Posts Tagged With: Barry Goldwater

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 12, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. Political leaders then and now:

Then:

“It’s time America realized that there is no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence.”
~Barry Goldwater

Now:

“The problem is that sexual activity with people who you are in close quarters with who happen to be of the same sex is different than being open about your sexuality … They’re in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people.”
Rick Santorum

2. Democrat behaves badly:

In the past few days John Corzine ex-Democratic Senator and former Democratic Governor of New Jersey in testimony before an US Senate committee investigating his conduct as CEO of a company involved in perhaps the largest bankruptcy in the US since ENRON, claimed he ” did not know” what was happening in the company.

For those accusing me of one-sidedness, I pledge that should Corzine eventually run for the presidency of the US, I shall ridicule him with the same vigor as I did the candidate that said he did not need to know anything about foreign policy to be president because he will have people to do that sort of thing, and the candidate who, at the time he announced his candidacy, when questioned about immoral and corrupt personal and professional life, promised that he “learned his lesson” and would not do it again.

No, not good enough? What you really want is for me to criticize President Obama and Nancy Pelosi directly? Ok here goes—-Both of them have demonstrated the same fortitude and courage in opposing the thugs in the leadership of the opposing party as Neville Chamberlin did with the thugs at Munich.*

Happy now?

* For those of you who do not know who Chamberlin is and what happened in Munich, I suggest reading the Wikipedia account at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement.

By the way, this item confirms the validity of Godwin’s Law

3. Another Republican decides something is very wrong with his Party’s leadership:

“Basically we’re still stuck in the situation we were three years ago and we haven’t made any progress at all except that our problems are much worse because of political reasons, because we now have a crazy party in charge of one of the Houses of our Congress and they won’t allow anything to happen because it’s in their vested interest to make things worse,” Bartlett explained in his typically exasperated way. “Plus they have a theory that is completely nuts…. I’m very depressed. […] The most we can hope for is that a complete crazy person like Newt Gingrich gets the Republican nomination, the Republicans lose so badly that they lose control of the House and don’t get control of the Senate and then maybe in a year we can finally talk about doing something rational. […]”
Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett

Is it unfair and one-sided to quote a Republican leader who criticizes his party in language no Democrat elected official could or would dare use? Do I also have to find a Democrat critical of his own Party to be fair? Or a Republican who blindly loves his Party? Would the possibility that the Democrat I chose could be more radical than the main-stream Democratic Party be considered fair? Is fairness really what is wanted here? Remember, the Faux News, network logo “Fair and Balanced” is not just a marketing slogan asserting that their news reporting meets that standard, but also implies the claim that all other news networks are both unfair and unbalanced. That means for example, if they (Faux) for some reason have an objection to the assertion that the world is round, they could consider it to be fair and balanced for them to maintain that in fact the world is flat.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. Education matters:

Even in the lowest paying industry, “Hospitality and Tourism,” the average difference in average yearly earnings between someone with only a high school diploma and someone with an advanced degree is almost double and over a 30 year career can total about $800,000 or more.

And, if there is a question about finding employment during hard times, employment opportunities increase significantly with education.

Even if a person is underemployed relative to his or her educational attainments, studies have shown that he or she will still earn more on average than those with less education.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. American are not as wealthy as they think:

Figures from Credit Suisse’s World Wealth Report show that the typical American is a lot poorer than generally believed. In the US the mean average wealth is only $53,000. Compared to the typical Japanese or European, the typical American is only half as rich. Half the people in the US have less than $53,000 net worth. You can imagine what the bottom 20% have.

The reason for this is that although their raw average individual wealth is higher (but less than Britain’s) it is skewed by the very very wealthy. The mean average wealth, the wealth of the average American is much much lower (it drops from about $250,000 to around $50,00).

What this means is that for the average American, they are quite poor compared to other developed nations and the country is no longer the land of opportunity.

This is a devastating and grim insight. It explains why so much of America seems, well, so poor. Because it is poor. People don’t have any money. They dress poorly. Eat poorly. Live poorly.

Compared to Britain and Europe, much of the difference can be explained by the housing bubble, and subsequent housing crash in America. If we remember correctly, the US housing stock was valued at about $20 trillion in ’07. It lost 33% of its value, putting a quarter of mortgaged houses underwater and wiping out about $7 trillion of “wealth.”

It should also be noted that the US Federal Government, through the Federal Reserve and TARP paid out over twice the amount homeowners lost in wealth to the banking industry ($15 Trillion) to save the banks from collapse. Is anyone asking why we did not give the Homeowners $7 trillion instead to buy down their mortgages and bail out both for one half the cost?

2. Thailand, Cracked News from “Not the Nation”(the Thai version of “The Onion”):

Prosecutor Offers ‘Uncle SMS’ Reduced Sentence In Exchange For Acting More Evil

3 Dec 2011 BANGKOK – Following the high-profile conviction of Ampon Tangnoppakul for allegedly sending lèse-majesté texts last year, government prosecutors have offered the 61-year old grandfather a new deal. Under the proposed agreement, Ampon’s sentence will be reduced from 20 to only 5 years if he agrees to act more evil between now and his incarceration.

“We are experiencing a lot of negative press coverage for this case,” explained a spokesperson for the DSI. “By acting like such a sympathetic character, Mr Ampon is doing irreparable harm to the entire system. We would like to therefore ask his co-operation in being less sympathetic, for which we are willing to reduce his sentence.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday was the last day of the week-long celebration of Kings birthday and the little masseuse and I went to the palace grounds for the evening. Unlike his birthday itself when there were almost a million people in attendance and the evening was occupied mostly with pomp and speeches, there were fewer people yesterday and the emphasis was on entertainment. The absence of the overwhelming masses allowed us to visit the several pavilions at the site that mostly contained photographs about the king’s reign and Thai history.

The entertainment began with a big band orchestra made up of either high school or college students and a number of singers, two of whom appeared  professionals and the rest students.

While most of the singers sang pop tunes in Thai, a young man, who clearly appeared terrorized to be performing, sang a pretty good blues tune. Its minor cords seemed to require a lot of effort from him. He later sang a fine rendition of “My Way” in english but he blew the last note and seemed to die right there on the stage. I felt like crying for him. He did not come our for the finale.

A group of musicians followed playing traditional Thai instruments mostly hooked up to amplifiers and included two heroic drummers who banged on their drums with what seemed like every part of their body except their penis, and I am not so sure about that. They were followed by a team of traditional Thai dancers equally divided between young women in traditional costumes and tall thin young men dressed in attire that looked like it came out of the late middle ages in Italy. Although they appeared to be tall thin young men, in Thailand you can never tell. This was followed with a dance that looked like a Thai boxing match between monkeys (they had furry tails) and young men. There was a lot of jumping about and pushing each other. Finally, just before we left, we watched a dance with the long sticks (I am sure many of you have seen a version of it) where some of the dancers rhythmically strike two long sticks together and the other dancers jump in and out of without getting their ankles broken.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Old man memories; Donald Lundy:

Sometime between about second grade and junior high school, I lived in a village in New York, called Tuckahoe. The village  nestled in a wide spot in the valley carved by the Bronx River. In the village resided a collection of poor people, mostly italians and blacks along with a few middle class jews. We lived there because the high income towns that surrounded us restricted individuals of those three ethnic groups from living there. A number of Tuckahoe residents however worked in those other towns as gardeners, domestics and the like. Others worked in the industrial plants in nearby Yonkers while the remainder mostly occupied themselves with the shops and business that serviced the residents of the village.

Like most low-income areas of that time, the village had an industrial past. The vast marble quarries that attracted the italian immigrants had by the late forties and early fifties played out leaving the village a relatively impoverished residential enclave surrounded by great wealth.

Immediately after school we kids ,would run and play in the streets until dinner time and then again after dinner until bedtime. My parents insisted I return home before dark and go to bed shortly thereafter where I jealously listened to the other children, playing in the streets near my home well into the night.

Several of the village boys in my age group,including me, as boys tend to do, began to spend most of our play time together and began to envision ourselves as a gang much like that in the “Our Gang” comedies that were popular short features shown with the double features that on Saturday mornings we watched in the local movie house referred to as The Itch.

As we grew older, we modeled our gang on Leo Gorcey and the Dead End Kids. In fact the leader of our group, Peter Cirrincione, referred to as “sir rinse” even adopted Gorcey’s walk. I guess I would have been the good-looking skinny sullen guy in the movies who was always somewhat alienated from the group. Unlike some of the other characters like Huntz Hall, the actor who played my part often changed during the decade or so that their movies were popular.

Like that character, I was always a bit moody, aloof and estranged. I could never simply follow whatever “sir rinse” wanted to do and so would go off on my own a lot. At that time I was quite small for my age, quick to take offense and so I fought a lot. Also because I preferred to spend my time reading, I appeared arrogant often correcting things the others would say. In other words, I was a bit of an asshole. (To be continued.)

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about the fan and feces (cont.)

She grimaced and pulled the purse closer to her as though she feared that Vince would pick it up and play with it.

“Damn it Isabella, did you expect me to stand idly by and do nothing?” he said.

No,” she responded curtly, “but I expected you would think about the others you may have put in danger'”

That silenced him. He really hadn’t thought of anyone else. Now he wondered if Ike or Fat Al were at risk; or anyone else. Still he was not convinced that this was much more than government security paranoia.

Nevertheless, he blurted out, “I apologize, I did not think about that. It was inconceivable to me that my office would be bugged.”

“What else didn’t you think of,” she said sarcastically?

“I did not think I would find myself as attracted to you as I am,” he let slip and immediately regretted it.

Her eyes widened and she gazed at him until the door to the kitchen opened disgorging a waiter pushing a small food cart and her eyes slid over to study him.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GEOMAGNETIC REVERSAL

The Earth’s magnetic field provides a shield against harmful radiation from our sun that could rip through DNA and overload the world’s electrical systems. Every so often, Earth’s north and south poles switch positions and, during the transition, the magnetic field will weaken or disappear for many years. The last known transition happened almost 780,000 years ago and it is likely to happen again.

Danger sign: Electronics stop working.

b. Profiles in Presidential courage:
“A few years after World War II, a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50-50 chance of becoming middle class as an adult. By 1980, that chance fell to around 40%. And if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues, it’s estimated that a child born today will only have a 1 in 3 chance of making it to the middle class.

It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It’s wrong. It flies in the face of everything we stand for…”
Barack Obama in Ossawatomie, Kansas.

Recently someone told me that Obama doesn’t really believe this but is just saying it to get votes and that when he proposes laws and programs to address poverty, unemployment and inequality he is also doing it to be re-elected. Hmmm, I think I can live with that kind of hypocrisy, don’t you?

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“But if you want to see the story pulled together in one compelling narrative, read this — perhaps the best book on politics of the last two years: Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class. Two accomplished political scientists wrote it: Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson – the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science, who wanted to know how America had turned into a society starkly divided into winners and losers.

Mystified by what happened to the notion of “shared prosperity” that marked the years after World War II; puzzled that over the last generation more and more wealth has gone to the rich and superrich, while middle-class and working people are left barely hanging on; vexed that hedge-fund managers pulling down billions can pay a lower tax rate than their pedicurists, manicurists, cleaning ladies and chauffeurs; curious as to why politicians keep slashing taxes on the very rich even as they grow richer, and how corporations keep being handed huge tax breaks and subsidies even as they fire hundreds of thousands of workers; troubled that the heart of the American Dream – upward mobility — seems to have stopped beating; astounded that the United States now leads in the competition for the gold medal for inequality; and dumbfounded that all this could happen in a democracy whose politicians are supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number, and must regularly face the judgment of citizens at the polls if they haven’t done so;

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson wanted to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class.” They wanted to know: “Who dunnit?”

They found the culprit: “It’s the politics, stupid!” Tracing the clues back to that, “unseen revolution” of the 1970s — the revolt triggered by Lewis Powell, fired up by William Simon, and fueled by rich corporations and wealthy individuals — they found that, ‘Step by step and debate by debate America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.”

There you have it: they bought off the gatekeepers, got inside, and gamed the system. And when the fix was in, they let loose the animal spirits, turning our economy into a feast for predators. And they won — as the rich and powerful got richer and more powerful — they not only bought the government, they “saddled Americans with greater debt, tore new holes in the safety net, and imposed broad financial risks on workers, investors, and taxpayers.” Until – write Hacker and Pierson – “The United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

I assume we all remember how effectively, “the right to choose” was used during the debate on Obamacare. I also assume those of us who used that phrase thought we used it because it was factually accurate and not cynical political manipulation. But then, I guess both sides resorted to “cynical political manipulation.” They did didn’t they, or does someone cynically want us to believe that?

e. The difference between Americans and Europeans :

Americans are more likely to believe in unilateral military intervention.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:
“This and that…” is written for my own enjoyment. I send it on hoping that those of you who actually read it enjoy it also. If not you are free to erase or avoid reading those sections that you find objectionable.

Not too long ago, one of you objected that a graphic sex scene in my mystery novel since might be read by the teenagers who are on my mailing list and requested that if I could not refrain from that in the future, I at least warn her so she can do whatever she thinks appropriate on her end. I am ok with that and will try to honor the request. (By the way, in the next few chapters of the so called Mystery Novel, there will be a considerable amount of gratuitous violence, obscene language and a little kinky sex. You may want to be prepared.)

More recently, in response to my increased coverage of Republicans during their debates and the news coming out of the Occupy protest, I find myself accused of a one sided hatred of Republicans. I am embarrassed that I actually responded to that. I am even more ashamed that I unknowingly had been subjected to what I call “Faux News Think,” and fell into the trap.

“Faux News Think,” as I should have realized, is a method of political discourse that anyone who had taken Rhetoric 101 would recognize. It is a gussied up version of school yard debate techniques, that demands that one side explain themselves while the other never has to do so. The genius of it is that Faux News and those that developed it, whether knowingly or unknowingly, managed to inculcate it into enough of the population that some believe they thought it up themselves and it is reasonable and natural.

I am thinking of writing an article about it. In my next Post I will explain what it is in some detail.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 17, 2011

“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom to those without wealth, income or power?”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

I swear I do not make these things up. The latest from the quickly fading GOP flavor of the week, Herman Cain:

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” Herman Cain said to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter while on his campaign bus on Monday, the afternoon after his interview with the paper’s editorial board. “I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making.”

This weeks flavor, the much married, yacht loving Newtster said this in 1983:

“It is in the interest of the Republican Party and Ronald Reagan to invent new black Republicans, so to speak.”

Does this mean that Herman Cain was originally Newt’s Black or Reagan’s but is now Ann Coulter‘s?

Has the GOP become the ABM (Anybody But Mitt) Party?

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Facts from the first century AD:

1. With an estimated population between 800,000 and 1 million residents, Rome was the largest and most powerful city by the year 1 AD. Much of what we know about civilization in this ancient era comes from history recorded during Rome’s reign.

2. Give or take a whole bunch. It would be impossible to know anything close to the real number, but estimates have put the global population during the first century in the 200 million range. The most populated areas were the communities based around the Ganges, Tigris, Yangtze, Nile and Po rivers.

3. Jewish girls could be married as early as 12 years and a day. Though to be fair, it was more common to wait until they reached 12 and a half. In those days, marriage took place in two stages. The formal betrothal would first be agreed upon between the husband and the girl’s father. Several months to a year later, the girl would move into her new husband’s house. It wasn’t until they started living together that the marriage became official.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I am now in Sacramento . It appears that I am the designated nanny for a few days. Hopefully this will give me a chance to visit with the Geyers and the Dalls who have consistently proven to be friends whose kindness I could never repay. In the meantime, I occupy myself by playing with Hayden and my computer.

The fall colors are out here and they are magnificent this year. Not the overwhelming lush riot of colors one experiences in western Massachusetts or eastern NY, but exceptionally dramatic nevertheless. It appears that the landscape plans for subdivisions around here were chosen to feature trees with spectacular fall colors.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Harried (cont.)

Meg, picked up her cruiser in the parking garage under Vince’s building and drove out on her way to meet Fat Al to begin coordinating with him as they had agreed during a brief telephone conversation in Vince’s office. A late-model, dark blue Toyota Corolla followed.

Vince, meanwhile, feeling satisfied he had stirred the pot enough for one day, decided to go home and get ready for dinner with Isabella. He decided that since it was a nice sunny day he would walk the few blocks to his apartment. As he walked he tried to spot the agents Russell had promised to provide for his safety; minders or watchers, he could never remember which, that LeCarre assured were what they were referred to by M-15 or 16, he could not remember that either. I wonder what we call them here, he thought as he walked along. He couldn’t spot anything or anyone minding or watching him. Probably not there, he mused. Just another shuck and jive in whatever game they were playing. He felt a little bad about what he was doing. Attorneys were trained not to be rash but to may sure they had worked out all the angles before acting or advising a client to act. Well, he never thought of himself as that good of an attorney anyway. He recalled an old girlfriend who had called him impetuous. He was not sure if he liked it then and not sure if he liked in now. But, he thought if it were just spy vs spy they all deserve the little run around he was giving them and if it were not and he were in danger, he might as well force the issue and face it now when he was somewhat prepared; if anyone could be prepared for something like this.

Nevertheless disregarding caution, he inevitably drifted into ruminating on his upcoming dinner with Isabella, fantasizing taking her to bed, plotting how to accomplish that. And so he continued on blissfully unaware of anything except his own daydreams.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”(Thailand’s “Daily Onion”):

THAILAND/BURMA BORDER – Thailand’s Bt20-billion human trafficking industry is experiencing a major drop in production due to the flood crisis, human traffickers reported this week.
“This crisis has hit our business hard, at both the supply and distribution end,” said Thanh Huendoc, who manages a large Burmese-Thai trafficking syndicate. “We’re looking at huge losses this year.”

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

1. ” Occupy” poster:

2. From “The Economist”:

“A growing body of evidence suggests that the meritocratic ideal is in trouble in America. Income inequality is growing to levels not seen since the (first) Gilded Age. But social mobility is not increasing at anything like the same pace….Everywhere you look in modern America – in the Hollywood Hills or the canyons of Wall Street, in the Nashville recording studios or the clapboard houses of Cambridge, Massachusetts – you see elites mastering the art of perpetuating themselves. America is increasingly looking like imperial Britain, with dynastic ties proliferating, social circles interlocking, mechanisms of social exclusion strengthening, and a gap widening between the people who make decisions and shape the culture and the vast majority of working stiffs.”

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“How could it be? How could this happen in the country whose framers spoke of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the same breath as political equality? Democracy wasn’t meant to produce a class-ridden society. When that son of French aristocracy Alexander de Tocqueville traveled through the bustling young America of the 1830s, nothing struck him with greater force than “the equality of conditions.” Tocqueville knew first-hand the vast divisions between the wealth and poverty of Europe, where kings and feudal lords took what they wanted and left peasants the crumbs. But Americans, he wrote, “seemed to be remarkably equal economically.” “Some were richer, some were poorer, but within a comparative narrow band. Moreover, individuals had opportunities to better their economic circumstances over the course of a lifetime, and just about everyone [except of course slaves and Indians] seemed to be striving for that goal.” Tocqueville looked closely, and said: “I easily perceive the enormous influence that this primary fact exercises on the workings of the society.”
d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to Party leaders and regulars:

You see we must never let them really know what we are about. God knows we would NEVER want to have to defend shipping jobs overseas and God forbid government should decide to stop the practice. As you can see by the repetitive emphasis on the Almighty that this is obviously God’s will.

Also, rhyming is important to Republicans, otherwise they could not remember what they were told to do

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

• When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved (Tania Singer and collaborators).

Read more: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bakadesuyo/~3/bea6srN06Qs/do-women-and-men-have-different-moral-values#ixzz1dEZVO7XD

Does this mean that women are genetically predisposed to liberalism? No wonder God considers them the lesser sex.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I have recently been reminded that there is ugliness in politics and questioned as to whether or not good people should ignore it (the politics and the ugliness). To which I can only point to Plato who, in one of his few cogent moments, reminded us, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” I would think Plato’s warning applies to “good people” also.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar.”
~Barry Goldwater

Imagine, if Barry were running for president today he would be considered the liberal-socialist candidate.

TODAY’S CHART:

Why would anyone want to own a piece of South Texas? Is this another one per-center plot? Does the 40% own the mineral rights? Probably not, I’m sure the one per-centers would hold on to them along with the water rights. So what it all comes down to is, 40% of the American people own nothing but a few acres of worthless property somewhere in Texas. Unfortunately, they probably voted for Rick Perry for Governor and he rewarded them by promoting a law allowing him to sell their miserable speck of land to the one per-centers using the 40%’s own money. Well, I guess, the 40% can always move to Mexico.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


Another example of finding beauty and optimism amidst tragedy.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 12 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 2, 2012)

FREE ANNA MACKOWIAK

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

In addition to the heat wave induced misery, my unhappiness was exacerbated by the realization that it also was that time again when I had to renew my visa in order to prolong my stay here in Thailand. So, on Friday morning at about 8 AM I gathered the requisite documents that I had spent the past few days assembling and set off with LM to go to the Thai Government Center in BKK.

We had just walked a few blocks to hail a cab, when LM ran into a co-worker of hers from the health club with her Dutch boyfriend in tow. They were also heading to the Government Center so we agreed to share a taxi. The co-worker was an attractive 40-year-old woman. Her boyfriend, a 66-year-old from Holland, told me that he travels between Thailand and Holland for his job.

During the taxi ride, while the two co-workers talked, the Dutchman and I remained steadfastly silent. He, I assume because of the natural reticence of the Germanic people of northern Europe, and I alas, unable to blame it on the any leanings toward social restraint inherent in the culture of my Mediterranean forbearers, must lay the responsibility exclusively on my dyspeptic personality.

After arriving at the Government Center and going our separate ways, LM told me the background story. Her co-worker was married to a Thai man and has three children. About five years or so ago, the man from Holland showed up at the Hotel Health Club for a massage. The co-worker was the masseuse on duty. The Dutchman fell for her and kept returning. After about six months or so, he divorced his wife back in Holland and bought the co-worker an apartment in BKK into which she promptly moved her husband and three children, telling the unsuspecting gentleman that they were her older brother and younger siblings. And so they have lived happily, if not ever after, at least up to now. LM said the coworker begged her not to tell her boyfriend the truth about their domestic situation.

For a moment I contemplated the moral dilemma I was put in. Should I warn this man about the precarious circumstances into which he had placed himself? Since I would have had to expend some effort to find him, I decided to forget the whole thing justifying my decision by rationalizing that she was doing no more than any worker would do in order to benefit her family.

Following the not so dehumanizing venture into the Thai bureaucracy (not nearly as dehumanizing as a trip into the US embassy) and successfully obtaining my visa, we left to return home.

We decided to take the bus. On the bus LM and I were separated and when a seat next to her opened an American of about my age slipped in and hit on her heavily. I was happy for her. After sweltering in the heat, enduring the assault to ones ego from a trip into the bureaucracy and depressed from fatigue, it is always a boost to ones sense of self-worth to be hit upon. Regrettably no one hit on me; not even a stray soi dog.

Bangkok is one of those cities like Rome and a few others that I have experienced where one cannot get from where one is to where one wants to go without first going someplace where one does not want to go… unless one takes an uncomfortable, slow, and inefficient bus (in this case over two hours and four bus changes) and accepts the ignominy of the Duchess of Westminster’s dictum, “Anyone seen in a bus over the age of 30 has been a failure in life”

Arriving at the corner of the street leading to the apartment, I left LM to continue on to the Health Club to attend a staff party that evening and I headed back to the apartment.

I decided to save myself the walk by riding on the back of one of the motorbike taxi’s. Despite the fact that I have taken the ride many times before and the fares being printed and posted on the wall, they insisted on a fare twice as high. When I objected they said that I was too heavy and therefore need to pay more. I responded with my best New York style verbal (accompanied by appropriate and emphatic gestures) recommendation that they do what for most would be physically impossible. The sound of their sputtering indignation ringing in my ears made my walk home enjoyable, indeed.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Weather follies:

Today the average temperature over the entire country of Thailand was more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (Thailand north to south is about equal in length to the US west coast from Mexico to Canada). The resulting air pollution in BKK has begun to affect me; not like the burning of the rice crops in Chiang Mai that made it so difficult to breathe I feared for my health and possible life and had to flee to the seashore. Here my lungs are clear but my eyes ache as though I have not slept for a week.

As a result of the heat and drought, it has been reported that most of the lychee crop in the Chiang Mai area is in danger of failing. So, stock up on your lychee before prices rise.

2. Massage:

English: Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Insti...

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Speaking of Chiang Mai, the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution (a prison) offers to the general public Massages by the prisoners.

 

 

 

 

3. Japanese Hot Tub:

The Wine Spa  located at the Yunnesun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Resort in Hakone near Mount Fuji,  among other things allows you to bathe in wine, or if that does not appeal to you it also allows you to immerse yourself in authentic sake …

… or, if you’re driving back home and would rather not do it reeking of booze, you can relax in a hot tub filled with green tea.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

From my notebook, written two months ago during my trip to California:

It was one of those unseasonably warm February days in San Francisco that seem to pop up briefly now and then in between the strings of normal overcast cool days that mark the City’s winter months. I was early for my lunch appointment, so I decided to spend a few minutes in Sidney Walton Square park indulging in the slack-jawed wool gathering of old men everywhere who wallow happily under a warming sun.

I sat at the edge of the small fountain and stared at the frantic shadows of the pidgins as they swooped around and fluttered down in front of an elderly man feeding them at the other end of the park.

I noticed a small, also elderly, asian man enter into my view. As I refocused from the murmuring shadows in the distance on to his face, he stared back at me wide-eyed as though seeing something in me that surprised him. He continued to so stare as he walked by until he almost passed beyond my view. As I began to refocus on other things he turned abruptly, still staring and shouted, “Fuck You,” then he turned and walked off.

Now, although I was startled, surprisingly my first thought was of Thoreau passing under a bridge during his boat trip down the Connecticut River closely observing a man standing on the bridge who promptly responded to Thoreau’s gaze by spitting in his face. Henry David, instead of expressing either surprise or indignation turned that moment into a transcendental experience somehow connecting the man on the bridge to all that was noble about humanity. I waited a moment for my own transcendental experience, but none came. It was just an old asian man on this particular sunny day in this park stopping on his walk and shouting “Fuck you” at me.

Fortunately, I could not afford to give it all that much more thought since my attention had turned to focus, as it often does, on an attractive young woman. She had stopped in front of a bronze bust on a pedestal dedicated to the ego of the parks benefactor, the aforementioned Sidney, after whom the park was named. Like the old man and most of the people in the park that day, she was asian. San Francisco has become an asian city built to european aesthetics. At least here they were not forced to become shopkeepers, just like jews were no longer required to engage in the financial trades or italians to open restaurants. While they could still do well in those trades, the wonder of America was that they did not have to do so if they did not want to. Perhaps that is America’s greatest gift to the ascent of humanity, the freedom to screw up ones life without being forced to do it in the same way their parents did.

Anyway, she stopped to photograph the bust which stood in the center of a small tableau that also included two bronze representations of the benefactor’s pet dogs. They appeared to be Pomeranians.

After taking a few pictures from several angles, she strode off. Nothing transcendental there either; just a pretty girl taking photographs in the sunlight, in this park, on this day, in this city, watched by an old man sitting on the edge of a fountain.
THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for rehabilitation.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2012, Social Media:

In Tokyo and Osaka Japan approximately 5400 homeless persons bed down every night in internet cafes.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. The statistic that more than any other explains the state of the Nation and the Economy:

In 1975 when I first went to work for the California legislature in Sacramento it would have been difficult to find much more than one full-time lobbyist for every 24 legislators.

It is not that the 1% that has grown out of control, but the parasite community; the lobbyists, lawyers, brokers, consultants and economists that have. In fact, in can be argued that the explosive growth of the 1% is due for the most part to the numbers of this same parasite community that have joined their ranks.

2. How about a real return to the “good old days” that the right is so infatuated about:

Between 1947 and 1979, productivity in the US rose by 119%, while the income of the bottom fifth of the population rose by 122%. But between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose by 80% , while the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%. In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%.

In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in this country from 26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, discovered that the apparent belief of financial high fliers that their success is earned by talent and hard work is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers, across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. “The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill.” Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

Such results have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers all across Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out to the Street, they ignored him. “The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture,” he observed.

C. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

In my last post I named my newly filled tooth, “The Good David’s Molar.” Some of my most literal readers have pointed out that in fact, “The Good David’s Filling” would be more accurate. Although I believe the Good David deserves the entire dentition of my left maxilla in his name, the criticism at first appeared to have some merit. However upon thinking it over, it must be pointed out that without David’s intercession I may have lost the entire tooth. So no, I will not change the name and I will not apologize.
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

For Game of Thrones fans; parallels with American presidential politics. (Who do you think could be Cersei Lannister – Michelle Bachman, Michelle Obama or Hillary? I think Bachman with a blond wig could pass for Cersei’s older sister. Catlyn Stark? Littlefinger? Verry’s? A White Walker?):

In case you miss the full humor in the last two pictures recall:

“The truth of the matter is that winter is coming. I realize that it’s inconvenient, but there it is.”

Ned Stark

TODAY’S QUOTES:
A. Conservatives on Conservatives:

1. “We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.”
Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein.

2. “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.”
~Barry Goldwater

3. “A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling ‘Stop!’.”
~William F. Buckley, Jr.

4. “I think the Republican Party is captive to political movements that are very ideological, that are very narrow.”
Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska

5. “The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe,”
Republican Congressional Staffer Mike Lofgren
6. “Even as someone who’s labeled a conservative – I’m a Republican, I’m black, I’m heading up this organization in the Reagan administration – I can say that conservatives don’t exactly break their necks to tell blacks that they’re welcome.”
~Clarence Thomas

7. “Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.”
~George Will

8. “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.”
~P.J. O’Rourke

B. More from Kitten Natividad:

When asked what it was like working in a movie with the legendary sexploitation director Russ Meyer she responded:

“It was great, but we fucked during all of our lunch breaks. He was a horny dude, a dirty old man.”

(For those who may have a negative reaction to the use of the operative vulgarity in the above quote, you are in distinguished company. The Supreme Court has spent decades trying to avoid mentioning it, even when it is the subject matter of the case. See HERE [Thanks to Ruth for the cite])

C. Mel Brooks:

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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