Posts Tagged With: Fundamentalist Christian

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. 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
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(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:
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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. 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).
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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.
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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:
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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. March 22, 2010

It has been and interesting last few days, at least for me it has. On Saturday my sore throat and coughing had gotten so bad that I had to seek medical assistance. So, I went of the doctor who prescribed antibiotics, anti-congestion medicine and some little red pills to suppress my cough reflex. The package seems to be working. It cost me $9 for the doctor visit and $33 for the medicines (That’s the Farang [white people] uninsured costs); not as good as Medicare, but not too bad either.They also call me to ask how I’m doing and if I am taking my medicine.

Everyone must know by now my feelings about the American fundamentalist missionaries inhabiting the neighborhood. Of course it was destined that Hayden would make friends with the son of a missionary couple. They (the parents) have become as close to friends as I have here. I comfort myself with the delusion that they are the proletariat of the missionary class. Those that labor in the fields of the lord so to speak.

He, (I will not give their names to protect them from the risk of an Auto-da-fe) and she are employed by the Southern Baptist Convention and come from the US South. Her father is an ex-hippy guitarist now survivalist who retreated into the mountains around Eugene Oregon (where else) after having spent his best years in good old SF during the 60’s fathering an impressive number of children including our missionary.

He is assigned to brave the murky Muslim-Hindu waters of Bangladesh teaching modern emergency medical care to the inhabitants of the remote villages and picking up the odd soul here and there to add among the elect.

We try to avoid theology and instead meet in the “gosh ain’t it awful” field of human communication with our mutual antipathy for hierarchy.

It seems there is a developing rift between the “Mythologists” as he calls the workers in the field and the administrators and seminarians. The Mythologists are pleased whenever they locate someone who recognizes a similarity between their tradition and the so-called “Peace” message of the New Testament. The “Seminarians” appear to be only interested in the number of baptisms for that quarter. The wife added “and we don’t agree in buying baptisms either.” I immediately could see where they were out of the mainstream of American theological thought and needed the protection of anonymity.

He then told me that one of his students went back to research the Vedas and found passages that indicated that the supreme deity or Poo-bah (A Hindu word) indicated that he would send someone to bring peace to the land. I agreed that was a terrific insight and suggested that we create a new religion where we jettison the Old Testament and its dyspeptic homicidal god and replace it with the Vedas and the New Testaments as the revealed books. My suggestion was ignored.

He did come up with one item if information that I appreciated. I had gone off on my rant about the evils of hierarchical organizations, whether public or private, that reward those in management who produce little of value to the organization when compared to the laborer (white-collar or blue) and suggested management positions should only go to those willing to take a pay cut. He pointed out that his organization pays everyone at the same rate, increasing it only based on seniority. “How un-American, socialist, and unchristian” I thought.

My missionary friend told the story that he had asked some Bangladeshis how it was that Muslim would kill Muslim as they did during the revolt of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
They explained that the Pakistani soldiers were told they were killing Hindus and therefore they had no problem. However when the soldiers lifted the tunics or whatever of the dead they found they were circumcised. They then realized that the people they had killed were not Hindu but were either Jew or Muslim men (women did not matter) and while it was all right to kill them if they were Jews it was definitely a no-no if they were Muslims. In either event, they understood that they had been lied to by their leaders and refused to fight anymore. And that is how Bangladesh became the independent, economic and social basket case it is today.

Anyway all this kumbya was ruined when he mentioned that since it was Sunday he had to get to a church service. To my annoyance he invited me to come along. He said it would be a unique and unusual service in that they would sing a few songs, then read a few verses from scripture and discuss how they apply to their lives. There would be no minister but the most knowledgeable there would help the individuals in their self-analysis. I told him It sounded a lot like Hill-el developed 2000 years ago when he and his followers created Rabbinic Judaism. His smile turned into a grimace. “Maybe next time” he said, picked up his guitar and piled his family into their SUV and went off.

As Hayden and I walked home, I wondered why the mere mention Judaism would produce that sort of reaction. After all, unlike the other people of the book, Christians and Muslims, who run around the world-beating each on the on the head and demanding join each other’s men’s club (and men’s clubs they are) or they will kill you, Jews don’t even want you to join their club and certainly do not want to join ours.

When I got home and took my nap and had a biblical dream that I will not relate here for fear of offending everyone. However if anyone would like to hear my revelatory dreams drop me a line. They are titled “Successful camel breeder and brewer forms new mens club and almost kills son in process” and “Oh my God” squeal the women of Jerusalem as Jesus of Nazareth tips the scales on Paul of Tarsus”. Needless to say I woke up in a cold sweat.

That night I invited my missionary friends, Jerry the New Zealander and his wife Choti who is the principal of the school, two New Zealand taxi drivers and their girlfriends who were visiting Jerry, Mac’s father, whose name is Oo by the way and the 4 and 5-year-old children of the various guests. We ate at the outdoor street end restaurant run by the shriveled up lady that I mentioned in a previous post. The total meal for everyone cost me $30 half of which was for the beer and wine.

The mysterious building pictured in my previous post is a crematorium. It was in use today as I passed. It looked like a Thai biker gang was sending off one of its members into the joy of re-incarnation. The superstitions of the Thai’s fear of ghosts depressed the prices of the land near the crematorium enabling Choti, the principal of the school to get the land on which it is built, at a low price.

Today’s photos are of the School and the school yard.


_____________________________________________

FROM MY DIARY LEADING UP TO POST:

FRIDAY MARCH 19 2010 3PM

Hot again. Lying on bed sweating. Rain brought a morning’s respite from the air pollution but my throat is feeling its return this afternoon. No exercise, just lying in bed. Typing at times, sleeping mostly.

SUNDAY MARCH 21 2010, 9:30 PM

Interesting few days. Went to Hospital yesterday for relief of my sore throat and coughing. Dr cost about $9 and 6 day antibiotics, decongestant/expectorant and cough suppressant $30.

Hiromi deposited $2766 Tax refund into my account. I removed about 20,000 baht. Deposited 12,000 into Thai account (What Happened to the remaining 8,000?).

Last night Hayden told me some interesting things that I relayed to Nikki. See email.

Spent morning with Micah’s parents. Southern Baptist Convention Missionaries. Husband spends most of his time in Bangladesh teaching emergency first aid and trying to convert muslims. Wife daughter of hippie father. Conversation mentioned a Bengali telling H. Veda seemed to suggest need for a JC. I suggested that maybe that is a good reason to throw out the old testament.

H. invited me to attend a what he termed an unusual Sunday service in a house to discuss bible passages and their personal meaning. I mentioned that it sounded a lot like a traditional Jewish service.

When I got home and took my nap I dreamed of something like this:

I saw old Abraham in his tent drunk on fermented camel’s milk surrounded by his sons. Outside the tent his wives, concubines and slaves tended the cook fire and drew lots to see who would sleep with the smelly old bastard that night.

Old Abe was raving about the rejection of his application to join the Babylon Men’s Camel Dung Rolling Club. That’s when he realized the truth. “O my God I must be Jewish”.

“Why would I want to join their damned club anyway” he shouted “they could not be very exclusive if they would allow someone like me living in a tent join”. And with that antisemitism and jewish humor were born.

“I will form my own club and will not let anyone join. I will show them real exclusivity”.

Isaac, a pimply faced overweight adolescent, feared this could lead to the end of his sneaking out of the tent at night after the old man passed out  for some action with the sweet-smelling Babylonian girls leaving him only with the camel herding women his dad preferred, protested. “We can’t do that we don’t have a membership card or anything.”

Abe stared at Isaac who he dislike and surmised was probably gay. He thought “maybe I should kill him now before he gets a chance to breed”.

“We will make our own membership cards”. “Clay tablets” Abe announced.

Everyone groaned. “No you’re right, too heavy. It will break the line of our tunics. Tattoos” he exclaimed “No, everyone’s got tattoos nowadays”. “I’ve got it” he exclaimed “We’ll cut off the ends of our dicks. Nobody will have membership card like that”.

“You got to be kidding” cried Isaac.

With that Abe grabbed his knife jumped over the fire grabbed Isaac by the shirt and said “I’ve had enough of you, you  little shit, prepare to die.”

In good biblical tradition Isaac thought quickly and lied. ” Wait” he said “I see the hand of God what’s his name staying your hand from killing your son because he and all your sons submit to the will of what’s his name”.

With that Abe relented killing Isaac. Instead he cut off the end of every male present’s dick. At the moment of initiation each one screamed “Yowee that hurts”.

When it was all over Abe rested. He looked at all his sons writhing in agony on the floor of the tent and said, “You know, I like that. Up to now whenever the guys hung out talking about their gods it was always Ishtar this and Baal that. They would all laugh when I mentioned the god whose name could not be uttered. From now on in recognition of this event whenever we utter we shall utter that the name of our all-powerful creator, “Yowee”. What do you think?”

In my dream I wondered how they were able to identify one another as member of the men’s club. Groping under each others tunic was a little more obvious than a Masonic handshake Maybe they originally had their meetings in the health club shower.

Anyway my dream fast forwarded to 33 AD (although they did not know it at the time, thinking it was 3000 years or something since god rested) and the throng (We no longer throng today, we crowd, what a loss) was pressing forward to enter the temple on the sabbath, the day people thronged to the temple, a building that replaced the health club showers .

The guard at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem stopped one of the throng who happened to be Jesus. “Hey you. Only Jews allowed to enter the temple. You Jewish. You don’t look Jewish with that fruity double-pointed red beard”.

“My good man”, said Jesus (he was a Rhodes Scholar and had studied in England) “of course I’m Jewish, I speak Hebrew as though I never learned Aramaic”.

“Anyone can learn Hebrew” responded the guard. “Whip it out and put in on the table.”

Now Jesus had no problem with whipping it out given all the time he spent with the ladies and all that lying of the head on the breast and that sort of thing and he was quite proud of his membership card. So he whipped it out and everyone getting a look at it exclaimed “Oh my God”.

“That’s right” said Jesus, “Now all of you get out of my fucking temple”.

Now where Jesus was quite proud in his membership in Judaism, Paul was less so. Where they all marveled at Jesus Membership ,they all laughed when Paul whipped his out. So Paul went to the Apostles (Jesus’ biker buddies) gathered in Jerusalem (Apostles “gather” they do not “throng or “crowd”)and said to them “This membership card thing isn’t working. It’s too hard to get anyone to join and tithe. Since we’re the new guys (and guys we are) we need a new card. Besides aren’t you all a little tired of having to show your card every time before you give a sermon”

“Good thought Paul” said Peter who although not afflicted by the results of being kicked by a horse on the way to Damascus as was Paul, was a shy man. What should the new membership card be?”

“Faith shining through their eyes” said Paul.

“How would anyone know” questioned Peter.

“We will know. Besides if the light shines through everyone’s eyes what difference would it make”.

And the rest is History. And I awoke

11PM

Earlier today I went to the Bank withdrew 30,000 baht from BOW acct. Deposited 20,000 in BKKB pers. acct. Kept 10,000.

Hosted dinner party with missionaries, Choti and Jerry two NZ tourists and Thai girlfriends, Mac’s father and assorted children 950 baht. About $3 each including wine and beer.

____________________________________________
COMMENTS TO POST:

Joe to Nikki:

1. attached is an update of the Chiang Mai expense account. As you can see, on the 23rd paid 2000 baht to Maid at Natalie’s direction for Food and 500 for the tree murder. As usual Natalie is double counting. Anyway, I paid 1000 baht for this weeks food from my personal account to make up for some of this.

Nevertheless it looks like we will be slightly over budget for food and for school but on budget for everything else. We still need to pay the Maid her salary. When I receive your share I will do so.

2. Natalie called and told me she will be taking Hayden out of school on April 1 and bringing him to Switzerland to stay with you while you attend your course. If this is so, please let me know the particulars. I assume she intends to ask Choiti to apply a portion of the summer school fees that we paid, to Mac’s tuition. I thinkt hat is unfair to Choti.
Anyway, will Hayden be coming back to Chiang Mai? I am sure she will take him to the US for school after she leaves Switzerland.

She asked me if I intended to go to Switzerland. I would love to, but I do not see how I can afford it.

More from Joe to Nikki:

Natalie called this morning. She wanted me to buy Hayden a ticket to travel to BKK with Mac and Oo on Friday. She said she would like to see Hayden in BKK because she is unable to travel to CM this weekend. I do not know how long he is to stay in BKK and if he will return to CM before departing for Switzerland.

Hayden told N. that he did not want to go to BKK without Pookie.

I will use the time to go to the seashore myself to find some air I can breathe.

Let me know what is going on, if you know.

Nikki’s response:

I don’t have a clue what she is planning to do of course something crazy and irrational as usual
My idea is coming to CM before i start my course for few days and let the baby stay there as long as possible till is finished the summer school
Before they will come to europe i need to settle myself in Zurich see how is the hotel and how is my schedule, i will move there on the 7th of april so is no rush to get the kids back to bkk right away
On the other end if i cannot visit CM then will organize something else.

Joe to Nikki again:

Ok, latest news.

Haden is going to BKK on Friday. I will go also. He will stay with N. I will go to the beach somewhere. I will take him back with me to CM on Tuesday March 30. I assume you will come to CM about then and make arrangements for them to visit you in Zurich. I guess all is well.
let me see what is going on in her brain then call u back

Nikki’s response:

I think the kids are going to the beach somewhere for few days then she want to go to italy before i move to zurich because her tahi friends are coming for a convention in venice sometime in april after that i will pick them up to stay with me in swiss for the month i guess
Big question what happen next?
Like i said i want hayden in CM for school and i will be resolute about that no matter what she want to do so i think u have to organize ur life around those events
update next.

Joe again:

Since we spoke, I talked with Natalie. I asked her if Hayden was going to return with me to Chiang Mai on Tuesday or if he was going with her to Italy at that time. She said that she intended to leave for Italy at the end of the month. I explained that Tuesday was the end of the month. She said she still needed to make all the arrangements. I asked her when she planned to return. She said not for at least two months. She had to go to Italy and then to the United States. She could not be sure how long it would be.

I said that since Hayden was not coming back to Chiang Mai on Tuesday there was no reason for me to come to BKK. Typically, she said that she wanted me to take him to the beach for a few days so that she can have peace to get some things done before she left.

Nikki’s response:

For that matter whatever is going to happen is nothing i can do it to force her to keep the kid in CM after all she is her legal mother.
Unless u pull up the wild card we can’t do much to avoid the worst what i am intended to do is at least bring hayden back sometime in CM after the summer break either myself or with her and i will try hard to do this cause i want him finish the school there but this will only postpone the problem cause the next year is going to be the same trouble.
also he has to change the school next year that means more money more distance and so on. I don’t care how much will cost me but i want him to stay in CM till at least is 7\8 years
I want to ask her a question what is the need to go to US?
can u answer me that too?
GOD protect that innocent baby
niki

.i still have energy and strenght to figth to prevent the worst possible scenario

Joe again:

He should stay in school until the end of April. At that time I can bring him to Zurich for three weeks and return with him to CM in time for the new semester. Why don’t you ask her not to bring him with her right now, but have me bring him in a few weeks so that I will be able to get him back in time to start the school semester? I will ask her the same thing tomorrow.

It will do you no good to ask her why she has to go to the US, she will only come up with another story. I feel very bad for Hayden. It is not a question of who ends up with him. but how does he end up. I am afraid that innocent little boy will be distroyed by her. If he does not start school at the same time as the other students, he will never catch up. If he is forced into a new school, whatever benifits these past few months have had on him will be lost. The idea of taking him away now in the middle of the summer semester because it serves your schedule as well as hers does not help Hayden one bit.

I do not think you will be able to bring him back after the summer break in time for the new semester since your training program will not be completed. If you were able to bring him back after the new semester starts and he has to catch up to the other students while living with a nanny, what good will it all do him.

Outside of that, I do not know what to suggest to you.

Nikki again:

Just to clarify and update:
1) she is coming in italy for a week by herself with this madame on 1 or 2 of april
2) ill try to visit on 31st of march for few days reaching u guys in pattaya
( Suggest u to take mac and father too so u can have a break sometimes i went there with hayden last year and is gonna be hard to take care of him 24 hrs believe me)
3)she and hayden will visit me in Zurich on the middle of the month.
4)they will return to bkk before hayden starts the school for the next semester
How much of that is going to happen???????

And Nikki again:

I JUST GOT MY APRIL SCHEDULE I AM BUSY FOR THE ALL MONTH NO HOLYDAYS NO DAYS OFF SO I WAIT HAYDEN HERE IN SWITZERLAND HOPEFULLY SOON.
Rearrange ur trip if u want since i am not coming this time and i think is better for him not to loose too much schooldays
call me if u need suggestions or advices

Joe responds:

OK. I will take him to BKK on Friday, go to the beach and return to CM on Tuesday. I will wait for Nat to tell me when she is going to Switzerland.

I will bear the costs of the beach vacation. Nat said you agreed to pay Hayden’s air fatres. We also need to pay Maid first week in April. Suggest you deposit directly into the joint account at your bank in Italy.

*****************************

From Gates:

Shit, I need to cut back on drinking, whoring around or slumming just to find time for these epistles you’re sending now (speaking of religion and all)! Isn’t there a Gilbert’s outline or something available?

Jim made a proposal for going forward with the L.A. folk, a breakdown of the current fees, credit for what they paid, etc. We should hear something soon since they have their case is coming up in a couple of weeks.

P.S. Stay away from those religious types, something might rub off on you!

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from Thailand. February 10, 2010

Another glorious morning in my suburban paradise. That is the problem with paradises it is always another after another. I am glad I am eventually going to hell, at least I will have something to be pissed off about.

To continue my morning trek to school, the first photograph shows the convenience store in the garage that I mentioned in a previous email. It is located about halfway along the long stretch of road in my most recent photographs. The second photo is the end of the long road where it veers to the right by the American fundamentalist christian middle and high school on the left. The large building on the left is one of the school buildings and behind the wall is some of the acres and acres of sport fields used by the school. They are almost always in use by the students for competitive team sports. I guess the theory is that this prepares the “young uns” for the competition to become the “select”. Either that or the scientifically proven vain hope that if they keep their hands on the ball or the bat or whatever, it will keep them out of their pants or skirts or each others. Cynical am I? Maybe that’s what happens in paradise. Oh, the phallus that you can just about see at the end of the road, I believe is the developers memorial to himself.

By the way, Cuzin Irwin suggested that if I ever were so desperate to start a blog in be named, “re Thai r ment”. He gets like that at times. I was asked by the same distant relation if there were anything exotic in my neighborhood seeing as it appears it is not that much different from Orange County. Actually there is. Every morning at 7AM a loudspeaker goes of with rendition of the Thai anthem. But I hear the same thing occurs in Orange County except it’s the Star Spangled Banner. Maybe that is where the Thais got the idea, like they got the idea of subdivisions.

Ciao


——————————————————————-

COMMENTS:

From AnnMarie:

Just sent off my response to yesterdays email. Todays made me laugh. I like the blog title suggestion, cute. Hope you have a wonderful day in your little piece of paradise. It’s evening here, and I have a terrible cold so I’m off to bed. I hope to dream of my own paradise and another trip to Italy!

By the way, thank you for all the wonderful memories in Italy, I have pictures of you and the kids from that trip framed in my entryway. It was alot of fun traveling with you… dare I say you were a lot more fun than Jason! Lol. Wish you could have joined us at our Farmhouse in Tuscany last summer. All my pictures are posted at http://www.annmarie.smugmug.com if you’re ever bored in paradise. I try to keep it updated, so check back ever so often to watch the kids growing up.

More from AnnMarie:

Many people love that face of yours! How do you think you were so popular with all the ladies?

Anthony is doing better, he seems to have shaped up this last month. For the first time he seems to realize things and he’s showing a real interest in finishing school. He’s getting motivated, so for that I’m happy. As for Athena, she is really growing up too fast for me, But I know she’ll do well. Aaron, well… he’s taking after Jason in some areas and me in others what can I say, but still I love him to death. Of all my children he’s the most affectionate and caring.

Have a wonderful day! I llok forward to more of your emails & pictures!

From Irwin:

joseph of thailand – maybe you are missing something by having those high walls and wooden gate. if you had a garage front facing the street you too could open up a convenience store like the one in your photo, but specialize in sexually oriented goods like bamboo condoms and kick the box-ing videos. i’m stuck for a name at the moment but i will come up with one. joe-bang-kok’s?

speaking of streets, it was a lovely day here in southern california. the temperature was in the lower 50’s, clear blue skies with nary a cloud in sight. actually i have been informed by watching the discovery channel that the sky is purple and not blue. i can’t remember how that determination is made (spectograph?) and it still looks blue to me but i am partally color-blind so maybe just maybe it’s purple. if this is ever widely known think of all the things which will have to chenge like songs (“blue skies is all i see”), expressions (“sky blue”) and of course all of those paintings which picture the heavens as we know them. anyway, when the wind, which was light, stopped, the sun warmed one’s cheeks. so i paused during my walk and sat on a bench at our private 21 acre park owned by us members of the green valley homeowners recreation association. i don’t remember what i thought about. i try not to think most days when i am outdoors. i’m usually not sucessful at the subterfuge but i like to indulge myself in thinking that i have control over my body and mind having the luxury of not pausing to fret about something if i want to just enjoy the scenery.

even tho the recent rains have pretty much cleaned up the streets, tomorrow is the second thursday of the month. here in green valley, on the second and fourth thursdays of each month (unlike having one’s maid sweep the sidewalk as on world cup) the street sweeper truck comes by and using non-potable water pretends to present a pretty picture. however there is nothing on the truck which actually picks up the dirt so i’m not sure what’s gained except perhaps for dragging some dirt from in front of my house to my neighbors or a contract for the mayor’s nephew. since our streets are public, this cleaning scam is carried off by the city of fountain valley for which my monthly trash and water bill provides a sustenance along with those other owners of property in this garden city. when the subdivision was built street signs noting the street cleaning schedule were permantly affixed to some poles along the major collector road. over the years these signs have disappeared (perhaps with the hope that one could refuse to pay the $30 ticket for leaving your car on the street on street sweeper day claiming lack of knowledge; however, over the years such feeble excuses as ignorance of the law go unoticed and the street sweeping police will come and get you if you don’t adhear to the regulations. there is nothing like waking up at 8:00 am in the morning and going outside to get the newspaper only to notice that there is a ticket placed under your windhshield wiper). as we now have two small cars they are both easily stored on my driveway – when there were four of us and four cars it use to be a nightmare. to compensate for the missing warning notices one of the local realtors posts his own signs on the second and fourth wednesday of each month. this posting is the subject matter of today’s photo. if the postage isn’t too much i could send you one to install in the front of your wall to terrify the neighbors.

i thought today that if nostalgia for your former home sets in you might occasionally appreciate some news from bagdad by the bay. here are two stories i copied from the mad asian man blog which i found today when i was searching the web:

“murder victim ran a basement brothel
Last month in San Francisco, 44-year-old Xiao “Ben” Xiong Luo, was shot to death last in an invasion-style attack at his home in the Sunset District. Authorities suspect he was running a brothel out of his basement: Police suspect Sunset slaying house was brothel.

According to police, Luo was shot once in the chest by one of two masked men who burst into his home on January 27. Eight other people who were inside the home with Luo were tied up but not harmed. The assailants fled, and no suspects have been arrested.

The police have released a tape of a 911 call placed during the shooting, as well as surveillance video footage and detailed descriptions of the assailants: Police describe suspects in Sunset slaying. Police ask that anyone with information call the department’s tip line at (415) 575-4444.”

“the low down dirty housing swindler
A San Francisco real estate agent hired to help low-income Asian American residents apply for city-sponsored affordable housing was recently charged with swindling them out of payments he allegedly claimed would guarantee them the coveted units: Housing agent accused of bilking the poor.

Kan Yin Chow is accused of stealing $1,000 to $4,000 apiece from 19 Chinese-speaking applicants who were trying to get into housing in the city. He was arrested last month arraigned on grand theft, burglary and credit fraud charges. More here: Man arrested in alleged affordable housing swindle.
angrylink | sha”

so you see you aren’t missing much. things are the same as when you were taking the cable car. incidentally speaking of cars, i have been wondering how you obtained a thai driver’s license given the sparseness of that country’s language in your vocabulary.

Joe’s response:

With reference to my Thai driver’s license, I do not have one. I have been told that I have up to six months to get one. I have also beed told that unless I am involved in an accident, a $5 bribe will be enough to get me off if I am ever stopped. I assume the cost is higher if one is in an accident.

Anyway, you do not have to speak and read Thai to get a driver’s license in Thailand. You do not have to take a test to see if you know and understand the Thai traffic laws (not even the Thais understand them if there are any and I doubt it). You do not take a driving test. All they do is administer a depth perception test and if you fail a little vigorish (would you believe this word is in spell check?) gets your license anyway.

PS: joe-bang-kok’s is not bad. I wonder how it will play with my fundamentalist christian neighbors?

From Bill Geyer:

Glad to hear from you. I’ve been enjoying your illustrated daily journal about everyday life across the sea. I hope your visa red tape has worked itself out. I guess red tape didn’t require globalization. It was always with us as part of the human condition, like original sin. Are you getting any writing done yet? Sometimes I find before I embark on any extended written project, that it helps to warm up by writing a few short things like letters or notes to the file (like before you come out of the bullpen); so maybe that’s what you’re doing.

Naida’s final book in her Cosumnes trilogy “Rest for the Wicked” came back from the printer last week (3,000 copies, first printing) so she’s shifting into the publishers marketing mode. Visualize the prototypical one-man band. I’ll send you a copy FYI if you’ll tell me where and how best to do it. My current role is warehouseman and after-the-fact editor. So far I’ve caught 5 errors (4 typos and one of substance) in 450 pages. Assuming I haven’t missed too many others, that’s better than average for our first print runs. I’m guessing we’ll have to order a second printing reasonably soon, so we can fix them then.

As I probably told you, I’ve been working on a big project to find new funding sources for the Williamson Act county subvention fund which used to come ($40M) from the state General Fund but got vetoed last year by the Governor. If the counties don’t get some offset money for their WA tax losses, they’ve individually and collectively threatened to terminate their WA programs. I’ve been making headway getting my work funded and have just completed a 14 page draft of a white paper on possible funding options.

From Joe to Nikki:

Natalie left for BKK this morning. I saw her off at the airport at 6 AM. She was still in her irritable mood.

Hayden woke up in his own bed this morning (he went to sleep in Natalie’s). He said to me, “Where is Mommy?”. I told him that she had already left. “Oh” he replied, “then get out of my room” and then he rolled over and went back to sleep. When he finally got up, he was in a very good mood. This is all a good sign.

The Principal told me that summer vacation begins on March 15th and continues until May 1 when the school closes until May 17th. I am not sure if the new semester begins on May 18th or not. I need to get that clarified. Anyway she told me that Natalie had indicated to her that she would take Hayden with her only during the two weeks that the school is closed. Thai is a good sign also.

Ciao.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

This and that from Thailand. February 4,2010

I thank all of you for your advice and counsel regarding my visa problems, especially the recommendation that I avoid speaking Hebrew in Malaysia.

My sister suggested that I change these posts to a blog. After some thought, I decided against that because if I did, then I would have to pay more attention to spelling and grammar. Spell-check is a pain.

Not much has occurred in my idyllic life here in my Thailand subdivision except that I found a pizza joint nearby that specializes in Thai-Italian fusion New York style pizza. Basically it is pizza with a lot of pepper.

Although I love my subdivision style life, I am considering moving for a while closer to the sea-shore. When Hayden’s semester ends he may return to the US for the vacation. In that case the suburban life no matter how idyllic will probably kill me with ennui.

Did I mention the feral cats?

Ciao.

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COMMENTS:

From Ruth:

I am now thoroughly confused. I thought Hayden actually lives in Thailand, but then he wouldn’t be “returning” to the US. However, as long as you’re not confused, everything is no doubt okay.

Please don’t become a blog. It is fun to have your missives turn up in my email in-box. If you turn into a blog, I’ll have to go click on something and I’d rather not.
I haven’t heard this much from you in about 10 years, and I’m finding it all quite entertaining.

Can’t wait to hear how the visa processing turns out.

Be well,

Joe’s response:
Hayden lives wherever his mother drags him off to, sometimes in Thailand, sometimes in California and sometimes in Italy. That’s the problem. By moving here I am trying to get some stability in his life. You know, things like socialization with his peers, education and the like. Unfortunately his mother is considering returning to San Francisco for a while and taking him with her. If that happens, I will be off to the beach.

From Irwin:

dear joe –

it’s raining here in fountain valley, garden spot of the nation, and i have just turned down a lunch invitation. the weather description on my home (web) page reads “Current: Showers Wind: SE at 5 mph Humidity: 86%”. i don’t understand why the humidity is only “86%” and not 100% given i can see the water falling out of the sky into my backyard and being slurped up by the cushions on the chaise lounge on the patio. no one sits or lays on the furniture because it’s so old as to be disgusting in appearance, however my last wife insists that nothing be thrown away so the stuff stays there only used by felix the cat (we have no elephants or tigers here) on days when it’s not too unpleasant outdoors for felines; due to the precipitation i assume today is not one of those days.

i have just finished some sourdough toast and hot chocolate drink getting up late because it’s cleaning ladies day. for some reason every two weeks the cleaning ladies arrive at my house at 8:00 am forcing me to remain in bed with my door closed hoping that i don’t have to go to the bathroom. i figure that they are going to someone else’s house later in the day and have questioned why it is that i have to be subject to the early morning visits and not someone else but my questions and pleas are only met with stoic silence.

i have taken a liking to the rain although i am somewhat distressed by the spots on the living room ceiling. when it rains means i don’t have to feel guilty about not going outside or anywhere. furthermore everyone, don’t they? knows that rainy days are perfect for a nap! which is what i do everyday but take particular delight in doing on rainy days as i can use the excuse that its not just escapism that leads to the afternoon snooze but rather the patter of rain on the window sill. i have explained to physicians of some questionable professional excellence that when i am sleeping is the only time that i don’t feel shitty. when i tell them this they just look at me as if to say “duh”. when i arise it takes me about five minutes before my nose starts to run, my bowels turn and i fall apart. if i thought your prozac would work i’d take some, in fact maybe a whole bottle, but it won’t. for almost ten years imipramine did a fair job especially when it was combined with alcohol but then too it’s magical properties began to fade and when i decreased my alcoholic consumption and stopped working my body and mind once again began to show it’s fragility and exhibit what are generally referred to as symptoms of anxiety – although to tell you the truth i am no longer sure if it’s fear i’m fearing or just the idea of using the term to explain away the physical symptoms. i have been offered another antidepressant (zoloft) but have refused to take it unless the psychiatrist meets with me once a week to deal with what i assume are long seated emotional issues; unfortunately for me kaiser permanente does not offer such psychiatric services but rather relies upon treating the mentally ill with cognitive behavior therapy (which i have already taken in a group setting listening to ill-dressed or fat whining women complain about what a poor choice of a mate they made – this is not the stuff of my crises). i do admit a certain benefit to understanding cognitive therapy, although i despised the homework, but sometimes use what little i remember to correct my faulty thoughts.

i believe it’s nine questions one answers to determine if one is depressed and i usually nod affirmatively to at least seven; however, i know why i am depressed – i am unhappily married living in a vacant marriage, i have alienated my family, i haven’t lived up to my potential and feel guilty and worthless, i won’t let myself do anything to improve my life and finally i am in debt and not rich. i have to believe i will not receive a check from kaiser permanente to cover my physical wants like the trip from istanbul to venice on the orient express. anyway i’m on my own. in case of psychiatric emergency i can go to the nearest hospital but they will lock me in a room and that’s the last thing i need – i opt for a warm sandy beach with a pretty honey colored woman rubbing my back and scratching my head.

mostly i think it’s because i haven’t become anybody (the current expression i believe is, “i use to be somebody but now i am somebody else”). while i was busy making and spending money i fooled myself into believing i was somebody and would someday blossom into what i was meant to do – but what is that? i don’t seem to be good enough at anything. perhaps i could be a writer except, like you, i don’t like to use spell check and secondly i have nothing but drivel to write about and furthermore if there were grammar police i believe i would have already been arrested, convicted and hung. i once wanted to be in the theatre but i can’t memorize an alphabet yet alone lines from a script; besides jonny depp has made all of the movies i would have wanted to make except one. i took (opera) singing lessons and while my voice did improve i still can’t sing as well as some poor black kid who is going to be tomorrows no 1 on the hit parade. still i think i could have been a spokesman for the people. i don’t know that means politician, but i realized that i am not quick enough of wit to debate anyone let alone someone on fox news or msnbc and then again what “people” am i to be the spokesman for?! besides i don;t have an opriginal idea or thought in my head. so maybe i should settle on becoming a writer, but an unpublished one (it could happen) and maybe i won’t ever even write a book!

as for you, you have a wonderful opportunity with hayden. you can be the father you maybe never were but wanted to be with your now grown adult children. i envy you pal. go for it.

From Irwin:

joseph – i just got through listening to tosca on the internet radio station of which i informed you. it’s a little tough to take so early in the morning but it fits my mood and i especially like the music without even thinking about the storyline.

i hope i wasn’t too depressing in yesterday’s email to you; unfortunately i have no one with whom to share my woes and so i picked you defenseless as you may be some thousands of miles and electrons away.

it’s still raining but i’m running out of food, so i need to get to the bank, pay some bills and then there is always the saturday lotto ticket to buy before it gets dark.

if you are in kuala lumpur (sp?) i hope it’s a short stay and you are safe. i beleive that the words translate to “muddy confluence”. wikipedia notes that “Kuala Lumpur alone has 66 shopping malls and it is the retail and fashion hub for Malaysia” so maybe you can pick up some fashionable goods to flaunt next time you are back home and visiting the mall in chaing mai.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from Thailand. January 27,2010

Yesterday, I drove to and returned safely from the mall. Just before braving the “real” Thai streets, I practiced driving around the subdivision in order to get my turns straight and condition myself for driving on the right side of the street that here is the left. That’s another problem. Not only do I have to remember the rules of the road but I have a semantic problem as well, so I do not know what I am talking about. Did you know the test for a driver’s license in Thailand, in most jurisdictions, consists solely of a depth perception test?

I learned yesterday that they (whoever “they” are) have prohibited the construction of new commercial structures in the subdivision. Turning part of your home into a shop or restaurant is apparently excepted.

The fundamentalist Christian missionaries, that I mentioned in a previous post, who were sent here to convert the little brown Buddhists to the pleasures of hellfire and brimstone, are being criticized for acting as though they are exempt from Thai law and treating the locals like they do not exist. The huge Christian high school, filled with tall blond blue-eyed teenagers and containing endless sports fields, has been willy-nilly throwing up three and four-story classroom and “dormitory” buildings in the subdivision. It also forces native Thais and not people of european descent to pay a fee if they want to attend their charity garage sales. In addition, the school charges the residents a fee for using the subdivision’s own health club because it is located on the School’s leased land. What this demonstrates to me is that the politics of HOA’s are the same everywhere.

On Friday I get to leave this island of western pretensions and travel to Mae Rim and see the elephants, tigers, monkeys, snakes and whatever.

Joe…

Today’s photo: the view from the covered patio towards the “Sala”. During the day when I am not napping, I can usually be found in either the patio or Sala.

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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