Posts Tagged With: Democratic Party

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

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This woman is a completely computer generated image. Virtual reality indistinguishable from real life is imminent.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 PaPa Joe 0003 (October 15, 2014)

“Canem Praeteri, Cave Modo Hominem.”

(Never mind the dog, just watch out for the human)

“Those periods in history when government disappears in favor of private organizations are usually called, ‘Dark Ages.’”
Trenz Pruca

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANTHONY AND AARON

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. CONTEMPLATING MY 75TH BIRTHDAY:

Today is my 75th birthday, at least here in BKK. It will not be so in NY where I was born until sometime tonight.

I spent the morning during my walk to breakfast, at breakfast, while swimming and at lunch, running through my mind various self-justifying stories about what the day means to me. I was going to write them down here because I thought some of them were pretty good. But, I’ll save you that pleasure. What really interests me today is Samuel Beckett. You know André the Giant’s friend who was so obsessed with cricket, – that Sam Beckett. (See Factoids below)

Well, Sam wrote a lot of books and plays when he was not driving André around or watching cricket matches. One novel in particular always fascinated me. It was about someone deaf, dumb and blind, without arms and legs lying face down in a puddle of mud slowly slithering along until he bumps into something. This was all that the novel was about, all three hundred or so pages of it. I do not remember the name of the book. You can look it up.

Now, I know Beckett intended his story to explore solipsism (you can look that up too), a philosophy or view of life that fascinated him. But he was a storyteller and as I have pointed out previously one can never trust a storyteller, they always lie. The lies aside, what always interested me was that he was also wrong.

You see, even someone deaf, dumb and blind, without arms and legs lying face down in a puddle of mud slowly slithering along when he bumps into something is still a blood sack with a bunch of electrons floating around between neurons that have gathered from the environment various electrical and other forces, formed them into an image and then tells the blood sack what it is he is experiencing. Now, the deaf, dumb and blind someone without arms and legs lying face down in a puddle of mud slowly slithering along has no idea whether what he is being told is the truth or not. He may, actually, be floating through the air above a beautiful verdant landscape for all he knows. Something may be amiss among the neurons or they may just be playing with him. In fact, if he believes he is deaf, dumb and blind, without arms and legs lying face down in a puddle of mud slowly slithering along when he bumps into something, something is probably very wrong with his neurological machinery. Even if, in fact, he is deaf dumb and blind and slithering face down through a puddle of mud he may either panic and despair or laugh at the absurdity of it all. And, if the latter, he could then utter Reilly’s famous observation, “what a revolting development this is.”

Which brings me back to my 75th birthday. If you know who Reilly is, than you are probably at least as old as I am, and you know, as I do, that our “Use by” date is rapidly approaching.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have spent most of my recent spare time (spare time for me is time not spent in eating, exercising, walking about, sleeping and staring off into the distance) editing Quigley’s book “Weapons Systems and Political Stability” and preparing “Red Dawn” for publication. On the Quigley book, I have edited 500 out of some 1300 pages. After I complete the edits, mostly typo’s, paragraphing and some revising where the text has been garbled, I will then re-review it, put in some additional headings, decide how to handle the missing ending and write my forward. On “Red Dawn” I need to go back over it for continuity and write-up the final chapters.

I just went back over “Red Dawn” and found all my edits and formatting somehow disappeared. I don’t know why. Ugh..five weeks work wasted.

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Today was one of BKK’s hot stifling days.

I walked by the migrant worker housing site next to my apartment. It houses migrants from Cambodia or Burma, I do not know which. The homes are made of corrugated metal. There are two floors of flats with a person or family sharing a room, There is electricity to the rooms but no water.
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In the morning and the evening the residents gather beside two large rectangular concrete cisterns filled by a garden hose from somewhere. Here they bath in that wonderful way that they do, soaping, washing and drying themselves all the while wrapped in large colorful cloths and never showing their nakedness. Most of them are in their late teens or twenties, the men all boyishly handsome and the women slender and darkly beautiful. There are a lot of smiles but very little laughter.

It always strikes me as a beautiful and poignant scene as I walk by. I would like to take a photograph, but the Thais tell me it would be impolite and I am too shy to ask permission.

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PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

We often hear the slogan “The War on Women,” bandied about by those, on one side or the other, seeking political advantage. In fact, this war on women has been going on for over at least 5000 years. What we have now in politics in the United States and going on in the Near and Middle East is not so much a “War On Women” but a “War About Women.” Like it or not, those that continue to oppose the march of women to equality and more are faced with resisting one of the great turning points of human history.

About 10,000 years or so ago the Neolithic agricultural revolution got under-weigh. This new culture was unusual because it was centered on women. Women tilled the crops while men engaged in perfunctory hunting and caring for the few domestic animals available. The economic system, social system and the intellectual system for production of crops and production of children (workers) were considered under women’s control. This culture as far as we know was relatively peaceful. Derived from Mesolithic gatherers, it lacked the tradition of masculine violence and the need for war. These societies lasted for about 6000 years.

Eventually new technologies (e.g., the plow and animal husbandry) reduced the economic and social dominance of women and more warlike masculine hunting cultures ultimately moved in. Finally by about 3000 B.C, they had reduced women to the status of more or less chattel. A status that has lasted almost until the dawn of this century.

During the 1950’s or so, due to their greater longevity, wealth (not income) fell into the hands of women such that by some measures women held a greater overall percentage of the nation’s wealth than men. This did not help women much because that wealth was usually managed by men. Only a very few women had been able secure income and social status independent of male largesse.

Since then, technology, ideology and society have changed so that women have been able challenge dominance of men and begin to amass their own power and wealth as well as develop their own ideology. For example: in the conduct of war, because of computerization of many weapons systems, women have become as good as men in the science of killing and often better. In Kobane for example, the co-commander of the Kurdish forces defending the town from the forces of ISIL is a woman. Should they succeed in defeating the besiegers they may change the face of Near and Middle East society forever.

Also, in schools women are excelling and graduating in ever larger majorities. Even in such occupations that revel in male aggressiveness like derivative fund management, studies have shown that women run derivative funds substantially outperformed male run ones. To describe women as more risk averse than men as some studies do is unfair. It would be more accurate to say that they are simply less prone to periods insane irresponsibility than men.

Thus, about two decades ago after steady advancement of women since the 1940’s, the War About Women began in earnest. For example, I believe women’s excelling in school and scholarship encouraged, in part, the attack on schooling by the male dominated traditional religious denominations and conservative organizations.

In the Near and Middle East, it was not simply replacement of burka’s with Western dress, but the realization that these free and educated women inevitably would move into positions of economic independence and ultimately seek political power that they began to assume in the West that drove the reactionary mullah’s into a frenzy.

What is happening in the US and in the Near and Middle East is all about women and their destiny. Women stand at the threshold of real power, economic, social and intellectual and many men are afraid.

In the US the 2012 election was to a great extent about the future of lower middle and lower class white male privilege. 2014 is the first American election in which the issue is all about the attempts to halt and reverse the emerging and inevitable power of women.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

A. Samuel Beckett Used to Drive André the Giant to School. All They Talked About Was Cricket.

B. 2013: During all of 2013 there were 9,137 scientific peer-reviewed articles published regarding anthropogenic climate change (human caused global warming). Of those 9,137 articles only one denied it exists. That lone scientist lives in Russia. Almost 50% of Americans and Congressional Republicans as well as Fox News passionately believes that one Russian scientist is correct. All the rest of the scientists they are convinced are part of a massive conspiracy by the solar power industry and the Muslim Brotherhood to weaken America.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…the three basic foundations of political democracy. These three bases are (1) that men are relatively equal in factual power; (2) that men have relatively equal access to the information needed to make a government’s decisions; and (3) that men have a psychological readiness to accept majority rule in return for those civil rights which will allow any minority to work to build itself up to become a majority.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Unless these three criteria are met, voting, even where the franchise is broad, does not mean a Democracy exists. And, without #3 voting is no more than a symbolic exercise.

TODAY’S CHART:
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I find this map fascinating for some reason.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Women at work. 1930.

Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Papa Joe 0001 (September 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

First things first; my most recent blog post for Smart+Connected Communities Institute has been published. It is about technological improvements in earthquake warning systems instituted by California’s Seismic Safety Commission. Click here if you would think you might be interested in reading it. Even if you are not interested in it click anyway (several times if you feel up to it) so that they may feel encouraged to continue to employ me.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Alas my time here in California is rapidly approaching its end. I will leave for Florida on September 29 and then in quick succession on to DC, NY and Italy before returning to Thailand sometime around the third week in October.

Since returning to Sacramento, I have resumed my nanny duties, usually with little to distinguish one day from the next.

On Saturday I spent my morning at a local coffee house. Weekend mornings brings parents from the surrounding subdivisions taking their children there for breakfast. While waiting on line to give my order, the man in the line in front of me with two sub-seven year olds in tow, having heard the man in line behind me call out the name of one of his own three sub-seven year olds, commented to him that he thought it was an unusual name (I did not hear the name). The other man explained that he was a wine collector and had named all his children after wines. This one he explained was one of his favorite varietals grown in Napa Valley.

Later that day, Dick, Hayden and I traveled to the Mekouleme Hill ranch of Congressman John Garamendi for his annual BBQ. On the way we stopped at Bill and Naida’s ranch in Rancho Murietta because I wanted to say goodbye to them before leaving for Thailand. Both Bill and Naida looked remarkably well. That made me happy.

While at the ranch we toured Bill’s classic car collection that included this wonderful Woody:
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Bill also had a classic red pickup from the 50’s that I lusted for. All of his cars are up for sale, if any of you are interested.

After leaving the ranch we travelled down route 49 that bisects the “Gold Country” and stopped at a place in Jackson called “Fat Freddy’s” where we sat at the counter eating lunch washed down with malted milkshakes and listened to the woman behind the counter’s stories about Jackson Phil (as opposed to Phil Jackson the legendary Lakers basketball coach) the legendary gold hoarding squirrel who stole one nugget too many and is now stuffed and adorns a shelf on the wall behind the counter.

We eventually arrived at the Garamendi ranch. The festivities featured country and western music, gold panning, petting zoos, aging politicians and more. The following is a photograph of Hayden on the tractor posing with the Congressman himself.
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I remember him (Garamendi) from his first days in the State legislature in December 1974. He had come to Senator Jerry Smith’s office to be mentored in legislative process because Smith was assigned as his mentor. I thought he was a dick-head. Someone described him as a real boy-scout. Like I said a dick-head. Since then I am told he has mellowed out a lot.

After spending some time at the event reminiscing with Norbert and Stevie, we left and returned home.

The next day I watched the 49rs lose, plunging me into such deep depression that it required me to lie in bed and sulk for the rest of the day.

During the following week I settled back into executing my nanny and chauffeur duties and began packing for my departure on Friday. As usual, contemplation of leaving someplace where I have become relatively content made me sad enough to mist my eyes now and then as I folded my clothing into the suitcase. Nevertheless, the idea of staying here too much longer filled me with as much dread as leaving did sadness.

On Thursday morning we headed off to the courthouse in Placerville in hopes that this morning’s hearing would end the child custody case. Opposing counsel had notified us that repeated attempts to contact the petitioner for instruction regarding a response to our motion to dismiss failed and he had no choice but to not appear at the hearing. At the hearing the petitioner, without notification to anyone, called into the court and claimed no knowledge of his attorney’s attempts to contact him. The judge put the hearing off until the second week in October to allow petitioner to straighten things out with his attorney or to find new counsel.

The law is pretty clear on the subject. If a woman is married at the time the child is born, the husband at the time is the presumed father. In general the presumption is absolute unless the party wishing to be declared father can demonstrate an intimate nurturing relationship with the child the sundering of which would be catastrophic for the child’s well being. I cannot see how Petitioner reaches the threshold required in the published opinions to overcome the presumption. It seems to me that seven years of taking no for an answer does not an intimate parental relationship make.

While waiting for our case to come up on the agenda, we listened to a hearing on a dispute between a husband and his wife. It seems that the husband, who has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Arizona, and his girlfriend, a medical marijuana user who admits to being stoned day and night, are living in the house that the wife previous lived in with the husband. The husband has not paid on the mortgage for 18 months or so and the mortgage company has not moved to evict him because the house is worth less than the mortgage. The wife, who has a series of arrests of her own on her record for shoplifting and other things, is pissed and wants the husband to be forced to sell the house and pay rent somewhere. When the judge hesitated, the wife produced a letter from a doctor claiming the loving couple’s 41/2 year old daughter had been sexually abused presumably while spending time with the husband and the stoner. The judge said he will have to read everything before deciding anything. Sheriff’s deputies had been called to protect the wife because the girl friend had made physical threats against the wife.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth [see below] was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement.

Later on in the day I took Hayden to his Taekwondo class. Sometimes parents while waiting for their children to finish their lessons read magazines and books to while away the time rather than to stare at their white uniformed loved ones jump around and grunt in make-believe mayhem. The place has accumulated a fairly well stocked library of bad novels and back issues of People Magazine left behind by the proud but bored parents. For the last few sessions, I had been reading a well thumbed through novel by John Gresham entitled The Bleachers and serendipitously I finished it up that but evening.

I normally avoid anything by Gresham. He writes with a very well written drab spare stylessness that passes for a style. His characters are one dimensional defined by the events around them. I think of him a similar to Elmore Leonard but without the wit and the humor. This novel was not his usual mystery, but a tear jerker for males about ex-football jocks returning to their small town to await the death of their high school coach. It was good enough to make me cry now and then. I like to cry when I read.

The following morning I hugged Hayden before he went off to school and we said our goodbyes. I cried some more. Than I left Sacramento on the first leg of my trip that may even eventually take me back to Thailand for the next few months.

TODAY’S MISLEADING FACTOID:
Graphic unavailable at this time
The yield per acre for wheat in England, France, and Germany and the yield for rice in Japan. These top-producing countries for the two most important cereals for direct human consumption have failed in the last 10 or more years to increase productivity.

(This chart was used by one of my otherwise generally reliable analysts, Jeremy Grantham, as evidence of one of the inevitable crises exacerbated by the effects of climate change and population growth; the leveling off of productivity increases for major food crops eventually breeding shortages and rising prices. [Grantham is an investment advisor after all.] What is misleading about this graph is that it shows the leveling off in four countries whose populations are not growing. Left unstated is whether or not per acre crop yields are increasing in countries with growing populations or whether additional acres of farm land are being devoted to these food crops in response to rising demand.

I expect crop yields are not increasing in any way as much as they did during the so-called “Green Revolution” of 30 or so years ago that, by keeping agricultural prices low, staved off wide spread social dislocation that could have been caused by rampant population growth at the time . Yes, hunger is a question of cost every bit as much as it is a question of ethics.

Similarly, I suspect that removal of crop land from production due to urbanization and climate change more than balances the unused acreage put into production due to the promise of higher prices.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso of Bokonon (Vonnegut):

“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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C. What Republicans say about Republicans:

Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.
Frank Schaeffer. His father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he write about his experience growing up in that family in the superbly written Crazy for God.

D. Electioneering:
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E. Testosterone Chronicles (“Men, Who Needs Them” Edition):

When I explained this (the biological irrelevancy of men to human species reproduction) to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
Taken from the NY Times opinion page article, Men, Who Needs Them? By Greg Hampikian.

The entertainment quality of men in general, in my opinion, is highly overrated.
F. Investment advice for those of us who are so foolish as to invest in anything Wall Street is peddling:

20 Ways Wall Street is Ripping Off Small Investors:

1. Providing nominal returns, not real returns.

2. Encouraging too much diversification, if that’s possible.

3. Hiding fees and expenses.

4. Turning you into a passive investor.

5. Convincing you that money markets are the same as cash.

6. Telling you that bonds are safer than equities.

7. Explaining that in the long run equities outperform bonds.

8. Simply by lying about their products.

9. Convincing you that their bank is a large, stable, safe operation to deal with.

10. Recommending products that have enormous sales commissions attached to them.

11. Cheating you on bid/ask spreads.

12. Selling you what they don’t want.

13. Measuring your success in dollars.

14. Lending your securities to others.

15. Ripping your eyes out if you ever try to close your account.

16. Grabbing any slight positive real return for themselves.

17. Sticking toxic waste to small investors.

18. Pretending they can pick stocks.

19. Acting like they are your best friend and they have your best interests at heart.

20. Knowing next to nothing about the value of holding real assets like gold and real estate.
John R. Talbott is a bestselling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash, the banking crisis and the global economic collapse.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
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I always liked Wilde. That one could write a passable jail-house poem, a reasonably good book, insult everyone, dress like he did and still become famous even before the creation of the internet, confirms my belief that God is the ultimate humorist.

Speaking of God and humor, did you know that while growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. [For those that get this — you are showing your age.] Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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This is accurate except that it omits the importance of Occam’s Razor to scientific theory. That is, in its most basic terms, Occam requires that the simplest explanation that accounts for all the observable facts be preferred over the more complicated [However, as Einstein pointed out, “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.”.

Nevertheless, Occam’s Razor does not apply to fantasy, religion, politics, economics or sales. Perhaps it should, but if it did so, those worthy examples of human endeavor probably would soon disappear. I would miss fantasy though.

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 Pops 0001 (September 17, 2012)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

Frederic Bastiat

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After spending the night at my sister’s house in Berkley, we visited my mom and took her out for lunch in North Beach. This was the first time, despite her 94 years, that she appeared truly old, depressed and lonely.

The next two days I visited with my son and his family. I got my quarterly dose of reality TV. This time I watched something about living in Alaska. I got to see men (almost always men) trapping and killing animals; in this case beavers and a lynx. We got to see the lynx with its foot caught in a trap struggle to break free. After they dispatched the creature we were entertained by the hunters skinning and eating it. I fully understand the need of those living in remote areas to hunt and trap game, but how broadcasting the vicarious experience to overweight, indolent couch potatoes (like me) can be considered entertainment escapes me.

On the next day, I got to watch 22 overgrown men (always men) beat up on each other in an effort to push the inflated swine skin over an arbitrary chalk drawn line. Unlike the prior evening, I considered this great entertainment. As I am sure most of you already know the SF 49rs defeated the Green Bay Packers. Go Niners!

After the game I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park with Amanda my granddaughter.

Early Monday morning, I returned to Sacramento. While riding the J-Church to the train station, I contemplated my contribution to the transformation of the happy-go-lucky child that was my son into an angry and unhappy adult. So there I was that morning, just another old man sitting on the trolley before sunrise with tears in his eyes. Less so because of what has been and the pain it has caused but because we know that tomorrow will come and the tears if not forgotten will be added to the increasingly heavy burden of unresolved guilt.

The next day I bought a copy of the new novel about the Kennedy assassination by that Shakespeare of digression, Steven King. Never has a writer written so much so well about things that have nothing to do with the plot than King. He was far less verbose as a stoned alcoholic. Beware of writers in AA.

On the other hand Sheldon Siegel, a much less tiresome author has a new book out, The Terrorist Within. I look forward to reading it. As far as I know Sheldon is not in AA.

I spent the week back in Sacramento mostly as a chauffeur. When not driving various people around, I spent time preparing the responses to discovery requests in the custody litigation and finalizing the new post for the Smart&Connected blog.

At the end of the week my sister told me that she had met with a company that, on behalf of international organizations like The World Bank and various large foundations, advises and assists non-profits on social media issues. One of the managers knew about the Coastal Conservancy and had a very favorable opinion of it. Since I will be leaving California in about two weeks, I decided to spend the weekend following up on this. It will also give me an opportunity to visit with my family and Peter one last time before I depart.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Conservatives are right, Liberals control the media and everything else.

A study reported in Psychology Today, on which I commentated a few posts back, pointed out that in general conservatives are less intelligent than Liberals. It goes on to state:

Conservatives often complain that liberals control the media or the show business or the academia or some other social institutions. The Hypothesis explains why conservatives are correct in their complaints. Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions. They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

(OMG, the Right is…well, right. Life is a Left-wing conspiracy.)

2. “We will never have the élite, smart people on our side.”
Rick Santorum

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few posts ago I wrote about the coming election as perhaps the last hurrah for the white male ascendency in American politics. Today in an article by Gary Younge quoted in Daily Kos, he confirms the situation (Note the quote by a Republican strategist that I underlined):

“This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarized election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past — in 2004 George W. Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate — white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.” […]”

(In my last post I quoted the following:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.”

I feel sad for these men; deluded by their history of ascendency over women of their class and other minorities, lied to by their political and religious leaders and misused by their employers, they have been misled to believe their ever so slight social standing was theirs by right and not earned by effort.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
why-have-we-developed-such-income-inequality-in-part-because-the-average-hourly-earnings-in-this-country-havent-grown-in-50-years.jpg
B. Electioneering:

“Obama ran on ‘change’ in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”
— Matt Taibbi, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Rolling Stone, August 29, 2012.

(Taibbi is a political polemicist who writes well. Although his basic facts are often correct, sometimes his rhetoric can be misleading. Romney may very well be considered a child of the conflict between manufacturers of transactions and manufacturers of products he was never a “pioneer.” The conflict, such as it is, has been going on for one hundred years or more.

The first break between the manufacturers of transactions, “transactionists” (In a broader context sometimes included among those referred to in classical economic literature as “rentiers”) and manufacturers of products occurred in the 1920s as they, the transactionists sought to obtain full partnership and ultimately dominate political and economic decision-making of society for their benefit. It brought on the Great Depression. Due to the New Deal’s emphasis on manufacturing, production and product development, the transactionists were reduced again to merely wealthy and fiscally conservative transaction managers for industrialists.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s they emerged again, but this time even the manufacturers of products were their enemies as they drove traditional manufacturing beyond our shores and persuaded the gullible and unwary that wealth accumulation does not require any products other than the transactions themselves.

Mitt was little more than a bench warmer on a very politically successful team.)

D. BOKONONISM – CALYPSOS:

The Fourteenth Calypso
When I was young
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St. Augustine.
Saint Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So, if I get to be one, also,
Please. Mama, don’t you faint.

The Fifty-third Calypso
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen–
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice–
So many different people
In the same device.

The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso
“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
TODAY’S CHART:
voting-infographic

(While this chart may contain interesting information, it is not very helpful. The presidential election, because of the electoral college system will be decided by the nature of the turnout primarily in Ohio. Without Ohio (and perhaps Florida) Romney probably cannot win . Obama on the other hand has a number of ways to put together 270 electoral votes required to prevail.

Control of Congress will depend more upon the number of women and minorities living in so-called competitive districts. If the district (or State) lacks minority voters in the percentages described the Republican will in most cases prevail.

Note: except for perhaps Florida the turnout percentage differences between men and women will remain constant. However the numbers of minorities varies greatly from district to district and state to state.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Pops 0001 (September 10, 2012)

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
–W. B. Yeats

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC has thrown her back out and now walks about like an arthritic octogenarian. Hayden has come down with some form of stomach flu and Dick is in LA chasing earthquakes. As a result, I have been pressed into the role of part-time nurse to supplement my ongoing role of part-time nanny.

Last Saturday while visiting with Bill and Naida, after noticing the butterfly net Hayden had brought with him to fish for crawdads, Bill told me about his youthful adventures as an accomplished Lepidopterist. For almost an hour I listened, fascinated, to stories about butterfly hunting in Northern California 60 years ago. When he and his friends, the Crocker brothers, were about 10 years old they persuaded the State Parks Department to allow them to replenish the deteriorating collections at several of the parks. I learned all about how to get the wings spread properly when mounting the specimens and the many varieties of swallowtail fluttering around in the Sierra’s.

On Thursday I took the train from Sacramento to San José. I looked forward to dinner that night with Bill Gates and Jerry Smith. I had not seen Jerry in over a decade. For those unfamiliar with Jerry Smith, he was the State Senator who was the principle author of the California Coastal Act of 1976. He was later appointed to the Appellate Court by Jerry Brown at the end of Brown’s first turn as Governor of California over 30 years ago. After retiring Smith spent some time as an international consultant advising countries recently freed from soviet dictatorship on how to set up Anglo-American type judicial systems. Well after the time most people retire, he returned to school to study fine arts. He now is an accomplished sculptor.

We are perhaps the first generation in history where many of us live long enough in good health that we can enjoy five or six distinct careers during our lives and where it is not so strange to embark on one or two more after we reach 70.

Upon arriving in San Jose,  Bill met me in his new shiny Ferrari racing red Jaguar. We had lunch at a local men only dining club where the food was pretty good. After lunch we smoked cigars and drank brandy and the like in the game room where we discussed politics and the coastal act with a few of the members. They were all local developers except one who owned a string of radio stations in Texas and Florida. They appeared to be the remnants of the Eisenhower wing of the Republican party. As usual my inclination to pontificate was in full flower and so I talked and talked.

We later travelled to Saratoga where we had dinner with Jerry Smith and talked some more about California Coastal protection program. Jerry was the legislator who carried the bill. Before dinner we drank some wine and watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Jerry had cooked a great ravioli dinner accompanied by local wines and olive oil. After dinner we toured his house to look at some of his sculptures including a fascinating cast bronze replica of tree branches and wonderful outdoor bamboo arrangement in bronze and copper.

On the way home we stopped off at Bill’s nightclub Myth in downtown Sacramento. It has become quite a popular venue. There were about 400 people there at the time we arrived. By then I was exhausted and on the down side of the alcohol euphoria induced by the copious quantities I had consumed earlier in the day. I could only barely acknowledge the noise and the crowding and the remarkably large breasts that seemed required to work as a waitress in the place.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh no, we cannot be the worst!

In a survey conducted in over 80 countries, 2,000 people were questioned on which countries have the world’s worst beer. The results listed the United States as #1, followed behind by China, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Italy. Budweiser was ranked as the #1 worst brand in beer by the takers of the survey.

2. Oh no again!

durex-sexual-wellbeing-global-survey-2

(Blame it on the beer.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

The Bangkok Post Reported on August 28, 2012:

“Thais top infidelity chart.”

Thai men are ranked on top and their women are ranked second as the world’s most unfaithul [sic] lovers, with well over half of them admitting to frequent infidelity, according to a survey conducted by Durex, a condom producer.

Women from Thailand are ranked the world’s second most unfaithul [sic] lovers, according to the survey report.

The survey of 29,000 women in 36 countries names the women of Ghana the world’s most unfaithful, with 62 per cent of the women questioned there admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands.

Thai women were just a little more faithful, with 59 per cent admitting to infidelity, followed by Malaysia with 39 per cent.

In fourth and fifth place were Russia (33 per cent) and Singapore (19 per cent).

As for men admitting to extramarital affairs, Thailand came out on top (54 per cent) followed by South Korea (34 per cent) and then Malaysia (33 per cent).

(But they still don’t do it as often as Greeks.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Pookie on Adultery:

I believe adultery violates God’s commandments, unless it is with a slave or concubine as the Bible permits. We should have uniform federal laws outlawing adultery, abortion and homosexuality unless you can afford it, or are a Republican candidate or are a priest, minister or Rabbi (Muslim clerics or rich people who profess Islam however are not excepted because to do so would be to condone sharia law. Also, they are not real Americans and they support terrorists.)

Adultery is a criminal offense in 23 states, with punishments ranging from a $10 fine in Maryland to life imprisonment in Michigan (at least according to one judge). It’s also prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That means, for example, that Newt Gingrich may have violated the law in some of those 23 states. Where does he stand on the issue of criminals running for office? What is the religious right and the Catholic Church’s stand on adultery? Is it such a sufficiently lesser sin than supporting a woman’s right to choose that it does not disqualify one from running for office? Is it a lesser sin than Homosexuality? If Newt were gay could he become president? Does the Religious Right have any morals what-so-ever? Does the Newtster? Why would anyone name their child after a lizard?

In fairness to the Newtster, I have searched but found no evidence that either Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid committed illegal adultery in one of the jurisdictions in which it is illegal. On the other hand it is probably safe to assume Bill Clinton did, but he did not divorce his wife although the weight of opinion, I believe, felt she should have divorced him. Ah well, they remain happily married and living separately so I guess every thing is ok.

I have it on good authority that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan have had heterosexual sex in over a decade. On the other hand it is a known fact that the muslim Barack Obama has been shtupping a black woman, but that does not count.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2000 years: For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the dreaded anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, translation of the very earliest known copy of the Book of Revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666! The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a paleographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. The team was led by Professor David Parker. (Listverse)

(Note: According to Wikipedia, area code 616 is the area code for the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Michigan metropolitan areas, which includes Kent, Ionia and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties.

[Beware of people from Michigan!]

Also, Earth-616 is the name used to identify the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.

[Beware of Spiderman!]

Finally, 616 is the 25th member of the [H-A-X-Z Sequence], coming after 265, 351, 465 (it is the sum of the first two of these). 616 is a polygonal number in four different ways: it is a heptagonal number, as well as 13-, 31- and 104-gonal.

It is also the sum of the squares of the factorials of 2,3,4. i.e.. (2!)^2 + (3!)^2 + (4!)^2 = 4+36+576=616.

The Roman numeral for 616, DCXVI, has exactly one occurrence of all symbols except for L whose value is less than 1000 (D=500, C=100, X=10, V=5, I=1)

[Beware of anyone who knows this!]
Today: 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is only 47 percent.

(No wonder the Japanese birth rate is falling. This also may explain the last place finish of the Japanese in the above sexual frequency Olympics standings chart. I understand that 616 in the model number of the most popular vibrator in Tokyo.

[Beware of Japanese women! They are just not that into you.])
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. It is about time to really deal with the deficit.
original
2. The Perceptive Republican:

Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has an article in The American Conservative entitled, “Revolt of the Rich – Our financial elites are the new secessionists.” I largely agree with it. He states:

“Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension — and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

B. Electioneering:

1. Use of words in political discourse, conservative style:

“The Right’s also better than us (liberals) at taking new phrases and using them to inject their terrible ideas into the public discourse. “Boning poor people” sounds awful and almost no one would support that, but call it “welfare reform” and people can really get behind it. Everyone likes the idea of eliminating supposed abuses, after all. “Privatization” sounds way less terrible than “giving away public assets for pennies on the dollar” or “taking Social Security and putting it all on black.” Creationism in public schools bothers a lot of people, but “teaching the controversy” about “intelligent design” sounds way more palatable. Fortunately for America, though, the public at large didn’t fall for this.”
Stumbling Through the Halls of Power

2. A voice from the crypt
216149_10151036953121275_538890019_n

(Is Carville still alive or have I just forgotten that he always looked like a cadaver? I suppose the reason that Carville is usually the only Democrat commentator regularly invited to appear on Faux News is that he has been dead for the past five years.)

3. Which Group hates Obama most:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

C. Testosterone Chronicles: Penis file.

Researchers in Vietnam studying the marine life of the Mekong delta have identified a new species of the Phallostethidae family named Phallostethus cuulong . These are small fish found in rivers in South East Asia, easily distinguishable because of one bizarre anatomical feature – their penises are on their heads!

(On the other hand, dickheads are very common among humans.)

D. BOKONONISM: Sayings of Bokonon (Vonnegut)

On man’s power to control:
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.

Also on man’s power to control:
It is not possible to make a mistake.
[ It is described as a “customary greeting given by all Bokononists when meeting a shy person.” ]

On history:
History! Read it and weep!

On religion:
Of course it’s trash!

On man’s destiny:
Today I will be a Bulgarian Minister of Education. Tomorrow I will be Helen of Troy.
We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

On the ignorance of learned men:
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

On “the heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality, and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it:
Midget, midget, midget, how he struts and winks,
For he knows a man’s as big as what he hopes and thinks!
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
chart751

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 19 Pops 0001 (September 3, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

I arrived back in Sacramento only to discover that my East coast-Italy travel plans have been hopelessly screwed-up because the only date available for me to travel from NY to Italy with Nikki at a discount would be on the 12th of September. That would be too early for me to accomplish what I want on the East-coast. I am now considering the possibility of a separate East-coast trip after the 15th of September and returning to Thailand at the end of the month or in early October through LA.

The hearing on our motion to dismiss in the custody case was held yesterday. The judged scheduled a hearing date for the 28th of September to allow for the filings of the various responsive pleadings. The plaintiff has ten days to respond to our motion so I will not leave for the East-coast until after we receive his response and file our reply. In the meantime I plan a visit to the Bay Area next week for visits with my son and various grandchildren, my sister and her progeny and Peter, Jerry Smith and Gates.

I recently, and I expect briefly, have settled into the pleasantly mindless life of chauffeuring Hayden to school and Taekwondo lessons and reading with him before bedtime.

On Sunday Dick, Hayden and I travelled to “Apple Hill,” a tourist area near Placerville manufactured by a few apple growers and wineries as a family vacation destination. I would not recommend it to would be tourists with or without families. We then went to Coloma (where gold was first discovered in California) to pan for gold (bucket list item).
DSCN0255
Dick and Hayden looking for color

We found none and went home.

The following day Hayden and I visited Bill and Naida at their ranch on the Cosumnes River. Bill appears to be recovering nicely from his recent brushes with death. Naida has returned from a trip to market her historical trilogy about the settlement of central California during the 19th Century. I consider the books some of the finest historical novels ever written.

Hayden, Bill and I went fishing for crawdads in the canal that runs along the river (bucket list?) and then with Naida went black berry picking before heading home.
DSCN0265
Bill and Haden hunting crawdads

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Liberals are “unnatural”.

According to Psychology Today, liberalism is evolutionarily novel. Humans (like other species) are evolutionarily designed to be altruistic toward their genetic kin, their friends and allies, and members of their deme (a group of intermarrying individuals) or ethnic group. They are not designed to be altruistic toward an indefinite number of complete strangers whom they are not likely ever to meet or interact with. This is largely because our ancestors lived in a small band of 50-150 genetically related individuals, and large cities and nations with thousands and millions of people are themselves evolutionarily novel.

Examination of the 10-volume compendium The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which describes all human cultures known to anthropology (more than 1,500) in great detail, as well as extensive primary ethnographies of traditional societies, reveals that liberalism is absent in these traditional cultures. While sharing of resources, especially food, is quite common and often mandatory among hunter-gatherer tribes, and while trade with neighboring tribes often takes place, there is no evidence that people in contemporary hunter-gatherer bands freely share resources with members of other tribes.

My first reaction to the above is to note that it is mostly bullshit.

It fails to account for the common (mostly male) urge to have others in his community support him or his cabal by claiming that they have some superior abilities over the rest of them; an open channel to god, cleverness, strength or ruthlessness. All of these claims sooner of later demand creation of a threat from the “other” in order to be maintained.

On the other hand, if we assume the observations of the researchers are accurate and their conclusions relatively true, then it could be concluded that much of history has been characterized by the creation of ever larger cultural groupings within which the individuals are persuaded they are different from those not in the group. Usually this conversion occurs because it is to somebody’s advantage to have everyone else believe so.

Characterization of the perceived difference in outlook between “liberal” and “conservative” is misleading. If the distinction were as they describe it, then those businessmen pushing for free trade could be seen as Liberals and those leftist concerned about its deleterious effects on the health and livelihood of those in their own country considered Conservatives.

2. So are conservatives.

a. A Lake Park Florida man “obsessed with Fox News and the Republican party” is in jail today after he allegedly said that he felt he was going to have to kill his girlfriend because she was a “liberal.”

(As I pointed out that this election may be the last hurrah of the white male in America. They know it and may be willing to kill to prevent women and “others” from taking over what they believe is theirs by right.)

b. Also from Florida. “After 2007, all the work here disappeared,” Mike a construction worker told a reporter. “Now, if there’s work in town, they only hire Mexicans, and they pay ’em eight bucks an hour,” or about 30 cents more than the state’s minimum wage of $7.67. “I refuse to work for $8 an hour. I’ve been doing construction for 20 years, and I won’t take being paid nothing.”

I feel for Mike. He represents the quandary faced by the poorly educated white male in America today. He will probably vote for Romney. If Romney wins, the minimum wage may drop (to encourage growth of the economy) and Mexicans and other “immigrants” discouraged from “taking” American jobs. Unfortunately for Mike, he still will refuse to work for minimum wage and will remain out of work.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

Although it hasn’t been called Bangkok for around 200 years, the city’s day to day name is actually Krung Thep (pronounced Grung Cape), and is referred to as such throughout Thailand. Only we ignorant foreigners call it Bangkok. Krung Thep means ‘City of Angels’ (the same as Los Angeles) and is an abbreviation of the full name, which is possibly the longest place-name in the world. The full official name is ‘Krungthep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahintara Yudthaya Mahadilok Pohp Noparat Rajathanee Bureerom Udomrajniwes Mahasatarn Amorn Pimarn Avaltarnsatit Sakatattiya Visanukram Prasit’.

In Thai, this is written as a single word of 152 letters. It translates roughly as ‘Great City of Angels the supreme repository of divine jewels, the great land unconquerable, the grand and prominent realm, the royal and delightful capital city full of nine noble gems, the highest royal dwelling and grand palace, the divine shelter and living space of reincarnated spirits’.

In fact it is none of those.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

Detritus 35 years later (PART II):

POINT CABRILLO LIGHT HOUSE (continued)
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Through sleight of hand including a land trade, the Coastal Conservancy and Peter Grenell managed to arrange a transfer of the 300+ acres of the headland including the lighthouse and several other buildings that housed the light keeper and other personnel from the US Coast Guard to the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

At about the same time as the land transfer was being arranged, the Conservancy arranged for a non-profit to come in and operate the hostels and provided funds to begin conversion of the structures to visitor serving (not remodeling or significantly altering them, but simply maintenance repairs and painting and things like adding bathrooms where necessary). The result has been the creation of a marvelous place to stay and experience the California coast.

Unfortunately, there appears to have been limited follow-up by the Conservancy. Despite the multiple bond acts containing hundreds of millions or dollars available to them they appear to have not provided any additional funds to complete rehabilitation of the units. I suspect that once the jurisdiction changed, in true bureaucratic fashion, they assumed it was the Department of Parks and Recreations problem.

Also it seems that operation of the facility as a hostel has been transferred from the original non-profit to another entity that may be a for profit entity with the result that although the main house is well run and still not too expensive (about $400 per night for 4 to 5 bedrooms), the less costly more hostel type units appear to be languishing.

Nevertheless, for those interested in getting away from it all and vacationing on the beautiful Mendocino Coast, it is a bargain.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

France 1785:

“The enormous mass of the French citizenry were illiterate day laborers, beggars, mass unskilled people scraping for a tiny wage, all heavily taxed, leaving barely enough to purchase a daily loaf of bread…well, half bread, half plaster filler. Of course, with no food quality regulation there was no guarantee that your bread wasn’t infested with ergot fungus or other microbes. On occasion, whole villages would go mad and commit mindless sexual violence or kill themselves. The life expectancy was about 40. For girls, that meant they had to be “plugged and planted” as soon as the first pubescent signs appeared. There was no birth control. A family had to have at least eight children in hopes that the good Lord would let two of them actually survive childhood.”
Audreybeardsley Diary, Daily KOS.

For those eager to return to the “good old days,” please note; they were not so good. In case one thinks despite the privations it was a society that encouraged the enlightenment:

“For someone like Voltaire to escape grinding poverty and be independent enough to write, he had to practice insider trading on a lottery and support piracy, commit trading fraud, and engage in usurious loans, move to Switzerland, and finally have the freedom to express himself.”

On the other hand, I guess one could argue that Voltaire and the others like him were simply the Wall Street traders of their day and like Soros and Buffet became traitors to their class.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Who the hell invented the concept of honor, and more importantly why would anyone invent something that cannot be explained and probably does not exist and then encourage others (mostly young men) to die for it?

(Note, perhaps this explains it:

THE CREATION OF THE WORLDS FIRST MAN OF HONOR

To me, humanity’s predisposition to warfare is explained not by simply whether they were originally predator or prey but by the fact that when they first dropped from the protective trees and trembling stood upright so that they were able see above the grasses of the veldt, they looked warily about for four things; predators, prey, sex and someone to do the dirty work or to take the fall.

Imagine, if you will, a small band of proto-humans are set upon by a ravenous saber-toothed tiger. One of the men guarding the tribe turns to the one next to him and says, “Quick Smith run over there and punch that thing in the nose.”

Smith in his manly exuberance does so.

“Oh-oh” says the first man. “Too bad for Smith, brave of him though. Well, lets push on while the cat is busy with him.” He turns to the rest of the tribe as they prepare to run away and shouts, “We shall remember Smith’s sacrifice for all eternity.”
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
4854767464994632425

Another example of liberal bias. Obviously a CEO is more important to our society’s well-being than the soldier who defends our liberties, the teacher who instructs our children, the police and firemen who protect our homes or the emergency room nurses who treat us when we are injured (especially if they belong to a union). We would not pay him so much if he were not. I am sure that the CEO would not work so hard for the benefit of everyone else should he make only 250 times more per hour than the median wage worker instead of the 280 times he now does,

C. Electioneering:

1. Democrat’s exaggerate, Republicans lie dept.
Obama-spending-e1337904626667
You see if Romney were a Democrat he instead would have said something like:

“Since President Obama assumed office three years ago. federal spending has accelerated at a pace that if it continues could bring on the end of the world as we know it.”

Hmm.. I am sure he said that too, but being a Republican he couldn’t leave it at that and had to lie as well.)

2. Is God Republican or a Democrat?

“Heaven sent a hurricane to hold off Gov. Romney’s coronation, so today we’re urging pro-life GOP delegates to abstain from any voting on Romney’s nomination until all GOP financial support for Todd Akin is reinstated and details of Romney’s income tax returns in connection with Bain’s Stericycle investment have been mad public,”
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

D. Nevertheless they remain God’s elect:

A study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, released recently, indicates that the middle class is much more charitable than the wealthy. According to the study, households earning between fifty-thousand and seventy-five thousand dollars annually gave 7.6% of their net income to charity on average, while households earning over a hundred thousand gave only 4.2%. When income broke two hundred thousand, the percentage given to charity dropped to a measly 2.8%.

Mathematically this means that a person making seventy-five thousand dollars per year gave $1700 more per year to charity that the average person making two-hundred thousand.

A political note: Although Mitt Romney’s only released tax return shows that he claimed about seven million dollars as charitable contributions out of a total Adjusted Gross Income of somewhere between twenty-one and forty-million dollars; a somewhat higher average rate of giving than most in his income class. However almost three million dollars of that amount represented his tithing to the Mormon Church much of which goes into church business investments and not social welfare, leaving four million in traditional charitable contributions, still perhaps a little higher than the average of even the middle class giving. Good for Mitt.

Unfortunately, he (Mitt) also bragged that he contributed more to charity [including to the Mormon Church] than he paid in taxes.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

” I just can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone who has been inside me.”
Sex and the Shameless.

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Saturn

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Pops 0001 (August 21 2012)

Today’s Question: Do you know where your wampeter is today?

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I returned to Sacramento on Wednesday and resumed the ambiguous life of living in someone else’s house and caring for a child rapidly assuming his own identity and beginning his life voyage; a voyage that I and others can at best be only temporary observers.

As I settle into my regime of nanny and part-time tutor, the distinction between days have begun to fade. The absence of readily available access to an automobile in this automobile oriented environment makes me feel like I am imprisoned in a velvet (or more appropriate manicured lawn) jail.

I look forward to next weekend when we plan to travel to SF to see the preliminary America’s Cup races.

Regarding the custody litigation, the hearing on the motion to dismiss has been tentatively set for August 30. Chances of success look very promising at this time. We are awaiting the responsive pleadings, if any.

Should we be successful, I assume my welcome as guest nanny will be withdrawn and I will, not completely regretfully, scurry off to eventually return to my room without a view adjacent to the BKK red light district where I will soon enough get to complaining about, followed by making plans to leave again.

B. NEWS:

My first paid post for a blog has been accepted and published. You can read it here. (If you would rather not read it, please click into the site once or twice anyway so that my new employer may be led to believe that I have a popular following and keep me on payroll for at least another post.)

As minuscule a success as it is, I am pleased, given that it is what I set out to do when I started “This and that…” (bucket list?). Now that I have done it, consistent with my history, I will soon tire of it, drift along for a while, get into arguments with everyone, quit in high dudgeon and set about searching for something else to occupy my time. In between I will be depressed.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

Thai View Olympic Success:
photo
(complements of Gary)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I have written at length regarding the 10 millennium subjugation of woman even to the point of half-jokingly suggesting that the survival of humanity requires men stepping aside in favor of woman assuming control our species destiny given the fact that we men have so placed that survival in jeopardy. I suggested in another post that the current US presidential election could represent the last hurrah of the white male. Perhaps, despite the fact that no woman heads the ticket of either party, instead it could be looked at as the first election in the emancipation of women, given the stark differences in approach on gender issues between the two parties.

In the 1930s the NAZI’s had a number of simple solutions to the problems rampant in German society at the time. Among them was to cure the unemployment problem by sending women who had jobs back to their homes. Today among the simple solutions proposed for addressing the problems facing US society one party proposes returning women to the role as mere machines for reproduction.

Perhaps one of the more perceptive articles, and one that I highly recommend, on how even the most accomplished women are not so subtly silenced by many men was written by Rebecca Solnit in which she commented:

“A Freudian would claim to know what they have and I lack, but intelligence is not situated in the crotch—even if you can write one of Virginia Woolf’s long mellifluous musical sentences about the subtle subjugation of women in the snow with your willie.”

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

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

Detritus 35 years later.

During our recent trip to the Mendocino County Coast, Peter Grenell and I decided to look at some of the projects in the area that we had developed about 35 years ago during our stints running the California State Coastal Conservancy.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Coastal Conservancy was a novel concept at the time that I introduced it into California’s Coastal Plan in 1975 or so. It was proposed in response to the recognition that regulation alone could not deal with the deleterious impacts of pre-existing development that had prompted the call for regulation in the first place, nor with the continuing degradation of those resources that those pre-existing developments engendered. Nor could it effectively deal with many planning issues, such as setting firm urban limit lines (they almost always are ignored for a host of political, legal and equitable reasons). Similarly existing public acquisition agencies (Parks Departments or wildlife agencies) were unsatisfactory for dealing with these issues either because of the nature of their function (recreation or wildlife preservation) or absence of focus (e.g., creation of public ownership strips along urban limits, urban water from restoration and restoration of all kinds, individual access-ways to the coast and the like). And, finally there was no agency specifically dedicated to providing solutions to the often vexing conflicts between regulation, economic development and simple equity.

JUGHANDLE CREEK HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE NATURE TRAIL

One of the principle objectives of the California Coastal Program in general and of the State Coastal Conservancy in particular was to preserve and enhance access to coastal recreational resources for all. This included the poor as well as the handicapped. At that time providing facilities of any sort for the handicapped was a relatively novel concept. Over the next decade or so the plethora of regulations and programs for the handicapped that we are familiar with became prevalent.

Early in the existence of the Conservancy, I as Executive Officer was approached by John Olmsted to fund a handicapped accessible trail system along Jughandle Creek in Mendocino County. (For those who have read my previous posts on the subject, it was John and the issues surrounding the Jughandle Creek natural environment that got me involved in coastal resource protection issues in the first place.) He was busy trying to establish a cross California Natural Heritage Trail on which he spent the rest of his life working. He believed a trail on the coast with a handicapped accessible component would be appropriate beginning.

The Conservancy Board and I agreed and we funded the program. Designs were drawn up and the trail constructed. It was a bit of an engineering marvel since it had to traverse the terrain from ridge top to stream side as well as follows the winding path of the water course in a way that was accessible to the handicapped, environmentally sound and un-intrusive enough so that the visitors experience of the natural environment remained. It was completed relatively inexpensively with the help of volunteers.

Although constructed on lands owned by the non-profit educational entity run by John we expected that the State Department of Parks and Recreation would buy the farm as part of its Jughandle Creek State Reserve and Pygmy Forest State Park and assume the operation and maintenance of the trail. Alas for some reason, after I left the Conservancy, the acquisition was never completed.

Now over thirty years later Peter and I searched for the trail system but could not find it. We asked around, but nobody seemed to know what I was referring to. As we started to leave the area, I noticed some rotting wood along the path we were walking on. Upon closer examination I realized that this was all that was left of the trail system that had extended almost a mile through the forest. I assume without the park acquisition, the maintenance of the system became too great for the non-profit. Unfortunately my successors at the Conservancy failed to monitor their projects.
DSCN0134
All that is left of the Jughandle Creek Handicapped Access Trail

Next: Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.
TODAY’S FACTOID:
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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

A philosopher is someone who rationalizes from no evidence whatsoever. It saves the effort of going out and finding out what’s happening. It is an especially good occupation for old people. They can claim it has something to do with experience.
B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
LobbyingRoi

C. Electioneering:
483957_10150988564821275_2124160774_n

This chart also explains why Republicans in Congress try to ban funding for NPR. I suspect they would like to ban MSNBC also.
D. Bokononism (Kurt Vonnegut):

1. Principles of Bokononism:

Bokononism is based on the concept of foma, which are defined as harmless untruths. A foundation of Bokononism is that the religion, including its texts, is formed entirely of lies; however, one who believes and adheres to these lies will have peace of mind, and perhaps live a good life. The primary tenet of Bokononism is to “Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

2. The Books of Bokononism: Excerpts from Book One.

Warning from title page: Don’t be a fool! Close this book at once! It is nothing but foma!

Verse 1: All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Verses 2-4 (?): In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.
3. My Favorite Bokononism Quotes:

1. Referring to one’s karass:
Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass.
If you find your life tangled up with somebody else’s life for no very logical reasons that person may be a member of your karass.
Likes and dislikes have nothing to do with it.

2. Referring to the wampeter:
No karass is without a wampeter, just as no wheel is without a hub.
Around and around and around we spin, with feet of lead and wings of tin…
Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.

E. Testosterone Chronicles:

Differences between men and women: no woman would ever utter the word apotheosis in a conversation.

The essence of Abrahamic religions: My penis is mine and your vagina is mine also.
TODAY’S QUOTES:
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They are still all white guys except with less facial hair and hats. Note: Only the guy from Goldman Sachs is smiling, as well he should be.
TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 15 Joe 0001 (July 31, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Instead of my usual daily schedule of Health club, food consumption, playing with my computer, watching Thai soaps, eating and sleeping, my schedule these last few days has gotten frantic.

I am in the middle of preparing for my trip including obtaining re-entry permits and airline tickets; acquiring and packing the under $2 gifts for my family and closest friends consisting of fake watches, cheap jewelry, and inexpensive scarves that will rarely be worn but that I am sure the recipients of such largess will treasure for ever.

Before I depart, I need to find places to stay and to arrange for lunches and the like during my travels around the US.

In addition, I am trying to finish up the annoyingly delayed draft business plan my sister and I have been working on these last few months.

I am also in the throes of the administrative details of my first paid blogging assignment and trying to get a draft of the article completed before I leave.

The custody battle has heated up too. I am working with the attorney to defend against the claim. The law is simple, no matter who the father may be or how unsuitable the mother may appear, if she was married to someone else at the time the child was born, the putative father has no rights except perhaps the right to the obligation to pay child support. However, since everyone is in such a tizzy (how long has it been since someone has used that word in a sentence) over the putative fathers allegations about the mothers lifestyle and child rearing skills, I have to spend hours on the phone (international calls no less) trying to get everyone focused on what really needs to be done.

All this, and the GOOD/BAD David returns to town tomorrow from Qatar. Not that I view enjoying a lunch or dinner with the genial gentleman from South Dakota as an additional distraction, but I fear my preoccupation with these other things may stunt our scintillating conversations about puerile sex in all its manifestations.

David and I may consider spending a day at the Oval Table in the Outskirts of Hell with Ray who may still be around.

Alas, since I have written the previous two paragraphs, it has become clear that David is delayed somewhere on the sands of the Arabian Peninsula and we will not make our visit to the oval table with Sinbad the Tentmaker.

Thai Soap Opera update:

It has been a while since I updated the status of the several soaps I watch while eating dinner in my apartment.

One of my favorites ended a few weeks ago. It concerned a young man who wore a cowboy hat and covered his face with a scarf when he would be up and about beating up other people for some reason. His nemesis was also a young man who could pass for the masked man’s twin. They would periodically battle because each thought the other was the bad guy. After many weeks of this, the real bad guy turned out to be the guy with the mustache who not only had a gang but had magic powers as well. Mustache could defeat each of the young men alone. So the two young men joined forces for the ultimate showdown with him.

Now unlike US melodrama where such confrontations are resolved in a blaze of gunfire, explosions and car chases, the low-budget Thai soaps are limited to climatic battles with hands, feet, at times swords and very bad special effects . After two full episodes where the young men are fairly well trashed by the mustache, they manage to combine their much weaker magic powers and destroy the source of the mustache’s magic powers and thoroughly beat him up. They were unable to kill him however, so they staked him out in the middle of a field so that the vultures could eat him alive; which they did in living color while I was eating my dinner.

In the following final episode the masked man put his cowboy hat and scarf into a trunk and with the girl who had on and off rejected him, stood somewhere in the country-side with his counterpart and his counterpart’s often imperiled girl friend and they all smiled at each other for a long time.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. The essence of politics in Thailand:

It has now become abundantly clear that the only issue in Thai politics is whether deposed, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl, Thaksin the Terrible will be allowed to return to Thailand without facing arrest. Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl‘s administration appears capable of passing any legislation it wants as long as it does not make it easier for the ex-prime minister to return.

2. Did he or did he not dodge:

Ex-Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready, is under investigation by civil authorities for dodging the draft way back when. The chief of the armed forces says that such an investigation is unnecessary since the armed forces had already cleared him in an inquiry into the matter while he was serving as Prime Minister.

In response, Abhsit the Unready has sued someone for defamation.

3. Defamation as free speech.

Under Thailand’s defamation law, truth is not an absolute defense.

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

In Thailand, like in most tropical countries, unless you live above the fifth floor of a modern condominium building, you soon become desensitized to tiny creatures crawling about your body, especially at nighttime.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The top five recipients of federal corporate tax breaks—Chevron Corp, Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and Boeing—gave $78.7 million to state political campaigns and another $45.3 million to federal campaigns from 1999 through 2010.This number does not include the untold millions these same corporations have spent on public relations, lobbying and consultants to manipulate public policy for their own benefit.

Bill De Blasio, of the New York City Public Advocates office, pointed out that these same five corporations benefited from $3.7 billion in corporate tax breaks in 2009, paid $0 in 2009 federal taxes, and in 2010 enjoyed a combined profit of $77.16 billion. Slightly more than $8.9 million went to political party committees, favoring Republicans 3–to–1 ($6.6 million compared to $2.3 million given to Democrats).

In other words you and I are paying these corporations our tax dollars to enable them to accumulate even more of our tax dollars. Makes you want to go out in the streets and protest doesn’t it?

Think about this; these same corporations mostly through the Republican Party but also with the support of a number of Democrats want you to believe that the source of all America’s fiscal problems is caused by a few Mexicans swimming across the Rio Grande, some black unwed mothers, teachers unions, health insurance reform and a women’s rights to choose. What is most appalling is the number of emails floating through the internet gleefully passed on, as though it was revealed truth, parroting this misdirection that are often created by those funded by the same corporate institutions so eagerly ripping us off.

(A lot of this was written by someone other than me, but I have forgotten who.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have a war to fight:

1917: David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the WWI Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs:

“[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”
Chris Hedges

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Tomorrow is what one hopes will be better than yesterday. If it is not, then it is today.

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

1. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?

376494_10150951961736275_1803773560_n

(It is not as though we are faced by an armed and dangerous Soviet Union spending itself into bankruptcy in a futile attempt to match us militarily. Do we need to spend ourselves into bankruptcy also in order to defend ourselves from a few ill equipped terrorist? How about if we just spend as much as all the other countries combined? I would think that would still keep us safe from armed invasion while also having the benefit of paying off the national debt.)

2. Why not deal with the budget deficit sensibly?
gop-reid-taxplans

One must keep in mind that both plans maintain the existing middle class tax cuts. The Democratic Plan would allow the rates on the wealthiest Americans to return to what they were during the Clinton era when we last had a budget surplus.

The first thing to note however is that the Republican tax plan would remove the Obama stimulus tax cut for the middle class and effectively apply it to the wealthy. Therefor the middle class actually will experience a rise in their taxes.

The second, is that since the first about $5 million in value of an estate is already exempt from taxation, the Republican plan adds additional tax relief for the very wealthy that is not available to anyone else.

The Republican tax plan not only maintains the tax relief for the wealthy that had a lot to do with turning a budget surplus from the Clinton years into a deficit, but it actually increases tax relief for the wealthy while reducing it for the middle class.

By providing so much tax relief to the wealthiest Americans, the Republican plan increases the national debt so substantially that governmental expenditures cuts cannot balance it without eliminating almost all current governmental programs including national defense or by engaging in massive inflation of the economy.

The Republican proposal is premised exclusively on the belief that those who are most benefited by their plan will invest and spend in America the money they save from paying taxes thereby boosting the economy and raising tax revenues. This has not worked in the past.

As usual, those who publicly support the Republican plan and who are not generally included in the class that are rewarded by it, are nevertheless most often those who receive financial benefit from those actually directly advantaged by the plan.

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

(I love science.)
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:

America-is-violent-graph
This chart shows violence in America (basically assault) relative to other countries. While it reached rates as much as 5 times more than the most violent of other countries, the divergence is decreasing. To put this in perspective between 1975 to 1990 Americans were killing more of their own citizens per year than there were annual deaths of combatants in any war during that time. Since that time, Americans still kill more Americans per year than Americans die in all its wars and all acts of terrorism against Americans combined.

Interestingly, the decreasing rate of violent assaults in the US directly matches increasing rates of abortion availability. On the other hand the original rise in the rate of violent crimes exactly matches the entry of the baby boom generation into adulthood and falls as the pass on into middle age. So what does this all mean? The soldiers returning from WW II should have had better access to birth control and abortion. If they had the world would be in a much better place than it is now. History will probably consider the baby boom generation as the greatest calamity to infect earth since it coalesced out of cosmic dust.

Another point to ponder regarding the violent behavior of the modern American; during the past two decades Americans have killed more non-Americans than any and all other countries in the world have killed non-nationals. Admittedly some countries are as good as we are at killing their own citizens, such as in the Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo and now in Syria. But none are as effective as us in killing each other in random violence or by public execution.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

XmaTq

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Joe 0003 (July 22, 2014)

‘We’re here because we’re here. And since we’re here, we might as well be warm.’
Pratchett, Terry; Stewart, Ian; Cohen, Jack. The Science of Discworld: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SISTER MARY ANNE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
xl_american_odyssey_030-031
Photograph of the Statue of Liberty Taken in about 1910.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In between nanny duties when HRM was off on a play date, I slipped into the man cave ordered up a lemonade and a hand rolled regular panatela and watched Planet of the Apes: The Beginning on their wall sized TV screen. A few days later Dick, HRM and I went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the local movie emporium. Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar nomination.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk for about a week or so. No reason, it just happens now and then. During that time I pull a Garbo and withdraw from contact with others or become snappish when I cannot. I have not been able to exercise much during that time so I thought another trip into the darkness of the man cave would help my attitude. I sat there in the dim light listening to some classic rock and thought about the music I used to listen to many years ago as jazz began to give way to rock. It has been about 60 years since the heyday of Miles, Coltrane and Bill Evans. Sixty years are a long time ago, except for we alters. Sixty years before Miles popular music consisted mostly of polkas, hymns and rag time. Now in the second decade of the 21st Century streaming is strangling music as we know it as it is also killing literature. H shows me many strange things he finds on u-tube and the apparently popular games he likes that allows people to create their own universes and share it with one another. Perhaps future art forms will grow out of those. But what happens to music? Are future generations destined to forever to simply mine the endless lists of streaming music from the past?
B. SNIPPETS FROM OLD T&T’S:

A bar in Ft. Lauderdale with the Golden Vagina:

The next day Frank and I went to a place in Boca Raton called the Royal Pig (owned appropriately by the original promoters of Hooters) where we met up with a friend of his named Dorian. We ate a lot of bar foods including a tasty fried sweet potato snack. I drank a lot of different fruit juice based cocktails and got a bit drunk.

I remember we talked a fair amount to the bartenders; one a short young woman originally from Cambodia and the other a tall blond girl from Columbus Ohio. Being three Italian-American males of a certain age, we inevitable got around to discussing our ethnic cultural icons, in this case Dean Martin. The bartender from Columbus who is of Italian-German heritage and who’s father pitched for the Mets, shockingly (to us at least) acknowledged she had no idea who Dean Martin was.

Marlena, the director of a local cultural center of some sort, then arrived. She is an old friend of Dorian and Frank. Dorian mentioned that one of her current boyfriends recently had bought her an expensive house, cash. When I enquired how she had managed to accomplish that remarkable feat, she responded, “I owe it all to my golden vagina.”

I also learned that Chuck the Banker who I had met once in San Francisco on some deal or another but who disappeared after scoring some coke, was sitting in his car outside of the bar but refused to come in. We discussed his peculiar behavior patterns for a while.
18 Papa Joe 0001

C. BOOK REPORT:

Whenever I am in a funk (see above), I often dive into reading reams of escapist stuff. During past few days I read the seven books by Kevin Hearne in the Iron Druid series (one cannot get much more escapist than swords and sorcery literature. They operate like a mental laxative. Once your emotions and your mind become so constipated they freeze up rock solid, a good fantasy induces mental diarrhea leaving your brain an aching vacuüm.)

Anyway, our hero a 2000+ year old Druid the last of his kind is on the lam from the celtic god of love who for some reason or other (I forget why because it actually makes no difference) wants to kill him. I enjoy the books because the author peppers them with obscure quotes and historical ephemera. I especially liked one of the books where our Druid and a vampire talk to each other using obscure quotes from Shakespeare.

Oh, he also has a giant Irish wolfhound that talks only to him and says things like:

“I think life is like a ham bone if you live it right. You enjoy it and then you bury it when you’re finished. If you don’t enjoy it and you let it go to waste, you still have to bury it, so you might as well savor everything you can.”
Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Seven (p. 63). Random House Publishing Group.

Not to be outdone on flinging bon mots our 2000+ year old druid (who looks only 21 years old) opines:

“Making a good omelet is like living well: You have to pay attention to the process if you want to enjoy it.”
Hearne, Kevin. Hammered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Three (p. 93). Random House Publishing Group.

And,

“Corporations might be harder to kill than gods.”
Hearne, Kevin. Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Four (p. 247). Random House Publishing Group.

Pookie says check it out.

DAILY FACTOID:

1961 – Chico Marx and Carl Jung die.
(Carl Jung’s final words were, “Does Chico yet live?”)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A Irish Father’s advice to his son:

“A man’s supposed to shit himself after he dies, son, not before. Try to remember that, lad, so that when your time comes, you won’t make a right girly mess of it. Now fuck off and go play in the bog.”
Hearne, Kevin. Tricked: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Four. Random House Publishing Group.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“It used to be that crazy people were more-or-less evenly divided between the (northern) Republican Party and the (southern) Democratic Party. Now they are concentrated in the Republican Party. This matters–and is a source of great terror and dismay for the non-crazy Republicans, and for us all.”
Brad DeLong

“The world is a ball of dung and we are the worms that live in it and eat each other. The one who eats all the others wins — but he is still the last living worm in a lump of shit.”
Tad Williams, Shadowrise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

TODAY’S CHART:
64-percent-of-americans-are-white-though-minority-populations-have-become-majorities-in-some-areas

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
xl_american_odyssey_276-277_2
Photograph of a Bayou in 1890

Categories: July through September 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Shadow 0001 (July 7 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. The Continuing Saga:

I guess it is about time in these emails for another edition of “The Hayden and Pookie Saga.” For the past week or so SWAC has a considerable amount of time rationalizing why I should not be permitted to see Hayden. However, due to Hayden’s insistence on spending time with me when Joey is not around, and her absence of acceptable baby-sitters, again when Joey is not around, Hayden and I have found ourselves sharing a number of adventures appropriate for an old-man and a young boy, like toy shopping, inventing nonsense songs and splashing each other in the pool. A few days ago, however, the first official document from the court regarding the custody hearing arrived along with an attorney’s retainer agreement. The court document contains a record of the complainants statement to a child protective agent. Now, I am perhaps the last person in the world to commend SWAC’s child rearing abilities or mental balance, but this person seems  a menace to society. Not only did he lose visitation rights to his daughter by a prior marriage regaining it only after the woman committed suicide, I suspect encouraged by his harassment, but he claims that although he had not visited or sought to visit the boy for five years he has evidenced his paternal devotion by recently been sending him emails every day. In reviewing those emails, they appear to consist primarily of this man urging this young boy of 6 of 7 to become a Republican because Obama and the Democrats are scum (remember this guy is a Federal government employee). Hayden told me that during one of his visits to this man, he wanted to shave Hayden’s head so that he would look more like a man. Another time he threatened to cut Hayden’s eyelashes because they were too long and made him look like a ladyboy.

Suddenly, I find myself in SWAC’s temporary good graces, because I might be able to testify on her behalf. I have never been that good at lying under oath but in this case if need be, I may make an exception.

For the past two days Hayden and I have shared a hotel room and spent our time swimming, watching National Geographic television programs generally featuring large animals killing and devouring smaller ones or making up silly rhyming songs.

2. Travel Plans:

My on again off again travel plans are on again. We plan to depart for Italy on the 14th remaining there for about two weeks. Nikki and I have discussed taking Hayden with us on a brief trip to Sicily, taking the overnight ferry from Naples to Palermo.

On the 38th or so of July we will travel to NY where I will spend about five days. I hope to be able to visit with Terry and with my daughter Jessica. I would like to get all the way to Williamsburg and see Ann but I am not sure I have the time to do so.

Another possible change of plans: Since I wrote the above, it seems that the both the Italian and the NY portions of the trip have gotten much briefer so I am contemplating skipping them on this trip and going directly to SF in early August. This will allow me to spend some time with Gates who is in Thailand for two weeks and with another friend and her son who is visiting until the end of the month.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

On again, off again:

It seems as though the so-called national reconciliation proposals suggested by the current government that would have in effect pardoned everyone involved in one way or another with the events surrounding the various coups of the past few years including Thaksin the Terrible, exiled, fugitive ex-Prime Minister and according to the opposition party de-facto ruler of the country are to be abandoned by the ruling party because the opposition strongly objects to the fugitives return. So it appears that the oppositions approach to reconcile the political division that has kept the country in political and economic turmoil for almost a decade to do nothing and see what happens has prevailed. The Red Shirts will not reconcile without the man who led them to victory and the opposition will not reconcile with him.

It sort of resembles the US Republican Party‘s approach toward dealing with the nation’s unemployment crisis. They will do nothing for the unemployed if it may assist in Obama’s re-election, and Obama alas, insists on running.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1942 June: Friedrich Paulus WWII German general wrote to the corps commanders of VI Army on the Eastern Front in Russia:

“Recently numbers of reports have come to my attention and that of the higher leadership in which division commanders have described the condition of their divisions with extreme pessimism. This I cannot tolerate.
The personnel and material deficiencies afflicting the divisions are well known to the higher leadership. Nevertheless, the higher leadership is determined to carry out its intentions in the eastern theater of war to the full. Therefore it is up to us to get the most out of the troops in their present condition.
I request that you exert influence on the division commanders in this sense.”

Brad DeLong commented, “Can anybody imagine a worse commander than Friedrich Paulus? To announce before the start of the campaign that you do not want to hear about reality…”

2012: An analysis by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, founded and funded by the long time backers and supporters of Republican and conservative causes, Annenberg family, conducted for the Center for Responsive Politics found that from December 1, 2011 through June 1, 2012, 85% of the dollars spent on presidential ads by four top-spending third-party groups known as 501(c)(4)s were spent on ads containing at least one claim ruled deceptive by fact-checkers at FactCheck.org, PolitiFact.com, the Fact Checker at the Washington Post or the Associated Press.

From December 1, 2011 through June 1, 2012, the four top presidential campaign-spending 501(c)(4)s spent an estimated $24.9 million1($24,916,690) of their $29.3 million ($29,320,110) presidential ad dollars on ads containing deceptions.

All four were conservative and Republican oriented third-party groups and associated with Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and other well know conservatives.

Not a single deceptive claim was found presidential ads put out by Democratic Party organizations. This is hard to believe.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

B. Obamacare:

C. Testosterone Chronicles:

Alas, it finally happened as it had to happen, the Sauna Nazi, decided to bump chests with me and scream because I put my bathing suit in the sauna to dry (as does almost everyone) so I punched him in the jaw. He staggered back and did something almost comical, he started dancing around and flicking out his leg like some asian martial artist expert. As expected, the health club security intervened before things got further out of hand. After things quieted down they wanted to know if I intended to press charges. I declined, but requested that they instruct him in the value of the word, please. I am amazed at how much pleasure I get, even at seventy-two, from involving myself in adolescent male adventures in foolishness.

Hayden asked me if that was how attorneys do it; insult their opponents in court before throwing punches. I explained that we generally refrained from the physical part, but that slander and defamation are our stock in trade. He said he still wanted to become an airline pilot when he grows up.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Alas, even though I am sympathetic to Obama’s statement, this is just a political piece. Romney’s statement is reprehensible for ignoring the need for Americans to be prepared with the knowledge and training to meet the future challenges to the nation. To some extent he seems almost Un-American in his abandonment of our children’s future. America’s public education system has been one of its proudest accomplishments.

On the other hand, Obama is disingenuous in that he avoids mentioning where he will get the resources to properly educate the next generation of Americans. Even if the Republicans stop trying to destroy our nation in order to defeat him, any resources freed up will have to go initially to rebuilding the economy, debt repayment and rehabilitating the nations social and physical infrastructure after years of neglect by Republican administrations.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. The US Treaty of Tripoli signed in 1797

“As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen (Muslims); and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any nation, it is declared by the authorities that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

2. Thomas Jefferson

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law”

3. Peter Grenell, July 1 2012. (11 Shadow 0001)

“Take your inspirations where you find them.”

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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