Posts Tagged With: Chiang Mai

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.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. May 26, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Today in Science:

a. Researchers have found that most people are daydreaming 46% of the time( http://www.businessinsider.com/daydreaming-makes-2011-5#ixzz1N6ZiFBiw)

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions del...

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions delineated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have also found most people don’t use their Prefrontal Cortex for 98% of the day (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219577#ixzz1N6cGlgdP).

(Think about that as you are driving along the freeway past your local nuclear power plant on your way to the airport. On second thought don’t until you park your car.)

b. Left-Handed People Are More Easily Frightened Than Right-Handed People( http://www.businessinsider.com/left-handed-frightened-2011-5#ixzz1N6amkyet).

I’m left-handed and I am frightened all the time [See a. above].

c. Researchers in England calculated the exact value of a smile. But sadly it’s not a quick route to riches: a smile is worth exactly one-third of a penny sterling, or $0.43.(http://thedailyedge.thejournal.ie/grin-the-money-research-calculates-exact-value-of-a-smile-134863-May2011/?utm_source=shortlink#ixzz1N6aMYEXa).

It hardly seems worth it.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND)AMERICA:

For those of you living in a state of panic that Mexican’s will reclaim the land we took from them 150 years ago, relax, they already have. If you are still panicked, move to Maine.

Remember, the race goes not to the swift or the strong or even to the most intelligent. It goes to those who choose to breed.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND (CALIFORNIA):

Two days ago I attended my grandson Anthony’s graduation from high-school. What made this graduation different from most other high-school graduation ceremonies was that these were all students who had experienced problems at one time or another with the juvenile authorities and were considered at risk. Congratulations to you all.

Yesterday I had my initial meeting with the doctor. It appears that my schedule will have to be changed. I had hoped to be able to accompany Hayden to Italy on 10 June. One of his friends from Chiang Mai will be traveling through Italy at that time and I thought both would enjoy seeing each other again. Unfortunately, I will be in the middle of my procedure and recuperation.

My intake exam did not go as well as expected. It seems that things have progresses further than I had thought. Now there is a chance that I could be looking at, while not among the top three, probably somewhere in the top ten of things happening to my body I could do without.

Anyway, after experiencing a rather unpleasant temporary out-patient procedure, I am resting uncomfortably at Annemarie’s house. On the positive side, I am about three and one-half pounds lighter today than I was yesterday morning.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

THE PARABLE OF THE THOUGHTFUL GLADIATOR

Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic.

Gladiators from the Zliten mosaic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day, long ago, a group of gladiators were getting ready to enter the arena to fight each other to the death until just one remained. He, the winner, would receive a laurel crown from the Emperor followed by a good dinner in his honor attended everyone who was someone in the Empire. Each of the gladiators believed that he was sure to be the winner and looked forward to the fame it would bring and to that dinner. Each, of course, also shared a little fear that he would not win but would die that day instead.

One of them, the oldest, wisest and among the weakest of them, realizing his chances of surviving were pretty thin, spoke up. “Wait a minute, this is all pretty silly, here we are getting ready to go out into the arena and fight to the death until only one of us is left standing. All this so that the winner gets to wear some weeds and eat a good meal. And what is really sad about that is that whichever one of us is the winner, tomorrow he will be out of a job because all the rest of us are dead. That’s pretty stupid, if you ask me.”

The others thought about what he had said and after a while agreed that it was not very sensible. “But what can we do about it,” they asked?

“Well,” said the thoughtful gladiator, “we can all agree amongst ourselves to fight just as hard as we can in the arena, but when one of us goes down, the victor will make it look like he dealt a fatal stroke to the loser and then the loser will put on a good show and act as though he actually is dying. This will go on until only one of us is left standing. He will get the laurel crown and eat the meal and we all will get to do it again tomorrow and who knows, maybe a different one of us will win that day. And maybe each of us will learn over time how to fight a little bit better and how to die a little more realistically and the Emperor may be so entertained that he will give something more than some damned weeds and a ham bone.”

All the gladiators saw the right in what the thoughtful gladiator said and they all agreed to what he proposed and they all prospered.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed while I feel sorry for myself.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Sturgeon’s revelation“90 percent of everything is crap.”

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“Those who manage the transactions ultimately make all the money.”

c. The Mac Attack:

“… republics should make it one of their aims to watch that none of their citizens should be allowed to do harm on pretense of doing good, and that no one should acquire an influence that would injure instead of promoting liberty; “
Niccolo Machiavelli

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If anyone should wish to know the truth with respect to you Christians, he will find your impiety to be made up partly of the Jewish audacity, and partly of the indifference and confusion of the Gentiles, and that you have put together not the best, but the worst characteristics of them both.
– Emperor/philosopher Julian (361-363)[Referred to in Christian History as “The Apostate”].

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 8 Capt. Coast 0001 (April 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Alas, Cordt has decided to move from BKK back to Chiang Mai. I say alas because friends are few and far between for me here. Losing one as gentle, artistic and interesting as Cordt is bad enough but it also reduces to about one the number of people here with which I can have a conversation of more that 3 words in English. Nevertheless, I wish him well.

In the good news category, the Good David has returned to BKK after receiving negative results on his state-side medical tests. Following a few celebratory days and another few required to sleep it off, he called to invite me to have lunch with him.

Now, up until five years or so ago, I enjoyed excellent dental coverage. As a result I still have most of my teeth or at least their original roots. Nevertheless, behind my 12 or 16 front teeth, my back 12 or 16 teeth are either solid or heavily plated gold. It has been pointed out by more that one person that my teeth are probably worth more than all the rest of me (they certainly are worth more than my current bank account). Even so, despite the heavy gold plating, here and there a tiny bit of the original tooth enamel peeks through and it is here that mean old Mr. Tooth Decay still lurks.

So, after accepting the Good David’s invitation, I informed him I had a toothache and needed to first stop at a dentist before proceeding to lunch. He agreed to accompany me. We found a nearby dental clinic and the David offered to treat me to a new filling. It took the dentist not much more than 5 minutes to clean the cavity and pack in the filling (all without Novocaine). David paid the approximately $30 for the service and we set off for lunch.

So, thank you Good David. My newly restored tooth now has a name, “The Good David’s Molar.” And to the remarkable but mysterious dentist who neither removed his surgical mask nor spoke a word throughout the procedure, good job.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. What porn?

In a previous post I mentioned the sudden appearance of some porn photographs on the overhead projection screen during a debate in the Thai Legislature and the appointment of a committee to get at the bottom of it. After it was revealed that at least one legislator was enjoying some porn on his iPhone during the debate, the committee tried to pin everything on a low-level technical employee. When that failed they terminated the inquiry altogether claiming that once the screen was shut off and everything erased. Therefore no further analysis was possible.

The legislator caught ogling porn during the debate, apologized and blamed it all on some unnamed friend who sent him the photographs that he was struggling to delete when he was discovered.

2. The latest Thai Fashions:

According to Vice.com, in Thailand, braces on ones teeth are becoming a huge teenage fashion statement. Which is pretty strange considering in the West, braces are ruthlessly stigmatized and pretty much a metaphor for adolescent awkwardness.

Braces are considered a sign of wealth, status, and style. The reasoning is fairly straightforward—genuine orthodontic braces are very expensive. In Bangkok, for example, a set of tinsel-teeth will cost you roughly $1200, a substantial sum. So all the kids want to wear these things, because anything worn by the young and rich is obviously super cute. It has gotten so that in some cases the youngsters wear faux braces in order to appear fashionable.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY, MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES, THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

In For Repairs.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

The Parable of the Gazelles and the Lions II:

What! Another Parable?

Well, perhaps not really a parable. It seems that recently I have come across, in various guises the concept that the essential driving force of humanity or at least individual humans following their descent from the safety of the trees to lift their heads above the savannah was; Is it good to eat? Can I have sex with it? And, will it kill me? From these three elemental interests, it has in various ways been argued that our psychology and social arrangements can be deduced.

Now we all may agree that this is a bit simplistic. On the other hand, if we assume that these or some similar urges prompted our remote ancestors to forgo the safety of the trees and take up life on the dangerous grassy world of the savannah, then I maintain there are at least two other impulses that at this important moment marked man from the other fauna around him (more if we were to discuss women, the more subtle gender. But I will leave that for another day.)

The first is the remarkable facility of humans to confuse images with reality and find some utility in it that we call thought or ratiocination. This I also will not discuss here.

The second unique ability of humans is that when they raised their heads above the swaying frond of grass they also thought, “Now, who can I get to bring me my food, procure my sex for me and die instead of me if need be.”

What, you say that it is not separate from the first three but simply a mechanism to deal with them prompted by confusion of metaphors and symbols that we later called thinking. I disagree.

Naked Molerat Heterocephalus glaber eating

Naked Molerat Heterocephalus glaber eating (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is distinctly rare in the animal kingdom for any species to behave in that way. Few if any species for example sit around and choose one or more of their members to die for them. Even the noble Naked Mole Rat, when the group faced with a predator too strong to deal with, refuses to send one of their number out to die. Instead one of these heroic, if decidedly ugly, creatures nobly offers himself or herself for the intruders dinner.

Humans do not behave that way. Generally with humans, only someone conditioned by others who prefer not to die will make the ultimate sacrifice and offer himself instead for their benefit.

Take the example of the lions and gazelles sharing the same grassy world as the early humans. The lions are hungry. They stalk the gazelles through the grass. The gazelles see them and run away leaving to the lions the slow of foot, the sick and the lame.

English: Thomson's gazelles in the central Ser...

English: Thomson’s gazelles in the central Serengeti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now suppose for some reason the gazelles are struck with the same sickness as humans and a group of them stop and say to each other. “This is stupid. All this running around so that the slowest get eaten by the lions. It is exhausting, it interferes with our grazing and it is wasteful. Let’s choose someone we do not like very much or is not, you know, really one of us, hamstring him and leave him for the lions.” And so they do just that.

Lo and behold the lions fall upon the surrogate and the gazelles go back to eating the grass.

Now assume this goes on for generations, the lions lose their hunting skills and become fat and lazy. The clever gazelles realize this and begin leaving a little less each feeding time. After a suitable number of generations the lions become little more than the gazelles pets, useless for anything more than scaring other predators off; after all they have little enough of their own food. The gazelles, recognizing a good thing, realize that they do not even have to sacrifice one of their own; they could hamstring a Gnu or a Zebra just as well.

Eventually the lions are controlled and the gazelles increase and eat the savannah grass until almost none is left but a few clumps here and there as the land begins to turn into a desert. The gazelle leaders meet to try to figure out what to do. They decide, reasonably, to reserve the remaining grass  for only the leaders. The less successful will have to shift for themselves.

“But,” cries one of the soon to be starving gazelles, “it is us, the gazelles, who turned this paradise into a desert by over eating and over populating it and unless we all, gazelles, lions, gnus and zebras get together and do something all the grass will eventually be gone.”

“Ha,” laughed the gazelle leaders, “do not be ridiculous, gazelles could not be the cause. Why a thousand years ago this land was a desert, then the rains came and the grass grew and the gazelles and the lions came and made the savannah a paradise through the efforts of the leaders who naturally and rightfully should enjoy the remaining grasslands until the rains come again.”

This infuriated the other gazelles and the lions who were listening so much that they attacked the leaders in order to take the remaining stands of grass away from them, but in so doing the ensuing battle destroyed those remaining few tufts grass anyway and the gazelles died and so did the lions.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The richest man who ever lived:

In his book The Haves and the Have Nots, Branko Milanovic tries to discover who was the richest person who has ever lived. Beginning with the loaded Roman triumvir Marcus Crassus, he measures wealth according to the quantity of his compatriots’ labour a rich man could buy. It appears that the richest man to have lived in the past 2000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. According to Milanovic, this makes him 14 times as rich as Crassus, nine times as rich as Carnegie and four times as rich as Rockefeller.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

a. Lets start here:

b. Then take a look at this:

c. And perhaps consider the wisdom of the following:


d. then think about this:

2. Feel the Christian Love:

A Christian women’s prayer group has decided to pray that all the women involved in a liberal organization called MRFF get fast-moving breast cancer.

In a recorded telephone call to MRFF’s president to inform him of their decision, a spokesman for the so-called Christian group said:

“Now for our prayer, we pray that the women who work in your MFRR and the women in your family will befall fast-moving breast cancer which can not ever be cured. …we pray this for Bonnie Wiensten (the MFRR president’s wife) and Amanda and Amber Wienstein (his female children) and the woman lawyers … and all women who work at with for Military Freedom Against Religion Foundation. know that we pray and pray hard all the days until you stop your destruction of our American army and accept Christ Jesus as Lord and join His army.”

Jesus had an army? He prayed for people to die of incurable cancer instead of raising them from the dead? I always suspected that somewhere, sometime the Commies, Muslims or Obama got hold of the Christian bible and took out all the good parts.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Pookie’s statement to the No Party Party Party regarding Defense spending:

“It is time we spend our defense money on defending our country not defending other countries. I propose using the defense budget to build a 20 foot wall entirely around the US with only a few easily secured gates, none of which opens on to Mexico. Then I would pass a national “Stand your Ground” law that would authorize any American citizen to shoot anyone he believes is a threat to American security. In this way we can increase our homeland security and reduce the Defense budget at the same time. No one can defend America as well as its well armed citizenry carrying concealed weapons.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Louis C.K.:

B. Kitten Natividad star of “Eroticise”:

“Any guy who says he doesn’t like a pair of plastic tits can go fuck himself.”

Now some of you may ask what is a statement like that doing in a family publication like this. Well, it is here for two reasons. The first is to see if you have actually read this far. The second is to highlight the sheer brilliance of Ms Natividad’s observation.

The magnitude of the commonplace acceptance by modern society of plastic mammaries and vibrators (of which I mentioned in my previous post) as well as  availability of artificial insemination have altered the method of species procreation and nurturing greater than at any time since over 115 million years ago during the Mesozoic era when nature discovered the superior benefits of gestation of progeny within the body rather than inside an egg. As a result I believe this is clear evidence that we may have come to the end of the Holocene Epoch on earth, the era of the rise of mammals to dominance.

Couple that with the observation that one of the primary thrusts of evolution, in order to enhance a species ability to efficiently maximize its acquisition of energy and survival of offspring, is the ability to efficiently move about. Humans no longer need to travel the woods nor walk through the rows of ripening crops in search of sustenance. In the beginning we domesticated a few other mammals to assist our mobility, then we developed and made extensive use of artificial mechanical means of movement. Now, however, most of us pursue our energy needs sitting in a chair for 8 or so hours a day.

Recently we have progressed to creating perhaps the first symbiotic entity capable of acquiring most of our various energy needs; a symbiont between several organic beings, waves of radiated energy and a few wires and metal. We soon may no longer need to move at all.

Given the 2 to 3 hundred thousand years it takes evolution to produce significant changes to organic beings, we may see in that future that humanity becomes a species rooted to a place like a vegetable but still able to travel and experience the universe on the wings of energy waves. What we may be experiencing today is not just a change in epoch but the end of the Quaternary Period and the beginning of the fifth period of the earth. I guess it could all be considered a bit like the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth.

I am sure that the academics of that future time will look back and discovering Kitten Natividad’s observation marvel at its prescience and consider her one of the seminal minds of humanity since it is evidently true that whoever “doesn’t like a pair of plastic tits,” will undoubtedly have to “go fuck himself.” And we all know where on the road to evolutionary adaptability that inevitably ends up.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 11, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Percentage of civilian deaths among all the fatalities in recent wars:

World War I – 15%
World War II – 65%
Since World War II – 90%

With the advent of remote warfare [drones , etc.] soon only civilians will die in wars. Will we still pin medals for bravery on the uniforms of soldiers of the future? Maybe we should issue medals to surviving civilians instead.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. To coup or not to coup:

1) It has been pointed out by some commentators that since the 1934 coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy, every coup has been preceded by representatives of the military announcing there would be no coup.

2) The representative of the Elections Commission claimed that there was a plot to launch a “‘silent coup’ controlled by the military but fronted by ‘respectable figures'”. “This” he continued “would be eerily similar to the ‘holiday’ proposed by the People’s Alliance for Democracy: an appointed government without political parties.”

3) There has been a report of a secret meeting of military and civilian political leaders that decided there must be an interim national government, but they could not figure out how to overthrow the system without a military coup so the meeting was adjourned.

4) Some surmise that a military coup has already been agreed to, but a few military leaders are still searching for tactics that would mitigate international sanctions that would most likely follow a military led overthrow of the current civilian government.

5) This flurry of rumor and intrigue appears all to have been generated by a poll released a week or so ago that shows the “Red Shirts” backed by deposed prime minister Taksin could prevail in the coming election.

b. Who is really in charge here:

It looks like the military leadership has excluded any significant policy role for the government in the border dispute with Cambodia. The military refers to the conflict in the possessive, “Theirs.”

c. Cluster flak:

A BLU-3 Pineapple cluster bomblet at the Imper...

A BLU-3 Pineapple cluster bomblet at the Imperial War Museum. Photo by Max Smith (myself) and released into the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the response to the accusation of some in the international community that the Thai military used the much reviled “cluster bombs” in their border dispute with Cambodia, a Thai governmental spokesman said, “It depends on how you define the term [Cluster Bomb].”

Shades of Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I am now back in Bangkok and feeling ill. I am becoming increasingly concerned about my health. Because of this I am planning my return to the US to be sooner rather than later.

Two weeks ago SWAC encouraged me to make arrangements for Hayden to visit with his Chiang Mai friend Leo. I was delighted and did so informing my friends Choti and Gerry, Leo’s parents. They in turn set about planning for our visit during Songkran, the Thai spring water festival. Two days before our departure, as I should have foreseen, SWAC changed her mind.

I now plan to return to Paradise by the Sea tomorrow in an effort to regain my health and composure.

Since school ended for Hayden last week my role here has changed. He is spending more and more time with the maid and has seemed to be developing a close bond with her. It is a shame that, like the maid in Chiang Mai, he soon will be torn from the only nurturing female figure in his life. I shudder to think of what dark psychological brew is being cooked up there deep in his sub-conscious,

It has been said that affection for a child is the only type of love that is directed toward separation. To make sure no one ever forgets this, nature invented teenagers.

Perhaps it is a function of advanced age for one whose time is getting shorter to spend a moment of that time on senseless musings on the meaning of life. One would think that the meaning would be related to procreation and continuation of the species. Nevertheless, I have the impression that for most of us individually we act as though it’s meaning and purpose is something like maturity and self actualization. God knows, I have spent most of my life failing at both. But if you think about it for 3 million years or so our species and progenitors lived just about long enough to breed before we died. Only about a century ago did any but the fortunate few live to accomplish anything but toil for our daily bread, breed and die. Perhaps genetically, mother nature never equipped us to become mature and achieve self actualization and that is why as a rule we are so bad at it.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

Further tales of the little masseuse:

Recently while leaving Paradise by the Sea to return to Bangkok the little masseuse and I took the small converted pick up truck transit vehicle called a songtheuw from the condo to the bus station to catch the Pattaya-Bangkok bus. When we arrived at the bus station my masseuse went to pay the songtheuw driver our fare. Suddenly an enormous row ensued. The drive jumped out of his vehicle, leaving the other passengers to wait while the two of them went at it, shouting at each other.

For a while I enjoyed the spectacle of the diminutive masseuse all 5 feet of her and the much larger bus driver (about my size) shred the Thai cultural requirement of Jai Yen (Maintaining a cool heart). Finally I stepped between them and the driver returned to his vehicle and drove off in a huff.

When I asked my friend what had had caused the argument, she answered:

“I tried to pay the driver the usual 10 baht (about 30 cents) per person fare, but he insisted that I pay 20 baht instead. I asked him why he is demanding twice the amount for the ride than I usually pay. He answered, ‘That was when you travelled by yourself, this time you are traveling with a farang.'”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Announcement: Would anyone who cares about what happens next in the novel please let me know. If no one does, I will inform the characters that they can brush off their resume’s and seek employment in other novels or (shudder) advertising copy.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Religious history laid bare:

Tertullian

Tertullian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 200 AD, the great early Christian theologian and Doctor of the Church, Tertullian, argued that Jesus was a eunuch (c. 200 AD) . He wrote,“…He stands before you, if you are willing to copy him, as a voluntary spado (eunuch) in the flesh.” And elsewhere: “The Lord Himself opened the kingdom of heaven to eunuchs and He Himself lived as a eunuch. The apostle [Paul] also, following His example, made himself a eunuch…”

(Tertullian also noted the existence of a third sex (tertium sexus) among heathens: “a third race in sex… made of male and female in one.”
Tertullian, On Monogamy, 3: )

Oh my, could Jesus have been a “ladyboy.” Does this mean that in the mornings when I walk past Nana Plaza on my way to the gym, I may be seeing the reincarnations of the Christ?

Now that I think of it, it could be. Sometimes when I am approached by one or another soliciting me for early morning sex, I mumble, Jesus Christ, give me a break. It’s eight o’clock in the morning.”)

b. What is wrong with Economics today:

A few weeks ago I sent out a list of some of the problems that I saw with classical and neoclassical economic theory. A few more have been suggested by Robert Nadeau. He believes the mathematical theories relied upon by mainstream economists are predicated on the following unscientific assumptions:

The market system is a closed circular flow between production and consumption, with no inlets or outlets.
Natural resources exist in a domain that is separate and distinct from a closed market system, and the economic value of these resources can be determined only by the dynamics that operate within this system.
The costs of damage to the external natural environment by economic activities must be treated as costs that lie outside the closed market system or as costs that cannot be included in the pricing mechanisms that operate within the system.
The external resources of nature are largely inexhaustible, and those that are not can be replaced by other resources or by technologies that minimize the use of the exhaustible resources or that rely on other resources.
There are no biophysical limits to the growth of market systems.

c. Today’ chart:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

I thought it would be enjoyable to revisit one of my all-time favorites:

“God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he’s pretty sure you’re fucked.”
-Braveheart

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 19, 2110

William Gladstone

William Gladstone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Late 19th century. William Gladstone the great prime minister of England enjoyed a slug of laudanum (a form of opium) in his morning coffee and then would go out and run the greatest empire the world had even known.

George Bush is reputed to have given up cocaine before becoming President of the United States.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Thailand‘s northern province of Chiang Mai has declared five districts disaster zones after temperatures dropped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for over three days. Some schools were closed when the temperatures fell briefly to 40 degrees.

Does this mean it is the end of Global Warning?

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

THE TALE OF THE POLITICIAN WHO CRIED MERCY

Most people are aware of an affliction called Tourette Syndrome, where a person suffers from periodic outbursts of uncontrolled expletives. To most of us foul or so-called obscene language is merely the urge now and then to expel short burst of air during periods of emotion or fillers in conversation. We have also all met those who fall somewhere between full-blown Tourette and occasional profanity, that is those, usually men, who cannot avoid lacing their conversations with foul language.

I knew a fairly well-known politician from southern California (Several of you reading this I am sure recognize who is being referred to) who was known for his particularly foul and blasphemous language.

Since he was an up and coming politician in the Professional Hypocrite Party he recognized that he would have to get his compulsion under control since his party stood four square for family values and morality. It would most assuredly lose him votes should his speech, say to the woman’s Auxiliary of the local County Club, suddenly be decorated with his most favorite words and expressions.

He realized just trying to suppress the urge to shout out expletives was a losing proposition, after all it was a compulsion. So instead he decided to replace all the obscene words in his vocabulary with the single word, Mercy.

That did the trick. Now when one spoke with him, instead of feeling you were engaged in a conversation with a Brooklyn dock worker, you felt you were in the presence of a minister of god. It was mercy this and merciful that. His career prospered.

I used to like to visit him at his home, he would greet me at the door and say something like, “Mercy, Mercy Joe. Have mercy on me if it is not good to see you. Come in, you look like you could use a merciful drink.”

Which I translated as, “Fuck Joe, you look like a piece of dog shit.”

I guess the moral of this tale is that when listening to most merciful politicians, pay mercifully close attention to what the mercy head is saying and you won’t be mercified.

Somewhere between Chiang Mai and the border wi...

Somewhere between Chiang Mai and the border with Myanmar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IT THAILAND:

While on the subject of calling things by various euphemisms, I have been called a lot of different things. I have been endearingly or sarcastically referred to as Joe, Joey, Pookie, Papa (my current honorific in Thailand), Kuhn Joe (My previous honorific when I had money), Papa Joe, Grandpa and so on. I have also been called variously, jerk, asshole, bastard, SOB and various slang expressions for the male member (This latter usually preceded by the word “big” which I guess is better than “little”). Once the secretaries of the California State Office of Planning and Research reputedly voted me “Telephone Jerk of the Year” in honor of my particular brand of telephone etiquette.

While extensive and creative nick names are not the norm in western Europe north of Rome Italy, in Thailand people’s names keep changing. Recently someone who I knew as Ma changed her name to Jess.

SWAC (Which is the shortened acronym for “She who must be avoided at all costs”) originally called “Ying” or little girl in Thai or in Bangkok slang, “little prostitute”, has also been known of as Kuhn Nat, Suphravee, and Natalie. For as long as I have known her several people around Soi 11 in Bangkok have referred to her as that “Notorious lesbian and international prostitute” or NLIP (pronounced EN-LIP). Recently, the lonely widow (you remember her) and others have called her the “Notorious social climber” (NSC). –There is that word “Notorious” again. I think it is better to be referred to as “Notorious” than “unknown”, “Irrelevant” or “Inept.” For example, I would prefer to be known as “Joe the notorious screw up” rather than “Joe the inept screw-up.”

Anyway, I think most of us have been called so many things at one time or another during our lives that over time it becomes more and more difficult knowing who we are.

Also today, I got my re-entry permit (that means I can leave and return to Thailand without losing my retirement visa). This brings me closer to my brief return to the US.

Now the question I am toying with is whether I fly into LA and visit friends there and then to SF and leave from there back to Thailand (or vice versa), or whether I should simply fly in and out of SF and take a quick trip to Southern California during my stay.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”
Mark Twain

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Gar...

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Garden City, KS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 13, 2010

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1929 May 7Chicago Outfit hit-men Albert Anselmi and John Scalise, two of the men suspected in the murder of North Side Gang leader Dean O’Banion and fellow mob boss Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, the current Unione Siculiana President were all killed during a lavish party held at Al Capone’s residence. The party was a ruse by mob boss Al Capone to lure the three men to their deaths after their plan to gain leadership of the Chicago Outfit by eliminating Capone was uncovered. The men were beaten to death by Capone, who used a baseball bat to commit the murders.

(They fall for the party bit every time.)

Today’s news from Thailand:

1. Flush with new funds (I do not know from where) and increasing popularity in Northeast Thailand, the opposition party (Red Shirts) are preparing for expected victory in the general elections scheduled for sometime next year, when and more importantly if they occur. I guess the following can be anticipated between now and then:
a, The military will redouble its efforts to institutionalize the organizational changes under-weigh within the military high command and within its chief rival the national police.
b. The military will use the remaining States of Emergency (over primarily Red Shirt areas) to destroy their infrastructure and intimidate potential voters.
c. The military will seek to institutionalize their administrative control over the rebellious South.
d. The current government while having no real option but to rely on the military will contribute by continuing their efforts to create legal barriers to the return of ex-prime minister Thaksin and by supporting populist appearing policies in hopes of winning over some voters.
e. Should all this fail and a Red Shirt victory appear possible then, if the military feels confident enough in their power, look for an attempted accommodation with the Red Shirts over budget and personnel issues and failing that suspension of the elections or another coup.

2. In Phnom Penh Cambodia the police have begun arresting “anarchist” cattle who are blocking traffic.

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

3. The clashes along the Thai Burma border between Karen rebels and the Burmese army appear to be abating. The conflict seems to have been touched off by a rebel group within the Karen forces who for some reason objected to an agreement between the Burmese government and the Karen leadership to turn over the guarding of the border with Thailand to the Karen forces.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Today I discovered that I was only about 5 pounds over my target weight. Whether my most recent weight loss has been the result of diet, exercise or due to my recent attack of food poisoning, I do not know.

This morning a went for my usual stroll through “Little Crimea.” The beach culture that I walk through is as alien to me as the surrounding Thai lifestyles and customs. I feel fortunate to be able every morning to experience three distinct societies; Thai through my interaction with the merchants and wait-people at the café where I always feel a bit like I am somehow doing something wrong; European with my discussions with Ian from Scotland ( who has lived here in Thailand for over 30 years) about things like how drunk was Winston Churchill during World War II and finally; The Great Slavic Nation whose mores are as opaque to me as any.

As usual, temporizing has come to my rescue with respect to my trip planning. Until yesterday my schedule was dependent to a considerable degree on the situation with Hayden. Yesterday I discovered that SWAC is depositing him with a family in Washington DC, thereby eliminating any possibility of my seeing him either in the US or in Italy. So, now my plans are to return to the US in mid December, visit with friends and family during the holidays, have my medical check-up and return to Thailand in early January.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE OF A NIGHT OF RAIN AND AN UMBRELLA.

Recently my masseuse told me that a few nights ago it had been raining heavily in Bangkok. She had retreated to her tiny room and lay upon her bed. Because the roof leaked badly she had opened her tiny umbrella to protect herself from the dripping water. She was unable to sleep. After a while there was a knock at her door and upon opening it she found the homeless woman who lived in the alley by her room standing there dripping wet. She invited her in and they spent the night waiting out the storm together huddled under the umbrella.

“That was very nice of you.” I said.

She looked at me quizzically and said, “She held the umbrella for half the night so that I could get some sleep.”

I guess the moral of this tale is, “When it is raining and the roof leaks and all you have is a small umbrella, charity can keep you dry and help you to get some sleep.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe’s business prospered and not long after the birth of Jack (my father), he along with a distant relative named Biancchi formed a construction company named Petrillo and Biancchi Construction.

Joe ran the operations side and Biancchi who could read and write English was in charge of office matters. The business succeeded beyond all expectations. It became one of the first significant Italian-American construction companies in the United States. They specialized in heavy construction, roads and the like. They built many of the roads in Westchester County as the United State’s vast road building and paving enterprise was just getting under-weigh to accommodate the motor car.

This was also a period of great movement of people from New York City into what they considered the bucolic environment of Westchester County. Petrillo and Biancchi built the infrastructure for the neighborhoods to accommodate these new style immigrants. The move from the City although first seen as  indication of material success soon became a frenzied flight from the real or imagined evils of the City.

Joe built the house on Dante Avenue in Tuckahoe. Today that home would be considered relatively modest in size, but for an immigrant family it was huge. More importantly it was built on Dante Avenue.

Dante Avenue, despite its name, had been off-limits for Italian Americans at that time. On it lived those who for one reason or another could not or would not live in Scarsdale or Bronxville, Jews because they were prohibited by deed and “gentlemen’s agreements” (as were Italians and Blacks), successful WASP businessmen in the area who wanted to live more closely to their businesses and others sensible and independent enough to realize that they could build their largish houses much cheaper in Tuckahoe that in the gold-plated restricted communities around them.

Joe and his family were the first Italian-Americans to move to Dante Avenue. There was little resistance, even if there was some concern, since most of the other residents tended to be somewhat iconoclastic for the time.

By about 1928, with his oldest son approaching nine or so, Joe decided he wanted to enjoy the wealth he had amassed and return to Italy in a style that would have been denied to him had he remained there and not emigrated to the United States. So, he sold his interest in the company to his partner for some cash and notes that could allow him to live back in his native country as almost a minor nobility.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: [Lifts and drops the arm of the dead Westley] “I’ve seen worse.”
The Princess Bride

2. My newest patron saint, Saint Moses the Black:


Moses was a gang leader in 5th century Egypt (Sort of like the 5th century version of the leader of the local “Hells Angels” or the “Mongols” or the Egyptian Al Capone if you will) and murderer and thief.

One day he was trapped by the authorities. In order to escape capture and avoid almost certain execution, Moses ducked into monastery and claimed sanctuary. Fearing arrest should he leave the precincts of the monastery, Moses wisely became a monk.

Shortly thereafter 4 brigands invaded the church to loot the poor box or something. Our Moses was on duty that night. He caught the thieves, beat them up and dragged them off to face the Abbot.

This thrilled the abbot. He announced to the other monks that Moses had seen the light of God since he only beat the shit out of the thieves and did not kill them.

When the good abbot died, the other monks acclaimed Moses abbot. It seems that at the time defense of the Holy Writ was better served by two fists than pious prayers.

Moses died in his seventies while leading a counter-attack on a local biker gang that had the temerity to assault Moses’ monastery.

Now here is a saint I think I can pray to.

Today’s quote:

When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold, I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty work day clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and, in this graver dress, I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.
Niccolo Machiavelli describing his exile in a letter to Francesco Vettori.

Today’s Photo:

Hayden’s friend Leo and his father Gerry.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 11 2010

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Flore...

The Piazza della Signoria is one of many Florentine squares along the course of the marathon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

The Medieval and Renaissance government of Florence, Italy (called the Signoria)was chosen by lot. Guild members over thirty years old and who were not in debt, nor served a recent term and had no relation to the names already drawn were eligible for office.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Planning for my return to the US continues apace, implementation, not so good. I grasp at any excuse to avoid the hassles; the latest being the arrival of my masseuse this week on Wednesday instead of Friday. It seems a co-worker has gone on vacation to Sweden so her vacation day was switched to Wednesday. I don’t understand it, but so be it. Anyway instead of doing anything about my trip I had a massage, went for a swim in the pool and took a nap. Later I went for a walk on the beach. Tomorrow is another day.

I am still hoping to get up to Chiang Mai briefly before I leave. I was depending on Gun Girl for transportation. But, once again she has disappeared. Maybe I will just fly up for a day or two next week.

I realize that with my potential return to the US, “This and that…” will most likely come to an end. That saddens me because I so enjoyed writing it.

Papa Joe’s Tales and Fables:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE – THE SLEEPING CUSTOMER

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Dega...

English: Sculpture: The Masseuse by Edgar Degas. Location: Dallas Museum of Art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My masseuse M mentioned that one day a co-worker at the health club had a customer who paid for a one hour massage. Shortly into the massage he fell into a deep sleep only waking up when the hour was over and the massage finished.

He then told the masseuse that he really wanted a “Happy Ending.” The masseuse told him that she was sorry but his time was up and he would have to pay for another hour if he wanted a “Happy Ending.” The customer became upset and left.

I asked M, what she thought about that.

She said, “If you’re looking for happiness don’t fall asleep or it will cost you more.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Anyway, as it so happened, Black Mike and Joe were rivals of some sort.

When he was not off on business, Black Mike could usually be found sitting on an overturned milk box in front of the candy store on Columbus Avenue that served as his headquarters and office, leaning on his cane containing a gun inside. Joe would drive by in his horse-drawn wagon. As is common among Italians from the south of Italy they would call out jibes and gentle insults to each other.

One day the rumor around the village was that a high-class beautiful young women was immigrating from a village near to Rome (hence the high-class) to their town. As young men sometimes will do, Joe and Black Mike made a bet as to which of them will date the beautiful Elisa Bargellini (for that was her name) first. I do not know the stakes.

Determined to win the bet, Joe, as he was to do many times, paid someone to read the newspapers to him and so he found out when the object of their wager was due to arrive and on which ship.

When that day arrived Joe hitched up his wagon put on what passed for his best clothes and set off for the docks in New York City. He was there when the ship docked and somehow located her. He told her that he had come all the way from Tuckahoe to drive her back to the village. This flattered her and after all, Joe also was a handsome man by any standards and so she accepted the ride and they set off back to Tuckahoe.

Back then the sixteen mile or so ride from the docks to the village must have taken most of the day. Anyway when they arrived Joe was careful to drive down Columbus Avenue and past the candy store with Black Mike mustache and all, silting outside.

A few months later he and Elisa had wed.

They settled down in the village and Elisa bore three sons and a daughter, Giacomo (Jack), Joseph (uncle Joe), Marcella and Aldo.

Pepe’s Potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Inigo Montoya: Are you the Miracle Max who worked for the king all those years?
Miracle Max: The King’s stinking son fired me, and thank you so much for bringing up such a painful subject. While you’re at it, why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? We’re closed.
The Princess Bride

2. Something from the distant past:

Developer Drops Plan for 3 Malibu Mansions
Los Angeles Times, Metro Digest / Local News in Brief
October 13, 1990
Developer Sheldon Gordon has abruptly withdrawn his latest plan to build three mansions in Malibu’s exclusive Sweetwater Mesa area before the California Coastal Commission could consider the matter.

“Emotions are simply running too high,” said Joseph Petrillo, Gordon’s attorney.

Today’s quote:

“Present wars impoverish the lords that win as much as those that lose.”

Niccolo Machiavelli 1

Niccolo Machiavelli 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

 

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This ant that fro re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 4, 2010

Today’s Factoid:

1910 Eastman Gang leader Chick Tricker’s Park Row dive bar is closed by the New York City Committee of Fourteen. However he is able to move his operations to the vice district known as Satan’s Circus purchasing Dan the Dude’s Stag Cafe on West 28th Street later renaming it the Cafe Maryland.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

About two weeks ago I had dinner with a long time Thai woman friend of mine. I will call her M. She had just come from divorce court, having divorced her husband and was feeling sad and she cried a lot. She said she needed to get away and suggested driving me to Chiang Mai so that I could visit Cordt, Choti, Gerry and Leo. We agreed to leave in a few days but she then disappeared and I had to cancel the trip.

On Wednesday last week she called, telling me she had been in the hospital. Whether she was there to cure some malady or to dry out from drinking too heavily, I never got straight. She suggested that we go away together for a few days.

Since my massage was to be on Thursday rather than Friday that week, we agreed to leave at 8 AM Friday morning. I was expecting to spend a day or two on Koh Chang or one of the other islands I had not visited but always wanted to.

On Friday at eight thirty she called and said she would arrive by about 9:30. There being no sign of her at that time, I took my suitcase and went to breakfast to await developments.

At about 10:15 she arrived. I invited her to join me for breakfast. She said she was not hungry and took my luggage to her car. When she returned she told me that some friends and family would be going with us. I was annoyed because when a Thai woman tells a Farang that friends and family will join them, it usually only means one thing, the Farang pays for all. When we got to the car, I saw that there were three young men in the back seat. Being Thai young men they could have been anywhere from 17 to 35 years old or more.

One seated in the back seat to the far left was clutching what appeared to be a well-worn large orange teddy bear. I was later to realize instead of a teddy bear it was a stuffed ox or water buffalo complete with large horns, but it was too late. Having failed to catch his name, I already started calling him Teddy Bear Boy in my mind.

The second, who spoke english fairly well and was sitting in the middle, I recognized. He worked in a local upscale restaurant called Mata Hari as a waiter or bartender. He I named Mata Hari.

The third was a sullen looking young man wearing a S.W.A.T tee shirt who said little during the entire trip. I called him the Sullen One.

I got the impression that the Mata Hari and Teddy Bear Boy were gay. It would be a mistake however for a foreigner to take anything about a Thai at face value. This is not because it is the so-called inscrutable orient, but just that different cultures give off their own cultural signals. I learned this in Italy when I lived there during the late 60’s. What I thought were facial and gesture signals that would signify no in America, actually indicated consent among the Italians.

Now with the three young men sitting behind me and being annoyed already, I became even more uncomfortable as we took off, not down the coast as I expected, but into the rural areas behind Paradise by the Beach where the paved roads disappeared for long stretches and every now and then a new subdivision named something like Grand View or Hillside would suddenly loom out of the jungle vegetation. For some reason, I pictured in my mind that scene in Godfather II where Clemenza sat in the back seat of the automobile behind Michael’s sister’s errant husband as they drove into the Medowlands.

Finally we came to a large barn like building that in the US would be called a Roadhouse. We pulled into the gravel parking lot. M. drove to the far end of the lot and backed up to the edge and parked so that we faced the entrance to the building.

She then reached down onto the area separating the front seats where the change and cup holder usually reside and picked up a handful of large bullets that I had not noticed before. The casings were shiny brass and the blunt points, bright copper.

My first thought was that M., who often engaged in producing crafts that she would then sell, had acquired these to make some sort of strange jewelry. When she was a little child she would make and sell those flower arrangements that are sold on just about every street corner in Thailand.

The image of the little 5-year-old flower girl quickly dissipated however, when she then reached down beside her seat next to the door and pulled up a very large and very mean looking 45 caliber pistol. While admittedly it was not yet a Holy Shit moment, there was a sharp intake of breath on my part.

She then, with the gun placed next to her ear and pointing straight up towards the roof of the car, shouldered the car door open and got out. She had what appeared to me to be a look of grim determination on her face. At the same moment the back doors flew open and the boys in the back scrambled out and disappeared somewhere behind the vehicle.

I did not look for where they went because I was too fixed on watching her stride determinately, gun in hand now down by her thigh, across the gravel parking lot, up the two wooden stairs leading to the entrance of the building and then disappearing into the darkness.

I thought, for a morning that started out so unpromising, it may after all turn out to be an interesting day after all.

Stay tuned…….

Today’s Attachment:

I apologize but my recent trip so occupied my time, that I was unable to prepare anything to send.

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3T. September 18, 2010

Today’s quote:
“Pluck your magic twanger Froggy.”
Smilin’ Ed McConnell.

Smilin’ Ed was the almost 300 pound host of a children’s radio and TV show of the 1940’s and 50’s sponsored by Buster Brown’s Shoes whose logo was a picture of a cross dressing juvenile delinquent named Buster Brown and his dog Tige (“That’s my dog Tige, he lives in a shoe! I’m Buster Brown look for me in there,too!!”).

I was always afraid of Smilin’ Ed. Imagine being a 5-year-old confronted by a 300 pound, gravelly voiced giant of a man called “Smilin Ed”.

Froggy gave me nightmares and I refused to ever wear Buster Brown shoes. My mother never understood why I would start screaming whenever I entered a shoe store. Even now I always check the insides of my shoes before putting them on.

Frogs still terrorize me.

Today’s factoid:
While researching for something I was writing for the radical left-wing blog, I came across a list of universal laws. Rather than doling them out one by one I have collected some favorites along with my comments and attached them below.

News from Thailand:
The dollar continues its free fall against the baht. It is caused in part by inflows of capital from Thailand’s competitors in the agricultural commodities markets (primarily rice) who seek competitive advantage for their own rice exports.

It is also substantially affected by the general decline of the dollar against most major currencies. I do not expect this latter pressure to ease up until after the US mid-term elections. Between now and then, it is not in the Obama administration’s interest to strengthen the dollar. Since the cheap dollar benefits American exporters, it is one of the few economic stimulus options available to the administration in the face of congressional resistance to more aggressive approaches.

Should the Republicans take over either the House or Senate this November the dollar will probably continue its decline as the market realizes that it is not in the Republican Party’s interest to participate with the administration to stave off economic collapse on this president’s watch. If the Democrats retain power, the administration, freed from immediate election concerns, would probably find it beneficial to limit the dollar’s decline.

Pookie in Paradise:

(For those interested in a great YouTube clip of Pookie the Lion and Soupy Sales you can find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcb87xi8cVg).

Next week I plan to travel to Issan, to see a recently divorced friend’s new house. I hope also to be able to spend a few days in Chiang Mai as well and visit Choti, Gerry, Leo and Cordt all of whom I miss.

Issan is located in the northeast of Thailand and is considered by some to be that country’s version of Appalachia. It sends its children off to the big cities to find work, its girls for the most part to labor in the sex trades and its boys to compete with the Burmese and Khmer for the lowest paying jobs available.

Life these past two weeks have gotten quite predictable. Breakfast at the Cafe le Mar, a walk on the beck, a swim in the pool, play with the computer, eat dinner and sleep. On Wednesdays I attend my BBQ and on Fridays enjoy my three-hour massage. Today there was a rare skinny woman at the pool, a refreshing relief from the acres of slavic flesh that surround me while I do my laps.

Sometimes I just watch the human tides that ebb and flow along the beach by my condo.

At high tide the professional fisherman launch or land their small boats coming or going from their daily search for crustaceans. Their boats are fitted with rooster tails, long pipes with a propeller at one end and a gas motor on a gimbal at the other that enables the operator to raise and lower the propeller into the water to drive the boat through surf and sea. These are not the big Lycoming engines that propel the long tail boats along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok but small trustworthy two-stroke gasoline engines. The boats are brightly painted although inevitably the paint is chipped and faded. As they go out they fly the colored flags that they use to mark the location of their nets.

At low tide, the gleaners come out. They prowl the shallows searching for small crabs and clams. The crabbers move through the pools formed by the outgo of the tide searching for these tiny creatures, with shells no more that an inch or two across. The hunter’s movement through the water startles the crabs into scurrying away. Their motion reveals them to the crabbers who then trap and catch their prey with their bare hands.

One morning Hayden spent an hour having great fun assisting one of the gleaners by pointing and crying out whenever he saw movement of a crab. The fun ended when the fisherman offered Hayden one of the crabs as a reward for his help, but only if he would just reach into the bucket filled with those they had caught and pull it out.

Another type of gleaner is those that dig into the sand exposed by the tide’s retreat for tiny clams, much like cockles but even smaller. These they put into a plastic water bottle where, after the bottle is filled with hundreds of them, they take home and run fresh water through it for a few days to clean the clams of sand and the like. Then they pour a hot spicy sauce into the bottle and enjoy the treat.

During the day the sand is home to the umbrella and lounge chair vendors and the hawkers selling food and other things to the tourists. The lawn chairs, umbrellas, venders and hawkers are the reality in the landscape while the tourists appear to me to be mere shadows.

At night the sand is mostly deserted except for a white dog with a black marking around one eye who spends all night every night lying on the same spot of sand and staring at the waves.

Ciao…
__________________________________________________

SOME UNIVERSAL LAWS

Aitken’s Law — describes how vowel length in Scots and Scottish English is conditioned by environment. Named for Professor A. J. Aitken, who formulated it.

(Way to go A.J.)

▪ Archie’s law — In petrophysics, relates the in-situ electrical conductivity of sedimentary rock to its porosity and brine saturation. Named for Gus Archie (1907–1978).

(Who would of thought? Good for you Gus, or is it Archie? I usually dislike people with two first names, but using Gus and Archie together I like. Good job Mr. and Mrs. Archie.)

▪ Benford’s law — In any collection of statistics, a given statistic has roughly a 30% chance of starting with the digit 1.

( I bet the other digits are unhappy about that. It just proves that if you give a man a hand, in 30 % of the cases he will give you the finger.)

▪ Bradford’s law — a pattern described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 that estimates the exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search.

(Everyone knows that. Ask any student.)

▪ Dunbar’s number — A theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150. First proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.

( What is a stable relationship? I have never had one much less 150.)

▪ Fitts’ law — A principle of human movement published in 1954 by Paul Fitts which predicts the time required to move from a starting position to a final target area. Fitts’ law is used to model the act of pointing, both in the real world, e.g. with a hand or finger, and on a computer, e.g. with a mouse.

(And for this Fitts gets paid?)

▪ Gall’s law“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.”

(No kidding Gall.)

▪ Godwin’s law — An adage in Internet culture that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Coined by Mike Godwin in 1990.

(You probably did not realize this but these laws were really all written by Nazi’s.)

▪ Hanlon’s razor — A corollary of Finagle’s law, and a play on Occam’s razor, normally taking the form, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” As with Finagle, possibly not strictly eponymous. Alternately, “Do not invoke conspiracy as explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, as conspiracy implies intelligence.”

(Don’t let Fox News hear about this.)

▪ Hofstadter’s law — “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” It was created by Douglas Hofstadter in his book Gödel, Escher, Bach.

(I bet you thought you would have finished reading this by now.)

▪ Muphry’s law — states that “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written.” The name is a deliberate misspelling of “Murphy’s law.”

(I never critisize.)

▪ Murphy’s law“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Ascribed to Edward A. Murphy, Jr.

(No Comment.)

▪ Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism)“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.” named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005. Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

(What a shame. Sort of takes all the fun out of it.)

▪ Reilly’s law of retail gravitation — People generally patronize the largest mall in the area.

(I knew that.)

▪ Roemer’s law — A hospital bed built is a bed filled.

(OK)

▪ Rothbard’s law — Everyone specializes in his own area of weakness.

(What does this say about someone who considers himself a generalist?)

▪ Sayre’s law“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.” By way of corollary, the law adds: “That is why academic politics are so bitter.”

(I thought that was the definition of Politics.)

▪ Segal’s law“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

(Steven Segal doesn’t wear a watch. Is that is why he beats people up and makes bad movies?)

▪ Sowa’s law of standards“Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X.”

(Hooray for common sense.)

▪ Sturgeon’s law“Nothing is always absolutely so.” Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985).

(Absolutely not true)

▪ Szemerényi’s law — A Proto-Indo-European phonological rule, named after Hungarian linguist Oswald Szemerényi, according to which word-final clusters of vowels (V), resonants (R) and of either */s/ or */h₂/ are simplified by dropping the word-final fricative (*/h₂/ was phonetically itself probably a back fricative), with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel.

(I never could have guessed. Fricative you Ollie. By the way, is that how you got your last name?)

▪ Wagner’s Law predicts that the development of an industrial economy will be accompanied by an increased share of public expenditure in gross national product, and is named after the German economist Adolph Wagner (1835-1917).

(Never trust those German’s.)

▪ Wike’s law of low odd primes“If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

(Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.)

▪ Zipf’s law — In linguistics, the observation that the frequency of use of the nth-most-frequently-used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n, or, more simply, that a few words are used very often, but many or most are used rarely. Named after George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), whose statistical work research led to the observation. More generally, the term Zipf’s law refers to the probability distributions involved, which are applied by statisticians not only to linguistics but also to fields remote from that.

(In other words, all languages end up with only the word “fuck”. Zipf this George. Get a life.)

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: