Posts Tagged With: Chicago

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Capt. Coast 0002 (May 12, 2013)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

April, May and June tend to be the hottest months of the year in Thailand. Since I have been here, the temperature has hovered well in the high 90s and low 100s .

For the first week or so I cultivated the hypochondria brought on by jet-lag and BKK air pollution. I attempted to while away my time by reading trashy vacation-time novels. You know, those novels you turn to when you are lying on the sand under an umbrella with nothing to do but stare at the water while bemoaning the fact that recreational drugs are not readily available to numb you even further into insensibility. I guess alcohol is an alternative but it always gives me agita.

In my case, I decided to read all 15 or so books of the Dresden Files at about one a day. I have just finished book ten. They are about Harry Dresden a wizard working as a private detective in Chicago battling the unending horrors escaping from the spirit world threatening to engulf the City in a reign of vampires and ghouls and unspeakable other creatures and bury it under 50 feet of ectoplasm.

Like I said trash, inventive trash but trash none the less. Now I know what some of you are asking yourselves, “I thought he said he was afraid of horror movies.” Well yes, movies; books not so much. I do not know why.

Anyway it has been somewhat interesting to observe that by reading the several books in this short period of time some of the overriding plot lines and emerging back stories have begun to manifest themselves. For example: Who really started the war between the Wizards of the White Council and the Vampires of the Red Court; Is Mab, Fairy Queen of the Winter Sidhe, really going insane; Who is behind the Cowl; Will Harry’s half brother Thomas, the incubus, truly find happiness as a hairdresser sucking bits of the life force from his adoring clients and; Will Harry ever get laid.* It seems the flash of even the slightest bit of skin from any female from 14 through 400,000 years old (many are almost immortal spirits after all) appears to turn Harry into a salivating imbecile. One would think that since wizards are masters of do-it-yourself Harry by this time would have learned how to relieve himself of his perpetual horniness. At least a half a dozen times per novel he finds himself with an erection moments before some horror from the netherworld beats the shit out of him. That is some bad Juju..

In his Notes, the author claims that he was fascinated with the Swords and Sorcery genre ever since as a child he first read the Hobbit and although throughout his writing career he tried to write similar fantasy novels he was not very good and it. He was very pleased, however, that readers seemed to like his wizard-detective stories.

Well, I am very happy for him. Throughout my life I wanted to grow up. I wasn’t very good at it and the best I could manage was to grow old. No one I know liked that at all, least of all me.

I went to the US embassy for some paperwork necessary for my visa extension. While I waited, the television in the waiting room was tuned into the Discovery Station as it always is when it is not tuned on to CNN. As usual the program was about things killing and devouring other things. I wondered why National Geographic marketing was aimed at the adolescent and seriously delayed post-adolescent male segment of the viewing public. Why not market say, for women? I would not presume to know what they would prefer, but I doubt it would be killing, blood and bones in high-definition color every time, all the time. When I looked around me, I saw the young men glassy-eyed and smiling staring up at the screen while the women for the most part looked down at the floor or at the notices and posters that covered the walls.

I thought the Discovery Channel was supposed to awaken the interest in young minds in science and discovery. What sort of scientists are they looking for that would be fascinated in learning more about how a killer whale rips the head off a seal or a lion disembowels a gazelle? Why not try love for a change?

(*Note: Some of these questions surprisingly have actually been answered in Book 11 which I have just finished reading. Harry gets laid although with unhappy results and his half-brother definitely has not found happiness. We still, however, do not know about Mab’s potential psychosis and who or what is behind the war or under the cowl. Alas, I may never find out the answers to these questions as Amazon has announced that my Kindle is now somehow outside its jurisdiction and refuses to provide me with a new password to correct it. I now have a flaccid Kindle.)

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

You go girl:

A 28-year-old female US sailor beat the bejesus out of a bus driver in Dubai after he pulled a knife on her and announced he was going to rape her. […]
Basically, she got on the bus after shopping, he drove to a bus terminal, pulled a knife on her, and told her he was going to rape her. So she beat the crap out of him.
http://americablog.com/2013/04/female-us-sailor-beats-the-crp-out-of-bus-driver-who-tries-to-rape-her.html

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Brigid O’Shaughnessy: I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that’s good, because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.

Chapter 14:

The question was simple enough. So was the answer: I was here to try to keep from having my ass kicked and she was the last person on a very short list that I haven’t spoken to. Of course I couldn’t say that with Joe Vu sitting here so I went with:

“I’m here on behalf of out mutual client, Martin Vihn. He would like to know what you have done with Clarence Reilly and wanted me to inform you that unless you return him before this evening, there will be no nookie for you tonight?”

I had to hand it to her, except for a slight tightening around the eyes, Lily showed absolutely no reaction to my question unlike Joe Vu who spit up his coffee all over his pants. Lilly said:

“Now I remember you. You were the one whose firm threw him out because he was crazy.”

Me: “Alas, I suffer an unfortunate condition. It’s like an unusual form of Tourette Syndrome. Every now and then, often in the most inappropriate situations, I have an irresistible impulse to blurt out the truth.”

Lilly: “Yes well…that’s not a particularly good condition for an attorney to have… With all due respect to Mr Vihn, and before I have security escort you out of the office, I would like you to know that I have no idea where to find my client Clarence Reilly and I am worried about him also. Good day, Mr. Dragon.”

Me: “Dragon will do.”

She got up and headed to the door out of the conference room. Before she reached the door, I said:

“Since Mark Holland is missing also, I’ve stepped into his shoes, so to speak, with Mavis. We’d like to know if you wanted to come over tonight for a threesome.”

She left the room with no indication that she heard what I said. I sat there for a moment staring at the door she left by then got up and left also. Joe followed. We went through the lobby and past the receptionist. She did not acknowledge our presence. Got to the elevator bank and pressed the button for the elevator. While we waited I noticed Joe staring at me.

“Well?” I said as the elevator arrived. As we stepped into the elevator he said, “Man, do you have to be crazy to be a detective? Because she’s right you’re nuts.”

Me:”What number rule are we on?”

Joe Vu:”Ah, rule number five, I think.”

Me again: “OK Rule Number Five: ‘When no one is paying any attention to you do something to make them.'”

Joe: “You could have set fire to the conference room or took your dick out and slammed it on the table.”

Me: “Hmm, those would work…a little too dramatic don’t you think?”

Joe: “So what did you hope to get from that?”

Me: “Maybe something and maybe nothing, who knows? But either way it will be information. That’s what investigators do. They gather and organize information. What they do not do is guess — even if it’s given a fancy name like deduction. If the information does not give you the answer then get some more — guessing just lowers your fees.”

I then added:

“Did you notice she never laughed, not even once? Not even out of embarrassment. Why do you suppose that is? She was insecure and offended? I don’t think so. But what do I know? Curious.”

The elevator doors opened. As we got out I told him that I would like some coffee. There’s a Peet’s in building Two on the street between Embarcadero Center buildings One and Two. I offered to buy him one. He refused and volunteered to get the car and drive it around to pick me up. I assumed he wanted to report in to Martin Vihn in private.

Before splitting up we went into the news and magazine store in the lobby. He to buy some gum and me a newspaper. I took out the sports section and handed the rest to him to take to the car.The shop had about half a hundred magazines displayed on racks. Being men we stopped a while to examine the covers. I then walked over to the coffee shop, leaving Joe engrossed in and chuckling at some soldier of fortune magazine.

The streets between the buildings are covered over by the mezzanine floor leaving them dark and uninviting. Having streets in the cool grey city of love cloaked in eternal gloom leaves them cold and foreboding. Scurrying away from them as quickly as possible is more likely on one’s mind than thoughts of love.

Peet’s Coffee sits at the intersection of the tunnel that runs through the building at street level and the street itself. I went in and ordered a small café latte. I leafed through the sports pages while waiting for my drink. I got the coffee, finished up a story about the San Francisco 49ers football teams most recent musclebound kamikaze acquisition and walked to the street to wait for Joe Vu.

There parked at the curb in a large silver-grey Mercedes and leaning out the window was the more talkative of the chubby twins. He had a big smile on his face and called out to me:

“Hiya sport.”

I shuddered. Not because of the chill or the sense of danger but because I felt caught in some strange time warp. Who the fuck calls anyone ‘sport’ anymore

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Recently President Obama in a well publicized speech encouraging toleration mentioned in general the historical contributions to our country of individuals, Americans, professing the Muslim faith. This has brought out the expected screams of anguish from those who seem to criticize our president for anything he says or does. I received an email from one of my correspondents, a middle-eastern non-muslim immigrant, forwarding a lengthy screed denying any contribution of anyone of that faith to our history and challenging anyone to demonstrate that any fought in the American Revolution, were residents during colonial times or otherwise contributed in any way to this country’s development. Well here are some:

1. “Islam is Peace” said President George W. Bush in a speech. He also once held hands with an Arab muslim.
2. 20% of the slaves brought to America were muslim thereby, I suspect, many of them predating the arrival on these shores of the ancestors of the people making the claims in the email.
3. Salem Poor, Yuef Ben Ali, Bampett Muhamed and Francis and Joseph Saba served in the American Revolutionary Army.
4.Estavanco was a muslim (North African Berber) who explored what is now Arizona and New Mexico for Spain.
5. Bilali (Ben Ali) Muhammad was a Fula Muslim from Timbo he became the religious leader and Imam for a slave community numbering approximately eighty Muslim men residing on his plantation. During the War of 1812, Muhammad and the eighty Muslim men under his leadership protected their master’s Sapelo Island property from a British attack. In 1829, Bilali authored a thirteen page Arabic Risala on Islāmic beliefs and the rules for ablution, morning prayer, and the calls to prayer. Known as the Bilali Document, it is currently housed at the University of Georgia in Athens.
6. In 1790, the South Carolina legislative body granted special legal status to a community of Moroccans
7. in the 1788 North Carolina ratifying convention opposed the new constitution; one reason was the fear that some day Catholics or Muslims might be elected president.
8. In 1863 Muhammad Ali ibn Said (also known as Nicholas Said) enlisted in the 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiment in the United States Army and rose to the rank of sergeant. He was later granted a transfer to a hospital department, where he gained some knowledge of medicine.
9. Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb (November 9, 1846, Hudson, New York – October 1, 1916, Rutherford, New Jersey), a muslim convert, was an American writer, publisher, and the United States Ambassador to the Philippines.
10. 1840 Yemini and Turkish immigration begins. They settled primarily in Dearborn Mich., Quincy Mass and Ross North Dakota.
11. 1906 Bosnian Muslims settle in Chicago.
12. 1907 Polish Muslims settle in NY.
13. Two of the most prominent Chinese American Muslims are the Taiwan National Revolutionary Army Generals Ma Hongkui and his son Ma Dunjing, who moved to Los Angeles after fleeing from China to Taiwan. Pai Hsien-yung, son of the Chinese Muslim General Bai Chongxi, is a Chinese Muslim writer who moved to Santa Barbara, California after fleeing from China to Taiwan.
14. There are over 2000 mosques in the United States and the nation’s largest mosque, the Islāmic Center of America, is in Dearborn, Michigan.
15. There are more than 15,000 doctors practicing medicine in the USA who are of Pakistani origin alone and the number of Pakistani American millionaires was reported to be in the thousands.
16. 45 percent of immigrant Muslims report annual household income levels of $50,000 or higher. This compares to the national average of 44 percent. Immigrant Muslims are well represented among higher-income earners, with 19 percent claiming annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher (compared to 16 percent for the Muslim population as a whole and 17 percent for the U.S. average). This is likely due to the strong concentration of Muslims in professional, managerial, and technical fields, especially in information technology, education, medicine, law, and the corporate world.
17. As of May 30, 2005, over 15,000 Muslims were serving in the United States Armed Forces.
18. Data released from the 2010 U.S. Religion Census shows Islam was the fastest growing religion in America in the last 10 years, with 2.6 million living in the U.S. today.
19. Marine Corps Captain Aisha Bakkar-Poe a Muslim woman whose family emigrated from Syria said after 9/11, “Those terrorists must be reading a completely different Koran than the rest of us…This isn’t about Islam it’s about terrorism.”
(Much of the above is from Wikipedia)

(I do not particularly like Islam as I do not particularly like any of the Abrahamic religions if for no other reason than the horrors that they have inflicted on each other and others in their name, but I hate bigotry more.)

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

In the course of my life and my many careers I have been involved in development, start-up and management of four separate governmental entities that either have had significant effects on the society in which they operate. They are the State of New York’s Mental Health Information Service, The California Coastal Commission and its Coastal Plan, The California State Coastal Conservancy, and California’s High Speed Rail Authority. I have, to a greater of lesser degree, discussed each of these entities in prior issues of “This and that…” that can be found in the blog listed at the bottom of this page and in several other blogs and posts I have written.

I wrote a number of posts about how my involvement in California Coastal Program began and developed. However, for whatever reason, I did not complete the series. What got me thinking about writing this series now was a blog post I recently read mentioning that the Coastal Conservancy had virtually exhausted the billion dollar fund it had been using these past 35 years or so to preserve land and restore the natural resources of California’s coast. In addition, due in part to California’s current Governor Jerry Brown’s strong support for the State’s High Speed Rail program, that initiative for good or ill has found itself in the media spotlight.

I will begin in the next issue of “This and that…” with the Mental Health Information Service.

DAILY FACTOID:

Game of Thrones Linguist Interview Reveals High Valyrian Dragons, Wrong Khaleesis, and More:

“Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor.
“A dragon is not a slave.”

Of note here: the word for dragon, zaldrīzes. Also, buzdari is stressed on the second syllable even though the a is not long because this isn’t actually a High Valyrian word: It’s an Astapori word that Dany is using on purpose. The High Valyrian word for slave is dohaeriros (whose root you may recognize), but the word they use in Astapor is buzdar, which has its roots in Ghiscari.”
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles:

Why universal emancipation and social ascendency of woman is necessary for human survival.

“A human population with adequate food, and with reasonable pre-modern public health will do what the English settler population did in North America in the two centuries after 1600: it will double from natural increase each generation. Only Malthus’s “positive check”—plague, famine, children malnourished so that their immune systems are compromised and cannot fight off bacterial or viral infections, women so malnourished that they cease ovulating—can keep population stable. Even Malthus’s “preventative check”—priests threatening those who engage in illicit sexual intercourse with damnation, fathers refusing to let their daughters marry until the suitor is established with a farm of his own, brothers refusing to let younger lineage males marry until lineage resources increase, kings to enforce Poor Laws and confine vagrants and those without visible means of support—cannot do much. Only with the coming of female literacy and artificial means of birth control can a society maintain both a slowly growing or stable population and a substantial edge in median standard of living over subsistence.”
Brad DeLong (http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/05/demography-twentieth-century-economic-history-weblogging.html#more)

B. Tales of Inhumanity:

7th May 1943, The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto (Part I).

A young woman writes:

Five difficult and tragic days have passed. In this short time, we have had many experiences. Our living conditions were difficult from the moment we entered our hideaway and they became worse since we have taken in 45 people. Most of them had no food. At midnight on Monday, the electricity was cut off. We are now faced with a serious problem: how will we cook? We do not have stoves connected to a chimney. The bunker leaders deliberated this problem for three days and, in the meantime, arguments broke out. Brother fought with sister, friend fought with friend and they all fought among themselves. Hunger skipped no one.

The quarreling was so loud that the echoes were probably heard outside the bunker. The situation was terrible, and dangerous as well. The emotional state of the people is dreadful. Some of them lie on the ground unconscious. The most vulnerable are the children. We have already been through three days without hot food.

In the end, the problem of the kitchen was solved. But it is preferable to avoid addressing someone in order to maintain the silence because every question brings offensive and coarse replies. The people in the bunker are behaving without courtesy and consideration.The night was horrific. There was terrible irritability.

I witnessed a shocking event when Jews were removed from the bunker in a neighboring house. During my night guard duty I lay next to the judasz and listened to conversations going on outside.

The conversation between the Germans, full of irony and sadism, made my body go cold and my blood boil. Yes, the Germans are certain that they are justified. We are considered murderers and they want to present themselves as the epitome of morality and humanity. Descriptions of the blind hatred towards us, the persecuted and tortured, made me feel as though salt was being spread on my open wounds. Their words always ended with coarse laughter.
(From Brad DeLongs Journal)

(There have been many genocides in human history, a number of them perhaps greater and crueller even than the Holocaust that ended in 1945, but none so well documented by the victims themselves. This testimony allows us, perhaps for the first time, to glimpse the true horror of hatred.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

The Bible Speaks: On environmental protection.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

“Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” (Ezekiel 34:17-18)

“The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.” (Leviticus 25:23-24)

“You must keep my decrees and my laws…. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” (Leviticus 18:26, 28)

“You shall not pollute the land in which you live…. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I also dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the Israelites.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

“If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?” (Deuteronomy 20:19)

“I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination.” (Jeremiah 2:7)

(It is interesting how easy it is to use or misuse the bible to justify or condemn just about anything. Perhaps that was one of the reasons why our founding fathers were so adamant about separating church and state.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

1133ckCOMIC-first-they-came-to-register
TODAY’S CHART

6a00e551f080038834017ee9a68c2f970d

(Sort of looks a lot like a map of the vote in the last election. The dark blue counties containing the highest percentage of high achievers roughly corresponds to those counties that voted for Obama in the last election)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN1271

Yellow on Blue

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

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Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

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

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

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

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

 
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film)

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

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

Chapter 5:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Guns of Chicago:

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

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

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

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

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Chart-Government-SPending

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

B. Tales of inhumanity:

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

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

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

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

 

TODAY’S CHART:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To estimate approximate current population distribution:

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

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

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

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

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0759

The Manneken Pis of Mendocino

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Pepe 0001 (October 28, 2012)

 

“Historically, Populism like most mass movements scours up both the worst and the best in a society as it scrapes across its depths. It is prompted by a deep mistrust of a community’s most powerful individuals and institutions who, its adherents believe have misused and mishandled the trust they had been granted; violated the social contract if you will. As the indefatigable realist Machiavelli pointed out, on the broad areas of public policy the general populace is almost always more reliable than the élite.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I took the train from Sacramento to San Francisco. The tracks ran through Susuin Marsh. I recall a time in my life when I would have moved Heaven and Hell to prevent even one acre of a wetland from falling beneath the blade of a bulldozer. Of course, I fully understand and agree with the intellectual, economic and ethical reasons for their preservation. At times when great flocks of birds fly screeching above the vegetation or mucking about in the shallows or at certain times of the year when they are bathed in the colors of spring or autumn, one can almost breathe in the tendrils of poetic inspiration rising from their fetid depths.

On the other hand at times like this, when the skies are overcast and grey, the vegetation a sickly yellow-brown and the waters a dingy black, I can understand a man coming upon them and thinking, “what a waste.” He would, I suspect be likely to aspire to killing it in order to create something that would profit him more than basking in the glow someone else’s idea of aesthetic pleasure.

I would like to think most women coming upon the same marsh would dream instead about how the marsh itself could benefit them and their families without killing it first.

Being male, today those same marshes look like shit to me. I would not mind seeing them disappear beneath the antiseptic familiarity of a few Starbucks or MacDonald’s or the like. By the time we left the marshes behind and chugged into Richmond, however, I changed my mind and decided that, if I were not be the one making the money from the deal, I would prefer leaving the wetlands pretty much as they are.

At night, at my sister’s house in Berkeley, I began reading Sheldon’s newest novel The Terrorist Next Door. Its main character is a cop who, I suspect, to the disappointment of his jewish parents failed to become a doctor, lawyer or famous writer of mystery novels and ended up a Chicago homicide detective. He is teamed up with a black partner in a relationship reminiscent of that between Danny Glover and that famous anti-Semite Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series of movies.

There are three things I noticed and appreciated about the novel. First it is an incomparable travelogue of Chicago (one should read the book with a map of the city nearby). Second is what one learns about Michelle Obama, a girl from the neighborhood. Third, Sheldon in his own good-hearted and upbeat way puts his finger upon the essential flaw in the American character and gives you a glimpse of how good things can be without it and how truly and horribly destructive it really it.

For those of you familiar with and aficionados of the Siegel cannon, he began his writing career trying to write a novel about a young jewish attorney wrongfully accused of the murder of one of his partners, a fictional stand in for a partner of ours at the time whose removal both Sheldon and I agreed probably would immeasurably benefit humanity. Alas, in his writing of the initial drafts, his main character was overwhelmed by a fast talking Irish criminal lawyer and his estranged Chicana attorney wife. This resulted in the beloved character’s prominence being eclipsed. He disappeared entirely by the third novel in the series; even his name is now lost to memory.

My experience is similar to Sheldon’s. I attempted to write a mystery (Red Star) here in T&T. The main character, a stand for yours truly, managed to come across as a boring jerk. He was ultimately replaced in interest and importance by a musclebound bisexual female deputy sheriff from San Mateo County.

Detective David Gold is made of stronger stuff. I see and hope for Gold’s career to be at least as long and as distinguished as Kaminsky’s Abe Lieberman, also a Chicago detective and also a disappointment to his parents.

I suspect Sheldon always wanted to write a novel with Chicago, the city he grew up in, as a setting.

I have visited Chicago only a few times. Nevertheless, for me given my ethnic heritage, it has always been one of the sacred places; like Umberto’s Clam House in New York’s Little Italy. For over a decade the stain remained on the sidewalk where, having staggered out of the restaurant after being shot, Joey Gallo fell down and bled to death. Every year, I would make an annual pilgrimage there until time and the City’s acid laced rains erased every vestige of the epic event.

Chicago was the home of the sainted Scarface Al. Alas, I have never visited any of the pilgrimage sites there; such as SMC Cartage warehouse site of the massacre that occurred on the feast day of the saint of love. I sometime wonder what ever happened to many of the relics of my legendary ethnic heroes. Are they in a museum somewhere? Where now, for example, are the artifacts such as Anastasia’s barber chair, Mo Green’s massage table, St. Frank’s used condoms,

The mausoleum of Joe DiMaggio at Holy Cross Ce...

The mausoleum of Joe DiMaggio at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deano’s shot glass and Mario Puzo‘s typewriter? And, while I am at it, where have you really gone Joe DiMaggio? And, why did Tony Benedetto, (nee Bennet), a New Yorker who chose to live in LA, really decide to leave his heart is SF?
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Just because an outcome is determined does not necessarily make it predictable.

The motion system of three or more stars acting on each other gravitationally is generically chaotic. Similarly no activity affected by the behavior of three or more human beings is predictable in the long-term. On the other hand, as it has been pointed out time and again, in the long-term we all end up dead. But, not before someone does something so unpredictable it makes it all seem almost worthwhile.

DAILY FACTOID:

Tony Bennet (nee Benedetto) is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in NYC.

I bet you did not know something like that exists. What do the students actually learn there; the art of punching out hecklers, the aphrodisiacal benefits of Wheaties Breakfast of Champions, how to be successful singing off-key, the secret meaning of doobie doobie doo…?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Testosterone Chronicles:

• When looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve deployment of principles
(Carla Harenski and collaborators).

What this seems to me to mean, if one can generalize it to a gender based approach to public policy, is:

“For men, first punish the guilty and for women, first protect the innocent.”

 

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

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

• Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness.
(reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy).

Screw you Rachel and Uri. I will have you know that men are kinder to their guns, beer and dogs than women are. We also think we are kind to (and admittedly, at times a little frightened by) large female breasts; vaginas, not so much.

In an analysis of the range of findings of the emotional differences between men and women in situations that could affect social decision-making (some of which I have included in precious posts), the authors opine that on the whole, women seem to be more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with the suggestion by at least one of the researchers that women are more likely than men to base moral decision on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.

This is why I previously wrote:

“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”
Trenz Pruca’s Journal.

Would it not now be appropriate for men to just step aside and turn the whole sorry mess we have made of things over to women? I doubt very much that they could do worse than we men have.

B. Electioneering:

I am getting sick of receiving the same email from several of my more right wing friends about a “good friend” of theirs from Texas who threatens to close down his business if Obama is reelected.

1. He is not your “good friend.”
2. He is not from Texas.
3. He will not close down his business if Obama is reelected.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“The Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads.”
Robert Kennedy, 1968

“Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.”
Unknown

TODAY’S CHART:

Eco-Regions-USA-Source-EPA
Map of North American Bio-regions. I am not sure about the significance of this chart except that it looks nice and whoever did it spent a lot of time at it.

 

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

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