In 1950, there were 83 cities with populations exceeding one million; by 2007, this number had risen to 468.
Hmmm…. that is more than a five-fold rise. During this same period the total number of people on the earth only tripled. If things keep going at this rate, we will soon have more cities of over one million than we have people.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
During my weekly massage, my masseuse likes to watch the Thai soap operas on television while she administers the various pains and pleasures of her therapy.
Now, as I am sure we all know, soaps are a window into the dark, twisted soul of a society, so it is with Thai soap operas.
To me they all appear to tell the same stories and contain the same characters. There is the beautiful innocent heroine and the equally beautiful though not so innocent young woman. You can usually tell them apart by their eyebrows. The innocent heroine’s eyebrows are somewhat rounded, while her evil counterpart’s are straighter. They are accompanied by two equally attractive young men, one good and the other not so good. These four then are supported by a cast of actors and actresses of varying ages often playing family members of the protagonists. There are also one or two comic characters, usually played by ladyboys.
Although the stories are generally all the same, their location varies. I have seen Thai soaps set in the homes of the rich, and others in the homes of the poor living beside a klong somewhere. I have also seen them set in grocery stores, health clubs and farms. Some occur in modern times others in old Siam and still others are set in times of magic or in some guerilla campaign somewhere.
Anyway, this particular day the masseuse was watching a soap in which the straight browed beauty dressed all in black, carried a sword and had just done unspeakable things to a group of poor people locked in cages.
Viewing this through my western acclimated eyes that sees everything as a conflict between good and evil, no matter the atrocities performed by either side, I commented, “She must be the bad girl.”
To which my masseuse responded, “Good or bad, it makes no difference. She is beautiful and everyone cares about her and what she does. If she were not so beautiful no one would give a damn at all about her or anything she does.”
PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:
FURTHER TALES OF BABA GIUFA
Now Baba Giufa’s guru business prospered and he eventually moved into a large house near Dolores Park in San Francisco where he lived with his acolytes whom he called his Dharmanoids. Now the Dharmanoids consisted of eight young women, the skinny, bearded long-haired inquisitive young man named Babu Beardo who handled the business side of the operation and a heavy-set silent man named Edgar.
The largest room of the house had brightly polished dark wood floors and a great number of cushions strewn about on which the Dharmanoids, visitors and worshipers sat. The only furniture in the room was a large comfortable overstuffed chair in which only Baba Giufa sat. He sat on the chair because he hated sitting on the floor. He considered it very uncomfortable.
Here he sat, smoking his chillum, listening to music from india or by Bob Dylan and enjoying the smell of incense. Here he also greeted visitors and instructed the Dharmanoids and worshipers. He called this room his Shamrock.
One day one of the worshippers asked Baba Giufa, “Since most other religious leaders call their places of worship their ashram, temple or church, why do you call yours ‘Shamrock'”?
To which Baba Giufa responded, “The Shamrock is a plant with three equally sized and shaped leaves.”
a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:
Inigo Montoya: “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is to marry Humperdink in little less then half an hour so all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape, after I kill count Rugen.”
Westley: “That doesn’t leave much time for dilly-dally.”
b. Today’s Featured Cognitive Bias:
Authority bias – the tendency to value an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., an art performance) according to the opinion of someone who is seen as an authority on the topic.
c. Yiddish for the beginner (from Wikipedia) (cont.):
fleishig: made with meat.
ganef or gonif: thief, scoundrel.
gelt: money; chocolate coins eaten on Hanukkah.
glitch: a minor malfunction.
golem: a man-made humanoid; an android, Frankenstein monster.
goy: a Gentile, someone not of the Jewish faith or people.
haimish (also heimish): home-like, friendly, folksy.
huck; sometimes “hock”, “huk”, “hak”. etc.: to bother incessantly, to break, or nag.
kibitz: to offer unwanted advice, e.g. to someone playing cards; to converse idly, hence a kibitzer.
klutz: clumsy person.
kosher: conforming to Jewish dietary laws; (slang) appropriate, legitimate.
kvell: to feel delighted and proud to the point of tears.
kvetch: to complain habitually, gripe; as a noun, a person who always complains.
“The people are rich when the money does not go out of their country, when they are content with what their country produces, and when money is constantly brought into their country by those who want the products of their industry, which they supply to foreign countries.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesman.