TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
Thankfully my travels are over for a while, along with it my Travelogue. I hate Travelogues. I have found only two travel books that I have consider to be worth reading. The first is Tahir Shah‘s Sorcerer’s Apprentice in which Shah sets off to India, where he had never been before, in search of a magician of ill repute he had heard about as well as initiation into the brotherhood of Indian godmen. The second is A Short Walk Through the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby in which a pair of doofuses set off to go where no westerner had gone for almost one hundred years and lived to tell about it.
I have returned to El Dorado Hills where sameness rules and where excitement is generated by realizing ones gas gauge shows the tank is only 1/4 filled.
El Dorado Hills, The Hills of Gold, an apt name for the virtually worthless mounds of dirt that proved to be a goldmine for the developers and a place of unrelenting servitude to those who chose to live here; as tied to the mortgages on the land and houses on which they live as any serf was bound to the lord of the manor a few centuries ago
My mornings here in El Dorado Hills, are spent at Bella Bru Coffee Shop in a nearby shopping center, eating a bagel and café latte breakfast while huddled next to the only electrical outlet available to customers into which I can plug in my new Macbook Air computer. Around me, at the nearby tables, aging white men mumble about evils inflicted on the country by that black man in the White House while studiously avoiding mentioning his Mormon challenger.
I intend to stay here for about one month and leave to return to Thailand in mid November.
We won the custody suit. The petitioner, the Federal Policeman sworn to uphold the law, argued to the amusement of all in the courtroom at the time, that a law more than 20 years old should not be enforced.
With the victory, SWAC was free to fly away; which she did a few days later. And so, I returned to my nanny duties for the month. She has promised to return in time for my departure for Thailand. In the meantime Hayden’s four or so putative step-fathers seem to be coping ok.
Winter is coming. After perhaps the longest summer in my memory, with temperatures in the high 80’s and 90’s lasting through the third week in October, winter descended on El Dorado Hills with the suddenness of the explosion of a land mine. Amidst tornado warnings and intermittent rain squalls, dark black clouds banished the blue skies of summer to search for somewhere else to spread their cheer.
My daughter Jessica signed me up for Kindle and bought me two books. As with most new Kindle readers, I approached it feeling that I was a traitor to the world of printed books. I feared someone from the Strand Bookstore would find me out; much as adolescents masturbating in the bathroom fear being caught by their parents.
The books she bought me were the first two books of a planned trilogy by Justin Cronin. They are about vampires. I have always been terrorized by vampires. As a child, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster, ghosts or ghouls I could deal with with a certain level of aplomb, but Dracula terrorized me. At night I could not take the few steps from my house to the garbage cans to throw out the trash without fearing I would hear the sound of leather wings beating softly above me. I could not walk past a poster of that great Vamp, Bella Lugosi, with his cape and fake incisors without a shudder (come to think about it, I wonder if it wasn’t the lipstick and eye shadow that scared me).
The books themselves are about the end of the world as we know it, caused by a US military experiment gone awry. It is more about atmosphere and fatalism than character or plot. The author’s style is simple, almost child like. Yet, the world he paints has a depressing sense of completeness, if not believability.
As I grow older, I find that for about a half hour or so after reading something, my perceptions are subtly altered. For example, after reading A Cat in The Hat to Hayden, should I return to reading a prose description of something or another, for a while the words, in my mind fall into the cadences and rhythms of Dr. Seuss. After reading Cronin’s book, if I go outside and stand on the deck looking across the subdivision at the hill across the valley that circumscribes my view, I am depressingly convinced that the rest of the world has disappeared beneath ravening hordes of blind rapaciousness and fury. Come to think of it, perhaps that is not all that far from the truth.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
The Mystery of Tutankhamen’s penis:
According to an article in New Scientist:
When I started investigating a news story about the possible cause of King Tutankhamen‘s death, I never expected to end up on the trail of his penis.
As I’ve reported today, a letter published in JAMA this week suggests that contrary to what was said earlier this year, the boy pharaoh did not die of a combination of an inherited bone disorder and a nasty case of malaria, but of a genetic disease called sickle-cell anemia.
This letter is just one of six comments that JAMA has published on the work, carried out by Egypt’s chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass and colleagues. Another one suggests that Tut and his relatives may have suffered from a hormonal disorder that is similar to Antley-Bixler syndrome. In this singularly interesting syndrome, a single genetic mutation causes elongated skulls, and over-production of oestrogen. Male sufferers can have distinctive physical features, including breasts and under-developed genitalia.
Irwin Braverman of Yale Medical School and Philip Mackowiak of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, believe that a variant of this syndrome could explain why artwork from the time depicts Tut and his relatives – in particular his father Akhenatun – as having feminine bodies, with hips and breasts, and particularly long heads.
Hawass dismisses the idea, in part because Tut’s penis is, as he puts it, “well-developed”. But on closer scrutiny of his paper, I spotted a note admitting that the penis in question is no longer attached to the king’s body.
I smelled a conspiracy. Could ancient Egyptian embalmers have replaced the royal member to hide the fact that their king’s manhood was somewhat lacking?
Can one erect a sturdy theory on such flaccid evidence? Stay tuned for further developments.
The presidential election season is drawing to a close. I have a few observations.
2. Republicans rarely ever defend Romney or whatever policy he supports in any particular week. They however constantly attack Obama but not on the facts (see #1 above). Democrats on the other hand list ad nauseum Obama’s accomplishments as well as the factual errors in the Romney/Ryan plan of the week. No-one cares.
3. Republicans are better at voter fraud than Democrats. Democrats point to studies and reports that Republicans have taken over the leadership in that area from the Democrats of a generation or so ago. Republicans ignore the studies and insist on blaming Acorn for everything including global warming. (See #1 and #2 above.)
4. Nothing matters in the election but Ohio anyway (see #1, #2, and #3 above).
DURING THE 736 DAYS BEGINNING May 9, 2010, Harper Reed walked an average of 8,513 steps, reaching a high mark of 26,141 on September 13, 2010, and a low of 110 on April 21 of this year. (His excuse: broken pedometer.) On that day, Reed, age 34.33 as of this writing, sent one tweet, 55 below his average. Reed was traveling from Chicago to Colorado, where he grew up, where he has spent 39.5 percent of his time away from home since 2002, and where, in 1990, he attended his first concert (David Bowie, McNichols Arena, row HH, seat 8). He has read 558 books in three years—roughly 1,350 pages per week at a cost of 4 cents per page. On May 11, 2011, he slept 14.8 hours before waking up at precisely 2:47 p.m. It was a personal best. (Mother Jones)
Harper Reed records everything he does. Harper Reed is one of the Obama campaign’s technical advisers. He describes his campaign role as a “force multiplier.”
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that it’s citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?”
“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
~Harry S. Truman
At least the Republican’s have not changed their principles in over 70 years…on the other hand it seems like the Democrats have not either.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
Bastiat was a strong libertarian of his time (19th Century), not so much because he believed in the fictional invisible hand of the free market, but because he saw how the bourgeois class that was so supportive of the American and French revolutions immediately manipulated the democratic institutions they helped create for their own benefit. Socialism he believed did the same thing. He considered strong laws limiting what someone could do to someone else necessary in a free society but could not figure out how the to keep the institutions from becoming perverted. Alas he died before resolving that conundrum.
- Real Estate Statistics for Resale Homes in El Dorado Hills for the Fourth Week of November, 2012 (edhrealestatenews.typepad.com)