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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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