Daily Archives: June 3, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 15, 2010


2004, June. Yiddish schlimazel was one of the ten non-English words that were voted hardest to translate by a British translation company.


1. Sign emblazoned on the front of an Indian made to order tailor shop on the main road between Paradise by the Sea and the Outskirts of Hell:


2. Jomtien Beach Paradise Condominium pool rule # 5:



I leave today. I do not know when I will get a chance to write again, but if I do not get an opportunity before I return, please have Happy Holidays.


Attached is Chapter 2. It is primarily back story and semi-autobiographical (the bane of inexperienced writers like me. I assume one grows out of it) It most likely will be dropped or redistributed in any final version, if there ever is a final version.


Chapter 2

He arrived at SFO at 11:30 in the morning. If he rushed he could check in at the posh Fairmont Hotel on the crest of Nob Hill in San Francisco, shower, shave get a bite to eat from room service and walk the one block from the Hotel to the Cathedral where the service was to begin at one o’clock.

During the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel, the thought of Sam’s death prompted him to drift into musing about his own life.

Vincent Joseph Biondi was the eldest son of Marsha Cohen Biondi and James (Jack) Biondi. Vince as he was called was named in the Sicilian tradition after his paternal grandfather Vincent Biondi who with his new wife Elisa during the early part of the twentieth century left the little mountain top Sicilian town of Muselmeli whet they lived and whose only claim to fame was that it was the home and hideout of long time mafia chieftain Salvatore Rinna and emigrated along with many of their neighbors to the United States.

Vincent and Elisa settled in the working class Italian neighborhood in Yonkers New York called Nanny Goat Hill. Vincent eventually got a job in downtown Manhattan as a cutter in the fur trade. They had two daughters Regina and Seraphina neither of whom ever married but they were inseparable and happily lived together their entire lives.

James the middle son called Jack because his name was Giacomo in Italian, was born in 1925 in their rented house on the slopes of Nanny Goat Hill. After a stint in the Army, at the end of World War II , Jack returned to the Yonkers and joined his father’s trade. There he met his wife to be, Marsha.

The New York fur trade at that time was mostly run by Eastern European Jewish families with italian and jewish working class laborers doing the cutting and sewing of the fur coats that would then adorn the backs of the wealthy New Yorkers who could afford such things.

Marsha was a refugee who along with her aunt Estelle were the only members of their family to escape the Holocaust in Poland.

She worked for the same company that he did. They worked together in a large room, matching thin strips of fur, usually mink, to one another, tacking them to large plywood boards containing the pattern for the garment and finally stitching the narrow pieces of fur together to make the fur coat. The job was tedious and required great skill in matching and sewing the pieces together.

They married, in spite of the strong objections of Jack, Elisa and Estelle. They settled in Yonkers in a duplex on the Hill near Jack’s parents and Estelle came to live with them. Two years after Vinnie was born Marsha gave birth to a baby girl who they named Estelle. Jimmy the youngest was born three years later and Marsha declared that was rough children for her.

In the neighborhood, because his mother was Jewish, Vinnie was often called neighborhood the older boys in the “Kike”. His parents wanting Vinnie to have a good education struggled to send Vinnie to private and, parochial schools or when they just could not afford it, to public schools in good neighborhoods where they lied about their address to get him in. In these schools, not knowing his mother was jewish and often bereft of many other italian students, Vince was at times referred to by the other students as “Guinea” and by one teacher as the little WOP. Vinnie had a lot of fights during this time in both his neighborhood and his various schoolyards. At times he seemed to get into a fight or two almost every day. He lost most of them. That is probably where he developed his pugnacious nature and his heightened sense of insult.

Anyway after a checkered academic career through high school and a local Jesuit run university he drifted into law school, a fitting career given his Jewish and Sicilian genetic makeup except Sicilians in Italy and here in America preferred government service to the private practice of law while their Jewish brethren appeared more attracted to private practice. Vinnie, true to his genetic background bounced around between government jobs and private practice.

After the breakup of his first marriage Vinnie, as he usually did when things got bad, decided to pull up stakes and get away from it all. So he migrated to San Francisco California where due to a number of unforeseen events he, to his surprise, ended up as a partner with the esteemed McKenzie Reed Law Firm.

Vinnie never considered himself a particularly good lawyer. What attracted the Firm to Vinnie was not his legal acumen but his knowledge and experience with and in politics. Not the glad handing, back slapping and stabbing kind but the back room deals and payoffs that real politics was all about. Vinnie excelled in negotiating and revising bits of pending legislation so that the firms clients could maintain or preferably increase their income and wealth at the expense of the public.

It was also a plus that Vinnie was also a staunch member of the Democratic Party in an otherwise Republican firm. While the firm had many contacts within the Republican party, they needed entrée to the Democrats on behalf of their clients whenever that party was in power in the state or federal government. Vinnie fit the bill.

Vinnie mostly hated his clients as well as many of his partners. But because he was quite vocal in firm meetings about injustices he perceived being foisted on the employees, paralegals, associates and junior partners, as impervious to personal approbation, the other partners elected him to the management committee, primarily to shut him up he figured.


1. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “You never said anything about killing anyone.”
Vizzini: “I’ve hired you to help me start a war. It’s an prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition.”

2. The Wisdom of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: “Baba Giufa, what is the nature of God?”

Baba Giufa: “Kingfish.”

Seeker: “Kingfish! What does that mean?”

Baba Giufa: “Do you agree that in God is contained the ideal of all things?”

Seeker: “Yes, I think so.”

Baba Giufa: “And do you not also agree that when you look around you in the world most of what we consider success has been obtained by fraud and deceit?”

Seeker: “Well yes, I guess I mostly agree with that too.”

Baba Giufa: “Then you must also agree that, Kingfish is God.”

3. Today’s Cognitive Bias

Information bias – the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action


“A father shall immediately put to death a son recently born, who is a monster, or has a form different from that of members of the human race.”
Roman law of the Twelve Tables (Table IV, Law III)

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 13, 2010

English: The thirteen retired Crayola crayon c...

English: The thirteen retired Crayola crayon colors: Lemon Yellow, Violet Blue, Blue Gray, Orange Red, Maize, Raw Umber, Orange Yellow, Green Blue, Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Mulberry, Teal Blue, & Thistle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


1990: Eight Crayola crayon colors– Maize, Raw Umber, Lemon Yellow, Blue G ray, Orange Yellow, Orange Red, Green Blue and Violet Blue– are retired into the Crayola Hall of Fame in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Emerson Moser, then Crayola’s most senior crayon moulder, also retired after 37 years. After moulding approximately 1.4 billion crayons, he revealed that he is actually color blind.


Today’s Bangkok Post reports that the American DEA has posted notices in Thailand containing the face of the ethnic Wai tribe’s leader, and reputed drug lord, Wei Hsueh-Kan emblazoned on beer holders used to serve customers so that they can contemplate the $2 million reward while flirting with the bar girls.


This morning I learned that the english language “Golden Oldies” radio station that I enjoy listening to while I drink my morning café latte is indeed broadcast from Thailand, in fact just down the road from here in the Outskirts of Hell.

As the date for my departure to the US becomes closer, I become more anxious. Why is that? I become older too. Are they related?

Last night I went out to buy presents for people I plan to see during my trip. Haggling made me tired so I gave up, ate a pizza and went home to bed.

Recently, while I was walking to the beach for my morning stroll, I met the old man from Texas with the walker. After exchanging pleasantries, he mentioned that he felt that things are going bad in the US with unemployment and Wikileaks and the like, but as a result of the election he hoped it would get better and there would be lower taxes and more jobs. “I do not like that socialism,” he opined. “It’s a lot like Communism.” He is on Social Security, medicare and disability and receives a veteran’s pension.

For those who wonder about these things, Petey the Wonder Dog still mans his post guarding the sand against the tide.


A few months back I promised to send to you drafts of a potential mystery novel I have been playing around with. Here is the very rough draft of chapter one. The working title is “Red Star.” Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.


Chapter one:

“He was shot in the head. Please Vince come to the funeral. I think there is something we need to discuss.”

As he flew back to the US and to San Francisco to attend the funeral, he kept replaying in his mind yesterday’s telephone conversation with David Kitchen.

Sam Coign the mercurial Chairman of the law firm of McKenzie Reed had been found dead of a single gunshot wound to the head. The death occurred at his home in Woodside, a posh suburb of San Francisco where many of the captains of the Bay Area’s high Tech industry choose to live along with their parasites, the lawyers, CPAs and investment advisors who lived off of the fruits of their industry. He was found by his wife lying on the floor of his home office at the back of the house overlooking Sam’s beloved flower garden. A handgun was found near by. The police initially suspect suicide.

Kitchen explained all of this to him over his cell phone while Vinnie sat by the pool that serviced his condominium in Jomtien Beach Thailand where he had retreated to after taking early retirement from McKenzie Reed in a fit of piqué.

Kitchen served with him on the Firm’s so-called management committee. It was so-called because its members spent more time arguing than managing. Usually the arguments were between him and other four. He was almost always out voted. As a result Sam ran things as he saw fit. One day after several hours of bitter argument and shouting back and forth, he asked for and received early retirement. This was last year and he was 54 at the time.

He was tired of practicing law and tired of his life. All he wanted to do was go off somewhere and do nothing. But that would cost money, his divorce settlement and a series of disastrous investments left Vinnie with very little of it.

Nevertheless, having been long divorced, his children from his second marriage grown and hating the practice of law, he left to spend retirement with a restricted income in a low-cost jurisdiction. He chose Thailand for its tropical climate, relatively low-cost of living and frankly for its liberal view of sex.

When he asked if anyone had any idea about why Sam would do something like this Kitchen cryptically answered that he would rather not discuss it over the phone.

This did not disturb Vince at the time but coupled with Kitchen’s statement about the wish of the other members of the firm to speak with him about his, “arrangement,” it made much of the 21 hour trip across the Pacific Ocean a time of considerable anxiety.


1. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

[Buttercup kisses the senile King]
The King:What was that for?”
Buttercup: “Because you have always been so kind to me, and I won’t be seeing you again since I’m killing myself once we reach the honeymoon suite.” 
“The King: “Won’t that be nice…. She kissed me.”

2. Teachings of Baba Giufa:

Seeker: “Baba Giufa, tell me, how is one to know the truth?”

Baba Giufa: “If you do not have enough information to know the truth of a statement (and you never do), you should assume it is a lie and seek for a motivation. And if you find one, no matter how far-fetched, then you are better off assuming it is more true than the original statement.”

3. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Endowment effect – “the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it”.


“A state increases by being the asylum for the persons that are expelled and dispersed by other states.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesman.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 11, 2010


thailand sukothai parade 02

thailand sukothai parade 02 (Photo credit: FriskoDude)

a. Department of where have I heard that before:

The two cases before the Constitutional Court of Thailand seeking dissolution of the ruling party have been thrown out not on the merits or failure of the plaintiffs to follow correct procedures but because the ruling parties appointees or the courts own personnel failed to do so. (Shades of Gore v. Bush).

As a result of the decision, the Emergency Decree prohibiting political demonstrations or anything else deemed  political has been recommended to be lifted for the Bangkok area.

b. Department of media matters:

The top Google searches in Thailand are; the Red Shirt protests, a Korean Boy Band and a Thai country tune about a prodigal son.

The Thai version of “A boy Named Sue”?

c. Department of you heard it here first:

A report of the Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong reported that in Thailand, “…forces opposed to human rights and their allies had reemerged to take control of key national institutions….These forces were digging in to fight for political control of the country…The reemergence of the ‘Internal Security State’ in Thailand was following a similar pattern to the past but with more refined public relations and a sharper concern for noes types of political and technological threats to its authority.
Expanded use of emergency regulations to legitimatize all state actions while also producing impunity; failure to meet obligations under international human rights law; the obfuscation of truth and curtailment of justice; the failure of the country’s human rights institutions to perform according to their mandate.”

Now we know where Dick Chaney retired to.


As the days go by, I become more and more pleased with my life here. Either that or I have begun to go senile. I walk along the beach, swim, exercise in the weight room, write eat and sleep. Once a week I have my massage and dinner with friends. Bill has left and returned to the US already and Gary and David have also departed. As a result my evenings are free so that for the last few days I have had time to prepare for my trip back to the US for the holidays., Christmas shopping and packing.

This morning I walked to the place where I have my double café latte before going on to breakfast. I like the place because it has a radio tuned into some station that plays golden oldies from Do-Whop to Disco. I think it is a Thai station although they mostly speak American English. I sit there every morning listening to Frankie Lyman or whomever… Actually I lie, I have not heard anything from Frankie Lyman in over 40 years. Who is Frankie Lyman you may ask?… in the late 50’s he was the first black cross-over teenage singer (“Why do Fools Fall in Love”), that is a black musician liked by a majority of whites of which Michael Jackson a few years later was the prime example. He was not a “Black” musician like Little Richard or Chuck Berry who needed white singers such as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis to introduce their sound to white America. And anyway at the time almost all the early Rock bands and singers, white and Black together were considered somewhat outlaw and not respectable. (Who can forget Pat Boone’s attempt to hi-jack this new music of behalf of racist America). Jackson eventually bridged that gap and made black music mainstream.

At that time in the late 50’s and early 60’s my friend Bob Cavallo and I began producing concerts for college kids featuring a mix of Jazz and the new Rock music. Bob ultimately went into the business (I went on to law school — bad choice) eventually specializing in this cross-over music with his management of Earth, Wind and Fire and Prince.

Anyway I sat there drinking my café latte and listening to the music and let my mind wander off to wherever is chooses to go. I will never understand why the meditation hucksters insisted on purging ones mind in order to achieve and altered state when simply giving it free rein achieves the same thing and is a lot more enjoyable. (This seems like something for a Baba Giufa tale.)

As my mind rummaged through its detritus, for some reason it stopped and played around with my memories of my theatre programs during my early years at University. Perhaps it was because last night I watched a movie starring Denzil Washington who attended the same program I did.

The director of the program was an old queen with the improbable name of Vaughn Dearing. He always looked like he slept in his clothes and was slightly drunk. He also never remembered to zipper up his fly.

I liked Vaughn’s approach. What I had experienced previously was that one auditioned and if successful was assigned a part. The director then spent most of the rest of the time in rehearsals making sure you learned your lines, remembered your cues and hit your mark on time.

Vaughn on the other hand, after selecting his cast through auditions, would not assign roles. Instead every day each actor and actress would assume a different role from the day before and work through the entire play (men played women’s roles and vice versa), You did not know which role you would play in the production until the last week of rehearsal.


Today I thought I would break into my cycle of tales and fables and include for your entertainment, a guest tale written by Cousin Irwin.


Setting: irwin is in New Jersey. it is the first day irwin has seen his birth-father in eighteen years having left New Jersey with his mom and grandmother when he was about six years old and never having a father who secured a percentage of irwin’s growing up time. irwin comes to New Jersey seeking something (yikes! close the windows we are coming to Secaucus) and to visit his father, aunts, grandfather (the only person who cried when greeting irwin), and cousins. He is carrying a guitar, wearing a beard and a moscow fur cap. He has no money in his wallet, having secured a vehicle ride across country by answering an ad from someone looking for someone to share the drive time.

Solomon Schatzman: “you know irwin, during these last eighteen years i often thought about coming out to California and kidnapping you”.

Irwin Schatzman: says nothing, blinks, and thinks, “Well, why didn’t you?”


a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride.

Westley: “I told you I would always come for you. Why didn’t you wait for me?” 
Buttercup: “Well… you were dead.”
Westley: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.” 

b, From God’s mouth to your ear:

Ahijah's prophesie to Jeroboam

Ahijah’s prophesie to Jeroboam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this time, Jeroboam‘s son Abijah fell ill.
Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Go to Ahijah the prophet in Shiloh. Take some bread, cakes, and honey. He will tell you what will happen to the child.’
Jeroboam’s wife set out and arrived in Shiloh at the house of Ahijah.
Now Ahijah was old and blind, but Yahweh had said to him, ‘Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask about her son, for he is ill. Here is what you will say to her…’
As she entered the door, Ahijah said to her, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam, for I have been ordered to give you bad news. Tell Jeroboam that this is what Yahweh says…’
‘”You have committed more evil than all who came before you. You have angered me by making other gods made of metal, so now I will commit evil upon the family of Jeroboam!”‘
“I will exterminate all those who piss against the wall, men and boys! I will burn the family of Jeroboam the way one burns dung, until it is completely gone!”‘
“Those of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the country will be eaten by birds!”‘
‘Yahweh has spoken. Now go back home. As soon as you set foot in the city, the boy will die.’
So Jeroboam’s wife went back, and as soon as she crossed the threshold of the palace…”
…the boy died.
1 Kings 14: 1 – 17.


“I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.” 
Thomas Jefferson

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 8, 2010

Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach, Sa...

Looking down Filbert Street in North Beach, San Francisco. Saints Peter and Paul Church towers over the neighborhood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Baba Giufa and the Irritating Young Man.

On day Baba Giufa and two of his female Dharmanoids were sitting at a sidewalk café in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Baba Giufa had become successful enough that he had replaced his bus-boys jacket with a resplendent white designer blazer. His pants were no longer string tied and off-white in color, but bright white slacks from the same designer. He had abandoned the pink flip-flops for the latest fashionable pair of trainers and although on his head he still wore a Panama hat with its black band and its brim cut off, it was no longer the old beat up one that he had previously sported.

His two Dharmanoids were dressed in scarlet gospel singer robes. He originally had them dress in white robes but when the laundry bill got too high for his tastes, he changed the color to that of the local football team of which he was an ardent fan. He called his female Dharmanoids his Befanas because they brought him presents.

Now it came to pass that on this day a group of about three young men passed by and seeing them sitting there drinking their espresso began to laugh and point at them. The leader of that particular group being, as leaders often are, also the most aggressive, came up to the table where Baba Giufa and his Dharmanoids sat.

“You three look ridiculous”, he shouted loud enough so that his friends could hear.

Baba Giufa ignored him.

“What’s your name weirdo,” the youth challenged?

Baba Giufa now looked directly into the young man’s eyes and after a moment or two responded calmly, “They call me Baba Giufa.”

“Bullshit,” cried the young man. ” Whats your real name?”

“My real name is unpronounceable,” said Baba Giufa in a soft voice.

“More bullshit, “ said the young man becoming redder in the face. “Everything is pronounceable, asshole.”

“So you think you can pronounce my real name then?” asked Baba Giufa.

“Ha, of course,” said the boy.

“I will tell you what” said Baba Giufa, “If you can pronounce my name, I will buy you and your friends each an espresso, and if you cannot then you and your mates will move along and leave us alone. Does that seem fair?”

“Stupid, but sure, ok” he responded turning and grinning at his friends, “Go ahead.”

And with this agreement in place Baba Giufa leaned forward slightly and simply stared even more intently into the boy’s face.

Finally after a while the young man became uncomfortable and said “Well? Say Something.”

To which Baba Giufa responded, “Ah, so you admit you cannot pronounce my real name?”

“What?” the young man exploded, “You haven’t said anything yet.”

“And that’,” responded Baba Giufa, “is why I am called Baba Giufa.”


The Princess Bride (film)

The Princess Bride (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a. Wisdom of the Princess Bride:

Westley: “Hear this now: I will always come for you.”
Buttercup: “But how can you be sure?”
Westley: “This is true love – you think this happens every day?”

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Trait ascription bias – the tendency for people to view themselves as relatively variable in terms of personality, behavior and mood while viewing others as much more predictable.

c. From God’s mouth to your ears:

“He that is wounded in the stones or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”Deuteronomy 23.1.

Say what? So it is God that we must blame for man’s peculiar preoccupation. If we are so afflicted He says we cannot go to church. I always thought it had to do with something else. But God never liked that either.)


“Expenditures engender exactions, and exactions produce complaints.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesmen.


“God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 6 2010

thailand wooden image

thailand wooden image (Photo credit: FriskoDude)


1. Today is the King of Thailand‘s birthday. Recently he was awarded three patents for his own inventions bringing the total number of patents held by the King to 10. The Bangkok Post referred to him as “The Inventor King”.

2.The former Swiss ambassador to China recently paid $40,000 for a replica of Venus de Milo made from Panda dung.

3. About a year ago the Thai military accepted delivery from and American company of a lighter than air ship for reconnaissance work in the deep South:

The airship and the associated systems never worked.
No repair manual accompanied the purchase.
The Thai military did not buy the complete system, specifically the system that allowed the airship to communicate with the ground.
Recently the US company that supplied the airship closed up shop.

The members of the military procurement committee that approved the purchase now fear possible punishment.


Earlier this week I was taking my morning walk along the strand. It was a bright sunny morning and I was feeling very good, much better than my 71 years usually allows me to feel. As I left the sand to return home, I noticed an old man sitting on a bench with his walker near by. His face was deeply lined and spotted with stubble and he was overweight, quite decrepit and wheezing. Nevertheless, he happily would call out to passers-by and engage them in conversation. He did so with me.

Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA - Statue ...

Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA – Statue of founder William Marsh Rice with Lovett Hall in background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He told me he originally was from Texas on the outskirts of Houston and was staying here at Paradise by the Sea with his son. We exchanged a few stories, he about his time in SF after returning from serving in Viet Nam and I about visiting my daughter while she attended Rice University in Houston. I then asked, “How old are you, old-timer?”

“Sixty- eight,” he replied.

My emotions suddenly closed down. I could not access my thoughts or feelings; embarrassment, pity for him or me, foreboding or something else? Every time I tried to examine my reaction it was as though a door was suddenly closed and I was left with was a vague sense of fear of finding what was behind it.

A day or so later, when leaving my apartment for another beach walk, at the end of the driveway leading to the condo complex, I saw him again. He had fallen and was lying on the ground, his walker tipped over beside him. I rushed over to him and with the aid of two security guards we were able to pick him up and restore his to his walker.

“Out racing again this morning,” I commented jokingly?

He laughed.

I noticed that he had scraped his right elbow and it was bleeding, so I asked it he needed additional help.

No,” he said, “I can make it back home by myself. I have suffered worse falls than this in my life.


a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

Count Rugen: “Your princess is quite a winning creature. A trifle simple, perhaps. Her appeal is undeniable.”
Prince Humperdinck: “I know, the people are quite taken with her. It’s odd, but when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever. But it’s going to be so much more moving when I strangle her on our wedding night.”

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Illusion of asymmetric insight – people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers’ knowledge of them.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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