Posts Tagged With: Henry David Thoreau

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 Joey 0003 (March 24, 2014)

“When you die, the first thing you lose is your life. The next thing is your illusions.”

Pratchett, Terry. Pyramids (Discworld). Harper Collins.

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The rains of the past few weeks have prompted the foothills to blush green. Every day I do pretty much the same few things at about the same time. As a result I have begun to lose track of time. I, for example, no longer know how long it has been between calls to people with whom I have previously been in regular contact. Everything seems the same day after day except for the clouds. I like the clouds here at the edge of the foothills. They are gloriously variegated from cottony white to pearlescent, sometimes grey and searing black as well as red, pink, orange and even yellow (see Today’s Photograph below).

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The “Mothers” rugby team played two games today. The first was against the team that beat them 95 to 5. This time they only lost 30 to 15. The second game however was a different story. They played the team made up of South Sea Islander kids, half of whom were girls. After less than three minutes the Mothers were down 30 to 0 so the coach halted the slaughter and requested the Islanders play with only the smallest and youngest (8 and under) members of the team. They fielded 6 members and the Mothers “loaned” them six of their worst scrubs to make up the difference. While the Mothers scrubs wandered around the playing field in semi oblivion, the remaining six Islanders continued to run up the score by another 30 points in 10 minutes before the game was called to save our team from further embarrassment. HRM was however voted by the refs as the Best Tackler of the Game, primarily for a thunderous last second tackle on an opponent running free toward the goal-line to the cheers, ohs and applause of the bloody minded parents watching the game.

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I am sick again and have been forced to lie in bed for about a week oozing bodily fluids while I wait for antibiotics and other various medicines to kill off those little buggers who have found my body an ideal place in which to vacation.

When once or twice a day I stumble out on the deck for a bit of sun and fresh air I notice that not only was this a year without winter here at the edge of the foothills but one without spring as well. We seem to have sprung directly into Summer. The grasses and trees starved for water have, in response to the feeble rains a week or so ago, panicky thrust their seeds and pollen into the air in order to propagate themselves before they brown and die as the drought regains control. Alas, the resulting hay fever and allergies have added to whatever miseries the vacationing bacteria and viruses have brought me.

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The rugby season has ended with the expected thundering defeats for the Mothers at the regional tournament. Swimming season now begins. I sit at the edge of the pool, along with a group of proud mothers encouraging our charges to ever greater efforts while we fiddle with our smart phones.

 

B. POOKIE’S DREAMS:

I am what is referred to by some as a vivid dreamer. That is, my dreams are in color, I know that I am dreaming and I can alter them as they go along. I also can wake myself up if things get too stressful. Moreover, I generally remember a lot of them in their entirety. Sometimes, those dreams become as real in my memory as any other experience. Periodically I used to analyze which of my memories were real and which were dreams in order to purge those not real. I no longer do that. I now believe, if it is there it is as real as any memory.

I prefer sleep to being awake because on the whole my dreams are far more interesting and exciting than my waking life is. I guess that goes for most of us.

Perhaps a little over a score of years ago I dreamt I was flying in a plane. We passed from the ocean over the land somewhere in Africa where we landed. I then took a small jitney bus that drove directly from the airport into the desert. The desert was not the sandy dune desert of Lawrence of Arabia, but barren, dusty and rocky like parts of West Texas. After a day or two we arrived at a small city of mud-walled buildings. In the center of the city was a large dirt plaza filled with men with guns, shooting them into the air and shouting at people in cars or busses and stopping them as they tried to make their way through the plaza. The men seemed to be grouped into gangs with no one group in charge. They appeared mediterranean in complexion with large bushy mustaches. They wore dark pants and vests over their shirts. I assumed they were Muslims since most of them wore ragged turbans on their heads.

They would not allow our bus to continue, so I disembarked and walked into the city to search for some distant relatives whom I knew lived in the town. The relatives strangely were Armenian shopkeepers. I found their shop. I never learned what they sold there. The relatives lived above the shop. After I explained who I was, they welcomed me in. The father, a man of about 60, was relatively short statured, clean-shaven with a round face topped by a mostly bald head with a few long black hairs combed over. He had two grown sons, they were much taller than he, broad-shouldered and moustached. Strapped to their backs were guns of some sort. Their sister was a slender dark girl of about 14, I guess. She wore a light-colored dress imprinted with small pink flowers. The mother was thin like the daughter with more grey hair than the father. I told them I had been stopped by the gunmen in the plaza and I wanted to continue on to the jungle beyond the desert. He said that it would be difficult under the current chaotic circumstances to secure permission to travel beyond the City. He said he would have to think about it and promised to do his best. In the meantime, they prepared a dinner in my honor attended by the father’s brother and his family. After the dinner the brothers spoke with each other in a corner of the room out of my hearing. Eventually the father came over to me and told me that the leader of one of the strongest militia was a friend of his and he thought he could arrange passage for me.

Early the next morning after saying good-bye and thanking everyone I, accompanied the older son, returned to the plaza and after enduring several threats and insults from the militia leader, was put into an old Range Rover and allowed to continue on my way.

We drove on across that stoney dusty desert well into the early afternoon when the landscape began to change, first into scrub lands and then into a grassy savannah. Small copse of trees dotted the terrain here and there. Near to sunset we topped a small ridge and saw a little valley beyond. The savannah continued across the valley along with the dirt track we had been following until along the smaller ridge on the opposite side the green expanse of the forest began abruptly. Where the road disappeared into the trees, I could see a small village of conical mud-walled houses nestled in the shade of the trees stretched out along the road.

At sundown we arrived at the village. I got out of the vehicle at the edge of the village. About 10 or so adults and innumerable children assembled around the vehicle as I disembarked. One man approached. He seemed to be in his late twenties or early thirties. I guess he was Somali or other Cushite speaker, thin, light brown complexion and a straight narrow nose. He greeted me and asked what had brought me to the village. I answered that I had heard about what they had accomplished in creating their vast environmental and ethnological preserve and I wanted to see it for myself. This was the first time in the dream that I had become aware of what I was doing here.

He contemplated me for a moment then said, “Mama discourages casual visitors to the reserve.” At first I thought MAMA was an acronym for the NGO operating the place. I was soon disabused of that assumption when he glanced to a large woman standing off to the side surrounded by passel of young children.

She was a large woman, large indeed, about an inch or two taller than me and at least 50 pounds heavier. Her skin was a deep chocolate color and a thick dark tangled ring of hair floated around her head like Medusa’s snakes. She wore a deep blue tent like dress that fell from her shoulders almost all the way to the ground. Thick red stripes containing faint yellow pinstripes broke up the wall of blue.

“Perhaps I can persuade her to let me stay,” I said. “I don’t think so,” he responded quickly. “But it is too late in the day to send you back, so you can stay the night as our guest and if she is not too busy perhaps you can try to persuade her tomorrow.”

With that he led me into the town past several of the huts to one a little back from the road. “This is my house,” he said. “You can stay here for the evening. There is a cot in the back. You can leave your backpack there. I will show you where to wash up and you can join my family and others for dinner.”

The hut was nicely sized containing a single room. It seemed to be used only for sleeping. I found a small cot at the back and with both relief and trepidation dropped my backpack on it and rejoined my host.

He showed me to a surprisingly comfortable bathhouse with both hot and cold tubs and showers. It seemed to be available to both sexes.

After my bath he led me to a clearing a little way from the village. Here there were benches and a few sturdy wooden tables. Several modern grill type cookers and other tables containing copious amounts of food surrounded a large campfire around which on a variety of strange tripod like contraptions other pots and viands hung over the flames.

I met my host’s wife and their two small children. She was young and quite attractive. I am sorry to say, I no longer remember their names even though they became some of the closest friends I had even known. That’s the way it is with dreams.

The clearing filled up with what appeared to be at least a hundred adults and even more children running about. The others seemed to be a mixture of ethnicities and races, predominately African but I could see some Europeans and Asians also among the crowd.

Although I remember the food was delicious and the feeling that I enjoyed myself immensely I recall little more about the evening other than that whenever I glanced across the campfire through the flames I saw Mama on the other side staring at me with what appeared to me to be hard cold angry eyes.

After the dinner I returned to the hut, laid down on the cot and fell immediately asleep.
(to be continued)

 

C. MOPEY’S BOOK REPORTS:

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”
Logan Pearsall Smith
1. The Ripper

At Ruth’s suggestion, I read Isabel Allende’s new novel. Unlike her previous novels, this time she tries the mystery genre. Her husband William C. Gordon, an attorney in SF, writes mystery novels set in The City during the sixties. Allende’s novel, The Ripper, is also set in the City but takes place currently, more or less. Nevertheless, much of the novel revolves around a shard of the sixties that lasted to the present day – the occupants and clients of a holistic medicine clinic in North Beach several of whom I could comfortably associate with some of the denizens of the counter-culture I met during those fabled if somewhat blurred times.

Pookie says check it out.

“…no one gets rich working,”
Allende, Isabel. Ripper (p. 152). Harper Collins.

2. Steam

Sir Terry Pratchett the beloved author of the innumerable “Discworld” novels was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year or so ago. “Discworld,” for those who do not know, is a flat world on a disc resting on the backs of four huge elephants standing on the shell of an enormous tortoise slowly making its way across the galaxy. The denizens of “Discworld” are delightfully human (even the humans), and humanly delightful. “Steam” is his most recent book. Although it is not as madly surprising and bizarrely inventive as his previous works, it still overflows with Sir Terry’s special brand of humor and insight.

To Sir Terry, captains of industry, commerce and banking are inevitably criminals, hucksters and scoundrels but they seem to do as good a job as anyone would do under the circumstances. Of course it helps, if the government is run by a highly trained assassin instead of a mass murderer. Sir Terry believes that is the best of all political arrangements. He thinks magic is a good thing because it is very funny when its spells go wrong, which they inevitably do. He also believes that goblins, golems, vampires, trolls, werewolves, and various other species of sentient being, more or less, are quite amusingly human and often even more so than humans themselves once you get to know them, even McFeegles.

Pookie says check it out.

“It is now known to science that there are many more dimensions than the classical four. Scientists say that these don’t normally impinge on the world because the extra dimensions are very small and curve in on themselves, and that since reality is fractal most of it is tucked inside itself. This means either that the universe is more full of wonders than we can hope to understand or, more probably, that scientists make things up as they go along.”
Pratchett, Terry. Pyramids (Discworld) (p. 313). Harper Collins.

Note: I also read Pyramids published several years ago in which Sir Terry reveals that the greatest mathematicians in the universe are camels who, alas have found no one within that same universe they deem worthy enough to share that knowledge with.

Pookie says check that out also. In fact read all or Pratchett’s books. There are so many of them you could read them for the rest of your life and still be happy.

 

 
DAILY FACTOID:

Sometime about the middle of the century or during the latter half of it, those of us still alive will experience a day not experienced by humankind since the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries when Genghis Kahn slaughtered about 10% of humanity living at that time and the following Plague carried by fleas riding along on those sturdy Mongolian ponies offed another 10%.

On that day in the near future according to several demographic studies there will be fewer humans living on the planet then the day before. This will occur not because some new Genghis or Plague will ravage us (although that remains a real possibility), but because of the education and liberation of women, increasing living standards and urbanization will have resulted in not enough babies born to offset the death rate among oldies.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. The Great Gatsby Curve
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For those who consider those nordic countries as small and homogenous and thereby not applicable to the situation in the USA, note that their combined population is slightly less than that of Canada and their percentage of foreign-born residents is greater than that of the USA and most other industrialized nations (Although it does beg the question of whether anything in Canada is applicable to the US). On the other hand, in terms of sheer numbers the US leads the world in foreign-born residents as it has more or less from its beginning.

2. Study by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:

A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilization could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

“By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources ”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over ‘the last five thousand years.’”
B. A bit more Twain*:

“When I look around me, I am often troubled to see how many people are mad. To mention only a few: The Atheist, The Theosophists, The Infidel, The Swedenborgians, The Agnostic, The Shakers, The Baptist, The Millerites, The Methodist, The Mormons, The Christian Scientist, The Laurence Oliphant Harrisites, The Catholic, and the 115 Christian sects ( the Presbyterian excepted), The Grand Lama’s people, The Monarchists, The Imperialists, The 72 Mohammedan sects, The Democrats, The Republicans (but not the Mugwumps!), The Buddhist, The Blavatsky-Buddhist, The Mind-Curists, The Faith-Curists, The Nationalist, The Mental Scientists, The Confucian, The Spiritualist, The Allopaths, The 2000 East Indian sects, The Homeopaths, The Electropaths, The Peculiar People, The–

“But there’s no end to the list; there are millions of them! And all insane; each in his own way; insane as to his pet fad or opinion, but otherwise sane and rational. This should move us to be charitable towards one another’s lunacies.”
Mark Twain, Christian Science

* we need more twains and fewer singularities.

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”
~ J. Garcia

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Always assume everyone is an idiot. This saves time.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_20140131_172058_675_3
Sunset over El Dorado Hills

 

Categories: January through March 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 30, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1 Million BC: A homo erectus skull from Daka, Ethiopia, from this time was identified in 2001 as an ancestor to all modern humans.

As Hayden asked me after I tried to explain things like this, “Was this before or after God died?”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Political quotes of the day:

a. Thaksin the Terrible: The deposed fugitive ex-prime minister, inching ever closed to his Thai homeland, said from his hotel in Japan, “I have no immediate plan to return to my country.”

b. Abhist the Unready: The defeated former Prime Minister of Thailand in speaking about the spread of “red villages”, villages set up by supporters of the current government, declared, “It is not necessary to divide the Thai people in this manner.” Moments later in objecting to the proposed review of the Constitution by the new government he exclaimed, “The group against this may be ready to take to the streets again.”

c. Yingluck, Princess LuckyGirl: The newly elected Prime Minister, sister of Thaksin the Terrible and opponent of Abhist the Unready was heard to mumble, “My Government is determined to rebuild solidarity and national reconciliation.”

She generally says that and little else in answer to any question.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David T...

1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David Thoreau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henry David Thoreau decided that it would be a good thing to take Horace Greeley‘s advice to, “Go West Young Man.” However, our Henry being the imaginative sort decided that instead of fording rivers, climbing mountains and crossing deserts to get to some fabulous place like California, to confine his westward migration to a few mile walk from his home to his cabin on the shores of a small nearby lake. There he was able to spend his mornings allowing his mind to wander as it will and be back home for lunch. It the afternoon he would return to his not so remote and not so rustic cabin and further indulge himself in the conceit that his perceptions of the natural world around his retreat revealed to his mind and imagination all of the wonders that others experience in old Californy or wherever.

After about a year or so, tiring of the rigors of the remote country life, Henry then took a rowboat trip up the stream affectionately called the Connecticut River and dreamed he was traveling down the Mississippi. Among his other adventures, our Henry travelled for a while in remote Cape Cod where he met a man who had seen George Washington riding his horse and recalled something or other about the attractiveness of George’s leg.

Now I write this, not to make fun of Henry, but as an explanation as to why I have always viewed him as a role model. Day dreams can be adventures too.

My tale of my morning walk to through my Bangkok neighborhood to the health club and back is intended to elicit similar transcendental impressions as old Henry experienced in his New England perambulations. Alas, I am not Henry. I cannot write as well as he, nor are my impressions as…well transcendental. (Henry during his boat trip marveled at the humanity of a man standing on a bridge as his boat passed under, spitting in our Henry’s face.) In fact as often as not, I can find nothing particularly interesting memorable or romantic about what I see, hear or otherwise experience. Sometimes a dirty, boring street is just that, a dirty boring street.

So it is with Today’s Photograph which shows, well, a dirty boring street. It is the street that I turn  on to after leaving my cul-de-sac and before arriving at Soi Nana, the neighborhood main drag. There are two hotels and a cement wall that comprise the visual horizon and little else. The man with the blue shirt standing on the right, (or another similarly attired) is always there, day or night. I haven’t the slightest idea why. Sometimes a motorbike, or taxi or the Boss Suites Tuk-tuk goes by. Now and then a ying (young woman) who works nearby passes, going to or from work; outside of that nothing.

Oh once I saw an injured bird hopping about on the street. I did not touch it since I have an aversion to touching small living things other than dogs and cats and some humans. Large animals I have no aversion to and can be persuaded to touch a horse or even an elephant. Other large animals are ok too except bears. I am pathologically afraid of bears. I did touch one however, once.

I was walking along one of the seedier parts of Istanbul when a couple of Russian Gypsies came along leading a bear on a rope that led to a ring in the bear’s nose. I was allowed, for a price, to pet the bear. I paid and did so. It made me sad. The sight of the creäture who so terrorized my nighttime dreams as the personification of arbitrary and unlimited power reduced to such a state repulsed me. I still have terrifying dreams of ursine ravening. I used to run away as the beast bursts from shadows, but now I turn and apologise for the ring and the rope.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://papajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

He sat in a small booth with a tiny table in the darkened dinning room of the outrageously expensive restaurant waiting for the Great One, Arrogant Bella to arrive. He wondered if any of the other diners or any of the wait staff was one of the “agents” that Russel promised would provide him protection. “What a joke,” he thought. He still could not believe Russel’s warning. He wondered is Isabella was on the job too, lurking somewhere outside or in the shadows. It was all so grotesquely absurd he though and began to chuckle to himself when he became aware of Arabella La Grande’s entrance into the restaurant and purposeful stride toward his table. Tall and slender with a gallic nose and short mannish hair just beginning to become dusted with grey, she wore a dark business suit with a skirt and a white ruffled blouse. He began to rise, but she curtly motioned him to remain seating.

“It is good to see you again Vincent,” she said while smartly snapping oped the napkin and placed it on her lap.

“I’m as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” he responded. “How are you, and how is Alec?” Alec being Arabella’s husband.

She looked at him for what seemed like a long time with those expressionless grey eyes of hers and finally said, “I’m fine. He is fine. Everyone is fine. But I am not here to talk about domestic bliss.”

“I expected as much. So why are you here?” Vince said through clenched teeth.

“Ah, good,” she said. “Let’s order first and then get down to it shall we. I am famished.”

“Good idea,” he said, “but if you’re hungry, this is not the place, the portions are too small for even a mouse to feel full.”

She smiled frostily and examined the menu.

After ordering and the arrival of the first glass of wine, he leaned back in his booth and said to her, “So?”

She leaned forward her eyes boring into his. “How are you doing, Vince?”

He cocked an eyebrow.

“No,” she responded to his expression. “I am not interested in you emotional well-being,” she continued with an almost girlish giggle. “How, and more to the point what are you doing with the firm? You know I was the logical choice to succeed Sam.”

She hesitated awaiting his response, but Vince knew this game and remained silent. She continued, “You’re a bright guy Vince, we all know that , but you are neither a manager or leader. Why you? No, one on the management committee is talking. They refer me to David. All David tells me is that, under the circumstances they thought you would do a good job. That’s Bullshit.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Vince interjected.

“Ha,” she laughed. “You know what I mean. Something is going on and I need to know what it is. I have my own career to think of.”
(To be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Zipf’s law — In linguistics, the observation that the frequency of use of the nth most frequently used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n, or, more simply, that a few words are used very often, but many or most are used rarely. Named after George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), whose statistical work research led to the observation.

In other words, all languages end up only with the equivalent to the english word “fuck”. Zipf this George; get a life.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“As with most essential freedoms, preventing those who wish to curtail the fundamental rights of others is a more important role of government than encouraging the exercise of those rights. Exercising our rights are our individual jobs, protecting us from those who would abridge our rights is the duty we collectively give to government. If “government is not the guarantor of Freedom then it is a tyranny.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Now what do you do? What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours–I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance–it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”
Pat Robertson

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage and Traitors to their Class:

1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

“Let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion that says ‘of course we believe these things. We believe in Social Security, we believe in work for the unemployed, we believe in saving homes, cross our hearts and hope to die. We believe in all these things but we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us, we will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything,'”

What has changed in 70 years except the scope of the danger?

2. From Warren Buffett, Another Traitor to his Class:

“Let’s just say, Charlie, that you and I agreed that after we left the studio here we were going to go out to a track near here and I was going to get at one end with my car and you were going to get at the other end and there’s this line down the middle and whichever one flinches loses his net worth to the other guy. Do you want to play?
Whether you want to play depends on how crazy you think I am….So what do we do?
Right as the engines start I throw out my steering wheel. Now you believe me, right?
Well, Boehner didn’t throw out the steering wheel, McConnell didn’t throw out the steering wheel, but a group behind them said, “Throw out the steering wheel, Mr. Speaker, and make those people realize that we’re not going to agree to anything unless we get our way.”
And if you have a sane person dealing with somebody that you feel may be insane by that point when they throw out the steering wheel you feel they’re insane.”
e. Testosterone Chronicles:

“Testosterone may therefore underlie a financial variant of the ‘winner’ effect, in which a previous win in the markets leads to… increased (and eventually irrational) risk taking in the next round of trading. This effect, even if confined to a small number of people, could cause financial markets to deviate from the predictions of rational choice theory.”
Taken from a study entitled, “Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking…” by Coates and Herbert.

Participation in high-reward, high-stress occupations like derivatives trading warps your brain chemistry. People with unbalanced brain chemistry make bad decisions. Every time Wall Street bubbles over, it becomes a factory for producing hopped-up-on-steroids madmen who think they are chasing woolly mammoths, but are actually stabbing themselves in the kidneys.

TODAY’S QUOTE :

“…Vicksburg is the key. Here is the Red River, which will supply the Confederacy with cattle and corn to feed their armies. There are the Arkansas and White Rivers which can supply cattle and hogs by the thousand. From Vicksburg these supplies can be distributed by rail all over the Confederacy….Let us get Vicksburg and all that country is ours. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pockets….”
A. Lincoln

Another profile in presidential courage.

BONUS QUOTE :

“I don’t need bodyguards. I’m from the South Bronx.”
Al Pacino

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment. May 2, 2010

It has been a few days since I wrote last and while a lot has happened (dinners and visits from new and old friends, nights on the outskirts of hell and things like that) but little that can be wrapped into a simple tale. As you know from my previous emails one of my favorite writers is Thoreau, not because of his insight or style, but because he was an amusingly truly strange dude (Remember he thought getting thrown in jail was…well..cool). He believed the minutia of life represent the archetypes for the big things in life and by paying close attention to those little things you will learn something about something. He once spent a better part of a week at Walden Pond observing and writing about two gangs of ants who had decided to fight over something in the dirt in front of the door to his cottage. Thoreau seemed to see in their tussle a metaphor and analogue of the larger conflicts between nations, people and within ones own spirit. I really couldn’t understand what he was talking about. If I were to choose a metaphor for life from his experiences I prefer the one I mentioned in an earlier email, Thoreau standing at the back of his boat traveling down the Connecticut River, spittle dripping off the end of his nose, passing under the bridge on which the spittee stands. Think about it. Put yourself in Henry David’s flip-flops. Do you, staring at the smirk on the face of your adversary, feel the spirit of unity and oneness with the universe well up inside you as Henry David claimed he did, or do you decide to head the boat into the bank, jump off and beat the SOB to within an inch of his life or continue on forever questioning the nature of your experience and of your response. Now, that’s life.

Anyway, although the monsoons have arrived, so has the heat of “mad dogs and Englishmen” and so after walking to the cafe for breakfast, I return to my apartment turn on the AC, take a cold shower and nap until the shadows of the building cover the pool and I go for a swim and then at night perhaps walk along the beach in hopes of catching some ocean breezes.

Tomorrow, or the next day, I plan to travel down the coast to the next Provence called Rayong where the principal of the pre-school Hayden recently attended in Chiang Mai is vacationing with her husband and family.

I sill have a wracking cough, if the medicines I am taking do not clear it up in a few days, I probably will have to check myself into hospital.

Ciao

____________________________________________

EXCERPTS FROM DIARY PRIOR TO POST:

FRIDAY APRIL 30 2010 11 AM

Went to immigration for retirement visa. Done by 10AM. Cost about 2200 baht. Need to get reentry permit next. Go to pick up passport on Monday. See this and that.. for discussion

SATURDAY MAY I 2010 11 AM

Received 2 mails for May. She must need money. No word from Tai. Money must not be an issue yet.

Checked KOS for reaction to my diary. Only one commenting on my typo in the title. I guess you cannot follow-up. Should I send them to my list???

Hot again. Got to be a high misery index. Finished IRS submittal. Need print out and envelope.

Cannot recall what internet research I need to do. Write it down.

Should I do a pseudo travelogue made up of a pastiche of my emails and diary etc?

1 PM

Just received a call from Jerry. They will be in Rayong tomorrow. I must call them and arrange to meet with them.

2 PM

Received a call from Nikki in Italy. He was with Hayden. Hayden got on the phone and told me about his new batman watch that Nikki bought him. Hr also asked me why I did not pay Pi Newan and the electricity. Nikki told me he had been brainwashed on that matter. Nikki was returning to Zürich today and his course will finish mid-month. Does not know if they will be coming back to Thailand, but Natalie said something about returning to Chiang Mai for Hayden’s school. We will see…

7:30

Preparing to leave to join Gates and friends for his last night in Thailand.
Finished a draft of a new diary for Kos. I think it may be too histrionic and inflammatory for most readers. Maybe after I sleep on it I will reconsider its publication.

I have renamed the diary, Trenz Pruca’s Journal. Catchy eh?

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. January 24, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2271 BC.Battle of Uruk – King Sargon of Akkad defeats the Sumerian force led by king Lugal-Zage-Si at Uruk.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Recently there has been several articles in the Thai newspapers about aged Westerners (Farang) living in Thailand who, after losing all their money to some young Thai woman, become ill, are hospitalized and unable to pay their bill, thus becoming a burden on Thai society. This seems to be all part of the rising anti-farang movement accompanying the current political instability in the country. It appears no different from the nationalism and anti-immigrant hysteria that exists in the US as it wrestles with economic and political insecurity. It is always good politics to blame the foreigner. It used to be that the Burmese and Cambodians were the Mexicans of Thailand. It now appears that the western retirees are.

Anyway, I have attached for your reading pleasure a dyspeptic screed taken from an internet forum of some kind discussing the relative merits of Thai men and Thai women as it relates to their relationships with Western men. (This was graciously forwarded to me by Gary Williams)

Yeah Yeah and I might get run over and killed by a fucking Baht bus as well… Where were you when you got attacked buy chairs and bottles… Oh you were in a bar half Mao ??? Was it some of those nice Thai men you were talking about that attacked you ??? I don’t drink and I don’t hang out in bars… I have never read as much shit as you just wrote… The girls are no better than the men ????? Ummmm the girls are a lot better than the men…. It’s the Thai men standing over the girls taking the money off them, not the other way round… It’s the Thai men doing the daily Pattaya armed robberies and drug related shootings not the girls…. Like you say, maybe if i venture a little outside Beach Road and Walking Street the Pattaya men get nicer… You mean like all the lovely Thai men that live around Sukhumvit way… No one ever got hurt around there…lol… As for the girls LOVING THAI MEN where do you get this shit from… 95% of the girls despise Thai men, For a lot of them Thai men are the reason they end up in Pattaya in the first place… And god help any girl that is foolish enough to date a Pattaya Thai man… In Pattaya Thai boyfriend = Pimp… Let me run this down for you… Thai men standing around on beach = Scum… Motorbike taxi Thai men = Scum… Thai men hanging around bars = Scum… Thai men riding around on motorbikes grabbing gold chains = Scum… Thai security guards = Scum… Thai men smashed on drugs and whiskey = Scum… Thai jet ski operators = Scum… Thai men motorbike hire = Scum… Thai Police officers = Scum… Every fucking Thai man in Pattaya = Scum…. Or maybe you can tell us where all the nice Pattaya Thai men choose to spend their time ????? Please for anyone reading this trust me…. Adopt my Pattaya Thai Man = Scum approach on your next visit to Pattaya…. And have as little to do with Pattaya Thai men as you possibly can… It is the best safeguard you can ever have !!!!! Oh before I go Dow is sitting here with me right now, She wants to have her little say… These are her exact words… ” Thai man no good for girl… Make big problem for she” Now fuck this bullshit we are going back to bed !!!!!!!!!!

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Humor is… despair refusing to take itself seriously. ~Arland Ussher

For reasons that I can only guess at, since my return from the US, as I power walk my mornings through “little Crimea” and “Siberia del Sud,” things do not appear to amuse me as much as they did a month ago. (However, see Today’s Photograph below)

(Speaking of Crimea, I just finished reading another retelling of “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” It never ceases to amaze me how young men are so willing to throw their lives away so stupidly and for so little. It only confirms my belief that the male sex has outlived its evolutionary usefulness and men should be put out to pasture and periodically milked for their sperm.)

Anyway, back to more amusing things like my loss of humor, I usually just wait things out when I feel like this, after all, tomorrow is another day and almost anything can happen to banish my ennui. Nevertheless, waiting around for something to happen does not increase anticipation. Instead, it tends to decrease interest. Anyway, since whatever happens when one waits around for something to happen appears to me to more often than not be something bad when it does happen, I think I will be better off doing something foolish now, on my own, rather than waiting for it to be done to me. The problem however is that the most foolish thing I can think of to do right now is to fall in love or a reasonable facsimile thereof and frankly at my age that seems to be too much effort. There must be easier foolishness one can do, something that can be done say from the comfort of a beach chair. I guess I will give it more thought after my nap.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Another mysterious beautiful woman enters the story. Is that one too many? Does Vince care? Does anyone?

Chapter 6

Vince grabbed a burger and coke from McDonald’s to eat as he drove to Woodside. His destination was Sam’s house. He wanted to have a chance to talk to Sam’s wife and to pick up any of the firm’s files that Sam may have had with him when he died.

He had had Nina call ahead to let Stephanie, Sam’s wife, know that he was on his way.

She met him at the door dressed in tight black slakes and a green blouse that stretched tight over her large reengineered breasts. Her blue eyes appeared shiny and bright and she smiled warmly when she greeted him. She was Sam’s third wife. Sam had met her at a deposition in one of the few cases he handled during his term as Managing Partner. She was the court reporter and soon became the correspondent in Sam’s divorce from his second wife.

She was much younger than Sam, in her late thirties. As she air kissed him, Vince felt that she held him a little too uncomfortably close to be seemly for a grieving widow. On the other hand maybe she just felt the need for companionship following her loss.

They went in the large living room. She motioned to him to sit on a leather chair next to a leather sofa and asked him if he would like a drink. He requested ginger ale with ice, She went to the drinks cabinet and prepared the drink for him and what appeared to be a vodka and orange juice for herself.

“I am so happy to see you Vince and so glad to see you back at the firm,” she said as she pored a large amount of vodka into a glass and then splashed in a lesser amount of orange juice.

Stephanie had rarely even acknowledged him the few time before that they had the occasion to meet socially Vince thought, after all Sam and he were far from friends. “Yes, Thank you. There was not much of an opportunity during Sam’s ceremony, so I thought I would come to express my condolences personally.”

“Well, thank you for being so considerate,” she said while handing him his drink and seating herself on the sofa, her knees almost touching his. She took a sip of her drink then settled back into the sofa clutching the glass to he breast like it was a newborn. She looked at him calmly, smiling.

“I know the memory is probably upsetting and you don’t have to answer, but I am curious if you noticed anything different about Sam before he ah…”

“Killed himself?”She smiled and leaned forward. “I’m a big girl Vince, I am quite able to handle it, but thank you for your consideration. No, he seemed just like Sam always was. You know what Sam was like.” She laughed quietly. “He could be difficult. But there was no change in him that I could see other than that he was having more prayer meetings with that group of his”.

“Prayer meetings?”

“Yes, a few years ago and joined a prayer group with some partners of the firm and others. He said he found Jesus. You knew that didn’t you?”

“No actually, I knew very little about the private lives of the other partners other than the usual office gossip.”

“You mean which partner was sleeping with which secretary”

“Yeah like that. Ah, did you ah find Jesus too?”

“Me, hardly.” She laughed and took a drink. “Neither did Sam, if you ask me. I had the impression it was like being a Mason or Rotarian. It was good for business.”

“It must have been quite a shock finding him like that.”

“Oh it was. I do not know what I would have done without Charlie.”

“Charlie?”

“Yes, Charlie Bowman. He lives near-by and came over when I called him right after I found Sam.”

Charles Francis Bowman was the firms white collar crime partner and a member of the firm’s executive committee.

“You called him before calling the police or an ambulance?”

“Sam was clearly dead Vince and I thought Charlie would know about these things. You know, dealing with the police and the like.” Then she added, “Charlie’s a good friend.”

Vince was stunned. Suspicion and questions flooded into his mind with a roar confusing him. He stared at her.

She leaned forward, placed a hand on his knee and looked at him with what appeared to be concern and said, “Vince, are you ok? Can I freshen up your drink?”

“Ah, no, no. I just remembered something,” he said attempting to get himself under control again. “David said Sam had some of the firms files with him. Do you know where they are?”

“Everything on his desk was covered in blood. I do not recall seeing any and the police did not take any files with them that I noticed… I was too upset so I did not pay too much attention.”

“Well, maybe Bowman took them or David was mistaken?”

“Charlie did take some things from Sam’s secret office”

“Secret office?”

“Yes, yes Sam has a smaller office behind a panel in his home office where he keeps things he doesn’t want anyone to know about. It’s more like a closet then and office. Sam spent a lot of time in there”

“Did the police check it out?”

“Of course not. Charlie did not think it was a good idea to tell them, neither did I”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Sayings From the Princess Bride:

Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up:

Vizzini: HE DIDN’T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Choice-supportive bias — the tendency to remember one’s choices as better than they actually were.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

I came across the following quote that I had previously sent but I liked it so much I thought I would send it again.

“Now listen to me and I will advise you for your good: give me back my son and get out of my country with your forces intact, and be content with your triumph over one-third of the Massagetae. If you refuse, I swear by the sun our master to give you more blood than you can drink, for all your gluttony.”

Tomyris Warrior Queen of the Massegetae to Cyrus the Great Emperor of Persia, conqueror of the greatest empire of the ancient world and leader of the largest and most technologically advanced army of the time. Cyrus refused and Tomyris personally led the charge of her forces that destroyed his army. She cut off Cyrus’ head and made his skull into her favorite wine goblet.

BONUS QUOTE:

We should distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes. ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

TODAY”S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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