Posts Tagged With: New York City

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Papa Joe 0001 (October 15, 2013)

TODAY FROM THAILAND AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND NEW YORK:

TRAVELOGUE THREE: NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

At the bus station in Roslyn Virginia dressed in my Panama hat, yellow vest over a gold sweatshirt, black pants and a powder blue pullover jacket draped over my shoulders I waited for the bus to take me to New York. A woman I later learned was a retired hostess for American Airlines who was also taking the bus to NY approached me and asked me if I was an Actor.

Taken aback I answered “No, why do you think so?”

“You dress so very differently than anyone else around here,” she explained.

Upon arriving in New York City’s Penn Station, I hauled my luggage into the subway station. I intended to take the A train. For those of you who understand the allusion, you are older than you think.

I suddenly felt I had come back home. The subway and its denizens are part of the old NY that I remembered growing up in. While standing in the center of the platform, no one else within 10 or fifteen feet of me, I saw a woman, obviously a New Yorker since she was striding along the center of the platform rapidly and purposefully. When she got up to me she shouted, “Choose one side or the other. Don’t stand here in the middle.” She then walked past me and down the platform shaking her head and muttering to herself. I really was home.

New York is not a city like most others whose class distinctions are horizontal, based upon the neighborhood where you live. It is vertical. There are those who travel by subway, those who travel by surface transportation and those who live above the third floor.

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano...

Map of the New York City Subway Español: Plano del es:Metro de Nueva York Français: Carte du métro de New York en octobre 2011. Română: Hartă a metroului din New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two notable things about the New York Subway. The first is everyone looks different. Not like in the rest of the world where no-one but identical twins look exactly alike, but really different where everyone appears to be a member of a one person tribe where ones idea of conformity is to look different in some way than anyone else.

The other thing is weirdness. In New York weirdness is not something that distinguishes a person from the general population as odd. In NY, especially on the subway, weirdness is its own ethnic group.

For example, while riding the subway later in the day a man of about 45 or so, normal looking, slender with curly sandy hair wearing casual clothing more traditional than most others riding in the car with us, sat down across from me. He had the standard wires hanging from his ears leading to a mobile device of some sort. He then proceeded to remove his athletic shoes and socks and began cleaning his bare feet of something that only he could see. After doing this awhile, he slowly replaced his socks making sure they were absolutely to his liking. He then replaced his shoes tieing and retieing them several times. No other passenger even looked at him. The either had their eyes closed, were fiddling with their smart phone or reading. Yes, people on the subway read. I told you they were weird.

My hotel is located in a part of Brooklyn that has no name. In this neighborhood downscale would be an improvement. I expected to be mugged one evening on the way home .

After checking in, I returned to Manhattan and met my sister near Madison Park on 23rd St. and Broadway. We went to Eataly. Eataly is part of the new New York. It is a large warehouse filled with only Italian food and restaurants; Little Italy without the automobiles and twice as expensive. We ate at a fish restaurant. We ordered Sicilian style Scallops and Swordfish washed down with Prosecco. It was very tasty although the size of the portions was barely enough for a starvation diet and the Sicilian part nonexistent.

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Mary at dinner in Eataly

While eating I noticed the noses. New Yorkers have real noses; immense honkers, beaks like deadly hatchet blades, rapier like pointed sniffers poised to attack, nostrils that appeared as though God himself had inserted His fingers and pulled them heavenward or spread them across the face almost reaching the ears like a second smile, as well as unlimited other shapes and sizes. Thais have no noses. Even in California noses appear genteel as though modesty demanded they be lopped off or at least discreetly hidden like ones sexual parts suggesting only a mysterious potential. Not so among New Yorkers. The city is a riot of pornographic probosci, a symphony of shnozzolas.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan.

English: The Strand Book Store, Manhattan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We later walked down Broadway toward Washington Square. On 12th Street we passed the Strand Book Store. About a decade ago, Don Neuwirth told me it had closed. That news ended NY for me. I loved the Strand. Even while I lived in California, I used to fly back to NY periodically and buy four or five hundred dollars worth of books and have them sent back to California.

I used to hang out there for hours on end in the basement where few people ventured. The basement was the repository for books no one read. I always hoped someone would offer me a job sweeping floors in the place. There was one spot in the furthest part of the cellar I especially liked. It was where they would throw unwanted stuff that, for one reason or another, they did not throw into the garbage; broken chairs, boxes of books not yet opened, books no one wanted and so on. I would often sit back there and read. No one came there, ever. I dreamed of having a cot and living there, sweeping floors during the day and perhaps shelving books and reading at night.

Katy, my niece who is a student at NYU joined us. She and my sister eventually left, leaving me alone to prowl the store. For the next hour or so I went through the stacks and through the one dollar bins outside. I knew I could only afford one book. The number of choices however drove me to a state of indecision and anxiety that caused me to leave the store without a purchase and return to my hotel.

On the subway ride home I contemplated the current fashion preferences of New Yorkers. Men mostly dressed in the ubiquitous bagginess that men all over the world seem to prefer to wear at all times except when they are wearing sports gear or in bed. They all look like ambulatory piles of soiled laundry. In NY, the predominant color is black. The windows of the GAP and Banana Republic stores in the City lacked the cheery colors of the GAP or the earthy browns and yellows of Banana Republic we know in California and instead appeared committed to demonstrating the latest fashions suitable for attending funerals.

Woman’s fashions were different as they almost always are. The dominant outfit featured black tights and nothing else until they reached the waist and disappeared into various layers of fabric. They all appeared as though they were naked below the waist.The result was that their legs seemed almost abnormally long, their line not being cut off as usual by shorts or skirt somewhere around mid thigh. Tall slender women whose lower appendages often began in black spike heeled ankle boots and ended just above the waist in a ball of fabric, appeared to me like those cartoon birds, a puff-ball on top of long pipe-stem legs.

It was quite late when I arrived at my stop. I had prepared myself to be mugged and almost welcomed it. To my surprise about 20 other people exited at my stop with me and when we arrived at street level, I found the place awash with people. This also is the new New York.

The next day I met my sister at the World Trade Center Memorial. Several years ago there was a nationwide competition to choose the design for the memorial. Barry Grenell was part of a group of non-profits who had gotten together to submit a proposal. I was included as an advisor. The design was essentially a series of contemplative gardens and small fountains and a large billboard-like structure the surface of which would shimmer in the breeze. We did not win. The award went, as expected, to a standard design firm.

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Mary at the WTC Memorial.

Maya Lin who won the competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC stunned the art world by rejecting the bombastic approach to memorials by producing a design of elegant simplicity that placed those who were being memorialized foremost and her structure the humble and elegant backdrop. As a result of the memorial’s success, the design world fell in love with her reductionist approach. Alas, they soon forgot the design’s essential humility and dignity.

The World Trade center takes this reductionist approach and infuses it with gigantism while forgetting the humanism of Lin’s design. What is worse it appears almost to forget victims themselves while memorializing the fallen buildings instead. The victims names are difficult to read cutouts into the balustrade surrounding two gargantuan reverse fountains marking the locations of each tower. The names virtually disappear as the viewer is compelled to ignore them and stare at the spectacle beyond; two vast squares with water cascading down bare walls to pool below for a moment before tumbling into the depths of a smaller square far below where it vanishes from view. The fountains exclude the public from a greater part of the site. They are bereft of either warmth or interest other than the wonder of their size and engineering. A collection of well ordered trees and a few black stone blocks set in orderly rows upon which a visiter may uncomfortably rest, make up much of the rest of the site. It was a place I felt I was being encouraged to view the extravaganza and hurriedly move on. I never felt invited to consider or contemplate what it was all about.

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One of the gigantic fountains at the 9/11 Memorial at WTC.

After that we went to lunch at Chelsea Market another example of the new New York. The old Nabisco factory and warehouse has been remade into a vast food emporium. We ate a lobster role from one of the restaurants and listened to a cellist play more or less (depending on your age) contemporary music.

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The Cellist at Chelsea Market playing “La Bomba”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

A. Who are the one percent?

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This chart seems to indicate that you can become a member of the 1% even if you are dead, not working or an airline pilot. I always suspected that a lot of dead people are Republicans and surmised a number of them do not work, but Republican pilots? That’s scary.

B. Pookie at Zuccotti Park where it all began:

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

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TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: October 2012 through December 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Papa Joe 0001 (October 9,2012)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  WASHINGTON DC:

TRAVELOGUE TWO: A PLEASANT TOUR OF THE NATION’S CAPITOL.

My daughter Jessica picked me up at Reagan Airport. She drove me around The Mall before taking me to her home in Alexandria. Jessica is science advisor to the US Department of State office that deals with international health and bio-defense. Yes, the US government is concerned about epidemics and health care in other countries since it affects their economies and thereby, may impact their stability and purchases of American goods and services. Also an epidemic could spread to America.

Jessica at a park near her home in Arlington Va.

The next day we set off to tour the Mall intending to have lunch at the American Indian Museum that serves native-American cuisine. I began college in DC and have returned many times on business, lobbying trips and to attend various presidential inaugurals and other political events. It has changed a lot.

In 1957, 55 years ago when I first set eyes on the city it was no more than a typical small American city, a large town really. JFK famously described it as having, “…Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” It has now grown into a megalopolis, not because government has grown so much or the number of governmental employees have significantly increased, but because of inundation buy the parasite community, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who since the 1970s have swarmed here to feed on its slowly rotting carcass.

Pookie in Washington DC.

Our first stop was at the Franklin Roosevelt memorial that, after 40 or so years of fierce Republican opposition, finally had been built along the south shore of the tidal basin. Larry Halprin’s design leads the visitor through a series of park like open areas separated by rough stone walls and niches. It is quite different from most of the more bombastic memorials in the city in that it is low key and sylvan in its setting. As common in Halprin’s designs, he often forgets the context within the surrounding area on which it sets. In this case he failed to notice that the site abutted the shoreline of the tidal basin.

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

A little further on, one comes upon the MLK memorial designed by Roma who seemed to better understand its waterfront setting applying many of the same rules of waterfront design I preached to them years ago. Unlike the understated Roosevelt memorial the focal point of the memorial is a huge boulder into which a giant forbidding MLK had been sculpted.

Martin Luther King Memorial

After lunch at the Native American Museum and a tour of the national botanical gardens, we sat for a while in Bartholdi Park that contained a massive late 19th century bronze fountain by the same sculptor that created The Statue of Liberty. It was conceived with the newly invented electric lights integrated into its design. They were the first electric lights in the city and the denizens of the metropolis at the time often gathered there in the evenings to marvel at the promise of the coming century.

Papa Joe at the fountain

That evening we went to the movies to see “Looper” with Bruce Willis. A science fiction thriller with the usual improbable plot. We liked it.

The next morning we set off for the Shenandoah National Park to view the fall foliage. A narrow 100 mile long park, it was built by the WPA during the Great Depression almost exclusively to cater to the newly popular motor car.

On the way back to Washington we detoured at a sign announcing “Civil War Heritage Trails” that led us along on increasingly more rustic roads until we ended up on a dirt road terminating at a field next to a vast barn like building selling antiques. Across the field we could see two small signs. We trudged up to them and were fascinated to find that the site was the bivouac of the German regiments during the Civil War. The troops led by officers from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had been revolutionaries during the various european revolutions of 1848 and after losing, driven from their countries had now taken up arms on behalf of the Union to again fight for freedom. This time not to free themselves, but to free the African slaves.

We then went into the antique barn to browse. I found a set of almost 20 books from 1905 written by a gentleman about his world travels. I read the one about Sicily, a land of poor but proud people who dressed up in funny costumes, played music a lot and rode around on donkeys.

A little further on we came to a place selling original art-glass and pottery. I asked the woman who seemed to be the artist that created some of the works displayed how she was doing. She answered “I am having a very good day, thank you. But I am sure you would not want to hear about it if I wasn’t.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” I responded. “I am always open to new experiences. Besides, there would be precious little fiction written if it were not about someone having a bad day.”

A little further on we came across another tails sign and followed a similar progression of roads but found no sign. We did however end up at a winery named Gadino. It has an attractive tasting room and two professional bocce courts. Their wines were a bit thin and astringent but not entirely unpleasant. There appears to be more wineries in Virginia than in California. The internet lists over one hundred.

Jessica in front of the Winery. The bocce courts are off to her left.

Travel plans update:

As expected what appeared to be certain travel arrangements have crumbled. I have no place to stay in NY within my price range. So I am looking at some places deep within the underbelly of Brooklyn. Travel through Italy back to Thailand has been cancelled so it appears I will have to return to California and leave from LA. I try to enjoy most of my experiences but this is becoming somewhat trying.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

How about a state and local minimum tax for everyone at say 11%?

Note: everyone above the lowest 40% pays a higher percentage of their income for taxes than the top 1%.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

A. Mitt Romney joining Poppy at the check-out counter:

“When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go exactly. And you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that, but it’s a real problem,”

B. A few words from the barnyard:

 

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Shadow 0001 (June 20, 2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Hayden is off to Koh Samui with SWAC and a “friend.” I do not know if Joey is still in BKK. LM and I plan to spend a few days next week at “Paradise by the Sea, one mile from the Outskirts of Hell.” In the meantime, I feel myself slowly slipping into one of my periodic bouts of gloom and boredom. Perhaps watching the Thai soaps will cheer me up.

Speaking of Thai soaps, the one starring the scenery chewing Master Slapper Stepmother alas, has come to an end. Finally, all the young women slapped around by her; the men and older women she beat over the head with logs; ex-husbands (one rich and one poor) she betrayed and those others she had kidnapped or beaten (including one of her own daughters) got together and told each other what they already knew. They still refused to do anything except agree to tell her that they talked to each other and that her rich husband was very angry.

When she learned this the Master Slapper went off the deep end, became hysterical, ripped the iv out of her arm and fled, the hospital she was in for some reason; but not before slapping her two daughters silly. She was not upset so much because she feared everyone else would somehow punish her but because she was embarrassed that they all talked to each other about her.

She ran off into the darkness and was promptly hit by a truck and died. When everyone heard about this the two beaten daughters cried a little but cheered up as they paired off with the men of their choice; the insipid daughter with the poor but nice boy and the daughter from the poor husband with the rich but stupid soldier. The multi-beaten ingenue step-daughter who the father (the rich husband) following DNA testing finally acknowledged as his daughter, making her rich also, finally was united with the other rich but clueless hero. Ingenue and clueless planned to marry immediately. I do not know the reason for the rush but suspect in had something to do with the show ending.

Unbeknownst to them all the Evil Stepmother did not die. Instead, some completely random woman for no reason had run into the street in front of the Great Slapper and was killed by the truck. The Evil Stepmother than changed clothes with the dead woman and ran off again into the night swearing to kill everyone who shamed her. She promptly was set upon by a thug who tried to rape her. She eventually beat him off by smashing his head in with a log, but not before he had managed to disfigure her with a piece of broken glass.

She then set off on her revenge by killing a few of the poor people and minor characters. She showed up at the wedding between ingenue and clueless and strangled the poor young maid who had done nothing but serve the Slapper during her various rampages. When the wedding guests found the dead girl, everyone ran out into the yard and confronted Mom. No one seemed to want to get too close to her. So they all shouted at her from a distance. It seemed that everyone in the neighborhood began showing up and standing around also.

Finally the “poor” ex-husband rushed forward and grabbed her arm thereby allowing her to reach into his pants and grab the gun he had hidden there. Everyone started shouting again and the poor husband retreated. She shot him in the shoulder. The daughter of the poor ex husband and the Slapper jumped in front of her father offering up her life instead. After a lengthy (from one advertising break to the next) discussion she was persuaded to step aside and Mom promptly pumped the poor bastard body with five more bullets and ran off into the street while the by now 100s of onlookers stood by.

Mom ran into someone, I no longer remember who, who tried to stop her, and she shot him or her also and was out of bullets at which point the police arrived and took Mom into custody.

Everyone went back to the wedding and the series ended like “The Lord of the Rings” with each main character’s interminable separate farewell. In this case each of the lovers telling each other how lucky they were things ended up like this and each of the parents telling their maids how relieved they were that their kids were finally growing up.

After this, having enough of Thai murder and mayhem, I turned on a comedy soap.

The Little Masseuse has been quite sad recently. She said that she was unhappy because she was old and ugly and people, mostly men, do not use her massage services anymore. “I used to massage 3 or 4 hours every day,” she explained. “Now, I only massage for one hour or so a week. The rest of the time I fold towels, play the games on my mobile phone and nap when no one is looking.”

I responded to her distress by mentioning that I believed that business is off everywhere and competition for masseuses’ has grown more fierce in BKK. “Besides,” I added. “I suspect the real reason the men in the health club use the male masseurs had less to do with your age or beauty than with your gender.”

She then told me that a few weeks previous, the woman behind the Health Club check-in desk asked LM to give her a free massage. When LM declined saying that she was hired by the Hotel to give massages to paying guests only, the clerk shouted at her, “You are old and ugly and no one will ever love you.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh my!!

2. What can I say?

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Meet the man the Republican Party wants to run your Country:


Sheldon Adelson

This is the man the modern Republican Party proposes to run your country. I guess a rich casino owning mob guy from Vegas who implied his primary loyalty is to a foreign country is who they have been looking for all along.

He also is the type of patriot modern Republican’s seem to like. For example Adelson said, he regrets his own service in American uniform.

For all those American’s who proudly wore the uniform and fought for our nation and our freedom the Republican party has sold you to someone who thinks you are all jerks.

He also claims that he would prefer that his children serve in the Israeli army to the American one, and “All we care about is being good citizens of Israel.”

Under normal circumstances someone who claims allegiance to another country might be considered a traitor, but not if he is a wealthy contributor to the modern Republican Party.

In an interview in Forbes magazine he said he was,“against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it.” How’s that as an example of someone who stands by his beliefs. If he said something like, “I am against stealing, but as long as it is doable I am going to do it,” would it really be much different. Oh yes, stealing is illegal, “Well then I am going to put my money to work making sure the stealing I want to do is legal. Everyone is doing it, why shouldn’t I?”

He originally was a Democrat but became a Republican as his wealth grew. “Why is it fair that I should be paying a higher percentage of taxes than anyone else?” There’s a good example of situational ethics for you. Once you’re rich forget where you came from. (By the way he was educated at public expense.)

Oh, he is willing to give his money to support a foreign country, but is opposed to paying additional taxes to support the country of which he is allegedly a citizen.

Finally he makes most of his money in China, a Communist country, yet he fears socialism and unions here. He has not pledged $100 million to defeat Chinese Communism. Why not?

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Louis in Taos:

Louie (stage name, “James Oliver”) left New York City and Tuckahoe for LA. On March 8, 1964, I wrote in my diary:

“Lou did not get married. Susan, his girlfriend decided to go back to California the day before the wedding. Lou was distraught. He decided to return to California also. Not to follow her he says, but because New York has suddenly become lifeless for him. He said he needed a new life.”

And so he left a week or two later and that was the last I ever saw of him. Years later he ended up living as an artist in Taos. A reporter for the local Taos newspaper recently wrote of him:

“James Louie Oliver is one of the most fascinating people you might ever meet. He’s an artist, a former stage and screen actor, builder of model airplanes and one helluva storyteller. You’ll see what we mean when Oliver makes an appearance Friday (March 30), 7 p.m., at Bareiss Gallery, 15 State Road 150, north of El Prado.

Oliver will read from his writings, ‘Howie’s Chair’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe and the Shoeshine Boy,’ and he will also display his intricately detailed assemblages and handcrafted model airplanes.

Oliver was born Dec. 17, 1937, in a cold-water flat on the Bronx-Mount Vernon border in New York. Growing up, he says one of his first jobs was as a shoeshine boy, something he told us about in a story we did on him in April of 2011. He also worked in his grandfather’s barbershop, sweeping up hair and doing anything that was needed. His face goes dark, though, when he talks about the abuse he suffered as a child, but he doesn’t dwell on it.

‘I grew up old, but I’m younger now,’ he says with a touch of humor.

He studied for and did quite a bit of stage work in New York. This also led to film work in Hollywood.

‘My first movie was ‘Hells Angels on Wheels’ (1967) and I played a guy named ‘Gypsy.’ And Adam Roarke was in it, he passed away, and Jack Nicholson too. It’s an underground film. Then I did a TV show where I met Johnny Barrymore. We became very good friends before he passed away. That was another motorcycle TV thing that starred Ben Gazzara called ‘Run for Your Life.’’ ”


Louie with one of his handcrafted model airplanes.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. June 14, 1942:

Ann Frank receives a diary on her thirteenth birthday.

This is one of the most poignant factoids I have ever posted. June 14 should be declared a public holiday to honor the human sprit.

B. For those who long for the “Good old Days,” here is what life was like in 18th Century NYC:

1702 – Yellow fever epidemic kills more than 500 people.
1776, September 21 – Approximately 1000 houses, a quarter of the city, are destroyed in a fire a week after British troops captured the city during the American Revolution. Arson is speculated (with George Washington and the British being among those blamed) and, during a round-up of suspicious persons by British forces, Nathan Hale is arrested.
1778, August 3 – Fire near Cruger’s Wharf destroys 64 homes.
1794 – Minor yellow fever epidemic leads to creation of Bellevue Hospital.
1795 – Yellow fever epidemic kills 732 between July 19 and October 12, from a total population of about 50,000.
1796, December 9 – The “Coffee House Slip Fire” burns from the foot of Wall Street and East River to Maiden Lane.
1798 – The “great epidemic,” a major yellow fever epidemic, kills 2086 people from late July to November. Epidemics occur in several other years, but this was the worst of them all.

The over 2000 deaths in the yellow fever epidemic of 1798 amounted to almost 5% of the City’s population.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

This chart gives one a good idea about how one segment of the“parasite” community’s fee based economy works. The chart describes a typical secured loan, like mortgages and a lot of corporate debt. The people with “money” in the game, the borrowers and investors, pay fees to a host of parasites (lender, insurer, issuer, trustee and on and on).

The chart does not include the lawyers and lobbyists and the like, all of whom take their cuts. Although These latter do not appear on the chart their costs are included somewhere in the expense side of the balance sheets of every entity identified in the chart. These reams of parasites appear even though the regulatory and legal burdens they claim justifies their fees has not changed substantially for 40 years and in fact in many cases has eased.

If things go wrong, the investors and borrowers take the loss, all the others walk off with their fees intact. Each one of the parasites seek to increase their fees or sell additional services. It does not matter to them if the deal fails. They all argue that they perform beneficial services. They all have a conflict of interest.

So why is this happening? One reason is size. As the size of the entities and the deals increase, as with any bureaucracy, the individual bureaucrats involved seek to enhance their own security and to avoid personal responsibility. So they retain parasites upon whom they can lay off some of the responsibility for making the decision to finance the deal. Among the downsides for the parasite community is that as the entities and the deals get larger, there are fewer of them so they must either raise prices, increase services or die.

This system is not “economic” in nature, but “biologic,” and therefore probably more readily explainable by biological formula and analysis than those currently relied upon by economists.

B. Colbert Wisdom:

Actually Colbert is wrong. It is not just young people, liberals generally behave like this.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

When the Democratic Party was the “Red Neck” party:

“Let no man delude himself into the belief that the success of Samuel J. Tilden (Democratic Party candidate for US President 1876) as the leader of the Democracy does not mean Southern supremacy. I was born in the South, and have spent my whole life, nearly three quarters of a century, among the Southern Democratic leaders, and I know that I understand them. I speak forth the words of truth and soberness when I say that they intend to accomplish through the ballot box what they failed to achieve on the bloody field.”
EX US-SENATOR BROWNLOW in a letter to the Tribune, sometime during the 1876 election, warning the nation of the danger to the country from the “solid South.”

TODAY’S CHART:

Although this chart raises the question of why is it that Japan and the UK are not yet failed states (too much public and private debt) and shows that the US debt situation is relatively benign, it sends an additional message. What this chart seems to indicate is that, in most cases we do not have a “public” debt crisis but we do have a “private” debt crisis (e.g., Spain).

It is interesting to note that in Greece where it is arguable that the government spent too much money (not on so-called costly social programs but on economic development [infrastructure] programs) the German bankers demanded governmental austerity requiring slashing social programs, that were not responsible for much of the debt on the first place, in order to pay off mostly German bond holders. In Spain’s case where the problem is clearly not “public” expenditure but failures of the private banking system, caused in part by governmental negligence in adequately regulating them, the German bankers recently shoveled money to Spain to disburse to the private banks with no requirements that the banks clean up their act or that the government increase their oversight.
Why is it that Bankers believe that the discipline of the private market wherein private entities that bet wrong fail, applies only to the rest of us and not to them?

TODAY’S CARTOON:

Dude, if they paid us enough so that we could afford to fly off in one of their flying saucers and do to another world what is being done to ours, why would we care? It wouldn’t be the first time we soiled our nest and moved on.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

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“Rochester Panorama” – Rochester, New York – Neil Kremer

(I’ve been to Rochester. It looks nothing like this, ever.)

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 26, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:
1. Education matters:

A study, published through the National Bureau of Economic Research, collected data including interviews with charter school principals and teachers, student surveys, lesson plans, and video observations. It shows that input measures associated with a traditional resource-based model of education — class size, per pupil expenditure, fraction of teachers with no teaching certification, and fraction of teachers with an advanced degree — are not positively correlated with school effectiveness. Instead the factors that were meaningful are frequent teacher feedback, data driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and a relentless focus on academic achievement — explains almost half of the variation in school effectiveness. Moreover, these variables continue to be statistically important after accounting for alternative models of schooling, and a host of other explanatory variables, and are predictive in a different sample of schools.

2. 2011:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Thai political adventures:

Thaksin the Terrible, the exiled fugitive ex-Prime Minister of Thailand and brother to the current Prime Minister, Princess LuckyGirl, has secretly received a Thai passport. This has dominated local media and has generated calls by the opposition party for  impeachment of LuckyGirl.

2. Floods:

More people died in the one day of flooding in the Philippines, than died in the two months of flooding in Thailand.

3. Christmas:

The sale of Christmas trees in Thailand (a Buddhist country) have skyrocket this year.

4. The Flying Ladyboys:

This past year PC air (that is not a joke), a regional Thai airline, announced it was hiring ladyboys as flight attendants. Among its initial hires, the airline proclaimed, was “Thailand’s most beautiful transvestite.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I am generally up and about. My cough has receded to a sometime thing. I still find myself quite fatigued. I hope that clears up as I get back into my daily exercise regime.

Yesterday I went to see the some of Bangkok’s Christmas decorations. Yes, Thailand (at least the commercial sector), a 96 percent Buddhist country, celebrates Christmas with a fervor that would make Faux News proud. The Central Department store boasts the worlds tallest Christmas tree. Tinkling lights, Santa Claus and peppermint candy canes are everywhere. Carolers, not the 4 or 5 person groups dressed in 19 Century outfits that we see in the US but full choirs, belt out nearly recognizable western carols. But no crèche. Damn the ACLU.

I also attended a Thai-Korea friendship festival put on in the plaza in front of one of the City’s largest department stores. There were, Taekwando exhibitions, singing and dancing, incomprehensible award ceremonies and a fascinating troop that painted large canvasses as they danced.

On the way home, I bought a Thai crêpe from one of the sidewalk food vendors.

Sidewalk food vendors in BKK and far more ubiquitous than Sabrett Hot-dog venders in downtown Manhattan and much more varied. From fried insect specialties to full meals, just about everything is available to eat on the streets of BKK. There are even guides to the best street foods in the city as well as the best Thai street food recipes.

BKK street food is some of the most varied in the world. Although, I have not yet tasted anything sublime (for example the perfect cannoli that I have searched for the world over and found something close to in Venerio’s on the lower east side of NY), it has often been quite tasty. The risk of potential food poisoning is substantially reduced by avoiding ice in your drinks, assuring everything is well cooked and avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables unless the skin is removed in front of you or it comes from something with a thick, inedible rind. On the other hand, what is one or two days a year of puking your guts out and wishing you were dead compared to  excitement of culinary adventure.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The recent international climate change conference in Durban, South Africa has concluded with an insipid agreement by the attending countries that they will continue to work together on the problem. Of course, even that is probably a lie, since the fact they were not willing to work together at the conference is a good indication that they have no intention of doing so after it ends.

Apparently a number of consultant, advisors and commentators at the conference cautioned against doing anything because it could cause economic stress and advised that future technological advances could perhaps resolve the problem. This is a little like saying, when faced with a Tsunami, do not try to seek safety, because perhaps a rescue is being organized and you can avoid all the effort and risks associated with scurrying about trying to escape.

Add to this some interesting facts I came across a few days ago, if they are believable. The current value of the oil reserves held by oil companies and producers totals more than the total GDP of all but the four or five largest economies in the world. What conceivable reason would cause them to give up that wealth before it is sold and converted into profits? What entity, public or private, is large enough and powerful enough to resist being bought out or off or outright attacked if it places that treasure in jeopardy?

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Escape without dignity.

Isabella dragged Vince across the dining room toward the doors leading into the kitchen. She thrust him against the wall, hard, pushed open one door with her foot, and with her gun pointed straight up toward the ceiling just like in the movies, gingerly peered inside. The shock of the impact from her shoving him into the wall hastened the return of Vince’s senses. Along with that came realization of the precariousness of his situation. Before he could act on this dawning awareness and probably panic again, she grabbed his arm, pulled him through the door, pushed him ahead of her and yelled, “Go, go, go, go!”

With the return of his reason, Vince’s male pride also swarmed into his consciousness, almost overwhelming it. He felt furious at her shouting and pushing him around. But before he could react, she shouted “down” and spun around to get off two shots back at the door they just passed through.

That was enough. Vince, wounded pride forgotten, replaced by self-preservation, hunched over bending himself almost in half, scrambled toward the door at the back in the kitchen, as fast as that contorted posture allowed. He stumbled through the door and on to the stairwell landing. Isabella, followed on his heels, shouting “downstairs, go!” Vince flew down the stairs, lost his footing and clumsily fell against the wall.

Isabella grabbed his arm again and by alternating pushing and shoving him managed to drive them both down the next two flights.

On the third landing they hesitated. He to catch his breath and she to check into the stairwell below and above her. Above the door appeared to open. She fired another couple of shot. The door slammed shut again. Leaning back against the wall, she extracted a magazine from her magic purse, ejected the now empty one and slammed in the new.

Then they were off again down the stairs until they arrived at the bottom, a small alcove with two doors. One marked with the word “Lobby” in large red letters, the other obviously leading to the alley at the side of the building.

“Which one,” Vince shouted reduced once again to near hysterics as he heard the thud from the footfalls of their pursuers racing down the stairs above them? (to be continued)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. The impossibility of parody:

“It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
~Newt Gingrich, telling us we should do as he says, regardless of what he actually does.

2. Buddy Roemer on China:

China’s protectionist trade practices and human rights violations are an abomination, and as president he would retaliate so fast it would make Chinese heads spin while potentially igniting a global trade war. Roemer’s “fair trade” policies would be very specific: tit for tat retaliation for unfair trade practices. “If your goods come into this country, and they’re made by children or by prisoners, they will not be allowed in.”

3. David Frum Republican Party consultant and conservative political commentator explains Faux News:

“But the thought leaders on talk radio and Fox do more than shape opinion. Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. IQ matters too:

a. Levels:

 

b. Signs you are smarter than average:

“…new findings, from a landmark study published [June 2007], showed that eldest children had a slight but significant edge in IQ — an average of three points over the closest sibling and it found that the difference was not because of biological factors but the psychological interplay of parents and children.”
The New York Times

I am the eldest child in my family, both my sister and brother are smarter than I am, was that because I did not get along with my mother?

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

a. It is time that we as a nation begin growing back together again.

 
b. It is time to start listening to those who founded our nation again:

I find it fascinating how much John Adams and the CEO of Goldman Sachs look alike.

3. The defining characteristics of Fascism:

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each. Here are the first 5:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution…

4. The Adam Smith on why we sympathize with the rich and hesitate to tax them overly much:

Smith attempted to explain why, despite the fact that we have a moral obligation to tax our superrich at the peak of the Laffer Curve: to tax them so heavily that we raise the most possible money from them — to the point beyond which their diversion of energy and enterprise into tax avoidance and sheltering would mean that any extra taxes would not raise but reduce revenue, we in society feel it is wrong to so tax their incomes. In the case of the hard-working rich (as opposed to inherited wealth), he posited that we sympathize with the type of person who:

“devotes himself forever to the pursuit of wealth and greatness….With the most unrelenting industry he labors night and day….serves those whom he hates, and is obsequious to those whom he despises….[I]n the last dregs of life, his body wasted with toil and diseases, his mind galled and ruffled by the memory of a thousand injuries and disappointments….he begins at last to find that wealth and greatness are mere trinkets of frivolous utility…. Power and riches….keep off the summer shower, not the winter storm, but leave him always as much, and sometimes more exposed than before, to anxiety, to fear, and to sorrow; to diseases, to danger, and to death…”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

According to economist Brad deLong, we don’t wish to disrupt the perfect felicity of the lifestyles of the rich and famous; and we don’t wish to add to the burdens of those who have spent their most precious possession — their time and energy — pursuing baubles. These two arguments are not consistent, but that does not matter. They both have a purchase on our thinking. Unlike today’s public-finance economists, Smith understood that we are not rational utilitarian calculators. Indeed, that is why we have collectively done a very bad job so far in dealing with the enormous rise in inequality between the industrial middle class and the plutocratic superrich that we have witnessed.

5. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Some of you have commented that the personal calendars I sent to you appear very complicated. I suspect that was because I did not have the proper application and had to use a financial template to display a yearly calendar instead of the normal monthly one. That and that I also inserted the corresponding Gregorian Calendar dates for reference I am afraid made it confusing. In fact, your personal calendar is much less confusing then the Gregorian one you are currently using. In your personal calendar, you have only two months with different days ( eight 28 day months and four 35 day ones) with the Gregorian Calendar you have at least 3 (one of 38 days, 4 of 30 and 7 of 31). Also, every month in the Gregorian Calendar more of less differs from every other month in the year. Not so with your personal calendar. In addition, every day in your new calendar falls on the same day of the week each month forever. Thus if you were born on the 15th day of the 10th month it would always fall on a Monday.

I have attached a more recognizable graphic of the two calendars.

The first 3 months of the standard Gregorian Calendar :

Graphics not available at this time…..

 

And since there are only two different months in your personal calendar, I have been able to show the entire year with just two attachments.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Christopher Hitchens maintained his resolve and did not turn, he did not repent, he died an unrepentant and defiant atheist. That would mean today, if the Scriptures mean anything, that he is in Hell today.

But here’s my point, the point I was making earlier is that if he is, if Christopher Hitchens is, in fact, in Hell, he’s there because God loves him. Not because God hates him but because God loves him. And I explained what I mean by that. What I mean by that is that God loves us enough to, in the end, give us what we insist on having. If we are determined to have our own way then God, in the end, is going to give us what we insist on having, because that’s what you do for people you love.”
Bryan Fischer – conservative fundamentalist minister.

Huh – Let’s see if I got this right : God sends us to Hell because he loves us and wants us to have what we most want. Therefore Hell means getting everything you want. Heaven then must be where you get nothing you want. I always expected as much.

TODAY’S CHART:

Finally something that explains the difference that I can understand.

Alas, If truth be known, both my menu and french fries preferences are decidedly conservative.:

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S FACEBOOK POST:

Repentance is definitely needed indeed!

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thau r ment, by 3Th. October 30, 2011

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

I have no news today since I have not read the newspaper, looked at any television programs nor been connected to the internet. I can report that the temperature in LA is wonderfully warm and pleasant and the traffic on the freeways horrendous as usual.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

I flew from Oakland airport to Long Beach where Monty met me. We drove into downtown LB to have drinks and to meet with some guy looking for investors in a business to develop diesel engines that run on hydrogen. The promoter is a disbarred attorney who claims to have served on the SF planning Commission and started a community bank in the SF Mission district during the 1980s. (I have seen this movie before.)

Monty and I then went to Monty’s home where we watched several music videos featuring Irish Music, “The Irish Tenors,” “The Three Priests” and Michael Crawford, the guy who sang the role of the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.

I slept on the sofa. It brought back memories of the many years as a child when the only bed I knew was the living room sofa. This was more like the camping I remembered than freezing my ass off in the woods like I did last weekend.

As a young man Monty made a living as a professional boxer. By the time he was about 20 years old he had amassed a record of 42 wins and only 5 defeats. This record was remarkable because he was a middleweight and at the time and that division contained some of the finest fighters that ever lived and was dominated by perhaps the greatest boxer ever, Sugar Ray Robinson. Monty could have been a contender, but his career was cut short by the loss of an eye to a knife in a street fight.

He then went into the family business, so to speak, horse racing, for which he retained a life long passion. This was followed by a number of careers including a stint in sports broadcasting until he, like half the nation it seems, found himself in southern California where he turned to a career in real estate untimely becoming a developer of shopping centers and quite well off until, alas, he fell in love with a magnificent piece of property located on the coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. This soon lead the loss of his wealth, family and the longest bankruptcy in the nation’s history, but it produced our friendship.

The next morning we drove to Venice to visit Ruth to see her newly remodeled home; then to downtown LA for lunch with Lina an old friend with whom about 10 years ago I travelled to Honduras and visited the Mayan ruins there.

After we returned to Monty’s home, we watched a marvelous movie entitled, “Going the Distance,” a documentary about ex-boxers who gather at a restaurant called the “Spaghetti Factory” in LA. In a way it resembles the Buena Vista Social Club for boxing. Instead of cutting away from interviews aged with the musicians to shots of them playing music, we went from interviews of the elderly pugilists to shote of them beating each others brains out.

Monty used to meet there with them. While Monty knew all of them well, he had a close personal relationship with Ray Mancini (Ex-lightweight champion), Carlos Palomino (Ex-welter weight world champion) and Bobby Chacon (former light weight champion of the world). The movie shows the now retired fighters old, often broke and in many cases sadly addled from the blows that ultimately destroyed their brains.

One of the most poignant moment of the film was when the great Bobby Chacon, reduced to the mental acuity of a child, tells, in words so slurred they had to be repeated in sub-titles at the bottom of the screen, about the night his wife, distressed at his unwillingness to give up boxing, killed herself. With tears running down his cheeks he told or receiving a call that night from his son crying into the phone, “Daddy, mommy shot herself.” A few years later that son also died in an episode of gang violence.

Later Monty told stories about boxing and his friendship with many famous fighters; from when he was a young Boxer, getting advice from Rocky Marciano, to more recently, conversations with Joe Frazier about what it was like to fight “Ali,” and of befriending Jerry Quarry. During his final years Quarry was broke and lived in Monty’s home. Monty took him in and cared for him during the fighter’s descent into poverty and dementia until that day he died in Monty’s arms.

I think the guy with the knife did Monty a favor.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

For those readers of “This and that…” who recall “Gun Girl,” a revised version of that saga is being republished.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: An interlude with Meg:

Meg stood next to her patrol car in a turn out on Highway near Half Moon Bay Harbor looking out over the vast, grey and brooding Pacific Ocean. Meg was in an unusually contemplative mood. She liked men. She also liked women. She liked Ray. He was all man. He also was all woman. She liked that about him. She didn’t understand why. That’s why she was standing here looking at the boring ocean and trying to sort out her emotions. She soon gave up. Contemplation was not Meg’s strength. She was a woman of action. And the action she craved now was to get her iron pumped and steroid enhanced hands around the neck of whoever killed Stephanie. She now was convinced Stephanie was murdered. So was Ray.

She got back into her automobile and drove to the coffee shop in the harbor. As she sat at one of the tables stirring her coffee Paul Grossmacher, the director of the Harbor District entered the place. Grossmacher was a kindly older gentleman who ran the District for as long as she remembered. She liked him. He had a dry sense of humor that she enjoyed, always listened sympathetically when she talked even when she just rambled on and he flirted outrageously with her.

He sat at her table ordered a cafe-latte and a poppy-seed bagel and inquired, “Meg, why so pensive, trying to solve some great mystery or are you just recalling some special pleasure you enjoyed last night?”

She laughed, “A little bit of both.”

“Ah, and is the mystery professional or personal?”

“A little bit of both.”

“Maybe I could help. I read a lot of mysteries.”

She laughed again. “No, I do not think so.”

“Why don’t you get everyone in the room and sweat them? Isn’t that what the detectives do?”

“Well, no,” she responded. “I have no witnesses and only one person who could know something, but I spoke with him and he doesn’t seem to. There is no family.”

“Why not try him again? Maybe he remembered something he forgot when you grilled him.”

“We don’t grill people. Besides, I really don’t think he knows anything.”

They talked for a while more. She finished her coffee, got up and went out the door back to her cruiser. As she stood by the car door she thought that maybe there was something to Paul’s suggestion. Maybe I will go up to San Francisco and interview him in his office. It couldn’t hurt. I might even see Ray again.

So she took out Ray’s business card, called the office and asked to speak to Vincent Biondi.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:

Q: Did you ever wonder why dimes, quarters and half dollars have notches (milling), while pennies and nickels do not?

A: The US Mint began putting notches on the edges of coins containing gold and silver to discourage holders from shaving off small quantities of the precious metals. Dimes, quarters and half dollars are notched because they used to contain silver. Pennies and nickels aren’t notched because the metals they contain are not valuable enough to shave.

b. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:

THE INFAMOUS SEASIDE RESORT OF PATTAYA — Known worldwide as a den of crime and vice, Pattaya municipal officials have decided to embrace its reputation by officially renaming the city “The Infamous Seaside Resort of Pattaya”.


Explaining the decision, Mayor Tik Kunplome said, “We found that almost every international press report referred to us as ‘the infamous seaside resort’. Rather than waste more money trying to brand our city as a family-friendly destination, we’ve decided that the moniker will help bring in more of those tourists to whom we cater best. Let’s not pretend anymore. Sex, drugs, prostitution — this shit sells.”

c. Real Headlines and Ads:

HEADLINE: “New Owl Creek School chooses a new mascot: it’s an owl”

HEADLINE: “Federal openness workshop closed to public”

NEWSPAPER AD: “Community Church Family Night! Featuring AMAZING GRASS”

AD: Vegan Flouride-Free Tooth Care Products. Tested on grandchildren–never on animals. Healthy Smiles!”

CLASSIFIEDS: “Sheep. Slightly used. Housebroke. Free. You pick up.”

HEADLINE: “Worker suffers leg pain after an 800-pound ball is dropped on his head”

MEDICAL COMPANY AD: “COUPON/FREE BAG OF SUGAR WITH ANY PURCHASE OF DIABETIC SUPPLIES”

AD: “NORTHSHORE HILTON HOTEL/ 9 AM / “SHOULD YOU GET A FACELIFT? ASK YOUR GYNECOLOGIST”

d. What the OCCUPY Movement is all about:

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

“You have indeed brought into being a mighty wild bull, head raised! There is no rival who can raise a weapon against him. His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his orders. Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father. Is he the shepherd of the haven of Uruk? Is he their shepherd, bold, eminent, knowing, and wise? Gilgamesh does not leave a girl in the care of her mother, does not leave the daughter of the warrior or the bride of the young man untouched.
It was you, Aruru, who created this man. Now create a [zikru] for him. Let him be equal to Gilgamesh’s stormy heart. Let them be a match for each other. And so Uruk may find peace!”
Gilgamesh, the original testosterone crazed hero upon whom the God of the “People of the Book” is modeled. Perhaps that God was actually the “Zikru” that Aruru created.


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


India at night taken from space.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 18, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Another example why the Republican candidates for President are so difficult to parody.

“Look at the political base of the Democratic Party: it is single mothers who run a household. Why? Because it’s so tough economically that they look to the government for help and therefore they’re going to vote. So if you want to reduce the Democratic advantage, what you want to do is build two parent families, you eliminate that desire for government.”
Candidate Rick Santorum.

A few weeks back, I was thinking about writing a campaign piece on abortion where I suggest that the Republicans may wish to reconsider their position since the well off [mostly Republicans] have always been able to secure an abortion when they wanted one, but the poor [mostly Democrats] would be forced to birth new voters for that reviled party. I did not do so because I did not think it was credible. I may reëxamine that.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:


–The US has 5% of the world’s population — but almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure.
–The Pentagon budget consumes 80% of individual income tax revenue.
–America’s defense spending doubled in the same period that its economy shrunk from 32 to 23 percent of global output.
–Defense spending is higher today than at any time since the height of World War II.
–The total known land area occupied by US bases and facilities is 15,654 square miles — bigger than DC, Massachusetts, and New Jersey combined.
–America spends more on its military than THE NEXT 15 COUNTRIES COMBINED.

Debt reduction begins here.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

Thailand: Heavy rains in Thailand during September and October have led to extreme flooding that has killed 283 people and caused that nation’s most expensive natural disaster in history. On Tuesday, Thailand’s finance minister put the damage from the floods at $3.9 billion. This makes the floods of 2011 the most expensive disaster in Thai history, surpassing the $1.3 billion price tag of the November 27, 1993, flood. (See photograph below.)

English: Protesters at the Occupy Wall Street ...

 Protesters at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Occupy”: The protests not only have gone global, they even have begun to penetrate into small US cities like Santa Rosa California*. Still, the press coverage remains more meager than it would be for a 10 person Tea Party gathering in Youngstown.

When they are forced to cover an “Occupy” event the press reports inevitably focus on either the reporters supposed confusion about “what do they want,”** or on the dress of the protestors, as though dressing in comfortably old clothing for sitting on sidewalks or marching is somehow weirder then dressing up in an Uncle Sam costume.

* Other cities in California with “Occupy,” protests include: Arcata, Berkeley, Chico, Coachella, Costa Mesa, El Centro, Eureka, Fresno, Hollister, Irvine, Long Beach, Los Angeles , Merced, Modesto, Napa, Oakland, Redding, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Diego,San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Ukiah, Ventura and Walnut Creek.

**For those more interested in discovering what the occupiers want rather than reveling in smugly regurgitating a Fox News meme, a recent NY Times editorial is a good place to start —

.

“At this point, protest is the message: income inequality is grinding down that middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people. On one level, the protesters, most of them young, are giving voice to a generation of lost opportunity.

The jobless rate for college graduates under age 25 has averaged 9.6 percent over the past year; for young high school graduates, the average is 21.6 percent. Those figures do not reflect graduates who are working but in low-paying jobs that do not even require diplomas. Such poor prospects in the early years of a career portend a lifetime of diminished prospects and lower earnings — the very definition of downward mobility.

The protests, though, are more than a youth uprising. The protesters’ own problems are only one illustration of the ways in which the economy is not working for most Americans. They are exactly right when they say that the financial sector, with regulators and elected officials in collusion, inflated and profited from a credit bubble that burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, incomes, savings and home equity. As the bad times have endured, Americans have also lost their belief in redress and recovery.

The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer.

Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment.

When the protesters say they represent 99 percent of Americans, they are referring to the concentration of income in today’s deeply unequal society. Before the recession, the share of income held by those in the top 1 percent of households was 23.5 percent, the highest since 1928 and more than double the 10 percent level of the late 1970s.

That share declined slightly as financial markets tanked in 2008, and updated data is not yet available, but inequality has almost certainly resurged. In the last few years, for instance, corporate profits (which flow largely to the wealthy) have reached their highest level as a share of the economy since 1950, while worker pay as a share of the economy is at its lowest point since the mid-1950s.

Income gains at the top would not be as worrisome as they are if the middle class and the poor were also gaining. But working-age households saw their real income decline in the first decade of this century. The recession and its aftermath have only accelerated the decline.

Research shows that such extreme inequality correlates to a host of ills, including lower levels of educational attainment, poorer health and less public investment. It also skews political power, because policy almost invariably reflects the views of upper-income Americans versus those of lower-income Americans.

No wonder then that Occupy Wall Street has become a magnet for discontent. There are plenty of policy goals to address the grievances of the protesters — including lasting foreclosure relief, a financial transactions tax, greater legal protection for workers’ rights, and more progressive taxation. The country needs a shift in the emphasis of public policy from protecting the banks to fostering full employment, including public spending for job creation and development of a strong, long-term strategy to increase domestic manufacturing.

It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That’s the job of the nation’s leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge.”

 

To make it all even more simple, the “Occupy” movement seeks to remind the nation and the world of the age-old demand of Economic Populism, that it is the power and duty of the government to intervene to protect the economic security of ordinary citizens where through forces beyond their control they are unable to do so individually.

We should never forget that the Constitution directs the government to defend its citizens from its enemies both foreign and domestic. Who can be conceived of as a greater domestic enemy than someone who seeks to deny his fellow citizen of the bare minimum of a job that pay’s a living wage?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

This morning before breakfast, I went on a long walk with Norbert while towing his grandchildren Madeline and Henry in a wagon behind us. After breakfast, spent mostly watching the grandparents popping up out of their chairs to retrieve one or another of the children from climbing over, under, around and upon something, I listened along with the children to Stevie’s vigorous reading of “Green Eggs and Ham,” one of my very all time favorites.

In the evening Norbert, Stevie and I drove to El Dorado Hills to see Hayden’s basketball game. It seemed to me that the other players on his team avoided passing the ball to him, I suspect because he spent much of the game falling on the floor, dancing and running up and down the floor with his shirt over his head. Nevertheless obviously frustrated with his teammates failure to understand the subtlety of his behavior, he grabbed the throw-in intended for another member of the team, dribbled the length of the court, threw the ball up toward the basket and scored just as the buzzer sounded.

Following a pleasant day beginning with the Niners 25 to 17 victory over the previously undefeated Detroit Lions and through to a delightful dinner with the Dalls, as I prepared for bed,I received the news that my mom suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. I am writing this as I sit on the train returning me to the Bay Area.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vincent Furioso (cont.)

Shortly after getting off of the phone with Isabella as he was just getting into the detritus of paper work littering his desk, Dave Kitchen burst into his office shouting, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Vince?”

“Well, hello to you too, David,” said Vince. “I think I am trying to get some work done. What’s up with you?”

It was just about all Vince could do with what little self-control he had to avoid laughing at the sight of his partner. David looked to him like someone had jammed a tire pump up his ass and he was about to pop.

“We already have a management committee, in case you forgot. What right do you think you have to simply ignore us?”

“The right you gave me when you and every other member of the committee signed my employment contract when I was hired.”

David stood there in front of the of Vince’s old dented grey metal desk, blinked a few times than said, “We never intended to authorize this type of action. Had we known, I am sure we never would have agreed. If you continue with this you will have a revolt of the partners on your hands.”

“Let’s let the partners decide, shall we? It is a partnership after all.” He responded. “And besides I fully intend to appoint at least one member of the previous committee to the interim committee. I thought perhaps that you would be the most likely. In that way you could keep an eye on things.” “And I can keep an eye on you,” he thought.

Following some veiled threats and incoherent arguments that almost led Vince into the kind of shouting match that to his shame and embarrassment he felt most comfortable in, David left in the proverbial huff. Vince returned to the paperwork, emails and telephone calls regarding the minutia that characterizes the fundamental work of management of any organization. The dreams anyone may have of taking bold and innovative actions as they climb higher up the administrative ladder inevitably gets buried under mounds of trivia. But is usually pays more, in compensation for collapsing ones dreams under the dross of reality.

Vince worked through lunch and into the early afternoon when suddenly Nina burst into his office. “Great news, Charlie Bowman has been found. He had been lost n the woods, but found a hunter’s cabin where he stayed until he could figure out how to find his way out. He is flying back to the City this afternoon.

Vince wondered if this was good news at all.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.

b. Human “Fingerprints” on Recent Climate Change:

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“These are behaviors that can be made illegal, and should be made illegal: those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral — that means it’s perfectly appropriate to have laws against what the law calls fornication, absolutely appropriate to make that illegal; men who practice homosexuality, perfectly permissible — in fact, we’re directed, we’re told in the Scriptures that it’s a good idea, this is the purpose of the law, it’s for the lawless and disobedient to engage in homosexuality — it’s perfectly appropriate for that kind of behavior to be against the law.”
Bryan Fischer, fundamentalist religious leader and strong supporter of the Republican Party.

Again, parody escapes me.

d. News from Diskworld:

1. The Wit, Wisdom and Sometimes Discomfort of Sir Samuel Vimes.

“Where there are policemen there’s crime…”

2. Snippets from ‘Unggue Theology,’ by Pastor Oats.

“The goblin experience of the world is the cult or perhaps religion of Unggue. It is a remarkably complex resurrection-based religion founded on the sanctity of bodily fluids. Its central tenet runs as follows: everything that is expelled from a goblin’s body was clearly once part of them and should, therefore, be treated with reverence and stored properly so that it can be entombed with its owner in the fullness of time, In the meantime the material is stored in unggue pots, remarkable creations…”

3. Aphorisms from the Oblong Office.

“…the lion may lie down with the lamb, even if only the lion is likely to get up again, but the lion will not lay down with the rat.”
Lord Vetinari

e. Lest we forget:


f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I refuse to apologize for anything today. Tomorrow, well, I may reconsider.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There is absolutely no reason — well, no good reason — why the United States should continue to keep pumping its money, its heart’s blood, into the lifeless corpse that the financial industry has become. These zombie banks have already acknowledged that they need the government to keep bailing them out in order to continue doing business. When someone has so screwed up their company that it can no longer exist without continuous, massive government subsidies, then – I’m sorry — there’s no longer a place for that company in America. (It’s not me, Mr. Bankster . . . it’s the free market. I’m just enforcing the rules.)”
swellsman, To Hell With the 1% – The Case for Debt Forgiveness

TODAY’S CHART:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 5, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. My brush with death: A few days ago, I began to feel a sharp pain at the back of my neck. Of course, I assumed it must be caused by the sudden growth of a tumor pressing against my spinal cord and that death was imminent. When the pain continued the next morning after I woke up, I contemplated avoiding the health club on the off-chance that I merely was suffering a muscle pull from over-exercising. In any event, if I were dying as I thought, additional exercise would make no difference to improving my health. Anyway, whatever it is that makes you do what you clearly do not want to do got the best of me and I decided to take one last swim; so I decided to go. When I picked up my sports bag, I noticed that it seemed unusually heavy and recalled that it also appeared so yesterday when I left the health club. I opened it up to check it out and found that in addition to my exercise outfit and swimming trunks, it contained several plastic bottles filled with water and two large bunches of bananas placed therein without my knowledge by LM. I removed them and confident that I will live at least through to tomorrow morning, set off for the club.

2. David returns: David has returned to BKK from Qatar and will stay for about a month before he returns. David describes Qatar the way I would describe Newark New Jersey. It is someplace you may be because you work there, but it is not a place you go to for a vacation or to have a good time. It was good to see him again and talk about various weight reduction programs. After dinner we went to one of the bars on Soi Nana where I drank Corona with lime and watched David joyfully harass the Mama-san. For the first time in many months, I drank too much and paid for it the next day.

3. Blogging Woe: I have now published about 350 posts in various blogs. My left-wing blog posts average about five comments per post. About thirty percent of the comments describe how much of an idiot the writer thinks I am. Another thirty percent disagree with me but without the insult, while another thirty percent responds with something deflating like, “Interesting.” The last ten percent are usually gibberish.

Of my own blogs, out of almost 300 posts, I have received about five comments altogether. I do not know how people get their posts read and responded to. Recently, I signed up for something that sends your blog to other bloggers so that each can “follow” the other and thereby generate “hits” and “comments.” I noticed that the comments tend to be along the line of “Thanks for following my blog after I began to follow yours and begged you to do the same.” When I was a recent post pubescent teenager in summer camp we called it a circle jerk. I did not find it fun then and I do not now.

I do not understand why someone with a blog about something like “Photographs of Travels with my Family to Hemet California” gets hundreds of hits while I am lucky if I get three. I now, as a result of this application, follow a blog, if you can imagine, of someone who shows you how to apply sparkle to your Starbucks coffee-cup. She has almost 1000 followers and someone wants to use one of her cups in a video promotion. Another one is published by someone who claims he is a “marriage coach.” His blog focuses on the importance of woman performing fellatio to solidify their relationship with a man. I read a post by a women advising other women how to work up to swallowing sperm without showing disgust on your face. He has thousands of followers. But then sex always sells.

I wonder if I am the only one who reads this stuff. I feel I have to read and approve of it before agreeing to follow a blog.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Another reason to love Thailand:

Gary forwarded to me a report of a poll of 1,228 households in 17 provinces across Thailand. It found that, “84.5% of respondents regarded cheating as a normal business practice and 51.2% said corruption by government officials was acceptable as long as it improved their living conditions. Similar surveys conducted over the past few years reached essentially the same conclusions regardless of respondents’ geographical regions. Such findings clearly point out that Thailand is a nation made up largely of thieves who will cheat at every opportunity.”

This is one of the reasons why they call this place a paradise. It most other places one spends ones life in heightened anxiety wondering if the next person he meets is going to be the sociopath who will try to defraud him out of his money. Here you can relax confidently knowing that everyone you meet, is.

2. How Thais Reconcile:

A brawl broke out in the Thai Parliament between the two major parties over the bill to reconcile the two opposing factions forcing the session into recess. During the recess two female members of the opposition Democratic Party attempted to steal the Speaker of the Parliament’s chair, I assume to prevent him from “chairing” the session following the recess. Two other female members of the ruling party noticing the attempted theft flew to save the chair as it was disappearing off the podium. The ensuing fight between the ladies rivaled the brawl going on among their male counterparts in another section of the chamber.

The Thai Constitutional Court has stepped into the fray arguing that they have to do so before the parties to be reconciled kill each other in the process.

The brawl has now spilled out into the streets of the country. The military has ominously announced they are “concerned” about events.

As far as I can tell, the brouhaha is all about whether Thaksin the Terrible the exiled fugitive former Prime Minister and brother to the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl will be allowed to return without the threat of arrest. I am not sure why this remains an issue with the opposition party run by Abhsit the Unready, the previous Prime Minister, since they claim he already runs the country from his residence in exile.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Louis from the 1964 Diary:

Thursday, February 20, 1964.

“Tonight was very interesting. Lou called and invited me to see his new apartment in the Village. I went there. It is a hovel. He told me all about how nicely he intended to fix it up.

An interesting young man named Leonard Melfi arrived. He is a young playwright, currently writing plays for Cafe La Mama.

We spent the next several hours drinking and talking. Lou described at some length his overactive sex life, including his current affair with a young actress and also the four other women he had gotten pregnant.

Leonard and I then went off on a discussion about the Janet Wylie murder that occupied the headlines of the NY newspapers for almost a year. We both closely followed the news reports about the killing. He had known Janet and appeared to have additional information not reported in the papers. We decided that the murderer was most likely the third roommate. The police, however did not consider her a suspect.

He and I discussed our fascination with murders and the process of identifying the murderer. Much more exciting than solving other types of puzzles we agreed.”

Monday, April 27, 1964, I wrote:

“This weekend the police produced a suspect in the Janet Wylie murder. His arrest upended all the theories Leonard and I had developed. He was the only remaining option unaccounted for in our theories. The murder was a completely random event. The suspect was someone who just wandered in and surprised the girls. Although when we were developing our theories we touched on this possibility, we rejected it as just too far fetched.”

Note:
Leonard Melfi was one of the most important American playwrights of the 1960s when experimental theater was the rage. His works were originally performed at Ellen Stewart’s La Mama. He became a raging alcoholic and died alone in a SRO hotel on NY’s Broadway and 93rd Street on October 24, 2001.

Janet Wylie and her roommate, Emily Hoffert, two young professionals, were murdered in their Upper East Side apartment by an intruder on August 28, 1963, in what the press called The Career Girls Murders. The suspect taken into custody referred to above was a black man, George Whitmore. It later turned out, investigators erroneously arrested and forced a false confession from Whitmore. Richard Robles a young white man was ultimately apprehended in 1965 and charged with the crime. Nevertheless, Whitmore was imprisoned for many years until he was eventually released. Robles, now 68, was convicted and remains in prison.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Is it our fault or theirs? Is it our problem or theirs? Does the American Dream require we do something about it, or does it mean we do not have to if we do not want to? Does your answer change if most of those living on $2 a day are from your racial, ethnic, gender or other affinity groups?

One of the differences between those that test out as liberals and those who fall into the conservative basket, is that conservatives will most likely answer the last question in the affirmative. It is not simply hypocrisy, but how large one draws the line defining community in which we belong. Many of us limit community to our peers or family. Most of us see the United States as a symbol or an emotion but not as a community. As far as the world is concerned, I doubt if very many of us at all see it as a whole community. We just view it as a collection of vague abstractions connecting communities of interest.

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

I do not often discuss myself in this section, but since everything is really all about me all the time, I do not think it makes much of a difference.

After exercising and showering at the health club a few days ago, I entered the sauna, towel wrapped around my waist, carrying my exercise shirt and trunks with me hoping they would dry a bit in the sauna before I stuffed them into my sports bag. Already in the sauna was a large man weighing about 100 lb. more than me and about 3 inches or more taller. Between the two of us we pretty much filled up that small space.

Although we had never spoken, I had seen him around and have sat in the sauna with him*. He is an aficionado of sauna and brings with him his own mixture of minerals in a cup that he pours into the bucket containing the water one throws over the hot rocks. This mixture produces a strong eucalyptus aroma with undercurrents of other things the nature of which I could not hope to guess.

I usually enjoyed being in the sauna when he did his thing. As far as I knew, his special mixture could have contained carcinogens or something equally bad. But, I really did not care. After all, almost any thing could pass for entertainment, even slow acting poison, when you are naked and sitting in a small dark room sweating and staring at a cheap wooden wall.

This time however, as I took my seat on one of the benches, he turned to me and in an Eastern European accent growled, “Put clothes out side. This sauna. They smell.”

I was surprised and annoyed and, to be honest, challenged. After all, people enter the sauna all the time wearing their shorts or bathing trunks so why pick on me. Perhaps, I also felt objected to my body odor and that always is a serious insult among the testosterone addled.

“Why,” I responded? “You’re fat and smelly but you don’t hear me asking you to leave.”

An animated discussion followed during which I received a brief but emphatic lecture on sauna etiquette and repeated uttering of the immortal challenge of one male to another, “You want to make something of it?”

So there we were, two naked fat guys belly to belly in a tiny room exuding male hormones along with sweat. If anything were going to stink the place up it was us.

I really wasn’t worried about a physical confrontation even though I would probably lose. I suspected neither of us wanted to be thrown out of the club, and given the dangers of the open rock heaters, I assumed also we both recognized we would undoubtably each suffer serious harm.

Unable to compete in a debate on sauna etiquette or to physically intimidate him I turned to what I do best. I resorted to insult, referring to him as, “The Sauna Nazi.”

Nevertheless, I did put my clothing outside. We then sat for the next 15 minutes on opposite benches knees inches apart sweating in silence.

It rankled me that I conceded on the clothing, but consoled myself with knowing I gained a story and he didn’t.

Now I know that some of you reading this will be saying to yourselves why didn’t Joe just say something like, “Ok, I’ll wait until you finish your sauna, then I will come in with my smelly clothing?” Well, for one thing, I do not think that fast. And for another, it was more entertaining doing what I did then spending 20 minutes alone in that small wooden box staring at my sweat dropping on to the slats of the sauna’s bench. I guess you can say that I thirsted for some intense and intimate social interaction.

I am thinking of writing a short story called “Fat Boy the Sauna Nazi.” You can help by suggesting plot elements.

*Back in February 20, 2011, I wrote this in “This and that…”

“After returning to Bangkok, as I was taking a sauna at the health club a rather large man entered, mixed into a plastic cup some water from the bucket containing eucalyptus, a white powder that looked like cocaine but I assumed wasn’t because no sane person would throw cocaine on to hot rocks and some liquid from a small green bottle. He then poured the concoction over the hot coals. Almost immediately the air in the sauna became noticeably hotter, my skin began to prickle and I began to sweat profusely. The usual camphor smell of the vapors from the eucalyptus water changed subtly to a more citrus taste and smell and penetrated much more deeply into my lungs. The alchemist and I sweated together in the small room until I gave up and left to take a cool shower. I felt unusually light-headed for a while.

Now you may wonder why I did not inquire of the mysterious stranger what he was up to. Alas, in my life I have preferred the adventure of discovery to the safety of knowledge.”

TODAY’S CHART:

This is another one of those charts that I am not sure what it is I am supposed to get out of it, but like the graphics. I do notice, however, it appears that low occupancy vehicles if electrified will do little to reduce particulate pollution or climate change gases if the effect is to require more electrical generating capacity unless the choice of fuels is radically different from what appears on the chart. On the other hand the change from non-stationary to stationary emission sources could allow for greater control of emissions.

TODAY’S SIGN:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Louie                                                     Winnie

BONUS PHOTOGRAPH:

This is photograph of a fire rainbow. Fire rainbows appear when sunlight hits ice crystals in high-altitude cirrus clouds. Because the fire rainbow actually involves no rain at all, scientists would rather we refer to this occurrence by its much less fun, but much more accurate title: the circumhorizontal arc. Since the arc requires both the presence of cirrus clouds and for the sun to be extremely high in the sky, it’s much more likely to be seen at latitudes closer to the equator.

May a circumhorizontal arc brighten your day.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Jo-Jo 0001 (June 1, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

When I abandoned the seven or eight containers of the stuff I had accumulated over the years before setting out with a single suitcase for Thailand, I was especially saddened about my loss of some things like artworks, collections, photographs and things like that. It was not the first time I had left everything behind and set out for a new life or to a new continent. All I could salvage were a few things that fit into an outside pocket of my suitcase; my daughters PhD thesis, a photograph or two, Fred Harris for President Handbook that I drafted during his presidential campaign in the mid 70s and two diaries from the early 60’s.

I do not know how these diaries survived my many migrations, but they did, always lying a few feet from my bed, unread and unopened but for a moment or two every decade or so. Last night I opened them again. I was looking for something I thought I had written in these diaries, but it was probably in a third diary that was lost in the latest move. The remaining two were paper back book sized, one with a red cover and one with brown. They dated from 1963 and 1964, my first two years in law school and mainly recorded my anxiety with school and my relationship with the woman who became my first wife. They are mostly embarrassing, at times amusing and now and then poignant. Since I have grown bored with most of the subjects I write about and after all, this whole thing is nothing more than a strange extended memoir, I decided to include some excerpts.

The first is a weather report dated Wednesday April 15, 1964:

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

On April 26, 1963, I recorded part of a letter written by a young english woman, Val, to her room-mate Maria who remained living in New York after Val returned to England. Val and Maria had worked one summer at my uncle’s restaurant on Cape Cod. I met them there and we became close friends. They moved to New York City where they roomed together until Val left.

“Joe was there with flowers. He more than anything else made me sad in leaving America. He personified all that was good and fun and enjoyable in America.”

I liked reading it then and I like reading it now.

March 20, 1964. I had recently begun clerking at the then prestigious Wall Street Law firm of White and Case, a firm that at that time I would be unable to join as an attorney after I graduated law school because of my ethnic background and religion and even if I could, I could never hope to become a partner. Thirty years later, the firm had become just another big law firm struggling to compete with hundreds of others, many larger and more effective and with fewer barriers to entry. They were struggling. By then, I had a sizable book of business and they begged me to join them as a partner.

“I met Mr. Mannix (a senior partner) at work today. He is very pleasant and made me feel very relaxed. He walks with a limp and has a daughter named “Dee-Dee.”
I feel miserable and lonely.
The Telephone Company is going to cut off my service.
My studies are going poorly.
I have no money left.
I took everything out on poor Jeanne (my then girlfriend and future first wife).
My feet smell.”

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

A few days ago Nepal authorized the gender identification options on all official documents to include, Male, Female and Other.

Why do we need classifications for race, gender, nationality and the like? If you are an individual and other individuals have rights, you should also have the same rights as they do.

2. But you do not understand…:

A few months ago I mentioned the Thai Transportation Secretary whose house was burgled of over $600,000 dollars of unaccounted for cash (rumors circulated that the actual amount may have been more that 5 times what was reported). The minister originally claimed only about $100,000 was stolen. When it was revealed that it was much more than that, the minister explained that it was money his daughter received from her father in law as a wedding present that was in his possession for safe keeping. It was also revealed that his ministry recently awarded a substantial contract accompanied by rumors of large sums of lubrication (tea, in Thai) money received by unknown parties.

Well, the government now has seized the money (already in their possession) pending charges that the minister was “unusually wealthy.” The minister resigned his position following the governments action.

A law against “unusual wealth;” wouldn’t you like that here? Once a year those with sudden increases in wealth would be hauled before the court to explain how they did it. This could be a good thing; to really know how they did it. After all, we know from innumerable scientific studies that it has little to do with talent.

3. it is not over until…:

It was reported recently that property values in key cities of the world declined by and average of .4% this past quarter. This is the first decline since the 2008 economic collapse.

It is a pretty good indication that money or wealth continues to disappear from the world economy. The determined insistence of bond holders that their investment expectations not be diminished through inflation or default will inevitably see their expectations crushed by economic collapse. When will they understand? They made a bet. They lost. Accept it. Its time to start over.

4. And it is still not over…:

The general and now member of the Thai legislature that led the coup that ousted prime minister Thaksin the Terrible, exiled fugitive brother of the current Prime Minister Princess LuckyGirl has introduced a bill that, in the name of national reconciliation, will offer unconditional amnesty to all parties involved in the coup and following several years of turmoil. The legislation would allow the exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand with all changes and convictions dismissed and his confiscated fortune restored. Those that injured or killed during the Red Shirt protests last tear would also be exonerated. The leader of the opposition party and previous Prime Minister Abhsit the Unready would have all charges pending against him dropped also.

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abhsit the Unready and his party opposed the amnesty because it would allow Thaksin the Terrible to return to Thailand. The Red Shirts also oppose it because it would allow those accused of killing Red Shirt protestors during the demonstrations a few years ago to go free. Princess LuckyGirl, when asked about her position on the bill said that she had none since it is a legislative matter.

It sort of reminds one of the debt ceiling debate in the US, doesn’t it.

5. Finally…:

According to a report sent to me by Gary, there are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other city in the world. According to a BKK based social media commentator, “Facebook in Thailand for many people is the Internet.” “They watch videos, send messages and communicate with friends, play games. It replaces the browser.” He claims that Thais see Facebook as a utility and not as a trend.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

Scorn for moneymen has a long pedigree. Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple. Timothy tells us that, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Muhammad banned usury. The Jews referred to interest as neshek—a bite. The Catholic church banned it in 1311. Dante consigned moneylenders to the seventh circle of hell—the one also populated by the inhabitants of Sodom and “other practisers of unnatural vice.”

An economics book used in some fundamentalist christian private high schools in the US holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.

Does this all mean that the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Jamie Dimon (Demon? Spell check says so.), could be the anti-christ and may practice “unnatural vice?”

B. Tax relief:

Out of the 3.9 million households that reported an adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more in 2009, more than 10,000 households paid nothing in taxes, according to a new study from the Internal Revenue Service.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

A recent study of sexuality revealed that adults with Body Modifications (tattoos, piercing) have had their first intercourse statistically earlier and were more sexually active compared with controls. There were no statically significant differences in sexual orientation, sexual preferences, engaging in risky sexual behaviors, frequency of masturbation, and history of sexual abuse between the groups. In contrast, the frequency of sexual intercourse was statistically higher and oral sex was more likely to be a dominant sexual activity in adults with BM compared with controls. The multivariate logistic model revealed that adults with BM were four times less likely to participate in religious practices and twice more likely to have early sexual initiation.

(Source: “Tattoos, Piercing, and Sexual Behaviors in Young Adults” from The Journal of Sexual Medicine.)

What this tells us is that the tattooed guy in the picture below probably had sex before he was old enough to walk and hasn’t been to church since. On the other hand, the woman in the other picture who apparently has neither tattoos nor piercings is actually a Buddhist nun and a virgin.

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. How Investing Turns Nice People Into Psychopaths, by Lynn Stout

“The problem with the homo economicus theory is that the purely rational, purely selfish person is a functional psychopath. If Economic Man cares nothing for ethics or others’ welfare, he will lie, cheat, steal, even murder, whenever it serves his material interests. Not surprisingly, although homo economicus is alive and well in many economics departments, many experts today prefer to embrace behavioral economics, which relies on data from experiments to see how real people really behave. Behavioral economics confirms something both important and reassuring. Most of us are not conscienceless psychopaths.”

B. by bjou:

“A ‘slut’ is just a sexually confident woman who sleeps with everyone but you.”

TODAY’S CHART:

The interesting thing about this chart is that it shows that almost the entire relative growth of the various sectors in the federal budget over the years is caused by the rise in Medicare and Medicaid costs. I am not sure what that means, although it probably the explosive rise in health care costs in general and Bush’s unfunded mandate for section D coverage had a lot to do with it. On this issue the political debate is between the Republican insistence on reducing benefits and the Democrat preference for controlling escalating medical costs.The Republicans have the political advantage on this issue because Doctors and drug companies make political contributions and the typical user of Medicare and Medicaid does not.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Some photographs from Gary of his friends in Pattaya (The Outskirts of Hell).

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

“I do think we need a president named Pookie. It’s time.”
by dougymi on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 09:18:51 PM PDT

TODAY’S FACTOID:

a. The King of Thailand was born in Boston Massachusetts and is an American citizen. He also a prolific inventor with many patents in his name and an accomplished jazz musician and composer.

b.


(See Today’s Quote below)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. No sooner than one day after my musing that a reason for the Thai Military’s quiescence in face of Thaksin’s election victory was a possible deal struck between him and the military to keep his hands off their prerogatives, a report from Thaksin’s retreat in from Abu Dhabi seems to confirm it. According to the Bangkok Post, Taksin is claimed to have stated that he has no wish to change the military’s current command structure. Further, it has been disclosed that he has dropped plans to choose military appointments from his preferred military class year.

2. Also in the Bangkok Post today there was an account of a PHD and his MA wife, somewhere in China, who after being married for three years, went to see a doctor to find out why the wife had not yet become pregnant. It seems that, although they had been sleeping in the same bed, kissing and hugging since they were married, they were unaware of the mechanics of sex and its role in procreation. According to the doctor, apparently they had been too busy studying to learn about the birds and the bees.

I don’t believe it , do you?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. Two nights ago, my computer lost the ability to call up saved T&T posts prior to November 22, 2010. Thinking that I should be able to fix it myself from the incomprehensible directions in the Help menu, I watched, horrified, as my attempts caused all reference to any saved mail to disappear also. My panicked attempt to correct that subsequent disaster resulted in a mail folder that not only was empty of all saved mail but would freeze up the application whenever I attempted any additional action whatsoever. I closed everything down and fell into a troubled sleep believing that life as I know it had ended. In the morning when I re-opened my computer, I found that over night for some reason known only to itself, it had generated a second mail icon that contained the T&T folder with saved emails after September 22. The other icon still freezes everything up when I try to use it.

Although I thought I had backed everything up in my hard drive, I discovered for some reason, whatever may have been saved has been locked up in file vault which I cannot open.

All this explanation is by way of a request for anyone who for any reason has any of my T&T’ posts prior to that September date to please send them to me.

2. Following that little adventure, I went off to see the newest Harry Potter movie in IMAX 3d. I liked it. The little masseuse had never seen a 3d movie before and described it as making things come closer with the glasses on. She also wondered why I chose to sit so close to the screen (third row).

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Last night, I went to dinner with my friend Cordt and several of his friends. Everyone in our party had either lived in San Francisco at one time or does so now. One of the guests was a musician and a composer currently attempting to put some poetry by Charles Bukowski to music. The restaurant located on Soi 31 featured an enjoyable floor show with a Thai band playing electrified traditional instruments, singers and dancers and what passes for Thai comedy acts. The food was native Laotian. During the meal it rained a lot in a classical tropical downpour.

4. As could be expected, I no sooner settled down to a semblance of domestic comfort when, after a silence of six months or so, a prior more than casual acquaintance contacted me promising that all would be forgiven if only I would do one simple but necessary thing. Since what She offered in exchange was something I have limited ability to take advantage of, I declined. So she asked instead that the next time I travel to the US, I purchase for her in the duty free shop, a bottle of DKNY’s new scent contained in an apple shaped bottle.

This made me think about scents. Has anyone ever felt an overwhelming urge for sex when one smells apple blossoms or in the case of men, the scent of a spice bazaar? If as science tells us sexual urges are increased by the scent of natural pheromones why cover them up unless to magnify the desirability of other commercial enhancements, like makeup, clothing and cosmetic surgery? Our predecessors living in caves, who from all accounts were a pretty randy, evil smelling bunch seemed not to need to smell a field of flowers to fall into sexual frenzy. Maybe perfume in reality is actually a form of birth control. Does the Church know about this? There was a time they thought bathing was as evil as sex (Although sex always was ok for priests, even for them bathing was a bit much. As that great stinker Saint Jerome advised, “He who has bathed in Christ, does not need a second bath.”)

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Big Flo, like many real estate developers, in spite of the weight of evidence to the contrary, displayed unshakable confidence in his personal responsibility for his own success.

After a spectacularly successful career selling virtually worthless vacation lots to the gullible with the tried and true claim that, “God ain’t making any more land like this,” he decided that he was good enough to eliminate the middle man and keep all the money for himself. So lacking any experience in development especially in urban areas, but brimming with confidence in himself, he optioned several choice development parcels in downtown San Francisco, just about the same time as a periodic collapse of the real estate market occurred.

But thanks to his golden tongue and blinding self-confidence, he was able to off-load his portfolio, without losing too much, to several real-estate investment groups owned by Doctors who knew even less than Flo about development. Flo then began building large spec. homes on new subdivisions in and around Danville California and developed a few small subdivision himself and made a lot of money which he used in part to buy and renovate the building on Steuart Street now known as the McWerter Building, build a 20,000 square foot mansion in one of the high priced subdivisions near Danville, acquire a trophy wife and a Ferrari. He had just sold the last lot in his most recent subdivision when another Real Estate bust hit again. This time he escaped unscathed and of course attributed it to his own immense abilities and the smiling benevolence of the gods of fortune that he was convinced had a soft spot in their heart for “Big Flo”.

During the early part of the first decade of the 21st Century when it seemed like even an unreformed drunk in the gutter could make a fortune in real estate, something happened. Big Flo got jealous. He got jealous at those bankers and financiers on Wall Street who made even more money than he ever dreamed of. He admired these masters of the universe and believed down to the soles of his alligator skinned cowboy boots that they were some of the smartest people who had ever lived. He wanted more than anything to become one of them or even to be able to hang out with them, but alas he never finished college and certainly did not have a degree in finance from some eastern university or at least Stanford. No, he only completed three years at the University of Santa Clara.

That’s when he met Damon Morley who explained to him that there was real money to be made in government military outsourcing, one only had to belong to the right organizations and associations of insiders. That was when he first heard about the Brotherhood.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism) — “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005. Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.

What a shame, here I thought it applied only to the current candidates for the Republican nomination for President. Sort of takes all the fun out of it.

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

It is interesting to note how much easier it is today for a government to abandon its promises to its people but not to its creditors.

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Testosterone levels change after a wins or a loss. Researchers found that those changes could then predict what a loser would do next. Losers who after competing, had increased levels of testosterone, were more likely to compete again. But those who lost a competition, and had testosterone levels decrease, were less likely to compete again.
Source: ScienceDirect

Doesn’t this seem a bit obvious to you?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.”

The Chance for Peace
by Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953
Washington, D.C.

BONUS QUOTE:

“Sixty-eight percent of Republicans don’t believe in evolution. On the other hand, only five percent of monkeys believe in Republicans.”
—Stephen Colbert

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 14, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Most recent post: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/pookies-platform-slowing-the-growth-of-government-and-reducing-the-national-debt/

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1000 BC. The Giant hutia ( Elasmodontomys oblique) a giant rat weighing as much 500 lb., or more and native to Puerto Rico, goes extinct.

However, I have it on good authority that he emigrated to New York City to open up a chop shop to sell repainted stolen automobiles into Spanish Harlem. —Are there still such things as chop shops? Is there still a Spanish Harlem in NYC?

Recently Terry Goggin told me he is considering opening up a new restaurant in the Williamsburg section. I remember when you only went to Williamsburg to get mugged. People go there to eat now? What’s next, this generation of yuppies or whatever they are now called moving into Bed-Sty?

Have things changed so much? Or, am I still living on Mott Street in Little Italy in the 60s? Is there still a Little Italy?

This must be how the world ends, we lose even our memories. Or to paraphrase Elliot, we go whimpering off into the Spanish Harlems and Little Italies of our dreams.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. The assault on the newly elected government’s campaign proposal to raise the minimum wage for Thai workers to $10 per day has begun even before the new government has been certified to assume office. Economic collapse is predicted by the business community.

2. The Nation, a Thai english language tabloid’s headline screams that the incoming government is “Rattled” by the failure of the Thai Election Commission to “endorse” the presumed incoming head of the newly elected government. Later on in the article, we learn that it always has been the policy of the Election Commission to delay endorsement of any candidate against whom a complaint has been lodged until the allegations have been resolved. The article also points out that the leader of the opposition party’s election endorsement has similarly been delayed.

3. No word yet in the english language newspapers regarding any moves by the military. They may be simply awaiting clarification by Yingluck the incoming prime minister of the new government’s initial actions affecting the military leaderships interests. Or, it could signify that an accommodation has already been made between Yingluck and her brother, the exiled former prime minister Thaksin and the military to preserve the status quo in the current command.

Certain members of the army leadership led the coup against Thaksin while he was Prime Minister five years ago, in significant part because he had moved to install his own people, Thaksin, from his exile in Abu Dhabi has said that he had learned his lesson and now is promoting “national reconciliation” as a primary policy goal of the new administration.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have settled back into the usual routine of my life in Bangkok Thailand, a morning walk to the gym for exercise and a swim, lunch at the tiny restaurant near my apartment where I play at my computer for a few hours, then back home for a nap, dinner, additional computer time and then to sleep.

My apartment is located on a sort of a cul-de-sac just off of Soi Nana near to where I used to live with Hayden before my recent trip to the US and Italy. It is on the fourth floor of one of two six or so story buildings that bracket the cul-de-sac.

The buildings generally house young women, often two or so to a room who work in the nearby bars and clubs on Soi Nana and a diverse collection of farangs seeking low cost accommodations close to the same young women, bars and clubs.

I have a single air conditioned room, toilet and small balcony that overlooks the local expressway. As is usual with many apartments in Thailand, there is no hot water. One usually purchases a small electrical device that attaches to the pipes and heats the water but I have chosen not to, preferring instead to take my showers in the afternoon when the tropical sun warms the water pipes enough to provide adequately for my needs (my contribution to energy conservation I guess).

The room comes with a bed containing a Thai mattress; that is, a mattress so hard that even the little masseuse choses to sleep on the floor. She claims the floor is cooler and softer.

I am comfortable here, it is centrally located and familiar. Nevertheless, I hope soon to resume my more pleasant accommodations again at Paradise by the Sea.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Author’s notes:

a. I have written about 18,000 words of this first draft of the novel so far. That works out to about 36 pages at 500 words per page. Given that a typical American mystery novel is usually about 200 or so pages long, I have a long way to go yet. Of course, when I go back over what I have written so far for my first revision I can always add those descriptive passages and stray bits of information that authors like to add to their novels to fill it out. For example, if one were to remove all the florid descriptive passages of the Louisiana Bayous that make James Lee Burkes novels so wonderful, you could end up with something like this:

Dave Robechaux got up and went out of his house where he saw someone putting the make on his adopted daughter Alfair (or whatever). He immediately punched the guy out, breaking his jaw. Clete drove up, threw the guy in the trunk of his car intending to dump him into a Bayou after stopping to buy some beer. Dave fed his adopted daughter’s three legged raccoon. While the raccoon was eating, Dave saw the ghosts of Confederate soldiers marching through Bayou Teche and thought it was time for him to go back to bed.

b. I have been writing this thing for about six months now. At this rate, it could take me almost 5 years to reach 200 pages, that is probably longer than it took to paint the Sistine Ceiling. What with running for President, operations, world travels, lethargy, various blogs, ennui and depression, walks on the beach, baby sitting, BBQs and the like, delays probably can be expected. I shall try to speed thing up in the future. Then again I may not.

c. I have introduced about 12 characters so far. Unless they are Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens of Lewis Carroll most authors are satisfied with about 10. I probably will introduce about 10 more before eliminating at least that many in the next revision. So far, I am somewhat disappointed in my characters. David, who I originally thought would be the villain of the piece, is turning into a sniveling, frightened gofer. Our hero Vince is anything but anyone’s idea of a hero. The other chief protagonist, Isabella, resembled those stuffed witches in Haunted House carnival rides always popping out at odd times, shouting boo and then jumping back to wherever she came from. I had high hopes for Ike, him being a Nero Wolfe type character and all, but he seems to be unable to gain any traction. Recently, I introduced “Big Bill” who by popular demand is now to be known as Florian “Big Flo” McWerter. It appears that Big Flo has big problems. Probably bigger than either he or I can deal with. I may have to have him killed off to unravel things.

Does anyone out there have any suggestions besides give it up?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Muphry’s law — states that, “if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written”. The name is a deliberate misspelling of “Murphy’s law.”


I never critisize.

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

“One of the most important goal for any democratic government should be to avoid removing risk from enterprise. Yet, it currently appears that the only function of government is to shield enterprise from risk.”

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Researchers tested over 500 MBA students and they found that testosterone levels, together with risk aversion, could predict long-term career choices and financial decisions. Those who had high levels of testosterone and weren’t very risk averse, “were more likely to choose risky careers in finance.”
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A and the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society

I take it from this, that those “Masters of the Universe” directing the financial well being of the nation have similar testosterone profiles to Kamikaze pilots)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Home is heaven and orgies are vile,
But I like an orgy, once in a while.”
~Ogden Nash, Home, 99 44/100% Sweet Home

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

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