Daily Archives: June 28, 2012

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Since 9/11, the expensive and time-consuming screening now routine for passengers at US airport boarding gates has detected plenty of knives, loaded guns and other contraband, but it has never identified a terrorist who was about to board a plane.

Also since 2002, 75 billion dollars per year has been spent on domestic security, setting up sophisticated radio networks, upgrading emergency medical response equipment, installing surveillance cameras and bomb-proof walls, and outfitting airport screeners to detect an ever-evolving list of mobile explosives. Over 32 billion dollars alone have been spent in Homeland Security grants, much on Hollywood-style tactical gear, often with little or no connection between risk and outlay . During that time 14 Americans have died in about three dozen instances of Islāmic extremist terrorist plots targeted at the US, outside war zones — most of them involving one or two home-grown plotters.

So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?

Gay muslims

Gay muslims (Photo credit: hebedesign)

It has been estimated that the number of people worldwide, outside of war zones, killed by Muslim-type terrorists is basically the same number of those who die in a bathtub each year.

Shouldn’t we also spend 75 billion dollars per year to improve bathtub safety? Is someone less dead from a fall in a bathtub than being shot by a Muslim or shot by an irate husband for that matter. Of course if we don’t stop the Muslims they will soon kill us all and take away our freedoms, while bathtubs are just that, bathtubs. But, what about irate husbands?

Hmm, I think if I could choose, my first choice would be to be shot by an irate husband, in second place to die in the bathtub. Clearly my least favorite way to die of the three is to be shot by a Muslim. So I guess there you have it, I support spending 75 billion taxpayer dollars a year to protect me from being shot by a Muslim, but not a penny to protect me from irate husbands or to fix my defective bathtub.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Cabinet meetings: The Bangkok Post reported that Princess Luckygirl, the newly elected Prime Minister of Thailand runs her cabinet meetings like a corporate board meeting. She requires the cabinet ministers to make the presentations themselves and answer questions without assistance of their staff; allows no additions to the agenda  that have not been accepted into the agenda more that 4 hours before the meeting; and once an agenda item is completed, allows no revisiting of the issue. Apparently this has cut cabinet meeting time in half.

2. Chief of Police: The new administration asked the holdover national chief of police  to resign after it was revealed that illegal gambling casinos and other illegal and immoral activities, some actually operated by the police themselves, were occurring in the nation’s capital city, Bangkok right under the nose of the current chief. The discredited police chief is to be punished by appointment as permanent Secretary of the nation’s Tourism Department (sounds reasonable). His replacement is reported to be the ex husband of a cousin to the wife of the deposed fugitive prime minister Thaksin the Terrible. The new appointee’s only experience outside of family politics seems to be as an officer in the police internal affairs unit.

The reaction of the opposition to this has been swift and consists of two salient points. The first, posed in the english language newspapers, claims that it is unfair to fire the existing chief on the assumption that he must have known of the illegal activities since the new administration supervising the police must have known about it also and did nothing about it. Unfortunately for this argument, the new government has actually been in office for only about a week.

The second argument posits that if they are going to replace an experienced officer like the present chief if should be someone with more experience than an ex in law to the deposed Prime Minister. This argument has been put forth by several commentators including the defeated prime minister Abhsit the Unready. Unfortunately for Abhsit, when he appointed the now disgraced (but soon to be rehabilitated as tourism chief), chief of police about a year ago, he was asked what experience his chosen candidate had that recommended him for the post over any other candidate, he acknowledged that he did not know of any.

3. Chief of Police Update: Since I wrote 2 above (yesterday) the Current chief of Police has sent a letter to Prime Minister Princess Luckygirl resigning as police chief and requesting a transfer to the position of, Secretary-general of National Security Council and not as the permanent secretary of the Department of Tourism as I previously reported. (Wow! how’s that for falling on your feet?). In his resignation letter he stated that he was doing this of his own free will and has not been forced to seek the transfer.

Princess Luckygirl’s Deputy, commenting on replacement of the current police chief with deposed fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible’s ex-wife’s elder brother (not as I reported above the ex-husband or the wife’s cousin — it is difficult to keep all these family relationships straight) stated, “Police General Wichean (the departing chief) looks like an academic, while a drunk can get sober just by looking at Police General Priewpan (the anointed chief). So who do you think I should use?”
This comment is all the more confusing when one realizes that existing chief is short and stocky, looking like he could stand in for Edward G. Robinson while the anointed one looks like the second coming of Mr. Rogers.

So, what do you think this all means?

 

A kathoey dancing

A kathoey dancing (Photo credit: thaths)

4. DODT Thailand Style: The Defense Ministry is expected to formally change the term for transsexuals and transvestite (Katoey in Thailand) in conscription records from “permanent mental disorder” to “gender identity disorder.” Also, a Thai court recently prohibited applying the term “mental illness” to a Katoey who has not yet had a sex change operation, because the judge reasoned he could still come to his senses and change his mind. After a sex change operation, since a change of heart is proscribed, a Katoey can still be referred to as “mentally ill.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Delayed because the onset of the monsoon rains has flooded Pookie with ennui.

However, I have decided to use this space to introduce the replacement for the next few posts of the “Eponymous Laws” section of “Pepe’s Potpourri” with “Where did that Come From?” a history of some common english phrases and idioms.

I am ending the Eponymous Laws section because I have run out of E-laws for which I had a smarmy, smug response that I self-righteously assumed would amuse everyone as much as they amused me.

The new section was prompted by a listing of interesting, I guess they could be called, etymologies, recently sent to me by one of the recipients of these posts who I sometimes refer to herein as Density. Now and then, I have also received similar items from others, especially Ruth.

Now some may wonder why, if I thought they were so good, I did not simply forward them en-masse instead of dribbling them out one by one over several months. Well, I thought about doing that, but then I recalled that my fiend Cordt sent me a listing of Groucho’s greatest bon-mots that I forwarded on to all and more as one does in this e-mail age, (soon, if it hasn’t already, to be replaced by the social networking age). I realized I was dissatisfied with that and recognized a benefit (slight though it may be) to limited character communication. When one has only to review one item, one must first decide to read it. Then if one so decides and actually reads it one usually attempts to understand it. And if one understands it one must decide whether one agrees with it or not and finally whether one likes it at all.

In the case of a list of items one usually skims them all looking for which one likes the best, making simple entertainment the highest quality recognized.

In other words, I was unhappy with my lesser level of influence over the reader’s attention provided by the list approach.

With that as an introduction, I can now get to the initial item.

But first a word about Groucho. Now I know it may sound unbelievable to many of you but for those under 40 years old, Groucho Marx may be virtually forgotten and I doubt if any of my grand children reading this have any idea who he is.

Well, to me Groucho Marx is the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century.

“Wait a minute,” some of you may exclaim. “Groucho was a comedian, not a philosopher.”

To which, by way of response, I direct your attention the Greeks of classical antiquity. To these progenitors of many “Western” cultural and intellectual beliefs, comedy and tragedy were just two ways of expressing truth. In the radical dualism of which the ancient Greeks were so fond, humanity’s experience was of only two types; either all your hopes and dreams turn to shit or, if you survive, they still are shit but you can laugh at them. There is nothing more in the cards for humanity except terminal boredom.

Before Groucho, the worlds greatest comedian was Machiavelli, who I have sometimes quoted in these posts. Before him, in my opinion the world’s greatest comedian was Socrates. Plato was a fascist jerk and Aristotle a woolly headed liberal.

Now some of you may say whoa,” Aristotle a liberal?” “How can that be, over the years some of the most autocratic people and institutions (like the Catholic Church) relied upon Aristotle to crush the human spirit?

As Leo Rosten said, “A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.” There is nothing so liberal that a few centuries later a conservative could not find useful to beat away challenges to his prerequisites. For example nearly 50 years after Marx, that arch-conservative Lenin saw in Communism something with which he could beat up a group of doddering superstitious autocrats and take over their empire (and while he was at it crushing the inept liberal Mensheviks along the way). Later Stalin had Trotsky killed to make sure Marx received the same treatment that Spencer gave Darwin.

Why do modern conservatives reject Darwinism when Spencer and his “survival of the fittest” did so much to make him their favorite scientist through most of the last century? I guess they found God. He is after all the ultimate survivor. As one supporter of conservative causes has written, “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” and the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax, and opposed the progressive income tax also. This, of course, leads me back to Groucho and his immortal line, “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception.”

On to Density 1.

There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged

The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ”ONE LAST DRINK.”

If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD.

If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON.

So there you go… More bleeding history.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Also delayed due to the above mentioned deluge of lethargy.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Where did that come from?

Please see above, “Pookie’s Adventures in Thailand.” For those of you who waded through all that above, I have a bonus story told to me by Ruth Galanter. It comes from Australia, so let’s put some ‘strine’ on the barbie, shall we?

It seems that at some point the inmates of the penal colony that was Australia decided that they wanted to improve their image in the world so that they would no longer appear to be what they were, criminals. They discovered that it was fashionable in certain circles to adopt the appearance of being civilized to cover the rough edges, so to speak. They decided that this was a good idea and they would do so too.

The first thing civilized thing they did was to start killing the aboriginal inhabitants that they were sharing their country with or driving them off the land that they, the civilizers, wanted for themselves. The second civilized thing they did was for a few of them to become as rich as Midas by destroying as much or the land as they could and where necessary killing anyone who stood in the way. The third civilized thing they introduced was gambling venues at which these new rich could flaunt their money. Since gambling casinos were considered immoral at the time, the most civilized gambling activity they could consider was horse racing.

Soon a lot of money was spent to find the fastest horse of them all so that someone could boast that he owned it. At one time that horse was named Favor.

Now, there is a comb or brush used to remove tangles or burrs from a horses coat. It is called a currying comb or brush. Now I assume at the time people were lined up for the chance to brush the famous horse much like groupies lined up at a Rolling Stone concert for a chance to be shagged by Keith Richards. And that’s were we get the expression to “Curry Favor.” ——- No. to brush the horse, not get shagged by Keith Richards, that’s called something else.

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

Remember, if you have to ask, “Who won the class war?” the correct answer is, “Not you.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land — of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations.”
D. James Kennedy, “Changing Of The Guard”

I bet Jimmy never bathed his goat in mother’s milk.

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

Men don’t read fiction — men account for less than 20 percent of all fiction sales.

What is worse in the last decade 1 in 4 people in the US have not read a book at all.

Yes but, LMAO.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Things that Really Matter in 2011 and Beyond (in one person’s view) for Investments and Real Life
Resources running out, putting strong but intermittent pressure on commodity prices
Global warming causing destabilized weather patterns, adding to agricultural price pressures
Declining American educational standards relative to competitors
Extraordinary income disparities and a lack of progress of American hourly wages
Everything else.”
Jeremy Grantham former Chairman and now Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), which has more than US $107 billion in assets under management as of December 2009.

TODAY’S CHART:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 1, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

When I abandoned the seven or eight containers of the stuff I had accumulated over the years before setting out with a single suitcase for Thailand, I was especially saddened about my loss of some things like artworks, collections, photographs and things like that. It was not the first time I had left everything behind and set out for a new life or to a new continent. All I could salvage were a few things that fit into an outside pocket of my suitcase; my daughters PhD thesis, a photograph or two, Fred Harris for President Handbook that I drafted during his presidential campaign in the mid 70s and two diaries from the early 60’s.

I do not know how these diaries survived my many migrations, but they did, always lying a few feet from my bed, unread and unopened but for a moment or two every decade or so. Last night I opened them again. I was looking for something I thought I had written in these diaries, but it was probably in a third diary that was lost in the latest move. The remaining two were paper back book sized, one with a red cover and one with brown. They dated from 1963 and 1964, my first two years in law school and mainly recorded my anxiety with school and my relationship with the woman who became my first wife. They are mostly embarrassing, at times amusing and now and then poignant. Since I have grown bored with most of the subjects I write about and after all, this whole thing is nothing more than a strange extended memoir, I decided to include some excerpts.

The first is a weather report dated Wednesday April 15, 1964:

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

On April 26, 1963, I recorded part of a letter written by a young english woman, Val, to her room-mate Maria who remained living in New York after Val returned to England. Val and Maria had worked one summer at my uncle’s restaurant on Cape Cod. I met them there and we became close friends. They moved to New York City where they roomed together until Val left.

“Joe was there with flowers. He more than anything else made me sad in leaving America. He personified all that was good and fun and enjoyable in America.”

I liked reading it then and I like reading it now.

March 20, 1964. I had recently begun clerking at the then prestigious Wall Street Law firm of White and Case, a firm that at that time I would be unable to join as an attorney after I graduated law school because of my ethnic background and religion and even if I could, I could never hope to become a partner. Thirty years later, the firm had become just another big law firm struggling to compete with hundreds of others, many larger and more effective and with fewer barriers to entry. They were struggling. By then, I had a sizable book of business and they begged me to join them as a partner.

“I met Mr. Mannix (a senior partner) at work today. He is very pleasant and made me feel very relaxed. He walks with a limp and has a daughter named “Dee-Dee.”
I feel miserable and lonely.
The Telephone Company is going to cut off my service.
My studies are going poorly.
I have no money left.
I took everything out on poor Jeanne (my then girlfriend and future first wife).
My feet smell.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

A few days ago Nepal authorized the gender identification options on all official documents to include, Male, Female and Other.

Why do we need classifications for race, gender, nationality and the like? If you are an individual and other individuals have rights, you should also have the same rights as they do.

2. But you do not understand…:

A few months ago I mentioned the Thai Transportation Secretary whose house was burgled of over $600,000 dollars of unaccounted for cash (rumors circulated that the actual amount may have been more that 5 times what was reported). The minister originally claimed only about $100,000 was stolen. When it was revealed that it was much more than that, the minister explained that it was money his daughter received from her father in law as a wedding present that was in his possession for safe keeping. It was also revealed that his ministry recently awarded a substantial contract accompanied by rumors of large sums of lubrication (tea, in Thai) money received by unknown parties.

Well, the government now has seized the money (already in their possession) pending charges that the minister was “unusually wealthy.” The minister resigned his position following the governments action.

A law against “unusual wealth;” wouldn’t you like that here? Once a year those with sudden increases in wealth would be hauled before the court to explain how they did it. This could be a good thing; to really know how they did it. After all, we know from innumerable scientific studies that it has little to do with talent.

3. it is not over until…:

It was reported recently that property values in key cities of the world declined by and average of .4% this past quarter. This is the first decline since the 2008 economic collapse.

It is a pretty good indication that money or wealth continues to disappear from the world economy. The determined insistence of bond holders that their investment expectations not be diminished through inflation or default will inevitably see their expectations crushed by economic collapse. When will they understand? They made a bet. They lost. Accept it. Its time to start over.

4. And it is still not over…:

The general and now member of the Thai legislature that led the coup that ousted prime minister Thaksin the Terrible, exiled fugitive brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl has introduced a bill that, in the name of national reconciliation, will offer unconditional amnesty to all parties involved in the coup and following several years of turmoil. The legislation would allow the exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand with all changes and convictions dismissed and his confiscated fortune restored. Those that injured or killed during the Red Shirt protests last tear would also be exonerated. The leader of the opposition party and previous Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready would have all charges pending against him dropped also.

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abhsit the Unready and his party opposed the amnesty because it would allow Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand. The Red Shirts also oppose it because it would allow those accused of killing Red Shirt protestors during the demonstrations a few years ago to go free. Princess LuckyGirl, when asked about her position on the bill said that she had none since it is a legislative matter.

It sort of reminds one of the debt ceiling debate in the US, doesn’t it.

5. Finally…:

According to a report sent to me by Gary, there are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other city in the world. According to a BKK based social media commentator, “Facebook in Thailand for many people is the Internet.” “They watch videos, send messages and communicate with friends, play games. It replaces the browser.” He claims that Thais see Facebook as a utility and not as a trend.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree. Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple. Timothy tells us that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Muhammad banned usury. The Jews referred to interest as neshek—a bite. The Catholic church banned it in 1311. Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell—the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and “other practisers of unnatural vice.”

An economics book used in some fundamentalist christian private high schools in the US holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.

Does this all mean that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jamie Dimon (Demon? Spell check says so.), could be the anti-christ and may practice “unnatural vice?”

B. Tax relief:

Out of the 3.9 million households that reported an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more in 2009, more than 10,000 households paid nothing in taxes, according to a new study from the Internal Revenue Service.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

A recent study of sexuality revealed that adults with Body Modifications (tattoos, piercing) have had their first intercourse statistically earlier and were more sexually active compared with controls. There were no statically significant differences in sexual orientation, sexual preferences, engaging in risky sexual behaviors, frequency of masturbation, and history of sexual abuse between the groups. In contrast, the frequency of sexual intercourse was statistically higher and oral sex was more likely to be a dominant sexual activity in adults with BM compared with controls. The multivariate logistic model revealed that adults with BM were four times less likely to participate in religious practices and twice more likely to have early sexual initiation.

(Source: “Tattoos, Piercing, and Sexual Behaviors in Young Adults” from The Journal of Sexual Medicine.)

What this tells us is that the tattooed guy in the picture below probably had sex before he was old enough to walk and hasn’t been to church since. On the other hand, the woman in the other picture who apparently has neither tattoos nor piercings is actually a Buddhist nun and a virgin.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. How Investing Turns Nice People Into Psychopaths, by Lynn Stout

“The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths.”

B. by bjou:

“A ‘slut’ is just a sexually confident woman who sleeps with everyone but you.”

TODAY’S CHART:

The interesting thing about this chart is that it shows that almost the entire relative growth of the various sectors in the federal budget over the years is caused by the rise in Medicare and Medicaid costs. I am not sure what that means, although it probably the explosive rise in health care costs in general and Bush’s unfunded mandate for section D coverage had a lot to do with it. On this issue the political debate is between the Republican insistence on reducing benefits and the Democrat preference for controlling escalating medical costs.The Republicans have the political advantage on this issue because Doctors and drug companies make political contributions and the typical user of Medicare and Medicaid does not.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Some photographs from Gary of his friends in Pattaya (The Outskirts of Hell).

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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