“Actually Jesus was a liberal Democrat and not a socialist. He fed the multitude by creating the food out of nothing. If he were a Socialist he would have used the money he took from the money changers in the temple to pay for the food. If he were a Republican he would have created the food out of nothing, given it to the money changers, and told the multitude that they should ask the money changers for jobs instead of sitting there on the grass looking for handouts.”
TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
A few days ago my Iranian friend Natalie arrived in BKK from SF, along with her mother, two aunts and her impressive seven-year old son Cyrus. They were here in Thailand for a 10 day vacation, 3 in BKK and the rest on the island of Phuket. Natalie admitted right off that she did not expect it to be much of a vacation shepherding her mother and her two aunts around.
On their first evening in BKK, they wanted to go to a shopping area like Chinatown. Because the Chinatown excursion would require more walking than the elderly women were willing to do, we settled on taking a short boat trip to the new waterside market. The market was BKK’s answer to Ghiradelli Square, complete with pizza, fish and chips and hamburger places. We ate in an Italian restaurant with a view of the river. There was nothing in the place that remotely would remind anyone they were in Thailand except for the Thais themselves. There were many more of them then there were tourists. I guess they see the place as exotic.
One of the Aunts who still lives in Iran is an artist; a fairly well-known painter of miniatures. Miniatures are an ancient Persian art form and one of the only arts in Muslim countries that features the human form. The Aunt is also somewhat eccentric, dressed in all red traditional Iranian costume of some sort, proudly toothless and demanding we take her to a night club where she could dance.
The next day, Natalie, Cyrus and I walked around the Oriental Hotel grounds and through that portion of the original hotel now referred to as the author’s wing because that is where authors like Maugham, Green, Conrad and Kipling would stay while they were in BKK, oh so long ago. Later we all ended up in another western style shopping mall; this one in downtown BKK where Cyrus and I ate at a Macdonald’s and everyone exhausted themselves enough for all of us to agree that we would each return to our respective apartments or hotel rooms and get a good nights sleep. They left for Phuket the next morning.
Here is a photograph of my visitors:
The next day LM and I trundled off to visit the sad little Dusit Zoological Gardens in Bangkok. We took the bus. It took us almost two hours to travel five miles (See below). LM was happy, I was exhausted. We went home by Skytrain. Although there were many animals at the zoo, there appeared to me to be even more statues of animals. Before we left the Zoo LM took the following photograph of me. I like it a lot. There seems to be a resemblance.
The zoo also had a large lake at its center on which students from Bangkok drove paddle boats around as though they were bump-a-cars. The lake was stocked with large fish. While LM and I were feeding stale bread to the fish, several surfaced that were over six feet long and had mouths about seven inches wide. The lake is also home to many giant Komodo Dragons who swim about with their heads just breaking the water or lie on the bank in great numbers. Here is a photograph of some of the younger ones sunning themselves.
Today I completed entering into to my blog of the same name all my “This and that…” posts since I began in January of 2010 through June of this year. I consider it an accomplishment; not a great thing or a work of art or even passably competent, but an accomplishment nonetheless.
Sort of like someone who completes a marathon even though he never competed in one before. He may not have won or even looked good, but to him it was an accomplishment. On the other hand, one can look at the amateur marathoner completing his race and I entering 250+ posts into a blog no one will read not so much an accomplishment as an obsession. So be it.
I now will go back through the entries and post the corresponding journal entries and emails and the like from some of you, along with my responses.
C: THAILAND OBSERVATIONS:
1. Colors for patriots:
American patriots wrap themselves in the American Flag. Thais change the color of their T-shirts.
After all, fashion is politics.
2. Bus rides in Bangkok:
Anyone who rides a bus in Bangkok has decided that his life no longer has any meaning.
A bus ride in Bangkok is a form of agonizingly slow death.
Some of you have inquired as to what diet plan I used to lose all the weight that I have.
I believe that the only diet plan that works is the money plan. You see calories cost money and the more money one spends on food the more calories he or she ingests.
If people allocate say 12 dollars a day for food like I do, they will soon find themselves losing weight. One need not worry about counting calories or choosing the right foods. Believe me, after a few days one finds himself searching for vegetables and fruits since they have more bulk for the buck.
And if you are worried about that irresistible urge to gorge on things like pizza and coke, you quickly lose the urge once you realize that is all that you might consume that day.
One recommendation I have is that if you are offered a free dinner from some well meaning friend, eat all that you can because your well meaning friend will quickly tire of subsidizing his attempts to kill you with kindness.
Research by John J. Donohue and Steven Levitt suggests that legalized abortion in the United States (by reducing the numbers of unwanted children), account for much of the drop in crime rates that occurred in the 1990s. Their paper, The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime, presents evidence indicating that states that had legalized abortion before Roe v. Wade saw correspondingly earlier drops in crime; and states where abortion is common saw greater drops in crime than states where abortion is rare.
1. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:
If someone describes something he sees as it manifests itself, he is called a “scientist.”
If one can never know how it manifests itself it is called a “religion.”
If one does not care whether or not it manifest itself he is called a “politician.”
If one persuades someone else to buy what is manifested it is called “business.”
If one persuades someone else to buy what cannot be manifested, it is called “finance.”
If one does not care if someone else buys what may or may not be manifest as long as that someone buys whatever it is he is saying, he is called an “economist.”
2. : What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
3. Testosterone Chronicles:
• When looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve deployment of principles (Carla Harenski and collaborators).
What this seems to me to mean, if one can generalize it to a gender based approach to public policy, is:
“For men, first punish the guilty and for women, first protect the innocent.”
• When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved (Tania Singer and collaborators).
Does this mean that women are genetically predisposed to liberalism? No wonder God considers them the lesser sex.
• Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness (reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy).
Screw you Rachel and Uri. I will have you know that men are kinder to their guns, beer and dogs than women are. We also think we are kind to (and admittedly, at times a little frightened by) large female breasts; vaginas, not so much.
In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making, the authors opine that on the whole, women seem to be more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.
This is why I previously wrote:
“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”
Trenz Pruca’s Journal.
“We are not who we think we are. We narrate out lives, shading every last detail, and even changing the script retrospectively, depending on the event, most of the time subconsciously. The storyteller never stops, except perhaps in deep sleep.”
Doctor Michael S. Gazzaniga, Neuroscientist.
“You Cannot Be A Republican And A Christian”
This map shows the distribution of this years drought.
In my predictions about global weather changes that I made about 8 months ago I surmised that the long-term drought patterns would begin to take a configuration similar to this as it would be consistent with climate change projections. I did not expect it to occur so soon. However, the Lorenz attractors (minor changes in input have huge changes over time), show that even detailed atmospheric modeling cannot in general make long-term weather predictions. The best we can do is project on the basis of statistical analysis. Statistical analysis can tell us that global warming is occurring but not the specific weather pattern more than a week or so out.
In other words, just because climate change is a relatively determined outcome of the current situation, it does not necessarily make its specific effects predictable.
Here is LM posing with statues of extinct animals.
Here I am standing in front of plaster statues of elephants.