Posts Tagged With: Occupy

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

 

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

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

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

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

B. BOOK REPORT:

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

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

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

Pookie says, “Check it out…”

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A. Climate Change:

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAILY FACTOID:

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Should Cities be more Resilient?

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

biblemarriage
Examples of marriage options approved in the Bible

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

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

 

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

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

 

Happy Birthday Ruth

“Never get out of the boat.”
Apocalypse Now

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ELDORADO HILLS:

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

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

B. BOOK REPORT:

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

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

Pookie says check it out…

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It wants to avoid the following:

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 JoJo 0003 (June 1, 2014)

 

“It takes two people to make a deal: a desperate man and a winner.”
Wight, Will. City of Light (The Traveler’s Gate Trilogy: Book #3). Hidden Gnome Publishing.
TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. One day like many others

The curfew remains in effect (10 PM to 6 AM I think). Still no sign in my neighborhood of military or effects of the coup. In the morning I walk past Nana Plaza and through the Arab neighborhood to Foodland my favorite breakfast place (two eggs, 1 strip of bacon, coffee, toast and juice for $2) and then to the health club for my morning swim. I have a new exercise regime. Instead of doing just one more like the personal trainers used to urge that I hated and eventually caused me to quit exercising, I now do one less. I feel much better and happier.
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Himself at lunch

After exercise and my massage, I sometimes eat lunch and then go home and lie on the rock hard bed until dinner which I usually eat in my room. Then, about when the curfew starts, I go to sleep.
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2. Someplace for old men

I have resumed my morning meetings with the old men (farang’s) at the health club. We sit around on flea infested chairs, read the two local english language newspapers and lie about our past lives.

Today one of the “alters” who lived in Oakland and used to have a tax preparation business in the Bay Area mentioned that he did not think that climate change was caused by humans. “After all,” he added, “think about all the money those scientists are making from government grants to find that humans caused global warming when in fact for the last decade the temperature has remained stable.” When I suggested that one would think that the hydrocarbon industry would have a larger economic interest than these scientists, he responded, “Not true, they are happy to supply natural gas if Obama would only allow the Keystone pipeline to go through.” He was surprised when I told him I thought Keystone was an oil shale pipeline and not a gas line. We agreed not to talk about climate change any more and turned our conversation to other significant political issues of interest to him like why Nancy Pelosi has had so many face lifts and why Joe Biden is so dumb.
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3. The most dangerous thing in Bangkok

Bangkok, also known as the City of Angeles, can be a dangerous place, with the occasional military coup, rampant STD, suffocating air pollution, sporadic food poisoning, rats and cobras, corrupt cops and things like that. But by far the greatest danger is its sidewalks and what lies beneath them. Cracked and broken sidewalks that can fracture an ankle of the unwary cover the ancient canals which now serve as the City’s sewers. Often the sidewalk gives way and someone falls into foetid sludge below.

About a month before I arrived an elderly farang (western man) who lived in my apartment block went for a walk. Just outside the apartment the sidewalk collapsed beneath him and he fell through into the muck below. He was taken to the hospital and has not been seen since.

A few days ago a squad of Cambodian and Burmese migrants showed up to clean out those same sewers. They had to jump in to the rat and snake infested water, drag out the mud and mire with their bare hands and deposit it in plastic containers. Since then those containers have been standing lined up at the side or the road waiting for someone to do something with them.

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Barrels of muck

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New cover over hole through which the old man fell
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4. I hate growing old (version #1273)

For the first time that I can remember, I had a panic attack that lasted throughout the night, robbed me of sleep and, as I lay there alone in by bed, convinced me that my numbered days had ben reduced to single digits. The next day I felt so awful that I could barely make it to breakfast and decided to skip my exercise and return home. I intended to write here how I detested my steadily eroding capabilities due to age.

Alas, when I arrived back at my apartment, I realized that for the last three days or so I had forgotten to take the dozens of pills my doctors require me to take every day and actually was going through various forms of withdrawal the most serious of which was withdrawal from my happy pills.
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I don’t always sleep alone. (The monkey is named Douglas. I call the Gorilla, Gorilla)
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B. POOKIE’S DREAMS:

Malibu in my mind (continued)

Some background is needed in order to understand the initial story line of the dream. As most of you know there is a sort of a space race by private enterprise to design a reusable space vehicle that would allow very rich people to fly off into the edge of space and return just like those not yet rich people called astronauts. The astronauts are trained and paid by the government (you and I) and perform scientific experiments that may benefit humankind. The rich people of course are unqualified to do anything of the sort except pay for the experience. So they will hire these currently highly trained governmental employees to become space taxi drivers and to forget about benefits for humanity so they, the rich, can have the same experience as the experts with none of the burden of actually doing anything.

Nevertheless, the market being what it is, some entrepreneurs will seek, in the spirit of competition, to offer a somewhat lower cost alternative even if it is something of marginal public benefit. That is where the dream begins. One of these low-cost operations, lets call it Rocket Blue or SouthWest Space Flights decided on an unusual publicity stunt to launch their service. They managed to find 10 people from the Midwest who had never been out of the Midwest or to the coast of California where the launch was to take place. These 10 people were given a free flight on the maiden voyage of the vehicle. They would be accompanied by two real Californians who also knew something about the coast, presumably so they could point out points of interest as the rocket roared off into space.

That is where I come in, I was one of these two even though I am not a real Californian. The other one was none other than Joe Edmiston. I assume that our employers believed Joe and I added a certain cachet to the venture. This is a dream after all.

Anyway the vehicle itself was clearly low-cost, looking less like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise than the inside of a leaky wooden boat.

We discovered, as we were settling into our seats, that these 10 accidental tourists were an obnoxious and argumentative lot. Considering that Joe and I are masters of the art of being querulous and unpleasant, the trip began with less than happy camaraderie.

Anyway, off we went into the edge of space. To me the final frontier was somewhat of a disappointment, basic black with stars that did not twinkle but stared malevolently at you like the unthinkingly eyes of a million wolves reflected in the light of the campfire just before they attack. The disk of the earth below all blue, white brown and green has been seen so often in photographs, logos, SF movies and the like that it was hard to work up some element of surprise or awe at the sight.

In any event, we thankfully soon began our descent.

Now as I have repeatedly pointed out, this is a low-cost spaceship operation. As such, instead of designing the vehicle to land on an airport runway upon its return from space as the high price enterprises do, in our case the vehicle deployed a large parachute to hopefully gently deposit us on the ground where several cars and trucks could meet us and return us to where we took off.

This approach is much like that used in those hot air balloon rides. You know, where you get up god-awfully early in the morning while it is still too chilly to be out and about. You are then stuffed into a basket with too many people you do not know while the fire device that inflates the balloon shatters the silence (as well as your eardrums). You take off and float a few hundred feet over supposedly beautiful scenery that you pay little attention to because you are dealing with one or more of: agoraphobia, claustrophobia or vertigo and praying that you do not vomit or fart. You fly for an hour or so and eventually land with a bounce or two in someones back yard or if you’re lucky a park where your transportation is waiting to take you back to where you parked your car, and to warmth.

In our case, we had taken off from Vandenberg and were supposed to land somewhere near the Pismo-Nippomo Dunes. Unfortunately, a strong gust of wind blew us in the opposite direction and we landed in the ocean off Point Dume. Kerplunk! (To be continued)

C. POOKIE’S BOOK REPORT:

For those who are fans of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden adventure series, his latest Skin Game, the 15th book in the series, is out. In this adventure, Harry, Chicago’s only professional wizard and now the Winter Knight is sent by Queen Mab to steal the Holy Grail from Hades, Lord of the Underworld.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve done without a hitch since the last time I saw you, Dresden. You walk through the door and everything goes to hell.”
“That’s embroidered on my towels, actually,” I said.

“What you are telling me,” she said, “is that you have never shared your life with another over the long term. The closest you have come to it is providing a home and affection for a being which is entirely your subject and in your control.”
“Well, not at bath time…”

“I know you’ve been aching to have your hands on my staff,” I said to Ascher, as Nicodemus examined the altar for himself. I held out my hand. “But I’d rather be the one fondling my tool. Wizards are weird like that.”

Pookie says, “check it out.”
D. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Don’t mess with Facebook

A day following the announcement by the coup leaders that a commission has been formed to look into Facebook and other social media, the Facebook internet page went down for an hour throughout the nation. The public outcry was so great that the military had to publicly declare that they had nothing to do with it. Who did is still unclear at this time.

2. In general it is the General

A little noted aspect of the current military coup is that the coup several years ago that toppled Thaksin the Terrible, the exiled fugitive prime minister (and pater familias of the recently ousted government) was precipitated by his attempt to replace the military leadership with members of his own class at the nations élite military school from which the army general staff is chosen.

In Thailand the military is effectively independent of any other governing institution in the country. Its general staff is chosen in lock step from the élite military academy. When one class retires the next one takes over.

In previous issues of T&T I warned that until the current military commander retires in September of this year a coup remains a high probability.

In fact, according to reports, the coup was well and secretly planned by the Chief of Staff and a small group of plotters including an outside attorney to occur before September when Thaksin the Terrible’s class was scheduled to take over.

It is important to note that although the coup leaders carefully detained the political leaders of both warring factions more or less equally, within the national police and the military the removals and transfers almost exclusively have been of officers sympathetic to the ousted prime minister.

As it is so often in politics, nothing is precisely as it seems.
DAILY FACTOID:

Sometime in the 1960’s: How Hillary met Bill at Yale: She got up from her desk, walked over to him, extended her hand, and said, “If you keep looking at me, and I’m going to keep looking back, we might as well be introduced. I’m Hillary Rodham.”
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

What “Occupy” was all about and what it really wanted:

It wanted those who make the laws to approach them the way that Adam Smith, the Father of Capitalism suggested:

“To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers…The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Politics is the fight over which elites rule, not whether.”
Gooserock (Daily Kos)

“There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”
William Jennings Bryan at the 1896 Democratic Convention.

Nothing changes.

TODAY’S CHART:

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I simply do not understand where they get only 475,000 people killed by humans in a year. I would think 475,000 could be done in an ordinary afternoon if we really put our minds to it.
TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
Unknown
This in a photo of a 1860 drawing of a member of the Camorra a Neapolitan criminal gang. In the 1970’s the fashion style sported by the gangster returned to threaten us all.

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Pepe 0003. (October 21, 2014)

 
Destiny never gets there before you do. So, there’s no need to rush.”
Pookie...

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

I was very pleased with the number of people who wished me a Happy Birthday on my 75th birthday. For some reason it was more important to me on this birthday than in the past when I preferred not to be reminded of the passage of time.

My daughter surprised me with a trip to DC either over the Christmas holidays or during the Cherry Blossom festival. I am inclined to choose Cherry Blossom time. I suspect Washington will be deep into the polar vortex in December.

Here in BKK I spent my birthday more or less like any other day; breakfast than swimming and so on. While swimming I felt anxious about returning to the apartment and getting back to all the things I had to do. I realized I have been experiencing this anxiety for couple of years now. It was much like I was still working and worried about getting back to the office. So I decided to break the habit and instead of rushing back and grabbing a quick lunch from the fridge, I treated myself to a long leisurely lunch and another pleasant meal at dinner. The next morning I woke up with severe food poisoning and spent much of the day at hospital wishing I were dead.

I was well by the following day and had an enjoyable lunch with the Old Sailor/Deep Sea Diver swapping stories of Key West and the Caribbean. He was involved in the race to find the sunken treasure ship Atocha. His team lost to Mel Fisher. They did manage, however, to turn up some relics of far less value.

I get the impression that he longs to go back to the Caribbean, but feels he is trapped here in SE Asia for either lack of money or fear of arrest if he returns.
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When LM cleans up my apt., she refuses to kill any insects she finds crawling around the floor because she is Buddhist. Instead she sweeps those she finds out on to the balcony. Where they go from there is anyones guess.

I have ants that parade up and down (or down and up – one never knows with ants) the walls along corners or grout lines. She says I should not harm them because as long as I do not leave food around or crumbs in my bed, they will not bother me.

Now and then I lie on my bed and watch them scurry along the corner of the room in their eternal rush to work. Their industry annoys me. I have made a deal with them in my mind. As long as they stay in line, I will honor LM’s ethical concerns and they will remain unharmed but should even one step out he will feel my fury. After all I am the all-powerful dictator of my room – at least sometimes.
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Last night LM brought home fried grubs for me to eat as a treat. I refused. She said that at first she was hesitant to eat them but after  trying then she found them so good they became habit-forming. I still refused.
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Today after swimming the sky filled with black clouds turning the City as dark as night, The sky erupted drowning everything in a solid sheet of water. After about three hours of Sturm and Drang it ended leaving the sky bright with sun, the streets flooded and the temperatures as mind numbing as ever. For a few hours, however, the air seemed washed clean of the ever-present dirt and grime.

As I walked back to the apartment, I found that Soi Nana was flooded. This was the first time that I seen like that, although I am sure it had done so many times before. I hoped by walking on the higher portions of the sidewalks I could avoid wading through the gunk. No such luck.
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B. PHOTOS FROM THE HOOD:

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The migrant worker housing beside my apartment showing the large cisterns used for community bathing.

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A Hostel on my block made from old shipping crates.

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A bird in a bamboo cage just outside the door to my building, one of several cages. Maybe Yeates knows what kind of bird it is.

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The small restaurant across the street from the apartment where LM buys my Thai omelets.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Every once in a while I troll through back issues of T&T and come up with something in them that strikes my fancy. The following is from 2012:

War Movies

Yesterday I watched on television the movies Patton, Midway and Apocalypse Now. A television network was having a festival of war movies. While watching for about 8 hours, I began to notice something about the commercials that struck me as strange. Of the over 200 commercials presented during that time, only one was for an American produced manufactured item. All the rest were either ads for financial products, food products, stores that stocked mostly foreign manufactured goods, various entertainment efforts, a few communication companies and four ads for foreign produced automobiles.

War movies are mostly guy things. They are made for men and concerned with men doing men things. Killing each other in great numbers is a man thing. Crying in anguish over the death of a comrade killed by one of the survivors of those he and his comrade have just attempted to slaughter is another guy thing.

Women in war movies are rare. They appear only in an attempt to prove that in war movies the men are not, as most sensible people suspect, sleeping with each other.

At least one or two men in the war movies sleep with something that looks, even if it does not act, like a woman. These are generally portrayed as creatures whose minds are smaller than their vaginas. Although we are often exposed in the movies to the limits of their minds, we never actually see their vaginas. The men in the movies pretend their vaginas do not exist. One can surmise however that they must be robust for the men to be so interested in these insipid creatures during their inevitably brief appearances. It is either that or their shoes are too tight.

Apocalypse Now is the ultimate man’s movie. The plot is about a love affair between two men — a psychopathic, depressed, serial murderer and substance abuser who goes in search of another psychopathic, depressed serial killer (but alas not a substance abuser) and kills him; a war movie‘s version of orgasm.

Another notable feature of the movie is its emphasis on male speech patterns, or man-talk. Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration, in a simple laconic statement, of their world view at the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.

For example, The Dennis Hopper character, a war photographer and to whom Captain Willard had just manly warned “You take my picture again I am going to kill you,”  asks Willard, who is tied up in a cage (SM alert), “Why would a nice guy like you want to kill a genius?”

Later he announces:

“The man is clear in his mind but his soul is mad.”

Robert Duvall portraying the surfing obsessed battlefield commander who loves waking up with the smell of napalm tickling his nostrils, after observing archly that “Charlie don’t surf,” comments:

“This war is run by four star clowns who are giving away the whole circus.”

Upon coming upon a platoon guarding a bridge at night during a particularly psychedelic fire-fight, Willard asks a one of the stoned platoon members, “Soldier who is in charge here?”  The soldier responds, “Ain’t you?”

“The horror. The horror.”

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

October 15: Feast Days and Holidays.
Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Hedwig of Silesia, Saint Thecla of Kitzingen. The Equirria or October equus, sacrifice of a horse to Mars. (Roman Empire). Global Hand-washing Day (International). Earliest day on which Sweetest Day can fall, while October 21 is the latest; celebrated on the third Saturday in October. (Great Lakes Region). White Cane Safety Day (United States).

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

It wants distribution of income to resemble the period from 1949 to 1979 rather than the period from 1980 to the present.
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B. Observations by Carroll Quigley:

“My experience and study of the destruction of civilizations and of the collapse of great empires has convinced me that empires and civilizations do not collapse because of deficiencies on the military or the political levels. The Roman army never met an army that was better than it was. But the Roman army could not be sustained when all these things had collapsed and no one cared. No one wanted to serve, no one wanted to pay taxes, no one cared.”
“Public Authority and the State in the Western Tradition: A Thousand Years of Growth, A.D. 976 – 1976”

(Are we repeating the Roman tragedy here in America, that we no longer care to pay taxes or serve because we are afraid it may benefit someone we do not like or fear?)

C. The Wit and Wisdom of Trenz Pruca:

On the Meaning of Words:

“Whitehead and Russell taught us that words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. In other words, it is all blah, blah, blah unless it has numbers. Goedel then taught us that mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. In other words, blah is still blah.”
http://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/

 

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Survival has never been a right… Survival has always been a matter of hard-earned elitism.”
Burke, Declan. Absolute Zero Cool. Liberties Press.

“It’s a crying shame, yeah, so have a cry, feel ashamed and get over it. The rest of the week is coming on hard and its brakes are shot to hell.”
Burke, Declan. Eightball Boogie.

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
5e0e4647c7b03991f015070349f736d5_1_2
Claude Monet

 

Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Pops 0003 (September 3, 2014)

“I think of myself as mostly a bad man who at times tried to do good and now and then succeeded only to find those successes often were ephemeral in significance and ambiguous in result.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthday Good/Bad David

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. RUTH GALANTER AND I SOMEWHERE IN ITALY SEVERAL YEARS AGO:
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We travelled with my son, daughter in law, and three grandchildren. I remember it as a happy time. (I think I still have those pants)
B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

1. Three lessons, more or less:

On Saturday I drove to San Francisco to visit my mother, daughter and son.

My mother, who is 96, is clearly dying. Unfortunately for her, she is fully aware of it and lies in her bed in the nursing home in terror of the prospect. There is a big difference between knowing that the great existential serial killer lurks somewhere around the corner and actually having him grab you by the throat.

(Did you know that in Irish mythology Death is a woman named Morrigan and appears in the form of a crow?)

Later, I had an excellent lunch with my daughter at an overpriced restaurant near North Beach. Among her portfolios for the State Department, she co-ordinates the American participation in the World Health Organization’s response to the rise in antibiotic resistant microorganisms. The creation of antibiotic resistant pathogens by inadvertence or design can be considered as great a threat to the US as terrorists launching a biologic weapon. When we speak about honoring those who defend our nation we too often forget about the many like her that also do so, with their minds and not with guns.

She brought me a briefcase full of photographs that I had stored at a friend’s house when I got rid of everything I owned five years ago. I had forgotten about them. Looking through them made me sad.

I also visited with my son and his family. My granddaughter had just returned from Japan where she and her mother had spent the summer with her mother’s family. I gave each of them one of LM’s colorful knitted caps.
IMG_20140830_181652_332

I learned there is a significant difference between the borderline and poor libertarians/tea partiers and its middle class supporters who you often see at protests and on Faux News. They, the borderline and poor, make more than minimum wage but often less than a real living wage. They rent and live in substandard housing in run down neighborhoods. They feel abandoned by the liberals with their emphasis on middle class interests and their seeming indifference to placing groups of working class poor in conflict with each other. They hate Republicans for their slavish support of oppressive corporate interests. As a result they have become bitter, anarchistic and compulsive purchaser of guns.

2. A question:

The following in a photograph of my current state of sartorial splendor. Several people have urged me to change my Facebook photo because I look too angry in it. Do you think I should replace it with this photo as a better representation of what I have become? I am obviously not the least bit angry or for that matter embarrassed.

IMG_20140831_094724_176_3

3. Along the Cosumnes River:

HRM is studying California history with his fourth grade class, beginning with the Donner Party. For those unfamiliar with how California schools approach the State’s history, they do not begin with the arrival of the Native Americans or of the Spanish, but with the Donner Party where a group of arrogant fortune seekers try to cross the Sierra Mountains in winter, get trapped in the snow and are forced to eat each other to stay alive until the remnants of the group were rescued.

Anyway, we decided to spend the morning with Naida West and Bill Geyer at their ranch on the banks of the Cosumnes River. Naida as you know wrote that wonderful historical trilogy about the area around the ranch during the Nineteenth Century. The eldest of the Donner children who was 14 years old at the time was married off to an unspeakably obnoxious employee of John Sutter, Perry McCoon. He was in his late 30’s. They moved to a small adobe cottage on the property where he left the young Donner girl alone for long periods of time. In the novel the young girl made friends with an indian woman from the village nearby who she discovers was also Perry McCoon’s wife and had a child by him.

I thought this visit would benefit HRM’s studies and ingratiate him with his teacher. Naida showed us some old photographs of the Donner girl and some of the other settlers in the area. She also brought out some of the Indian and settler artifacts she found on the property.
IMG_20140829_133859_646

We visited the site of the original adobe house, Perry McCoon’s grave, the remnants of dam site over which the miners and the ranchers had a shoot out and the indian village that the miners destroyed while slaughtering most of the inhabitants in an effort to steal their gold.

B. READINGS:

I have begun reading three non-fiction books more or less simultaneously. The first is Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times that I discuss in this and the previous issue of T&T.

I also am reading Quigley’s Weapons Systems and Political Stability. That book, although over 1000 pages long, was only partially completed when Quigley died. It eventually was published in manuscript form without editing. I am attempting to prepare an edited version with comments and summaries that I will issue in a new blog I hope to create.

The third book a translation of Kautilya’s Arthasatra (Economics) written in about 300BC as a treatise on governance for the Emperor-King of the Maurya empire Chandragupta. Chandragupta was one of Alexander the Great’s allies in his conquest of Western India (now mostly Pakistan) who after Alexander’s death rebelled against his successor Seleucus.

Kautilya was Chandragupa’s chief minister. His book bears great similarity to Machiavelli’s, The Prince written over 1800 years later except that Kautilya was much more bloody. An interesting chapter of the treatise concerns how to undermine a democracy* of which there were several in India at the time.

*Note: historically a democracy was and always has been government by a more or less large group with an equal say in limited aspects of governance in their society. It almost never meant universal suffrage. For example, in the Athens of Pericles, it meant, at best, male property owners with a much smaller group composed of the largest property owners exercising the most power. In the United States, it generally meant, at the beginning, white male Protestant property owners. The history of the US can be seen as a constant battle over the years to expand suffrage culminating in the mid 1960’s and receding since then. The first limitation to go was Protestant, then property owners, then ensued a 150 year un-concluded war over white interspersed with the removal of male as a limitation on suffrage.The recent reaction against expanding suffrage seeks to give those possessing significant wealth greater weight in both suffrage and power than those lacking it and to restrict by several means the exercise of the franchise by non-white Americans, the poor or recently naturalized citizens without wealth. Despite the overall expansion of suffrage, real power in the US has almost always been exercised by a much smaller group of men owning or heading immense economic entities. Usually these entities have been big industrial, natural resource or financial concerns and for a brief period large centrally controlled labor organizations. There has never been in America a power entity organized to represent the middle class, the intellectual and professional class or the consumer. Those are generally perceived as the prey of the other power groups and the potential unwitting supporters of whichever group defrauds them into believing they have a real unity of interest.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

QUIGLEY ON TOP

Carroll I hardly knew ye. Carroll-Quigley-1956 Carroll-Quigley-1956-Pr1_tn

I have never met anyone who has taken Carroll Quigley’s class at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service who has not agreed the experience was life changing, and that includes such diverse personalities as Bill Clinton and Pat Buchanan. Clinton in his Democratic Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address 16th July 1992, said this about Quigley:

“As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest nation in history because our people had always believed in two things: that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.”

I remember Professor Quigley, in the old military barracks that served us for classrooms back then, plunging down the aisle, arm outstretched as though it held a sword or a spear, shouting out the intimate details of whatever great world shaking battle we were learning about at the time. I recall also my shock when I learned that Plato was not just some Greek in a toga who was Socrates mouthpiece and talked a lot about caves and shadows, but that his ideas, for better of worse, but mostly for worse, may have shaped the fundamental beliefs of whole societies.

His book The Evolution of Civilization (1979) contains more or less the substance of his lectures. Tragedy and Hope (1966) containing over 1300 pages and the uncompleted Weapons Systems and Political Stability (1983) with over 1000 includes most of his lectures adjusted and expanded to cover the special focus of each book. The question this brings to mind of course is, given the multitude of facts and the breadth of the subject matter, how was it possible for the student to digest this knowledge. Even more remarkable is that many of us remember the specifics of the lectures, even as in my case over 50 years later.

He accomplished this feat of teaching by the immense theatricality of his lectures combined with breaking down the facts into repetitive categories and the surprising novelty of his insights. As an example of the latter, I opened Tragedy and Hope and extracted a random quote:

“Helmuth von Moltke, who had never commanded a unit so large as a company previously. Moltke’s great contribution was to be found in the fact that, by using the railroad and the telegraph, he was able to merge mobilization and attack into a single operation so that the final concentration of his forces took place in the enemy country, practically on the battlefield itself, just before contact with the main enemy forces took place.”

All I had ever known of von Moltke before was that he had humiliated the forces of Napoleon III of France. The surprise that he was an amateur and his vaunted strategy so simple, forever fixed these facts my mind.

Of course, the way it usually happens with successful military innovations, they become doctrines that others copy. The French military academies took the concept of mass assault and interpreted it as a question of morale. Unbelievably, French military doctrine following their defeat, maintained that defense was irrelevant, that mass attacks were the only strategy and the army with the highest morale would always win because the army with lower moral would run away. This also would produce fewer casualties. The Italians modified this theory to eliminate morale and opted to place machine guns at the backs of the troops instead of in front of them in order to shoot any who hesitated in the attack. Of course, at Caporetto it meant that the Italian troops charging the Austrian lines surrendered in mass when they reached the enemy’s trenches. Italian troops were not so dumb as to buy their leaders view of “Patria” as something to die for.

This military doctrine of bringing troops rapidly to a huge front for a mass attack collapsed in WW I when both sides ran into barbed wire, machine guns and trenches and died in huge numbers no matter how quickly they got to the battlefield or how high their morale.

Perhaps the central element of Quigley’s teaching is that it is the humanism of society and not its form of government that should be at its heart. For example, about minority rights he wrote:

“I define democracy as majority rule and minority rights. Of these the second is more important than the first. There are many despotisms which have majority rule. Hitler held plebiscites in which he obtained over 92 percent of the vote, and most of the people who were qualified to vote did vote. I think that in China today a majority of the people support the government, but China is certainly not a democracy.

The essential half of this definition then, is the second half, minority rights. What that means is that a minority has those rights which enable it to work within the system and to build itself up to be a majority and replace the governing majority. Moderate deviations from majority rule do not usually undermine democracy. In fact, absolute democracy does not really exist at the nation-state level. For example, a modest poll tax as a qualification for voting would be an infringement on the principle of majority rule but restrictions on the suffrage would have to go pretty far before they really abrogated democracy. On the other hand relatively slight restrictions on minority rights — the freedoms of speech, assembly, and other rights — would rapidly erode democracy.”
The Mythology Of American Democracy

Teaching was Quigley’s life. Many of those he taught intended to enter the United States Foreign Service. He believed they needed to comprehend the cultures they would work in and therefore he developed a method of analysis of culture, history and society that would aid them in their vocation and hopefully create a better world.

He was always was an optimist. Later in life, however, that optimism began to wane. I guess it was like a person who builds one of the world’s most beautiful buildings and warns those who inhabit it that they must remain vigilant against rust and rot only eventually to find the residents too busy pursuing what appears important to them individually to bother with what was necessary for them all.

He ended one of his last lectures with the following:

“Now I want to say good night. Do not be pessimistic. Life goes on; life is fun. And if a civilization crashes, it deserves to. When Rome fell, the Christian answer was, ‘Create our own communities.’“

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I see great things in baseball.”
Walt Whitman

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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A stunning photograph of a scuffle in the Ukraine Parliament bearing an astounding resemblance to a Renaissance painting. Actually, it is more Mannerist than High Renaissance. It is also an almost perfect example of chiaroscuro. Caravaggio would love it.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Pops 0003 (August 25, 2014)

“Poets are not happy people.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM AMERICA:
A. COMPOSITION IN RED AND GREEN:

xl_american_odyssey_276-277
A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

In a modern upper middle class subdivision community like El Dorado Hills it is difficult to observe, like Thoreau did, the macrocosm in the microcosm, the larger in the smaller, the world in a blade of grass, society in the clash of competing ant colonies. The reason for this is that the novelty and chaos of the microcosm is determinately eliminated in a place like El Dorado Hills and replaced by orderly organization of the environment and the society living in it. It should be pointed out, I am speaking of organization and not regimentation. In fact, regimentation would be antithetical to the appearance of freedom the orderliness intends to convey. Alas, freedom, if one can use that generalization, reflects more in our adaptation and reaction to the vagaries of our environment. If our environment is too organized and orderly we risk being absorbed into it like a fly stuck in wet paint.

For this reason I often find few observations to write about here. How many ways can one discuss an organization or anything that de-emphasizes change.? The same trees appear in orderly rows along the parkway medians, distinctions among them blurred. Change seems slowed and conflict submerged in silence. I expect even the ant colonies have given up their competition over food.

A relief from this organized orderliness lies in the appearance here and there of feral animals who have adapted to this environment, wild turkeys, coyotes, snakes and the like. They romp fat and unwary across the landscape as long as the gates to the subdivision remain closed and the humans within disinclined or prohibited from killing and eating them.

Therefore, I welcome the odd and unknown clank and wheeze in the car requiring me to bring it in to the repair shop, as I did a few days ago, and, until the car is repaired, spend my day in and around Sacramento’s Capitol Park among my beloved trees.

Now, my friend Yeates is quite fond of birds and very knowledgable about them. I suspect that, from a smear of birdshit on the sidewalk, he could deduce the latin name of the avian shitter; the color of its feathers; where it was going and whether it was reading the NY times when it shat.

I, on the other hand, love trees. True, I do not know many of their species names unless I read them on a plaque affixed to the trunk, but I know I can hug them when I want to and which ones give good shade to old men sitting on benches in the park. I can tell the differences between those with rough barks and those with smooth. I know which ones would be good for climbing if I were 60 years younger. And, I can imagine grasping the highest branches and looking out over the countryside while wafting back and forth in the breeze unafraid of falling, confident that the branches will catch me in their arms before I hit the ground cradling me like a mother embracing her child.

Anyway, eventually I left the park and the trees for lunch with Stevie and Norbert where we played “ain’t it awful” while we ate.

B. A PLEASING COMMENT:

Naida West’s thoughtful and sensitive comment on my rumination in the previous issue of T&T about my upcoming 75th birthday pleased me greatly. I though you might enjoy it almost as much as I did.

“You wrote:

‘Someone’s 75th birthday seems to me to be an important milestone in life. One should spend those milestones with those with whom they had shared a portion of it, friends and family. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do so. …Maybe I’ll buy myself a birthday cake.’

I’ll go a step further and say: One’s 75th birthday IS an important milestone that ought to be shared with friends and family. I was happy to learn that my Carmel High School class of ’57 is throwing a birthday bash for all of us, since we’ve all turned, or will turn, 75 this year. We’re calling it the “57-75” party — more than a reunion.

I recall my 2 birthday parties — the first a wondrous event with a kitchen table full of kids and my mother setting a birthday cake before me, ablaze with 4 candles. My father and I had held hands as we walked down the alley to the tiny corner grocery store to buy the candles, and I will always remember his loving tone as he spoke to me like I was a grown up. My cousin once removed, 7 at the time, leaned over and blew out the candles before I understood my role. Two of my aunts scolded him; he turned red, and I felt sorry for his embarrassment. My next and last birthday party occurred when I turned 8, with one friend there, and my brother and little sister.

Long ago I told my husbands, in turn, and my children, that I don’t care about my birthdays, that they needn’t bother their heads about it. Yet when I turned 75 in April, I felt it would have been nice to have some sort of shared celebration. Maybe I’m just an unfair old grouch looking back over 50 years of arranging birthday parties for my elders, my 2 husbands, and each of my 3 children from age 1 to about 15.

Yes, buy yourself a birthday cake! And consider me to be a spirit guest, as well as a member of the great class of ’57. In Carmel I’ll raise a glass of wine to you. A classmate who owns the party building, along with nearly every other building in downtown Carmel, has doubtless encountered evidence of your work.

Also from TNT, your dream: “…a reverse nightmare, waking up was the horror.”

Well said.”

I urge all of you who read this, to treat yourself (perhaps on your birthday) to Naida’s three wonderful historical novels set in the Cosumnes River area near Sacramento during the 19th Century. You will not be disappointed. You can order them at: bridgehousebooks@gmail.com.

Pookie says check it out.
C. A MESSAGE TO THE TOOTH FAIRY:

HRM wrote the following note to the tooth fairy which he placed under his pillow along with the detached tooth:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

Did you ever take John Cena’s tooth? Yes__ or No___

Please respond.”

Clearly a future CEO; dynamic and imperious behavior set in an imaginary universe.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:
Quigley up top:

Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), one of the great but unheralded minds of the latter part of the 20th Century, wrote a book entitled “Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Times” (1965). He believed the explanation for the disintegration of a society can be identified in the gradual transformation of social arrangements functioning to meet real social needs into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

Perhaps because of what it also revealed, his book mysteriously quickly disappeared from the selves of bookstores to be replaced four years later by a heavily edited version that eliminated much the book’s disclosures. In about 2002, the original version finally was republished.

To professor Quigley’s great dismay, the revelations in the book and the facts surrounding its publication became fodder for the tin-foil hat brigade, including Alex Jones, and inadvertently inspired the conspiracy culture that still infects America today. Although “Tragedy and Hope,” became the wellspring of innumerable conspiracy theories, Quigley strenuously objected to them all. He wrote:

“This radical Right fairy tale, which is now an accepted folk myth in many groups in America, pictured the recent history of the United States, in regard to domestic reform and in foreign affairs, as a well-organized plot by extreme Left-wing elements…. This myth, like all fables, does in fact have a modicum of truth. “

After describing the “modicum of truth,” he continues:

“I have no aversion to it (the organizations and activities that the conspiracy theorists base their conjectures on) or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies… but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”

In this and following issues of T&T, I will write more about Quigley, discuss and at times criticize his arguments and disclosures as well as provide examples of its content and of his other writings.

As an illustration, Quigley, rightly or wrongly, maintained that until the later half of the 19th Century society as reflected in history was the story of the economic, intellectual and military elites. The peasants and proletariat were, other than for the technology they used, of little account.

“it is revealing that the ideological appeal for allegiance in the last two thousand years of Europe’s history (and, indeed, in most of mankind’s earlier history) made almost no effort to reach or to attract the peasants, who were, throughout history down to the nineteenth century, not only the most numerous class in society but were also, of course, the economic support of the power structure. This failure to make ideological appeal to the most numerous and most necessary group in the community was a consequence of the facts of power which are being discussed in this book. Whatever the number of the tillers of the soil or the indispensable nature of their contribution to the community, their power has always been insignificant, except in the few, relatively brief periods when they have been of military importance to the community. Except for the period before about 4000 B.C., and for a few centuries in Roman history and an even briefer period in some areas of Greek history, the peasantry has played almost no role in military life and, accordingly, almost no role in political life of the communities which have made history. This military and political incapacity of the tillers of the soil, so glaringly evident under feudalism or during the Thirty Years’ War, was a function of the distribution of weapons and of military organization, and is a remarkable example of the weakness of economic necessity in contrast with the role of force in any society. As we shall see, the rise in political significance of peasants and farmers in the nineteenth century, a rise which never took them to a dominant position, was a consequence of changes of weapons, a fact almost unmentioned by historians of the modern period. A similar neglect of peasants has existed in most of history, but on a gigantic scale, in Asia and in Africa, and, above all, in China,…”
Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America.

Be that as it may, according to Quigley this élite produced a society in the West (including North and South America, etc.) that distinguished it from others and, without diminishing the values those other societies, it was something that he approved of.

“it is clear that the West believes in diversity rather than in uniformity, in pluralism rather than in monism or dualism, in inclusion rather than exclusion, in liberty rather than in authority, in truth rather than in power, in conversion rather than in annihilation, in the individual rather than in the organization, in reconciliation rather than in triumph, in heterogeneity rather than in homogeneity, in relativisms rather than in absolutes, and in approximations rather than in final answers.”
Quigley, Carroll. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. GSG & Associates Publishers.

Quigley believed that the intolerance or rigidity often evident in the religious practices and among some secular groups in the West were in the most part aberrations from its nature of relative inclusivity and diversity. I am less sanguine about this last point. It, however, has been reported that in the last few years of his life Quigley became more pessimistic about the West’s commitment to those ideals.

Quigley also published, The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis. First edition, 1961, New York: Macmillan, 281 pp., The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden. 1981, New York: Books in Focus, 354 pages, and Weapons Systems and Political Stability: A History. 1983, Washington DC: University Press of America, 1064 pages.

DAILY FACTOID:
1775: Jeanne Baret of France, became the first woman to sail around the world. She did it disguised as a man so that she could assist botanist Philibert de Commerson, who was also her lover. One of them — quite probably Baret — discovered the Bougainvillea plant.

Ah, those French, always with the love and the flowers…

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
A. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:

An honest commitment to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

“‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security.”
Franklin Roosevelt 1944 message to Congress

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

Oliver’s brilliant response to comments disagreeing with a Facebook post of his.

“Kayleigh Sedlack: Don’t be part of the problem Olivier.. Let’s try to be positive and find peace.

Nick Mojica: He is the problem.

Olivier Tomas Grandvoinet: Heyyyy get that shit outta here, y’all aren’t the demographic I’m rallying with at the moment.”

C. More from Facebook

I just noticed that my time-line has reported my new life event: “started working at retired.” Thank God, here I thought I was only wasting my time.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
Lauren Bacall

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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The Good Gay Poet Walt Whitman.

“God is a mean-spirited, pugnacious bully bent on revenge against His children for failing to live up to his impossible standards.”
― Walt Whitman

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Papa Joe 0001 (September 28, 2012)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

First things first; my most recent blog post for Smart+Connected Communities Institute has been published. It is about technological improvements in earthquake warning systems instituted by California’s Seismic Safety Commission. Click here if you would think you might be interested in reading it. Even if you are not interested in it click anyway (several times if you feel up to it) so that they may feel encouraged to continue to employ me.

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Alas my time here in California is rapidly approaching its end. I will leave for Florida on September 29 and then in quick succession on to DC, NY and Italy before returning to Thailand sometime around the third week in October.

Since returning to Sacramento, I have resumed my nanny duties, usually with little to distinguish one day from the next.

On Saturday I spent my morning at a local coffee house. Weekend mornings brings parents from the surrounding subdivisions taking their children there for breakfast. While waiting on line to give my order, the man in the line in front of me with two sub-seven year olds in tow, having heard the man in line behind me call out the name of one of his own three sub-seven year olds, commented to him that he thought it was an unusual name (I did not hear the name). The other man explained that he was a wine collector and had named all his children after wines. This one he explained was one of his favorite varietals grown in Napa Valley.

Later that day, Dick, Hayden and I traveled to the Mekouleme Hill ranch of Congressman John Garamendi for his annual BBQ. On the way we stopped at Bill and Naida’s ranch in Rancho Murietta because I wanted to say goodbye to them before leaving for Thailand. Both Bill and Naida looked remarkably well. That made me happy.

While at the ranch we toured Bill’s classic car collection that included this wonderful Woody:
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Bill also had a classic red pickup from the 50’s that I lusted for. All of his cars are up for sale, if any of you are interested.

After leaving the ranch we travelled down route 49 that bisects the “Gold Country” and stopped at a place in Jackson called “Fat Freddy’s” where we sat at the counter eating lunch washed down with malted milkshakes and listened to the woman behind the counter’s stories about Jackson Phil (as opposed to Phil Jackson the legendary Lakers basketball coach) the legendary gold hoarding squirrel who stole one nugget too many and is now stuffed and adorns a shelf on the wall behind the counter.

We eventually arrived at the Garamendi ranch. The festivities featured country and western music, gold panning, petting zoos, aging politicians and more. The following is a photograph of Hayden on the tractor posing with the Congressman himself.
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I remember him (Garamendi) from his first days in the State legislature in December 1974. He had come to Senator Jerry Smith’s office to be mentored in legislative process because Smith was assigned as his mentor. I thought he was a dick-head. Someone described him as a real boy-scout. Like I said a dick-head. Since then I am told he has mellowed out a lot.

After spending some time at the event reminiscing with Norbert and Stevie, we left and returned home.

The next day I watched the 49rs lose, plunging me into such deep depression that it required me to lie in bed and sulk for the rest of the day.

During the following week I settled back into executing my nanny and chauffeur duties and began packing for my departure on Friday. As usual, contemplation of leaving someplace where I have become relatively content made me sad enough to mist my eyes now and then as I folded my clothing into the suitcase. Nevertheless, the idea of staying here too much longer filled me with as much dread as leaving did sadness.

On Thursday morning we headed off to the courthouse in Placerville in hopes that this morning’s hearing would end the child custody case. Opposing counsel had notified us that repeated attempts to contact the petitioner for instruction regarding a response to our motion to dismiss failed and he had no choice but to not appear at the hearing. At the hearing the petitioner, without notification to anyone, called into the court and claimed no knowledge of his attorney’s attempts to contact him. The judge put the hearing off until the second week in October to allow petitioner to straighten things out with his attorney or to find new counsel.

The law is pretty clear on the subject. If a woman is married at the time the child is born, the husband at the time is the presumed father. In general the presumption is absolute unless the party wishing to be declared father can demonstrate an intimate nurturing relationship with the child the sundering of which would be catastrophic for the child’s well being. I cannot see how Petitioner reaches the threshold required in the published opinions to overcome the presumption. It seems to me that seven years of taking no for an answer does not an intimate parental relationship make.

While waiting for our case to come up on the agenda, we listened to a hearing on a dispute between a husband and his wife. It seems that the husband, who has an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Arizona, and his girlfriend, a medical marijuana user who admits to being stoned day and night, are living in the house that the wife previous lived in with the husband. The husband has not paid on the mortgage for 18 months or so and the mortgage company has not moved to evict him because the house is worth less than the mortgage. The wife, who has a series of arrests of her own on her record for shoplifting and other things, is pissed and wants the husband to be forced to sell the house and pay rent somewhere. When the judge hesitated, the wife produced a letter from a doctor claiming the loving couple’s 41/2 year old daughter had been sexually abused presumably while spending time with the husband and the stoner. The judge said he will have to read everything before deciding anything. Sheriff’s deputies had been called to protect the wife because the girl friend had made physical threats against the wife.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth [see below] was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement.

Later on in the day I took Hayden to his Taekwondo class. Sometimes parents while waiting for their children to finish their lessons read magazines and books to while away the time rather than to stare at their white uniformed loved ones jump around and grunt in make-believe mayhem. The place has accumulated a fairly well stocked library of bad novels and back issues of People Magazine left behind by the proud but bored parents. For the last few sessions, I had been reading a well thumbed through novel by John Gresham entitled The Bleachers and serendipitously I finished it up that but evening.

I normally avoid anything by Gresham. He writes with a very well written drab spare stylessness that passes for a style. His characters are one dimensional defined by the events around them. I think of him a similar to Elmore Leonard but without the wit and the humor. This novel was not his usual mystery, but a tear jerker for males about ex-football jocks returning to their small town to await the death of their high school coach. It was good enough to make me cry now and then. I like to cry when I read.

The following morning I hugged Hayden before he went off to school and we said our goodbyes. I cried some more. Than I left Sacramento on the first leg of my trip that may even eventually take me back to Thailand for the next few months.

TODAY’S MISLEADING FACTOID:
Graphic unavailable at this time
The yield per acre for wheat in England, France, and Germany and the yield for rice in Japan. These top-producing countries for the two most important cereals for direct human consumption have failed in the last 10 or more years to increase productivity.

(This chart was used by one of my otherwise generally reliable analysts, Jeremy Grantham, as evidence of one of the inevitable crises exacerbated by the effects of climate change and population growth; the leveling off of productivity increases for major food crops eventually breeding shortages and rising prices. [Grantham is an investment advisor after all.] What is misleading about this graph is that it shows the leveling off in four countries whose populations are not growing. Left unstated is whether or not per acre crop yields are increasing in countries with growing populations or whether additional acres of farm land are being devoted to these food crops in response to rising demand.

I expect crop yields are not increasing in any way as much as they did during the so-called “Green Revolution” of 30 or so years ago that, by keeping agricultural prices low, staved off wide spread social dislocation that could have been caused by rampant population growth at the time . Yes, hunger is a question of cost every bit as much as it is a question of ethics.

Similarly, I suspect that removal of crop land from production due to urbanization and climate change more than balances the unused acreage put into production due to the promise of higher prices.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso of Bokonon (Vonnegut):

“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

B. What “Occupy” is all about and what it really wants:
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C. What Republicans say about Republicans:

Want to know just how crazy all sides — including mine — in this “hell debate” are? Watch the movie “Hellbound?” and take a peek into the asylum that is housing the people who are destroying the world. They now own a major political party and are running a Mormon opportunist who believes in nothing and his Ayn Rand/Jesus/God-nut sidekick who believes in way too much and who wants to take what little the poor have away in the name of opportunity.
Frank Schaeffer. His father was one of the founders of what we now know as the Religious Right in this country, and he write about his experience growing up in that family in the superbly written Crazy for God.

D. Electioneering:
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E. Testosterone Chronicles (“Men, Who Needs Them” Edition):

When I explained this (the biological irrelevancy of men to human species reproduction) to a female colleague and asked her if she thought that there was yet anything irreplaceable about men, she answered, “They’re entertaining.”
Taken from the NY Times opinion page article, Men, Who Needs Them? By Greg Hampikian.

The entertainment quality of men in general, in my opinion, is highly overrated.
F. Investment advice for those of us who are so foolish as to invest in anything Wall Street is peddling:

20 Ways Wall Street is Ripping Off Small Investors:

1. Providing nominal returns, not real returns.

2. Encouraging too much diversification, if that’s possible.

3. Hiding fees and expenses.

4. Turning you into a passive investor.

5. Convincing you that money markets are the same as cash.

6. Telling you that bonds are safer than equities.

7. Explaining that in the long run equities outperform bonds.

8. Simply by lying about their products.

9. Convincing you that their bank is a large, stable, safe operation to deal with.

10. Recommending products that have enormous sales commissions attached to them.

11. Cheating you on bid/ask spreads.

12. Selling you what they don’t want.

13. Measuring your success in dollars.

14. Lending your securities to others.

15. Ripping your eyes out if you ever try to close your account.

16. Grabbing any slight positive real return for themselves.

17. Sticking toxic waste to small investors.

18. Pretending they can pick stocks.

19. Acting like they are your best friend and they have your best interests at heart.

20. Knowing next to nothing about the value of holding real assets like gold and real estate.
John R. Talbott is a bestselling author and financial consultant to families whose books predicted the housing crash, the banking crisis and the global economic collapse.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
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I always liked Wilde. That one could write a passable jail-house poem, a reasonably good book, insult everyone, dress like he did and still become famous even before the creation of the internet, confirms my belief that God is the ultimate humorist.

Speaking of God and humor, did you know that while growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. [For those that get this — you are showing your age.] Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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This is accurate except that it omits the importance of Occam’s Razor to scientific theory. That is, in its most basic terms, Occam requires that the simplest explanation that accounts for all the observable facts be preferred over the more complicated [However, as Einstein pointed out, “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.”.

Nevertheless, Occam’s Razor does not apply to fantasy, religion, politics, economics or sales. Perhaps it should, but if it did so, those worthy examples of human endeavor probably would soon disappear. I would miss fantasy though.

Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Papa Joe 0001 (September 21 2012)

TODAY FROM  AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN  CALIFORNIA:

So, this past weekend I returned to the Bay Area. My sister and her husband George picked me up at the Berkeley train station. We went directly to an exhibition at a local Japanese Tiako drum school in Emeryville. After listening to the students banging on their drums for a while we were all invited to take a lesson; which we did (including me). It was great fun and can be added to my bucket list.

I rejected signing up for lessons. I find the concept of repetition for the purpose of getting better at whatever — unappealing.

Here is a photograph of me banging on my drum.

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Later, after the lesson, we returned to my sister’s house where her son Brendan (he who recently had been released from the hospital following a serious operation to correct an intestinal obstruction caused by Crone’s Disease) was throwing a BBQ party. Brendan also plays the drums in a local rock band. After we ate through acres of several varieties of burned flesh, his band played music until the neighbors complained.

I went upstairs and watched three episodes of Game of Thrones.

The next day we took my mom out to lunch a Le Zinc, a bistro in Noe Valley, where we met up with Peter. After lunch Mary and George drove my mom back to the home. Peter and I drifted off to a local coffee-house where we sat on a bench in the sun, drank our coffee and reminisced.

I spent the night at my son’s house where after watching the Niners game (they won) and eating a pizza we argued over whether there is a world-wide conspiracy by the military to suppress evidence of mermen.

The following morning I returned by train to Sacramento.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

I could not decide if this belonged in Testosterone Chronicles (Penis Category) or in Bent News. I leave it for the reader to decide.

Mt friend Gary posted me the following that appeared in a Japanese newspaper:

“A man who cooked his genitals and served them up to diners at a Japanese restaurant has been charged with indecent exposure.

Mao Sugiyama, 23, had his penis and testicles surgically removed by a physician in March.

They had been certified free of infections and were frozen for two months before being served up at a banquet in Suginami, a residential area in western Tokyo.

He charged guests around £160 per person to eat the meal which was garnished with mushrooms and parsley.

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said criminal papers against Sugiyama and three other people who helped organise the event were sent to the Tokyo district public prosecutors’ office.

Sugiyama who describes himself as an ‘asexual’ illustrator, could not be arrested for cooking or selling his genitals as there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.

If convicted of indecent exposure, Sugiyama, who has also had his nipples removed, could be jailed up to two years and fined up to 2.5 million yen ($32,000).

Mao, who goes by the nickname HC, said he had initially considered eating his own penis – but decided to serve them up instead.

He cooked the genitalia, which were removed in early April shortly after his 22nd birthday, himself while being supervised by a chef.”

(And for the twenty-fifth year in a row Japan wins the Academy Award for the Weirdest People on Earth.

— Alas, I sort of hoped the photograph of me banging on the Taiko drum would return the award to America.

— What the f**k is an “asexual” illustrator?

— At first, as I read this item I wondered why anyone would have his nipples surgically removed, but then I remembered that here in America many women have their noses surgically removed. At least they do not cook them up and serve them to their best friends.

— And before I forget, for those of you so inclined, there is no law against cannibalism in Japan.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

From Jake Needham through Gary:

“If the mass of Thai people has a genius for anything, and that is certainly a fit subject for spirited debate, it is a talent for living day-to-day no matter what happens around them. It isn’t a show of resilience… it is more like the repeated invocation of a widespread collective unconscious, Thais can turn a blind eye to even the unhappiest of events. The Thais were a people who, after all, managed mostly to ignore World War II. They probably looked at the invading Japanese army as the latest wave of sex tourists to arrive on their shores, just a bunch of horny guys with money to spend, all of whom happened to be wearing identical outfits.”

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Slide1
B. ELECTIONEERING:

1. “Describing the evolution of the Republicans’ racial appeal, the late Lee Atwater, one-time chair of the Republican National Committee and member of the Reagan administration, said in 1981. “You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ – that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing [and] states’ rights. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites … obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘nigger, nigger’.”
GARY YOUNGE

2.

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(I show this not because it accurately describes Mitt but because I think it is amusing. To some extent Mitt is getting a raw deal. I view him as a somewhat more conservative Eisenhower Republican who unfortunately must appear to be something he is not to his much more socially and economically conservative base without whose support he has no chance to be elected and unfortunately for him he neither understands nor agrees with.

The modern Democratic party is actually the heir to the Eisenhower-Rockefeller Republicans (with a slight Organized Labor bias). Its base is economically cautious and socially somewhat liberal. Its left-wing has no greater function than to operate as a break on its inevitable drift to the right.

Instead of saying that if he were Mexican he would be President, Mitt would have been more accurate to have said if he were running as a Democrat he would be elected president by acclamation.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Lincoln’s greatest fear:

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood … It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”
A.Lincoln

(Alas, God chose not to grant this wish to Old Abe either.)

TODAY’S CHARTS:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 33 Pops 0001 (September 17, 2012)

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” 

Frederic Bastiat

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

After spending the night at my sister’s house in Berkley, we visited my mom and took her out for lunch in North Beach. This was the first time, despite her 94 years, that she appeared truly old, depressed and lonely.

The next two days I visited with my son and his family. I got my quarterly dose of reality TV. This time I watched something about living in Alaska. I got to see men (almost always men) trapping and killing animals; in this case beavers and a lynx. We got to see the lynx with its foot caught in a trap struggle to break free. After they dispatched the creature we were entertained by the hunters skinning and eating it. I fully understand the need of those living in remote areas to hunt and trap game, but how broadcasting the vicarious experience to overweight, indolent couch potatoes (like me) can be considered entertainment escapes me.

On the next day, I got to watch 22 overgrown men (always men) beat up on each other in an effort to push the inflated swine skin over an arbitrary chalk drawn line. Unlike the prior evening, I considered this great entertainment. As I am sure most of you already know the SF 49rs defeated the Green Bay Packers. Go Niners!

After the game I spent the rest of the afternoon in the park with Amanda my granddaughter.

Early Monday morning, I returned to Sacramento. While riding the J-Church to the train station, I contemplated my contribution to the transformation of the happy-go-lucky child that was my son into an angry and unhappy adult. So there I was that morning, just another old man sitting on the trolley before sunrise with tears in his eyes. Less so because of what has been and the pain it has caused but because we know that tomorrow will come and the tears if not forgotten will be added to the increasingly heavy burden of unresolved guilt.

The next day I bought a copy of the new novel about the Kennedy assassination by that Shakespeare of digression, Steven King. Never has a writer written so much so well about things that have nothing to do with the plot than King. He was far less verbose as a stoned alcoholic. Beware of writers in AA.

On the other hand Sheldon Siegel, a much less tiresome author has a new book out, The Terrorist Within. I look forward to reading it. As far as I know Sheldon is not in AA.

I spent the week back in Sacramento mostly as a chauffeur. When not driving various people around, I spent time preparing the responses to discovery requests in the custody litigation and finalizing the new post for the Smart&Connected blog.

At the end of the week my sister told me that she had met with a company that, on behalf of international organizations like The World Bank and various large foundations, advises and assists non-profits on social media issues. One of the managers knew about the Coastal Conservancy and had a very favorable opinion of it. Since I will be leaving California in about two weeks, I decided to spend the weekend following up on this. It will also give me an opportunity to visit with my family and Peter one last time before I depart.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Conservatives are right, Liberals control the media and everything else.

A study reported in Psychology Today, on which I commentated a few posts back, pointed out that in general conservatives are less intelligent than Liberals. It goes on to state:

Conservatives often complain that liberals control the media or the show business or the academia or some other social institutions. The Hypothesis explains why conservatives are correct in their complaints. Liberals do control the media, or the show business, or the academia, among other institutions, because, apart from a few areas in life (such as business) where countervailing circumstances may prevail, liberals control all institutions. They control the institutions because liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives and thus they are more likely to attain the highest status in any area of (evolutionarily novel) modern life.

(OMG, the Right is…well, right. Life is a Left-wing conspiracy.)

2. “We will never have the élite, smart people on our side.”
Rick Santorum

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

A few posts ago I wrote about the coming election as perhaps the last hurrah for the white male ascendency in American politics. Today in an article by Gary Younge quoted in Daily Kos, he confirms the situation (Note the quote by a Republican strategist that I underlined):

“This could be the final hurrah for what became known as Nixon’s southern strategy in what is shaping up to be the most racially polarized election ever. Black support for the Republican party literally cannot get any lower. A recent Wall Street Journal poll had 0% of African-Americans saying they intend to vote for Romney. At 32%, support among Latinos is higher but still remains pathetically low given what Republicans need to win (40%) and what they have had in the past — in 2004 George W. Bush won 44%. As a result, the party of Lincoln is increasingly dependent on just one section of the electorate — white people. To win, Romney needs 61% of the white vote from a white turnout of 74%. That’s a lot. In 2008, John McCain got 55% from the same turnout. “This is the last time anyone will try to do this,” one Republican strategist told the National Journal. And Republican consultant Ana Navarro told the Los Angeles Times: “Where his numbers are right now, we should be pressing the panic button.” […]”

(In my last post I quoted the following:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.”

I feel sad for these men; deluded by their history of ascendency over women of their class and other minorities, lied to by their political and religious leaders and misused by their employers, they have been misled to believe their ever so slight social standing was theirs by right and not earned by effort.)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

“Obama ran on ‘change’ in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning.”
— Matt Taibbi, Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Rolling Stone, August 29, 2012.

(Taibbi is a political polemicist who writes well. Although his basic facts are often correct, sometimes his rhetoric can be misleading. Romney may very well be considered a child of the conflict between manufacturers of transactions and manufacturers of products he was never a “pioneer.” The conflict, such as it is, has been going on for one hundred years or more.

The first break between the manufacturers of transactions, “transactionists” (In a broader context sometimes included among those referred to in classical economic literature as “rentiers”) and manufacturers of products occurred in the 1920s as they, the transactionists sought to obtain full partnership and ultimately dominate political and economic decision-making of society for their benefit. It brought on the Great Depression. Due to the New Deal’s emphasis on manufacturing, production and product development, the transactionists were reduced again to merely wealthy and fiscally conservative transaction managers for industrialists.

By the late 1970s and early 1980s they emerged again, but this time even the manufacturers of products were their enemies as they drove traditional manufacturing beyond our shores and persuaded the gullible and unwary that wealth accumulation does not require any products other than the transactions themselves.

Mitt was little more than a bench warmer on a very politically successful team.)

D. BOKONONISM – CALYPSOS:

The Fourteenth Calypso
When I was young
I was so gay and mean,
And I drank and chased the girls
Just like young St. Augustine.
Saint Augustine,
He got to be a saint.
So, if I get to be one, also,
Please. Mama, don’t you faint.

The Fifty-third Calypso
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen–
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice–
So many different people
In the same device.

The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso
“Where’s my good old gang done gone?”
I heard a man say.
I whispered in that sad man’s ear,
“Your gang’s done gone away.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
TODAY’S CHART:
voting-infographic

(While this chart may contain interesting information, it is not very helpful. The presidential election, because of the electoral college system will be decided by the nature of the turnout primarily in Ohio. Without Ohio (and perhaps Florida) Romney probably cannot win . Obama on the other hand has a number of ways to put together 270 electoral votes required to prevail.

Control of Congress will depend more upon the number of women and minorities living in so-called competitive districts. If the district (or State) lacks minority voters in the percentages described the Republican will in most cases prevail.

Note: except for perhaps Florida the turnout percentage differences between men and women will remain constant. However the numbers of minorities varies greatly from district to district and state to state.)

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Pops 0001 (September 10, 2012)

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
–W. B. Yeats

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

SWAC has thrown her back out and now walks about like an arthritic octogenarian. Hayden has come down with some form of stomach flu and Dick is in LA chasing earthquakes. As a result, I have been pressed into the role of part-time nurse to supplement my ongoing role of part-time nanny.

Last Saturday while visiting with Bill and Naida, after noticing the butterfly net Hayden had brought with him to fish for crawdads, Bill told me about his youthful adventures as an accomplished Lepidopterist. For almost an hour I listened, fascinated, to stories about butterfly hunting in Northern California 60 years ago. When he and his friends, the Crocker brothers, were about 10 years old they persuaded the State Parks Department to allow them to replenish the deteriorating collections at several of the parks. I learned all about how to get the wings spread properly when mounting the specimens and the many varieties of swallowtail fluttering around in the Sierra’s.

On Thursday I took the train from Sacramento to San José. I looked forward to dinner that night with Bill Gates and Jerry Smith. I had not seen Jerry in over a decade. For those unfamiliar with Jerry Smith, he was the State Senator who was the principle author of the California Coastal Act of 1976. He was later appointed to the Appellate Court by Jerry Brown at the end of Brown’s first turn as Governor of California over 30 years ago. After retiring Smith spent some time as an international consultant advising countries recently freed from soviet dictatorship on how to set up Anglo-American type judicial systems. Well after the time most people retire, he returned to school to study fine arts. He now is an accomplished sculptor.

We are perhaps the first generation in history where many of us live long enough in good health that we can enjoy five or six distinct careers during our lives and where it is not so strange to embark on one or two more after we reach 70.

Upon arriving in San Jose,  Bill met me in his new shiny Ferrari racing red Jaguar. We had lunch at a local men only dining club where the food was pretty good. After lunch we smoked cigars and drank brandy and the like in the game room where we discussed politics and the coastal act with a few of the members. They were all local developers except one who owned a string of radio stations in Texas and Florida. They appeared to be the remnants of the Eisenhower wing of the Republican party. As usual my inclination to pontificate was in full flower and so I talked and talked.

We later travelled to Saratoga where we had dinner with Jerry Smith and talked some more about California Coastal protection program. Jerry was the legislator who carried the bill. Before dinner we drank some wine and watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Jerry had cooked a great ravioli dinner accompanied by local wines and olive oil. After dinner we toured his house to look at some of his sculptures including a fascinating cast bronze replica of tree branches and wonderful outdoor bamboo arrangement in bronze and copper.

On the way home we stopped off at Bill’s nightclub Myth in downtown Sacramento. It has become quite a popular venue. There were about 400 people there at the time we arrived. By then I was exhausted and on the down side of the alcohol euphoria induced by the copious quantities I had consumed earlier in the day. I could only barely acknowledge the noise and the crowding and the remarkably large breasts that seemed required to work as a waitress in the place.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Oh no, we cannot be the worst!

In a survey conducted in over 80 countries, 2,000 people were questioned on which countries have the world’s worst beer. The results listed the United States as #1, followed behind by China, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Italy. Budweiser was ranked as the #1 worst brand in beer by the takers of the survey.

2. Oh no again!

durex-sexual-wellbeing-global-survey-2

(Blame it on the beer.)

C. THAI OBSERVATIONS

The Bangkok Post Reported on August 28, 2012:

“Thais top infidelity chart.”

Thai men are ranked on top and their women are ranked second as the world’s most unfaithul [sic] lovers, with well over half of them admitting to frequent infidelity, according to a survey conducted by Durex, a condom producer.

Women from Thailand are ranked the world’s second most unfaithul [sic] lovers, according to the survey report.

The survey of 29,000 women in 36 countries names the women of Ghana the world’s most unfaithful, with 62 per cent of the women questioned there admitting they often cheat on their boyfriends and husbands.

Thai women were just a little more faithful, with 59 per cent admitting to infidelity, followed by Malaysia with 39 per cent.

In fourth and fifth place were Russia (33 per cent) and Singapore (19 per cent).

As for men admitting to extramarital affairs, Thailand came out on top (54 per cent) followed by South Korea (34 per cent) and then Malaysia (33 per cent).

(But they still don’t do it as often as Greeks.)

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Pookie on Adultery:

I believe adultery violates God’s commandments, unless it is with a slave or concubine as the Bible permits. We should have uniform federal laws outlawing adultery, abortion and homosexuality unless you can afford it, or are a Republican candidate or are a priest, minister or Rabbi (Muslim clerics or rich people who profess Islam however are not excepted because to do so would be to condone sharia law. Also, they are not real Americans and they support terrorists.)

Adultery is a criminal offense in 23 states, with punishments ranging from a $10 fine in Maryland to life imprisonment in Michigan (at least according to one judge). It’s also prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That means, for example, that Newt Gingrich may have violated the law in some of those 23 states. Where does he stand on the issue of criminals running for office? What is the religious right and the Catholic Church’s stand on adultery? Is it such a sufficiently lesser sin than supporting a woman’s right to choose that it does not disqualify one from running for office? Is it a lesser sin than Homosexuality? If Newt were gay could he become president? Does the Religious Right have any morals what-so-ever? Does the Newtster? Why would anyone name their child after a lizard?

In fairness to the Newtster, I have searched but found no evidence that either Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid committed illegal adultery in one of the jurisdictions in which it is illegal. On the other hand it is probably safe to assume Bill Clinton did, but he did not divorce his wife although the weight of opinion, I believe, felt she should have divorced him. Ah well, they remain happily married and living separately so I guess every thing is ok.

I have it on good authority that neither Mitt Romney nor Paul Ryan have had heterosexual sex in over a decade. On the other hand it is a known fact that the muslim Barack Obama has been shtupping a black woman, but that does not count.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

2000 years: For 2000 years, 666 has been the number of the dreaded anti-Christ. An unlucky number for many, even the European parliament leaves seat number 666 vacant. The number is from the book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible. However, in 2005, translation of the very earliest known copy of the Book of Revelation clearly shows it to be 616, not 666! The 1,700 year old copy was recovered from the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, and deciphered by a paleographical research team from the University Of Birmingham, UK. The team was led by Professor David Parker. (Listverse)

(Note: According to Wikipedia, area code 616 is the area code for the Grand Rapids and Grand Haven Michigan metropolitan areas, which includes Kent, Ionia and Ottawa counties, and parts of neighboring counties.

[Beware of people from Michigan!]

Also, Earth-616 is the name used to identify the primary continuity in which most Marvel Comics titles take place.

[Beware of Spiderman!]

Finally, 616 is the 25th member of the [H-A-X-Z Sequence], coming after 265, 351, 465 (it is the sum of the first two of these). 616 is a polygonal number in four different ways: it is a heptagonal number, as well as 13-, 31- and 104-gonal.

It is also the sum of the squares of the factorials of 2,3,4. i.e.. (2!)^2 + (3!)^2 + (4!)^2 = 4+36+576=616.

The Roman numeral for 616, DCXVI, has exactly one occurrence of all symbols except for L whose value is less than 1000 (D=500, C=100, X=10, V=5, I=1)

[Beware of anyone who knows this!]
Today: 75 percent of Japanese women own vibrators. The global average is only 47 percent.

(No wonder the Japanese birth rate is falling. This also may explain the last place finish of the Japanese in the above sexual frequency Olympics standings chart. I understand that 616 in the model number of the most popular vibrator in Tokyo.

[Beware of Japanese women! They are just not that into you.])
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. It is about time to really deal with the deficit.
original
2. The Perceptive Republican:

Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has an article in The American Conservative entitled, “Revolt of the Rich – Our financial elites are the new secessionists.” I largely agree with it. He states:

“Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension — and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?”

B. Electioneering:

1. Use of words in political discourse, conservative style:

“The Right’s also better than us (liberals) at taking new phrases and using them to inject their terrible ideas into the public discourse. “Boning poor people” sounds awful and almost no one would support that, but call it “welfare reform” and people can really get behind it. Everyone likes the idea of eliminating supposed abuses, after all. “Privatization” sounds way less terrible than “giving away public assets for pennies on the dollar” or “taking Social Security and putting it all on black.” Creationism in public schools bothers a lot of people, but “teaching the controversy” about “intelligent design” sounds way more palatable. Fortunately for America, though, the public at large didn’t fall for this.”
Stumbling Through the Halls of Power

2. A voice from the crypt
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(Is Carville still alive or have I just forgotten that he always looked like a cadaver? I suppose the reason that Carville is usually the only Democrat commentator regularly invited to appear on Faux News is that he has been dead for the past five years.)

3. Which Group hates Obama most:

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Obama’s support among white males without college degree fell to 29%, which is the lowest of any Democrat in recent history.

C. Testosterone Chronicles: Penis file.

Researchers in Vietnam studying the marine life of the Mekong delta have identified a new species of the Phallostethidae family named Phallostethus cuulong . These are small fish found in rivers in South East Asia, easily distinguishable because of one bizarre anatomical feature – their penises are on their heads!

(On the other hand, dickheads are very common among humans.)

D. BOKONONISM: Sayings of Bokonon (Vonnegut)

On man’s power to control:
Any man can call time out, but no man can say how long the time out will be.

Also on man’s power to control:
It is not possible to make a mistake.
[ It is described as a “customary greeting given by all Bokononists when meeting a shy person.” ]

On history:
History! Read it and weep!

On religion:
Of course it’s trash!

On man’s destiny:
Today I will be a Bulgarian Minister of Education. Tomorrow I will be Helen of Troy.
We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do,
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

On the ignorance of learned men:
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.

On “the heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality, and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it:
Midget, midget, midget, how he struts and winks,
For he knows a man’s as big as what he hopes and thinks!
TODAY’S QUOTE:
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TODAY’S CHART:
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TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: July through September 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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