Posts Tagged With: Masseuse

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 10, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Since it rained in Bangkok last week, the skies have been somewhat overcast and the temperature cooler (but see B.1 below).

I continue to spend my mornings at the health club and my afternoons in my apartment playing with my computer. My exercise effort and reduced my food intake has a resulted in my weight dropping to a level I have not experienced for over a decade. Good for me!

Alas, LM mentioned that the hotel management may close down the health club and consolidate its massage services into the Hotel Spa. The exercise facilities and lockers will be available then only for hotel guests. The reason they are considering this is that health club membership has fallen off greatly as members leave for the newer health club facilities in other hotels. The only part of the business that seems to be growing is the club’s increasing popularity with middle age and older women seeking massages with happy endings from the male masseurs working there. Surprisingly, and annoyingly for LM, many of the remaining elderly male members (not a joke) as well as the increasing number of Muslim hotel guests seek out their happy endings with the masseurs as well.

Recently I learned that Hayden would not be going to spend the summer in San Diego with the man he does not like. This man, by the way, is in effect a federal government policeman. At one time he served in the US embassy in BKK and along with his coworkers was known to be a frequent customer of similar services to those the notorious Secret Service officers were alleged to have bought in Cartagena.

During a trial in the US regarding an American citizen residing in SE Asia who may have violated US law, the principle evidence was supplied by a translator with whom it is alleged the arresting officer, our man from San Diego and previously BKK, was having an affair at the time. The conviction has been appealed because of this gross indiscretion.

It seems, our man from San Diego, had refused to agree to return Hayden to his mother after the summer was over so she decided not to send him there. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I do not know. But in any case, Hayden may spend most of his vacation in the south of Thailand or in Italy or in the US while his mother spends it in the north of Thailand or somewhere he is not.

In any event, I may be returning to the US in early June, or I may be going to Italy or I may stay here.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Heat wave and stuff:

The Bangkok Post reported that the average daily temperature in Bangkok during April was over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Bangkok also has one of the lowest ratios of green space per resident in the world; Three square meters per person versus thirty-nine square meters per person average in the rest of the world’s major cities.

Thus it is in Bangkok that not only are you uncomfortable because it is hot, but you cannot breathe as well; nor does one have shade trees to walk under.

2. Indonesia; leading the way?

By 2014, Indonesia plans to ban exports of raw minerals in order to encourage local processing to add value and thereby redistribute the benefits of the country’s natural resources from foreigners to Indonesians.

I actually like this approach. Why shouldn’t countries (the US included) prohibit export of certain raw materials? It simply means that those with the money have to build factories in those countries producing the raw materials, thereby creating more higher paying jobs for its citizens.

3. China comes back down to earth:

In December, in one of my “This and that…” posts, I predicted that China’s economy would stumble during the early part of 2012. A recent HSBC survey shows manufacturing in China has contracted in April for the sixth straight month.

Hooray for me!

4. Lese Majesté:

Recently a 60-year-old man, affectionately referred to as “Uncle SMS” who a year ago had been jailed for 20 years for violating Thailand’s Lese Majesté law that prohibits anyone from insulting the Royal Family died of liver cancer. According to news reports he had been convicted for sending four SMS messages from his mobile phone to a government official that were deemed in violation of Lese Majesté laws. I have never seen copies of the messages but from reports it appears they were neither threatening nor directly critical of the monarchical institution. Uncle SMS claimed he had never sent the messages and that someone else had sent them after stealing his phone number. Uncle SMS requested bail 8 times and was rebuffed. Despite the fact that his tumor was obvious, the judge in denying bail opined that the accusations were serious and his illness not life threatening.

It should be noted that the King himself has said that Lese Majeste laws are unnecessary and that only through criticism from citizens could he know if he were doing a good job or not. Those who claim they most love the King and respect the Monarchy, however, refused to pay any attention to his request, as they also refuse to pay any attention to any of his requests if they clash with their political or financial goals. But they nevertheless, love and respect him with all their might. God help those who do not love and respect him as well as they do.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Who hid the Capitalist?

Capitalism arose when some people (eventually called Capitalists) joined together to pool their money to invest in a usually short-term enterprise like backing a trading venture to send lower cost goods somewhere where someone was willing to pay a lot more for them. Later they invested in things like brick factories and coal mines. Capitalists risked their invested money (and more if they had to pay off the debts of the venture should it fail) unless they were able to buy insurance.

This then was what originally we called Capitalism.

Government had little or nothing to do with the system except to keep general order. For example, you did not want people breaking into the coffee houses where these transactions were taking place shooting the capitalists and taking their money. This governmental activity, since government had to do it anyway to protect the king and his ascendency, did not cost much and taxes were relatively low.

Then an interesting thing happened. Governments of the time (usually Kings) saw a good way to raise money for things they wanted to do (like own the world) without increasing taxes. (Governments do this all the time and usually in the long run they get in trouble for it.) They told those people with money to invest, that if they invested it into a company called a “public corporation” set up by the government to carry out a specific task (e.g. Take someone else’s land establish colonies and import slaves to do the work) they will not be liable for any more money than the money they invest.

Corporations were not people. They were creations of the State. This was a prime example of government intruding into operation of the market by capping risk so that investors into corporations had a government created advantage over other capitalists. Investors into corporations were therefore not capitalists per se but could be called something like “corporatists.” (Why don’t Libertarians call for abolishment of the most fundamental intrusion of government into the so-called free market, limitation of financial risk represented by the corporate form?)

Corporatism is not Capitalism.

Another thing; people with money often did not wish to risk it in an investment where there was a chance that it could be lost. Instead, they found other people who needed the money and were willing to give the person with money something they owned of equal value that he then held until the money was returned. The person with money charged for the transaction. The transaction fee eventually was called interest, the man with the money the lender or the creditor and the man who needed the money, the debtor.

For a number of reasons, most of them bad, the lenders got the governments of the time to agree to use their swords and later guns to force the debtor to pay his debts and thereby freeing the lender from the difficulty of transferring and storing the debtors goods as well as the risk inherent in selling it should the debtor not repay the loan on time. But, the lender still charged interest for the less costly and risky transaction. What it ment was that the lender was able to transfer a significant amount of the cost of the transaction on to the general government and still keep the profits, arguing that the taxes (paid by everyone, but which the lenders usually strenuously objected to) charged by government made up for it. The enforcement of debt obligations, courts and the like added to the expense of general government.

The bond or the debt market is not capitalism and its denizens on Wall Street and elsewhere are not capitalists. If they were then they should not be asking government to shield them from risk (or at least they should be willing to pay their taxes).

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES,THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for revision and reflection.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

The Federal Reserve was a Republican idea.
Social Security is solvent through 2038.
God is a particle.
George W. Bush held hands with the King of Saudi Arabia.
Evolution is real.
Since 1980 Republican administrations increased the national debt more than Democrats have.
The Earth is 4.54 billion years old.
Fox News is owned by an Australian and has a Saudi prince as a major investor.
Jesus was a Jew.
The current corporate tax rate is the lowest in 60 years
In 2011, the US became a net exporter of oil products — for the first time since 1949 — earning record profits for oil companies yet Americans pay almost $4 or more for a gallon of gas.
In Venezuela people pay less for fuel than for bottled water.
In Turkmenistan drivers are entitled to 120 gallons of free gasoline per month.
In Bahrain, which has almost no oil, the price of gasoline is $.78 per gallon.
Venezuela, Turkmenistan and Bahrain, as well as most other countries with low gasoline prices own their oil companies.

Therefore private oil companies are good for the environment. They keep gasoline prices high and thereby discourage driving, producing less CO2 resulting in lowering the greenhouse gasses and reducing the effects of climate change. Did you ever wonder why ownership of oil production by the Saudi government is not considered socialism by most conservatives but in Venezuela’s case it is?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. It is time to return to the good old days when the US led the world in high wage work.

2. Perhaps it also is time our executives should get paid salaries similar to those paid to executives in countries whose corporate executives are eating our lunch?

What is even more amazing is that these same executives whose companies are steadily losing market share to more frugal executive paying foreign corporations often blame their relatively poor performance on US government interference while at the same time warning the rest of us to be wary of adopting the “socialist” policies existing in the countries whose corporate executives manage to compete for market share better than they do.

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:

PHASE ONE

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.

Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens.

Suspend progressive taxation so that the wealthiest pay less proportionately than the middle class. See to it that the wealth of the country accumulates to a small fraction of the population so that the gap between rich and poor widens exponentially.

By cutting taxes and raising wartime expenditures, deplete the national treasury so that Congress and state and municipal legislatures cut back on domestic services, ensuring that there will be less money for the education of the young, for government health programs, for the care of veterans, for the maintenance of roads and bridges, for free public libraries, and so forth.

Deregulate the banking industry so as to create a severe recession in which enormous numbers of people lose their homes and jobs.

Before you leave office add to the Supreme Court justices like the ones who awarded you the presidency.

C. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Although I do not feel like apologizing for anything today, I feel I must say something about why I believe, “This and that…” has recently become so boring to me and I assume to you. Perhaps it is due to the enervating effect of the heat wave since I returned. On the other hand my sadness for leaving behind Hayden and my friends and family who have been so kind and understanding to me may have affected me more that I realized. Or, it may be with the effective end of the Republican presidential nomination, I have become disappointed with the disappearance of God’s (that practical joker in the sky) chosen candidate for lunatic of the month. (Now, I certainly have my problems with Mitt, but give him credit for defeating all of God’s own candidates.) It may also be the ennui settling in as the realization that, “This and that…” is coming to its end. But, for whatever the reason, I apologize.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

(Graphics unavailable at this time)
The map on the left shows the counties that voted strongly Republican in 2008 the purple mixed Republican and Democratic and the blue Democratic. The map on the right shows the same information but adjusted for population size. I guess it is safe to assume from these maps that Democrats prefer to be near water and where there are a lot of other people while Republicans seem not to like water and prefer to be left alone.

Pookie should appeal to all Americans, he likes cities but not people too much. He likes to swim but prefers to drink things other than plain water.
TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. “The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
~Robert Kennedy

3. “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln

TODAY’S CHART:

 

If you do not think it can happen again, look at the results in the Greek election. The Greek unemployment rate has approached 25 percent and the Nazi Party in the recent election has garnered almost 10 percent of the vote to for the first time in 65 years win seats in a european national legislature.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Gary’s photograph of Pattaya Bay

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 13, 2010

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1929 May 7Chicago Outfit hit-men Albert Anselmi and John Scalise, two of the men suspected in the murder of North Side Gang leader Dean O’Banion and fellow mob boss Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, the current Unione Siculiana President were all killed during a lavish party held at Al Capone’s residence. The party was a ruse by mob boss Al Capone to lure the three men to their deaths after their plan to gain leadership of the Chicago Outfit by eliminating Capone was uncovered. The men were beaten to death by Capone, who used a baseball bat to commit the murders.

(They fall for the party bit every time.)

Today’s news from Thailand:

1. Flush with new funds (I do not know from where) and increasing popularity in Northeast Thailand, the opposition party (Red Shirts) are preparing for expected victory in the general elections scheduled for sometime next year, when and more importantly if they occur. I guess the following can be anticipated between now and then:
a, The military will redouble its efforts to institutionalize the organizational changes under-weigh within the military high command and within its chief rival the national police.
b. The military will use the remaining States of Emergency (over primarily Red Shirt areas) to destroy their infrastructure and intimidate potential voters.
c. The military will seek to institutionalize their administrative control over the rebellious South.
d. The current government while having no real option but to rely on the military will contribute by continuing their efforts to create legal barriers to the return of ex-prime minister Thaksin and by supporting populist appearing policies in hopes of winning over some voters.
e. Should all this fail and a Red Shirt victory appear possible then, if the military feels confident enough in their power, look for an attempted accommodation with the Red Shirts over budget and personnel issues and failing that suspension of the elections or another coup.

2. In Phnom Penh Cambodia the police have begun arresting “anarchist” cattle who are blocking traffic.

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

3. The clashes along the Thai Burma border between Karen rebels and the Burmese army appear to be abating. The conflict seems to have been touched off by a rebel group within the Karen forces who for some reason objected to an agreement between the Burmese government and the Karen leadership to turn over the guarding of the border with Thailand to the Karen forces.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Today I discovered that I was only about 5 pounds over my target weight. Whether my most recent weight loss has been the result of diet, exercise or due to my recent attack of food poisoning, I do not know.

This morning a went for my usual stroll through “Little Crimea.” The beach culture that I walk through is as alien to me as the surrounding Thai lifestyles and customs. I feel fortunate to be able every morning to experience three distinct societies; Thai through my interaction with the merchants and wait-people at the café where I always feel a bit like I am somehow doing something wrong; European with my discussions with Ian from Scotland ( who has lived here in Thailand for over 30 years) about things like how drunk was Winston Churchill during World War II and finally; The Great Slavic Nation whose mores are as opaque to me as any.

As usual, temporizing has come to my rescue with respect to my trip planning. Until yesterday my schedule was dependent to a considerable degree on the situation with Hayden. Yesterday I discovered that SWAC is depositing him with a family in Washington DC, thereby eliminating any possibility of my seeing him either in the US or in Italy. So, now my plans are to return to the US in mid December, visit with friends and family during the holidays, have my medical check-up and return to Thailand in early January.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE OF A NIGHT OF RAIN AND AN UMBRELLA.

Recently my masseuse told me that a few nights ago it had been raining heavily in Bangkok. She had retreated to her tiny room and lay upon her bed. Because the roof leaked badly she had opened her tiny umbrella to protect herself from the dripping water. She was unable to sleep. After a while there was a knock at her door and upon opening it she found the homeless woman who lived in the alley by her room standing there dripping wet. She invited her in and they spent the night waiting out the storm together huddled under the umbrella.

“That was very nice of you.” I said.

She looked at me quizzically and said, “She held the umbrella for half the night so that I could get some sleep.”

I guess the moral of this tale is, “When it is raining and the roof leaks and all you have is a small umbrella, charity can keep you dry and help you to get some sleep.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe’s business prospered and not long after the birth of Jack (my father), he along with a distant relative named Biancchi formed a construction company named Petrillo and Biancchi Construction.

Joe ran the operations side and Biancchi who could read and write English was in charge of office matters. The business succeeded beyond all expectations. It became one of the first significant Italian-American construction companies in the United States. They specialized in heavy construction, roads and the like. They built many of the roads in Westchester County as the United State’s vast road building and paving enterprise was just getting under-weigh to accommodate the motor car.

This was also a period of great movement of people from New York City into what they considered the bucolic environment of Westchester County. Petrillo and Biancchi built the infrastructure for the neighborhoods to accommodate these new style immigrants. The move from the City although first seen as  indication of material success soon became a frenzied flight from the real or imagined evils of the City.

Joe built the house on Dante Avenue in Tuckahoe. Today that home would be considered relatively modest in size, but for an immigrant family it was huge. More importantly it was built on Dante Avenue.

Dante Avenue, despite its name, had been off-limits for Italian Americans at that time. On it lived those who for one reason or another could not or would not live in Scarsdale or Bronxville, Jews because they were prohibited by deed and “gentlemen’s agreements” (as were Italians and Blacks), successful WASP businessmen in the area who wanted to live more closely to their businesses and others sensible and independent enough to realize that they could build their largish houses much cheaper in Tuckahoe that in the gold-plated restricted communities around them.

Joe and his family were the first Italian-Americans to move to Dante Avenue. There was little resistance, even if there was some concern, since most of the other residents tended to be somewhat iconoclastic for the time.

By about 1928, with his oldest son approaching nine or so, Joe decided he wanted to enjoy the wealth he had amassed and return to Italy in a style that would have been denied to him had he remained there and not emigrated to the United States. So, he sold his interest in the company to his partner for some cash and notes that could allow him to live back in his native country as almost a minor nobility.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: [Lifts and drops the arm of the dead Westley] “I’ve seen worse.”
The Princess Bride

2. My newest patron saint, Saint Moses the Black:


Moses was a gang leader in 5th century Egypt (Sort of like the 5th century version of the leader of the local “Hells Angels” or the “Mongols” or the Egyptian Al Capone if you will) and murderer and thief.

One day he was trapped by the authorities. In order to escape capture and avoid almost certain execution, Moses ducked into monastery and claimed sanctuary. Fearing arrest should he leave the precincts of the monastery, Moses wisely became a monk.

Shortly thereafter 4 brigands invaded the church to loot the poor box or something. Our Moses was on duty that night. He caught the thieves, beat them up and dragged them off to face the Abbot.

This thrilled the abbot. He announced to the other monks that Moses had seen the light of God since he only beat the shit out of the thieves and did not kill them.

When the good abbot died, the other monks acclaimed Moses abbot. It seems that at the time defense of the Holy Writ was better served by two fists than pious prayers.

Moses died in his seventies while leading a counter-attack on a local biker gang that had the temerity to assault Moses’ monastery.

Now here is a saint I think I can pray to.

Today’s quote:

When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold, I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty work day clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and, in this graver dress, I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.
Niccolo Machiavelli describing his exile in a letter to Francesco Vettori.

Today’s Photo:

Hayden’s friend Leo and his father Gerry.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: