Daily Archives: July 1, 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 9 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Spiritual Fitness:


The US Army spent $125 million its Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and its controversial “Spiritual Fitness” test, a mandatory test that must be taken by all soldiers. The term “Spiritual Fitness” is not limited to this one test. The military began using this term to describe a variety of initiatives and events towards the end of 2006, and this ‘code phrase’ for promoting religion was heavily in use by all branches of the military by 2007.

In addition, approximately $800,000 has been spent to far on contracts awarded to Christian talent agencies and bands for the US Army’s “Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series.”

Didn’t the Constitution say something about the government not establishing a religion? Perhaps the Constitution’s prohibition does not apply to “spiritual fitness.”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

Suburbia: A new report from “Strong Towns” a development think tank states that the first generation of Suburbia was built on and maintained by savings and investment, but the second was built and maintained by borrowing tons of money. We are now in the third generation we are out of savings and investment and easy money, now what do we do?

They also point out that in every case they have studied the useful life of an infrastructure investment paid for by borrowing from the private market was less the time it took to pay back the loans. What this means is that almost every community that invested in infrastructure by borrowing will likely face bankruptcy should growth slow or stop.

Finally the report found that in almost every case where a developer paid for or otherwise donated infrastructure improvements in its development in return for the community to assume responsibility for operation and maintenance of the improvements eventually required a tax increase to pay for the maintenance.

It used to be that in embarking on an infrastructure project the costs for operation and maintenance were budgeted for. One of the centerpieces of the Reagan Revolution was the abolishing of this practice so that his administration could appear to have cut spending in the budget. Not only did this practice push-off the burden on to to future generations (like ours today) but by masking the true long-term costs it encouraged the orgy or borrowing that marks current Conservative governmental policy world-wide. This was neither traditional liberal nor conservative orthodoxy, but a cynical ploy to obtain and hold power by pandering to the economic élite.

If in comes either to pandering to the rich or pandering to the average person, I know which side of the street I would prefer my elected politician to set up his crib.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I suspect my time here in the United States may be shorter than I planned. In addition to visiting friends and family and medical checkups and the like, my plans also had included minding and tutoring Hayden while his mother, SWAC, travels on another junket. I have recently learned that she has decided to park him with her newest male maid during her absence so that allocation of time for my visit appears be unnecessary.

On the other hand, although I will undoubtedly be sad at the passing of my relationship with someone I cared about, I can now concentrate on those friends and relations that have been so indulgent with me.

Having not had much opportunity to exercise these past few days, I walked the eight mile round trip to have dinner with my son Jason, his wife Hiromi and my lovable granddaughter Amanda. I plan to take Amanda with me on Sunday to view the entertainment of Fleet Week including the Blue Angels air show.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Blackhawk Down (cont.)

“Gods providence moves all things,” intoned Reverend Michael.

“I’d also like thank you Harry for taking time out from your duties as a Guardians of the Disciples to join us today. Your work is essential to rooting our the cancer of liberals and progressives that is killing our nation. Their lethal ideological radiation is poisoning us and our children and must be stopped.”

He glanced from one to the other then looked down for a moment then raised his head and continued, “This demonic which hunt by the liberals in congress and the administration must not interfere with our plans to pave the way for the second coming. We must stop them and even resort to violence if necessary. I know that you understand that and know what needs to be done.”

“Yes we do,” said Harry. “I and the other Guardians have worked hard to prepare ourselves for the struggle.”

“I know you have,” Reverend Michael responded.

He then shook his head slowly and continued, God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. We need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. ‘The wages of sin is death,’ as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

He then slowly rose from his chair and said to them, “You both know what needs to be done. I will leave you to you planning.”

He stopped and smiled and said, “Congressman Reffo and Congressman Cantor are waiting for me at the first tee. Sadly one is member of the Catholic Church, ‘The Great Whore,’ ‘apostate church,’ and the other a Jew, one of those no longer spiritually alive whom God sent Hitler to hunt down in preparation for the second coming. But, they support much of our mission. Perhaps some-day God will see fit for them to see his light and leave their cult systems and join us.”

He then walked toward the door and when he reached it he turned and said with a serious expression on his face, “You know, of course, that golf is the devils own game.”

They all chuckled as he turned, opened the door, hesitated a moment and looking back over his shoulder said to the two men, “I also think it is time we rid ourselves of that abomination.” He then went out and closed the door.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that (from Phillip):

Q: Why do ships and aircraft use ‘Mayday’ as their call for help?

A: This comes from the French word m’aidez, meaning ‘help me’ — and is pronounced, approximately, ‘Mayday.’

b. Yiddish for the beginner:

latke: potato pancake, especially during Hanukkah.
Litvak: a Lithuanian Jew.
lox: smoked salmon.
macher: big shot, important person. mamzer: bastard.
maven: expert; when used in a negative sense: a know-it-all. mazel: luck.
Mazal Tov: congratulations!
megillah: a tediously detailed discourse.
mensch: an upright man; a decent human being.
meshuga, also meshugge, meshugah, meshuggah: crazy.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”
Psalm 137:9

All too often, God shows that he can be a real asshole.

d. Human “Fingerprints” on Recent Climate Change:

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The word “penis” is taken from the Latin word for “tail.” Some derive that from Indo-European *pesnis, and the Greek word πέος = “penis” from Indo-European *pesos. Prior to the adoption of the Latin word in English the penis was referred to as a “yard”. The Oxford English Dictionary cites an example of the word yard used in this sense from 1379, and notes that in his Physical Dictionary of 1684, Steven Blankaart defined the word penis as “the Yard, made up of two nervous Bodies, the Channel, Nut, Skin, and Fore-skin, etc.”

This item made me nervous. If it made anyone else nervous also, should we two be referred to as a Yard or a penis? Can two anxious women be called a penis? Am I misreading Blankaart or trying to be funny and failing? What does this have to do with testosterone? Testosterone is a hormone primarily found in men and generally revealed through his obsession with the size of his and other men’s Yards. Today I am suffering from an attack of testosterone poisoning.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

It was pointed out to me that Steve Jobs natural parents were married when they gave him up for adoption. I apologize for the mis-information.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”
— Mark Twain

TODAY’S CARTOON:

(Thanks to Cordt for sharing this on Facebook)

TODAY’S CHARTS:

Where is the press’ so-called ‘liberal’ bias?

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 7, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Currently:

52 percent of Silicon Valley‘s tech companies were started by immigrants, who also contributed to 25 percent of US global patents.

24 percent of science and engineering workers with bachelor’s degrees and 47 percent of those with doctorates in the US are immigrants.

25 percent of ninth graders in the US fail to complete high school. Only Mexico, Spain, Turkey and New Zealand, among major industrialized countries, have higher drop out rates.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

1. Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs, perhaps the most effective and creative innovator in modern America, has died. He was born in San Francisco to single mother. His father was a Syrian immigrant. His unmarried parents gave him up for adoption to a family named Jobs who lived on the Peninsula .

I guess to some, this would make him not quite American, as he was born in San Francisco to an unmarried woman and an immigrant father [who may or may not have been illegal] from the Near-east.

2. Apple Stock: Following the death of Steve Jobs, Apple’s management announced that its business plan was to expand the company’s existing products into new markets. No mention was made of developing “insanely great” world-changing products. This resembles Apple’s business plan that forced Apple to the brink of bankruptcy a few decades ago, after they had forced Jobs out of the company. Jobs purchased the struggling company from the accountants and business experts and restored it to concentrating on developing innovative products.

I guess this probably means that Apple stock is not a good long-term investment.

3. Interest Rates and the Insanity of the Economists: Recent reports have indicated that mortgage rates in America have fallen to below 4% their lowest rates in years.

Economists have told us that a major component of interest rates, if not the major component, is risk as reflected by the various rating agencies (Moody’s , etc.). This theory applies to private and governmental debt equally. But at no time in recent history has the risk to lenders of default on mortgages been greater. So what’s gong on?

Simple, risk has only a small part to play in setting interest rates, except when demand is highest. Then, it becomes a legal way to set prices to receive premium returns on certain loans.

So how does this translate to the governmental debt crisis in Europe and elsewhere?

We are told by these same economists that governmental default on debt will result in increased borrowing costs. Not true! The purpose of the so-called theory is to protect existing profits. Future interest rates will be set on demand irrespective of past events. While some banks my go out of business as a result of their unwise loans, the remaining banks will need to compete on interest rates to stay in business, as demand drops so will interest rates. This is more in keeping with traditional economic theory than what we are told about the impact of risk on lending.

And what will the result be if defaults occur? Well, probably the deadwood on Wall Street and the financial institutions will be walking the same unemployment lines as the industrial worker they have been so free to ridicule and fewer of the latter will be walking with them.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I am writing this sitting on the Sacramento to SF train as I return to the City for at least a few days. We have just crossed the bridge over the American River (or is it the Sacramento River)? The beginning of the Skies are a dappled grey and white marking the beginning of the rainy season signaling the coming of winter to the Northern Sierras.

Before boarding the train, Nikki and I spent a frantic hour or two running about to the shops we visited yesterday looking for my lost phone, the one that had just been repaired. We finally located it under the seat of the car.

Throughout the search Nikki had to field hysterical phone calls from SWAC. Last night she spent with one of her friends. Before leaving she announced that she would be gone most of the day and instructed us to get Hayden up and to school. She also informed me that I should return to SF for a few days since the owner of the house was returning and there was not enough bedrooms for all of us.

In the morning just as we were putting Hayden into the car to take him to school, she called in a frenzy announcing that she needed the car right away. Although Nikki explained that it would be impossible since we had to drop the child off, eat breakfast, look for my phone and drop me off at the train station as she had instructed. Nevertheless Nikki had to field a call from the overwrought SWAC every two minutes or so. She would not tell him why it was so important for her to have the car at that specific time.

This evening I went with my daughter-in-law Annemarie to the San Francisco Film Society Theater to see a movie directed by John Tuturro called “Passionare.” It is a film about Neapolitan traditional music. I loved it. It was especially poignant to me because many of the artists in the film were the same ones that I enjoyed listening to when I first visited Naples over 40 years ago, much older now but perhaps even in better voice. For those who remember, one of the singers was Mina. I used to collect all her recordings.

I also enjoyed the film because most of the performers were older and the women still had their strong unreconstructed faces. It was like the Buena Vista Social Club,” but with older women rather than old male musicians.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Blackhawk Down:

If one of the golfers playing along the 17th fairway looked up at the house above them they would be able to see through the sliding french doors that looked over the fairway the three kneeling men.

The oldest of the three men, bony and balding with liver spots showing through his wispy grey hair was outfitted in the garish clashing colors of the golfer, in this case a bright red polo shirt and violent yellow short pants. The tallest of the men looked to be in his mid thirties.  He was quite tall and slender looking with the taut wiry muscles of a professional athlete. He was dressed in a deep blue Brioni jacket, white silk tee-shirt and dark pants. The third a man in his late forties or early fifties was dressed as though he had just returned to camp from hiking through the woods, canvas jacket, red and black checked Pendleton shirt and tan canvas pants tucked into a pair of hiking boots.

The old man was speaking his prayer:

“It is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must use strength to win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less. Jesus give us the strength of your power to achieve your kingdom on earth at this time so that we the elect can bring forth the end of times and share in your sovereignty forever. Amen.”

“Amen,” the other two mumbled. Then they all rose up off their knees and sat down. The oldster on an overstuffed arm-chair with a brown and yellow floral pattern. The other two sat on opposite ends of the large dark brown sofa situated at right angles to the chair.

After a few moments of silence, the wife of the older man quietly entered the room as though she were entering a church. The woman was quite thin, had greying brown hair and wore a relatively shapeless grey dress. She came in with a tray holding three tall glasses filled with ice and lemonade and set it on the low table in front of the men.

“Thank you my dear,” said the oldster.

“Yes, thank you Mrs Boone,” said the Brioni dressed man rising as she entered.

“Oh, please don’t get up for me. I know you all have important things to discuss. I thought you could use some refreshment.”

The third man neither rose nor said anything.

After Mrs. Boone left the room the older man said, “Charles, thank you for flying all this way to meet with us.”

“No problem Reverend Michael,” the outdoorsman responded. “I believe this meeting is now necessary. Anyway, thank you for the use of your jet. I will be returning to Alaska right after this meeting. I think it’s time I reappear from out of the wilderness.”

“What’s your story for the press,” asked the younger man?

“I will tell them I slipped and fell and struck my head and had a touch of amnesia and that I luckily found that cabin with enough provisions for me to nurse myself back to health and recover my wits.”

“Do you think that will work?”

“Yes, my disappearance I am afraid was not of much interest to the press so I think they will be satisfied with that especially when I also thank God for bestowing his divine providence on me.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Last Words:

“Go Raiders!”

Last words of Robert Charles Comer, who was executed for murdering a camper east of Phoenix in 1987 and for raping a female camper.

At least he died a football fan.

b. More I didn’t know that:

The following, was taken from an email sent to me by my good friend Phillip Cheresh.

Q: Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right! And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.
c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods (hemorrhoids): and the cry of the city went up to heaven.” 
1 Samuel 5:12

I admit it, I too cry to heaven whenever I am smitten [a good word for the occasion] with hemorrhoids.

d. The difference between a traditional conservative and the modern version of those who call themselves conservative:

The traditional Conservative believed that social change is inevitable and often beneficial but that it should evolve slowly so that the citizenry can adjust to it. The modern Conservative believes that the only valuable social change is the violent, immediate return to a social order that never existed.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Through size, corporations, once merely an efficient tool employed by individuals in the conduct of private business have become an institution-an institution which has brought such concentration of economic power that so-called private corporations are sometimes able to dominate the state. The typical business corporation of the last century, owned by a small group of individuals, managed by their owners, and limited in size by their private wealth, is being supplanted by huge concerns in which the lives of tens or hundreds of thousands of employees and the property of tens of hundreds of thousands of investors are subjected, through the corporate mechanism, to the control of a few men. Ownership has been separated from control; and this separation has removed many of the checks which formerly operated to curb the misuse of wealth and power. And, as ownership of the shares is becoming continually more dispersed, the power which formerly accompanied ownership is becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few… [and] coincident with the growth of these giant corporations, there has occurred a marked concentration of individual wealth; and that the resulting disparity in incomes is a major cause of the existing depression.”
Dissent, Liggett Co. v. Lee, 288 U.S. 517 (1933), at 565-67. Justice Louis Brandeis

To me, Brandeis identifies the critical element that is missing in the current debate regarding our political system, the economy and the environment. While economists wax wroth over which theory of financial exchange is real, and conservatives and liberals are engaged in a fight to the death over whether government is the problem or the solution, the institutions that so troubled Brandeis, have continued their legislative and judicial march, increasing their wealth and power until now they stand on the verge of acquiring all the rights of an individual with a few of the duties. For all extents and purposes there has ceased to be a distinction between very large corporations (VLCS) and nations except that in many cases the VLCS have greater economic and political power than many if not most countries, as well as greater control of their dependents (worker’s and customers) than most countries have over their citizens.

With the impending collapse of liberal democracies under the influence of these institutions (VLCS) and climate, religious and ideological pressures, I can foresee a time in the not to distant future where in some cases the fiction of Democracy will be done away with and the VLCS will reign again as did the British East India Company in India.

We must never forget that to a great extent it was these types of commercial companies, with much less economic and political power [no one thought they were individuals] who created colonial America. Also, remember a nation-state originated as a commercial enterprise based upon the exploitation of land and managed by a small group of self perpetuating individuals. Liberal Democracy was an idea borrowed from city-states not nation-states.

TODAY’S CHART:

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 5, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. 1941: September 28:

Orders from the German occupation authorities:

Ukrainian History:

All Jews living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity are to report by 8 o’clock on the morning of Monday, September 29th, 1941, at the corner of Melnikovsky and Dokhturov Streets. They are to take with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear, etc. Any not carrying out this instruction and who is found elsewhere will be shot. Any civilian entering flats evacuated by [Jews] and stealing property will be shot.”

2. 2009: NOAA-led study found the worst impacts from the current climate change phenomena would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.” Among those changes are:

Staggeringly high temperature rise, especially over land — some 10°F over much of the United States
Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest and many other heavily populated regions around the globe
Sea level rise of around 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity
Unexpected impacts — the fearsome “unknown unknowns”
Much more extreme weather
Food insecurity — the increasingly difficulty task of feeding 7 billion, then 8 billion, and then 9 billion people in a world with an ever-worsening climate.
Myriad direct health impacts

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

Flooding and Fire: OK maybe not strictly about America, but since I left the flooding in Thailand has gotten worse. Chiang Mai is now completely flooded and the water has begun to Bangkok. Perhaps Thailand could send some of her excess rain to Texas before the good lord burns it from the face of the earth as an abomination.

Football: The SF 49rs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I returned to Sacramento on Friday or perhaps it was Thursday. SWAC spent the night in SF and offered me a ride to Sacto if I drove the car.

On Saturday I took Hayden to his basketball game. His team lost by 4 points. Hayden still believes that playing basketball consists of running up and down the court with your hands in the air and falling down. There could be worse beginnings.

Nikki arrived on Saturday evening and on Sunday we all went in Joey’s boat for a ride on Folsom Lake. Joey is SWAC’s most recent male maid as she describes it.

Now, there are some people who consider riding in a boat a pleasant form of recreation. I have always found it more like being imprisoned on Devil’s Island. True if I were driving the boat, as I have in the past, I may have gotten about two minutes of enjoyment, but the excitement would soon dissipate as the experience begins to remind me more and more of driving a car with nowhere to go.

If it were a sailboat, although you still would not be going anywhere, at least you have something to do. You would be able to enjoy all the pleasure of working like a galley-slave for the captain, a person who, before getting on the boat, you thought was your friend. (Today’s photo is of me on the boat enjoying myself)

Anyway, we anchored in a little cove. Everyone went swimming for a few moments in the freezing water and then we returned to the dock. SWAC and I were dropped off at the house to nap and Nikki , Joey and Hayden went off to buy a basketball, backboard and net so that Hayden can practice his moves in the driveway.

My telephone has broken down. It only displays the message, “RAM dump.” The Verizon people told me that they did not have the slightest idea what happened, but promised to send me a new phone in a few days.

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter: Blackhawk Down.

North of the Tehachapi Mountains in California’s coastal range resembles a washboard dipped into the Pacific Ocean washtub. The western face of first ridge dip’s down on to a narrow strip of land before falling away into the ocean. Except for foraging for fish and mollusks during certain periods of the years, native Americans tended to avoid settling here. The Spanish and later Mexican settlers as well as the early anglos avoided it also except for a few fishing communities and lumber ports. Not so the modern Californians, they huddle together on this slight, cold and foggy strip of land in numbers far greater than the land can support ostensibly for the perceived benefits of the view of the somber grey Pacific Ocean and the bracing weather.

From Humboldt County on the north through to the mountains of the Big Sur, a large valley lies just inland of the first ridge, a semi arid paradise, cool in the summers from the brisk breezes off the ocean flooding into the valley through the gaps in the ridges, and warm in the winter due to the moderating waters of the ocean and the blocking, by the valley’s western ridges, of the frigid winter winds sweeping down from the Sierras and across the great Central Valley. Here lies the Bay of San Francisco, eastern Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to the North and to the South eastern San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley and San Jose and it continues south until it disappears into the Salinas River Valley watershed.

In prehistoric times gigantic mammals roamed the area we call California and this happy valley until driven into extinction by the immigrant homo-sapiens from the North-eastern Asia. These immigrants, later referred to as indigenous Americans or indians, then settled down into a relatively low impact semi-paradiasical existence until the Spanish arrived with their Missions, Horses and Cattle. The Missions, through overwork and disease, quickly cleansed the valley of the earlier settlers, while the huge herds of free range horses and cattle irrevocably altered the fauna. Here modern Californians chose to live in great numbers even though the valley lacked the resources to support them.

Following the denuding of the hills and valleys of this part of the coastal range by the imported ruminants, great hoards of a practically useless shiny yellow metal called gold were discovered in the Sierra foothills. This useless metal was highly desired by the light-skinned people living east of the Sierra, far more valuable to them then glass beads and seashells were to the native Peoples. So valuable in fact that unlike the native people’s pursuit of valuable feathers and baubles they were willing to kill who ever stood in their way to posses it. As a result vast numbers of these pale skinned immigrants flooded into California across the seemingly almost impassable mountains and by boat across the infinite sea. They came from the boondocks, farms and slums of East Coast America and Europe with greed on their minds and mayhem in their hearts. In quick succession these newcomers tore down the hills to get at the gold, eliminated the remainder of the indians and took the land from the Mexican successors to the Spanish settlers.

Many of them settled in Yerba Buena (later San Francisco) where they disembarked and the surrounding area of this coastal valley. As a result of the depredations by the miners in the foothills the great bay and delta turned brown and changed from deep clear waters, tule and salt marshes to vast mud flats.

In order to provide homes, buildings and energy for these new immigrants and even more wealth for those most advantaged by the mines, the great coastal redwood forests were cut down. Also, to provide water, transportation and supplies to these new immigrants water was brought in great pipelines from the Sierra’s where it was plentiful to the coastal valley where it was not and ribbons of roads and rails spread out along the bay and the valley.

Eventually development of these most recent immigrants covered the land and crowded the shores of the greatly diminished bay, leaving less room for the new wealthy and fortunate to live as they believed their good fortune entitled them.

The next valley in the coastal range to the East of the San Francisco Bay valley remained largely the preserve large ranchos and the tiny towns servicing them except for in the passes that provided transportation corridors from the Bay to the Central Valley and beyond.

About 30 years ago real-estate developers realized that there was a market for large so-called planned unit developments surrounding golf courses instead of natural open space, and decided these large ranchos in this until then rural valley would work just fine. So one day, on the eastern ridge or this valley an exclusive community centered on a golf course was built made up mostly of homes built to 3 or 4 standard designs except for on the highest points on the ridge. Here huge custom-built villas were built for the very wealthy.

In one of these custom-built homes located along the 17th fairway of the golf course, three men knelt, praying.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Last words:

“Kiss My Ass”

Last words of John Wayne Gacy: One of America’s most famous serial killers before he was executed on May 10, 1994.

The “killer clown” tortured, raped, and murdered 33 men between 1972 and 1978. John Wayne Gacy earned his moniker, and possibly started the scary clown phobia, because he dressed up as Pogo the Clown to entertain at kids’ birthday parties.
b. Omitted:

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Yes, march against Babylon, the land of rebels, a land that I will judge! Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the LORD. “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction”. (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)

Should this go here or in Testosterone Chronicles below? Is God testosterone poisoned? Does He take steroids?

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

1. Ronald Reagan:

We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.”

“They sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver paid 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy.”

Do you think the millionaire should pay more in taxes than the bus driver, or less?
In other words, Ronald Reagan was a socialist too. Is Obama the second coming of Reagan.

2. Elizabeth Warren:

(Ok, so maybe she is not a president, but perhaps…)

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

Of course Barry Bonds did it all his way, hard work and no steroids.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The United States emits more CO2 per capita than the European Union and China combined. Just think what those emissions numbers would be if America still made anything. Right now it’s all coming from hobo fires and Vin Diesel movies.”
Steven Colbert

BONUS QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:

(Why oh why can we not have a better press corps?)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 5, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. My brush with death: A few days ago, I began to feel a sharp pain at the back of my neck. Of course, I assumed it must be caused by the sudden growth of a tumor pressing against my spinal cord and that death was imminent. When the pain continued the next morning after I woke up, I contemplated avoiding the health club on the off-chance that I merely was suffering a muscle pull from over-exercising. In any event, if I were dying as I thought, additional exercise would make no difference to improving my health. Anyway, whatever it is that makes you do what you clearly do not want to do got the best of me and I decided to take one last swim; so I decided to go. When I picked up my sports bag, I noticed that it seemed unusually heavy and recalled that it also appeared so yesterday when I left the health club. I opened it up to check it out and found that in addition to my exercise outfit and swimming trunks, it contained several plastic bottles filled with water and two large bunches of bananas placed therein without my knowledge by LM. I removed them and confident that I will live at least through to tomorrow morning, set off for the club.

2. David returns: David has returned to BKK from Qatar and will stay for about a month before he returns. David describes Qatar the way I would describe Newark New Jersey. It is someplace you may be because you work there, but it is not a place you go to for a vacation or to have a good time. It was good to see him again and talk about various weight reduction programs. After dinner we went to one of the bars on Soi Nana where I drank Corona with lime and watched David joyfully harass the Mama-san. For the first time in many months, I drank too much and paid for it the next day.

3. Blogging Woe: I have now published about 350 posts in various blogs. My left-wing blog posts average about five comments per post. About thirty percent of the comments describe how much of an idiot the writer thinks I am. Another thirty percent disagree with me but without the insult, while another thirty percent responds with something deflating like, “Interesting.” The last ten percent are usually gibberish.

Of my own blogs, out of almost 300 posts, I have received about five comments altogether. I do not know how people get their posts read and responded to. Recently, I signed up for something that sends your blog to other bloggers so that each can “follow” the other and thereby generate “hits” and “comments.” I noticed that the comments tend to be along the line of “Thanks for following my blog after I began to follow yours and begged you to do the same.” When I was a recent post pubescent teenager in summer camp we called it a circle jerk. I did not find it fun then and I do not now.

I do not understand why someone with a blog about something like “Photographs of Travels with my Family to Hemet California” gets hundreds of hits while I am lucky if I get three. I now, as a result of this application, follow a blog, if you can imagine, of someone who shows you how to apply sparkle to your Starbucks coffee-cup. She has almost 1000 followers and someone wants to use one of her cups in a video promotion. Another one is published by someone who claims he is a “marriage coach.” His blog focuses on the importance of woman performing fellatio to solidify their relationship with a man. I read a post by a women advising other women how to work up to swallowing sperm without showing disgust on your face. He has thousands of followers. But then sex always sells.

I wonder if I am the only one who reads this stuff. I feel I have to read and approve of it before agreeing to follow a blog.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Another reason to love Thailand:

Gary forwarded to me a report of a poll of 1,228 households in 17 provinces across Thailand. It found that, “84.5% of respondents regarded cheating as a normal business practice and 51.2% said corruption by government officials was acceptable as long as it improved their living conditions. Similar surveys conducted over the past few years reached essentially the same conclusions regardless of respondents’ geographical regions. Such findings clearly point out that Thailand is a nation made up largely of thieves who will cheat at every opportunity.”

This is one of the reasons why they call this place a paradise. It most other places one spends ones life in heightened anxiety wondering if the next person he meets is going to be the sociopath who will try to defraud him out of his money. Here you can relax confidently knowing that everyone you meet, is.

2. How Thais Reconcile:

A brawl broke out in the Thai Parliament between the two major parties over the bill to reconcile the two opposing factions forcing the session into recess. During the recess two female members of the opposition Democratic Party attempted to steal the Speaker of the Parliament’s chair, I assume to prevent him from “chairing” the session following the recess. Two other female members of the ruling party noticing the attempted theft flew to save the chair as it was disappearing off the podium. The ensuing fight between the ladies rivaled the brawl going on among their male counterparts in another section of the chamber.

The Thai Constitutional Court has stepped into the fray arguing that they have to do so before the parties to be reconciled kill each other in the process.

The brawl has now spilled out into the streets of the country. The military has ominously announced they are “concerned” about events.

As far as I can tell, the brouhaha is all about whether Thaksin the Terrible the exiled fugitive former Prime Minister and brother to the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl will be allowed to return without the threat of arrest. I am not sure why this remains an issue with the opposition party run by Abhsit the Unready, the previous Prime Minister, since they claim he already runs the country from his residence in exile.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Louis from the 1964 Diary:

Thursday, February 20, 1964.

“Tonight was very interesting. Lou called and invited me to see his new apartment in the Village. I went there. It is a hovel. He told me all about how nicely he intended to fix it up.

An interesting young man named Leonard Melfi arrived. He is a young playwright, currently writing plays for Cafe La Mama.

We spent the next several hours drinking and talking. Lou described at some length his overactive sex life, including his current affair with a young actress and also the four other women he had gotten pregnant.

Leonard and I then went off on a discussion about the Janet Wylie murder that occupied the headlines of the NY newspapers for almost a year. We both closely followed the news reports about the killing. He had known Janet and appeared to have additional information not reported in the papers. We decided that the murderer was most likely the third roommate. The police, however did not consider her a suspect.

He and I discussed our fascination with murders and the process of identifying the murderer. Much more exciting than solving other types of puzzles we agreed.”

Monday, April 27, 1964, I wrote:

“This weekend the police produced a suspect in the Janet Wylie murder. His arrest upended all the theories Leonard and I had developed. He was the only remaining option unaccounted for in our theories. The murder was a completely random event. The suspect was someone who just wandered in and surprised the girls. Although when we were developing our theories we touched on this possibility, we rejected it as just too far fetched.”

Note:
Leonard Melfi was one of the most important American playwrights of the 1960s when experimental theater was the rage. His works were originally performed at Ellen Stewart’s La Mama. He became a raging alcoholic and died alone in a SRO hotel on NY’s Broadway and 93rd Street on October 24, 2001.

Janet Wylie and her roommate, Emily Hoffert, two young professionals, were murdered in their Upper East Side apartment by an intruder on August 28, 1963, in what the press called The Career Girls Murders. The suspect taken into custody referred to above was a black man, George Whitmore. It later turned out, investigators erroneously arrested and forced a false confession from Whitmore. Richard Robles a young white man was ultimately apprehended in 1965 and charged with the crime. Nevertheless, Whitmore was imprisoned for many years until he was eventually released. Robles, now 68, was convicted and remains in prison.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Is it our fault or theirs? Is it our problem or theirs? Does the American Dream require we do something about it, or does it mean we do not have to if we do not want to? Does your answer change if most of those living on $2 a day are from your racial, ethnic, gender or other affinity groups?

One of the differences between those that test out as liberals and those who fall into the conservative basket, is that conservatives will most likely answer the last question in the affirmative. It is not simply hypocrisy, but how large one draws the line defining community in which we belong. Many of us limit community to our peers or family. Most of us see the United States as a symbol or an emotion but not as a community. As far as the world is concerned, I doubt if very many of us at all see it as a whole community. We just view it as a collection of vague abstractions connecting communities of interest.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

I do not often discuss myself in this section, but since everything is really all about me all the time, I do not think it makes much of a difference.

After exercising and showering at the health club a few days ago, I entered the sauna, towel wrapped around my waist, carrying my exercise shirt and trunks with me hoping they would dry a bit in the sauna before I stuffed them into my sports bag. Already in the sauna was a large man weighing about 100 lb. more than me and about 3 inches or more taller. Between the two of us we pretty much filled up that small space.

Although we had never spoken, I had seen him around and have sat in the sauna with him*. He is an aficionado of sauna and brings with him his own mixture of minerals in a cup that he pours into the bucket containing the water one throws over the hot rocks. This mixture produces a strong eucalyptus aroma with undercurrents of other things the nature of which I could not hope to guess.

I usually enjoyed being in the sauna when he did his thing. As far as I knew, his special mixture could have contained carcinogens or something equally bad. But, I really did not care. After all, almost any thing could pass for entertainment, even slow acting poison, when you are naked and sitting in a small dark room sweating and staring at a cheap wooden wall.

This time however, as I took my seat on one of the benches, he turned to me and in an Eastern European accent growled, “Put clothes out side. This sauna. They smell.”

I was surprised and annoyed and, to be honest, challenged. After all, people enter the sauna all the time wearing their shorts or bathing trunks so why pick on me. Perhaps, I also felt objected to my body odor and that always is a serious insult among the testosterone addled.

“Why,” I responded? “You’re fat and smelly but you don’t hear me asking you to leave.”

An animated discussion followed during which I received a brief but emphatic lecture on sauna etiquette and repeated uttering of the immortal challenge of one male to another, “You want to make something of it?”

So there we were, two naked fat guys belly to belly in a tiny room exuding male hormones along with sweat. If anything were going to stink the place up it was us.

I really wasn’t worried about a physical confrontation even though I would probably lose. I suspected neither of us wanted to be thrown out of the club, and given the dangers of the open rock heaters, I assumed also we both recognized we would undoubtably each suffer serious harm.

Unable to compete in a debate on sauna etiquette or to physically intimidate him I turned to what I do best. I resorted to insult, referring to him as, “The Sauna Nazi.”

Nevertheless, I did put my clothing outside. We then sat for the next 15 minutes on opposite benches knees inches apart sweating in silence.

It rankled me that I conceded on the clothing, but consoled myself with knowing I gained a story and he didn’t.

Now I know that some of you reading this will be saying to yourselves why didn’t Joe just say something like, “Ok, I’ll wait until you finish your sauna, then I will come in with my smelly clothing?” Well, for one thing, I do not think that fast. And for another, it was more entertaining doing what I did then spending 20 minutes alone in that small wooden box staring at my sweat dropping on to the slats of the sauna’s bench. I guess you can say that I thirsted for some intense and intimate social interaction.

I am thinking of writing a short story called “Fat Boy the Sauna Nazi.” You can help by suggesting plot elements.

*Back in February 20, 2011, I wrote this in “This and that…”

“After returning to Bangkok, as I was taking a sauna at the health club a rather large man entered, mixed into a plastic cup some water from the bucket containing eucalyptus, a white powder that looked like cocaine but I assumed wasn’t because no sane person would throw cocaine on to hot rocks and some liquid from a small green bottle. He then poured the concoction over the hot coals. Almost immediately the air in the sauna became noticeably hotter, my skin began to prickle and I began to sweat profusely. The usual camphor smell of the vapors from the eucalyptus water changed subtly to a more citrus taste and smell and penetrated much more deeply into my lungs. The alchemist and I sweated together in the small room until I gave up and left to take a cool shower. I felt unusually light-headed for a while.

Now you may wonder why I did not inquire of the mysterious stranger what he was up to. Alas, in my life I have preferred the adventure of discovery to the safety of knowledge.”

TODAY’S CHART:

This is another one of those charts that I am not sure what it is I am supposed to get out of it, but like the graphics. I do notice, however, it appears that low occupancy vehicles if electrified will do little to reduce particulate pollution or climate change gases if the effect is to require more electrical generating capacity unless the choice of fuels is radically different from what appears on the chart. On the other hand the change from non-stationary to stationary emission sources could allow for greater control of emissions.

TODAY’S SIGN:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Louie                                                     Winnie

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

This is photograph of a fire rainbow. Fire rainbows appear when sunlight hits ice crystals in high-altitude cirrus clouds. Because the fire rainbow actually involves no rain at all, scientists would rather we refer to this occurrence by its much less fun, but much more accurate title: the circumhorizontal arc. Since the arc requires both the presence of cirrus clouds and for the sun to be extremely high in the sky, it’s much more likely to be seen at latitudes closer to the equator.

May a circumhorizontal arc brighten your day.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: