This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Pookie 0001 (November 29.2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have finally ventured beyond the café about a block from my apartment that marked the limit of my world since arriving here in BKK. I travelled all the way to the health club to resume the exercise regime that had been suspended during the almost four months I spent in the US.

I left the apartment with LM well before six am. It was still dark. As we passed Nana Plaza, the sidewalks were filled with Ladies of the Night trolling for customers. Whether they were trolling for the last trick of the evening or the first of the new day, I have no idea. Perhaps there is something about their occupation or constitutions that allows them to work around the clock without sleeping.

You can always tell the Ladyboys from the others because they were usually so much better dressed and made up. While most of the women at that time in the morning sported looks of various degrees of dishevelment, the Ladyboys paraded about without a hair out-of-place or a wrinkle on their tight tiny dresses.

Several bars were open spilling their noise and golden light into the street where it mingled with the blue-grey light of dawn and the police sirens. I do not know why they were open at that hour. The police require bars in Bangkok to close at midnight or one o’clock in the morning. Perhaps they had closed and just now were reopening. Or, maybe they were the bars owned by the cops themselves.

Bangkok is a funny place, so much to see – so much more hidden.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Cat causes chaos:

In Sidney Australia a man ran down his sister with his car after her cat urinated on his computer.

I guess he was pissed off because he couldn’t watch cute cat videos anymore.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

Before Don became such a big local football star, Tuckahoe produced another village football legend, Al Carapella who became the University of Miami‘s first All American. He later had a distinguished, if brief, NFL career. The town was proud of Al. He was their first All American too.They had a parade for him and dedicated some sort of monument in his honor.

We kids were not so impressed. We all snidely referred to him as “Al Carapella, All American.” One Sunday I attended mass in the Assumption Church, the parish in the town specifically set up by the Diocese for the Italians to stop us from attending the “American” Catholic church up on the hill. I was about 10 years old at the time. I was standing in the line to go to Communion and “Al Carapella, All American” stepped into the line just behind me. I was awed. We all had our heads bowed and our hands pressed together in prayer and piety. As the line moved forward, for some reason, I moved backward or perhaps I did not move fast enough, I do not know. Anyway I stepped on “Al Carapella, All American’s” foot. Without lifting his head “Al Carapella, All American” growled, “Get the fuck off a my fucking foot kid.”

As I said, no one in the gang was especially large or fast and except for Peter White showed no great natural athletic ability. Nevertheless, over the years that they played together each learned his job. Each had to figure out by himself how to do his job even if the guy in front of him was bigger, faster and more athletic. This ad-hoc accommodation to the situation was the bane of coaches. Once the coach got involved he would demand you be bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic otherwise you would not play. They usually loved to see “their boys” bang themselves silly against the opposing player.

The gang did not have this problem when they entered Tuckahoe High School. The coach was an alcoholic who reputedly spent most of his time with the school nurse locked-up together in his or her office. So, for the most part the team was left to fend for itself. The school was tiny, only about 90 boys in the whole school. Almost all the gang played on the varsity beginning with their freshman year and with Don in the backfield they won and kept on winning.

Since I went to a different high school than the rest of the gang and no longer lived in Tuckahoe, I did not attend many of their games. But I followed them in the local newspapers. The few times I did get to see their games Don was astonishing. He was like the Ghost in the Backfield. Not too tall and a bit on the skinny side so that his uniform always looked a bit to big for him, he seemed to disappear from view until he was given the ball and then something amazing happened.

Don was never a great fan of running over people or of being tackled. He did not run through his opponents, nor did he stutter step to trick potential tacklers. With a fluid grace he played “catch me if you can.” Although he was fast, he was not blistering so and he did not make his mark simply running around the ends but instead when presented with just the slightest of openings in the center of the line he would almost magically slip through and be gone. He often left the would be tackler tackling air. Like a ghost he was there and then he was not.

Because the school was so small they were forced to play other small schools in the area. But as they continued to win by ever increasing scores they eventually were paired with larger schools. But still they continued to win.

Don received a number of football scholarship offers, not as many as he would have received had he attended one of the larger schools in the county like the one I attended that had two thousand boys. To the surprise of all of us he chose a school in Idaho (Idaho State or the University of Idaho, I do not know which) (to be Continued)

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Don looking a lot like when I knew him (a bit heavier in the photo) with his son who misses him a lot.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012- The Tuckahoe Tigers Basketball Team won the State division C title after posting a perfect 25 – 0 win season. The prior year the school won the State football and baseball championships for their division. The football team played in three state championships in the past 6 years. (The school still is tiny, containing only about 250 students)

1956: Tuckahoe defeats Feildston 30-0 in Football. (More than likely Dondi scored almost all the points.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part II.

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“If all bank loans were paid, no one would have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent monetary system. When one gets a complete grasp upon the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible-but there it is. It (the banking problem) is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it is widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.”
Robert Hemphill, for 8 years credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. January 24, 1939

Hemphill’s warning has not been heeded because, up until now, productivity has increased while commodity prices have fallen producing a growth in wealth greater than the inexorable ever-increasing cannibalization of that wealth by interest. What Hemphill’s insight means is that the nation or for that matter the world’s monetary system will eventually fail because debt levels must increase exponentially in order to grow the economy. A growing economy requires more money, and money is debt. Exponential debt levels are mathematically impossible after a certain point. That is simple math. And the result? KABOOM!

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

klutz
Or better yet, klots. Literally means “a block of wood,” so it’s often used for a dense, clumsy or awkward person. See schlemiel.
kosher
Something that’s acceptable to Orthodox Jews, especially food. Other Jews may also “eat kosher” on some level but are not required to. Food that Orthodox Jews don’t eat – pork, shellfish, etc. – is called traif. An observant Jew might add, “Both pork and shellfish are doubtlessly very tasty. I simply am restricted from eating it.” In English, when you hear something that seems suspicious or shady, you might say, “That doesn’t sound kosher.”
kvetsh
In popular English, kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,” but in Yiddish, kvetsh literally means “to press or squeeze,” like a wrong-sized shoe. Reminds you of certain chronic complainers, doesn’t it? But it’s also used on Yiddish web pages for “click” (Click Here).
maven
Pronounced meyven. An expert, often used sarcastically.
Mazel Tov
Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”) but it’s a congratulation for what just happened, not a hopeful wish for what might happen in the future. When someone gets married or has a child or graduates from college, this is what you say to them. It can also be used sarcastically to mean “it’s about time,” as in “It’s about time you finished school and stopped sponging off your parents.”
mentsh
An honorable, decent person, an authentic person, a person who helps you when you need help. Can be a man, woman or child.
mishegas
Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. If you want to insult someone, you can ask them, ”Does it hurt to be crazy?”
mishpocheh
Or mishpokhe or mishpucha. It means “family,” as in “Relax, you’re mishpocheh. I’ll sell it to you at wholesale.”
nosh
Or nash. To nibble; a light snack, but you won’t be light if you don’t stop noshing. Can also describe plagiarism, though not always in a bad sense; you know, picking up little pieces for yourself.

Many people have the mistaken notion that yiddish is a Jewish language like Hebrew. True it was spoken primarily by Jews. However unlike Hebrew which until the establishment of the state of Israel served as the “religious” or “intellectual” language of most Jews; much like Latin was used in western Europe until the last century, yiddish generally was spoken by only one of the major branches of the Jewish diaspora. That branch, known as the Ashkenazi were those Jews who lived primarily in eastern Europe and originally included Northern France until various pogroms forced them further east. Like the Kurds of today they were a nation without a land of their own. Until the 19th century most Jews spoke a pastiche of Aramaic, Hebrew and the indigenous language of the place they were living at the time. The roots of Yiddish is primarily German with Aramaic and Hebrew influences. It also includes words and expressions from several Slavic languages in varying degrees depending upon where the speakers lived. There are several different “yiddish dialects” including that spoken as the official language in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian far East near Vladivostok. Its capital is Birobidzhan. The First Birobidzhan International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture was launched in 2007

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. The Little Masseuse:

“Dog shit in the morning.”
LM warning about the sidewalks of Bangkok after the nights rain had cleared away the prior day’s refuse.

A sentiment well taken by anyone believing they cleared away the debris of their past and are about to something new.

B. Paul Krugman

“[O]n economic issues the modern Democratic party is what we would once have considered “centrist”, or even center-right. Obama’s Heritage-Foundation-inspired health care plan is to the right of Richard Nixon’s. Nobody with political influence is suggesting a return to pre-Reagan tax rates on the wealthy. Fantasies about Obama as a socialist, redistributionist hater of capitalism bear no more resemblance to reality than fantasies about his birthplace or religion.

Second, today’s Republican party is an alliance between the plutocrats and the preachers, plus some opportunists along for the ride — full stop…. Someday there may emerge another party with the same name standing for a quite different agenda…. But that will take a long time… Finally, it’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded…. But… “seem to be”… they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda…. Anyone who imagines that there is any real soul-searching going on is deluding himself or herself.”

It should be noted that beginning with the election of Franklin Roosevelt in fifty years we went from the probably worst economic calamity in our nation’s history to witnessing the greatest growth of income and widest and most equitable distribution of wealth ever achieved. During this period, both Republicans and Democrats accepted the basic concepts of what became standard economic thought.

During the thirty years following the election of Ronald Reagan on the other hand we have seen our nation tumble from that period of broad, equitable and high economic growth into the second greatest economic contraction in our history accompanied by the largest divergence of wealth between the fortunate few and the rest of us since the heyday of the Southern plantation economies. During that time, both Republican and Democratic administrations grew to accept the new economic and fiscal paradigm introduced in Reagan Administration.

What caused this change from a seemingly workable beneficent economic consensus to one so manifestly deficient? The only political event that bridges transition from one paradigm to the other that I can see that makes sense as a cause is the civil rights movement. Not that it, in itself, engendered a simple reaction by racists who then swept away 50 years of economic agreement. But it did encourage the rural white southern and working class Northern poor who for the most part benefited (and supported) the New Deal, to make a political alliance with those who hated it in an effort to roll back the threats to their precarious existence that they imagined were being generated by the civil rights movement. Many of them, the working class and the southern white voter believed it when they were told by those who stood the most to gain financially by reversing the progressive economic consensus, that that economic consensus was responsible for financing “welfare state.” That the “welfare state” allowed the civil rights and other progressive movements to threaten their precarious hold on their newly won social and economic stability.

The tragedy for those folks who joined on to the bandwagon, was that while this alliance has been very successful in rolling back the previous economic consensus, it abjectly has failed in halting the ever-expanding tide civil rights and other progressive programs. This result has thrown that wing (that we now call “social conservatives”) of the alliance into ever-increasing paroxysms of insanity even to the point of lashing out against virtually all science and their own self-interest.

The irrationality of this wing has grown so outlandish, that recently some of the more insightful of those most opposed to the old New Deal economic paradigm see in them, their allies, a greater danger to their interests, than all but the most radical wing of their traditional opponents in the Democratic Party. They, these few, seem to be beginning to see in the current Democratic Party, the Reagan economic consensus without the socio-theologic crap.

After all, they may now reason, a few years of diminished expectations is a small price to pay for fattening up the pig again.

TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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When all or most of us work at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart for minimum age, who will do the shopping there — the owners, management?

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Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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