Posts Tagged With: New York Times

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Joey 0002 (April 5, 2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

The day after my sister and the others left, George, Hayden and I spent most of it cleaning up the main house since it had been rented out for the next two days. That night after going to bed in the converted water tower where Hayden and I stay, I awakened in the middle of the night with cold feet.

Exceptionally cold feet were one of the many symptoms the material given me by the medical staff when I was discharged from the hospital warned would result in dire consequences should I not seek immediate medical treatment. Since over the past two months I have dutifully reported each of the symptoms listed to various doctors and had been told not to worry about them, I decided to buy a heating bag to treat my cold feet rather than rushing off to the hospital whenever my toes felt as though they had frozen solid and were in danger of falling off.

So I reached down for the heating pad, turned it on and while I was arranging it about my feet I felt an extremely sharp pain in my finger – a cross between being poked with a needle and an electric shock. I jumped out of bed and rushed across the room to put on the light knowing that had I been punctured by a needle, because of the blood thinning medicine I was taking, I would be bleeding profusely. I checked my finger and found no puncture wound. I reasoned that in that case there was probably a short-circuit in the heating pad.

I returned to the bed and checked the pad. There was no evidence of a short so I assumed that somehow a needle had gotten stuck into the pad’s cover and had fallen into the bed. I then searched under the bedding and felt two more painful shocks to the back of my hand. I turned back the covers and a large insect flew out. It was about an inch in length from head to the end of its wings. It was black except for a white stripe around its body and its rust colored translucent wings. It flew across the room into a dark place above some cabinets too high for me to reach. I assumed it was either a large fly or a bee angry at being disturbed. I further assumed that now that it found shelter it would remain there for the rest of the night and so I shut off the light and went back to sleep.

About an hour later I was awakened by Hayden’s scream. He cried out that he had been attacked and bitten by an insect. This was followed by him scurrying down the ladder from his bunk. I turned on the light and the battle began.

The insect we realized was in fact a bee, angry to the point of madness. It was built like a tank, as though it was mechanical and not organic. It attacked us.

The battle raged throughout the room. I picked up a board about four inches wide and over two feet long that was leaning against one wall. It was a sign that previously had hung above the doorway. With it I fended off the mad bee until it landed on the ground. Then, with Hayden’s urging, I slammed the board down on it with all my might – to no effect.

When I lifted the board it flew out angrier that ever. I eventually drove it under the stove. Silence reigned as we waited. We then crept closer. Suddenly the bee flew out and we stumbled backwards in fright. It landed again on the ground a few feet from the stove. I slammed the board on him again and again. Despite the pounding it still lived. Although it no longer flew it continued to crawl towards us, malice gleaming from its 10,000 eyes. With a mixture of admiration and horror of the beast, I struck it again. This time, although it still crawled it was stunned enough that I was able to open the door and flip it out into the night.

H and I slammed the door shut and leaned against it just in case it decided to break down the door and come after us again. It was then I was able to look at what was written on the board. It read:

“Peace to all who enter here.”

The next day we took an outrigger canoe and paddled up the Big River. We saw a seal sunning itself on a log.

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The seal on the river.

The following day we went in search of a letterbox. Although the directions were entertaining, requiring some mathematics and orienteering to find where the box was hidden, when we got there it was gone.

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George and Hayden search for the missing letterbox.

The day after the letterbox disappointment we left to return to San Francisco by way of Fort Ross. It has been almost twenty years since I travelled along that section of the California coast. It rained on and off during the drive, but it was mostly a light rain and did not interfere much with our enjoyment of the magnificent views and our sojourn at Fort Ross. We turned inland at the Russian River traveling through Gruernville and Forestville and arrived in the early evening at my sister’s house in Berkeley where we spent the night.

I planned to stay at my sister’s house until the doctor’s removed the blood clot filter from my vein on Wednesday. Hayden and I whiled away the time mostly hanging out as I tried to come up with things to entertain an eight year old. One day while walking through Golden Gate Park H asked me, “Where did they bury God?”

“God is Dead,” I responded?

Hayden: “Oh yes. He died a long time ago. Everyone knows that.”

I must have missed that news. Was it reported in the NY Times Sunday Edition? Does the Pope know?

I also had to change my meds from pills to self-injected blood thinners in preparation for the procedure. The cost of the three-day supply of the new meds was about $1000. When George, for comparison purposes, looked into Canadian suppliers, their price for the drugs was less than my deductible. I could not but suspect that the market price for pharmaceuticals in the US is set not by good old supply and demand but by what would be considered by some in other circumstances as a massive criminal conspiracy .
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.

Kasper Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.

Chapter Ten:

Martin Vihn walked to the center of the garage and beckoned to the 16 year-old delinquent in the Iron Maiden T-shirt. He turned to me and said:

“This is Joe Vu. He is my cousin. He will be spending a few days with you as you look for Clarence Reilly. I want you to leach him how to be a detective.”

Joe Vu: “Cool.”

Me: “What! Uh… I work alone.”

Martin Vihn: Just stares.

Me: “Ok for a few days. But I can’t teach him to be a private investigator. You have to be 21 years old to get a license.”

Joe Vu: “I’m twenty-three.”

Martin Vihn: Continues staring.

Me: “One has to work for three years in investigation to qualify for a license in California.”

Martin Vihn: “OK… I will pay you $1000 a month for employing my cousin for three years to teach him how to be a detective.”

Me, sweating again and at the verge of panic: “But there are a lot of rules, taxes and the like when one hires someone. I am not equipped to do that. Besides I have to pay him at least minimum wage.”

Martin Vihn: “No problem. I’ll take care of his needs. My accountant Robert Wu will handle all the bureaucratic stuff.” With that he motioned the old Asian man over and said to him, “Robert please pay Mr Dragon $1100 dollars for his first weeks work, another $1000 in advance for Joe Vu. Add $500 in advance for his expenses and another $500 bonus for being so…uh…accommodating.” He turned to the smiling Iron Maiden” t-shirt wearing 23-year-old and said, “Joe, you can take the Lexus to drive Mr. Dragon around.”

Joe Vu: “Cool”

While wondering if anyone under the age of fifty said “cool” anymore, Mr Wu approached me and started pulling money out of a large wallet and handing it to me along with his business card. He mumbled something that I could not understand.

With that Martin Vihn walked off to the Mercedes followed by his other acolytes and drove off. Mr Wu returned to the office. Leaving me holding a business card in one hand, a bunch of money in the other and staring at the smiling Joe Vu.

“Ok boss where do we start” he said?

“Don’t call me boss. I am not Charlie Chan and you are not number one son.” Actually he called the old man “pops” which was just as annoying to the old man as “boss” was to me.

As we turned to walk to the Lexus he said, “Ok boss. Who’s Charlie Chan?”

“A Chinese detective in some old movies who solved crimes with his number one son. They are not shown anymore.”

“Why is that?”

“Because the Chinese detective was played by a white man and critics said the movies emphasized racial stereotypes.”

“Oh,” he said as he opened the car door for me. “I guess we’re more like the Green Hornet and Cato.”

“No,” I said getting into the car. “I don’t look good in a mask.”

“You’re funny boss,” he said as he closed the door.

He got in the driver’s side and said, “Were to boss… er… chief.”

I said, “On second thought, boss will do. To the San Francisco Public Library.”

“Ok boss. Why the library?”

“Because the first rule in private detection is, gather the information.” Actually the first rule is get paid up front… which I thought, for better of worse, during these past two days I seem to have done better than I have ever done before in my life.

“Now don’t talk for a while, I’ve got to think. The second rule of private detection is to think first talk second.” That’s a lie too.
DAILY FACTOID:

1788: Patrick Henry, he of “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” fame, during the debate in the Virginia Legislature on ratification of the proposed new Constitution of the United States had this to say about liberty for a majority of the residents of his State:

“In this state,” here are two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks, and there are many in several other states. But there are few or none in the Northern States. . . . May Congress not say, that every black man must fight? Did we not see a little of this last war? We were not so hard pushed as to make emancipation general; but acts of Assembly passed that every slave who would go to the army should be free.”

“…[T]hey will search that paper [the Constitution], and see if they have power of manumission… And have they not, sir? Have they not power to provide for the general defense and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power?

“…This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it.”

“…This is a local matter, and I can see no propriety in subjecting it to Congress.”

This speech prompted what was eventually to become the Second Amendment to the US Constitution: assurance that the state militias, which in the southern states were organized for the most part to protect against slave rebellions, would not be disbanded by the proposed Federal Government. The potential of such rebellions struck mortal fear into the heart of just about every brave white southerner at the time. Thus in one speech this icon of liberty argued for the permanent enslavement of a majority the residents of his state and the military means to assure it; all thinly disguised under the rubric of “States Rights.”

In one way or another the rhetoric of politicians from the South has remained consistent for 225 years.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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(During those same thirty years the US has tumbled from first among all nations in almost every determinant of freedom, economic development and social welfare to the level of third world countries in many of them. We all would like to be rich. But what does it say about a society that accepts that some fortunate few would become even richer while the rest of that society becomes poorer?)
B. Apologies, Regrets, Humiliations and Blasts from the Past:

Now and then I go back through old issues of T&T in search of dross among the dross. This one is far from dross. It was written 2010 by dear Irwin Shatzman in which he puts my self-indulgence in perspective:

“STUMM FRN KOPF UF ERINEM ENSEL THEATRE
PRESENTS A ONE ACT UNAMED AS YET PLAY WITH MANY SCENES

WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY THE JOSEPH PETRILLO AFFILIATES – 2010

SCENE ONE

A park bench in paradise. The figure of a man is seen sitting on the bench propped up as a human tripod by his two legs and a walking stick. His head is slumped over. He is wearing rather large sunglasses, a t-shirt that advertises foreign beer and appears to be motionless. He is in fact, quite dead.

Dead Man (before he dies, instead of saying, ‘I was once somebody and now I am nobody’, or, ‘I was once somebody now I am somebody else’) he say’s:

‘I used to be worthy of note, now I can’t even get a whistle. And to top it off I am about to be dead. I bet that when I do and they, whoever “they” are, go through my pockets and find a lotto ticket. It will contain the winning numbers, or, will it?!!’

Off stage the sound of a pistol being loaded is heard. The pistol belongs to Gun Girl.

End of Scene One”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.”
Thomas Aquinas

“How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.”
Thomas Aquinas
TODAY’S CHART:

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(This map showing the distribution of genetic Y Haplogroups around the world in 1500 indicates to me that:

1. Theories that travelers from Africa, Asia or Europe during historical times (1000 BC to 1500 AD) journeyed to the Americas and created the advanced cultures that flourished there are probably incorrect.

2. A triangle whose points lie in the eastern Mediterranean, southern India and the Atali Mountains on the western border of Mongolia contains humanities genetic melting pot. We may all have come out of Africa but thereafter most of us are children of the steppes.)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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The Sky Above El Dorado Hills

Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Pookie 0001 (November 25,2012)

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have still not ventured far from my apartment. Perhaps in a few days I will go to the health club. Then again maybe not.

The dreams have come again. Not those frightening, exhilarating or annoying things that disturb your sleep and leave you groggy in the morning and then completely disappear from memory a few hours later. These other dreams I have while I am floating between sleep and fully awake. They frequently recur again and again. They do not disappear in the morning. I remember them for a long time.

It used to be that some of those dreams became so imprinted in my memory that they became as real as anything else that I could recall of my past. About a year or so ago in “This and that…” I wrote that I eventually realized many things that I thought had happened to me were mere dreams. When I went through them and understood that what I remembered could not be true, they disappeared from my memory just like the normal nighttime disturbances did. Their sudden disappearance would leave me with a strange sense of emptiness as if a piece of my past had gone missing leaving behind a hole in my life.

For example, I convinced myself that I spent several enjoyable summers at a resort on the north coast near the ocean. When I sat back and thought about it however, I realized it could not have been true. It happened on the wrong coast and too far from where it should have been. The moment I realized the memory was bogus, it fled like a thief from the scene of his crime.

Strangely, I get these dreams only in Thailand now, never in the US. I do not know why. I have some suspicions, however.

There have been two since I returned to Thailand.

In the first, I am at a party in my sister’s house. Of course, dream-like, it is not her house at all. There is a grand piano by a window. Standing next to it is a tall man with blond hair wearing a pale plaid jacket. He would now and then pick out something someone says and would lean over the keyboard sing a few words of whatever he had overheard and rhyme it with a few more while playing some brief simple tune. When he finished his little riff he would then stand back up and with a large smile on his face and with shining eyes look around the room for appreciation before hunting for the next snippet of conversation. He reminded me of a 50’s lounge singer or one of those hacks banging out tunes on Tin Pan Alley during the Depression. When the conversation moved away from him he would remain anxiously standing the by the piano never moving from his post alongside of it.

I watched him from across the room. Now and then our eyes would meet but he would quickly glance away and nervously move on in search of the next snatch of conversation to play around with. Gradually, the party-goers left until only he and I remained. He looked at me for a moment before turning and with that wistful aura that surrounds musicians after a gig as they pack up their instruments, wires, stands and other paraphernalia, picked up his coat and quietly left.

The second dream concerned a young Thai woman. She was tiny but not skinny, rounded somewhat. Her black hair was shorter than usual and cut in bangs. For some reason, what she was wearing made no impression on me. She was new to Bangkok having arrived only three months ago. The big city still awed her a bit. She found work in a local bar in Bangkok that specialized in oral sex. Today was her day off and she was spending it alone wandering around the Big C market, a slightly down-scale shopping mall, somewhat like Sears is downscale compared to Macy’s.

She often went there, not to shop but because she liked to wander about and look at things. She would stop and stare for a while at the various shows on the sets that lined the walls in the television department. She specially liked the animal and travel shows. She would wander about, fiddle with the smart phones and cameras in the electronics department or pick up a plate or a bowl in housewares, turn it over and closely examine its bottom. Whenever she passed by the clothing department, she would stop and finger the fabric of various items of clothing that caught her eye. All the while her mind would flit from thought to thought and memory to memory. She would often think about her tiny village somewhere in Issan and her parents, brothers and sisters. She pictured in her mind the fading image the little baby she left behind when she came to Bangkok to earn money to support him. She sent most of what she earned home to her parents to take care of the child and to save something for her for when she returned to the village. She lived a frugal life in Bangkok, sharing a tiny room with four other working girls, eating at the least expensive sidewalk food stands and entertaining herself by wandering around the malls.

At one point, she drifted into thinking about her little school girl uniform with the short pleated skirt and the plaid tie she wore at work. She liked the way she looked in it. She preferred working in the BJ bar than in the other bars. She did not like going to the short-time hotels or to the man’s hotel room. It made her feel shy and uncomfortable to take off her clothes. She thought about the old farang man who came to the bar and regularly choose her. That excited her. She hoped he would soon begin buying her things like some of the customers do with the other girls. Maybe he would take her here to Big C and buy her a smart phone.

As she stood in the electronics department holding a smart phone connected to the stand on which it was displayed and aimlessly played at pressing the icons, she saw herself with him walking up the stairs at the bar, waiting for him to sit on the bench then taking the pillow and placing in down and kneeling on it while he prepared himself. She could not recall what he looked like, only the liver spots on the backs of his hands and his few strands of wispy gray hair floating around his head. The image suddenly fled as she delightedly struck the icon for one of the games and started to play it.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

New not to be missed theme park opens in Korea:

In South Korea a new theme park has been opened called the Restroom Culture Park dedicated to the toilet industry and toilet behavior. It also contains a museum with exhibits demonstrating toilet technology through the ages. The park also displays fun facts about poop and statues of people going to the bathroom. The park is dedicated to former mayor Sim “Joe” Duck aka “Mr Toilet” who was reportedly fascinated by bathrooms.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I am always happy to transmit something that interests me written or said by one of my “This and that…” correspondents. The following was published in the New York Times letters to the editor section. It contains some interesting background on the training received by some of the nation’s general staff at West Point.

Re “A Phony Hero for a Phony War,” by Lucian K. Truscott IV (Sunday Review, Nov. 18):

I take great exception to the description of David H. Petraeus as a “phony hero.” Far from being a “phony,” Mr. Petraeus is part of a long line of soldier-scholars trained by the department of social sciences at West Point. Founded by a legendary colonel, George Lincoln, after World War II, the department recruited outstanding cadets to be soldier-scholars and future generals who had more than the ability to lead troops in battle. Inspired by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Colonel Lincoln tried to develop officers with political and diplomatic skills, sending them to outstanding graduate schools like Harvard and Princeton. His goal was to develop soldiers who could deal with the complexities of the late 20th century.

Mr. Petraeus is only one of many such officers, but he is probably the most famous. And for good reason. He used his diplomatic and political skills to end the Sunni uprising in Iraq and to turn the Afghanistan conflict from a certain defeat into a marginal “good enough” success.

I know Mr. Truscott. Some 40-odd years ago I taught him at West Point. It’s sad to see him kick sand in the face of a real hero.

TERRENCE P. GOGGIN
New York, Nov. 19, 2012

The writer was an Army captain and assistant professor at West Point.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

An old man’s memories: Donald Lundy (Cont.)

In Tuckahoe, like most towns in the US at that time, the calendar followed by most little boys was not the Gregorian with its celestial seasons. Nor was it marked by the simple alternating rhythms of school and vacations. It was the round of sports seasons that directed our lives. There were three “Great” seasons, Football, Basketball and Baseball. They did not overlap each other as they do at the college level and in professional sports. Instead when one ended the next one began, often the following day. I never knew how the other kids knew one season ended and another started. It was a mystery. I would wake up one day and everyone would be there playing at something other that that which they were so obsessed with the night before. Hockey, Lacrosse and other sports did not penetrate our consciousness. Soccer was some weird thing the italian immigrants played, not we sophisticated first generation types and our African-American comrades.

There were however a few minor game seasons that intruded or sometimes overlapped the big three. For example just before baseball season began, for about two weeks we all played “marbles” with deathless concentration on both the games and on the collecting and trading of our marbles. These little glass balls had more arcane and mysterious names for them then the Eskimos have for snow; gobaloons, pee-wees, bowlers, aggies, clearies, steelies and on and on. There were basically two types of games played. One common in Mount Vernon and Yonkers consisted or drawing a large circle in the dirt. The players would each put up an agreed number of marbles in the center of the ring and then stand on the outside of the ring taking turns trying to knock the marbles out of the circle. The other game, favored in Tuckahoe, would be to draw a football sized and shaped “pot” in the dirt into which we would place the agreed upon marbles. Then a line was drawn about four feet away behind which the players would take turns trying to knock the marbles out of the pot. Only the first shot was taken from the line. Thereafter one would take his shot from wherever his shooter landed.

Near and during Christmas vacation we would buy chestnuts from the local chestnut vendor who appeared on the sidewalks of downtown about that time. We would drill a hole through the chestnut into which a string was knotted. We would then take turns striking each others chestnut until only the winner’s was left unbroken.

I do not recall ever seeing Dondi playing any or the sports and games the rest of us did (I was mostly an inconsistent participant hating games in the first place. It did not matter, most of the other kids thought I wasn’t very good anyway.)

In high school Don joined the Tuckahoe High School football team called the Tuckahoe Tigers. He became a local legend.

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Donald Lundy, number 12, catching a pass for the Tuckahoe Tigers (From Don’s son Donald Lundy’s Facebook page)

Football in Tuckahoe, at least the team that Don ultimately joined, had an interesting history. The gang began playing tackle football together when we were all in the first grade. No one had a full uniform or equipment until we got to high school. Mostly we played in our street clothing augmented by a piece of equipment here and there acquired over the years. Each year they would play four or more pick up games against teams from other neighborhoods or schools. There were no coaches or adults of any sort involved. Sometimes I would play with them (when they were desperate for players) and sometime against them when I lived somewhere else or attended a different school. No one was particularly big, strong or fast and none except for Peter White would one consider a natural athlete. Yet they won all their games that first year, and the year after that and in fact every year even all through high school where they formed the core of the Tuckahoe Tigers football team on which Don was the star running back. (Continued)

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

Late 1800’s: The Toggle Bolt, originally called the Tuckahoe Toggle Bolt was invented in Tuckahoe N.Y. by William H. Ruby.

Ruby sold his hardware store to the Cornell family who changed the name from Ruby’s to, you guessed it, Cornell’s. During the depression the store fell on hard times. Being Quakers, the Cornells felt they could not fire their employees in order to restore the business to profitability, so they sold it to an employee who had no problem with firing his fellow workers. While in high school, I dated the daughter of the scab. One date was all of me that she could stand. Perhaps it was my gobaloons or more likely, my pee-wee.

1822: deposits of high-quality white marble were discovered along the Bronx River between Tuckahoe and Eastwood in Westchester County. Tuckahoe Marble was used to construct grand early nineteenth-century NYC Greek Revival buildings such as Federal Hall (1830), and Brooklyn Borough Hall (1840), the Italianate Stewart’s “Marble Palace” (1846)–New York’s first department store–and the Washington Memorial Arch in Washington Square. It also provided most of the marble for the Washington Monument and the rebuilding of the Capitol in Washington DC. Tuckahoe Marble was the single most important white marble deposit in America until the latter part of the 1800’s, at which time reliable access to the extensive high-quality marble deposits of southwestern Vermont was established. Quarrying of Tuckahoe Marble ceased in 1930.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It is the interest stupid: why bankers rule the world: Part I.

“The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest”
Albert Einstein

“You are not a loan.”
Occupy slogan

“In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35 percent to 40 percent cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed,” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.”
Ellen Brown, Truthout

B. Yiddish words everyone should know:

baleboste
A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
bissel
Or bisl – a little bit.
bubbe
Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
bupkes
Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” – less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
chutzpah
Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English, chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
feh!
An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
glitch
Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
gornisht
More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
goy
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
kibbitz
In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets, and it’s related to the Hebrew “kibbutz” or “collective.” But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn’t originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else’s game – that’s an American innovation.

Now, why you might ask would it be important for we goyim to learn a few words of yiddish. Well, in addition to the fact that many of these words are already common and well-integrated into English, there is another reason as well. You see, some languages have many words that essentially describe what a non-speaker would imagine to be the same thing. For example, 200 words or so for snow or a hundred and fifty words for a camels hoof. Yiddish enriches English because it contains hundreds of words to describe human foibles. Even when it ostensibly refers to a thing like a knickknacks, the yiddish word “tchatchke” seems to say more about the observer and the owner than about the object itself.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Although capitalism is not a Ponzi scheme, credit-based economies, sic capitalism, and Ponzi schemes share the same fatal flaw. Both must constantly expand or they are in danger of collapse.”
– Darryl Robert Schoon

 

TODAY’S CHART:

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“Believe it or not, the federal deficit has fallen faster over the past three years than it has in any such stretch since demobilization from World War II.”
~Investors Business Daily
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 9 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: The State of the US Airline industry:

— The peak of US airline employment was in 2000, with more than 650,000 Americans working for an airline. Since then, based on government statistics, US airlines have cut nearly 150,000 employees.

— More than 30 percent of US airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the 2000-2010 decade (i.e., 30 percent of airline shareholders were wiped out).

— Many new jobs for pilots will be with “state-owned airlines”; it is forecasted that, “by 2029, 68 percent of air traffic volume will be from the emerging economies in such countries and regions as Asia, Brazil, India, and the Middle East.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.

As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, the state of the US airline industry is evidence that the 9/11 terrorists may have achieved their goal to wreck the American economy by banking on the American political establishment’s overreaction to their attack, driving the American economy into the gutter. The death of Bin-Laden does not alter that, nor does it change the fact that as regrettable and horrid as it is, his strategy seems to be working. American conservative leadership (Republican and Democratic alike) will continue to blame it on the unions, food stamps, illegal immigrants, the civil service, or almost anyone else other than themselves.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

English: In January 2009, President of the Uni...

 In January 2009, President of the United States of America, George W. Bush invited then President-Elect Barack Obama and former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter for a Meeting and Lunch at The White House. Photo taken in the Oval Office at The White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party continuing their tradition, extending back about 50 years, of turning on the person they helped elect President because he failed to deliver on their favorite single issue, thereby more often than not assuring his defeat, have turned on Obama. Despite shepherding through a balky Congress the most progressive agenda since Lyndon Johnson, the liberal élite are furious at learning that Obama actually is the liberal leaning centrist he said he was during election and not the fire-breathing leftist ideologue they imagined him to be in their mad rush to defeat a representative of the previous administration that they helped elect and then abandoned for committing the unforgivable sin of political realism.

On the right, on the other hand the Republicans seem to almost always forgive their leaders for recognizing political reality or, god forbid, actually doing something right among the stream of disastrous policies that so please their rank and file (e.g., Nixon on the Environmental Quality Act, Reagan surprisingly on Social Security). Only George W. Bush seemed bereft of a single socially positive domestic policy initiative and yet despite the almost universal recognition among even those on the right that his policies were a disaster for the nation and his Party, virtually no significant criticism of either him or his policies emerged from the conservative press.

The liberal journalist icon , Frank Rich in the NY Times recently has written:

The president’s failure to demand a reckoning from the moneyed interests who brought the economy down has cursed his first term, and could prevent a second.”

Never has a conservative journalist so blithely abandoned their leader because of a failure of ideology or policy. If that were not so, George W. Bush would never had won a second term.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND)ITALY:

Vittorio and I continued on to Barcis, a picturesque little town by a lake nestled in the mountains at the edge of the Dolomite. We walked about a bit then returned home.

On Sunday, we returned with Hayden. Vittorio’s band, “The Tamai Friends of Music” was featured at the festivities accompanying rowing races on the lake at Barcis. I had bought Hayden a tin whistle in Venice that he happily and forcefully played along with the band until the conductor asked him either to stop or get up on the stage and join them.

A few days earlier, Nikki arrived at the farm. He had a couple of days off between flights. We took the train to Venice specifically to see the model boats exhibited at the naval museum at the Arsenale. Of course, when we arrived it was closed. Otherwise Venice was, well Venice; the food was awful and the people obnoxious but the City looked wonderful.

We had lunch (actually just snacks and wine) at the only place I found where the proprietor appeared to welcome us. As could be expected she was not Venetian but was a Brazilian immigrant married to an Italian. I drank too much wine and struck up a lively conversation with two English spinsters sitting at the next table. (To those feminists among us, there lacks a more suitable description to this throwback to those fiercely independent Victorian woman, usually from England, who strode the world in pursuit of social justice, striking fear into any malefactors of moral impropriety.) One had recently moved to Treviso and the other was visiting her from her home in London. They both were committed socialists, but agreed to support my candidacy for President. Upon leaving the café a little tipsy, I walked into the easel that held the osteria’s menu sign and broke it to bits.

If you would chance to be in Venice in the future, the name of the place is Osteria alla Ciurma at S. Paulo 406 Rialto, calle della Galeazza just far enough from the Rialto to allow its food to be edible. Do not mention that you know me. However, if the spinsters are there (it is their favorite place in Venice) say hello to them for me.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

On the way back to the office Vince asked Ray how he knew what to do about the photographer and about the note.

“Before I became a legal sec… er administrative assistant, I worked for a private eye.”

“No kidding, who did you work for?”

“Al Pischotti.”

“Fat Al! You worked for Fat Al? How come I did not know about it and why didn’t you tell me when I asked you to assist him?”

“I thought you knew. It was on my resume. I guess you did not have a chance to look at it.”

When they arrived back at the office Nina was waiting with a grim smile playing at her lips. “The Great One arrives tonight. She wants to meet with you tomorrow after finishing some meetings with clients. She suggested dinner at “TWO”.”

Of course, “TWO” was one of the most expensive restaurants in town, lighting too dark to see across the table and portions so small one had to stop and get a hamburger on the way home or risk starving before morning.

The Great One is how most people in the firm referred to the managing partner of the Brussels office. Arabella Le Grande is her actual name. A few that know her well call her Arrogant Bella.

“Also,” she continued not giving him time to groan, “David is in your office waiting for you to return. It’s terrible about Mrs. Coign everyone is very upset. First Mr. Coign then his wife. What a shame.”

___________________________________________

William “Big Bill” McWilliams had just exited his chauffeur driven Bentley and started across to sidewalk towards his office building on Steuart Street in San Francisco when he was blindsided by another pedestrian who obviously was not paying attention to where she was going.

“Dammit, why don’t you…” he began before noticing that his assailant was a most beautiful young woman almost as tall as he was, wearing a very short skirt, large hoop earrings, and a scoop necked blouse exposing the promise of large soft rounded breasts below. Seamlessly he lowered his voice almost one octave to produce that sonorous sound that earned him the additional sobriquet among some as “Golden Throat”. “…ah, excuse me miss, it was all my fault, I should have been more careful. Let me make up for my clumsiness by buying you a cup of coffee”.

“No,no” she said in her deep throaty sexy voice, “It was all my fault. I was in too much of a hurry for my meeting. I wasn’t looking where I was going. I am in a bit of a hurry right now.” She looked at him for a moment with her calm eyes, glanced at the Bentley that had driven off and now was awaiting the change of signals at the stop light on the corner, smiled a broad sparkling smile and added, “But I would take a rain check on that coffee.”

Big Bill, ego aflame, reached into the left hand pocket of his suit jacket where he always kept a few of his overwrought business cards containing besides his name and his office number clear evidence that he was the owner of several businesses, plucked one out and handed it to her, “Here is my number. Please call. I will look forward to it.”

She took the card, smiled, saluted him with it and walked off.

He watched her for a moment, then turning off his smile, walked into the small elegant lobby of the “McWilliams Building.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Philosophical ruminations:

One evening before going to sleep I asked Hayden if there was any questions he wanted answered. He said, “Yes, I know I come from my mommy and she came from her mommy and her from her mommy (Apparently his mother left him with the impression that males have no role in the procreation process, being restricted only to working and providing money.), but,” he continued, “I don’t understand where it all ends.”

So I launched into a lengthy explanation of evolution and modern scientific thought on cosmology.

When I finished he said, “I think I understand. But, what I really want to know is if this was before or after God died?”
b. Testosterone Chronicles:

Young male CEOs appear to be combative… [as] a result of testosterone levels that are higher in young males. Testosterone… has been shown to influence prospects for a cooperative outcome of the ultimatum game. Specifically, high-testosterone responders tend to reject low offers even though this is against their interest.”
Source: Social Science Research Network

(Combative or bags of nuts?)

c. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

(1) I guess I have to apologize for something. So, I apologize for my continued political harangues. Unfortunately, whenever I hear those bells of Boston ringing, I just want to run and warn the British that the Colonists are coming to shoot them for trying to take away our guns. Thankfully, our four fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and the good Roosevelt) worked tirelessly to eliminate slavery at the founding of our country. Ah, I just cannot help myself.

(2) According to Wikipedia, the town referred to in the previous post as Veneto later changed to Vittorio Veneto in honor of the Italian victory there in WW I was actually named Vittorio with the Veneto added to commemorate the victory.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Law enforcement on Obama’s watch rounded up 393,000 illegal immigrants last year and zero bankers.”
Matt Taibbi.

The question for the 2012 election is could any candidate running for the Republican nomination for the Presidency do as well for the right-wing of their party on either issue as the incumbent?

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPHS:

Hayden, flute-less in Barcis, watching “The Tamai Friends of Music”:

The boat races on the lake at Barcis:

Pookie in Venice:

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

This and that from re Thai r mrnt, by 3Th. May 19, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air”:

Students at Hamilton College sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major newspapers and/or appeared on the three major Sunday television news shows (Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week) over a 16 month period from September 2007 to December 2008. They used a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “will not happen,” 5 being “will absolutely happen”) to rate each prediction the pundits made, and then they evaluated each prediction for whether or not it came true.

What did they find? Basically, if you want to be almost as accurate as the pundits they studied, all you have to do is a) root through the cushions of your couch, b) find a coin, and c) start flipping it. Boom! You are now pretty close to being a political genius. Only nine of the 26 pundits surveyed proved  more reliable than a coin flip.

Using the students’ statistical methodology, the 26 pundits were broken down into three categories: “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Here’s how they break down:

THE GOOD: Paul Krugman, New York Times (highest scorer); Maureen Dowd, New York Times; Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Governor; Chuck Schumer, New York Senator; Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader; Kathleen Parker, Washington Post and TownHall.com; David Brooks, New York Times; Eugene Robinson, Washington Post; Hank Paulson, former Secretary of the Treasury

THE BAD: Howard Wolfson, counselor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor/Fox News host; Newt Gingrich, eternal Presidential candidate; John Kerry, Massachusetts Senator; Bob Herbert, New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC; Thomas Friedman, New York Times, David Broder, Washington Post (deceased); Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune; Nicholas Kristof, New York Times; Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

THE UGLY: George Will, Washington Post/This Week; Sam Donaldson, ABC News; Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Senator; Carl Levin, Michigan Senator; Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Senator; Cal Thomas, Chicago Tribune (lowest scorer)

In their executive summary, the students note:

“We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction’s accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to not come true. The second was partisanship; liberals were more likely than conservatives to predict correctly. The final significant factor in a prediction’s outcome was having a law degree; lawyers predicted incorrectly more often.”

As for the factor of partisanship, it certainly didn’t help pundits if their predictions were primarily based on who they happened to be carrying a torch for in the 2008 election — Lieberman and Graham, obviously, did poorly in this regard. The students noted that, “[p]artisanship had an impact on predictions even when removing political predictions about the Presidential, Vice Presidential, House, and Senate elections,” but I still imagine that this particular script may have flipped if the period of study was the sixteen month period between September 2009 and December 2010.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM (THAILAND) AMERICA:

Hooray for us! We win.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN (THAILAND) CALIFORNIA:

After leaving Bill and Naida’s ranch, I spent two days with Stevie and Norbert Dall. Norbert is busy trying to write the definitive history or California’s coastal protection legislation. The amount of research he has done amazed me as did his memory of people, places and events during those times( over 30 years ago). I believe that Norbert and Stevie are probably along with Peter Douglass and perhaps Bill Geyer and Ruth Galanter the people with the longest continuous involvement with the coastal protection movement in California. In Ruth and Bill’s cases, however, for the past decade or so they have become much less involved.

As for Peter Douglass, but for the last 20 years or so controversial years as Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, his impact on the course of things coastal has been mostly in his own mind. Peter was, by far, the earliest of all of those who have spent at least a portion of their careers in coastal protection. He worked as an aid to Senator Siroty during the failed attempts in the late 60’s and early 70’s to push coastal protection legislation through the legislature. He later attempted to take un-justified credit for drafting the initiative, known as Proposition 20 that was successfully passed by the California voters in 1972 and set up an agency to plan the future land use of the coast and regulate development so as not to impede implementation of the plan. During the period of Proposition 20, while I served as Chief Counsel for the Commission, as far as I could tell Peter’s involvement in either the planning or the ongoing regulation was almost nonexistent.

Following  completion of the Coastal Plan in 1975 and the submittal of the proposed implementation legislation to the legislature, most of us active at that time were determined to keep Peter as far away from any decision-making and participation as possible. Nearly all of us believed that not only was he incapable of understanding the complexities of the Plan, the legislation and the political strategy that was developed, but he had shown a distressing tendency to urge weakening of the protections whenever opposition presented itself. I had assigned on of the Commission’s staff members to sit with him every day and make sure he did nothing more that edit the legislation.

After the passage of the entire Coastal Program, Peter again disappeared from any involvement and for a while busied himself in an unsuccessful attempt to find work in the private sector. Ultimately he took a job as a not so respected member of the reconstituted Coastal Commission staff. Finding himself ignored, he resumed his search for other work when a series of unfortunate events, including resignation of the existing executive director, he, to the dismay of many in the environmental community, was chosen to succeed the departing director.

Over several years of ineffective management, his removal many on all sides of the development process urged his removal. Fortunately for Peter, the development community, through the inept handling of the move to remove him by the then Republican Governor, pushed the most radical members of the environmental community to rally around him and defeat the putsch, and Peter the Wishy-Washy seeing which side of his bread was buttered was reborn as an anti-development crusader.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Vince felt ager boil up within him as David burst through the door. But since David appeared highly agitated, he suppressed his urge to throw him out.

“What’s the matter, David,” he inquired as calmly as he could?

“This attorney, Seamus Cohen, that you want to hire. I think it is a very bad idea.”

“Why is that,” Vince said placidly while signaling Foster, who looked embarrassed and like he was ready to leave, to stay seated.

“I checked with some of my contacts, they say that while at the DOJ he was a loose cannon.”

“What does that mean in his case.”

“He was a laughing-stock. Both you and the firm will be also if you retain him.”

“I’m sorry David, I have already retained him and the executive committee voted to approve it.” Vince lied slightly. “Perhaps if you could be more specific, we would reconsider it.”

Kitchen looked a little startled, and sat in the other uncomfortable wooden chair, ignoring Foster’s presence.

“Ah well, of course my contacts did not give specifics, but they were adamant that he would embarrass you and the whole firm as well. He also has angered some of our most important clients with his shenanigans at DOJ and since.”

“Hmm… I see where that could be a concern. But he comes highly recommended to me. I will need a little more information before I reverse our decision. Perhaps you could have your contacts and concerned clients call me and give me the facts directly.”

“Dammit Vince, why are you so eager to hire this guy? Couldn’t you wait a few days until we vetted him?”

“Look David,” said Vince his voice getting a little higher. “I do not understand the issue here. He is my lawyer and suits my needs. You have provided me with no specific facts other that concerns expressed by your contacts that are inconsistent with mine.” Then for no reason that he could think of other than to throw our something to force Kitchen on the defensive. “Does this have something to do with that Yeung woman or the Brotherhood or Red Star? Do you know that I sent someone to fly up there to find Charlie and all he found it that Charlie is missing.”

Kitchen’s face darkened, whether from anger or embarrassment Vince could not make out.

“I thought we brought you back to manage the firm through its difficulties,” Kitchen drawled. “Why are you involving yourself in these matters Vince? They are a waste of everyone’s time.”

“That’s just it,” Vince responded his anger cooling slightly. “I am trying to get back to addressing the firm’s needs, That is what I am doing here with Foster, which you interrupted and why I intend to hire Cohen to handle these other things. It seems like every time I try to settle in and work on firm matters, you, Ms. Young, or Stephanie come along hinting at something mysterious about Red Star, the Brotherhood or whatever it is or even Sam’s death.”

“OK, ok, I get your point. I will get you something more specific about Cohen. I think you should avoid both Stephanie and that Yeung bitch. They both are time-wasters'”

“Probably, I have a meeting tomorrow with Stephanie. She says she has a lot to tell me. Maybe I’ll just blow her off.”

“That would be a good idea. I have to get back to work.” With that Kitchen left the office as abruptly as he came in.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Shermer’s Last Law — A corollary of Clarke’s three laws, it states that, “Any sufficiently advanced alien intelligence is indistinguishable from God.”
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. The Mac Attack:

“Men act right only upon compulsion; but from the moment that they have the option and liberty to commit wrong with impunity, then they never fail to carry confusion and disorder everywhere. It is this that has caused it to be said that poverty and hunger make men industrious, and that the law makes men good; and if fortunate circumstances cause good to be done without constraint, the law may be dispensed with. But when such happy influence is lacking, then the law immediately becomes necessary.”
Machiavelli.

In other words, there is neither God, nor the mythical “Invisible Hand” of the self-correcting market to right things. It is up to us to create the laws that assure our society is what we wish it to be.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“He who has bathed in Christ, does not need a second bath.”

Saint Jerome.

Jerome, you stinker, you.

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

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