Posts Tagged With: God

his and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Capt. Coast 0005 (May 4, 2016)

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“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was plowing fields and carrying water.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 101). HarperCollins.

Today, May 4, is Star Wars’ Day (see below).

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

It is April 15 and little has happened of note other than the passage of time. The sun seems to have made it beyond the spring clouds; morning follows night; things measured only by emotions; sleep disturbed by dreams. The great Elizabethan theatrical producer and sometime writer wrote, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” (The Tempest Act 4, scene 1) It is beyond rounded, more like impregnated the way ricotta impregnates cannoli filling. We sleep at night and often move through the day like we are still asleep, the mind wandering on its merry way as it does at night with little connection to the world around us. We live our stories, those narratives we tell ourselves until we pass beyond our service area.

It has been a week since I wrote the above. Things have happened but I have forgotten them. Perhaps, I wrote some down here but for some reason, they got erased. Anyway, it is raining today and I decided to skip exercise at the health club and stay indoors lying in bed snacking on grapes and Hostess Chocolate Cup Cakes while I type this.

One day, I went for a walk on the “New York Trail” near my house. Along the trail, there are signs warning of mountain lions. There is one area that the trail passes through that I especially fear that mountain lions are hidden in the bushes. Below is a photograph of that stretch of trail. I usually turn back when I reach here. I did so again that day.

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Later in the week, Lena arrived in Sacramento. I met her there and took her to tour the State Capitol which she had never seen. She was thrilled with the restoration of the building and took many photographs. Then I accompanied her on a walk through Capitol Park beneath my beloved trees. She was less thrilled. We then went to the Crocker Museum where an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s portraits was on display. I preferred the nineteenth-century landscapes that make up most of the museum’s permanent collection.
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So, for about a week now I have suffered with a slight, but still miserable, cold. Last night was the worst — waking up coughing, raw throat, burning eyes sleeping fitfully with disturbing dreams. Finally toward morning following a rather disturbing event that I will not go into, I found myself traveling in the desert.

I was riding a bicycle pulling a small wagon loaded with camping equipment and a bottle of vodka. The desert landscape resembled the Burning Man in its early days, little encampments of shaggy people constructing oddly shaped dreams from refuse. I came across one that appeared to be a twisted derrick with a pod of some sort attached to it. As I approached, a bearded figure sitting in the crane shouted, “We are going to the moon.” And with that, the pod detached and shot up into the sky. I could see it contained a person since it had metal limbs extending from the pod. It was very exciting.

The pod, so high it was barely visible, circled the desert. Suddenly, it plummeted to earth, plunging behind a small building. The ugly loud crash startled a nearby flock of crows cawing into the air. I felt terrible.

The crows circled the small building for a while then returned to their roosts. From behind the building, a small woman, not elfin and slender, but broad-faced and broad-bodied came running trailing pieces of the pod behind her. She passed me with a big smile on her face shouting, “I made it! I made it!” With that, I decided it was a good point to wake up and start the day. And so I did.

While swimming one day, I noticed in the sky a wispy cloud that looked like the ghost horse (Pooka) all skeletal tattered and menacing. It disturbed me. Not because I am superstitious but because it forced me to stop and persuade myself that I wasn’t.
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Today while driving HRM to school he told me that it was Star Wars Day. “May the Fourth be with You.”

B. BOOK REPORT:

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British Warriors

I have just finished reading the last novel in Bernard Cornwall’s trilogy about King Arthur. Previously, I read the first nine novels of his series set in the time of King Alfred of England and his immediate descendants. While both series can be classed as historical novels, they each concern the life of a made up hero who has an out of proportion impact on the affairs of the kings and times they tell about.

We know that at the end of the Fifth and the beginning or the Sixth Centuries a warlord with the name of Arthur lived. We also know that during that time the Saxon invasion of England was temporarily halted and about a generation of relative peace followed. All the rest is legend and surmise.
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Arthur

Britain had a population of about 4 million throughout the Roman ascendancy. It collapsed to about 2 million within a few decades following the Roman legions departure. Many people left Britain along with the military. Some were Roman elite who returned with the armies to the remnant of the empire. Many others, the Celtic aristocracy primarily, emigrated to Brittany and Galicia in Spain. Most of the others died of disease, hunger and slaughter as civic order collapsed.

The Saxon migrations into the rapidly depopulating England, during the two hundred or so years it lasted, totaled only about 30 to 50 thousand people. The warbands on both sides rarely were larger than 100 or so armed men, not much bigger than a modern biker gang. They terrorized the small hamlets (about 50 families each) that made up most of the villages in the depopulated country. They killed the men raped the women and stole whatever goods the people may have had, until they realized that they could increase their profits by offering the villagers, for a price, protection from other biker gangs and, more likely, protection from themselves. With the extra money, they paid those who were better at playing the harp than fighting to make up songs about how great they were.
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British habitations following departure of Romans
Into this chaos rode Arthur and his 20 or so henchmen riding large war horses (Dark Ages Harleys) and engaged the Saxon gangs in a series of lightning raids into their turf. The horses were probably descendants of the mounts of the Samaritan cataphracts (Heavily armed mounted troops from Samaria) that the Romans imported to Britain to pacify the country.
I find it interesting that following the conquest of Britain by the Romans, they brought in an alien ruling elite and superior social organization but left the indigenous population subservient but intact. Relative peace and prosperity reigned over the island for four hundred years. Following the departure of the Romans, the native Britons fought amongst themselves until the Saxons arrived with their war of extinction. About 100 years following the peace Arthur secured after his victory at Mount Badon, the Saxons succeeded in driving the Britons into the mountains of Cornwall and Wales. Then, for about two hundred years, the Saxons fought amongst themselves until they also were faced with a war of extinction from Danish invaders. Alfred halted the invasion and his decedents pushed them back until about 100 years later the Normans conquered them all, Saxons, Danes and ultimately Britons, bringing in a ruling class that provided superior social organization and relative peace for the subservient indigenous population for the next 400 years or so — by then almost everyone thought they were English.

Anyway, all the novels were good old swords and a little sorcery along with a lot of grunting and killing in battles and more killing and raping after the battles ended and a lot of drinking of mead and ale and more killing and raping and a lot of oaths pledged and broken and Kings and Queens and starving and diseased peasants and so on.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

 

 

PETRILLO’S MUSINGS:

Adam Smith’s stated that “The profits of production must be reinvested in increasing production.”

I would assume from that that the good A. Smith may have agreed that if the profits of production go into building up wealth and not reinvested in increasing production, it is not Capitalism or a capitalist system but rather something else — perhaps something more like the royal system he lived in where the profits of production went to increasing the wealth of the entitled classes or into rent based assets.

Similarly, the debt and credit system are not Capitalism. They existed long before Capitalism developed. They proved exceptionally helpful and often assisted in increasing production but the bankers need for timely repayment is not the same as the investors wish for profit and may at times suppress production in order to satisfy the need for repayment. Also, as we have seen in the past 50 years or so, the bank based financial system encouraged the replacement of production with production-less wealth creation, thus requiring government to periodically step in to boost confidence by transferring public wealth in order to prop up the banks thereby making non-production based assets even more valuable. In effect, companies producing goods can fail but banks producing paper wealth cannot. I always felt that the banking system, since it often in the long run substitutes debt and credit for investment, risk and the reinvestment of the profits into increasing production is the anthesis of Capitalism.

Corporations are not Capitalism. They are a state sponsored scheme to encourage investment in production that investors would otherwise consider too risky. True, like debt and credit they may be helpful and perhaps essential in increasing production but they also have downsides. Investors having significantly limited liabilities as well as microscopic ownership interests leave operational oversight, to management, a few large investors, and various investor agents all of whom may have and often do have interests other than increasing production. They also, in the long run, substitute organizational preservation to production. Reinvestment of the profits of production in increasing production becomes a far lower priority to keeping Wall Street happy.

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

‘Kushim!’ is the first recorded name in History. He was an accountant in Mesopotamia somewhere about 5000 or more years ago. It is interesting and telling that the first recorded name in history belongs to an accountant, rather than a prophet, a poet or a great conqueror. The second name we know from about the same time in Gal-Sal. He was a slave owner and the next two names we know about were his slaves En-pap X and Sukkalgir. So the first people whose names we know of were an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves — no heroes and no Kings. The first King’s name showed up a couple of generations later.

What this shows is that little has changed in 5000 years. The world is still run by accountants, business owners (slave owners) and workers (slaves), Kings, Heroes, and Prophets are just entertainment.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Religious Thoughts:

No one knows if God exists.
No one knows if He does not exist.

In the beginning ,there was the Singularity. The Singularity became the Universe.
The Universe generated life.
Life evolved in complexity and awareness until it delivered a symbol using, self-aware entity we call Humanity.
Humanity then ordered its perception of everything into the known, the Empirical and into the unknown, the Belief and the ethical, the Moral.
The empirical system most complex, organized and integrated we call “Science”.
The belief system most comprehensive we call “Religion”.
The unknown is infinite.
The known is ever expanding and evolving.
Science and Religion are one and cannot conflict.
The unknown remains infinite as Science expands.
When Science discerned the earth was not the center of the universe religion continued unlimited.
Whoever claims that the fruits of Science are wrong because they conflict with Religion are wrong.
All things change and evolve, the form evolves, the science evolves, the religion evolves. Even God evolves.
Humanity enunciated (developed) the prime Moral rule, “Do good and avoid evil”. All religious sects agree.
Humanity put forth the means to carry out the prime rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you,” Most religious sects have enunciated this rule in one form or another.
It means the individual measures the rule.

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“Humans and domesticated animals are two of nature’s evolutionary success stories. Unfortunately for domesticated animals, there is only too often a vast discrepancy between evolutionary success and individual suffering.”

C. Today’s Poem:

A young man’s plea for the return of his wife

“Of marriage? Judge, I want to say,
It’s deep and homeward, safe and soft,
As evening birds make to their loft,
Or horses to their beds of hay.”

“Of women I knew nothing deep;
I lived alone and worked my fields,
And fed my cattle, milked their yields,
And nightly, wearied, laid to sleep.

But I believed that man needs more,
And so I set myself to learn
Of marriage, everywhere I turned,
By watching couples evermore.

I saw young men with beardless cheeks
Dancing with their shining brides.
I saw old gray-haired men besides
Look fond as though they’d wed but weeks.

And then I thought and thought so much
Of what Life needs to make it pure,
I understood man must be sure,
Yet tender with his loving touch,

And never coarse and never mere,
Watchful that he do his duty,
Husband, lover, to his beauty,
Trusted guardian of his dear.

I thought and thought of how I might,
Love a woman who would give,
Her hand to me and come and live
Beneath my roof from morn till night.

I found a woman, sweet and pretty,
Good of nature, clear of eye,
Kind in spirit, soft of sigh,
Who didn’t need me to be witty,

Who knew that I could love with force,
Who judged my feelings were sincere,
Who sensed that I would hold her dear,
Who saw I was an untapped source

Of kindness, warmth and deep affection,
Care and conscientious thought,
Who believed a true man ought
Give his wife his best protection.

She married me, I married her,
A day of days, the sun shone brighter,
Our hearts, we found, were never lighter,
And then I knew it—love’s the spur.”

“For the short time we were married,
I did my best to love this girl,
I never grizzled like a churl,
And always made sure that I carried

Heavy weights, like sacks or logs
Or furniture from room to room,
I combed the horses with the groom,
And fed the cats, the birds, the dogs.

The other matters that I tended,
Sweeter things that women need,
A lovely flower, a glass of mead,
A smile to praise a garment mended.

I ate her food with hearty joy,
I chose for her the finest leather,
For boots to brave inclement weather,
Loved her hearty or when coy.

If I came into the house,
And she stood there, unawares,
I chased her laughing up the stairs
And kissed her neck, soft as a mouse.

Every night I held her close,
Stroked her softly, caresses deep,
Smoothed her forehead, and in sleep,
Held her safely till she rose.

As I speak these words this morning,
It must sound as though I brag,
But my motive is to drag
My hurt heart out of its mourning.”

“The truth is, judge, I lost my lady
Not to any man who’s moral.
Pretty soon he’ll pick a quarrel,
And he’ll dump her somewhere shady.

But if she’ll come and take my arm,
I’ll so love her, so regard her,
Do my best to work much harder,
Even try and learn some charm.

I may be dull and somewhat boring,
But I love her perfect skin,
And the way she tilts her chin,
And her little whispered snoring.

I love the way her tiny hand,
Can crack a nut, or milk a cow,
I love above all that she knows how
To draw pictures in the sand

Of faces, insects, beasts, and birds,
And writes rhymes that never scan.
She whistles better than a man;
I love her sense of the absurd.

We dwelt quietly on a hill…
I’m an ordinary man…
Her body’s soft, much softer than
A fledgling’s—God, I love her still.”

Delaney, Frank. Ireland: A Novel (p. 203). HarperCollins.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally, they reach a point where they can’t live without it.”
Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (p. 87).

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
diff7

 

Categories: April through June 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Cold Tits 0004 (February 14 2015)

 

“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Happy Birthday, Amanda and Hiromi.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The skies are overcast and the first rains in Northern California in over a month are forecast. It has gotten colder also. February is the most unpleasant of months.

Happily, because of HRM’s mother’s imminent arrival and her plans to stay for about six weeks, I will be free to leave the Golden Hills and travel a bit. Where should I go? Mendocino? I probably will for a while. LA? Where would I stay? Camping in the Sierras? Too cold and too uncomfortable at my age. I could spend a month in Thailand, but it might be too expensive for me right now. I’ll probably end up staying here and watch the moss grow on the north side of my body.
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The rains have driven me inside the house, no swimming or walks, no dinners at restaurants, no movies except those on television, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts and things like that. The old Technicolor films look great on our new giant curved screen TV. It does not improve either the scripts or the acting, however.

The winds have been severe in Northern California these past two days. Here in EDH, Hayden could not sleep one night fearing that one of the trees in the yard would be toppled on to the house. In Mendocino, the winds blew down a tree crushing the water tank and out-buildings at my sister’s house.
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Driven indoors by the rains and tired of bad movies and worse novels, I decided to curl up with a little Spinoza. Spinoza’s first name is either Bento as his Portuguese family named him or Baruch as the Dutch Jewish community referred to him or Benedictus as Christians called him. He lived in the mid-Seventeenth Century at the start of the Enlightenment. Many consider him along with Bacon, Descartes and Locke one of its founders. To me at least, I think Spinoza and Francis of Assisi, are two of the few Saints produced in the 1200 years of western historical tradition (a small list that includes Groucho Marx, Hildegard of Bingen and Maria Callas). Although they may appear to many to be polar opposites, one rational the other transcendental; one believed in the avoidance of pain; and the other welcomed it; one thought this life is all one has to live and the other welcomed an afterlife, they have many similarities.

They both believed God and Nature were one and that to live a moral life we should behave frugally, and treat generously ourselves, humanity and nature. They also believed acceptance of ritual whether religious or social, although they may be necessary for one to live comfortably in one’s culture, are often independent of and at times inimical to a moral, kind and generous life. Spinoza refused to accept that the rituals of his Jewish culture were synonymous with rational thought and morality and so willingly suffered excommunication (cherem) from the society he loved. Francis, who rejected the materialism of his society as inconsistent with his ecstatic morality, also separated himself from those he loved.

If Francis is the patron saint of the environment, Spinoza most certainly could be considered the patron saint of science.

Spinoza Factoids: On the Chair’s table in the Dutch Parliament, Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus is one of three books, thought to be most representative of the beliefs and ethics of the Dutch people; the other two are the Bible and the Quran.

In the early Star Trek episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the antagonist, Gary Mitchell is seen reading Spinoza and the dialogue implies that Captain Kirk also may have read him as part of his studies at Star-fleet Academy (which may be the reason why to me Kirk always appeared a bit constipated. On the other hand I am sure Captain Picard read Spinoza and he was better off for it.)
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Alas, since the winds and rains of last week have blown down a large tree destroying the water tanks and out-buildings at my sister’s home in Mendocino, they are now living in a rented room nearby. It looks like I will not be visiting with them for the next few weeks unless they need me to help clear the damage. George is deeply involved with the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department and is full of stories about the life and times of volunteer fire and rescue people in a small town on the remote edge of the continent.
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The sun and the clear blue skies have returned over EDH. Because of the recent rains, the golden hills are no longer gold but are now green. I have resumed spending my days swimming and moping about.
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Pookie at the pool
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I spoke to the little masseuse by telephone. She has retired from her job as a masseuse at the health center. Unfortunately, her pension only pays her $60 a month, so she spends her nights knitting and her days trying to sell the wool scarves and caps she makes along the streets of BKK. Wasn’t there a song about a young girl who sold flowers on the sidewalk? Here we have an old woman trying to sell wool scarves in the tropics. Her greatest fear is not that she may fail in her commercial endeavors and perhaps become homeless, but that she will do so alone.
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A large egret has replaced the great blue heron as a sometime visitor to the duck pond.
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Overall today, February 13 has been a pretty pleasant day for me. It is also the first day of Lupercalia and the feast day of Absalom Jones and Beatrice of Ornacieux.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

“…we are dealing with a fundamental truth of all social life, including all organized power systems or organized force: any organization functions effectively only against organizations which operate in terms similar to itself, yet, in the final analysis, every organization functions only when it can influence or control the moment-to-moment lives of concrete individuals. It is, in fact, impossible for any organization to do this except to the extent that the society as a mass of people tacitly accepts and supports, not only the legitimacy of what is being done in any case, but the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.”
Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

I suspect that here in the US, at least in so far as government is concerned, we have begun to question both “…the legitimacy of what is being done…” and, “…the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.” At the same time and perhaps in part its cause, it seems as though in America and Europe at least, society increasingly is dominated by banking institutions and corporations and not government. If so, then the fracturing of society into large private entities that control the livelihood of individuals who make up those organizations appears not only to be a possibility but well advanced. If so, then government will be reduced only to providing that thin level of security that the banking and corporate entities are unwilling or unable to supply themselves.

This structure of society, the privatization of the community and its culture have historically always been the hallmarks of what we call, “Dark Ages.” The European Dark Ages (600AD to 1000AD) the pre-classical dark ages in the Mediterranean basin and the Near-East (1100BC to 600BC) and just about all others that we know about are identified by the breakdown of cohesive societies with an organizing principle that includes an overall governing system that we have come to define as a State and its replacement with predominately private entities. This stateless system, usually accompanied by a decades and often centuries-long depression, results in the disappearance or at least significant reduction in non-immediately productive activities such as education, art, and science and their replacement with a rigorous focus on the rudimentary development of technological improvements to production, especially of luxury and military items. It also often signals a rise in religious fanaticism.

We are seeing, in the US at this time, wealth shifting (and also in a way shrinking) from individuals as a whole to these private entities and those who control them while investments in basic education, arts, and science decrease. On the other hand, investments are still being made, at least temporarily, to expand the productivity of existing technology especially of luxury and military hardware. Alas, this also may collapse when the sources of unearned wealth dry up. In the past this point occurred when climatic conditions or political ones ceased to allow the acquisition of cheap resources by the society; that is when conquest and resource theft of less powerful societies became too costly, or the productivity of these societies grew too low to make acquisition of their resources worthwhile.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

300BC — The school of Epicurus was the only school in Athens that admitted women and slaves.

1919 — Adolf Hitler became member 555 of the German Workers Party, the predecessor of the Nazi Party. (In fact, he was actually only the 55th member. For propaganda purposes at the time, the Party wanted the membership to appear larger.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. So that’s how it happened:
threeguesses

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

The most important issue facing the world today is the liberation of women and their movement into positions of power in all significant institutions. Without that, issues like climate change, war and poverty will in all likelihood not be effectively addressed in our time.

“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

“Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration, in a simple laconic statement, of their world view at the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”

And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

TODAY’S CHART:

language family tree_cropped
I love this graphic.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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A Rainbow in the Lake at Town Center

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pops 0003 (August 25, 2014)

“Poets are not happy people.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. COMPOSITION IN RED AND GREEN:

xl_american_odyssey_276-277
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In a modern upper middle class subdivision community like El Dorado Hills it is difficult to observe, like Thoreau did, the macrocosm in the microcosm, the larger in the smaller, the world in a blade of grass, society in the clash of competing ant colonies. The reason for this is that the novelty and chaos of the microcosm is determinately eliminated in a place like El Dorado Hills and replaced by orderly organization of the environment and the society living in it. It should be pointed out, I am speaking of organization and not regimentation. In fact, regimentation would be antithetical to the appearance of freedom the orderliness intends to convey. Alas, freedom, if one can use that generalization, reflects more in our adaptation and reaction to the vagaries of our environment. If our environment is too organized and orderly we risk being absorbed into it like a fly stuck in wet paint.

For this reason I often find few observations to write about here. How many ways can one discuss an organization or anything that de-emphasizes change.? The same trees appear in orderly rows along the parkway medians, distinctions among them blurred. Change seems slowed and conflict submerged in silence. I expect even the ant colonies have given up their competition over food.

A relief from this organized orderliness lies in the appearance here and there of feral animals who have adapted to this environment, wild turkeys, coyotes, snakes and the like. They romp fat and unwary across the landscape as long as the gates to the subdivision remain closed and the humans within disinclined or prohibited from killing and eating them.

Therefore, I welcome the odd and unknown clank and wheeze in the car requiring me to bring it in to the repair shop, as I did a few days ago, and, until the car is repaired, spend my day in and around Sacramento’s Capitol Park among my beloved trees.

Now, my friend Yeates is quite fond of birds and very knowledgable about them. I suspect that, from a smear of birdshit on the sidewalk, he could deduce the latin name of the avian shitter; the color of its feathers; where it was going and whether it was reading the NY times when it shat.

I, on the other hand, love trees. True, I do not know many of their species names unless I read them on a plaque affixed to the trunk, but I know I can hug them when I want to and which ones give good shade to old men sitting on benches in the park. I can tell the differences between those with rough barks and those with smooth. I know which ones would be good for climbing if I were 60 years younger. And, I can imagine grasping the highest branches and looking out over the countryside while wafting back and forth in the breeze unafraid of falling, confident that the branches will catch me in their arms before I hit the ground cradling me like a mother embracing her child.

Anyway, eventually I left the park and the trees for lunch with Stevie and Norbert where we played “ain’t it awful” while we ate.

B. A PLEASING COMMENT:

Naida West’s thoughtful and sensitive comment on my rumination in the previous issue of T&T about my upcoming 75th birthday pleased me greatly. I though you might enjoy it almost as much as I did.

“You wrote:

‘Someone’s 75th birthday seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. …Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.’

I’ll go a step further and say: One’s 75th birthday IS an important milestone that ought to be shared with friends and family. I was happy to learn that my Carmel High School class of ’57 is throwing a birthday bash for all of us, since we’ve all turned, or will turn, 75 this year. We’re calling it the “57-75” party — more than a reunion.

I recall my 2 birthday parties — the first a wondrous event with a kitchen table full of kids and my mother setting a birthday cake before me, ablaze with 4 candles. My father and I had held hands as we walked down the alley to the tiny corner grocery store to buy the candles, and I will always remember his loving tone as he spoke to me like I was a grown up. My cousin once removed, 7 at the time, leaned over and blew out the candles before I understood my role. Two of my aunts scolded him; he turned red, and I felt sorry for his embarrassment. My next and last birthday party occurred when I turned 8, with one friend there, and my brother and little sister.

Long ago I told my husbands, in turn, and my children, that I don’t care about my birthdays, that they needn’t bother their heads about it. Yet when I turned 75 in April, I felt it would have been nice to have some sort of shared celebration. Maybe I’m just an unfair old grouch looking back over 50 years of arranging birthday parties for my elders, my 2 husbands, and each of my 3 children from age 1 to about 15.

Yes, buy yourself a birthday cake! And consider me to be a spirit guest, as well as a member of the great class of ’57. In Carmel I’ll raise a glass of wine to you. A classmate who owns the party building, along with nearly every other building in downtown Carmel, has doubtless encountered evidence of your work.

Also from TNT, your dream: “…a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.”

Well said.”

I urge all of you who read this, to treat yourself (perhaps on your birthday) to Naida’s three wonderful historical novels set in the Cosumnes River area near Sacramento during the 19th Century. You will not be disappointed. You can order them at: bridgehousebooks@gmail.com.

Pookie says check it out.
C. A MESSAGE TO THE TOOTH FAIRY:

HRM wrote the following note to the tooth fairy which he placed under his pillow along with the detached tooth:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

Did you ever take John Cena’s tooth? Yes__ or No___

Please respond.”

Clearly a future CEO; dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:
Quigley up top:

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), one of the great but unheralded minds of the latter part of the 20th Century, wrote a book entitled “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times” (1965). He believed the explanation for the disintegration of a society can be identified in the gradual transformation of social arrangements functioning to meet real social needs into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

Perhaps because of what it also revealed, his book mysteriously quickly disappeared from the selves of bookstores to be replaced four years later by a heavily edited version that eliminated much the book’s disclosures. In about 2002, the original version finally was republished.

To professor Quigley’s great dismay, the revelations in the book and the facts surrounding its publication became fodder for the tin-foil hat brigade, including Alex Jones, and inadvertently inspired the conspiracy culture that still infects America today. Although “Tragedy and Hope,” became the wellspring of innumerable conspiracy theories, Quigley strenuously objected to them all. He wrote:

“This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements…. This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. “

After describing the “modicum of truth,” he continues:

“I have no aversion to it (the organizations and activities that the conspiracy theorists base their conjectures on) or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies… but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”

In this and following issues of T&T, I will write more about Quigley, discuss and at times criticize his arguments and disclosures as well as provide examples of its content and of his other writings.

As an illustration, Quigley, rightly or wrongly, maintained that until the later half of the 19th Century society as reflected in history was the story of the economic, intellectual and military elites. The peasants and proletariat were, other than for the technology they used, of little account.

“it is revealing that the ideological appeal for allegiance in the last two thousand years of Europe’s history (and, indeed, in most of mankind’s earlier history) made almost no effort to reach or to attract the peasants, who were, throughout history down to the nineteenth century, not only the most numerous class in society but were also, of course, the economic support of the power structure. This failure to make ideological appeal to the most numerous and most necessary group in the community was a consequence of the facts of power which are being discussed in this book. Whatever the number of the tillers of the soil or the indispensable nature of their contribution to the community, their power has always been insignificant, except in the few, relatively brief periods when they have been of military importance to the community. Except for the period before about 4000 B.C., and for a few centuries in Roman history and an even briefer period in some areas of Greek history, the peasantry has played almost no role in military life and, accordingly, almost no role in political life of the communities which have made history. This military and political incapacity of the tillers of the soil, so glaringly evident under feudalism or during the Thirty Years’ War, was a function of the distribution of weapons and of military organization, and is a remarkable example of the weakness of economic necessity in contrast with the role of force in any society. As we shall see, the rise in political significance of peasants and farmers in the nineteenth century, a rise which never took them to a dominant position, was a consequence of changes of weapons, a fact almost unmentioned by historians of the modern period. A similar neglect of peasants has existed in most of history, but on a gigantic scale, in Asia and in Africa, and, above all, in China,…”
Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America.

Be that as it may, according to Quigley this élite produced a society in the West (including North and South America, etc.) that distinguished it from others and, without diminishing the values those other societies, it was something that he approved of.

“it is clear that the West believes in diversity rather than in uniformity, in pluralism rather than in monism or dualism, in inclusion rather than exclusion, in liberty rather than in authority, in truth rather than in power, in conversion rather than in annihilation, in the individual rather than in the organization, in reconciliation rather than in triumph, in heterogeneity rather than in homogeneity, in relativisms rather than in absolutes, and in approximations rather than in final answers.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Quigley believed that the intolerance or rigidity often evident in the religious practices and among some secular groups in the West were in the most part aberrations from its nature of relative inclusivity and diversity. I am less sanguine about this last point. It, however, has been reported that in the last few years of his life Quigley became more pessimistic about the West’s commitment to those ideals.

Quigley also published, The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. First edition, 1961, New York: Macmillan, 281 pp., The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. 1981, New York: Books in Focus, 354 pages, and Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America, 1064 pages.

DAILY FACTOID:
1775: Jeanne Baret of France, became the first woman to sail around the world. She did it disguised as a man so that she could assist botanist Philibert de Commerson, who was also her lover. One of them — quite probably Baret — discovered the Bougainvillea plant.

Ah, those French, always with the love and the flowers…

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

An honest commitment to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

“‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security.”
Franklin Roosevelt 1944 message to Congress

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

Oliver’s brilliant response to comments disagreeing with a Facebook post of his.

“Kayleigh Sedlack: Don’t be part of the problem Olivier.. Let’s try to be positive and find peace.

Nick Mojica: He is the problem.

Olivier Tomas Grandvoinet: Heyyyy get that shit outta here, y’all aren’t the demographic I’m rallying with at the moment.”

C. More from Facebook

I just noticed that my time-line has reported my new life event: “started working at retired.” Thank God, here I thought I was only wasting my time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
Lauren Bacall

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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The Good Gay Poet Walt Whitman.

“God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.”
― Walt Whitman

Categories: July through September 2014, Uncategorized | 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:
snapshot_051412_2.jpg
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:
3828_10151060062076275_474689699_n
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. 19 Pops 0001 (August 28, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND CALIFORNIA:

I am sure we all have had days (and perhaps weeks) when things simply do not feel right; where things that annoy you seem greater than they are. The past few days have been like that for me.

I am off to SF until Monday. I move from my nanny occupation to baby sitter. Hayden will not join me in SF as he is being taken to the local boxing match where the boyfriend of someones daughter is fighting (I later learned the boyfriend lost badly). Instead I have been pressed into babysitting my grand-daughter Amanda while her mom is busy elsewhere. I have always assumed that this was more or less a destined role as one grows older. For much of my childhood I was raised by my grandparents. I never thought about whether or not they had better things to do than watch over someone else’s child.

While lying in bed at my son’s apartment I could hear his wife and he arguing loudly as they do every night, It reminded me of when I was a child lying in bed listening to my parents seemingly endless arguments. Neither then nor now did I fear that the arguments might end in violence, instead the sense of impotence and futility that I could do anything about them kept me awake. Perhaps I could have done something, but I did not.

The next day I took my granddaughter to watch the America’s Cup races on SF bay. After a few minutes she asked me, “Grandpa when will we be having fun.”
DSCN0221

B. THAI OBSERVATIONS:

Thinglish: Modern Thai slang

“O” means OK in Thinglish. Apparently OK is not short enough for Thais.

Another highly popular new Thai slang word is fin. It is not a fish winglike organ. In Thinglish slang “fin” often means to “have an orgasmic experience” when you “finish”. Younger Thais must be a very happy, orgasmic bunch as they seem to feel “fin” in the most mundane of activities, from eating a piece of cake or watching a TV show, to enjoying a new cool gadget. The other oft-quoted word origin is “finale,” suggesting a “climax” in the final episode of a show.
From, A Woman Talks

 
PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Over two decades ago I had the opportunity to manage a governmental entity that among other things was charged with resolving conflicts between development, community and environmental concerns. We developed a process, relatively novel at the time, encouraging those involved or concerned (later to be called “stakeholders”) to solve their disagreements among themselves.

The process required a team of technicians that could immediately turn a suggestion into a visual representation. This included someone capable of converting the discussions as they occurred into visual and organized notes for all to see. It also included a compendium of the financial and fiscal resources currently available thus forcing the participants to consider the same type of tradeoffs government and private interests must make in deciding what can be done and how long will it take. Finally it required an entity, in this case our agency, who could more or less on the spot make commitments to carry out at least initial elements of the agreed upon program.

What surprised me the most was not that we were successful in almost all cases, as we were, but that despite the heated rhetoric expressed before regulatory or legislative bodies, or in the media the disagreements were so often so slight.

Although conflict resolution techniques and design charrettes continue to be used almost everywhere, our particular intensive program eventually fell into disuse. That was because the urban areas included in our jurisdiction were limited in number and once the specific issues in conflict were resolved in these communities they remained so for a decade or longer. Also the process was management and personnel intensive and inevitably such activities in any organization eventually are replaced by a more procedural and careerist focus.

Fast forward to today, modern communications technology and social networking appears to be transforming almost everything we do, from how and where we work to how we entertain ourselves and socialize.

In community and urban development we now have all the information we could want at our fingertips although not necessarily organized and usable. A simple internet research shows that we have a plethora online communities dedicated to community action of one kind or another. Yet what happens when these online communities conflict with one another? As anyone who has actually been involved in assisting in resolving significant conflicts, good intentions and talking things out are not enough. Not only must thoughts and ideas be converted into a communications medium so that each participant has the same understanding as everyone else, but immediate unbiased response on the technical facts must be available if the enthusiasm and commitment to the process is not to wither and die waiting for it. Finally the hard facts of the limits must be available in a usable form to the participants.

Social media, in regard to community planning provides an advanced medium for sharing of information and ideas and encouraging coöperation and should the participants agree collective action. However, before collective action can occur, especially for something a complex and contentious as community planning the most difficult form of group or collective action is resolving those conflicts that more often than not are the reason for undertaking the collaborative planning process in the first place.

Modern communications technology and social networks offer the promise of real resolution of community conflicts. Nevertheless, it remains a promise that needs to be addressed.

 

 

 

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
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In the nineteenth century the US, as well as most other industrializing countries in the world embarked, on a massive program of lighthouse construction. Although they aided somewhat in navigation, the main purpose of lighthouses was to reduce insurance costs for shipping (a welfare program for shippers) and as a side effect save the lives of a few sailors.

As a result, in the US at least, was the building of edifices as architecturally distinctive as those picturesque european castles built after gun powder rendered their predecessors obsolete.

By the 1970s communication and navigation technology had made lighthouses outmoded. Plans were made to begin tearing them down and using the lands on which they were situated for what was euphemistically called, “more productive uses.” In many cases it meant high cost housing for those with the wherewithal to live someplace no sensible person would.

Since the US at that time was a society wealthy enough to provide options to the human need to devour its resources in order to survive, organizations sprung up to protect these structures for their historic and esthetic values. Sentiment’s with which I heartily agreed. As a result, the Conservancy during my tenure set up a program to preserve these buildings along the California coast.

Since the Conservancy’s mandate included promoting public access to the coast, its program included opening these lighthouses and the lands surrounding them to the public and converting any associated structures (usually the Coast Guard light keepers residences) to low-cost hostels so as to provide lower cost overnight facilities to those unable to afford the usually higher cost visitor serving accommodations in the area or to serve specialized travelers such as hikers and bicyclists; thereby attempting to provide access for as many segments of the population as we could.

While I served as the Conservancy’s Executive Officer, the program assisted in preserving most of those lighthouses in California slated for closing.

Point Cabrillo was one of the first. It was located on over 300 acres of land covering the entirety of a large headland jutting out into the Pacific Ocean.

At comment on planning for this section of the California coast:

The first thing to recognize is that we often are talking about finite resources. In Mendocino there are only a limited number of coastal headlands along the coast. The mistake most land use regulators make is to assume the resources they are trying to protect are infinite in extent and the battle to preserve them never-ending . As a result they often propose such rules as “Coastal headlands shall be protected from adverse development and where possible…, etc.” Such policies generally neither protect nor preserve these areas in the long run since they are usually completely dependent on whether of not the economic development value of the parcels in question is significant enough to attract an excess of large well-funded developers competing to build on the parcel in question, or on the vagaries of changes in political winds. (In politics as in business and perhaps life itself, it usually comes down to a question of ROI)

By removing the most visually sensitive of these headland resources from the play of economic and political forces, what development potential there is would be redirected into the easier to regulate more forested areas inland and in the ravines and valleys between the headlands.

In addition to containing the lighthouse, this parcel (The Cabrillo Headlands) encompassed one of the larger and more significant headlands along this area of the coast.
(To be continued)

 

 

 

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Global Warming:
record-high-chart

B. AD 325: Jesus becomes God

The Council of Nicaea:

By a vote of 161 to 157, the surviving attendees at the Council declared that Jesus was God.

Wow, I guess it is true that every vote matters. If just three votes had switched Jesus would have remained a carpenter and we may have elected a Republican as God. Don’t forget to vote.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Pookie’s puerile epigrams:

Scientists tell us we know nothing but only think we do.

Religious leaders tell us we know nothing, but someone who we will never meet knows everything.

Politicians tell us that they know and we don’t.

Business people tell us, if it cannot be bought and sold it is crap.

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

1. All you ever need to know about elections:

Democrats exaggerate. Republicans lie.

Whatever it is, it is neither as good nor as bad as a Democrat says it is. Whatever a Republican says it is, one can be reasonably confident it actually is the exact opposite.

2. Voters
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Although this is a partisan political piece the underlying facts are accurate. What this tells me however, is that although it may be true Republicans are dumber than Democrats (see below), just because you are smart does not mean you will not act like an idiot and against what you know. It is sort of like the supposedly genius novelist that destroys his mind with alcohol.

D. Bokononism:

1. The Books of Bokonon: Excerpts from the Sixth Book

[ This book “is devoted to pain, in particular to tortures inflicted by men on men”. ]

If I am ever put to death on the hook, expect a very human performance.

In any case, there’s bound to be much crying.
But the oubliette alone will let you think while dying.

2. Favorite quotes from Bokonon

On maturity:
Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.

On parting:

It is never a mistake to say good-bye.

On love:

A lover’s a liar,
To himself he lies,
The truthful are loveless,
Like oysters their eyes!

On God:

God never wrote a good play in his life.

E. Testosterone Chronicles (penis file):

Relative to its size, a male water boatman (an insect about three-quarters of an inch in size) is the loudest animal on Earth. By rubbing their penis against their abdomen in an act called ‘stridulation,’ they can generate sound of up to 99dB. That’s louder than a jack hammer or train whistle. Luckily for us (as at this level sound can damage human hearing) the sound is dissipated by water and humans can’t usually hear the melodic sounds of water boatman rubbing their penises.

Do human water boatmen… you know the rest?

F. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Ruth, in commenting on my assertion that the NAZI’s during the 1930s attempted to solve their unemployment problem by simply sending woman who were working back home, wrote:

“May I remind you that the US did the same thing when the men came home from WWII. Some women got fired and others became fodder for the household appliance and the crinoline industries–until Betty Friedan came along.”

I stand corrected and apologize.

It should be pointed out that both Germany and the US ultimately solved their respective employment problems by sending their young men off to die shooting each other.

I guess the war on women is just part of the ongoing wars on the young, the old, the poor, the infirm and those we do not like for some reason. I suppose the question is, who is it that wants these wars and why?

 
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
Political ideology
Note: Huffington Post reports a study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

For example, among the American sample, those who identify themselves as “very liberal” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 106.4, whereas those who identify themselves as “very conservative” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 94.8.

Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology, the study’s lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice, he told LiveScience.

Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature “structure and order” that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice,” he added.

I think the study is nonsense. As was proven in Germany in the 1930s and in many other cases, smart but immoral people seeking power and wealth know full well how to appeal to ill-informed people in order to achieve their own ends. They also know, and other studies demonstrate this, that these same stupid people will believe that they thought it up all by themselves. This is why scapegoating so often works.

How do you really know who these people are that seek to gain power by these means? Not by whom they hate (we all do this to some extent), nor if they believe in supply side or demand (wrong though the supplysiders may be) or even at what point they believe a fetus becomes human, but whether they attack education, science and learning.

 

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th.    12 Joe 0003 (July 29, 2014)

“An ignoranus, is someone who’s both stupid and an arsehole.”

Hearne, Kevin. Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book Seven (p. 225). Random House Publishing Group.  

Happy Birthday: Brendan Dreaper, Katie Dreaper and Bruce Kittrell

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. RED FACADE WITH GREEN SHUTTERS

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B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For the past few weeks I spent my weekday mornings driving Hayden to his swim team practice and then to the archery range so that he could shoot at the various targets while I sit in the shade.

One morning as we returned from swimming practice, the car crested a hill exposing before us a vista of the great valley and the clear cerulean sky. He stared at it a moment and then asked, “How did everything begin? Did God do it?” 

I knew this was going to be one of those seminal child – adult conversations of at least equal weight with, “Where do babies come from?” It made me a bit nervous. I did not want to screw it up.

Given my background and predilections, I labored to explain the “Big Bang Theory.” HRM broke in to my struggles by asking, “Yeah, but who caused the Big Bang?”  Suddenly I realized that I was presented with the problem of refuting the “uncaused cause” arguments of medieval philosophy that even its major proponent Fat Tom Aquinas believed was a weak proof of God. Nevertheless, I felt inadequate to disprove scholastic theology at this time in my life despite having virtually bathed in it in college 50 years ago. “Well,” I said, “some people believe that, but scientists on the whole agree that most things in the world can be explained without bringing God into it.”

HRM with a dreamy look in his eyes ignored me and said, “I’d like to meet God some day. I think that would be fun.” Unable to come up with a satisfactory response, I changed the subject to Archery.
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HRM at Archery Range.

On Saturday I attended the regional swimming championships with HRM. Youth swimming teams are a Sacramento cult with the championships the high mass. I do not think I’ll do it again. Oh, H won his heats.

The drought continues in California and the high temperatures in the lower foothills have exceeded 100 degrees for most of the week. Nothing else has occurred in El Dorado Hills for the past few weeks of note… in fact, nothing much ever occurs of note here except tea party meetings, NRA banquets and now and then the appearance in the otherwise solid blue sky of the odd cloud or two that flutter about a while and quietly disappear. The study of scholastic philosophy is more exciting. I sleep a lot.

C. EL TOPO AND JEANNE

In my never-ending quest for something to do in suburban El Dorado Hills, one afternoon I watched Alejandro Jodorowsky’s early film, El Topo. El Topo is said to have had a major influence on David Lynch, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Mason, George Harrison, John Lennon, Peter Gabriel and thousands of other stoners.

Jodorowsky  like many artists from Mexico and South America is addicted to symbolism in his art.  To many Americans and Northern Europeans all that symbolism appears a bit loopy. Unlike the Spanish artists who also favor strong colors and symbolism, the Central and South Americans seem to have a great affection for including the many meanings implied in blood and death. One of the main differences between Italian and Spanish and South American visual arts besides how they use symbolism to tell their story is that to the italians shadow is very much a part of the color palette.

Interestingly, when I ran my district of the New York Mental Health Information Service, I noticed Spanish, South American and recent Italian immigrants at the time of their breakdowns often spoke of seeing the suffering Christ. The Northern and Eastern Europeans tended to hallucinate Hell. Not a religious Hell, but a place of darkness, shadow and threat.

I first saw El Topo in 1970 shortly after arriving in San Francisco. I went with a woman I had just met on the bus. The theater was located near the Civic Center. It does not exist anymore.

The woman and I stayed together for three years. Her name was Jeanne. I was in love with her. She wanted to go to medical school and had to take extra  courses in science to do so since she had graduated from college a few years before with a liberal arts degree. She worked hard.  Eventually she succeeded in getting accepted. During the summer before medical school began we broke up. I tried to get back together with her. She by then was also seeing another man much younger than I.  I asked her to marry me. She said she would need time to decide. That weekend she went hiking in the Trinity Alps. She fell off a cliff and died. The young man and I accompanied her body back to Iowa where her family lived. Two weeks after the funeral the young man went swimming in a lake somewhere in the East Bay and drowned.

There is probably some symbolism hidden in there but I am too far removed from my roots and too close to death to see it. As we age, the past and future grow more shadowy only the present remains colorful. That’s a good thing I think.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

In today’s newspaper there was and article that pointed out that Jet Blue which was rated one of the best in an Airline Quality analysis based substantially on customer perceptions. However, for no apparent reason other than it was rated among the lowest in that same analysis, Spirit Airlines stock was up over two times more than Jet Blue’s. According to a stock market analyst, the reason for this anomaly is that, “Some analysts view them as focussing more on the customer rather than the shareholder.”

Doesn’t this turn neo-liberal economics on its head? Wasn’t competition in the market supposed to produce better products and services at lower prices?

Perhaps this incongruity is best  explained by a Dilbert’s cartoon in the same paper that shows the bald pointy headed manager announcing to Dilbert that the Board of Directors debated between “creating fantastic products or attracting dumber stock holders.” They decided to do a stock split. The manager explained that it was the easier of the two options.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:
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When times were good and good times rolled.

 

 

 

 PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

3__#$!@%!#__unknown

It wants the US economy and governance to move closer to achieving Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed “Second Bill of Rights.”

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

1. Khutulun, Mongolian Warrior Princess

“In the 13th century, when khans ruled Central Asia and you couldn’t go 10 minutes without some Genghis, Kublai or Mongke trying to take over your steppe, women were well-versed in badassery. In a society where skill on a horse and with a bow and arrow was more important than brute strength, Mongol women made just as stout herders and warriors as their men.

One woman, however, had the combination of both skill and might. Her name was Khutulun, and she was not only a devastating cavalry-woman but one of the greatest wrestlers the Mongols had ever seen. Born around 1260 to the ruler of a swathe of what is now western Mongolia and China, she helped her father repel — repeatedly — the invading hordes commanded by the mighty Kublai Khan, who also happened to be her great-uncle. Her favorite tactic was to seize an enemy soldier and ride off with him, the explorer Marco Polo recounted, “as deftly as a hawk pounces on a bird.”

Off the battlefield and in the wrestling ring, Khutulun went similarly undefeated. She declared that she wouldn’t marry any man who couldn’t beat her in a wrestling match; those who lost would have to give her their prized horses. Suffice it to say, Khutulun had a lot of horses. By the time she was in her 20s and a spinster by Mongol standards, her parents pleaded with her to throw a match with one particularly eligible bachelor. According to Polo, she initially agreed, but once in the ring found herself unable to break the habit of a lifetime and surrender. She overpowered her suitor who, humiliated, fled; she eventually chose a husband from among her father’s men and married him without submitting him to the evidently impossible challenge to out-wrestle her.”
Salon

2. Smedley Darlington Butler, a Profile in Courage

Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) a United States Marine Corps major-general obtained the Corps highest rank authorized at that time.  At the time of his death he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. He also won two Congressional Medals of Honor.

Butler is well-known for having later become an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences. He also exposed the Business Plot, a purported plan to overthrow the U.S. government and assassinate Franklin Roosevelt. After retirement from the military he ran for Senate as a Republican but was defeated. In 1932 he supported the military bonus marchers at their encampment in Washington DC and was there when Gen. Douglas MacArthur led the attack on them killing several veterans. He later became a spokesman for the “American League Against Fascism.”

Smedley Butler wrote a book called “War is a Racket.” In an interview he said:

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

According to Wikipedia, in his penultimate chapter of “War is a Racket,” Butler argues that three steps are necessary to disrupt the war racket:

“1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are:

“It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war-time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get”

2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited referendum to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.

3. Limitation of militaries to self-defense. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.”

Alas, todays war profiteers have learned how to earn enormous profits even in peacetime and therefore the wars we do have tend to be localized in extent and useful primarily for getting rid of unneeded inventory.

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:
Robert F. Kennedy speech regarding a nation’s true GDP:

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads…. It includes… the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials… The Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America — except whether we are proud to be Americans.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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New York Harbor at Night a Century Ago.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 Shadow 0003 (June 22, 2014)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.

Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Giufa

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOAN JACKSON

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

1. Last days at Paradise by the Sea:

On the border between “Paradise by the Sea” and “The Outskirts of Hell” there stood an isolated building among some empty lots. On the side of the building there was a sign affixed that read, “Heaven.” It was the day before I was to leave Paradise by the Sea and return to Bangkok. The Good/Bad David had brought me there. The entrance to Heaven wound through a dark passageway containing large vases with slightly wilting flowers. Gold drapes hung on the wall. It looked like the entrance to a mortuary. I guess that could be considered fitting.

Once inside the place was much more plush. It appeared a lot like a 1960’s piano bar in Las Vegas. I liked it. It was a vast improvement over my image of what Heaven would be like.

We were led by the hostess to a small dark room at back of the building in the center of which stood a solid black oval table.

Now some of you may recall that a few years ago I published, for your enjoyment, a few stories supposedly written by Giufa that sad-faced reprobate and chronicler of the “Forlorn Order of the Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table” (FOGNOT). The stories focused on the adventures of five Geriatric Knights who assembled in a place called The Kennel (where old dogs go to die) around another oval table, that one made of faux marble and gilt . I will not describe here what occurred that afternoon in Heaven around the coal-black oval table. I leave that job instead to the cynical, licentious and wholly untrustworthy Giufa, should he ever get around to it.
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Baba Giufa as a child.

I shall only add that about six hours later the Good/Bad David, Peter a man who I had been told dealt in precious metals and I left Heaven. The three of us climbed into a tricked-out, four door, short bed, pick-up truck. They drove me back to my hotel where I immediately fell asleep. The next day after a pleasant lunch with David and his friends, I boarded a bus and returned to Bangkok.

2. Back in Bangkok:

a. Monsoons:

The monsoon season in South Asia officially began on June 1. Since then angry clouds have filled the Bangkok skies. Very little rain has fallen in the city, generally only enough to make the already dangerous sidewalks slimy and slippery. With the blooming of el Nino in the Pacific this summer, chances are South Asia and Southeast Asia will experience a relatively dry year. On the other hand, Southern California should be wetter than it has been these last few years. Oh, the price of anchovies and sardines probably will rise also.

b. Pookie has a night out:

Having had it spending my afternoons and evenings in my apartment because of the curfew and the skies threatening rain that rarely comes, I decided to treat myself to a night out on the town. For me a night of the town has become simply finding a place to nurse a beer and watch the goings on. So one night I put on a clean shirt and stepped out from my building into the steaming hot air of BKK.

I ate dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants, an open front place that takes up the bottom floor of a cheap rooming house on Soi Nana. There I ordered my usual sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice and a coke from the six-foot tall ladyboy who looked like an NFL linebacker with boobs and a cute pink bow in his hair. I watched an American movie on the overhead TV while I ate.

After dinner I walked up Soi Nana searching for a bar in which I could enjoy my beer. Now for those who have not been there, bars along Soi Nana are for the most part open front affairs with young women outside calling out to you to join them just like the sirens called out to Ulysses. But this old sea dog ignored them because he had his sights set on the bright lights of Nana Plaza.

Nana Plaza bills itself as the World’s Largest Adult Playground. It is situated only a few blocks from my apartment. Although for reasons of age, fear of STD and a general aversion to the hard sell I do not avail myself of the services offered at many of the establishments, nevertheless now and then I like to sit at one of the bars with my beer and watch.

Nana Plaza itself is a three-story or so U-shaped building with a large open space in the center. The building houses a number of Go-Go bars, Lady Boy bars and Beauty Salons to service the performers. In the center open area are a number of regular bars open to the sky.

I sat in one of them bought a beer and paid the hostess to not sit with me and try to cage drinks. The sounds of the music coming from the venues and the exuberance of the neon lights makes everyone feel a bit jittery, like they just snorted some cocaine. I sat there nursed my beer and observed.

The women and barkers standing outside the venues desperately attempted to entice each passersby to enter their place. The Ladyboys being men despite the makeup and potential genetic quirks, were more physically aggressive, sometimes surrounding the tourist like a pack of wolves. In one case even demonstrating specifically what she had to offer.

After I finished my beer, I walked home feeling had accomplished something.
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Nana Plaza at night
C. Massage:

A few days ago the Little Masseuse invited me to join her in getting a foot massage at a place she liked.

Contrary to what some may believe not every massage parlor in Thailand is a front for prostitution. Massage is a national pastime in Thailand. I have been in small villages in the country where it seemed like everyone was massaging everyone else, sort of like a band of simians removing lice from one another’s fur.

Thai massage itself is based on pressure points and a little rapid stretching of certain muscles and tendons. For the most part it was developed in the county’s temples, especially Wat Po adjacent to the Royal Palace. Students still go there for instruction.

Most legitimate massage establishments offer Thai massage, a deep tissue rubbing massage, foot massages (reflexology) and a few specialties like facial massages and the like. Often the place will offer only Thai massage or only foot massages.

Most of the illegal (prostitution is illegal in Thailand in order to augment police salaries) sexual oriented massage parlors are located around the various tourist areas of larger cities or at resort areas.

One can figure out if it is a legitimate if:

1. it is located outside of a tourist area,
2. It looks down scale
3. the posted prices are cheaper
4. the women and men offering the massages are older and do not look like fashion models between gigs.

If you are still uncertain, ask a Thai woman you can trust (one that is not receiving a kickback from the massage parlor). For most of the women I know, the massage is the thing. Anything else is purely incidental. If you ask a man however, it’s all in the incidentals.

One of the best massages I ever experienced was in Hat Yai. The King of Thailand had set up a program for blind people to learn massage. At the place in Hat Yai, both men had been blinded in acid attacks. A sighted women in the shop acted as cashier and assisted the masseur in locating the supplies they needed. It was obvious that the masseur had studied more that simple Thai massage, perhaps even formal anatomy. He played the muscles in my body like Ray Charles played the piano.

The massage parlor the Little Masseuse and I were going to was located just off Soi 19 behind Terminal 21. It was situated above a place called Mama’s Pizza just across the street from Mama’s Taqueria. (I do not know if there is a Mama’s Pad Thai, or Schnitzel or Borscht in Bangkok, but I have not been everywhere yet. Come to think of it, a fast food place called Mama’s Pad Thai, Schnitzel and Borscht would probably cause quite a stir in the culinary world).

Anyway we climbed up three flights on a rickety outdoor stairway to the small shop. It provided only foot massages at $4 an hour, a price considerably cheaper than most other places in the area. There were about 15 or so young men and a few women masseuses and 10 overstuffed chairs and ottomans. The massages were very good.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Human trafficking:

The english language newspapers in Bangkok were all aflutter over the report that the US had ranked Thailand among the worst countries for human trafficking. The responses from Thai government spokesmen ranged from outright denial that the problem exists to shock that the US would criticize an ally.

Human trafficking may actually be the worlds oldest profession. A recent study maintained that humans (usually children) were used as one of the systems of account for debt before the invention of coinage. Failure to timely repay the loan would force the pledged child into bondage.

Two personal stories:

How it was in Issan

When she was about 13 years old a woman doctor showed up at the home of the Little Masseuse in rural Thailand. The doctor purchased her from her parents to work in the Doctor’s infirmary in BKK cleaning the instruments and the office. She was given a bed in a tiny room to sleep in. After about two years the inevitable happened. LM was asleep in her room when she was awakened by someone rubbing her body. The Doctor’s husband had crawled into the bed with her. She screamed and cried and woke up everyone in the house. The next morning the Doctor told her that the would have to leave that day and return to her family in Issan.

How it was in Sicily

When she was 7 years old my mother’s father died leaving her and her three older siblings orphans and a significant estate. The oldest child was only 16 and a woman so it was felt that it was not appropriate for her to manage the estate. Her bachelor uncle stepped forward and agreed to marry her promising to take care of the three younger children. On almost the day after the wedding the uncle placed the three children on a boat to America having sold them to three families in the US to work as domestic help. My mother spent the next few years chained to her bed at night so she could not run away until her older brother reached eighteen left his keeper and took my mom and her sister to live with him.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Around 600 BC: The scribes assembling the Hebrew Bible included the Law of Jubilee in Leviticus. The law stipulated that all debts would be automatically cancelled “in the Sabbath year” (that is, after seven years had passed), and that all who languished in bondage owing to such debts would be released.

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.”
Leviticus 25:8-13

I think forgiving all debts every seven years is a great idea. It is strange that there are those who claim the Leviticus’ supposed prohibition of homosexuality is the unchanging word of God, yet the forgiveness of all debts every seven years somehow is no longer applicable. Who is it that decides what God really meant and when he was only kidding?

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

They want a capitalism with the simple balance that, The Father of Laissez Faire Capitalism, Adam Smith indicated was required for it to work. For example:

“Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms….

by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

And:

“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.

Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

On regulations:

”When the regulation, therefore, is in support of the workman, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.”

On fairness:

“The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than that proportion.”

Finally denouncing vast differences in wealth and income, Smith praised a fellow economist’s tax proposal:

“To remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.”

It has always been a wonder to me why those who praise Capitalism so highly, hate it so much.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.”
Victor Hugo: Les Miserables.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
m-emotional
My initial feeling is that somehow the colors are reversed.

 
GOODNIGHT AGENT 355 WHOEVER YOU WERE——

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Shadow 0001 (July 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Bill Gates and Ray arrived from Pattaya where they had spent the past week scoping out business opportunities. We spent a few hours rummaging through Bangkok’s riotous Chinatown markets, looking for things that could be resold in the US. Some, like decorative mobile phone covers, apparently have a mark-up value ten times greater than the Thai purchase price. Bee, one of the first employees at AVA when Bill, Dick and I opened it some 13 years ago, accompanied us and served as an interpreter.

After leaving AVA Bee married a man from the piedmont region of North Carolina who had a string of carts selling inexpensive jewelry in several shopping centers in North and South Carolina. She had worked for her husband as a buyer in Thailand for a while. She was here in Bangkok visiting family and seeing her daughter off to college in BKK.

Later that evening, Bill, Bee, LM and I had dinner at the “Fish Market” restaurant that we always liked so much. We reminisced.

LM and I went to the movies to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.” We shouldn’t have.

After a short trip to Malaysia, Bill and Ray returned to Pattaya. I hope to join them for a day or two.

Resurrection:

Today, while walking back to my apartment I discovered the “dead man” I commented on at length a few post ago, lying comatose and spread-eagled at the base of the steps to the Nana Skytrain station, thus reducing my guilt ridden ethical quandary to another example of simple self-indulgence. Had I found the cop I was looking for at the time, while I am sure he would not have laughed in my face, I expect he would have smiled the way Thais do, assured me he would do something about it and after I left, utterly ignored it.

Unless it is some student art project using an embalmed cadaver, obviously he had not died where last I had seem him, although he could actually be dead now, but I think not. As I thought about my inert friend, I suspected that he must be able to raise some money, enough to feed himself and to support his evident alcohol (coconut milk beer?) or drug habit. He probably was not a trust fund baby and I was relatively certain he did not beg. So he must work at something. If so, that raises him from the realm of what some consider pure parasites (trust fund babies and those needing the assistance of others). I reasoned that he probably, stole, defrauded tourists or gleaned from garbage cans, thereby raising enough money to be able to lie insensate in the sun, sort of like the Wall Street barons lying on the beach or by the pools of their estates, equally comatose on the more expensive drugs of their choice; alcohol, cocaine, tranquilizers and steroids.

But wait you say, you cannot compare what they, the Wall Street barons, do with someone who defraud tourists, steals and makes a living off the refuse of others? If you believe that they are not comparable, then I suggest that you plan a stop at your local moral service station and have your ethical dip-stick checked. You are probably running low on your ethical conscience level.

Travel:

My travel Schedule firmed up a bit. I depart BKK for LA July 30. I will be staying with Monty and hopefully spending some time with Ruth, Ben and Greg. I leave LA by train to San José on the 5th of August and see Gates. On the 6th I will arrive in SF and visit with my son and grandchildren as well as my sister and her family. I leave on the 10th with Grenell for some Ragout and Charbono with Sally in the Benioff Zone returning to SF by mid week. After that I hope visit with friends in SF and spend some time with Hayden, the Dalls and Geyers in Sacto. Toward the end of September, I plan to depart for Florida, Washington, New York and Maine, before returning to Thailand by way of Italy.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Trumped:

I recently read where Donald Trump attended my alma mater, Fordham University, but he received no degree. So did “Captain Kangaroo,” but he graduated. I take from this that, “Captain Kangaroo” was smarter than Trump. But everyone already knew that.

2. Do your trust these men:

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
(Huffington Post-Reuters Report)

3. Non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report on Taxes:

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, due in part to tax cuts obtained by President Obama to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

However the Wall Street Journal points out that the average tax rate for the top 1%—those with average incomes of about $1.2 million—rose to 28.9% from 28.1% a year earlier…

Wow, a whole .2% increase in taxes. How they must be suffering. That explains why they will spend a billion dollars to defeat the man. Clearly the rest of us do not understand the unfairness of it all.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND.

1. Perhaps the most amazing talent of the Thais is the ability of Thai women to maneuver flawlessly along the despicably decrepit sidewalks of Bangkok in spiked heels.

2. If it is overcast and rainy, Thais consider it a good day.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Chinese Taoism, cunnilingus is revered as a spiritually fulfilling practice that is believed to enhance longevity

Once again the East gets it right. The older I get… no I am not going there.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Does anyone have any idea what this chart is about?

B. God; one of the guys:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44

Leviticus also seems to say that if guys get it on with guys, they should be put to death. Why would God consider it ok for gay guys to have slaves but not sleep with another guy? I wonder if God thought it was acceptable for guys to sleep with the slaves of either sex, but not with a non-slave of the same sex. I am pretty sure some of the slave-owning patriarchs did, didn’t everyone? Perhaps it was not necessary for slaves to “increase and multiply.”

By the way, did you notice that the sly old God did not prohibit women sleeping with women? Perhaps like most guys He liked to watch.

C. Fun with the Mormons:

The temple garment (or the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, or informally, the garment or garments) in some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, is a set of sacred underclothing worn by adult adherents who have taken part in a ritual ceremony known as washing and anointing ordinance, usually in a temple as part of the Endowment ceremony. Anti-Mormon activists have publicly displayed or defaced temple garments to show their opposition to the LDS Church.

According to generally accepted Mormon doctrine, the marks in the garments are sacred symbols (Buerger 2002, p. 58). One proposed element of the symbolism, according to early Mormon leaders, was a link to the “Compass and the Square,” the symbols of freemasonry (Morgan 1827, pp. 22-23), to which Joseph Smith (creator of Mormonism) had been initiated about seven weeks before his introduction of the Endowment ceremony.

Adherents of this practice consider them to be sacred and may be offended by public discussion of the garments.(Listverse)

I agree. I would not want someone making fun of my underwear.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

This is a cheap shot. People with wealthy parents are not necessarily parasites. He could have lived off his inheritance, instead Mitt chose to increase the “talents” given to him by making sure others had none. That was a cheap shot too. I apologize. I actually am one of the few on either side of the political spectrum who actually likes Mitt. I like the fact that he can continue to smile no matter what he is saying. He reminds me of a polished used car salesman. There I go again. I really am sorry.

Actually neither of men running for the highest office in the land impresses me as strong enough to resist the gathering storm rising up against us and eventually against them. The fabric of an American consensus has been ripped apart on every issue. We no longer (if we ever did) differ on emphasis or direction, but contest every issue raised as if there is no common understanding between us.

Left to their own devices, and not pushed by the needs of politics, from a policy standpoint they, Obama and Romney, probably are not hugely dissimilar (1960s liberal Republicans). However, I suspect that by inclination and by commitment and frankly by choice of party, Obama will prove to be more steadfast.

We are, after all, faced not with a single crisis or even a succession of crises.

We are faced instead with a series of system collapses each making the others more severe. Yet, the resolution of one requires the resolution of the others.

The liquidity crises reflects the collapse of demand and thus in turn eroding the value of the all too abundant liquid assets. Currently the plan is to move the unused assets around from one ginned up speculation to another until something happens that will remove the threat to their value.

The employment crisis represents in part a collapse of resource growth that will not be corrected merely by rebuilding outdated infrastructure. Helpful though that may be, it does not appreciably improve productivity. It only slows its deterioration. It probably cannot be improved anyway, at least not by any options available to us that we know of. Shipping jobs overseas is at best a short term solution.

A war will not be among the answers to the current economic crisis. It will only make it more grievous.

The environment is collapsing in that it no longer is an esthetic/conservation issue corrected by preservation. Nor is it making us sick in ways that can be remedied simply by removing the source danger. Today the environment has begun to turn deadly to individuals, humanity and most life forms. It cannot be resolved by more production furnishing surplus resources that enable us to preserve what is important. Nor is it adequate to remedy the specific activity that makes us sick. These solutions only make it worse.

World comity, which had been steadily increasing since WWII also is in danger of collapse and nations and their internal politics demand that they turn inward and protect themselves from the economic, social and environmental maelström that threatens to engulf them. But while that may be good internal politics it is probably disastrous policy (Germany is a good example. While Merkle’s policies may be good for her re-election, they are disasters for Germany in the long run).

The impacts of coming migrations caused by global warming can at best be delayed in hopes that a long-term solution evolves. But from where is this miracle to come? In almost none of these integrated world wide collapses is there a concerted effort to deal with either the specific collapse or the effects of them upon each other.

On the economy, the approach appears to be to hold on and reduce our efforts and expectations, whether short or long term, and hope something happens like it did once or twice in the past.

On the social level, while a huge number of efforts are underweigh, they are a drop in the bucket from what is required and anyway they tend to address results and not causes.

Dealing with the rapidly evolving homicidal environment is left not to a concerted effort to combat it as though we were in a war but to vague hopes that something will happen at some point in the future that will save us.

If Roosevelt and Churchill listened to those who preached a similar religion then, we all will be speaking German or Japanese today (Except for Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and a host of others (most likely Russians and blacks) who would all be dead).

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1. Charles Bukowski

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

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”

TODAY’S CHART:

What I do not understand about this chart, is that all 100,000 people must die eventually, so what is it that the remaining 999,400 die of? And, If only 600 out of 100,000 die each year then some people must live forever. [Actually what it tells us is simply that at some point in the future there will be a massive die off of the old]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 23, 2011

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL.

Attached is my Holiday gift to you. Your own personal calendar with which you can replace the Gregorian version if you have a mind to.

You can name your own months and days of the week if you want. It cinsists of 12 months of either 28 or 35 days (I got the Idea from Social Security. You may not know it but they pay you on a schedule of one 35 day month for every two 28 day months. That is why on certain months you feel you have run out of money a week before the next check is supposed to arrive.)

You can name the months whatever you wish, I did using the many things people have called me over the years. The days of the week always fall on the same days every month. I have included the regular calendar days for reference and a copy of my personal version. I am writing this on Tuesday Joseph 3, 0001. Christmas falls on Thursday Joseph 5, 0001. (Oh and the world ends on Sunday, Joseph 1, 0002.)

I know it is silly, but what else can an old retired guy do while he is spending a few days in a sick-bed? There is only so much time one can spend on the internet without going bonkers and I think I passed that about 3 months ago.

Have fun and enjoy your holidays.

Your Personal Non-Gregorian Calendar:

Image not available at this time

Pookie’s:

Image not available at this time.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. What Anne Coulter might say if she were running for President:

“Give the park police more ammo.”
~Newt Gingrich, responding to a reporter who asked what to do about the homeless a few days after the police shot a homeless man in front of the White House.

No, I have not yet found a Democrat or a Liberal politician or commentator advocating shooting those whom they disagree with or dislike. I seek your help in locating one. Perhaps I could point to the Obama administration killing bin Laden and many of the al Qaeda leadership as the functional equivalent.

2. The Buddy Roemer Republican alternative:

Politics has been completely corrupted by “Super PACs” and other special interest money, and the worst offender is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who received $1.8 million from Freddie Mac, the troubled government sponsored mortgage giant, for providing dubious strategic advice. “I want as president a woman or a man who is clean, who has the power to lead and who tells the truth,” Roemer says. “Newt does not fit those characteristics.”

3. David Frum Republican Party consultant explains Faux News Think:

“The business model of the conservative media is built on two elements: provoking the audience into a fever of indignation (to keep them watching) and fomenting mistrust of all other information sources (so that they never change the channel). As a commercial proposition, this model has worked brilliantly in the Obama era. As journalism, not so much.”

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 5000 BC until now:

If you ask me this is all too much light. Can’t we have a little more darkness? Does that make me an Atheist?

2. 2001 to 2012:

$1.26 Trillion – Total amount appropriated by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of Fiscal Year 2011 (September 30, 2011), — $797.3 billion for Iraq and $459.8 billion for Afghanistan. See NPP’s “Cost of War” Counters.

$7.6 Trillion – The total amount spent on “security” by the US government since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, (through the end of Fiscal Year 2011). See NPP’s analysis “US Security Spending Since 9/11.”

3. 2011: Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered  “low-income” or impoverished.

4. 1941, December 18:

Heinrich Himmler‘s notes on his meeting with Adolf Hitler:
Jewish Question / to be exterminated like the partisans.

The banality of evil

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My schedule seems to be changing once again. I will not be coming to the US until mid-January.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Has anyone realized that the sudden reversal of the Republican House Leadership to the compromise legislation extending the payroll tax cut for most Americans may have been because they recognized that they made a political mistake on the Keystone amendment? No, they have not decided to oppose the pipeline and signed up for the Sierra Club. But, after collecting whatever industry contributions they could for introducing the amendment shortening the decision time for approval to three months, they have become aware that it positions Obama, at the very commencement of his reelection campaign,  able now to collect campaign contributions from this same industry who now may hope they will sway his decision with the money. Currently under the amendment, Obama is empowered to play coy with the industry forcing them to disgorge even more in contributions into his campaign while leaving him the freedom to decide the fate of the project based on how it benefits his reelection or god forbid on the merits. No wonder they have gone bat-shit crazy. Their unpalatable options appear to be:

a. Hold hearings, collect more money from the industry, insisting the legislation includes actual approval of the pipeline, then allow the bill to fail blaming Administration or Democratic inflexibility. They will have collected contributions a second time and denied them to the administration, but it would give Obama a campaign issue.

b. Hold hearings, collect more money, somehow putting off the decision on the pipeline until after the election, pissing off their contributors (but they have already collected the money twice) thereby denying Obama both a campaign issue and potential contributions.

c. Cave and allow the contributions to drift in Obama’s favor and hope for the best while planning a strategy to reverse the political fall-out when the package comes back to Congress in March. This is the least appetizing but realistically the only reasonable alternative. They cannot refuse the tax-cut in March without giving the Dem’s a huge issue with which to campaign on against the Demos in November. Look for them to try to fashion a poison pill (one that includes gifts for large contributors) when the extension bill emerges.

I suspect a lot of midnight oil is being burned in the speaker’s office to find another alternative. This may be either Boehner’s finest hour, or if he fails, his fall as disgruntled members of his own party seek to replace him. Of course, he could be gambling upon Obama and the Democrats caving (as they seem to always do) on the issue and agree to the approval of the pipeline in return for preserving the tax cuts.

And for those of you who did not think politics works this way, spend a year or two in any democratic legislature in the world and find out for yourself.

***This morning I read that the Republican House Leadership caved. If that is true, then can Boehner’s remain leader for long? What will be the poison pill? Will it work? Stay tuned.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed for the holidays.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

TRANSHUMANISM

What if biological and technological enhancements took humans to a level where they radically surpassed anything we know today? “Post-humans” might consist of artificial intelligences based on the thoughts and memories of ancient humans, who uploaded themselves into a computer and exist only as digital information on super fast computer networks. Their physical bodies might be gone but they could access and store endless information and share their thoughts and feelings immediately and unambiguously with other digital humans.

Danger sign: You are outcompeted, mentally and physically, by a cyborg.

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

1. Return to a marginal tax rate that more reflects the share of wealth and income in the country.

 

As far as I can tell, this chart points out that in the past 40 years or so the only President exhibiting any political courage on the issue was George H. W. Bush, and look what happened to him.

2. End militarization of the Federal budget:


c. Signs you are smarter than average:

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa found atheism is linked to higher IQs.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/signs-you-are-smart-2011-12#you-dont-believe-in-god-4#ixzz1grepe8vq

d. Commentary:

The religious right and Christians in general should remember that Jesus judged only two groups harshly: religious leaders who were hypocrites and those who profited off the sacred. For everyone else he urged compassion.
e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The survey of 1,031 participants revealed that 42% of women believe that sex is important to their overall health, but 66% are engaging in sexual activity once a week or less often.

The new research demonstrates that most people don’t really understand the physical health benefits of having a regular, active sex life. In fact, an active sex life could decrease stress, strengthen pelvic floor muscles, increase immune system function and burn calories.

Although some people do understand these health benefits, most probably don’t know that a regular sex life can also have the youthful effects of a very expensive anti-aging cream.

“Women who had sex at least four times a week were scored as looking up to 10 years younger than their actual age,” the author of the report says. “While pleasure and intimacy with your partner should be a primary motivation to have sex, the health and wellness benefits are a big bonus.”

And where does one find that lusty, youthful looking and probably happy lady?

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine–for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing–but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing–so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
~Harry S. Truman

What this quote tells me is that it is plausible that the present incumbent President may be neither a Liberal nor a Democrat and that in the 2012 election for President the Democrats may not run a liberal candidate but will support the moderate Republican they currently have.

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

I understand the words. I do not understand the photograph. I assume the words are Rachel Maddow’s but did she choose the photograph? If so why? If not why again?

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 15, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. In my continuing effort to demonstrate fairness by incorporating comments from both sides of the political divide, I have included the following regarding Larry Klayman one of the nations leading conservative bloggers and founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch:

In his latest column, Larry Klayman predicted that people will increasingly stock up on firearms because President Obama’s “dishonest, non-responsive and incompetent government” is “invading our individual and family rights and taking away our liberties,” and are just waiting “for the revolution to come.”

The founder of Judicial Watch went on to argue that Americans see “no one on the horizon who can lead this nation back from Armageddon” and worries they will eventually turn to violence: “Let us pray that violent revolt will not break out before all other options are exhausted, but our Founding Fathers, faced with a similar dilemma, were forced to eventually choose this path by risking, and in many cases sacrificing, their fortunes and lives”

To those liberals out there, when I discover a main stream liberal blogger or political leader suggesting the violent overthrow of the government, I promise, in all fairness, to post it.

2. Why Parody is impossible:

“The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.”
~Newt Gingrich, arguing that it’s okay for politicians to be bought and paid for.

Should I find any other politician, Republican or Democrat, who says something even remotely like this, I promise I will post it.

3. Buddy Roemer candidate for the Republican nomination for President, a candidate we should all get the chance to hear. Why does Faux News exclude him from the debates?

“Here I am, running for president, and I’m different, No big checks, no PAC money. That’s my issue. I’m successful at what I do, a successful businessman, the only congressman and governor running who had both experiences, and I can’t qualify [for the debates] because I can’t get a poll number, and I can’t get a poll number because I can’t get on the debates. How about that for shutting a man down?”
Roemer in a wide-ranging interview with The Fiscal Times

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. 2011: Education Matters:


2. 1941: DECEMBER 12, WORLD WAR II, JOSEF GOEBBELS RATIONALIZES THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE HOLOCAUST:

“Regarding the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to clear the table. He warned the Jews [back in January 1939] that if they were to cause another world war, it would lead to their own destruction. Those were not empty words. Now the world war has come. The destruction of the Jews must be its necessary consequence. This question is to be regarded without sentimentalism. We are not here to have sympathy with the Jews, but rather with our German people. If the German people have sacrificed 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, so the authors of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.”

And we still have not learned that no rationalization no matter how convincing justifies either murder or discrimination for what people are; their race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, or gender identity.

3. Sixth Century BC: Discussion between Demaratus and King Xerxes prior to the latter’s march upon Greece:

“Xerxes sent for Demaratus the son of Ariston, who had accompanied him in his march upon Greece, and said to him:

“‘Demaratus, I would like you to tell me something. As I hear, you are a Greek and a native of a powerful city. Tell me, will the Greeks really fight against us? I think that even if all the Greeks and all the barbarians of the West were gathered together in one place, they would not be able to stop me, since they are so disunited. But I would like to know what you think about this.’

“Demaratus replied to Xerxes’ question: ‘O king! Do you really want me to give a true answer, or would you rather that I make you feel good about all this?’
“The king commanded him to speak the plain truth, and promised that he would not on that account hold him in less favour than before.

“When he heard this promise, Demaratus spoke as follows: ‘O king! Since you command me to speak the truth, I will not say what will one day prove me a liar. Difficulties have at all times been present in our land, while Courage is an ally whom we have gained through wisdom and strict laws. Her aid enables us to solve problems and escape being conquered. All Greeks are brave, but what I am about to say does not concern all, but only the Spartans.

“‘First then, no matter what, the Spartans will never accept your terms. This would reduce Greece to slavery. They are sure to join battle with you even if all the rest of the Greeks surrendered to you. As for Spartan numbers, do not ask how many or few they are, hoping for them to surrender. For if a thousand of them should take the field, they will meet you in battle, and so will any other number, whether it is less than this, or more.’

“When Xerxes heard this answer of Demaratus, he laughed and answered: ‘What wild words, Demaratus! A thousand men join battle with such an army as mine! Come then, will you — who were once, as you say, their king — fight alone right now against ten men? I think not. And yet, if your fellow-citizens really are as you say, then according to your laws as their king, you should be twice as tough and take on twenty all by yourself!

“‘But, if you Greeks, who think so hightly of yourselves, are simply the size and kind of men as those I have seen at my court, or as yourself, Demaratus, then your bragging is weak. Use common sense: how could a thousand men, or ten thousand, or even fifty thousand — particularly if they are all free, and not under one lord — how could such a force stand against a united army like mine? Even if the Greeks have larger numbers than our highest estimate, we still would outnumber them 100 to 1.

“‘If they had a single master as our troops have, their obedience to him might make them courageous beyond their own desire, or they might be pushed onward by the whip against an enemy which far outnumbered them. But left to their own free choice, they will surely act differently. For my part, I believe that if the Greeks had to contend with the Persians only, and the numbers were equal on both sides, the Greeks would still find it hard to stand their ground. We too have men among us as tough as those you described — not many perhaps, but enough. For instance, some of my bodyguard would willing engage singly with three Greeks. But this you did not know; and so you talked foolishly.’

“Demaratus answered him- ‘I knew, O king, that if I told you the truth, I would displease you. But since you wanted the truth, I am telling you what the Spartans will do. I am not speaking out of any love that I have for Sparta — you know better than anyone how I feel about those who robbed me of my rank, of my ancestral honours, and made me a homeless exile…. Look, I am no match for ten men or even two, and given the choice, I would rather not fight at all. But if necessary, I would rather go against those who boast that they are a match for any three Greeks.

“‘The same goes for the Spartans. One-against-one, they are as good as anyone in the world. But when they fight in a body, they are the best of all. For though they are free men, they are not entirely free. They accept Law as their master. And they respect this master more than your subjects respect you. Whatever he commands, they do. And his command never changes: It forbids them to flee in battle, whatever the number of their foes. He requires them to stand firm — to conquer or die. O king, if I seem to speak foolishly, I am content from this time forward to remain silent. I only spoke now because you commanded me to. I do hope that everything turns out according to your wishes.'”

“This was the answer of Demaratus, and Xerxes was not angry with him at all, but only laughed, and sent him away with words of kindness.

–Herodotus of Halicarnassus, Histories

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. Thailand: Cracked News from “Not the Nation”( the Thai “Onion”):

PM Declares Inner Bangkok Safe As Giant, ‘Croc-zilla’ Terrorizes Pathum Thani

4 Dec 2011, Pathum Thani – As tens of thousands of Thais still trapped by flood waters in Pathum Thani fended off a giant, mutant “croc-zilla,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today assured residents and businesses in inner Bangkok that they would not be impacted.

Pathum Thani residents who have survived croc-zilla’s attacks say the amphibious beast is 72 meters tall, walks on two legs, has the jaw and tail of a crocodile, breathes fire and has a Medusa-like mane of poisonous green mamba snakes.

“Croc-zilla,” as dubbed by the Thai media, is believed to have destroyed at least 600 homes and torn 300 people to pieces in the last 48 hours. The beast is also said to have ambushed several Red Cross deliveries yesterday and started its own horde of Mama noodles and sanitary napkins.

2. America: Are the Hyenas turning on each other?

ST PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 12, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ — Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the daily devotional he has written every morning for 12 years on the issues of the day from a Biblical worldview, is warning Christians that entertainer Glenn Beck is Satan, “masquerading as an angel of light,” and using Christians to further his agenda and advance the satanically inspired cult he belongs to.

Firstly, this is not a liberal media attack on Beck, but statements by a denizen of the religious right that up to now generally sympathized with Beck. Secondly, on the specifics of this allegation, I stand with Beck. He is not Satan. He is not painted red and he lacks horns.

3. Thailand: The Thai way:

The Bangkok Post, the nations leading english language newspaper, lists an email address for submitting Letters to the Editor that does not work.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I continue to spend my days exercising in the mornings and on the internet in the afternoons. Now and then I take in a movie or watch a DVD before going to bed. I had gained over 12 pounds during my US trip and lost whatever benefits I gained from my Thai fitness regime.

It is the high tourist season in Thailand, in the mornings the temperature is equivalent to that of late spring afternoons in a temperate climate, and the afternoons although hot are not uncomfortable as long as one avoids the direct ray’s of the sun.

I have begun to feel the effects of Bangkok air pollution with the return of my Bangkok cough.

I received a telephone call from Hayden and Nikki during their stop over in NYC on their way to Italy for the Christmas Holidays. Hayden told me he had gotten me a flashlight for Christmas because he knows I do not see so well and he thought it would help.

Nikki told me that Hayden had developed a serious eye tic that he did not have when I left a few weeks ago. His mother, SWAC, indicated that she was considering giving the child up to another man (one of the several SWAC hinted may be the child’s father). SWAC would return to Thailand to live and the child would be raised in this man’s household in Washington State. He has a daughter about Hayden’s age. I understand his prior marriages devolve amidst accusations of violence and he lost custody of his children from those marriages. He also is the one who recently “spread the word” about SWAC to her friends in Sacto.

We shall see if these rumors are true or if the child finds himself trapped in another cycle of insecurity.

Sad as I may feel, I have begun to realize that my efforts may have only increased the boy’s rejection fears since, for whatever reason, I like almost everyone else comes in and out of his life and often am not there when he needs stability the most. I fear I may be exacerbating, his situation. Perhaps it is time we both get on with our lives, such as they are.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMOIRS:

Old man memories, Don Lundy (Cont.):

Most of us, born into the Italian tradition had nicknames. In addition to “sir rinse,” our gang included, “Soupy,” Frank Supa, “Louie,” Louis DeLago, “Chazz,” Charles DeVito, “Whitey,” Peter White (Whitey, was non ethnic originally from Saugertes NY and considered a “hick.” He was the groups best all around sports athlete. (He had a sister who was not 100% and who the older boys had their way with.)), and “Neddy,”Ned Callaghan, a small Irish kid who was my rival in non-sport athletics such as climbing trees and buildings.

I used to like to climb tall trees in the neighborhood until I reached the tallest and thinest branch that inevitably would break under my weight sending me tumbling through the lower branches as I tried to slow my fall before striking the ground. At that time school buildings often were made of red brick with marble cornices about 1/2 thick marking the separate floors. Ned and I used to like to climb up the brick facing by squeezing our fingers and toes into the slight indentions made by the mortar until we reached the cornice and then we would inch along the cornice until we had encircled the building and then climb to the next floor and repeat circumnavigation of the building.

There was me of course. Every now and then someone in the group would call me “Mopey Joe.” I hated that name and so often a fight would ensue. I was given that name by one of the Blount brothers, (the Blounts were older and not members of our group), because I usually walked slowly, at a steady pace with my head down. The reason I did so was that I suffered constant pain from flat feet forcing me to generally gingerly walk more on my heels while tipping my upper body forward for balance. Anyway the Blounts were black, part of the vast migration north of rural southern blacks that began during the war. The black community in town was split between those immigrants and those free blacks who could trace their residence in the village back to the Civil War and before. They, this latter group, actually made up most of the village’s middle class.

Nick-names were part of italian culture, mostly prosaic and based either on some rearrangement of ones name, something peculiar about the person (I knew a guy call “Beefsteak” because of his fondness for that food) or insulting like “Gimp.” Blacks however tended to bestow nicknames whether from affection or insult more playfully and seemed to revel in the poetry. Mopey Joe had a certain ring to it, don’t you think? At that time, I was ashamed of it and hated it. It was only when I decided to start using it in this section of “This and that…” that I got to like it. I now have several nicknames some of which would normally be considered a bit insulting; “Pookie” and “Mopey Joe,” being two of them. Pookie I have grown to love and refer to myself that way. It was given to me by a small child out of love and trust and how could one be ashamed of that? If I were to rank the various names that people referred to me by, Pookie would be first, then followed by Papa Joe, Mopey Joe, Joe, Joey, Asshole, Bastard and Motherfucker.

There were a few other members of the gang whose names I have forgotten. Then there was Donald Lundy, “Don” or “Dondi.” My recollection of whom prompted this post.

Dondi was a black kid or “colored” as people of that time referred to what we have today agreed to refer to as black or African-American. In my experience no-one used the N word not even blacks with blacks as became fashionable later. The only people that used the N word were southerners we were told, classless white guys and crazy angry and often drunk people. I assumed, since my black friends at the time informed me, we were, in private, referred to in turn as Dagos, Wops or Guineas. Typically the complexities of racial and ethnic profiling and insults escaped the understanding of the children in my peer group in that village.

Anyway, Don’s family was of the older black settler group. I wanted to be his friend and we spent a lot of time together apart from the gang, playing and talking about those things of interest to little boys. We never fought as I did often with other friends. Dondi was too good-natured for that. We often ate at each others houses. Dondi used to like to come over to my house because at that time Italian Cuisine was still considered exotic and spicy. Dondi developed a taste for it. (To be continued.)

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Something about a fan and feces (cont.):

She returned to look at him again.

“You do not know what you’re, talking about.”

“I know what I felt since the first time you walked into my office,” he responded.

“No, it is impossible,” she said while lowering her eyes and gripping her purse.

“Why, is there someone else? Is it because you are supposed to be my body-guard or we are on opposite sides,” he said raising his voice slightly in exasperation?

“No” she said in almost a whisper.

The waiter and cart arrived by their table and she turned to watch the waiter approach with the salad fork in his hand. Vince ignored the server and stared at her trying to think of a follow-up to his question.

The waiter placed the salad fork down on the table at the top of Isabella’s plate opposite her and turned, took a few steps over to the serving cart and bent down to retrieve something. Isabella stared at the fork for a moment then picked it up. (To be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Strange Apocalypses:

GAMMA RAYS FROM SPACE

When a supermassive star is in its dying moments, it shoots out two beams of high-energy gamma rays into space. If these were to hit Earth, the immense energy would tear apart the atmosphere’s air molecules and disintegrate the protective ozone layer.

Danger sign: The sky turns brown and all life on the surface slowly dies.

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

1. A greater percentage of our tax dollars should be spent on education our future requires it and our present employment crises demands it.

2. End the lie that debt from public spending is the reason for the financial crisis.


3. Tell the truth about the costs of private heath insurance:


Medicare actually does a better job of controlling costs than private insurers — not remotely good enough, but better…

If Medicare costs had risen as fast as private insurance premiums, it would cost around 40 percent more than it does. If private insurers had done as well as Medicare at controlling costs, insurance would be a lot cheaper.

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s speech to Citizens United:

“The revolt of the plutocrats has now been ratified by the Supreme Court in its notorious Citizens United decision last year. Rarely have so few imposed such damage on so many. When five pro-corporate conservative justices gave “artificial entities” the same rights of “free speech” as living, breathing human beings, they told our corporate sovereigns “the sky’s the limit” when it comes to their pouring money into political campaigns. The Roberts Court embodies the legacy of pro-corporate bias in justices determined to prevent democracy from acting as a brake on excessive greed and power in the private sector. Wealth acquired under capitalism is in and of itself no enemy of democracy, but wealth armed with political power — power to shake off opportunities for others to rise — is a proven danger. Thomas Jefferson had hoped that, “we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and [to] bid defiance to the laws of our country.” James Madison feared that the “spirit of speculation” would lead to “a government operating by corrupt influence, substituting the motive of private interest in place of public duty.”

d. Profiles in Presidential courage:
“In name we had the Declaration of Independence in 1776; but we gave the lie by our acts to the words of the Declaration of Independence until 1865; and words count for nothing except in so far as they represent acts. This is true everywhere; but, O my friends, it should be truest of all in political life. A broken promise is bad enough in private life. It is worse in the field of politics. No man is worth his salt in public life who makes on the stump a pledge which he does not keep after election; and, if he makes such a pledge and does not keep it, hunt him out of public life. I care for the great deeds of the past chiefly as spurs to drive us onward in the present. I speak of the men of the past partly that they may be honored by our praise of them, but more that they may serve as examples for the future…”
Teddy Roosevelt:
e. The difference between Americans and Europeans:

Americans are more pro-religion and anti-homosexuality.

Image unavailable at this time.

I guess I will have to stop eating French Fries again.

f. Testosterone Chronicles:
“…The Paccius letter having been answered, let me tell you the rest of my news. A letter from my brother contains some quite extraordinary things about Caesar’s warm feelings towards me, and is corroborated by a very copious letter from Caesar himself. The result of the war against Britain is eagerly awaited, for the approaches to the island are known to be ‘warded with wondrous massy walls’. It is also now ascertained that there isn’t a grain of silver on the island nor any prospect of booty apart from captives, and I fancy you won’t expect any of them to be highly qualified in literature or music!”
Marcus Tullius Cicero to Titus Pomponius Atticus: 89 (iv. 16): Rome, about 1 July 54 BC.

What no silver, no booty! Oh well, I guess slaves will do. Another tale of “The Biker Gangs Conquer the World.” Did you think that Caesar conquered Britain just to bring the benefits of Roman Civilization to the barbarians?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“If you want to be rich, you must first build roads.”
Old Chinese proverb.
TODAY’S MAP:

It is interesting how this map’s information and ranking, like so many others, roughly correlates with latitude.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Because the young Uma Thurman looks like a nymphet from outer space. There is no doubt in my mind that, given the chance, she would kill Bill.

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:


A REUNION OF OLD FRIENDS.

Monty, Pookie, David and Frank

Between the 4 of us in our lives so far, we have collectively made and lost somewhere between $50 and 100 million and perhaps more. Today we are all old and broke except Frank who is not old. Congratulations to us, we have managed to amass many more stories than toys.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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