October 2012 through December 2012

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Pepe 0001 (November 2, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

So after lunch with my mom, sister and her husband at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park, I returned to El Dorado Hills.

I was wrong about the arrival of winter last week. The weather in Sacramento has turned balmy again.

Since I have returned to California I have noticed a substantial change in Hayden. He appears happier and his insecurity and fear diminished; replaced by a certain degree of confidence and assertiveness I had not noticed before.

I on the other hand have experienced a sudden decline in almost everything; vision and hearing, strength and endurance. Perhaps it is temporary and will pass. In the past during my bouts with depression and its physical effects, I have always been able to convince myself they would soon be gone. Now I feel like a specter or ghost watching life go on around me through an ever darkening scrim, unable to do anything about it until I eventually disappear into the wherever or whatever; something like the ineffectual angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I wonder if I will get my wings after it is all over. (This last is an allusion understandable only by those over 70 years old.)

After finishing Sheldon’s book and being in the mood to read more in the Jewish policeman genre, I began Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.” It is a novel of dazzling style and inventiveness but lacking a soul. I much prefer Sheldon’s relentless humane optimism to Chabon’s unrelieved cynicism.

I like William Kotzwinkle however. He is an incurable optimist like Sheldon. He wrote “ET.” I do not think he was all that proud of it. But hell, it’s a living.

Like Chabon he could unleash the literary pyrotechnics. In one book, he was able to fill an entire chapter with the single word, “dorky.” Dorky repeated 400 times a page for the 10 pages of the chapter, 4000 dorkys (or is it dorkies?) in all. And this was while everyone was still using word processors.

Chabon, were he the one writing the same chapter after about the first hundred or so dorkys would probably write something like, “Shit, if I have to write dorky one more time, I going to plunge a zhmenye of cyanide up my tokhes” or something like that. Like I said Chabon is a real stylist.

To Kotzwinkle’s character, however, Dorky Day was the day he looked forward to. It was the day he said nothing except dorky. It was his favorite day, better even that Christmas or Passover or even Presidents day.

Speaking of President’s Day, what’s that all about? Why did we change from honoring two of our greatest presidents, one who wore wooden false teeth and liked riding his horses almost as well as sleeping with his slaves and the other who had a glandular dysfunction and was always hearing voices in his head, to honoring them all, even the non-entities and borderline loonys? Do we really want to honor, Chester A. Arthur, George Bush or James Buchanan at the same time as we honor Washington and Lincoln?

Buchanan by the way was our first openly gay president. He was called “Miss Nancy” by his political enemies and affectionately “Aunt Fancy” by his friends.

Miss Nancy was born on April 23rd. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for that to be the day to celebrate gay freedom, or better yet marriage equality day? April 23 is celebrated in England as Shakespeare’s Day. It is also the feast day of St. Adalbert of Prague, National Book Day in Canada and English Language Day in the UN. Unfortunately, I do not know the actual date of Dorky Day, but April 23 would be as good as any.

While I am at it and since I have little to do for most of the day except sit around the coffee-house and fool with my computer writing messages to myself like this,… why do the self-proclaimed serious literary critics appear to so often look down on “genre” fiction? Why do we so often consider the literary pyrotechnics of the borderline depressive, even a humorous one, serious literature while gentle optimism is dismissed as superficial? I am sure Ruth knows. She seems to understand these things.

Is it simply the strictures of plot required of genre fiction somehow make it more artificial than the meanderings through the minutia of life of much of modern “serious” fiction, even if that minutia is outside anyone’s experience, or beggars credulity? I mean, have you read “War in Peace?” Do your really give a shit about Pierre or Prince Andrei? As for other characters in the serious literary pantheon, most were despicable. Roskolnikov, Ahab and even Achilles were assholes. You can add Heathcliff to that list and don’t even mention Dorian Grey. OK, I admit Jane Eyre has something to recommend her, but talk about missing the obvious…. Did the reprobates that peopled Faulkner or Williams’ novels really do anything for you. The characters dreamed up by Elmo Leonard or Carl Hiaasan probably appear just as real, perhaps even more so, to most of us.

If one reads at all, by all means, one should read the classics and as much so-called serious fiction as he or she can digest but not too much. It can give one gas.

Nevertheless one should also read those authors not cursed with seriousness. Authors like Leonard, Hiaasion, Siegel, Weber (the Honor Harrington books the rest of his books suck), Terry Pratchett, Nora Roberts and on and on; even Danielle Steel (well maybe not her). There are thousands and thousands of people out there writing fiction. Even if they have little to say, they say something.

IMG_20150202_102913_390

Elmo Leonard’s tips on writing fiction.

Alas, in the age of u-tube and instant communication among perfect strangers, most of whom appear quite willing to spew out the most intimate and often embarrassing details of their lives, who needs fiction anymore? Maybe we are all becoming ghosts, viewing life through a LED display in a darkened room or an internet café somewhere.

Even that may be a passing fad. Given the amount of time we spend on our computers or smart phones socializing and collaborating or whatever, who has the time any more to take a video of oneself trying to jump off a roof into a tea-cup? Will future generations feature prehensile pinkies and double jointed thumbs?

Stay tuned to life, it always surprises.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

8142736926_04b385f598

(It should also be noted that the armed forces of a country are also part of government, a very big part.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The following is a revised portion of my post in the internet publication sponsored by “Smart + Connected Communities Institute. It is entitled “From the Bard to the Sun King: It’s Always Something.”

My friend Peter Grenell is director of the San Mateo Harbor District and a keen observer of history as well as an accomplished raconteur. He also is a musician who plays in several bands made up of mostly quite aged music makers. Sometimes he even sings. My favorite is when he sings, “The Old Hippie.” Ain’t it the truth.

In a discussion I had with him recently* about the speed and scope of change in the world today, he reminded me to:

“Never forget It was just 35 years more or less from Shakespeare to Louis XIV ; From the French and Indian War to the Louisiana Purchase ; From ‘Et Tu., Brute’ to the kid in the manger; From Fred Allen to Laugh-In.”

We tend to look back into history and see social change as a slow process when we view it through the prism of technological transformation or the speed in which the changes are disseminated. But as Peter so sagely observed, those born into the frugal world of the Bard died in the extravagant age of the Sun King. Many of those that heard the cheers or jeers that accompanied the imperial pretensions of Julius Caesar, ended their days hearing the whispers of a new king born in the East. Social change is generational. What makes it appear more rapid at one time then another when we look back on it, is its scope and reach. It is the scope and reach of social change that are often dictated by the technologies of the time. For the serf in the field at the time, it made little difference that the world changed from idolizeng an ink-stained wretch in tights to obsession with a bewigged sex maniac whose idea of a good time was having a bunch of people watch him take a shit every morning.

Social change is also reflexive. The reaction to the changes also changes things, often in ways that cannot be predicted. That is why even the most perceptive among us are constantly surprised by the effects of these changes. This is also why your financial advisor is always wrong.

Tomorrow’s urban areas, that are being impacted by modern communications technology, will not be the same as the urban areas of today. The Cities of our fathers or grandparents that were the smoky chaotic centers of industry and trade were not the same as the urban areas of our time. Today they are uncertain places, slowly decaying as motorized transportation takes people, industry and commerce away to less stressful environments. The Cities of the future, fashioned in part by the effects of the communications technologies being used today will be different still, probably in ways we cannot imagine. These new cities will be neither as bleak as feared or as paradisiacal as hoped. In my opinion, the experience of those changes and how we accommodate them are much of what life is all about. As it has always been, it will be both frightening and exhilarating. Unfortunately, more often than not, it will be as boring as it always has been.

* This is not true. It was in an email he sent me. When we get together to talk it us usually about sex for the aged, the variety of ways to achieve apotheosis and Gene Autry singing “Happy Trails to You.”

In contemplating the world of the future Peter also surmised:

“…in the 19th century west of the Mississippi, people lived on the frontier. Space migrants will be an obvious new variant. But these App-People — call them App-Licants, perhaps are a new breed. Maybe just Apps. Do Apps do laundry? Do Apps have solar implants that get recharged when they take their morning constitutionals? End of electricity issue. Meanwhile, is a new sub-species agglomerating, consisting of those who power, run, life with/in the underground key facilities, like the Visa Central in Virginia, bank/computer complexes hidden wherever, NSA Maryland, USAF Colorado Springs, CERN/Switzerland, the secret central Greek kitchen serving all Greek restaurants everywhere, etc.”

(Note: Except for Peter’s quote many of those portions in italics above as well as in the * did not appear in the original post.)

DAILY FACTOID:

1960’s: The the true and tragic case of the Singing Nun.

Sister Luc Gabriel (Jeanine Deckers) was best known as the Singing Nun. Her song Dominque became such a hit that it knocked Elvis Presley off the charts! Overnight, the Dominican nun was an international celebrity with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). She gave concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Her fame went to her head and she eventually left the convent to spend more time on her musical career.

At the same time she shacked up with her lesbian lover and released a song “Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill” singing the praises of the contraceptive pill. After her first album none of her music was very successful. In 1982, she and her girlfriend committed suicide together by taking sleeping tablets with alcohol. (from Listverse)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Readings from the Bible:

Why women should think twice before trying the break up a fight between men.

“When two men are fighting and the wife of one of them intervenes to drag her husband clear of his opponent, if she puts out her hand and catches hold of the man by his privates, you must cut off her hand and show her no mercy.”
12. Deut. 25:11

B. Electioneering:

“Federal disaster relief is ‘immoral.'”
Mitt Romney at a GOP debate during the primaries.

“Our country might have been better off if it was still just men voting. There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women. They are diabolical in how than can skewer a person. I do not see that in men. The whole time I worked, I’d much rather have a male boss than a female boss. Double-minded, you never can trust them.”
Janis Lane, Central Mississippi Tea Party President, A Mississippi Tea Party Chat, June 14, 2012.

I assume Janis is aware of the biblical stricture:

“And he said ‘Hagar, Sarai’s slave girl, where have you come from and where are you going?’ She answered, ‘I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.” The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to ill treatment at her hands.’”
14. Genesis 16:8

Janis may not like them, but according to God, a boss is a boss no matter his or her gender. As a good Republican, I would hope she would agree.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Sinclair Lewis

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Wonder is the desire for knowledge.”
Thomas Aquinas

TODAY’S CHART:

311274_492482457439437_655804275_n

The perfect storm also approaches the golden mean. Fibonacci (1170–1250) mentioned the numerical series now named after him in his Liber Abaci; the ratio of sequential elements of the Fibonacci sequence approaches the golden ratio asymptotically. Therefore it can be said that Sandy approached New Jersey asymptotically [Being asymptotic actually is illegal in New Jersey. On the other hand, Governor Christie certainly appears to be asymptotic.].

TODAy’S CARTOON:

559659_10151119615046850_650672241_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

416803_503476913004527_273101652_n

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Joseph 0002 (New Year’s Day) December 31, 2012

 

Happy New Year (See below)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Maggots are amusing only to those who consider them a culinary delight.

One morning I woke up in the midst of one of my periodic struggles with depression and despair wondering if I even was going to be able to get out of bed that day. I turned over and looked across the room to the blanket on the floor in the corner where LM slept. She was lying there staring up at the ceiling giggling.

Annoyed that in the midst of my existential crisis anyone could find anything amusing, I growled, “What’s so funny?” Besides who giggles at 6:30 in the morning?

In her fractured English she said, “In America you white and fat. In Thailand you black and small.”

“And, you find this amusing,” I responded?

She did not answer but got up, squatted by the small water heating appliance and began making that morning’s jolt of instant coffee.

I turned back and stared up at my section of the ceiling and contemplated the impenetrable barrier of intercultural humor while she continued to chuckle in the background.

I later got up and glanced in the mirror and noticed that indeed my belly, if not necessarily flat, seemed to protrude much less than when I was most recently in California. As for the blackness, I decided that she was referring to the current state of my soul.

As I sat at the table drinking my coffee (three heaping tablespoons in a small cup), I wondered if there was not something about that morning that was auspicious, but alas, its meaning escaped me.

2. Creation myth update #I

Recently I have been reading several books about genetic research that trace the descent of humanity since that moment when our ancestors first dropped from the trees and began walking upright through the veld until, through sheer persistence, we now are poised on the brink of becoming the only species to consciously choose to risk their own continued existence.

I have now read five books on the subject and several articles. The books, because the unraveling of the human genome that enabled much of the research only occurred within the last 10 years or so, all have been published within the past three years. Although they are “popularizations”, they are for the most part written by the scientists that actually worked on many of the breakthroughs that enabled the current view of human genesis to develop. One book, however, written by a journalist who has been covering the field for the past twenty years, is the best written of the lot.

According to the generally agreed upon calculations based upon the analysis of the Y chromosome in males today and something called mitochondria DNA in females, both of which strangely enough remain mostly unchanged throughout the generations, they estimate that the male and female ancestors of just about everyone outside of Africa today lived in East Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia etc) sometime between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years or so (Adam Y and Eve Mitochondria).

It is a fascinating story but one still full of inconsistencies and holes. For example, although I do not for one moment doubt that modern humans first arose in Africa and then spread throughout the world, a mystery surrounding indigenous Australians persists. The generally accepted theory is that about two dozen individuals from a tribe left Africa sometime around 45,000 years ago, most likely by crossing the Red Sea into what is now the country of Aden on the Southern tip of the Arabian peninsula. All of the rest of humanity outside of Africa (not including migrants from that continent, forced or otherwise, within the past 600 years) according to DNA analysis appears to be descended from this small but obviously determined and exceptionally fecund band.

At that time because of the various cold spells that sucked moisture from the air and the sea and deposited it in its crystalline form, ice, in great glaciers around the earth’s higher latitudes, the sea was often much lower, about 100 meters or so, and the climate considerably drier than it is now. The most accepted speculation is that the descendants of this band went walk-about along the sea bed thus exposed until, after what I am sure were many adventures, a group ended up in the Australian outback feasting on kangaroo meat and dingoes.

The problem is that some archeological and anthropological evidence puts the original native Australians in Australia at about 60,000 years ago. Now I figured out that early migration patterns move roughly about a kilometer a year. One kilometer would put the new settlement probably in sight of the old. I pictured one or two of the younger members of the band every year or so sitting around the campfire suddenly announcing they were tired of the same old songs and stories and were moving out down the road a bit. After they have a few children of their own, this little traditional domestic scene would play itself out again, until eventually one disgruntled adolescent stumbled over a platypus, decided he had gone far enough and began the first aboriginal song-line.

“…the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as ‘Dreaming-tracks‘ or ‘Songlines’; to the Aboriginals as the ‘Footprints of the Ancestors’ or the ‘Way of the Law’.
Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic being who wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.””
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines.

This 1 kilometer or so rate has been confirmed by several scientists and is consistent with every other migration during these initial expansions of humanity (for example, Tierra del Fuego is about 30,000 kilometers from the Red Sea by way of Alaska and the first humans arrived there about 15,000 years ago). So, if it is about 15,000 Kilometers from Ethiopia to Adelaide, the original Australians should have arrived there about 30,000 years ago, not 15,000 years before they even left Africa. That’s a lot of dream time to go walk-about in. Even were one to assume that the notoriously difficult dating methodology was off; to be off by 30,000 years is a pretty broken song-line. (More to come)

Manukirni
Dijankirni
Wurulu layynngkirni

Blind Rainbow Serpent is old;
he does not want Law from the
Whirlwind Rainbow Serpent

Barbabarda karma
Bardangimanji

Whirlwind Rainbow Serpent moves on;
he leaves the Blind Rainbow Serpent
with nothing
 Songline

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Retirement: A few days ago I read that Thailand was among the top five places in the world to retire to. Panama was number one and Ecuador number two. About five years ago, I visited the town in Panama referred to in the article. It is located by the ocean and was chock full of new retirement developments. Unfortunately, I found it somewhat remote requiring the retiree to possess personal transportation options. Ecuador I have never visited but suspect that although the retirement communities are located in the mountains, they also are somewhat remote from the country’s major urban areas. Thailand, in addition to being less expensive than the other countries identified, has an abundance of public transportation (only the craziest’s farangs drive). Also, even when living at the sea-shore or in the mountains, you are usually close to an urban area, if actually not right in one. Finally Thailand is thankfully free from the retirement community blight, thereby forcing retirees to forgo living next door to other retired farangs and instead necessitate that they live cheek by jowl next to native Thais, who for the most part ignore their existence (but not their money).

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quantum Mechanics:

Just in case you wondered–

1.2 Basic axioms of quantum mechanics…

Axiom (States). The state of a quantum mechanical system is given by a vector in a complex vector space H with Hermitian inner product <·,·>…. *

(* Is this the quantum version of a happy face? Can a Hermitian inner product ever be happy?)

Note two very important differences with classical mechanical states:

The state space is always linear: a linear combination of states is also a state.

The state space is a complex vector space: these linear combinations can and do crucially involve complex numbers, in an inescapable way. In the classical case only real numbers appear, with complex numbers used only as an inessential calculational tool….
[T]he notation introduced by Dirac for vectors in the state space H: such a vector with a label ψ is denoted:|ψ⟩

Axiom (Observables). The observables of a quantum mechanical system are given by self-adjoint linear operators on H….

Axiom (Dynamics). There is a distinguished observable, the Hamiltonian ℋ. Time evolution of states |ψ(t)> ∈ H is given by the Schrodinger equation: d/dt(|ψ(t)⟩) = − (i/ħ)(ℋ|ψ(t)⟩)

The Hamiltonian observable ℋ will have a physical interpretation in terms of energy, and one may also want to specify some sort of positivity property on ℋ in order to assure the existence of a stable lowest energy state. ħ is a dimensional constant, the value of which depends on what units you use…. We will see that typically classical physics comes about in the limit where(energy scale)(time scale)/ħis large….

Principle (Measurements). (1) States where the value of an observable can be characterized by a well-defined number are the states that are eigenvectors for the corresponding self-adjoint operator. The value of the observable in such a state will be a real number, the eigenvalue of the operator. (2) Given an observable O and states |ψ1⟩ and |ψ2⟩ that are eigenvectors of O with eigenvalues λ1 and λ2 (i.e. O|ψ1⟩=λ1|ψ1⟩ and O|ψ2⟩=λ2|ψ2⟩), the complex linear combination state c1|ψ1⟩ + c2|ψ2⟩ may not have a well-defined value for the observable O. If one attempts to measure this observable, one will get either λ1 or λ2, with probabilities c1^2/(c1^2 + c2^2) and c2^2/(c1^2 + c2^2), respectively.

This principle is sometimes raised to the level of an axiom of the theory, but it is better to consider it as a phenomenological over-simplified description of what happens in typical experimental set-ups…
Peter Woit: Quantum Mechanics for Mathematicians http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/QM/fall-course.pdf

(Now you know — or you don’t know. It is quantum mechanics after all. On the other hand, perhaps it is all a phenomenological over-simplified description of what happens. Wouldn’t that be a shame?)

(You know now that I think about it, God seems to be a simpler source for it all than quantum mechanics. Perhaps it is as Kurt Goedel implies, no matter how far you go or how deeply you think about it, sooner or later it all comes down to six of one or a half-dozen of the other.)

 
B. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (Chapter four: At the airport with no place to go).

Having arrived at the airport and ignoring the insane itching all over my body from the flea bites, I rushed up to the fourth floor as I was directed to by the bemedaled and braided uniformed character back at the immigration office. I was still clutching the tiny slip of paper with my printed interview number on one side and the scribblings of that esteemed gentleman on the other: “Airport, fourth floor immigration” in both Thai and English.

Upon reaching the fourth floor, I recognized it as the departure floor with its row upon row of counters for ticketing and hundreds and hundreds of people busily engaged in going or processing the going or cleaning up after whoever was going actually went.

Knowing that in all this turmoil I could never figure out the location of the immigration office, I sought out an airport information desk. Found it. The woman behind the desk smiled at me. I explained the situation to her and waved around the piece of paper. Her smile disappeared and she motioned me to wait while she called someone. After speaking to whomever for a few minutes she put down the phone and told me to wait and then proceeded to completely ignore me. I recognized that particular Thai trait. To her I had suddenly become a non-entity; someone no longer quite human.

Perhaps a little explanation about Thai culture would help to understand her reaction. To a Thai you are not completely human if you are not Thai or are a lower social status (this is a trait not unknown among Americans also). Farangs, could be forgiven their non-Thai-ness only if they are of a superior class . A superior class in Thailand usually means, money. If you have it you are rewarded with a smile and an acknowledgement of potential humanness even as they try to separate you from the money. There were three reasons that disqualified me from being truly human in the eyes of the lady behind the information desk; 1) I was not Thai; 2) I was not dressed like I had money (I was in my Ocean’s Eleven outfit, flowered shirt, short pants and floppy hat) and; 3) If I had money, I would not be doing this myself but would have paid some Thai some of it to run around collecting the documents and paying the bribes on my behalf.

The phone rang. She picked it up, spoke for a moment and handed the receiver to me. I explained everything to the woman on the other end and waved the piece of paper around even if she could not see it. She said that I should hang up and wait until someone calls back. I did and waited. After awhile the phone rang and we repeated the process, at the end of which the voice at the other end directed me to be at door M-28 at precisely 20 minutes after the hour where someone will appear there to help me. After profusely thanking the voice, I hung up. I asked the information lady where door M-28 was located. She pointed vaguely across the departure area to the right and returned to ignoring me. I went off in search of door M-28 full of optimism that someone there would finally solve all my problems. It was only 10 after the hour. I, nevertheless, rushed to find door M-28 not wanting to risk being late. (To be continued)

C. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

In my last two posts, I have included: a series of holiday photographs, seasons greetings, my feeble attempts at holiday inspired wit, and clever observations of others about the festive season. With one or two exceptions all I received in return was silence. On Christmas Day, I sent out an email containing some of this same photographs and a simple holiday greeting. Almost everyone who received it responded.

From this I deduced that for the most part the appearance in ones email the words, “This and that…” produce in the recipient the irresistible urge to click on the delete button.

Having thought at length about the merits of the amusement generated by writing to myself versus the desperation exhibited in repeatedly shouting down into an empty well, I decided that it is simpler and less onerous for one to click on the delete icon than it would be for me to give up hoping that someone at the bottom of that particular well will respond to my pleas for recognition with the hoped for, “All-right, I hear you. Shut the fuck up already.”

So, no apology or regrets and only the slightest humiliation.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. James Lee Burke:

“…Marry up, Screw down.”
Pegasus Descending

2. Wisdom from Lake Woebegone:

190061_10151176310861275_2065903362_n

Really now — As much as I like Keillor this is a bit over the top: in fact, golfers are totally oblivious to the fact that golf is nihilistic as well as sadistic; only pimps would wear brown shirts with pinstripes and; the rest of the world believes we hear well enough, it is just that we do not listen.

TODAY’S CHART:

assault-deaths-us-ts-region

This is an interesting graphic. It shows assaults in the US by region. Over all, among the world’s advanced democracies, the US is by far the most violent. The Southern portion of the US is significantly more brutal than the rest of the nation [Note: In some urban areas in the US the rate of violence approaches and even exceeds that found in the South]. Firearms make up a major and sometimes majority component of the violent events. Interestingly enough, although in the rest of the country there is a sizable “hunting” contingent, it is in the exceptionally violent South where gun control efforts have had the least success. Not surprisingly, the death and injury rates from firearms in the South approach those experienced in the charnel house that is Mexico.

[ Note: Perhaps one of the best repositories for these type of peer-reviewed 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]] )

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0583

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THAILAND

 

 

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

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Joseph 0002 (December 25, 2012 Christmas Day)

 

“We all (in Bangkok) celebrate the birth of a Jewish man, who’s a messenger to the Muslims, God to the Christians and another reason to get drunk for the Buddhists”
Voranai Vanijaka, The Bangkok Post.

I hope you all are enjoying your holidays

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. A brief trip to Paradise by the Sea.

To celebrate my free day, observe the ending of the world and visit Bill’s new venture the “Winchester Gun Club,” a “gentleman’s club in Jomtien Beach, I decided to travel to Paradise by the Sea and spend a few days there. After a not too unpleasant two-hour bus ride, we arrived and tried to find a room at the little guest house that we usually stay in.

Alas, it was the time of the year for the mass migration of Russians from the frozen Steppes south on to the ragged edges of the Indian Ocean. The only similar migration of which I am familiar was the sweeping of the “alters” from the frigid streets of New York and the depositing of them like dice rolled in a street corner craps game upon the burning sands surrounding Biscayne Bay, there to remain until their internment in some recently reclaimed bit of the Everglades.

Even though the area in which the little guest house was located was downscale even by Russian standards (but not so for American expats on Social Security) there were no accommodations available in any of the 50 or so small hotels in the two block area. All that was left were a few tiny windowless rooms usually reserved for short time rentals. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term “short time,” try to think of what activity requires the rental of a hotel room for three hours or less.)

The streets, hotels restaurants, bars and massage parlors in this little neighborhood teemed with Russians; Slavs with their inverted banana ski-jump noses and the denizens of the Caucuses and the Steppes with their grand potato schnozes.

Now some of you have commented on my obsession with probosci of all sort. That infatuation, however, is not engendered by a fondness for my Mediterranean ancestors spread along all sides of that remarkable inland sea who sport some of the most gargantuan and bizarre examples. You probably do not know this, but one of the first physical changes that separated us from our cousins the chimpanzees and bonobos was movement of our nostrils from within the plane of our facial plate outward, to dangle in space at the end of a slightly flexible hunk of cartilage. So when you hear the phrase, “follow your nose,” it does not mean to follow the smell since that sense had diminished greatly from the capabilities exhibited by our simian relatives when we obtained our proboscis, but to follow the ascent of the various permutations of civilization these inquisitive appendages, for better of worse, have gotten us into.

We chose a room in the place I usually stay at. The street level floor is an open shop front with a counter. The proprietor sits behind the counter. She is almost always accompanied by her child who appears stricken with severe birth defects, rendering her immobile and deformed. When not dealing with customers, the woman spends her time rubbing down the child’s limbs, feeding her or speaking or humming something softly into her ear. The woman has a look of intensely deep sorrow. It is beyond anything I have ever seen in Thailand. Everyone else in the country seems to hide their feelings behind either the ever-present smile or a blank emotionless face that leaves one often wondering if anyone is at home. I do not know why I always chose to stay at this particular guest house, but I do.

As I said our room is windowless that means if there is a fire we die. Since the world was going to end in two days anyway, I was willing to take the risk.

The next morning we got up early and went out for our walk along the beach. When we got on to the sand we were greeted by the sight of hundreds’ of exposed boobs, both male and female glistening brightly like bleached bones in the morning sun, destined to glow a bright cherry red when the sun reached it zenith and turn a dark mottled brown like burnt toast when the sun sets that evening over the gulf of Thailand. On a pure tonnage basis, including my own not unsubstantial addition, I reckon that the males have the females on that beach beaten by the proverbial country mile.

As long as I am discussing humanities difference from other simians, I should point out that at about the same time the protuberance made its appearance in the middle of our ancestors faces, perky little sprouts bloomed upon the chests of their pubescent females that contrasted greatly with the determinedly consistent flat chested aspect of our ape cousins. Another advance in the humanity’s march to dominate its environment. Another time, if asked, I will explain the role in the development of civilization of the disappearance of hair from most of our ancestors bodies and the Sophie’s Choice that it presented to the human body louse. (Speaking of Lice, did you know that Napoleon’s army was not destroyed by the Russians but by typhoid bearing lice. It was a lousy way to go)

 

I took a long walk along the water’s edge. The water was as warm as freshly spilled blood. Now and then I would leave the sand and run across the road to look at the condo sale and rental ads in the windows of several of the real-estate agent’s shops that lined Beach Road. I still hoped to return to live there some day.

After the walk, we returned to the room to rest and escape the midday heat. While dozing I dreamily watched a television news program showing a security camera tape of a child, about two years old, playing near the rear wheel of an automobile. Suddenly the car backed up running over the child. It then moved forward running her over again. Shocked, I screamed, ran into the bathroom and started retching. I could hear the television reporters describing the scene as they played the tape over and over again. When I finished retching, I returned to the room and quickly shut off the TV, threw on some clothes, left the room and ran down the steps to get some air. LM ran after me, “Wait,” she said, “Good Luck. Baby lived.” I ignored her. Outside, I walked rapidly back and forth in front of the hotel wondering what kind of culture would show such a thing on television. At least there were no hoards of reporters seeking out the child’s pre-school classmates in order to get exclusive interviews on what they thought about the situation.

I no longer felt like visiting Bill’s new place and after a brief evening walk along the beach, I went to bed and slept badly. Thankfully, my dreams were not about run over little children or even those shot with assault rifles. Instead the blackness of my dreams were filled with giant translucent jellyfish like those that wash up on the beach here in great numbers. They resembled giant oozing glowing boobs that loomed up out of the darkness. They chased me along the beach. I tried to scream when they caught up to me but I couldn’t because they began to smother me, and then of course, I woke up. Interestingly, I did not dream about noses. I probably do not fear them as much.

In the morning, another walk on the beach followed by a van ride back to Bangkok. For the first time in over a decade, I did not feel sad at leaving Paradise by the Beach. I guess that will pass, eventually.

2. Twas the night before Christmas.

It actually began the morning before Christmas. The depression that had been building for a week now crashed in on me and I could hardly move from bed. It simply may be the traditional despondency I (and probably many others) feel during holiday season. I do not know. By midday it had blossomed into full-blown despair. It was not so much that I no longer wanted to wake up in the morning, every morning for as long as could to see how things turn out, but I no longer cared if I ever got out of bed again. Desperation, hopelessness and guilt had gotten to me.

LM wanted to go to the movies. So that afternoon I dragged myself from the apartment and we went to see “Life of Pi” at the theater in the Terminal Twenty-One shopping mall. The movie managed to blow away much of the melancholy I was experiencing. It was not so much because the movie was simply another a feel good film with their usual 5 minute shot of euphoria. Rather it was because, to me, the film seemed to be saying that in life perseverance was all that mattered but even so, all you ended up with are stories. Stories, perhaps meaningful to you and perhaps not, but to others whatever it is that they see in them that makes them feel good is OK. For some reason that cheered me up.

Just before going into the theater, I received a call from Nikki. He said that the man who SWAC decided to spend the holidays with in Vancouver called him distressed by her beating Hayden. Later after I told LM what Nikki had called about, she said, “Why would she do that. Nikki sends her enough money?” I will never understand this culture. Their cupidity is moderated only by their passivity.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Street Sweeping in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Post reports the beginning of a crackdown on foreign prostitutes with the arrest of a number of Kazakstani (or Kyrgyzstani; I am unclear about which) prostitutes working the streets of Bangkok. The police spokesman said that the reason for the crackdown was that prostitution is illegal in Thailand and it posed a threat to the moral fiber of the nation. During the 20 or so years I have been coming to Thailand I have observed a number of crackdowns on “foreign” prostitutes, but never any on domestic Thai ladies and ladyboys of the morning, evening and night. I assume that is because there are no Thai prostitutes. However payment for performances of traditional Thai erotic art still appears to be permitted.

2. The law is the law.

The political party in power, unable to gain amnesty for the deposed, fugitive and exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible because of the committed opposition by the minority party (which, as far as I can tell has no other issue it really cares about.*) has decided to charge two of the leaders of the opposition party with murder and other crimes. The opposition party understandably has cried foul. Spokesmen for the party in power have said the action has nothing to do with their deposed leader. Anyway he really does not want to come back if there is anyone left who does not want him to.

(*The leader of the of the opposition party, Abhsit the Unready, in commenting on the ruling party’s plans to rewrite the Nation’s constitution said that he did not care what they wrote into the Constitution as link as they did not change that portion that prevents TTT from returning.)

3. Say what?

The Thai military that has governed the country through a succession of coups for most of the last 80 years, has announced they have no interest anymore in the government or the country but only in protecting the honor of the monarchy that they deposed 80 years ago.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

From Harper’s Index:

Percentage of Canadians who believe in global warming : 98

Of Americans who do : 70

Of Republicans : 48

Percentage of Republicans who believe in demonic possession : 68

Percentage of the population of Valencia, Spain, that is currently unemployed : 28

Price of a weeklong prostitution training course offered there since May : $127

Cost of a pair of “all-American” blue jeans designed by Glenn Beck : $129.99

The question this raises is whether someone in Valencia is possessed by demons if they buy Glen Beck’s jeans instead of learning how to get fucked or are they all really Republicans from Canada? Does anyone actually read Harper’s Magazine? How many people even know what it is?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

205105_10151376564753487_480843197_n

The drop in income after 2005 among the 90-95% may have been caused by the collapse of the real estate industry at that time.

B. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (chapter three or four).

I got back to the Mo Chit Skytrain station without too much difficulty and took the train a few stops back to where it meets up with the elevated railway that goes to the airport. I crossed over to the Airport train station and paid my fare. I discovered that I had paid a three dollar fare for the luxury express. I did not know there was such a thing. Normally I would have chosen the lower fare train, but I guess in my hurry I was not paying attention. When the train arrived and I entered the car I was surprised. Normally the rail cars have the usual bench like plastic seats aligned along the walls facing each other. Here they were upholstered airline seats in orderly rows facing forward. As I took my seat and the train started up I was pleased despite my extravagance. I was comfortable and the trip would be much shorter than the local giving me time to get my business done at the airport and return to the Immigration Offices.

Although the existing Skytrain had been built through the center of Bangkok, touching almost all the tourist and commercial areas and had already been extended halfway to the airport, the powers that be, both financial and governmental, decided it would be in their interests to create a separate company and transit line just to service the airport. They would place their stations where the airport line intersected existing mass transit lines . The theory being, I suppose, that the people, in the tourist and commercial areas and the like who wanted to get to the airport by less expensive mass transit would be willing to lug their suitcases on to one mass transit facility, travel for quite some time to the transfer point and then lug their things over to the new line for the final trip to the airport. Everyone was surprised when it didn’t work and the expected ridership failed to occur. Since then there have been the usual marketing campaigns, promoted by marketing mavens who convinced the powers that be that poor marketing was the problem and not any defect in the concept. That has not worked either.

Anyway I took my seat and stared out of my window as we rode high above the city. In an effort to reduce costs, in addition to scrimping on the quality of the stations, the roadway and the rolling stock, a route was chosen that avoided the developed portions of the city. From a point some where not too far from the palace grounds on the river and extenuating almost all the way to the new international airport there extends a relatively undeveloped strip of land about a half a mile wide. I have no idea what urban development dynamics caused this. Through this stretch the airport rail line travelled.

As I looked out my window I could see that in this stretch of land the jungle still existed. Not the jungle one sees in documentaries with thick gnarled trees and multi-storied green terraces, but a marsh jungle of grassland, clumps of thick vegetation with wispy leaved trees and black waters peeping through from beneath it all. In the distance the shining high rises gleamed and the pressed in on the margins. Here and there a collection for shacks of what I have learned are referred to as informal communities appeared. Rusted corrugated roofing covering dwellings and shops made from a variety of urban detritus, Narrow little lanes teeming with people zigzagged through each community. The structures were either built on stilts over the black waters of the marsh, or crowding over remnant canals.

I was enjoying the view and my contemplation when the first attack occurred. Fleas began their relentless assault of stinging bites all over my body. I wanted to run from the train howling, but it was the express, so I had no choice but to sit there. When the train rolled into the airport, I left it quickly. I already had started to feel the little red welts rising all over my body. I thought I must have looked as though I had come down with a case of measles.

At least I had arrived. I consoled myself with the thought that the protagonists of Conrad, Kafka and Coppola who furnished the material for this extended and convoluted metaphor faced worse. (Next – Disgust, loathing and redemption at the Airport.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

“There isn’t bad weather, only wrong clothes…”
Ken Bruen
TODAY’S CHART:

397103_10151179306366275_1555960518_n

Could this mean that Americans hate other Americans more than Muslim terrorists hate Americans?

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0538
Christmas in Thailand

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Joseph 0002 (December 22, 2012)

 

Happy New Year. Today is the first day of the second year of my new calendar. I hope you all had an enjoyable free day yesterday. Not only is today the winter solstice, but if you are reading this you have also survived the end of the world. I spent my free day and observed the world’s end at Paradise by the Sea.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Shopping.

Today I went shopping. My friend Ann asked me to buy a knock-off name brand watch like the one she bought during her trip to Thailand. Her new husband had admired it so she wanted to give him one as a present. LM and I headed off to the market to find something suitable. We took the number two bus. I have developed a love hate relationship with that bus. It lacks air conditioning, but its 25 cent fare allows you to stand and sweat among a class of Thais one does not often associate with. Being a foreigner, I have no idea what actually, if anything, is going on during the bus ride. On the other hand, throughout the world, riding a bus usually means disappearance of that part of ones life, a form of temporary death. We arrived at the stop closest to the shopping area. It was not the great Chatuchuck Market, beloved of tourists, where we had purchased Ann’s watch several years ago. To get there I would have to take the Skytrain all the way to Mo Chit, and I recently have had enough chit to last me a long while.

We were going to the Pathunam shopping area, a vast section of downtown Bangkok that contains at least a square mile of shopping, from the toney malls like Central World, Paragon and the like to the bazaar like emporiums of Pathunam.

DSCN0533

A night-time photograph of Central World in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown shopping district.

LM seemed out of sorts, and though I could think of a lot or reasons for that, since it was lunch time I guessed that was it and suggested we first stop to eat in the food courts one of the more down-scale markets. The food courts serving Thai or Chinese food, whether in the most expensive malls or least fashionable ones, are some of the cheapest places to eat in the city other than at the sidewalk stands. About one dollar and a quarter gets you a plate of typical Thai or Chinese fare. Some people think that the food court food is safer than that sold on the sidewalks. I am not so sure about that, there is usually no refrigeration at the food courts either. Of course, the larger malls often contain a second more upscale and expensive food court where one can get all the McDonald’s, Swenson’s, Taco Bell’s, KFC’s and the like that one would want.

After lunch, with LM in better spirits, we plunged into the market. Thai markets lack the picturesque mystery of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul with its hot tea and haggling for hours over a dollar. They also lack the raucous hawking of the souks as the shopkeepers there beg, cajole and entice you to enter their stores. In Thailand, a barely post-pubescent clerk is usually sprawled on the floor of the shop avidly playing on a smart phone. Only in the few Arab or Indian owned shops do the employees actually try to sell you something. In Bangkok Indians control the custom-made rag trade. They stand in front of their shops calling out to whomever walks by. In the hotel where my health club is located there is a small tailor shop in the lobby owned by an Indian gentleman. For the last decade every time I have walked by he has invited me to have a look in his shop. Every time I pass by his shop I feel, not annoyance at his ceaseless importuning, but fear that this time he would not.

Anyway, the shopping areas of Pathunam are endless open front cubicles lining each side of a three-foot wide passage way. They are vastly larger than anything I have found in North Africa or the Near East and packed with two or three times the people per square meter than there. After several tries we found a shop that sold the particular name brand knock-off I was looking for and LM and the clerk began to haggle.

I admit, I had no idea of the difference between one watch and another, and although the shops had large books with the names of the most well-known and expensive watches as well as photographs of their various offerings, I figured I was ok as long as whatever I bought had the brand name on its face.

The haggling concluded with me buying the watch at about one-third the originally quoted price.

After we left the shop, I knew, in Thai fashion, I was now obligated to reward LM for her help. We agreed that I would buy her something of her choice at the market costing about 1/2 of what I had spent of the watch. After going from shop to shop for about an hour, as I expected and typical of Thai women I have known, LM said “Why don’t you just give me the money and I will come back later and buy something.” I readily agreed, handed over the cash and we pushed our way out of the market and walked to the bus stop.

While we waited, I learned some things: first although going in the direction from where we started the number 2 and its air-conditioned counterpart number 511 (Fare 50 cents) pass every two minutes or so, they arrive only about every half hour going back and; second not all of them (the 2 and 511) return along the same route. So, there I stood for the next hour or so, next to the endless lines of mostly stopped traffic, breathing in the exhaust fumes while the insides of my nose dried out and caked like the ancient lake beds of Death Valley and my eyes burned from the soot until they teared and the sweat from the 93% December heat dropped from my armpits and ran down over my ribs, evaporating in a dollop of coolness before reaching the lowest rib. I stood there wishing I were standing instead in the number two bus, crushed among hordes of zombie Thais. Heaven is a relative thing.

2. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (continued from last post).

I arrived at the building that housed the Thai Visa and Immigration Office and a number of other agencies. It was one of the 20 or so government buildings in the Government Complex. It is a huge building that looks like a giant arrow-head plunged into the ground. It has an enclosed central court as large as half a football field. The Complex is so remote that the basement of the building houses a complete shopping center, including banks, restaurants, grocery stores, a car dealership I believe and a lot more.

I was in good spirits. I entered the crowded visa and immigration offices, marched up to the intake desk and handed them my passports. I had two passports because my previous passport was due to expire in December and while I was in the US I had its replacement issued. The smiling young woman behind the desk sporting a badge that announced “trainee,” took my passports and earnestly leafed through them. Her ever-present smile creased into a frown and collapsed. Sensing the anxiety rising in my gut, I babbled my explanation for the two passports. She asked did you show the passport officer at the airport both passports. “No,” I responded, “one had been cancelled so I showed him only the valid one.” Her frown deepened. She turned and spoke with another woman dressed in a military uniform.

Panic rose to my throat as they spoke and rifled through the document every now and then glancing in my direction. Then the uniformed one broke away and walked to the counter at which I was standing. She was not smiling. Said, “you have the wrong stamp.” Forcing a smile I inquired, “how do I get the right stamp.”

“You need to go to immigration to get it changed.”

Relieved I responded, “where is that,” hopeful it would be in the same building.

“At airport”

“But,” my smile gone, “this is immigration. Can’t you do it here” I pleaded?”

She looked at me for a moment then turned went back to the no longer smiling trainee. They leaned close together and spoke Now and then they would glance at me. Then the Trainee, smiling again came back to me and said come with me. My heart leaped with joy.

We walked into the large processing room with hundreds of people stagnating around staring perhaps fifty or more cubicles with red lights on the front flashing various numbers. We walked up to another counter behind which sat a man in uniform. She spoke to him in Thai. I gave my story again. They spoke some more. He gave her a piece of paper with a number on it. She then turned and said come with me.

We marched to one of the cubicles with the same number as on the piece of paper. She went in. Came out again said “you have to go to airport. Have stamp changed.”

“But” I sputtered, “Why not here? Where in airport?” and things like that. I was losing it.

She took me back to the first uniformed man. They spoke animatedly. She came back to me. We returned to the cubicle. This time I went in and sat before a grim-faced man in a uniform with ribbons on his shirt and braid on his shoulder. I started to explain again. He took the passports and looked through them going back and forth among the pages; looked at me and said, “You have the wrong stamp. You have to go to the fourth floor immigration at the airport and have it changed.”

Although I sensed defeat, I pleaded, “how do I know where at the airport. What happens if they refuse?”

He looked at me took the little paper I have been given with the number of his office and on the back wrote, “Fourth Floor, Immigration” in English and Thai and handed it back to me.

Knowing that it was the best I was going to do and guessing that at least I could wave the piece of paper around the airport and claim it was from Bangkok Central Immigration Office, I left the building and caught a van back to the Mo Chit Skytrain station.

My confidence slowly returned. I was on a mission. It was still only 10am. I could get it done today. I felt like Willard on the Mekong. Giving up was not an option. (To be continued)

3. Reading.

I have been spending some time reading and rereading the novels of Ken Bruen and Tana French.

In Bruen the old Ireland meets the new and shudders. With French, the new Ireland meets its future and despairs.

Old Ireland had its language, its music, its religion, its poverty and its “Playboy of the Western World.” The new Ireland has its failing malls, crumbling subdivisions, its bewildered immigrants and the likes of the playboy will not pass that way again.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

2013 Pookie’s Predictions:

Last year at about this time, in keeping with the fashion at this time of year I made some predictions for the year. Now it is time for Pookie’s predictions for 2013. Unlike most other prognosticators (guessers) who almost never remind anyone when they are wrong, Pookie always owns up to his mistakes.

1. The US Economy:

Last years predictions: Last year I predicted for the US economy:

“a. As money floods into US treasuries on account of the perceived lack of “safe” alternatives, it alleviates pressure to deal immediately with public and private debt allowing for some minor stimulus actions by the administration, such as;
b. encouraging an escalation of inflation both “natural” and government induced, and;
c. there may be a slight temporary improvement in trade balance.

The economic upturn will reverse by years end (but not in time to effect the presidential race) and the nation should sink into another recession, because:
a. the European crises will get worse and the US administration no longer has a political reason to prop it up ,
b. the value of the dollar will rise eliminating any balance of trade benefits and
c. inflation will surpass deficits as the focus of Republican wrath.”

In March I updated these by commenting that the mild upturn the nation currently is experiencing had been stronger that expected and that no reason to alter downturn prediction had appeared.

Actually, the “flood” of money into US treasuries as predicted continue even today, however, although the up-turn in trade balance this engendered occurred (thank god it did, since it to a great extent moderated the recession) the predicted inflationary pressure did not.

The economic upturn did stall briefly sometime in September but my prediction that we would sink into another recession by year’s end was wrong. My predictions on the European situation, the value of the dollar and the political focus on inflation was flat-out wrong.

2013:

Assuming we stumble through the so-called “fiscal cliff” on more or less the terms laid out in the Presidents budget (see above) and I expect we will, the nation can expect an accelerating recovery through the middle of the year when inflation fears will be fanned by those concerned that a recovering economy would be bad for their political aspirations. As a result, the recovery will be moderated but continue throughout the year. I suspect the stimulus portion of the Presidents budget will not be adopted in as robust a form as proposed so that the recovery although generally positive will not be particularly vigorous.

Return of manufacturers to the US will increase as the economy improves and as production is increasingly automated (robots). (That is lower wages in low-cost jurisdiction will not be able to compete with robots producing goods near to the consumers thereby cutting down on transportation costs. As a result shipping revenues increases should begin to level out by the end of the year.)

Employment rebound will lag during the recovery because it usually does and structural problems (such as mentioned in the above paragraph) will appear. (Also, I have discussed elsewhere the effect of social media on employment and chooses people with make as to what and how much they chose to work, e.g., more people willing to work in lower paying service jobs and work part-time. Reducing demand for “big-ticket” items.)

The value of the dollar should begin to increase by mid-year or so placing a slight moderating influence on the recovery.

In short, be happy you probably will have a job but you will not be paid as well as you hoped. If you are in the financial trades you should begin to think about a new career. Since you probably are not qualified for anything, Wal-Mart or Starbucks jobs may be available for most of you, although Costco would be a better choice (see below).

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

215071_10151175587221275_2076783876_n

TODAY’S QUOTE:

402762_328517843853855_1348901672_n

I posted this not because of “The Chairman’s” view of religion [much of which, however, I share], but because of my surprise at his knowledge of the travesty that occurred at Alexandria when Christian mobs burned whatever books remained in the various libraries of Alexandria, closed the schools in favor of teaching religion at home or in churches instead of science at the various schools Alexandria was famous for (sounds familiar) and, for trying to save some books from the bonfire, murdered Hypatia, one of the greatest mathematician of antiquity, by cutting her into pieces while she was still breathing.

TODAY’S CHART:

67018_10151178359071275_1472706550_n

The total populations of the six countries listed about equals the total population of the US. Gun murders however total about eighteen times less. The six countries have strict firearms legislation. They also all have vibrant democracies and except for Spain have economies similar to or more robust than that of the US. Of course, the argument against any gun control usually is that if someone wants to kill someone with a gun they will do so no matter the law and that an emphasis on crime prevention and arming yourself would be better approaches than regulating gun possession. Nevertheless, it seems to me that, since these other countries find it not to be the case that people wanting to do harm to others grab guns and do it even in the face of strict gun control laws, that argument implies Americans are a bunch of uncivilized and out of control beasts that should be quarantined by the rest of humanity.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0519
Christmas in Thailand — Merry Christmas to all…

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 29 Pookie 0001 (December 12, 2012)

“Destiny doesn’t do home visits.”
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Prisoner of Heaven (Cemetery of Forgotten Books) (p. 204). Harper.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

A Soi Cowboy story: Memories of Sergeant Alvin York.

A few mornings ago, I had coffee with Gary, he of the bald head, beloved of God and protected by the deity’s own she-bears (See below (*) 5. Kings 2:23).

We met up at a pub at the corner of Soi Cowboy. It was early morning. I walked through the Soi to get there. At night the street is lit up with an unholy glare and flooded with noise imparting a frisson of excitement that causes your heart to beat as though someone suddenly set off roman candles in your living room. In the tenuous morning light, however, the excitement had long siSoi Cowboynce dribbled away and the street now was seedy looking, quiet and deserted except for those cleaning up the refuse from the night before.

photo
Soi Cowboy – Photograph taken from the pub that morning by Gary.

Soi Cowboy is one of Bangkok’s three main “red light” districts originally set up to cater to allied soldiers on RR during the Vietnam War. It now serves the erotic needs of mostly Western and Japanese tourists. The other two are Patpong and Soi Nana. Patpong, built on land owned by the Royal Family, had long ago gone into the sexual voyeurism business; ping-pong balls, darts and balloons, razor blades, frogs, simulated sex acts and the like. Soi Cowboy, a block long alleyway with bars and go-go establishments on each side had more recently graduated from a run of the mill carnal emporium to a required stop on packaged Asian sex tours. Nana for the time being, has remained what it has always been since the soldiers left, a low-class hang-out for the typical ex-pat reprobate.

A girl working on Soi Cowboy, because of its up-scale status, can earn as much as $10,000 or more a month. In the villages they come from the average income is something less than $100 a month. I sometimes wonder what most people would be willing to do to make over 100 times more than they make now. Alas with the upscaling, gone are the independent entrepreneurs working the bars. They have been replaced by employees. And, with that comes the real exploitation.

But this post is not about the Soi, Bangkok’s seamy undersides or the Girls and their clients, but about what Gary told me as we sat there at the tables outside the pub drinking coffee and watching the Green Bay-Detroit Lions football game on television.

During our exchange of stories, recent medical histories and comments on the game, for some reason Gary mentioned that his great-uncle was Sergent Alvin York. This news intrigued me, so I asked him to tell me more.a

For those for whom his name is unfamiliar, Sargent York was the US most famous hero of WWI. He received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 others.

300px-York

Sergeant Alvin York

From York’s diary:

“The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from… And I’m telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out… And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.”

And:

“And those machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.”

Before the war York was a violent alcoholic and prone to bar brawls. Nevertheless, after his best friend died in a bar fight, he eventually joined a pacifist church opposed to all forms of violence and reformed his ways. At the time he was drafted he claimed contentious objector status stating:

“I was worried clean through. I didn’t want to go and kill. I believed in my Bible.”

The story of his life was was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper. It was nominated for 11 Academy awards and won two, one of which was by Cooper for best actor. Gary said, that he was named after the movie star. I guess because Alvin was already taken.

The Yorks lived in the Town of Pall Mall deep in the hollows of Tennessee, Smokey and the Bandit country were moonshine was king and law non-existent. In fact, the only law that existed in that county was provided by the York’s kin since out of respect to York, they were usually not run out of the county like all other representatives of law-enforcement.

As Gary explained:

“The lawless county would not tolerate any law officers whatsoever, although York thought he could (uphold the law and maintain order), he was wrong . Moonshine whiskey and marijuana came along in the late sixties there in the poverty stricken mountainous area.”

“My grandmother, Vicey ( Frogg) Williams mothered her first when she was fourteen and all of them had first names beginning with L and middle names of Presidents . One was actually shot and killed in a feud. All of their middle names were names of presidents..”

York married Gracie Williams (played by Joan Leslie in the movie), Gary’s grandfather’s sister.

photo_1
Gracie and Sgt. Alvin York taken when Gary was about 6 years old.

“I recall Aunt Gracie had three boys . Andrew Jackson York, Woodrow Wilson York , and Thomas Jefferson York… I heard , but never verified as I never went down again after 1970, that Thomas Jefferson may of been killed by moonshiners. They were serious about that stuff..

...it would be interesting to know if the Jamestown , Pall Mall area still is lawless. It certainly was in 1970… My mom told me that Thomas thought he could bring law and order to the hill country…”

My grand father, Wesley was a teasing fun skinny guy who had been a share cropper. Many of those folks down there were… they would have many children hoping to use the children to ease their labors…Pensions are not big in lawless counties in America.”

After York’s death, Gracie, his widow, kept a shotgun in every room in the house because of the practice in that county of raiding any large home soon after the dominant male departs those good green hills.

York himself as Gary remembered him was a quiet soft-spoken man who looked nothing at all like Gary Cooper.

In Gary’s own words:

“…he (York) was a classic Mountain Democrat and that was a bone of contention in those days with the Froggs ( my grandmother’s family )…

York refused to benefit from the honors awarded to him including the funds received from the movie and book about his life, choosing instead to donate the money to charities he favored. Most of the money and York’s efforts went into educating the children of his home county. Despite, donating the money from the movie to charity, the IRS rejected his claim and hounded York for several years, until shortly before both their deaths then President John F. Kennedy cancelled the debt calling the IRS actions in the matter a “national disgrace.”

Gary again:

I was there that summer (the summer that York died) at fourteen..we lived in Springfield, Illinois and had (many) seemingly endless drives down to north central Tennessee ..”

1__#$!@%!#__photo
Sergeant York bed-ridden. The boy is Gary’s cousin. Gary was between 10 and 12 years old at the time this photograph was taken.

“In Springfield I was a page-boy in the State Senate and developed my disdain for Illinois politicians… In 1965 , I was 19 and got my draft notice then left those assholes in August . I delivered their hookers, drove their wives around shopping, fixed little logistic issues for them and realized they never did their homework, only what the lobbyist paid them to say and do. I still remember a slick haired guy walking up to me back then and saying, “Hi, I’m Al Green with the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association.” He put a five dollar bill in my hand. I vividly remember his features. A few months later I was earning $78 per month in the USAF…

In 1970, I returned from the military and worked there again as a bill clerk. Across the hall from my parent’s apartment lived Paul Simon who I often walked to work with, a very nice man who always wore a bow tie and had terrific dandruff…he had risen in politics after being a newspaper editor down south in Troy, Illinois … I was 25, (when) I did the bill clerk thing and walked with Paul to work at 9 AM. I considered him among the kindest of those characters…”

Most of York’s male descendants as well as Gary’s uncles served in WWII with the 82th Airborne, the successor to York’s old outfit. None of them, even York himself, would talk to Gary about their experiences during the war, even when Gary specifically asked them to. Finally shortly before he died one of his uncles opened up to him.

“My father’s twin brother served in the 82nd when it was known as Airborne . It was only the 82nd division in WWI ..Uncle Lloyd is still alive living across the river from St. Louis . He still has hair and blue eyes .. My father was bald and had brown eyes.. In college they told me not to worry about baldness as it is a gene that comes from mothers. My mom had thick dense hair, so I figured I would never face the dreaded cue ball look. When it came I didn’t care as I could not see it anyway…”

Gary told me some of what Uncle Lloyd told him. Two images stood out in my mind:

One day Gary and his Uncle Lloyd went together to see the movie Saving Private Ryan. A cow roaming in a pasture appeared in one battle scene. His uncle laughed. After the movie Gary asked him why he laughed at that particular scene. He said because, “in the war there were no cows, there were no birds they were all dead. After the armies came through there was nothing left alive for people to eat and so they starved.”

On another occasion he told Gary that there was nothing good in war. At the end, he said, he saw children and old men dressed in German uniforms because all the young men had been killed and they were all that was left of the German Army. What choice did he have? Kill them or be killed.

(*) – 5. Kings 2:23 – “Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
photo copy
Gary

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Peter’s variations on the theme of ladies only parking floors in Bangkok.

“Kolkata has ladies only trolley cars; one car for ladies only, other for anybody. San Francisco now has buses only for GLBT non-smoking artificially inseminated anti-death penalty anti-charter school non-union-but-love-Harry-Bridges, recall the Sheriff, who shot the sheriff, naked in public (bring your own towel) people. These buses hardly ever stop.”
DAILY FACTOID:
Along time ago:

73275_10151137109081244_1793259856_n

G. Blaki, the original boogy-man, roamed what eventually became China when the Homo Saps came upon him. He left them plagued with nightmares ever since.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

261504_10151165435406275_701173453_n

OK, but are they worth 10 times more than the Japanese and German execs who regularly out compete them? Shouldn’t the market correct the discrepancy? Could it be the CEO’s do not believe in the “invisible hand” of the market either?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

533913_519982724679377_1581156659_n

TODAY’S CHART:

16123_10151159654361275_1721784171_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

44889_10151167724301275_2049260601_n

Why is that man smiling?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Pookie 0001 (December 9, 2012)

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use,  from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” 

Thomas Aquinas

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. An author speaks:

I read an interesting article in one of the local english language newspapers recently.

A fairly well-known British author on a speaking tour of Southeast Asia was asked how he got into writing. He explained that after university he was working as a geologist in South Asia when he read a travel book written by another well-known writer, John Morris, about his experiences accompanying an expedition to climb Mt. Everest. Impressed, he decided he wanted to become a writer also and promptly wrote to Mr. Morris for advice. Mr Morris wrote back that, if he wanted to become a writer, he should first get a job as a newspaper reporter.

The author returned to England and got a job as a reporter for a newspaper in a small english town. He then wrote back to Morris asking what he should do now. Morris advised him to gather up a suitable number of articles he had written, and send them to him for his review and comment. The author did and after an exchange of letters asked permission to visit Morris in his home. It was granted and a few weeks later the author found himself in front of the door to Morris’ home. Upon entering he saw someone with long hair kneeling in the vestibule. Assuming it was Mrs. Morris he enquired, “Mrs. Morris?” To which the person responded, “no, she is upstairs and will be down in a moment,” and left.

Mrs. Morris and her daughter did indeed come down and after a pleasant chat invited the author to spend the night in the guest room.

That night before retiring he noticed a note on the bed addressed to him. The note explained that the person who met him at the door was John Morris and that he had always believed he was a woman in a man’s body and was leaving in a few weeks for an operation that would rectify the situation. The note added that if the author was not offended by this and still wanted to be the writers friend, they could meet again in the morning. He did and they did. The operation went on as planned and the now Jan Morris has been the authors best friend since then.

2. A passing:

Today while at the health club the Little Masseuse told me that her ex-husband had died suddenly yesterday. Her eyes were glistening through her blurred mascara as she explained the he was found slumped in his seat on the bus he was riding. No one knew he was dead until the bus had gotten to its last stop. The other passengers thought he was just another old man sleeping off the day’s exhaustion.
He had been living with their son after the relationship he had left LM for broke up. Before that he was a member of the Thai Coast-Guard.

LM asked me for 1000 baht (about $30) to defray funeral and burial costs. I agreed.

Last night or perhaps the night before, I could not get to sleep, terrorized by the fear I would pass through my declining years alone; perhaps still here in my little room in BKK. Estranged is an odd word and yet I wonder why it feels so appropriate to me. My choice I suppose.

LM must be suffering now. Although it was long past their time together, it was still a big part of her life for as long as it lasted. Now permanently severed. Scary.

I know I am a little more than a mobile ATM. Could there be a mutual dependency there? Of course there could.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Ladies only parking

In Bangkok, several parking structures have a “ladies only” parking floor equipped with female guards to enforce the mandate. The walls and columns of these exclusive domains usually are highlighted in pink.

Pink, as everyone knows, is the color more adored by women than any other. As opposed to grey which men prefer because they are all color blind.

It is unknown at this time if Chazz Bono will be allowed to park on these floors.

2. Choose your ring tone

An international cell phone company recently announced that they are developing a magnetic tattoo ink that would cause a person’s skin to vibrate whenever he or she has an incoming call.

Where would you choose to place your vibrating tattoo?

3. Dangerous occupation.

Today the Bangkok english language press reported the death of two rubber tappers working on separate rubber plantations in Thailand. One involved a woman who, while engaged in tapping the rubber trees to collect the latex, was killed by a herd of stampeding wild elephants. On another plantation a woman engaged in the same activity was eaten by a tiger.

Do not allow your children to grow up and become rubber tappers.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I ran across an interesting commentary by the ever insightful Brad Delong regarding Nick Eberstadt’s Book, A Nation of Takers. I thought I would share it with you.

“It is a curious and remarkable thing. Go to Nick Eberstadt’s A Nation of Takers and you discover him writing about:

‘The breathtaking growth of [personal] entitlement payments…. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals from all programs totaled $24 billion. By 2010, the outlay for entitlements was almost 100 times more… the nominal growth in entitlement payments… was rising by an explosive average of 9.5% per annum for fifty straight years…’

But of that 9.5%, 6.9% simply matches the growth of potential nominal GDP from inflation, labor-force growth, and productivity growth.

That leaves excess entitlement spending growth of 2.6%/year.

That excess has three causes. First, 38% of federal transfer programs are health programs. Few indeed drop out of work today and become moochers because they want to qualify for Medicaid, or they look forward to Medicare. A government that pays doctors for treating sick people does not a nation of takers make.

Second, an aging population since 1960 is responsible for 1/10 of today’s non-health transfers. And the depressed economy is responsible for another 1/7: more old people, families that don’t normally qualify for food stamps qualifying for them because of unemployment, and workers who paid into the unemployment insurance system using it for what it was intended for. This is not a shift in the generosity of our safety net.

Subtract off these, and you are left with the third cause: our non-health safety net has become more generous over the past two generations.

By how much?

The non-health aging- and cyclically-adjusted transfer spending of the federal government has grown since 1960 relative to potential GDP at a rate of 0.9%/year.

That is less than one-tenth of Eberstadt’s headline number.

It is that less than 1%/year growth rate is supposed to have turned us from a self-reliant entrepreneurial people in 1960 into ‘a nation of takers’, an ‘an incoherent amalgam of interest groups … vying for benefits … at the expense of other Americans’ today?

That dog won’t hunt. That fish won’t swim. That bird won’t fly.

The systemic crisis in right-of-center use of arithmetic runs far deeper than just polling.”

Recently, I have received a number of e-mails and and have come across several other references to articles, graphs and the like that in one way or another attempt to make the same point that Eberstadt tries to make, prompting me to share this response. All of DeLong’s assertions are easily verifiable from standard reference sources.

DAILY FACTOID:

us-oil-production-has-now-hit-its-highest-level-since-1994

The US in the past four years has gone from an also ran in the petroleum production sweepstakes to being on the verge of becoming the worlds largest producer. Yet, the price of gasoline has not gone down. It may also help to understand what is going on to know that the per person fossil fuel use in the US has been decreasing irrespective of its per unit price.

Hmmm… increasing energy production leading to energy independence; stable, if high, fuel prices and a declining use of climate changing fossil fuels….something here must be Obama’s fault.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Model of Money Management or why Wall Street is untrustworthy.

According to a study by Gennaioli, Shleifer, and Vishny:

“Trust in the money manager reduces an investor’s perception of the riskiness of a given investment, and allows managers to charge higher fees to investors who trust them more.

Money managers compete for investor funds by setting their fees, but because of trust the fees do not fall to costs.

Managers consistently underperform the market net of fees, but investors still prefer to delegate money management to taking risk on their own.

Fees involve sharing of expected returns between managers and investors, with higher fees in riskier products.

Managers pander to investors when investors exhibit biases in their beliefs, and do not correct misperceptions.

Despite long run benefits from better performance, the profits from pandering to trusting investors discourage managers from pursuing contrarian strategies relative to the case with no trust.”

Or, as John Maynard Keynes wrote: “in banking it is often better to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally”.

Or, you give them your money – they give you nothing in return, but you feel good about it.

Does this mean we should fire our financial advisors and brokers or that we should just not believe anything they say?

Did we really need a scholarly study to tell us that brokers rip us off?

 

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

nu
A general word that calls for a reply. It can mean, “So?” “Huh?” “Well?” “What’s up?” or “Hello?”
oy vey
Exclamation of dismay, grief, or exasperation. The phrase “oy vey iz mir” means “Oh, woe is me.” “Oy gevalt!” is like oy vey, but expresses fear, shock or amazement. When you realize you’re about to be hit by a car, this expression would be appropriate.
plotz
Or plats. Literally, to explode, as in aggravation. “Well, don’t plotz!” is similar to “Don’t have a stroke!” or “Don’t have a cow!” Also used in expressions such as, “Oy, am I tired; I just ran the four-minute mile. I could just plotz.” That is, collapse.
shalom
It means “deep peace,” and isn’t that a more meaningful greeting than “Hi, how are ya?”
shlep
To drag, traditionally something you don’t really need; to carry unwillingly. When people “shlep around,” they are dragging themselves, perhaps slouchingly. On vacation, when I’m the one who ends up carrying the heavy suitcase I begged my wife to leave at home, I shlep it.
shlemiel
A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.
schlock
Cheap, shoddy, or inferior, as in, “I don’t know why I bought this schlocky souvenir.”
shlimazel
Someone with constant bad luck. When the shlemiel spills his soup, he probably spills it on the shlimazel. Fans of the TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” remember these two words from the Yiddish-American hopscotch chant that opened each show.
shmendrik
A jerk, a stupid person, popularized in The Last Unicorn and Welcome Back Kotter.
shmaltzy
Excessively sentimental, gushing, flattering, over-the-top, corny. This word describes some of Hollywood’s most famous films. From shmaltz, which means chicken fat or grease.
shmooze
Chat, make small talk, converse about nothing in particular. But at Hollywood parties, guests often schmooze with people they want to impress.

Yiddish developed among the Ashkenazi, one of the three main branches of Judaism. The other two being the Sephardim (primarily originating on the Iberian peninsula) and the Mizrahim comprising most of the others. The Sephardim and the Mizraham, if they spoke it at all, did not speak yiddish as their mother tongue as did many of the Ashkenazi before emigrating to the US.

They all more or less can trace their patrimonial heritage through the male Y chromosome to a single individual living somewhere in the middle east about 5000 years ago, about the time when Abraham was reputed to have lived. A recent study of the Cohen, the traditional priestly class descended from Aaron, Moses’ brother, using DNA from males with that surname world-wide, indicates that most of them are descended from a middle eastern male alive about 3000 years ago; about the time the Bible indicates that Moses and Aaron lived. Given that several hundred years of the most intensive archeological investigation in the world, while turning up scads of evidence of the other Peoples and nations mentioned in the Bible, failed to turn up much evidence at all of Jewish history older than somewhere between 200 and 600 BC, it is remarkable that modern genetics has been able to confirm at least this part of the story. (Not that it proves that Abraham, Moses and Arron actually existed, but it does confirm that during those times there was in all likelihood some horny goat-herd in the Near East busy shtupping a shikse or two thereby giving birth not only to the great Jewish nation but, in all likelihood, a significant portion of the population of the entire Mediterranean basin. I guess it could fairly be observed that Arron wielded a mighty rod.)

The Ashkenazi male line descends primarily through southern Italian and Sicilian Jews who migrated into Northern Europe about 400-600 AD to escape persecution by the newly dominant Christians. Genetically Southern Italians and Sicilians and the Ashkenazi appear to be closer related to each other than to most of the rest of trans-montain Europe. Unlike the other branches of Judaism, the Ashkenazi seem to have picked up a small but strong Central-Asian component primarily from the Caucuses and the area around the Caspian Sea, the ancestral home of the Khazar’s, the almost legendary medieval Jewish empire.

On the matrilineal side DNA testing shows that although there is strong evidence of middle eastern origins among the women, there is significantly more evidence of non-middle eastern origins then among the men (Again with the Shikses.)

Among the Ashkenazi there is a high incidence of Tay Sachs an inherited and inevitably fatal disease. The Sephardim and the Mizrahim seem to have no greater incidence of the disease than the general population, an indication that the effects of natural selection and genetic drift happen quite rapidly and do not require the eons that mutations take to be reflected in a population. The Tay Sachs’ discovery may have revealed another startling fact, that the genes causing Tay Sachs may be related to those controlling for intelligence.* Based on standard IQ testing as much as 20% of the Ashkenazi score 120 or higher, scoring higher in verbal and mathematical elements and lower in spatial than the general population (in other words, great scientists and writers but lousy athletes). In the general population the average is about 4-5% including for the Sephardim and Mizrahim. It is not so hard to guess why that is the case. The Christian pogroms and prohibitions against land owning for the Jews and against charging interest for the Christians coupled with high literate demands of the rabbinate made those excelling in abstract thought high quality breeders so to speak.

On the other hand, among the Christian West, strangely enough, those who were most literate were prohibited from breeding. From the fall or the Roman empire until the success of the Protestant revolt, for the most part, the most literate of the Western Christians were forced into the clergy who, unless they were Popes or Cardinals, were strongly discouraged from breeding.

Instead we placed our genetic basket on the shoulders of homicidal maniacs whose claim to fame was their preternatural ability to take someone else’s technology and turn it into a more highly efficient means of slaughter.

As luck would have it, due to the plague almost wiping us out, and our short-term tendency to compensate by breeding like rabbits, coupled with our forced procreation of prescient psychopaths equipped with proficient killing machines and a resistance to disease, we in the West were able to conquer the world. Hooray for us.

*Note: Contrary evidence for the genetic connection between Tay Sachs and a certain type of intelligence is provided by the fact that the Irish appear also to be prone to the disease. On the other hand, perhaps the Hibernians were one of the lost tribes of Israel like the American Indians and just about everyone else, except for the Mormons, who never get lost.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

178961_10151157090571275_278398912_n

TODAY’S CHART:

23945_463686023672848_1239777113_n
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

248204_507424759278540_1896979507_n

Turritopsis nutricula is an immortal jellyfish. Some people believe it may hold the secret of immortality for humans.

After reaching sexual maturity, this jellyfish is able to reverse its aging process and become a polyp again. The ability to reverse the life cycle is probably unique in the animal kingdom, and allows the jellyfish to bypass death, rendering the Turritopsis nutricula biologically immortal. Lab tests showed that 100% of specimens reverted to the polyp stage.
I fucking love science.

But, do I want to be a polyp – even an immortal one?

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Pookie 0001 (December 4, 2012

(Happy Birthday Jason [24 Pookie] and Annmarie [21 Pookie])

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’SPookieandHippy2 ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My favorite Thai holiday is Loi Krathung. It falls on the night of the full moon of the 12th month of the year. On that night Thais launch, into the nearest suitable body of water, tiny boats adorned with candles, flowers incense and sometimes nail clippings an bits of hair for good luck. It is also the same day as the Lanna (the old Thai kingdom centered at Chiang Mai) Yi Peng festival when thousands of sky lanterns are launched into the air. LM and I went to the lake beside the Emporium shopping center on Sukhumvit Road to launch our boats and plead with the gods and goddesses for good luck. As with most holidays, it was much more pleasant in the anticipation than in the actual experience.

A few days later we went to the movies to see The Impossible, a film about an european family’s experiences while vacationing in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. The scenes showing the fury of the water and the devastation caused by the inundation were riveting. Even more so were the images of its aftermath – the makeshift hospitals, the body bags, the injured, frightened, lost people and the frenzy of those searching for their missing loved ones. The movie brought back to me some long forgotten memories.

One evening, about four years after the tsunami, a friend and his wife invited me to join them at a reception in a home in Mill Valley, California. The homeowner’s family and another family, like the family in the movie, were vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami struck. The purpose of the reception was to raise funds for the ongoing tsunami relief efforts that the two families were heavily involved in.

The host’s family had been vacationing in Phi-Phi Island in the heart of the Andaman Sea. They had their two children with them, both girls; one about six or seven years old and the other perhaps eleven. They had just walked from their hotel to one of the two main beaches on the island about 200 yards apart on opposite sides of its wasp-waisted middle. They arrived at the beach just as the water suddenly rushed away exposing the sea floor almost to the horizon. Many people were standing around dumbfounded, staring at the curious phenomena. When the wife wondered aloud “What do you suppose that is all about,” an older Thai woman standing next to her responded, “I do not know, but if I were you I would take your child and run.” And so they did, as soon did almost everyone else when they noticed a ten meter high wall of water surging across the uncovered sea bed toward the shore. They all turned and ran toward the beach on the opposite side of the island where they thought they would be safe.

For some reason the oldest child yelled “no not there, up here,” pointing to the nearest of the two high hills sitting at each end of the tiny island. And so they ran up the mountain with the water literally lapping at their heels. Up they ran until, near the peak, they found a grove of trees in which they took refuge and there they remained along with a number of other survivors for the two or so days it took to be rescued.

Those that ran to the opposite beach all died as the second of the two tsunami waves struck that beach from the opposite direction.

The other family was not so lucky. They had been vacationing at Khao Lak (the site depicted in the movie, where over 4500 people died). In addition to the husband and wife, the family included a daughter, 14, and a son about 12 years old. They were all avid scuba divers and had spent much of their vacation happily diving off the dive boats that took them out to the reefs and the nearby islands where the water was clearer for diving than it was closer to the mainland. It was the final day of their vacation and the father wanted to spend one last morning diving before they left. The children did not. They preferred to spend their last day relaxing near the hotel. So early in the morning, the parents took the dive boat with a few other committed divers to a favored spot over a reef out of sight of land.

While diving, they felt a slight but powerful up thrust of the water. When they rose to the surface and looked about, they discovered that they were hundreds of yards from the boat. The other divers, who had been close by, now had been dispersed as much as a mile away from each other. After they were all picked up by the boat, they decided to head back to the mainland. As they came in sight of the land, they saw the ocean in front of them thickly covered with debris extending several miles out from shore.

As they slowed and got closer to the debris they noticed what appeared to be hundreds of dead dogs floating amongst the refuse. Closer still they realized that these “dead dogs” were in fact many types of dead animals including dogs and to their horror humans as well. A few were still alive and the boat trolled around a bit picking up those that they could locate.

When they arrived at the shore, they found much of the hotel destroyed and the casitas, in one of which the family had been staying, utterly demolished. The parents desperately spent the next few days searching for their children. The boy was eventually located alive, lying in a field about two miles inland from the hotel with a piece of fencing driven through one of his thighs.

The boy told his parents that he and his sister had been lying on separate beds in their room, he reading and she napping, when they heard a noise like hundreds of freight trains roaring together down the tracks. Water suddenly burst through the walls, picked him up and carried him out the open door at the back of the casita. For some reason, he was borne on the top of the leading edge of the wave as it roared inland through the village and then out into the countryside. He was unable to move until the flood spent its fury and gently deposited him in the field where he was discovered.

The daughter was not found. The father, in much the same way as the father in the film, spent the next month in a lonely search for his daughter through the hospitals and the refugee camps. And, one by one he went through the thousands of body bags opening each one to see if his daughter was inside. They never found her body.

The family that invited me to the reception also experienced the tsunami but in a slightly different way. They too were vacationing in Thailand at the time but decided to fly off to Sri Lanka to spend some time at a recently opened resort on that islands southeastern shore owned by an acquaintance. After they landed, they learned that the Tsunami had just hit. Not knowing the extent of the destruction, they decided to rent a car and drive to the hotel. As they drove along the coastal roads, they were perhaps the first outsiders to view the devastation (33,000 Sri Lankans died). When they realized the full extent of the damage the wife and children returned to the airport and left to go back to the US. He remained behind for several weeks helping to co-ordinate the relief efforts.

I had forgotten about all this until the image on the screen of the desperate father wandering through the ruins in search of his family jogged my memory.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

You get what you pay for:

A recent study, the results of which were published in the Bangkok Post, examined the incidence of HIV from those engaged in different high risk activities and compared to male on male sex, intravenous drug users, infidelity and the like and found that sex workers and those who engage them had by far the lowest rate.

Thus, you get what you pay for…or since this is Thailand, you get what you overpay for.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A recent report indicated that President Obama has received 43,830 death threats during his first four years in office. If true, this would make him the most threatened president in the Nation’s history. Included in those threats was the plot by white supremacists in Tennessee to rob a gun store, shoot 88 black people, decapitate another 14 and then assassinate the first black president in American history. Some people say that these threats have nothing to do with race but merely reflect ravings of the deranged or an unfortunate over exuberant disagreement about policy. They accuse those that disagree with this assessment of “playing the race card.”

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (cont.)

I had gone off to college at Georgetown and Don went off to Idaho. About two years later during a school vacation, I got on to a bus somewhere in Westchester County and saw Don sitting in a seat about half way toward the back, staring out the window. I was happy to see him. I slid into the empty seat beside him and started jabbering away about how good it was to see him, how exciting it must be to go to school out west and things like that. After prattling on like that for a while I asked him, “What’s Idaho like?”

He turned to me. His eyes were cold and angry. I had never seen him like that before.

“You have no idea what it is like. You haven’t the slightest idea about anything,” he said. And with that he turned back toward the window and resumed staring out of it. We sat there in silence a few minutes until the bus arrived at my stop. I said, “Good to see you again Don.” He nodded slightly without turning from the window.

As I left the bus, I glanced back to where he was sitting, for a moment his eyes shifted in my direction. They seemed to me to lose their anger for a moment. He appeared to me at that moment just a young man suddenly realizing he was alone in a hostile world.

I later learned that he left Idaho for another University. I lost all connection with him from then until a few months ago when I received his son’s comment on my blog informing me that Dondi had died a few years back.

228717_1016937468285_5599_n

Don Lundy and his wife (Photograph taken from the Facebook page of Don’s son.)

DAILY FACTOID:

Since 1980, the insured losses due to natural weather related catastrophes in the US amounted to $510 billion, and some 30,000 people lost their lives. According to several insurance resellers, the size and frequency of these weather related catastrophes are increasing.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“We used to have a framework for understanding the time dimension of inequality in the United States: we called it the “Kuznets Curve”. The United States starts out as a country that is relatively equal–at least among white guys who speak English. Free land, lack of serfdom, the possibility of moving the west if you don’t like the wages you’re being offered in the east–all of these produce a middle-class society. Then comes 1870 or so, and things shift. The frontier closes. Industrial technologies emerge and they are highly productive and also capital intensive. So we move into a world of plutocrats and merchant princes: people in the cities, either off the farms or from overseas, competing against each other for jobs. And we get the extraordinarily stark widening of American income inequality up until the mid-1920’s or so.

This then calls forth a political reaction. Call it progressivism, call it social democracy, call it–in Europe–socialism. The idea is that the government needs to put its thumbs on the scale, heavily, to create an equal income distribution and a middle class society. Progressivism and its candidates are elected to power in democratic countries in the North Atlantic in the twentieth century–in spite of everything you say about Gramsci and hegemony and the ability of money to speak loudly in politics. Thus from 1925 to 1980 we see substantial reductions in inequality in the United States–the creation of a middle-class society, at first only for white guys and then, gradually, for others.
In 1980 things shift again. Since 1980 we have had an extraordinary explosion of inequality in the United States. This explosion has taken place along two dimensions.

First, we have seen extraordinarily rapid growth between the top twenty percent and the lower eighty percent. The benefits to achieving a college education skyrocket–for reasons that I don’t really have time to go into, and for reasons that are still somewhat uncertain.

Second, we have an even larger explosion of inequality between the top .01 percent, the top 15,000 households, and the rest of the top twenty percent. This second explosion is the most puzzling and remarkable feature of the past generation. It puts the American political system under substantial long term threat, if only because equality of opportunity in the next generation will require substantially greater equality of result in this generation than we see today: a world in which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney puts his wealth into a blind trust but that blind trust then decides just as a matter of chance that what it should fund Tagg Romney and he then raises money from interests that want the Romney clan to think well of them. That is not a society fulfilling a democratic commitment to equality of opportunity, not at all.
Brad DeLong

B. Can you still trust these guys:

In 2001 the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation opined in support of the pending Bush Tax cuts:

•Under President Bush’s plan, an average family of four’s inflation-adjusted disposable income would increase by $4,544 in fiscal year (FY) 2011, and the national debt would effectively be paid off by FY 2010.

•The plan would save the entire Social Security surplus and increase personal savings while the federal government accumulated $1.8 trillion in uncommitted funds from FY 2008 to FY 2011.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

479772_10151150557171275_1084507000_n

TODAY’S CHART:

True_Size_Of_Africa

This map shows the actual size of Africa relative to many countries of the world. It corrects for that misperception caused by the Mercator Projection map you had in your grammar school classroom that showed the continent as smaller than Greenland. To me one of the more interesting thing about the map is that India with over 1.2 billion people fits comfortably within the Horn of Africa an area that currently supports a population of less than 10% of India’s.

 

Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Pookie 0001 (November 29.2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have finally ventured beyond the café about a block from my apartment that marked the limit of my world since arriving here in BKK. I travelled all the way to the health club to resume the exercise regime that had been suspended during the almost four months I spent in the US.

I left the apartment with LM well before six am. It was still dark. As we passed Nana Plaza, the sidewalks were filled with Ladies of the Night trolling for customers. Whether they were trolling for the last trick of the evening or the first of the new day, I have no idea. Perhaps there is something about their occupation or constitutions that allows them to work around the clock without sleeping.

You can always tell the Ladyboys from the others because they were usually so much better dressed and made up. While most of the women at that time in the morning sported looks of various degrees of dishevelment, the Ladyboys paraded about without a hair out-of-place or a wrinkle on their tight tiny dresses.

Several bars were open spilling their noise and golden light into the street where it mingled with the blue-grey light of dawn and the police sirens. I do not know why they were open at that hour. The police require bars in Bangkok to close at midnight or one o’clock in the morning. Perhaps they had closed and just now were reopening. Or, maybe they were the bars owned by the cops themselves.

Bangkok is a funny place, so much to see – so much more hidden.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Cat causes chaos:

In Sidney Australia a man ran down his sister with his car after her cat urinated on his computer.

I guess he was pissed off because he couldn’t watch cute cat videos anymore.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

Before Don became such a big local football star, Tuckahoe produced another village football legend, Al Carapella who became the University of Miami‘s first All American. He later had a distinguished, if brief, NFL career. The town was proud of Al. He was their first All American too.They had a parade for him and dedicated some sort of monument in his honor.

We kids were not so impressed. We all snidely referred to him as “Al Carapella, All American.” One Sunday I attended mass in the Assumption Church, the parish in the town specifically set up by the Diocese for the Italians to stop us from attending the “American” Catholic church up on the hill. I was about 10 years old at the time. I was standing in the line to go to Communion and “Al Carapella, All American” stepped into the line just behind me. I was awed. We all had our heads bowed and our hands pressed together in prayer and piety. As the line moved forward, for some reason, I moved backward or perhaps I did not move fast enough, I do not know. Anyway I stepped on “Al Carapella, All American’s” foot. Without lifting his head “Al Carapella, All American” growled, “Get the fuck off a my fucking foot kid.”

As I said, no one in the gang was especially large or fast and except for Peter White showed no great natural athletic ability. Nevertheless, over the years that they played together each learned his job. Each had to figure out by himself how to do his job even if the guy in front of him was bigger, faster and more athletic. This ad-hoc accommodation to the situation was the bane of coaches. Once the coach got involved he would demand you be bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic otherwise you would not play. They usually loved to see “their boys” bang themselves silly against the opposing player.

The gang did not have this problem when they entered Tuckahoe High School. The coach was an alcoholic who reputedly spent most of his time with the school nurse locked-up together in his or her office. So, for the most part the team was left to fend for itself. The school was tiny, only about 90 boys in the whole school. Almost all the gang played on the varsity beginning with their freshman year and with Don in the backfield they won and kept on winning.

Since I went to a different high school than the rest of the gang and no longer lived in Tuckahoe, I did not attend many of their games. But I followed them in the local newspapers. The few times I did get to see their games Don was astonishing. He was like the Ghost in the Backfield. Not too tall and a bit on the skinny side so that his uniform always looked a bit to big for him, he seemed to disappear from view until he was given the ball and then something amazing happened.

Don was never a great fan of running over people or of being tackled. He did not run through his opponents, nor did he stutter step to trick potential tacklers. With a fluid grace he played “catch me if you can.” Although he was fast, he was not blistering so and he did not make his mark simply running around the ends but instead when presented with just the slightest of openings in the center of the line he would almost magically slip through and be gone. He often left the would be tackler tackling air. Like a ghost he was there and then he was not.

Because the school was so small they were forced to play other small schools in the area. But as they continued to win by ever increasing scores they eventually were paired with larger schools. But still they continued to win.

Don received a number of football scholarship offers, not as many as he would have received had he attended one of the larger schools in the county like the one I attended that had two thousand boys. To the surprise of all of us he chose a school in Idaho (Idaho State or the University of Idaho, I do not know which) (to be Continued)

227147_1017389279580_4153_n
Don looking a lot like when I knew him (a bit heavier in the photo) with his son who misses him a lot.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2012- The Tuckahoe Tigers Basketball Team won the State division C title after posting a perfect 25 – 0 win season. The prior year the school won the State football and baseball championships for their division. The football team played in three state championships in the past 6 years. (The school still is tiny, containing only about 250 students)

1956: Tuckahoe defeats Feildston 30-0 in Football. (More than likely Dondi scored almost all the points.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part II.

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“If all bank loans were paid, no one would have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent monetary system. When one gets a complete grasp upon the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible-but there it is. It (the banking problem) is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it is widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.”
Robert Hemphill, for 8 years credit manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. January 24, 1939

Hemphill’s warning has not been heeded because, up until now, productivity has increased while commodity prices have fallen producing a growth in wealth greater than the inexorable ever-increasing cannibalization of that wealth by interest. What Hemphill’s insight means is that the nation or for that matter the world’s monetary system will eventually fail because debt levels must increase exponentially in order to grow the economy. A growing economy requires more money, and money is debt. Exponential debt levels are mathematically impossible after a certain point. That is simple math. And the result? KABOOM!

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

klutz
Or better yet, klots. Literally means “a block of wood,” so it’s often used for a dense, clumsy or awkward person. See schlemiel.
kosher
Something that’s acceptable to Orthodox Jews, especially food. Other Jews may also “eat kosher” on some level but are not required to. Food that Orthodox Jews don’t eat – pork, shellfish, etc. – is called traif. An observant Jew might add, “Both pork and shellfish are doubtlessly very tasty. I simply am restricted from eating it.” In English, when you hear something that seems suspicious or shady, you might say, “That doesn’t sound kosher.”
kvetsh
In popular English, kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,” but in Yiddish, kvetsh literally means “to press or squeeze,” like a wrong-sized shoe. Reminds you of certain chronic complainers, doesn’t it? But it’s also used on Yiddish web pages for “click” (Click Here).
maven
Pronounced meyven. An expert, often used sarcastically.
Mazel Tov
Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”) but it’s a congratulation for what just happened, not a hopeful wish for what might happen in the future. When someone gets married or has a child or graduates from college, this is what you say to them. It can also be used sarcastically to mean “it’s about time,” as in “It’s about time you finished school and stopped sponging off your parents.”
mentsh
An honorable, decent person, an authentic person, a person who helps you when you need help. Can be a man, woman or child.
mishegas
Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. If you want to insult someone, you can ask them, ”Does it hurt to be crazy?”
mishpocheh
Or mishpokhe or mishpucha. It means “family,” as in “Relax, you’re mishpocheh. I’ll sell it to you at wholesale.”
nosh
Or nash. To nibble; a light snack, but you won’t be light if you don’t stop noshing. Can also describe plagiarism, though not always in a bad sense; you know, picking up little pieces for yourself.

Many people have the mistaken notion that yiddish is a Jewish language like Hebrew. True it was spoken primarily by Jews. However unlike Hebrew which until the establishment of the state of Israel served as the “religious” or “intellectual” language of most Jews; much like Latin was used in western Europe until the last century, yiddish generally was spoken by only one of the major branches of the Jewish diaspora. That branch, known as the Ashkenazi were those Jews who lived primarily in eastern Europe and originally included Northern France until various pogroms forced them further east. Like the Kurds of today they were a nation without a land of their own. Until the 19th century most Jews spoke a pastiche of Aramaic, Hebrew and the indigenous language of the place they were living at the time. The roots of Yiddish is primarily German with Aramaic and Hebrew influences. It also includes words and expressions from several Slavic languages in varying degrees depending upon where the speakers lived. There are several different “yiddish dialects” including that spoken as the official language in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Russian far East near Vladivostok. Its capital is Birobidzhan. The First Birobidzhan International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture was launched in 2007

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. The Little Masseuse:

“Dog shit in the morning.”
LM warning about the sidewalks of Bangkok after the nights rain had cleared away the prior day’s refuse.

A sentiment well taken by anyone believing they cleared away the debris of their past and are about to something new.

B. Paul Krugman

“[O]n economic issues the modern Democratic party is what we would once have considered “centrist”, or even center-right. Obama’s Heritage-Foundation-inspired health care plan is to the right of Richard Nixon’s. Nobody with political influence is suggesting a return to pre-Reagan tax rates on the wealthy. Fantasies about Obama as a socialist, redistributionist hater of capitalism bear no more resemblance to reality than fantasies about his birthplace or religion.

Second, today’s Republican party is an alliance between the plutocrats and the preachers, plus some opportunists along for the ride — full stop…. Someday there may emerge another party with the same name standing for a quite different agenda…. But that will take a long time… Finally, it’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded…. But… “seem to be”… they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda…. Anyone who imagines that there is any real soul-searching going on is deluding himself or herself.”

It should be noted that beginning with the election of Franklin Roosevelt in fifty years we went from the probably worst economic calamity in our nation’s history to witnessing the greatest growth of income and widest and most equitable distribution of wealth ever achieved. During this period, both Republicans and Democrats accepted the basic concepts of what became standard economic thought.

During the thirty years following the election of Ronald Reagan on the other hand we have seen our nation tumble from that period of broad, equitable and high economic growth into the second greatest economic contraction in our history accompanied by the largest divergence of wealth between the fortunate few and the rest of us since the heyday of the Southern plantation economies. During that time, both Republican and Democratic administrations grew to accept the new economic and fiscal paradigm introduced in Reagan Administration.

What caused this change from a seemingly workable beneficent economic consensus to one so manifestly deficient? The only political event that bridges transition from one paradigm to the other that I can see that makes sense as a cause is the civil rights movement. Not that it, in itself, engendered a simple reaction by racists who then swept away 50 years of economic agreement. But it did encourage the rural white southern and working class Northern poor who for the most part benefited (and supported) the New Deal, to make a political alliance with those who hated it in an effort to roll back the threats to their precarious existence that they imagined were being generated by the civil rights movement. Many of them, the working class and the southern white voter believed it when they were told by those who stood the most to gain financially by reversing the progressive economic consensus, that that economic consensus was responsible for financing “welfare state.” That the “welfare state” allowed the civil rights and other progressive movements to threaten their precarious hold on their newly won social and economic stability.

The tragedy for those folks who joined on to the bandwagon, was that while this alliance has been very successful in rolling back the previous economic consensus, it abjectly has failed in halting the ever-expanding tide civil rights and other progressive programs. This result has thrown that wing (that we now call “social conservatives”) of the alliance into ever-increasing paroxysms of insanity even to the point of lashing out against virtually all science and their own self-interest.

The irrationality of this wing has grown so outlandish, that recently some of the more insightful of those most opposed to the old New Deal economic paradigm see in them, their allies, a greater danger to their interests, than all but the most radical wing of their traditional opponents in the Democratic Party. They, these few, seem to be beginning to see in the current Democratic Party, the Reagan economic consensus without the socio-theologic crap.

After all, they may now reason, a few years of diminished expectations is a small price to pay for fattening up the pig again.

TODAY’S CHART:

598534_500507269970289_1520061641_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

14153_452119101500553_356897332_n

When all or most of us work at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart for minimum age, who will do the shopping there — the owners, management?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Pookie 0001 (November 25,2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have still not ventured far from my apartment. Perhaps in a few days I will go to the health club. Then again maybe not.

The dreams have come again. Not those frightening, exhilarating or annoying things that disturb your sleep and leave you groggy in the morning and then completely disappear from memory a few hours later. These other dreams I have while I am floating between sleep and fully awake. They frequently recur again and again. They do not disappear in the morning. I remember them for a long time.

It used to be that some of those dreams became so imprinted in my memory that they became as real as anything else that I could recall of my past. About a year or so ago in “This and that…” I wrote that I eventually realized many things that I thought had happened to me were mere dreams. When I went through them and understood that what I remembered could not be true, they disappeared from my memory just like the normal nighttime disturbances did. Their sudden disappearance would leave me with a strange sense of emptiness as if a piece of my past had gone missing leaving behind a hole in my life.

For example, I convinced myself that I spent several enjoyable summers at a resort on the north coast near the ocean. When I sat back and thought about it however, I realized it could not have been true. It happened on the wrong coast and too far from where it should have been. The moment I realized the memory was bogus, it fled like a thief from the scene of his crime.

Strangely, I get these dreams only in Thailand now, never in the US. I do not know why. I have some suspicions, however.

There have been two since I returned to Thailand.

In the first, I am at a party in my sister’s house. Of course, dream-like, it is not her house at all. There is a grand piano by a window. Standing next to it is a tall man with blond hair wearing a pale plaid jacket. He would now and then pick out something someone says and would lean over the keyboard sing a few words of whatever he had overheard and rhyme it with a few more while playing some brief simple tune. When he finished his little riff he would then stand back up and with a large smile on his face and with shining eyes look around the room for appreciation before hunting for the next snippet of conversation. He reminded me of a 50’s lounge singer or one of those hacks banging out tunes on Tin Pan Alley during the Depression. When the conversation moved away from him he would remain anxiously standing the by the piano never moving from his post alongside of it.

I watched him from across the room. Now and then our eyes would meet but he would quickly glance away and nervously move on in search of the next snatch of conversation to play around with. Gradually, the party-goers left until only he and I remained. He looked at me for a moment before turning and with that wistful aura that surrounds musicians after a gig as they pack up their instruments, wires, stands and other paraphernalia, picked up his coat and quietly left.

The second dream concerned a young Thai woman. She was tiny but not skinny, rounded somewhat. Her black hair was shorter than usual and cut in bangs. For some reason, what she was wearing made no impression on me. She was new to Bangkok having arrived only three months ago. The big city still awed her a bit. She found work in a local bar in Bangkok that specialized in oral sex. Today was her day off and she was spending it alone wandering around the Big C market, a slightly down-scale shopping mall, somewhat like Sears is downscale compared to Macy’s.

She often went there, not to shop but because she liked to wander about and look at things. She would stop and stare for a while at the various shows on the sets that lined the walls in the television department. She specially liked the animal and travel shows. She would wander about, fiddle with the smart phones and cameras in the electronics department or pick up a plate or a bowl in housewares, turn it over and closely examine its bottom. Whenever she passed by the clothing department, she would stop and finger the fabric of various items of clothing that caught her eye. All the while her mind would flit from thought to thought and memory to memory. She would often think about her tiny village somewhere in Issan and her parents, brothers and sisters. She pictured in her mind the fading image the little baby she left behind when she came to Bangkok to earn money to support him. She sent most of what she earned home to her parents to take care of the child and to save something for her for when she returned to the village. She lived a frugal life in Bangkok, sharing a tiny room with four other working girls, eating at the least expensive sidewalk food stands and entertaining herself by wandering around the malls.

At one point, she drifted into thinking about her little school girl uniform with the short pleated skirt and the plaid tie she wore at work. She liked the way she looked in it. She preferred working in the BJ bar than in the other bars. She did not like going to the short-time hotels or to the man’s hotel room. It made her feel shy and uncomfortable to take off her clothes. She thought about the old farang man who came to the bar and regularly choose her. That excited her. She hoped he would soon begin buying her things like some of the customers do with the other girls. Maybe he would take her here to Big C and buy her a smart phone.

As she stood in the electronics department holding a smart phone connected to the stand on which it was displayed and aimlessly played at pressing the icons, she saw herself with him walking up the stairs at the bar, waiting for him to sit on the bench then taking the pillow and placing in down and kneeling on it while he prepared himself. She could not recall what he looked like, only the liver spots on the backs of his hands and his few strands of wispy gray hair floating around his head. The image suddenly fled as she delightedly struck the icon for one of the games and started to play it.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

New not to be missed theme park opens in Korea:

In South Korea a new theme park has been opened called the Restroom Culture Park dedicated to the toilet industry and toilet behavior. It also contains a museum with exhibits demonstrating toilet technology through the ages. The park also displays fun facts about poop and statues of people going to the bathroom. The park is dedicated to former mayor Sim “Joe” Duck aka “Mr Toilet” who was reportedly fascinated by bathrooms.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I am always happy to transmit something that interests me written or said by one of my “This and that…” correspondents. The following was published in the New York Times letters to the editor section. It contains some interesting background on the training received by some of the nation’s general staff at West Point.

Re “A Phony Hero for a Phony War,” by Lucian K. Truscott IV (Sunday Review, Nov. 18):

I take great exception to the description of David H. Petraeus as a “phony hero.” Far from being a “phony,” Mr. Petraeus is part of a long line of soldier-scholars trained by the department of social sciences at West Point. Founded by a legendary colonel, George Lincoln, after World War II, the department recruited outstanding cadets to be soldier-scholars and future generals who had more than the ability to lead troops in battle. Inspired by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colonel Lincoln tried to develop officers with political and diplomatic skills, sending them to outstanding graduate schools like Harvard and Princeton. His goal was to develop soldiers who could deal with the complexities of the late 20th century.

Mr. Petraeus is only one of many such officers, but he is probably the most famous. And for good reason. He used his diplomatic and political skills to end the Sunni uprising in Iraq and to turn the Afghanistan conflict from a certain defeat into a marginal “good enough” success.

I know Mr. Truscott. Some 40-odd years ago I taught him at West Point. It’s sad to see him kick sand in the face of a real hero.

TERRENCE P. GOGGIN
New York, Nov. 19, 2012

The writer was an Army captain and assistant professor at West Point.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

In Tuckahoe, like most towns in the US at that time, the calendar followed by most little boys was not the Gregorian with its celestial seasons. Nor was it marked by the simple alternating rhythms of school and vacations. It was the round of sports seasons that directed our lives. There were three “Great” seasons, Football, Basketball and Baseball. They did not overlap each other as they do at the college level and in professional sports. Instead when one ended the next one began, often the following day. I never knew how the other kids knew one season ended and another started. It was a mystery. I would wake up one day and everyone would be there playing at something other that that which they were so obsessed with the night before. Hockey, Lacrosse and other sports did not penetrate our consciousness. Soccer was some weird thing the italian immigrants played, not we sophisticated first generation types and our African-American comrades.

There were however a few minor game seasons that intruded or sometimes overlapped the big three. For example just before baseball season began, for about two weeks we all played “marbles” with deathless concentration on both the games and on the collecting and trading of our marbles. These little glass balls had more arcane and mysterious names for them then the Eskimos have for snow; gobaloons, pee-wees, bowlers, aggies, clearies, steelies and on and on. There were basically two types of games played. One common in Mount Vernon and Yonkers consisted or drawing a large circle in the dirt. The players would each put up an agreed number of marbles in the center of the ring and then stand on the outside of the ring taking turns trying to knock the marbles out of the circle. The other game, favored in Tuckahoe, would be to draw a football sized and shaped “pot” in the dirt into which we would place the agreed upon marbles. Then a line was drawn about four feet away behind which the players would take turns trying to knock the marbles out of the pot. Only the first shot was taken from the line. Thereafter one would take his shot from wherever his shooter landed.

Near and during Christmas vacation we would buy chestnuts from the local chestnut vendor who appeared on the sidewalks of downtown about that time. We would drill a hole through the chestnut into which a string was knotted. We would then take turns striking each others chestnut until only the winner’s was left unbroken.

I do not recall ever seeing Dondi playing any or the sports and games the rest of us did (I was mostly an inconsistent participant hating games in the first place. It did not matter, most of the other kids thought I wasn’t very good anyway.)

In high school Don joined the Tuckahoe High School football team called the Tuckahoe Tigers. He became a local legend.

230472_1016937428284_5373_n

Donald Lundy, number 12, catching a pass for the Tuckahoe Tigers (From Don’s son Donald Lundy’s Facebook page)

Football in Tuckahoe, at least the team that Don ultimately joined, had an interesting history. The gang began playing tackle football together when we were all in the first grade. No one had a full uniform or equipment until we got to high school. Mostly we played in our street clothing augmented by a piece of equipment here and there acquired over the years. Each year they would play four or more pick up games against teams from other neighborhoods or schools. There were no coaches or adults of any sort involved. Sometimes I would play with them (when they were desperate for players) and sometime against them when I lived somewhere else or attended a different school. No one was particularly big, strong or fast and none except for Peter White would one consider a natural athlete. Yet they won all their games that first year, and the year after that and in fact every year even all through high school where they formed the core of the Tuckahoe Tigers football team on which Don was the star running back. (Continued)

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

Late 1800’s: The Toggle Bolt, originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe N.Y. by William H. Ruby.

Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand. Perhaps it was my gobaloons or more likely, my pee-wee.

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800’s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part I.

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest”
Albert Einstein

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35 percent to 40 percent cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed,” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.”
Ellen Brown, Truthout

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

baleboste
A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
bissel
Or bisl – a little bit.
bubbe
Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
bupkes
Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” – less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
chutzpah
Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English, chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
feh!
An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
glitch
Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
gornisht
More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
goy
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
kibbitz
In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets, and it’s related to the Hebrew “kibbutz” or “collective.” But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn’t originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else’s game – that’s an American innovation.

Now, why you might ask would it be important for we goyim to learn a few words of yiddish. Well, in addition to the fact that many of these words are already common and well-integrated into English, there is another reason as well. You see, some languages have many words that essentially describe what a non-speaker would imagine to be the same thing. For example, 200 words or so for snow or a hundred and fifty words for a camels hoof. Yiddish enriches English because it contains hundreds of words to describe human foibles. Even when it ostensibly refers to a thing like a knickknacks, the yiddish word “tchatchke” seems to say more about the observer and the owner than about the object itself.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Although capitalism is not a Ponzi scheme, credit-based economies, sic capitalism, and Ponzi schemes share the same fatal flaw. Both must constantly expand or they are in danger of collapse.”
– Darryl Robert Schoon

 

TODAY’S CHART:

WEBcaphill01_1120_600-e1353565733721

“Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.”
~Investors Business Daily
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

66057_502673193087030_1729657523_n

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Pookie 0001 (November 22,2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA AND THAILAND:

At some point shortly before one leaves on a trip or the like, whatever else you may do it still feels like waiting for the trip to begin. I do things now just like before, chauffeur Hayden, play on my computer, eat and sleep but in my mind I have already left and am just waiting for my body to catch up.

The sudden change in the weather has left the trees undecided between in dressing in red or brown leaves for the season and so, in sadness, they just decided to drop them and enter the holidays naked. The rains came for a few days grey and cold. Then it was time to leave. I teared up at the station as I hugged H. He asked me not to cry. Then I shook Dick’s hand and they drove off. While standing on the platform I remembered that I had left my glasses on the table by the bed. I called Dick, He returned and we drove back to the house retrieved the glasses and repeated the leave-taking.

After spending a few hours with my sister and brother-in-law I flew off back to Thailand. Upon arrival, I immediately went to my apartment and went to sleep for the next 20 hours. The tail end of the rainy season hovers over the city leaving the temperature comfortably in the high 80’s. I a few days I hope to bestir myself enough to venture beyond the one block from my apartment to the restaurant where I eat.

Local television news is filled with images of Obama’s visit; meeting with the King, visiting temples, traveling to the newly liberalized Myanmar and attending the ASEAN conference in Cambodia. It is interesting to see how much he appears to be admired by most people in Southeast Asia in contrast to the hatred directed at him by the opposing party back in the US.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1.Thailand’s best:

Thailand is the world’s second-largest pick-up truck market after the US. It also holds the Guinness records for longest condom chain, most couples married underwater and most Mini Coopers in a convoy (444 cars parked to spell out ‘Long Live the King’). Thailand has a 92.6% literacy rate though reading anything other than the newspaper or comic books is regarded as an eccentric.

2. Where have you gone Bevo Francis?

Sixty eight years after the great Clarence “Bevo” Francis of Rio Grande college set the single game scoring mark for basketball by scoring 113 points, a sophomore at Grinnell College bettered that mark by scoring 136 in a single game. I am crushed. Does anyone still remember Bevo?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

I always felt that I wanted to be Don’s friend more that he wanted to be mine. Everyone liked him, as well they should. During that time, when we were children, he had not yet blossomed into the star athlete he became during high school. He was just Don. He seemed to find the world about him somewhat humorous. He smiled at almost everything. A sly smile that came on with a rolling of his lips as though he had first to enjoy its taste before sharing it with everyone else.

By the time we began Junior high school we became friends with a boy named Dean Wilkes. Dean lived in one of the houses on top of the ridge adjacent to Bronxville. It was a small tract home with a family room in the basement. As far as I recall none of the other members of our group lived in a house owned by their family. To us Wilkes house was the closest thing to a palace that we knew of. We formed our official gang in Wilkes basement. We cleverly named it, “The Skull Gang.” Each of us sported a cheap ring made into a skull as evidence of our membership. Despite the fact that as gangs of the era go we were one in name only, the cops in the town began to stop and question us whenever we walked down the street.

Wilkes wanted to become a soldier. He liked to play war in his back yard, an overgrown weed filled lot. We thought he was weird to be still playing games like that at that age. But, we humored Wilkes and played along. Interestingly, Don who was the most amused of all of us was the best at it.

My parents sent me to different schools than the other children I played with. They would lie about our address in order to get me into the “better” schools usually in Eastchester a town that bordered Tuckahoe and was not restricted too much. Later they sent me off to a parochial high school named after a fascist Cardinal suspected of war crimes during WWII. I only went to the same school as Don and the other kids for one year when I attended junior high school. As a result my relationships with the other members of our gang was often tenuous. We also moved around a lot eventually moving to the nearby city of Yonkers.

It was a surprise to me and I imagine to the rest of us to to discover what a superior athlete Don proved to be in High School. Before High School Don rarely participated with the rest of us in the ceaseless rounds of sports through the year.(continued)

I received the following comment from Don’s son in response to my post to him that I share with you in my previous “This and that…” post.

“Great Story. And I can picture you guys doing that and rattling the cages of the Bronxville residents. My parents were married in 1966 and lived in Yonkers (near cross Country Shopping Center) where I lived until I was in the 6th Grade, then Hartsdale then we moved to Pasadena, CA. My mother was from Bronxville and my brother and I spent many a day after school hanging out at my grandmothers house next to the Bronxville HS. Having one grandmother living in Tuckahoe & one in Bronxville I understand the contrast between the two towns. I still remember some of my friends in Bronxville being afraid to go into Tuckahoe, as though it was worst or most dangerous place in the world.

Would be an honor to meet you too. But it will have to happen in Los Angeles. Unfortunately have not been to Tuckahoe in years.

-DL”
DAILY FACTOID:

2012: “The latest estimate shows life expectancy for white women without a high school diploma was 73.5 years, compared with 83.9 years for white women with a college degree or more. For white men, the gap was even bigger: 67.5 years for the least educated white men compared with 80.4 for those with a college degree or better.

The dropping life expectancies have helped weigh down the United States in international life expectancy rankings, particularly for women. In 2010, American women fell to 41st place, down from 14th place in 1985, in the United Nations rankings. Among developed countries, American women sank from the middle of the pack in 1970 to last place in 2010, according to the Human Mortality Database.”
Paul Krugman

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy

0415web-leonhardt2-popup

Exclusions from adjusted gross income are the largest drain on tax revenues at this time (even larger than the Bush Tax cut on the wealthy [only about $1-200 million yr.]). They are also one of the primary means by which the wealthy avoid paying the same rate of taxes as most of the rest of us (I can assure you, I took full advantage of them in the past). They probably are as much to blame for the increasing disparity of wealth in the nation as the Bush Tax cuts. For example, costs of carrying out a trade or business for non-employees could include things like yachts excluded from gross income by claims that they are used to conduct business meetings. Except perhaps for low-income self-employed individuals, it is difficult to conceive an individual (not a corporation) honestly requiring more than 15% of his and her income to carry out a trade or business. Instead of searching for supposed specific tax “loopholes,” that could be closed, one approach has been to urge that Congress simply consider capping of these exclusions at say 15-20% of Gross Income? This would discourage the most outrageous tax avoidance by accounting scams in one fell swoop and reform the tax code as well. It should not affect most taxpayers since it would fall most heavily on those who can afford high-priced tax attorneys to argue that the above mentioned yacht is a business necessity.

Similarly, Itemized deductions and lower dividend and capital gains rates allow people like a recent candidate for President to pay taxes at a lower rate than a secretary or almost anyone who actually works for a living and earns a salary or wages. Why not, some urge, limit the itemized deductions, dividend and capital gains rates to 15-20% of taxable income for people earning over $150,000? This will have the unintended but probably positive consequence of encouraging those earning less that $150,000 to invest more. It would not have the negative impact on housing construction as those who oppose eliminating the deduction fear, but instead provide a premium for lower cost middle class affordable housing and discourage the unwary from spending more than they can afford on their homes.

Obamacare already addresses the above in part. In order to pay for the program, the legislation imposes a 3.8% surcharge on investment income (dividends etc.) for those earning over $200,000. Also, the program places a cap on flexible spending plans and a tax on “Cadillac” medical plans, two programs that discriminate among employees of corporations allowing the wealthier to reduce their tax burden in excess of and at the expense of those less so.

According to one analysis, unless Congress compromises, on January 1, dividend taxes for those in the top tax bracket will jump from the current 15% back to the Clinton-era 39.6%. Add to this then the new 3.8% surcharge to pay for Obamacare, the top bracket for federal dividend taxes will nearly triple on January 1, from 15% to 43.4%.

Caps or limits on deductions and other tax avoidance options could reduce Congressional disputes about the appropriate rate for taxing unearned income or whether the middle class should be entitled to a tax deduction on the mortgage interest they pay on their homes. This also avoids forcing Boehner to identify those so-called specific tax loopholes he would be willing to close.

Note: the refundable tax credit was a Republican (Reagan) tax program to discourage the working poor from choosing to go on to welfare when their wages on the private market dropped below what one could make on the dole. I would keep that program intact even though it is an indirect subsidy to business. At least everyone sort of benefits.

The administrations plan actually does a little of both; increase the tax rate for the most wealthy and close some of the loopholes like those described above.

goldman-sachs-obama

According to Goldman Sachs they expect the following to happen:

The agreement that policymakers will (hopefully) reach before year end seems likely to involve an increase in tax rates from current levels and it could also involve a limitation in tax preferences. Our fiscal assumptions for 2013 include a tax increase equivalent to allowing the upper income tax cuts to expire. This amount–$56bn in 2013 and a little more than $800bn over ten years–is halfway between the President’s proposals and what Republicans would prefer.

The White House seems likely to succeed in raising at least this much revenue, though it remains to be seen whether it will come in one agreement at year-end, or a two-stage process involving a debate on more comprehensive tax reform next year.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/goldman-sachs-on-obama-taxes-for-wealthy-2012-11#ixzz2Cq4yaLE2

B. God speaks:

“Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you bald head! Go up, you bald head!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
5. Kings 2:23

Do not mess with bald men they are beloved of God.
Does this includes gay bald men and bald liberals as well as Gary Williams?

C. More nouns of association:

1. A flush of plumbers
2. A Rand of Objectivists
3. A yap of Chihuahuas
4. An ogle of office boys
5. A descent of relatives
6. A flourish of strumpets.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
Thomas Aquinas

“Twinkies are to food what Lindsay Lohan is to culture.”
Joe Wicht
TODAY’S POSTER:

o-GENTLEMANS-GUIDE-TO-AMPUTATION-570

TODAY’S CHART:

396358_4856468769128_600775260_n

This proves beyond a doubt that education like science and truth are liberal plots. Actually, like many charts such as this one, it is mostly a set up since it fails to indicate how those over 25 with a college degree actually voted in each state. On the other hand, it was based on data from Faux News so it should be ________. Choose one from: correct, incorrect, full of shit, ordained by God.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

189627_10151135425756275_1130717667_n

She also is an immigrant and has balls. Instead of moving to Australia, how about just moving their Prime Minister into the White House? I love Julia Gaillard. She is a right-wing liberal who takes no prisoners.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: