This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 JoJo 0003 (May 25, 2014)

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others….”
Groucho Marx

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA

 

 
TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Still in America

Before leaving for Thailand, Bill Geyer and I attended a memorial in Sacramento for John Zierold. Beginning in the late 1960’s he was the Sierra Club lobbyist in the California State Capitol for many years . He also founded the Planning and Conservation League.

The years Zierold prowled the halls of the State Capitol were remarkable for the volume of environmental laws that passed out of the Legislature: CEQA, BCDC, The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, The California Coastal Act, The California Coastal Conservancy, The Tahoe Conservancy, The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and many others including billions of dollars in bond acts to preserve a lot of California’s majestic and not so majestic landscape .

Attending the memorial were many of the now aging players in the political battles during those years, most quite a bit fatter and a few like Bill Yeates and Bill Geyer a lot thinner. Attending were: Bill Kier, head or the Senate Office of Research (Bill was there during the early part of Jerry Brown’s first administration when we were having trouble finding a suitable candidate for the head of the Department of Forestry and Jerry suddenly blurted out, “Indians! Find me an Indian. They know all about the woods.”); Charlie Warren, the ex-Assemblyman who co-authored the Coastal Act; Joe Edmiston the first and still reigning Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; Gene Varininni, Energy Commission Commissioner; Dan Richards, one of my successors as Chairman of the High Speed Rail Authority; Bill Yeates who after working with me became one of the leading environmental advocates in Sacramento and many others including of course Stevie and Norbert.

The speeches, including mine, were mostly the rambling reminisces of old men. Women had generally not yet broken through the glass ceiling in enough numbers to join in the running of the bulls.

A few days later I had lunch with Bill Yeates at an excellent “slow food” pizzeria. I talked far too much.
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2. “Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,”

Now some may wonder (as I do) why, given the recent imposition of martial law in Thailand, I would choose to go there now. One reason is my tickets are non refundable. Another, although less compelling, is that I have been through civil disturbances like this many times before.

In 1964 or so, during the Harlem riots, I spent them standing at the corner of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in front of the Legal Aid office at which I worked watching the battle wax and wane in front of me. Across Lexington stood the hotel where Fidel Castro famously roasted chickens in the hallway. In that same hotel, as I was observing the fortunes of those who would soon be clients, a reporter who later won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the riots sat typing away. Later I got to know and detest that reporter. Still later it was discovered that he was so terrorized by the thought of being injured in the riots that he refused to leave his room or even look out the window and made up everything that appeared in his prize-winning reports.

A few years later in Rome during the student rebellion, I stood among a crowd in front of a university building and watched the protestors defenestrate an opponent who splattered on the cement a few feet from where I was standing.

About a year later, still in Rome, I attended a Fascist protest in Piazza Venezia during which the leader of the protest was crushed beneath the wheels of an army jeep – again a few feet from where I was standing. At another protest (Communist this time) I was caught by a squad of police with raised truncheons and saved myself by shouting “Don’t hurt me, I’m Canadian.”

And of course I participated in the mandatory anti-Vietnam War riots and protests in SF as well as attending various previous coups and protests in Thailand.

What I have learned from all this is that most riots and similar disturbances are localized for the convenience of the media and one must intend to go there to put oneself in harm’s way. Accidents may always happen but danger is something someone generally chooses to risk.
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3. Flight

The flight to Thailand was uneventful. The plane was not crowded. I was able to scare off a young woman who was eyeing the same row of empty seats that I was. That allowed me to stretch out and sleep in relative comfort except for the sound of retching from the woman across the aisle who vomited every hour or so and for the gentleman in the row in front of me who seemed to suffer an excess of intestinal gas.

There were only three westerners on the last leg of the trip into BKK. Passport control was almost empty.
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3. Ah, Thailand

By the time I arrived in Thailand, the martial law that had been announced just before I left had graduated to a full coup. A curfew had been imposed that upset both the owners and workers in the city’s bars and nightclubs and their mostly western (farang) customers. Television had been shut down except for the occasional appearance of a photogenic young military man describing the wonderful things being done by the military. A single very bad but very popular soap opera was permitted to be shown in the evening so that the people would have something to do during curfew.

The traffic was wonderfully light, mostly empty taxis and busses. I did not notice the presence of any military in my neighborhood.

In the afternoon I accompanied the Little Masseuse to a shopping center to buy some pillows. She explained to me that she had placed the pillows on the balcony to air out and the wind from a sudden storm blew them off the balcony and into the piles of dog shit that fill the alley between my building and the next. At first I did not believe her. However, I could not come up with a more rational story to account for the disappearance of the pillows. Apparently that same storm also took my underwear into the dog shit along with the pillows.

By the time we arrived at the department store my foot had swollen up like a week old rancid sausage. I could not remember if my doctor’s instructions were that I should go directly to the emergency room in that case or not. I decided not. So, I sat at a table by the food court with a coke while LM set about searching for suitable pillows. As I sat there, I occupied myself with trying to draw sensible generalizations from my observation of the people who passed by. The following is a bit of what I concluded while I sat there:

Farang men wear shorts more than Asians. On the whole, men were color blind except for gay guys. Perhaps it would benefit all men to spend a night or two on the wild side. They would probably dress better. Women on the other hand did not appear color blind. The ladies of the demimonde who paraded by wore pants so tight they appeared painted on or dresses short enough to expose their labia majora. At my age of course I am permitted observe such things without the hint of prurience.

Two low riders passed by with pants hitched somewhere about their knees, their tee-shirt draped down to cover most of the rest of their body. It is a style that I find difficult to understand. Of course from a line standpoint it is simply another version of south asian pantaloons with a straight line rather than the puffy one affected by the maharajas. The low rider style seems quite puritan. After all, although their pants are worn with the waist dropped close to the floor, like those of an over excited lover, the overall look still carefully hides any hint of the human body beneath the costume. (The daintily exposed upper buttocks and crack sported by amorous plumbers on the other hand could be considered quite racy)

What really “grinds my gears” are the two greatest disasters in men’s fashions in the last century John Kennedy’s refusal to wear a hat (may he roast in hell for it) thereby encouraging weak-willed men to go hatless except for that abortion, the baseball cap. I don’t care where you put the bill it still looks like crap. The second disaster was the creation of business casual by removing the only item of color in a mans outfit, the tie. I have heard tell by those who favored the style that ties were too restricting. I ask, was it that or was it that those saying this did not want to admit they were getting fatter?

As for women’s fashion, I like things cut on the diagonal. That is, a diagonal slash across the vertical line of the body. However that double bias cut on the bottom of some modern women’s dresses leaving two bits of fabric floating to the side like upside down wings and an inverted V pointing to their vagina is the greatest fashion mistake since the bustle.

I could go on about this and other things I thought about while I sat there but my foot began to feel better and LM returned with the pillows so we left, took a motor bike taxi and returned to my apartment.
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Back at the apartment LM showed me the results of her knitting during the time that I was away. Instead of wool scarves that have no use in tropical Thailand and which I buy from her as presents for my nearest and dearest in the US, she has knitted a bagfull of wool winter caps. They are quite colorful, some with pompoms on the top and some that did not get the shape of the head quite right and so they fetchingly flop over a bit. For those who received the scarves from me as presents in the past, beware, here come the caps.
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The next day I went swimming at the health club and then had a two-hour massage (the price has doubled to $20). Talked a while to Gary II (Canadian Gary not Chiang Mai Gary) who was working remodeling his hair salon and who was pissed because had to cancel his hockey game (yes there is hockey in BKK) because of the curfew.
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I learned that the Good/Bad David had suffered a crushed disk in his back and spent two weeks in the hospital. He is recuperating in Pattaya.
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There still has been no evidence of the military anywhere although the newspapers are reporting they have a new plan for governing the nation that will do away with the necessity of voting.
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B. POOKIE’S DREAMS:

About 20% of the population, more or less, are what is referred to as vivid dreamers, those who know that they are dreaming and to some extent can control the content and length of their dreams. Many vivid dreamers also are able to recall their dreams faithfully for some time after. In my case some dreams become so imbedded in my memory that I can no longer distinguish them from real memories unless something focusses my attention on the unreality of my dream memory.

I have had such a dream memory of Malibu. Why Malibu, I ask myself? After all Malibu is nothing more than a rather ugly shrub choked semi-desert at the edge or the ocean. The people who live there I find are some of the most disagreeable, nasty, self-righteous people on the planet. For the most part they live there only because other wealthy people live there.

I once had a developer friend who told me, “my pappy told me always to sell to the rich. They will spend any amount of money to live next to one another.” Alas, my friend forgot his pappy’s direction, bought a savings and loan and promptly went bankrupt.

Anyway my dream, which I will relate in the next issue of T&T, is unusual in that I learn in the dream itself that my dream Malibu was a fantasy.
(to be continued)

C. POOKIE’S BOOK REPORT:

As you know, I like to include items written by my T&T correspondents whenever I can. Here is something I found on Cort’s Facebook page that has an interesting take on Lee Harvey Oswald:

“Best book I read on the JFK assassination: Case Closed by Gerald Posner. It has some material on my parent’s accountant, George Bouhe, who I knew well. He was Russian and helped Russian immigrants. He knew LHO well and tried to persuade Marina to leave. According to Bouhe, and almost everyone else who knew LHO, including a psychiatrist who interviewed him at age 13, LHO was a dangerous, narcissistic, raving homicidal maniac. The book is well researched and written.”
Cort Holland

Pookie says, “check it out.”

 

 
DAILY FACTOIDS:

May 31, 2014, the 13th annual Masturbate-a-Thon will be held in San Francisco to celebrate the end of this year’s International Masturbation Month.

1980-1988: When Ronald Reagan took office, U.S. debt was under $1 trillion. After he left eight years later, debt was $2.6 trillion and the U.S. had moved from being the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation.

 

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

What “Occupy” was all about and what it really wanted:

It wanted society to avoid what Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations and the justly acclaimed Father of Capitalism warned against:

“But what all the violence of the feudal institutions could never have effected, the silent and insensible operation of foreign commerce and manufactures gradually brought about. These gradually furnished the great proprietors with something for which they could exchange the whole surplus produce of their lands, and which they could consume themselves without sharing it either with tenants or retainers. All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons.”

Note: This quote isn’t from some Marxist manifesto. It’s from Book 3 of The Wealth of Nations. Smith denounces the rentier economy represented by large landowners in those days. Owners of financial debt instruments embody those rentiers today.

 

 
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The love of possessions is a disease with them. They take tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own and fence their neighbours away. If (North) America had been twice the size it is, there still would not have been enough; the Indian would still have been dispossessed.”
Chief Sitting Bull

 

 
TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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I Love Trees but I Never Hug Them

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Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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