April 2011 through June 2011

Second quarter 2011

This and that from re thai r ment, by 3Th. June 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1863: May 18-July 4, Grant’s victory at Vicksburg marks the beginning of the end for the Confederate Rebellion that caused the American Civil War.

Less than 150 years later, the South wins the peace.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) ITALY:

About four hours later we arrived at Nikki’s condominium in Busto a small working class town located just outside of Milan adjacent to Malpensa Airport. We unpacked, cooked dinner and went to sleep. The following morning I was awakened by lot of shouting and banging of things being moved about. I left my room to find SWAC in the midst of packing and shouting. It seems that her period commenced (Her statement not mine) the previous night and that according to her, it was an absolute necessity we immediately depart the messy and cramped condominium for the supposedly spacious and elegant farm of her friends located almost completely across the top of the country from Milan, somewhere near Venice.

She insisted that I accompany them, stay the night and return to Milan the next morning, leaving Hayden and her to spent two or three weeks there. I demurred, explaining that I had had enough traveling for a while. Following somewhat emotional discussions and a series of telephone calls to the so-called friends, it was agreed that I would accompany them to the Veneto and remain with Hayden lodged at the farm while she returned to Milan with Nikki and departed for Thailand to return in about two weeks.

So, four or so hours later we drove into Sacile (pronounced Sah Chili) a town about 40 kilometers north of Venice. It is also known as “Il Giardino del Serenissima,” or something like that. It translates as “The Garden of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.”

Before reaching the center of town we stopped on a side street at a coffee shop/bar operated by a friend of SWAC and Nikki, a tall slender middle aged woman named Lucia. Outside the bar were a few tables, one of which was occupied by several locals playing the traditional Italian card games of Scopa and Brescola. They and the other patrons were generally drinking Prosecco, not the sweet bubbly crap one gets in the US but the refreshing local, hot weather afternoon, kick back and enjoy life drink. It was very good. We had two glasses and spent about an hour in pleasant conversation with Lucia, her strange boyfriend and some of the customers.

We then walked to the main plaza of the town that has a river running through it. Apparently, during the heyday of La Serenissima, barges from Venice would travel up the river to the small falls that made further travel difficult. The barges, carrying, I guess, things like Murano glass souvenirs, porcelain carnivalle mask and things like that would be off loaded and replaced by agricultural goods from the area and other things like cuckoo clocks carried over the alpine passes from Switzerland and Austria. The town sprung up to service this barge traffic, I assume to provide food, drink and entertainment to the lonely bargemen as they awaited their consignments.

The town is a picture postcard of what someone would imagine a venetian town should look like. At first blush it appears that the ancient town has reemerged from history. A closer look reveals something a bit more like one would find at the Venetian in Las Vegas, a use of post-modern architectural design flowing seamlessly into the few remaining vintage structures.

Post-modernism despite the acres of intellectual drivel generally written by those hoping to make some money off of it, is merely a form of colorful mostly straight edged Moderne (with pitched rather than flat roofs) as it existed before Walter Gropius sex crazed with Anna Mahler tarted it up into Bauhaus (Or had Gropius become a sexual deviant before the advent of Moderne, I never could remember which?). Essentially it consists of a series of rectangular planar facades painted or otherwise colored in earthy reds, yellows and beiges adorned with simple architectural elements, like plain arches ( now and then festooned with architectural artifacts). It was concocted by Venturi and Graves hungry for commissions out of their impression of the reconstruction of traditional domestic and small commercial structures in post war Italy as the local people filled in the bombed out spaces between the surviving historical structures with simplified copies of traditional design and painted them with a brighter version of the standard stucco. It spread back to Europe and It works here in Italy, since that was always the local vernacular architecture anyway.

In NY, Johnson, tired of living in glass houses and unable to diddle Anna himself, nevertheless attempted to capitalize on the post-modern craze by creating the worlds largest and perhaps ugliest misrepresentation of a piece of obsolete junk furniture as a New York skyscraper. San Francisco, ever ready to slavishly follow East Coast fashions adopted post modernism as the design element of its planning code thereby converting something generally simple into the gross monstrosity of pink tinged architecture that graces the City today.

Ah well, I liked Sacile a lot, even if it seemed little bit like an urban version of Danville.

As we walked about, I noticed that this was a town populated by people with prominent noses, from fleshy cyranoesque probiscai to hawk like aquiline appendages cleaving the air as they walked along like axe heads cleaving a log. These notable features adorned generally slender well dressed men and equally fashionable and sensuous women. Unlike the drab dark colors I found obliquitous in the US, here both the men and women were more colorfully attired. Although there was the usual excess of pre stressed jeans and off the shoulder tank tops, there was nary a velour exercise outfit to be seen,

After wandering around the city for about an hour our hosts arrived and we followed their automobile to their farm on the outskirts of a village with the pleasantly sounding name of Tamai. (To be continued…)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed because the author is exhausted. Besides the delay will give Vince time to think up an appropriate response to the question posed by the comely and muscular Megs. Knowing Vince as well as I do, I expect his answer to be as ineffective and unimaginative as always.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Godwin’s law — An adage in Internet culture that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Coined by Mike Godwin in 1990.

You probably did not realize this but all these laws were actually written by Nazi’s.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“Conservatives are irony deficient.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matthew 5:40-41)

So why is it that the religious right has so much difficulty accepting court decisions like Roe v. Wade?

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/)if you believe that:

“Bullies are manly but peacemakers are not.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

Researchers discovered that men with increased levels of testosterone “were more likely to use their own money punish those who were ungenerous toward them.”

The scientists concluded that, “Elevated testosterone causes men to behave antisocially.”

What a surprise.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I am full of crap about post-modern architecture.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.”

John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went;

Today’s Photographs:


Hayden by the River.

The Nattily Dressed Pookie in the Plaza.

Sacile the Picturesque.

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Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. June 23, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

I have no idea what this chart is supposed to tell us. If you do please let me know.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:


POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA AND ITALY:

The following morning we left for LAX and our flight to Italy.

The depressing state of the American airline industry is additional evidence that the terrorists won. It was not the taking down of buildings, the killing of Americans or airplanes falling from the sky that was the goal of their attacks, but the subtle certainty of their understanding of the American psyche was their actual weapon. Their focus was to destroy the American economy by knowing precisely the reaction of America’s conservative elite’s thirst for power and profit. And we fell into the trap. Instead of making ourselves even stronger economically at home we wasted American treasure and dollars in unnecessary wars in the deserts of the middle east until we rewarded our attackers their victory, destruction of our economy. I consider the architects of our response nothing less than cynical traitors who wrapped themselves in the flag for personal benefit and power.

The American sad state of Airline travel is small but significant evidence of the extent of the terrorists success.

Anyway, following an especially uncomfortable flight, I arrived at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport with swollen legs, aching back and a foul temper. We were met by Nikki, who had arrived from Chicago a few hours earlier.

After about two hours of trying to secure a rent-a-car for our trip to Milan during which we experienced the full fury of Italian efficiency, we set off.

Within minutes it became obvious that we were not going to make the 4 or so hour drive to Milan that evening as both SWAC and I began to complain to Nikki of our various discomforts. At my suggestion we agreed to spend the night in Orvieto a small hilltop city not far off the Autostrada.

As we entered the town, SWAC became quite excited as she thought she recognized the town as the site of George Clooney’s escapades in the movie “The American” or some such.

We located a pleasant B&B called “Las Palmas,” dropped off out luggage and set off in search of dinner which we found at an attractive restaurant a few doors away. Following a very enjoyable meal and the downing of two liters of local red and white wines among the three of us, we stumbled back to our respective rooms and to sleep.

The next morning we checked out of the B & B and set off in search of the Duomo and locations of scenes in the film that SWAC thought that she remembered.

Orvieto’s Duomo is an interesting church with a large romanesque interior and Italian gothic façade striped with green and white marble. Attached to the façade in a band about 30 feet wide and stretching across the entire front of the church is a series of Bas-reliefs that along with the view from the city walls are the towns glory.

Orvieto like many of the hill towns in this part of Italy specialize in a type of pottery called Faience. Each town promotes in a slightly different design on the pottery and ever since Faience pottery became beloved of collectors, each town has developed its own pottery “artist”. In Orvieto the renowned artist is the daughter of the owner of a pottery shop on the Plaza del Duomo called Giacomini.

For those with knowledge and experience with the California Coastal Commission, yes they are the relatives of the beloved suspender wearing, rotund, ex-Marin County Supervisor and Coastal Commissioner, Gary Giacomini sometimes also referred to as “Farmer Brown”.

Gary was an ardent environmentalist as long as it did not interfere with his and his family’s economic and political ambitions.

I spent about a half an hour swapping “Gary” stories with the family before we departed to search for the supposed locations of scenes from the movie, take photographs and return to the Autostrada to complete our journey to Milan. (To be continued…)
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter whatever:

Vince took into the office washroom the overnight suitcase he always kept available in his office in case he had to make sudden short business trips or pulled and all-nighter like this one. He washed as best he could, shaved, changed his clothing and returned to his office just as Ray arrived to accompany him to the San Mateo County office. Ray had obviously been called by Ike and was dressed in what for him passed for business attire, pearl button earrings, a military style camouflage jacket, matching camouflage pants and neon green Crocs on his feet.

When they arrived at the San Mateo and were immediately ushered into the office of Sheriff Megan (Megs) Polan, former beauty queen, body building champion and rising star in local Republican politics. Vince and Ray sat in chairs across the hygienically clean desk behind which Megs sat enthroned like a medieval duchess. Her still super toned body filled out her tan uniform so that it looked painted on. She had curly auburn hair that hung down to her shoulders and the steely blue eyes of either a stone cold killer or paranoid schizophrenic. She did not rise to greet them or speak but leaned across her desk and pushed a transparent evidence bag containing a small piece of paper towards them. As she bent forward Vince caught a glimpse of cleavage struggling to escape the casually unbuttoned shirt. He also noticed the large black pistol riding high on her hip. Vince disconcerted that he found himself turned on, in order to cover his embarrassment he dropped his eyes to the proffered evidence bag and studied its contents.

Inside the bag was a piece of paper torn from a small spiral bound notebook and written on it in a shaky hand was written the message, “If anything should happen to me, call Vincent Biondi” along with his personal mobile phone number.

“So Mr. Biondi,” Megs intoned in her surprisingly whiskey edged voice, “what can you tell me about this note and what may have happened to Mrs. Stephanie Coign last night?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Bradford’s law — a pattern described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 that estimates the exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search.

(Everyone knows that. Ask any student.)

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“All fortunes are based on Ponzi schemes.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“…be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:13-14)

Ask for a raise and go to Hell.

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) if you believe that:

“Torture is necessary for the defense of American freedom but the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is not.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

Wayne State University recently published the results of a study that concluded men with more testosterone are more likely to engage in competition with men with less testosterone when being presented with an attractive woman.
Source: Wayne State University

In other words Testosterone poisoned men haven’t the slightest idea of how ridiculous they are.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Like all parents, my husband and I just do the best we can, and hold our breath, and hope we’ve set aside enough money to pay for our kids’ therapy.”
—Michelle Pfeiffer

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

ORVIETO DUOMO


FRONT OF GIACOMINI POTTERY SHOP.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. June 20, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/

Admittedly it needs some work. It has also been suggested that I change “Pookie” to “Papa Joe” since Papa Joe sounds more presidential. What do you think?

TODAY‘S FACTOID:

2009: In Africa this year nearly 60 million hectares — an area the size of France – was purchased or leased by large international agricultural conglomerates and Sovereign Wealth Funds in comparison to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land before 2008 of less than 4 million ha.
http://media.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OI_FAQsjune5.pdf

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND ITALY:

After spending one day in San Francisco following my trip to Sacramento, I set off agin, this time to Southern California. I arrived at LAX and was met by Monty Ormsby, a friend and ex-client who I accompanied and ineffectually represented in his slow, sad voyage of descent from great wealth into bankruptcy at the hands of the Coastal Commission, but that is another story. Monty also, as a young man, was a ranked middle weight boxer until he lost an eye in a street fight, but that also is another story.

Monty agreed to lend me his car for my trip to Disneyland to meet up with Hayden and SWAC who had spent the previous two days there. The automobile was an old black Mercedes that had previously been owned by Sid Luft, who had been married to Judy Garland. Sid, Judy and Judy’s daughter Liza Minnelli had been close friends of Monty (another story). After he died, Sid left Monty the car .

Recently the car had been in an accident, its hood  tied down with rope. Monty uses the car as his everyday car and in addition to its damaged exterior, its interior showed the ravages of constant use, strewn with piles of cigar ash and bits or paper, old styrofoam cups and the like.

After dropping Monty off at his home in Torrence, I drove to Disneyland managing to get lost several times and arriving there in time only to take in the fireworks display.

The following morning as she got into the car, SWAC noticing the condition of its exterior and interior commenced a rant that continued throughout the trip back to Los Angeles increasing in both volume and invective as I proceeded to get lost again. Finally I dropped both of them off at a hotel near the airport and continued on by myself to lunch with Greg McWilliams and Ruth Galanter. For those of you not familiar with either Greg or Ruth, Greg in a friend and was a client of mine for whom I assisted in obtaining entitlements for a large development in San Francisco. The process was no less difficult than Monty’s, but more successful. At least it did not end in bankruptcy. Ruth has been a friend for over thirty years, since the early days of California’s coastal program. She spent several years as one of the most effective members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Over lunch at a good restaurant in Marina Del Rey, we talked mostly about politics. After lunch, I drove to Monty’s house in Torrence to pick him up for dinner. We exchanged the forlorn Mercedes for Monty’s 1985 cherry red Rolls Royce convertible and returned to the hotel to collect Hayden and SWAC. SWAC was much happier in the spiffy and cleaner Rolls as we set off to Venice Beach for dinner.

We strolled through Venice Beach. Hayden loved it. Venice Beach is like an adult Disneyland, except more interesting with its diverse species of humanity, its muscle park, medical marijuana parlors, skate parks and the like (See today’s photographs below). After dinner, Monty dropped us off back at the hotel and he returned home.

The hotel in which we were staying and whose name unfortunately I forgot, had been the old Airport Marina hotel at which in the 1970s the Coastal Commission often used to have its meetings when in Southern California. The hotel has been remodeled into a wonderful boutique hotel and is now part of the Joie de Vivre chain of hotels based in SF.

The following morning we departed for Italy. (to be continued)
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince’s first call of the morning was to Fat Al to tell him about Stephanie’s death and ask him to look into it. He then called Ike. After recounting the morning’s call from the San Mateo County sheriff’s office, he asked whether Ike thought that he should accompany Vince to his meeting with the Sheriff later that morning.

Ike felt there was no reason for Vince to risk suggesting to the Sheriff that he felt any possible involvement in Stephanie’s death that being accompanied by a criminal lawyer would imply. He recommended instead Vince take Ray along with him if he should need any assistance.

Vince’s third call was to Isabella.
————————
Ike received Vince’s call while working with his orchids in the greed house on the roof of his Mission District home. After completing his ministrations on his beloved orchids, Ike sat in his study drinking tea from a delicate 19th century Korean Celadon tea set and contemplated his phone call earlier with Vince. Fifteen minutes or so later he nodded, grunted picked up one of his special cell phones and dialed.

“Yes,” he spoke into the phone when his call was answered. “I assume he has called you by now?”

“This evening? Good. I think it may be time for him to meet the old man.”

“No, I do not think this is a Brotherhood operation. Just a third rate scam among some of their greedy operatives.”

He then hung up the phone and returned to sipping his tea.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Gall’s law“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.”


No kidding Gail.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“The last refuge of scoundrels is not patriotism but the claim that no one could see it coming.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”(Isaiah 45:7)

(Now we know who to blame.)

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“If you believe that warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is constitutionally protected, but a women’s right to choose is not.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

John Coates, a former trader turned student of neuroscience, performed an experiment on the trading floor and found out that if a trader’s testosterone levels reach a little higher than the peak, their brain goes haywire.
According to Coates, “During the dot-com bubble, people who were working with me displayed all the classic symptoms of mania: They were euphoric, delusional, and overconfident; they couldn’t put a coherent sentence together; and they were unusually horny, judging from the number of lewd comments and the amount of porn that was showing up on their computer screens.”
Source: Discover Magazine

(This explains everything.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.”
Thomas Jefferson; 1785 letter to James Madison.

Today’s Photographs:

Monty, SWAC and Hayden at Venice Beach

:

Dope at the Beach:

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. June 11, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

In Nebraska farmland prices have reached about $6,000 an acre. Based on the current price of fertilizer and seeds, it costs about $4 to grow a bushel of corn. That means at current prices, each bushel produces a profit of $3.50. Farmers these days get about 200 bushels per acre of corn. That means a $6,000 investment produces an annual income of about $650, which is an income yield of 10.5%. That’s more than double the earnings yield of the S&P 500. And it is three times the yield you would get with 10-year Treasury notes.Read more: http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2011/06/01/Americas-hottest-investment-farmland/#ixzz1OnI7cOmj

Ah, but one bad harvest and the bank owns your land and sells it to someone else who also believes in getting something for nothing. Spend your money on sex, drugs and rock and roll or its current version, it’s better for the economy and a lot more fun.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM( THAILAND) AMERICA:

“When George W. Bush took office in Jan 2001 there were 111,634,000 private sector jobs. When he left office in Jan 2009 there were 110,981,000 private sector jobs.
When Bush took office in Jan 2001 there were 20,835,000 government sector jobs. When he left office in Jan 2009 there were 22,582,000 government sector jobs.
That means during Bush’s eight years in office, we lost 653,000 private sector jobs and gained 1,747,000 government sector jobs.
Moral of the story: Barack Obama is a Kenyan socialist fuckstick.
And George W. Bush saved capitalism. Plus, he got bin Laden too.”
Anonymous

Why can the liberals not leave poor old George alone to moulder on his ranch in Texas? He’s so yesterday. Do you believe he has only been gone for two years? I always pictured George as a man wearing a suit that was two sizes too big for him.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

I have spent the past two days in El Dorado Hills, resting up, worrying about whether or not the operation really was a success, and playing with Hayden.

Somewhere I once read that a doctor opined, that the human body is like a machine. Parts wear out. The mechanic fixes the parts as they wear out and the machine goes on puttering along. As the machine ages, parts begin wearing out more quickly, until they begin wearing out quicker that the mechanic can fix or replace them and then the machine is sent to the junk yard to die.

This morning, I realized that I have either lost or left back in San Francisco, my supply of happy pills. This means that in another day or two I should tumble into withdrawal. Withdrawal is worse than death.

On Saturday, Hayden leaves for Italy for six weeks. I was thinking of joining him there before returning to Thailand. But my recovery schedule does not permit that.

Meanwhile he has spent the past two days in the back yard collecting a certain type of bug that lives under the rocks in the yard that he calls, roly-polys. He has collected 14 so far. I find it disgusting. He keeps asking me to help him search. I keep excusing myself by telling him that because of my operation I need to visit the toilet a lot. Ah, kids.

CORRECTION: In my previous email I mentioned that John Stuart Mill and John Locke were contemporaries. Stephanie Dall correctly pointed out that Locke had been dead for a century before Mill was born. She is right.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“What the hell is that all about?” The Isabella character screamed as she ran into the shipping container that served as the changing and make-up room for the novel’s characters. “I thought he was going to get rid of characters, instead he adds those two fat fucks.”

“Actually,” the Vince character said while staring into the mirror applying make-up that would make him look as though he had slept only one hour last night. “Fat Al is really quite slender. He has to stuff a bunch of old rags into his pants to get that pear shape. Ike, on the other hand is…well rotund.”

“Whatever,” pouted Isabella as she flopped into a chair in front of another mirror.

Anyway, he got rid of two characters, Stephanie and Charlie. Although he is only missing, I would guess it’s the last we will see of that character.”

We never saw him in the first place, only Stephanie’s story about him. What’s that about anyway? She was the only other women in the novel except for me and he knocks her off. Come to think of it, I hardly ever appear and when I do, it’s only to show a little skin and act mysterious. I’m, what do you call it, yeah, a stereotype, that’s it. I bet the author’s gay.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. Most mystery novels written by men have only one or two women in it anyway. The beautiful woman there for the male hero to sleep with and as often as not who dies in the end and the woman who ends up implicated in the murder. On the other hand, who knows? One never does with these arty-types. Besides, we still have Nina.”

“Ms knitting needles? She does nothing but bring you coffee and look pissed off.” After a moment of reflection she adds, “I bet she is a murderer, if not in this story than somewhere else. I bet I’m killed off. Do you think I die?”

“You have to sleep with me first.”

“Fat chance, if I have anything to say about it.”

“You don’t. Anyway, don’t worry too much about your role or lack of one. I believe in the next chapter, I talk with you on the phone and we meet. That will be some page time for you?”

“Oh, goody another meeting, isn’t it about time for some of you suits to do a little grabbing, I can use a some sex about now. Or, are all you suits afraid of a real woman?”

Vince glared at her. “You could always get yourself off.”

“Ah, spoken like a true eunuch, at least its sex with someone I love.”

(Author’s Note: Actually, Isabella’s got a point about the lack of women in the story. I intend to remedy that as the plot moves along. As for her dying, she needn’t worry, she deserves worse.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Dunbar’s number — A theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150. First proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

What is a stable relationship? I have never had one much less 150.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“Conservatives are irony deficient.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was 675,000 sheep, And 72,000 beeves, And 61,000 asses, And 32,000 persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him . . . of which the Lord’s tribute was 32 persons. And Moses gave the tribute, which was the Lord’s heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Numbers 31:32-41)

See, one does not have to die defending the faith to get 72 virgins. If you’re a priest you get 32 for just standing around encouraging others to die. [What, no alter boys?]

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“You must be a Republican if you believe that God wrote Leviticus but Jesus did not preach the Sermon on the Mount.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

Arnold is shorter than I am by an inch or two. The lady in the photograph must be all of 3 ft. 6 inches tall.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you’re going to make every game a matter of life or death, you’re going to have a lot of problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.”
—Dean Smith

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, bu 3Th. June 8, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: The cost of solar cells, the main component in standard panels, has fallen 21 percent so far this year, and the cost of solar power is now about the same as the rate utilities charge for conventional power in the sunniest parts of California,
Bloomberg Reports.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

a. America.

American neighborhoods with better transportation options have far more discretionary income than the average American family or those who live in the outer, “Auto-dependent” suburbs.
CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS.

An average family earning $40,000 per year can save over $4000 per year by moving into a transit oriented development. They can then use that money to pay off the debts that they incurred to the banks that persuaded them modern economics can violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics and grow forever. The bankers will be pleased with your choice.

b. Thailand:

Reports in American newspapers indicate that Thailand is considering prohibiting the tattooing of images of the Buddha on to the skin of foreigners. Apparently it will still be ok for Thai citizens to continue to adorn themselves with the sacred image.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

Hayden and I spent a lovely but brief weekend with and Norbert and Stevie Dall at their home in Sacramento. Next week Hayden and SWAC are leaving for Italy to stay there about six weeks before returning to California so I will not get to visit with him again until I myself return sometime in September.

I took the Capitol Corridor Amtrak train from Sacramento to Richmond California where I transferred to BART for the remainder of my trip back to San Francisco. The Capitol Corridor has free internet connection. The last time I had taken the train along this route was about a decade ago and the rail-car I rode in was mostly deserted. Today the car was full.

The procedure yesterday was a success and now I am recuperating at Annemarie’s house.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 21 (continued):

Vince returned to reviewing the files taken from Sam’s secret office. He had told himself that he would familiarize himself with the contents and then destroy those files containing blackmail, illegal or embarrassing material. That was a bit of a lie. He was actually curious to see what Sam had collected. After reviewing a number of the files, he dismissed any intention he may have had of destroying them when it became apparent how useful they would be during his upcoming meetings with many of the firms clients. He also could recognize how valuable they could become in any attempts to keep certain disruptive partners in line.

At about 3am, feeling exhausted he curled up on the office sofa and fell asleep with the conflicting angels of conscience buzzing in his mind confident that the evil angel of convenience will prevail as usual. About an hour later, the annoying bells of his cell phone, chiming out some samba tune that he could almost identify, woke him. He did not recognize the number and although convinced it was a wrong number decided to answer it so as to enjoy the release of pent-up tension while he screamed at the miscreant for waking him up.

“Mr. Biondi?” said a gruff voice on the other end.

“Yeah, who the hell is this calling at this hour?”

My name is Mooney, Deputy Sheriff Mooney of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Do you know a Mrs. Stephanie Coign.”

Suddenly more awake and trying to grasp what was happening Vince said, “Yes, has anything happened to her officer?”

“Well, I am here at Devil’s Slide and we have just removed a body from the wreckage of an automobile that we assume from the driver’s license we found on her that she was the driver.”

“Oh my God!”

“We also found on the body, a piece of paper containing this number along with your name.”

This announcement was followed up with a rapid series of questions about his relationship with Stephanie and when he saw her last. When, at last, Vince tried to get his own questions answered he was met with the request to appear at the office of the Sheriff as early in the morning as he could make it.

After they hug up, Vince lay back in the darkness, unable to get back to sleep while hundreds of unanswered and unanswerable questions danced through his mind along with the demons of guilt and fear. He waited for dawn. When her fat, sticky, rose-colored fingers finally crept through the blinds and caressed his face, he began to make his phone calls.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Archie’s law — In petrophysics, relates the in-situ electrical conductivity of sedimentary rock to its porosity and brine saturation. Named for Gus Archie (1907–1978).

Who would have thought? Good for you Gus, or is it Archie? I usually dislike people with two first names, but using Gus and Archie together I like. Mrs. Archie’s maiden name was Melinda Gus and his father’s name was Archie Archie. They originally wanted to name him Archie Gus-Archie but common sense prevailed and they settled on just Gus Archie. Good job, Mr. and Mrs. Archie!

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“You must be a Republican if you believe that the earned income tax credit that benefits the lowest wage earners in the nation is an unwarranted redistribution of income, but lowering the capital gains credit on unearned investment income is not.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.” (Exodus 35:2)

In other words, according to God, on the sabbath, freeze your ass off in darkness or die.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the laborer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.”
John Locke, Chapter 5 Second Treatise of Government.

BONUS QUOTE:

“He who warned uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed…”
Sarah Palin on Paul Revere’s famous ride.

In an effort to clarify her statement La Palin later explained:

“Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that ‘hey, you’re not going to take American arms, you are not going to beat our own well-armed persons individual private militia that we have.'”

She blamed her previous answer on the media, saying it was a “gotcha question.”

(In fact, before he could ride very far and ring anyone’s bells, Paul Revere woke up so many British soldiers that they promptly shot him for disturbing the peace. As a result, the revolution was cancelled. God save the Queen.)

I apologize, but here I must end with a quote from John Stuart Mill, a contemporary of John Locke who observed that:

“Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. June 2, 2011

TODAY‘S FACTOID:

a. 2011: Research shows people who are their own bosses are happier than those who work for someone else. (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-psychology-of-starting-a-small-business-2011-4#ixzz1N6b2bdVj)

I guess it is ok for science to prove up the obvious. In that case, I would like to know if healthy people are happier than sick people. Then again maybe not.

b. Biblical Times: According to Zohar and the Alphabet of Ben Sira,

Lilith

Lilith (Photo credit: rami.sedhom)

there were four angels of sacred prostitution, who mated with archangel Samael. They were the queens of the demons Lilith, Naamah, Agrat Bat Mahlat and Eisheth Zenunim.

Oh Samael, you devil you. Those were the days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

Holy pig poop, we have a pork crisis. We need a Manhattan Project type program to close the “pig gap” that threatens our national security. What would happen if China were to unleash their 500 million pigs into Russia? There would be nothing to stop them as they sweep across the steppes and savage NATO. What happens when all the domino’s fall beneath 2 billion pig feet and that ravening horde reach the Atlantic? Is America next to see their liberties overwhelmed and buried under billions of tons of pig shit? America wake up!!
Remember:

Patriots eat more bacon.
Pig out for America.
Pork the white meat for white people.
Republicans know their pork.
Liberals eschew pork, real Americans eat it raw.
A pig in every back yard, a flag on every front lawn.
Jesus ate bacon.

Add your own here.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

This weekend I spent with my sister, Mary Anne and brother-in-law, George at their place in the town of Mendocino. My daughter-in-law Annemarie and her husband Dean were kind enough to drive me there. We had a great time. I have attached photographs.

Mr sister mentioned that for several years after they purchased the place, they rented out the main house to an older woman while they stayed in the guest house whenever either of them could get some time off from work. Sometimes in the mornings, Mary would sit on the deck having her morning coffee and watch the woman putter around the yard tending the wonderful flower garden she had created. Mary would watch her and think, “She’s living my life. I should be doing that.”

Now I repeat this story, not simply to expose my sister’s musings to general review and evaluation, but because after she told it, I wondered what I or any typical male would think about if he sat on the same deck with his morning coffee and watched the same old woman prune, water and whatever in her garden. I imagine It would go something like this:

“I’m really fortunate to be able to sit here and watch this woman work in her garden. It is so beautiful, relaxing and pleasant. Isn’t it nice she is doing all this for my enjoyment. I wonder if I can get her to wash my socks and underwear?”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 21 (continued)

Following Foster’s departure, Vince got down to attending to the nitty-gritty of law firm administration, reviewing budgets, signing letters and documents, examining purchase orders. He knew that this probably would become an all-nighter, so he had Nina order him dinner delivered to his office and sent her home. It is not unusual for attorney’s in large law firms now and then to spend the night in their office working and Vince always kept a packed overnight bag in a corner of his office in case he did so or he had to suddenly go out-of-town and did not have time to return home and pack. He liked working at night, it was quiet and the lights of the City outside his window he thought were pretty.

At about 11pm he had grown bored with administrative matters and turned to examine the boxes of files brought by Ray from Sam’s secret office. He had just gotten into the first file when the phone rang. It was Fat Al.

“She made me,” he said, obviously exasperated.

“What do you mean?”

“I waited outside her condo-building for about an hour. She came out and got into a taxi and took off up Market Street toward Civic Center. When they got to the Federal Building the taxi stopped at the curb and nothing happened for a few minutes. Then the taxi suddenly took off circled the block and stopped again. I knew she was trying to see if she was being followed, but I was being careful and I was sure she had not made me. The taxi suddenly started up again and she returned to her condo building. I waited around for a few hours and after my relief showed up returned to my office. About an hour ago, a bike messenger showed up at the office and explained that some guy asked him to deliver an envelope to me. I told him to wait while I reviewed the contents. The envelope contained a short note. Here let me read it to you;

‘Dr Mr. Pischotti,
if you are so eager to know my whereabouts during the day, please call me at the number below and I will be happy to let you know my schedule. In that way you can save you client some money and I can go about my business.
Yours,
Isabella Yeung.’

When I asked the bike messenger about the person who hired him he said that it was just some guy. He had hung around talking with some of the other bike messengers before taking off for the night when the guy walked up to him asked him to deliver the envelope right away and paid cash.”

Vince chuckled.

“I’m sorry Vince. What would you like me to do now?”

Still chuckling Vince said, “Take her up on her offer. Call her. And ask her to call me when she has the time. You can get on with the other assignments I gave you. By the way, do you have someone watching Mrs. Coign?”

“Yeah, I sent him out about an hour ago. He just called in. The lights are all out in the house. He could not determine if the car is in the garage. Do you want me to have him check?”

“No, tomorrow will be ok. She is nervous already and any noise probably would send her calling the cops. Anyway I am sure the place is loaded with security equipment.”

They hung up and Vince, smiled, shook his head and returned to his files.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Benford’s law — In any collection of statistics, a given statistic has roughly a 30% chance of starting with the digit 1.

I bet the other digits are unhappy about that. It just goes to proves that if you give a man a hand, in 30% of the cases he will give you the finger.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“The outsourcing of governmental services is theft of public property.”

c. From God’s mouth to your ears:

How to deal with your teenager God’s way:

“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them; Then shall his father and mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of the city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

“And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:17)

“For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he that cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” (Leviticus 20:9)
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Eagles may soar in the clouds, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines. “
~Attributed to both Jason Hutchison and John Benfield

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. May 28, 2011

TODAY‘S FACTOID:

2011: Here are some points we’ve passed and haven’t looked back (approximate dates):

1979: Peak per-capita gross energy production
1986: Peak grain per capita
1989-1995: Peak wild fish catch
1990: Peak net energy production
2000: Peak fresh water availability
2005: Peak conventional oil production
2011-14: Peak all-liquids (conventional+unconventional oil) production

It’s possible to overshoot a resource base – civilizations have done it time and again – but only temporarily.

The list above is a small subset of what we’ve depleted or are depleting, and many of the critical ones – oil, for instance – have no real substitutes.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

A study, conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, found that 70 percent of the finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search competition — also known as the “Junior Nobel Prize” — were the children of immigrants even though only 12 percent of the U.S. population is foreign-born.

According to the report, children of immigrant parents have been increasingly dominant in the fields of math and science. In 2004, for example, researchers found that 60 percent of the top science students in the U.S. and 65 percent of the top math students were born to immigrant families. Findings were based upon data from the Intel Science Talent Search and the 2004 U.S. Math Olympiad.

We need additional restrictions on immigration before we get too smart. I bet these kids believe in evolution. The next thing you know they will be voting for Democrats when they grow up.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

The past few days i have stayed close to my room, not because I am unable to travel, but because, i think, i am still feeling sorry for myself.

Anyway, on my daughter Jessica’s birthday recently we were talking on the phone and she reminded me that the time she had performed at the Latin dance club that I wrote about a few days ago was not the only time in her unconventional childhood, that she engaged in an impromptu performance in a bar.

It seems that when she was about 8 years old she was staying with me and a number of friends for a week somewhere in the Sierras. One night we were returning from dinner and many of the roads were flooded from spring run off. The driver of the car, against the loud objections of his wife, drove into  part of the road covered with water and promptly got stuck in the middle in water that covered the tops of the tires and was still climbing. We we scrambled out of the car, waded through the water and retreated to a dingy road house to dry off, warm up and wait for other friends to rescue us.

The bar had a live band playing and my daughter decided to entertain us while we were waiting (and I am sure to distract my friend’s wife who had not yet given up on her verbal assaults on her embarrassed husband). She climbed on to the table and danced for about an hour.

Now I tell you all this now, not simply because I wish to relate a cute tale of my progeny, but because I always thought children grew out of their unself-conscious public performance stage when they were about 5 years old.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

THE PARABLE OF THE JUST SOCIETY

There once was a country that viewed itself as a fair and just society. They even called themselves the “Fair and Just Society”. Like most societies they could be divided into three groups of people. One-third of the people had the least amount of the income and wealth of that society, let us say only about 20% of the income and wealth. The second or middle one-third had about what would be the average of that societies wealth and income distributed among them, say 30%. The last group, the wealthiest one-third, had about 50% of the wealth and income of that society.

Let us also assume that at some point the members of the Fair and Just Society agreed among themselves that there are certain things that they all need and should be paid for collectively, like, for example, the common defense, roads, education of the Fair and Just Society’s children and so on. And let us further assume that the members of this Fair and Just Society agreed that these collective expenses should be paid for by each section of society according to their means. The lowest one-third agrees to pay 20%, the middle 30% and the top one-third 50% because they all agreed that would be fair and just.

Now let us assume that all things have worked out reasonably well for our Fair and Just Society and that even the poorest one-third had enough to eat, clothe and shelter themselves and everyone was pretty happy. Then one day, for whatever reason, good cost control, a sudden jump in productivity, the discovery of oil or gold or whatever, the Fair and Just Society finds that they have collected more funds than are needed for their common expenditures (Defense, education, etc.) and decide to ask the people what they should do with it.

Upon hearing this everyone was happy, no one more so than the upper third and their agent who was sent to speak to the representatives of the Fair and Just Society. He told them that because his employers were the upper third in income and wealth they knew more about money than anyone else and that it was very complicated and because of that he recommended that the money be returned to the people in the form of tax relief because then each individual will be able to choose what it wished to spend it on and so they will each benefit individually and the economy would benefit in general by this infusion of money.

Some of the representatives upon hearing this could not fully comprehend why giving to each person to spend as he wishes was better than all the people deciding together on spending it on something that would benefit them all the most. After all they argued, the money still gets back into circulation and the Fair and Just Society gains an asset owned by all the people. And some even thought at least some of it should be held for a “rainy day” when it might be needed. But most of the other representatives agreed that giving the money back to the individuals seemed reasonable and fair. So they asked the representative of the upper third how he suggested that it be done.

“Well,” he says, “I was hoping that you would ask that. Over lunch I prepared this chart.” And he whips out a chart. “What this chart shows” he says, “is that you should give all this money to the upper third because, not only do they know more about money than anyone else, they, having so much of it after all, but also since they do not have to spend in on necessities like food and stuff they will have this excess cash that they will invest in new factories and the like, you know, to make shoes and canned soup.” “And” he continued “they can even take some of that money and, oh say, pay for research or start-ups and increase productivity and things like that.”

When the agent of the upper third finished speaking, the representatives of the Good and Just Society all looked at one another for a moment then broke out laughing. “You cannot be serious,” the chairman said, “no one in their right mind could possibly be so stupid as to believe what you just said. Nevertheless, as a fair and just society we do think that it is fair and just to return it equally to all in accordance with their contributions to the common good, a 10% reduction to the bottom third on their 20% contribution, a 10% reduction to the middle third on their 30% contribution and a 10% reduction to the upper third based upon their contribution.” And with that they all got up and left, still chortling and shaking their heads.

Now because this is a parable, we will assume that in fact an across the board 10% reduction in taxes is fair and just.

Of course we all know that for many reasons an across the board reduction in taxes was not fair and just at all. For example, the lowest one-third would most likely spend it on consumable necessities like food, clothing and shelter since their 10% would not be that much money. Or, as was overheard the agent of the upper one-third telling some of the representatives of the Good and Just Society outside the hearing room. “They will probably just spend it on dope and booze and taking a few days off work.”

The upper one-third on the other hand probably would also spend some of it on dope and booze, but they would still have a lot of money left over. So they will call in their advisors and direct them to take this excess cash and use it to make more. After the advisors leave, the upper third would probably take a puff of their joints, a sip of their Mai Tais and brood about the workers in their factories that did not show up for work that day. Eventually they decide that they would have their secretaries draft letters to the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society complaining about the morals of the lower one-third and a lot of the middle one-third and that in the future any tax cuts should all come to them. That done, they will leave on vacation, using some of the money they received from the Fair and Just Society, because they believed they earned it.

The representatives of the upper third then meet to plan how they will turn this cash into more cash for the upper third and along the way turn themselves into members of the upper one-third.

They reasoned that after all that money spent on dope and booze there would not be enough cash left among the lower two-thirds for the upper third to invest their money to acquire it from the lower two-thirds. Nevertheless, there would be some and so they decide to increase their marketing budgets to persuade the lower two-thirds to spend whatever money they have left on products produced in the factories owned by the upper third. But still the upper third had a lot of money left over from the gift the Fair and Just Society had given them.

“Let’s use that money to buy the assets of the lower two-thirds,” suggests one.

“But the lower third has no assets,” complains another.

“Yes, they do,” states another. “We can buy their future and their freedom. We can give them some of our money to buy more dope and booze and tell them that they can pay us back from their future wages with a sizable profit to the upper third of course, and substantial commissions for us. And then we will tell them that since we have given them so much money and we know all about economic things, we being so rich and so smart, they can trust us to keep them in dope and booze forever. And in return they will agree to vote in the elections for the representatives to the Fair and Just Society as we the agents of the upper third tell them to.”

“As for the middle one-third,” he continued. “Many of them have worked hard and amassed some assets like their houses and their small business, so we will point out to them that because of all their hard work and our knowledge of finance, their assets have appreciated and they would be wasting that value unless they put it to work. Then we will loan them some money in return for the owning their assets if they do not pay us back.”

And they all agreed that was a good plan and they put it into practice.

Now it came to pass that this worked so wonderfully well for a while that the lower two-thirds, although actually poorer, appeared to be living so much better than they had been. As a result, they thought the agents of the upper one-third were much smarter than they were. And also, so much money was flowing into the hands of the agents that they soon began to replace some of the upper one-third.

Then one day there was, of course, not enough things for the upper third to buy because almost all the assets had been purchased and almost all of the futures mortgaged and on top of it they had even more money now with nothing to do. So the agents of the upper third went to the members of the upper third and showed them how instead of making things or buying more assets they could simply gamble all this money on the economy because everything was so good and the agents were so smart things would keep getting better and better and except for a few corrections now and again they would make even more money.

Then a funny thing happened, soon there were fewer members of the upper third who actually made things, they had been replaced by the agents who really did not make anything at all.

Then of course there was what is known as a “correction,” the lower two-thirds had mortgaged all their futures and no longer had the money to buy things. So as the factories closed down the lower two-thirds began to lose their jobs and their homes and businesses.

Some of these people turned to the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society and asked them to do something about it. Unfortunately for the lower two-thirds, the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society had by now all been replaced by the employees of the upper one-third. Nevertheless they agreed to look into their concerns.

“No problem,” they said, “we can make everything better by cutting those things we have been paying for up until now and lowering taxes on the upper one-third so they can invest even more. We can pay for whatever essential community services are left (like protecting the assets of the upper one third) by borrowing from the upper one-third and it all will work out just like it was described in that chart.”

Now we all know that that’s what really happened, but since this is a parable we will assume that everyone actually did believe that the distribution of the money was fair and just and that no one could have possibly foreseen what actually did happen.

So, the representatives of the Fair and Just Society a few months or so after making the fair and just present to the people were surprised to find, that while the income and wealth of the upper one-third grew exponentially, the lower two-thirds barely held their own and their debts to the upper third increased even more rapidly than the upper third’s income.

This being a Fair and Just Society and their representatives, not yet being replaced by the employees of the upper third, understood what that meant for the future of the Fair and Just Society. So, they convened a meeting and called in the upper third and their agents and told them, “We all made a mistake and in order to avoid an economic catastrophe and to preserve the Fair and Just Society, you are all just going to have to give all the money back.”

OK, I will admit maybe that this a fantasy and not a parable. But still…

MORAL:

1. No society, if it hopes to survive, can surrender to an individual, institution or groups of individuals or institutions unbridled and uncontrolled dominance over its economic and political well-being, no matter how apparently beneficial it appears at the time.
2. We are better off as a society to agree to what we want our society look like and act to make it so than to just hope for the best or trust to our individual efforts alone.
3. A fair and just society never ever follows the advice of those with the most to gain financially.
4. A fair and just society resists giving collective funds or advantage to those with the resources to compete for them on their own.
5. There is no magic wand, invisible hand, or strong and brilliant leader that can save us from our folly. If we believe that, then Pogo was right when he said so long ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us“.
________________

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

My apologies to fans of this series, but this post has simply gotten to long. I promise to include the next chapter in my next post.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Chart of the Day:

(Shart unavailable)
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“You must be a Republican if you believe that, the illegal alien who risked everything to better himself economically by coming to America is a criminal, but the bankers and investors on Wall Street that gambled away your pension funds and put your jobs at risk are not.”

c. From god’s mouth to your ears:

What was actually written on Moses’ tablets–The real 10 Commandments:

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
9) The first of the first fruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
Exodus 34:14-26

Now I really could support these posted of the grounds of the nation’s courthouses. Remember, avoid bathing your goat in its mother’s milk.
Note: Thank you Cort for this item.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them.”
—Unknown

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. May 26, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Today in Science:

a. Researchers have found that most people are daydreaming 46% of the time( http://www.businessinsider.com/daydreaming-makes-2011-5#ixzz1N6ZiFBiw)

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions del...

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions delineated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have also found most people don’t use their Prefrontal Cortex for 98% of the day (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219577#ixzz1N6cGlgdP).

(Think about that as you are driving along the freeway past your local nuclear power plant on your way to the airport. On second thought don’t until you park your car.)

b. Left-Handed People Are More Easily Frightened Than Right-Handed People( http://www.businessinsider.com/left-handed-frightened-2011-5#ixzz1N6amkyet).

I’m left-handed and I am frightened all the time [See a. above].

c. Researchers in England calculated the exact value of a smile. But sadly it’s not a quick route to riches: a smile is worth exactly one-third of a penny sterling, or $0.43.(http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/grin-the-money-research-calculates-exact-value-of-a-smile-134863-May2011/?utm_source=shortlink#ixzz1N6aMYEXa).

It hardly seems worth it.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND)AMERICA:

For those of you living in a state of panic that Mexican’s will reclaim the land we took from them 150 years ago, relax, they already have. If you are still panicked, move to Maine.

Remember, the race goes not to the swift or the strong or even to the most intelligent. It goes to those who choose to breed.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND (CALIFORNIA):

Two days ago I attended my grandson Anthony’s graduation from high-school. What made this graduation different from most other high-school graduation ceremonies was that these were all students who had experienced problems at one time or another with the juvenile authorities and were considered at risk. Congratulations to you all.

Yesterday I had my initial meeting with the doctor. It appears that my schedule will have to be changed. I had hoped to be able to accompany Hayden to Italy on 10 June. One of his friends from Chiang Mai will be traveling through Italy at that time and I thought both would enjoy seeing each other again. Unfortunately, I will be in the middle of my procedure and recuperation.

My intake exam did not go as well as expected. It seems that things have progresses further than I had thought. Now there is a chance that I could be looking at, while not among the top three, probably somewhere in the top ten of things happening to my body I could do without.

Anyway, after experiencing a rather unpleasant temporary out-patient procedure, I am resting uncomfortably at Annemarie’s house. On the positive side, I am about three and one-half pounds lighter today than I was yesterday morning.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

THE PARABLE OF THE THOUGHTFUL GLADIATOR

Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic.

Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day, long ago, a group of gladiators were getting ready to enter the arena to fight each other to the death until just one remained. He, the winner, would receive a laurel crown from the Emperor followed by a good dinner in his honor attended everyone who was someone in the Empire. Each of the gladiators believed that he was sure to be the winner and looked forward to the fame it would bring and to that dinner. Each, of course, also shared a little fear that he would not win but would die that day instead.

One of them, the oldest, wisest and among the weakest of them, realizing his chances of surviving were pretty thin, spoke up. “Wait a minute, this is all pretty silly, here we are getting ready to go out into the arena and fight to the death until only one of us is left standing. All this so that the winner gets to wear some weeds and eat a good meal. And what is really sad about that is that whichever one of us is the winner, tomorrow he will be out of a job because all the rest of us are dead. That’s pretty stupid, if you ask me.”

The others thought about what he had said and after a while agreed that it was not very sensible. “But what can we do about it,” they asked?

“Well,” said the thoughtful gladiator, “we can all agree amongst ourselves to fight just as hard as we can in the arena, but when one of us goes down, the victor will make it look like he dealt a fatal stroke to the loser and then the loser will put on a good show and act as though he actually is dying. This will go on until only one of us is left standing. He will get the laurel crown and eat the meal and we all will get to do it again tomorrow and who knows, maybe a different one of us will win that day. And maybe each of us will learn over time how to fight a little bit better and how to die a little more realistically and the Emperor may be so entertained that he will give something more than some damned weeds and a ham bone.”

All the gladiators saw the right in what the thoughtful gladiator said and they all agreed to what he proposed and they all prospered.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed while I feel sorry for myself.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Sturgeon’s revelation“90 percent of everything is crap.”

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.”

c. The Mac Attack:

“… republics should make it one of their aims to watch that none of their citizens should be allowed to do harm on pretense of doing good, and that no one should acquire an influence that would injure instead of promoting liberty; “
Niccolo Machiavelli

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If anyone should wish to know the truth with respect to you Christians, he will find your impiety to be made up partly of the Jewish audacity, and partly of the indifference and confusion of the Gentiles, and that you have put together not the best, but the worst characteristics of them both.
– Emperor/philosopher Julian (361-363)[Referred to in Christian History as “The Apostate”].

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. May 21, 2011

Since the world as we know it is set to end tomorrow and those of us chosen to enjoy the rapture for the next few months will be otherwise busy rapturing, I thought I would use this post to thank everyone and wish you all have a good rapture, since I have learned from my reading and analysis of Scripture that all those on my mailing list will be chosen.
TODAY’S FACTOID:

14th and 15th Centuries: According to some reports, the clergy made up about twenty percent of the clientele of private brothels and bath-houses in Dijon, France during the Fourteenth Century, and it seems the situation was similar all throughout Europe. Sixtus IV (1471–1484) was the first Pope to impose a license on brothels.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

Hayden and I were watching television. Rather he was watching and I was playing with my computer. Someone on the show he was watching was crying. Hayden turned to me and said, “He is crying because his grandpa died. Pookie, I don’t want you to die. When are you going to start getting younger?”

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

THE PARABLE OF THE LION AND THE GAZELLE

Once upon a time, long long ago, there was a vast savannah on which only lions, gazelles lived amongst endless grass undulating in the soft breezes that blew across the prairie. The gazelles ate the grass and the lions ate the gazelles when they could catch them.

Lion - Washington DC National Zoo

Lion – Washington DC National Zoo (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)

Although the lions were endowed by nature with fierce teeth, claws and strength, they were only able to catch the weak, aged, unwary or unlucky gazelles because nature, in order to maintain a balance on the savannah between predator and prey, made young healthy gazelles able to run faster than the lions and escape to eat the grasses that grew on the savannah and breed. And so, they all, lions, gazelles and grasses, thrived.

One day there was born into the pride, the biggest, the meanest, the fastest and the toughest lion of them all. One who was able to catch, kill and eat any gazelle that lived on the plain, which of course eventually he did. And the Great Lion as he was called and all the members of the pride prospered until that day the Great Lion had caught and killed all the gazelles and there was nothing left to eat.

So the Great Lion began to kill and eat all the other lions until they were all gone but one. As he was about to be dispatched by the Great Lion for the Great Lion’s last meal this next to last lion asked the Great Lion, “Why? You could have just eaten what you needed and we all could have prospered forever. Why didn’t you?” And the Great Lion looked at him with a smile and said, ” My job was only to kill and to eat. I was just following my nature. It was your job to make sure I did not run wild and destroy our grassy paradise.”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince waited until the door closed behind the departing David Kitchen then turned to the visibly uncomfortable Foster Grenell and asked, “Well, what do you know about all that?”

Foster exhaled, clearly not wanting to involve himself in the disputes of his employers. “Not much, I know about the Red Star investigation of course. Uh..the Brotherhood thing began about three or four years ago.”

“While I was still here?”

“Yes, I think so, you were on the Executive Committee. It was all hush-hush. They would hold their…uh… prayer meetings at a mansion in lower Pacific Heights. A lot of important business men would come there now and then, politicians, state and federal too; not too many from San Francisco though. They would hold prayer breakfasts and then break up into smaller ‘prayer groups’.”

“How do you know about this?”

“Sam brought me there once or twice. He wanted to sponsor me. Said it would be good for my career.”

“So did you join?”

“No, it’s a Christian thing, I’m Buddhist. Besides, if you ask me it seemed a bit creepy.”

How so?”

“Well, you know, a bunch of powerful and successful men, there were no women, meeting to pray in secret. Why couldn’t they just go to church on Sunday like everyone else?”

“Anything more

“No, not really.”

“OK, why don’t you set up the meetings for you and me with the clients on the list we drew up. Lets see if we can get some additional work out of them, or at least keep them from leaving.”

After Foster had left Vince___(to be continued after the rapture)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism)“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“You must be a Republican if you believe that public schools are an unnecessary government expense but prisons are not.”

c. The Mac Attack:

Niccolo Machiavelli 1 u

Niccolo Machiavelli 1 u (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In every republic there are two parties, that of the nobles [‘rich’ — ed.] and that of the people [‘the rest of us’ — ed.]; and all the laws that are favorable to liberty result from the opposition of these parties to each other.”
Niccolo Machiavelli.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Rapid growth is not ours by divine right; it is not even mathematically possible over a sustained period. Our goal should be to get everyone out of abject poverty, even if it necessitates some income redistribution. Because we have way overstepped sustainable levels, the greatest challenge will be in redesigning lifestyles to emphasize quality of life while quantitatively reducing our demand levels. A lower population would help.”
Jeremy Grantham

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r mrnt, by 3Th. May 19, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air”:

Students at Hamilton College sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major newspapers and/or appeared on the three major Sunday television news shows (Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week) over a 16 month period from September 2007 to December 2008. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “will not happen,” 5 being “will absolutely happen”) to rate each prediction the pundits made, and then they evaluated each prediction for whether or not it came true.

What did they find? Basically, if you want to be almost as accurate as the pundits they studied, all you have to do is a) root through the cushions of your couch, b) find a coin, and c) start flipping it. Boom! You are now pretty close to being a political genius. Only nine of the 26 pundits surveyed proved  more reliable than a coin flip.

Using the students’ statistical methodology, the 26 pundits were broken down into three categories: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Here’s how they break down:

THE GOOD: Paul Krugman, New York Times (highest scorer); Maureen Dowd, New York Times; Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor; Chuck Schumer, New York Senator; Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader; Kathleen Parker, Washington Post and TownHall.com; David Brooks, New York Times; Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury

THE BAD: Howard Wolfson, counselor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor/Fox News host; Newt Gingrich, eternal Presidential candidate; John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator; Bob Herbert, New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC; Thomas Friedman, New York Times, David Broder, Washington Post (deceased); Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune; Nicholas Kristof, New York Times; Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

THE UGLY: George Will, Washington Post/This Week; Sam Donaldson, ABC News; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Senator; Carl Levin, Michigan Senator; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator; Cal Thomas, Chicago Tribune (lowest scorer)

In their executive summary, the students note:

“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to not come true. The second was partisanship; liberals were more likely than conservatives to predict correctly. The final significant factor in a prediction’s outcome was having a law degree; lawyers predicted incorrectly more often.”

As for the factor of partisanship, it certainly didn’t help pundits if their predictions were primarily based on who they happened to be carrying a torch for in the 2008 election — Lieberman and Graham, obviously, did poorly in this regard. The students noted that, “[p]artisanship had an impact on predictions even when removing political predictions about the Presidential, Vice Presidential, House, and Senate elections,” but I still imagine that this particular script may have flipped if the period of study was the sixteen month period between September 2009 and December 2010.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

Hooray for us! We win.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

After leaving Bill and Naida’s ranch, I spent two days with Stevie and Norbert Dall. Norbert is busy trying to write the definitive history or California’s coastal protection legislation. The amount of research he has done amazed me as did his memory of people, places and events during those times( over 30 years ago). I believe that Norbert and Stevie are probably along with Peter Douglass and perhaps Bill Geyer and Ruth Galanter the people with the longest continuous involvement with the coastal protection movement in California. In Ruth and Bill’s cases, however, for the past decade or so they have become much less involved.

As for Peter Douglass, but for the last 20 years or so controversial years as Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, his impact on the course of things coastal has been mostly in his own mind. Peter was, by far, the earliest of all of those who have spent at least a portion of their careers in coastal protection. He worked as an aid to Senator Siroty during the failed attempts in the late 60’s and early 70’s to push coastal protection legislation through the legislature. He later attempted to take un-justified credit for drafting the initiative, known as Proposition 20 that was successfully passed by the California voters in 1972 and set up an agency to plan the future land use of the coast and regulate development so as not to impede implementation of the plan. During the period of Proposition 20, while I served as Chief Counsel for the Commission, as far as I could tell Peter’s involvement in either the planning or the ongoing regulation was almost nonexistent.

Following  completion of the Coastal Plan in 1975 and the submittal of the proposed implementation legislation to the legislature, most of us active at that time were determined to keep Peter as far away from any decision-making and participation as possible. Nearly all of us believed that not only was he incapable of understanding the complexities of the Plan, the legislation and the political strategy that was developed, but he had shown a distressing tendency to urge weakening of the protections whenever opposition presented itself. I had assigned on of the Commission’s staff members to sit with him every day and make sure he did nothing more that edit the legislation.

After the passage of the entire Coastal Program, Peter again disappeared from any involvement and for a while busied himself in an unsuccessful attempt to find work in the private sector. Ultimately he took a job as a not so respected member of the reconstituted Coastal Commission staff. Finding himself ignored, he resumed his search for other work when a series of unfortunate events, including resignation of the existing executive director, he, to the dismay of many in the environmental community, was chosen to succeed the departing director.

Over several years of ineffective management, his removal many on all sides of the development process urged his removal. Fortunately for Peter, the development community, through the inept handling of the move to remove him by the then Republican Governor, pushed the most radical members of the environmental community to rally around him and defeat the putsch, and Peter the Wishy-Washy seeing which side of his bread was buttered was reborn as an anti-development crusader.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince felt ager boil up within him as David burst through the door. But since David appeared highly agitated, he suppressed his urge to throw him out.

“What’s the matter, David,” he inquired as calmly as he could?

“This attorney, Seamus Cohen, that you want to hire. I think it is a very bad idea.”

“Why is that,” Vince said placidly while signaling Foster, who looked embarrassed and like he was ready to leave, to stay seated.

“I checked with some of my contacts, they say that while at the DOJ he was a loose cannon.”

“What does that mean in his case.”

“He was a laughing-stock. Both you and the firm will be also if you retain him.”

“I’m sorry David, I have already retained him and the executive committee voted to approve it.” Vince lied slightly. “Perhaps if you could be more specific, we would reconsider it.”

Kitchen looked a little startled, and sat in the other uncomfortable wooden chair, ignoring Foster’s presence.

“Ah well, of course my contacts did not give specifics, but they were adamant that he would embarrass you and the whole firm as well. He also has angered some of our most important clients with his shenanigans at DOJ and since.”

“Hmm… I see where that could be a concern. But he comes highly recommended to me. I will need a little more information before I reverse our decision. Perhaps you could have your contacts and concerned clients call me and give me the facts directly.”

“Dammit Vince, why are you so eager to hire this guy? Couldn’t you wait a few days until we vetted him?”

“Look David,” said Vince his voice getting a little higher. “I do not understand the issue here. He is my lawyer and suits my needs. You have provided me with no specific facts other that concerns expressed by your contacts that are inconsistent with mine.” Then for no reason that he could think of other than to throw our something to force Kitchen on the defensive. “Does this have something to do with that Yeung woman or the Brotherhood or Red Star? Do you know that I sent someone to fly up there to find Charlie and all he found it that Charlie is missing.”

Kitchen’s face darkened, whether from anger or embarrassment Vince could not make out.

“I thought we brought you back to manage the firm through its difficulties,” Kitchen drawled. “Why are you involving yourself in these matters Vince? They are a waste of everyone’s time.”

“That’s just it,” Vince responded his anger cooling slightly. “I am trying to get back to addressing the firm’s needs, That is what I am doing here with Foster, which you interrupted and why I intend to hire Cohen to handle these other things. It seems like every time I try to settle in and work on firm matters, you, Ms. Young, or Stephanie come along hinting at something mysterious about Red Star, the Brotherhood or whatever it is or even Sam’s death.”

“OK, ok, I get your point. I will get you something more specific about Cohen. I think you should avoid both Stephanie and that Yeung bitch. They both are time-wasters'”

“Probably, I have a meeting tomorrow with Stephanie. She says she has a lot to tell me. Maybe I’ll just blow her off.”

“That would be a good idea. I have to get back to work.” With that Kitchen left the office as abruptly as he came in.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Shermer’s Last Law — A corollary of Clarke’s three laws, it states that, “Any sufficiently advanced alien intelligence is indistinguishable from God.”
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“It is interesting to note how much easier it is today for a government to abandon its promises to its people but not to its creditors.”

c. The Mac Attack:

“Men act right only upon compulsion; but from the moment that they have the option and liberty to commit wrong with impunity, then they never fail to carry confusion and disorder everywhere. It is this that has caused it to be said that poverty and hunger make men industrious, and that the law makes men good; and if fortunate circumstances cause good to be done without constraint, the law may be dispensed with. But when such happy influence is lacking, then the law immediately becomes necessary.”
Machiavelli.

In other words, there is neither God, nor the mythical “Invisible Hand” of the self-correcting market to right things. It is up to us to create the laws that assure our society is what we wish it to be.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“He who has bathed in Christ, does not need a second bath.”

Saint Jerome.

Jerome, you stinker, you.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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