April 2012 through June 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Papa Joe 0001 (October 9,2012)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  WASHINGTON DC:

TRAVELOGUE TWO: A PLEASANT TOUR OF THE NATION’S CAPITOL.

My daughter Jessica picked me up at Reagan Airport. She drove me around The Mall before taking me to her home in Alexandria. Jessica is science advisor to the US Department of State office that deals with international health and bio-defense. Yes, the US government is concerned about epidemics and health care in other countries since it affects their economies and thereby, may impact their stability and purchases of American goods and services. Also an epidemic could spread to America.

Jessica at a park near her home in Arlington Va.

The next day we set off to tour the Mall intending to have lunch at the American Indian Museum that serves native-American cuisine. I began college in DC and have returned many times on business, lobbying trips and to attend various presidential inaugurals and other political events. It has changed a lot.

In 1957, 55 years ago when I first set eyes on the city it was no more than a typical small American city, a large town really. JFK famously described it as having, “…Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” It has now grown into a megalopolis, not because government has grown so much or the number of governmental employees have significantly increased, but because of inundation buy the parasite community, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who since the 1970s have swarmed here to feed on its slowly rotting carcass.

Pookie in Washington DC.

Our first stop was at the Franklin Roosevelt memorial that, after 40 or so years of fierce Republican opposition, finally had been built along the south shore of the tidal basin. Larry Halprin’s design leads the visitor through a series of park like open areas separated by rough stone walls and niches. It is quite different from most of the more bombastic memorials in the city in that it is low key and sylvan in its setting. As common in Halprin’s designs, he often forgets the context within the surrounding area on which it sets. In this case he failed to notice that the site abutted the shoreline of the tidal basin.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

A little further on, one comes upon the MLK memorial designed by Roma who seemed to better understand its waterfront setting applying many of the same rules of waterfront design I preached to them years ago. Unlike the understated Roosevelt memorial the focal point of the memorial is a huge boulder into which a giant forbidding MLK had been sculpted.

Martin Luther King Memorial

After lunch at the Native American Museum and a tour of the national botanical gardens, we sat for a while in Bartholdi Park that contained a massive late 19th century bronze fountain by the same sculptor that created The Statue of Liberty. It was conceived with the newly invented electric lights integrated into its design. They were the first electric lights in the city and the denizens of the metropolis at the time often gathered there in the evenings to marvel at the promise of the coming century.

Papa Joe at the fountain

That evening we went to the movies to see “Looper” with Bruce Willis. A science fiction thriller with the usual improbable plot. We liked it.

The next morning we set off for the Shenandoah National Park to view the fall foliage. A narrow 100 mile long park, it was built by the WPA during the Great Depression almost exclusively to cater to the newly popular motor car.

On the way back to Washington we detoured at a sign announcing “Civil War Heritage Trails” that led us along on increasingly more rustic roads until we ended up on a dirt road terminating at a field next to a vast barn like building selling antiques. Across the field we could see two small signs. We trudged up to them and were fascinated to find that the site was the bivouac of the German regiments during the Civil War. The troops led by officers from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been revolutionaries during the various european revolutions of 1848 and after losing, driven from their countries had now taken up arms on behalf of the Union to again fight for freedom. This time not to free themselves, but to free the African slaves.

We then went into the antique barn to browse. I found a set of almost 20 books from 1905 written by a gentleman about his world travels. I read the one about Sicily, a land of poor but proud people who dressed up in funny costumes, played music a lot and rode around on donkeys.

A little further on we came to a place selling original art-glass and pottery. I asked the woman who seemed to be the artist that created some of the works displayed how she was doing. She answered “I am having a very good day, thank you. But I am sure you would not want to hear about it if I wasn’t.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” I responded. “I am always open to new experiences. Besides, there would be precious little fiction written if it were not about someone having a bad day.”

A little further on we came across another tails sign and followed a similar progression of roads but found no sign. We did however end up at a winery named Gadino. It has an attractive tasting room and two professional bocce courts. Their wines were a bit thin and astringent but not entirely unpleasant. There appears to be more wineries in Virginia than in California. The internet lists over one hundred.

Jessica in front of the Winery. The bocce courts are off to her left.

Travel plans update:

As expected what appeared to be certain travel arrangements have crumbled. I have no place to stay in NY within my price range. So I am looking at some places deep within the underbelly of Brooklyn. Travel through Italy back to Thailand has been cancelled so it appears I will have to return to California and leave from LA. I try to enjoy most of my experiences but this is becoming somewhat trying.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

How about a state and local minimum tax for everyone at say 11%?

Note: everyone above the lowest 40% pays a higher percentage of their income for taxes than the top 1%.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Mitt Romney joining Poppy at the check-out counter:

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go exactly. And you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that, but it’s a real problem,”

B. A few words from the barnyard:

 

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Shadow 0001 (June 30 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Paradise by the Sea:

A few days ago, I decided to spend some time back at Jomtien Beach (Paradise by the Sea.) The Little Masseuse and I set off by bus intending to spend two days there. Upon our arrival, I decided to buy a new pair of prescription glasses. I did so, purchasing a pair with thick black plastic frames. It seems, this grossly ugly fashion in eyeglasses has returned. The glasses cost $100 US.

We then checked into a guest house about 50 yards from the beach on a pleasant little alley called Soi 3. After lunch went for a walk along the beach that during previous stays here I named “Siberia by the Sea.” It being summer in Siberia, there were few of those huge white bodies lolling about on the sand. I assumed they were all back in sunny Siberia swatting mosquitoes or whatever it is they do there, when not huddling around a fire attempting to protect themselves from violence of the Arctic ice storms of the Siberian winter.

I walked barefoot in the sand about two miles until I came to the area where I used to live. Walking on the sand is good exercise for an old person like me. It strengthens the small muscles in the ankle and the foot that aid in balance that usually do not get exercised in the gym. Except for dumb-bells generally the large muscle groups get exercised and strengthened with normal gym equipment. This is especially true for exercise machines that from my perspective, are only good for lifting as much weight as you can as often as you are able until you panting and gasping for breath and then moving on to the next machine. At least it makes one strong, healthy or dead. While exercising, I rarely see the difference among the three.

After a brief nap we set off by songtheuw, the small open sided busses common it Thailand, and travelled to “The Outskirts of Hell” as I refer to Pattaya and walked along the walking street and out on to the Long Pier. We ate a dinner of truly horrible fish and chips while I watched the bar-girls and go-go dancers (and their ladyboy counterparts) pass by on their way to work perched on the back of motor bikes and motor scooters their already short skirts hiked up almost to their waist or mincing along on 6 inch spiked heels.

That night, I woke up and found myself is a state or total despair. It was as if a succubus crawled in through the window and sucked all life out of me. By this time in my life, I accepted that no matter the event triggering the episode it is chemical and not philosophic or psychological in nature. Nevertheless, my life during the next few hours ceased to have meaning and I writhed in terror until I fell off to sleep, having consumed a handful of Tylenol in the interim.

The next morning after coffee, we set off for another multi mile walk along the beach. I walked on ahead in some semblance of a power walk while LM hung back exploring the morning’s detritus that littered the beach deposited by the night’s waves.

I walked to the jetty and sat on the rocks contemplating my evening’s despair. Peter’s observation, “The Seventh Seal artfully balances a beach ball on his nose,” rattling around in my brain screaming above the noise of the surf.

After all what is our job in life but to kill and eat as much as we can and leave progeny who then kill, eat and metastasize in their turn. Everything else that does not contribute to those goals, as much as we deny it, is vanity, just there to pass the time in between the killing, eating and fornication.

It is men’s ego (I am sure women would not had thought of it this way) that insists on referring to ourselves as “predators” the “greatest” of the predators no less. We are not. We are “parasites.” Parasites live off the living until they and their hosts die. As a species, it survives by seeking new hosts until none are left. Only most plants, that make their food from the sun water and the dead bodies of their predecessors and carrion eaters like vultures and hyenas avoid the trap of horror and uselessness.

Having worked myself back into a state of despair and wondering if I threw myself off the jetty would I sink or swim, I noticed LM far down the beach and decided that finding out what she had been up to seemed more rewarding and interesting than anything I was doing where I was. So, I got up and walked to her.

I discovered her and a male gleaner arguing over  possession of the carcass of a two foot long squid they found floating in the surf. In between competing claims of ownership, they were also sharing recipes on how best to prepare the cadaver for eating. I decided it better if I just walked on by.

I returned to that portion of the beach adjacent to the soi on which the guest house was located. LM arrived a few minutes later. Apparently she had lost the argument. She then demonstrated for me how well she had learned the many different uses of that handy and flexible english word, “Shit.”

LM has great difficulty learning english. I believe part of the reason is that like most people learning english (and probably other languages as well) she thinks that the more words she memorizes the better she can speak the language. Others, often those who teach english for a living seem to emphasize grammar. Now grammar may be great for learning Latin or ancient Greek, languages that are no longer spoken, but I frankly fail to see what it has to do with modern english much less to teaching it to a non-native speaker.

English seems founded upon basic sentence structure. Words have little meaning in english apart from where they appear in a sentence and grammar is often secondary to position in english comprehension. Some have suggested that one need only to learn 500 or so basic words to have a working knowledge of the language. I think one needs only to learn even fewer basic english sentence structures to do so. I would guess that there are only three or four basic sentences that need to be mastered: identity (Tautological, “I am a man” or positional, “That is a tree”), objective (“John walks to the loo”) or non-objective (John walks). Most english is built out of these sentence types, unlike fully inflected and many other languages, get the words out of order and you have gibberish.

After LM vented for a while we checked out of the room, ate lunch and returned to Bangkok. I remained depressed having learned that Hayden will be leaving next week and prefers to spend his remaining weekend playing with children his own age rather that with a morose old man.

That night I dreamt I was a dead squid.

2. Update:

Since I last posted “This and that…” my schedule seems to have changed once again. The custody hearing may have been postponed so that now I probably will leave in the middle of July, first to Rome, then to NY and returning to the Bay Area in early August. This will change again I am sure of it.

The “original” Bee arrived in BKK from North Carolina to visit her family and take some classes in Thai massage. She accompanied her daughter, a very together you woman, who is beginning her studies at one of the universities here. We had dinner together in one of the restaurants in Terminal21, the new shopping center I described in a previous post. We talked mostly about how unpleasant life has become for them in North Carolina. The daughter complained about how much criticism and hate she receives from her step-father for having some black friends. “I play sports,” she said. “Of course some of my friends are black. I am a straight ‘A’ student. Some of them are smarter than me and help me with my homework. What’s wrong with that?”

Joey just returned to California and David has gone back to his job on the oil rigs off of Qatar

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We would be number one but for Rumania.

The latest edition of UNICEF’s report on child poverty in developed countries found that 30 million children in 35 of the world’s richest countries live in poverty. Among those countries, the United States ranks second on the scale of what economists call “relative child poverty” — above Latvia, Bulgaria, Spain, Greece, and 29 others. Only Romania ranks higher, with 25.5 percent of its children living in poverty, compared with 23.1 percent in the US (Huffington Post)

If we try a little harder I am sure we can become number one.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Most Important Election of our Lives (Snark Warning):

The 2012 Presidential and Congressional election are perhaps the most important election in our nations history – – for white males of certain socio-economic classes.

Of all the socio-economic classes into which one could divide the population of the United States, white males have done the most to self destruct. For example, for no other group, women, blacks, Latinos, homosexuals can it be said that without exception as a class they have failed to achieve the economic, social and educational attainments of their parents. Women continue to outperform their mothers (as well as white men). Individual Blacks, despite the horrendous impact of youth unemployment and vociferous opposition from white males continue in fits and starts to leave the lowest paying labor intensive jobs their parents were relegated to and move into the professional and managerial classes. Latinos carry on fleeing the feudal rural and demeaning service jobs they had historically been assigned. Despite the crushing burden on unemployment that has fallen hardily on them, they all still are doing marginally better than their parents.

But not white males from the middle and lower classes especially in the mid-West and the South. They persist in their decline from the economic and social backbone of our nation to become hate-filled failures in life. And, if truth be known, they chose this path to decline. They chose to refuse to educate themselves so that now they are even less equipped to survive in the modern world while women and immigrants and children of immigrants continue grow their dominance in enrollment in our colleges and universities. They are the heart and soul of the modern conservative movement.

To hear it from these white males, if based upon their internet posts and the rhetoric of their spokesmen, it is all because of the unfair advantages given over the years to these others. This is nonsense. At best these others were aided into a position where they could compete for jobs and for educational attainment. It was the job of the white males l(Like they demand of everyone else but themselves) to meet the competition by for example studying harder and getting even better grades. But instead they complained and sought the solution the uncompetitive always seek, to use government to limit the competition by denying their competitors the ability to compete (After all isn’t that what breaks and industrial subsidies are all about).

Now do not get me wrong, I find things like forced busing for integration abhorrent since its negative impact fell almost exclusively on the working classes. Similarly the pattern of distorting the labor movement by force while the nations boardrooms were left to voluntarily accommodate social change appears suspicious to me.

Nevertheless the continued decline of this class cannot be attributed to these programs. For example white women have thrived while their male counterparts have not. That certainly cannot be blamed on Title IX, abortion or availability of contraception. Or could it? Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the almost unreasonable hate shown by the Republican Party towards women.

It is advantageous to the economic and political elite to attempt to harness the dissatisfaction and fear of this previously all-powerful group in order to achieve its goals. No matter what else you may consider them to be this economic and political elite is not stupid. If they cannot win riding on the back of dissatisfaction of white males they will find another horse to ride in future elections. Most likely they will decide on appealing more to women and Latinos and the assaults on woman’s privacy and border security will cease their prominent position in the Party’s platform.

I believe it possible that Mitt Romney could be the last white male presidential candidate to be put forth by the Republican Party for a long time. I guess that should Obama win reelection, the Republicans will field a woman and latino ticket for the 2016 presidential election to face the Democratic Party’s similar gender and ethnic ticket except that one of the standard bearers will also be black.

NOTE: I am a white male. True many years ago while growing up, I was not considered really “white.” (Nor were my Jewish friends and of course Puerto Ricans flooding into NY at the time. The latter had not yet graduated from “non-white” to “Spanish surnamed.”) At that time I was subject to the jokes of the then exclusive club of whiteness and maleness similar to what Latinos are subject to today; such as the ring our oily skin left around the bathtub.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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


TODAY’S QUOTE:

“To be an austerity groupie, one has to ignore the actual behavior of people; to believe fervently in Keynes, one has to ignore the behavior of politicians.

Economics is not a science; it is not even a social science. It is an antisocial theory. It assumes behavior is rational. It cannot calculate for contradiction, culture, altruism, fear, greed, love or humanity at all.”
Suzanne Moore, The Guardian.

ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE QUOTES:

Peter Grenell sums up human existence:

“The Seventh Seal artfully balances a beach ball on his nose.”

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

When I was a child you were either a Roy Rodgers of Gene Autry fan. I preferred Roy Rogers. I thought Roy was ok but I really liked Trigger more than Gene Autry’s horse Pal. But mostly I liked watching Dale Evans tits press against her tight starched cowboy shirt.

Later when we were a bit older the choice was between Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. This time I favored the Gene. Eventually I learned that that decision had political implications; you know, working man vs patrician. I really liked “Invitation to the Dance” which, although in was a commercial failure, remains one of my all time favorite movies. It along with “Blood Wedding” by Carlos Saura are two of the greatest dance movies of all time. Of my list of my favorite top 10 dance movies, Kelly would be in at least five of them and those directed by Saura in three more.

I liked Kelly because he reminded me of a baseball player who danced. I also preferred Leslie Carron’s thighs to Ginger Rogers. On the other hand, I never could get it up for Debbie Reynolds.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Shadow 0001 (June 25, 2012)

 

Support Dunnghi Jansaunmoi

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

 

1. A Day in the Life:

 

a. Pookie contemplates while at the health club.

 

While exercising I realized that although death is never very good, if one was going to go one of the best ways is during vigorous exercise; the flood of endorphins makes one not particularly care. On the other hand, attempts to commit suicide by exercise are doomed to fail. Anyone so depressed as to contemplate it, is probably too depressed to exercise in the first place. Still, I decided to redouble my efforts.

 

b. Where Pookie confronts himself on the sidewalk.

 

“It’s always something.”

 

Roseanne Roseannadanna

Roseanne Roseannadanna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Roseanne Roseannadanna

 

While on my way to the health club that same morning that I experienced the above insight, I walked by a man lying on the sidewalk. He looked dead. Sitting on his haunches next to him and shaking him back and forth was another man who kept on repeating something in Thai over and over again. I assumed it was something like, “Hey buddy, you ok?” I would think that is what one says in similar situations everywhere.

 

They both appeared to be street people and were filthy. I believed the man lying on the sidewalk was either dead or paralyzed since, as the other man shook him, he seemed quite stiff.

 

I stood there presented with western civilization’s eternal quandary: How do I evade involvement without feeling guilty? My first predicament was how to avoid getting down and touching the possibly deceased. Not only was he filthy, but I have a phobia about touching dead things. Probably generated by my mom’s warnings to never touch the dead rats, dogs and cats that were often lying about in my neighborhood because they probably were carrying a dread disease, it  nevertheless ended medicine and biology as career choices.

 

Thankfully, I reasoned, getting down and touching him would do no good since I had no medical training and could not speak the language. So I then thought I could start screaming something like, “Help, help, call an ambulance” or something. I hoped I would not have to do that either since I would probably feel embarrassed. When I looked around however, I noticed at least 20 Thais within 10 yards of me with perhaps 10 times more within shouting distance, none of whom paid the slightest attention to the scene going on next to me. It was not as though they were simply averting their eyes to avoid getting involved, but instead they simply continued on doing their business as though a dead or dying man on the sidewalk was an everyday occurrence. So, I decided that my screaming and yelling likely would do no more good than getting down on my knees and shake the guy also and ask him if he was OK.

 

I then decided that the best thing I could do was go find a cop and tell him of the situation. Of course, I recognized the language barrier remained and given my experience with the Thai police it was questionable whether he would care or do anything. There was also the quandary of what would I do if he demanded a bribe before acting. As an American, I had to face the dilemma of whether my humanitarian obligations extended to paying for someone else’s problem. Nevertheless, with that still unresolved, I set off in search of a cop.

 

Although there was a police post a few blocks back, I decided to continue in the direction I was heading since I recalled that about a block away the tourist police often had a card table set up for some reason with one or two cops sitting there. They never did anything that I could ever discern except sit there. I thought that chances were better that the tourist police spoke english.

 

Alas, no police card table appeared, so I continued to the place where I intended to have breakfast to think about what to do next. While sitting at the counter, I decided that there really was not much left for me to do since by now whatever was going to happen or not happen had already happened. So I ordered breakfast, tried to convince myself I had done all that I could and contemplated Scarlett O’Hara‘s insight, “Tomorrow is another Day.”

 

c. In which Pookie gets a massage.

 

In an effort to relieve the aches generated by my exercise and assuage my distress from the mornings events, I decided to get a massage. Now normally the Little Masseuse gives me my massages, but for the last few weeks she has been telling me that she is too tired from folding towels at the health club. Given my diminished sexual capacity, I consider her excuse as the functional equivalent of “I have a headache.” Anyway I went to a spa owned by a woman who I have known for over 10 years. She lives most of the time in Singapore with her husband and new baby. Her husband, an American, and she were both friends of mine when they lived in the Bay Area.

 

I decided on a one-hour foot massage. I generally forgo full body massages because in Thailand a foot massage is more an entire leg and foot massage and includes massage of hands arms, shoulders and head. In fact the only things missing from a whole body massage is the rubbing of the abdomen and the buttocks; and you know where that leads. The massage cost $13 including tip. That was most of my daily budget. But it was worth it. I felt much better.

 

d. Pookie ends his day in outer space.

 

Later I met up with LM and we went to the movies at a new mall named Terminal 21. I like going there because it is nearby (two blocks away) and each floor themed on a different world city with two floors dedicated to San Francisco complete with a replica of the Golden Gate bridge stretched across the food court and full-sized copy of a cable car teetering over the escalators.

 

We saw “Prometheus,” which I did not understand that well, since I found the narrative and motivations confusing. Why for example do robots always seem to be pissed off at their creators for creating them? “Robby the Robot,” never got pissed off, although it did seem he too often panicked, swung his arms about and screamed “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger.” Modern cinema robots never panic. That is what makes them so creepy.

 

Anyway the movie seemed based upon the concept that the operative principle in the universe is revenge. I disagree, I think the universal operative principle is confusion. Too many beings thinking they know what they are doing, when in fact they are lucky if the figure out which ends the food goes in and the shit comes out.

 

In any event, a lot of people and aliens died. The robot survived, but not the black guy. I am sure you guessed that.

 

2. Schedule Change:

 

Although I planned to return to the US through Italy on the 1st of August, as expected plans have changed. It seems that SWAC received notice that a custody hearing will be held in Sacramento on July 5, so she Joey and Hayden will leave on the 28th of this month. Although she has not been served, she refused my advice and has decided to return. Her planned defense borders on the deranged. Although she has claimed the baby was conceived by artificial insemination, she plans to claim rape and refuses to obtain the documents from the Thai hospital that supposedly performed the procedure because when the baby was born in SF, she claimed he was not so conceived*. When I asked what independent evidence she had for the alleged rape, she answered his friends know. She added that they all thought that she was a ladyboy and somehow after the doctor told them she was a women that caused him to rape her. At least I think that is the story. She also insists that her breasts are real. Maybe the Thai soaps dramatize life as it really is lived in Thailand.

 

I still intend to venture back at summer’s end or in early autumn provided I can find some places to stay.

 

Since he returned from Koh Samui, I have not seen Hayden. It seems he is now of that age where he prefers to spend his time with children of his own age than with a morose old man. I guess it is time to put him into the past. I expect I will be seeing little of him in the future whatever it is that is the future at my age.

 

*Oh, by the way this is the corrupt American Cop I mentioned recently attached to the US Embassy in BKK and who along with his co-workers threw orgies in their apartments (probably supplied by the US taxpayers), and who probably set up the busting of American citizens for sexual relations with underaged persons (legal in the country but not in US). In one bust, it turns out the interpreter who supplied the only evidence against the person arrested the cop was screwing at the time. He also had lost custody of his prior child following allegations of repetitive violence. I assume he was vetted for his high paying federal government job by the same people who vetted the Secret Service people who had so much fun recently in Columbia.

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

 

1. Thailand’s got tits.

 

Recently during the “Thailand’s Got Talent” a contestant, Dunnghi Jasaunmoi, surprised everyone by stripping to the waist and painting a large canvas with her breasts. The two male judges gave her the highest scores while the female judge walked off in disgust. A spokesman for something called the “Culture Ministry and Family Happiness Support Group,” complained that it was a bad example for the nations children. The official Thai Ministry of Culture indicated that they were concerned and would look into the matter. Since it involves a Thai media business, no-one expects the government to do anything.

 

Meanwhile the same Ministry of Culture continues to go gaga over Lady Gaga. This time because she appeared in a skimpy outfit wearing a nun’s cowl and trailing a Thai flag. The ministry threatens to lodge a complaint with the US government on the grounds that the skimpy outfit sets a bad example for the nation’s children while  the Thai flag is an insult to the nation.

 

2. Right vs. Wrong.

 

The poll, constructed by Dartmouth government professor Benjamin Valentino and conducted by YouGov from April 26 to May 2, found that fully 63 percent of Republican respondents still believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the US invaded in 2003. By contrast, 27 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats shared that view.

 

The Republican disinformation machine’s response to this report has been to allege that Saddam’s use of AMERICAN supplied biological and chemical weapons on the Kurds meant they had those same weapons a decade later and that they had the means of delivering them. First the AMERICANS stopped delivering weapons of mass destruction, if one wants to consider what we supplied to Saddam as such, following Gulf War I. Second, repeated inspections over the 12 years or so that followed, by both American and international weapons inspection teams, consistently reported not only were there none in Iraq, but also that Iraq did not have the ability to manufacture them.

Unlike the view espoused by Faux News speak, this is not a difference of opinion requiring “balanced” public exposure, one position is clearly factually wrong and a real news organization should be reporting that fact. The question that should be asked is, why are Republicans so prone to believe as true something that is manifestly false? Another question is why are Republicans leaders and spokespeople so willing to lie?

Remember Pookie says, “liberals exaggerate, conservatives lie.” There is a difference. If a conservative says Barak Obama is a socialist, it is a provable lie. He is actually a 1950 style Republican masquerading as a Democrat. If a liberal claims that we are all going to die from the effects of global warming by 2100, that is an exaggeration. It will not occur until 2120 and some of us probably will survive.

 

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

 

1. July 25, 1841 – Mary Cecilia Rogers, a young woman known popularly as “The Beautiful Cigar Girl”, disappeared and her dead body was found floating in the Hudson River three days later. The details surrounding the case suggested she was murdered. The death of this well-known person received national attention for weeks. The story became immortalized by Edgar Allan Poe in his story “The Mystery of Marie Roget.” Despite intense media interest and an attempt to solve the enigma by Poe, the crime remains one of the most puzzling unsolved murders of New York City.

 

2. July 13–17, 1863 – Approximately 50,000 people riot in protest of President Abraham Lincoln’s announcement of a draft for troops to fight in the American Civil War. Over 100 are killed and many African-Americans flee the city. The movie Gangs of New York takes place during the draft riots.

 

3. September 13, 1899 – Henry H. Bliss becomes the first person killed in an automobile accident in the United States when he steps off a streetcar at 74th Street and Central Park West and is struck by a taxicab.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

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

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

 

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

 


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

 

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Shadow 0001 (June 20, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Hayden is off to Koh Samui with SWAC and a “friend.” I do not know if Joey is still in BKK. LM and I plan to spend a few days next week at “Paradise by the Sea, one mile from the Outskirts of Hell.” In the meantime, I feel myself slowly slipping into one of my periodic bouts of gloom and boredom. Perhaps watching the Thai soaps will cheer me up.

Speaking of Thai soaps, the one starring the scenery chewing Master Slapper Stepmother alas, has come to an end. Finally, all the young women slapped around by her; the men and older women she beat over the head with logs; ex-husbands (one rich and one poor) she betrayed and those others she had kidnapped or beaten (including one of her own daughters) got together and told each other what they already knew. They still refused to do anything except agree to tell her that they talked to each other and that her rich husband was very angry.

When she learned this the Master Slapper went off the deep end, became hysterical, ripped the iv out of her arm and fled, the hospital she was in for some reason; but not before slapping her two daughters silly. She was not upset so much because she feared everyone else would somehow punish her but because she was embarrassed that they all talked to each other about her.

She ran off into the darkness and was promptly hit by a truck and died. When everyone heard about this the two beaten daughters cried a little but cheered up as they paired off with the men of their choice; the insipid daughter with the poor but nice boy and the daughter from the poor husband with the rich but stupid soldier. The multi-beaten ingenue step-daughter who the father (the rich husband) following DNA testing finally acknowledged as his daughter, making her rich also, finally was united with the other rich but clueless hero. Ingenue and clueless planned to marry immediately. I do not know the reason for the rush but suspect in had something to do with the show ending.

Unbeknownst to them all the Evil Stepmother did not die. Instead, some completely random woman for no reason had run into the street in front of the Great Slapper and was killed by the truck. The Evil Stepmother than changed clothes with the dead woman and ran off again into the night swearing to kill everyone who shamed her. She promptly was set upon by a thug who tried to rape her. She eventually beat him off by smashing his head in with a log, but not before he had managed to disfigure her with a piece of broken glass.

She then set off on her revenge by killing a few of the poor people and minor characters. She showed up at the wedding between ingenue and clueless and strangled the poor young maid who had done nothing but serve the Slapper during her various rampages. When the wedding guests found the dead girl, everyone ran out into the yard and confronted Mom. No one seemed to want to get too close to her. So they all shouted at her from a distance. It seemed that everyone in the neighborhood began showing up and standing around also.

Finally the “poor” ex-husband rushed forward and grabbed her arm thereby allowing her to reach into his pants and grab the gun he had hidden there. Everyone started shouting again and the poor husband retreated. She shot him in the shoulder. The daughter of the poor ex husband and the Slapper jumped in front of her father offering up her life instead. After a lengthy (from one advertising break to the next) discussion she was persuaded to step aside and Mom promptly pumped the poor bastard body with five more bullets and ran off into the street while the by now 100s of onlookers stood by.

Mom ran into someone, I no longer remember who, who tried to stop her, and she shot him or her also and was out of bullets at which point the police arrived and took Mom into custody.

Everyone went back to the wedding and the series ended like “The Lord of the Rings” with each main character’s interminable separate farewell. In this case each of the lovers telling each other how lucky they were things ended up like this and each of the parents telling their maids how relieved they were that their kids were finally growing up.

After this, having enough of Thai murder and mayhem, I turned on a comedy soap.

The Little Masseuse has been quite sad recently. She said that she was unhappy because she was old and ugly and people, mostly men, do not use her massage services anymore. “I used to massage 3 or 4 hours every day,” she explained. “Now, I only massage for one hour or so a week. The rest of the time I fold towels, play the games on my mobile phone and nap when no one is looking.”

I responded to her distress by mentioning that I believed that business is off everywhere and competition for masseuses’ has grown more fierce in BKK. “Besides,” I added. “I suspect the real reason the men in the health club use the male masseurs had less to do with your age or beauty than with your gender.”

She then told me that a few weeks previous, the woman behind the Health Club check-in desk asked LM to give her a free massage. When LM declined saying that she was hired by the Hotel to give massages to paying guests only, the clerk shouted at her, “You are old and ugly and no one will ever love you.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh my!!

2. What can I say?

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Meet the man the Republican Party wants to run your Country:


Sheldon Adelson

This is the man the modern Republican Party proposes to run your country. I guess a rich casino owning mob guy from Vegas who implied his primary loyalty is to a foreign country is who they have been looking for all along.

He also is the type of patriot modern Republican’s seem to like. For example Adelson said, he regrets his own service in American uniform.

For all those American’s who proudly wore the uniform and fought for our nation and our freedom the Republican party has sold you to someone who thinks you are all jerks.

He also claims that he would prefer that his children serve in the Israeli army to the American one, and “All we care about is being good citizens of Israel.”

Under normal circumstances someone who claims allegiance to another country might be considered a traitor, but not if he is a wealthy contributor to the modern Republican Party.

In an interview in Forbes magazine he said he was,“against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it.” How’s that as an example of someone who stands by his beliefs. If he said something like, “I am against stealing, but as long as it is doable I am going to do it,” would it really be much different. Oh yes, stealing is illegal, “Well then I am going to put my money to work making sure the stealing I want to do is legal. Everyone is doing it, why shouldn’t I?”

He originally was a Democrat but became a Republican as his wealth grew. “Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?” There’s a good example of situational ethics for you. Once you’re rich forget where you came from. (By the way he was educated at public expense.)

Oh, he is willing to give his money to support a foreign country, but is opposed to paying additional taxes to support the country of which he is allegedly a citizen.

Finally he makes most of his money in China, a Communist country, yet he fears socialism and unions here. He has not pledged $100 million to defeat Chinese Communism. Why not?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Louis in Taos:

Louie (stage name, “James Oliver”) left New York City and Tuckahoe for LA. On March 8, 1964, I wrote in my diary:

“Lou did not get married. Susan, his girlfriend decided to go back to California the day before the wedding. Lou was distraught. He decided to return to California also. Not to follow her he says, but because New York has suddenly become lifeless for him. He said he needed a new life.”

And so he left a week or two later and that was the last I ever saw of him. Years later he ended up living as an artist in Taos. A reporter for the local Taos newspaper recently wrote of him:

“James Louie Oliver is one of the most fascinating people you might ever meet. He’s an artist, a former stage and screen actor, builder of model airplanes and one helluva storyteller. You’ll see what we mean when Oliver makes an appearance Friday (March 30), 7 p.m., at Bareiss Gallery, 15 State Road 150, north of El Prado.

Oliver will read from his writings, ‘Howie’s Chair’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe and the Shoeshine Boy,’ and he will also display his intricately detailed assemblages and handcrafted model airplanes.

Oliver was born Dec. 17, 1937, in a cold-water flat on the Bronx-Mount Vernon border in New York. Growing up, he says one of his first jobs was as a shoeshine boy, something he told us about in a story we did on him in April of 2011. He also worked in his grandfather’s barbershop, sweeping up hair and doing anything that was needed. His face goes dark, though, when he talks about the abuse he suffered as a child, but he doesn’t dwell on it.

‘I grew up old, but I’m younger now,’ he says with a touch of humor.

He studied for and did quite a bit of stage work in New York. This also led to film work in Hollywood.

‘My first movie was ‘Hells Angels on Wheels’ (1967) and I played a guy named ‘Gypsy.’ And Adam Roarke was in it, he passed away, and Jack Nicholson too. It’s an underground film. Then I did a TV show where I met Johnny Barrymore. We became very good friends before he passed away. That was another motorcycle TV thing that starred Ben Gazzara called ‘Run for Your Life.’’ ”


Louie with one of his handcrafted model airplanes.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. June 14, 1942:

Ann Frank receives a diary on her thirteenth birthday.

This is one of the most poignant factoids I have ever posted. June 14 should be declared a public holiday to honor the human sprit.

B. For those who long for the “Good old Days,” here is what life was like in 18th Century NYC:

1702 – Yellow fever epidemic kills more than 500 people.
1776, September 21 – Approximately 1000 houses, a quarter of the city, are destroyed in a fire a week after British troops captured the city during the American Revolution. Arson is speculated (with George Washington and the British being among those blamed) and, during a round-up of suspicious persons by British forces, Nathan Hale is arrested.
1778, August 3 – Fire near Cruger’s Wharf destroys 64 homes.
1794 – Minor yellow fever epidemic leads to creation of Bellevue Hospital.
1795 – Yellow fever epidemic kills 732 between July 19 and October 12, from a total population of about 50,000.
1796, December 9 – The “Coffee House Slip Fire” burns from the foot of Wall Street and East River to Maiden Lane.
1798 – The “great epidemic,” a major yellow fever epidemic, kills 2086 people from late July to November. Epidemics occur in several other years, but this was the worst of them all.

The over 2000 deaths in the yellow fever epidemic of 1798 amounted to almost 5% of the City’s population.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

This chart gives one a good idea about how one segment of the“parasite” community’s fee based economy works. The chart describes a typical secured loan, like mortgages and a lot of corporate debt. The people with “money” in the game, the borrowers and investors, pay fees to a host of parasites (lender, insurer, issuer, trustee and on and on).

The chart does not include the lawyers and lobbyists and the like, all of whom take their cuts. Although These latter do not appear on the chart their costs are included somewhere in the expense side of the balance sheets of every entity identified in the chart. These reams of parasites appear even though the regulatory and legal burdens they claim justifies their fees has not changed substantially for 40 years and in fact in many cases has eased.

If things go wrong, the investors and borrowers take the loss, all the others walk off with their fees intact. Each one of the parasites seek to increase their fees or sell additional services. It does not matter to them if the deal fails. They all argue that they perform beneficial services. They all have a conflict of interest.

So why is this happening? One reason is size. As the size of the entities and the deals increase, as with any bureaucracy, the individual bureaucrats involved seek to enhance their own security and to avoid personal responsibility. So they retain parasites upon whom they can lay off some of the responsibility for making the decision to finance the deal. Among the downsides for the parasite community is that as the entities and the deals get larger, there are fewer of them so they must either raise prices, increase services or die.

This system is not “economic” in nature, but “biologic,” and therefore probably more readily explainable by biological formula and analysis than those currently relied upon by economists.

B. Colbert Wisdom:

Actually Colbert is wrong. It is not just young people, liberals generally behave like this.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

When the Democratic Party was the “Red Neck” party:

“Let no man delude himself into the belief that the success of Samuel J. Tilden (Democratic Party candidate for US President 1876) as the leader of the Democracy does not mean Southern supremacy. I was born in the South, and have spent my whole life, nearly three quarters of a century, among the Southern Democratic leaders, and I know that I understand them. I speak forth the words of truth and soberness when I say that they intend to accomplish through the ballot box what they failed to achieve on the bloody field.”
EX US-SENATOR BROWNLOW in a letter to the Tribune, sometime during the 1876 election, warning the nation of the danger to the country from the “solid South.”

TODAY’S CHART:

Although this chart raises the question of why is it that Japan and the UK are not yet failed states (too much public and private debt) and shows that the US debt situation is relatively benign, it sends an additional message. What this chart seems to indicate is that, in most cases we do not have a “public” debt crisis but we do have a “private” debt crisis (e.g., Spain).

It is interesting to note that in Greece where it is arguable that the government spent too much money (not on so-called costly social programs but on economic development [infrastructure] programs) the German bankers demanded governmental austerity requiring slashing social programs, that were not responsible for much of the debt on the first place, in order to pay off mostly German bond holders. In Spain’s case where the problem is clearly not “public” expenditure but failures of the private banking system, caused in part by governmental negligence in adequately regulating them, the German bankers recently shoveled money to Spain to disburse to the private banks with no requirements that the banks clean up their act or that the government increase their oversight.
Why is it that Bankers believe that the discipline of the private market wherein private entities that bet wrong fail, applies only to the rest of us and not to them?

TODAY’S CARTOON:

Dude, if they paid us enough so that we could afford to fly off in one of their flying saucers and do to another world what is being done to ours, why would we care? It wouldn’t be the first time we soiled our nest and moved on.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

Image unavailable at this time
“Rochester Panorama” – Rochester, New York – Neil Kremer

(I’ve been to Rochester. It looks nothing like this, ever.)

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 31 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 15, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Waiting for the Queen

Last week Thailand celebrated the Buddha’s enlightenment (or perhaps it was the King’s birthday or Buddha’s, I never did catch which). In addition to celebrations scheduled throughout the country, a ceremony was planned for the large park area in front of the palace compound in BKK. LM persuaded me to accompany her to watch it.

After the almost one hour ride on the inexpensive but non-air-conditioned number 2 bus, we arrived at the site with thousand’s of others. We found a place alongside a large open area surrounded by temporary pavilions where we thought we would have a good view of the proceedings. In the center of the enclosed open space in front of us, a large stepped pyramid structure, all red and gold, had been constructed. LM said we were waiting for the Queen.

Facing the pyramid was a gold throne that I assumed was there for the Queen to sit in during the usually interminably long official buddhist ceremonies. Although the various pavilions had chairs in them, there were no others in the enclosure. Neither were there chairs for the spectators. Most people kneeled or sat on the ground. I don’t do kneeling or sitting on the ground, so I stood at the back of the crowd in front of one of the pavilions. The general public was not allowed into the pavilions.

Although there were a few people in suits and uniforms with mobile phones pressed to their ears scurrying around within the enclosure, the first organized group to arrive were a few dozen or so military or police, all spiffy in their brown starched and pressed uniforms. Each had hand guns by their side. They took up positions around the periphery of the open space facing the crowd. They soon were followed by a lot of people in white uniforms, many of which sported gold braid. These people milled about aimlessly, now and then bowing and weiing to each other. Then the band arrived, they had white uniforms also, only the conductor had braid, however. It was red. They marched around a bit but did not play music. Their instruments were all silver, unlike American bands that often mix gold and silver-colored ones.

Next to arrive was a squad of soldiers dressed in white wearing white metal helmets with gold spikes rising out of the top. They carried rifles. You know that it is a serious ceremony when guys with gold spikes rising from the tops or their head arrive carrying guns. Their job seemed to require them to be placed by their officers around the grounds in teams of two and to remain standing there without moving a muscle no matter what happens. Their fortitude was demonstrated when one or another of their officers would march up close behind each trooper and goose him. The statue soldiers did not flinch. I watched this in amazement for a while, until I realized that they were not goosing them but grasping the bottom of the troopers jacket and pulling it down to remove wrinkles.

I never understood why many of the worlds militaries maintain squads of similar types of statute soldiers. If anything happens are they still required to stand immobile? Why not use real statues?

After this, every few minutes or so, a limousine would drive up and disgorge a white uniformed person with lots and lots of gold braid. From among them, Princess LuckyGirl the current Prime Minister and sister to the deposed, exiled, fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible, with her entourage emerged to a smattering of applause. She also had a white uniform, but I did not see any gold braid. She is not really a Princess and her name is not LuckyGirl. I just call her Princess because she is the sister of the man who actually runs the country from exile. Her real name is Yingluck. Ying in Thai refers to a young person, usually female and luck is well,…luck, and after all, she could be considered very lucky being born rich and then elected Prime Minister without ever holding a real job before.

She appears to be a tall woman towering over most of the men clustered around her. Either that or she just likes to be surrounded by short men. Better to see what is going on; probably a good idea for a Prime Minister, especially in Thailand.

After about 10 limousines let out their passengers, we stood waiting for the Queen and watched as thunderstorms moved across Bangkok toward where we were assembled. The thunderstorms arrived before the Queen and pelted us with their fury. Many spectators wisely brought umbrellas. I had not. Along with several other of the unprepared, I sought refuge beneath the banner attached to the side of the nearest pavilion.

When the rains let up a bit, the Queen arrived in a large gold limousine that seemed to be a cross between a sedan and a SUV. Following her vehicle were about 10 bright red limos. I do not know why they followed her, who was in them or why they were all red. Since the rain prompted the removal of the outdoor chair or throne, they ignored the pyramid and drove directly to a pavilion at the back of the enclosure and stopped. There then seemed to be a lot of rushing about and bowing and more weiing. Apparently, the Queen, unseen to me and most of the other spectators, disappeared into the pavilion and out of the rain.

I signaled to LM that it was time to go. Since the ceremony would be hidden from view, I believed there was no more to see and besides I was wet and tired. We made our way through the throng to the exit only to find it gated and guarded by some of the sidearm wielding, brown shirted soldiers who told us we could not leave until after the Queen does.

This upset me very much. Here I was drenched, 72 years old, exhausted from standing with nowhere to rest and trapped like a member of the band on the deck of the Titanic. I began to panic. LM recognizing my distress, dragged me back to where we had spent the last hour in the rain and tried to calm me down by suggesting that I sit on the sopping wet ground until I felt better. Meanwhile a very short Thai woman sidled up to me and attempted to pick my pocket and one of the brown shirts insisted that I remove my hat out of respect to the Queen who I could not see and now was convinced had never arrived. (To be continued, perhaps)

2. Hayden

SWAC said that Hayden arrives in Thailand for summer holidays on June 12. After that I am not sure about the schedule except that at the end of July or early August I am planning to accompany Hayden to Italy and then back to the US. I hope to be able to stop off on the East Coast for a few days to see my daughter and go for a ride on Terry’s sailboat.

Since I wrote the above paragraph, Hayden arrived in BKK and I reprised my nanny duties. After one day, despite the apparent success of my exercise regime in restoring some sense of vigor to my aging body, I was exhausted. SWAC agreed to relieve me and keep him with her for the evening at AVA. I am sure it will be more interesting for him, music, noise, pretty, sweet-smelling young women hugging him whenever he walks by. It could be worse.

My current travel schedule is to depart for Italy about July 15 and remain there for two weeks. SWAC and LM if she decides to travel with me will go to Sacile and Tamil just north of Venice at stay at the farm where Hayden and I spent a month together. Nikki, Hayden and I plan to travel to Naples and then by boat to Sicily for a week; I to visit relatives in Cannicatti outside of Agrigento and Nikki friends in Catania. None of this will probably happen but I like to write about it anyway.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Gaga over Rolex:

During her stay in Thailand for a performance, Lady Gaga tweeted that she, “Might buy a fake Rolex.” The Thai agency in charge of dealing with counterfeit goods, demanded an apology and threatened to launch a campaign against her appearance for insulting Thailand and interfering with their effectiveness in their fight against piracy. They also logged an official complaint with the US government.

When faced with almost universal ridicule based on the common knowledge that fake Rolex’s and just about any other brand of anything are blatantly sold by Thai’s on every main street in BKK, the agency proved that their effectiveness battling the illicit trade by promptly and publicly busting a dealer who openly sold fake watches for over 5 years. As expected, the dealer was a foreigner. The thousands of Thai purveyors in counterfeit products continue on without fear of official interference.

2. Your morning coffee:

In Singapore, a maid mixed her menstrual blood into her employers morning coffee in hopes that it would make him treat her better. When the employer discovered this, he had the maid arrested for assault.

(I do not see what he is complaining about, all that extra iron I am sure made him feel better. It was free too.)

3. So Gay:

Also in Singapore a man named Gay was accused of sexually harassing a woman.

This passes for news in Singapore.

4. It may or may not be difficult to comprehend:

In Thailand applicants for an entry-level job with the police department paying all of $250 per month, paid up to$10,000 each to a gang to provide them with the answers on the entrance exam.

According to the news reports, the exam takers received the answers relayed from gang members to radio receivers hidden “deep” within their private parts.

I still do not understand either why or how. Perhaps the East is even more inscrutable than we ever imagined.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Every once in a while I believe it is worth returning to contemplate Tomyris and the Massegetae.

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

This was Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae’s response to Cyrus the Great, Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time, after he demanded that Tomyris and the Massegetae surrender to him. Cyrus refused Tomyris’ advice. So, she personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. After her victory, she searched the battlefield herself until she found Cyrus’ body, then she cut off his head and made his skull into her favorite goblet.

This leads me to conclude that one should never mess with a woman named Tomyris, or for that matter a Massegetae who some ancient historians believe became the Huns. I heard that there is a biker gang in South Dakota named the Massegetae whose leader is a six-foot six-inch transsexual named Tomyris. One is well advised to avoid visiting Mt. Rushmore.

For those interested in learning more about the Massegetae, this is what the ancient Greek historian Herodotus had to say about them:

“In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favorite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.”

“The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Jaxartes. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.”

I have a few concerns and questions about the Massegetae life-style:
1. How does one have one wife held in common? Does it mean that you can only sleep with one woman each night?
2. How old do you have to be before they come for you and boil you up with a cow or two? Brisket of Pookie?
3. How pissed off with your lot in life would you be if you were forced to live on beef, fish, sour milk and a grandfather or grandmother now and then? Enough to want to go and beat the shit out of someone, I would imagine. 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Graphic unavailable at this time.

 

After almost 100 years of fighting against the will of the people, the wealthy near their goal. Only Obama stands in their way. I doubt whether that will prove to be much of a barrier.

B. Terry Petrillo on her 94th birthday:

Terry accompanied by her daughter MaryAnn.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Your elected representatives at work for you:

For this you elect them and pay them too.

By the way, who started the rumor that Republicans opposed big government? Republicans seem mostly to want to get government out of the corporate board room and into the bedroom [not yours of course, I am sure you would never do anything to require them to go there].

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Free government cannot long endure if property is largely in a few hands and large masses of people are unable to earn homes, education, and a support in old age.”
Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States.

Hayes, a Nineteenth Century gentleman and Republican President of the United States, would be called a socialist today by FauxNews, Tea Party advocates and members of the current Republican Party. I guess you can include Hayes along with Reagan, Eisenhower, T. R. , and Lincoln as Republican Presidents that would be shocked at how far their Party has fallen from the path they believed they had set for it.

TODAY’S CHART:

 

Q. What do woman want? A. How about being listened to once in a while.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Photograph of the Amazon the “Lungs of the Planet,” provided by Phillip who, bless his heart, has an eye for beauty despite his fervent belief that private enterprise has the inherent right to inflict black lung disease on the earth’s respiratory organs.
Note: look closely at the upper right side of the photograph. Is that a shadow or is a jaguar sitting on the rock?

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 10 2012)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM (94 YEARS OLD)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. “This and that…”:

I have entered all of my 2010 posts of “This and that…” into a blog. The first five months or so include comments from some of you as well as Irwin’s correspondence and entries from my journal. You can access the first 3 months here they appear in reverse order of posting — (now that I think about it, if I entered them in the blog in the reverse order to when I originally posted them they would appear in the proper order in the blog — No, that would screw up my head too much). I have also completed the posting of the first quarters of 2011 and 2012. I look at it as sort of a partially interactive journal.

2. Followers and following:

I have written often about my fruitless quest to increase the number of “hits” on my various blogs. The application that sends bloggers to my site so that I may “follow” theirs has become a source of entertainment if not particularly effective for marketing. This mornings batch included the blog “Sex and the Shameless” by an ex-stripper who writes a lot about the various men she sleeps with. When I opened the site it began with these immortal words:

“I’m female, 23, single, a stripper, in therapy and completely clueless.”

She then proceeds:

“I have only slept with 2 men this week which isn’t two [sic] bad for me, one guy was Antonio who I have slept with a few times and the other guy was Keith who I hadn’t slept before and would never again!”

Actually I like this blog a lot. Here is the link. Read about the customer to the strip club that had the strippers crush toy cars with their bare feet.

This I get with my morning coffee. It is almost as good as the Thai soaps. Speaking of which:

3. Thai Soaps Update:

Since the end of the soap featuring the ghost or demon with horns and acne, I have begun following a few others. One that I may have mentioned before, concerns a young nubile female who is beaten or slapped around about four of five times per evening, mostly by the slapper in chief, her step-mother.

This formidable woman also has slapped around just about every other young woman in the show, as well as the obligatory comic relief ladyboy. She is often seen posed, preparing to strike with hand raised, elbow above the shoulder exhibiting the ideal form for an NFL quarterback getting ready to throw a pass.

The young ingénue’s boyfriend often comes upon his girl friend in the midst of being slapped around by several different cast members (and once in the middle of an attempted rape). But when the slapper explains what is going on, he just nods and goes on his way leaving them all to get on with their business.

Also the ingenue suffers from claustrophobia. So every once in a while she gets tied up by someone and thrown into a dark closet. Sometimes she is starved while she is in the closet. The boyfriend doesn’t do anything about this either.

After several months of this, the ingénue, and the ladyboy as well, seemed to have had enough and beat the hell out of the evil step-mother and her insipid daughter. Apparently it did not do any good because in the most recent episode, the ingenue was tied up and back in the closet.

The reason for all these assaults seems to be that the insipid daughter and another woman have designs on the ingenue’s boyfriend who also happens to be rich as well as stupid. The second woman is married to a man who seems unhappy with his wife’s obsession but does nothing about it but look sullen. LM says it is because he loves her.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Can an entire state win a Darwin Award?

Shades of King Canute! North Carolina’s State legislature is considering a bill that would require the government to ignore new reports of rising sea levels and predictions of ocean and climate scientists.

Other states may want then to close off their borders to people from North Carolina to keep them from breeding with their citizens.

2. Internet peril:

A woman who operates an on-line newspaper in Thailand was convicted of insulting the monarchy by allowing several comments to online news items to appear that were deemed a violation of the law.

It may interest you to know that now that I post these emails on the internet, I may be subject to fines and imprisonment under the “les majeste” laws of Thailand.

3. Turnabout is fair play, I guess:

Given the spate of recent news stories regarding severed members, I thought this provides some balance: In Afghanistan a man was arrested for trying to cut off his wife’s tongue during an argument.

It is the obvious symbolism behind severing the particular appendages mentioned in the various news stories that I find inane. People! let’s use a little imagination in our demonstrations of rage and revenge.

4. Social Media and the Advertising Industry:

 

Heat, a San Francisco-based ad agency, surveyed 150 advertising/marketing people and 150 civilians about their relationships with social media (and, oddly, their relationships with alcohol at office parties).

It turns out that not only do people in the ad world watch brands on Facebook and Twitter overwhelmingly more than normal people, but they are also way more likely to use drugs, throw up, and hook up with a coworker at office parties. Probably to numb the pain that no one is clicking on their sponsored stories.
(From my sister Mary Anne by way of Business Insider.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

This chart fascinates me. Some commentators have suggested that the decline in church building may represent a fall off in church membership or religious commitment. Others see current economic uncertainty affecting church finances. I suspect something a bit more complex may have influenced this particular decline, especially recently when the slide accelerated.

The sale of religious belief over the past few years, I suspect, to some extent has migrated from church pew first to the airways and now to the internet. It may become more profitable for ambitious divines to take their ministry out of the stationary pulpit and move it to wherever a believer may be at the time; home, car, work. Now through the wonder of mobile communication, social media and the internet, believers now can be reached from anywhere at any time by the Word of their choice. In addition, no longer need anyone sit silently in a pew while the sermon washes over them since they now can participate as well; comment on the message, share enlightenment with other believers, contribute to the ministry’s missionary work or political lobbying activity through Pay-Pal.

This is just another example of the many ways new communication technologies may affect society, community and physical development. Will a new community need a building in which to worship or will God dispense his grace electronically? If a building is still desired, does it have to be big or just plush? Does it require soaring ceilings, stained class windows and gleaming organs, or just a chair, a modem, i-tunes and a wandering u-tube crew.

Will fewer churches be built, office buildings constructed, shops opened, parking lots needed? Will city halls and governmental buildings be necessary? If not, what will new communities look like? What happens to already existing structures? What happens to the economy if we build fewer churches, offices, stores, parking lots, governmental buildings than we did in the past? What will all those people who built things now do to make a living? Will we live closer together or farther apart?

What will the society be like were fewer people to get their religion in churches, work in office buildings, shop in stores and drive about? What will we do with all that time we do not spend going to and from those places? We certainly will fill up the time. That is what people do. One thing we know we will not do with all that time; improve ourselves. That we never seem to get around to do.

None of these changes need to be universal or even particularly large in order to have a major effect on society. If say just five percent fewer churches, office buildings, stores and the like are built than past experience dictated would occur in similar populations, how great an impact would that be? What happens to jobs and profits? Is this what is already happening? Could it be that the whole foundation of economics is wrong? That neither demand creating supply or supply creating demand is anything more than a temporary phenomena generated by technological change?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

1. Notes from my diary:

a. On January 13, 1963: “I had an argument with my mother over my refusal to teach her to drive on the grounds that we would only have an argument over how I was teaching her to drive.”

b. January 21, 1963, weather report: “Today was very cold.”

c. I was one of the founders of the Young Democrats of Yonkers. On February 14, 1963, we met to elect the organizations first officers. I was expected to be elected president. Later that day I wrote:

“Tony Russo was elected president. I was forced to admit that I was a registered Republican. I must get that changed if I am ever to do anything in the organization.”

Do you really think so genius? I can see you are going to have a very successful life ahead of you.

2. Assumption Church:

This is a photograph of the Assumption Church in Tuckahoe NY. It is the Catholic church that, when I was a child, I and other italian immigrants and their families in the village had to attend if we wanted to attend a Catholic church, because the Church “discouraged” us from attending the “American” Catholic church nearby that was reserved for “white people” only. The few black Catholics and Puerto Ricans in the village also attended the Assumption Church.
My grandfather Joe donated the statue of St Francis standing in the niche in front. He brought it back with him from Italy when he was rich. After he lost his money in the 1929 crash, my grandmother became deranged and could be found some nights in her underwear lying in front of the statue of the Saint of the Poor, praying for his help with the return of the family’s wealth.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

A. 17 Century New York City

1643 – The start of Kieft’s War between Lenape or Wappinger Native Americans and Dutch colonists took place within what would become the five boroughs of New York City. Allied with their trading partners, the powerful Mohawk, the Dutch defeated the Wappinger by 1645. The Mohawk and Dutch killed more than 1500 Wappinger in the two years of the war. This was a devastating toll for the Wappinger, whose population in 1600 was estimated at only 3,000.

1668 – First yellow fever epidemic strikes New York City.

Probably in punishment for what they did to the Wappingers.

B. How the 60s began:

1961 – Chico Marx and Carl Jung die.

Carl Jung’s final words are, “Does Chico yet live?”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

A recent series of studies by a Brown University political scientist and by others at UCLA has revealed that most issues that conservatives disagreed with Obama about were closely associated with race.

When asked two similar sets of questions regarding a particular issue, one connecting the issue to Obama the other not, the conservative respondents answered negatively to those where Obama was mentioned and positively when he was not.

To test their conclusions, they associated one set of questions with a well known white liberal and the same ones to Obama and the same results ensued. There was no such difference when liberals were given the tests. To further verify the results, the scientists resorted to such things as showing a picture of Obama’s dog to the participants. Those shown just a photograph of the dog received generally positive reactions to questions regarding the dog’s “cuteness.” When informed that the dog was Ted Kennedy’s, the responses were essentially the same. For those told that the dog was Obama’s, the conservatives became overwhelmingly critical about the dog’s looks.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

BONUS QUOTE FROM THE PAST:

“The world is a ball of dung and we are the worms that live in it and eat each other. The one who eats all the others wins — but he is still the last living worm in a lump of shit.”
Tad Williams, Shadowrise.

TODAY’S CHART:

I am not sure this chart tells us anything we did not already know, but I like the graphic. What I do know is that if a real (not corporate) individual did something like this to a corporate (not real) individual he or she may be looking at some serious jail time.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Elmo wishes you all have a good day.

Elmo is considered by some to be a communist [he is red after all] and efforts are underweigh to ban him and Big Bird from appearing at events in some American schools.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 5, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. My brush with death: A few days ago, I began to feel a sharp pain at the back of my neck. Of course, I assumed it must be caused by the sudden growth of a tumor pressing against my spinal cord and that death was imminent. When the pain continued the next morning after I woke up, I contemplated avoiding the health club on the off-chance that I merely was suffering a muscle pull from over-exercising. In any event, if I were dying as I thought, additional exercise would make no difference to improving my health. Anyway, whatever it is that makes you do what you clearly do not want to do got the best of me and I decided to take one last swim; so I decided to go. When I picked up my sports bag, I noticed that it seemed unusually heavy and recalled that it also appeared so yesterday when I left the health club. I opened it up to check it out and found that in addition to my exercise outfit and swimming trunks, it contained several plastic bottles filled with water and two large bunches of bananas placed therein without my knowledge by LM. I removed them and confident that I will live at least through to tomorrow morning, set off for the club.

2. David returns: David has returned to BKK from Qatar and will stay for about a month before he returns. David describes Qatar the way I would describe Newark New Jersey. It is someplace you may be because you work there, but it is not a place you go to for a vacation or to have a good time. It was good to see him again and talk about various weight reduction programs. After dinner we went to one of the bars on Soi Nana where I drank Corona with lime and watched David joyfully harass the Mama-san. For the first time in many months, I drank too much and paid for it the next day.

3. Blogging Woe: I have now published about 350 posts in various blogs. My left-wing blog posts average about five comments per post. About thirty percent of the comments describe how much of an idiot the writer thinks I am. Another thirty percent disagree with me but without the insult, while another thirty percent responds with something deflating like, “Interesting.” The last ten percent are usually gibberish.

Of my own blogs, out of almost 300 posts, I have received about five comments altogether. I do not know how people get their posts read and responded to. Recently, I signed up for something that sends your blog to other bloggers so that each can “follow” the other and thereby generate “hits” and “comments.” I noticed that the comments tend to be along the line of “Thanks for following my blog after I began to follow yours and begged you to do the same.” When I was a recent post pubescent teenager in summer camp we called it a circle jerk. I did not find it fun then and I do not now.

I do not understand why someone with a blog about something like “Photographs of Travels with my Family to Hemet California” gets hundreds of hits while I am lucky if I get three. I now, as a result of this application, follow a blog, if you can imagine, of someone who shows you how to apply sparkle to your Starbucks coffee-cup. She has almost 1000 followers and someone wants to use one of her cups in a video promotion. Another one is published by someone who claims he is a “marriage coach.” His blog focuses on the importance of woman performing fellatio to solidify their relationship with a man. I read a post by a women advising other women how to work up to swallowing sperm without showing disgust on your face. He has thousands of followers. But then sex always sells.

I wonder if I am the only one who reads this stuff. I feel I have to read and approve of it before agreeing to follow a blog.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Another reason to love Thailand:

Gary forwarded to me a report of a poll of 1,228 households in 17 provinces across Thailand. It found that, “84.5% of respondents regarded cheating as a normal business practice and 51.2% said corruption by government officials was acceptable as long as it improved their living conditions. Similar surveys conducted over the past few years reached essentially the same conclusions regardless of respondents’ geographical regions. Such findings clearly point out that Thailand is a nation made up largely of thieves who will cheat at every opportunity.”

This is one of the reasons why they call this place a paradise. It most other places one spends ones life in heightened anxiety wondering if the next person he meets is going to be the sociopath who will try to defraud him out of his money. Here you can relax confidently knowing that everyone you meet, is.

2. How Thais Reconcile:

A brawl broke out in the Thai Parliament between the two major parties over the bill to reconcile the two opposing factions forcing the session into recess. During the recess two female members of the opposition Democratic Party attempted to steal the Speaker of the Parliament’s chair, I assume to prevent him from “chairing” the session following the recess. Two other female members of the ruling party noticing the attempted theft flew to save the chair as it was disappearing off the podium. The ensuing fight between the ladies rivaled the brawl going on among their male counterparts in another section of the chamber.

The Thai Constitutional Court has stepped into the fray arguing that they have to do so before the parties to be reconciled kill each other in the process.

The brawl has now spilled out into the streets of the country. The military has ominously announced they are “concerned” about events.

As far as I can tell, the brouhaha is all about whether Thaksin the Terrible the exiled fugitive former Prime Minister and brother to the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl will be allowed to return without the threat of arrest. I am not sure why this remains an issue with the opposition party run by Abhsit the Unready, the previous Prime Minister, since they claim he already runs the country from his residence in exile.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Louis from the 1964 Diary:

Thursday, February 20, 1964.

“Tonight was very interesting. Lou called and invited me to see his new apartment in the Village. I went there. It is a hovel. He told me all about how nicely he intended to fix it up.

An interesting young man named Leonard Melfi arrived. He is a young playwright, currently writing plays for Cafe La Mama.

We spent the next several hours drinking and talking. Lou described at some length his overactive sex life, including his current affair with a young actress and also the four other women he had gotten pregnant.

Leonard and I then went off on a discussion about the Janet Wylie murder that occupied the headlines of the NY newspapers for almost a year. We both closely followed the news reports about the killing. He had known Janet and appeared to have additional information not reported in the papers. We decided that the murderer was most likely the third roommate. The police, however did not consider her a suspect.

He and I discussed our fascination with murders and the process of identifying the murderer. Much more exciting than solving other types of puzzles we agreed.”

Monday, April 27, 1964, I wrote:

“This weekend the police produced a suspect in the Janet Wylie murder. His arrest upended all the theories Leonard and I had developed. He was the only remaining option unaccounted for in our theories. The murder was a completely random event. The suspect was someone who just wandered in and surprised the girls. Although when we were developing our theories we touched on this possibility, we rejected it as just too far fetched.”

Note:
Leonard Melfi was one of the most important American playwrights of the 1960s when experimental theater was the rage. His works were originally performed at Ellen Stewart’s La Mama. He became a raging alcoholic and died alone in a SRO hotel on NY’s Broadway and 93rd Street on October 24, 2001.

Janet Wylie and her roommate, Emily Hoffert, two young professionals, were murdered in their Upper East Side apartment by an intruder on August 28, 1963, in what the press called The Career Girls Murders. The suspect taken into custody referred to above was a black man, George Whitmore. It later turned out, investigators erroneously arrested and forced a false confession from Whitmore. Richard Robles a young white man was ultimately apprehended in 1965 and charged with the crime. Nevertheless, Whitmore was imprisoned for many years until he was eventually released. Robles, now 68, was convicted and remains in prison.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Is it our fault or theirs? Is it our problem or theirs? Does the American Dream require we do something about it, or does it mean we do not have to if we do not want to? Does your answer change if most of those living on $2 a day are from your racial, ethnic, gender or other affinity groups?

One of the differences between those that test out as liberals and those who fall into the conservative basket, is that conservatives will most likely answer the last question in the affirmative. It is not simply hypocrisy, but how large one draws the line defining community in which we belong. Many of us limit community to our peers or family. Most of us see the United States as a symbol or an emotion but not as a community. As far as the world is concerned, I doubt if very many of us at all see it as a whole community. We just view it as a collection of vague abstractions connecting communities of interest.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

I do not often discuss myself in this section, but since everything is really all about me all the time, I do not think it makes much of a difference.

After exercising and showering at the health club a few days ago, I entered the sauna, towel wrapped around my waist, carrying my exercise shirt and trunks with me hoping they would dry a bit in the sauna before I stuffed them into my sports bag. Already in the sauna was a large man weighing about 100 lb. more than me and about 3 inches or more taller. Between the two of us we pretty much filled up that small space.

Although we had never spoken, I had seen him around and have sat in the sauna with him*. He is an aficionado of sauna and brings with him his own mixture of minerals in a cup that he pours into the bucket containing the water one throws over the hot rocks. This mixture produces a strong eucalyptus aroma with undercurrents of other things the nature of which I could not hope to guess.

I usually enjoyed being in the sauna when he did his thing. As far as I knew, his special mixture could have contained carcinogens or something equally bad. But, I really did not care. After all, almost any thing could pass for entertainment, even slow acting poison, when you are naked and sitting in a small dark room sweating and staring at a cheap wooden wall.

This time however, as I took my seat on one of the benches, he turned to me and in an Eastern European accent growled, “Put clothes out side. This sauna. They smell.”

I was surprised and annoyed and, to be honest, challenged. After all, people enter the sauna all the time wearing their shorts or bathing trunks so why pick on me. Perhaps, I also felt objected to my body odor and that always is a serious insult among the testosterone addled.

“Why,” I responded? “You’re fat and smelly but you don’t hear me asking you to leave.”

An animated discussion followed during which I received a brief but emphatic lecture on sauna etiquette and repeated uttering of the immortal challenge of one male to another, “You want to make something of it?”

So there we were, two naked fat guys belly to belly in a tiny room exuding male hormones along with sweat. If anything were going to stink the place up it was us.

I really wasn’t worried about a physical confrontation even though I would probably lose. I suspected neither of us wanted to be thrown out of the club, and given the dangers of the open rock heaters, I assumed also we both recognized we would undoubtably each suffer serious harm.

Unable to compete in a debate on sauna etiquette or to physically intimidate him I turned to what I do best. I resorted to insult, referring to him as, “The Sauna Nazi.”

Nevertheless, I did put my clothing outside. We then sat for the next 15 minutes on opposite benches knees inches apart sweating in silence.

It rankled me that I conceded on the clothing, but consoled myself with knowing I gained a story and he didn’t.

Now I know that some of you reading this will be saying to yourselves why didn’t Joe just say something like, “Ok, I’ll wait until you finish your sauna, then I will come in with my smelly clothing?” Well, for one thing, I do not think that fast. And for another, it was more entertaining doing what I did then spending 20 minutes alone in that small wooden box staring at my sweat dropping on to the slats of the sauna’s bench. I guess you can say that I thirsted for some intense and intimate social interaction.

I am thinking of writing a short story called “Fat Boy the Sauna Nazi.” You can help by suggesting plot elements.

*Back in February 20, 2011, I wrote this in “This and that…”

“After returning to Bangkok, as I was taking a sauna at the health club a rather large man entered, mixed into a plastic cup some water from the bucket containing eucalyptus, a white powder that looked like cocaine but I assumed wasn’t because no sane person would throw cocaine on to hot rocks and some liquid from a small green bottle. He then poured the concoction over the hot coals. Almost immediately the air in the sauna became noticeably hotter, my skin began to prickle and I began to sweat profusely. The usual camphor smell of the vapors from the eucalyptus water changed subtly to a more citrus taste and smell and penetrated much more deeply into my lungs. The alchemist and I sweated together in the small room until I gave up and left to take a cool shower. I felt unusually light-headed for a while.

Now you may wonder why I did not inquire of the mysterious stranger what he was up to. Alas, in my life I have preferred the adventure of discovery to the safety of knowledge.”

TODAY’S CHART:

This is another one of those charts that I am not sure what it is I am supposed to get out of it, but like the graphics. I do notice, however, it appears that low occupancy vehicles if electrified will do little to reduce particulate pollution or climate change gases if the effect is to require more electrical generating capacity unless the choice of fuels is radically different from what appears on the chart. On the other hand the change from non-stationary to stationary emission sources could allow for greater control of emissions.

TODAY’S SIGN:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Louie                                                     Winnie

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

This is photograph of a fire rainbow. Fire rainbows appear when sunlight hits ice crystals in high-altitude cirrus clouds. Because the fire rainbow actually involves no rain at all, scientists would rather we refer to this occurrence by its much less fun, but much more accurate title: the circumhorizontal arc. Since the arc requires both the presence of cirrus clouds and for the sun to be extremely high in the sky, it’s much more likely to be seen at latitudes closer to the equator.

May a circumhorizontal arc brighten your day.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 1, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

When I abandoned the seven or eight containers of the stuff I had accumulated over the years before setting out with a single suitcase for Thailand, I was especially saddened about my loss of some things like artworks, collections, photographs and things like that. It was not the first time I had left everything behind and set out for a new life or to a new continent. All I could salvage were a few things that fit into an outside pocket of my suitcase; my daughters PhD thesis, a photograph or two, Fred Harris for President Handbook that I drafted during his presidential campaign in the mid 70s and two diaries from the early 60’s.

I do not know how these diaries survived my many migrations, but they did, always lying a few feet from my bed, unread and unopened but for a moment or two every decade or so. Last night I opened them again. I was looking for something I thought I had written in these diaries, but it was probably in a third diary that was lost in the latest move. The remaining two were paper back book sized, one with a red cover and one with brown. They dated from 1963 and 1964, my first two years in law school and mainly recorded my anxiety with school and my relationship with the woman who became my first wife. They are mostly embarrassing, at times amusing and now and then poignant. Since I have grown bored with most of the subjects I write about and after all, this whole thing is nothing more than a strange extended memoir, I decided to include some excerpts.

The first is a weather report dated Wednesday April 15, 1964:

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

On April 26, 1963, I recorded part of a letter written by a young english woman, Val, to her room-mate Maria who remained living in New York after Val returned to England. Val and Maria had worked one summer at my uncle’s restaurant on Cape Cod. I met them there and we became close friends. They moved to New York City where they roomed together until Val left.

“Joe was there with flowers. He more than anything else made me sad in leaving America. He personified all that was good and fun and enjoyable in America.”

I liked reading it then and I like reading it now.

March 20, 1964. I had recently begun clerking at the then prestigious Wall Street Law firm of White and Case, a firm that at that time I would be unable to join as an attorney after I graduated law school because of my ethnic background and religion and even if I could, I could never hope to become a partner. Thirty years later, the firm had become just another big law firm struggling to compete with hundreds of others, many larger and more effective and with fewer barriers to entry. They were struggling. By then, I had a sizable book of business and they begged me to join them as a partner.

“I met Mr. Mannix (a senior partner) at work today. He is very pleasant and made me feel very relaxed. He walks with a limp and has a daughter named “Dee-Dee.”
I feel miserable and lonely.
The Telephone Company is going to cut off my service.
My studies are going poorly.
I have no money left.
I took everything out on poor Jeanne (my then girlfriend and future first wife).
My feet smell.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

A few days ago Nepal authorized the gender identification options on all official documents to include, Male, Female and Other.

Why do we need classifications for race, gender, nationality and the like? If you are an individual and other individuals have rights, you should also have the same rights as they do.

2. But you do not understand…:

A few months ago I mentioned the Thai Transportation Secretary whose house was burgled of over $600,000 dollars of unaccounted for cash (rumors circulated that the actual amount may have been more that 5 times what was reported). The minister originally claimed only about $100,000 was stolen. When it was revealed that it was much more than that, the minister explained that it was money his daughter received from her father in law as a wedding present that was in his possession for safe keeping. It was also revealed that his ministry recently awarded a substantial contract accompanied by rumors of large sums of lubrication (tea, in Thai) money received by unknown parties.

Well, the government now has seized the money (already in their possession) pending charges that the minister was “unusually wealthy.” The minister resigned his position following the governments action.

A law against “unusual wealth;” wouldn’t you like that here? Once a year those with sudden increases in wealth would be hauled before the court to explain how they did it. This could be a good thing; to really know how they did it. After all, we know from innumerable scientific studies that it has little to do with talent.

3. it is not over until…:

It was reported recently that property values in key cities of the world declined by and average of .4% this past quarter. This is the first decline since the 2008 economic collapse.

It is a pretty good indication that money or wealth continues to disappear from the world economy. The determined insistence of bond holders that their investment expectations not be diminished through inflation or default will inevitably see their expectations crushed by economic collapse. When will they understand? They made a bet. They lost. Accept it. Its time to start over.

4. And it is still not over…:

The general and now member of the Thai legislature that led the coup that ousted prime minister Thaksin the Terrible, exiled fugitive brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl has introduced a bill that, in the name of national reconciliation, will offer unconditional amnesty to all parties involved in the coup and following several years of turmoil. The legislation would allow the exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand with all changes and convictions dismissed and his confiscated fortune restored. Those that injured or killed during the Red Shirt protests last tear would also be exonerated. The leader of the opposition party and previous Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready would have all charges pending against him dropped also.

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abhsit the Unready and his party opposed the amnesty because it would allow Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand. The Red Shirts also oppose it because it would allow those accused of killing Red Shirt protestors during the demonstrations a few years ago to go free. Princess LuckyGirl, when asked about her position on the bill said that she had none since it is a legislative matter.

It sort of reminds one of the debt ceiling debate in the US, doesn’t it.

5. Finally…:

According to a report sent to me by Gary, there are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other city in the world. According to a BKK based social media commentator, “Facebook in Thailand for many people is the Internet.” “They watch videos, send messages and communicate with friends, play games. It replaces the browser.” He claims that Thais see Facebook as a utility and not as a trend.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree. Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple. Timothy tells us that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Muhammad banned usury. The Jews referred to interest as neshek—a bite. The Catholic church banned it in 1311. Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell—the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and “other practisers of unnatural vice.”

An economics book used in some fundamentalist christian private high schools in the US holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.

Does this all mean that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jamie Dimon (Demon? Spell check says so.), could be the anti-christ and may practice “unnatural vice?”

B. Tax relief:

Out of the 3.9 million households that reported an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more in 2009, more than 10,000 households paid nothing in taxes, according to a new study from the Internal Revenue Service.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

A recent study of sexuality revealed that adults with Body Modifications (tattoos, piercing) have had their first intercourse statistically earlier and were more sexually active compared with controls. There were no statically significant differences in sexual orientation, sexual preferences, engaging in risky sexual behaviors, frequency of masturbation, and history of sexual abuse between the groups. In contrast, the frequency of sexual intercourse was statistically higher and oral sex was more likely to be a dominant sexual activity in adults with BM compared with controls. The multivariate logistic model revealed that adults with BM were four times less likely to participate in religious practices and twice more likely to have early sexual initiation.

(Source: “Tattoos, Piercing, and Sexual Behaviors in Young Adults” from The Journal of Sexual Medicine.)

What this tells us is that the tattooed guy in the picture below probably had sex before he was old enough to walk and hasn’t been to church since. On the other hand, the woman in the other picture who apparently has neither tattoos nor piercings is actually a Buddhist nun and a virgin.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. How Investing Turns Nice People Into Psychopaths, by Lynn Stout

“The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths.”

B. by bjou:

“A ‘slut’ is just a sexually confident woman who sleeps with everyone but you.”

TODAY’S CHART:

The interesting thing about this chart is that it shows that almost the entire relative growth of the various sectors in the federal budget over the years is caused by the rise in Medicare and Medicaid costs. I am not sure what that means, although it probably the explosive rise in health care costs in general and Bush’s unfunded mandate for section D coverage had a lot to do with it. On this issue the political debate is between the Republican insistence on reducing benefits and the Democrat preference for controlling escalating medical costs.The Republicans have the political advantage on this issue because Doctors and drug companies make political contributions and the typical user of Medicare and Medicaid does not.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Some photographs from Gary of his friends in Pattaya (The Outskirts of Hell).

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Jo-Jo, 0001 (May 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

LOUIS I

From when I was about 8 years old and until I was in my early 20s I had a close friend named Louis (pronounced in the French manner Louie), Louis Maiello.

Where Winnie (Winston Churchill of “This and that…” a few weeks back) was destined for success based on name, ancestry, looks, capability, wealth and a host of other things, Louis definitely was not. It was not just the name and family background that separated them. Where Winnie was tall, athletic, manly looking and white, Louis was small, smaller than I was, skinny and pretty, almost effeminate looking with long eyelashes and coal-black eyes. He also definitely was not blessed with that chalky pink tinged alabaster complexion with throbbing blue veins that marked one as a member of the “white” race at that time. (The white race then usually being limited to Anglo-Germanic-Nordic ancestry. Celts had been recently admitted to the club and Slavs confused things. Jews were not really white. They were Jews, and along with southern Europeans, Turks, arabs and others had just began knocking at the door clamoring for membership.) Louie was that deep dark dusky color with a flash of gold buried deeply beneath the dirt that ranked us at the bottom of the racial hierarchy, along with blacks, Puerto Ricans and Sephardim (Mexicans were not an obsession at the time where I lived on the East coast).

As an aside: As a child the white pink, blue-veined people who lived in up scale suburbs of Westchester County, NY frightened me. Those blue veins throbbing beneath that dead looking white skin always made me think of zombies or vampires. I wonder if those nordic masters of the universe had or have now any idea of how ugly they appeared to many of us. Ironically the worst and most frightening of them was an Italian. He ran the Italian operation of one of my American clients I represented when I lived in Rome. He was a Colonna; a member of the Colonna family who along with the even older Orsini family had run Rome and the Papacy for 1200 years. My client was the first person from either family in those 1200 years to take a job. “Just like one of those upstart Colonnas,” an Orsini was rumored to have sniffed. Anyway, I guess as a side effect of a millennium of inbreeding, all color had left his face but a deathly pasty white pallor. Those ghastly throbbing blue veins remained. He resembles more a cadaver than something living. He was also one of the most despicable human beings I have ever met. That has something to do with breeding also I guess.

Anyway, Louis was not pre-destined for success. At 8 he was thrown out of his house by his sadistic father and forced to live on the streets or on the largess of relatives and friends. For some reason, many of the adults I knew would warn me to stay away from him because he was a bad influence. I did not understand that. He wasn’t mean or violent, in fact just the opposite. Not that he was a do-gooder or anything like that. He preferred leaving people alone, just as he preferred for them to leave him alone.

Nevertheless, many of the bigger boys would bully him mercilessly. He would not often fight back against the bullies, preferring the strategy of avoid and escape to confrontation.

Perhaps that is why we became friends. Although I always fought back and often lost, Louie, nevertheless was sort of a kindred spirit; befriending him probably filled my own need for acceptance. Not that I was ostracized and shunned like him, but I seemed to inhabit the fringes of my childhood social sets and pushing my way into their center required a greater commitment that I thought the rewards warranted.

Although he was pretty looking, he was not effeminate and was of all of us the one who had the earliest and most prolific sexual experiences. He was very successful at it and with that his reputation among the other neighborhood boys climbed a bit as he grew older. It was said of him, that Louie could get laid in a nunnery. I on the other hand, much to my chagrin, was truly a late bloomer.

Anyway, in our late teens, I went off to college and law school and Louie, as a lot of the dispossessed people from the East coast at that time did, decamped for California. He wanted to become and actor.

He returned a year or so later and moved into a basement flat in Greenwich Village; one of the ubiquitous flats of the type that covered NYC at that time; one room below the street, unwalled in toilet in the kitchen area, no hot water, exposed tub with a piece of plywood covering it that served for the dinning table and all the rats and cockroaches one could desire.

He was living with a woman who appeared stoned all the time. Actually I did not know what being stoned all the time ment or looked like since it was still a few years before the rise of hippiedom when we learned all about it. At that time, she seemed to me, seductive. That sort of dreamy look and half-smile that flitted across her face in response to anything I said and the uninhibited movements of her body I interpreted as erotic interest rather that drug induced lethargy. I spent one night at the apartment. Louie had gone to sleep. I thought for sure I would lose my virginity that night and out of nervousness I talked… and talked until she fell asleep and I had to wait another year or so for that highly anti-climatic event we experience only once in our lives.

Louie had succeeded in becoming a movie actor of sorts in Hollywood and had appeared in a movie. He told me about what he and others had to do to get a part in a movie in Hollywood; how he had to give blow jobs and more to the producers to get the part. While he was telling me this, I noticed that it was the only time I had ever seen Louie angry or ashamed. His eyes filmed over if fear, embarrassment or self-disgust I could not tell. Perhaps he was stoned also.

Nevertheless, I envied him. I had already given up my dreams for a life in theater, unwilling and perhaps frightened that I would be unable to do the things and suffer the humiliations required to even get a chance to perform.

The movie he appeared in was a biker flic that was Jack Nicholson’s first starring role. Louie played a skinny sex-crazed hanger-on. A role he was well suited for.

Anyway, after that I sadly lost touch with Louie. He had taken the stage name of James Oliver. I would periodically search the internet for some information about him, but without luck. I assumed that he must have died of AIDs or some other form of STD.

Last week I obsessed again about why so few people respond to my Facebook posts. Previously I assumed that the posts were simply boring, so I started sharing posts that others sent to me. I believed that if they received a lot of comments on their posts, by sharing with my other “friends” I would get a similar response. Alas, no. I thought there were only two reasons for this. The first I refused to contemplate and the second was that I had too few friends. So, I went searching for more friends. I decided to click on the village where I grew up, Tuckahoe, to see if I could find a few members of my old gang who I could, for old times sake, con into reading one or two of my posts.

I was both pleased and surprised to find, James Oliver alive and well living as a 70-year-old artist in Taos New Mexico. According to a news report accompanying his profile, he continued his “Hollywood” life style becoming one of John Lennon’s favorite carousing pals, and had actually made it into one or two of Lennon’s biographies.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Fakes:

In Thailand police report they have just raided a factory making fake Nescafe.

Isn’t that a little like busting a factory making fakes of fake works of art?

2. Immigration:

In Australia, a nation of 23 million people living in a country larger in area than the US (300 million people), a majority of the descendants of immigrants believe that the country is over-populated and that future immigration should be restricted more than it is now and that any of the select few immigrants allowed (generally rich people) should have to speak “Strain” (unless of course they are very rich).

The original aboriginal settlers on the continent agreed and encouraged the new immigrants leave also. The new immigrants, however, refused to move. “Where will we go,” they cried? “Back to England? We would have to learn the language.”

3. Fake Drugs:

It is being reported that fake malaria fighting drugs are flooding the market.

Conservative economists are expected to argue that increased regulation and policing of the pharmaceutical industry is unnecessary since the magic of the market will take care of the problem. Once the people are all dead from malaria, there would no longer be a market for the fake drugs.

In case you think I am exaggerating, it is only within the last two years that one of the leaders of the Friedman free market brand of economists, Alan Greenspan, acknowledged that perhaps an exception to their free market solves all position could be made for limited government involvement in matters affecting public health [but obviously not so much involvement as to include the insurance reform of Obamacare].

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Wow! I used to think (thanks to the emails from my right thinking friends) only poor, blacks, Mexicans and illegal aliens were the lazy scammers off the largess of the nation’s taxpayers. Now I find out that the middle class American family is also. What is this country coming to? The next thing you know they also will be looking to the American taxpayer for help subsidizing their indolent lifestyles. Why is it that only the husband and wife have jobs? They should send their kids out to work also. Why is it that it seems the only Americans who are not shiftless bloodsuckers siphoning the economic life blood out of the rest of us are either wealthy or gay?

B. A big problem in America:

Two scary charts:

STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. We are not producing enough STEM workers to maintain the productivity and innovation necessary for the growth of our economy. The only source of STEM workers able to meet our needs is through immigration of both students and qualified workers. Why haven’t we done so? Because opposition by people like some of those who send me mass produced emails insisting on closing our borders, who probably could not get into a good STEM education program themselves, and their even less intelligent Republican cohorts in Congress (and yes it is the Republicans and Conservatives) will not rest until they have destroyed the nation and the economy leaving the detritus to be picked over by Wall Street Bankers, Oil company execs, red necks in pick-up trucks and fundamentalist preachers. Instead of closing off our borders, how about if we collect this bunch of haters of the country and ship them off to Australia.

Think about it for a moment: we now have studies that show these Faux News aficionados are even less knowledgable and intelligent than those who refuse to learn anything at all and that intelligence of elected officials appear to decrease as they become mere conservative.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT

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

Pookie believes that yellow snow is one of the foundations upon which our nation was built. The Pilgrims during the winter peed in the snow. If it was good enough for them then, it is good enough for us now.

VOTE FOR POOKIE. HE PROMISES THAT IF ELECTED ALL OF YOU CAN GO PEE IN THE SNOW.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

The core competences of high finance are supposed to be (a) assessing risk, and (b) matching people with risks to be carried with people with the risk-bearing capacity to carry them.

Robert Waldmann has a different view:
Limits to Arbitrage Bites Again: I think their core competencies are (a) finding fools for counterparties and (b) evading regulations/disguising gambling as hedging.

Regulatory arbitrage, and persuading those who do not understand risks that they should bear them–those are not socially-valuable activities.”
DeLong

(Please see my post in Daily Kos containing my discussion about Krugman’s observation.)

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

I think this photograph is a fake. They claim the creature is called a “flying fox.” It appears that its wings are too small and its musculature too puny for it to be able to fly. Nevertheless, it is another one of those things that can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, along with say… nuclear catastrophe, out of control vaginas and President Santorum.

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

To make up for the prior photograph, we go from the unworldly to out of this world:

A photograph of the martian landscape.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 7 Jo-Jo 0001 (May 23, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After almost two weeks of trying I managed to get through to Hayden by phone. He seems to be doing well. On the other hand, the news is not so good from my children, grand children, siblings, parents, their past present and future significant others as well as their friends and mine.

The young children silently suffer holes blown in their vulnerable expectation of security, by those who, whether through inadvertence, negligence or intention, are responsible for their well-being and safety.

The teenagers, experiencing the horrid hurricane of adolescence roaring through those same holes stumble through their lives on the verge of self-destruction.

As for the adults, our successes or failures are not as much all our own fault as we often believe, the success or failures of our care givers, the sometimes unseen and often violent changing tides of society, those who bear us ill will, or intentionally or inadvertently cause us harm, all bear a share.

Yet, whether we succeed or fail depends, I believe, on how well we observe the proscriptions of, in my mind, America’s two greatest philosophers. Rosanna Rosanna Dana sagely opined, “It’s always something.” And, indeed it is. And, Scarlett O’Hara, sadly watching the manly back of the probably gay Rhett Butler disappear into the distance past the newly freed ex-slaves singing happily while plucking the sticky cotton balls from the resisting bushes, correctly observed, “Tomorrow is another day.” It certainly will be. The chances are better than even that the sun will rise in the morning and set in the afternoon.
_________________________
I am closing in on re-publishing these “This and that…” posts into my blog of the same name (Here) along with the appropriate entries from my journal and email correspondence. I am beginning to be as pleased the with the results as I am embarrassed by what they reveal about me; but I have mentioned that before.

I look at it as one of those things people devote extensive time and energy to for their own amusement; sort of like my father with his slide photographs, or Simon Rodia with his Watts towers or millions of other people. It is not so much a hobby as an avocation.

When I re-read the entries I am struck as much by what I have avoided as by what I have included. While, as expected of someone my age, I often go on about memories of childhood, but I make only slight mention of my time living in Italy or my hippy years in San Francisco; a lot about college but almost nothing about law school although that can be expected since I found law school to be a time of intellectual death.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Justice pays:

In the Philippines the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose salary is about $900 per month and who has no other known sources of income was impeached after it was discovered that he had secreted approximately 29 million dollars in various bank accounts over the past decade. The Justice claims that the number is grossly inflated. (Thank you Gary)

2. On the other hand sometimes Justice cannot be bought when it ought to be:

In Thailand the Constitutional Court has disqualified a legislator from serving in the legislature for violating the law requiring a legislator to vote in the election in which he is running, even though the legislator was in jail at the time and the court rejected his request that he be allowed to vote.

The Court defended its decision by pointing out, “The Law is the Law. He did not vote, so he could not serve.”

3.Legal Fees

The Legislature of South Africa is debating legislation that would lower legal fees in an attempt to make legal services more affordable.

They simply do not understand lawyers. Our stock in trade is figuring out how to make our fees without regard to law, morality or the interests of our clients.

4. Censorship must die:

The censorship on a character smoking a cigare...

The censorship on a character smoking a cigarette from One Piece in Thai TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the Thai censors banned a movie retelling of Macbeth called Shakespeare Must Die on the grounds that it was offensive since its subject matter was regicide. This prompted a columnist in The Bangkok Post, Roger Crutchley to point out that among the many attempts of censorship in Thailand that had gone awry, in 2003 the Thai ministry of culture decided to ban 18 songs on the grounds they were offensive. The ban including one song entitled Big Flabby Buttocks and another that had been around for about twenty years. The result of the ban was that the sales of all 18 songs including Big Flabby Buttocks skyrocketed.

My sense of having failed in life has been immeasurably increased by never having listened to a rendition of “Big Flabby Buttocks.” Perhaps I can find it on iTunes.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. 2012:

According to a new study by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Fox viewers are the least knowledgeable audience of any outlet, and they know even less about politics and current events than people who watch no news at all.

B. 2012:

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

But look at this chart closely; The Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary and Poland all have socialized medicine and their costs for medical care are significantly less than in the US. They go to the doctor more than we do. Yet, they still have a lower life expectancy than we do. That proves America has the best health care system in the world.

Also, in those dens of rampant socialism, the UK and Canada, some people have to wait in the doctor’s office for a while before the doctor sees them. I know that is true. I saw it on Fox News.

Also, in Mexico, that paragon of free enterprise, not only do they have the lowest costs for medical care but their life expectancy, despite the best efforts of the local drug lords, is increasing. The Mexican experience also indicates  superiority of the US medical delivery system since, according to some of my email correspondents, at least 98% percent of the Mexican population is in the process of illegally swimming across the Rio Grande so that they can pay up to 10 times more for health care in the US and will still pay more than they do in Mexico even if, as they all inevitably do, they fraudulently work their way on to the American welfare rolls.

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

PHASE FOUR

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, decide that the police of any and all cities and towns and villages have the absolute authority to strip-search any person whom they, for whatever reason, put under arrest.

With this ruling, the reduction of America to unexceptionalism is complete.

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksban...

Paul Krugman, Laureate of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008 at a press conference at the Swedish Academy of Science in Stockholm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

C. Paul Krugman regarding the failure of Economics as a valid social science and of economists as advisors on public policy:

“Economics in the Crisis: The best you can say about economic policy in this slump is that we have for the most part avoided a full repeat of the Great Depression…. [A]ll of that, I think, can be attributed to the financial rescue of 2008-2009 and automatic stabilizers…. And I blame economists, who were incoherent in our hour of need. Far from contributing useful guidance, many members of my profession threw up dust, fostered confusion, and actually degraded the quality of the discussion. And this mattered. The political scientist Henry Farrell has carefully studied policy responses in the crisis, and has found that the near-consensus of economists that the banks must be rescued, and the semi-consensus in favor of stimulus in the initial months (mainly because the freshwater economists were caught by surprise, and took time to mobilize) was crucial in driving initial policy. The profession’s descent into uninformed quarreling undid all that, and left us where we are today.

And this is a terrible thing for those who want to think of economics as useful…. It’s in times of crisis, when practical experience suddenly proves useless and events are beyond anyone’s normal experience, that we need professors with their models to light the path forward. And when the moment came, we failed…”

Finally even Krugman acknowledges what I and many others have been suggesting:

On Economics as a Science:

In Science. a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.

On Supply and Demand:

There is no such things and supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.

Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.

On Markets:

There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.

Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.

A market is something that one goes into to buy groceries and usually has a prefix affixed to it like “super”. Everything else is a casino.

On Free Enterprise:

The goal of every business enterprise is not to maximize profit but to separate risk from reward.

The most important goal for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet it currently appears that the only function of government is to shield enterprise from risk.

On Scoundrels:

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

Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.

D. The Sky is Falling:

“It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.

Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”
The Eagle Forum Blog…

This was written in response to the New York Times report that for the first time births from non-european ancestry parents have exceeded those whose ancestry is european. Although I am concerned about the implicit racism of a news organization like the “Times” dividing up American children by the color of their skin and the absurdity of using the government’s classification system that among other things considers a spanish surname as a race, the far right never ceases to amaze me for the level of their sheer mendacity and ignorance.

Repeat after me: We are all descended from Immigrants. Children Born in this Country are not Immigrants, they are Citizens.

E. There is Something about a Penis:

I do not know why but recently there have been a spate of penis focused news stories. Perhaps it is a side effect of Global Warming or caused by the Republican Party’s obsession with it (I guess you can call it a fixation on the their Member’s members.) Anyway, here are three:

1. When writing about dicks one usually begins with the French:

There is a great bit of levity among Arab television news readers because the new French Prime Minister Ayrault’s name when pronounced sounds the same as the Arab word for penis.

I do not understand why Arabs consider this funny, after all President Nixon was quite proud to be a dick and most Americans did not find that a laughing matter.

2. No matter how slight, it is no laughing matter:

In Thailand a worker killed a worker with a machete after being taunted for having a small penis.

I think is was Darwin who pointed out that ones chances of surviving to breed are greatly diminished by disparaging the size of someone junk when that other person is carrying a machete.

3. And certainly dangerous to argue over:

In Sri Lanka, a man arguingwith his wife over whether or not she would give him money to buy booze had his penis bitten off by her.

I have a lot of questions about this item; among which is what sort of argument could it be where one of the parties has the other’s dick in his or her mouth? Or, how stupid do you have to be to allow someone during an argument to get his or her sharp teeth close to your member. I believe Darwin commented on this also.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie has had more wives than Newt but less that Mitt’s grandpa. Does this mean Pookie should quit the race now, or is it OK if he makes it up after he gets elected?

Pookie promises that he will be the first president to marry several times while living in the White House. Perhaps he could marry someone new every week. That would demonstrate his deep commitment to the institution of marriage.

Pookie says, if having one family is a good thing, obviously more is better.

Elect Pookie, he promises to have as many families as he can. He promises not to discriminate. His mates will include men, women and even Rick Santorum’s dog. The White House is the people’s house and also where the President lives. A good president should have as many Americans living there as possible.

Note: During the nomination proceedings, I have refrained from commenting much on Mitt Romney, instead I focused on the clowns and crazies that ran against him. In my opinion Mitt is not that bad; mendacious perhaps and often clueless, but he was not too bad a governor of Massachusetts. I do, however, believe that he has provided no evidence that he has the strength to resist the gathering storm of intolerance on the Republican right in an unholy alliance with the anti-democratic forces that have become increasingly prominent on Wall Street and in the natural resource industries, that will inevitably overwhelm the Party and drown out even the nation’s most conservative voices of reason.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“THERE’S NO EXAMPLE IN EUROPE, YET, WHERE THE BOND MARKET HAS REWARDED AUSTERITY”
JOE WIESENTHAL

“When the effect somebody has is destructive enough the cause becomes a theoretical curiosity.
Edward St.Aubyn, “Bad News”

TODAY’S CHART:

Ironically, I suspect most likely it will be the insurance industry that leads the charge against Climate Change denial. Conservative economists will then probably claim this as proof that free enterprise works, overlooking that the insurance companies will probably be looking to government to relieve them of the burdens and risks of underwriting catastrophic insurance. The private market will then lobby for a government take over, claiming that whatever market they are in will collapse unless they can acquire the appropriate insurance at what to them is an affordable [read government subsidized] cost.

The Republican Party will suddenly support a national insurance program to reduce corporate financial risk. Faux News will denounce as Un-American those liberals who object to taxpayer funds subsidizing corporations instead of insurance reform to provide the average citizen with health care. What will the Supreme Court do then? Scalia and Roberts will probably put forth the argument that only corporations are individuals for purposes of the Constitution and that the Commerce Clause was meant to help corporations and not to provide for regulation of commerce that benefits the now non-individual individuals.

TODAY’S SNARK:

So that is what went on in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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