Posts Tagged With: Conservative

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 JoJo 0005 (May 20, 2016)

“Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 390). HarperCollins.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:
Complaining about the weather in California is like someone who makes $250,000 a year telling you how hard it is to make ends meet. I understand what they mean but have a hard time sympathizing.

For about a ten days or so here in the Golden Hills of El Dorado the skies have been mostly overcast with a light rain now and then punctuated by the light show that accompanies wonderfully loud thunderstorms. Because I still fear the thunder, I pull the sheets up about my ears.

One day, the internet router stopped working leaving me unable to access Facebook, HRM could not get into YouTube and Dick well… whatever. We desperately searched for the cause — unsuccessfully. It reminded me of many years ago running around the house with the Rabbit Ears, trying to clear the dreaded snow from the television screen so that I could watch Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.

Anyway, I ended up calling India or someplace like that where someone who I could barely understand re-booted the router and tried to sell me an application that he promised would allow me to fix it on my own in the future.

My plans for the summer continue to be unresolved. So far all that is settled is that I will leave on June 4 for Mendocino, then depart for Milan on the June 9. After that who knows. Sometime at the end of June or even early July, I will travel to Thailand and stay there for one or two months.

Jason and I are looking to buy a home in the Sabina area of Italy. This is the one we seem to have settled on. It has two bedrooms and comes with 57 producing commercial olive trees
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PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I have been reconsidering the presidential primary elections now that the number of candidates has been reduced to two and one-half. I used to think this year’s primary process was absurd and have written some snarky pieces about them here and elsewhere. The ridiculous behavior of many of the candidates and the vicious conduct of many of their supporters have turned the process of electing a President into an embarrassment for the electorate as the candidates and their groupies descend from schoolboy taunts to vicious and misleading attacks. Nevertheless, I suspect, something has emerged that transcends the words and policies of the candidates. Something that may be more revolutionary.

With Trump, what separated him from his primary opponents seems to be his appeal to the white male working class, frustrated at the bleakness of their lives. He promises them, at least, the comfort of symbols — pride, flag, country and a God of sorts. On the other side, Sanders has also attracted in great numbers the young white males, in his case from the intellectual elite and middle classes. White males, no longer the dominant voting block, have become a swing group. Still powerful because their interests or fantasies are reflected in the bias of the media to a far greater extent than the interests or fantasies of any other segment of the electorate — women, the young, the old, other defined minorities and so on.

In the middle, Clinton seems the favorite of women and most of those groups deemed non-white. All three candidates have focused their policies and appeals primarily on those groups who see in them the solution to their concerns about our society and their role in it. In other words, on one side there are the concerns and interests of women and the non-white minorities and on the other the white males divided into two groups by ideology and social standing.

The hatred of white males toward Clinton is unprecedented. Those supporting Trump and Sanders seem to be saying that somewhere there may a woman who could be acceptable to us but just not this one, even if most women disagree.

This Presidential election seems to be more or less a replay of the last two, except where the liberal white males joined in with minority voters and women to enable a black man to win they now are adrift and threaten not to vote if their choice is not nominated. Since American elections are decided not by who votes but who does not vote, these voters threaten to sit the election out to throw away their votes thereby effectively joining forces with those white males energized to vote for the candidate of the party they usually oppose.

Trump has no real policies to better the lives of his supporters. He does, however, assure them a balm to their fears and a slice of pride. Bernie, on the other hand, promises an updated traditional New Deal type Democratic solution to certain long-simmering economic problems. He is not particularly focused on the social issues faced by minorities and women.

Clinton, unlike the other two candidates who concentrate on a few hot-button issues that appeal to their primarily white male supporters, understands the job of a President encompasses much more than a simplistic appeal to the concerns of their primary support groups (e.g., Targeting Immigrants and Muslims or wall street and the rich). Nevertheless, she has her own support groups, women, non-white minorities and children on whom she focusses her attention. And that is her revolution.

It is not whether she is acceptable to white males (or males in general) because she speaks out on issues they believe important (like for example, Warren does about Wall Street or say Bachman on immigrants) that matters, but her concentration on female empowerment, something most men either fear or do not understand. It is not enough, for example, to restore Glass-Steagall to law and leave the male hierarchy intact in order to ameliorate the discomfort both the Trump and Sanders supporters have with Wall Street’s domination of the economy and the political process. Her revolution is her determination that the board rooms should also be dominated by women and minorities (preferably female minorities) and the hedge funds be run by women managers. Take a look at her proposal for the Federal Reserve. It calls not simply for the removal of the bankers on the boards, a proposal on which both she and Bernie agree, but their replacement by women and minorities so that the board looks and acts more like America. This is the revolution.

These have always been a central theme of Clinton’s policies ever since she first stepped into the public arena. If she is successful, it promises to become the major and most lasting revolution of the millennium.

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

While trolling through back issues of T&T, I came across a report of the following conversation I had with HRM in 2012 as we were driving back from the Bay Area after some medical tests:

“During the drive, I explained to Hayden that he had to make sure I did not fall asleep due to any residual effects of the anesthesia. So we played ‘What am I thinking.’ A game I learned from the Dalls as something they used on long drives to divert their children. At one point, during a lull in the game I mentioned to H. that talking was a good thing to do to keep me awake.

He said:

‘In that case, there is something you should know about me. I am really an alien from Cluton sent here by my parents. That is why I act like I do. I have three hearts and five stomachs one of which is dedicated exclusively to digesting fish smoothies. I also have three butts one of which I lost during the Butt Wars which we lost and is why my parents sent me here to earth. I am filled with ‘joy bubbles’ which allow me to float in air or water if I want. You should also know that music makes me crazy.’

With that, he turned on the radio to a music station and acted…well crazy until finally and thankfully he shut the radio off.

Who knew?

A few days later I learned about a television show, Marvin Marvin, about a boy also from Cluton who lives with an American family. Hayden tells me Marvin is his best friend and they arrived from Cluton together.
Hayden made me promise I would tell no one of his confession because if they learned he was an alien they would send him back to Cluton. I figured that the well-known discretion exhibited by readers of ‘This and that…’ would permit them to fall within the class of no one.”

4-up on 3-1-13 at 6.18 PM

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Today, the earth’s continents are home to billions of Sapiens. If you took all these people and put them on a large set of scales, their combined mass would be about 300 million tons. If you then took all our domesticated farmyard animals – cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens – and placed them on an even larger set of scales, their mass would amount to about 700 million tons. In contrast, the combined mass of all surviving large wild animals – from porcupines and penguins to elephants and whales – is less than 100 million tons. Our children’s books, our iconography, and our TV screens are still full of giraffes, wolves and chimpanzees, but the real world has very few of them left. There are about 80,000 giraffes in the world, compared to 1.5 billion cattle; only 200,000 wolves, compared to 400 million domesticated dogs; only 250,000 chimpanzees – in contrast to billions of humans. Humankind really has taken over the world.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 350). HarperCollins.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Simple Psychology: Dunning—Kruger Effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer an illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their own ineptitude and evaluate their own ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: highly skilled individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.

In my experience, the D—K effect among highly skilled individuals is their mistaken assessment of their ability to explain what they do to themselves as well as to the so-called relatively unskilled.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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 has been developed by men to benefit men.

C. Today’s Poem:
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Sculpture of the poet Taliesin on permanent loan to the Order of Sancta Sophia, Pennal.

“I have been many things,
Before becoming as I am.
I have been a narrow multi-colored sword.
I have been a tear in the air.
I have lived as the faintest of stars.
I have been a word among letters,
A book among words.”*
Taliesin, 500 ACE
(*My revisions to translation).

The Birth of Taliesin:
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Ceridwen and Gwion Bach by Tim Rossiter.

“The magical story of Taliesin (t-ah l-ee eh-sin) – Hanes Taliesin – begins with the goddess Ceridwen (KEH-rihd-wehn) stirring her Cauldron over her cooking fire. Ceridwen is the triple-goddess in her form as elder or ‘crone’. Her Cauldron is the source of everything, for she is God in the aspect of Creator. At this point, the Cauldron is the source of poetic inspiration (awen in Welsh) and of all wisdom and knowledge. She has her son Gwion Bach (which might be translated “Little Man-ling”) stir and watch the pot. Accidentally, three drops fall from the Cauldron onto Gwion’s thumb, and he sucks his thumb. With this act he becomes filled with all knowledge – and, seeing danger ahead for himself, scurries.

There follows a magic hunt, in which Ceridwen chases Gwion, Gwion shape-shifts into a hare, then an otter, then a bird, and Ceridwen shape-shifts in pursuit. Gwion then becomes an ear of grain and Ceridwen turns herself into a hen and eats him. The symbolic meaning is fairly transparent: Gwion, the archetypal Human Person, acquiring a little wisdom, flees from fire (the cauldron) via earth (hare), water (otter) and air (bird), all of them changing forms within the great cosmic delusion of Creation (hence, “shape shifting”); but the Divine Mother is in constant pursuit, ever coaxing Her child back to Herself. Eventually, the Human becomes totally humble, submitting himself to a state of being (one grain) in which he can be wholly absorbed into the Divine Consciousness…….

…..and, as often happens in a story when grain is a symbol, he is reborn. The Hanes Taliesin tells us that Gwion now spends nine months in the womb of Ceridwen and is then reborn as Taliesin. Ceridwen wills neither to keep him nor to kill him, so she leaves him in a basket by Gwyddno’s royal salmon weir. There he is found by Prince Elffin, son of King Gwyddno Garanhir of Ceredigion.

Elffin is frustrated. He was there, allowed to fish for salmon for the first time in his life, and instead of catching any he caught this darned baby. The baby Taliesin immediately sings Elffin a poem, in which he proclaims himself “loquacious though not yet able to speak” (reminiscent of Krishna’s comparably surprising day-of-birth speech to his father), informs him “I was once little Gwion Bach but now I am Taliesin”, and promises the young prince that he will one day be worth more to him than even as inconceivably big a day’s catch as three hundred salmon.”
https://kingarthursomerset.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.… It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”
Liu, Cixin. The Three-Body Problem (p. 28). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Mopey 0005 (January 23, 2016)

“He always liked laundromats. They’re like waiting rooms for people who never travel.”
—Zoran Drvenkar, Sorry.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUTH

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

(El Dorado Hills is an almost place, almost a forest, almost a mountain, almost a city, almost a community and living here is almost a life. One would think from my comments that I dislike it here. On the contrary, someone once said that living east of the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles is a form of death; at my age living here in the golden hills is like death’s minor leagues — I get to practice before moving up to the big time.)

The sun broke through for part of the day. So, I decided to go swimming for the first time since my accident. It made me happy.
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On Sunday, I went to see Revenant. I liked it — Over two hours of Leo DiCaprio in agony (Leo Agonistes). Leo biting the head off a live fish and eating it; Leo eating a raw buffalo liver; Leo mauled by a bear; Leo sleeping naked inside the body of a dead horse; Leo’s body sewn up like a torn pair of jeans; Leo freezing in snow and icy water; Leo falling off a cliff; Leo swept away down a raging river; Leo frothing at the mouth; Leo covered in his own blood; Leo covered in animal’s blood. Leo covered other people’s blood; Leo shot; Leo knifed; Leo choked and so on. Oh, there was also a story, something about Native Americans, sons, wives who float in the air and disappear, and revenge on white men who never bathe. There was a lot of snow too. And subtitles. Leo deserves and Academy Award — not for acting but for surviving. Don’t miss it you will never forget it — even if you want to.

For dinner this evening, HRM decided to make pizza for his dinner. He made the dough, kneaded it, assembled the toppings and cooked it. The pizza tasted very good — certainly a lot better than Round Table or Mountain Mike’s.
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On Wednesday, I went to the DMV office to register my new automobile. About an hour and a half into my wait, sitting there on the hard plastic chair staring at the drop ceiling and listening to the seductive automated voice calling out the numbers like she was lying there next to me whispering into my ear, “B, zero, two seven go to window number nine,” I realized that I was as content as I could be anywhere. I guess I was experiencing satori — a spiritual awakening. I imagined that many of the great religions were created in DMV offices. The bible tells us that Jesus disappeared from public view until he began his ministry when he was 30. I suspect, he spent that time quietly sitting in a DMC office believing that the “meek shall inherit the earth.” Buddha while waiting five hours to renew his driver’s license persuaded himself that it was only tolerable if, in fact, it was not real. While Mohammed, on leaving the DMZ office, decided to conquer all the worlds DMV offices by promising his followers that if they died in the effort they would find themselves alone in a DMV office with 72 virgins behind the counter. Did you know that the biblical heaven and Hell are, in fact, DMV offices? In Heaven, you sit on hard plastic seats staring at the golden ones behind the counter, the saints and the angels, waiting for your number to be called and when it is called you get to approach the counter and get your license renewed by one of the golden ones after which you get to go back to your seat and wait for your number to be called again. Hell is just another DMV office except there are no seats, the heat is turned up to the highest level and your number is never called.

The person I bought the car from was a law enforcement officer. He insisted on putting a lower sale price on the transfer documents in order to save some money on Taxes. I, a one-time officer of the court in a profession with a strict code of ethics, did not object because I told myself I did not want to offend him. So I took full advantage of the reduced registration fee.

After returning home from the DMV office, I learned my 98-year-old mother had fallen while getting out of bed. I was pretty convinced she fell because she intended to run away from the nursing facility in order to return home to cook dinner for me and my sister. Anyway, they quickly and properly swept her off to the hospital for a CT scan and other tests — all of which were negative. She was returned to the nursing home where I am sure she demanded to be allowed to leave so that she could find a job.

I hope she lives to see her 100th birthday so that she might receive congratulations from Obama or whomever, or Jerry Brown or even Sylvester Stallone. It would make her very happy. She will, however, still insist she needs to go home and cook for her family, find a job and maybe a boyfriend. Functional irascibility is the secret to a long and happy life — well, perhaps not so happy at times.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

National Debt and Deficit.

In the national and candidates debates during this election year, as in all other presidential years, the words “debt” and “deficit” are thrown about in order to justify one’s political position or criticize an opponent’s. Actually, it is usually a smoke screen since historically (at least since WWII) both parties run similar annual budget deficits with Republican administrations since the election of Ronald Reagan running somewhat larger annual budget deficits and both parties showing a somewhat similar growth in the National Debt as a percentage of GDP. The difference between the parties often comes down to what that Budget Deficit goes to pay for. Traditionally, for Republicans generally, it goes to pay for enhanced military development and tax relief for private capital expenditure and formation and higher income individuals with Democrats leaning more toward paying for social programs, public works, and tax relief for consumers and lower income workers.

Recently, I came across some information from the US Treasury Department on the annual US budget deficit, the total National Debt by year, US GDP and US National Debt as a percentage of GDP going back to at least 1929. I was able to cull the following from those spreadsheets.

First some definitions: The Budget Deficit is those government expenditures (including payments on the National Debt) not covered by revenues in a given year. For the most part from a policy standpoint, the annual deficit for any single year tends to be not all that significant except during times of great stress like wars and economic panic. The National Debt is what the Federal Government owes at any given time.

Let’s look at two lists I prepared from US Treasury spreadsheets going back to the end of WWII that I hope will shed a little light on the nature of the political rhetoric.

Percentage increase in total National Government debt by President during his term.

Reagan 186%
Bush 2 101%
Bush 1 54% (4 years)
Obama 53% (7 years)
Ford 47% (3 years)
Carter 43% (4 years)
Nixon 34% (5 years)
Clinton 32%
Johnson 13% (5 Years)
Kennedy 8% (3 years)
Eisenhower 9%
Truman 3% (7 years)

National Debt as a percentage of the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product at a President’s final budget.

Obama 106.7% (7 years)
Bush 2 85%
Truman 69.7% (7 years)
Bush 1 60.5% (4 years)
Eisenhower 51.3%
Clinton 56.2%
Reagan 51.4%
49.5% Kennedy (3 years)
35.9% Johnson (5 years)
Nixon 32.6 (5 Years)
Ford 31. 4% (3 years)
Carter 31.3% (4 years)
The second list is probably more important and informative since it relates the National Debt to the size of the economy at the time. While Bush 2 and Obama appear to have the larger percentage, a significant portion of those increases came at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of Obama’s as they struggled to deal with the Great Recession ($1.1 trillion DEFICIT for the last year of Bush2 and $1.5 trillion DEFICIT for the first year of Obama). It demonstrates how great an economic crisis it was. (A similar spike would appear if these charts continued back to the great depression. Under Roosevelt, the depression and WWII increased the National Debt well over 1000%.) One takeaway is that after WWII, the size of the National Debt as a percentage of GDP decreased through all administrations Republican and Democrat alike until Reagan took office. Since then it has steadily increased except during the Clinton years. The most significant impacts on both Annual Deficits and the National Debt since Reagan took office has been a large reduction in taxes on upper-income individuals, non-earned income, and corporations, funding of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars and the Obama stimulus.

Another way of looking at this, and perhaps even more illuminating, is how many percentage points over his predecessor a President increased the National Debt as a percentage of GDP when he left office:

Bush2 28.8
Obama 21.7
Reagan 20.1
Bush1 9.1
Carter -.1
Ford -1.2
Kennedy -1.8
Nixon -3.3
Johnson -13.6
Eisenhower -18.4
Clinton -13.5
The above clearly shows Clinton and Reagan as outliers. The difference between them appears to be almost exclusively their approach to taxes on higher earners and corporations. The list also further demonstrates the massive distortion of governmental finances engendered by the Middle Eastern wars and the Great Recession.

I believe that a national economy works better and the growth of National Debt moderated when a significant portion of public expenditure works its way through the economy from the bottom (like fuel in a furnace) rather than from the top. How that is done should be the basis of public debate (welfare, public works, incentives to work or to hire people, or consumer tax relief and so on).

I have no idea of the ideal size of National Debt a mature nation should carry but suspect it depends on the interest rate on the debt and the ability of the nation to service the debt during times of crisis. That is why I believe Keynes prescription to run budget deficits during times of crisis and surpluses during periods of growth is sound politics and prudent fiscal policy.

Note: It should be pointed out that total US debt as a percentage of GDP from all sectors went from approximately 1.5 times GDP in 1946 to a little less than 4 times GDP today. In 1946, the total US debt-to-GDP ratio was 150%, with two-thirds of that held by the federal government. Since 1946, the federal government’s share of total US debt-to-GDP ratio has fallen from about 2/3 to a little over 1/4. On the other, hand the share of total US Debt as a percentage of GDP of the financial sector, has increased substantially from less than 1% in 1926 to about 28% in 2009 with much of that growth occurring in the private Non-Government backed securities area. Government backed debt part of the financial sector, such as Ginnie Mae etc., has remained a relatively stable while private financial debt has soared from 0% to about 12% of the total US debt as a percentage of GDP. The ratio for households has risen nearly as much, from 10% of total debt as a percentage of GDP to about 24%.

In other words, while federal debt as a portion of the nations economy generally has been falling, private debt has been growing substantially.
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So, what does all this mean? Dammed if I know. I do know however, that those who tells us they do know, usually don’t, and if they do, what they tell us is often a lie.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

The following continues the Prologue to Quigley’s uncompleted magnum opus, WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND POLITICAL STABILITY that I began in my previous post.

“In recent years there has been a fair amount of unproductive controversy about the real nature of man and what may be his real human needs. In most cases, these discussions have not got very far because the participants have generally been talking in groups which are already largely in agreement, and they have not been carrying on any real dialogue across lines of basic disagreement. Accordingly, each group has simply rejected the views most antithetical to its own assumptions, with little effort to resolve areas of acute contradiction. There are, however, some points on which there could hardly be much disagreement. These include two basic facts about human life as we see it being lived everywhere. These are:
(1) Each individual is an independent person with a will of his own and capable of making his own decisions; and
(2) Most human needs can be satisfied only by cooperation with other persons.

The interaction of these two fundamental facts forms the basis for most social problems.

If each individual has his own autonomous will making its own decisions, there will inevitably be numerous clashes of conflicting wills. There would be no need to reconcile these clashes, if individuals were able to satisfy their needs as independent individuals. But there are almost no needs, beyond those for space, time, oxygen, and physiological elimination, which can be satisfied by man in isolation. The great mass of human needs, especially those important ones which make men distinctively human, can be satisfied only through cooperative relationships with other humans. As a consequence, it is imperative that men work out patterns of relationships on a cooperative basis which will minimize the conflicts of individual wills and allow their cooperative needs to be satisfied. From these customary cooperative relationships emerge the organizational features of the communities of men which are the fundamental units of social living.”

 

B. Xander’s Perceptions on Cooking:

“BTW, last night I watched the HBO airing of “The Godfather” movies back-to-back-to-back. Afterward, I was jonesin’ in the worst way for pasta marinara ad Scaloppine alla Marsala . . . in Sicily.

Back in 1985, when I was working on the Bolsa Chica LUP “confirmation” stage, I went to lunch with Darlene Frost and several others at North Beach Restaurant in — where else? — the terrific Italian community of North Beach in The City. The marinara had a sweetness I couldn’t identify, and the waiter actually told me how the chef did it. It was pureed carrots, which I’d guessed, but the chef used BABY FOOD carrots . . . and I thought that was brilliant. You can peel, chop, steam, and puree carrots . . . or you can open jars of baby food carrots. I’ve done it that way ever since.

My scaloppine recipe is the result of a dozen years of trying to duplicate the Scaloppine from Giulio’s in the Mission Beach area of San Diego. The secrets are getting the right balance of lemon juice and dry sherry (I’ve found that even a dry Marsala is too overly powerfully nutty), since the sherry flavor breaks down after a few minutes, and sautéing the veal (or chicken breast) in extra virgin olive oil and butter.

I did it for 120 people at a wedding reception years ago when I did catering for fun (and some profit). The wedding planner pulled ALL of my help to do the champagne toast BEFORE dinner, and I was cooking three different kinds of pasta by myself, planning the cooking times of each and getting the amounts done for four lines of diners on two long tables — penne marinara, fettuccine Alfredo, and farfalle in pesto (red, white, and green, of course!). I was cooking like an octopus, but I’d sautéed all of the veal ahead of time, set it aside, then did the reheating at the last minute, since veal toughens if it’s left to simmer too long. It all worked, and I got a bonus of several hundred dollars (it was a pretty elegant reception, as evidenced by their insistence on veal).

BTW, when my daughter had a 16th birthday party for about 60 friends (and their parents — they knew of my cooking reputation!), she wanted the three pastas I’d mentioned above. She was a full-on vegetarian by then, so those three worked great.

Final secret: If Italian sausage is too pricey to use for a large group, or of someone has moral problems with using pork products, I use ground turkey but add some pepper flakes, grind some fennel seed, and add some whole seeds. It tastes just like Italian sausage for a fraction of the price.

Yes, I seriously need to do my new cookbook . . . .”

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

I think of myself as mostly a bad man who at times tried to do good and now and then succeeded only to find those successes often were ephemeral in significance and ambiguous in result

D. Today’s Poem:

Buddhist Barbie

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches ‘All is emptiness’
and ‘There is no self.’
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.
Denise Duhamel

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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David laughs it up in Jomtien Beach with a bored LM and photo bomb.

 

Categories: January through March 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Pepe 0004 (November 10, 2015)

 

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“Homo homini lupus.” (Man is a wolf to man.)
Plautus

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Halloween came and went. I dragged myself begrudgingly along the by-ways of El Dorado Hills following pint-sized beggars in outlandish costumes as they greedily panhandled the local burghers for flavored sugar.
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Local Sight on Halloween Night

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The Day after Halloween

After a day or so of a good rain, gentle so it soaked into the parched soil, the trees seemed happier. Their branches drooped less and their leaves began to unfold. The next day the sun came out so I went for a swim at the health club. I love swimming when the air is cool (it was in the mid-fifties) and the water warm. I floated more than swam, staring at the sky or idly watched the bottom of the pool edge by as I slowly completed my laps.

HRM baked another chocolate cake most of which I devoured. A few days later, he made some tasty artisan bread from a recipe that he and his friend Jake found on u-tube.

I am reading two books at the same time — one chapter from one and then one from the other. I guess you can consider both of them sf/fantasy novels. One written by cj cherryh leans more towards swords and sorcery science fiction with an underlay of the Welsh legends of Morgaine who later morphed into Morgan le Fey of King Arthur and Merlin fame
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Morgan le Fey

— the other, by China Mieville, more a steampunk story about conflicts over language in a world far in the future.
embassytownart FINAL_1

Despite the vast differences between the stories and the styles of their authors, they have begun to intertwine in my mind into the semblance of a third story — Morgaine, her deadly (Vorpal?) sword Changeling in hand, rides madly across the cosmos toward that lonely, small, strange, planet at the edge of the universe where humans have taught the hugely competent and hugely huge indigenous people how to lie and then addict them like crack freaks to the sound of someone talking shit to them. Then these native metaphor junkies start killing each other and everything else until they are persuaded to enter a linguistic twelve-step program. Meanwhile, in Eddy Poe’s world, the Raven still cries “Nevermore Lenore.”

I cannot wait to get back to Bangkok where the bizarre is real life, the government an indolent autocracy, everyone lies and the sex is twenty dollars retail.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Goodfellas

Wiseguys Jimmy Burke, Tommy DiSimone, and Henry Hill:

“In 1970, there is a welcome party in Robert’s for the just free from prison William “Billy Batts” DeVino of the Gambino family. Present were Jimmy Burke, Tommy DiSimone and Henry Hill, Batts is busting DiSimone’s balls and DiSimone tells his friends that Batts is a dead man. 11 June 1970 William “Billy Batts” DeVino (49) comes to Hill`s bar “the Suite” to drink something and later also arrive Tommy and Jimmy. Jimmy keeps Batts talking while DiSimone goes out to get a pistol and a bodybag. The two then start to beat up William “Billy Batts” DeVino while wiseguy Alex Corcione is still present and Hill sends him away, they kill Batts and had his body disappear. “
Gangsters Inc. http://z14.invisionfree.com/GangstersInc/index.php?showtopic=1097

C. NOMINATION FOLLIES CONTINUED:

1. For about a week following the third debate debacle, the Republican candidates for the nomination have been meeting behind closed doors in an effort to decide among themselves how to avoid being asked questions from the debate moderators they do not want to answer. One proposal that seems to have gained some traction avoids having them forced to think on their feet and answer questions posed by the “liberal” media they chose to host the debate. Instead, they suggest replacing the questions with the candidates reading statements written by their campaign staffs, then go home and call it a debate. Fox news has described those meetings as reminiscent of the Mafia conclave at Appalachia.

Meanwhile on the Democrat side, The Blond Dreadnaught laughs at the Republican imbroglio and tells the nation she loves everyone especially women and children. She demonstrates she is the most experienced candidate on foreign policy by claiming, “Putin (Ivan the Disrober) can take off his shirt all he wants, but I am the only candidate who can de-pants him.” What one does with a naked Putin is anyones guess. But you can be sure of one thing, the Republicans in Congress will hold hearings to get to the bottom of the scandal.

The Green Mountain Socialist, by taking his grandchildren trick or treating, celebrates that least socialist of holidays, Halloween — those without, begging handouts from those with (real socialists don’t beg). Later he introduces legislation to decriminalize marijuana. Republicans are thought to be considering supporting his initiative because stoners don’t vote.

2. In the two weeks since the disastrous Republican third debate, everyone seems to have gone to ground. The media living on rumors and conjecture while the candidates remain cocooned within the protective arms of their campaign apparatus, firing warning shots at any of their competitors who dares to stick their heads out of their foxholes.

3. The Brain Surgeon opined that the pyramids in Egypt were not built by aliens (illegal of not) but by the biblical Joseph to store grain. The fact that most of the pyramids were made of large stone blocks and the space within tiny indeed would make Joseph the first proponent of modern conservative economic ideology — expending huge sums of money and enslaving a nation in order to build a granary that could only store enough grain to feed the idle rich one percent.

4. The lesser of the lesser Bushes stated that he would make a better President than he is a candidate for the nomination.

5. Marco The Water Boy Rubio claims he has a solution for all the nation’s fiscal problems but still needs time to figure out his own financial affairs. He is expected to blame the government for his failure to understand what is going on in his own life.

 

 

REMEMBRANCE OF POSTS PAST:

I have been writing T&T for about six years. Many of the stories in them I have reposted in my blogs. I thought I would post the cites here for a few of them.

My first blog post in “Papa Joe’s Tales, Fable and Parables,” concerned Peter and the Master of the Lingam:

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/the-raising-of-the-lingam/

Later I wrote a group of “Parables for Our Times”:

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/parables-for-our-time-the-parable-of-the-lions-and-the-gazelles/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/the-parable-of-the-thoughtful-gladiator/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/the-parable-of-the-fair-and-just-society/

https://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/the-parable-of-the-gazelles-and-the-lions-ii/

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

1950: Just under 750 million people lived in urban areas. Today, that figure has ballooned to more than 4 billion — more than half the world’s entire population — and the upward trend is set to continue. By mid-century, about 6.3 billion people will live in cities.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“ I’ll just touch on something else: secrecy in government. Secrecy in government exists for only one reason: to prevent the American people from knowing what’s going on. It is nonsense to believe that anything our government does is not known to the Russians at about the same moment it happens.“
“Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976” by Carroll Quigley Ph.D.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“If you cannot impose your will on someone without guns or force, you do not have the power you thought you did.”

C. Today’s Poem:

Found as a comment to publication in, http://flavorwire.com/217118/10-poems-everyone-needs-to-read of William Carlos Williams poem “This is just to say.”

“This isn’t poetry. This is complete bullshit. Oh, I’m sorry–how about if I wrote it like this?

This isn’t poetry.
This is complete bullshit.
Oh, I’m sorry
How about if
I wrote it like this?”
NishiHundan 1

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“F × S = k. The product of Freedom and Security is a constant. To gain more freedom of thought and/or action, you must give up some security, and vice versa. These remarks apply to individuals, nations, and civilizations. Notice that the constant k is different for every civilization and different for every individual.”
Larry Niven’s Fourth Law of the Universe.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Pepe 0004 (November 1, 2015)

 

“Stories tell you all you need to know.”
Belateche, Irving, The Origin of Dracula (p. 156). Laurel Canyon Press.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

El Dorado Hills is an almost place, almost a forest, almost a mountain, almost a city, almost a community and living here is almost a life.

Today, the caesious skies above the Golden Hills filled up with rolling clouds promising cooling temperatures and a bit of rain. Too cold for swimming, I contented myself with a little Poe, some apples and a glass of cranberry juice. Later, after a nap, I pondered if I could do more to entertain myself. Unable to think of anything, I left Hans Pfaall in his balloon somewhere over the North Pole and waded into the problems of Morgaine the qujalan and Vanye her ilin, pursued by Thiye of Hjemur the Immortal Lord of Rahjemur, as they fled across Andur-Kursh in a desperate effort to close the Gates at Ivrel.

Later, HRM and I giggled and shouted our way to the orthodontist. Returning home feeling I had a satisfactory day so far, I took a second nap after which we enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs accompanied by a bottle of Lone Buffalo Zinfandel given to us by Stevie and Norbert. I then puttered about on T&T, posted a few articles in my blogs and went to bed believing that I had accomplished more this day than I started out to do.

Unfortunately, my dreams raised a symbolic re-creation of something that I failed at in my past. I was only able to rescue part of it in my dream. After a brief period of dissatisfaction, I persuaded myself that I had done better in my dream than I had done in real life, so I woke up the next day in a good mood.

My life feels like I am swimming through a vat of maple syrup. It tastes good and the smell is delightful, but the going is slow and the blueberry pancakes are missing.

B. MORE NOMINATION FOLLIES:

1. The Blond Dreadnaught proceeds in stately procession swamping her rivals, leaving them a glimpse pant-suited confidence marching off toward the Nomination. The nation’s press, gnashing their teeth at the loss of their story lines, beg the Republicans to conjure up another scandal out of thin air.

The Blond Dreadnaught’s campaign for the nomination, freed from the need to distinguish herself from her rivals, will now drop any pretense of policy and concentrate exclusively on promoting her love of everyone, especially women and children, but not the NRA and Republicans (unless of course they are women or children).

The Green Mountain Socialist continues to fly around the country performing his wickedly accurate impression of Larry David. In an effort to burnish his green credentials, he proposed the legalization of Marijuana.

Martin the Man it seems got his start in politics playing Irish Music in Boston bars. He claims a good dose of Irish music and a few pints of Guinness can solve any national problem. I tend to agree with him.

2. On the Republican side, the Brain Surgeon has leapt into the lead in some polls. A few pundits have opined his popularity rests of on such national unifying themes as preventing college professors and students from disagreeing with him or equating those he does not like with Hitler. Other commentators suggest that the reason for his surprising rise in popularity is that at his public appearances he appears either drugged or dead, which they claim is a quality a segment of the American public wants to see in their President. The liberal and conservative press are beside themselves in anguish. They dread the expected collapse of their ratings in a presidential campaign between a scandal-less Clinton and a Zombie.

3. The Donald, having seen The Brain Surgeon rise in the polls and displace him as leader of the pack, claimed it is obvious that unless the polls show him leading they are not scientific. At his campaign rallies, The Donald’s supporters have adopted the old American custom of beating up those who disagree with them. The Donald promised his supporters that he would introduce that tradition into the White House as soon as he is elected.

4. While tending bar before the second Republican debate, The South Carolina Nonpareil briefly peeked out of his closet to announce that he would consider marrying Grim Carly for her money. (As I have said, sometimes you cannot make this stuff up.) Meanwhile, Kasich of the Longface wondered what had become of his party — something many of us have been wondering also.

5. The Republicans candidates for their Party’s nomination completed the third of their scheduled 10 debates. They primarily attacked the moderators as being part of the liberal media for asking questions they did not want to answer. The Donald tweeted during the debate that he was embarrassed being there. So were most of those watching, I suspect. Everyone criticizes CSMB for not keeping control over the debate. In fairness to the moderators, it should be pointed out that they are news readers and not kindergarten teachers. Anyway, most commentators believe Water Boy won the debate by responding to The Lesser of the Lesser Bushes’ claim he has missed the most votes among all Senators because he keeps “French Hours,” that he is not lazy because other Senators miss votes too. (I cannot wait for the SNL version.) Others thought Cruz the Munster won because he was best at refusing to answer the questions. Nevertheless, the consensus among the common folk was that The Donald won because he was… well, The Donald.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

While there may be several claimants for responsibility for the current crisis in the Middle East, I believe the following article describes the most likely culprit. Although Climate Change may have exacerbated the situation, as the article demonstrates, not all contributing factors are direct causes. It is simply the Tragedy of the Commons played out on a larger scale.

How Russia and Western Style Capitalism Set the Stage for the Horror that is Syria Today — and no it is not about oil.

“Over-exploitation of an ecosystem

The Syrian steppe covers 55% of the country’s territory. This vast steppe land, together with portions from Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, has been grazed sustainably by nomadic indigenous pastoralists (Bedouins) for centuries (if not more). Each tribe and clan was linked to certain seasonal pastures and this ensured the sustainability of the grazing — a practice finely calibrated on the need of plant regeneration.

These pastoralists of Arabia are known to have been pioneers in establishing ‘protected areas’ (hema): certain pastures were relieved from grazing, permanently or temporary, in order to allow keeping the whole ecosystem healthy and functional.

The beginning of the ecological degradation and destruction came with the modern state, so keen to uncritically import ideas of maximization of agricultural yields from the Soviet Union: in particular the central government decided to nationalize the steppe in 1958, establishing de facto an open access system — a well known recipe for ecological disaster.

Through this arrangement the customary link between the natural resource and its user was interrupted — abruptly disowning the traditional ecological knowledge of this ancient people. The pastures, not managed and protected anymore by the tribes, started to be over-grazed by free-ranging pastoralists.

A major role in this unfolding disaster was played by affluent urban investors who threw thousands of livestock into the steppe turning the grazing into a large-scale, totally unsustainable, industrial practice.

A similar sort of story of gross mismanagement took place in the eastern part of the Syria’s steppe land, the territory east to the Euphrates, allocated to intensive agriculture via irrigation through underground water.

Water has been pumped from limited underground reserves without much control for decades — so that wells had to be dug every year deeper and deeper with increasing consumption of fuel.

Year by year, desertification sets in.

The alternation of wet and dry periods (sometimes lasting up to 5-7 years) is a key structural and natural feature of this kind of environment. The relentless ecological degradation of this semi-arid fragile ecosystem produced a gradual and steady decrease of its resilience in the face of cycles of droughts made increasingly more severe and frequent by a long-term regional drying pattern linked to the greenhouse effects.

Note that increasing the resilience of ecosystems is actually one of the key natural solutions as adaptation to climate change, as it is currently referred to within the circles of climate change international aid work.

While in the past the steppe was able to recover even following intense periods of droughts, during the past decade pastoralists and farmers have started to complain about a sharp and ineluctable reduction in soil fertility and an increase of frequency of fierce dust storms due to erosion.

An evident desertification process has been on display across the steppe land for quite some time. Recommendations to reduce the ecological pressure on this fragile environment — from myself and others — went unheard.

Ecological crisis fans the flames of rebellion

Following a recent cycle of intense drought during 2006-2010, the agriculture system eventually collapsed in eastern Syria greatly facilitated by an abrupt halt of government subsidies and consequent soaring prices of fuel for wells.

At the same time, the ecological impoverishment of the rangelands reached unheard-of levels. “The drought only brought to light a man-made disaster,” said a local journalist from eastern Syria to the International Crisis Group in 2009.

This combined ecological crisis of croplands and rangelands created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the rural areas of the country, followed by massive internal displacements, that the government clearly failed to tackle and manage.

For the first time ever Syria, known to be proudly autonomous in terms of food production (and actually even exporting food), had to rely on a massive international emergency food aid in 2008.

It is therefore not a coincidence that the uprising in 2011 started in provincial towns rather than in the major urban centres of Damascus and Aleppo, Francesca De Chatel argues, aptly defining the rebellion as a “rural Intifada” — one in which Bedouin tribes of steppe origin played a key role.

The same sort of conclusions were reached in analyzing the triggers of the Darfur war that that took place from 2003 to 2010 not far from Syria. Darfur suffered from precisely the same sort of over-exploited semi-arid ecosystem, while one again rural and indigenous people were the victims, including nomadic pastoralists.
Gianlucca Serra, UN — FAO.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

“One Punch” Sammy Santoro was one of the terrors of my youth as well as one of its dark heroes. (He beat the shit out of Richie Santaliquito twice and he and his gang was about to do the same to me and a friend for knowing Richie until “Chickie” Muscalino interceded on our behalf.) I have written about him in T&T before. The last I had heard of him, he had an operation going using a “little person” to break into homes. I always wondered what had happened to him. For some reason, I thought he had died in the electric chair. Recently by chance, I found the following in a 1972 appellate brief in New York.

“The indictment charged that Santoro and Tortora, along with Joseph Chiaverini, Gene Genaro and Nicholas Rattenni, lent money to Joseph Formiglia although they had reasonable grounds to believe that the money would be used by Formiglia to make extortionate loans. It further charged that they had used extortionate means to collect the money loaned to Formiglia.”

“The scheme began in November 1969 when Formiglia, a jeweler, borrowed $400 from Santoro, promising to pay $40 a week interest until the $400 principal was repaid. Shortly after this first loan was made Formiglia wanted additional money, but did not want to borrow it under his own name. Thus he conceived the idea of borrowing from Santoro on the pretext that he himself was relending the money at usurious rates. Beginning in early December 1969, Santoro made additional loans to Formiglia, amounting to approximately $11,000 by the middle of February 1970. Tortora frequently was present when these loans were made. Rattenni was present at two of the transactions.”

“By late February 1970, Santoro suspected that Formiglia was not actually relending the money. Chiaverini was delegated to go with Formiglia on his next collection date to visit his “customers.” When Formiglia protested that his customers might not like this arrangement, Santoro said, ‘We’ll go around and collect the f____’ money or we’ll break their heads if they don’t pay us.’”

“Formiglia feigned sickness on the collection date, but this merely confirmed Santoro’s suspicions that Formiglia’s customers were nonexistent and that the “loans” were only a pretense to cover Formiglia’s own borrowing. Santoro met with Formiglia and threatened to split Formiglia’s tongue or put a ‘bullet through [his] head’ unless the money was repaid.”

“A few days later Tortora went to the jewelry store where Formiglia worked and told him, ‘My man, you are in a lot of trouble . . . what are you going to do about these f______ loans.’ No arrangements for repayment were made, however. Later that day Santoro telephoned Formiglia, who said that he was going out of town, whereupon Santoro replied, ‘Have a good time because it’s your last trip.’ The next week Tortora went to Formiglia’s store and told him to show up at a meeting at Genaro’s fish market regarding repayment of the loans or Tortora would ‘drag [him] up by [his] head.’”

“Frightened by these threats, Formiglia called the Yonkers Sheriff’s office and was instructed to telephone Tortora and delay the meeting one day. The Sheriff’s office then recorded the conversation.”

“Wearing a hidden tape recorder supplied by the Sheriff’s office, Formiglia met with Tortora the following day at the fish market. Tortora accused Formiglia of juggling the loans and suggested that to repay the loans Formiglia might have to rob a store. Tortora then telephoned Santoro and put Formiglia on the line. Santoro said that if Formiglia did not pay he would break Formiglia’s wife’s head and burn down his house. Tortora then told Formiglia that he better work out a deal to repay the money.”

“The next day Formiglia arranged to go to Santoro’s house, ostensibly to repay the loans. He brought with him money supplied by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. After Formiglia had been in the house a short while, investigators from the District Attorney’s Office entered and arrested Santoro with his hands on the money. Tortora was later arrested by the FBI.”

Sammy skipped out on the trial and disappeared. I could find no further record of him.

Note: Nicholas Rattenni or as he was also known, “Cockeyed Nick” was the head of the mob in Westchester County and a Capo in the Genovese family. He owned a garbage company and controlled refuse collection in the County as well as the construction trades. I used to caddy for him and some of his button men at a local golf club. (They tipped well, so carrying their golf bags became a highly competitive and political competition among the caddies.) A few of the button men were friends of my family. Most of the button men I knew had fled to Florida and other places before the events described in the opinion took place.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

May 20th 2009. In Manhattan, Brian McLaughlin president of the city’s Central Labor Council was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing $95,000 from a Little League fund for the Electchester Athletic Association in Flushing, Queens – cash raised through donor letters that promised, “A Child in Sports Stays Out of the Courts.”

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

Professor Carroll Quigley on how the Western Great Powers subdued the rest of the world from the 16th through the 20th Centuries:

“In many cases this military superiority was so great that it did not have to be applied in battle. The native rulers yielded and allowed their own communities to be destroyed by the non-military weapons of Europe, such as its disease, commercial practices, and legal rules. From this arose the curious result that the English-speaking peoples were able to persuade themselves that they had not needed their military power at all. They spoke of “peaceful economic penetration of colonial areas” even when natives were dying by millions, as in China, from the innovations they had brought in. By “peaceful” they came to mean, not that weapons had not been used because European military power was so overwhelming, but that weapons had had nothing to do with it. The perfect example of this is the opening of Japan to Western commerce by Perry over a century ago. Only to Americans did this appear as peaceful economic action; the Japanese knew then, as we know now,
that it was a conflict of power even if that did not become overt.”
Weapons Systems and Political Stability (1976).

 

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“The so-called neoliberal economics born at the at the University of Chicago is little more than an operating manual for sociopaths.”

 

 

 

C. Today’s Poem:

Street Cries

When dawn’s first cymbals beat upon the sky,
Rousing the world to labour’s various cry,
To tend the flock, to bind the mellowing grain,
From ardent toil to forge a little gain,
And fasting men go forth on hurrying feet,
BUY BREAD, BUY BREAD, rings down the eager street.

When the earth falters and the waters swoon
With the implacable radiance of noon,
And in dim shelters koils hush their notes,
And the faint, thirsting blood in languid throats
Craves liquid succour from the cruel heat,
BUY FRUIT, BUY FRUIT, steals down the panting street.

When twilight twinkling o’er the gay bazaars,
Unfurls a sudden canopy of stars,
When lutes are strung and fragrant torches lit
On white roof-terraces where lovers sit
Drinking together of life’s poignant sweet,
BUY FLOWERS, BUY FLOWERS, floats down the singing street.

– Sarojini Naidu

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

”Consciousness is an accidental by-product, a feedback loop to conserve resources.”
Mather, Matthew. Darknet (p. 249).

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
10439452_760606390670968_8876326529500381094_n

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
12065963_1044968782200932_7050844327068940490_n

Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pepe 0004 (October 24, 2015)

 

“Were traditions rational, they’d be procedures.”
Butcher, Jim. The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass. Penguin Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

On my actual birthday, Dick and Hayden had a party for me featuring a chocolate birthday cake Hayden baked alEll by himself. It was delicious.
IMG_0361

The turkey gangs still stalk the neighborhood streets looking for trouble.
IMG_0365

Following our visit to the Reptile Show a few weeks back, HRM has been lobbying us to buy a Bearded Dragon lizard he intends to name “Puff.” So far, we have resisted his entreaties by requiring him to achieve behavioral standards we are confident he could never meet. And, if he does meet them, sharing the house with Puff the Bearded Dragon would be a small price to pay.

This is my favorite time of the year to swim in the health club’s pool. The air is as cool or cooler than the water. Much quicker than at other times, I move beyond consciousness into an endorphin high. (Endorphin High is a place for deprograming annoyingly happy people.)

I plan to depart for Bangkok on the 12th of November and return the 2nd week in December.

On the weekend, there was a book sale at the local library. In the free bin was a 1944 edition of the Tales of Edgar Allen Poe illustrated with those black and white woodcut prints that I used to hate so much as a kid but which I now love. I look forward to reading some of his lesser known tales like Mellonta Tauta, The Imp of the Perverse and The Unparalleled Adventures of Hans Pfaall.
IMG_0383_2
Woodcut from Ligela

My planning blog Urban Edginess ( https://planningimplementation.wordpress.com/) is now being followed by someone self-identifying as MASTER NECRO MEGA-DAMAGE RAPEFACE. In his blog, he pushes a book entitled “Behead All Satans” that I assume he has written. He describes it as “…a modern-day Mein Kampf, only funnier.” I am pleased I am finally getting noticed. Eddie Poe, eat your heart out.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Nomination Follies:

a. The Donald threatened to boycott the presidential debates hosted by CNBC because he did not want to make an opening statement explaining why he is running for President or stand on his feet insulting everyone for as long as he did for Fox News. CNBC capitulated, not wanting to lose the debates biggest comedy star.

Grim Carly insisted that The Donald and the Brain Surgeon, who also threatened not to appear, were not real candidates since real candidates like her will suffer any sort of humiliation in order to win. One wag opined that if Grim Carly really wanted to destroy Planned Parenthood she should get herself appointed CEO.

b. The Brain Surgeon raised the second highest haul of money among the candidates. Almost 75% of that haul went to pay for the cost of obtaining the money. After securing the loot, he promptly decided to leave campaigning for awhile and go on a book tour to sell his book explaining how he will run the country if he is elected. He promised to deal with our tax dollars with the same efficiency that he treats his campaign fundraising and the Federal Government with the same commitment that Caribou Barbie showed to the Government of Alaska. Most recently he told the nation that he no longer goes around stabbing people or beating them with a baseball bat. He refused, however, to agree not to do so if he becomes President.

The Brain Surgeon, according to one poll, is now leading the Republican field in Iowa. I understand he has secretly offered free lobotomies for anyone willing to vote for him. Most of those who were offered the deal responded that they did not need them.

c. Meanwhile on the Democrat side: The Green Mountain Socialist explained why we should be more like Denmark — that is, we should be a country of six million tall blond people with free college tuition and health care and a fondness for cheese, light beer and vacationing near the Mediterranean. Many people agree. On SNL Larry David gave an impression of Bernie that was so good that I am tempted to vote for David as a write-in candidate.

Joe “Smiler” Biden, who had not been running, decided not to run. He did, however, leave open the option to run for something somewhere at a time and place to be decided later.

Hillary, the Blond Dreadnaught, promised that she will not use a gun in her hunt for sound bites. She then, after suffering through an 11-hour hearing, shot the Republican members of the Benghazi Committee dead with a 45 she had hidden in her brassiere. The Republican National Committee accused her of not being truthful with the nation. She responded, she opposes the NRA but supports 2nd Amendment rights for hunting, especially for those hunting Republican elected officials. The remaining Republican members of the House decided that investigating Planned Parenthood would be safer.

Among the also-rans, Lincoln (Mr. Bean) Chafee assured the press that in the first few weeks of the presidency he will do whatever a lot of people seem to want him to do. About two weeks later Mr. Bean dropped out of the race because all 10 people who supported his candidacy were too embarrassed to show their faces in public. He said he wanted to concentrate on World Peace instead. Deadeye Jim Webb after shooting a terrorist at his fund-raiser shouted, “I bet that will get their attention.” When it didn’t, he dropped out of the Democratic primary to run as an Independent, or maybe a Whig or a Mugwump. Meanwhile, Martin (the Man) O’Malley took off his shirt to flex his muscles for the cameras. Later he played the guitar and sang a Taylor Swift tune on the View. None of them could explain why they were running in the first place, although The Man O’Malley said that now that the other two have dropped out, he will be better able to get out his message — whatever it is.

d. Among the Republican still running for some reason, the Lesser of the Lesser Bushes pointed out that 9/11 was a shining example of keeping America safe. His big brother M, in an attempt to help his struggling sibling out, announced he never liked The Munster. Meanwhile The Munster, plotting to end something or other, hides out somewhere in Alabama while Marco “Water Boy” Rubio told his wealthy contributors that he may or may not be for or against whatever. Finally, ex-Governor of New York Pataki — who unbeknownst to most of the world is also running for the Republican nomination — indicated that although in his opinion neither the Donald nor The Brain Surgeon were qualified to be president, if either of them win the nomination, he would probably vote for them rather than The Blond Dreadnaught despite her obvious qualification.

2. The Real Immigration Problem.

The real immigration problem facing the US is not the legal or illegal movement of humans across our borders (which by the way is decreasing). It is the invasion by viruses, bacteria, and disease-carrying parasites from the tropical and warmer sections of the globe to the more temperate areas, including the US. This migration is brought about by human-induced global warming (or if you do not believe humans are causing climate change, then the historical variation in climate caused by volcanos, sunspots and/or God). Whether it is dengue fever creeping into areas previously free of the disease or sand flea-born organisms causing human physical deformation, or insects, mold, and parasites that threaten our agriculture and forests or something else, they represent perhaps today’s greatest threat to our society. An economic and social threat to our nation that both the Defense Department and the CIA believes may be as great as, or even greater than, that posed by terrorists or armed invasion. Unfortunately, neither political party has addressed this menace.

Simply stopping further global warming is not sufficient. Global temperatures have already climbed enough to allow these organisms to relocate across our borders or to travel beyond their previous boundaries. Even if we take all the necessary steps to halt climate change right now, the best estimates have the global temperature rising another degree or two Celsius. These organisms have begun their migrations and its magnitude is sure to increase. The clock is ticking.

C. BOOK REPORT:

Peter and Barrie Grenell gave me a number of books for my birthday. One of which, 50 Shades of Grey, I explained that although I appreciated the thought behind the gift, I would not read — not because I am averse to deviant sex or even enslaving your sex partner but since the male protagonist is a billionaire, I felt I could not relate. The perverse fantasies of a retiree on Social Security are far less grandiose and focus more on the capacity to function than the ability to compel.

I have however read two of the other books so far.

The first was a fantasy novel by a first-time author Bill O’Malley entitled Rook. It concerns a secret British governmental agency dedicated to countering supernatural threats to the Country. Since it deals with the activities of a governmental agency, a lot of the book has to do with the foibles of bureaucracy. Its chief protagonist is an engaging and highly competent bureaucrat. Unfortunately, she no longer exists. Her body is inhabited by a woman with no memory who must operate on notes left to her by her body’s prior occupant. Like many first novels, its inventiveness is not entirely matched by its style or cohesion.
The second book, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, is a more conventional fantasy based on traditional Polish fairy tales. It features a damsel in a tower. But, imagine instead of Rapunzel, the Beauty and the Beast are locked therein except that the Beast is a handsome asexual wizard with a Pygmalion complex. It is a delightful book for those who enjoy reading novels directed at post-pubescent adolescent girls. It is wonderfully well written as one would expect of an experienced novelist based in Manhattan who could just as well have written for The New Yorker. I loved it immensely.

Pookie says, “check them out.”

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

“Many people assume that dissent and the demand for reform are the first step toward revolution. They are mistaken. My study of history shows pretty generally that revolutions do not come from dissent. They come from a failure to reform, which leads to breakdown. It is quite true that misguided reforms which fail to attack real problems may also result in breakdown. But dissent, and reform responding to dissent do not lead to revolution. They lead away from it.”
Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Destiny never gets there before you do. So, there’s no need to rush.”

C. Today’s Poem:

Where is the world we roved, Ned Bunn?
Hollows thereof lay rich in shade
By voyagers old inviolate thrown
Ere Paul Pry cruised with Pelf and Trade.
To us old lads some thoughts come home
Who roamed a world young lads no more shall
roam.
Herman Melville, excerpt from To Ned.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The very wealthy have little need for state-provided education or health care; they have every reason to support cuts in Medicare and to fight any increase in taxes. They have even less reason to support health insurance for everyone, or to worry about the low quality of public schools that plagues much of the country. They will oppose any regulation of banks that restricts profits, even if it helps those who cannot cover their mortgages or protects the public against predatory lending, deceptive advertising, or even a repetition of the financial crash.

To worry about these consequences of extreme inequality has nothing to do with being envious of the rich and everything to do with the fear that rapidly growing top incomes are a threat to the wellbeing of everyone else.”
Angus Deaton, winner Nobel Prize for Economics 2015.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

9e4bef_4675ed058d7e432eb49cef286cd23de1.jpg_srb_p_745_419_75_22_0.50_1.20_0
This woman is a completely computer generated image. Virtual reality indistinguishable from real life is imminent.

 

Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 14 Capt. Coast 0004 (May 1, 2015)

 

“We live in a distressed culture where anything like a conspiracy theory will be embraced by more people than will the simple and obvious truth,”
Koontz, Dean. Odd Hours: An Odd Thomas Novel (p. 178). Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Another weekend rolled down from the Sierras bringing cool rainy days until Sunday when the warmth slowly returned. The dregs of my cold kept me wheezing and coughing and in and out of bed. Saturday we attended HRM’s flag football game.
IMG_20150417_165050_308_2
On Sunday, we visited the Archery shop where we bought HRM some new arrows and watched him shoot at targets for almost an hour.

That evening, feeling outdoorsy but unwilling to submit myself to the whims of nature, I began to re-read one of my favorite novels Blood-Sport: A Journey up the Hassayampa. It is a comic novel about manly men at play (see below).
___________________________________
Speaking of manly men, I learned from Facebook that this weekend Bill Yeates ran in the Big Sur Marathon and won Best in Class. Way to go Bill. I hear that after the race he rode his bicycle all the way back to Sacramento stopping only to clean out a nest of meat-eaters attending a barbecue somewhere near Vacaville.
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Karen Cogan, Dick’s long-time administrative assistant and someone who I have known for almost as long as I have known him, has achieved what I call the “Delightful Life.” She travels to exotic places she likes and paints. When she paints a picture of, say a restaurant, she tracks down the owner and gives them her painting. This has allowed her to meet many interesting people ( e.g., the Cipriani’s of Harry’s Bar fame).
Pasted Graphic_2

The office manager of one of the law firms of which I was a member (and a recipient of T&T), Aline Pearl, also spends her vacations traveling. In her case, often places rich with wild nature, like Africa. Her art is professional quality nature photography. I remember the pleasure I got from sitting in her office and looking at the wall full of well-mounted pictures of African animals in the wild. Alas, I have no examples of her photographs to post.

Ruth Galanter, on the other hand, likes to add the truly exotic destinations like Antartica and Mongolia in between trips to Nantucket.
DSCN5980
Ruth by her Ger
________________________________
Regarding travels, it is time for me to begin to seriously focus on this summer’s trip to Italy, Sicily and Thailand. I hope to spend a few days in New York also. This year I will be traveling through Italy and Sicily with my son Jason who, although he spent much of his childhood there, has not returned in almost 30 years.

In Milan where I will begin the Italian portion of my trip, Expo 2015 Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life will be under-weigh. Marco Gallo the son of my good friend Gigi and a renown expert in sports nutrition has invited me to attend the festival. Marco sometimes posts a few of his recipes on my Facebook page. If you would like me to forward them to you, please let me know.
_______________________________
On Tuesday, it was warm enough and the severity of my cold had diminished enough for a swim. The next day we all went to the passport office to submit the complicated application for HRM’s passport. And so it went until another weekend rumbled around again.

Meanwhile, the valley heat slowly crawls up the slopes making the golden hills appear like old melted wax candles slumping beneath a deep deep blue sky empty but for columns of brilliant white mushroom clouds standing motionless on the mountains far to the east.

B. BOOK REPORT:

In 1974, Robert F. Jones an editor for the magazine Field and Stream, wrote a critically acclaimed but relatively unknown satiric novel on acid (it was 1974 after all) about a manly man obsessed with hunting and fishing who takes his almost pubescent son on a camping trip in order to toughen him up. The trip takes them up the mythical but mighty Hassayampa River to its headwaters and back. The Hassayampa winds its way from eastern China through upper Wisconsin until it flows into Croton Lake near the sleepy town of Valhalla in Westchester County NY. During their trip, they manage to slaughter and eat a goodly number of representatives of most species that now live on earth, some that do not and never did and a few such as aurochs and mastodons that no longer exist anywhere other than along the river. They also dispatch a few Communist Chinese troopers and various criminals until they run into the famous, feared and immortal bandit, “Ratanous.” Ratanous persuades the son to abandon his father and join his band of brigands. In order to save his son’s soul, the man tracks down the bandits and challenges Ratanous to a deadly duel to the death by fly rods with poison hooks.

This is not a novel for the esthetically, intellectually and morally squeamish. Its violence would make William Burroughs proud and its gonzo style cause Hunter Thompson to blush. There is a certain amount of cannibalism complete with recipes. Also there is a morbid fascination with vaginas and their infinite variety. After all, to manly men a woman is merely a vagina with tits, everything else is superfluous. It is a man’s book even as it satirizes them. There is no sentimentality about killing and little risk avoidance — and almost no women (other than participants in orgies) except for an absent wife and daughter, a lusty Ukrainian laundress and a young bandit named Twigan.
Pasted Graphic_2_1

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

“My madness was total: sublime, ecstatic, unmarred by any doubts or sulks. At no point during the months I roamed that mean, lean country, killing for food and pleasure, do I recall one moment of reason, one instant of unhappiness. It was as if a caldron of liquid laughter had come to a slow, steady boil behind my eyes, perking joyfully there, sending shots of giggly steam down my nostrils and up my throat, exploding from time to time in scalding, superheated guffaws that left my vocal cords raw and aching with delight. I felt no fear, no hunger, no worry— only the immense, ridiculous power of my freedom.”
Jones, Robert F. Blood Sport: A Journey Up the Hassayampa . Skyhorse Publishing.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

During the past decade or so in America, we may have witnessed an extremely rare event in history. Not since the hay-day of JP Morgan and his cronies has such a small group of oligarchs managed to stage a, more or less, bloodless coup over a major democracy. What makes it so unusual is that this time they have captured control of two of the significant instruments of ideology in the society — the media and religion — while silencing perhaps the most potent voices in opposition, the scientific and intellectual community. In doing so, and with the assistance of the Supreme Court, they have arranged to assume almost absolute control over one of the two major political parties in the country such that all policies of that party must now meet the needs of that select group.

In order to achieve this coup, it was essential that growth of certain groups underpinning the middle class be halted — such as those in the intellectual trades (teachers, researchers, artists and the like), the technocrats (engineers, scientists and technicians) and very small business owners (shops etc.) and replaced with a smaller middle class primarily made up of clerks, financial analysts, and accountants, in other words those servicing the financial and service industries. As a result, the middle class not only has collapsed but what remains lacks the vibrancy to even be considered a politically significant class. The poor and the working class and in between what used to be called the lumpen proletariat, as they always have been, are usually servants of the dominant ideology that is now firmly in control of this small group of oligarchs.

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Today: In the state of Kansas, poor people soon may be prohibited from swimming in public pools but not from buying guns.

(I wonder if they can trade in their food stamps to buy guns?)

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“The state is a good state if it is sovereign and if it is responsible. It is more or less incidental whether a state is, for example, democratic. If democracy reflects the structure of power in the society, then the state should be democratic. But if the pattern of power in a society is not democratic, then you cannot have a democratic state. This is what happens in Latin America, Africa and places like that, when you have an election and the army doesn’t like the man who is elected, so they move in and throw him out. The outcome of the election does not reflect the power situation, in which the dominant thing is organized force. When I say governments have to be responsible, I’m saying the same thing as when I said they have to be legitimate: they have to reflect the power structure of the society. Politics is the area for establishing responsibility by legitimizing power, that is, somehow demonstrating the power structure to people, and it may take a revolution, such as the French Revolution, or it may take a war, like the American Civil War. In the American Civil War, for example, the structure of power in the United States was such — perhaps unfortunately, I don’t know — that the South could not leave unless the North was willing. It was that simple. But it took a war to prove it.“
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability,

 

 

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“I was an idealistic 13-year-old who went with my mom to a Democratic Party club in Southeast San Diego. The United Community Democratic Club met on Sunday evenings at Johnson’s Barbecue, and it was there that I began my keen interest in politics. But when Bobby Kennedy campaigned that June in the California primary, it was for all of the marbles. Kennedy’s win in the hotly contested primary election on June 5th, 1968, presaged the movement that would carry hm to the White House and restore Camelot — the representation of the hope of a nation that we could be better and needed to be better.

Kennedy made a mad dash through San Diego on Monday, June 4th, even including a swing through the South Bay Plaza shopping center in National City. When school ended that afternoon, I ran the approx. 1 mile from my junior high to where Kennedy’s car was making its way slower than a snail, through the throng of people who had showed up to see Bobby in person. In fact, just as I had my hand grabbed by Kennedy, I was shoved off my feet by the crowd pressing against his car, and I dangled for a split second before Kennedy made sure I landed on my feet.

Kennedy’s victory celebration and speech at the Ambassador Hotel in L. A. was more of a sports story — Dodgers ace Don Drysdale had set a major league record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched, and THAT seemed as much a part of Kennedy’s victory as anything else. He congratulated Drysdale, quickly thanked everyone for their support, and said “. . . and it’s on to Chicago!” He flashed the peace sign to the crowd.

Minutes later, he had his head blown apart by SIrhan Sirhan, and America was never the same . . . nor was I.”
Pete Xander

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Today the absence of government simply means government by private corporations.”
D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.

(A Paraprosdokian is not an extinct species of bird.)

E. Today’s Poem:

Moses was a strange man

Moses was a strange man.
He lost his way
in the desert
for forty years.
He told his people
they were better off
in the desert
for forty years
than in Egypt
where they had
running water
and food.

There was no food
in the desert.
Moses did not know
how to farm so,
God had to feed
his people.

Moses told his people,
he would,
lead them out
of the desert
to a land
where people
had milk and honey.
He said
they should kill
those people,
take their land,
drink their milk
eat their honey.

When some of his people thought
another God
might get them out of the desert sooner,
he killed them.

Moses brought God’s law
to his people.
One law said
“Thou shalt not kill.”

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I’m feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the Speaker of the House as well. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means … orange really is the new black!”
– President Obama

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:

CalWater1

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Django&Grappelli

Django&Grappelli

 

Categories: April through June 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Cold Tits 0004 (March 8, 2015)

 

“There is irrefutable evidence that the past existed, but everything else about the past is hearsay.”
Belateche, Irving. Einstein’s Secret (p. 5). Laurel Canyon Press.

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The golden foothills remain somnolently golden under the mostly blue skies.
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The Golden Foothills awaiting a crop of new subdivisions.

A few days ago, while walking the dogs, I was surprised by a neighbor who actually spoke to me. He was an elderly chap (probably younger than I) standing in front of his house. He startled me because this was the first time someone on this street had spoken more than a somewhat stifled hello to me in the five years I have lived here. He said, “Those people burned garbage in their fireplace yesterday and the smoke came directly into my house.” He pointed to a house about six or seven houses down the block from where we were standing. “Those people,” were a Filipino family that host a pre-school in their home every weekday morning.

(Note: I have never seen anyone living at many of those intervening houses. HRM says they are inhabited by VOPs [very old people] who never go out and have everything they need delivered to them. HRN also says I am not a VOP. We often argue about that.)
______________________________

The Pulmonary Nodule committee (The Death Panel), has approved all the tests that have been prescribed and added one that will show wherever the big C, if it exists at all, has spread. Another problem they are looking into is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). That is one of the reasons for the lung capacity tests I am scheduled to take this month. The more I look into this stuff, the more it toggles my hypochondria switch. I need to do less internet searches and spend more time contemplating the blue skies, golden hills and secretive neighbors of EDH.
____________________________________

On the 24th of this month I plan to leave for Washington DC. The trip is a gift from my daughter. I hope to be able to visit some of the Civil War battle sites in the area that I have not yet seen. I also would like to get up to Baltimore to see the effects of redevelopment of the waterfront that I commented on years ago. As part of the downtown rehabilitation in the 70s and 80s, the city offered to sell, for $1 each, to those who agreed to restore them, the wonderful brick homes in the area that it acquired. The program was well on its way the last time I visited Baltimore.
__________________________________

I received a pleasant surprise this week. Reed Holderman called. He was going to be driving by EDH so we agreed to meet today at Zia’s coffee shop in Town Center.

It was great to see him again. He has been executive director of the Sempervirens Fund for many years now and is due to retire in April. Reed and I worked together at the Coastal Conservancy a long time ago. There are people in everyone’s life whose generosity of spirit remains a warm spot in one’s memory forever. Reed in one of those people for me. He ordered a cappuccino and I a root beer float. I learned that Zia makes her floats with olive oil ice cream. They were out of it today, so I had them make it with cranberry and yogurt ice cream.

We reminisced together about old times and old friends and discussed plans and benefits of retirement.
__________________________________

On Saturday, we held HRM’s 10th birthday party at Kalithea Park in El Dorado Hills a beautiful park overlooking Folsom Lake.
IMG_20150307_124302_135IMG_20150307_124321_551

It was one of the more pleasant birthday celebrations I have experienced in my life. Before the party we painted the rock.
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Then we decorated the area and the party began.

IMG_20150307_140437_287IMG_20150307_130914_228IMG_20150307_131155_901IMG_20150307_143025_056IMG_20150307_133655_708

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Being smart aint everything:

Television personality and former stripper Rick Rosner is one of the smartest living men in the world with IQ scores ranging from 140 to 250 by different measures.

Born in 1946, Marilyn Vos Savant has earned IQ scores ranging from 157 to 228. Since 1986, she has written an “Ask Marilyn” column in Parade magazine, where she was famous for solving the Monty Hall problem.

With an IQ reported between 174 and 210, Christopher Langan was dubbed the smartest man in America by Esquire Magazine. At 6’1″ and 275 pounds, Langan is an avid weightlifter and recovering agoraphobic who pays the bills doing temp work as a bartender, nightclub bouncer, and personal trainer.

Born in Chicago in 1904, Nathan Leopold was a child prodigy with an IQ of 210 who spoke his first words at 4 months old. He was also a murderer who, along with his friend Richard Loeb, killed a 14-year-old boy while trying to commit “the perfect crime” in 1924. The crime inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film “Rope.” Brilliant yet socially inept, Leopold latched on to Loeb, who was good looking and popular, according to Biography.com. Leopold was convicted of murder and spent 33 years in prison. He died in Puerto Rico in 1971 at the age of 67.

A college graduate at the age of 11, Adragon De Mello has a projected IQ of 400. As of 2003, Adragon was working for the Home Depot after training to be an estimator for a commercial painting company.

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Climate Change:

Over a year ago, in T&T, I suggested that the minor slowdown in the rate of increase of global air temperatures over the past decade was caused by the oceans absorbing that missing increase. I also thought that, beginning with this years el Nino, that excess heat will start to radiate back into the atmosphere thereby accelerating global warming for the next decade or so. Scientists from the UK Met Office’s Hadley Center led by Dr. Chris Roberts of the Oceans and Cryosphere Group predict in a new paper in Nature that such a warming phase is about to begin.

I also have written that perhaps the predominant cause of the current turmoil in the Near East, exacerbated by the political incompetence of all involved, is the current climate change induced drought similar to the drought that generated the rise of Islam 1400 years ago (but much more rapid and severe today). The following graph seems to confirm it.
kelley-et-al-2015-syria-PNAS-638x302

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“…since any organizational structure requires its members to subordinate their own wills and whims, their own pleasures and material needs, to some less immediate goals, so no organizational structure can continue to function in a society where the people involved in it become increasingly selfish, self-indulgent, materialistic, and atomistically individualistic.”
Carroll Quigley. Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

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

C. Xander’s Perceptions:

One to Beam Up

“Yesterday marked the passing of one of the most recognized and beloved actors, Leonard Nimoy. He was 83 and had been struggling with and lost his battle to COPD (take a hint, smokers — STOP).

It’s a truism that in science fiction, no one ever dies, but that wasn’t the case of the man known to hundreds of millions as Mr. Spock of the hit TV program from the 60s, “Star Trek.” When Gene Roddenberry was pitching the concept to television networks, he finally hooked up with NBC. And what was it that got the job done? He came up with one of the truly great log lines of all time: ” ‘Wagon Train’ in outer space.” [“Wagon Train” was a TV show from the 50s and 60s that had several defined characters and story lines that allowed for independent episodic shows that were not dependent on a continuing story line]

At that time, “Star Trek” was the most expensive television program. It suffered from a huge monkey on its back, thanks to the show being put in the 10:00 slot on Friday nights. Welllllll, anyone 18 to 45 who were fans of the show were usually out partying. The show’s remaining fans were kids my age — young teens who dug that kind of stuff (and still do).

NBC tried to cancel it after the first season but was inundated with a landslide of protest letters — over a million, if I recall correctly. Season 2 went on the cheap, and Season 3 had the cheeseist backgrounds with virtually all episodes that year were laughable shows filmed on NBC’s set and further depended on cartoonish special effects (with the exception of “The Trouble With Tribbles”). This time, NBC followed through and canceled the show.

“Star Trek” was innovative and was years — or Star Dates — ahead of society. The tightened budget, however, forced writers to be creative without being dependent on special effects. The show had terrific writers like D. C. Fontana, who went with the initials because she was a she; women just did not get hired in those days. “Star Trek” also featured the first inter-racial kiss but headed off any potential bursts of outrage by having their actions controlled by highly evolved aliens who used them as living chess pieces.

One look at the diversity of the cast members was innovative as well: The cast involved a Scot; a Japanese-American; an African-American woman who was a competent and accomplished officer; an alien half-breed who suppressed his human half to be an emotionless Vulcan; and a grumpy southerner who engaged Spock at every opportunity. When the Soviet Union griped that there was no Russian among the 23rd Century officers on the bridge, Roddenberry created Anton Chekov. The show, therefore, advanced such concepts as equal opportunity for women, various minorities, and people from around the world and galaxy; inter-racial relationships wherein Captain Kirk was a rutting equal opportunity horn-dog who’d get it on, regardless of race, creed, or planetary origin; and anti-war, anti-prejudice (the most notable one being a battle between two aliens who were half-black, half-white, but with the colors being mirror opposites.

After cancellation of the show, Leonard Nimoy felt so constrained by the character he brought to life that he wrote a book: “I Am Not Spock.” But as the years went by and as he did branch out to acting on the stage (notable “Equus”) and directing — remember “Three Men and a Baby?” — he mellowed and gradually accepted the fact that his role on “Star Trek” exhibited his sharply refined talent . . . and was compelled to write another book: “I Am Spock.” He was an incredible human being and maintained his friendships with his fellow actors all the way through to his passing.

His death brings to the surface the reality that we are mortal, despite our attempts to deny it. It reflects the fact that I am sliding toward that reality. Back in the 1980s, when friends and I were hitting our thirties, I’d remarked that when famous people from our era — like a Simon and Garfunkel, a Paul McCartney, or an Elizabeth Montgomery, who died far too soon — began passing away — we would truly know that we were aging and were far closer to death than we were to being born.

Leonard Nimoy will remain a remarkable actor and human being who will truly “live long and prosper” in our minds and hearts.”

Pete Xander

D. Today’s Paraprosdokian:

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

E. Tales of Inhumanity:

100 years ago this month, the Ottomans caused the deaths of one-third of the entire population of Lebanon.

“We have destroyed Armenians by the sword, we shall destroy the Lebanese through starvation”. Enver Pasha on intended genocide of innocents.

Lebanon, before its current borders, had a booming silk industry (run mainly by women). Lebanon depended upon this industry to stimulate its economy and keep its population fed and healthy.

Djamal Pasha ran Lebanon at the time for the Ottoman Empire. He put a blockade on the Mediterranean coast, not allowing anything in or out.

The industry died in Lebanon as jobs dried up. People became poor and destitute.Famine spread and, with it, disease spread too.To make things worse, a swarm of locusts came down and devastated what little crops were being tended to by ailing Lebanese.Some resorted to cannibalism to keep from dying. Jesuit priests’ records show that many came to confess having eaten their own children.Extreme hunger and desolation caused madness among people.The roads were lined with the skeletal bodies of Lebanese.By the end of the whole ordeal, 200,000 Lebanese died of starvation and sickness caused by the Ottomans. That’s one-third of the population.It was no coincidence that, at the time, Lebanon’s population was about 87% Christian.”
Syrian News

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

“It is not the man who denies the gods worshiped by the multitude, who is impious, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them.”
Epicurus

 

TODAY’S CHART:
HockeyStick
The standard “hockey stick” graph for showing world temperature rise over the last 1000 years.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
66785002
A lone oak tree in El Dorado Hills.

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Mopey 0004 (February 4, 2015)

 

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”
Peter Grenell, July 1, 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For the past week or so the weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny here behind the locked gates of the city on the Golden Hills. Spring flowers on some trees have already begun to bloom.

Very little breaks the monotony of life within the security walls and landscaped medians except swimming and sleeping. Swimming because I can zone out in almost drug like bliss until my head strikes the cement edge of the pool. Sleeping because my dreams take me far away to places, if not happier then, at least, more interesting.
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Today I decided to skip work. Work to me now is writing love letters to myself on the computer and emailing them to my close friends and to those not so close, reading unbelievably trashy novels and taking long naps. Instead, after breakfast and swimming, I ate a pretty good pastrami sandwich at the local Italian deli, went for a long (for me) walk around the lake and finished off digging through a chocolate, yogurt and cranberry gelato. I think I am going to cry.
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It is somewhat unsettling to have January days at this latitude of the Sierra Foothills where families bring their children to swim and sunbathe at the community pool. It is also disturbing, if enjoyable, for there to have been not a drop of rain during that same month. Such circumstances in the short run are vagaries in weather and usually not determinative of changes in climate. Their immediate origin appears to be caused by a massive distortion of the North-American jet stream bringing cold wet weather to the eastern half of the continent and warm dry weather to the western half. But if, here in California, they persist for a decade or so, I do not think any Peripheral Canal or other geoengineering proposal will be able to ameliorate the consequences.
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Recently I read and article in some medical journal that vivid (lucid) dreamers have larger occipital lobes in their brain and that because of their size sort of fold over on each other — in other words, the brains of vivid dreamers are deformed. The article also maintained that those afflicted with this problem experience a similar state while awake. No, they do not go around believing that their lives are just a dream and that the hope they will soon wake up, although, God knows, I cannot count the times I had hoped it was so. According to the article, like in their dreams where they know they are dreaming and can manipulate them when they are awake and thinking, they know they are thinking. Alas, I have no idea what they are talking about here. Doesn’t everyone have an ongoing conversation with themselves about what they are thinking and why they are spending their time doing so? The few times I do something that can be referred to as thinking and not emoting, I find most of what I think about rather silly. Often I then write about it in T&T and send it out wondering if it annoys some of you as much as it does me.

B. BOOK REPORT:

Mystery novels and thrillers written by lawyers or ex-lawyers have become almost a sub-genre in themselves. Of course, what impels them to give up the emotionally rewarding vocation of an Attorney for insecurity of a literary life remains a mystery in itself (Snark alert).

Except for novels by my friends Sheldon Seigel and Chris Moore, I try to avoid books written by fallen members of that class parasites who often see themselves as counselors to society, or at least to that segment of society who can afford their fees. Alas, so many are now writing books it is difficult to avoid them completely.

The Big Kahuna of this group of authors is John Grisham. For some reason every now and then I pick up one of his works to read. He appears more stylistically accomplished than many of his brethren and quite clever in his plotting and story telling. But, what distinguishes him most is that he may be this generations muckraker in chief. The majority of his stories the often about a lonely and dangerous fight by an individual attorney with little power against representatives of formidable economic interests. Much of his books are devoted to describing the industry and the means by which it exercises its will to the detriment of society. His latest, Gray Mountain takes on big coal in Appalachia.

Pookie says, “Check it out…”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A. Climate Change:

I do not know if others have noticed, but there seems to be a shift in position among climate change deniers. Many of them no longer deny the reality of climate change and its associated global warming. Climate change is real they agree but now maintain that it is either not caused by humans or really all that serious. As for it not being human caused, I suspect that this only will be a short term political objection. Once one accepts that climate is changing and world temperatures are escalating there are very few “natural” causes to blame that can stand up to scientific scrutiny —Vulcanism? Variable solar output? — These have already been dismissed as untenable except by the most deranged deniers. That leaves the argument that it is not very bad and may even be a good thing, so we should just lie back and enjoy it. Be prepared for an avalanche of articles, blogs and television punditry cherry picking obscure and usually non-peer reviewed data that they claim “prove” that the seas will rise only a little bit and would never top your sea-wall; that the minuscule temperature rises promise a world of eternal springtime, and that the hoards of people fleeing the desertification of their homelands are simply too lazy to scratch the soil a little harder and use more pesticides and fertilizer, preferring instead to travel many often dangerous miles and suffer extreme prejudice in order to live on the largess of the welfare state.

B. Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Mohamed, born into a wealthy urbanized Arab clan in Mecca, suffered a dysfunctional childhood as a result of the deaths of his parents and his fostering by some poorer relatives in the clan. He grew into a not so prosperous businessman until in his 30’s he lead a trading caravan funded by a wealthy older woman who eventually became the first of his eleven (I believe) wives. At about the age when most unsuccessful and many successful men begin to wonder what it is all about, Mohammed began spending more and more time alone in the desert, ultimately developing a syncretic monotheistic religion composed of Jewish, Christian and pagan elements. The religion, fatalistic in tone as was the Arab society from which in sprung, required only a few distinct rituals for its adherents and absolute obedience to God’s Prophet Mohammed. Like Jesus before him, Muhammed’s religious mandates originally were exclusively directed only to his ethnic group.

Mohammed, having little success in Mecca, left that city for Medina twice. The Arab and to some extent Jewish clans in Medina, a commercial rival of Mecca, encouraged Mohammed hoping the growth of his religion would increase business. Mecca was a major pilgrimage destination that Muhammed’s family benefited from.

After his first sojourn in Medina, Mohammed encouraged by the local clans returned to Mecca to preach his new religion. This enraged the Meccans for among other things Mohammad condemned the worship of the Kaaba, the pilgrimage site that was the source wealth for several clans including his own. An attempt to kill him led by his own family prompted Mohammed to flee back to Medina. There he implored the Midianites to fund his return to Mecca in order to subdue it. They refused. So Mohammed, probably noticing the excess of young males with limited opportunities in the area, proposed to them that if they were to agree to become raiders for Islam for free they could keep the loot — provided they give Muhammed 1/5 of it. He also exiled one of the Jewish clans in the city and took their property as starter capital. This worked very well and after a period of pure brigandage, they wiped out the other Hebrew clans, expropriated their wealth and went on to conquer, in short order, most of the Near East.

Thus, two institutions arose in Arab culture, the military that conquered but had no idea about how to govern and the teacher/ministry who had no interest in doing so. As a result, government as we know it eventually fell into the hands of non-Arabic Muslims or existing non-Muslim populations in the conquered lands. This inability to create or manage a state ultimately resulted in the non-Arabic Muslim converts taking over management of the states and eventually supplanting their Arab masters. (to be continued)

DAILY FACTOID:

2015: Aging. Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a procedure for slowing or stopping aging in cells by restoring the Telomeres in chromosomes. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings. The new procedure permits cells to divide up to 40 or more times.

2015: The Tattooed Iceman. The 5300-year-old well-preserved cadaver discovered in the Alps and nicknamed the Iceman has been found to have 61 tattoos on his body corresponding to the skin acupuncture lines developed in Asia thousands of years later.
tattoos

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Should Cities be more Resilient?

In April of last year, San Francisco appointed the world’s first Chief Resilience Officer as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The appointment comes with a two year $100,000 per year grant from the foundation to develop a city’s ability to recover from acute shocks and chronic stresses or, as the initial appointee explained, keeping track of everything that could test the city, from resource scarcity to social inequality. He seems to believe that, after discovering who does what in the City bureaucracy, the position entails encouraging those other city emergency, response and recovery entities and personnel to feel good about their jobs.
B. Musings on Heaven:

Have you ever wondered about why the Judeo-Christian heaven so resembles North Korea with its endless chanting and adoration of its blessed leader? At least for those Muslim men who die in battle, they get to eat and fornicate forever. For Muslim women, however — well, they are just screwed here on earth and in Heaven.

Statistically and historically, the number of those “humans” with immortal souls (as maintained by most Christians) who have died in the womb through miscarriages, death of the mother or during childbirth is somewhere between ten and twenty times the number of live births. These soul-endowed humans not having the opportunity to do anything prohibited by God, supposedly end up in Heaven. So, when the elect pass on to their just rewards, they will find a Heaven overwhelmingly filled with fetuses. Catholic theology deals with this horrifying image by segregating that mass of helpless individuals into “Limbo” so that the saved can avoid the shock.

In Heaven one spends all eternity chanting hymns and staring at the Great One in adoration, much like watching endless reruns of Seinfeld. Or, in the case of Islam endlessly fornicating with the same 72 virgins who of course after the first couple of weeks would no longer be so. Wouldn’t, in very short order, one want to get out of town so to speak? Is there a difference between Heaven and Hell? Are we all simply being punished for existing? Have we been tricked?

Is it true that those who die with the most money win? If so, what do they win? Many non-Catholic and Orthodox Christian sects believe that those with the most toys get better seats in Heaven’s arena. I could see where that would have some appeal in a fetus-filled stadium. But, even so, what could possibly be the appeal of spending all eternity in a private suite overlooking an endless Superbowl. Imagine automobile, insurance and fast food commercials without end. Jean-Paul Sartre would love it.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Rising prices benefit debtors and injure creditors, while falling prices do the opposite. A debtor called upon to pay a debt at a time when prices are higher than when he contracted the debt must yield up less goods and services than he obtained at the earlier date, on a lower price level, when he borrowed the money. A creditor, such as a bank, which has lent money— equivalent to a certain quantity of goods and services— on one price level, gets back the same amount of money— but a smaller quantity of goods and services— when repayment comes at a higher price level, because the money repaid is then less valuable. This is why bankers, as creditors in money terms, have been obsessed with maintaining the value of money, although the reason they have traditionally given for this obsession— that ‘sound money’ maintains ‘business confidence’— has been propagandist rather than accurate.”
Quigley, Carroll.

TODAY’S CHART:

biblemarriage
Examples of marriage options approved in the Bible

Marriage is and always has been a means of establishing a socio-economic organization focused on child rearing obligations, financial responsibilities and allocations among the parties and inheritance rights. Love never had anything to do with it except to make the lovers routinely oblivious to the economic implications of their liaison and the often unexpected burdens of parenthood requiring the state to step in. Today, most of the legal rules that inure to the marital ceremony determine the economic relationships between the parties not otherwise affected by a contract between them and defines those obligations and rights society determines cannot be signed away. Theoretically, any arrangement of people choosing to share living, economic and parental arrangements should be able to choose this option.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Today’s Photograph:
10155104_10152838669020242_6799419858627281396_nRoccantica, my grandmother’s birthplace

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Mopey 0004 (January 26, 2015)

 

Happy Birthday Ruth

“Never get out of the boat.”
Apocalypse Now

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

The weather in the Golden Hills has been delightful for the last few days — the temperatures brisk but pleasant, the skies blue and the clouds vague and wispy at their edges. This morning, although the skies were mostly clear by the house, at the health club a mile or so away, fog and mist covered the pool in a ghostly gray.
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Evening Sky Over a Golden Hills Athletic Field

While sitting in the health club jacuzzi, I noticed a woman happily moving in an odd way in front of one of the water nozzles. I surreptitiously tried the same moves and was shocked. While the move probably was not as agreeable for a man as for a woman, it did make me realize that there is more going on behind the locked gates of the golden hills, than manicured lawns suggest.
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Today I visited the first of the two medical specialists to whom I had been referred, the neurologist. The only thing that was confirmed was my hypochondria…
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My daughter gifted me a trip to visit her in Washington DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival in early April. I have been trying to decide on what side trips to make while I am there. She gave me some books for Christmas showing some of the sights and Civil War sites in and around DC. Dick suggested I visit the FBI museum which sounds like a good idea. I also would like to visit Baltimore to see what had changed since I last visited there as a consultant over 20 years ago.
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I read a book today that was described as Science Fiction and Adventure. Although it took place on another world, I had gotten almost all the way through it before to my horror it dawned on me that it was, in fact, a Romance Novel complete with bare-chested men with huge bulging muscles and women falling into pools, or lakes or caught in the rain so that their drenched clothing would cling to their bodies revealing what lay beneath, especially their blushing breasts and stiffening nipples. I waded through page after page of these same shirtless men with biceps like cantaloupes and well-soaked women with heaving breasts like ripe melons in unrelieved sexual arousal as though they had never learned about masturbation or how to make fruit salad. Alas, I enjoyed the book. I am thoroughly embarrassed and have promised myself never to do it again.

B. BOOK REPORT:

As readers of T&T know, I have a weak spot for Swords and Sorcery and Fantasy genre in fiction. I also acknowledge that on any ranking of literary genres it falls somewhere near the bottom. Be that as it may, I still while away many pleasant hours with Mages and Druids, Knights and Damsels and all the other creatures that usually inhabit these novels. Recently I completed reading the four books in the Trysmoon series by Brian K. Fuller. Unlike most series of this type, the four books really make up a single long novel — no single book stands alone. Like most of these novels the transcendental hero or heroine saves the world/king /nation, etc., by magic, sword or pluck. What makes this work different, at least to me, is that the three main characters seem more interesting than most.

The hero, a man without soul created out of mud by the evil one in order to destroy the world, saves it instead, with the help of many others including two women, a mother and daughter, who are the most beautiful and powerful women in the land. He sleeps with both of them and marries each in turn, saves the world, destroys the evil one and thereafter settles down with the mother in a tiny cottage in a god-forsaken village where they make a nuisance of themselves by, among other things, attending house parties that they were not invited to and copulating with each other wherever and whenever they had a mind to do so, which was often.

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Looking at a relief map of the Near-east (It is the Near-east not the Middle-east) one notices that on the North lies the highlands of Anatolia in Turkey, a non-Arab strongly governed Muslim State. On the East rises the highlands of Persia, modern day Iran, a strong state with a significant non-Arab population. To the South sits the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula littoral along which exist several strong and wealthy states and two poorer troubled states, Yemen and to some extent Oman (more on this below). At the South-eastern corner lies the deserts of the Negev (Israel) and Sinai (Egypt) backed by the populous Nile River Valley and the immense and hostile Sahara Desert. This area is controlled by Egypt a traditionally stable (at least in area) state with a huge non-Muslim population. The Mediterranean and its littoral states (Israel and Lebanon) containing significant non-Muslim (Lebanon) and non-Arab (Israel with its Ashkenazi Eastern-European culture) populations. In Israel’s case, it is a currently strong state.

In the center lies the rapidly desertifying central Fertile Crescent area (Primarily Syria and Iraq). This area is overwhelmingly Muslim Arab. By 650AD or so it became the center of Arab-Muslim culture governed by Arab warlords extracting tribute from mostly non-Muslim populations and in turn paying an ever decreasing amount of tribute to whichever Caliph held nominal authority over the area. This continued until about 1000AD when governance over the whole of the near east effectively passed from the hands of the Arabs to non-Arab Muslims who created relatively strong and stable states. This remained the situation until the West (Britain and France primarily) returned the non-mountainous areas back mostly to the Arabs who immediately created warlord States until the petroleum reserves passed into the hands of at least some of the states around the Arabian Peninsular Littoral, leaving Iraq and Syria in the hands of Arab warlords representing a minority religious community in each nation. This was done intentionally because the Imperial nations recognized the Arab tendency toward internecine warfare among its family groups and their traditional inability to create (or have any interest in creating) an integrated state. They believed a ruling military based minority would assure stability out of fear of possible majority power.

There is a reason why the Arabs traditionally have had difficulty creating a stable State and it has little to do with character or things like that, other than the usual difficulty of nomadic people to transition into governing the areas they conquer. The reason lies in part with Mohammed himself and the politics of his time. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It wants to avoid the following:

“One additional element in this situation, which links the ruling minority and the alienated masses together, was the steady increase in the inequality in distribution of incomes, something which was supported, defended, and intensified by the power structure. This surplus in incomes at the top, used for non-productive purposes, kept the demand for luxury goods high for centuries after the curve of production in necessities had turned downward. The crisis in the production of necessities came in the third century, but the production of, or at least the demand for, luxuries was still as high as ever in AD 600. Moreover, during that period of almost four centuries, the growing corruption and violence excluded honest and hardworking people from access to the ruling system or even from the state, including access to justice or to public office. Both of these were increasingly expensive to a degree that honest, hardworking men could not pay. Both justice and public office required higher and higher costs of access (bribery or sale, if you will) from the fact that these two, plus access to the higher levels of the military system, became access to the affluence of the ruling minority and escape from the grinding poverty of the ruled majority.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability. (1975)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Do not withdraw from the unreality of perception, revel in it instead.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_20140426_174146_961.jpg

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0004 (January 19, 2015)

 

“…the brave are merely the stupid who live through their poor decisions.”
Fuller, Brian. Trysmoon Book 4: Sacrifice (The Trysmoon Saga).
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TYSON UNDERWOOD rest in peace. We will miss your ever-present smile.
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TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

After resting a day, swimming was a pleasure. A half an hour without becoming tired is better than the exhausted feeling that follows Exercycle or weight training — perhaps because they both are so boring. Completing a lap seems like successfully meeting a challenge — completing a set, not so much.
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Research and some analysis indicate that it is probably better to tackle the nodule question aggressively. Even if the Dr. proposes a test, wait and see approach, people over retirement age are not likely to get any stronger therefore, even if there is any ambiguity as to diagnosis and prognosis, it would be preferable to get it over now and take the risk rather than waiting to be absolutely certain that radical steps need to be taken later. Beyond 70, the chances of even currently benign nodules turning cancerous increases substantially over time. Let’s see what the doctor has to say Monday.
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Tyson Underwood has died after a long battle with cancer. Kathleen’s ex-husband, an artist and a long time director of annual art festivals in Marin, was one of the most upbeat and unreservedly optimistic persons I have ever known.
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It is uncomfortable to swim late in the afternoon while the sun goes down behind the clubhouse casting a shadow over the pool and you are the last person still in the pool. Ending the planned laps a bit early and getting into to the hot tub that still had three people in it, even if no one talks to anyone else makes one feel less alone and vulnerable.

A woman of indeterminate age wearing a white-billed cap and one-piece bathing suit with a tiny flower pattern sat in the hot-tub reading a book about Paris. Another older somewhat rotund woman, who had been swimming laps previously, seemed an athletic type since she continued to flex her arms and shoulders while she sat in the hot water. Our fourth companion in the tub was a middle-aged man with blond hair going gray who mumbled to himself as he sat in front of a water jet.
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On Monday, the doctor was thoroughly engaged in reviewing the various test results in an unsuccessful effort to determine what was causing my low blood pressure. He ignored the CT scan Pulmonary Nodule discovery. “Oh that,” he exclaimed. “They usually are not a problem.” After additional in office tests on the low blood pressure, he concluded, by a process of elimination, they probably were neurological and referred me to a neurologist. When pushed again on the nodule, he explained that he would first need to see whether it appeared in prior chest x-rays and the like to determine whether or not it existed before or was something new. A few days later he secured a copy of the tests performed two years ago during my hospitalization for a pulmonary embolism. They showed a nodule in the same place. That is a good sign. He recommended a pulmonary specialist and arranged an appointment.

The two-year-old hospital report on the pulmonary embolism indicated that all the arteries into the lungs were blocked and that only a small part of the upper right lobe worked to keep my body alive until the other passages could be cleared. That’s a little like falling out of a plane without a parachute and surviving. Come to think of it, it was a long plane ride that probably caused the embolism. Could falling out of the plane been a better option than remaining seated in the middle seat in coach class for 12 hours and then rushing to the hospital a few days later in order to save ones life?
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One of the delights of retirement is that you get to enjoy the pleasure of standing freezing on the sidelines for and hour or so as the child you are responsible for plays football or some other organized activity. The activity is generally designed by other adults in order to extract money from those legally responsible for the child’s welfare who agree to pay the con so that they can avoid self-reproach for their inability to otherwise get the child out of the house to play.
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IMG_20141127_163530_566
A selfie
B. BOOK REPORT:

Sometime in the late 60’s and continuing for a decade the Swedish husband and wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö embarked on an ambitious scheme to write one mystery book a rear for ten years. The books were to be interconnected in a series called “The Story of Crime.”

Ruth turned me on to the series. Where most modern mystery stories over the past forty years generally feature a brilliant if somewhat odd sleuth who solves the mystery usually by either cleaver deduction or by the impact of his or her particular psychosis (for example by beating people up or getting drunk), these are stories about Swedish police detectives who solve cases using the routine that are the lot of most public employees. They get bored, sick with colds and have bad marriages. The criminals more often than not are sympathetic, driven to murder by social circumstances they cannot control and now and then they even get away with it.

Despite being over 40 years old, the novels grapple with issues pertinent today such as the militarization of policing, the social desperation that drives people to crime and the impact of replacing personal interaction between the police and the public with impersonal violence that begets even more violence resulting in the collapse of the morale of both.

“More and more often one was obliged to initiate an investigation by trying to sort out what the police had been up to. Not infrequently this proved harder than clearing up the actual case.”
Sjowall, Maj; Wahloo.The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8).

My two favorite books in the series are The Laughing Policeman and The Abominable man.

Pookie says, “check them out.”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

What is occurring in the Near-East right now I believe is misunderstood. It is not a religious conflict, but religious conflicts certainly exist. It is not a clash among incompatible ideologies and economic interests, but ideological and economic strife are rampant.

What is happening now has happened before at least twice and perhaps more. In both of those previous situations, a drying of the climate had reduced the grassland on either side of the more urbanized and productive fertile crescent that had supported the way of life of the grassland inhabitants. With this climate crisis, populations began to migrate from the grasslands to the more fertile and settled regions. Along with this came the functional equivalent of biker gangs. Under employed young men with weapons with nothing more productive to do attempting to acquire the surplus production of their more settled neighbors usually under the unifying impetus of an ideology to which they gave real or feigned allegiance.

Today the rural economy of the middle east is in shambles as the area desertifies and the population increases beyond sustainability for the area. (to be Continued)
DAILY FACTOID:
300px-Normans_possessions_12century_es

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Mendacity:

Republicans, in general, neo-liberal and supply-side economists reject the Keynesian prescription that during times of insufficient demand (recession and depression) expenditures of public funds even if it results in a governmental deficit is needed to restore the economy to health. Democrats, progressives and Keynesian economists disagree. On the other hand, Republicans, etc., appear quite happy to steadily increase the expenditure on military procurement and benefits and tax benefits for hydrocarbon-based energy production. This has been described as Weaponized Keynesianism and Carbonized Keynesianism.

If there was a third hand, Democrats et al., seem quite happy, during times of insufficient demand to decrease military expenditures and petrochemical public benefits and apply the funds thus saved to governmental welfare schemes.

While I personally prefer the latter, it appears there is an element of hypocrisy on both sides.

We may disagree about whether or not a military dollar gives a greater bang for the buck than a welfare dollar but to some extent we still are agreeing on a Keynesian solution to insufficient demand. The difference seems to be that the Repubs, etc., believe the emergency expenditure should be generally supply side in nature usually including tax relief for equity.

The Dems et al., however, usually propose road, bridge and infrastructure improvements as part of their recession recovery packages (along with middle-class tax relief) and these are also definitely trickle down.

So, it seems to me that it all comes down to a question of politics and not economics. Unless, of course, you consider who ends up with the money is a question of personal destiny and not of social choice.

B. Some past effects of a change in climate :

“In the west with which we are concerned here, there was a climate change after A.D. 200, marked, it would seem, by a retreat of the polar icecap and the polar area of high pressures; this allowed the prevailing westerly winds and rains to move northward so that they passed over the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, with great growth of forest in all northern Europe, and with greatly reduced rainfall in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and east of the Caspian Sea. In the same period, war and disease resulted in a decrease of population of up to 60 per cent in Europe or in the Roman empire from about 200 to after 800, that is to say over six hundred or more years. Careful studies of the population of the Roman empire seem to indicate that its population fell from about 70 million persons at the time of Christ to about 50 million in 300. The wars, migrations, spread of plagues, and abandonment of much family life, including the spread of chastity for religious reasons and of sexual perversions for other reasons, all contributed to this decrease. This had a very adverse influence on economic production as well as on defense, especially when it was combined, after 200, by a flight from the cities to the rural areas, and a movement of economic activities toward self-sufficiency. One of the chief characteristics of an economic depression is a reduction in roundabout modes of production by a decrease in investment, although not necessarily in savings, along with a reduction in the specialization of production and exchange of products. The links in any chain of activity from the original producer to the final consumer are reduced in number; individuals retreat from very specialized activities to more general ones; the use of exchange and of money decreases. All of these changes are to be found in weapons systems and in defense, where we find a similar tendency to fall back on the simpler, less complex, and more general forms of weapons, tactics, and organizational arrangements, including, for example, the belief that the same man should produce food and fight (peasant militia) or a reduction of defense to a single weapon or only two. We may not notice these military consequences when the depression is brief, as the world depression of 1929-1940, but these effects do appear when such an economic collapse continues for centuries, in a dark age.

The effects of such a change are also important on the non-material aspects of the society, where we find a tendency for people to turn toward a more personal and existential life, with emphasis on day-to-day interpersonal activities, decreasing emphasis on planning for the future in this secular world, and a decrease in abstract thinking and generalizations, but instead, a great emotional and intellectual emphasis on a few symbols and words. Life tends to polarize into almost total absorption in momentary empirical activity, with intellectual life reduced to a few large symbols.
Carroll Quigley. Weapons systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Interior — St John Lateran, Rome

 

Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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