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:

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 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

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