Posts Tagged With: New Orleans

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

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

Have we seen this movie before?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

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

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

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

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

“Well, maybe the Brethren are publicity shy.”

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I Didn’t Know That:

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

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

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

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

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

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

c. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

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

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

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

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

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

f. The Trolley Test II:

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

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

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

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

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

BONUS QUOTE:

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

Before and after September 11.


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

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. May 5, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: As of 16 February there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.

Alas, most with nothing to say. On the other hand, it can also be said that there are 156 million people out there who have the ego strength and confidence or who live in a world of such terminal fantasy so as to believe that they have something important or interesting to say. Good for them, and good for me, since I am one of them.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

Osama bin Laden has been killed. Many of the same people who believed the War in Iraq was initiated to remove weapons of mass destruction, now claim the reports of Osama’s death are all a part of a grand liberal conspiracy to get Barack Obama reelected.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

Noe Valley, San Francisco, California, USA.

Noe Valley, San Francisco, California, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday was blissfully warm and sunny. In the early afternoon I went into the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco to have coffee with my friend Peter Grenell.

For those of you not familiar with the City of San Francisco, it is a city of distinct neighborhoods. Noe Valley is one of the few that has gentrified gracefully. In the forty or so years that I have observed  the area’s evolution,  escalating home prices forced a few people to move out by. Most happily sold into the rising real estate market and moved to Danville or some place like that. Chain stores, although some exist along its main commercial street, have not overwhelmed the area.

The area began as a working family community of attached wood sided single family Victorian homes and duplexes. In the mid-sixties, the working class families, as was fashionable at the time, moved to the suburbs in a mistaken belief they would finding a better life and schools there. Artists seeking lower cost accommodations moved in, followed almost immediately by the hippies. The neighborhood transformed into a hip, funky, artsy scene.

They were in turn followed in the early seventies by young marrieds, often civil service employees, looking for a hip locale and attracted by the relatively inexpensive property prices at the time.

After a brief flirtation with the City’s lesbian community that was searching for a Castro District they could call their own, the dot-com inundation broke upon the neighborhood as the new young millionaires saw the area as fitting their ideal lifestyle, hip and expensive. Fortunately for the neighborhood that tide rapidly crested and the area retained its now somewhat upscale but still mixed appearance and atmosphere.

Some working class families still live there alongside rapidly aging artists and hippies, a few pioneer lesbian couples and the remnants of the now significantly less wealthy dot comers. The young bureaucrats, most of whom have made it into the upper reaches of the bureaucracy remain usually in same houses they purchased 30 years ago.

For about a decade I lived there too, in a 100-year-old Italianate Victorian two unit building. Before I purchased it, the building had served as a well-known crash pad for artists and hippies who had left the East coast in search of California dreaming .

Some of the old shops persist, like Haystack Pizza and Tuggy’s Hardware and Shu Fat’s grocery but others like Herbs Cafe are gone.

I met Peter, a man of about my age, at a coffee shop that had occupied the same spot for many years but was now called Bernie’s’ Cafe. It was owned by a woman named Bernie who had worked there during its previous incarnation and eventually purchased it.

Peter and I sat in the sun on benches in front of the shop, drank our coffee, stared at the parade of neighborhood people strolling by (a number of whom I recognized) and reflected about how lucky it was being old as we were to sit in the sun like we were and not be anxious that there was something we needed to do.

After a few hours, we walked up 24th St. ( the main commercial street) about a block to a bar called Bliss something or other to hear some live jazz.

Most Sundays, Larry Voukovitch, a mainstay of the SF jazz scene for as long as I can remember, performs there. A colleague of mine, Kerry Shapiro, was Larry’s manager when Kerry wasn’t otherwise lawyering.

Larry was appearing that day with his geriatric Croatian quartet. I really do not know it they were Croatian (although they clearly were geriatric and a quartet), but the base player, from whom Peter is receiving lessons in the instrument, was originally from that part of the world. On sax was Peter Yellin another fairly well-known and aging jazz musician.

There were also about 12 to 15 other people about my age there to listen to them. Additionally, two young japanese women from Tokyo in their early 20’s sat there attentively. One was a teacher (music I assume) and the other an aspiring jazz singer here to learn at the feet of the masters. (Peter and I deduced the aged and balding base player and the willowy japanese jazz singer were an item. We guessed this after observing them walking hand in hand align 24th St. Aren’t we the little gossips now.)

Thank God or the vagaries of chance, that there exists in this world a nation like Japan full of obsessive compulsive personalities willing to travel the world to obsessively immerse themselves the dying western musical performing arts. Should the dark ages descend as some predict, I believe the Japanese will assume the role of medieval monks and keep alive the remnants of western musical culture.

As I listened to them play, I was reminded of New York in the late fifties and sixties when the cool sophisticated New York jazz sounds of musicians like Oscar Peterson could be heard in dives in Greenwich Village and elegant nightclubs like the Embers just off Times Square.( Of course then we, the audience, were usually drunk and stoned. I, however, now listened to Larry and the Gang on nothing stronger than lemonade.)

During that era the centers of music and jazz in the US were New York, Chicago, New Orléans, St Louis and San Francisco, until they were driven out by the sounds of rock and rhythm and blues coming primarily out of Memphis and Detroit.

During the bands second set the Japanese singer (named Miyomi) got up and sang a pretty good version of Gershwin’s Summertime.

Letter, as the sun set behind Twin Peaks and the temperature cooled, I walked the mile or two back to where I was staying. In San Francisco the sun does not simply set, after it passes behind the peak, the City east of the mountain lies in shadow while the sky remains brightly late afternoon for an hour or so.

Even when one is experiencing great sadness life can be wonderful. Don’t miss it.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 20

Ray was dressed today in comfortable flats, dark unfashionable culottes from which protruded his hairy muscular calfs, a bolero jacket over a white dress shirt and regimental striped tie. He had a large loop earring dangling from his left ear and his head was wrapped in a variegated red bandana from which his multicolored hair peeked out.

He sat down in one of the chairs in front of Vince’s desk after setting the hand-truck containing the file boxes along the wall next to the door and said, “That lady, Mrs Coign, is a piece of work”.

“How so?”

“Well, at first I did not think she would let me in.”

“I think I could guess why. Stephanie’s led a sheltered life,” Vince said. “Were you dressed like that?”

“Yeah, I didn’t have time to go home and change into my office outfit. Anyway when she did open the door she had a large glass in her hand filled, I guess, with booze. She looked ripped.”

“So what happened next?”

“She took me back through the house to the little room in the back, took a big swallow from the glass, pointed and said, ‘It’s all in there.'”

“I started going through the files and she stood there for a while watching me until she finished whatever was in the glass, and then asked ‘would you like something to drink?”’

“‘Water would be fine’ I said and went back to work. She disappeared for a while and when she returned she had my water and had refilled her glass. She then started talking almost non stop, asking me about what is was like working at the firm, what you were like, How awful it had been finding Mr. Coign dead. I felt like she was hitting on me.”

I guess that startled you,” interjected Vince?

“No, not at all, I’m AC/DC all the way.” He smiled at Vince as he said that.

Vince’s smile faded. “Go on, did she say anything else?.”

Ray’s smile broadened, “She then began going on about her husband and the firm. What a prick he was and how no one really knows what was really going on at the firm.”

Go on,” encouraged Vince, now intrigued.

“There was not much more. I had finished packing everything upend as I wheeled the files out to the door she said, ‘Have Vince call me when you get back to the office. There is a lot of things he should know. A lot of things I can tell him.'”

Anything else?”

“Nope”

“OK thanks. By the way you should be getting a call from a private investigator named Al Pischotti. I would like you to coördinate with him on the Isabella Yeung research.”

“Cool” and with that he got up and sauntered out of the office, leaving Vince staring at the door as it closed behind him. (to be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Today’s Chart:

The end of the road for white males?

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

“Corporations were originally created to carry out specific goals of the state. Now the state appears to exist only to carry out the specific goals of the corporations.”

c. What’s wrong with economics today?

Bankers do not believe the neoclassical economists’ baloney about the discipline of the free market, but they sure want you to.

“Lots of bankers knew that things were in trouble, and they went on — they did it anyway…Some of them did it because they could bet against it. Some of them did it because they could make fees by helping clients who were betting against it. And some of them did it just to keep the machine doing it and make huge bonuses.”
ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisenger on the 2008 financial collapse.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

If anyone in sickness has undergone surgery at the hands of physicians or has been castrated by barbarians, let him remain among the clergy. But if anyone in good health has castrated himself, if he is enrolled among the clergy he should be suspended, and in future no such man should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this refers to those who are responsible for the condition and presume to castrate themselves, so too if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians or by their masters, but have been found worthy, the canon admits such men to the clergy.”
Council of Nicaea 325, canon 1.

This quote demonstrates the evolutionary ability of religion and theology to change with the times. Under the Old Testament if one was “wounded in the stones,” one could not attend temple. Under the “New Covenant,” even if you were castrated by barbarians you could still be a priest. If it was so important for one to be able to do it, why does the Catholic Church and others make such a to do in favor of not doing it? Now that I think about it why do they put priests in dresses?

Unfortunately, neither the New or Old Testaments nor the Koran appeared to prohibit one from engaging in their respective ministries if they were pederasts. I conclude from this that God really wants men (especially his ministers) to be able to do it, but was less concerned with whether they did it or not or with whom they did it to.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: