Posts Tagged With: Muslim

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 18 Mopey 0004 (February 4, 2015)

 

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”
Peter Grenell, July 1, 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

For the past week or so the weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny here behind the locked gates of the city on the Golden Hills. Spring flowers on some trees have already begun to bloom.

Very little breaks the monotony of life within the security walls and landscaped medians except swimming and sleeping. Swimming because I can zone out in almost drug like bliss until my head strikes the cement edge of the pool. Sleeping because my dreams take me far away to places, if not happier then, at least, more interesting.
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Today I decided to skip work. Work to me now is writing love letters to myself on the computer and emailing them to my close friends and to those not so close, reading unbelievably trashy novels and taking long naps. Instead, after breakfast and swimming, I ate a pretty good pastrami sandwich at the local Italian deli, went for a long (for me) walk around the lake and finished off digging through a chocolate, yogurt and cranberry gelato. I think I am going to cry.
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It is somewhat unsettling to have January days at this latitude of the Sierra Foothills where families bring their children to swim and sunbathe at the community pool. It is also disturbing, if enjoyable, for there to have been not a drop of rain during that same month. Such circumstances in the short run are vagaries in weather and usually not determinative of changes in climate. Their immediate origin appears to be caused by a massive distortion of the North-American jet stream bringing cold wet weather to the eastern half of the continent and warm dry weather to the western half. But if, here in California, they persist for a decade or so, I do not think any Peripheral Canal or other geoengineering proposal will be able to ameliorate the consequences.
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Recently I read and article in some medical journal that vivid (lucid) dreamers have larger occipital lobes in their brain and that because of their size sort of fold over on each other — in other words, the brains of vivid dreamers are deformed. The article also maintained that those afflicted with this problem experience a similar state while awake. No, they do not go around believing that their lives are just a dream and that the hope they will soon wake up, although, God knows, I cannot count the times I had hoped it was so. According to the article, like in their dreams where they know they are dreaming and can manipulate them when they are awake and thinking, they know they are thinking. Alas, I have no idea what they are talking about here. Doesn’t everyone have an ongoing conversation with themselves about what they are thinking and why they are spending their time doing so? The few times I do something that can be referred to as thinking and not emoting, I find most of what I think about rather silly. Often I then write about it in T&T and send it out wondering if it annoys some of you as much as it does me.

B. BOOK REPORT:

Mystery novels and thrillers written by lawyers or ex-lawyers have become almost a sub-genre in themselves. Of course, what impels them to give up the emotionally rewarding vocation of an Attorney for insecurity of a literary life remains a mystery in itself (Snark alert).

Except for novels by my friends Sheldon Seigel and Chris Moore, I try to avoid books written by fallen members of that class parasites who often see themselves as counselors to society, or at least to that segment of society who can afford their fees. Alas, so many are now writing books it is difficult to avoid them completely.

The Big Kahuna of this group of authors is John Grisham. For some reason every now and then I pick up one of his works to read. He appears more stylistically accomplished than many of his brethren and quite clever in his plotting and story telling. But, what distinguishes him most is that he may be this generations muckraker in chief. The majority of his stories the often about a lonely and dangerous fight by an individual attorney with little power against representatives of formidable economic interests. Much of his books are devoted to describing the industry and the means by which it exercises its will to the detriment of society. His latest, Gray Mountain takes on big coal in Appalachia.

Pookie says, “Check it out…”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A. Climate Change:

I do not know if others have noticed, but there seems to be a shift in position among climate change deniers. Many of them no longer deny the reality of climate change and its associated global warming. Climate change is real they agree but now maintain that it is either not caused by humans or really all that serious. As for it not being human caused, I suspect that this only will be a short term political objection. Once one accepts that climate is changing and world temperatures are escalating there are very few “natural” causes to blame that can stand up to scientific scrutiny —Vulcanism? Variable solar output? — These have already been dismissed as untenable except by the most deranged deniers. That leaves the argument that it is not very bad and may even be a good thing, so we should just lie back and enjoy it. Be prepared for an avalanche of articles, blogs and television punditry cherry picking obscure and usually non-peer reviewed data that they claim “prove” that the seas will rise only a little bit and would never top your sea-wall; that the minuscule temperature rises promise a world of eternal springtime, and that the hoards of people fleeing the desertification of their homelands are simply too lazy to scratch the soil a little harder and use more pesticides and fertilizer, preferring instead to travel many often dangerous miles and suffer extreme prejudice in order to live on the largess of the welfare state.

B. Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Mohamed, born into a wealthy urbanized Arab clan in Mecca, suffered a dysfunctional childhood as a result of the deaths of his parents and his fostering by some poorer relatives in the clan. He grew into a not so prosperous businessman until in his 30’s he lead a trading caravan funded by a wealthy older woman who eventually became the first of his eleven (I believe) wives. At about the age when most unsuccessful and many successful men begin to wonder what it is all about, Mohammed began spending more and more time alone in the desert, ultimately developing a syncretic monotheistic religion composed of Jewish, Christian and pagan elements. The religion, fatalistic in tone as was the Arab society from which in sprung, required only a few distinct rituals for its adherents and absolute obedience to God’s Prophet Mohammed. Like Jesus before him, Muhammed’s religious mandates originally were exclusively directed only to his ethnic group.

Mohammed, having little success in Mecca, left that city for Medina twice. The Arab and to some extent Jewish clans in Medina, a commercial rival of Mecca, encouraged Mohammed hoping the growth of his religion would increase business. Mecca was a major pilgrimage destination that Muhammed’s family benefited from.

After his first sojourn in Medina, Mohammed encouraged by the local clans returned to Mecca to preach his new religion. This enraged the Meccans for among other things Mohammad condemned the worship of the Kaaba, the pilgrimage site that was the source wealth for several clans including his own. An attempt to kill him led by his own family prompted Mohammed to flee back to Medina. There he implored the Midianites to fund his return to Mecca in order to subdue it. They refused. So Mohammed, probably noticing the excess of young males with limited opportunities in the area, proposed to them that if they were to agree to become raiders for Islam for free they could keep the loot — provided they give Muhammed 1/5 of it. He also exiled one of the Jewish clans in the city and took their property as starter capital. This worked very well and after a period of pure brigandage, they wiped out the other Hebrew clans, expropriated their wealth and went on to conquer, in short order, most of the Near East.

Thus, two institutions arose in Arab culture, the military that conquered but had no idea about how to govern and the teacher/ministry who had no interest in doing so. As a result, government as we know it eventually fell into the hands of non-Arabic Muslims or existing non-Muslim populations in the conquered lands. This inability to create or manage a state ultimately resulted in the non-Arabic Muslim converts taking over management of the states and eventually supplanting their Arab masters. (to be continued)

DAILY FACTOID:

2015: Aging. Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a procedure for slowing or stopping aging in cells by restoring the Telomeres in chromosomes. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long. They shorten with each cell division, however, and when they reach a critical length the cell stops dividing or dies. This internal “clock” makes it difficult to keep most cells growing in a laboratory for more than a few cell doublings. The new procedure permits cells to divide up to 40 or more times.

2015: The Tattooed Iceman. The 5300-year-old well-preserved cadaver discovered in the Alps and nicknamed the Iceman has been found to have 61 tattoos on his body corresponding to the skin acupuncture lines developed in Asia thousands of years later.
tattoos

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Should Cities be more Resilient?

In April of last year, San Francisco appointed the world’s first Chief Resilience Officer as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. The appointment comes with a two year $100,000 per year grant from the foundation to develop a city’s ability to recover from acute shocks and chronic stresses or, as the initial appointee explained, keeping track of everything that could test the city, from resource scarcity to social inequality. He seems to believe that, after discovering who does what in the City bureaucracy, the position entails encouraging those other city emergency, response and recovery entities and personnel to feel good about their jobs.
B. Musings on Heaven:

Have you ever wondered about why the Judeo-Christian heaven so resembles North Korea with its endless chanting and adoration of its blessed leader? At least for those Muslim men who die in battle, they get to eat and fornicate forever. For Muslim women, however — well, they are just screwed here on earth and in Heaven.

Statistically and historically, the number of those “humans” with immortal souls (as maintained by most Christians) who have died in the womb through miscarriages, death of the mother or during childbirth is somewhere between ten and twenty times the number of live births. These soul-endowed humans not having the opportunity to do anything prohibited by God, supposedly end up in Heaven. So, when the elect pass on to their just rewards, they will find a Heaven overwhelmingly filled with fetuses. Catholic theology deals with this horrifying image by segregating that mass of helpless individuals into “Limbo” so that the saved can avoid the shock.

In Heaven one spends all eternity chanting hymns and staring at the Great One in adoration, much like watching endless reruns of Seinfeld. Or, in the case of Islam endlessly fornicating with the same 72 virgins who of course after the first couple of weeks would no longer be so. Wouldn’t, in very short order, one want to get out of town so to speak? Is there a difference between Heaven and Hell? Are we all simply being punished for existing? Have we been tricked?

Is it true that those who die with the most money win? If so, what do they win? Many non-Catholic and Orthodox Christian sects believe that those with the most toys get better seats in Heaven’s arena. I could see where that would have some appeal in a fetus-filled stadium. But, even so, what could possibly be the appeal of spending all eternity in a private suite overlooking an endless Superbowl. Imagine automobile, insurance and fast food commercials without end. Jean-Paul Sartre would love it.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Rising prices benefit debtors and injure creditors, while falling prices do the opposite. A debtor called upon to pay a debt at a time when prices are higher than when he contracted the debt must yield up less goods and services than he obtained at the earlier date, on a lower price level, when he borrowed the money. A creditor, such as a bank, which has lent money— equivalent to a certain quantity of goods and services— on one price level, gets back the same amount of money— but a smaller quantity of goods and services— when repayment comes at a higher price level, because the money repaid is then less valuable. This is why bankers, as creditors in money terms, have been obsessed with maintaining the value of money, although the reason they have traditionally given for this obsession— that ‘sound money’ maintains ‘business confidence’— has been propagandist rather than accurate.”
Quigley, Carroll.

TODAY’S CHART:

biblemarriage
Examples of marriage options approved in the Bible

Marriage is and always has been a means of establishing a socio-economic organization focused on child rearing obligations, financial responsibilities and allocations among the parties and inheritance rights. Love never had anything to do with it except to make the lovers routinely oblivious to the economic implications of their liaison and the often unexpected burdens of parenthood requiring the state to step in. Today, most of the legal rules that inure to the marital ceremony determine the economic relationships between the parties not otherwise affected by a contract between them and defines those obligations and rights society determines cannot be signed away. Theoretically, any arrangement of people choosing to share living, economic and parental arrangements should be able to choose this option.

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Today’s Photograph:
10155104_10152838669020242_6799419858627281396_nRoccantica, my grandmother’s birthplace

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Mopey 0004 (January 26, 2015)

 

Happy Birthday Ruth

“Never get out of the boat.”
Apocalypse Now

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

The weather in the Golden Hills has been delightful for the last few days — the temperatures brisk but pleasant, the skies blue and the clouds vague and wispy at their edges. This morning, although the skies were mostly clear by the house, at the health club a mile or so away, fog and mist covered the pool in a ghostly gray.
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Evening Sky Over a Golden Hills Athletic Field

While sitting in the health club jacuzzi, I noticed a woman happily moving in an odd way in front of one of the water nozzles. I surreptitiously tried the same moves and was shocked. While the move probably was not as agreeable for a man as for a woman, it did make me realize that there is more going on behind the locked gates of the golden hills, than manicured lawns suggest.
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Today I visited the first of the two medical specialists to whom I had been referred, the neurologist. The only thing that was confirmed was my hypochondria…
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My daughter gifted me a trip to visit her in Washington DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival in early April. I have been trying to decide on what side trips to make while I am there. She gave me some books for Christmas showing some of the sights and Civil War sites in and around DC. Dick suggested I visit the FBI museum which sounds like a good idea. I also would like to visit Baltimore to see what had changed since I last visited there as a consultant over 20 years ago.
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I read a book today that was described as Science Fiction and Adventure. Although it took place on another world, I had gotten almost all the way through it before to my horror it dawned on me that it was, in fact, a Romance Novel complete with bare-chested men with huge bulging muscles and women falling into pools, or lakes or caught in the rain so that their drenched clothing would cling to their bodies revealing what lay beneath, especially their blushing breasts and stiffening nipples. I waded through page after page of these same shirtless men with biceps like cantaloupes and well-soaked women with heaving breasts like ripe melons in unrelieved sexual arousal as though they had never learned about masturbation or how to make fruit salad. Alas, I enjoyed the book. I am thoroughly embarrassed and have promised myself never to do it again.

B. BOOK REPORT:

As readers of T&T know, I have a weak spot for Swords and Sorcery and Fantasy genre in fiction. I also acknowledge that on any ranking of literary genres it falls somewhere near the bottom. Be that as it may, I still while away many pleasant hours with Mages and Druids, Knights and Damsels and all the other creatures that usually inhabit these novels. Recently I completed reading the four books in the Trysmoon series by Brian K. Fuller. Unlike most series of this type, the four books really make up a single long novel — no single book stands alone. Like most of these novels the transcendental hero or heroine saves the world/king /nation, etc., by magic, sword or pluck. What makes this work different, at least to me, is that the three main characters seem more interesting than most.

The hero, a man without soul created out of mud by the evil one in order to destroy the world, saves it instead, with the help of many others including two women, a mother and daughter, who are the most beautiful and powerful women in the land. He sleeps with both of them and marries each in turn, saves the world, destroys the evil one and thereafter settles down with the mother in a tiny cottage in a god-forsaken village where they make a nuisance of themselves by, among other things, attending house parties that they were not invited to and copulating with each other wherever and whenever they had a mind to do so, which was often.

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Musings on Events in the Near east (continued from last issue of T&T):

Looking at a relief map of the Near-east (It is the Near-east not the Middle-east) one notices that on the North lies the highlands of Anatolia in Turkey, a non-Arab strongly governed Muslim State. On the East rises the highlands of Persia, modern day Iran, a strong state with a significant non-Arab population. To the South sits the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula littoral along which exist several strong and wealthy states and two poorer troubled states, Yemen and to some extent Oman (more on this below). At the South-eastern corner lies the deserts of the Negev (Israel) and Sinai (Egypt) backed by the populous Nile River Valley and the immense and hostile Sahara Desert. This area is controlled by Egypt a traditionally stable (at least in area) state with a huge non-Muslim population. The Mediterranean and its littoral states (Israel and Lebanon) containing significant non-Muslim (Lebanon) and non-Arab (Israel with its Ashkenazi Eastern-European culture) populations. In Israel’s case, it is a currently strong state.

In the center lies the rapidly desertifying central Fertile Crescent area (Primarily Syria and Iraq). This area is overwhelmingly Muslim Arab. By 650AD or so it became the center of Arab-Muslim culture governed by Arab warlords extracting tribute from mostly non-Muslim populations and in turn paying an ever decreasing amount of tribute to whichever Caliph held nominal authority over the area. This continued until about 1000AD when governance over the whole of the near east effectively passed from the hands of the Arabs to non-Arab Muslims who created relatively strong and stable states. This remained the situation until the West (Britain and France primarily) returned the non-mountainous areas back mostly to the Arabs who immediately created warlord States until the petroleum reserves passed into the hands of at least some of the states around the Arabian Peninsular Littoral, leaving Iraq and Syria in the hands of Arab warlords representing a minority religious community in each nation. This was done intentionally because the Imperial nations recognized the Arab tendency toward internecine warfare among its family groups and their traditional inability to create (or have any interest in creating) an integrated state. They believed a ruling military based minority would assure stability out of fear of possible majority power.

There is a reason why the Arabs traditionally have had difficulty creating a stable State and it has little to do with character or things like that, other than the usual difficulty of nomadic people to transition into governing the areas they conquer. The reason lies in part with Mohammed himself and the politics of his time. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It wants to avoid the following:

“One additional element in this situation, which links the ruling minority and the alienated masses together, was the steady increase in the inequality in distribution of incomes, something which was supported, defended, and intensified by the power structure. This surplus in incomes at the top, used for non-productive purposes, kept the demand for luxury goods high for centuries after the curve of production in necessities had turned downward. The crisis in the production of necessities came in the third century, but the production of, or at least the demand for, luxuries was still as high as ever in AD 600. Moreover, during that period of almost four centuries, the growing corruption and violence excluded honest and hardworking people from access to the ruling system or even from the state, including access to justice or to public office. Both of these were increasingly expensive to a degree that honest, hardworking men could not pay. Both justice and public office required higher and higher costs of access (bribery or sale, if you will) from the fact that these two, plus access to the higher levels of the military system, became access to the affluence of the ruling minority and escape from the grinding poverty of the ruled majority.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability. (1975)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Do not withdraw from the unreality of perception, revel in it instead.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

IMG_20140426_174146_961.jpg

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Mopey 0004 (January 19, 2015)

 

“…the brave are merely the stupid who live through their poor decisions.”
Fuller, Brian. Trysmoon Book 4: Sacrifice (The Trysmoon Saga).
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TYSON UNDERWOOD rest in peace. We will miss your ever-present smile.
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TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

After resting a day, swimming was a pleasure. A half an hour without becoming tired is better than the exhausted feeling that follows Exercycle or weight training — perhaps because they both are so boring. Completing a lap seems like successfully meeting a challenge — completing a set, not so much.
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Research and some analysis indicate that it is probably better to tackle the nodule question aggressively. Even if the Dr. proposes a test, wait and see approach, people over retirement age are not likely to get any stronger therefore, even if there is any ambiguity as to diagnosis and prognosis, it would be preferable to get it over now and take the risk rather than waiting to be absolutely certain that radical steps need to be taken later. Beyond 70, the chances of even currently benign nodules turning cancerous increases substantially over time. Let’s see what the doctor has to say Monday.
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Tyson Underwood has died after a long battle with cancer. Kathleen’s ex-husband, an artist and a long time director of annual art festivals in Marin, was one of the most upbeat and unreservedly optimistic persons I have ever known.
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It is uncomfortable to swim late in the afternoon while the sun goes down behind the clubhouse casting a shadow over the pool and you are the last person still in the pool. Ending the planned laps a bit early and getting into to the hot tub that still had three people in it, even if no one talks to anyone else makes one feel less alone and vulnerable.

A woman of indeterminate age wearing a white-billed cap and one-piece bathing suit with a tiny flower pattern sat in the hot-tub reading a book about Paris. Another older somewhat rotund woman, who had been swimming laps previously, seemed an athletic type since she continued to flex her arms and shoulders while she sat in the hot water. Our fourth companion in the tub was a middle-aged man with blond hair going gray who mumbled to himself as he sat in front of a water jet.
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On Monday, the doctor was thoroughly engaged in reviewing the various test results in an unsuccessful effort to determine what was causing my low blood pressure. He ignored the CT scan Pulmonary Nodule discovery. “Oh that,” he exclaimed. “They usually are not a problem.” After additional in office tests on the low blood pressure, he concluded, by a process of elimination, they probably were neurological and referred me to a neurologist. When pushed again on the nodule, he explained that he would first need to see whether it appeared in prior chest x-rays and the like to determine whether or not it existed before or was something new. A few days later he secured a copy of the tests performed two years ago during my hospitalization for a pulmonary embolism. They showed a nodule in the same place. That is a good sign. He recommended a pulmonary specialist and arranged an appointment.

The two-year-old hospital report on the pulmonary embolism indicated that all the arteries into the lungs were blocked and that only a small part of the upper right lobe worked to keep my body alive until the other passages could be cleared. That’s a little like falling out of a plane without a parachute and surviving. Come to think of it, it was a long plane ride that probably caused the embolism. Could falling out of the plane been a better option than remaining seated in the middle seat in coach class for 12 hours and then rushing to the hospital a few days later in order to save ones life?
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One of the delights of retirement is that you get to enjoy the pleasure of standing freezing on the sidelines for and hour or so as the child you are responsible for plays football or some other organized activity. The activity is generally designed by other adults in order to extract money from those legally responsible for the child’s welfare who agree to pay the con so that they can avoid self-reproach for their inability to otherwise get the child out of the house to play.
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IMG_20141127_163530_566
A selfie
B. BOOK REPORT:

Sometime in the late 60’s and continuing for a decade the Swedish husband and wife team of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö embarked on an ambitious scheme to write one mystery book a rear for ten years. The books were to be interconnected in a series called “The Story of Crime.”

Ruth turned me on to the series. Where most modern mystery stories over the past forty years generally feature a brilliant if somewhat odd sleuth who solves the mystery usually by either cleaver deduction or by the impact of his or her particular psychosis (for example by beating people up or getting drunk), these are stories about Swedish police detectives who solve cases using the routine that are the lot of most public employees. They get bored, sick with colds and have bad marriages. The criminals more often than not are sympathetic, driven to murder by social circumstances they cannot control and now and then they even get away with it.

Despite being over 40 years old, the novels grapple with issues pertinent today such as the militarization of policing, the social desperation that drives people to crime and the impact of replacing personal interaction between the police and the public with impersonal violence that begets even more violence resulting in the collapse of the morale of both.

“More and more often one was obliged to initiate an investigation by trying to sort out what the police had been up to. Not infrequently this proved harder than clearing up the actual case.”
Sjowall, Maj; Wahloo.The Locked Room: A Martin Beck Police Mystery (8).

My two favorite books in the series are The Laughing Policeman and The Abominable man.

Pookie says, “check them out.”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

What is occurring in the Near-East right now I believe is misunderstood. It is not a religious conflict, but religious conflicts certainly exist. It is not a clash among incompatible ideologies and economic interests, but ideological and economic strife are rampant.

What is happening now has happened before at least twice and perhaps more. In both of those previous situations, a drying of the climate had reduced the grassland on either side of the more urbanized and productive fertile crescent that had supported the way of life of the grassland inhabitants. With this climate crisis, populations began to migrate from the grasslands to the more fertile and settled regions. Along with this came the functional equivalent of biker gangs. Under employed young men with weapons with nothing more productive to do attempting to acquire the surplus production of their more settled neighbors usually under the unifying impetus of an ideology to which they gave real or feigned allegiance.

Today the rural economy of the middle east is in shambles as the area desertifies and the population increases beyond sustainability for the area. (to be Continued)
DAILY FACTOID:
300px-Normans_possessions_12century_es

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Mendacity:

Republicans, in general, neo-liberal and supply-side economists reject the Keynesian prescription that during times of insufficient demand (recession and depression) expenditures of public funds even if it results in a governmental deficit is needed to restore the economy to health. Democrats, progressives and Keynesian economists disagree. On the other hand, Republicans, etc., appear quite happy to steadily increase the expenditure on military procurement and benefits and tax benefits for hydrocarbon-based energy production. This has been described as Weaponized Keynesianism and Carbonized Keynesianism.

If there was a third hand, Democrats et al., seem quite happy, during times of insufficient demand to decrease military expenditures and petrochemical public benefits and apply the funds thus saved to governmental welfare schemes.

While I personally prefer the latter, it appears there is an element of hypocrisy on both sides.

We may disagree about whether or not a military dollar gives a greater bang for the buck than a welfare dollar but to some extent we still are agreeing on a Keynesian solution to insufficient demand. The difference seems to be that the Repubs, etc., believe the emergency expenditure should be generally supply side in nature usually including tax relief for equity.

The Dems et al., however, usually propose road, bridge and infrastructure improvements as part of their recession recovery packages (along with middle-class tax relief) and these are also definitely trickle down.

So, it seems to me that it all comes down to a question of politics and not economics. Unless, of course, you consider who ends up with the money is a question of personal destiny and not of social choice.

B. Some past effects of a change in climate :

“In the west with which we are concerned here, there was a climate change after A.D. 200, marked, it would seem, by a retreat of the polar icecap and the polar area of high pressures; this allowed the prevailing westerly winds and rains to move northward so that they passed over the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia, with great growth of forest in all northern Europe, and with greatly reduced rainfall in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and east of the Caspian Sea. In the same period, war and disease resulted in a decrease of population of up to 60 per cent in Europe or in the Roman empire from about 200 to after 800, that is to say over six hundred or more years. Careful studies of the population of the Roman empire seem to indicate that its population fell from about 70 million persons at the time of Christ to about 50 million in 300. The wars, migrations, spread of plagues, and abandonment of much family life, including the spread of chastity for religious reasons and of sexual perversions for other reasons, all contributed to this decrease. This had a very adverse influence on economic production as well as on defense, especially when it was combined, after 200, by a flight from the cities to the rural areas, and a movement of economic activities toward self-sufficiency. One of the chief characteristics of an economic depression is a reduction in roundabout modes of production by a decrease in investment, although not necessarily in savings, along with a reduction in the specialization of production and exchange of products. The links in any chain of activity from the original producer to the final consumer are reduced in number; individuals retreat from very specialized activities to more general ones; the use of exchange and of money decreases. All of these changes are to be found in weapons systems and in defense, where we find a similar tendency to fall back on the simpler, less complex, and more general forms of weapons, tactics, and organizational arrangements, including, for example, the belief that the same man should produce food and fight (peasant militia) or a reduction of defense to a single weapon or only two. We may not notice these military consequences when the depression is brief, as the world depression of 1929-1940, but these effects do appear when such an economic collapse continues for centuries, in a dark age.

The effects of such a change are also important on the non-material aspects of the society, where we find a tendency for people to turn toward a more personal and existential life, with emphasis on day-to-day interpersonal activities, decreasing emphasis on planning for the future in this secular world, and a decrease in abstract thinking and generalizations, but instead, a great emotional and intellectual emphasis on a few symbols and words. Life tends to polarize into almost total absorption in momentary empirical activity, with intellectual life reduced to a few large symbols.
Carroll Quigley. Weapons systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Interior — St John Lateran, Rome

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Joseph 0004 (January 9, 2015)

“…people who make the most productive contributions, the ones who make lasers or transistors, or the inventor of the computer, DNA researchers — none of these are the top wealthiest people in the country. So if you look at the people who contributed the most, and the people who are there at the top, they’re not the same.”
Joseph Stiglitz

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Since the last week in September I have been either traveling, ill or overwhelmed by holidays. As a result, outside of posting a few photographs in T&T and reading a lot I have been unable to do much else.
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Yesterday, January 2 (13 Joseph 2004) I was finally able to get back to editing Quigley’s “Weapons Systems and Political Stability.” I am about at page 700 on my first edit and have about another 700 pages more to go. The first edit is intended only to familiarize myself with the material and catch the most egregious errors (there are a lot). My next edit will be to polish it up, add some headings for clarity and write a new introduction.

Because Quigley died before finishing his book, it ends at about 1500 AD. The previous edition includes Quigley’s article on the French Revolution in an effort to fill in the gap. I think that is inadequate. I probably will cross reference his major published work, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, or add an edited version of the post-1500 portion of that book.

I have begun editing the rise of Islam and the Arab conquests section of Weapons. It is interesting to note that the Arab political dominance of Islam lasted only 300 years or so, thereafter the Islāmic world was ruled mostly by non-Arab Muslims (Turks, Kurds [Saladin], Moors and the like) until at the end of WWI (1918) when the allies created the system of Arab-controlled states at the expense of those Islāmic tribes and nations that commanded the Near and Middle East for the previous 1000 years.

Also, the Arabs like the Hebrews were Semite language speakers from tribes that migrated out of grasslands south of the Fertile Crescent during dry periods. Thus, ironically, not only do they share the same language family, original culture and genetics but also the same religion in some respects. Islam can somewhat be looked at as a heretical form of ancient Judaism since the Koran acknowledges the Hebrew bible as among its founding documents and Gabriel himself supposedly directed the Prophet to begin his vocation as a prophet instead of going into his family business selling souvenirs to pilgrims visiting Mecca. (This abandoning of the family business continues a long tradition among religious leaders. After all, Buddha could not stand being a prince, Jesus was bored by carpentry, Paul saw no future in tax collection and Joseph Smith needed the money.)

Similarly, Christianity can be seen as a heretical form of Judaism. Christ, as a Jewish heretic, preached a different form of Judaism much as the Pharisees (another heretical group) did in creating a good deal of modern Judaism. Christ urged his followers to, “forget the forms and rules, how you behave and treat others is more important.” The rabbis (at least after Hillel) seemed to say, “the rules and prescriptions should not be taken too literally, but they are a good thing to contemplate and discuss in order to determine how to behave.”

Paul the Arch-Heretic, on the other hand, demanded his supporters, “forget the Hebrews and what Jesus had to say, think, do and behave as I tell you.”
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On Sunday I drove to the Bay Area where I had a very pleasant lunch with Kathleen who now heads the AG’s antitrust division. Later I visited my mom who was quite spry and alert. She believed that the place where she had lived for the past 10 years or so was a hospital that she had just entered a few days ago because she had suddenly taken ill. Earlier in the day she felt better so she began to change into her street clothes so that she could leave the hospital and find a job.
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Mom and her girls
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I have just about finished my revisions to the first half of Red Storm my still uncompleted stab at a novel. If anyone would like to review it and give me your thoughts and suggestions I will very much appreciate it.
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Well, I’m back under doctor’s care. A recent unusual shortness of breath while exercising prompted my visit to my him. Following a series of tests including a CT-scan, we have eliminated a return of a pulmonary embolism and heart disease, confirmed my long-standing gall stone problem and discovered what they euphemistically call a “lung nodule.” More tests and procedures to follow.
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In rereading the Stieglitz quote above it strikes me that those young people sent off to war to risk their lives so that those top wealthiest people can enjoy their good fortune, or those like my daughter and her compatriots, endeavoring to protect this nation and those same rich from the horrors of plague, as well as most of those who have dedicated their lives to helping others, are not payed very well either. One would think they should be included among those who have made productive contributions as great as and probably more than many of those wealthy people.
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Today I said to myself the hell with the temperature or my physical maladies I’m going swimming. So I dove into the outdoor pool at my new health club and swam for twenty minutes which is pretty good since I have not seriously exercised for over two months. After my swim I spent some time in the hot tub, took a steam bath and showered. It made me very happy.

B. BOOK REPORT:

The Martian by Andrew Weir, soon to be a major motion picture starring Matt Damon (a man who will always look barely post-pubescent), is a man-boy novel without the killing and explosions. It is about science, engineering and manly pluck. I found it fascinating and enjoyable — being a man-boy myself. Dick McCarthy, however, pointed out that despite the intensive descriptions of electronic monitors, space suits, airlocks and the like, the Robinson Caruso of Mars almost never glances out the window and tells us what the planet actually looks like. It is sort of like writing about a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and describing in great detail the raft’s paddles and their uses but never mentioning what you saw when, not otherwise engaged with problems and vagaries of riverine locomotion, you looked up at the variegated walls of that magnificent chasm.

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY —2014 SCIENCE:

2014 saw science bring humans closer to exercising the attributes of Gods. A research laboratory in the US created a synthetic chromosome raising the possibility that we may soon become able to create complex life forms. Another team of scientists has demonstrated brain to brain communications creating the potential of direct neural communications between humans. Also, a way to make matter directly from light has been postulated. Finally a new theory about how life forms out of inert matter has been proposed.

About 80 years ago the paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin (“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.”)
theorized that as humankind increasingly populated the globe it would through evolutionary processes, produce a new type of life that he called the Noosphere, the collective consciousness of humankind. This he claimed would become one with God. Alas, life being what it is, simply the search for a more efficient method of converting energy into matter by reversing entropy, I sincerely doubt this new life form, if it actually comes into being, will be much different from the mad, irresponsible homicidal gods postulated in humankind’s historical imagination.

DAILY FACTOID:

1550: In about this year the illustrious German (Franconian) Imperial Knight, Gottfried von Berlichingen, or as he was known, “Gotz of the Iron Hand” because he went into battle with a prostheses to replace the hand he had lost in a previous war and whose major claim to fame was a preternatural ability to piss everyone off, issued his legendary challenge, ”er kann mich am Arsche lecken” (“he can lick my arse”).
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The Iron Hand of Gotz

Gotz, as can be expected, was beloved of the Nazis who memorialized him by naming several instruments of death in his honor.

(It has been rumored that Marvel’s Winter Soldier was the reincarnation of Gotz.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…we usually think of Christianity as the great contrast to the Roman ideology, but this is to misconceive the whole civilization. Christianity as an organization was in no way incompatible with Romanism as an organized structure. The teachings of Christ were, but these teachings were so very alien and strange that no one took them very seriously and being a Christian soon meant, not belief in Christ’s teachings but belief in Christ, a totally different thing. The same thing happened in Islam where Muhammad’s teachings were soon ignored, and the requirements of Islam became a few rituals, plus monotheism, and so far as Muhammad was concerned, belief that he was the Prophet of the One God.

The Christians cut down Christ’s teachings to a minimum also, insisted only on the belief that Christ was the Son of God and some related beliefs and certain rituals, and then began to engage in violent controversy on minute details of implications of these, very remote from Christ’s teachings or attitude. On this basis, there was not much in Christianity which could not be reconciled with the Roman system, and the original enmity between the two came more from the Roman side than from the Christian.

…The willingness of the Christians to become part of the Roman system can be seen in the present survival of the Roman Catholic Church as a copy of the Roman empire, a system organized in municipalities and provinces under an absolute ruler who uses the robes, nomenclature, language, and modes of action of the late Roman empire.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Pookie enjoys himself at the Doria Pamphili Museum in Rome

Categories: January through March 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Shadow 0003 (July 1, 2014)

“Eschew mildew.”
Ruth Galanter’s poetically sage advice for me to follow during the monsoons.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. Escape from Bangkok:

Actually, leaving BKK was quite easy. The taxi arrived at my apt. promptly at 3am as promised and the driver only charged me a little more than normal for his trouble. It saddened me to leave BKK. Despite its gloomy skies, curfews, air pollution, broken sidewalks and fetid canals, it is, after all, my home now. I am a city boy. There have been four cities that I have called home, New York, Rome, San Francisco and now Bangkok. As cities go those are as good as any and better than most.

The problems started when I got to the airport. My retirement visa was due to expire a few days after my arrival. Unknown to me, I did not receive the normal 30 day visa upon entry. My entry visa expired on the same day as my retirement visa, so I had to pay a $400 dollar fine for overextending my stay.

On my flight from BKK to Seattle two people reading the Bible sat next to me. Now I have no problem with anyone reading anything and I am not overly superstitious, but given my concerns with Delta Airlines, I’ll admit to some anxiety.

In Seattle, as I went through customs, they discovered several packages of dried soup in my luggage. The inspector, a middle aged white man, asked me if I spoke english. I do not think he could have thought I was Thai so I assume he thought I was Mexican. I answered in the positive. Then he went all cop on me tearing apart my luggage and throwing LM’s knit caps all over the counter and on the floor. Upon locating the packages, he angrily shouted at me, “These packages contain meat projects. Why did you not indicate that you were carrying meat products?” I responded that I did not realize they did and in any event thought it applied only to fresh meat and products made mostly of meat. I shrugged. “Don’t get smart with me,” he screamed. “I could charge you a $1000 fine and have you arrested. You have done this before you know.” I thought silence at that moment was my best approach. He then strangely confiscated only two of the about 25 contaminated packages I had. He turned suddenly, said over his shoulder “I’m going to report you” and walked over to a table with a computer and sat down leaving me standing there amid the rubble of the contents of my luggage. He ignored me and typed away. I stood there. Finally one of the other agents motioned to me to pack up my things and leave, which I did.

Eventually I made it back to El Dorado Hills about 30 hours after I left my apt. in BKK. I took a shower and went right to sleep and did not wake up for almost 20 hours.

2. Morning in El Dorado Hills:

When I woke up, I walked the dogs. All trace of green has disappeared from the hills except for the leaves on the Valley Oaks. The houses along the street supposedly have drought resistant landscaping. Grass, only used along the borders, has started turning brown. When I looked closer at the landscaping, I saw that much of the ground cover and low bushes were dead or dying. Spider webs have begun covering them. It’s a bit creepy. So this is how it ends, neither in ice or fire nor with a bang or a whimper but desiccated and covered in cobwebs.

3. Exercise or bust:

I lost about twelve pounds during my stay in Thailand. Since returning I already feel as though I am gaining it back. Snacking is a way of life in the US.

I was given a two week trial membership in the El Dorado Hills upscale health club. Not as upscale as the country club, but more upscale than my existing proletarian health club. The new club has a pool. I now swim there in the morning and try to go to my old club in the afternoon. After that, I usually go to the man cave across the parking lot from my old health club for a beer and a cigar while I watch the world cup on a giant TV screen. The man cave is dark, dingy and comfortable with large overstuffed chairs and ottomans. The guys at the man cave are mostly overweight, tattooed and friendly. I’ve got the overweight part covered. Tattoos are out for me and friendly is just not my thing at this age – if it ever was.
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Outside the man cave.

I feel uncomfortable at the new health club. Perhaps it’s the lack of tattoos. Also, people seem less inclined to talk or joke with one another there. In fact, I do not recall seeing anyone smiling.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Many years ago when I was involved in coastal protection matters in California, I went for a walk through Point Reyes with Bill Yeates who was at that time, I believe,a Graduate Legal Assistant working with me. As we walked along, I was amazed at how Bill could predict what birds we would see in each bush and what a bird would look like from just hearing the sound it makes flapping its wings. Like any person lacking knowledge, I considered his abilities almost magical. On the other hand as a confirmed cynic, I suspected he was bullshitting me.

Sometime after that walk, Bill jokingly (or not) mentioned to several people that I could not be a real environmentalist because I knew little about the natural environment.

That is not completely true. As a city boy I know a lot about urban fauna. For example, I know a lot about rats, pigeons and cockroaches. I can tell the difference between a giant Norwegian Roof Rat and an ordinary brown or black rat by the sounds it makes as it scrabbles through the walls at night.

I know that, wherever old people sit on benches, pigeons will soon congregate. When entering a room, I can tell instantly under which appliance or piece of furniture a cockroach is hiding.

I do not understand why there are no groups or organizations dedicated to the protection of these urban species. I suggest that a Society for the Preservation of Urban Vermin (SPUV) be created to defend our urban friends from the millenia of bad press they have received and to shield them from wanton slaughter and cruelty to which they have been subject.

Why, for example, do we allow the existence of individuals and organizations whose sole purpose is to be paid to come on to your property and kill rats? Some even publicize that they eschew environmentally unsound killing techniques (poisons and gas). Instead these defenders of the environment smear peanut butter on rat traps that snap the necks of the unwary, if greedy, rat. Now I realize that, in the case of rats, catch and release poses some problems. For example, what would be an appropriate place to release these critters – your neighbors house?

Now pigeons are unique. They only exist as adults. Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon walking around a city? I believe they reproduce like amoebas. They simply split down the middle when they need to create another pigeon. Have you ever noticed, for example, should a hawk decimate a flock of pigeons over say a particular town square, the next morning there appears to be exactly the same number of pigeons flying about?

Humans consider the juvenile of almost every species on earth cute. Even baby sharks when emerging from their mothers womb exude cuteness. Not cockroaches. Does anyone believe smaller cockroaches are cuter? Would you want to cuddle one?

For these reasons and more, I believe our urban friends need protection. Remember, when we all retreat again into deep dark caves because we have burnt the world to a crisp, who will accompany us? Why our friends the rat, pigeon and cockroach will. And when the earth has cooled and we leave again, only we and our friends together will greet that world. A world bereft of all living things – except gorse, broom and tumbleweeds. Gorse, broom and tumbleweeds survive because they are not of this universe and can never die.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. Lower student debt:
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Having our nation’s youth begin their economic lives in debt does not seem like a good idea to me.

2. Eliminate Corporate Welfare Queens:
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Why should taxpayers subsidize businesses that ought to compete? Perhaps there may be a reason in the case of introducing an important new technology, but subsidizing an almost 100 year old mature technology seems unreasonable.

B. Tales of Nasruddin:

The king once summoned Nasruddin to court.

“Tell me,” said the king, “you are a mystic, philosopher, a man of unconventional understandings. I have become interested in the issue of value. It’s an interesting philosophical question. How does one establish the true worth of a person or an object? Take me for example. If I were to ask you to estimate my value, what would you say?”

“Oh,” Nasruddin said, “I’d say about two hundred dinars.”

The emperor was flabbergasted. “What?! But this belt I’m wearing is worth two hundred dinars.”

“I know,” said Nasruddin. “Actually, I was taking the value of the belt into consideration.”

TODAY’S QUOTES:

Erick Erickson, Conservative opinion leader and blogger in Redstate.

“I’m just not sure what the Republican Party really stands for any more other than telling Obama no and telling our own corporate interests yes. That’s not much of a platform.

Trenz Pruca, spokesperson for himself and an unread, occasional blogger.

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

TODAY’S CHART:
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Why does it appear muslims choose to congregate in the Republican heartland?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 23, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium

Hagia Irene over the Ruins of Byzantium (Photo credit: voyageAnatolia.tumblr.com)

Seventh CenturyThe veil, beloved by Muslims, began in the courts of Christian Byzantium. When Arab armies captured the cities of Syria and Egypt in the 7th century they adopted the practice for their own women.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. The catastrophic decline of the dollar’s value continues, but appears to be slowing. At the bank yesterday I received a little under 28 baht per dollar, down from the over 36 that I received when I arrived in January.

b. Russian, Chinese and Japanese travel agents are pre booking huge numbers of Thai hotel rooms for between 30 and 50 percent of standard rates.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Yesterday I went to Central Mall in the Outskirts of Hell to do some banking in preparation for my trip back to the US. On my return I thought it would be a good idea to walk back to my apartment along the sand the entire length of Beach Road.

As I walked, I approached one of the large boat ramps that lie across beach every kilometer or so. It was a fairly low tide, so instead of walking around the ramp by returning to Beach Road I decided to cross it. As soon as I stepped on to the ramp, I discovered it was slick with algae. I slipped and fell, banged my head on the cement and slid into the surf. I tried to get up but the ramp was too slippery and I continued to slip and fall. I rolled around in the surf helplessly for a while until two Thai fishermen hauled me out. After checking my head for blood, I went on my way thoroughly drenched with an aching head, scraped and bloodied knees and feeling greatly embarrassed. I also lost my eye-glasses. As I continued to walk along, I tried to convince myself it was not all my fault.

Today is Loy Krathung, the Thai festival of lights. Loy Krathung along with the Water Festival in April at the start of the monsoon, are the two most significant holiday’s in the country. They are analogous to Easter (the spring planting festival) and Christmas (The festival of lights) in the West.

It is my favorite festival. The Thai women dress up in traditional costumes, all silk with gilded floral headdresses and everyone goes down to the shore and launches small boats (Krathungs) made from flowers and containing candles and incense into the waters in and around Thailand.

Tonight, I went to the beach and waded out into the surf to launch my little flower boat. The scene was quite amazing, thousands of other boats had already been launched into the surf. They bobbed up and down lighting up the bay with their tiny twinkling lights. While up above additional thousands of large rice paper cylinders with a small flame in the bottom of each launched from the sand slowly and majestically floated up into the sky, filling it with a mirror image of the drifting lights on the sea below.

The following morning those krathungs that had not drifted out to sea or been picked up by the children swimming among them last night, washed up on to the sand. The umbrella and beach chair concessionaires were busy raking up the residue, sometimes assisted by the children of the tourists. Every now and then groups of tourists would gather up some mostly intact Krathungs and make figures ( hearts and circles) with them on the sand.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. More from the Princess Bride:

Prince Humperdinck: “Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

– Numbers 31.17,18.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“. . . the governments of the people are better than those of princes.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first Ten Books of Titus Livius. Book I, Chapter LVIII
“Ciao…

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. March 22, 2010

It has been and interesting last few days, at least for me it has. On Saturday my sore throat and coughing had gotten so bad that I had to seek medical assistance. So, I went of the doctor who prescribed antibiotics, anti-congestion medicine and some little red pills to suppress my cough reflex. The package seems to be working. It cost me $9 for the doctor visit and $33 for the medicines (That’s the Farang [white people] uninsured costs); not as good as Medicare, but not too bad either.They also call me to ask how I’m doing and if I am taking my medicine.

Everyone must know by now my feelings about the American fundamentalist missionaries inhabiting the neighborhood. Of course it was destined that Hayden would make friends with the son of a missionary couple. They (the parents) have become as close to friends as I have here. I comfort myself with the delusion that they are the proletariat of the missionary class. Those that labor in the fields of the lord so to speak.

He, (I will not give their names to protect them from the risk of an Auto-da-fe) and she are employed by the Southern Baptist Convention and come from the US South. Her father is an ex-hippy guitarist now survivalist who retreated into the mountains around Eugene Oregon (where else) after having spent his best years in good old SF during the 60’s fathering an impressive number of children including our missionary.

He is assigned to brave the murky Muslim-Hindu waters of Bangladesh teaching modern emergency medical care to the inhabitants of the remote villages and picking up the odd soul here and there to add among the elect.

We try to avoid theology and instead meet in the “gosh ain’t it awful” field of human communication with our mutual antipathy for hierarchy.

It seems there is a developing rift between the “Mythologists” as he calls the workers in the field and the administrators and seminarians. The Mythologists are pleased whenever they locate someone who recognizes a similarity between their tradition and the so-called “Peace” message of the New Testament. The “Seminarians” appear to be only interested in the number of baptisms for that quarter. The wife added “and we don’t agree in buying baptisms either.” I immediately could see where they were out of the mainstream of American theological thought and needed the protection of anonymity.

He then told me that one of his students went back to research the Vedas and found passages that indicated that the supreme deity or Poo-bah (A Hindu word) indicated that he would send someone to bring peace to the land. I agreed that was a terrific insight and suggested that we create a new religion where we jettison the Old Testament and its dyspeptic homicidal god and replace it with the Vedas and the New Testaments as the revealed books. My suggestion was ignored.

He did come up with one item if information that I appreciated. I had gone off on my rant about the evils of hierarchical organizations, whether public or private, that reward those in management who produce little of value to the organization when compared to the laborer (white-collar or blue) and suggested management positions should only go to those willing to take a pay cut. He pointed out that his organization pays everyone at the same rate, increasing it only based on seniority. “How un-American, socialist, and unchristian” I thought.

My missionary friend told the story that he had asked some Bangladeshis how it was that Muslim would kill Muslim as they did during the revolt of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
They explained that the Pakistani soldiers were told they were killing Hindus and therefore they had no problem. However when the soldiers lifted the tunics or whatever of the dead they found they were circumcised. They then realized that the people they had killed were not Hindu but were either Jew or Muslim men (women did not matter) and while it was all right to kill them if they were Jews it was definitely a no-no if they were Muslims. In either event, they understood that they had been lied to by their leaders and refused to fight anymore. And that is how Bangladesh became the independent, economic and social basket case it is today.

Anyway all this kumbya was ruined when he mentioned that since it was Sunday he had to get to a church service. To my annoyance he invited me to come along. He said it would be a unique and unusual service in that they would sing a few songs, then read a few verses from scripture and discuss how they apply to their lives. There would be no minister but the most knowledgeable there would help the individuals in their self-analysis. I told him It sounded a lot like Hill-el developed 2000 years ago when he and his followers created Rabbinic Judaism. His smile turned into a grimace. “Maybe next time” he said, picked up his guitar and piled his family into their SUV and went off.

As Hayden and I walked home, I wondered why the mere mention Judaism would produce that sort of reaction. After all, unlike the other people of the book, Christians and Muslims, who run around the world-beating each on the on the head and demanding join each other’s men’s club (and men’s clubs they are) or they will kill you, Jews don’t even want you to join their club and certainly do not want to join ours.

When I got home and took my nap and had a biblical dream that I will not relate here for fear of offending everyone. However if anyone would like to hear my revelatory dreams drop me a line. They are titled “Successful camel breeder and brewer forms new mens club and almost kills son in process” and “Oh my God” squeal the women of Jerusalem as Jesus of Nazareth tips the scales on Paul of Tarsus”. Needless to say I woke up in a cold sweat.

That night I invited my missionary friends, Jerry the New Zealander and his wife Choti who is the principal of the school, two New Zealand taxi drivers and their girlfriends who were visiting Jerry, Mac’s father, whose name is Oo by the way and the 4 and 5-year-old children of the various guests. We ate at the outdoor street end restaurant run by the shriveled up lady that I mentioned in a previous post. The total meal for everyone cost me $30 half of which was for the beer and wine.

The mysterious building pictured in my previous post is a crematorium. It was in use today as I passed. It looked like a Thai biker gang was sending off one of its members into the joy of re-incarnation. The superstitions of the Thai’s fear of ghosts depressed the prices of the land near the crematorium enabling Choti, the principal of the school to get the land on which it is built, at a low price.

Today’s photos are of the School and the school yard.


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FROM MY DIARY LEADING UP TO POST:

FRIDAY MARCH 19 2010 3PM

Hot again. Lying on bed sweating. Rain brought a morning’s respite from the air pollution but my throat is feeling its return this afternoon. No exercise, just lying in bed. Typing at times, sleeping mostly.

SUNDAY MARCH 21 2010, 9:30 PM

Interesting few days. Went to Hospital yesterday for relief of my sore throat and coughing. Dr cost about $9 and 6 day antibiotics, decongestant/expectorant and cough suppressant $30.

Hiromi deposited $2766 Tax refund into my account. I removed about 20,000 baht. Deposited 12,000 into Thai account (What Happened to the remaining 8,000?).

Last night Hayden told me some interesting things that I relayed to Nikki. See email.

Spent morning with Micah’s parents. Southern Baptist Convention Missionaries. Husband spends most of his time in Bangladesh teaching emergency first aid and trying to convert muslims. Wife daughter of hippie father. Conversation mentioned a Bengali telling H. Veda seemed to suggest need for a JC. I suggested that maybe that is a good reason to throw out the old testament.

H. invited me to attend a what he termed an unusual Sunday service in a house to discuss bible passages and their personal meaning. I mentioned that it sounded a lot like a traditional Jewish service.

When I got home and took my nap I dreamed of something like this:

I saw old Abraham in his tent drunk on fermented camel’s milk surrounded by his sons. Outside the tent his wives, concubines and slaves tended the cook fire and drew lots to see who would sleep with the smelly old bastard that night.

Old Abe was raving about the rejection of his application to join the Babylon Men’s Camel Dung Rolling Club. That’s when he realized the truth. “O my God I must be Jewish”.

“Why would I want to join their damned club anyway” he shouted “they could not be very exclusive if they would allow someone like me living in a tent join”. And with that antisemitism and jewish humor were born.

“I will form my own club and will not let anyone join. I will show them real exclusivity”.

Isaac, a pimply faced overweight adolescent, feared this could lead to the end of his sneaking out of the tent at night after the old man passed out  for some action with the sweet-smelling Babylonian girls leaving him only with the camel herding women his dad preferred, protested. “We can’t do that we don’t have a membership card or anything.”

Abe stared at Isaac who he dislike and surmised was probably gay. He thought “maybe I should kill him now before he gets a chance to breed”.

“We will make our own membership cards”. “Clay tablets” Abe announced.

Everyone groaned. “No you’re right, too heavy. It will break the line of our tunics. Tattoos” he exclaimed “No, everyone’s got tattoos nowadays”. “I’ve got it” he exclaimed “We’ll cut off the ends of our dicks. Nobody will have membership card like that”.

“You got to be kidding” cried Isaac.

With that Abe grabbed his knife jumped over the fire grabbed Isaac by the shirt and said “I’ve had enough of you, you  little shit, prepare to die.”

In good biblical tradition Isaac thought quickly and lied. ” Wait” he said “I see the hand of God what’s his name staying your hand from killing your son because he and all your sons submit to the will of what’s his name”.

With that Abe relented killing Isaac. Instead he cut off the end of every male present’s dick. At the moment of initiation each one screamed “Yowee that hurts”.

When it was all over Abe rested. He looked at all his sons writhing in agony on the floor of the tent and said, “You know, I like that. Up to now whenever the guys hung out talking about their gods it was always Ishtar this and Baal that. They would all laugh when I mentioned the god whose name could not be uttered. From now on in recognition of this event whenever we utter we shall utter that the name of our all-powerful creator, “Yowee”. What do you think?”

In my dream I wondered how they were able to identify one another as member of the men’s club. Groping under each others tunic was a little more obvious than a Masonic handshake Maybe they originally had their meetings in the health club shower.

Anyway my dream fast forwarded to 33 AD (although they did not know it at the time, thinking it was 3000 years or something since god rested) and the throng (We no longer throng today, we crowd, what a loss) was pressing forward to enter the temple on the sabbath, the day people thronged to the temple, a building that replaced the health club showers .

The guard at the gate of the temple in Jerusalem stopped one of the throng who happened to be Jesus. “Hey you. Only Jews allowed to enter the temple. You Jewish. You don’t look Jewish with that fruity double-pointed red beard”.

“My good man”, said Jesus (he was a Rhodes Scholar and had studied in England) “of course I’m Jewish, I speak Hebrew as though I never learned Aramaic”.

“Anyone can learn Hebrew” responded the guard. “Whip it out and put in on the table.”

Now Jesus had no problem with whipping it out given all the time he spent with the ladies and all that lying of the head on the breast and that sort of thing and he was quite proud of his membership card. So he whipped it out and everyone getting a look at it exclaimed “Oh my God”.

“That’s right” said Jesus, “Now all of you get out of my fucking temple”.

Now where Jesus was quite proud in his membership in Judaism, Paul was less so. Where they all marveled at Jesus Membership ,they all laughed when Paul whipped his out. So Paul went to the Apostles (Jesus’ biker buddies) gathered in Jerusalem (Apostles “gather” they do not “throng or “crowd”)and said to them “This membership card thing isn’t working. It’s too hard to get anyone to join and tithe. Since we’re the new guys (and guys we are) we need a new card. Besides aren’t you all a little tired of having to show your card every time before you give a sermon”

“Good thought Paul” said Peter who although not afflicted by the results of being kicked by a horse on the way to Damascus as was Paul, was a shy man. What should the new membership card be?”

“Faith shining through their eyes” said Paul.

“How would anyone know” questioned Peter.

“We will know. Besides if the light shines through everyone’s eyes what difference would it make”.

And the rest is History. And I awoke

11PM

Earlier today I went to the Bank withdrew 30,000 baht from BOW acct. Deposited 20,000 in BKKB pers. acct. Kept 10,000.

Hosted dinner party with missionaries, Choti and Jerry two NZ tourists and Thai girlfriends, Mac’s father and assorted children 950 baht. About $3 each including wine and beer.

____________________________________________
COMMENTS TO POST:

Joe to Nikki:

1. attached is an update of the Chiang Mai expense account. As you can see, on the 23rd paid 2000 baht to Maid at Natalie’s direction for Food and 500 for the tree murder. As usual Natalie is double counting. Anyway, I paid 1000 baht for this weeks food from my personal account to make up for some of this.

Nevertheless it looks like we will be slightly over budget for food and for school but on budget for everything else. We still need to pay the Maid her salary. When I receive your share I will do so.

2. Natalie called and told me she will be taking Hayden out of school on April 1 and bringing him to Switzerland to stay with you while you attend your course. If this is so, please let me know the particulars. I assume she intends to ask Choiti to apply a portion of the summer school fees that we paid, to Mac’s tuition. I thinkt hat is unfair to Choti.
Anyway, will Hayden be coming back to Chiang Mai? I am sure she will take him to the US for school after she leaves Switzerland.

She asked me if I intended to go to Switzerland. I would love to, but I do not see how I can afford it.

More from Joe to Nikki:

Natalie called this morning. She wanted me to buy Hayden a ticket to travel to BKK with Mac and Oo on Friday. She said she would like to see Hayden in BKK because she is unable to travel to CM this weekend. I do not know how long he is to stay in BKK and if he will return to CM before departing for Switzerland.

Hayden told N. that he did not want to go to BKK without Pookie.

I will use the time to go to the seashore myself to find some air I can breathe.

Let me know what is going on, if you know.

Nikki’s response:

I don’t have a clue what she is planning to do of course something crazy and irrational as usual
My idea is coming to CM before i start my course for few days and let the baby stay there as long as possible till is finished the summer school
Before they will come to europe i need to settle myself in Zurich see how is the hotel and how is my schedule, i will move there on the 7th of april so is no rush to get the kids back to bkk right away
On the other end if i cannot visit CM then will organize something else.

Joe to Nikki again:

Ok, latest news.

Haden is going to BKK on Friday. I will go also. He will stay with N. I will go to the beach somewhere. I will take him back with me to CM on Tuesday March 30. I assume you will come to CM about then and make arrangements for them to visit you in Zurich. I guess all is well.
let me see what is going on in her brain then call u back

Nikki’s response:

I think the kids are going to the beach somewhere for few days then she want to go to italy before i move to zurich because her tahi friends are coming for a convention in venice sometime in april after that i will pick them up to stay with me in swiss for the month i guess
Big question what happen next?
Like i said i want hayden in CM for school and i will be resolute about that no matter what she want to do so i think u have to organize ur life around those events
update next.

Joe again:

Since we spoke, I talked with Natalie. I asked her if Hayden was going to return with me to Chiang Mai on Tuesday or if he was going with her to Italy at that time. She said that she intended to leave for Italy at the end of the month. I explained that Tuesday was the end of the month. She said she still needed to make all the arrangements. I asked her when she planned to return. She said not for at least two months. She had to go to Italy and then to the United States. She could not be sure how long it would be.

I said that since Hayden was not coming back to Chiang Mai on Tuesday there was no reason for me to come to BKK. Typically, she said that she wanted me to take him to the beach for a few days so that she can have peace to get some things done before she left.

Nikki’s response:

For that matter whatever is going to happen is nothing i can do it to force her to keep the kid in CM after all she is her legal mother.
Unless u pull up the wild card we can’t do much to avoid the worst what i am intended to do is at least bring hayden back sometime in CM after the summer break either myself or with her and i will try hard to do this cause i want him finish the school there but this will only postpone the problem cause the next year is going to be the same trouble.
also he has to change the school next year that means more money more distance and so on. I don’t care how much will cost me but i want him to stay in CM till at least is 7\8 years
I want to ask her a question what is the need to go to US?
can u answer me that too?
GOD protect that innocent baby
niki

.i still have energy and strenght to figth to prevent the worst possible scenario

Joe again:

He should stay in school until the end of April. At that time I can bring him to Zurich for three weeks and return with him to CM in time for the new semester. Why don’t you ask her not to bring him with her right now, but have me bring him in a few weeks so that I will be able to get him back in time to start the school semester? I will ask her the same thing tomorrow.

It will do you no good to ask her why she has to go to the US, she will only come up with another story. I feel very bad for Hayden. It is not a question of who ends up with him. but how does he end up. I am afraid that innocent little boy will be distroyed by her. If he does not start school at the same time as the other students, he will never catch up. If he is forced into a new school, whatever benifits these past few months have had on him will be lost. The idea of taking him away now in the middle of the summer semester because it serves your schedule as well as hers does not help Hayden one bit.

I do not think you will be able to bring him back after the summer break in time for the new semester since your training program will not be completed. If you were able to bring him back after the new semester starts and he has to catch up to the other students while living with a nanny, what good will it all do him.

Outside of that, I do not know what to suggest to you.

Nikki again:

Just to clarify and update:
1) she is coming in italy for a week by herself with this madame on 1 or 2 of april
2) ill try to visit on 31st of march for few days reaching u guys in pattaya
( Suggest u to take mac and father too so u can have a break sometimes i went there with hayden last year and is gonna be hard to take care of him 24 hrs believe me)
3)she and hayden will visit me in Zurich on the middle of the month.
4)they will return to bkk before hayden starts the school for the next semester
How much of that is going to happen???????

And Nikki again:

I JUST GOT MY APRIL SCHEDULE I AM BUSY FOR THE ALL MONTH NO HOLYDAYS NO DAYS OFF SO I WAIT HAYDEN HERE IN SWITZERLAND HOPEFULLY SOON.
Rearrange ur trip if u want since i am not coming this time and i think is better for him not to loose too much schooldays
call me if u need suggestions or advices

Joe responds:

OK. I will take him to BKK on Friday, go to the beach and return to CM on Tuesday. I will wait for Nat to tell me when she is going to Switzerland.

I will bear the costs of the beach vacation. Nat said you agreed to pay Hayden’s air fatres. We also need to pay Maid first week in April. Suggest you deposit directly into the joint account at your bank in Italy.

*****************************

From Gates:

Shit, I need to cut back on drinking, whoring around or slumming just to find time for these epistles you’re sending now (speaking of religion and all)! Isn’t there a Gilbert’s outline or something available?

Jim made a proposal for going forward with the L.A. folk, a breakdown of the current fees, credit for what they paid, etc. We should hear something soon since they have their case is coming up in a couple of weeks.

P.S. Stay away from those religious types, something might rub off on you!

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. February 14, 2010

Yesterday, I arrived at KL airport at about noon. The plane parked pretty far from passport control. That was to be expected since I flew on Air Asia a local budget airline. No more flying first class across the Atlantic of Pacific oceans and staying at hotels like the Hassler or the Oriental and the like. It’s strictly budget airlines and budget hotels (barely one step up from hostels) for me now.

It is especially difficult for me this month as it is often at this time of the month. I am waiting for my Social Security check that the government sends with annoyingly bureaucratic regularity every third Wednesday of the month. You would think they would now and then send it a bit early. But that’s government for you. They should have privatized Social Security a long time ago then my SS account could have had as much in it as my 401K, nothing. But I shouldn’t assume that just one screw up by the country’s banking elite indicates that it is a recurring problem, although its been happening with annoying regularity for 400 years now.

Take this morning for instance while I was waiting for my ride to the airport I noticed that it was quite chilly. Chilly in Thailand!! Another nail in the coffin of global warming. I was happy to see the sun rise however, having been scared witless by the Colbert Report that the darkness last night proved that the sun went out and we were sure to be all dead this morning. Dammit I promised not to do this anymore.

Anyway after a surprisingly long walk from the plane to passport control I was pleased that the passport control and customs process proved to be as efficient as I found anywhere. I paid $2.50 (the local currency is called Ringgit) for transportation from the airport into the city, expecting at that price to board a decrepit overcrowded shuttle bus for the 60 K ride into downtown KL. Instead, I boarded one of the most luxurious buses I have ever ridden

We arrived at the central bus station where I left the bus and found that public rail transportation was readily available. I took it to within a block of my seedy hotel. Along the way I was surprised that unlike Bangkok where they proliferate, there were no Arabs to be seen and that struck me as strange. Why did they go to Thailand a country that is at best ambivalent about Muslims and not to Malaysia a Muslim country? On the other hand why did we go into Iraq.. Oh almost did it again.

More about Malaysia later or tomorrow or never, I have just received bad news. Not only did I leave a day early unnecessarily but I just found out that the Thai Embassy is closed tomorrow because of Chinese New Year. The good news is that my return trip ticket is cheaper. The bad news is that I will have to spend more money on shelter and food and things like that. The good news is that my SS check should be deposited by the time I fly out. The bad news is that I feel like a god dammed idiot. Oh oh did I just say something that might get me in trouble here. Jesus Christ I hope not. Now I’ve done it. I think I will go hide under the bed.

No pictures of KL yet, thank whoever, but not to forgo the opportunity I have attached a photo of the swimming pool of the high school in World Club Land subdivision back in Chiang Mai that we are allowed to use after 3PM. That is Hayden in the foreground doing something strange to his nose.

——————————————-
FROM MY JOURNAL

Saturday, February 13, 2010 9 AM

Sitting on Air Asia flight AK 763 from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur, seat 28 D. Hectic morning. Got up (Hayden insistence) at 6Am. Got ready and ate breakfast. of toast and coffee. Waited for Jerry. Picked up at 8AM. Told him that Hayden was going to BKK this morning and was to meet N.’s cousins at 10 AM for trip. J said no can do would have to bring Hayden back to airport after dropping Leo and mother off at school.

While going to gate N. called. Said I told you H’s flight at 10:10 AM, not meeting, he will miss flight, call Jerry, you screwed up, hung up. Tried to call Principal c/n get through. N. called said “ you almost caused him to miss his flight”. Called N. asked “Did that mean you contacted them”. Answered “Yes, I called the school”.

Last night, N. called, spoke with H. H cried “why can’t I go with Pookie. One way or another I will be on that flight”. H. went to bed in his room with Maid sleeping on floor. Series of phone calls. N. made arrangements for H. to fly with cousins to BKK tomorrow morning. Said H. to meet cousins at 10:10AM at One to Go counter.

Am on flight to KL now. Things not done: did not change baht to ringgits or whatever they’re called: did not check ATM to see if I have funds or if TG made deposit; do not know where Thai embassy located in KL; have no return ticket; unsure of transportation from AP into KL; more???

10 PM

Arrived at KL airport at about noon. The plane parked pretty far from passport control. That was to be expected since I flew on Air Asia a budget airline.

Anyway after a surprisingly long walk from the plane to passport control I was pleased that the passport control and customs process proved to be as efficient as I found anywhere. For $2.50, I boarded one of the most luxurious buses I have ever ridden for the 60 K ride into downtown KL. During my ride as I looked out my window at the at the built environment of the area, I found it to be one of the more pleasing and organized that I had ever seen. Not at all like the disorganized and dirty environment one finds in Bangkok and most cities. The road from the airport is new and efficient and lined with palm plantations and forests broken about every kilometer or so with a Mosque or an interestingly designed commercial building.

About one third of the way in they were construction a new town that looked fairly well planned to me. After about another third there was a second older new town, again that looked well organized and lacking dirtiness that Americans like me find so unaesthetic. Approaching the outskirts of KL, the city and its skyline was as dramatic and impressive as is San Francisco’s as you approach it from the Bay Bridge or New York for New Jersey. On the left of the skyline rises a sail like building similar to a hotel building in Dubai that for a while was billed as the most expensive hotel in the world. In the middle stands something that looks like Seattle’s Space Needle and on the right soar the twin towers, that used to be the tallest buildings in the world until a taller one was recently built and quickly abandoned also in Dubai. Looking at the twin towers It struck me how we could get back at them for the destruction of our twin twin towers (I know they’re Malaysians and not Saudi Arabians, but they are Muslims and aren’t they all the same). We would just open an abortion clinic in one of the Towers and free our home grown terrorists to get the job done. I know I know, I promised not to do it. I am incorrigible.

We arrived at the central bus station where I left the bus and found that public rail transportation was readily available. I took it to within a block of my seedy hotel. Along the way I was surprised that unlike Bangkok where they are as thick as flies on something gross, there were no Arabs and that struck me as strange. Why did they go to Thailand a country that is at best ambivalent about Muslims and not to Malaysia a Muslim country. On the other hand why did we go into Iraq.. Oh Oh almost did it again.

Again my American aesthetic was pleased by orderliness and absence of disrepair I found in the city. Actually the US built environment is probably one of the most disorganize and derelict built environments in the world. I have travelled by car across the country about 15 times and except for the actions of our government to preserve some of our scenic wonders, I found it in most part to be unrelieved dreck. So where did I and most Americans I know get this affection for the orderly and clean environment (and by clean I mean the appearance of cleanliness). I think that aesthetic that allows us to turn up our collective noses at the chaotic and dirty cities like Bangkok, Newark and Liverpool, comes from the habitations of our upper middle class. Places like in the Northeast like Bronxville as I remember it growing up, or Greenwich of current notoriety located in the middle of the Northeast forest and generally hidden from view. Did you know the Northeastern forest of today are as extensive as they were at the time of first contact? Go figure. It is a climax forest however.

Climax, I love that word. It describes not only what you think it does but you also have climax in novels, and civilizations and a whole host of things. Do you know what it means? It means the end is coming very soon.

In the mid Atlantic, Bethesda as I recall and the Williamsburg area where Ann lives and where I found joy with her and Al are those types of places. In Florida it is hard to find anywhere, I guess some of the Islands in Byscane Bay where we can gaze for our boats and the clean and orderly communities of the very rich. In Northern California we have places like Ross and Woodside and in Southern California we have Aliso Vallejo of which several of us are very familiar and Cappacola a mispronunciation that Southern Italian immigrants where I grew up mispronounce a Gabbagall, a tasty pressed meat that is my bit of humor on the pronunciation of Cota de Caza of Teamster Union fame.

This all led me to think about the putrid canals that criss-cross my subdivision in Chiang Mai choked with Hyacinth and water lilies. Unlike a Disney cartoon with the frog calmly sitting of the pad amid the beauty of the pond, some of these plants are brown and dying or dead while others are in various stages of flowering. It is not a climax environment. That’s what nature is about, the chaos of living and dyeing not the orderly beauty of my garden which is like all well tended gardens in a climax state. Turn your back for a moment and it returns to chaos.

How the hell did I get here? I was in Malaysia. Jesus Christ!

Oh shit I’ve done it now. They will be knocking on my door soon. I think I’ll hide under the bed. See you later.

COMMENTS TO POST:

From Irwin:

cuz – depression came early this morning. so i went for my walk. an unexpected change in weather arrived rapidly, from low 50’s yesterday to 79 today and i am expecting an earthquake as i firmly believe that when the temperature changes this much this fast that the ground will move and swallow us all up. further down the street two girls had set up what at first i thought from a distance was a lemonade stand however upon getting closer and not seeing any cooler containing a liquid i decided that maybe they were taking orders for girls scout cookies. i took no photo as we three were the only ones on the street at this early hour and i didn’t want to scare them being not far from the police station with its pervert squad. next i passed a woman with a grey headscarf that went down below her waist. she said, “good morning” and smiled. i suspect she was a practicing muslim but i can’t tell as they all look alike to me. if i pass her again i will say, “salaam alaikem” and see what happens. needless to say i did not take a photo as the grey outfit she was wearing was bulging around the waist and it’s possible she was a suicide bomber so i decided to play it safe. the farther i walked the warmer it got but i was all in one piece.

when i am depressed (when am i not? oh yes. when i hear from you!) i get sleepy so i sat down on a park bench and dozed off for i don’t know how long. i awoke to find a small dog tugging at my right pantleg. i thought maybe i was hallucinating or in a roman polanski movie but a lady walked up and grabbed the dog. i did not complain about the little tear marks in my pantleg as i figure i’m lucky my skin was not pierced and why let a good thing turn ugly in green valley, where ms. fountain valley has a wart on her nose.

the only photo i took this morning was of a wild cherry tomato plant growing in someone’s side yard facing the sidewalk. the photo appears below your previous message or you will have to view this vegetative miracle as an “attachment” for reasons known only to my email program which seems to be malfunctioning when it comes to adding pictures to my text. how the plant got there i don’t know. propagation is a funny thing. anyway i felt some strong symbolistic connection between the cherry tomato plant and myself (birdshit?) however any analytical conclusions will have to await the next time i see it.

tell us more about kl. your adventures to date are schematic to say the least. please provide more full-blown descriptions of important things like architecture, food and sex, not necessarily in that order. as to why there are muslims in thailand as opposed to kl, a muslim country, just look around and you’ll see why.

yesterday i decided to have some adventure and left the house. first i drove to a kaiser permanente facility in the city of irvine where man and nature both prosper and perhaps your former client lennar, someday. (about twenty minutes away). the facility was closed. its where my primarily care physician moved to and i have bought him a present which i wrapped myself and intended to deliver to the receptionist. why the present? i figured it might get me some attention and then i could complain without having to have an appointment. from there i went to wholesomechoice market which i enjoy as it has a great selection of most reasonably priced fresh quality produce as well food from all over the world including kosher meat (packaged) and hallal meat(unpackaged). most of the customers appear to be of persian extraction and there are always two or three drop-dead gorgeous women shoppers there at almost any time of the day. i bought a whole smoked whitefish, a can of spicy olives from the westbank, two sweet lemons, roma tomatoes, a red onion, 1/2 dz persian cucumbers, hummas, a bottle of grapeseed oil, a bottle of pomegranate molasses, and fresh out of the oven sarnak (sp?) which is a flat bread made out of whole wheat flower and about two and one half feet long wrapped in brown butcher paper. i almost bought some thai chili peppers but they were $3.29 a pound and when i asked a lady patron how to prepare them she said stir-fry and since i wasn’t cooking i opted out of that purchase – besides my intestines are just about in working order and i think that pepto bismo rather than thai peppers might be more kindly received. from there i went to the post office where i bought some postage stamps and mailed the package to the doctor. then i went to stater bros market and picked up some stuff for tomorrow when it is that my grandchildren are coming to spend the day’ i have no plans for them but there is always cartoons on tv except the girl is now almost eight and insists on watching all 1312 episodes of hannah montana.

i think colbert is right about the sun…just picked the wrong evening.

More from Irwin:

don’t know if you ever heard of kiva but its something i have been paying attention to for some time. i have two loans out (see below). kindly don’t tell my last wife; she wouldn’t understand considering i am always telling her i have no money. when i say “money” i mean extra thousands, not twenty-five dollars.

i thought this might interest you if you feel like doing something for other people who want to be entrepeneurs and are not just looking for a handout.

Maurice Obonyo Omanya in Kenya (Activity: Tailoring)
You Loaned: $25.00
Newly Repaid: $4.17
Total Repaid So Far: $8.34 (33.36% of your loan)
Repayment Status: Paying back on time
View loan profile at:
http://www.kiva.org/lend/150002?_te=ru
——————————————————————————-
Daribazar Humbaan in Mongolia (Activity: Clothing Sales)
You Loaned: $25.00
Newly Repaid: $1.39
Total Repaid So Far: $1.39 (5.56% of your loan)
Repayment Status: Paying back on time
View loan profile at:
http://www.kiva.org/lend/165710?_te=ru

p.s. i guess i could visit mongolia and calim the trip as a tax deduction in terms of looking after an investment.

And even more from Irwin:

New Straits Times
Kuala Lumpur
February 18, 2010
Edition: Main/Lifestyle
Section: Main Section

Earlier today police were scouring the City searching for an American thought to be involved in the recent assassination of a Hamas agent in Dubai. As to what the purported criminal was doing in Malaysia nothing was revealed except for police acknowledgement of the finding of an incomplete passport application at the restaurant “Bon Ton” which is located on the ground floor of the Shopping Center in Julan Sulktan Ismail. The fugitive is a known frequenter of shopping malls.

It is alleged that the American is none other than Joseph Petrillo, former political operative and lobbyist of California, a western State in the USA, who disappeared from the city of San Francisco some weeks ago.

Acquaintances of Petrillo contacted by this newspaper expressed concern about not hearing from him for several days as well as disbelief in his possible involvement in the Dubai incident given his penchant for avoiding physical confrontations and pasta with red sauce. “I’m quite worried about “Cousin Joe” said family friend I R Schatzman , “if something has happened to him I’ll never get back the Dean Martin records I lent him and he also owes me ten bucks!”

Police continued their search this afternoon. Rumors have spread that he may now be in northern Thailand but he has not been yet spotted by Burmese trackers. Anyone with possible information about his location should contact Kuala Lumpur’s new Police Chief Zul Hasnan at any of the Tourist Police Stations 241-5522; 243-5522; 249-6590 .

And even more from Irwin:

well, they (see below) have only one place left to go….world cup! by the way where are you?? are you ill or wandering bahtless in chiang mai?

today i am attending a funeral. it’s for the sister of the only friend i have here who calls me to see how i am and if i want to go out to costco or for breakfast. even tho i knew the woman having seen her maybe fifteen times in her life, if it wasn’t him i wouldn’t venture to the memorial park on such a day – rain is imminent and my body aches, my nose runs, and a swarm of seagulls is circulating over the cul-de-sac; i think that is a sign of a storm coming or then again it could be that marge, the neighbor lady across the street who has outlived two husbands since we have been here, has spread some bread crumbs on the asphalt. i think it’s probably a combination of both given that it’s unlikely the gulls were on the beach seven miles away and suddenly felt that marge had done her beneficent best for the birds (almost an alliteration, not bad for 8:15 am on a sunday morning;but then again maybe the 1/2 xanax is kicking in).

tell me you are alive and that i can count on having two friends in the world. in the meantime i will brush what few teeth i have left (lost three for the radiation), take a shower, dress and prepare to drive up the 405 when all i really want to do is sleep, if i could, permanently.

***************

Correspondence with Nikki:

The line was bad and we were breaking up so let me say something to clear any doubt
i gave her another 5000 bath for the beby needs dentist stayover friend and return ticket
she told me thet her account shows only 1000 bath
lie or true? who knows……
now this is the program get back with the baby and wait till the bills are coming see if this month we can get a clear situation about the budget now that we start the march month and so we finally can see how much is going to her and how much is going to chang mai
she want to handle the school fees telling me that we should not sign anything and her as a thai can get a bargain
I know is hard for u to handle that mess but u should clear once for good how much she need from u and that’s it make a deal and this is gonna be ur budget forever
me i am stucked with a 50000 thb a month even if some of that is going to her personally but what option i have? leaving her to shuttle the baby back or abandon him somewhere?
if u were in my pants what would u do?
is not a problem for me that money but i want to be able to see the baby regularly and provide a good school that’s all i want rigth now
as far as your planning is going make a dateline and come up with a decision to stay or leave.
i suggest u to wait till the end of march to decide anything drastically and see how things are going no need to rush
evrything is temporary with her nothing is sure is a crazy and strange situation and all i do is for the baby’s sake
good luck for ur visa and hope to come there soon to talk about

Categories: January 2010 through March 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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