TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:
It is not yet March and the delicate blooms on the decorative fruit trees are already in flower.
We were driving through the subdivision to or from the house, I mentioned to Hayden how pleased I was that he had gotten A’s on his mathematics and spelling exams. He rolled down the window and shouted out, “Now hear this everyone, I got A’s on my mathematics and spelling exams. Pookie is proud. In your face.” Should I worry?
Hayden’s eighth birthday is in two weeks. Preparing for a child’s birthday party is as stressful as deciding whether to accept a blindfold before being shot by a firing squad.
I used to have people to handle this. Their job description was usually “wife.” They in turn generally subcontracted it all out anyway.
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:
ENTER THE DRAGON
“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’shaughnessey, we believed your 200 dollars. I mean you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it alright. (Sam Spade)”
― Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
The voice on the phone said, “It’s Mavis.”
That’s as far as she got. I do not know how long I screamed into the phone nor do I recall precisely what I said. Essentially it was more or less $350 is not enough money to justify getting the shit kicked out of me. That simple idea was wrapped in many gender inappropriate words and many more that were inappropriate for any living thing with more consciousness than a virus. When I paused briefly for a breath she said, “Oh my God!” That stopped me right there. Who still says “oh my god?”
“I never thought…I’m so sorry… I’m coming right over. What’s your address?”
I gave her my address. She hung up. Thought, “What did I just do?” I never ever give anyone the address of my loft. Never since the day I came back from Cafe Americano with the blond financial-analyst intern and opened the door to find my wife standing there with the photographer. The divorce decree took everything, even the artwork on the walls and my furniture. She left me the loft. Said she was not taking it because she wanted me to remember that day every time I walked into the place.
I thought about selling it, but I knew I couldn’t. So I kept it and furnished it with things from Ikea and Goodwill.
Thought again, what if Mavis sent someone to hurt me? I couldn’t call her back and tell her to forget the address. I was fucked. When I had calmed down, I reasoned that maybe I was just horny. I guess guys get horny after getting beat up. But with Mavis? I’m not sure I found her all that attractive. Then again I my tastes in women have always been tinged with desperation.
I threw the napkin, now empty of ice into the sink. I had stopped bleeding at least. Went into the bathroom. Took off my clothes and tossed them into a corner to lie on the pile of clothing I had thrown into the same place all week. Went into the shower. Spent a long time under the hottest water I could stand. Tried to keep it from touching my wound. Failed. It burned like hell.
Got out of the shower, dried off, rooted around in the discard pile until I found a grey sweat shirt I had worn about three days ago that did not smell too bad. Found some khaki pants that were not too wrinkled and soiled. Carried them up to the sleeping platform and looked for clean underwear. Found only a maroon pair of boxer shorts with large white polka dots that were clean and a pair of white cotton briefs. Decided on the polka dots, the briefs were too embarrassing. Took some Tylenol.
I had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang. It was the same grinding sound as Ann’s door bell. I had intended to replace it but never got around to it since just about the only visitors I get now are pizza delivery people.
I buzzed open the door to the building. A few moments later I opened the door to the loft. She was dressed in black leather from the soles of her feet to her neck, a black motorcycle helmet held in one hand and a plastic bag dangling from the other. Flung both encumbered arms around me. Said, “Oh poor you.”
I tried to avoid any part of her touching my wound while hugging back as long as I could. She untangled herself, walked to the table unburdened herself of the bag and the helmet. As she removed her leather jacket and hung it over the back of a chair she said, “come here and sit down. I got some things from the drug store.”
I sat. She was wearing a loose blue sleeveless shirt. Both exposed arms were covered with jungle scenes, green foliage and various animals peeking out of the undergrowth. The jungle extended to cover her clearly visible side-boobs. A large snake seemed to be coiled around her right boob. She was bra-less. There was not that much there needing support other than the snake.
“God you look awful,” she said and she embarked on cleaning and wrapping my jaw. “I’m so sorry. I never expected something like this would happen. I don’t care about finding him. Not if it means someone is going to get hurt.”
I wanted to tell her I had enough and that I quit. Said instead, “It’s gone too far. It’s personal.” Immediately regretted saying it realizing I said it only to impress her.
Followed it up “What exactly did you expect,” as I cringed from something she had applied to the wound.
“Sorry,” she repeated. This time about the most recent pain she had caused me. “I knew he was mixed up in something. Nothing dangerous. I just was worried.”
I could feel the anger overwhelming my voyeuristic pleasure at both the view and her ministrations. “Bullshit. One doesn’t have thugs searching for one’s boyfriend and not know anything.” I grabbed her wrist before she put something else that hurt into the cut. Said, “Tell me everything or get the fuck out. I will find out on my own.” I squeezed harder on her wrist. Thought it made my words more dramatic and forceful.
She pulled away, sat down in one of the other chairs, stared at me a moment then looked off somewhere above my left shoulder.
The Guns of Chicago:
I, as I expect many of you, have been inundated with harangues this past month or so regarding the horrific firearm assault and death rate in Chicago which, it has been claimed, has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. I assume these communications are intended to convince the reader that gun control does not work and may somehow even increase gun assaults. They also often point out that President Obama is from Chicago which I think whoever writes up these things believes proves that he intends to take away your guns and give them to black people. Strangely enough, two days ago I read a right-wing blog post that suggested just that.
Almost all peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject indicate that the more guns in a society, the more gun violence. (Perhaps one of the best repository for these studies can be found at the Harvard School of Public Health [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html]) As a general epistemological rule, where there is a local anomaly [high gun deaths and stringent gun control] that appears inconsistent with the general rule [fewer guns = less gun violence] one does not automatically assume either that the specific is the new generalization or that the generalization is invalid. One should first see if the specific case presented has something that distinguishes it from other situations.
In the case of Chicago it has many distinguishing factors. For example, it should be compared with other similar cities before applying any conclusions covering cities and non-cities alike. Cities often have higher raw crime numbers than rural areas because of population and proximity. While most studies show the Midwest to be significantly freer from assault threat than the South, the urban areas of both I would suspect would show higher raw numbers than the rural parts do. Among the differences between Chicago and similar urban areas is that the current escalation in violence commenced about four years ago with the breakout of a gang war. Blame it on Obama if you must, but the state of gun control laws probably has little to do with it.
Note: if as some have suggested gun control laws are a prelude to Nazism, shouldn’t the Chicago police by now have donned brown shirts and cleared the streets of the freedom loving gun carrying population shooting everyone up? Even more appropriate, shouldn’t we categorize these gang members shooting up their competitors as freedom loving people defending their Second Amendment rights?]
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
This chart shows government debt as a percentage of GDP. In general the debt ratio declines during Democratic federal administrations. It has declined the most rapidly in recent history during the Obama administration. Republicans disagree with this chart, not because it is inaccurate but primarily for the reason mentioned in TODAY’S QUOTE below.
B. Tales of inhumanity:
“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”
Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864 the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.
After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.
Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.
“There are two types of Republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.”
Perhaps one of the more significant charts of the year. It indicates an almost exponential near-term growth in mobile communications and data traffic. If mobile communication and data availability represents an increase in individual opportunity for success, we are looking for at least a short-term balancing of the current negative trends in the world’s economy.
On the other hand, if this chart is attempting to imply a shift in data growth and thereby power, it is as misleading as hell. From the chart one would assume that data growth and power is inevitably shifting towards what they describe as Asia-Pacific.
First, the chart itself except for MEA, does not indicate any significant percentage shift among the regions. The relationships seem to have more to do with population growth and market maturity than anything else.
More importantly the choices of regions identified is as bizarre as it is erroneous and misleading. Europe is as much a part of Asia as any other part of that massive continent. If the reason for excluding Europe from the rest of Asia is not geographic but for other historical and sociological reasons, then lumping the rest of Asia together makes no sense.
By whatever measures one choses to use (historical, economic, cultural of political) Eurasia more or less can be divided into the following regions:
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE- Europe east of Urals)
The Near and Middle East (NME — NME is not part of Africa)
Central Asia (CA–The “Stans” plus Siberia)
South Asia (SA– India, Bangladesh, Ceylon and the Himalayan countries.)
South East Asia (SEA)
East Asia (EA–Primarily China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.)
To estimate approximate current population distribution:
CEE–700 million +
NME–450 million +
CA–300 million + or –
SA– 1.4 billion +
SEA — 650 million + or-
EA– 1.5 billion +
Although it is a gross overgeneralization, if one were to estimate their relative rates of population growth and their rate of DTG not directly related to technological changes then I would guess we have:
CEE –Stable Population — DTG primarily due to technology.
NME– Fairly Rapid Population Growth– DTG lagging due to politics.
CA–Rapid Population Growth– DTG potential huge but lagging.
SA– Population Growth slowing– DTG still room for expansion.
SEA– Population slowly growing–DTG significant.
EA– Stable Population– DTG primarily due to technology.
With the above changes in the chart one would be better able to use it guess who is winning or losing the data game and where someone can make the most money.
The Manneken Pis of Mendocino