January 2013 through March 2013

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Joey 0002 (March 29 2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

Off to Mendocino. During the drive from Sacramento to San Francisco to pick up my grand-daughter Amanda and her mom Hiromi, I tuned into the local university classical music station to listen to a 1977 NY Metropolitan Opera performance of that old Verdi warhorse, La Forza del Destino, sung by the aging Leontyne Price and the young Placido Domingo. A few days before, I was listening to the same station while driving Hayden to school in the morning. As we approached the school, he insisted I turn off the music, which I did assuming he found my choice of music distasteful. During the stations introduction before the opera presentation, I asked him if he wanted me to change the station or turn off the radio since he did not enjoy the same type of music as I. “Oh, no,” he said. “It’s not that at all. I was afraid that some of the bullies at school would hear the music when I opened the car door and make fun of me for listening to old people’s music.” Then for the next hour he entertained me by singing along with the performers every part of the opera, especially mimicking Ms Price’s lirico spinto soprano – sometimes note for note including vibrato.

We picked up Hiromi and Amanda and drove to Mendocino. During the next three hours or so, the soothing sounds of Verdi were replaced by the incessant screams of eight year olds.

The following morning after searching for and finding a letterbox in the local Mendocino graveyard we left for Westport and the Pacific Star Winery for a picnic.

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Hayden and Remo find the letterbox.

Once there we spend a glorious afternoon at the western edge of the continent drinking wine and picnicking with the beautiful, irrepressible and mysterious (she no doubt is a woman with a past) Sally, the owner of the winery about whom I have written in previous T&T issues.

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Sally and Pookie

Later while in the Winery’s shop Sally leaned over to my sister and said, “Watch this. They fall for it every time.” She then turned to me who was trying on hats and said, “You look very attractive in that hat.” I bought the hat.

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Me in my new hat posing with Etta and Sundance.

Then we spent a few hours at the north-end of Ten Mile Beach watching the kids run around like crazy.

The next day we whiled away the afternoon at the beach below the Mendocino bluffs at the end of Big River. I sat on a seven-foot diameter redwood trunk that lay on the beach and watched the children play on the driftwood strewn sand where the river met the ocean. Over 40 years ago when I first laid eyes on Mendocino, the beach housed a counterculture encampment. I recalled the sweet smell of marijuana smoke, the sounds of guitars and long-haired girls in tie-die dresses dancing barefoot in the sand. All gone now, replaced by a few homeless campers being rousted by the Park Police.

The next day my sister, Hiromi and Amanda left leaving George, Hayden and I to spend the remainder of the week doing guy things – like enjoying long periods of silence broken now and then by grunts and the periodic passing of wind.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment.”

Chapter Nine:

One would think that by now I would have thought of some snappy answers to these questions but I hadn’t. Said, “I’m a private investigator hired to try to find him.”

More silence and staring. Finally, “Who hired you?”

I decided to skip repeating yesterday’s patter that had gotten me nowhere. Answered, “His girl friend.” I did not mention the Rotund Brothers since it would require too much explanation.

I expected to hear, “Fucking Mavis” in response but instead got more silence and staring as he apparently struggled with the obvious next question. “What have you found out so far?”

“Nothing, except there seems to be a lot of people looking for him.”

Quickly, “Who – besides the girlfriend?”

“Two fat guys I ran into yesterday who beat the shit out of me – which I hope you and your friends won’t do today.”

“We’ll see. They do that?” he motioned with his chin toward the now colorful bruise on mine. “Doesn’t seem like much of a shit kicking.”

“Well it didn’t happen to you.”

“Nor will it ever.” he responded, then ordered “come with me.” He walked to the door in the wall and opened it. Having no discernible options and curious whether we were about to share some bizarre asian peeing ritual in the garage toilet or if the room behind the door served another purpose, I followed.

The room behind the door turned out to contain a tiny office, not a toilet. A small old wooden desk extended from one wall almost to the opposite leaving barely enough room for someone to shimmy past. The walls were covered in peeling paint the color of which seemed to be late septic tank. A three-year old calendar hung on one wall and a number of business cards were taped to another. The only other furniture in the room was a rickety bentwood chair in front of the desk and a 1940’s era wooden swivel chair behind it. In the latter sat the aging asian man who, upon our arrival promptly got up slid around the edge of the desk and in a half bow with eyes cast down to the floor scurried past us and out the door.

My host replaced the old man. As he was sitting down I said, “they usually call me Dragon,” and slid one of my business cards along the top of the desk. He did not pick it up but instead stared at it as though it contained an explosive. He then looked back at me and said, “Do you know Clarence Reilly?”

This surprised me somewhat. Answered, “Somewhat. When I was with Carter and James I handled some matters for him. I’ve been to his house now and then.” I did not tell him those visits usually ended up with us sitting on the floor of his living-room smoking dope while he lectured me of the ethical superiority of eastern religions even though on his day job he had no hesitation fucking over women and orphans to make a buck. He had a Thai wife, Thai nanny and three half-Thai kids. Things Thai were about the only thing we had in common. That and the compulsion to screw over the weak and defenseless in our day jobs. At least I hated chanting and the smell of incense.

“That’s a big firm,” he said. “So you’re a lawyer also. What…”

I finished his question for him. “What made me leave and become an itinerant Shamus?”

His stone-faced expression did not alter in response to my witless attempt at wit. “Yes,” he said.

“I wanted to associate with a better class of people. Like you, whoever you are.”

The slightest of smiles. “My name Mr. Dragon is Martin Vihn. You seem a bit old to start on a new career.”

“Dragon will do. Fifty-four is the new forty-four, soon to be the new thirty-four. In society’s eyes I am getting younger. If I live long enough I’ll become a teenager again.”

No reaction. “Did the men you, uh, met yesterday tell you what they were looking for.”

I hated breeching a client’s confidence, but hell they threatened me with a gun and now I’m sitting opposite someone who was probably a gangster and could do me at least as much harm as the Fat Boys. “No, just Holland. I’m pretty sure they were working for someone else though.”

“Oh,” with interest. “Who?”

“I have no idea. They were talking to someone on the phone who seemed to be giving them orders.”

He stared at me in silence for a very long time, then looked down at his hands clenched together on the desk. Finally he looked up at me and said, “What do you charge for detective work?”

I thought, “Shit not again.” Said, “Three hundred dollars a day. One week minimum. One half up front, plus expenses.” Added, “You should be aware, I have found out next to nothing so far about the whereabouts of Mark Holland.”

“Who said anything about Holland? He’s nobody. I want you to find Clarence Reilly.”

I laughed. I didn’t think he was serious. “Reilly’s a bit of a local big shot. He shouldn’t be that hard to find. Have you tried calling him on his phone or visiting his office or even his house.”

No reaction here either. “In fact we did,” he responded.

Now I thought that he might be serious. Said, “He’s missing?” No response. I took that for a yes. “How long?”

“Two Days”

“He’s probably fucking his secretary and will turn up in a few days.”

“The secretary’s at work. Do you want the job or not” he said getting up?

Having in the last two days already been hired by Mavis Corcoran and whomever was directing the Tons of Fun to find Holland Reilly’s partner in whatever it was that they had been up to and failing, I thought another $1000 to fail at finding Reilly himself was a pretty good deal provided I could avoid getting slapped around again. Besides this guy scared me too much to say no to. “Uh, OK. I’ll need some information however.”

Again the stare. I was getting a little annoyed about it.

“What information?” he said finally and began to come around the desk.

“What sort of business were you engaged in?”

“Import-export.”

It was like pulling teeth, “What were you importing or exporting?”

“Furniture. Joe will tell you all you need to know.” With that he walked out the door. I got up and followed. I thought, “Joe?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

5-26-11tax-f2

B. Testosterone Chronicles or Women with Balls (Eleanor Roosevelt had them):

LIVEBLOGGING WORLD WAR II: MARCH 19, 1943 (From Brad DeLong’s Journal)

WASHINGTON, Thursday—I wonder whether you agree with the statement I made yesterday, that we cannot overcome difficulties unless we recognize them. In talking to some Russians once, I was struck by the fact that they kept insisting that everything in their country was perfect. It seemed to me, at the time, as rather childish and adolescent, but forgiveable in a young country trying a new experiment. In us, a mature democracy, it would seem to me unforgivable to deny the existence of unpleasant facts.

A certain gentleman in Congress seems to have forgotten that groups of sharecroppers attracted the attention of the whole country not so very long ago, because they were living along the highways and their living conditions were as bad as bad could be. This gentleman thinks it odd that a group of people are willing to back a union which will try to improve conditions for these people, and that acknowledges the fact of the conditions under which sharecroppers in the United States of America have had to live in certain parts of our country.

Perhaps the gentleman in question, who mentions only three people on this committee, would like to have it also recorded that there are a few others members of this committee—among them Bishop Edward L. Parsons, Governor Saltonstall of Massachusetts, Mr. Raymond Gram Swing and Mr. William Allen White. Perhaps this gentleman in Congrees [originally: Congress] would like to hear the stories that some of the these sharecroppers tell, not just the poor Negroes, but some of his own white people. I hardly think he would approve of these conditions.

Since they exist, I think we had better set ourselves to correcting them. That is the mature way to approach all undesirable situations. Of course, if he approves of them, then I can well understand that he does not wish to have them mentioned.

Hitler’s propagandists can make far greater use of things that are wrong and which we do not try to correct, than they can when we try to improve conditions. This member of Congress is evidently not reading some of the things which the German propagandists have said about situations which have occurred in this country, at least he makes no mention of them.
Eleanor Roosevelt

(God bless you Mrs. Roosevelt.)
C. Apologies, Regrets, Humiliations and Announcements:

We have been joined today by Reed Holderman one of the more effective members of that little band who actually acted to preserve California’s Coast rather than just talking about it.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“What the [repeated] bad predictions [from economists, politicians, and lobbyists] tell us is that we are, in effect, dealing with priests who demand human sacrifices to appease their angry gods — but who actually have no insight whatsoever into what those gods actually want, and are simply projecting their own preferences on to the alleged mind of the market.”
Paul Krugman: The Market Speaks
TODAY’S CHART:

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Countries by Fertility Rate.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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More Spring in the Foothills…

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Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 JOEY 0002 (March 23,2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Spring has fully enveloped the foothills. There was a break in the warming weather during SWAC’s visit last week and the temperatures turned briefly back to winter cold. I know co-incidence is not causation but sometimes it makes me feel better to believe it is.

Gained a new story; During the World Baseball Championships at Pac Bell Park, Bill Gates (the original) mentioned that he spent 30 years as a baseball umpire working his way up to Major League Rookie League Umpire before leaving for less socially responsible endeavors such as law and politics.

I am looking forward to spending a week at my sister’s place in Mendocino.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.”

Chapter: Eight.

I hate motorcycles almost as much as I hate riding on the back of one. Nevertheless I climbed on to the large Harley and embraced my leather-clad tattooed lady from behind. As we roared off I dealt with my fear by clutching her tightly as close to her breasts as decency allowed, closing my eyes and replaying in my mind the morning’s exploration of Mavis’ jungle – meeting wide-eyed cobras and shriveling before the black depths of the tigers mouth.

She dropped me off at Eleventh and Folsom about a block from the automobile Smog Check shop I intended to visit. I watched her drive off in the general direction on downtown.

Eleventh and Folsom is the center of one of the City’s seedier night-club venues where ownership of the various clubs often mysteriously change from month to month. It is also the site of the legendary Folsom Street Fair where once a year one can observe leather clad nearly naked men and a few woman copulate on the sidewalks.

I walked down Eleventh to the shop. I was not concerned about what I would do when I get there since I already decided I would do whatever it took to assure that my visit failed. I did however wrestle with how I would explain my lack of progress to the Tons of Fun if they called this evening. I settled on the expedient of not answering the phone.

There was a small sign posted on the building identifying it as an official smog check testing station. Two large garage doors opened into a dark interior. I entered the building a few feet and waited for my eyes to adjust. I had no intention of going further inside. I wanted to leave myself room to run, just in case I met up with someone with an attitude similar to the Blimp Brothers.

I saw two men who appeared to work there standing next to an automobile lift. There were no cars in the place. I deduced they worked on automobiles because they were dressed in overalls and covered in greasy grime from their boots to the tips of their heads. I could not make out their ethnic group through the grime. I guessed they were either Latinos or Asians or perhaps even aliens from out of space. Standing in the shadows they appeared mostly as dark blobs.

Asked, “Do either of you know where I can find Matt Holland?” That seemed direct enough to elicit an answer in the negative enabling me to leave and go back home, hang out for a while, maybe take a nap and then call Mavis to give her the bad news and invite her over for the evening.

Neither answered for a while, but both stared at me. Finally one said, “Owner return Half Hour.” Obviously english was not his first language. Which language was his first I had no idea. “OK,” I said. “I will come back.”

I turned saw a pizza place across the street. Decided I was hungry and needed to replenish the energy I had expended during the mornings romp with Mavis. Turned back and said, “I’m going to get a pizza.” I noticed one of the employees disappearing through a door along one side of the garage. I guessed it opened into either an office or the bathroom.

While devouring a slice of pepperoni pizza and downing a coke, I saw a late model silver-blue automobile enter the garage. Since it was a late model, I assumed it was not a customer. I left the pizza joint, walked across the street and into the garage. An older asian man was speaking with the two workers. He turned when I entered, approached me and without offering a greeting or hand shake said, “You are asking about Mr. Holland?” I had barely answered in the affirmative before he continued, “Just a moment, I will return shortly,” and he abruptly turned and went through same door the worker had gone through previously.

I cooled my heels and passed on an embarrassed smile to the employees. They did not respond. After about ten minutes of this I became annoyed and started to walk toward the door the older gentlemen had disappeared into. I stopped when two automobiles screeched to a halt by the garage entrance. One was a silver Mercedes and the other a black Lexis. Three young men got out of the Mercedes and two exited the Lexus.

They stood together in a bunch staring at me. They were dressed somewhat alike. Dark trousers, four of them wearing plain white tee-shirts and one, who looked to be about 16 years old, in a black tee with “Iron Maiden” graphics emblazoned on it. Three of the others wore dark windbreakers over their tees. Except for the teenager they all appeared to be in their early twenties save for the individual who appeared to be the leader. He seemed to be in his late 30’s, sporting a pencil thin mustache. He wore a sport jacket over his tee that now that I looked closer appeared to be silk and not the cotton worn by the others.

“Fucking Mavis,” I thought not for the first time, as the same torrent of sweat I experienced upon meeting the Two Jolly Fat Boys yesterday inundated my clothing. I however clenched my sphincter determined to not shit my pants today. I stupidly left no way to run. At least there were no guns evident and they had not begun to slap me around–yet.

The older one walked up to me and stared into my eyes for what seemed to me was an inordinate amount of time and intensity for someone who I had not yet met.

He then said, in a voice that was strangely gravelly and high-pitched at the same time, “Who are you and what’s your interest in Holland?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

482544_10151303929551275_763680631_n

B. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

Due to popular demand, (actually, only one person requested the omitted sections of the previous chapter of “Enter the Dragon,”) I have decided to include it here. While you may think that the request of one person is not a ringing endorsement. Nevertheless, when one extrapolates the readership of T&T to say the entire population of the US, one would have about 15 million people clamoring for it. Of course, that would mean probably up to 250 million who did not give a shit and 30 million were disgusted at the very thought of reading it.

I have chosen to place it here toward the end of this issue of T&T because most of you will not read this far and those who may be offended by its prurience, infantile obsessions and mediocrity, I imagine, would have given up by now anyway.

Chapter Seven, the missing portion:

By the time I had mounted the steps up to the sleeping platform, she had already removed her boots and was unbuckling her belt. Uncertain whether I should embrace her so that we could passionately strip each other of our clothing and fall into bed like they do in the movies, I hesitated. Since I was already mostly naked, it felt somewhat unfair. So I just stood there like an old salami in the butchers window. Having nothing better to do, I shifted my weight from foot to foot while I watched.

She was wearing a slip like top similar to the one she wore yesterday except today it was a deep rose color. Bikini panties of the same color as her top revealed more than they concealed. I still was disappointed, however. I expected or at least hoped for thongs.

Her leather pants were pretty tight so she struggled, pulling first on one side and then the other to maneuver them over her hips and buttocks. Despite her skinny frame and relatively modest breasts her hips and ass were fuller than I imagined.

The tattoo jungle theme continued along her legs. It extended less down her left leg then her right which gave her the appearance of wearing a tight bias cut dress.

Her bending over to push the pants down to her ankles decided for me that it was time to move in. I approached her with my arms extended, fingers itching to caress almost any part of her body. Without looking up at me she forestalled my amorous approach by grabbing on to my outstretched hand in order to balance herself while she pulled her pants over her feet and tossed them into the corner. That accomplished, she stood up facing me and said, “Take off those horrid ugly shorts.”

I did and we fell on to the bed.

I decided to begin at the center of things, with her navel, which as I lifted lifted her shirt appeared to form an eddy or a whirlpool in the middle of a lake around which several tropical animals loitered, drinking the water or looking about for predators. Behind them the jungle foliage rose with tiny brightly colored birds and arboreal mammals shyly peeking out. As I approached the swelling curves of the breasts, I noticed the coils of a snake circling the left one. I lifted the shirt and traced with my lips the coils until they ended at the nipple balanced like the rattle on a rattlesnake. “Oh, that must have hurt,” I thought until oblivion replaced thought as I greedily satisfied my oral fixation, an artifact of, I suppose, my mother’s objection to breast feeding. While so occupied, I continued to push up the slip up toward her shoulder exposing more of the snake.

“Holy shit,” I squealed as I jumped up on my knees. There at her shoulder rose the head of a cobra with giant eyes staring directly at the nipple I was just so happily caressing with my lips.

“You have a fucking snake staring at me.”

“Oh, that’s just Roger.”

“Roger! You have a tattooed snake with a name?”

“You’ll get used to it.”

And so I did.

The remainder of the morning was spent in an orgasm competition that she won 5 to 2. At least I assume her screaming and calling on the deity represented what it was intended to represent. With men one has some physical evidence that something just happened that was delightful even if they can not precisely recall how it felt. With woman you have to take their word for it.

In between bouts, during that period of self-congratulation, itchy guilt and incipient resentment when spent participants grope and pat each other to demonstrate a continuing connection even though all they really want is to be left alone, I obsessed on things that still bothered me. Like the lie about the black-eye. Who was directing the Tweedledee and Tweedledum and why? What the fuck was this all about anyway? But, at about the time I began to feel the stirrings urging me to prepare for the next bout, I dismissed them all convinced that I was not going to follow-up on anything anyway.

By about noon, having thoroughly and repeatedly explored each others ventral cavities, I turned her over searching for new opportunities for adventure. The jungle labyrinth continued in even greater profusion, rising up her neck and disappearing into her hair. Complex scenes of various perspectives and festooned with multicolored birds and reptiles and sinuous slinking mammals entwined with the overwhelmingly green foliage covered her back.

The jungle rose on to the mounds of he buttocks like a devouring fungus forming itself into a aboreous cave about her dorsal cleft growing darker as one penetrated deeper into it. A few iridescent eyes peeking out from the foliage. At its deepest and darkest point the glistening eyes of a tiger stared out at me, its mouth open with fangs like a half-open portcullis guarding the castle entrance.

“What the fuck,” I said jumping up and shriveling. “You’re nuts.”

“Oh that” she responded.

“Yes That. I suppose it’s got a name too.”

“No,” she laughed, “Mark the artist said ‘anyone can have the rest of you but your ass is mine.’

OK, I admit I was speechless at her response, also disgusted and disinclined to proceed further. Said, “look I have things to do” and turned and tromped off toward the bathroom. She jumped up and followed. Said, “you’re going to visit Mark’s shop?”

I had forgotten all about my promise. One I had no intention of keeping. Said, “Yeah,” anyway.

She followed me into the shower. Final score six to three. I still lost.

Decided I was experiencing the next best thing to love: hopeless obsession, terminal stupidity and lust. I felt I probably would do anything and everything for her despite the tattoos – except for anything too painful – OK, I admit, probably even a little bit of pain or even the threat of it would have given me second thoughts about my commitment.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The treasure captured outside Europe by undisguised looting, enslavement and murder, floated back to the mother-country and were there turned into capital.”
— Marx, Capital, Vol. 1 Ch. 32.

TODAY’S CHARTS:

1. Population growth:

Population_curve.svg

2. Temperature rise:

Carbon-Final

(Hockey stick graphs like this, in biology, usually signify the imminent death of the organism.)


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Spring comes to El Dorado Hills.

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 COLD TITS 0002 (March 11, 2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Birthdays have always been disappointments to me. Like with most holidays, anticipation is rarely rewarded by enjoyment.

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Saturday evening SWAC left to return to Thailand. My own travel plans include a return to Thailand at the end of April, July in Italy, early August in NY and DC and a return to Sacto by Aug. 7. Hopefully my health will hold up. March and April not taken up by babysitting duties will be spent undergoing various medical procedures and tests.

Last night I watched one of those interminable fund-raising programs on PBS. This one featured music of the Fifties. It included live performances of mostly white singers of the time who are still alive along with a few black and white film clips of those who are not. The Maguire sisters, recently gifted with the miracle of modern cosmetic surgery, performed together for the first time in ages. I enjoyed hearing the lead singer of the Chordettes, one of my favorite groups, sing Mr. Sandman and Lollypop. Notably absent were the early rock pioneers especially the black ones like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Frankie Lyman or for that matter even the white rockers of the time, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Halley, Dion and Buddy Holley. Instead we were treated to an excess of that paragon of reaction to the threat of Rock and Roll to American values, Pat Boone. Boone has evolved from the hypocritical frat boy image he affected at the time as the representative of “traditional” and conservative Republican values, to dressing like an exhausted gay queen. Sort of like the modern Republican party that has morphed from robust hypocrisy to resembling aging gay hookers working the margins of society.

I realized that as I grow older I listen less and less to music. Even nostalgia does not tempt me. I think it is because in music, even at its most tragic, there is optimism.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

Brigid O’Shaughnessy: “What would you do if I didn’t tell you? Something wild and unpredictable?”

Chapter Seven:

My dreams whether pleasant, sweaty or horrifying didn’t matter much. I could hear the massive earthmover engines grinding away as it buried them all beneath tons of dirt. Only a tiny gleam of light remained through which I could still see a bit of blue sky. Surprisingly, rather than disappearing, the light grew larger and brighter as the huge machine appeared to remove the earth instead of piling it on top of me. I woke up. Figured the dream was one of the sweaty ones given the beads of moisture running down my forehead. The grinding noise continued. It was the door buzzer.

I got up, ran down the steps from the sleeping platform, not so much out of eagerness to see who was there, but to stop the racket. I told you how much I hated that sound. Pressed the intercom. Shouted cleverly, “Yeah.”

“It’s me Mavis”

“Fucking MavIs,” I thought equally cleverly as I buzzed her in. Noticed my flagpole raising as I recalled how our time together yesterday ended. There was a kick at the door. I opened it.

Mavis stood there two containers of Starbucks coffee and a bag of pastries in her hands. Her eyes widened. “You’re naked!”

“It’s truth,” I said. “The lie starts as soon as I put on my socks.” I had no idea how many tight black leather outfits she had. It did not matter since this one was good enough to fully unfurl my flag.

She looked down. Said, “I can see you don’t have a gun in your pocket, so I assume you are glad to see me.” She’s no Mae West, but that she could quote her raised my estimation of her as rapidly as it deflated my expectations. She brushed by me, added “your bandage is falling off.” She went to the table, put down the coffee and began removing pastries from the bag.

Walked up behind her. Tried to re-stick the bandage to my face. Gave up. Put my arms around her waist. Felt the cool leather against my skin. Said, “I was thinking about yesterday.”

She turned to face me. Said, “I hate cold coffee.”

Laughed. Said “No not that–yet. Something you said doesn’t add up.”

She sighed, reached up and pulled the sagging bandage off. I winced. She said, “Why don’t you put something on. Then we can have our coffee and talk. I won’t be distracted”

I ran back up to the sleeping platform, put on some plaid boxers, came back down. She stared at the boxers. I said “what?” She smiled, shrugged and sat down at the table. She had placed the pastries on two small plates. Bear-claws. I hate Bear-claws. She sat down opposite me picked up her pastry and said, “Bear-claws, I just love them. Don’t you?”

I grunted. Said, “I think that Mark and Reilly were mixed up in something more than a big export deal and you know what it is. Dope, I guess.”

“So what” she responded? “I thought you were off the case? Even if it were true what would you do about it, quit? Good.”

Said, “I hate Bear-claws.

She pouted, put hers down, looked at me for a long moment and said “What are you going to do now, today?”

I had no idea. The best plan I had going was to take off for Vegas or someplace like that for a week or two. Said, “I’m going to talk to the people he worked with.” It was the first thing that came into my mind.

“They just install car mufflers. What would they know?”

“I good detective checks out everything.”

That may be true for good detectives but I was not one of them, at least not the “good” part. It was the best I could come up with.

“OK,” she said, “I’ll drive you.

“We’ve got time. The coffee’s cold.”

She smiled got up and walked to the stairs leading up to the sleeping platform. I jumped up, stumbled over the chair and followed.

Note: Although the rest of the chapter advances the plot and character development of the two protagonists, because this is more or less a family publication, it is omitted here. I will be happy to send it wrapped in brown paper electrons to anyone who requests it.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater:

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When the United States of America, which was meant to be a Utopia for all, was less than a century old, Noah Rosewater and a few men like him demonstrated the folly of the Founding Fathers in one respect: those sadly recent ancestors had not made it the law of the Utopia that the wealth of each citizen should be limited.

This oversight was engendered by a weak-kneed sympathy for those who loved expensive things and by the feeling that the continent was so vast and valuable, and the population so thin and enterprising, that no thief, no matter how fast he stole, could more than mildly inconvenience anyone.

Noah and a few like him perceived that the continent was in fact finite, and that venal office-holders, legislators in particular, could be persuaded to toss up great hunks of it for grabs, and to toss them in such a way as to have them land where Noah and his kind were standing.

Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.

E pluribus unum is surely an ironic motto to inscribe on the currency of this Utopia gone bust, for every grotesquely rich American represents property, privileges, and pleasures that have been denied the many. An even more instructive motto, in light of history made by the Noah Rosewaters, might be: Grab much too much, or you’ll get nothing at all.”
-Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

2. Budget Priorities:

64499_555707427783606_1434117996_n

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

The Massagetae:

“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 Araxes River. 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.”
Herodotus

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“MSNBC is safe sex between responsible, consenting adults enjoying a night together after a Valentine’s Day dinner. Fox is a couple of meth heads abusing each other on camera.”
Patrick Costighan

TODAY’S CHART:

526222_557222444298771_265995654_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0696

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Cold Tits 0002 (March 6, 2013)

“Destiny never gets there before you.
Pookie…

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

1. A conversation:

H. “Am I special?”
P. “To me you’re special.”
H. “I know I am special to Pookie, but what about everyone else?”
P. “Everyone is special in his or her own way.”
H. “Yes, but am I special to Nikki, Mommy and Uncle Mask?”
P. “Well, I am sure you are.”
H. “Does that mean they will get me an x-box for my birthday?”

2. An Update:

Spring slowly floods into the foothills.

Nikki and SWAC arrived to celebrate H’s eighth birthday with Uncle Mask and I. Tsunami-like, their arrival shattered whatever daily routine we had established. Most victims of disasters hope things can be restored to the way it was once the crises is over. I suspect that is just wistful thinking. Nothing goes back to what it was.

 

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Brigid O’shaughnessey: “I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.”

Chapter 6:

She looked back at me with a look of intense concentration that’s supposed to indicate truth follows.

“On the way over here I tried to think if there is anything more I have not told you when we met earlier today. I couldn’t think of anything except his, Mark’s, nervousness about the deal with Riley. Said it was big, really big. I don’t know much about that kind of stuff. I am just a small business owner and a part-time painter. He promised me a share.”

She went on, repeating most of the same stuff she told me earlier in the day except the paragraphs got longer and her eagerness to convince me of the truth of what she was telling me more apparent.

As she droned on, I began to feel sleepy. Whenever I felt a twinge of pain I thought about rolling a joint or asking her if she could score had some morphine . Didn’t. Took some more Tylenol instead.

Some people, especially those who read a lot of mystery novels, think that certain cops or detectives are pretty good at knowing when someone is lying. That’s bullshit. Nobody can tell when someone is lying to them, though a lot of people are convinced they can. Every peer-reviewed scientific study on whether someone can detect whether someone else is lying concludes that they cannot, even if like some cops or psychologists they are trained to detect lying. Except Secret Service officers. They seem to be able to do it. No-one knows why. I’m not a Secret Service officer or even a particularly good detective, so the best I could hope for is for her to say something contradicting something else she said. Even then, only very stupid people would say something inconsistent and not be able to explain it away when challenged. And as flakey as she may be, I don’t think Mavis is stupid. Sometimes one can catch a conflict between what someone says and something one knows or finds out later. But, that requires either a prodigious memory which I do not have or taking notes which I was not interested in doing since I was getting more and more drowsy and I still was not sure if by tomorrow I wasn’t going to chuck it all anyway and go away for a few days until everything blows over.

I asked if she ever ran into either of the Ton’s of Fun. She recalled that one night Mark, Lilly, and her rode to the SF ballet together in a limo driven by a tough looking big guy wearing a large silver ring with a square flat black stone embedded in the top. Said, Lilly told her one of her clients loaned her the limo. Mavis did not know the client’s name.

They had box-seat tickets for a performance of Copeland’s Rodeo choreographed by Simuin (even Copeland himself hated it). I asked if after the show they donned spurs and chaps back at her apartment. Again the bitch stare.

For about an hour or so we continued this chit-chat during which she finished gauzing and taping my jaw. While she was working on me, I slipped my hands around her hips and lightly grabbed her ass. She smiled a brief crooked smile and kept jabbering away. She responded to the pressure by leaning her hips closer until my nose almost touched her nipples. Felt my pants tighten considerably. I knew I was going to have to make a move before we both expired of exhaustion from beating around the bush. Instead I said, “look I am tired and sleepy. Let’s talk more tomorrow.”

She asked if I wanted her to make some dinner. Said, “no, too tired.”

She shrugged her shoulders put on her jacket and grabbed her helmet.

We walked towards the door. She said, “are you sure there’s nothing more I can do?” Answered, “no.”

Stopped, thought again, said, “Well, there is one thing. You can give me a blow job before you leave.”

The bitch stare, pupils shrinking to pin-pricks then disappearing all together.

I prepared my self for the slap hoping she would hit the side of my face away from the bandage.

Surprised. The bitch stare morphed into a broad evil smile like a time-lapse photo of a flower blossoming out of a bud. She dropped to her knees and I could feel her fiddling with my belt and zipper.

Thought, “It’s good to be a detective,” before giving it all up to the glorious oblivion of neuromuscular euphoria.

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Periodic Ruminations:

Several times in “This and that…” I have mentioned the 10,000 year subjugation of women by men. I have suggested that given the current precarious state of the world perhaps men, now that they thoroughly have screwed everything up, should tiptoe away and leave it all to woman to put back together. After all, we men already whenever screw something things up in our lives generally leave it to some women to clean up after. Of course, in that case, I suspect women often become quite pissed off.

As long as I am on the subject of pissed off women, what about this thing we call the woman’s “period?” The “Period” or similar euphemisms is that time of the month when many woman bleed profusely and feel in a lot of pain. If, as it have been described to me by a few woman whose experience is probably extreme, I try to put it terms a man might understand – it is like having your dick cut off in battle with a rusty sword. I suspect that if a man had to look forward to that once a month for most of his life, he’d be pretty out of sorts as well.

It is during this time that we men (and not a few women) believe that the woman is at a minimum irritable and at worse insane. As a result we try to tiptoe around this not quite human creäture. Or, in some ancient (and perhaps modern) cultures we tie her to a stake in something like a yurt in the woods until she comes to her senses. Or, as in my case and I am sure many other men, it allows us to dismiss anything a woman does we disagree with as an effect of her condition.

Suppose, that instead of being a period of incipient madness, that in the midst of the pain and discomfort what really happens is that a hormone is released allowing her to finally see clearly what God and man have done to her. That is what really makes her irritable and pissed off. Fortunately for us guys after the week or so of that clarity, the effect of the hormone diminishes and her mind once again becomes clouded. We then are free to continue on with our 10 millennial fraud.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

2-13-13pov-test-f8
The Budget Act of 1974 defines tax expenditures as revenue losses attributable to provisions in federal tax law that provide special benefits to particular taxpayers or groups of taxpayers. Deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits and preferential tax rates on certain forms of income all are tax expenditures.

Note: The chart contains an anomaly that may be confusing. The top 20% receives 66% of the total tax expenditures. The top 1% receives about 40% of the top 20% tax expenditures and 24% of all Tax expenditures.

What this chart means is that the top 20% of income households receive 66% of government “welfare” payments in the form of tax expenditures not generally available to the remaining 80%. Those who “cheat” on their tax returns are “welfare cheats” in the same way as those who cheat on their food stamp allocations [except the former has a far greater impact on what the rest of us pay for than the latter]. Both take for their own use tax money we pay in to general government. Much tax expenditure goes to those who do not need it. Many lobbyists are paid a lot of money to secure increased tax expenditures for their already wealthy clients [or to prevent them from being reduced]. Very few, not so well paid lobbyists, are employed to secure increased food stamp allocations.

B. Low Effort Thinking:

The Huffington Post reported in February, a study published in the journal “Psychological Science” showed that children who score low on intelligence tests gravitate toward socially conservative political views in adulthood–perhaps because conservative ideologies stress “structure and order” that make it easier to understand a complicated world. Now there’s the new study linking conservative ideologies to “low-effort” thinking. “People endorse conservative ideology more when they have to give a first or fast response,” the study’s lead author, University of Arkansas psychologist Dr. Scott Eidelman, said in a written statement released by the university. Does the finding suggest that conservatives are lazy thinkers? “Not quite,” Dr. Eidelman told The Huffington Post in an email. “Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking.”

For the study, a team of psychologists led by Dr. Eidelman asked people about their political viewpoints in a bar and in a laboratory setting. Bar patrons were asked about social issues before blowing into a Breathalyzer. As it turned out, the political viewpoints of patrons with high blood alcohol levels were more likely to be conservative than were those of patrons whose blood alcohol levels were low. But it wasn’t just the alcohol talking, according to the statement. When the researchers conducted similar interviews in the lab, they found that people who were asked to evaluate political ideas quickly or while distracted were more likely to express conservative viewpoints. “Keeping people from thinking too much…or just asking them to deliberate or consider information in a cursory manner can impact people’s political attitudes, and in a way that consistently promotes political conservatism,” Dr. Eidelman said in the email.

The study was published online in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.”

The above appeared in:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/07/conservative-politics-low-effort-thinking_n_1410448.html. I have slightly changed the wording in an effort to make it more readable.

C. Finland Schools:

Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7.

They rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens.

The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education.

There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16.

All children, clever or not, are taught in the same classrooms.

Finland spends around 30 percent less per student than the United States.

30 percent of children receive extra help during their first nine years of school.

66 percent of students go to college.

The difference between weakest and strongest students is the smallest in the World

Science classes are capped at 16 students so that they may perform practical experiments every class.

93 percent of Finns graduate from high school.

43 percent of Finnish high-school students go to vocational schools.

Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finnish versus an average of 27 minutes in the US.

Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for “professional development”.

Finland has the same amount of teachers as New York City, but far fewer students.

The school system is 100% state funded.

All teachers in Finland must have a master’s degree, which is fully subsidized.

The national curriculum is only broad guidelines.

Teachers are selected from the top 10% of graduates.

In 2010, 6,600 applicants vied for 660 primary school training slots

The average starting salary for a Finnish teacher was $29,000 in 2008

However, high school teachers with 15 years of experience make 102 percent of what other college graduates make.

There is no merit pay for teachers

Teachers are given the same status as doctors and lawyers

In an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics.

And despite the differences between Finland and the US, it easily beats countries with a similar demographic

Neighbor Norway, of a similar size and featuring a similar homogeneous culture, follows the same strategies as the USA and achieves similar rankings in international studies.

 
TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Republicans claim to be pro market, but they are in fact pro business.”
Robert Waldman

“The sequester, many people don’t know what it is, but it sounds stupid and cruel, so they think it’s a Republican thing.”
James Carville.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

happiestsaddest

Californians appear to be a happy lot. The closer one gets to Louisiana the more miserable one becomes it seems.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Cold Tits 0002 (February 26, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

It is not yet March and the delicate blooms on the decorative fruit trees are already in flower.

We were driving through the subdivision to or from the house, I mentioned to Hayden how pleased I was that he had gotten A’s on his mathematics and spelling exams. He rolled down the window and shouted out, “Now hear this everyone, I got A’s on my mathematics and spelling exams. Pookie is proud. In your face.” Should I worry?

Hayden’s eighth birthday is in two weeks. Preparing for a child’s birthday party is as stressful as deciding whether to accept a blindfold before being shot by a firing squad.

I used to have people to handle this. Their job description was usually “wife.” They in turn generally subcontracted it all out anyway.

 
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film)

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’shaughnessey, we believed your 200 dollars. I mean you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it alright. (Sam Spade)”
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Chapter 5:

The voice on the phone said, “It’s Mavis.”

That’s as far as she got. I do not know how long I screamed into the phone nor do I recall precisely what I said. Essentially it was more or less $350 is not enough money to justify getting the shit kicked out of me. That simple idea was wrapped in many gender inappropriate words and many more that were inappropriate for any living thing with more consciousness than a virus. When I paused briefly for a breath she said, “Oh my God!” That stopped me right there. Who still says “oh my god?”

“I never thought…I’m so sorry… I’m coming right over. What’s your address?”

I gave her my address. She hung up. Thought, “What did I just do?” I never ever give anyone the address of my loft. Never since the day I came back from Cafe Americano with the blond financial-analyst intern and opened the door to find my wife standing there with the photographer. The divorce decree took everything, even the artwork on the walls and my furniture. She left me the loft. Said she was not taking it because she wanted me to remember that day every time I walked into the place.

I thought about selling it, but I knew I couldn’t. So I kept it and furnished it with things from Ikea and Goodwill.

Thought again, what if Mavis sent someone to hurt me? I couldn’t call her back and tell her to forget the address. I was fucked. When I had calmed down, I reasoned that maybe I was just horny. I guess guys get horny after getting beat up. But with Mavis? I’m not sure I found her all that attractive. Then again I my tastes in women have always been tinged with desperation.

I threw the napkin, now empty of ice into the sink. I had stopped bleeding at least. Went into the bathroom. Took off my clothes and tossed them into a corner to lie on the pile of clothing I had thrown into the same place all week. Went into the shower. Spent a long time under the hottest water I could stand. Tried to keep it from touching my wound. Failed. It burned like hell.

Got out of the shower, dried off, rooted around in the discard pile until I found a grey sweat shirt I had worn about three days ago that did not smell too bad. Found some khaki pants that were not too wrinkled and soiled. Carried them up to the sleeping platform and looked for clean underwear. Found only a maroon pair of boxer shorts with large white polka dots that were clean and a pair of white cotton briefs. Decided on the polka dots, the briefs were too embarrassing. Took some Tylenol.

I had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang. It was the same grinding sound as Ann’s door bell. I had intended to replace it but never got around to it since just about the only visitors I get now are pizza delivery people.

I buzzed open the door to the building. A few moments later I opened the door to the loft. She was dressed in black leather from the soles of her feet to her neck, a black motorcycle helmet held in one hand and a plastic bag dangling from the other. Flung both encumbered arms around me. Said, “Oh poor you.”

I tried to avoid any part of her touching my wound while hugging back as long as I could. She untangled herself, walked to the table unburdened herself of the bag and the helmet. As she removed her leather jacket and hung it over the back of a chair she said, “come here and sit down. I got some things from the drug store.”

I sat. She was wearing a loose blue sleeveless shirt. Both exposed arms were covered with jungle scenes, green foliage and various animals peeking out of the undergrowth. The jungle extended to cover her clearly visible side-boobs. A large snake seemed to be coiled around her right boob. She was bra-less. There was not that much there needing support other than the snake.

“God you look awful,” she said and she embarked on cleaning and wrapping my jaw. “I’m so sorry. I never expected something like this would happen. I don’t care about finding him. Not if it means someone is going to get hurt.”

I wanted to tell her I had enough and that I quit. Said instead, “It’s gone too far. It’s personal.” Immediately regretted saying it realizing I said it only to impress her.

Followed it up “What exactly did you expect,” as I cringed from something she had applied to the wound.

“Sorry,” she repeated. This time about the most recent pain she had caused me. “I knew he was mixed up in something. Nothing dangerous. I just was worried.”

I could feel the anger overwhelming my voyeuristic pleasure at both the view and her ministrations. “Bullshit. One doesn’t have thugs searching for one’s boyfriend and not know anything.” I grabbed her wrist before she put something else that hurt into the cut. Said, “Tell me everything or get the fuck out. I will find out on my own.” I squeezed harder on her wrist. Thought it made my words more dramatic and forceful.

She pulled away, sat down in one of the other chairs, stared at me a moment then looked off somewhere above my left shoulder.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Guns of Chicago:

I, as I expect many of you, have been inundated with harangues this past month or so regarding the horrific firearm assault and death rate in Chicago which, it has been claimed, has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. I assume these communications are intended to convince the reader that gun control does not work and may somehow even increase gun assaults. They also often point out that President Obama is from Chicago which I think whoever writes up these things believes proves that he intends to take away your guns and give them to black people. Strangely enough, two days ago I read a right-wing blog post that suggested just that.

Almost all peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject indicate that the more guns in a society, the more gun violence. (Perhaps one of the best repository for these studies can be found at the Harvard School of Public Health [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html]) As a general epistemological rule, where there is a local anomaly [high gun deaths and stringent gun control] that appears inconsistent with the general rule [fewer guns = less gun violence] one does not automatically assume either that the specific is the new generalization or that the generalization is invalid. One should first see if the specific case presented has something that distinguishes it from other situations.

In the case of Chicago it has many distinguishing factors. For example, it should be compared with other similar cities before applying any conclusions covering cities and non-cities alike. Cities often have higher raw crime numbers than rural areas because of population and proximity. While most studies show the Midwest to be significantly freer from assault threat than the South, the urban areas of both I would suspect would show higher raw numbers than the rural parts do. Among the differences between Chicago and similar urban areas is that the current escalation in violence commenced about four years ago with the breakout of a gang war. Blame it on Obama if you must, but the state of gun control laws probably has little to do with it.

Note: if as some have suggested gun control laws are a prelude to Nazism, shouldn’t the Chicago police by now have donned brown shirts and cleared the streets of the freedom loving gun carrying population shooting everyone up? Even more appropriate, shouldn’t we categorize these gang members shooting up their competitors as freedom loving people defending their Second Amendment rights?]

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Chart-Government-SPending

This chart shows government debt as a percentage of GDP. In general the debt ratio declines during Democratic federal administrations. It has declined the most rapidly in recent history during the Obama administration. Republicans disagree with this chart, not because it is inaccurate but primarily for the reason mentioned in TODAY’S QUOTE below.

B. Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864 the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There are two types of Republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.”
by frankzappatista

 

TODAY’S CHART:

by-2017-users-in-asia-will-collectively-consume-more-data

Perhaps one of the more significant charts of the year. It indicates an almost exponential near-term growth in mobile communications and data traffic. If mobile communication and data availability represents an increase in individual opportunity for success, we are looking for at least a short-term balancing of the current negative trends in the world’s economy.

On the other hand, if this chart is attempting to imply a shift in data growth and thereby power, it is as misleading as hell. From the chart one would assume that data growth and power is inevitably shifting towards what they describe as Asia-Pacific.

First, the chart itself except for MEA, does not indicate any significant percentage shift among the regions. The relationships seem to have more to do with population growth and market maturity than anything else.

More importantly the choices of regions identified is as bizarre as it is erroneous and misleading. Europe is as much a part of Asia as any other part of that massive continent. If the reason for excluding Europe from the rest of Asia is not geographic but for other historical and sociological reasons, then lumping the rest of Asia together makes no sense.

By whatever measures one choses to use (historical, economic, cultural of political) Eurasia more or less can be divided into the following regions:

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE- Europe east of Urals)
The Near and Middle East (NME — NME is not part of Africa)
Central Asia (CA–The “Stans” plus Siberia)
South Asia (SA– India, Bangladesh, Ceylon and the Himalayan countries.)
South East Asia (SEA)
East Asia (EA–Primarily China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.)

To estimate approximate current population distribution:

CEE–700 million +
NME–450 million +
CA–300 million + or –
SA– 1.4 billion +
SEA — 650 million + or-
EA– 1.5 billion +

Although it is a gross overgeneralization, if one were to estimate their relative rates of population growth and their rate of DTG not directly related to technological changes then I would guess we have:

CEE –Stable Population — DTG primarily due to technology.
NME– Fairly Rapid Population Growth– DTG lagging due to politics.
CA–Rapid Population Growth– DTG potential huge but lagging.
SA– Population Growth slowing– DTG still room for expansion.
SEA– Population slowly growing–DTG significant.
EA– Stable Population– DTG primarily due to technology.

With the above changes in the chart one would be better able to use it guess who is winning or losing the data game and where someone can make the most money.

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

644227_10151308112981275_1037099958_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0759

The Manneken Pis of Mendocino

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Cold Tits 0002 (February 20,2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

A. Update:

I wish to thank all of you who have inquired and expressed concern about my health these past few weeks. I appreciate it very much.

Some of you have asked me to update the status of my health. While I am happy to make an amusing story out of it, reporting on it makes me uncomfortable. To no little extent that discomfort is because I know that some of those reading this have suffered through much worse than I have. It is sufficient to report that today I feel better than I did yesterday and that I expect, at least for tomorrow, I will feel better than I do today. After that who knows.

On the other hand, I have no qualms about inflicting on you my rumination about what I see when I now look at myself in the mirror. I have never fully understood why, despite my militant self-centeredness, I have never liked looking at myself in the mirror. Perhaps it was because what I saw reminded me what little I had to be self-centered about.

A few days ago I happened to glance into the mirror and saw an old man looking back at me. Not the aging white male I saw a few weeks ago who struggled to slow the inevitable dimming of his mental and physical abilities, who hoped to see how whatever it was that interested him turned out and, who eagerly looked forward to doing something more, even if whatever it was was still hidden. Instead this old man looking back at me knew that the inevitable was already happening and all that can be done is to make it less uncomfortable, that whatever he wanted to see turn out, he probably would not, even if he lived for another 30 years. And, the urge to do something had been replaced with the all-encompassing satisfaction that comes from sitting on a park bench with his eyes closed and feeling the warm sun on his face.

B. A mysterious box:

Despite the lingering effects of the bad cold I had been experiencing, Hayden and I traveled with Stevie and Norbert to spend President’s day weekend in Mendocino with my sister MaryAnn and her husband George. Hayden and I stayed in the converted water tower on their property that we called “The Castle.”

Every morning he and I would get up earlier that the others and walk along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean watching the dawn sunlight march across the fields. On the second morning while walking through a wind-twisted mass of cypress trees that we called the “Hobbit Forest,” Hayden, as seven-year old boys often do, suddenly thrust his hand deeply on to a hollow log adjacent to the path upon which we were walking. Picturing poisonous spiders and snakes poised to chomp on his fingers, I demanded he get his hand out right away. As with most seven-year old boys, he ignored me and continued to root around until he pulled out a plastic box. Assuming it was part of a load of garbage someone had stashed in the tree, I told him to put it back before he become infected with whatever germs the refuse harbored. Instead he showed the box to me. Since it was translucent, I could see a written piece of paper mentioning an internet site called “Letterboxes North America.” The box, in addition to the note, contained a stamp with the word “live” on it, a small ink pad, a pen and a notebook with several pages of stamps and various messages. Believing it to be a clever example of guerrilla marketing for a craftsmen in nearby Fort Brag, I had him return the box to where he found it.

On the way back from our walk H. insisted we retrieve the box and take it back to the house; which we did and woke up Maryann and George to show them our treasure. Ultimately, through the wonders of the internet, we learned that we had stumbled on a cache placed there by a member of a loose association of people world-wide who hide these boxes so that other people can find them.

Apparently this all started 160 years ago in Dartmoor England where a gentleman hiking the moors thereabouts finished a bottle of whatever he was drinking and rather than simply discarding it, put a message in it and hid it in a tree. Other people who found the bottle and the message began to put their own messages in the bottle, including self-addressed post cards. Other bottles began appearing in various places around the moor and then ultimately world-wide. There is now even a web-site for the US.

We spent the next two days delightedly joining in, naming ourselves Team Haystack in honor of Hayden and searching out another box hidden by someone named, “Casper Ukulele” who had hidden a box under the stairs at the Casper Community Center.

DSCN0792

Hayden finds the letterbox.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

“Yes,’ Spade growled. ‘And when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it.’ He released Cairo’s wrist and with a thick open hand struck the side of his face three times savagely.
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Chapter 4:

I slunk down into the back seat of the taxi, my computer clutched to my chest as though it contained my soul. All I could see out the windows were the tops of the buildings going by and a glimpse now and then of the sky.

I was conflicted. On the one hand I made my monthly nut, and was now sitting here in the taxi with $1350 more than I had about an hour or so ago. On the other-hand, I was still shaking and in pain from my injured jaw. The money seemed inadequate recompense to being slapped around and threatened with death.

As usual when I am conflicted, frightened or riding in the back of a taxi trying to hide in the car’s transmission, I resort to bathing my consciousness in the soothing balm of fantasy: In this case Sam Spade fantasy, since I had thought about him briefly just before entering the building where I got my ass kicked. The Bogart Spade, not the little shit Segal who played Spade’s son in “The Black Bird.”

I admit I also liked Ricardo Cortez who played Sam in the first film. I especially liked the pre-code scene of the naked blond Bebe Daniels splashing about in the bath-tub while Sam tried to get rid of Iva Archer his murdered partner’s wife who he was also doing on the side.

I think Bebe Daniels as Bridget O’Shaughnessey was a lot better looking than Mary Astor. On the other hand, as a result of the censors, the pre-code exposed nipples of the boy-breasts favored by the stars of the depression era were replaced in the forties and fifties by inflated melons pressing against the straining fabric hiding their nips. This provided a whole generation of adolescent males with guilt-ridden bathroom diversions until in the sixties when Playboy showed us we could have both exposed nipples and bazungas with which to occupy our prime fantasy time.

Bogart-Spade would never let himself be slapped around like I was. Once he graduated from bad-guy supporting roles where I recall him at one time being slapped around by Edward G. Robinson, to leading man, I do not think Bogart ever got slapped around again. Usually he was doing the slapping. Which was a good trick for a skinny smart-mouth to pull off.

I’m sure Bogart would never shit his pants either. I could see that idiot Segal doing so. I pictured Bogart on the can wearing a white sleeveless undershirt, a fedora perched on his head, a cigarette hanging from his lip, one eye closed from the smoke, reading the San Francisco Chronicle. His pressed white cotton boxers riding on his knees, not dropped to bunch-up around his ankles and drag on the floor. Another thing, I am sure Bogart was never constipated. He would sit there as smooth and untroubled as can be, as though he had just swallowed a bottle of mineral oil.

Bogart was a man’s man. While filming “The African Queen” while all the other cast members suffered from dysentery, Bogart remained more or less healthy because he only drank whiskey. Like many men’s men, Bogart’s drinking and smoking resulted in him dying of cancer at the relatively young age of 57. That’s how you can tell a man’s man. After they breed, they kill themselves with booze, tobacco, guns or STD. You can always tell if you are in man’s country. If there are a lot of old men around, you know the whole society has gone pussy. Alas, I only smoke weed, am afraid of guns, use a condom and I throw-up if I am forced to drink Chardonnay. I believe I am doomed to spend the rest of my life hiding out on the floor of a taxi. I feel a lot more like Joel Cairo than Sam Spade.

Now that little dick Segal, he definitely was not a man’s man. He is still alive at 79. He always looked constipated, especially in that dud of a movie, The Black Bird. I pictured him leaning forward grunting; his face red with effort, crumpled blue boxers bunched around his sagging black socks and scuffed dark oxfords. He wasn’t even wearing an undershirt. UGH!

My reverie drifted away as it began to dawn on me that, in my terror and shame, I spent the last ten minutes of my life hiding from my panic and humiliation among images of grown men taking a shit. As the black hole of depression yawned wide below me into which should I fall I was convinced I would never emerge, I heard a voice calling me back from the brink.

“We’re here pal.”

It was the pal part that got to me. I realized for the first time that the driver of the taxi was white. My sense of reality was shredded completely. I threw him some money and ran into the building hoping the comfort of home would offer some protection from my impending physical and moral dissolution.

About twenty years ago, it an effort to gentrify SOMA, some enterprising developers bought up a few abandoned warehouses, turned them into lofts and sold them mostly to downtown businessmen for hideaways. I bought into the whole idea. It was great for a while.

As I opened the door, my cell phone vibrated against my hip. It had the same effect on me that the sounds flowing from the towers of Notre Dame had on the citizens of Paris when Quasimodo swung from the bells to taunt them.

DAILY FACTOID:

Recently:

“Max Planck comes up with an equation that works. In order to do so he has to make a “purely formal assumption.” And it is only half a decade later that Einstein realizes that the little h that appears in Max Planck’s equation is not a formal assumption or an “artifact” but instead tells us what is perhaps the most important thing about the guts of the universe.

For half a decade the first equation of quantum theory was there. But nobody knew how to read it.

It is this “what if we took this equation seriously?” factor that is, to my mind at least, the spookiest thing about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics. Take the h in Max Planck’s equation seriously, and you have the quantum principle–something that was not in Planck’s brain when he wrote the equation down. Take seriously the symmetry in Maxwell’s equations between the force generated when you move a magnet near a wire and the force and the force generated when you move a wire near a magnet, and you have Special Relativity–something that was not in Maxwell’s brain when he wrote down the equation. Take Newton’s gravitational force law’s equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass seriously and you have General Relativity–something never in Newton’s mind. And take the mathematical pathology at r = 2M in the Schwarzchild metric for the space-time metric around a point mass seriously, and you have black holes and event horizons.”
Brad De Long

One of the clearer expositions of how the “mathematics” of science actually works in practice. In other words, sometimes mathematicians and physicists have no idea what their equations really mean at the time they formulate them. That is what is truly freaky about mathematics when applied to physical phenomena. It works even when we do not know it.

Another example is that of Kepler when he proposed the three laws of motion among heavenly bodies that began modern mathematical physics. He believed he was “proving” God created harmonic relations among heavenly bodies. It was Newton years later who realized what Kepler actually proved was how and why things moved in nature. Go figure.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

state_tax_by_income_level

State taxes are usually regressive. The poor and the middle class pay substantially more than the rich. That is part of the reason why, even if we include the more progressive federal income tax, the rich often pay less in taxes overall as a share of total income than the poor. That is also why, no matter what the so-called “proper” role of government may be or how small we make government, the rich still pay less of their income and substantially less of their wealth to support those expenditures than do the poor and middle classes [the 99%].

A point about income and wealth with reference to rich and poor or what we now call the “middle class.” In fact today in America it can be said that if you are not rich you are poor. The differences among those poor is between those that suffer from want and those that do not. Politics in the US in the early part of the Twenty-first Century can be described as based upon how many of those poor who do not suffer want [the middle class] can be persuaded that they are better off taking from those poor in want than from the rich [it certainly is easier].

Taxes, in the US at least, fall almost exclusively on income. The disparity between the rich and those not so rich is significantly greater in terms of wealth than in income, yet on this they are taxed hardly at all. In fact even a minor flat tax on wealth would rapidly eliminate any deficit concerns one may have no matter ones feelings regarding the “proper” size of government [It would also force the wealthy to convert, non productive wealth to productive income producing assets]. In fact, not only is wealth generally not taxed in the US but income from wealth [e.g. dividends and capital gains] are generally taxed at a significantly lesser rate than income from labor or work. The effect of this is to increase the value of wealth and lower the value of labor.

The only major taxes that can be considered to apply to wealth are “property” taxes and “excise” taxes on luxury purchases. As for property taxes, in many jurisdictions they do not exist or are at best nominal. In California thanks to Proposition 13 they are rigged to favor large landowners [generally the wealthy].

Keep in mind, even if we were to all agree that the proper role of government was restricted to just defense and public safety, the current tax system is destined to inevitably lead to you losing your job and becoming poorer and a few [along with those they deem necessary for their happiness] having it all. These few fortunate people used to be called “royalty.” Today as a result of political semantic shell games they may be called something like “job creators.” Soon enough, one’s ability to enter the world of this economic élite will be as rare as a Thirteenth Century serf becoming the Duke of Gloucester.

B. Republican Chronicles:

1. What Republicans used to think about Labor Day:

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Before the Republican Party went insane.

2. What Republicans think about their own Party:

“When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
Barry Goldwater

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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Burger was a conservative Republican.

TODAY’S CHART:

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I know most of you have wondered about this. Although no animal can run at the top speed indicated for more that a few minutes (if that much), only humans can run at as much as 1/3 top speed almost indefinitely. In other words, almost every land based animal on earth can, in the long run, be run down by humans.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

A. Portrait of a painting:

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B. Portrait of my sister:

photo

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Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Mopey 0002 (February 8, 2013)

Happy Birthday Amanda!

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

As I recuperate and struggle with the irritating complexities of the American medical system, I find myself not really doing too much other than that. Boredom is becoming a problem. I have begun reading several books at once to pass the time. Most of them sent to me through Kindle by Stevie and by my daughter Jessica.

Recently one evening while I was sitting at the table doing little more that staring at the wall I noticed Hayden writing away in a notebook. This was a very unusual occupation for him. He typically spends the evenings watching television, building Lego Cities, running around the house screaming for no discernible reason and, just before bedtime, completing his homework. I asked him what he was doing. He said it was a secret. When he finished he came over and showed me the notebook.

A few nights previously, I had promised him that we would write a short comic book together entitled “Hayden Without a Hat.” Each evening thereafter he asked me if I was ready to write the story with him and each night I gave some excuse or other.

The notebook contained the following (everything is as he wrote it including the punctuation, except for the quotation marks which I added). I promised him I would “publish” it. So here it is:

“Story for little boys, girls!

Hayden Without a Hat

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Hayden Without a Hat.

“Oh, no!” says Grandpa Pooky. “Oh no!!!” Grandpa Pooky says “You need a hat.”

“A hat…” says Hayden, “a hat.” “Let me think. Hmmmm, ok” Hayden says. “I do need a hat!!!!

“Hey, we can go to the hat store.”

So Hayden picked out his favorite hat. It was just like Grandpa Pooky’s hat.

Remember kids always have a hat!!! And mom’s and dad’s.”

I told him that I also sent a copy to his mom because it would make her so proud of him. He said I should not have because she would make him do it again and again until he got bored.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Felix Salmon regarding Europe’s robust financial-transactions tax:

“The tax is being implemented by 11 countries, including most importantly Germany and France, and it’s going to be levied at two levels: 0.1% on securities trades, and 0.01% on derivatives trades…. even the UK, which is implacably opposed to the European tax and which won’t ever join such a scheme, levies a surprisingly large 0.5% tax whenever anybody — anywhere in the world — trades a UK stock. And yet, somehow, London remains the first choice for international companies looking for a place to list their shares. The European tax, which is much smaller than UK stamp duty, will similarly have little effect on how and where financial markets operate. The “if you tax me, I’ll just move elsewhere” threat is a pretty empty one, in practice, especially if you have a carefully-drafted law which makes tax avoidance difficult, and if you’re talking about established financial institutions rather than individuals…. I think that the financial transactions tax will actually be very good at raising money…. On the other hand, I doubt that speculators will find this tax particularly off-putting. Europe doesn’t suffer from the high-frequency trading that has overtaken the U.S. stock market, and these taxes are low enough that any remotely sensible financial transaction will remain sensible on a post-tax basis. It’s possible that total trading volume might decline a little bit in some markets, and that would be fine.”

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Chapter 3.

Dragon’s breath:

“A good detective should be afraid…always.”

I turned the doorknob and pushed the door open slowly. I only had opened it a few inches before it was wrenched from my hand. A big guy stood there holding the door and filling all the space between the door and the door jamb. He was not too much taller than I am, but he was big, with a body poised somewhere between muscle and fat.

“What do you want?” he growled.

I stepped back. Said, “I’m looking for Mark Holland.”

“Why?

Thought this might be a good time for a clever story. Could not think of one. Went with the truth. “I have been asked to find him.”

“Why?” again,

Still lacking clever responses, repeated, “I’ve been hired to find him.” Took a business card from my pocket handed it to him. He looked at it for a long time. Said, “A Detective eh. Why don’t you come in and we’ll talk.”

I said, “If it is all the same to you, I feel better standing out here in the hall.”

The door opened a little wider. Another fat guy appeared. He had a phone pressed against his ear with one hand. In his other hand he had a gun that was pointed at me. “Get in here,” fat guy number one ordered.

In that moment I noted a strange phenomena. My clothing went instantly from dry to wet. At the same time I felt like I shit my pants. Said, “I think my chances of being shot are greater in there than standing out here in the hall.”

I flashed on how stupid that sounded. The embarrassment of shitting in my pants began to leak into my consciousness. Did not get far with either thought as they were interrupted by an explosion to the side of my face. As I toppled toward the floor, my first thought was to protect my computer. The second was that I might be dead.
Thought I was shot. Actually Fat Guy One suddenly had reached out with his ham sized hand and slapped me aside my head as they say. His heavy ring raked across my jaw.

Before landing on the floor, I was grabbed and dragged into the room. I looked down the hall in the vain hope that Ann had seen what happened and would call the cops. No such chance.

I was thrown onto a bean bag chair on the floor. Thought “Who the fuck still has a bean bag chair?” Said “Who the fuck has a bean bag chair any more?” But did not get it all out as the pain had finally hit and I realized that I had bitten my tongue and was dribbling blood down my chin. Got out “Woo fla bee or?” before giving up and grabbing my jaw. I was bleeding there too from the ring. Said, “Shiss!” Added “Blon.” My tongue was swelling up.

Fat guy one threw me a dirty dish rag. Thought I would probably die of sepsis if it touched my open wound. Spit the blood from my mouth into the rag folded it, and pressed it against the side of my face anyway.

Fats Two was talking on the phone. Whispered to Fats One. Fats One said, “Who sent you?”

Replied something that sounded like, “that’s confidential.”

Fats one raised his fist.

I quickly responded, “Gul fren.”

“Fucking Mavis,” said SF fats.

“No, na yeh” I commented. I thought I was being clever. They ignored me

Fats Two whispered to Porky One again.

Porky asked,“Find anything yet?

“Hired hour ago. This first stop.”

More talking on the phone and whispering. Fats Prime asked, “What did Mavis tell you?”

What I answered sounded a lot like, “Not much. He’s missing. She’s worried.”

More talking on the phone and whispering.

I said more or less, “We could save a lot of time if I just talked directly to whomever is on the phone.” Although it did not come out quite like that, I actually was getting used to speaking through my swollen tongue and frozen jaw.

They ignored me. Fats One said, “What’s she paying you — tattoos or blow jobs?” Thrilled with his cleverness he let out a surprisingly high pitched giggle.

I did not answer as I struggled with a clever comeback and failed mostly out of fear of retaliation.

He said more forcefully, “What do you charge?”

“Two hundred dollars a day. One week minimum. One half paid in advance.”

Some more whisperings into the phone. There seemed to be some disagreement.

Fats Prime finally turned to me and said, “We’d like to hire you to help us find him.”

I was gobsmacked. Wanted to say, “fuck you” or “What the fuck,” even. Said instead, “Can’t, conflict of interest.”

Prime Cut One turned red-faced and advanced on me. I quickly said, “on second thought I can probably figure a way around it.”

He stopped, smiled reached into his pocket and pulled out a wallet. From it he extracted 10 one hundred dollar bills and placed them in my hand not holding the towel. “You will get another thousand if you find him.”

Pocketed the money. Said,“Whose my client?”

Again with the whispering. “Me,” said First Lard Brother.

Asked, “What’s your name?”

“No name.” He scribbled on a piece of paper. Handed it to me. “My phone number. Call every evening at about five o’clock.”

“What can you tell me about Holland to help me along?”

Again the phone. The Fats One then said, “Ask Mavis. She knows more than she is telling you.”

They then both picked me up out of the bean bag and guided me toward the door.

“How do you know I won’t go to the police?”

“If you do we will have to kill you.” They both giggled in falsetto.

I knew that was bullshit but I was still scared shitless, literally and figuratively and I knew involvement of the cops was futile.

Once back in the hall, I ran to Ann’s door pounded on it and rang the awful buzzer. I do not know what I expected if she answered; to cry in her arms. No response anyway. Pictured her standing in the middle of the room staring blank eyed at the door.

Turned, grabbing the computer in one hand and the bloody rag in another, ran out of the building and back down the hill to Pino’s place.

When Pino saw me he said, “what the fuck happened?

I ran by him and into the restaurant. Said as I passed. “Bathroom. Ice in a napkin quick.”

In the toilet I threw the rag into the waste basket. The bleeding had mostly stopped. Dropped my pants and drawers and sat. Saw that I really had shit my pants, a little not much but enough to make me groan. My hands were shaking as was the rest of me.

When I left the toilet Pino was there with the ice in a napkin. Repeated, “What the fuck happened?”

Took the napkin with the ice, pressed it to my face, said, “Later, I need a taxi right now.” Pino went into the street flagged down a cab. I got in. Gave the driver the address of my condo on Fourth Street, waved to Pino and slunk into my seat as far down as I could go.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter Six: Return to the Immigration office):

The next day I got up early and returned to the Immigration Office at the Government Center, hopeful but not optimistic.

When I arrived I marched up to the same woman who I started with yesterday. She seemed not to recognize me. I gave her my passports. She leafed through them, smiled and pointed me through the door on her right.

I went through that door to the counter behind which sat the same uniformed and braided man who had sent be to the uniformed man with more braid who humorlessly sent me on yesterday’s odyssey.

Today he simply looked at my passport, grunted and gave me a slip of paper on which was printed the section I was to go to and a number. He pointed to the offices that made up that section.

I took a seat outside of the offices. Seven hours later my number was called. I went into the cubicle where another uniformed man with braids on one shoulder sat. I gave him my passports. He looked through them, took a stamp out of a drawer, slammed in on a page of my new passport, wrote something and handed them back to me with a smile.

Taken aback by this sudden display of simplicity, I asked, “How much do I have to pay in fees for my new retirement visa?”

“Nothing,” he responded. “Just extended your existing visa to the original date it would have been had your US passport not expired.”

“You mean I have to do this again in five months not a year?”

He smiled.

“Well can I get re-entry permit so I can leave and return to Thailand without losing my retirement visa?”

He said, “you have to go to another section.” He gave me another slip of paper with a section letter and a number on it.

I went to that section. Two hours later I walked out of the building with both my retirement visa and reëntry permit, $100 poorer for the permit.

As with the completion of any journey or quest my feelings were equivocal as I thought about the last two days. It was good that I achieved what I had set out to accomplish, more or less, but I did not feel especially good about it.

Life is little more than a series of side trips along a longer journey. And like all journeys no matter how pedestrian or mundane contain the same elements, hope, disappointment, determination, surprise, boredom and just about every other human emotion that one can conger up. That is why all literature is about a journey of some sort.

DAILY FACTOID:

14th Century: Buying Power of Money: “In the second half of the 14th century, a pound sterling would: (i) Support the lifestyle of a single peasant laborer for half a year, or that of a knight for a week. Or buy: (ii)( Three changes of clothing for a teenage page (underclothes not included) or (iii) Twelve pounds of sugar or (iv) A carthorse or (v) Two cows or (vi) An inexpensive bible or (vii) ten ordinary books or (viii) Rent a craftsman’s townhouse for a year or (ix) Hire a servant for six months…. It should be obvious from the above list that the conversion rate depends a great deal on what you buy…”
A Commonplace Book

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

45522_484394208291805_720875736_n

 

This is more liberal socialist “bullshit” aimed at destroying capitalism and freedom. In fact these expenditure of tax dollars are “good” public expenditures because it provides jobs and protects us from becoming overrun by screaming Communist Muslim hordes. Without this, we will be forced to fire our Second Amendment guns at a real enemy instead of at each other or black people.

This is contrasted with “bad” expenditures, like fixing our roads and bridges and other public works that only provide jobs to people who would otherwise be on welfare. It is also a better use of tax revenues than social security or medicare for old people or aid for children or even schools, because they are “welfare” expenditures that only go to people unwilling to work such as illegal aliens or black people.

Besides, since they are “private” companies, they are inherently more efficient than government can ever be. $400 hammers are obviously the best products for the money.

B. Gun Myths:

Myth #5: Keeping a gun at home makes you safer.

Fact-check: Owning a gun has been linked to higher risk of homicide, suicide, and accidental death by gun.

• For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts, and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.
• 43% of homes with guns and kids have at least one unlocked firearm.
• In one experiment, one-third of 8-to-12-year-old boys who found a handgun pulled the trigger.

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

I have been asked by one or two of you about the current state of my health. Other than being released from the hospital and feeling vigorous enough to attend a few movies, I really do not know. The doctors are reticent to tell me much more than to urge I take my medicine precisely as directed. So I apologize for not telling you more, but I really do not know.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Congressman Vito Marcantonio (R-NY).

“It has become the most convenient method by which you wrap yourselves in the American flag in order to cover up some of the greasy stains on the legislative toga. You can vote against the unemployed, you can vote against the W.P.A. workers, and you can emasculate the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States; you can try to destroy the National Labor Relations Law, the Magna Carta of American labor; you can vote against the farmer; and you can do all that with a great deal of impunity, because after you have done so you do not have to explain your vote.”

B. Raymond Chandler

“A good detective never marries.”

TODAY’S CHART:

2012-us-birth-rate-00-01

What this chart means is that births in the US may fall below replacement population rates. Increased immigration appears all that will forestall a massive economic crisis 30 years from now. However with avoiding dealing with he climate crisis and the disaster caused by institutionalization of austerian economic policies, it probably is the least of our worries.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

(Graphic unavalable at thisn time)

 

Python caught during a hunt for invasive species in Florida’s Everglades. It was caught not too far from Frank’s house. One good thing, however, apparently they eat the alligators… as well as just about anything else that moves…including small cars.

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Mopey 0002 (February 3, 2013)

 

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(Also without pi epic is merely ec.)
TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I decided that my convalescence should include a healthy dose of movie going. In the past six days or so I have seen “The Hobbit,” accompanied by Hayden, “Zero Dark Thirty,” with Dick and “Lincoln,” “Django,” “Argo” and “Les Miserables” on my own.

I thought about writing a personal review of each but changed my mind. My only comments are: I will never be able to think of the Lincoln Memorial in DC and not see Daniel Day-Lewis sitting there; Ann Hathaway proves that one does not have to stop acting to sing well and; everything in Django Unchained is merely setting up for Samuel Jackson’s performance.

I cried at Les Miz as I always do. There are two theatrical pieces that force me to cry uncontrollably when I hear even a few notes, Madame Butterfly and Les Miz. I first saw Les Miz in London a week or two after it opened. At that time in my life, I would fly to London every year for the opening of the theatrical season. My daughter Jessica and Denise usually accompanied me. I began crying during the scene on the barricades prior to the attack by the government forces. I continued crying until long after the final curtain calls. My daughter was both amused and surprised to see her father so emotionally devastated.

Over the years I have wondered what it is about these two works that cause my reaction. It certainly is not their musicality. In the movie everyone, male and female, sang their parts in a reedy falsetto. Joubert, instead of a bass or baritone as the part requires, was simply another falsetto singing character whose tones were indistinguishable from those of Fantine and far less accomplished. It was like listening to a Mahler symphony played solely on clarinets.

Nevertheless, I cried from the first notes until, after leaving the movie, I stood at the restroom urinals and the guy next to me laughed at my sobbing.

My sobs certainly have little to do with any empathy with the characters. I do not do empathy too well, and they were only play acting after all.

The stories are about that sublimation of the ego into concern for the welfare of another that in the West we often call love. I guess I was crying for me since the chances of my achieving that level of ego death is virtually nil.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Chapter 2.

I watched her disappear around a corner, took a sip of my wine and realized she had not paid for it. “Bitch,” I opined to no one except me. Drank the rest of my Barbera. Began on hers since she had not touched it and I was paying for it and I am opposed to wasting good, or even mediocre wine on religious grounds, being raised Catholic.

Usually tracing a missing person for the price I was being paid warranted about a half hour or so on a computer, a few telephone calls to bulk up the brief final report. A report written in a way that allowed the client to resolve any residual guilt they may be feeling by assuring that he or she had done all that could be done under the circumstances or, if the client is still mired in guilt, suggesting they pay me the rest of my fee and retain me for another week of futility. What the fee did not include, however, was any effort requiring the use of foot protecting composite material or knocking on doors.

Nevertheless, given that the sun was out and it was about as warm as it was going to get in San Francisco; I had just drank two glasses of wine; the knowledge that the missing Mark’s apartment was only about three blocks away from where I was sitting; and the urgings bubbling out of that dark and defective communication channel that ran between my brain and my groin suggesting that the extra effort could result in my observing Mavis’s tattoos closer up, I decided to knock on his door just in case Missing Mark had decided that Mavis was no longer his playmate and he was hiding from her wrath.

So, I finished the wine, packed the computer in its protective shoulder bag and signaled to Pino to put it all on my tab (which was met with a scowl and a sneer). I then got up, jay-walked across Columbus Avenue and moved on up Green Street toward Telegraph Hill.

I guess I ought to describe how I was dressed so you do not simply picture a dark blob bobbing along the sidewalk. I was dressed like a dark blob. I wore a shapeless grey-brown short overcoat with wool lining, that I picked up at Goodwill, over a yellow sweat shirt with nothing written on it. I do not do advertising. Black slacks below. I don’t do jeans. On my feet are ugly orthotic enhanced shoes to coddle my non-existent arches. I don’t do sneakers, or trainers of whatever those horribly expensive and garishly colored things are now called. Around my neck hung a ratty red and black wool scarf with a fringe on each end.

The sun was shining. The fabled San Francisco fogs of three decades ago a vague memory. It still however was about a million degrees colder in the City than in the East Bay but the temperature was still warmer than it had been in times past when one suffered through 12 months of semi-winter. Now, due in all likelihood to global warming, winter in San Francisco lasts only about seven months.

I regretted this change in in the weather. Gone were the fogs that cloaked Hammit’s Sam Spade in his daily run from his offices near the Burritt St. ditch to Jacks’s for lunch. You need a real City for mysteries, full of shadows and unhappiness. San Francisco is not a real City. It is too happy.

On the far side of Grant, Telegraph Hill rises. It is capped by that great phallus in the sky memorializing the transcendental virility of San Francisco’s Fire and Rescue personnel. The stunted cement penis also separates the residents of sunny side of the hill from those fortunate few who actually have views of the water. These few live primarily in shacks converted over the years into luxury aeries. These luxury shacks, reachable only by stairs, cling to the side of the cliff like barn swallow nests cling to the eaves of a barn. Among these fortunate few living snug in their aeries reside some of the most unpleasant people living on the face of the earth. They are those who fervently believe that their struggles for preservation of their water views and indolent live-styles benefit the rest of us.

Now do not get me wrong, I hate rapacious developers as much as anyone and believe that most developers should first be boiled in oil and then burnt at the stake in the middle of Union Square, but if these cliff dwellers were so concerned about the rest of us, as they would have us believe, why don’t they turn their happy huts over to the rest of us, say for two days a week, so that the rest of us can sit by the window, smoke a joint, sip some wine and stare slack jawed at the Bay bridge marching across the water into Angel Island, while the ceaseless maritime traffic in the bay pass back and forth under its soaring piers.

On the sunny side of the hill, the streets get steeper as they approach the crest of the peak. The sidewalks change into steps about half way up the hill. The houses on this side sit cheek by jowl crammed one next to each other. Built about 100 years ago as immigrant tenements, over the years they have been stuccoed, shingled, painted or wood or aluminum sided as fashions dictated. All now painted either white or some pastel shade of pink, blue or green. All except Missing Mark’s building located about where the sidewalk changes into steps. Sometime in the late 1950’s someone tore down a number of older buildings and replaced them with a dark shake sided five-story apartment in the then fashionable but utterly boring international style. It gave that side of the street the appearance of an ancient bleached jaw bone with a few molars missing.

I knew this building well. In it lived Ann Kennedy who, as serendipity dictated, lived on the same floor as Missing Mark. Ann Kennedy was a masseuse that I visited now and then. She was the type of masseuse that one finds in the back pages of monthly alternative newspapers or on Craig’s List.

Because of the steepness of the hill the entrance to the building was on the second floor, Ann and Missing Mark’s floor. Various stacks of construction material lay about as they always have as long as I had come here. But no one was ever working.

I marched up to Ann’s door first, because I thought she may have some information about her neighbor. Also, I contemplated the possibility of spending some of my fee on relaxation and release before embarking on my job. Knocked on the door and rang the bell which buzzed with that grinding sound that I hate almost more than anything I could think of.

The door opened about a foot wide. Now, if one were expecting that curvaceous, cleavage exposing, lingerie wearing, red lipped, dark-eyed beauty in the photographs that often accompany the ads, it was not Ann. Ann more resembled a reject from a model call for a Dorothea Lange photo shoot on the ravages of the Great Depression, right down to her shapeless house dress.

“Yes,” she said?

“Hi, Ann,” I said with a big smile.

I was met with a grey eyed, pupil-less stare of non-recognition.

“Do you have an appointment” she asked?

Thought she was either stoned or my belief in the memorability of my presence was overrated. Decided I would save some money and later resolve by hand any uncontrollable urgings I still may have. Said, “Do you know Mark Holland?”

Long stare. “No.”

“He lives on this floor. He is your neighbor,” and I gestured toward the other end of the hall.

She slowly turned her head and looked in that direction, which made no sense since she was standing in her apartment and could not see down the hall. Slowly turned back to me.

“No,” and she closed the door in my face.

Stood there wondering if I should kick the door in frustration. Decided I would only hurt my foot. Turned went to the other end of the floor to stand in front of Missing Mark’s apartment door. Looked down at the doorknob saw scratches and splintered wood. Thought, “Uh-oh, run!”

However, like touching just to see if a sign announcing “wet paint” means what it says, I reached down to turn the doorknob just to see if what I knew to be true really was. (Continued)

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter five: At the airport with no place to go – Part 6):

I was now back to where I started, at the Airport Information Desk, two floors below where I had begun. I told the woman behind the counter my story and waved the slip of paper around. She called someone. Hung up. Told me to wait. The phone rang again. She handed me the receiver. I explained everything again to the person on the other end. Hung up. Waited. The phone rang again. A very angry person at the other end wanted to know why I was not at Gate M-28. Said that someone went to the trouble of going there and I was not there and now everyone is very angry at me. I decided I was better off not trying to explain. The voice told me to be at M-28 in five minutes and clearly left the impression that if I did not do so my days in Thailand were numbered.

I hung up the phone and ran up the two flights to M-28 on the fourth floor. The nasty woman behind the counter glared at me. I avoided her gaze. Five minutes went by. At about the 10 minute mark I noticed a woman dressed in half a uniform (uniform shirt, regular slacks) striding purposefully across the airport floor in the general direction of M-28. She was not smiling. The land of smiles did not exist for me that day.

I asked if she were the person I was to meet and handed her my passports and showed her the piece of paper. She scowled but did not speak. She took the passports and leafed through them and scowled some more. She motioned me to follow her and led me to an elevator at the back wall of the office of the uniformed man who walked me all the way across the airport to the elevator that did not stop at the second floor.

We entered the elevator. She pressed the button for the second floor. This time the elevator stopped at that floor. Without speaking she set off walking through several offices and around some partitions until we reached the arrivals area where there was a long table. She motioned me to sit. I sat. She disappeared into an office.

The table was sticky with spilled soft drinks and was crawling with ants. I could see in front of me the passport control section dedicated to arriving flight crews. I watched the crews arrive and pass through passport control for about an hour. Finally the woman came out of the office. She was smiling. I was not too sure how to read that.

She said, “I fixed it.”

I looked at the stamp in question. My heart sank. It looked the same. Said that. She explained that she had changed the date of my temporary visa from the 30 day temporary limit to Friday three days away. I looked at her with a look of confusion. She said that Friday is the day my retirement visa runs out as though that explained everything.

She then asked me why I did not hand both passports to the passport control officer when I arrived. I said, “because I did not want to confuse him.” She laughed at me.

Then led me to the passport control exit, motioned me through, bowed and with a broad smile said, “Well then, let me welcome you for the second time to Amazing Thailand, the land of smiles.”

I left the airport. It was too late to return to the Immigration Office, so I went back to my apartment. That night I slept fitfully. All I accomplished today was to reduce the time I could remain in the country to three more days. I kept asking myself, what would Willard do, if after reaching Captain Kurtz’s compound in Cambodia he realized he had to start all over again with a new set of orders. AWOL most likely.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

1. January 29, 1943:

Nazis order all Gypsies arrested and sent to extermination.

2. December 10, 1902 (26 Pookie):

Vito Marcantonio (US congressman from New York City elected on the Republican – CP – ALP fusion ticket) was born on this day in New York City.

“You only live once and it is best to live one’s life with one’s conscience rather than to temporize or accept with silence those things one believes to be against the interests of one’s people and one’s nation.”
—Vito Marcantonio in Congress June 27, 1950, the only Congressional voice opposed to U.S. intervention in the Korean War.

Vito Marcantonio was the most consequential radical politician in the United States in the twentieth century. Elected to Congress from New York’s ethnically Italian and Puerto Rican East Harlem slums, Marcantonio, in his time, held office longer than any other third-party radical, serving seven terms from 1934 to 1950. Colorful and controversial, Marcantonio captured national prominence as a powerful orator and brilliant parliamentarian. Often allied with the U.S. Communist Party (CP), he was an advocate of civil rights, civil liberties, labor unions, and Puerto Rican independence. He supported social security and unemployment legislation for what later was called a “living wage” standard. And he annually introduced anti-lynching and anti–poll tax bills a decade before it became respectable. He also opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee, red-baiting, and antisemitism, and fought for the rights of the foreign-born. He was a bold outspoken opponent of U.S. imperialism.

“If it be radicalism to believe that our natural resources should be used for the benefit of all of the American people and not for the purpose of enriching just a few…then, Ladies and Gentlemen of this House I accept the charge. I plead guilty to the charge; I am a radical and I am willing to fight it out…until hell freezes over.”
Vito Marcantonio

“I have stood by the fundamental principles which I have always advocated. I have not trimmed. I have not retreated. I do not apologize, and I am not compromising.”
—Vito Marcantonio, in his last speech to Congress

On the morning of August 9, 1954, Vito Marcantonio, only fifty-one-years-old, dropped dead of a heart attack in the rain on lower Broadway near City Hall.

3. Baseball Bat vs Firearm homicide deaths:

According to Snopes.com:

Claim: More homicides in the U.S. are committed with baseball bats than with firearms.
* FALSE.
… information gathered by the FBI does not support this claim [about Bats being the more deadly]. The Uniform Crime Reports made available on the “Crime in the U.S.” section of the FBI’s web site includes homicide data that breaks down killings by the types of weapons used. In 2011, the percentages for weapon types used in homicides throughout the U.S. were as follows:

Firearms: 67.8%
Knives or other cutting instruments: 13.4%
Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.): 5.7%
Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.): 3.9%
Other dangerous weapons: 9.2%

This lie about the unregulated lethality of baseball bats has been making the rounds on the internet. If you receive something like this please remember, “Liberals exaggerate, conservatives lie”…always.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

16038_496464960375374_284527611_n

B. What Republicans say about Republicans:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby (The Boy Genius) Jindal, said at a recent gathering of Republicans that the GOP has to “stop being the stupid party.”

Bobby (TBG) Jindal is a Republican. Did he just realize the party’s stupidity or has he always known? TBG also recently signed a bill requiring creationism to be taught in Louisiana’s public school system. TBG’s college degree is in biology. I wonder if he ever attended class.

 

TODAY’S CHART:

The most important chart you will ever see:

bbvs193cyaalemd.jpg_large

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. Re: Sandy Hook

“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid’?” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. One email purporting to be a business inquiry taunted: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?”

What did Rosen do to deserve this? One month ago, he found six little children and a bus driver at the end of the driveway of his home in Newtown, Connecticut. “We can’t go back to school,” one little boy told Rosen. “Our teacher is dead.” He brought them inside and gave them food and juice and toys. He called their parents. He sat with them and listened to their shocked accounts of what had happened just down the street inside Sandy Hook Elementary, close enough that Rosen heard the gunshots.

“The country is like devastated peasant society…people are scared, angry, hostile, hate everything, don’t know what they hate, don’t have anyone to talk to, just angry, desperate, there are cults all over the place on a scale that is unknown in any other society. The level of religious fundamentalism alone is probably the highest in the world, almost certainly higher than Iran. Right now the militias are on the front page, but that’s only a small fraction of it…It’s just a dissolved society.”
Noam Chomsky

2. Victor Hugo re: Les Miserables

“So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.”
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

tammy-duckworth 

Let’s hear it for a real American Combat Veteran and hero: Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Mopey 0002 (January 25, 2013)

 

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

 

Fear and loathing in ICU: Part II.

 

After a night of drifting between fitful sleep and stark terror, as the grey dawn light filtered into the room, I dimly overheard a conversation between two nurses as they busied themselves with things on or attached to my body or in my room.

 

 

“He lives in Thailand,” said the clearly recent arrival from the Philippines.“Is that in Southeast Asia?” “I don’t know” responded the other. Now obviously, although both nurses were exceptionally competent at their jobs, they were woefully ignorant of geography. So, that got me thinking about useless knowledge and that, in turn, led me to Sherlock Holmes. In one of the stories, Watson informed Holmes that the earth revolves around the sun. Holmes acknowledged that he did not know that and now that he does he will immediately dismiss it from his memory since there is no occasion that he could see that that information could help him to solve crimes.

 

I suddenly realized that through most of my life I minimized and devalued information usable in my daily activities, while reveling in useless factual tidbits. I decided, I did not care.

 

While I was contemplating this, a strange-looking gentleman entered the room. He was quite skinny, a bit hunched and wearing an exceptionally ill fitting greenish suit. He had a long relatively unkempt beard that extended halfway down his chest below which was pinned a badge that said “chaplain.”

 

If I had seen a roman collar, I would have expected a bunch of olive oil to be smeared over my body accompanied by some mumbling as he administered extreme unction. Or if he were wearing saffron robe, I would have expected some chanting to go with the mumbling and maybe the burning of a little incense. Both I could probably tolerate. After all, a little ritual to send you on your way couldn’t hurt. But this strange-looking individual with sad feverish eyes, I suspected was aiming at nothing less than a death-bed conversion. I immediately became wary and annoyed.

 

He said, unnecessarily, “I am the chaplain.” Added, “sometimes patients would like to ask me some questions.” I did not respond. He nodded briefly, continued, saying that in that case, he had a form that he identified with one of those poly syllabic words that end in y, like infinity or serendipity that when used by religious people could mean everything or nothing at all. He said, “usually one pays a lawyer to draft one up but that I could have this for free.” I took the form. Said, “I will read it later.”

 

“OK,” he said and stared at me with those wet sympathetic eyes. Eventually asked me, “is there anything I can do to help you.” I think I shook my head. He sat there a few more moments, said “OK,” again, wished me good luck and left. I looked at the form. It was a reasonably well done authorization for whomever I choose to turn off whatever machines were keeping me alive at the time.

 

He was followed almost immediately by another bearded gentleman in a white coat. His beard was long but not as long as the chaplain’s and slightly better barbered. When he spoke his accent identified him as a recent arrival from the South Asian Indian sub-continent. He told me that he was my new doctor, replacing the smiling Syrian. I do not know what became of the Syrian and did not care much; probably he went to the same place the happy Indian lady disappeared into. It was difficult for me to tell whether he was smiling also or whether his face had solidified into a grimace caused by some unbelievable shock he experienced in his early life. He spoke as though he was always on the verge of hysteria and told me what I was to expect my life to be like for the next day or two.

 

After he left, I turned to stare out the window where I first noticed that my view was filled by a magnificent huge valley oak tree, three or four huge twisted limbs crossed the window in great black slashes from upper left to lower right. In between the limbs the space was filled by the chaos of tiny branches typical of the species. It made me think of my daughter Jessica’s photographs. Most people, myself included, when taking a photograph tend to concentrate on focal points or design elements in the composition. Not Jessica, hers exhibit a sublime sense of anarchy; the design elements that one looks for always hovering just beyond reach. Then it registered that the diagonal thick branches were the design element that attracted me and I realized that she would probably ignore them and focus instead on the filigree of tiny branches that filled the spaces in between. What did I know?

 

While zoned out on my artistic musings, my first real visitor arrived. It was Joey, or “Papa Joey” as Hayden referred to him. I was very pleased that he took the time to come by and visit me. We mostly discussed his new venture. His environmental safety firm, that has offices in DC, Palo Alto and LA intends to start a franchise programs whereby his firm will provide the technical backup and regional marketing and the franchisee, the local sales and marketing.

 

Later that day a four person ambulance medical team arrived to transport me to another hospital where a titanium umbrella would be inserted into a vein in hopes that it would catch any additional blood clots before they reached my lungs and surely killed me. This was necessary because, as either the smiling Syrian or hysterical Indian repeatedly warned, the next clot would be fatal. The male members of the team were named, appropriately, Jason, Mark and Jeff.

 

Jason was the supervisor. He did not do much other than ask me if I was feeling all-right. Jeff was the driver and Mark the muscle. In the world of hospitals, white anglo-saxon males do the pulling, lifting and driving. They seem excluded from pursuits requiring greater mental capacity. They do appear slowly to be breeching the “glass ceiling” in the phlebotomist and nursing trades, although I suspect these pioneers were mostly gay.

 

They were accompanied by Cindy a middle-aged registered nurse who was there, “just in case something went wrong.

 

It dawned on me that I probably had expended more money in medical care in the past two days than I had during the entire rest of my life combined.

 

They told me to relax, they were going to do all the work. They lifted me from my bed on to the gurney and wheeled me through the hospital halls. I lay back and watched the ceiling rush by like those shots in those television programs focused on the lives, loves and hi-jinks of those mostly post adolescent beautiful people who work in hospital ER facilities. Mark lifted me all by himself into the back of the ambulance. I guess the ride to the other hospital could be added to my bucket list; a ride in the back of an ambulance while still conscious.

 

At the second hospital I was delivered to another UN medical strike team appropriately dressed in blue scrubs. The operating physician was definitely more loquacious than Dr. Greenberg. The Dr, whose name I forget, proceeded to explain, at length and in great detail everything that was going to happen to me in the next thirty minutes. His description in fact was so remarkable, that I overheard a masked member of the UN strike team tell one of the ambulance personnel that he had never heard it done so clearly and at such great length as on that night. The Dr. gravely explained that after about a month, I would have to return to have my throat slit and a catheter inserted into the thus exposed vein that would grasp the umbrella by a hook and pull it out of my body. If I did not do this, I would die. He also explained that some people forgot all about the umbrella for as much as a year before they died. He did not recommend this course of action.

 

The operation was anti-climatic since I saw and felt nothing following the slight pinch in my groin that accompanied administration of the local anesthetic. Then it was back to the ambulance, return to the first hospital and the lifting of my body back into bed. Everyone congratulated everyone else and I thanked my team profusely (I had begun to view them as my team). They left and I settled back into the unique rhythms of life in ICU.

 

I no longer remember precisely what else happened that day (or perhaps even the next) other than that night (or perhaps the next) at about 2 AM one of the nurses gave me a full bath while I laid there on my bed in the semi-darkness. I thought it was pleasantly erotic. It made me happy.

 

The next day all I really recall was my bout of Stockholm Syndrome. You know, the effect experienced by those kidnapped who become so dependent of their captors, they fall in love with them. I fell in love with my nurses and wanted to marry them. I told them so. I never saw them again.

 

The next day was the NFC and AFC football conference championship games. The SF 49ers won. For those who saw the game there were several moments of high emotion for those who become emotional about things like that. At some point near the end of the game, the room suddenly was filled with doctors, nurses and technicians. Apparently all my monitoring equipment had gone haywire. My blood pressure went through the roof and my pulse escalated to about 125 BPM. EKG,s, X-rays, emergency blood tests were called for. A lot of serious faces and head shaking. About an hour after the game all my vital signs returned to normal. I wonder if I should consider skipping the Superbowl? Go Niners.

 

A few days later at about two in the AM a nurse pushing a wheelchair entered the room and announced they needed the bed. I was wheeled off the ICU floor and into another less mechanically appointed room where I was left alone. The next morning a new Arab doctor came in and announced that they needed the bed for this room as well. They would discharge me in an hour. I begged him to let me stay until 5PM when Dick could pick me up without missing a day of work. He agreed with a shrug of his shoulders. I was left alone until about 4PM when a nurse came into my room and said that, to her, it appeared I did not want to leave. After she left I thought about that for a while. Maybe there was something to it. After all, some of my best friends are here.

 

At 5PM I was discharged. Dick and Hayden picked me up. Besides the wheelchair pusher, no one else was there to see me off.

 

We went and had dinner a Panda’s Express. After dinner we went home where I immediately went to sleep and did not wake up until the following morning.

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

 

ENTER THE DRAGON

 

Chapter 1.

 

Some people call me Dragon, not because of my fiery breath or temperament or even because I might be sitting on a pile of gold, which I definitely am not. I got that name for the perfectly pedestrian reason that my real name is Matt Dragoni. And, as with most nicknames you go with it or try to hide it out of embarrassment. I can live with Dragon. It beats, Matty, Drags or Goni Gonads.

 

I am part-time attorney and private detective working out of San Francisco and Bangkok Thailand. When I am not doing that, I mostly spend my time like today, sitting at a sidewalk café in San Francisco’s North Beach or some other place like that, sipping espresso, working on my novel and staring off into the distance. Mostly the latter. As for my novel, I began the current draft, my sixth or so (none either finished or published), about four months ago. I have reached the middle of page seven. I have however accumulated 35 pages of notes, clever sayings and obscure facts, that I am convinced some day I will integrate into the novel and win me a literary prize.

 

I used to be what many people call a success, a euphemism for asshole, but now I am mostly a bum. So it goes. I have a small stipend from what is left of my investments and I work now and then as a private eye and attorney hoping to eke out $1000 or so more per month to keep me in whatever it is at that moment that I crave.

 

Anyway, I was sitting there contemplating the appropriate simile with which to end a series of sentences that began, “[I] stood there is the shadows. It was freezing. My frozen nuts clanged against my thighs like….” I began considering something like, “ice cubes striking a cocktail glass” but was sure something like that had been done before. Suddenly a woman walked up and stood in front of my table.

 

If this were a noir mystery novel she would be a tall willowy blond with legs extending to heaven or some other improbable place like that. Given that when I was in my dream space my ability to switch back into reality is somewhat impaired, the appropriateness of a contest to decide the suitable metaphor or simile for where those legs actually did end up flashed through my mind.

 

Alas, she was not a tall willowy blond no matter how her legs connected to her body. She was short and sort of skinny. Decent breasts pressed against her jeans jacket. “Tits on a stick,” my friend Gary would call them. She also had a shiner around her left eye.

 

She had short spiky black hair. Actually, only some of it was black the rest was red, yellow and green. A spike in her nose holding what looked like a tiny dog biscuit (do they still do that?). The jagged edges of red, blue and green tattoos snaking up her neck above her collar and peeking out below her cuffs. Black leather leggings, metalled joints and motorcycle boots or Doc Martins, I could never tell which is which. Her face was heavily freckled and she had a small pinched nose. She looked a lot like the woman in the first two Indiana Jones films who always got into trouble that Harrison Ford got her out of and then screwed at the end of the picture.

 

I thought her look had gone out of style a few years ago. But, hey, this is San Francisco, weird dress never goes out of style here. Today I saw two men wearing berets and there are whole neighborhoods where people still sit around complimenting each other on their tie-dye T-shirts.

 

She said, “Can I sit down?”

 

“Depends, I am not good-looking enough or rich enough to expect an attractive woman to walk up and sit at my table. What’s up?”

 

“You’re The Dragon right.”

 

“Dragon, is enough. And, yes I am some times called that — among other less savory things, but you still did not answer my question.”

 

“Pino said you were a private detective.”

 

Pino was one of the shills that line Columbus avenue trying to entice passers-by into restaurants to eat generally atrocious, over priced, pretend Italian food.

 

“Pino is a fat asshole, and yes I sometimes do some detective work, but I am not very good at it.”

 

“That’s what Pino said. Can I sit now?” Which she did without waiting for an answer.

 

I looked over at the smiling Pino leaning against the parking meter and mimed a pistol shot at his head.

 

“Would you like a drink?”

 

“If you’re buying.”

 

She ordered a glass of Barbera. I signaled for two.

 

“How much do you charge?”

 

“$100 a day, plus expenses. Seven day minimum. Half up front and the rest when the week is up.” In other words $350. At my level, I figured I would never see the rest of the fee or the expenses.

 

“That sounds reasonable”

 

“Like everyone seems to agree, I am not very good.”

 

She chuckled, said, “What are the expenses.”

 

“You know transportation, telephone calls , cocaine. Things like that. The usual.”

 

Chuckled again. “Ok, except for the cocaine.”

 

“What’s your name,” I ask?

 

“Mavis Corcoran”

 

Thought, “who the fuck names their kid Mavis today.” Said, “Your shitting me, not Dawn or Sandy?”

 

She ignored me said, “I would like you to find my friend. He has been missing for a week.”

 

The drinks arrived. I took a sip of mine. She did not touch hers. Said, “Why would you pay someone like me? Why not go to the police? They have a department just for this.”

 

“Yeah, but they never do anything but wait and tell you to let them know if he ever shows up.”

 

“Did he give you that'” I said pointing at the shiner?

 

“Uh, no I fell at work.”

 

“Do you drive a Harley,” I asked?

 

“Huh?” “In fact I do. How did you know?”

 

“I’m a detective.”

 

“Ha, more likely a lucky guess. What happened if I said no?”

 

“You would be lying, and even if it were true I would have said I knew it all along.”

 

“So what?”

 

“So,” I added, “I know bullshit when I hear it. It is your right not to tell me what you do not want me to know. Your information as well as your money are what you pay me with. You get what you pay for. Why do you want to find this guy?”

 

Don’t you want to know his name?”

 

“We’ll get to that. This is more important now.”

 

So she told me her story about their being lovers for a while. The last few weeks he being nervous but he would not explain why. Something about an import-export deal with Clarence Reilly. Then he disappeared and the usual, “he would have told me if he were going away.”

 

In my past life I had dealings with Reilly. He billed himself as an “investment advisor.” You know he took your money and told you what you wanted to hear. If things worked out, he took some more. If it didn’t he still had your money but did not want to know you anymore. A gangster without guns. Reilly was up there among the hall-of-fame assholes. I hoped I would not have to deal with him. It would take weeks to wash away his stink.

 

“Tell me, do you ride your bike in the Gay Freedom Day Parade?”

 

“What what does that have to do with it,” she said reddening slightly?

 

“Humor me.”

 

“Yes” she said staring defiantly in my eyes.

 

“You drive or ride postern?”

 

“Drive. My girl friend rides behind.”

 

“So you have a boyfriend and a girlfriend?”

 

“This is San Francisco, and what does that have to do with him being missing?”

 

“Nothing I guess, this is San Francisco.”

 

I took her information and entered it into my computer; his name and address, work address, friends (he did not seem to have many), same information about the girl friend and a bunch of other bullshit things to make it seem as though I had a lot of work to do. I also got his name. Mark, Mark Holland.

 

I asked her for photographs of Mark and of her girl-friend. She fished in her back pocket pulled out a wallet and eventually handed my two photos. The first, a little out of focus, showed a young man, a little too much hair on his head and a little too little in what passed for a mustache and a beard. He was young man thin but already showing the signs of the bloating that was to come. He was flexing a poor excuse for a bicep to accentuate for the camera the spiky dark tattoo; something abstract, nordic, who the fuck knows. I hate tattoos. I took him for about 30 years old and a big time stoner.

 

The girl friend was another thing altogether. Lilly Park was her name. She was as they say drop dead gorgeous. She appeared Eurasian. I wondered how many more generations in the city it would take for these racial identification characteristics to disappear. Already, most of the teenagers I see around the city had lost any distinguishing visual racial markers that I had been brought up with that identified whatever it was they were supposed to identify. Another separation from life’s comfortable moorings. Probably a good thing that it also goes wherever it is that ethnic jokes went.

 

The photograph looked like a publicity shot. Taken from slightly above it showed blond smokey eyed beauty revealing plenty of cleavage. Said, “Those must have been some threesomes.”

 

Got the bitch look in return. You know the pupils crash down to pinpoints and the body goes rigid. That’s one of the differenced between men and women. Insult a man and it takes him time to work through his slow-thinking mind whether he was insulted. Then even more time to figure out whether he can take you or not. That usually gives you time to run, make a joke of it or hit him first. With women their reaction is instantaneous. You no longer have options.

 

Rather than risking further damage, I told her that I would take the pictures with me now and when I get home scan them into my computer and return them tomorrow. Actually I do not have a scanner. I said that just to avoid any protest from her in the matter.

 

Finally, I got her cell phone number and email address and asked where she works.

 

“I own Marky’s Tattoo Parlor on Columbus. I worked with Marky for years. He gave the place to me when he retired. Marky was a real artist.”

 

Thought she must have a thing for guys with that name. Said, “Oh, I was unaware that sticking needles in someone was considered an art form now.”

 

“Asshole”

 

I smiled, “so they say,” and collected the $350 fee.

 

I watched her walk off, skinny ass swinging in a tight, almost prissy, determined rhythm.

 

“I like them with a little more meat on their bones,” I thought.

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

LIVEBLOGGING WORLD WAR II: JANUARY 22, 1943

 

Eleanor Roosevelt:
WASHINGTON, Thursday—”I am back in Washington and today am flying down to christen the new “Yorktown.” I christened the first one and she acquitted herself well and I am proud that they have asked me to christen the second one. As she goes down the ways, I shall pray that she will see the end of the war and will be used in the future for peaceful patrol work. Whatever happens to her, I feel sure that ship and men will live up to the traditions of the Navy, which are becoming more glorious day by day.”

 

A FLOTUS for the ages.

Of course my right-wing correspondents will eventually email me their opinion [accompanied by appropriate photographs] that Ms. Roosevelt as well as Hillary Clinton, are not “pretty” enough to be taken seriously. This, of course, will be proven, in their minds, by pointing to Franklin and Bill’s extra-curricular activities. Why do you think conservatives so firmly believe a woman’s value and abilities reside in her vagina? Could it be because their brains reside in their tiny penises?

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“a gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense,”
Art Kellerman, Emergency Room Doctor and researcher.

 

The reason we keep guns in our home, we are often told, is to protect us from being shot by someone we do not want to be shot by. That is unless you are a Second Amendment gun-nut, who believes we keep guns in our homes because it is our constitutional right to shoot ourselves.

I understand that, really I do. But what I do not understand why you would not want the police or emergency services personnel to know you have the gun, given that you will most likely be calling on their services sooner rather than later.

 
TODAY’S CHART:

 

thingsthatpeoplelikemoreandless_lrg

 

 

 
 

 

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0002 (January 21, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

1. A Hayden Tale:

Since Hayden was four years old, almost every night I have been with him, I have told him an ongoing bed-time story regarding a little boy about his age and his pony Acorn (the name of the pony H rode at Naida and Bill’s ranch). The stories concerned Danny and Acorn’s adventures with their friends: the White Knight and his horse, Blackey-whitey; the Black Knight and his horse, Whitey-blackey; the Knight of the Burning Toilet; the Monster that Lived in the Closet; the Wizard that lived in a Castle on the Mountain; and Prince Sammy who lived in a palace in Rivertown with ten princesses whose names were, Brandy, Cindy, Candy, Fannie, Ginnie, Mandy, Sandi, Tammi, Winnie and Abigail Fort and Go Braugh. (I sometimes would forget the names, but Hayden had them memorized and would correct me if I did.)

Danny lived in a small house with a barn for Acorn located next to THE DEEP, THE DARK, FOREST (said in a deep scary voice), in the center of which lived, Grandpa Pookie.

It seems that on the last night before I left two months ago, I had begun an adventure about Zeekie a small green creäture and Three Giants. I did not finish it that night. Instead I promised him I would do so when I returned. Of course by the time I got back, I had forgotten all about it.

On my first night in EDH he took me into the bedroom and asked me to finish the story. After I admitted that I had forgotten what it was about, he nodded sagely, went to a drawer in his headboard and took out a piece of paper. On it he had written out the entire story I had told so far. The words were all phonetically written but understandable.

This surprised me. When I had left only two months ago, I thought he could not yet write. It amazed that he had taken the time and effort to write it down and had the insight to realize that I would probably have forgotten it all.

That night I told him the rest of the story. It wasn’t bad as those stories go and it even had a moral with a twist at the end. The implications of the twist concerned Hayden a lot.

2. Fear and loathing in ICU – Part I

Ever since I arrived in California I had been feeling quite ill; headaches, fatigue and pains in my left leg. The latter, I assumed, was caused by sitting for 10 hours in a center seat during my flight. About five days after my arrival, I had dropped Hayden off for school, had a coffee and bagel at my usual place and returned to the house feeling exceptionally tired. I went back to bed and did not wake up until almost three PM. It was nearly time to pick up Hayden at school and cart him to his Taekwondo lesson. I got up and blacked out. I fell back onto the bed for a moment. When I regained my senses, I discovered I was too fatigued to move further than to the living room sofa. I called Dick at work and told him about my condition, that I couldn’t get to the school and pick up Hayden and that I thought I needed to go to the hospital.

After picking up Hayden, Dick drove us to the local emergency hospital. I staggered into the emergency room and was immediately placed in a wheel chair. While Dick handled the preliminary admission formalities, I fussed over my feelings of helplessness, guilt over the burden I was placing on Dick, and concern about how it all must affect Hayden.

They wheeled me into a room with three people in it where my EKG was taken. A man in green scrubs sitting at a computer asked me questions about my symptoms. When I finished explaining them, he said it sounded to him like I had a pulmonary embolism.

I was then carted off to one of the emergency treatment rooms and put into a bed while a succession of various information scavengers and blood gatherers trooped through.

While I lay there I could see into the main area beyond intake and observe hospital life. It had always found it remarkable that no matter how white bread a neighborhood the hospital is located it, its staff inevitably appears like a branch of the United Nations. It is difficult for me now to identify an ethnic group that did not have a hand in my treatment somewhere along the line. Of course, the highest level of the medical staff, the doctors, is populated primarily by members of the high performing caucasian groups, Ashkenazi Jews, Middle Eastern refugees and Indians.

The other noticeable physical feature of the hospital staff was obesity, and they mostly seemed quite happy and content about it. I was not so sure how I felt about that. It is a hospital after all.

The final information scavenger was a woman with serious determined eyes who collected at least some money against the final medical bill just in case I died so they will have recovered something on account. After she left, the ER doctor, Dr Greenberg, came in, asked a bunch of questions, opined that it sounded as though I had a blood clot on my lung, and announced he was going to have a few more tests run before deciding what to do about me. He left.

Doctors, ask questions, give orders and render opinions. Most of the rest of the hospital medical staff actually do things.

So, I was wheeled through a CAT scan, sonograms and a number of other tests after which I was deposited back in the room to await results.

While waiting, Hayden opined that he thought Dick was rich and Pookie was handsome.

Dr, Greenberg returned and without much in the way of preliminaries, in that deep serious voice doctors often use to announce the death of the patient, said that I had suffered a “very very serious’ pulmonary embolism” that had affected most of my lungs and that I was being admitted into the ICU unit immediately. He, once again, left before I had time to either digest the information or ask any questions, like ‘what did you just say?”

While waiting for the transportation to arrive and trying to understand the information I had just received that I interpreted to mean that I was effectively dead and they were now going to try to resuscitate me, two more doctors entered the room. They were surprisingly cheery and introduced themselves as the co-chief doctors of the ICU unit as though welcoming me into a five-star beach resort. One doctor a Syrian gentleman who maintained a slight smile as he explained to me how sudden death was inevitable in my case without immediate treatment. The Indian woman seemed very happy to visit with me and asked me many of the same questions the information scavengers had asked. I never saw her again.

They transported me to ICU and placed into bed by a number of suspiciously cheery hospital personnel who then vigorously and repeatedly punctured me to extract blood and other bodily fluids and inject me with clear liquids from several bags hung above my head. I was also attached to several monitors and the various blinking lights and beeping one associates with intensive care.

At some point the smiling Syrian appeared at the side of my bed and explained again, how dead I was and what they were planning to do to correct that condition. He left and one of the cheery nurses injected me with morphine, explaining unnecessarily that it would make me feel better. They woke me up about every hour or two to have my blood taken or my body injected with something important. I counted over 30 puncture wounds to my body over the first 24 hours.

I did not sleep much or well that night. In the past, whenever I thought about death, my thoughts were often accompanied by fear – no more accurately terror. Strangely tonight, I felt only sadness; sadness about Jason, Jessica and Hayden and my grandchildren, sadness that I might not be there to see how the next chapters of their life stories played out. (to be continued–perhaps)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Creation myth update #3: Maybe we are not in Mr Rogers’ neighborhood anymore Toto, part III.

Delayed pending reduction of my morphine ration and/or proof that I am still alive.

DAILY FACTOID:

From Harper’s Index:

• Projected annual revenue Mexican drug cartels stand to lose from pot legalization in Colorado and Washington: $1,400,000,000

• Percentage rate at which Arcata, California, plans to tax excessive electricity use in an effort to punish marijuana growers: 45

• Percentage of children living in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture who have thyroid abnormalities: 40

• Number of hours before power was restored to the majority of Long Island residents affected by the storm: 361

• Estimated cost of maintaining Afghanistan’s national security forces in the year after U.S. troops leave: $4,100,000,000

• Annual budget of the Afghan government: $3,300,000,000

• Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”
Department of Psychology, UCLA, Berkeley, California and Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

I suspect the conclusions in the studies probably will not surprise anyone. Remember these are the same upper-class people who pay other people to tell you that greed is good and that charity and human kindness, if not actually bad, is simply a wrongheaded example of selfishness.

B. Testosterone Chronicles: Gun Control.

I keep hearing from conservatives and gun advocates that race has nothing to do with the gun ownership debate, but that it is about freedom and rights (you know Nazi’s restricted gun ownership and all that.) A few posts ago I argued that race may very well be lurking in the background. Nonsense, say others, it has always been about rights and freedoms.

If so then, how does one explain:

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It should also be noted that the second amendment’s inclusion in the Constitution when it was pointed out that proposed  Article 1 section 8 permitting the federal government to raise and supervise a militia could also be used to subsume state militias that in the south were often called “slave patrols.”

The fear was that without without the second amendment, the slaves could revolt and the southern states would not have the authority and the personnel to put them down. The individual unregulated right to own guns had nothing to do with it and even those most in favor of the second amendment at that time would have considered that concept ludicrous.

Perhaps the best way to get gun control would be for someone to fund a program to provide free assault rifles for black teenagers so that they can protect themselves.

C. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter five: At the airport with no place to go – Part 5):

Of course I did not know the elevator did not stop on the second floor until it passed that floor and halted on the first. I took the escalator to the second floor in search of the Immigration Office. The second floor was the arrivals level and lacked the bustle of the 4th floor departure level. There were essentially only the money changing kiosks and two large openings in the far wall from which people arriving in BKK were disgorged. I could not see anything that announced it had anything to do with immigration. Eventually I spotted a door before which stood a woman dressed in a uniform different from most of the others, lighter in color and lacking braid or ribbons. I walked up to her and explained my story and showed her the slip of paper. She smiled and said, “I understand. Follow me.”

She led me into a small room where a man in a similar uniform sat next to a table smaller than a card table. He seemed to have little of no english capabilities, nevertheless I explained everything again showed him the slip of paper and my passport. He leafed through my passport and seemed confused and looked to the woman with what I interpreted as a look of bewilderment.

I said, “Immigration Office. Second Floor. The people on the fourth floor told me to go here. Where is it?” The woman seemed to translate it for him. He fumbled some more through my passports. Eventually I tired of this and asked her “Where is the Immigration office on the second floor?”

She said “in there” and pointed to a door at the back of the room.

“Great” I said. “I will go in there.”

After another brief discussion in Thai with the man, she said, “you can’t”

“What do you mean I cannot. The people on the fourth floor sent me here.” I was clearly getting upset my voice was rising.

They spoke again briefly, then the woman said come with me and took me back into the main hall, vaguely pointed toward the opposite wall and said, “Ask at information counter over there.”
TODAY’S QUOTE:

David_Frum

TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Tuckahoe

Note: those interested in back issues of This and that…. they can be found at: josephpetrillo.wordpress.com

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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