Posts Tagged With: Middle Ages

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 32 Pookie 0005 (December 18, 2016)

“Sex is a bit like scratching a rash — it’s nice when you stop.”
Taylor, Jodi. Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary’s Book 1) Accent Press.

 

To all:
Have a: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Sexy Saturnalia, Fun-filled Festivus, Carefree Kwanzaa, Yowling Yalda Night, Silly Shalako, Daring Dongzhi, Crazy Korochun, and of course, Zinger of a Ziemassvētki. (And don’t forget to celebrate Boxing Day.)

Today is a free day on my calendar. So, you may do whatever you like, but please be careful.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For those who find themselves at a point in their lives in need of being amused by what little it takes to amuse them (usually surprisingly little if my experience means anything), I suggest reading the Jasper Fforde’s (yes, someone actually named their child, Jasper, — but I assume that would only be in families that spell Ford with two f’s) Thursday Next series of novels beginning with The Eyre Affair wherein Thursday provides the novel Jane Eyre with a better ending.

As the above rococo sentence shows, the winter rains have come to the Golden Hills, driving me inside with little to do except read third rate novels and contemplate the absurdities and emptiness of life’s purpose. Most days, Dick is at work, HRM at school and the dogs butt sniffing somewhere in doggy heaven. As a result, I, lacking a hobby or interest in social networking beyond Facebook, sit at the kitchen table trying to run through a book a day. Not all my reading consists of third-rate fantasy. The novels of the aforementioned Jasper double F struggles to rise above that classification. In fact, in style and inventiveness, he soars far above his peers. One would understand why once one realizes that all that he has written but for the redoubtable Thursday Next series, have been children’s books and as we all know the best writing and literature in the past fifty years has come in books for children. Imagine, if Dr. Seuss had decided to write a book of modern poems to add to his oeuvre, he would most likely have been ranked with Swinburne, Dunn and Bob Dylan as among the greatest poets in the English language.

As some of you who avidly read my posts may recall a quote I posted from one of Mr. Fforde’s previous novels that began:

“I opened the door to find three Dostoyevskivites staring at me from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.”
Book World from Jason Fforde and Thursday Next or the one thereafter.

And, continued with three or four paragraphs of the finest literary high-jinks this side of James Joyce.

In the novel I am now reading he opines:

“Working in fiction does give one a somewhat tenuous hold on reality, but it’s not the hold that’s tenuous— it’s the reality: Which reality? Whose reality? Does it matter anyway? And will there be cake?”
Fforde, Jasper. The Woman Who Died a Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (pp. 32-33). Penguin Publishing Group.

In the most recent book, the redoubtable Thursday Next, her husband Landon, her children Tuesday, (a teenage genius with hormonal problems who charges the boys in her school one pound [The author os British after all] to see her titties) and Friday, (barely post-adolescent frustrated when his future reveals that instead of a world renowned hero he is slated to murder Tuesday’s boyfriend and spend most of the rest of his life in prison) and her imaginary daughter Jenny, outsmart God, the Goliath Corporation, and her nemesis Jack Schitt and save the world. All of this mind you while settling into her new job as chief librarian of the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat-at-Fatso’s Drink Not Included Library.

 

B. CHRISTMAS SEASON 2016 — TOPPLING TREES AND SUPER GLUE.

One afternoon we arrived home to find our fully decorated Christmas tree lying on its side amidst a splatter of broken ornaments and spruce needles. Dick the engineer hypothesized that the tree, despite out heroic endeavor three days ago to balance it properly, was, in fact, unbalanced and it took the tree this long to realize it. So, we lifted up the tree, rebalanced it, placed additional weights on the bottom, redecorated it with the remaining ornaments and hoped for the best.

On Saturday, a day of horrendous rain and fog, HRM happily announced he was going out to play in the rain. Noticing one of the eyelets in his boots was detached he decided to reattach it with superglue before flitting about in the rain. As misadventure would have it, rather than attaching the eyelet to the boot he managed to glue both his own eyes shut. HRM, Dick and I, then spent the next eight hours in the emergency rooms of two separate hospitals where the doctors worked to unstick his eyelids. One of the doctors, who was quite amused by it all, took me aside and asked, “We see this a lot, where children [usually in the 3 to 6-year range] glue one eye shut with super glue, but we have never seen anyone who managed to glue both eyes shut. How did he do this?” “HRM,” I responded, “is a very special child.”

WWE blew in from SE Asia in concern for the welfare of her progeny and then promptly refused to accompany him to the ophthalmologist claiming she had more important things to do.

The first week of therapy has ended. I now have great admiration for those who have courageously faced much more severe illness and aggressive therapy. True I am a wuss, but nevertheless, it thoroughly exhausted me. Thanks to the kindness of Stevie and Norbert, it was not a bad as I feared.

Today I set off for the beginning of my second week of therapy. I was looking forward to it. That is very weird.

 

C. BOOK REPORT: TIMBUKTU — TAHIR SHAH

Ok, I admit I have been on somewhat of a Tahir Shah binge read for a while now. As you know, he usually writes about his own, mostly inept, adventures searching the nether parts of the world for imaginary places of legend and, of course, to his great disappointment and no one else’s surprise not finding them. In this book, a novel, he writes about the adventures of another person Robert Adams, an illiterate American seaman who in 1815 was shipwrecked off the African coast enslaved, taken to Timbuktu, the first westerner in 400 or so years to see the place. There he becomes a guest of the ruler of the city until he is enslaved again, dragged back across the Sahara where he is rescued by a French diplomat from Morocco who pays his slave price. After spending 3 years as a slave crisscrossing the Sahara before his rescue, he finally boards a ship to return him to America. Alas, he has shipwrecked again this time in England, where he becomes a beggar until he if found by an English nobleman who introduces him to an African Explorers Association where he tells his story and publishes a book giving him enough money to return to the US. This much is more or less true.

In Tahir Shah’s hands, this story becomes a historical novel, an adventure story, a satire, a polemic on slavery, a thriller, a detective story, a Victorian (well actually Regency) romance and as many other genres as can be mashed together in a single book. We meet the looney Prince Regent, Byron, Insane George III, Ambassador John Quincy Adams and just about everybody who was anybody in London at the time. It was all great fun.

Pookie says, “Check it out.”

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Foreskin — Foreskin restoration dates back to the reign of Emperor Tiberius when surgical means were taken to lengthen the foreskin of individuals with either a short foreskin that did not cover the glans completely or a completely exposed glans as a result of circumcision. In classical Greek and Roman societies, exposure of the glans was considered improper and did not conform to the Hellenistic ideal of gymnastic nudity. Men with short foreskins would wear the kynodesme (a string that ties the inadequate foreskin together above the Glans then secured around the waist) to prevent exposure. As a consequence of this social stigma, an early form of foreskin restoration known as epispasm was practiced among some Jews in Ancient Rome. During World War II some European Jews sought foreskin restoration to avoid Nazi persecution.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI

A continuing exchange of views on previous T&T Post:

Ruth’s Comment:

“Hey Guys, you forgot Life with Luigi. My favorites, however, were Baby Snooks, Junior Miss, the Lone Ranger, and Sergeant Preston. Not soaps, except for Luigi, but “tune in next week….”

My Response:

While I listened to Life with Luigi, I could never warm up to this little, warm, dumb, mother obsessed Italian male with a pencil thin mustache. I was glad when we were allowed to graduate to Gangster-hood.

My evening radio diet began with Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders and continued, in no particular order through The Lone Ranger ( which until much later I thought was the Long Ranger and contemplated the meaning of that for several years), Allen’s Ally, Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, The Shadow and The Green Hornet among others. When the music and the creaking door for Suspense Theater came on, I would shut off the radio and hide under the covers. I had a lot of nightmares.

My mornings started with Arther Godfrey, then Our Gal Sunday (could she really find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman? I doubted it), Helen Trent, Our Miss Brooks, Young Doctor Malone, and finally The Guiding Light. Then for about an hour, I would read the Colliers Encyclopedia that my parents were conned into buying by a door to door salesman. Later, I would leave the house because both my parents were working and walk across town to the library where I would read books from the adult section until the librarian would catch me and direct me to the children section. At that time Stevenson, Poe, and Dumas were considered adult books.

As you probably surmise, I rarely went to school, feigning sickness so that I could listen to my favorite radio shows. I was lucky I tested so well or they would have thrown me out of grammar school.

What still amazes me is that no-one at that time in that town thought it odd that a seven or eight-year-old boy would walk alone across town during a school day. HRM is eleven years old and we still do not allow him to walk alone through town. Not that he particularly wants to.

Peter’s Comment:

“I don’t recall Luigi – cultural blackout. But don’t forget The Second Mrs. Burton. Yes re: Fanny Brice, Sgt. Preston and the Lone Ranger. And, of course, The Fat Man: He’s stepping on the scale; weight (whatever it was); fortune-Danger!

I’ll be in the rocker at the end of the veranda, past the nod-outs, chuckling to myself as I quietly but firmly subdue the impulse to drool.”

My Response.

Damn, I forgot The Fat Man (237 pounds — audio of shows https://archive.org/details/otr_fatman),  The Second Mrs. Burton and Sgt. Preston (On King on you Husky) they were also favorite not to be missed shows. Why o why have they gone from us?

Peter’s Response:

“Rampant pathology hadn’t quite arrived yet in those days — at least not in our part of town. I used to take subway and bus across town to school without incident. The 25 percent who walked the streets talking to themselves were in their own worlds. Never actually saw a zip gun. Learned to look sharp and run fast.

He WAS the Long Ranger!! Tonto and Kato used to work out at the Polo Grounds when the Giants had away games. The Shadow did. And Gangbusters was heard with radio hidden under the covers. Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers weren’t born yet. Calcium deposits hadn’t started building up yet. So it goes.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The more flesh, the more worms,”
Rabbi Hillel

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

This is a continuation of a post I began a long time ago.

The First Centuries.

Galilee was a hotbed of religious ferment and cross-cultural interactions. It was also a center of Hellenic Judaism. Hellenic Judaism was common from Egypt through central Turkey. To the Hellenic Jews, ’Ḥoni’ became ‘Menelaus’; ‘Joshua’ became ‘Jason’ or ‘Jesus.’ The Hellenic influence pervaded everything, even in such strongholds of Judaism as Jerusalem. It modified the organization of the state, the laws, and public affairs, art, science, and industry, affecting even the ordinary things of life and the common associations of the people. The inscription prohibiting strangers to advance beyond a certain point in the Temple was in Greek and was probably made necessary by the presence of numerous Jews from Greek-speaking countries at the time of the festivals (see the “murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews,” Acts VI. 1). The coffers in the Temple which contained the shekel contributions were marked with Greek letters (Sheḳ. III. 2). It is, therefore, no wonder that there were synagogues of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and Asiatics in the Holy City itself (Acts Vi. 9).

Hellenic Judaism produced the Septuagint in Egypt and influences Rabis like Hillel and his supporters. Jesus himself spent time preaching in the Hellenic cities of the Decapolis. Hellenic Judaism sought a more philosophical rationale for Judaism than simply reliance on interpretations of the law. They were not averse to bringing non-Jews into their congregation. In fact, they developed the seven Noahide laws as traditionally enumerated as follows:

Do not deny God.
Do not blaspheme God.
Do not murder.
Do not engage in illicit sexual relations.
Do not steal.
Do not eat from a live animal.
Establish courts/legal system to ensure obedience to the law.

During this period many, Hellenic Jewish leaders and the Jesus sect in Jerusalem argued for allowing membership of non-jews into the congregation if they commit to following the Noahide laws.*

*Note: 1. In 1987 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation speaking of “the historical tradition of ethical values and principles, which have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws, transmitted through God to Moses on Mount Sinai.”

2. Also, Jews, Muslims, and Christians, more or less, agree with all these laws. All they disagree about is what they call God (Yahweh, Alla, and God) and who is the boss on earth. I am sure the Supreme Being has more important things to do than care about what name you use for him. Then that leaves only “the boss” to argue over. Isn’t that always what it is all about? Everyone either wants to be the boss or for their boss to be the big boss (otherwise they will put into for transfer),

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

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Categories: October through December 2016, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. September 19, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The US Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation’s levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year’s excessive flooding, a sum that dwarfs $150 million it currently has to make such repairs and that doesn’t account for damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Fair and Balanced Update: In my last post, I speculated about the reason behind the Media assault on the new Administration of Princess LuckyGirl as well as her party’s rapid implementation of some of its policies (especially on amnesty for Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother, the fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible). I guessed it had something to do with possible  military co-option by the new government.

An article in today’s english language press (definitely not on the front page), reported that recent poll results showed an overwhelming majority (over 80%) of Thais opposed another military coup under any circumstances. In a related story, interviews, with a number of members of the military general staff have elicited the opinion from most of them that the previous military coup was a mistake and damaged the Thai economy. In still another associated story, the Yellow Shirts, the citizen group whose protests against the Thaksin associated government brought about the military coup and who strongly supported the Military’s war with Cambodia announced they intended to stay out of politics for a while.

It sounds as though the return of Thaksin the Terrible is imminent and people are beginning to line up to get on his good side.

2. Political Gibberish: Meanwhile, the man himself, Thaksin the Terrible, is spending a leisurely week in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor and recent opponent in a comic war over ownership of a temple in a disputed area along the countries’ border. He is there ostensibly to play golf and give a few lectures to a business conference. The newspapers published a photograph of him hugging “his good friend,” the prime minister of Cambodia, Thailand’s enemy only two months ago. When interviewed by the press during his sojourn and asked whether if he did return to Thailand would he reenter politics and assume the Prime Minister’s job, he responded with a string of political gibberish of which even I could make no sense.

3. Amnesty: It was also announced today, by the governmental agency responsible for making such announcements, that according to Thai law, anyone over 60 years of age convicted of a crime that requires incarceration for less than 3 years qualifies to petition the King for amnesty. Thaksin the Terrible, is 63 years old and has been sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Have we seen this movie before?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Although I remain mostly in bed treating my illness, I still must bustle about to prepare for my return to California on Wednesday, September 24. Regrettably, a lot of what I had hoped to get done before departure will not get done.

The flooding in Thailand moves ever closer to Bangkok and is expected to arrive in the next few days. Bangkok like New Orléans is a city located for the most part below sea level. In the next decade, as a result of rising sea levels and increased precipitation it will face its own city altering catastrophic floods like New Orléans did. But unlike New Orléans, allowed to flood for political reasons, Bangkok being the capital city will struggle to divert the onslaught of the waters through massive public-works projects already under weigh or in planning. Technical exchanges with Holland and other countries to try to address the problem have increased recently.

While the public-works projects will have a beneficial effect on the Thai economy, I am dubious about their efficacy given the area’s geography and the speed and extent of sea level rise and climate change. I would be surprised if by 2050 Bangkok as we know it will even exist. But, alas, I will undoubtedly not be around to experience the accuracy of my prediction.

While lying awake one night unable to sleep due to the aches and miseries associated with my current malady and unwilling to watch another Steven Seagal movie or Thai soap, I turned on my Mac and reread the “This and thats” that I have written over the past few months. Usually when I finish a post and send it out, I generally find myself embarrassed and disgusted with what I imagine is the poor grammar, infantile emotions, self-indulgence, foolish assertions and many other things contained in it. While my rereading of the posts did not disabuse me of those feelings, I have to admit I enjoyed looking through them again. I was especially amused coming across some of my long forgotten obsessions. For those of you who may have actually read them, you have my sympathy.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“What do you mean,” said the Vince character in response to Isabella’s expression of concern?

“Well, the way I see it, it is like your character said when we met at Ike’s house, what we have here is simply a third-rate business screw up, so what’s the big deal?”

“Go on,” Vince encouraged. “I still don’t see what you’re so concerned about.”

“These type of business failures and frauds happen every day, but people don’t go running around committing suicide, killing people or setting up fall guys.”

“Well, maybe the Brethren are publicity shy.”

“Maybe,” she continued. “But their involvement is easily dismissed publicly as only another case of some abused and defrauded investors. No, it is something more, something bigger that if it came out would threaten everything,”

“So, I still don’t see what you’re so upset about. This is a thriller. The author, if he knows what he is doing, would want a conspiracy, the bigger the better.”

“No, no that’s not it,” she exclaimed, her voice rising. “What’s our role, your role?”

“I’m the reluctant but courageous hero who after many harrowing adventures prevails over the forces of darkness,” he responds smugly. “And you, why you’re my doxy,” he adds with a smile and leans forward to peer more closely at his face in the makeup mirror.

“That would work,” she responds derisively, “if you knew something that threatens them, whoever they are, which you don’t. Or they think you know something, which you don’t . Or you could stumble over something which you won’t because everyone knows the only reason you were brought into this novel was to die.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I Didn’t Know That:

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the floor of most homes was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a “thresh-hold.”

By the way, this common use of dirt and thresh flooring is also the reason why we in the West, unlike in the East, customarily remain wearing shoes when entering a house.

b. What Adam Smith (considered by some as the “father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the same kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the same manner.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164].

c. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

“… I believe God was waiting for the biblical government of the Church to come into place under apostles and prophets. But this happened in 2001, when, at least according to my estimates, the Second Apostolic Age began. What more? I now think that in order for us to be able to handle the wealth responsibly, we need to recognize, identify, affirm, and encourage the ministry of the apostles in the six non-Religion mountains. They may or may not want to use the term `apostle’ but they will function in Kingdom-based leadership roles characterized by supernaturally empowered wisdom and authority. We have more work to do here.”
C. Peter Wagner (an ardent Rick Perry supporter), The Reformers Pledge.

Is he implying that  George Bush’s election ushered in the Second Apostolic Age? Why that would make good old George the modern Moses! Poor George, he gets blamed for everything. Hmm, is there somewhere one can go to sign up for one of those apostleships?

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“As for the other six and a half billions of the deficit we did not just spend money; we spent it for something. America got something for what we spent—conservation of human resources through CCC camps and through work relief; conservation of natural resources of water, soil and forest; billions for security and a better life. While many who criticize today were selling America short, we were investing in the future of America.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The Hamer people in Ethiopia have a formal rite of passage for boys before they can formally marry. They must run naked over a row of cows four times. In the Brazilian Amazon, the Satere-Mawe tribe have a more painful–and dangerous–manhood ritual. Boys must wear a glove woven with bullet ants twenty times.

f. The Trolley Test II:

Let us assume that in the example given in my last post, instead of the option of switching to an alternative track to avoid the trolley killing the five people on the track, you are on a bridge above the track, beside you stands a fat man. You know that the fat man, if he fell on the tracks, would stop the trolley and save the five people. Would you throw him off?

Now right here I must stop and admit I have a problem. Describing this person as a “Fat” man would, because of my liberal leanings force me to hesitate while I examine whether or not my progressive values are offended by the stereotype, causing me, in true liberal fashion, to do nothing resulting in the inevitable death of five people.

Now in order to avoid the sticky emotional problem of physically touching the person you intend to kill, assume the fat man is suspended in a basket above the tracks to be released to fall upon the tracks and stop the Trolley by you pressing a button.

1. Would you press the button now?
2. Would your answer be the same if the person in the basket was:
a. Adolf Hitler (or if you need a person in being, say Moammar Gaddafi),
b. Mother Theresa or Albert Einstein (or, Suu Kyi),
c. Michelle Bachman, (or the Republican of your choice)
d. Barak Obama (or Michael Moore or some other liberal you find obnoxious)
e. A young pregnant woman,
f. A child or,
e. One of your close relatives or friends?
3. Would you throw yourself off that bridge instead of any one of the above?
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everything we’re seeing [the current financial crisis] makes sense if you think of the right as representing the interests of rentiers, of creditors who have claims from the past — bonds, loans, cash — as opposed to people actually trying to make a living through producing stuff. Deflation is hell for workers and business owners, but it’s heaven for creditors.”
Kuttner.

BONUS QUOTE:

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda
TODAY’S CHART:

Before and after September 11.


Do you think Osama bin Laden achieved his goal to destroy America’s economic might?

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 6, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The heat wave continues here in Thailand. Today, however, is somewhat overcast. That could signify the coming of the rains bringing cooler air and the breaking of the drought.* Cordt has moved back to Chiang Mai and David has returned to Qatar.

SWAC has reported that Hayden is doing poorly in school and requires a tutor. I suspect that now that he has reached seven years old, the effects of his many abandonments are manifesting themselves in his personality and performance. Nevertheless, SWAC intends leave him again in two weeks. This time he will stay with Joey. She will then be sending him to spend his summer in San Diego with the man he hates while she decides where she wants to live next year. She has suggested to me that she may like to move to San Diego, as a change of pace. She has asked Joey to abandon his business in the US and move to Thailand and open a pizza shop in her bar. I have heard that he is considering it.

On a more positive note, I am pleased that Norbert’s activities documenting the events surrounding the drafting and the passage of the Coastal Act of 1976 put me back in touch with Jerry Smith. Jerry Smith for whom I worked at the time, was the California State Senator who was the principal author of that monumental piece of legislation and who successfully shepherded it through the legislature. Despite the fact that he was a freshman legislator with no seniority, he nonetheless rescued the legislation from defeat and masterfully maneuvered it through the hostile political morass that was the State Legislature. Sadly, he has been all but forgotten by those self-identified environmentalists who had little if anything to do with the process. These same environmentalists nevertheless later flocked to honor, as saviors of the coast, some of those who most tried to weaken the program.

Anyway, Jerry after serving eight years in the California Legislature, was appointed a judge in the California Court of Appeals and following retirement from the bench commenced an entirely new career as an accomplished and successful bronze sculptor. The sculptures are in bronze not Jerry. (Sculptors in marble can only chip at it while those that work in bronze pour away.)

It seems as though this has been a week for re-connecting with legislators, I knew during my time in government service. Because of my involvement with my sister’s innovative education internet site, I needed to contact Jack O’Connell, a former legislator who became California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I first met Jack when, as a young man in his twenties, he was elected to the California Legislature as assemblyman from Isle Vista in Santa Barbara County. He was notable for every weekend taking a folding card table and a couple of folding chairs and setting them up in various shopping centers in his district in order to conduct constituent services directly. After a few terms in the Assembly he served in the State Senate before being elected to the post of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Jack’s enthusiasm and guilessness made working with him a pleasure. I supported him as much as I could.

To round things out, Terry Goggin, another ex California assemblyman has written from New York City where he has relocated in order to run his burgeoning restaurant business. His newest (second) restaurant in the City called Preserve24 has been designed by his son, the well known sculptor Brian Goggin. As Terry describes it:

“The design of Preserve24 is really, really good. It’s an Alice and Wonderland art installation: Argentinian inspired coffee cafe; live 24 hour bakery, cellar theater kitchen, restaurant and pub bar all rolled into 6,000sq.ft. on two levels, in the rock’in, roll ‘in lower Eastside. Its next to a 7 shows a night music venue. The design uses found objects, like 100 year old fishing skiffs; very old tenement doors in a paneled “Door Wall” ; tables made out of recycled old growth wood; and old grand pianos (as a back bar for the pub). We are carrying out in practice a green sustainable ethos, unlike hypocritical Starbucks et al.

…but the real sizzle is using the PR from the crazy design (and an ancient ice reliquary with 100,000 yr. old preserved Arctic ice)…

It will all come to a head In 2013 when the 6 tons of 9ft x 4ft ancient ice, carved from a Greenland iceberg, will come to NYC on a wooden sailing schooner (a real “Tall Ship”) through the Verrazano Straights right to the foot of Broadway. It will then be put on a horse-drawn wagon, and transported in a parade up Broadway to P24. We think it might draw some attention.”

PT Barnum would love it. I hope the food is good. I expect everyone reading this who finds himself in NY to stop into his new restaurant or into SPRIG his existing one, and write a review.

*Since that was written it has rained, cleaning the air and cooling things down a bit.…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Just before the end of the Nineteenth Century through their mouthpieces, neoclassical economists, the élite classes came up with the greatest coup of ideas to justify their existence since the Devine Right of Kings.

Prior to that the classical economists beginning with Adam Smith and his contemporaries, observed that all production required three things. Land, Capital, and Labor. For example take a brick factory. The building and oven needed to create the bricks are the “capital” – the owners are the capitalists. The people making the bricks is the “labor” – the people doing the actual work. The Land the factory occupies and the clay used to make the bricks is the “land” – the owners of the land are the “Rentiers”. Any money made by selling the bricks is then divided up between these three groups: the rentiers, the capitalists, and the workers.

According to Adam Smith only two of the three groups made any real contribution to the production process. The workers contributed their time. The capitalists contributed their capital, but is now used and worth less than before. The Rentiers contributed their land, but have lost nothing. Once the manufacturing of the bricks is done, they get their land back and it is still worth the same as it was before. Any income they made by renting out their land was made without work, and without risk to their assets. There is a word for someone who only takes, but doesn’t give back: a parasite. Smith and those who carried on his work used the nicer term, Rentier. This is where the phrase “economic rent” originates. It originally described a no value added landlord.

Adam Smith and his contemporary classical economists existed in a time where the noble families of medieval Europe were still the large landowners. The nobles had just turned into Rentiers. Because they owned the land, they were able to rent it out to capitalist and workers and claim a portion of their profits and wages by charging “rent”. They were able to do this without ever working. It was unearned income.

Much of the work done by economists from Adam Smith until the late Nineteenth Century was all about finding and identifying “rent-seeking.” These classical economists didn’t want to overthrow capitalism, they wanted to free it from the “rent-seeking” parasites.

Then along came the so-called “neoclassical” economists. The neoclassical economists and their élite supporters, perhaps terrorized by the growing popularity of Henry George and his theories, decided to begin treating land and capital as the same. If land is treated as capital then the concept of rent can effectively go away and those who reap what Smith referred to as “unearned income” suddenly became “Capitalists” and their unearned income became “profit.”

“Rent-seeking” is not just “ownership of the land”. It can take several shapes. Rent-seeking is any income that is unearned. An alternative definition is “profit without a corresponding cost of production”. “Economic Rent” can come from ownership of land and just “renting” it out for money. It can also come from collecting so much capital that a firm now has a monopoly and can set the price independent of supply and demand considerations, It can be from government monopoly granting, control of other “land” like our rivers, broadband spectrum, or “mineral rights” of land. It can come from control of financial assets like capital gains, dividends, and interest on loans (especially usury). It can also come from political favors from the government.

Once the neoclassicists removed the entire concept of “rentier” from economic analysis, and eventually political, conversation, it was all capitalism and capitalists in their world.

Now when some people object to the obscene profits made for example on Wall Street (e.g., derivatives) specifically that portion that is the unearned income of the rentiers, they lack the vocabulary to properly express what is happening. Instead, the mouthpieces (Lawyers, lobbyists, economists, etc.) of those making the unconscionable amount of unearned income try to make it look like those complaining are railing against capitalism itself or against businesses in general. Often, however, the criticism of the “excesses of capitalism,” are actually an objection to the parasitic rentiers that are hurting the true capitalists as much as the workers.

“Wealth creation” by debt leveraging – that is, asset-price inflation – was celebrated as a post-industrial economy, as if this were a positive and natural evolution. But in reality it is a lapse back into a rentier economy, and even into a kind of neofeudalism.

When a company has a monopoly and can charge whatever they want, that’s not being a capitalist or an entrepreneur, that’s being a “Rentier.”

When oil company’s make “windfall profits” as the price of oil goes up, that’s not profit, that’s “economic rent.”

When a drug company can keep the government from negotiating lower prices, that isn’t capitalism, that’s classic “rent-seeking” behavior.

Much of the money made on Wall Street is nothing but pure rent-seeking. Companies lobbying for tax loop holes is just more unproductive rent-seeking.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of influential economists are still neoclassical and don’t believe land and rentiers exist. They can try to deny their existence, but when the top 1% of the country make more money in one night while they are sleeping then most will make working at their job for 6 months, it’s hard to deny their existence. It’s unfortunately that our intellectual class “lost” these words and concepts from the mainstream discussion.

One could argue history is repeating itself. 200 years ago, the conservative vs. liberal mantra was that conservatives were fighting to keep the power of the nobles and large landlords intact. The liberals were the ones trying to free themselves politically and economically from their control. Today it’s the same. Conservatives are fighting to maintain the privilege of the Rentiers by pretending to defend capitalism itself. And once again, liberals are fighting to free the market from the parasitical Rentiers.

Recently the economic commentator Michael Hudson wrote:

“The classical free market economists endorsed taxes on unearned income: land rent and natural resources, monopoly rent and financial privilege. These categories of income have no counterpart in a cost of production undertaken by the rent recipient. The more that governments can shift the tax burden on to land and property, the lower housing prices will be – and the less governments will need to tax labor by income and sales taxes.

Bankers back anti-government ideology because they want to obtain all of the untaxed rental revenue as interest. So taxes that otherwise would be paid to the government will be paid to the bankers. The result – what you’re seeing today in Europe and North America – is an economic grab that is in many ways like that which gave birth to European feudalism. But this time around it is financial, not military.”

(Note: Most of this is an adaptation of a blog written by someone else with which I agree. I decided to revise it for “This and that….”)

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

Renewed for another season.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1992: the Japanese government relinquished possession of 20,000 Korean noses it had been holding on to for almost 400 years. Stored in the Okayama Nose Tomb, the pickled noses were originally brought to Japan as war trophies by samurai, paid a bounty for each nose they hacked off. Although the noses have been returned, a further 75,000 Korean ears remain–shipped over in barrels of brine and now deposited within Kyoto’s Mimizuka Ear Mound. Needless to say, the abducted appendages form a major bone, or more precisely cartilage, of contention in Japanese-Korean relations.

It gives a whole other meaning to Marc Anthony’s oration in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”

The Okayama Nose Tomb and the Mimizuka Ear Mound? Are they major tourist stops? Well, what did you do on your trip to Japan?

Perhaps Terry’s son Brian may find in it inspiration for a sculpture or a theme for a restaurant. Something called “Feet.” Wait a second, someone already tried to place a sculpture of a foot on the SF waterfront. It probably would have had better luck if they buried a bunch of feet under a mound of grass, “The SF Foot Mound.” Then across the street someone could open a restaurant called “Foot Mound Restaurant.” I am sure it has been done already, probably somewhere in Japan.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. Isn’t it time we consider what really occurs when we severely cut taxes of the rich?

2. We need to do better than this:
a. In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”. By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.
b. According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.
c. In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
d. The poorest 50 percent of all Americans now collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
e. The number of Americans that fell into poverty (2.6 million) set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty (6.7%) is at the highest level ever measured in the United States.
f. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
g. America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
h. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low-income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
i. Most Americans are scratching and clawing and doing whatever they can to make a living these days. Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

In China, a 42-year-old man was reportedly killed last week during a fight over a parking space when a 41-year-old woman squeezed his testicles until he collapsed and died.

C. A high point in the annals of science:

In a recent study in Science magazine the question was asked, if you buy two items for a total of $110 and one item was $100 more than the other what was the cost of the other item.

The conclusion drawn from said study is that those who answered $10 are more intuitive people, folks who “think with their gut,” like George W. Bush and others who are reportedly “fun to have a beer with.”

Meanwhile, the $5 peeps solve their problems analytically, thinking a bit more deeply about the problem, not just jumping to conclusions.

It should be pointed out, this isn’t a problem with two answers, nor is it a Rorschach test. $5 is really the only answer, if you’re worried about answering correctly. So, instead of “intuitive” and “analytical,” the more accurate phrasing should be “right” and “horribly, stupidly wrong.”

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Is Mitt Romney the Antichrist?

It should be noted the every candidate in the Republican Presidential primaries endorsed by God lost to Mitt Romney, a man who wears magical underwear and makes his dog ride on the roof of his car.

Another reason to vote for Pookie for President. He is the only candidate endorsed by God still running. Also, he does not have a dog and no one would call Pookie’s underwear magical.

VOTE FOR POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT ON THE NO PARTY PARTY PARTY TICKET IF YOU REALLY WANTS GOD’S GUY IN THE OVAL OFFICE. POOKIE TALKS TO GOD ALMOST AS OFTEN AS POOKIE TALKS TO HIMSELF.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

OK I admit it. How could I refuse to post a quote by Rutherford B. Hayes if I came across one? How many of you reading this even knew we had a President named Rutherford B. Hayes? How many of you thought he looked like this? How did he eat his oatmeal in the morning?

Hayes, the 19th President of the United States, was a Republican at the time the Party was considered the reform party and the Democratic Party the party of northern scoundrels and southern bigots.

Hayes was a reformer who began the efforts that led to civil service reform and attempted, unsuccessfully, to reconcile the divisions that had led to the American Civil War fifteen years earlier. He ardently supported civil rights laws to protect the newly freed slaves from reprisals at the hand of the defeated Confederate leadership and the Democratic Party.

His approach to the emerging conflict between labor and capital can be summed up in the following quote:

“The strikes have been put down by force; but now for the real remedy. Can’t something [be] done by education of strikers, by judicious control of capitalists, by wise general policy to end or diminish the evil? The railroad strikers, as a rule, are good men, sober, intelligent, and industrious.”

He was elected President in a disputed election in which he actually garnered fewer electoral votes than his opponent, but, in a political compromise, was awarded those electoral votes that had been challenged. The so called “compromise” ended reconstruction by removing the remaining Union military administration from the South. This enabled the Democratic Party to gain absolute political control in the South for almost 100 years until, as a result of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the segregationist Democrats abandoned the party for the Republican Party, occupying that Party’s right-wing until it was able to drive the reformers and moderates who controlled the Party out and establish the long sought victory for the South in the Civil War that they could not win on the battlefield.

In his later life Hayes continued his reformist activities writing in his diary:

“In church it occurred to me that it is time for the public to hear that the giant evil and danger in this country, the danger which transcends all others, is the vast wealth owned or controlled by a few persons. Money is power. In Congress, in state legislatures, in city councils, in the courts, in the political conventions, in the press, in the pulpit, in the circles of the educated and the talented, its influence is growing greater and greater. Excessive wealth in the hands of the few means extreme poverty, ignorance, vice, and wretchedness as the lot of the many. It is not yet time to debate about the remedy. The previous question is as to the danger—the evil. Let the people be fully informed and convinced as to the evil. Let them earnestly seek the remedy and it will be found. Fully to know the evil is the first step towards reaching its eradication. Henry George is strong when he portrays the rottenness of the present system. We are, to say the least, not yet ready for his remedy. We may reach and remove the difficulty by changes in the laws regulating corporations, descents of property, wills, trusts, taxation, and a host of other important interests, not omitting lands and other property.”

Making Rutherford B. Hayes a presumptive precursor of the “Occupy” movement.

TODAY’S CHART:

Another chart that I have no idea what it means. I assume they are trying to show that Democrats are good for business. Maybe, but no one believes the Dow is an indication of either a nations economic health or business growth. It measures what a bunch of people with too much money think about 30 overly large businesses will do sometime in the future. For most of us economic health means a well paying job. On the other hand, private sector jobs actually have increased under the last few Democratic Presidents while they have fallen during the Republican administration. Ironically, public sector jobs have increased during the antigovernment Republican administrations while they have fallen under the Democrats until now 100% of the job losses since the lesser depression began in 2007 can be blamed on the reduction of the number of governmental employees that occurred under Democratic administrations.)\

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Is there anything happier than a child with a gun?

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

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