Daily Archives: June 8, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 27, 2011


2011: Although the percentage of foreign-born individuals in the US population is about 12%, forty percent of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad, the great majority of them not of European descent.

What does this mean? Could it mean that native-born Americans are incorrigibly stupid? Maybe, after all about half of them voted for the Republican Party in the last election. Or perhaps it means if we do not put a stop to this flood of PhD’s across our porous borders soon all the smart people in the country will be foreign-born. Do you really want to live in a country like that?


a. The Faux War:

The phony border war over ownership of an ancient temple continues. Each side claims the other fired the first shots and that they were only defending themselves from aggression. The armies of both sides have begun removing their national civilians from the area; all the better to assure no-one but the respective militaries report what is going on. The removal of civilians also provides a clear field to expend large amounts of ammunition so that the respective military budgets can be augmented to replace that lost as well as provide additional reserves just to be safe. A few dozen soldiers on each side will of course give up their lives so that their deaths can be used as symbols of national courage for making the ultimate sacrifice for country and King. Of course no one asked either the King or the citizens of the respective countries, if they actually wanted these young men to bravely give up their lives for a pile of old ricks.

b. Malaysians can dance:

The government of Malaysia announced that it will allow its citizens to dance the “Poco-Poco” if they want to.

c. The Easter Bunny refuses to visit New Zealand for Easter. Threatens never to return:

During the Easter Holidays 24,000 bunnies were shot dead in the annual rabbit hunt on the South Island of New Zealand.

d. The Hell with the Women and Children, Save the Dammed Beer First:

Recently, a group of men in Australia were riding in a pick-up truck loaded with cases of beer. The beer and one man riding in the back of the vehicle fell off the truck as it rounded a curve in the road. The other members of the group stopped the truck, salvaged the beer, reloaded it on to the back of the truck and drove off, leaving the man, who had fallen off, behind to die.

e. Lese Majesté:

A Thai senior government official, supported by the Army Chief of Staff, threatened to charge a well-respected academic who proposed an “Eight-point proposal” to reform the monarchy in a lecture, with violating Thailand’s Lese Majesté law for insulting the monarchy. No one asked the King if he was insulted by the proposals.

For your information, what I have just written here could also be construed as a violation of the law, making me a criminal. All of you reading this have also probably violated the same law. See you in jail. It could be fun.


This is probably my last post from Thailand for a month or two since I will be returning to the US tomorrow.

While sitting in the apartment watching the children play and laugh, I thought back to my childhood to see if I could remember laughing. I could recall times that I cried, some of them very clearly, but laughter, nothing came to mind. I must have laughed, all children do. My childhood was not so grim that it never could have happened. Perhaps happiness is just something we assume as children and so, at best, vaguely remember it when it happens, but sorrow is so unanticipated it sears itself into our memories.


It was one of those sunny days becoming more and more common in the Bay Area perhaps one of the few more welcome effects of global warming, so Vince decided to walk to Fat Al’s office and give himself some time to try to think things through. He walked up Market Street. He had been told that it had been called by the old timers as “the slot”. It has traditionally been considered the City’s main street.

When he arrived at the Bush Street its junction with Market, he turned right on to Bush and began the long climb up and along the side of Nob Hill, skirting Union Square. Beyond Union Square as he walked along he could look to his left along the streets that intersected Bush down into San Francisco’s Tenderloin, the repository of the City’s lost souls undergoing a make over by the Asian immigrants moving in sensibly to take advantage of the relatively cheap rents (and property values) of an area close to the City’s downtown.

Finally he arrived at the crossing of Bush and Larkin. Fat Al’s place of business was located on the top floor of a small four-story brick building perched on the southwest corner.

Fat Al operated out of the top two floors, while the bottom two floors were occupied by a small civil engineering firm owned by an attractive Iranian-American woman who also owned the building.

Vince pressed the button beside the entrance that announced “Pischotti Investigations,” heard the buzzer magnetically unlocking the door, pushed the door open, walked to the small elevator and took it to Fat Al’s office on the fourth floor.

Upon exiting the elevator into the cramped office space Vince was greeted by Marge, Fat Al’s wife and office manager. Marge is a big woman every bit as tall as Vince, with a round smiling face that matched her personality and a bushy head of what was once dark blond hair beginning its metamorphosis to grey.

“Hy ya Vince,” She called out. “Great to see ya. The big man’s all excited about you comin by. Go right in. He’s waiting”

Vince smiled, winked and waved at Marge and walked into Fat Al’s office.

Fat Al, upon seeing Vince enter immediately rose from his old wooden office chair, circled his cluttered desk and grasped Vince in a suffocating bear hug. “Vince,” he shouted. “You’re back home. How’re ya doing? You look great. How’re those Thai girls treating you? What can I do for you?” he rambled on not giving Vince the time to answer even if he could, crushed as he was in the bear hug.

He released Vince but still held him by the shoulders and looking into Vince’s eyes said in a little softer voice, “You look good amico. Glad to have you back.”

Then dropping his arms and returning to his chair which squeaked loudly as he dropped his great bulk into his chair, inquired, “What’s up buddy”

Unlike the seeming bowling ball hardness of the equally endomorphic Ike, Fat Al’s adipose tissue seemed to cascade from his narrow shoulders to settle happily and loosely about his gargantuan hips, buttocks and lower belly. Vince thought for a moment that perhaps he was surrounding himself with all this heft in reaction to the health club fitness induced anorexia of the First and David. “Shakespeare was right,” he thought. “About skinny people, not attorneys,” he amended quickly.

Fat Al Pischotti at one time had been the head of the City Police Department’s Homicide Division. He still likes wearing his police special in a little holster affixed to bis belt. After putting in his 20 years to qualify for retirement, he took his pension and left the force to become one of the legion private investigators in the Dashiell Hammett Sam Spade tradition for which the City is so proud and whom they treat of celebrities. His business consisted mostly of skip traces and domestic squabbles, not the type of things Vince and his cohorts in the large law firms needed for the type of private investigations required by their corporate clients. For those matters they hired new style PI firms, usually large multi-office enterprises staffed by accountants and people with the word “forensics” contained somewhere in their title.

But for Vince’s purposes Fat Al was just what he wanted and needed now.


a. Today’s Chart.

Migration of seniors from the US to Mexico:

Interesting, Mexico gives us their young and we in turn give them back our old. Perhaps we can arrange an exchange. For every unemployed teenage Mexican receiving unemployment benefits we will accept the return of one American senior living on a social security pension inadequate to cover their living expenses in the US.

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

One of the most important goals for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that just about the only function of government has become to shield enterprise from risk.”


“A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men.”

Camille Paglia as quoted on Masculine Virtues site.

As much as I may have to admit it, on this Camille may have a point. If she is right, we men may be dumber than I thought. According to her, unlike women who have no choice in the matter but to be as strange and bizarre as they often are, we men do, yet we do nothing about it but ask some other guy what he thinks)

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. April 25, 2011


2011: Recent surveys by Gallup found that world-wide roughly 700 million adults would like to migrate to another country permanently if they had the chance. The United States is the top desired destination country. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of these respondents, which translates to more than 165 million adults worldwide, name the United States as their desired future residence. With an additional estimated 45 million saying they would like to move to Canada, Northern America is one of the two most desired regions.

The rest of the top desired destination countries (those where an estimated 25 million or more adults would like to go) are predominantly European. Forty-five million adults who would like to move to the United Kingdom or to France as their desired destination, while 35 million would like to go to Spain and 25 million would like to relocate to Germany. Thirty-million consider moving to Saudi Arabia and an additional 25 million to Australia.

Hooray, for the USA. We are first again in something other than violent crimes and gun ownership. Should we consider channeling these new residents to Alabama [see Today’s Quote below] for indoctrination into American values. [30 million people want to migrate to Saudi Arabia? What’s that about?]


War and politics.

The on again off again pseudo war with Cambodia over an ancient temple, is on again. It seems as though the purpose of the current action is to kill about 10 troops and an equal number of civilians each day, and issue voluminous press releases demonstrating the military’s vigilance in defending the honor of King and country, in preparation for the up-coming elections (or coup). Make no mistake about it, this is the military’s private war. The civilian authorities have nothing to do with it other than to issue tepid assurances of support for the sacrifices of the troops in defense of the nations patrimony.


The “Hot” season is upon us here. The relatively comfortable temperatures that we experienced since last October have been replaced by a furnace that drives most farangs and many Thais indoors as surely as would a snowstorm. As I sit in the apartment, air conditioners set at their highest and watch Hayden and Nina play, I stare at the heating world outside. I realize that unlike what I had been used to in the US where the heat rising from the ground would hide the world behind shimmering waves, fracturing it into pieces that disappear and reappear as the waves crest and recede, here the world keeps getting clearer and brighter slowly leaching out its colors until suddenly without warning it darkens as a cloud passes in front of the sun and when the sun comes out again the colors are magically restored.

Recently I have been spending more and more time at the little masseuse’s apartment. Usually when Hayden and maid depart on whatever task set for them by SWAC, I travel from the apartment I share with them, a few steps around the corner to the masseuse’s place. She is usually at work at the health club, dispensing towels and cold drinks to the members of the club and providing massages, happy or therapeutic as the case may be, to men and women alike.

The health club is located in the Ambassador Hotel. About 20 years or so ago the Ambassador was considered one of the more fashionable hotels in the city. Not as fashionable, nor expensive as the venerable Oriental Hotel situated on a prime riverfront site. And, unlike the Oriental which maintained its luster and physical plant, the Ambassador has grown old and not particularly gracefully.

When it was new the owner of the Ambassador had many large aquariums built and placed throughout the public areas, each containing a great variety of fish, most of which were and still are large in size and usually gold or silver in color.

Extending from within the building are large aviaries, some as much as four stories high. These hold a good number of interesting bird species, some individuals of which appear to me to have lived in the aviaries since the hotel first opened. While the aviaries and aquariums cannot be said to be in disrepair, they look and are old.

On the second and third floor terraces of the hotel are several smaller aviaries usually containing one or two larger colorful birds with either distinctive calls or whistles, or the ability to shout out a word or two to passers-by. One bird in an aviary located near the pool lets out an annoying wolf whistle any time a woman walks by.

Now and then I would take Hayden with me to see the fish in the aquariums and visit the birds in the aviaries. We would accompany the old caretaker on his rounds to feed the birds and clean their cages. Hayden would help out a bit and the old man would relate to him some facts about the particular bird in each cage they visited.

During their rounds, I would often sit on one of the chairs of the fantastically shaped collection of furniture strewn about the terrace, all made from the roots of giant teak trees, giving the terrace the look of leafless extension of the jungle itself. I would smoke a cigar and watch them, engage in serious discussion as they trundled from cage to cage.

The owner of the hotel periodically remodels and upgrades small portions of the premises, currently a new lobby is under construction. The hotel now caters primarily to Indian and Arab tourists.

The health club is still in an old run down condition. A few years ago, however, a new spa was constructed in another part of the hotel offering some of the same services as the health club (minus the fitness equipment) for at least twice the cost.

About four aging female masseuses work in the health club along with about eight younger men who also double as fitness trainers.

Anyway, I spend my afternoons in her tiny apartment, playing with my computer and napping. It is quiet there, the only sounds are the deep-throated hum of the air-conditioner and the rumble, almost more felt than heard, of the traffic on the highway a few blocks away.


Chapter 19 (cont.)

“I think I understand basically what you are asking me to do,” he whispered. “However, do I also understand correctly, that among the reasons for the anxiety impelling you to seek counsel is that you believe, Coign’s death, the absence of Mr. Charles Bowman and the purloined files and Pepper and Rooney’s reticence all have something to do with ‘Red Star’?” “Otherwise, I see no urgency in your wish to retain my services. Nor for that matter do I see that my looking into the Red Star matter could in anyway protect your interests and better than existing counsel, unless you also believe that you may want me to look into the other issues as well, in which case that is entirely another matter”

Vince did not know whether to be amused at the man’s archaic mode of expression, annoyed at his assumptions or relieved at his perceptivity. Nevertheless he responded, “Yes, I guess your right. I do fear all these things are related, but I have no way of knowing if they do. I am also so focused on the management of the firm, as you know we’re are going through difficult times, as is the entire economy, that I feel out of my depth if they do, and I simply do not know who I can rely on to advise me except competent counsel of my choice and Pepper and Rooney would not be it”

Ike stared back at him for what seemed to be a long time, then said softly, “All right, I think I will have to first look into Red Star on my own and I will get back to you as soon as I can to let you know if I agree to accept the assignment. I admit, I find what you have told me interesting. In the meantime, I think you should, decide who it is I actually will be representing and begin assembling all the material that you wish me to review. You must understand, that if I do undertake this matter my office is ill-equipped to service a case of this size and complexity and I will be relying on retaining additional counsel that I trust. It could be expensive.”

With that he got up and departed with the same abruptness that Vince had left First’s office.

Vince handled his emerging buyer’s remorse by assuring himself that the guy had been recommended by Mike Daly, someone he trusted and that he actually liked dealing with old Ike. Nevertheless, he felt cornered by his old weakness of preferring to work with and trust people on the basis of their idiosyncrasies rather than what he may or may not know of their abilities.

He then put into a call to “Fat Al” Pischotti, his favorite PI who agreed to meet with him as soon as Vince got to Fat Al’s office at the corner of Bush and Larkin on the edge of the tenderloin district.

a. Today’s chart – Born Somewhere Else:

Percentage of each country (or territory) that is foreign-born migrants. Many former Soviet republics have seen a drop in foreign-born residents as scores of ethnic Russians left over the last two decades.

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

“There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.”

It costs money to get into the market, it costs money to participate in it and it inevitably costs money to get out. What’s so free about it?


A guest quote provided to me by my friend “Density.”

“If the Japanese knew anyone from Alabama they would have never bombed Pearl Harbor.”
– Richard Prior

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 23. 2011

English: Map of Pitcairn Islands (rough), Paci...

Map of Pitcairn Islands (rough), Pacific Ocean, own work composed from various mapreferences (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2011: According to UN estimates Pitcairn Islands is the worlds smallest country in terms of population containing just about 50 citizens.


a. Coup rumblings or show of force:

Military exercises by about 1000 élite troops are being held in Bangkok ostensibly so that the troops can show their support of the monarchy. In his speech to these troops the commander of the 1st Infantry Division (the troops that put down the Red Shirt protest last year) proclaimed, “All from the 1st Infantry Regiment are the Kings soldiers. Hence, you must be ready to act on commands of your superiors.” He then went on to urge them to have faith in their commanders and strictly obey their orders, and insisted that all soldiers should share the army chief’s stance.

Huh…what about the Kings stance or that of the democratically elected government?

b. Who runs the country:

It should be noted that although the current military high command apparently dominates the existing civilian government in power the opposition United Front for Democracy (UDD) is led by a general. The UDD has just severed its ties with the main opposition party, the Puea Thai (Thaksin and Red Shirt backed party).

Is this an attempt by the General to secure himself a position in the next government whether formed by coup or election?

c. Although it may only be proposed as electioneering propaganda the current ruling party proposes an interesting approach to taxes:

The ruling Democrats have proposed higher consumption taxes as a means of lowering the income gap. Now consumption taxes always have been criticized as a means for the very rich to transfer whatever burden of support for the government they may be asked to bear themselves to the poor, working and middle classes through progressive income taxes, not otherwise avoided by tax reductions on the rich by means of a flattened tax role or simple non progressive roll back of rates. Simply, the wealthiest people in a society spend relatively less of their income on consumable than the rest of us and apply more of it to savings and accumulation of capital. In an effort to defuse this criticism or disguise its impact by arguing that the wealthy would pay more for luxury goods that the rest of the population cannot afford and thereby contribute more funds to the public treasury that they now avoid through deductions applicable mostly to them, like deductions for investments into long-term mutual funds (by the way, providing a greater benefit to the operators of the mutual funds than to the investors who reap the benefits of this largess through fees).* There is however a history of progressive application of consumption fees in Thailand through escalating tax rates for increased electricity use, more costly luxury cars and some environmental pollution fees.

* ( If the mutual funds actually provided a greater rate of return on investment than competing investments then investors would so invest as classical economic market theory predicts. By pushing for this redistribution of tax burden, the financial industry that promoted it actually encourages less competition and efficiency than classical economic market theory demands. It is instructive to note how silent most classical economists in the US, who are primarily paid by the financial industry, remain when faced by violations of their theories in situations like this and in cases of other supply side subsidies, while on the other hand their voices tremble with indignation any proposed rise in the minimum wage.)

d. OK it is about the US and not Thailand, but nevertheless:

Standard and Poor rating agency which along with Moody’s generally considered co-conspirator in the world-wide financial collapse of 2008 for setting their ratings for the benefit of their clients and who went unpunished, have recently threatened to downgrade the US credit rating because of the stalemate in congress over the means to reduce the national debt. Who do you suppose is paying them for their action now?

By the way wouldn’t such a threat to the welfare of the country be classified as treason. If you recall only a short while ago [and perhaps even now] those who advocated a change in the country’s economic system were branded traitors.


I am back in Paradise by the Sea for a few days packing up the apartment in preparation for my trip to the US. I regret having to give up the place, but economic considerations of maintaining an extra residence here during my stay in the US argue against keeping it. I am sure I can find a similar place upon my return.

English: Red shirt in Bangkok.

Red shirt in Bangkok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The little masseuse, a committed and determined red shirt supporter, spends much of her time watching the political debates on television. She attends all the Red Shirt rallies in Bangkok and some times attends the Yellow Shirt ones as well. When I ask her why she attends opposition events and listens so intently to their speeches on television, she says, “I want to understand exactly what they are saying so that I am better prepared.” I feel a little ashamed, I cannot stand watching Faux News.

I offered to take Hayden with me to spend a few days at the sea-shore and save her the burden of arranging for his care. Originally she agreed, then the day that we were to depart, SWAC claimed Hayden had a rash and needed to remain in Bangkok accessible to medical treatment in an emergency, so he could not come with me. The morning following my arrival here, I received a hysterical call from her demanding my return as soon as possible claiming she could not cope with the child and all the other things she had to do. Since I was going to return tomorrow anyway, I promised I would cut short my trip and return tomorrow to help relieve her anxiety.

I have not finalized my arrangements for my trip to the US yet, in part because I still do not know where I will be staying while I am in San Francisco attending to my medical issues.


Delayed because this current issue of “This and that…” has become too damned long.


a. The Mac Attack:

“Men act right only upon compulsion; but from the moment that they have the option and liberty to commit wrong with impunity, then they never fail to carry confusion and disorder everywhere. It is this that has caused it to be said that poverty and hunger make men industrious, and that the law makes men good; and if fortunate circumstances cause good to be done without constraint, the law may be dispensed with. But when such happy influence is lacking, then the law immediately becomes necessary.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first 10 Books of Titus Livius, chap.111

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

“Competition in a 100 yard dash lasts about 10 seconds. Competition in the market lasts about the same length of time before someone “tries to game it.

c. Today’s chart (we all are one or at least L3 and 3 mostly):


“Without waiting for Pino’s answer, he slipped into one of those midget high-rises that were not more than twelve stories high, having been built around the same time as the chemical works and having just as quickly fallen into ruin, when not abandoned altogether. For someone approaching from the sea, Vigata rose up like a parody of Manhattan, on a reduced scale.”
Andrea Camilleri, The Shape of Water.

Camilieri’s Vigata is actually Porto Empedocle, a town on the southern shore of Sicily a few miles south-west of Agrigento [Montelusa in Camilleri’s novels.] When I lived in Sicily in the late 1960s, Porto Empedocle had not yet sprouted the high rises or industries referenced in the novels. At that time, the town was home to some of the best sea-food restaurants in the southern part of the island, however.


Contemporary Porto Empedocle :

Porto Empedocle

Porto Empedocle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. April 22, 2011


2010: According to a report from the US Department of Justice, the US has the highest incidence of violent crimes in the world. Every year one out of every four persons in the US is a victim of crime. In 2009 an estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes and 133,000 personal thefts were reported against US residents 12 and over. The violent crime rate was 17.1 victimizations per 1000 persons. (American soldiers stationed in some war zones seem safer than the average American in many of their own neighborhoods)

The US also ranks first in the world in the number of privately owned guns (90 million guns in a population of 300 million). An average of 12,000 gun murders per year in also the among highest total of civilian gun deaths in the world. (Thank God for the second amendment, could you imagine what the total carnage would be were Americans stripped of their arms.)

I can only assume his mayhem and slaughter are caused primarily by those non-american hoards illegally flooding across our border, and the liberal coddling of the criminal classes. Either that or we Americans are the most violent barbaric people on the face of the earth.


a. More about subs:

The Thai Defense Minister has suggested to the Thai Navy that instead of buying six used submarines from Germany for 7.7 billion baht that they purchase instead two submarines of the same design from Korea for 40 billion baht. The Navy indicates that it will accept the alternative if the submarines are new.

Now if six submarines were necessary to protect the Thai homeland, why would only two, more expensive submarines of the same design, provide the same level of protection?

b. Election insults:

The Thai government has accused 18 opposition Red Shirts of insulting the monarchy, a crime under Thai law. The King in statements over the years has repeatedly stated that he is not above criticism and that criticism can only help him to be a better King. Under Thai law the Thai King has no say on whether or not he believes he has been insulted.

c. More about Songkran:

In Bangkok, home to innumerable sex clubs, nudie bars and the most vibrant sex tourism industry in the world, three teenage girls were fined for obscenity for dancing topless in the street before a crowd of Songkran revelers. It was claimed the girls demeaned the great Songkran festival. The same festival, by the way, celebrated by mass inebriation and indiscriminate assault by water gun.

As a result of the official reaction against lewdness in the streets of the capitol, the culture minister ordered the removal from the ministry’s website a painting by a notable Thai artist of three topless women dressed in ancient Thai costumes welcoming in the new year. The Culture Minister observed “Sometimes art and obscenity overlap” and wryly added, “Perhaps we have to buy bras to cover up [several well known public sculptures] to prevent obscenity.”

Thailand appears to be getting more and more like the US every day.


Since I recommenced posting into my blog the daily number of “hits” have increased dramatically, from about 3 per day to about 20 per day. True, most of the “hits” are advertisements for things like costume jewelry and “Broccoli,” but to those of us with weaker egos, any recognition is acceptable.

I have returned to Bangkok from PbS to resume my baby sitting duties only to discover that a six year old Thai girl has been added to the household at least temporarily. She is the daughter of one of the women who used to work at AVA. SWAC thought that it would be good for Hayden to stay with a friend and bond these last few weeks before being wrenched away into a new environment.

Actually, I find I enjoy having the both of them around. The mischief of one child can often be tiresome and repetitive, but the mischief of two I find endlessly unpredictable and amusing.


Chapter 19:

Seamus Arroyo Cohen proved to be a relatively short man built like a bowling ball on legs. Vince could see that it was not simply fat that filled out his trunk. The way he walked and the stability of his mass indicated a relative air of strength, if not fitness. Rising above that rotund mass, seemingly without the aid of a neck, was a rather small head complete with well groomed full head of dark brown hair and a similarly tinted meticulously trimmed full beard. He was wearing an elegant if somewhat dated grey three piece suit. All in all he appeared to Vince to resemble a character out of an Edwardian movie, lacking only the frock coat and walking stick.

He walked briskly over to where Vince was sitting, sat himself down offered his hand and said in a voice no louder than a whisper, “Mr. Biondi, it is a pleasure meeting you.”

“Ah… how did you know it was me,” Vince inquired, startled.

“You are the only one in this particular Starbuck’s that looked like a troubled, big firm lawyer. Besides, there are only three other customers in here, two are women and the third is a young man hunched over his computer, who does not appear to be more than 25 years old. It did not require the deductive reasoning capability of a Sherlock Holmes to ascertain that you were the person I came here to meet. Excuse me for a moment.”

He then gracefully heaved his bulk back out of the chair and went to the counter to order a Grande Cafe Americano.

Vince smiled as he watched this strange, soft spoken man wait patiently for his order.

When he reseated himself at the table with his coffee Vince said, “Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for agreeing to meet on such short notice.”

Please, you can call me ‘Ike.'”


“Yes,” he said in that same soft voice, “at the Department of Justice no one liked calling me Seamus, or Cohen, much less Arroyo, so at first they started calling me Sam. I never liked the name Sam and told them so and for some reason they switched to Ike. I actually liked the name Ike and so Ike I became.”

“Well then, Ike it is. I’m called Vince, most of the time. Let’s get down to business shall we?”

From the ensuing conversation and what he had been able to gather from his conversation with Mike Daily, Ike had been one of the brightest stars in the Department of Justice’s While Collar Crime division in Washington DC, when suddenly he quit, moved out to San Francisco a little over two years ago and bought the victorian that he remodeled it to his tastes. He now spends his time attending to his world renown Korean celadon pottery collection, taking lessons of the Sarod at Ali Akbar Kahn’s institute in Marin County, learning to play the banjo and attempting to grow orchids in a hot house on the top floor of his home. His basement he fitted out into a law office. He did not look for nor accept many cases, only those that interested him. He retained a part time legal secretary (according to Mike a women of unusual beauty and physical endowments) and an intern provided by the local law schools whom he could and would mentor. A Korean man and wife who lived in a unit at the back of the house and provided domestic help.

Vince explained his concerns. He began with the reasons he originally left the firm, why he thought he accepted the offer to return, what he has found here; Sam’s death, his secret room, Charlie’s involvement at the time of Sam’s death and the disappearance of the files, the Red Star matter and the involvement of firm management, the visit from the FBI and his discomfort with the First’s responsiveness to Vince’s inquiry. All and all he told him everything he could think of, except about Isabella. He was not sure why he left her out but he did.

“What I would like to retain you to do Ike, is to represent me primarily on the Red Star matter. We will begin there. I’d like you to review the files and use your knowledge and connections with the DOJ to find out what if anything is going on and then advise me as to what actions I should take.” (continued)


a. For Dr. Seuss’ aficionados upon reaching the age of 70:

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

“Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.”


“After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.” 
~P.J. O’Rourke

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 19, 2011


1964, November 4: Terry Reilly’s minimalist masterpiece “In C” premiered in San Francisco. Alfred Frankenstein, the San Francisco Chronicle said about listening to it, “At times you feel you have never done anything all your life long but listen to this music and as if that is or ever will be.”

Steve Reich another prominent American composer played the electric piano that night.

Several years later, through my then friends Mel Moss and Rasa Gustitus, I got to know Reilly, the marvelous sitar virtuoso Krishna Bott and many other musicians (Hamza el-Din, Ali Akbar Kahn, and even Peter Grenell) in the vibrant Bay Area music scene that existed during the 1970s and continued until it began to fade at the end of the 80’s. Reich had left the Bay Area and returned to New York before I had arrived in 1970. Reputedly he couldn’t stand California’s descent into hippiedom and mysticism. Besides the job prospects for composers were better on the East Coast.

Many of those same musicians would show up at the cottage in the rear of Mel and Rasa’s home on Jersey Street to jam on the amazing collection of home-made and folk musical instruments Mel had collected and stored there. Sometimes I would join them. The music at times would go on from early afternoon until two or three in the morning. Although, I understand that Reilly attended some of these sessions, I do not recall if I was there at the time he did. Everyone was usually too stoned and into the music making to know, care or remember.


a. Songkran:

The government of Bangkok was among the sponsors of what was reputed to be the world’s biggest water gun fight. Guinness is now checking if Bangkok mêlée has surpassed the size achieved by the current title holder for a similar event previously held in Spain.

b. Insurance:

Insurgents in the southernmost provinces of Thailand have begun setting up their own businesses to help finance the increasing cost of the rebellion. Among their new business ventures are firms that charge other companies doing business it those provinces 3000 baht per month to assure the covered companies that their assets will be immune to damage due to insurgency attacks.

c. Electioneering:

Puea Thai election slogan.



I plan to return from Paradise by the Sea at SWAC’s urgent request that someone (me) needs to attend to Hayden as she and the maid are too busy with their responsibilities at AVA Wine Bar to do so. I expect grief, anguish and conflict when I tell her that I have to return to PbS on Tuesday evening to finish packing in preparation for my trip to the US. She has volunteered to book my flight to SF for me so that I can accompany Hayden and her on their voyage to wherever. I suspect that she will attempt to pry some money out of me as commission for arranging the flight, claiming EVA has raised their prices.

Here in PbS, I continue my morning walks and afternoon swims. This evening, I went down to the pool for my swim and sat on one of the pool side lounges to finish up reading today’s newspaper. Upon finishing, I leaned back and suddenly felt awash with anxiety that I had something to do and I was wasting my time. I realized that I often feel that way, that I must be doing something and not be idle. Luckily for me, doing something included reading and watching television. While contemplating this, I also realized that I was sitting up in the lounge chair and that when I was lying prone, say on a bed, I had no such feelings of anxiety. So I decided, not to take my swim but return to my apartment and lie down. I did so and my anxiety disappeared.


Chapter 18 (cont.)

The First wrinkled his aquiline nose slightly as though he detected a whiff of something that smelled bad. He then spoke. “That is an interesting question and request.” “Hmm… are you sure you want to get in to that,” he asked buying some time?


“Well, then, ah, I will have to look into whether my representation of the partnerships as a whole under those changed circumstances, may affect my obligations to the individual partners, and of course whether or not there is anything in the partnership agreement that may limit that course of action.”

Vince knew that normally such hesitation by any attorney is a prelude to opening negotiations regarding fees, but here he got the distinct feeling that the First appeared ill-disposed to the request. “Well,” he said, “please look into it and let me know what you think by the end of the day, if that is at all possible.” And with that Vince without further ceremony excused himself and left the First’s office.

Convinced that the First was unwilling to antagonize potential future clients represented by his tainted clients, Vince decided to seek other advice. He first called Mike Daly of the firm of Daly and Perez. Although crime of the white-collar variety was not Mikes specialty, he knew Mike and his partner and ex-wife Rosie and followed their careers for a while now. He liked and admired them and trusted their advice.

Mike answered his cell phone on the first ring. After an exchange of greeting and inquiries as to the welfare of their respective families, Vince explained his quandary.

“Vince, since you have been away, Rosie and I closed up our practice and returned to the Public Defender’s office. We were always happiest there. Anyway, as you know that federal corporate stuff is not my field or interest. However, I can recommend that you confer with someone who I think is one of the most brilliant practitioners in the area. But I have to warn you he is quite unusual, and may be too unconventional for a white shoe firm like yours.”

Seamus, Arroyo, Cohen agreed to meet Vince at the Starbucks at the corner of Market Street and Drum Street in downtown San Francisco. It seems that attorney Cohen practiced out of the basement of his home in a large restored Italianate stick Victorian house on Liberty Street in the Mission District.


a. Projected Patterns of Precipitation Changes:

These maps, prepared by the IPCC in 2007, display the anticipated changes in precipitation (in percent) for the period 2090–2099, relative to 1980–1999. The values indicated are multi-model averages (that is, assembled out of many different computer models) for December to February (left) and June to August (right). White areas are where less than 66% of the models agree and stippled areas are where more than 90% of the models agree.
(I assume the white areas indicate a disagreement among the models over gradations and not of trends. If that is so, the maps are even more disturbing. For example in the June to August map the United States is entirely white between two large areas where the models agree to a substantial drop in precipitation from normal. Does this mean the US as a whole is in for increased wetness or increased dryness and the only disagreement is how much? The answers, would, for example, indicate whether the central portion of the US would or would not experience substantial migration.*)
If they accurately predict the future weather patterns pictured, what these maps show is that (as I mentioned in a previous post), precipitation in Northeast North America and Northeast Asia may increase up to 20%, while Southwest North America (from Southern California through Texas and south to Panama) and the Mediterranean basin (Southern Europe and North Africa) and the Near and Middle East will substantially dry up.
These projections signify on a social level , among other things, the probability of significant human migration from the drying regions and increased weather caused catastrophe costs in the areas receiving greater rainfall.
Two things should be noted. The first is the potential expanded cloud cover due to greater precipitation over much of the northern hemisphere may slow and even reverse shrinkage of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheet melt, thus slowing sea water rise. Secondly the highly populated portions of northeastern US and Asia (China, Korea and Japan) may for a while experience the feeling of a cooling trend.

* While a single weather event cannot be generalized into a trend, the recent unprecedented rash of tornadoes throughout the middle of the US, would be consistent with the type of weather events that could be expected within that particular white area on the maps.

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

“There is no such things as supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.”


“A wasteland, dominated by these maniacs, these creeps, who were trying to make everyone write this crazy creepy music”
American composer Steve Glass describing the European musical avant-garde he encountered in Paris during his studies there during the 1960s.

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

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