TODAY FROM THAILAND:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:
I went to the Thai immigration office to get my one-year retirement visa renewed
The Little Masseuse kindly accompanied me to handle negotiations with the various transportation entities we were required to maneuver in order to get to and from the immigration office. She patiently sat outside the offices waiting for me to complete the process.
It was a much less traumatic experience than my previous visit. It took only about three hours or so.
Alas, after I had acquired the requisite stamps and paid the various fees I left, completely forgetting LM was there waiting for me. I was half-way home when I received a call from her inquiring how much longer the visa extension process would take.
How does one simply forget another human being? What level of self-absorption does it take to do that?
Somewhere in a past T&T I wrote of the three stages of a man’s old age: First you forget to zip it up, then you forget to zip it down, then you die.
I know I have passed through stage one. The periodic sense of cool breezes where there should be none reminds me of that. Alas, it appears that stage two is approaching much faster than I would like.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:
You go girl II:
Today Thai television showed a surveillance video of the inside of an elevator. In the elevator stood a small girl or young woman dressed in a pink jacket. A light blue backpack was strapped to her back. The doors opened and a man much larger than the girl and dressed in dark clothing entered. As soon as the doors closed, he grabbed the girl and threw her against the back wall of the elevator. The girl then proceeded to beat the living shit out of him. By the time the elevator doors opened again the guy was lying in a foetal position on the floor of the elevator in a pool of his own blood.
(I have never seen or for that matter imagined a response to a surprise physical assault so sudden, focused, implacable and merciless as that little girl’s.
I wonder if the video was real. It had the blurry aspect of those type of surveillance videos. The girl seemed to move with the speed and power of one of those spandex attired superheroes. What would one call an elfin sized female superhero with a pink jacket and a powder blue backpack?
Speaking of superheroes in tights, when I left the American Embassy a few days ago its exterior walls had been covered in murals painted by local school children in one of those attempts by the State Department to achieve some sort of ambiguous rapport with the locals. The theme of the murals appeared to be the painter’s image of America. In the center of the exhibit was one panel containing a life-sized representation of Captain America in a red white and blue unitard leaping to defend truth justice and the American way complete with a little round shield, blazing red lipstick and huge almost frighteningly large breasts. America the beautiful…We should only hope.)
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:
ENTER THE DRAGON
Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they’re gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.
(Alas, this issue of T&T has grown so long that I felt adding an another 1000 words or so would be excessive. We will pick up again on the Dragon’s unwilling adventures in the next post.)
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:
Note: the following begins my series about the four governmental agencies that I had some role in developing.
A. The State of New York’s Mental Health Information Service:
It was 1965, the high point for those of us flooding out from the nations colleges and universities who, in response to JFK’s challenge to “ask what you can do for your country,” believed that their idealism could correct past injustices and create a brighter future. It was a few years yet before that idealism began to dissolve in the miasma of self-indulgence brought on by the counter-culture. It was six years before future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart‘s infamous memorandum called for the creation of a massive parasite community, a greater assembly of non-productive individuals than ever contemplated by any religion or governmental bureaucracy, made up of attorneys, economists, consultants and lobbyists dedicated to redistributing wealth from the productive elements of society, rich and poor alike, into their ever insatiable maw. It was still a few years before that dark avatar of amorality, Richard Nixon recognized that combining the worst aspects of the American South with the worst of the North and West was the road to iniquitous power. It was a little more than a decade before, in response to Stewart’s siren call, America’s youth in great numbers abandoned the study of science, engineering and even the debatable civilizing influence of the liberal arts and flocked to devour the intricacies of business, finance and law in the vain hope of raising themselves individually above the society in which they lived. By the mid-1980s the wellspring of JFK’s challenge had died leaving behind only a greater or lesser will to defend what had been accomplished and a vague periodic enthusiasm for restitution on behalf of the victim of the month. But that was later. Then we were certain we would make a difference.
In 1964, the New York State Legislature created the Mental Health Information Service to rectify the perceived festering sore that was New Yorks vast mental hospital system and bureaucracy. I had recently graduated from law school and to play a role in creating program to implement the law fascinated me. A few weeks before this I had participated in a three day testing program at NYU to determine my aptitude for various professional alternatives I may wish to pursue. The tests indicated that I was best suited for either conducting an orchestra or becoming a social worker. Since I had no musical abilities that I knew of but having recently been admitted to the NY Bar, the appearance of the hiring notice seemed fortuitous.
(To be continued)
February 3, 1959: The Day the Music Died.
Not all the music died that day. Waylon Jennings who was also on the tour did not take the flight having given up his seat in favor of “The Big Bopper” who had the flu. Tommy Allsop lost a coin toss to Richie Valens for the last seat on the plane.
Dion Dimucci, the Dion of Dion and the Belmonts fame, did not board the ill fated charter aircraft that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper because he refused to pay the $36 fee.
(I knew Dion. He lived in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx, a heavily Italian area of NYC. I could see him doing that. Liked his music though.)
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
(It should be pointed out the seven countries with the lowest child poverty rates identified by the gold bars are all countries that some have accused of being highly socialistic. These seven countries however are not included in that group of countries experiencing current economic difficulties that these same people attribute to the debts accumulated from their socialistic policies even though in fact those difficulties are almost exclusively due to their lassie faire approach to the unbridled greed of their banking and financial industries.)
B. Testosterone Chronicles:
(A man’s man does not have to be 100% dick.)
C. More Evidence that Economics is a Religion and not a Science:
The above chart represents the responses of a large group of economists to the question about the efficacy of current economic policy. It demonstrates what I and many other people have been saying and what many others believe, that economists do not know that they are doing and to bestow upon their area of study the title of a “science” whether modified by the word “social” or not is ludicrous. In fact, to me the predictive power of their field of study is not appreciatively greater than divination of the future from goat entrails. It has all the indicia of a religion. One might just as well flip a coin as ask an economist for advice on what policies to pursue to achieve a healthy national economy.
D. Interesting site:
The above cited article by Brad DeLong is in my opinion the clearest and most understandable analysis of the financial crisis initiated by Citibank’s London hedge fund trader and of the nature of hedge funds in general. It also highlights why, conspiracy mavens aside, the Federal Reserve system was a pretty good idea.
But perhaps the most interesting thing to me and not discussed at all, was that the supervisor of the rogue trader who, upon realizing that the trader’s approach could either leave Citibank perhaps the most overwhelmingly wealthy entity on earth or bankrupt, chose to take the current loss in order assure preservation of the bank rather than risk it on the potential of becoming richer than Croesus, was a woman.
Would the exclusively male traders and managers at Lehman Brothers have made the same choice? Obviously not.
E. Tales of Inhumanity:
7th May 1943, The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto (Part II).
A young woman writes:
“Wham! Boom! The enemy is shooting machine guns and throwing grenades into the bunker. The bunker is partially covered with an avalanche of rubble. The people inside are acting courageously. With complete serenity, they look death in the face.
In silence, we honour the death of the people who are burning in the flames. The Germans are shooting every Jew that they find or taking and burning the bodies on the bonfire in the community courtyard at 19 Zamenhof Street. Hitler’s devotees, his dedicated servants and hangmen, who obey their leader’s orders, execute everything in accordance with the order which states that in 1945 there will not be a single Jew left in Europe.
Today, silence reigned for a long time. We lay on the bunks until late in the evening after four days of hunger. Everyone was satisfied because we ate something and went to sleep in a better mood. The appearance of these people, whose cheeks were already sunken, improved, their eyes brightened and a spark of life was once again discernible within them. Now everyone believes that he will be able to hold on.
Surprisingly, we have light again, the electricity is back. Maybe the sun will also shine for us. It’s really about time. We are cut off from the entire world, helpless and relying only on our own powers. No one talks about rescue. We are extending our existence with great effort.
Our lives are extremely threatened now, the danger is constant. The living standard is very low. The people are half-naked, dressed in rags, running around morosely on the stone floor. They can’t live and they can’t die.
I am amazed that in such conditions we have succeeded in surviving for three weeks. We know very well what kind of action this is because they announced it in advance. This is the extermination of Warsaw Jewry and, afterwards, our end.”
A. Sophokles – Antigone:
Antigone: No matter—Death longs for the same rites for all.
Creon: Never the same for the patriot and the traitor.
Antigone: Who, Creon, who on earth can say the ones below don’t find this pure and uncorrupt?
Creon: Never. Once an enemy, never a friend, not even after death.
Antigone: I was born to join in love, not hate—that is my nature.
Creon: Go down below and love, if love you must—love the dead! While I’m alive, no woman is going to lord it over me.
(From Brad DeLong’s Journal)
(See Pepe’s Potpourri D. above. The rogue trader’s manager that put preservation of the organization above untold wealth was fired. Little has changed in 3000 years. We men still behave like Creon. That is why I wrote some time ago:
“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion on earth 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.”)
B. Do you agree with this?
“Not all Republicans are racists, but most racists are Republicans.”
Silver and Blue
- Stop Six On The Rockabilly Roadtrip (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)
- Music’s not dead (alongkorn10013.wordpress.com)
- Three Days Before the Music Died Dylan was Born (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
- This Week In History: Revisiting The Day The Music Died (wcbsfm.cbslocal.com)
- Profit Through Exclusion (thewallahofwhimsy.wordpress.com)
- Graham Nash Has ‘Wild Tales’ To Spare (npr.org)
- Soldiers, journalists hurt in bombings in Thailand (bigstory.ap.org)
- Where in the World is Steve Boylan? Keeping the Music Alive! (andykaufmanskavalkadekrew.wordpress.com)