’s Shoes whose logo was a picture of a cross dressing juvenile delinquent named Buster Brown and his dog Tige (“That’s my dog Tige, he lives in a shoe! I’m Buster Brown look for me in there,too!!”).

I was always afraid of Smilin’ Ed. Imagine being a 5-year-old confronted by a 300 pound, gravelly voiced giant of a man called “Smilin Ed”.

Froggy gave me nightmares and I refused to ever wear Buster Brown shoes. My mother never understood why I would start screaming whenever I entered a shoe store. Even now I always check the insides of my shoes before putting them on.

Frogs still terrorize me.

Today’s factoid:
While researching for something I was writing for the radical left-wing blog, I came across a list of universal laws. Rather than doling them out one by one I have collected some favorites along with my comments and attached them below.

News from Thailand:
The dollar continues its free fall against the baht. It is caused in part by inflows of capital from Thailand’s competitors in the agricultural commodities markets (primarily rice) who seek competitive advantage for their own rice exports.

It is also substantially affected by the general decline of the dollar against most major currencies. I do not expect this latter pressure to ease up until after the US mid-term elections. Between now and then, it is not in the Obama administration’s interest to strengthen the dollar. Since the cheap dollar benefits American exporters, it is one of the few economic stimulus options available to the administration in the face of congressional resistance to more aggressive approaches.

Should the Republicans take over either the House or Senate this November the dollar will probably continue its decline as the market realizes that it is not in the Republican Party’s interest to participate with the administration to stave off economic collapse on this president’s watch. If the Democrats retain power, the administration, freed from immediate election concerns, would probably find it beneficial to limit the dollar’s decline.

Pookie in Paradise:

(For those interested in a great YouTube clip of Pookie the Lion and Soupy Sales you can find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcb87xi8cVg).

Next week I plan to travel to Issan, to see a recently divorced friend’s new house. I hope also to be able to spend a few days in Chiang Mai as well and visit Choti, Gerry, Leo and Cordt all of whom I miss.

Issan is located in the northeast of Thailand and is considered by some to be that country’s version of Appalachia. It sends its children off to the big cities to find work, its girls for the most part to labor in the sex trades and its boys to compete with the Burmese and Khmer for the lowest paying jobs available.

Life these past two weeks have gotten quite predictable. Breakfast at the Cafe le Mar, a walk on the beck, a swim in the pool, play with the computer, eat dinner and sleep. On Wednesdays I attend my BBQ and on Fridays enjoy my three-hour massage. Today there was a rare skinny woman at the pool, a refreshing relief from the acres of slavic flesh that surround me while I do my laps.

Sometimes I just watch the human tides that ebb and flow along the beach by my condo.

At high tide the professional fisherman launch or land their small boats coming or going from their daily search for crustaceans. Their boats are fitted with rooster tails, long pipes with a propeller at one end and a gas motor on a gimbal at the other that enables the operator to raise and lower the propeller into the water to drive the boat through surf and sea. These are not the big Lycoming engines that propel the long tail boats along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok but small trustworthy two-stroke gasoline engines. The boats are brightly painted although inevitably the paint is chipped and faded. As they go out they fly the colored flags that they use to mark the location of their nets.

At low tide, the gleaners come out. They prowl the shallows searching for small crabs and clams. The crabbers move through the pools formed by the outgo of the tide searching for these tiny creatures, with shells no more that an inch or two across. The hunter’s movement through the water startles the crabs into scurrying away. Their motion reveals them to the crabbers who then trap and catch their prey with their bare hands.

One morning Hayden spent an hour having great fun assisting one of the gleaners by pointing and crying out whenever he saw movement of a crab. The fun ended when the fisherman offered Hayden one of the crabs as a reward for his help, but only if he would just reach into the bucket filled with those they had caught and pull it out.

Another type of gleaner is those that dig into the sand exposed by the tide’s retreat for tiny clams, much like cockles but even smaller. These they put into a plastic water bottle where, after the bottle is filled with hundreds of them, they take home and run fresh water through it for a few days to clean the clams of sand and the like. Then they pour a hot spicy sauce into the bottle and enjoy the treat.

During the day the sand is home to the umbrella and lounge chair vendors and the hawkers selling food and other things to the tourists. The lawn chairs, umbrellas, venders and hawkers are the reality in the landscape while the tourists appear to me to be mere shadows.

At night the sand is mostly deserted except for a white dog with a black marking around one eye who spends all night every night lying on the same spot of sand and staring at the waves.



Aitken’s Law — describes how vowel length in Scots and Scottish English is conditioned by environment. Named for Professor A. J. Aitken, who formulated it.

(Way to go A.J.)

▪ Archie’s law — In petrophysics, relates the in-situ electrical conductivity of sedimentary rock to its porosity and brine saturation. Named for Gus Archie (1907–1978).

(Who would of thought? Good for you Gus, or is it Archie? I usually dislike people with two first names, but using Gus and Archie together I like. Good job Mr. and Mrs. Archie.)

▪ Benford’s law — In any collection of statistics, a given statistic has roughly a 30% chance of starting with the digit 1.

( I bet the other digits are unhappy about that. It just proves that if you give a man a hand, in 30 % of the cases he will give you the finger.)

▪ Bradford’s law — a pattern described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 that estimates the exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search.

(Everyone knows that. Ask any student.)

▪ Dunbar’s number — A theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150. First proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

( What is a stable relationship? I have never had one much less 150.)

▪ Fitts’ law — A principle of human movement published in 1954 by Paul Fitts which predicts the time required to move from a starting position to a final target area. Fitts’ law is used to model the act of pointing, both in the real world, e.g. with a hand or finger, and on a computer, e.g. with a mouse.

(And for this Fitts gets paid?)

▪ Gall’s law“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.”

(No kidding Gall.)

▪ Godwin’s law — An adage in Internet culture that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Coined by Mike Godwin in 1990.

(You probably did not realize this but these laws were really all written by Nazi’s.)

▪ Hanlon’s razor — A corollary of Finagle’s law, and a play on Occam’s razor, normally taking the form, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” As with Finagle, possibly not strictly eponymous. Alternately, “Do not invoke conspiracy as explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, as conspiracy implies intelligence.”

(Don’t let Fox News hear about this.)

▪ Hofstadter’s law — “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” It was created by Douglas Hofstadter in his book Gödel, Escher, Bach.

(I bet you thought you would have finished reading this by now.)

▪ Muphry’s law — states that “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.” The name is a deliberate misspelling of “Murphy’s law.”

(I never critisize.)

▪ Murphy’s law“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Ascribed to Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

(No Comment.)

▪ Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism)“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.” named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005. Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

(What a shame. Sort of takes all the fun out of it.)

▪ Reilly’s law of retail gravitation — People generally patronize the largest mall in the area.

(I knew that.)

▪ Roemer’s law — A hospital bed built is a bed filled.


▪ Rothbard’s law — Everyone specializes in his own area of weakness.

(What does this say about someone who considers himself a generalist?)

▪ Sayre’s law“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.” By way of corollary, the law adds: “That is why academic politics are so bitter.”

(I thought that was the definition of Politics.)

▪ Segal’s law“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

(Steven Segal doesn’t wear a watch. Is that is why he beats people up and makes bad movies?)

▪ Sowa’s law of standards“Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X.”

(Hooray for common sense.)

▪ Sturgeon’s law“Nothing is always absolutely so.” Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985).

(Absolutely not true)

▪ Szemerényi’s law — A Proto-Indo-European phonological rule, named after Hungarian linguist Oswald Szemerényi, according to which word-final clusters of vowels (V), resonants (R) and of either */s/ or */h₂/ are simplified by dropping the word-final fricative (*/h₂/ was phonetically itself probably a back fricative), with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel.

(I never could have guessed. Fricative you Ollie. By the way, is that how you got your last name?)

▪ Wagner’s Law predicts that the development of an industrial economy will be accompanied by an increased share of public expenditure in gross national product, and is named after the German economist Adolph Wagner (1835-1917).

(Never trust those German’s.)

▪ Wike’s law of low odd primes“If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

(Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.)

▪ Zipf’s law — In linguistics, the observation that the frequency of use of the nth-most-frequently-used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n, or, more simply, that a few words are used very often, but many or most are used rarely. Named after George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), whose statistical work research led to the observation. More generally, the term Zipf’s law refers to the probability distributions involved, which are applied by statisticians not only to linguistics but also to fields remote from that.

(In other words, all languages end up with only the word “fuck”. Zipf this George. Get a life.)

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3T (Thorba the Thai) September 16, 2010

Today’s quote:
“Stupidity is infinitely more fascinating than intelligence. Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none.”
Claude Chabrol, courtesy of Ruth Galanter quoting from Claude’s obituary in the New York Times.

(Ah, so that is why I find Fox News so fascinating. I always thought it was the “Fair and Balanced” reporting of the news.)

Today’s definition:
System justification — the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo. Existing social, economic, and political arrangements tend to be preferred, and alternatives disparaged sometimes even at the expense of individual and collective self-interest. (See also status quo bias.)

(If that is so, than why do I think Alex Smith should be replaced?)

Today’s Corrections:
1. In my last email I mentioned my bucket list success occasioned by appearing in my ex-client Rick Elfman’s movie Modern Vampires. Originally entitled “Revenant”, it was supposed to be about a war in LA between Vampires and the Mafia in which I had a walk on role as a Mafia Don. Although I saw the rushes with my scene still in them, apparently, as is the case with most movies, they went back and reshot parts of the movie before release. The Mafia plot was dropped, Rod Steiger was recast as a bumbling “Van Helsing”and my scene replaced by a black hip-hop gang that has the job of wrapping Kim Cattrel in strings of garlic and throwing her into the back of a van, instead of me and my Mafia gang gleefully tossing her garlic wrapped body (Rick rejected, with some disdain, my suggestion that we also smear her with tomato sauce and add some pepperoni) into the trunk of a black limousine. Again,”Sic transit gloria.”

I guess my bucket list has to be satisfied with Sheldon’s portrayal of me in his books.

If you are interested in Rick Elfman things, here is a link to his blog Buzzine Magazine Online (His logo is attached below). Apparently, much to my surprise, there is to be a nationwide retrospective of Rick’s film “Forbidden Zone” this fall. You may want to check out the video of Rick promoting the festival. You need only to look at the first few seconds to understand all. Rick is the balding red-head in the uniform. I also learned that Danny married Bridget Fonda, so maybe he is an artist after all.

2. Irwin pointed out to me that Soupy Sales was only suspended for his “send me the green presidents that you fine in your parent’s pants and pocketbooks” joke. Irwin suggests that you look up Soupy’s write-up in Wikipedia if you are unfamiliar with the life and times of Soupy Sales.

By the way, “Pookie the Lion” was a character on the show whom Soupy would sometimes kiss.

Pookie in Paradise:
The US dollar continues its precipitous decline versus the baht, as a result Pookie is eating less and happily losing weight again. On the other hand, in the mornings Pookie has begun to go for long walks along the beach. I know,- he hates the sand-, but it is better than being kissed by Soupy Sales…then again maybe not.

I was visited on Sunday by two friends who I had not seen for a while, Pui and Gary. Pui stayed for a few weeks at my place in SF before meeting Gary and moving in with him. He now works in Singapore and she owns a Spa in Bangkok not far from AVA Bar.

A spa in Thailand is usually the name given to a massage parlor that generally does not provide “happy endings” among its services. They mostly replace the “happy endings” with things like hot rocks or strange smelling oils and higher prices.

After a few days of marvelous weather the sky has turned overcast again and although it has rained a lot in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand, there has been little precipitation here. During that brief hiatus, the weather turned from the sudden wild storms of the monsoon to the peaceful softness that follows the passing of the rain. The air was warm with a strong benevolent breeze making the palms sway with gentle rustling rhythms. For the first time it feels like what a tropical paradise should feel like. The colors have been transformed from washed out pastels to the vigorous palette of the Caribbean. Sunsets’ splash orange across a great arc of the horizon turning undersides of the clouds into burning embers. In the evenings, the brown green of the water has been transformed into dark blue velvet, not translucent like the waters around the Bahamas or in parts of the Mediterranean but a shimmering opaque like a great dark rippling curtain stretching beyond the green palms and the rust-gold sands to the purple and orange sky.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment by Thorba the Thai. September 10, 2010

Today’s factoid:
A recent study by scholars a Princeton University found that an American is happiest day-to-day who has an income of about $75,000 per year.

(I must be very unhappy. On the other hand all you over achievers, knock it off and smell the flowers. Get a government job.)

Today’s quote:
“Obviously we loved sports, and the baby was born during the spring track season.”
Sarahpalin,–Going Rogue.

Today’s Thailand news bits:
1. In response to the where tourists in Bangkok are accosted by police and accused of violating the new law prohibiting the disposal of cigarette butts on sidewalks or streets and demanded to pay the 2000 baht fine to the accosting officer, the chief of Bangkok’s police has suggested that tourists refuse to pay the fine and fine another cop to complain to.

(This is a fascinating theory of police work, everyone should find his own corrupt cop. Then again isn’t it the way it works now?)

2. Recently the yellow shirt government has moved to consolidate its control over the red shirt leaning police by appointing as deputy police chief a government supporter who is under indictment for among other things conspiracy to commit murder.
3. Recent governmental investigations have uncovered widespread corruption in the disbursment of emergency relief fund for some recent storm caused flooding in various parts of Thailand.

(Oh my gawd, soon Thailand will become just another third world country like Louisiana.)

4. The dollar has dropped another 2% against the baht in the last two weeks.

Pookie’s news:
I just finished a John Gresham short story about a lawyer who gets fed up practicing law, rips off a few clients and runs off to a tropical paradise and lives happily ever after. While I like Gresham, he is no Sheldon Siegel. Once a week I trundle the two miles to the outskirts of hell, where the english language book store is located, to check for Sheldon’s latest publication. While his mystery and courtroom scenes are great, it is the latest doings of his main characters Mike and Rosie that I look forward to. They are more real to me than my life here.

Two of my favorite authors are Sheldon Siegel and William Kotzwinkle. At least Sheldon Siegel sounds like and author. Kotzwinkle sounds like a character in Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Speaking of Pee Wee, I am waiting for a revival of Pee Wee Herman and Soupy Sales’ great performances. In case you do not recall (or are not old enough to recall) one of Soupy’s more memorable bits was to tell his juvenile audience to go into mommy and daddy’s room while they were asleep and go into daddy’s pants, take out his wallet, extract a dollar and mail it to Soupy. While most 5 to 10 year olds got the joke, their parents had Soupy thrown off television.

Pee Wee, on the other hand is the metaphor for our generation, a happy life in a children’s playhouse exposed in the dark theater of history. Pee Wee’s come-back was in one of my all time favorite movies “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (the original) where he plays a vampire’s assistant. You should see it. There are memorable performances in it by Rutger Hauer as the chief Vampire and Donald Sutherland as Buffy’s instructor in vampire slaying.

One of my ex-clients, Danny Elfman, the oscar winning musician, got his start in movies by writing the theme songs for the Pee Wee playhouse movies. Danny told me once that he was an “Artist,” not a doped up guitar player. I wonder if Willie Nelson considers himself and artist.

Danny’s brother Rick was also a client. Rick is the director of some of the worst movies ever made. Movies so bad that they appear in the cult movie section of video stores. Movies so bad they use a pseudonym for the directors name. He directed such classics as “Forbidden Zone,” “Shrunken Heads,” “Streets of Rage” (Wherein he uses the pseudonym of “Aristide Pierre Laffite Sumatra of the Ton Ton Macoute”) and “Modern Vampires.”

The last of which, I made my film acting debut in a walk on role and crossed off item one of my bucket list. The movie was about a war in Los Angeles between the Vampires and the Mafia, one of the last movies in which Rod Steiger appeared (and justly so). I of course played a Mafia Don who, in my one scene, holds open the trunk of a black limousine into which my two mafia henchman, dump the “Queen of the Vampires”(played by Kim Cattrell in one of her earliest and most regretted roles) tightly wrapped in strings of garlic to keep her comatose (I kid you not). Sic transit gloria.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. September 6, 2010

Today’s factoid:
Thailand-based Flexoresearch Group has developed a method of extracting pulp fibers from laminated paper products, which are difficult materials to recycle. The process conserves virgin pulp and reduces toxic wastes. The reclaimed pulp is used to make paper, building materials and vehicle brake pads. (Do you really want your brakes made from virgin pulp? Only in Thailand.)

Today’s Quote:
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly — it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”
Joseph Goebbels. (For example, “Fair and Balanced”.)

Today’s news from Thailand:
The Thai army numbering just a few hundred thousand soldiers and that so far as I know has almost never fought a foreign war has 550 generals while the US a country that has been at war almost constantly for the past 100 years with an army of about 1.5 million has 302 generals. (Does this mean the Thai military is top-heavy and rife with corruption and nepotism or that the US has too few generals to keep us out of war?)

Pookie the Invincible’s update:
I have not written for about a week because I have been in Bangkok discharging my baby sitting responsibilities. The care and feeding of a hyperactive 5-year-old left this 70-year-old too exhausted for much else. I was called to duty by SWAC because she claimed to be too busy packing for their departure to be able to also mind the effervescent creature that is also her son.

They finally departed for the US last night, Sacramento California I believe. I have returned to Paradise by the Sea to rest and recuperate.

I can look at their departure as either the end of a story, except perhaps for an epilogue, postscript or even an afterword written by someone else, or as simply another chapter in the Hayden-Pookie melodrama. Or, in the immortal words of the divine Sarahpalin, “I didn’t really had a good answer, as so often — is me.”

Meanwhile I must make a decision regarding my residence since my lease is up this month. I have to decide between the lonely rich widow, the poor but good-hearted masseuse or something else equally irresponsible and self-indulgent. Should I remain here in Paradise by the Sea close to the sybaritic capital of South-east Asia or move to Chiang Mai or out of Thailand entirely, perhaps to a beach villa in Ghana or summer in the leaky old boat in Maine and winter in a leaky old boat in say the Bahamas or travel off to El Petrillo in Ecuador where, through the generosity of my correspondents and friends, I now have a wealth of information or take a nap and by doing so blissfully escape this sea of choices? To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay there’s the little nubbin. How much better it is to drift in dreamland and awake with the decisions made by fate than actually take responsibility for one’s own mistakes. (My thank-you’s to Shakespeare and Sarahpalin.)

But first I have to look into the state of my health. In my past emails the only medical problems I mentioned were bouts of depression, mild colds and breathing difficulties due to the air pollution occasioned by the burning of the rice fields in Chiang Mai, but in the last few weeks I have been generally exhausted, suffering multiple joint pains and one or two increasing discomforts of the aging male that I will not go into. Even my naps have become more of a necessity than an eccentricity. I always looked at myself a somewhat robust if overweight and out of shape, but now when I look into the mirror I still see the overweight, out of shape guy but he appears to me to be becoming frail. I do not know if it was due to the exertions of caring for a rambunctious 5-year-old or not. The first thing I need today is a nap, then it is time for my annual check-up anyway.



A note added to the above September 6 post:

For those of you who wrote to me requesting more information regarding Phattalung, I am sending along this blurry satellite photo of Pan Tae, the village outside of Phattalung where the events described in my prior email took place.

Pan Tae is a Village (Muban) and an administrative organization (Tambon) of about 6000 people located in the district (Amphoe) of Khuan Khanun (also the central market town) in the Provence of Phattalung, Thailand.

The grayish/brownish/greenish larger areas generally are rice paddies. The denser green areas are either rubber trees or jungle. The gleaming white structures are houses with corrugated tin roofs that reflect the sunlight. The village temple is located in the sort of brownish spot along the road just above the little temple symbol.

My house can be found along the road at the top of the photo. It is the large grayish structure on the south of the road just to the right of the large grey brown mass. To the left of the large grey brown mass is a white blob. That is the house of the mayor who was shot and killed by someone standing in the trees across the road. As I mentioned in that prior email I was residing in the house that night and attended the funeral a few days later.

Natalie’s father mother and sister live in a small compound of two houses located in the small grey mass just north of the Temple on the inland side of the road on the right of the photo. Across the street is the soup shop.

Directly adjacent to my house between in it and the brown mass is a mostly unpaved road. It passes between three white spots identifying tin roofed buildings. The southern most of which to the left of the road is the house that Natalie says is where she used to take refuge to escape her father’s beatings.

Just south of that house, also on the left side of the barely visible road is a grayish greenish area with what looks to be a large black rectangle in its midst. That is the compound in which lived:

The poor kids, in the small white spot just above the black area.
The brother (in the grey area just to the left of the black). He was killed while peeing in the black area (a cleared gravel space between the buildings). He left a wife and three children who still live in the house (Except for the oldest child [Faun] who lives in Bangkok at the bar and goes to school in the city).
In the bright while spot to the bottom of the black,the brother-in-law, husband to the wife, Natalie’s older sister who allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree behind the house. He murdered the brother and about 5 other people we know about. He still lives in that house and vows to kill the rest of the family someday.

Further to the south is Hobbiton and to the north is Hogwarts.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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