July 2010 through September 2010

Third quarter 2010

This and that from re Thai r ment. September 6, 2010

Today’s factoid:
Thailand-based Flexoresearch Group has developed a method of extracting pulp fibers from laminated paper products, which are difficult materials to recycle. The process conserves virgin pulp and reduces toxic wastes. The reclaimed pulp is used to make paper, building materials and vehicle brake pads. (Do you really want your brakes made from virgin pulp? Only in Thailand.)

Today’s Quote:
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly — it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”
Joseph Goebbels. (For example, “Fair and Balanced”.)

Today’s news from Thailand:
The Thai army numbering just a few hundred thousand soldiers and that so far as I know has almost never fought a foreign war has 550 generals while the US a country that has been at war almost constantly for the past 100 years with an army of about 1.5 million has 302 generals. (Does this mean the Thai military is top-heavy and rife with corruption and nepotism or that the US has too few generals to keep us out of war?)

Pookie the Invincible’s update:
I have not written for about a week because I have been in Bangkok discharging my baby sitting responsibilities. The care and feeding of a hyperactive 5-year-old left this 70-year-old too exhausted for much else. I was called to duty by SWAC because she claimed to be too busy packing for their departure to be able to also mind the effervescent creature that is also her son.

They finally departed for the US last night, Sacramento California I believe. I have returned to Paradise by the Sea to rest and recuperate.

I can look at their departure as either the end of a story, except perhaps for an epilogue, postscript or even an afterword written by someone else, or as simply another chapter in the Hayden-Pookie melodrama. Or, in the immortal words of the divine Sarahpalin, “I didn’t really had a good answer, as so often — is me.”

Meanwhile I must make a decision regarding my residence since my lease is up this month. I have to decide between the lonely rich widow, the poor but good-hearted masseuse or something else equally irresponsible and self-indulgent. Should I remain here in Paradise by the Sea close to the sybaritic capital of South-east Asia or move to Chiang Mai or out of Thailand entirely, perhaps to a beach villa in Ghana or summer in the leaky old boat in Maine and winter in a leaky old boat in say the Bahamas or travel off to El Petrillo in Ecuador where, through the generosity of my correspondents and friends, I now have a wealth of information or take a nap and by doing so blissfully escape this sea of choices? To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay there’s the little nubbin. How much better it is to drift in dreamland and awake with the decisions made by fate than actually take responsibility for one’s own mistakes. (My thank-you’s to Shakespeare and Sarahpalin.)

But first I have to look into the state of my health. In my past emails the only medical problems I mentioned were bouts of depression, mild colds and breathing difficulties due to the air pollution occasioned by the burning of the rice fields in Chiang Mai, but in the last few weeks I have been generally exhausted, suffering multiple joint pains and one or two increasing discomforts of the aging male that I will not go into. Even my naps have become more of a necessity than an eccentricity. I always looked at myself a somewhat robust if overweight and out of shape, but now when I look into the mirror I still see the overweight, out of shape guy but he appears to me to be becoming frail. I do not know if it was due to the exertions of caring for a rambunctious 5-year-old or not. The first thing I need today is a nap, then it is time for my annual check-up anyway.



A note added to the above September 6 post:

For those of you who wrote to me requesting more information regarding Phattalung, I am sending along this blurry satellite photo of Pan Tae, the village outside of Phattalung where the events described in my prior email took place.

Pan Tae is a Village (Muban) and an administrative organization (Tambon) of about 6000 people located in the district (Amphoe) of Khuan Khanun (also the central market town) in the Provence of Phattalung, Thailand.

The grayish/brownish/greenish larger areas generally are rice paddies. The denser green areas are either rubber trees or jungle. The gleaming white structures are houses with corrugated tin roofs that reflect the sunlight. The village temple is located in the sort of brownish spot along the road just above the little temple symbol.

My house can be found along the road at the top of the photo. It is the large grayish structure on the south of the road just to the right of the large grey brown mass. To the left of the large grey brown mass is a white blob. That is the house of the mayor who was shot and killed by someone standing in the trees across the road. As I mentioned in that prior email I was residing in the house that night and attended the funeral a few days later.

Natalie’s father mother and sister live in a small compound of two houses located in the small grey mass just north of the Temple on the inland side of the road on the right of the photo. Across the street is the soup shop.

Directly adjacent to my house between in it and the brown mass is a mostly unpaved road. It passes between three white spots identifying tin roofed buildings. The southern most of which to the left of the road is the house that Natalie says is where she used to take refuge to escape her father’s beatings.

Just south of that house, also on the left side of the barely visible road is a grayish greenish area with what looks to be a large black rectangle in its midst. That is the compound in which lived:

The poor kids, in the small white spot just above the black area.
The brother (in the grey area just to the left of the black). He was killed while peeing in the black area (a cleared gravel space between the buildings). He left a wife and three children who still live in the house (Except for the oldest child [Faun] who lives in Bangkok at the bar and goes to school in the city).
In the bright while spot to the bottom of the black,the brother-in-law, husband to the wife, Natalie’s older sister who allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree behind the house. He murdered the brother and about 5 other people we know about. He still lives in that house and vows to kill the rest of the family someday.

Further to the south is Hobbiton and to the north is Hogwarts.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 27, 2010

Today’s Factoid:
1959 Danny’s Coffee Shops are renamed Denny’s. (How’s that for an example of marketing genius?)

Todays quote:
Last night I could not sleep, haunted by thoughts of Sarah Palin and Shakespeare. In the morning I realized, (I am sure much to the surprise and chagrin of my progressive and liberal friends) that Sarah, that aging beauty contestant and part-time elected official, deserved to be added to my list of great American philosophers along with Scarlett O’Hara and Rosanna Rosanna Dana. Sarahpalin (I shall hereafter call her Sarahpalin from now on since Shakespeare was originally two words and if that was good enough for those Elizabethan worthies than it should be good enough for our Sarah.)

Anyway I thought that it would be appropriate to demonstrate her wisdom in the quote I sent to you in my last email by demonstrating how the Bard himself may have used Sarahpalin’s neologisms.

To be or not to be wee-wee’d up — that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, refudiate them.
To die, to sleep,
To sleep perchance to misunderestimate.
Ay there’s the rub

Rub that you refudiating, wee wee’d up, misunderestimating, liberal pooh-pooh heads (that last provided by Hayden). Or in her own words: “I’m not politically correct. I am not one to be a word police,” — Fox interview with Chris Wallace Feb. 7 , 2010.

(You may be pleased to know that this section is driving my spell check crazy)

Today’s Thailand News:
There is a big debate going on in the Thai legislature regarding the Thai military budget. Since the Thai military’s function appears to be domestic security in competition with the police and not dealing with foreign threats, one can assume that the debate is not about national defense but a continuing subset of the political conflict between the red and yellow shirts. This of course is not like in an advanced country such as the United States where failure of military contractors to achieve their annual profit goals could seriously impact our domestic tranquility.

As for my life here in Paradise by the Sea my lease is up at the end of September and my landlord would like me to tell him this week if I plan to extend it. This decision has just become more complicated. Within the past two days SWAC introduced me to Madame something or other who has a 4 story town house under renovation here in PbyS but much closer to the Outskirts of Hell (more like the suburbs of Purgatory). She would lease the house to me at the same rent I am paying for my studio in at Paradise Condominiums. She would maintain a bedroom for her use whenever she visits here.

According to SWAC, Madame is the widow of a Thai general who was also Prime Minister during a short-lived coup who died suddenly two years ago leaving her with one billion baht (This all was related to me by SWAC so you can make up your own mind as to its veracity)

Anyway, at dinner Madame broke down and cried and told us all that she does that often now because she misses her husband so much and has not had a man in her bed since he died.

In a normal blog at this point one would have a poll so that the readers could vote on whether I should re-up my lease or take the new offer. However, since this email only goes out to my closest and dearest friends I turn to you for advice. Should I or shouldn’t I? What’s the worst that could happen?

I also have two other options. I could move back to Chiang Mai where the living is less expensive and I have a real social life beyond the Wednesday BBQ’s, Soi Six and weekly massage that is the sum total of my social life here in Paradise by the Sea.

Or I could move out of Thailand altogether and into another low-cost jurisdiction like Ghana, or El Petrillo, Ecuador (it’s a real place. Look it up) or, as has been suggested to me recently, to the state of Maine where I could live on an old wooden boat and in the Maine winter benefit from free Cryogenics and be frozen solid until science discovers why I do what I do or why I wrote this.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and That from re Thai r ment. August 26, 2010

Today’s factoid:
800 AD Africa is using coffee beans for various purposes but it is not yet consumed as a beverage. (OK, what else can one use coffee beans for? Simulated rabbit droppings is one, any others?)

Today’s Quote:

“‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

—Sarah Palin, Tweet, July 18, 2010. (Was Shakespeare “wee-wee’d up” when he wrote his plays or was it one of the other guys?)

Today’s news from Thailand:
Since January when I arrived here intending to retire to a “low-cost jurisdiction” the dollar has declined against the baht by over 7%. Since its high point about a decade ago it has declined more than 30%. I soon may have to move on to another “low-cost jurisdiction,” maybe to the United States.

Thailand Report:
When last I wrote, I had dropped Hayden off in Bangkok, returned to Paradise by the Sea to await the call to return to BKK and take him on to PbyS which came one day later. He and I set off together to travel from BKK back to PbyS by bus. Upon our arrival at the bus station in the outskirts of hell we needed to take a songtheuw from the OofH to Pbys.

A songtheuw is a Thai transit vehicle that consists of a pick up truck with a roof over the bed and open sides that the passengers access from the back and sit on two benches facing each other. At the Bus station the songtheuw drivers try to pack between 12 to 15 souls (you pay extra if you want to bring along your body) into the vehicle. Since we leave from the bus station, the driver departs from his regular route and travels through the back streets just beyond the gates of hell to drop the passengers at their various hotels.

After one such stop the driver surprisingly turned into a small side street. This was Soi Six, a street somewhat closer to the Gates of Hell than the center of town. Soi Six is about 200 yards or so long and quite narrow. It is lined on both sides by what in another context could have been referred to as pleasure palaces but in this case as more like a pleasure fast food court. Although it was only mid-afternoon the ladies of the evening were getting an early start and the shouted and waved at us as we passed. Hayden then turned to me and said, “Pooky (My name in Hayden talk) are they all your friends?”

The giggles and guffaws of the other passengers followed me for the remainder of our trip. And since my condo in Paradise is at the end of the route all the other passengers exited before me, departing with what I believe they thought were humorous comments to me. Luckily none of them spoke english (although they all clearly understood it) but commented variously in Russian, Korean, Japanese, Thai, German and Australian. (I could not understand this last one either.)

Anyway, for the next 4 days, I got to vicariously experience what single parenthood is like, something no seventy year old should attempt without counseling. For the first time when he departed to return to his mom, ultimately to at least temporarily pass out of my life, it was not with a feeling of sadness, but of the overwhelming need for a nap.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 19, 2010

Today’s Factoid:
1521 Martin Luther appears at the Roman Catholic Assembly, the Diet of Worms. (This tidbit appears in a list entitled “A Timeline of Culinary History.”)

Today’s Quote:
“I don’t know if I should Buenos Aires or Bonjour, or… this is such a melting pot. This is beautiful. I love the diversity. Yeah. There were a whole bunch of guys named Tony in the photo line, I know that.”
–Sarah Palin, Addressing a Charity of Hope gathering, Hamilton, Ontario, April 15, 2010. (Huh?).

Today’s Thailand news:
In the Bangkok Post today there appeared in the Letters to the Editor the following comment about the Thai Justice system: “A few utters in the Aug 17 edition say it all. On a day when the red shirt leaders were brought to court in leg irons and chains, [and] a lady aged 28 was jailed for 3-1/2 years for forging a document, a PAD (one of the Parties in the current ruling coalition) leader got a suspended sentence after being found guilty of the attempted murder of 5 policeman. ”

Today’s email from Thailand departs from my usual reports about my doings in this Paradise with mosquitos:

As most of you know for some time now I have exchanged emails with my cousin in spirit, Irwin. (In fact I seem to recall a forwarded prior email exchange that Irwin feared that he would be considered a misogynist. I assured him at the time that he needn’t worry women already know that most men are misogynists. If we weren’t we would be…well we would be women.) The correspondence between Irwin and I, usually covers serious topics such as “Prostate care for the elderly Male,” “Menstruation in Jewish Theology,” “The Role of Orange County as a Center of Art and Culture in the United States,” and my favorite, “Stilettos I have known and loved.” Our correspondence is being collected and will be published as “The Ashkenazi-Sicilian Correspondence.”

It may interest you to know that the Ashkenazi Jews and the Sicilians share a common ancestor, one of the fabled “Nine Daughters of Eve” named “Katrine.” Our common ancestor lived about 15,000 to 25,000 years ago in an area just north of modern Venice and south of the eastern alpine passes. It can be surmised from the fact that Katrine lived along one of the major travel routes of the time and from the robustness and intelligence of he progeny, that she plied the trade of entertaining male travelers after their frigid crossings of the mountains and that business was very good for her. It has been said by some that the famous “Ice man of the Alps” was on his way to spend the evening with that fabled beauty before he met his untimely end. I doubt that, since our suitor was born about 10,000 years too late. On the other hand the quality of the services of our fabled ancestor were legendary and legends like that die hard, especially among men.

Anyway, Irwin’s full name is Irwin Schatzman (My spell check always tries to rewrite it as “Statesman.” Some people have all the luck, it tries to rewrite my name as “petroleum.”) Irwin always wanted to become an opera singer but could never gain the weight. He also wanted to become a comedy writer but unfortunately he is Jewish and that position is already taken.

Like me, Irwin was in the land use racket, first as a planner then as a developer and a lobbyist. He is my age more or less but has less hair on his head then I do. He recently admitted to me he has fewer teeth as well. I on the other hand am far further along on the road to senility than he is.

Irwin suffers from anxiety because he is Jewish and fears that someone will mistake him for Norwegian. As a result he has sought professional help and has been prescribed medications. That prompted the following is a recent communication between him and his doctor that cc’d to me and my response thereto.

“Sent: 8/13/2010 2:14 PM
To: Office of D_____ R_______ C_______ MD
Subject: buspirone busted

doc drc:

i think i’ve presided over a fair trial for mr. buspirone. Now, i am convicting him for fraudulent promise. Evidence suggests that even with two tabs two times a day, panic attacks, including one today on the 405, are still occurring. Without tabs Tuesday morning’s cataract surgery was accomplished sans blood pressure, panic nor even the breaking of a tiny sweat.

Unless i receive other counsel from you, I am sentencing mr. buspirone (is he italian?) to immediate execution by trash receptacle – I have elected to use confinement in the brown “other trash” receptacle thus not providing a sense of hope which might be implied by placement in the “blue” recyclables container.

Unless there is an anxiety drug that actually works well on a hyper-vigilant old jew, i shall stick with one-half of occasional xanax before embarking on California’s gift to the justice system (except at rush hour) aka the 405.



His Doctor D____R____C____ MD responded:

“Executioner’s song understood.
AKA – okay to can the buspirone if not helpful.”

After receiving copies of the correspondence, I wrote Irwin the following:

“Your doctor uses three names. You, of course, know that most serial killers use three names.”

(Note to all: If he says his name is Bobby Dork, then you know he is what he says he is. If, however, he introduces himself as Bobby Stanley Dork, run.)


“When I lived in Sicily, the Buspirone’s lived next door to me. Mr. Buspirone was always giving Mrs. Buspirone anxiety attacks. So, when Mr Buspirone would leave for work in the morning she would take two large doses of petrillo to help her through the day.”


It is important that you send this on to your five best friends or five worst enemies within the next three days and 43 minutes. If you do not and you are a male you will be immediately and suddenly circumcised and if you already are circumcised, your foreskin will grow back. If you are a women and do not forward this within the allotted time, you will be added to the mailing list for Irwin’s blog “OY1.”

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 18, 1012

Today’s Factoid:
12,000 BC Wild grasses are harvested by the Natufians in the Levant. (If you ate wild grasses you would be Natufian also.)

Today’s Quote:
“I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.”
Ronald Reagan

Today’s Thailand economic report:
N learned from her father that the price of latex produced from the rubber trees on their properties has hit 105 baht (about $3) a Kilo. It used to hover between 30 and 50 baht for many years. Either the use of condoms (one of the primary uses for the Thai rubber crop) has skyrocketed as a result of the recession (what else are you going to do if you don’t have a job) or the world-wide prices of natural resources are escalating as predicted or the Thai government has increased price supports as one of their economic stimulus measures or something else again.

This morning (August 16) we left the South and returned to BKK. I have returned to Jomtien Beach for a day or two while Hayden attends to some dental appointments. I have been told that he then may come to Jomtien Beach (Paradise by the Sea) to stay at my condo until he and his mother depart to wherever by the end of the month.

Among the things that I will fondly remember from my short trip to the South, occurred yesterday when Kuhn Pa and I (neither of whom speaks the other’s language) attempted to bond. He invited me to join with him sitting on a mat he had laid on the grass in the shade of some trees in the front yard. I did and we sat there together smiling at one another for a while. Then he showed me his heart medicine. I in turn showed him a bottle of my mosquito repellant. We both nodded and smiled at each other and for the next hour or so we sat there together in companionable silence. I enjoyed sitting there. It was cool enough and I could smell the earth and the grass as I contemplated the billows of differentiated biomass that rose above the house and garden like clouds into the blue sky.

I also liked to watch from my balcony the children playing below. There were usually between six to ten of them ranging in age from about four to sixteen. While most were related to Hayden in one way or another, one omnipresent group was referred to by Natalie as the “poor” kids.

It seems that several years ago N.’s now deceased grandmother gave to a local indigent woman a house (one of the traditional Thai wooden cottages on stilts) on the family property to live in. The women promptly began producing progeny (about eight in all) from various unknown fathers. The children have grown up well and into a close-knit group. One of the children is a Down’s Syndrome child who actively participates in all the games. Every once in a while he will stop playing look up at me and smile and wave. He is the only one who does.

Todays photograph:

The photograph attached below I have named “Thailand Gothic.” Pictured from left to right: Someone I do not know who was introduced to me as an uncle and drove the truck with us in it to the airport. Next to him is someone else I do not know but suspect is the father of the uncle; next we have Kuhn Pa anxiously awaiting his heart surgery in a few days; finally on the far right is Kuhn Pa’s wife and mother of the clan, she of the deadly broom.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 17 2010

Today’s Factoid:
1978 A 55 foot long, two ton squid was caught in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland, the largest ever caught. (What was the name of that bay again?)

Today’s Quote:
“What luck for the rulers that men do not think.”
Adolf Hitler quotes (German Chancellor, leader of the Nazi party, 1889-1945)

Today’s correction:
It has been pointed our to me that Jefferson’s below the stairs amatory interest’s first name was Sally not Sarah. Pity, I always liked the name Sarah

Today’s report:
It is my second full day (August 15) in Thailand’s south (Southern Paradise?).

Some of you may wonder how I got here since my the last email before the loss of internet service in the wilds of Southern Thailand intervened did not indicate and plans for an immediate journey. Others may be concerned for my safety during my sojourn in the land of muslim uprisings and warring clans. I address both of these below.

In my last report in the Hayden and Joey (or Pookie as I am now referred to) saga (melodrama), we were anxiously awaiting the Mother’s Day celebration at Hayden’s school when it was assumed that SWAC would sweep in, gather up the boy and depart for places unknown. Of course, I should have known that the immutable rules of life that make living for at least one more day so interesting and exciting,( “Tomorrow is another day” and “it’s always something” first enunciated by those great American sages Scarlett O’Hara and Rosanna Rosanna Dana), would come into play.

Mother’s Day arrived at the happiest place on earth (yes, even more so than Disneyland) Sunshine kindergarten and the children began their performances for their mothers and other doting family and friends. SWAC with some friends from Italy arrived late but in time for Hayden’s class’ successful performance of Ce Cera Cera (?) and another song whose name I do not recall.

Following the performance the Italian guests left and Hayden came up to me and announced that SWAC would like to talk to me again and asked if I would like to accompany them on their trip to the South to spend a few days with SWAC’s father before his angioplasty. With the O’Hara-Rossanna Dana proscriptions ringing in my head , I agreed. So, after saying my good-bye’s to Choti, Gerry, Leo and Grandma, I followed them to Bangkok on a later plane. During the flight I tried to figure out what this change of heart was all about. Was my contract as babysitter/nanny being extended or was I being lured to the South to my imprisonment or death?

Anyway, we spent two days in BKK during which Hayden and I saw “Toy Story 3” in IMAX 3d. The next day we departed for the Airport and flew to Trang, a city on the lovely Andaman Sea. There we were met by a brother-in-law named “Cookie” and we all piled into his pick-up truck for the ride over the mountains to Phattalung the provincial capital of the province of the same name. We skirted the city and drove into the jungle, passing through a little market town servicing the villages and hamlets surrounding it (Kuan Kukanon I think it is called). Ultimately we arrived safe and sound at this remote jungle hamlet whose name I always forget. I still do not know why I am here but in any event this morning I have been told that tomorrow morning we will depart again for BKK a full three days prior to Kuhn Pa (Phonetic spelling) entering the hospital for what turns out to be an angioplasty and triple by-pass surgery.

As for my safety, although I am quite familiar with the Sicilian way of Vendetta, I have no understanding of the Thai rules of clan warfare.

For those with some interest in the matter, in Sicily death by Mafia was limited to ones direct relationship to the Honorable Society. The rule was simple, cross them and you die. Vendetta on the other hand applied to all of Sicilian society.

Here is how it worked. If someone kills or otherwise seriously injures a member of a family, then the oldest male of the injured family was obligated to kill the miscreant and revenge the family’s honor even if he only remotely was acquainted with the deceased or injured family member or even did not know him at all. Then of course the oldest male of the now deceased miscreant was obliged to repay that favor in kind. And, so it went until all the male members of one of the families were dead. Woe to the family with few sons.

As a result of this mayhem, in the early part of the twentieth century the Sicilian population had been reduced 10% or more as a result of the ravages of the Vendetta. In fact, much of the emigration from Sicily during the first half of the twentieth century was not the result of economic deprivation but Sicilian males attempting to flee the Vendetta.

As for here in Phattalung, we are too far north to be affected by the current muslim separatist movement. However during the late unlamented Vietnam War the violence did reach this far north. At that time the fathers of the current rebels were called Communists and not Muslim Terrorists as they are referred to today.

At the time Kuhn Pa was the Mayor and Police Chief of the Hamlet, a member of a local prominent military family and reputed head of a death squad. SWAC has told me about the time when she was a little girl leaving the house to go to school only to see a severed head on a pole in her front yard leering at her. She tells of another time when during the night their compound was attacked by a band of rebels and while her father hid in the bedroom in terror, her mother grabbed a broom and ran out into the yard and sent the attackers fleeing. Then there was the time a younger female member of the family was sexually attacked by four of five young men. The wrongdoers were tracked down and dispatched one by one.

One evening six or seven years ago, while I was sitting where I sit now writing this, about fifty yards from here, Kuhn Pa’s successor as Mayor and Police chief was called out of his house to meet someone and was shot by an assassin hiding in the trees across the road.

During most of my visits here in the past, Suvit, SWAC’s brother would, with his gun ready, periodically patrol the perimeter of this house. Eventually he became the chief of police and was in turn killed by his brother-in-law while taking a pee in the bushes outside his house. The Brother-in-law, who was a one time mayor, had already killed five other people and was reputed to be a distant relation of the family competing for political dominance in this place. The killer remains free and living in his house about 100 yards from here. He has threatened to kill the rest of the family (his wife SWAC’s sister died under mysterious circumstances that was nonetheless ruled a suicide). Kuhn Pa’s heart problems are blamed by the family to be caused by his anxiety over these more recent events.

Other than that I feel perfectly safe. Anyway we are leaving tomorrow.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and rhat from re Thai r ment. August 16, 2010

Today’s Factoid:
In 1789 Thomas Jefferson returns to the United States with the first pasta maker in America after serving as the American Ambassador to France. Among his lesser accomplishments were drafting the Declaration of Independence, serving as the third President of the United States and sleeping with his slave Sarah Hemming. What a man!

Today’s Quote:
In keeping with the Jeffersonian theme:
“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
Thomas Jefferson

I do not know when and if this email will get to you since the remote Thai village in the deep south of Thailand where I write this lacks , as far as I know, internet “hot spots” (today is Saturday August 14). I write this sitting where I can usually be found whenever I am residing here, on the front balcony of the house I had built here almost a decade ago. Today,s photograph shows the house as it appears now, taken from across the road. The balcony I mentioned sits prominently in the center of the photograph on the second floor of the house.

I have not visited the house and the village for about four of five years or more. The fruit trees I had planted, Durian, Jackfruit, Papaya, Mango and others are almost full grown now and their foliage obscures the ground from where I am sitting and the large “Sala” I had constructed at the end of the property has disappeared into the gloom of the shadows from the surrounding trees. The tall coconut palms that existed on the property when the house was built appear even taller than I remember and drop into the yard gigantic coconuts whose protective husks lying on the ground appear to be at least a foot to eighteen inches in diameter.

One of the most pleasant sights from my balcony eyrie always has been the butterflies that flutter from flower to flower in the front yard below me. I have not seen yet any of the large blue butterflies whose wingspan reaches almost four inches, but there are plenty of others. My favorite is the large one with deep black wings and yellow dots and stripes on them.

Looking across the road from where I sit, the traditional wooden houses on stilts have been replaced by modern cement walled bungalows. The “Sala” along side of the road in which the local basket maker used to sit constructing his wares by hand is gone. It has been replaced by another small “Sala” where the family across the street displays butchered meat for the vendor’s with their motor bike fitted carts to come by and pick up the day’s inventory for sale. Today’s second photograph shows the “Sala” and a vendor loading up his cart.

Just now a young man walked by driving a few of the humped back cattle along the road to feed on the stubble of the rice paddies surrounding the village.

This morning, while Hayden and about six or seven other children screamed and chased each other around in the yard below me, N scurried around from the Buddha shrine in the house to the Spirit house in the garden laying out the fruit, vegetable incense and candle offerings to the Buddha (He eats better than we do) and saying a brief prayer.

Suddenly with a flourish of parasols, plastic bags of food and flowers for the Buddha, the children and adults all scrambled, onto several motorbikes, two or three to each vehicle and roared off to the Temple for more praying and offering.

Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 10, 2010

Daily quote:
“In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.”
Thomas Jefferson

Daily Factoid:
1444 Bavarian merchants discovered selling adulterated saffron are burned alive. (I bet you thought that was reserved for witches and heretics)

Daily correction:
After further research regarding the recently deceased nun that I commented upon it my last email, I have discovered the incident took place in the soon to secede State of Virginia and not in New Jersey. My apologies to the Garden State. The driver was indeed someone here illegally, a Latin American brought here by his parents when he was only about three years old. He grew up here and was educated in the United States. He is employed and is an alcoholic who has been cited for DUI two times before. The INS had him in custody following the previous infractions and released him pending investigation of his status. Everything else however is correct. I am not Fox News. I sometimes acknowledge my mistakes. Sometimes I don’t, but then I don’t claim to be “fair and balanced” either.

Daily Weather Report:
It is the monsoon season here in Thailand. In this happy valley, most days feature cumulus mountains white and black on the horizon and a dark grey sheet of clouds directly overhead with blue sky in between. Then, in the evenings or at night it rains. The air is hot and muggy but thankfully the horrible air pollution that almost did me in in March is gone. The heavy monsoon rains were late this year. If they do not come much heavier in the time remaining for the season, the multi-year drought will continue. I surmise the impact of climate change has displaced the monsoon westward (more for Pakistan and less for SE Asia).

Daily Status Report:
My room here is also the habitation of several wall lizards. I find them pleasant company but not very good conversationalist. I will leave here on Thursday. I shall miss them.

Daily Political Report:
Thailand is in a pissing match with their neighbor Cambodia over a few acres of land I suspect neither knew they owned nor cared about. Then Cambodia realized that the land in question contained a temple built during its years of empire when Cambodia ment something in South East Asia instead of a bombing run, killing field or playground for pedophiles. Cambodia claimed the land upon which the temple sits and asked the UN to declare it a World Heritage Site. Both sides have threatened war to defend their sacred honor and patrimony. The World Court found that the land upon which the temple sits is in Cambodia, but Thailand still claims that the surrounding land is theirs and that by constructing a road to access the long forgotten historical site, Cambodia is infringing upon sovereign Thai lands. Meanwhile a group calling itself the Patriotic something or other has been pressuring the government to assert strongly Thailand’s claim. I do not know if the Patriots are allied with the Red or the Yellow shirts or have a color all their own. Stay tuned.

Daily Hayden Report:
Today, while he was having his after school ice cream, he asked me if I was rich. I told him that I had some money once but that it is mostly gone now but I always hope I will have some again. “Why do you ask?”, I inquired. “Because I would like you to be rich again,” he responded.

Daily Photographs:
The first is a picture of my condominium building taken from the beach at Paradise by the Sea Two Miles from the Outskirts of Hell. The Restaurant, Cafe del Mar at which I usually eat my breakfast and write these emails is the orange roofed building directly behind and above the umbrellas.

The second picture is of Hayden under his umbrella. It is his favorite photograph.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. August 9, 2010

Today’s quote:
“If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?”
Thomas Jefferson

Today’s factoid: The Book of Genesis recommends anise seed as a cure for cholera and plague (and God gets it wrong once again).

I remain in Paradise in the Mountains for a few days more. On Wednesday, August 11 the school is having a mother’s day celebration (it is Mother’s Day in Thailand) at which the students put on performances thanking their mothers. Hayden’s mom is traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai that day to remove him from school, in order to take him to her family’s home in South Thailand for a week or so prior to their departure for the US.

I plan to leave for Paradise by the Sea the day after he is gone and resume my life there for a while and try to decide whether to remain in Jomtien Beach, resettle in Chiang Mai or travel for a while. I am sure I will choose the path of least resistance and greatest foolishness.

Given my pre-occupation with Hayden’s welfare I have not been able to spend much time writing anything, although while suffering a severe case of indigestion and diarrhea, I wrote a Diary for the left-wing blog I write for about the potential extinction of the human race. I offer no apology.

Recently, I read in the internet news that in New Jersey or some foreign place like that, that there is a building fury over the fact that a nun was run over and killed by a drunken driver who was “here illegally.” Apparently the killing of a nun by a drunken citizen is not so serious. Is someone “here illegally” an “illegal alien” or was it someone who overstayed their student or tourist visa? Was the drunk black or Mexican? Why would a Mexican spend all the effort of swimming across the Rio Grande and dodging the bullets of the patriotic citizen border militias (not to mention crazed sheriffs) just to get to New Jersey? Is he a “here illegally” and not an “illegal alien” because he was Canadian, or Russian or Irish or some other breeding ground of violence and rapacity like that. Maybe he was an Israeli. Crap what do we do then? No, after thinking it over he must have been an Arab on his way to blow up something. (is there anything to blow up in New Jersey or was he just passing through on the way to New York or Washington DC?) If he was an Arab that would be great then we would have a to-fer an illegal alien and a terrorist. We could have a trifecta if he also was working on the ground zero Mosque. Wouldn’t that be wonderful, then we could blame it all on Hussein Obama?


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. July 31, 2010

Daily Factoid: 1973 Vodka sales beat out whiskey sales in the United States for the first time. (And signaled the beginning or the end of life in as America as we knew it)

Daily Quote:
“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.”
Abraham Lincoln

Daily correction: In order to resolve the issue surrounding the real meaning of the nick-name “Boy” given to a Thai acquaintance, a few nights ago exhibiting by insensitivity to the Thai custom of avoiding questions that may embarrass either party, at dinner with him I asked him directly what his name meant in english. He said it means the same as it does in english. Mystery solved in part.

I am writing this from Chiang Mai (Paradise in the Mountains) where I am residing for a few weeks until in early September when his mother takes Hayden with her to the US or Italy or wherever. After arriving here yesterday afternoon and dropping off my luggage, I went to the school to pick up Hayden and his friend Leo. School had not let out yet so I passed the time talking with Choti, the school principal.

Eventually the children, all dressed in their Friday orange ”traditional” shirt (on other days they wear a european type school uniform, a yellow shirt for the king on another day and anything they wanted on another) came tumbling out of the classrooms, the two and three-year olds toddling every which way into the play yard. The four-year olds all in line, one hand on the book-pack of the child in front and the other holding a small umbrella came next and marched to the small tables sent up for their mid afternoon milk, cookie and fruit snack. Finally the five-year olds from the second floor came running and shouting down the stairs and into the play-yard after quickly devouring their snacks.

Hayden and Leo were with these latter. We then went for ice cream with Gerry to a nearby temple that was first constructed in the 7th century and restored in the 1990s. There is a gigantic sitting Buddha at least 40 feet tall at the site. We later went with Choti to a restaurant for dinner and the monsoon rains thundered down as we ate.

The monsoon storms mostly bypass Jomtien Beach (Paradise by the Sea, two miles from the Gates of Hell). I sometimes watch them off in the distance as they, all angry clouds and sparkly lightning, pass to the West on the storm track up the Bay of Thailand to Bangkok and then on to Chiang Mai and points north. When they arrive in CM in the evenings they usually suddenly shed their water seeming almost all at once, more like God flushing his toilet than rain and they usually last an hour or so.

With the departure of what passes for spring here, the floral exuberance in World Club Land (where I am now) is replaced with the deep green of untended grasses going to seed in the many empty lots in the subdivision that intersperses the what for the most part would be considered mansions that dot the landscape. The grassy expanses teem with Thai suburban fauna, snakes (Cobras?), rodents (rats and mice mostly.Alas no squirrels or chipmunks ), poisonous insects and those less so and birds. I have seen what appears to be egrets fishing in the canal/drainage ditches that criss-cross the subdivision. The most common bird I see during the day is one that looks a lot like a skinny pigeon with white markings on its wings and spade shaped tail feathers. In the evenings, what appears to fill the niches in the West by swifts, swallows and starlings come out to gorge themselves on the abundant mosquito and other insect populations, followed by the bats as the sun goes down.


Categories: July 2010 through September 2010 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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