Daily Archives: June 7, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 17, 2011

The portrait supposedly of Christopher Marlowe...

The portrait supposedly of Christopher Marlowe found during renovations of the Masters Lodge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1587. Christopher Marlowe‘s Tamburlaine his first play to be performed on stage in London. It told the story of the conqueror Timur ( also known as the “Lame” a comment on his physiognomy and not his sense of humor. As far as we know he had none, although he was known at times to smile broadly at the slaughter of the populations in the cities that he sacked. ), who rises from shepherd to warrior to emperor. It is among the first English plays in blank verse, and, along with Thomas Kyd‘s The Spanish Tragedy, generally is considered the beginning of the mature phase of the Elizabethan theatre.

50 years or so later, the religious right of that time, succeeded in banning theatre altogether.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Don’t hold your breath:

The Bangkok Post reported today that the Japanese government has ordered the operator of the damaged nuclear plant to pay each family displaced by the catastrophe about $12,000. As could be expected, the people who lost their home complain that it is not enough. One can assume that in all likelihood before any money reaches the injured parties, the company will claim it does not have the resources to fund the program, as a result the government will probably agree to pick up the tab then spend years figuring out how to do so, ultimately abandoning the program under pressure from the bond rating agencies, the business community and the conservative press claiming the nation is accumulating too much debt.

It is interesting to note how easy it is today for a government to abandon its promises to its people but never to its creditors. In a usually vain attempt to maintain its all important bond rating and to protect the value of the capital and rate of return of its lenders, it will forgo educating its people, or attending to their health and welfare. In Ireland, Ireland, Portugal of Greece it so far has made no difference to the downward spiral of their economies whether they accept or reject the conditions imposed on them in the so-called bailouts . If that is so, then why in heavens name would their governments shackle their people to penury in order to preserve the return on capital to some bankers and investors in Germany, Switzerland, England or New York)

b. Electioneering:

The current party in power in Thailand, in preparation for the upcoming election has derided the opposition’s promise to increase the minimum wage to 300 baht per day ($10), claiming their own proposal for increasing the minimum wage by 25% is better for employers.

25% of what?

c. It all sounds so reasonable:

A spokesman for the opposition party claimed that the country would return to peace if the exiled former leader of the party Thaksin was allowed to return to Thailand. He also assured everyone that if he were allowed to come back, Thaksin, would not demand the return of the more than one billion dollars confiscated from him and his family for corruption.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Recently, after a hiatus of over six months, I have begun to republish items into my blog ( http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) Why I have resumed doing so, I am not sure. Perhaps I became tired of snips and pieces of things cluttering up my desk-top, then again perhaps not.

Anyway, as some of you know, the reason I tell myself (and you) that I write things like the blog and even “This and that…” is purely for my own pleasure. I refuse to admit to anything other than that.

A few days ago, I received my first real comment to one of my posts. The commenter said he liked my work and left me a cite to his own blog. I admit to being thrilled at receiving this acknowledgement of my existence and I immediately responded with a “thank you” note as I felt blogging etiquette probably required. I also dutifully clicked into his site as I again felt it was only the right thing to do.

My correspondent’s site primarily consisted of an ad. for a product called “Broccoli.” Broccoli it seems is essentially a wide rubber band  used to secure ones cash in lieu of a wallet. The rubber band in this case was decorated with a piece of silver metal, I assume to make it look serious.

A video hosted by a stereotypical beefy member of a well-known subset of my southern Italian ethnic group replete with gravelly voice and wavy black hair accompanied the advertisement.

He demonstrated the different ways one could wrap the rubber band around the “Wad” as he repeatedly called it. The so restrained wad firmly affixed the cash and even credit cards so that the twin evils of unsightly loose cash and overstuffed wallets were avoided. There was even a medical type snippet demonstrating how an overstuffed wallet in ones rear pocket can cause back pain. The video ended with a solicitation for investors in the company. If anyone is interested I still have the email address.

Remember “Never leave home without your Broccoli.”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 18

As he disconnected the phone, Vince threw himself back on his bed, stared at his hand and began to feel fear. Not fear of the unknown that often just makes one more wary and suspicious, but fear that he has lost control in the unknown. It was as though something larger than him was bearing down on him and he could neither run from it, dodge it, fight it or even know it before it overwhelmed him. Wariness and suspicion were not enough to avoid being overwhelmed. Why did he feel that way?

He closed his eyes and thought back to the day following his interrupted interview with Isabella at the bar in Bizzare.

Early in the morning he had gone to the offices of the firm’s outside counsel retained to handle any fallout from what he now referred to as the “Red Star Affair.” Pepper and Rooney, was a boutique criminal law firm, specializing in defending large corporations and wealthy individuals accused or about to be accused of what has become euphemistically known as White Collar Crimes as though violent crimes could only be committed by the working and unemployed classes, the blood on the hands of most white-collar criminals washed clean by intermediaries.

Most large firms had their own White Collar Crime practice groups, but they always were uncomfortable with it like it was somehow not respectable or perhaps even slightly diseased. Also, its practitioners were suspect, mostly coming from those same State and Federal entities that were persecuting the firm’s clients. Nevertheless, in order to please those same the clients and assure them that they were prepared to service their every legal need, they usually kept the practice group and its attorneys around. Many good WCC attorneys, especially well-known litigators, therefore sensing their second class status in the large firms firm, left to form their own boutiques. Pepper and Rooney was one such firm.

Adam, Ansel, Pepper, often referred to as “First” or among his close friends as “Al” was one of the reigning heavyweights of the practice. He was tall, whippet thin but obviously in shape, hawk nosed and dark hair expensively dyed. He was dressed in the overpriced casual style affected by successful San Francisco attorneys; designer jeans, bespoke shoes, costly subtly patterned dress shirt worn without tie with sleeves meticulously rolled up to reveal precisely one-quarter of the forearm.

Upon entering the First’s sanctum, Vince was made to stand briefly as the great one pantomimed finishing up some exceedingly important task. He stood up, reached his hand across the desk and as they shook hands said with a frosty smile, “Mr Biondi, it is a pleasure meeting you finally. I know you must be very busy getting settled in your new position.” As he resumed his seat in his expensively leathered, throne like mechanical marvel of a chair, he added genially “How is that going?”

Vince refusing to take the bait at $1000 per hour, responded “I am here to get your advice about how I should go about arranging for the suspension from the partnership of all those partners involved in the ‘Red Star’ matter on which your firm is representing ours.” (Continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Today’s chart:

Population distribution on earth (2007):
What should be noted as an error in the chart is that East Asia (China, Japan and Korea) is a quite separate entity from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and South-East Asia, and South-West Asia). The latter actually dwarfs East Asia in population and economic and population growth.* One also should note that the “West” (North, Central and South America, Russia, Europe and Australia and New Zealand) also contains about 30% of the world’s population, more than China or East Asia. The so-called “West” also occupies, by far, the largest portion of the earth’s land mass, arable land and natural resources. Africa contains and will continue to support the fastest population growth on the planet.

*Thus, population distribution on earth can also be looked at as basically comprising only 4 major population zones, East Asia, South Asia, The West and Africa. With the world potentially poised on the edge of massive migrations of Peoples from the desertifying portions of the world, distribution of Peoples will change, with the affected South Asian and African populations colonizing large portions of the western world.

Advice you should be giving your children is to marry South Asians or Africans, or advise them to move to Canada or Siberia and counsel any of their children born there to so marry.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) :

On Economics as a Science:

In Science, a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

By popular request:

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

Queen Tomyris Receiving the Head of Cyrus, Kin...

Queen Tomyris Receiving the Head of Cyrus, King of Persia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae to Cyrus the Great, Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time. Cyrus refused and Tomyris personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. After her victory, she searched the battlefield herself until she found Cyrus’ body, then she cut off his head and made his skull into her favorite wine goblet.

(Never mess with a woman named Tomyris, or for that matter a Massegetae. For those interested however, this is what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus had to say about them:

“In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favorite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.”
“The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Jaxartes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.”

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 15, 2011

Newgrange from air

Newgrange from air (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

3100 – 2900 BCE. Newgrange, Ireland the 250,000 ton passage tomb aligned to the winter solstice, is built. This is a larger stone structure than the early pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England and predates them both by 500 years.

It is a remarkable edifice. I have been there and sat at its center. It is constructed so that no natural light reaches the chamber located precisely at the center of the massive circular structure except briefly at noon on December 21 when it is suddenly bathed in light. [Early stoner nirvana.]

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Appointed democracy:

Thai law, passed shortly following the overthrow of the Thaksin administration, provides for 73 “Appointed Senators,” intended I imagine to eliminate the possibility that the general electorate of the country would ever be so mislead that they would elect a party unacceptable to the existing powers. As I understand it, several groups of apparent respectability (Academics, State Agencies, NGO’s, Professional Groups and Other) nominate people and from those nominated, a smaller group of generally appointed government officials (Constitution Court, Election Commission, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Supreme Court, Ombudsman and Supreme Administrative Court) selects the appointees.

The appointments have just been announced. Of course the political party most expecting to challenge the current administration would be unhappy if they thought the appointees were stacked against them. And so they are.

2. Of course we will be objective:

A large number of the newly appointed senators, it now turns out are relatives of members of the military general staff and the current administration. In Thailand this is not considered nepotism but common sense. Even that so-called great populist Thaksin has proposed his daughter to be the leader of his Red Shirt party and the next prime minister should they prevail at the polls. Although lacking and prior experience in government, he lauded her as the most qualified.

Several of the new senators, responding to criticism about their appointment, have stated that they are eager to begin work and prove their appointments were not the result of family or political connections. How they intend to do so is unclear.

Resignation would be pretty dramatic proof I would think.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I arrived back at Paradise by the Sea having avoided a drenching by the ravening mobs of Songkran revelers by the simple expedient of having spent a few more baht to hire a taxi to take me door to door.

Now for those of you who have not experienced the joys of Songkran, the Thai spring water festival, the object of the festivities is to drench one another with water in the name of bringing good luck in the new year to the drenchee.

Songkran

Songkran (Photo credit: Lim CK)

Over the years that I have had the opportunity to observe the festival, I have noticed a definite escalation in weaponry. Gone are the simple water pistols of fond memory, replaced by the participants stalking the streets carrying a dizzying display of AK 47 inspired water machine gun assault weapons. Some so fearsome looking, I am sure they could frighten even the Taliban. Recently, I have noticed, these fearsome weapons are often accompanied by and connected to back packs containing additional canisters of water so that if one ever finds oneself someplace totally lacking in water, say like in a desert, one will not have to fear running out of ammunition.

Now to be fair, most Thais celebrate by good naturally dousing passers-by with water thrown from plastic cup and other containers. Not so with the non-Thai generally western tourist community. They patrol the streets, heavily armed, as though engaged in the grim job of urban warfare.

In addition to the AK 47 replica machine guns, the weapon of choice (and a major escalation in the water arms race) of these dour warriors is a weapon made up of a very large plastic tube, about the size of the largest mailing tube imaginable, with a long plunger at one end. When fully loaded and operated by a relatively strong man, these weapons, in a single shot, can expel enough water with the velocity of a fire hose to sink a small rowboat or knock over a grown man.

Before leaving Bangkok Hayden, aware of the danger I would be exposed to, gave me a water pistol to defend myself. Now dressed in my “Clete Purcell” outfit, Tilly on my head, shorts, sandals, flowered shirt and with my “gun” tucked into my belt, I venture out of my condo briefly to eat at the local café. A photograph of me fully attired is attached below.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

The brief silence that followed Vince’s reading of the authors note was broken by one of the grossly ill-defined characters standing at the back of the room who Vince was sure would also eventually become a hired killer should the novel continue, who shouted, “What the hell does that mean?”

The ensuing wall of noise from everyone talking over one another was pierced by Nina’s calm voice as she looked up from her knitting, “Why don’t we just ask him to keep writing for a while?”

“What do you mean?” said Vince over the gradual quieting of the noise as the others in the room strained to hear their conversation.

“Why not simply ask him to keep writing for a while in order to give those of us who can time to find other employment? After all, since no one is reading it anyway it makes no difference to the reader. “

“Why would he do that? What’s in it for him? You really don’t believe that crap about his wanting to do something for us, do you?'” interjected a suddenly energized David Kitchen.

” Well, we could tell him that we had heard that there were responses to his query, but they somehow got lost on the ether. It happens all the time,” she replied calmly, returning to her knitting.

” But during that time characters will be disappearing as they find work elsewhere,” Vince queried.

“This is a mystery novel,” Nina responded calmly while concentrating on her latest stitch, “People get murdered or go missing all the time. After all, even the author admits he doesn’t know how it ends, so the logic of their disappearance to the plot or its resolution makes no difference. Not that it ever does in the mystery novel genre” she added softly.

Everyone in the room stared at Vince in anticipation of his response. Vince in turn look over to the unusually subdued Isabella. She was dressed in her Goth get up and metal piercings but still wore her curly long-haired wig. Her head was bowed as she stared fixedly at the conference table. She did not look up. “Well, no help there,” thought Vince.

After a moment or two hesitation he said, “OK, I will give it a try.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I told you so:

About 30 years ago in a speech I was giving to some political group or another, I predicted that the United States would not elect a black person President until the country was bankrupt. They then could blame it all on him.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims.

“Whitehead and Russell taught us that words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. In other words, it is all blah, blah, blah unless it has numbers. Goedel then taught us that all mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. In other words, blah is still blah.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Another golden oldie:

“To truly understand Mankind,
you must first break down
the words that make up his name:
Mank and Ind.
What do they mean?
It’s a mystery.
And so is Mankind.”
Mick Foley

Français : Mick Foley "Mankind". Cet...

Français : Mick Foley “Mankind”. 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Pookie dressed as Clete Purcell, water pistol in one hand guarding one of the entrances to my apartment, armed, dangerous and looking for trouble.

In my left hand I have my genuine teak back-scratcher given to me by Hayden. I believe it is a necessary accessory to anyone over 70 and overweight. Sort of like a geriatric swagger stick.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, bt 3Th. April 13, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2004. The Journal of the American Psychological Society published a study that found that “Women prefer both the scent of symmetrical men and masculine male faces more during the fertile (late follicular and ovulatory) phases of their menstrual cycles than during their infertile (e.g., luteal) phases. Men’s behavioral displays in social settings may convey signals that affect women’s attraction to men even more strongly.” The Study also found that women preferred men who “displayed social presence and direct intrasexual competitiveness increased on (the woman’s) high-fertility days relative to low-fertility days, but only in a short-term, not a long-term, mating context.”

In other words, during certain periods of the month, when a woman is feeling like she would like some sex, good-looking confident guys have a better chance of a one night stand with her than guys not so good-looking and confident. Who would have thought.

The study also found that during the other times of the month women would consider long-term relationships with the not so good-looking guys as long as they were rich. Wow! Isn’t science grand?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. What does it all mean:

Recently the General in charge of the war against the islamic separatists in the three southernmost districts of the country has proposed combining the three districts into a single semi-autonomous state headed by a strong governor (himself of course) who he maintains would be better able to bring the warring parties together and end the insurgency.

One has to understand that the Thai Army general staff considers the indigenous Red Shirts a greater threat to Thailand than the separatist (often foreign) insurgents in the south. Therefore, they have begun the process of separating that part of the country from the rest, so that they could better concentrate their attention (and forces) on the political threat to the particular military faction currently in ascendency.

b. Context:

To better understand what is occurring now in Thailand I thought it would be helpful to quote from an article in the Bangkok Post written on September 19, 2010, almost 7 months ago:

“The Cost of the 2006 Coup

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. Suchinda Kraprayoon, in 1991’ (Surachat Bamrungsuk, political science professor, Chulalongkorn U).

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’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

English: The roads along the old moat of Chian...

 

This is the week of the Songkran Festival in Thailand where roving bands of happy Thais and vicious farangs spray anyone foolish enough to be out on the streets with water in an effort to encourage, apparently by sympathetic magic, the timely arrival of the Monsoon rains. Given the floods that have recently devastated the country, one would think that they would reconsider the goal of the festival, at least for this year,

Despite my dislike of the festival and the repeated drenching I will experience, I intend to depart for Paradise by the Sea tomorrow and run the gauntlet of the mostly crazed and drunken revelers that will line my route from downtown Pattaya to my condominium.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 17.

The Vince Biondi character called a hastily arranged meeting of all the characters of the novel, “Red Star,” in the firm’s still mostly under-described conference room. As they began to crowd into the room he noticed that there were even some characters that had not yet been introduced into the book. Since they had not yet been developed they for the most part appeared undefined and ghost like. Nevertheless, in some cases he could make out the type of character they would become. One, standing behind him too close for comfort, he was sure was destined to become a standard issue contract killer.

He decided to begin before everyone had settled into their places.

“I have just spoken to the author,” he said loudly enough to be heard over the din. The room quieted markedly but not completely as some late arrivers were still moving about.

“He wanted me to inform you all of the results of his request to his reviewers and readers as to their interest in  continuation of the novel.” He paused briefly for dramatic effect. “No one, not one of the 40 or so queried indicated any interest in the work. In fact, not even one responded to his inquiry at all”

In the enclosed space of the conference room the noise from collective intake of breath, cries of ‘Oh no’ and the like, the whisperings, and movement of bodies and chairs combined into a roar that Vince knew he could not talk over so he raised his hand for quiet and waited until things settled down enough for him to be heard. “The author wanted me to read to you the following message from him.”

Vince looked down on the piece of paper lying flat on the conference table in front of him, cleared his throat and read:

“As most of you know although it was my fervent desire to complete the novel upon which you have all been engaged (It is my first after all), I am quite resigned to moving on to other things. Although I was eager to get to some of the planned but unwritten expository chapters, I have not the slightest idea how to end the mystery story.

Nevertheless, I am quite aware of the sacrifices that you have made to give me this opportunity to write my first novel. So, before you begin your search for other employment…”

Here Vince hesitated slight;y at  mention of other employment. He knew and the others in the room knew that for most of them, there was no other employment, this was the end of the line, after this there was only oblivion as their characters were thrown back into the character pool and broken up into their constituent parts until reassembled as new characters in a new literary work.

“…I would like to let you know that I remain open to suggestions from you as to how I may be able to mitigate this burden on you all”

Here the message ended and Vince looked up into faces in various stages of definition that looked back at him. He never thought the author was particularly talented. Now he knew he was an asshole also.

He waited….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
a. 30,000 year development of the art of painting:
1. 30,000 years ago:

2. Contemporary:

b. Insults for every day use that are sure to incite retaliation:

WHEN DID YOU STOP SLEEPING WITH YOUR MOTHER?

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.

d. The Mac attack:

“Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is, for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Another one of my favorites I felt worthy of repeating:

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago.
We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes,
it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Hit it.”
Blues Brothers

The Very Best of The Blues Brothers

The Very Best of The Blues Brothers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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