Posts Tagged With: Morality

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Joey 0007 (April 18, 2018)

 

 

 

“Any deity or concept or universal principle which put obedience above decent behavior toward an innocent human being was evil.”

Simmons, Dan. Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 1) Random House Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The week began with a series of warm sunny days. Last week, the wind and rain stripped many of the trees of their blossoms. Now leaves, seemingly overnight, wrap the naked boughs in a bright green crepe. (A wrinkled fabric, not a pancake. I am not too good with metaphors.) During the day, deep shadows hug the sidewalks where only last week the sun peeking through spindly branches left the ground cracked in shadows like thin ice beneath a skaters blades. (I’m not so good with similes either.)
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The Anguished Oak in Springtime.

Things moved on day by day pocked now and then by chilling fears of the lengthening shadows of fast approaching night. Thankfully, the weather imparted a feeling of a new beginning — a time for love even for those ancients warming themselves on sunny benches waiting.

Dick was gone to San Diego for most of the week and I watched H slowly drift into adolescent adventures leaving me free to slip away to visit Naida or to sit in the sun and wonder at the power of life to make one lust for happiness every moment even knowing failing is the default setting for us all.

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EDH Students Return to School after Spring Break.

It is Easter Sunday morning. The weather is sunny and warm. Alas, yesterday I did not get what I wanted, so this morning, I pouted feeling like everyone hated me. I sat in my car in the middle of a shopping center parking lot having a discussion with my self:

“I feel all alone.”

“You spend half your life alone. What’s so different about this time?”

“Nobody likes me. No one wants me around.”

“Hmm… how many people would like you around but you do not want to be around them?”

“Maybe you are right. Perhaps, I am overdoing it, But, why do I feel like I’ve got zits on my psyche?”

No answer.

So I went to a movie. Sometimes entertainment can cure most ills — especially those you force on yourself. I saw “Ready Player One.” A few days ago, I saw “Isle of Dogs.” If you want to experience the pinnacle of the animator’s art, these are two movies you should not miss.

El Dorado Hills is no place for introverted, cynical, sarcastic, grumpy old men. Sure, it can be pretty in its artificial well laid out way. But, it’s no place for the introverted and cynical. You have to go out of your way to meet people and if you cannot do happy talk, you soon will find yourself shunned — who likes a sarcastic cynic after all. Happiness here is as manufactured at the landscape.

Me, I’m a city boy. In a big city when you leave your home in the morning, there are people out and about all around you — some snarling and distracted — noise, urban smells — rushing here and about — tension and anxiety. You stumble into someone. He responds, “Hey, watch where you’re going old man.” You counter with something like, “Up yours.” So it goes all day, like the steel shot in a pinball machine rudely bounced around here and there until finally, if you are an introverted, cynical, sarcastic, grumpy old man like me, when you return to your home that evening you can consider the day well lived. Too much happiness is a precarious state, it inevitably leads to anxiety.

By the weekend, I had begun to slip deeper into depression — obviously. Adrian arrived and would leave Monday for Thailand so that he could shlep SWAC back to the US. Bob was to rip out the kitchen this weekend so that the remodelers could work on it next week. HRM had his two best buds staying over doing teenager things. Naida was busy preparing her taxes. Although I was not alone, I felt isolated. I began to plunge into an obsession about the hopeless state of the world. I needed to laugh soon or I feared I would be forced to flee into the bathroom and flush my head down the toilet. So, I got into the car and drove for three hours to San Francisco, dragged Peter out of his house and off to lunch at a Peruvian restaurant where I ate tarted-up scallops and drank some piss-yellow soft drink supposedly native to Peru but bottled In New Jersey.
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Peruvian scallops, cola and I somewhere on 24th St.

Eventually, we ended up drinking coffee while sitting on the Geezer’s Bench outside Bernie’s where we laughed a lot and I felt much better.
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The next morning I returned to EDH swearing that next week would be better than this one was. Not that this week was all that bad, it’s just that I could not remember any of the good parts. I will try to remember things better next week.

I just looked up from my most recent book, Hearn’s “Scourged,” laughing at something stupid that I had read there. No wonder I can’t write a lick when I spend so much time reading about and enjoying things like the antics of that merry band of Fae deities Morrigan, Manannan, Fand, Brigid, Aenghus Og and a few others as they stumble around a muddy fen. (Not a bog. There is a difference. Fens look better. Fae deities do not stumble around in bogs.)

Few people realize their whole life is an adventure and as some explorers know, if you are traveling through the jungle, you’re going to be stung by mosquitos, may come down with malaria and have to keep on the lookout for tigers or other predators and if you’re lucky you will end the day with a few stories to tell around the campfire.

My dreams during the past week or two suck — short, annoying and unmemorable. Gone are the long fantasies and adventures that follow me through the day like iridescent hummingbirds. Mostly, my current dreams swarm about me like no-see-ums biting me into madness and raising welts on my subconscious. This morning, I dreamt about some small furry animal I was supposed to protect — perhaps it was a rabbit. I failed.

Speaking of rabbits, my Chinese zodiac sign is the rabbit. That always embarrassed me. I would have preferred to be a bear or a hawk or something heroic or coldly rapacious like that. Rabbits signify fecundity. That’s ok but my days of fecundity are long gone. Outside of that, all they seem good for is prey. If “Watership Down” is any authority, they may well have an interesting and complex social life, except for their unfortunate tendency to “Tharn.” That is, when confronted by a predator they tend to freeze up and die of heart failure before being devoured.This may be a good thing. It certainly seems better than waiting for teeth and claws to tear out your heart.

(What would humanity be like if we had that ability? Instead of shooting people or dropping bombs on people for whatever reason, we could instead just hide in dark alleys, jump out and shout “boo” when someone walks by. It would certainly lower the defense budget. Think about the terrorist on the subway. He jumps out of his seat and yells “BOO.” No one hears him because they are all ear-phoned up and staring at their smartphones. The terrorist runs up and down the aisle screaming “boo, boo, boo,” until he either scares himself to death or gives up and goes home, lights a joint, watches late night television and falls asleep. Imagine the second amendment — “A persons right to say, ’boo’ shall not be infringed.” Would a person’s right to bear a megaphone in a crowded subway be protected? Hmm… does a person have a right to bare arms? Do bears have a right to arms? Is it only limited to when they’re in the woods? So many issues, so little time.)

According to the Chinese horoscope, I am an earth rabbit.

“…Earth… Rabbit[s] are very frank and straightforward; however, they also give an impression of rudeness and stubbornness to others….”

“They are very strict with themselves… they always change from one job to another… and always pay special attention to details, being willing to do something trivial but soon getting tired of it.”

“Earth Rabbits actually have an excellent physical quality although they look unhealthy….”

Well, I certainly agree I look unhealthy, change jobs a lot and am obsessed with trivialities.

What got me on to this rabbit thing was during my walk around the lakes this morning a rabbit ran across my path. I have seen a lot of birds of all sizes, turtles (generally matte black) during my walks and assume lizards, snakes, rodents, and moles abound in the bushes but I never expected to see a rabbit. I wonder if it was “frank and straightforward.

Another week goes by in a blur. Today, Thursday, the day was clear and warm. I walked my full three miles this morning then cleaned my room in preparation for my departure next week.

Family contretemps or why I prefer to travel alone:

When traveling with someone, one of you must assume a passive and agreeable role or the trip will soon become a nightmare. I learned this truism from a distinguished psychiatrist I had gotten to know many years ago when I ran the New York State Mental Information Service for the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties. He was distinguished not only for his intellectual attainments but his idiosyncrasies as well. For example, instead of an overcoat, he wore a cloak that he would dramatically swing off his shoulder when he entered a room. He and his family lived in a large 5 or 6 story brownstone just off Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side. One of the floors he converted into a basketball court so he and his young sons could shoot hoops on his days off. Off of his formal dining room, he had a room devoted exclusively to his large collection of native African art, every statue of which featured either enormously exaggerated boobs or elongated penises. He told me he got them so that whenever he had a dinner party he could walk his guests through the room and when they try to avoid staring at the protuberances he could tell them “It’s OK to stare. I’m a boob man myself.”

Anyway, he explained to me that in his long experience in marriage counseling, he found the only marriages that lasted were those in which one party assumed an accommodating role while the other was left to believe he (it was most often, but not always, a he) was in charge — whether or not in fact he was is irrelevant. So it is even in traveling.

Anyway again, about a year ago when I was in Sacile near Venice an American friend who lives there during the summer months, invited me to accompany he and his wife (who was born and raised in Calabria) to join them next summer on a trip through Croatia to Calabria. Sometime previously, I mentioned my wish to drive through Italy from north to south ending in Sicily but that given my age, I would probably need someone to drive me if I were to visit all the places I would want to visit. My granddaughter got very excited and volunteered to learn how to drive and drive me on that trip. A month or so ago, when my friend told me the dates for his time in Italy (July-) I notified the family only to discover that arrangements had already been made for them to travel to Italy in late August and September and that my granddaughter would be traveling in August with others and needed to be in central Italy one day during the last week and would be on the Amalfi Coast during the first week in September, so our trip was limited only to Sicily during the second week. I still tried to arrange my plans in order to accommodate theirs. Alas, it would cost too much for me to hang out somewhere in Italy for over a month, so I explained I was disappointed but perhaps we could try again next year. Since then, I have been bombarded with accusations of disappointing family member and more nefarious things. Thankfully, I finally have learned, after a long and tumultuous life, to ignore emotional outbreaks like these (especially among family members) and to understand the two guiding principles for a happy life:

“It’s always something.”
Roseanne Roseanna Danna.

“Tomorrow is another day.”
Scarlet O’Hara.
On Friday night, I attended a “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” dinner at Campus Commons in Sacramento. Apparently, these themed dinners are held every month there. The dinner featured baseball food (hot dogs and crackerjacks). Everyone was dressed up in baseball-themed costumes (except me and a few others). A moment of silence was held for the volunteer bartender who had worked there for the past 20 years and recently died. I was one of the younger attendees but still had a great time. I met two people who were reputedly retired spies. For whom they worked and what they did, I never found out.

HRM and the Scooter Gang (Now the Scooter/Mountain Bike Gang) took full advantage of Pookie’s Chauffeur Services this weekend to travel from park to park in the area to try out their various moves on the slopes and hills.
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The Scooter Gang at Sunset in the Springtime of Their Lives.

SWAC arrives on Tuesday and in order to avoid an unseemly contretemps, I spent the next few days packing up my things and storing them away. It was a bittersweet time for me. My beloved sister had been diagnosed with stage one cancer, I was moving from my home, separating perhaps forever from HRM, family conflicts swirled about me like gnats and the ravages of age weighed heavily on my thoughts. On the other hand, I have experienced things like these before and probably will again so I know they too shall end one way or another. And love, like springtime, promises a new beginning and hopefully a blazing autumn.

So, off to Mendocino.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

“Like in most advanced economies, job creation in the United States is being tilted toward jobs that require a college degree [OECD 2017]. Even if high school-educated workers can find jobs today, their future job security is in jeopardy. Indeed by 2020, for the first time in our history, more jobs will require a bachelor’s degree than a high school diploma (Carnevale, Smith, and Strohl 2013).”

“These statistics contrast with the trends for college completion. Although the share of young people with four-year college degrees is rising, in 2016 only 37% of 25- to 29-year-olds had a college diploma (Snyder, de Brey, and Dillow 2018). This falls short of the progress in many of our international competitors (OECD 2018), but also means that many of our young people are underprepared for the jobs in our economy.”
Mary C. Daly. FRBSF Economic Letter (April 2, 2018).

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

This was snagged from Brad Delong’s blog:

http://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/03/the-lets-be-agnostic-about-race-science-clowns-are-in-my-twitter-timeline-again.html

The debate in the comments is worth the read.

“THE “LET’S BE AGNOSTIC ABOUT RACE SCIENCE” CLOWNS ARE IN MY TWITTER TIMELINE AGAIN…
Clowns (ICP)’

“Over on Twitter: 1500 GENERATIONS SINCE RADIATION FROM THE HORN OF AFRICA is not very many, n’est-ce pas? A genetic difference that gives you a—huge—extra 0.1% chance of surviving to reproduce will take a gene’s frequency from 1% to 5% of the population in that time.”

“Melanin and vitamin D, lactose tolerance and herding, sickle cell and malaria—all things with an order-of-magnitude bigger than 0.1% differential? Certainly yes. Other things like “general intelligence”? Almost certainly no. I don’t see how you can do the math and still claim otherwise.”

“And so I don’t see how those who claim otherwise—or even claim ‘agnosticism’ about whether it is likely that there are “important” differences between “races”—have done the arithmetic.”

“Can’t do the arithmetic?”

“Haven’t done the arithmetic?”

“Reject the arithmetic because they want to justify some form of racial privilege?”

“I don’t really care.”

“As @ezraklein just wrote: ‘[such] race science… is not ‘forbidden knowledge’… [but rather] America’s most ancient justification for bigotry and racial inequality…” As Charles Manski wrote back in 2011: “Decompos[ing] cross-sectional variation in observed outcomes into unobservable genetic and environmental components,” no. “Measur[ing] specific genes and us[ing] them as observed covariates when predicting outcomes,” quite possibly.”

 

B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Humans are the only species on earth who consciously choose to risk their own continued existence.

 
C. Today’s Poem:

 

Song of Ethalia, Sister of the Merciful Light.

I am the friend in the dark hour.
I am the breeze against the burning sun.
I am the water, freely given, and the wine, lovingly shared.
I am the rest after the battle, and the healing after the wound.
I am the friend in the dark hour.

de Castell, Sebastien. Knight’s Shadow (The Greatcoats Book 2). Quercus.

(JP- To put the poem in context, in the novel the Sister’s of Merciful Light was an order of prostitutes devoted to satisfying the carnal needs of men and women in the community in which they served.)

 

D. Charlie Stross on Bureaucracy:

“A bureaucracy is all about standardization, so that necessary tasks can be accomplished regardless of the abilities of the human resources assigned to it.”

Stross, Charles. The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files Book 5) (p. 257). Penguin Publishing Group.

 

E. Giants of History:

Maximinus Thrax

Maximinus Thrax Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus, (Emperor Maximinus I), Emperor of Rome 235-238 because he Born in Thrace (hence the name Thrax) he was the first emperor never to enter Rome.

Contemporary sources, including Historia Augusta, depicted Maximinus Thrax as a man of immense size, with large eyebrows, nose, and jaw (a symptom of acromegaly). His thumb was so large that he often allegedly wore a bracelet of his wife on it as a ring. The historian Herodian noted:

“He was definitely a man of such frightening appearance and colossal size, that there is no possible comparison at all with any of the best-trained Greek athletes or the most fierce of all barbarians.”

According to historian Cordus, he stood approximately 8 foot 6 inches(2.5 m) tall but exhibited normal proportions. Cordus also notes that Maximinus was so strong that he could pull a fully loaded ox cart on his own.

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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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. March 16, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Did tax cuts for the rich create the Great Divergence?

Income tax rates have changed dramatically during the past 30 years. During the Reagan administration (1981-89), the top marginal rate dropped from 70 percent to 58 percent, and eventually to 28 percent. Under subsequent presidents it has hovered between 30 percent and 40 percent. But effective tax rates—what people actually pay—didn’t change nearly as much. For incomes in the top 1 percent, the effective tax rate went from 37 percent in 1979 to 29.5 percent today, with a big drop and subsequent rise during the 1980s. For incomes in the bottom 20 percent, the percentage change in the effective tax rate was much more dramatic—it was halved, from 8 percent in 1979 to 4 percent in 2007. But to contribute to the Great Divergence, the bottom quintile’s effective tax rate would have to have increased.

Tax cuts for the rich certainly contributed to the Great Divergence. But it would be hard to argue, based on this data, they were the major factor.

(The question remains, if the top 1% have seen their Federal taxes reduced by almost 1/3 and the lowest 20% by half, who has been paying for this huge increase in government spending we have been hearing about*? Actually, it has been paid for through borrowing by the Republican administrations and by various forms of bracket creep on the middle class occurring during every administration.
* Only entitlements and defense spending have been increasing, discretionary spending has become an ever shrinking portion of the Federal budget. Many civilizations and empires have collapsed under those budgetary circumstances).

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Letter to Bangkok Post regarding vote-buying:

“In our home village in SaKet… Voters are paid upfront for their vote. Their identity cards are taken and a list made of all individuals, along with how much each is paid. The villagers do not even consider taking money from a politician and voting for someone else. The tally must match. If there are 60 votes that are bought and paid for, then there must be 60 votes cast for the vote buyer.”

b. The tragedy in Japan continues to dominate the Thai news media. The drama at the disabled nuclear power plant forcing even Gaddafi of the front page.

This reminds me of when we were first struggling with the question of Nuclear Energy during the early years of the coastal planning process in California prior to the completion of the California Coastal Plan. Sure there were serious environmental issues raised, some over-blown, like the impact of heated waste water on the marine environment and others, like the disposal of the radioactive waste, real and unresolved to this day. There were also safety concerns again some real and some not so. But interestingly, what concerned several of us who were responsible for the land use regulation and planning for the coast were the economic and political implications of the then planned nuclearization of American electrical energy.

You see each nuclear power plant was a giant financial capital sink, each plant costing more and requiring more sunk capital (Investment money not returned if the plant did not ultimately come on-line for its full economic life) than most other individual construction projects. In addition, were all the planned units to come on-line within the times proposed, they could have absorbed most of not all the capital resources available at the time potentially squeezing out other needed capital projects and increasing the cost of money.

In addition, because the sunk capital costs were so high the only way they could be financed required reducing risks to almost zero. This necessitated ever more governmental assistance in terms of subsidies, guarantees, regulatory exemptions, limits on liability and the like. In effect the taxpayer was paying for or guaranteeing these plants while others were reaping the profits and leaving the environmental costs to future generations of Americans.

So, what else is new? This is the way things work, how things get done right? Most of us looking into it agreed, but some asked the question, why and was there another way.

We were told even back then that this was necessary for the nation to reduce its dependency of foreign oil. Fair enough, but there were alternatives as feasible as these over engineered, frightfully expensive, dangerous and risky projects. For example, although none of us thought is was practical, every home and business in the US could have been fitted with photovoltaic cells for less than the cost of the nuclearization plan with lower demands on the capital market and fewer environmental and social impacts. True the cost of electricity would rise since the photovoltaic cells are less efficient in electricity production than power plants(a problem certainly as subject to future solution as the disposal of radioactive wastes). Nevertheless, even though it can be acknowledged that increasing per unit electricity costs would certainly be a political problem, the fact remained that technically options to nuclearization appeared available.

So what was going on then?

A commitment to nuclearization of the energy grid ment a commitment to a small group of engineering, supply and energy companies and the three or four financial companies large enough to finance such projects. Almost all other potential energy sources do not require such centralizing financing and engineering. The potential profits that could be made by those few large companies from the engineering, construction and above all financing fees, not to mention the potential monopolization of a segment of the energy market made it worthwhile to encourage a consistent public and political relations campaign to benefit themselves.

What they could not tolerate however was risk since the sunk costs were so large. The complexity of the legal and regulatory process in the US supplied such unacceptable risk and coupled with flattening demand and the continuing low price of oil the nuclear electrical generating industry ultimately failed in the United States. In other countries however a powerful cartel of less than a dozen state-owned or state guided firms have spearheaded the growth of the industries in those countries.

Unfortunately, the capital project financial industry in the US could not see smaller decentralized capital projects as worth their efforts (although they continue to search and lobby for large capital-intensive energy projects such as wind farms and huge solar arrays). The less capital-intensive energy options have fallen to the much smaller investment financing market.

An unintended consequence of the failure of the nuclearization of energy production was its impact on a generation of engineers and engineering schools dependent and expectant on continued growth in the demand for super large capital projects like nuclear power plants. The high-tech boom failed to provide an adequate alternative to employ this excess engineering capacity resulting in civil engineering becoming almost a lost art in the US to be replaced by a demand for and explosive growth of business and financial schools. Unfortunately, as Henry Ford observed, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

This morning as I walked Hayden to school we were faced with something new in my Bangkok experience. It was cold, forcing us to return to the apartment to change into warmer clothing.

I have recently been reading a book by Dan Simmons an author I occasionally like to read. As many of you know ever since I was three or four years old I have read to pass the time waiting for something interesting to happen in life. I have never been particularly much of an adventurer. I preferred waiting for the train to arrive rather than wandering the tracks looking to meet it. When it arrived I would hop on and ride it to wherever until I fell off or more often than not was pushed off. I would then sit by the tracks again and read until the next train came along.

It has never been particularly important what I read (although I have my preferences), fiction, non fiction, cereal boxes, bus schedules they were all the same, doorways into adventure. Reading the content list on a soup can could leave me traveling in my mind to the sources of the natural and not so natural ingredients occupying hours while waiting for something to happen.

Anyway Simmons is generally classified as a writer of speculative fiction although rarely of the “science” or “fantasy” kinds. Recently he wrote a novel called “Drood” that imagined the circumstances surrounding the writing of Dickens’ novel of the same name. The current book “Black Hills” recounts the life of a Sioux holy man from the Battle of Little Big Horn through the sculpting of Mount Rushmore. He previously wrote a novel retelling the Iliad. What marks Simmons’ novels are that they are inevitably long (I like that) and he has never met a fact in his background research that he has not found a place for in his novel (I like that too). His failure is that his stories are always about motivation (Why was Wilkie Collins so jealous of Charles Dickens as to contemplate his murder; Why did Paha Sapa plot the distraction of the Mount Rushmore monument?). Unfortunately, the motivation given rarely appears to me to justify the action contemplated and so ultimately his novels are not completely satisfying.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Red Star, Chapter 14.

Vince turned toward Jerome who prefers to be called Horace mostly because it was difficult not to look at since he had no real form but appeared to be composed of shadows and looked somehow unfinished. “What do you think,” he asked?

“Look at me,” he said. “I have appeared in several things the author has written. He always promises to write a story just about me and flesh me out so to speak but he never does. Now he appears to have completely lost interest, probably because none of his readers cared”.

Nina looks up from her knitting. “Shadow-boy and the doxy have a point,” she says. “It really does not matter whether we are the dregs or not our choice is whether to do something or not and perhaps bringing more action into the story will help. It’s worth a try.”

“But how do we do that,” Vince enquired? “The next real action sequence is not scheduled for about six chapters.”

“Flashbacks, authors often use that to make sure interesting things are always happening.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Book World from Jasper Fforde and Thursday Next or one thereafter:

“… Clark’s Second Law of Egodynamics: ‘For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert.'”

b. Moral leadership through the ages (or do as I say not as I do):

John XII (955-964). Born from an incestuous relationship between Pope Sergio III and his 13-year-old daughter Marozie, John, in turn, took his mother as his own mistress. Pope at 18, he turned the Lateran into a brothel. He was accused by a synod of “sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery and incest” and was temporarily deposed. He took his revenge on opponents by hacking off their limbs. Fittingly, he was murdered by an enraged husband who caught him having sex with his wife.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?
~John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, 20 June 1815

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

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