Posts Tagged With: Pattaya

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Capt. Coast 0006 (May 13, 2017)

Brigid O’Shaughnessy: I haven’t lived a good life. I’ve been bad, worse than you could know.
Sam Spade: You know, that’s good because if you actually were as innocent as you pretend to be, we’d never get anywhere.
From “The Maltese Falcon.”

 

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. Teresa Petrillo, June 7, 1917 — May 8, 2017

On May 8, 2017, at about 4 PM my mom died. Her passing was relatively peaceful.

IMG_1928

My mom has led a life of great adversity from the moment she was born until the last few years or her life. She met every challenge with implacable determination and good humor never giving an inch to despair or defeat. Even the Grim Reaper was forced to sneak up on her while she slept.

Memories of her flood me with sadness now — never more new memories made — no more laughter together.
REST IN PEACE MOM, WE WILL MISS YOU A LOT.

The funeral will be held at St. Ann’s, 300 Lake St. San Francisco on May 18, beginning at 9:30 AM.

 

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

 

A week or so ago, I got the news from one of my doctors that according to my recent PET-scan, my throat cancer is in full remission. When one parses the fog of physician speak and happy talk what this means is that they can’t find the little buggers right now so we will wait five years to see if I am still alive. Nevertheless, I guess I should feel good about this, but then why do I still feel like road kill?

Any delight I may feel from this news has been tempered by sadness after learning about my mother’s passing and the sufferings of some of my dearest friends. Peter is gradually having joint after joint in his body replaced due to the ravages of arthritis (but he still weekly performs music with his several bands) and Naida is due for open heart surgery next week. It The suddenness with which our bodies descend from the satisfaction with being older (and if not wiser, at least a little smug) to the devastation of being aged is incomprehensible to me —
Pasted Graphic 1
Peter (2nd from left) and the Blind Lemon Pledge Blues Band.
(This photograph makes me happy. Just look at these old guys, even if they can no longer get it up, they still can lay down a few bars of the Blues.)

The winter rains seem to be over and the California sunshine now rules the days. In preparation for my travels this summer, I am trying to exercise more — walking and swimming for the most part. I dislike being indoors when I exercise which is why I enjoy the pool at my health club. It is outdoors and heated. My walks take me around the lakes in Town Center. I do this, mind you, not for the health benefits or to keep in shape but in order to prepare for my planned summer travels. I would rather not find myself nodding off in some god-forsaken sidewalk cafe in Bangkok or falling down the stairs that pass for streets in the Italian hill towns I plan to visit.
IMG_2040
A Lake at Town Center in El Dorado Hills

 

C. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Outside Dick’s Home across the driveway from the front door there is a tall hedge growing. I assume, it was planted to shield the occasional pedestrians on the street from a view of our garbage cans. On one side of the hedge, barely visible from either the front door or the street is a large dark gap or hole in the foliage. From this gap, for as long as I have lived here, there issues several rivulets of water that tumble down the slope for about 30 feet or so before disappearing into a drain at the side of the garage. During the rainy season these rivulets grow quite large and at times flood the driveway.
IMG_2692

Not too long ago, while leaving the house, I noticed some kid standing by the garbage cans behind the hedge peeking out at the street. Curious, I shouted, “ Hey, what the fuck are you doing here?”

At the sound of my voice, he spun around and stared at me, a surprised look on his face. That’s when I realized he was not some kid, but a very short old man with a scraggly grey beard. Old, about my age with wrinkles on his face that stood out like scars. He was short, well under five feet I guessed and dressed oddly too. On his head he had on what looked like a black or dark blue felt fedora with its brim cut off. His coat, dark brown in color, had shiny buttons, yellow piping, and hung almost to he knees. Below the coat were wrinkled tan pants tucked into dirty white socks. On his feet, he had what looked like old hiking boots.

He hesitated a moment then turned, ran through the mud, up the slope and dove head first into the gap in the hedge. I noted that he was far more spry than I.

“Hey!” I shouted and ran across the driveway after him. Well, I actually didn’t run, that’s beyond me at this age — shuffled more likely. Also, I was wearing my imitation Crocs that I bought in Thailand for two dollars. There’s no running in them — waddling perhaps.

I crossed the driveway, then slipped and slid through the silt and the mud and turned toward the dark gap. “I’ve got you now you rat bastard,” I thought.

As I approached the hole and tried to reach in to grab the little jerk, I slipped and slid feet first into the gap. I fell thinking I was going to land hard on my ass. Instead, I kept falling down and down and down. As I slid down, one of my faux Crocs slipped off my foot. For some reason, I believed it essential I save the thing and so I did by grabbing it and clutching it to my breast. It felt like I was dropping down the chute at a water park. I tried to turn my body so I could apply some friction to slow or stop my fall. I got part way around when I popped out of the tube, flew about five feet through the air and with a loud “oomf,” landed face down onto what felt like soft moss. I was sopping wet and in pain all over. I was still grasping the phony Croc like it had saved my life. Eventually, I moved my head a bit and glimpsed a small pond a few feet away from where I lay. I could hear the plopping sound of water dribbling into the pond. I appeared to be lying in a small clearing a forest. I spied the little guy standing at the edge of the clearing. When he saw me looking at him, he ran off into the woods and disappeared. “You rat bastard,” I croaked after him.

Slowly and agonizingly, I worked my way onto my back, looked up into the clear blue sky, and shouted “I am not Alice.”

Four days later, I returned home. Neither Hayden nor Dick seemed aware that I had been gone. What was even more strange was that they also seemed not to notice my appearance. I was almost naked wearing only a few rags and of course the phony Crocs. My beard was long and braided. On my chest I sported a tattoo of a naked mole rat standing fully erect and above it in large red bank gothic the words “Fuck Trump.” A stud, shaped like a human thigh bone, pierced my left earlobe.

Disappointed at their lack of reaction, I stomped off the bathroom, showered, shaved, removed the thigh bone stud and put myself to bed. The next morning Dick woke me up to drive Hayden to school.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

IRWIN’S TALE – I

Sometimes poetry can bubble up from the depths of despair. This tale was sent to me seven years ago by Irwin. I include it here in memory of a fine man and a good friend who passed away shortly thereafter:

“Friday I came out of the bank. There was a man who came into the lobby and then went outside. I don’t know how to describe him except to say he looked scruffily dressed and reminded me of a former city councilperson who was one of the last white faces in Santa Ana government; outside of the long-time city manager who lives in Coto de Caza as does the former mayor who now is the right hand man at the Irvine Company. I got the distinct feeling this fellow was either going to rob Citibank or was waiting for me so when I got into the oyonemobile I locked the doors started the car and drove away.

Yesterday morning, I went to the market and was waiting at the fish counter (Dover sole $9.99 a pound) when the guy came in and peered into the red meat display. When he left, I breathed a sigh of relief. When I checked out of the market and got to my car I could see him at the end of the parking lot next to the small free-standing building which houses “drs. r us.” Who is this guy and am I really seeing him again and again? I quickly drove away.

Today I thought about it a lot. I was thinking that maybe it was “death” following me around and checking me out. What I had to keep death away I don’t know but I suspect it was those adolescent tendencies of mine that when confronted I have just a few choices, to whine, freeze and/or make it to the closest door. What kept death at arms reach? Surely death could appreciate and have a real taste for a coward. Did he just decide that it wasn’t my time or that I was the wrong person?

At 2:30 am, I couldn’t sleep so I checked my email. I received an email from a former county CEO. In it he explained that he didn’t know what day or time it was; that his three-year old romance ended when the woman died in their bed at the age of 37. I guess Mr. Death found somebody; hopefully it wasn’t in place of me by mistake. I have enough bad karma on my conscience.”

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

 

The True Story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Pasted Graphic 1_1

The fairy tale is based on the tragic life of Margarete von Waldeck, a 16th century Bavarian noblewoman. Margarete grew up in Bad Wildungen, where her brother used small children to work his copper mine. Severely deformed because of the physical labor mining required, they were despairingly referred to as dwarfs. The poison apple is also rooted in fact; an old man would offer tainted fruits to the workers, and other children he believed stole from him.

Margarete’s stepmother, despising her, sent the beauty, to the Brussels court to get rid of her. There Prince Philip II of Spain became her steamy lover. His father, the king of Spain, opposing the romance, dispatched Spanish agents to murder Margarete. They surreptitiously poisoned her.
Pasted Graphic
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-ogden/fairy-tale-true-story_b_6102602.html

I would like to see Disney make a movie out of this version of the tale.

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.
Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“What’s true? What’s false? In case you haven’t noticed, the world has pretty much given up on the old Enlightenment idea of piecing together the truth based on observed data. Reality is too complicated and scary for that. Instead, it’s way easier to ignore all data that doesn’t fit your preconceptions and believe all data that does. I believe what I believe, and you believe what you believe, and we’ll agree to disagree. It’s liberal tolerance meets dark ages denialism. It’s very hip right now.”
Hill, Nathan. The Nix: A novel (p. 601). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
Pasted Graphic 2

While the time line on this chart is too brief to demonstrate a trend, is does show something that has been occurring in the American economy for over a decade. Manufacturing continues to decline while the highly unproductive finance and insurance sector massively increases.

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
IMG_2361
Clouds over Pattaya, Thailand

Categories: April through June 2017, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 20 Papa Joe 0003 (October 10, 2013)

“In my dealings with others, I always try to treat them better in person than I treat them in my mind.”
Trenz Pruca

Happy Birthday Aaron and Anthony
TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

Today was the first day I felt well since I arrived. I got up believing that things could not be better – a bad sign since by definition everything from that moment on had to be worse.

I sprang from my bed and began to exercise vigorously before the mirror. I have a theory that the more ridiculous your exercise movements appear, the better they are for you. Since I was exercising starkers that morning, they appeared ridiculous indeed. (Note: “starkers” means stark raving mad or stark naked or both.)

I left the apartment and headed off to breakfast. The sun was shining and sky was a clear blue. It was just warm enough to encourage a thin-film of sweat, not the mind numbing heat of a Bangkok afternoon.
IMG_20141010_141147_626_2
Street scene along the way to the health club.

As I walked along Soi Nana, I saw an ambulance pull over with – Heart Attack Emergency Response Unit – painted on its sides. It seemed that they were lost. One of the technicians leaned out of the window to ask directions from two passers-by. Each gave a different route. A lengthy discussion ensued. I listened for a while and then moved on leaving them to eventually find their way to the, I am sure, now deceased heart attack victim.

After breakfast, I went to the health club and paid the exorbitant $50 fee for one month’s membership in the decrepit facility. I complained and requested a discount. They refused but offered me free use of a locker for the month provided I supply my own lock.

After my swim, I walked with the old sailor/deep-sea diver back to his hotel which was on the way to my apartment. We talked about drugs and alcohol, their benefits and drawbacks. I found out that he had not been to the airport to see anyone off, but to meet me on my arrival. He said he knew how it was for someone to arrive alone at an airport after a long flight with no one to meet him.

I then continued on to my apartment and took a nap.

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

IMG_20141005_132658_516_2

On the fourth floor of the building in the photo is my apartment. It’s not much but I call it home. Under the small tree every evening one or two families, with infants in hammocks, roll out reed mats and have dinner together. I makes me very happy to see them.

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

After breakfast at Foodland, on my way to the health club, I usually walk through a very dark alleyway I refer to as “The Tunnel.” It is about four feet wide with shops on each side and extends and entire block. Since my last visit here, several of the massage parlors, pachinko shops and the like have been converted to tiny bars. These bars are open and lively at 8 AM. Light in the alley is provided by the opening at each end, some dim fluorescence here and there and a few colored lights on the beer advertisements in the bars. As I walk through, I can barely make out the outline’s of women’s shapes and their teeth when they smile. The men, mostly westerners, eye me warily as though I may be a threat or something.

Oh, and of course there are the bodies – usually one or two – not dead I think, but sleeping or sleeping it off. They allow me to indulge in my Augustinian arrogance. You know, “There but for…”, well not Grace or God certainly. How about, “there but for the invisible hand and the vagaries of fortune go I.” That great invisible hand and luck could just as well exalt me to physical comfort and existential anguish, or drop me unconscious in the gutter. All praise the hand of the Lord.

IMG_20141006_150645_149

Most people walking past The Tunnel would think it dangerous, I imagine. But I have been walking through here for years now and the only things that have happened to me have been, now or then receiving a slap on the back by a guy inviting me for a drink or a woman emerging from the darkness, pressing her body against mine and saying “Welcome mister” or, “Hello Pa Pa.”

With a smile I politely turn them down — not because I have an ethical or moral objection to what they are offering but because underneath it all, I’m a snob.

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

IMG_20141005_090107_028

This is the entrance to Foodland. Inside is a supermarket, pharmacy and bank. Also, it contains a small counter service café where I eat my breakfast most days. For the price, I consider it one of BKK’s best restaurants.

As long as I am doing show and tell on my regular eating establishments, the following photo shows the sidewalk café where I often eat lunch.
IMG_20141010_141723_274

And this is where I eat dinner a lot. The waitress is a ladyboy with the body of a NFL linebacker who entwines orchids in her thick black hair and wears rhinestone encrusted platform high-heels.
IMG_20141010_142113_702

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

During my walks I often encounter the feral urban fauna of the City. Pigeons of course, but rarely on the street, too dangerous. I can, however, hear them cooing in the trees. Those little brown birds found in most cities flock around, wrens, starlings or something. Yeates would know. The ones in BKK look a bit greasy. The house next door to my apt has several large aviaries by the road containing Parrots that make a racket at certain times of the day.
IMG_20141007_120305_139

The mangy soi dogs don’t approach you as dogs usually do looking for a handout or a sniff of your crotch, but silently slink away if you pass too close to them. Cats, mean looking creatures, peek out at you from dark places or sun themselves on tiny unreachable ledges. Then, of course, there are the rats that scurry beneath your feet from crevice to hole as you walk by. Despite their meekness, I suspect the rats are the most sociable of the lot. They are certainly the most numerous.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

“One of the benefits of traveling to other societies is that we are free to apply our prejudices when we observe their culture.”
Trenz Pruca

1. Food exports

Today the Bangkok Post reported that Thailand has become the world’s greatest exporter of insects for food with most of it going to the US. Thailand has over 20,000 “insect” farms.

Among the many questions I have is, who is buying this food? I have not seen packages of Genuine Imported Thai Insects on the shelves of Safeway or Raley’s — Whole Foods perhaps?

Another question is why do we have to import insects? Don’t we have enough of our own? Do Thai insects taste better than American ones?

2. Tourist murder solved?

A few weeks ago two tourists were killed in Thailand. There were no suspects. About two days ago the Thai tourist industry announced that violence against tourist hurts the industry. Yesterday the Thai police continued their remarkable success in solving all high-profile crimes by announcing they apprehended the murderers of the two tourists – two Burmese immigrant teenagers who confessed to the crime.

And yes, not even the Thais believe it.

3. Hell, a Family Resort.

The newspapers today also reported that the City Fathers of Pattaya (sometimes referred to as “The Outskirts of Hell”) announced their intention to turn the City into a “family resort” notwithstanding its reputation for sex of all varieties, crime and corruption. Pattaya is owned by the Thai counterparts to the same type of organization that created Sin City in the Nevada desert and now also wants to convert it to a Family Resort. Pattaya which experiences the mostly unreported death of a westerner or tourist almost every week is mobbed up from the soles of the jack-boots of the lowest policeman to the toupee adorning the mayor’s head.

Of course I exaggerate, Pattaya cops do not wear jack-boots and I haven’t the slightest idea if the mayor even owns a toupee.

4. Eye of the beholder.

The military has set up a committee to draft a new Constitution for Thailand, a central element of which would attempt to eliminate corruption. By law the members of the committee have to disclose their wealth. To probably no ones surprise, among the wealthiest and by far the largest in number of millionaires on the committee are the generals appointed to sit on it. How you might ask does a public employee, which generals are, become millionaires while on the job?

Since, they are not required to disclose the sources of their income, one can be reasonably sure that whatever the regulations to control official corruption may be, they will not apply to the military. I am sure the generals believe that the sources of their wealth are natural, the result or operation of a gracious and beneficent invisible hand, and therefore necessary for a healthy national economy.
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“In most periods of human history, exploitation of natural resources to satisfy human needs could be achieved with less expenditure of energy and with less danger, even in less desirable territories. In other words, war has never been a rational solution for obtaining resources to satisfy man’s material needs. …
…But of course, men have never been rational. They are fully capable of believing anything and of adopting any kind of social organization or social goals, so that warfare became at least a minor part of life in most societies.”
Carroll Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
10588900_10204867413902150_189178716_n_2
Me standing before the entrance to the site of the Temple of Diana in Nemi, Italy (1997). I had spent almost 30 years, on and off, searching for it and found it on this trip when Ruth pointed it out the first time we passed by. Of course, as usual in Italy, the site was closed that day and no explanation given.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 Shadow 0003 (June 22, 2014)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.

Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Giufa

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOAN JACKSON

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

1. Last days at Paradise by the Sea:

On the border between “Paradise by the Sea” and “The Outskirts of Hell” there stood an isolated building among some empty lots. On the side of the building there was a sign affixed that read, “Heaven.” It was the day before I was to leave Paradise by the Sea and return to Bangkok. The Good/Bad David had brought me there. The entrance to Heaven wound through a dark passageway containing large vases with slightly wilting flowers. Gold drapes hung on the wall. It looked like the entrance to a mortuary. I guess that could be considered fitting.

Once inside the place was much more plush. It appeared a lot like a 1960’s piano bar in Las Vegas. I liked it. It was a vast improvement over my image of what Heaven would be like.

We were led by the hostess to a small dark room at back of the building in the center of which stood a solid black oval table.

Now some of you may recall that a few years ago I published, for your enjoyment, a few stories supposedly written by Giufa that sad-faced reprobate and chronicler of the “Forlorn Order of the Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table” (FOGNOT). The stories focused on the adventures of five Geriatric Knights who assembled in a place called The Kennel (where old dogs go to die) around another oval table, that one made of faux marble and gilt . I will not describe here what occurred that afternoon in Heaven around the coal-black oval table. I leave that job instead to the cynical, licentious and wholly untrustworthy Giufa, should he ever get around to it.
IMG_20141121_104742_552
Baba Giufa as a child.

I shall only add that about six hours later the Good/Bad David, Peter a man who I had been told dealt in precious metals and I left Heaven. The three of us climbed into a tricked-out, four door, short bed, pick-up truck. They drove me back to my hotel where I immediately fell asleep. The next day after a pleasant lunch with David and his friends, I boarded a bus and returned to Bangkok.

2. Back in Bangkok:

a. Monsoons:

The monsoon season in South Asia officially began on June 1. Since then angry clouds have filled the Bangkok skies. Very little rain has fallen in the city, generally only enough to make the already dangerous sidewalks slimy and slippery. With the blooming of el Nino in the Pacific this summer, chances are South Asia and Southeast Asia will experience a relatively dry year. On the other hand, Southern California should be wetter than it has been these last few years. Oh, the price of anchovies and sardines probably will rise also.

b. Pookie has a night out:

Having had it spending my afternoons and evenings in my apartment because of the curfew and the skies threatening rain that rarely comes, I decided to treat myself to a night out on the town. For me a night of the town has become simply finding a place to nurse a beer and watch the goings on. So one night I put on a clean shirt and stepped out from my building into the steaming hot air of BKK.

I ate dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants, an open front place that takes up the bottom floor of a cheap rooming house on Soi Nana. There I ordered my usual sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice and a coke from the six-foot tall ladyboy who looked like an NFL linebacker with boobs and a cute pink bow in his hair. I watched an American movie on the overhead TV while I ate.

After dinner I walked up Soi Nana searching for a bar in which I could enjoy my beer. Now for those who have not been there, bars along Soi Nana are for the most part open front affairs with young women outside calling out to you to join them just like the sirens called out to Ulysses. But this old sea dog ignored them because he had his sights set on the bright lights of Nana Plaza.

Nana Plaza bills itself as the World’s Largest Adult Playground. It is situated only a few blocks from my apartment. Although for reasons of age, fear of STD and a general aversion to the hard sell I do not avail myself of the services offered at many of the establishments, nevertheless now and then I like to sit at one of the bars with my beer and watch.

Nana Plaza itself is a three-story or so U-shaped building with a large open space in the center. The building houses a number of Go-Go bars, Lady Boy bars and Beauty Salons to service the performers. In the center open area are a number of regular bars open to the sky.

I sat in one of them bought a beer and paid the hostess to not sit with me and try to cage drinks. The sounds of the music coming from the venues and the exuberance of the neon lights makes everyone feel a bit jittery, like they just snorted some cocaine. I sat there nursed my beer and observed.

The women and barkers standing outside the venues desperately attempted to entice each passersby to enter their place. The Ladyboys being men despite the makeup and potential genetic quirks, were more physically aggressive, sometimes surrounding the tourist like a pack of wolves. In one case even demonstrating specifically what she had to offer.

After I finished my beer, I walked home feeling had accomplished something.
IMG_20140614_193133_894
Nana Plaza at night
C. Massage:

A few days ago the Little Masseuse invited me to join her in getting a foot massage at a place she liked.

Contrary to what some may believe not every massage parlor in Thailand is a front for prostitution. Massage is a national pastime in Thailand. I have been in small villages in the country where it seemed like everyone was massaging everyone else, sort of like a band of simians removing lice from one another’s fur.

Thai massage itself is based on pressure points and a little rapid stretching of certain muscles and tendons. For the most part it was developed in the county’s temples, especially Wat Po adjacent to the Royal Palace. Students still go there for instruction.

Most legitimate massage establishments offer Thai massage, a deep tissue rubbing massage, foot massages (reflexology) and a few specialties like facial massages and the like. Often the place will offer only Thai massage or only foot massages.

Most of the illegal (prostitution is illegal in Thailand in order to augment police salaries) sexual oriented massage parlors are located around the various tourist areas of larger cities or at resort areas.

One can figure out if it is a legitimate if:

1. it is located outside of a tourist area,
2. It looks down scale
3. the posted prices are cheaper
4. the women and men offering the massages are older and do not look like fashion models between gigs.

If you are still uncertain, ask a Thai woman you can trust (one that is not receiving a kickback from the massage parlor). For most of the women I know, the massage is the thing. Anything else is purely incidental. If you ask a man however, it’s all in the incidentals.

One of the best massages I ever experienced was in Hat Yai. The King of Thailand had set up a program for blind people to learn massage. At the place in Hat Yai, both men had been blinded in acid attacks. A sighted women in the shop acted as cashier and assisted the masseur in locating the supplies they needed. It was obvious that the masseur had studied more that simple Thai massage, perhaps even formal anatomy. He played the muscles in my body like Ray Charles played the piano.

The massage parlor the Little Masseuse and I were going to was located just off Soi 19 behind Terminal 21. It was situated above a place called Mama’s Pizza just across the street from Mama’s Taqueria. (I do not know if there is a Mama’s Pad Thai, or Schnitzel or Borscht in Bangkok, but I have not been everywhere yet. Come to think of it, a fast food place called Mama’s Pad Thai, Schnitzel and Borscht would probably cause quite a stir in the culinary world).

Anyway we climbed up three flights on a rickety outdoor stairway to the small shop. It provided only foot massages at $4 an hour, a price considerably cheaper than most other places in the area. There were about 15 or so young men and a few women masseuses and 10 overstuffed chairs and ottomans. The massages were very good.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Human trafficking:

The english language newspapers in Bangkok were all aflutter over the report that the US had ranked Thailand among the worst countries for human trafficking. The responses from Thai government spokesmen ranged from outright denial that the problem exists to shock that the US would criticize an ally.

Human trafficking may actually be the worlds oldest profession. A recent study maintained that humans (usually children) were used as one of the systems of account for debt before the invention of coinage. Failure to timely repay the loan would force the pledged child into bondage.

Two personal stories:

How it was in Issan

When she was about 13 years old a woman doctor showed up at the home of the Little Masseuse in rural Thailand. The doctor purchased her from her parents to work in the Doctor’s infirmary in BKK cleaning the instruments and the office. She was given a bed in a tiny room to sleep in. After about two years the inevitable happened. LM was asleep in her room when she was awakened by someone rubbing her body. The Doctor’s husband had crawled into the bed with her. She screamed and cried and woke up everyone in the house. The next morning the Doctor told her that the would have to leave that day and return to her family in Issan.

How it was in Sicily

When she was 7 years old my mother’s father died leaving her and her three older siblings orphans and a significant estate. The oldest child was only 16 and a woman so it was felt that it was not appropriate for her to manage the estate. Her bachelor uncle stepped forward and agreed to marry her promising to take care of the three younger children. On almost the day after the wedding the uncle placed the three children on a boat to America having sold them to three families in the US to work as domestic help. My mother spent the next few years chained to her bed at night so she could not run away until her older brother reached eighteen left his keeper and took my mom and her sister to live with him.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Around 600 BC: The scribes assembling the Hebrew Bible included the Law of Jubilee in Leviticus. The law stipulated that all debts would be automatically cancelled “in the Sabbath year” (that is, after seven years had passed), and that all who languished in bondage owing to such debts would be released.

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.”
Leviticus 25:8-13

I think forgiving all debts every seven years is a great idea. It is strange that there are those who claim the Leviticus’ supposed prohibition of homosexuality is the unchanging word of God, yet the forgiveness of all debts every seven years somehow is no longer applicable. Who is it that decides what God really meant and when he was only kidding?

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

They want a capitalism with the simple balance that, The Father of Laissez Faire Capitalism, Adam Smith indicated was required for it to work. For example:

“Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms….

by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

And:

“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.

Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

On regulations:

”When the regulation, therefore, is in support of the workman, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.”

On fairness:

“The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than that proportion.”

Finally denouncing vast differences in wealth and income, Smith praised a fellow economist’s tax proposal:

“To remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.”

It has always been a wonder to me why those who praise Capitalism so highly, hate it so much.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.”
Victor Hugo: Les Miserables.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
m-emotional
My initial feeling is that somehow the colors are reversed.

 
GOODNIGHT AGENT 355 WHOEVER YOU WERE——

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 10 Joe 0002

“Dum  Spiro, Spero” 

     as long as you’re breathing, there’s hope.

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The rainy season has brought overcast skies but little rain to BKK. The clouds seem to trap the pollution close to the ground. It feels like someone pressing piece of dirty wet gauze over my eyes and nose. Some days I find it hard to breathe. I cough more than usual and at times feel overwhelmed with exhaustion. Later this week I plan to go to Jomtien Beach (Paradise by the Sea), the next town down coast from Pattaya, (The Outskirts of Hell). I expect cleaner air there.

The monsoon rain clouds funnel up the Bay of Thailand where they then scurry along the Chao Phraya River running through BKK on their way up into the mountains near Chiang Mai to drop most of their moisture. They generally leave the beach areas around The Outskirts of Hell and Paradise by the Sea somewhat overcast free. Sea breezes push the air at the beaches inland leaving them relatively absent of air pollution.

After giving it some thought I decided I need to get a job (suggestions invited), not so much for the money, but because one ought not spend so much time alone with himself in a darkened room.
DSCN1811
Not a very pretty picture.

Sometimes, however, LM comes by and dances,
DSCN1788
or just sits and makes wool scarves that no one in Thailand will ever use.
DSCN1827

Hayden asked her to make a scarf he could give to his mom as a present, even though he knew SWAC would throw it out anyway. Once she started making them, LM refused to stop. My apartment now looks like something out of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with wool scarves multiplying uncontrollably. I expect that one day I will come home and find that I am unable to get into my apartment because it’s filled floor to ceiling with knitted wool scarves. (“The Scarf that Swallowed Bangkok,” soon to become a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp.)

Most nights I eat at this restaurant:
DSCN1825

I only eat sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice or pork fried rice. Not so much because I particularly like those dishes, but because whenever I look at the menu for something else  I find it printed in Thai with slightly out of focus photos of the dishes, making them all look the same.

After dinner and watching the Thai soaps I go to sleep with my friends Gorilla and Douglas.
DSCN1393

Early on a dark and rainy Wednesday morning I left for Jomtien Beach. I went by van. Vans take about the same time to get there as do taxis but are significantly less expensive. The van driver was interesting. Although it is common for most Thai drivers to insist on using the shoulder for passing, he treated it as the high-speed lane. As a result, we got to our destination quicker than usual, especially when for unknown reasons he skipped the usual pee-pee break at the rest-stop where the vans generally gas up.

The sun was out when we arrived and thankfully the air felt much cleaner than in BKK.

This trip I did not stay at the guest house of the sad-faced lady with the child with the tragic birth defects but at a place with slightly larger rooms for about the same price near by. The street, Soi 2, is quite narrow with 4 to 6 story balconied shop houses lining each side. One can watch the life of the neighborhood going on in the streets below and on the balconies. It reminded me a bit like living in the Bronx.
DSCN1832 - Version 2

In the early morning I watched and listened to the Soi awaken. It is no Catfish Row, but I imagine someone could put it to music: The snap of the cloth as the woman in the apartment across from me hangs out her washing; The high-pitched murmurings of the yings (Thai for young woman) speaking into their mobile phones as they walk to or from work; The scrape and bang of the merchants raising the security barriers as they open their shops; The throaty rumble of the motorbikes; the chopping sound made by the woman with the sidewalk food stand as she prepares the day’s Papaya Pak Pak ( better known as Som Tam). All we now need is a happy-go-lucky beggar cheerfully greeting everyone as he passes by.

Last night, for some reason unknown to me, someone in the Soi below my room set up some amplifying equipment into which two drunken yings screamed off-key songs to no one in particular until two in the morning. Now and then a western tourist would wander by and snap a photograph of the clearly deranged young women.

During the day I walked along the beach about two miles early in the morning, and again at mid-day and once more in the evening. For most of the rest of the day I sat on a rental canvas beach chair under a large blue beach umbrella, watched the vendors pass by, stared at the surf and dozed.
DSCN1871

Some tipsy young men with their Thai women friends sat on the chairs on each side of me. Two Swedes to my left and a Brit to my right. There was a lot of laughing and loud talking. The vendors seemed to congregate around them smiling and joking. I was a bit jealous. “Why” I thought, “couldn’t I be as jovial and sociable?” Eventually the Swede sitting closest to me turned to me and asked “How come these vendors always stop and gather around me yet they pass you right by?

I responded, “Because as soon as they get close enough, I close my eyes and pretend I’m asleep.” The Swede stared at me for a while in silence then exclaimed, “Wow!” A few moments later, thoroughly embarrassed, I got up and left.

Sometimes I forget why people flock to Thailand in such great numbers. After all, its beaches are ok, but there are many other places with better. It’s cities are so polluted they rival Mexico City. Its historical buildings are interesting, but far less grand than those in a lot of countries. Most of the country sits in a sweltering swamp. Their people smile a lot but they are not smiles of kindness or concern. The traffic is as awful as anywhere in the world and corruption and cheating the tourist are endemic. It’s food is good but quality examples of it at a reasonable price can rarely be found anywhere a casual tourist could locate. So what is it that recently reminded me why I and many others come here?

In India, people twist their bodies into unnatural shapes and sit for years on dung heaps until they can ignore their discomfort, call it enlightenment and convince themselves that now they are truly happy. In China and Japan some go up mountains to where the air is thin and the ground is cold and where they sit until they can think of nothing at all and assume they have found contentment. Then they believe they are happy. In the US and many countries of the West as well as other “advanced” countries, people, day and night, engage in the single-minded pursuit of stealing wealth from others so that their stoned children can ride around a lake in a yacht and they can imagine they have accomplished something and then they can declare themselves really happy.

But here in Thailand there is a temple called Wat Po on the grounds of the royal palace where there, and in similar temples throughout the country, Thais from all over the nation gather to learn the traditional Thai art of rubbing another persons body until that person experiences a sense of something approaching bliss.

Imagine, if you will, in Saint Peter’s Basilica somewhere huddled among Bernini’s’ columns there is a similar school where cowled nuns and tonsured monks upon completing their course of study then go out into the world to, at an affordable price, apply their hands to the bodies of others, both men and women, so that they can know the experience of true orgasms and be happy.

That is why, over the years, people came to Thailand and why even now in some of the country’s most expensive accommodations on some of the most exclusive beaches many people can still find happiness.

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “You gotta convince me that you know what this is all about, that you aren’t just fiddling around hoping it’ll all… come out right in the end!”
Chapter 23

Joe arrived to drive us to the wake. He still wore the same black windbreaker but had changed his white T-shirt for the black Iron Maiden one that I had seen him wearing when we first met. He had also changed his black jeans for creased pants of the same color.

Joe and Mavis got into the front and I sat alone in the back. They immediately started talking in that black, stoner, California patois, adding a few mexican words to spice it up and mixing in a liberal use of the universal modifier “Fuck” in all its varieties. It annoyed me greatly because I could not understand anything they were talking about, although, at the time, I convinced myself my annoyance was based instead upon my objection to their juvenile misuse of the english language.

I decided to sit there and pout and fume. Finding that unsatisfying and unable to hold my attention for more than a few minutes, I turned to trying to understand what I intended to accomplish at the wake and more importantly why I was even bothering to try to do anything at all. Failure certainly remained a viable option. What if I don’t find out what happened to Holland or the shipment or even how Reilly was killed? I mean, really, were either the Tons of Fun or Martin Vihn going to do something to me if in the end I tell them I don’t know what happened? At worst they would just beat the shit out of me for spite. Even that was unlikely. So, what was I doing here? Looking good for the clients? I’ve got their money. I don’t need their respect, not that I expect to ever get it.

Why was what happened to two containers of furniture so important to Martin Vihn? They certainly could not be worth much. Why was finding Holland so important to Mavis and the Fabulous Fat Boys and not Martin? Who hired the Corpulent Cronies? Do I care? My professional ethics requires me to go through the steps, not necessarily come up with anything. Do I care about professional ethics? I don’t think so.

By this time we had passed through the City and approached the Golden Gate Bridge and, as is often the case when one does and the sun is shinning, all thoughts slide from ones consciousness replaced by infatuation with the panorama of the red-orange bridge, the water below, the boats on the bay, the cliffs and the mountains. To my right the City, its towers gleaming in the sun, always made me think of it as a mystical mythical place. Few cities rise up directly from the water so they can be seen whole from a distance. Hong Kong, but it is just an endless wall of towers, gaudy but not mystical. Lower Manhattan always appears too determined to be mythical. San Francisco is not a real City, it is too happy. It’s citizens care little about what goes on beyond its borders. Perhaps the smoke from the billion or so joints smoked here since the sixties has by now bonded with the ever-present fog leaving the place forever enshrouded in cannabis enhanced bliss.

By the time I had mused through my meditations about the City we were approaching the Rainbow tunnel which always signaled to me we were leaving one reality for another. I read somewhere that Marin County had more psychiatrists per capita than anyplace else in the whole world. I had always assumed that was because its residents believed that how they felt about themselves meant something to someone other than themselves.

As we passed through the tunnel I dutifully held my breath and placed my finger against the roof of the car as I had been taught and as I taught my children. Why we did it or where it began, who knows. It’s one of those things like certain rhymes one picks up in childhood that seems to come along with the dirt and air of the place where you grew up and eventually seeps into your genes.

Mavis and Joe Vu had stopped talking, put in their ear plugs connected to their respective smart phones and stared out at the road in front of them listening to their generation’s music. Again I felt excluded. I did not understand the music either.

Once we got to the other side, I picked back up on my meditation of the disappearing furniture mystery and my role in it to no greater effect on my understanding than before. Finally we turned off the freeway and drove into a wooded neighborhood nestled in one of the nooks and crannies of the Marin County hills somewhere on the outskirts of Mill Valley.

It was one of the older neighborhoods, originally redwood shacks used as vacation cottages by San Franciscans before the bridge was built when it was still a serious trip to get here. Over the years, others of the upwardly mobile class who now lived in them and commuted over the bridge to work in the City took them over. These new residents expanded the shacks to house their hopefully perfect nuclear families, sparing no expense to maintain the ambience of the neighborhood so that now instead of appearing like a normal subdivision it resembles nothing so much as abandoned piles of redwood blow downs among the trees still standing after the storm.

We turned from the main road on to the typically narrow unmaintained washboard roads of the subdivision. The cars of the mourners were parked all along the road and beyond leaving little space for another car to pass. We threaded our way so far into the bowels of the subdivision to find a place to park that I thought we would never find our way out again. We got out of the car. The area around us looked like an abandoned lumber yard. We wound our way along the rutted road back towards Reilly’s house. Joe, a founding member of the Junior Viet Cong of America led the way with the same aplomb as his ancestors creeping through the jungles of South East Asia. As we came around the last turn, along a pile of well weathered sticks that was the fence that hid Reilly’s property from view, we saw a large black classic Lincoln parked along the side of the lane directly in front of the gate to Reilly’s domain. Leaning against the automobile and staring off into the trees like a committed birdwatcher was our old friend Fat Franny II, the one named Bart.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 Jo-Jo’s book report:

Finished reading Nesbro’s “The Leopard.” It takes place sometime after the events in “The Snowman,” (soon to be a major motion picture guaranteed to be nothing like the book and starring someone who won’t look at all like detective Hole; probably a cute bankable male movie-star about a foot shorter than the book’s main character and 100 times better looking).

As I guessed from the hints in the previous novels and from what I know of Nesbro’s frequent trips to BKK, the story begins in the Far-East with Harry Hole holed up in Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions on Nathan Road. The place is the successor to the walled City of Kowloon’s function as the center of the city’s petite underworld. I know about it because I recall one of my Hong Kong clients, as we passed it on the street one day, pointing up to it with pride as one of his family’s premier development projects and source of much of the family’s wealth.

My emotional connection with Hole increased with Nesbro’s description of him living alone in exile in a small dingy room drunk, stoned and broke. I of course, don’t drink much nor do drugs anymore, primarily because I cannot afford it but also because of my addiction fears. So, I exercise my obsessions by reading six hours or so a day lying on the bed in my darkened room – It is pretty much the same thing as being stoned but not nearly as pleasant.

Anyway, Harry returns to Norway in order to solve a series murders, which he does six or eight times. Each time he is ultimately proven to be wrong causing unbelievable pain and suffering to all around him. Finally, by foolishly stumbling into killing a few innocent people to save the woman he is sleeping with but who is not the woman he really loves, the whole thing ends with a bang so to speak.

One thing I do not like about the books is that in the few occasions when Harry does have sex (He, however, seems to have more as the series of novels progress. I expect the final novel will be indistinguishable from ordinary porn), it is always perfect with both parties deliriously in sync and cumming at the same time. Now, I don’t know what universe Nesbro lives in, but sex can be spectacular or it can be unsatisfying, but it is never perfect; one party always has to wait for the other or ends up lying in the wet spot.

 

DAILY FACTOID:

2013: The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population but 23% of the world’s prison population. Of the 15 States with the largest percentage of their citizens incarcerated 13 of them are from the old South. Louisiana imprisons its citizens at over twice the rate of any other state in the union. The United States imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the hight of apartheid.

What this means is that for the last 250 years the American South has been, for millions of people, one of the most oppressive places on earth. We should not forget that if you were a white German Protestant, Germany was a pretty cool place for you to live in the 1930s. You would have thought that you enjoyed all the fruits of liberty, freedom and economic health and that those imprisoned were criminals, foreigners or threats to your security.

It also should be noted that the Civil War was about the politics of power as well as slavery. Under the Constitution at that time it was permissible to count slaves as citizens for purposes of determining the number of members to the House of Representatives allocated primarily to the South while at the same time not allowing those same “pseudo-citizens” the right to vote on who those Representatives would be.

The various political controversies over who can vote at the polls that we are experiencing today carries on this dispute. Republicans, especially in the South want the ability to restrict which citizens can vote, but continue to insist the allocation of the number of their Representatives in Congress be based on including those whom they do not allow to vote.

To be fair and balanced, I should mention that, on the other hand, Democrats would like to enable everyone to vote and be counted, even foreign international travelers as they change planes in an American airport on their way to their destination in another country.

TODAY’S QUOTE:
“I have problems with a religion that says faith in itself is enough for a ticket to heaven. In other words, that the ideal is your ability to manipulate your own common sense to accept something your intellect rejects. It’s the same model of intellectual submission that dictatorships have used throughout time, the concept of a higher reasoning without any obligation to discharge the burden of proof.”
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer.

“There was only one thing emptier than having lived without love, and that was having lived without pain.”
Nesbo, Jo. The Redeemer.

 

TODAY’S CHART:
kpt5hja

Each separate color shows an area with approximately the same population as California. The smallest of which elects about 6 US Senators and the largest almost 30. California is allowed only 2. The top ten states have over 50% of the nation’s population, but only 20% of the votes in the Senate. California with over 10% of the population has 2% of the votes. The 10 States with the smallest populations have less than 2% of the nations people but controls 20% of the Senate.

Categories: Julu through September 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 11 Shadow 0002

TODAY FROM THAILAND:



A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Bangkok

Bangkok Thailand is a city of gleaming skyscrapers, elegant shopping centers and spectacular temples surrounded by vast areas teeming with those who have left somewhere else in hopes of somehow securing a better life. Many of these migrants or immigrants huddle in informal settlements of rude shelters mired in poverty often as great as that they have left behind. But they have two things going for them. One as old as ever in the hearts of migrants, hope. The other just as old, but requiring renewal wherever the poor and destitute gather, a sense of community.

**********

The Good/Bad David’s 59th birthday was last week. He spent it being bad in Pattaya. He complained that next year he will be 60. I told him not to worry, 60 is the new 50. 70 I found out was the new 60. Alas, I also discovered that 73, however, is just the same as the old 73 — there are just more of us around.

**********

Gary (Canadian hockey playing Gary, not not Pattaya, weight-lifting Gary) and his wife Pui who own a spa on Sukhumvit Soi 13, have given me a complementary pass for spa and massage services. This has made me very happy.

DSCN1483

If you are in BKK Pookie says check it out.

**********

SWAC is off to Italy for some reason. She plans to stay for a week. Harley H. Hayden will be spending most of that time with me when he is not spending it with someone else.

DSCN1424

Harley H. Hayden’s BKK Gang.

**********

LM had one last complementary movie ticket. Since we already have seen all the movies showing, we decided to see “The Sapphires” again. I wanted see if I could figure out what I really liked about the movie. Of course, any movie that has Chris O’Dowd playing Chris O’Dowd has to be great. Similarly, any film whose featured song is “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” cannot miss. I am still in love with Deborah Mailman. I cried some more. Maybe it was the music and the memories.

Quote:

Dave (Chris O’Dowd) :

“Before we go than, girls when I met you were doing all country and western thing and that’s fine we all make mistakes. But here is what we learn from that mistake. Country and western music is about loss. Soul music is also about loss. But the difference is in country and western music, they’ve lost, they’ve given up and they are just all wining about it. In soul music they are struggling to get it back, they haven’t given up.”

If you do go to see it please let me know why you think I like the movie as much as I do. Also perhaps you can help me understand why I find a plain-looking slightly overweight 40 plus year old woman trying to persuade her audience that she is a 20 something singing star so desirable.

**********

Today I went to Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s version of Central Park or Golden Gate park. For the major park in the city, it is a bit run down. I fed the fish stale bread I had lying around the apartment. The fish were large, voracious and in great numbers. They were not as large as the fish in the lake at the Dusit Zoo in BKK, some of those were four to five feet long. There were a few monitor lizards swimming about. Again they were not as large or as numerous as those in the lake at the Dusit zoo. We spent about a half hour pedaling a swan boat around the lake and then returned home. This visit made me happy too.

DSCN1460_2

A Lumpen at Lumpini.

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Free at last:

At about the same time as the US Supreme Court handed down their decision allowing same-sex couples to get married, the highest court in China declared that mutual masturbation among consulting adults even if performed in exchange for money or other incentives, when not accompanied by direct penile to vaginal penetration (fingers, tongues and almost everything else one can think of is ok) is not prostitution as prohibited by Chinese criminal law.

(Well,… at long last a happy ending, but maybe not free…)

Speaking of the US Supreme Court:

A few days before their historic decision granting homosexuals the freedom to marry the person of their choice, the US Supreme Court took away the right of many black people to vote. So what this means is that now gays can join the Republican Party without shame while a lot of African-Americans…still cannot vote even if they are Republicans.

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Note: the following continues my series about four governmental agencies that I had some role in developing.

A. The New York’s Mental Health Information Service (1965):

6. Problems and insights.

c. Problems raised because they did not want MHIS there.

When something new is instituted there is a tendency among those supporting it to view those who may have opposed it as “enemies.” This applies more to Progressives than to conservatives, since the latter are not noted for proposing or supporting things that could be entitled “new.”

In the case of the MHIS, much of the opposition to its creation came from psychiatrists and hospital administrators. The former because they feared “second guessing” by lawyers of medical decisions and the latter for concerns about costs and administrative regularity. After the legislation was passed many of those hired to carry out the law continued to view them as the enemy.

When it comes to implementation of any program, I always believed that viewing any person or group as enemies was unproductive. I preferred to consider them resources.

In the case of the doctors, the literary image of them eager to imprison unwary patients was simplistic at best. Once persuaded that their fears that the patients would be agitated in ways that would disrupt their treatment and that I was not there to challenge their findings, they began to rationalize the patients will to be independent not only had legal implications but therapeutic as well they grudgingly began to support the program.

I spent a lot of my time right away with the doctors especially the department heads trying to understand their concerns and accommodate them where the patients legal rights would not be jeopardized.

Similarly I met with the hospital administrators, inquiring about their concerns and simplifying procedures. This seems an obvious approach, but most of the other district directors believed that a more adversarial posture with the “other side” as they described them was more protective of patient rights.

By the time I left, it was only in my area that the program had been fully integrated. More patient requested judicial hearings were held than in any other district. In addition, more patients were released and sent home. All with the active support of the hospital administrations.

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Vivian: What will your first step be?
Philip Marlowe: The usual one.
Vivian: I didn’t know there was a usual one.
Philip Marlowe: Well sure there is, it comes complete with diagrams on page 47 of how to be a detective in 10 easy lessons correspondent school textbook and uh, your father offered me a drink.
Vivian: You must’ve read another one on how to be a comedian.

Chapter: 20.

We drove to Crissy Field in silence, parked and bought some ice cream at the small restaurant and souvenir shop in one of the converted military buildings. We walked across the restored marsh on the little wooden bridge. In front of us was the Golden Gate, the bridge soaring over the strait to our right. Massive tankers and container ships lumber through flotillas of pleasure craft while wind and kite surfers dart among them seeking the strongest breezes streaming between the headlands.

It was a sunny summer day, breezy and cool. I leaned over the fence looking at the restored marsh, my back to the Bay. Joe faced the other way watching the joggers and walkers pass by on the path in front of him.

Joe broke the silence. “So boss, what do we do next? Why are we here?”

I asked, “When you look at this wetland here, what do you see?”

He turned around, looked at the restored marsh for a moment then said, “OK,… I see some water, a lot of mud, a few ugly ass birds and a bunch of sick looking weeds. Do I pass?”

“It’s not a test. Wetlands like this are very fertile, a lot of things come here to eat, breed and grow, even humans used to hang around here, indians. I agree with you its pretty ugly for something that is a nursery of life; the water is pretty stagnant, barely covering the land underneath and it smells. There’s mud everywhere and the “weeds” as you call them crowd the shore pressing against one another, until like bankers they greedily seek more nourishment then the environment can supply and they die and eventually their husks will fill the marsh and it will disappear. The whole place reeks of death, and yet it is one of nature’s wellsprings of life. Nature made a mistake. No clear running water, crashing waves, or handsome trees. But here is where it, life, begins and flourishes hand in hand with death.”

“That’s sort of interesting boss. Weird too. What does this have to do about anything. You know private detecting or the case– er, the assignment.”

“This is a fake marsh. It was built by some rich people to memorialize what was here before. Sort of like a statue of a general on a horse representing some dead guy. In this case it looks like the real thing and acts a lot alike the real thing. But everything else that was there, that was a part of it is gone, even the indians. We have something else here, a new reality as well as a memorial”

“Are you stoned? it sounds like you’re stoned Boss. Did Martin freak you out? I remember at the temple monks talking like that, a lot of shit that makes no sense. Are you buddhist?”

I chuckled, pushed myself away from the fence and began to walk back to the car. Joe followed.

“Did you notice in the movies I told you to watch everything took place over a couple of days, yet the movie only took 90 minutes or so. What do you think they were doing during all the other time. Living that’s what, eating, sleeping, jerking off, shitting and going back to their offices earning a living. That’s what they were doing.”

“So, what, were going back to the office? You don’t have one.”

“You’re right, sort of. I do not have any other assignments as well as no office. On this assignment there is nothing to do until this evening. In the meantime we eat ice cream and stare at a bunch of mud. If I were buddhist I’d meditate to pass the time.”

“Does this mean you’ve figured it all out, solved it?”

“There is nothing very much to solve here. Nothing much has happened. Sometimes, most times, on most assignments nothing happens. People just imagine things.”

“Is that another rule Boss?”

I ignored him and continued on. We had passed around the edge of the restored marsh.

Joe said, “I don’t understand. You say nothing happened. The Reilly guy is dead that’s something and Martin’s furniture is missing that’s something too. And what about the two fat guys. That sounds like a lot of something.”

I responded, “As far as Reilly is concerned, he could have had an accident and fallen into the bay, or if he killed himself it could have been for a reason that had nothing to do with our investigation. And if he was in fact murdered, Reilly was an asshole, a lot of people could have off’d him and I’m sure many have reasons to do so. We have nothing that indicates the failed business deal we are investigating has anything to do with it, except they sort of happened near to one another in time; the failure of the deal and his death. Interesting, curious perhaps but indicative of nothing. We, you, me and the others happened on the scene. Our ego’s want to make it all related. That makes good mystery novels but bad investigations.”

“Does this mean you are going to have me watch another prehistoric black and white movie?”

“No, it means we are going to visit a real private detective one with an office, a badge and who even carries a gun.”

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Several times here in T&T and in some of my blog posts I argued that the modern financial system that first developed in the US and the north atlantic countries and has now spread throughout the world since 1980 has in fact limited the growth of world wealth rather than grown it as some of its supporters, such as that evil man Milton Friedman, predicted.

Brad DeLong has recently commented on the fact that in 1950 finance and insurance in the US accounted for less than 3% of GDP, but by 2011 accounts for almost 6% of GDP without measurable evidence that it has boosted growth by expected amounts.

Delong also pointed our a fundamental truth about the current financial system:

“There are two sustainable ways to make money in finance: find people with risks that need to be carried and match them with people with unused risk-bearing capacity, or find people with such risks and match them with people who are clueless but who have money…”

He adds:

“Over the past year and a half, in the wake of Thomas Philippon and Ariel Resheff’s estimate that 2% of U.S. GDP was wasted in the pointless hypertrophy of the financial sector, evidence that our modern financial system is less a device for efficiently sharing risk and more a device for separating rich people from their money–a Las Vegas without the glitz–has mounted.

Recently in revisiting this problem Delong wrote:

“…the events and economic research of the past years have demonstrated three things. First, modern finance is simply too powerful in its lobbying before legislatures and regulators for it to be possible to restrain its ability to create systemic macroeconomic risk while preserving its ability to entice customers with promises of safe, sophisticated money management. Second, the growth-financial deepening correlations on which I relied do indeed vanish when countries move beyond simple possession of a banking system, EFT, and a bond market into more sophisticated financial instruments. And, third, the social returns to the U.S.’s and the North Atlantic’s investment in finance as the industry of the future over the past generation has, largely, crapped out. A back-of-the-envelope calculation I did in 2007 suggested that in mergers and acquisitions the world paid finance roughly $800 billion/year for about $170 billion/year of real economic value–a rather low benefit-cost ratio–and that appears to be not the exception but the rule.”

In other words, as I never tire of repeating, in one form or another the depredations of the parasite community impoverishes us all.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

blog_epi_gini_1979_taxation_0

(I have no idea what this chart means except I am informed that it is something I should be upset about.)

B. André Malraux on the capture of the French Resistance leader Jean Moulin on June 21 1943:

21st June 1943: French resistance leader Jean Moulin captured: The Resistance was gaining in strength; fugitives from the forced labour draft would soon be taking to the maquis. The Gestapo was growing stronger too, and the Milice were everywhere. It was a time when, out in the countryside, we listened tensely to the barking of dogs in the depths of the night; a time when multi-coloured parachutes, laden with weapons and cigarettes, fell from the sky by the light of flares burning in forest clearings or on windswept plateaus; a time of cellars, and the desperate cries of the torture victims, their voices like those of children… The great battle in the darkness had begun.

On 27 May 1943, the first meeting of the National Council of the Resistance was held in Paris, in the rue du Four.

Jean Moulin restated the aims of Free France: “to prosecute the war; to restore freedom of expression to the French people; to re-establish republican freedoms in a state which incorporates social justice and which possesses a sense of greatness; to work with the Allies on establishing real international collaboration, both economic and social, in a world in which France has regained her prestige.”

Then he read out a message from General de Gaulle, assigning the first Council of the Resistance its primary goal: to maintain the unity of the Resistance it represented.

Each of its members went in daily peril of his life. On 9 June, General Delestraint, commander of the secret army, unified at last, was taken prisoner in Paris.

There was no obvious successor, as so often happens in the secret world. Before the arrival of Serreules, Jean Moulin said on many occasions, “Had I been captured, I would not even have had time to brief a deputy…”. He wanted the appointment of a successor to be made with the agreement of the Resistance movements, particularly those in the south. He was to meet their representatives on 21 June, in Caluire.

They were waiting for him.

So, too, was the Gestapo.

Treason played its part – as did destiny, which made the normally punctual Jean Moulin three quarters of an hour late, only to be matched by the tardiness of the German police. Soon enough, they learned that they had captured the head of the Resistance.

Little good it did them. In the Montluc fort in Lyons, on the day that the Gestapo agent handed him writing materials because torture had left him unable to speak, Jean Moulin sketched a caricature of his torturer. As for what followed, let us turn to the stark words of his sister: “His part was played, and his ordeal began. Jeered at, savagely beaten, his head bleeding, his internal organs ruptured, he attained the limits of human suffering without betraying a single secret, he who knew everything.”

Let us be quite clear that, for the days in which he was still able to speak or write, the fate of the whole Resistance hung on the courage of this one man. As Mademoiselle Moulin put it, he knew everything.


TODAY’S QUOTE:

“…it fit like a metaphor.”
BruenThe Dramatist

TODAY’S CHART:

800px-World_population_density_1994

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

254754_520979857922141_1053616045_n

Categories: Julu through September 2013, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 16 Jo Jo 0002 (May 31, 2013)

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

There has been a change at the health club where I spend most of my mornings. No, not a change in ownership or rules or even personnel. And certainly there has not been a change in the general run down nature of the place. It is as different from the chrome palaces of modern health clubs as it always has been. What’s changed has been its culture. Yes I know, unless it is some sweaty broken gym for boxers or more modern dojo’s for martial arts, most health club’s cater to a rather vanilla cross-section of young up and comers. But even there, if you look close enough and long enough at your own health club, you will soon see underneath the acres of spandex vague indications of a culture that separates your club from the one in the high-rise on the next corner.

The membership of the health club at the Ambassador Hotel in BKK of which I am a member and for which LM is employed as a masseuse, has always been made up of, in addition to guests in the hotel, mostly older men and women who preferred to pay a membership fee about one-half less than the membership fee at any of the other hotel health clubs in the area and did not mind the steady but slow deterioration in the facilities. Membership, like the facilities, has been declining for the entire three years I have been a member.

However, upon my return from the United States a few weeks ago I noticed that the membership decline has stopped and seemed to have reversed itself. The lockers in the locker rooms are now all taken and new banks of lockers have been installed. On the surface, these new members seem to be much like the existing members, older western males, local professional women and Indian and Arab men and women who are guests at the hotel.

Recently, LM has complained that the massage services that used to be supplied by 6 to 8 full-time women masseuses and a picture book of others on call has been reduced to two providers. Since the beginning of the month, there has been only one massage appointment made for either of those two. On the other hand, the number of male masseuses has increased from two to 8 or 12.

I suspect that usual massage business performed by female therapists has been undercut by the lower cost massage parlors that line the nearby streets in the neighborhood. On the other hand, no such outlets for connection and release exist for women in general, business women in particular as well as for men preferring a man’s touch but hesitant about frequenting the gay clubs nearby.

*****

This week I set off for a few days at Jomtien Beach. For those new to T&T or those that may not recall, I lived for almost a year in an apartment near the beach in this town. The building was called, Jomtien Beach Paradise Condominiums so I took to calling the area Paradise by the Sea. Since it is also about two miles from that emporium of erotic excess Pattaya, I added, Two Miles from the Outskirts of Hell to its description.

Paradise by the Sea used to be the native Thai beach resort area while Pattaya, the Outskirts of Hell, was reserved for western, mostly male tourists. Eventually the bright lights and noise of the Vietnam War enlisted mens R&R resort was overwhelmed by high rises, at first to house the ex-military who retired here hoping to maintain the dreams of that which nature is destined to erode. This was followed by ongoing attempts to convert the town to a traditional beach tourist attraction with its sin city reputation as an un-mentioned attraction. (As a beach resort minus the sex Pattaya deserves a Meh ranking at best.)

The high-rise condo and resort mania has overlapped into the adjacent city of Jomtien Beach driving the native Thais beyond its borders and replacing them first with a mixed bag of Western European and American males and more recently Russians primarily from Siberia.

I stay is a decidedly down scale guest house managed by a sad-faced woman whose teen-aged daughter immobilized by birth defects lies semi comatose on a cot in the lobby.

Two or three times a day I walk about a mile or two along the beach. I have stayed in some of the finest beach resorts in the world, but for some reason I find that I am more comfortable and at peace sitting on the balcony of my tiny room than I had been in any of those elegant establishments.

*****

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Princess LuckyGirl the prime minister of Thailand and sister of the deposed and fugitive prior Prime Minister of the country, Thaksin the Terrible, recently has travelled to other countries and has given speeches extolling the values of democracy. For some reason the opposition party led by the ex-Prime Minister whose party was never elected, Abhsit the Unready, believed it was awful for her to have done so. It seems that they believe that by speaking about the general benefits of democracy she is criticizing their time in power. — I think it is a cultural thing.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Note: the following continues my series about the four governmental agencies that I had some role in developing.

A. The State of New York’s Mental Health Information Service (1965):

3. My job interview:

The white marble Greco-Roman building housing the NY Supreme Court’s First Appellate Division contained the offices of the newly created Mental Health Information Services (MHIS). It was situated just off Madison Square Park at Madison and E. 25th street. To the east a few blocks the forbidding red brick buildings of Belview Hospital, NY’s première psychiatric hospital containing the infamous wards for the city’s criminally insane, rose above the East River. To the south sprawled Stuyvesant Town a city within the city. To the west the garment district and Chelsea ran in an arc from north to south and contained Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. Immediately to the north were the flagship emporiums of Macy’s and Gimbles. The old Penn Station and Madison Square Garden buildings are gone now but the rest remain, gentrified or like the garment district, pale shadows of their prior glory.

The newly installed executive director of the MHIS was a man rotund of belly and of face. With a mouth too large for even that face, thick eyeglasses and wispy hair on a head going prematurely bald, he looked a bit like a large frog. He wore a rumpled three-piece grey suit, white shirt and unassuming tie. His name was Simon Rosenzweig. He was a revelation to me.

Having attended what passed for a progressive Catholic High School and a Jesuit run University, I had a pretty clear idea of the Catholic Social Gospel and the mess the 2000 year criminal conspiracy represented by the Catholic hierarchy tried to make of it. I also knew what saintliness was all about. You know, washing the leper’s sores, feeding the poor and things like that.

I could never do that; never see myself off in the jungle somewhere bathing some feverous child dying of malnutrition. This always made me feel I was destined to be an incorrigible moral failure my entire life.

But here before me for the first time I recognized something or someone different. You see, that whole saintly thing was only intended to try to make the suffering lighter for those whose lives could not change. You know, “The poor are always with us.”

But in Simon here was someone who believed things could be changed so that the particular type of suffering no longer occurs. No more bathing of sores. Instead, if we change the conditions, the suffering itself can be diminished. In effect those engaged in this type of endeavor could be considered physicians to society. This, I decided, was what the Kennedy challenge was all about. I wanted to do that.

But there was a problem. You see, at that time, 1965, the US was still divided by those who went to Ivy league schools and those who did not. And to go to an ivy league school you had to be either white protestant, fabulously wealthy, or born with some preternatural intellectual, artistic of physical gifts. Also in general, unless you were a fully evolved advanced human being like Paul Robeson, you still had to be white or almost white, unless, of course, your father owned some country in Africa, South America or Asia and the assumption was that you would be going back there after you finished your education. As far as lawyers were concerned, even if you were an ivy league graduate, you often were not hired by the large Wall Street firms if you were, say, jewish, Puerto rican, italian or black unless you parents were major clients of the firm (and even then you could never aspire to becoming a partner). In those cases you went out to find jobs in industry or in government, set up your own firm or, moved to California.

At my interview Simon explained up front that the lawyer jobs in MHIS were intended to be slotted to ivy league graduates only. Nevertheless he allowed me to continue with the interview. At the end of the interview he sat there silently staring at me for what seemed like a very long time. Finally, he told me that even though I had not attended an ivy league school he was disposed to hire me because of all the young attorneys he interviewed I was the only one who spoke about the patients welfare and not the principles involved.

While I was happy to get the job, my feelings were somewhat equivocal. I was never all that good on legal principles so talking about the patients and their welfare was really all I that had going for me.
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: Ten thousand? We were talking about a lot more money than this.
Kasper Gutman: Yes, sir, we were, but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk.

Chapter 16:

I stared blankly at the phone after I disconnected from Mavis. I was pulled back from wherever I had gone off to by Joe Vu who had thrust his iPhone in front of me. I took it from him, put it to my ear and heard an angry Martin Vihn say:

“What were you trying to do with Lilly?”

Answered, “It doesn’t matter anymore. Clarence Reilly has been found.”

“What? Where?”

“Floating beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, dead.”

There was silence for a moment then, “Suicide?”

“I have no idea.”

Another momentary silence then, “I want you to find out how he died. Also what happened to the shipment.”

“Sorry, I don’t work for you anymore. My assignment was to find Reilly. I did. You want to hire me again, the terms are the same as before.”

Controlled anger flowed from the phone like waves of heat from a tenement fire.

“Who do you think you are?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know what you can have done to me. But, if you wanted to you could have done so when you first hired me. And, if you do it now you still are going to have to hire someone anyway. After all, like everything else in this case it’s all business, isn’t it?”

He chuckled. “OK. Same deal but this time I want you to find out how Clarence died and if someone killed him who. Also, what happened to the shipment of furniture.”

Following a little more negotiation and receiving the answers to some questions I had, I hung up, returned the phone to Joe and asked him to drive me home.

“To your place on Fourth not the Utah, right?” he said.

“How did you know?” I said only a bit surprised.

“I’m a detective in training.”

“Hmm. Put on some good clothing. We probably are going to a serious affair this evening. I’ll call you.”

He dropped me off. Once inside of my loft, I called Fat Al Pischotti. I met Fat Al while I was working my way through law school as an intern for Hal Lipset. Hal was a famous San Francisco detective who worked out of his home, a mansion in Pacific Heights. He was known far and wide for inventing the martini with a radio transmitter imbedded in the olive. It was useless since once and liquid was poured into the glass the transmitter no longer worked. It didn’t matter, the PR was worth it to Hal. Alas, with the coming of the computer age, the blue collar, shoe leather PI’s like Hal have been replaced by technology geeks who can acquire as much information in an hour as Hal at his best could gather in a week.

At that time Fat Al was a homicide detective for the City. After putting in his 20 years he promptly retired and opened his own detective agency. Actually Al was just the face, his wife ran the agency.

I asked Al as a favor to find out through his police contacts anything he could about Reilly’s death and to keep his ears open about the event I was sure would occur this evening.

After that, I took a shower, laid down in my bed and spent about an hour berating myself for allowing myself to get involved in all this foolishness. Just before I fell asleep, however, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I had made more money this week than any other week since I started this business. Mavis was not too bad a benefit either.
DAILY FACTOID:

“[T]he net debts of Wal-Mart… have soared — up 5,760 percent since 1987. By comparison, the roughly 600 percent rise in the U.S. public debt over the same period looks restrained. Is Wal-Mart mad?”
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/05/josh-barro-boehner-accidentally-explains-why-his-deficit-position-is-phony-bloomberg.html#more

(Although I often am in agreement with Professor DeLong, I must point out, who except the heirs of Wal-Mart’s founder cares if it collapses due to the madness of its managers, but the collapse of the US due to the madness of its political leaders is nothing to sneeze at.)

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Tales of Inhumanity:

The Banality of Evil.

MAY 18, 1943, Report from Sturmbannfuehrer Gricksch to SS-Col. von Herff and Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler:

“The Auschwitz camp plays a special role in the resolution of the Jewish question. The most advance methods permit the execution of the Fuehrer-order in the shortest possible time and without arousing much attention.

The so-called “resettlement action” runs the following course:

The Jews arrive in special trains (freight cars) toward evening and are driven on special tracks to areas of the camp specifically set aside for this purpose.

There the Jews are unloaded and examined for their fitness to work by a team of doctors, in the presence of the camp commandant and several SS officers. At this point anyone who can somehow be incorporated into the work program is put in a special camp.

The curably ill are sent straight to a medical camp and are restored to health through a special diet. The basic principle behind everything is: conserve all manpower for work. The previous type of “resettlement action” has been thoroughly rejected, since it is too costly to destroy precious work energy on a continual basis.

The unfit go to cellars in a large house which are entered from outside. They go down five or six steps into a fairly long, well-constructed and well-ventilated cellar area, which is lined with benches to the left and right. It is brightly lit, and the benches are numbered.

The prisoners are told that they are to be cleansed and disinfected for their new assignments. They must therefore completely undress to be bathed. To avoid panic and to prevent disturbances of any kind, they are instructed to arrange their clothing neatly under their respective numbers, so that they will be able to find their things again after their bath.

Everything proceeds in a perfectly orderly fashion. Then they pass through a small corridor and enter a large cellar room which resembles a shower bath. In this room are three large pillars, into which certain materials can be lowered from outside the cellar room. When three- to four-hundred people have been herded into this room, the doors are shut, and containers filled with the substances are dropped down into the pillars.

As soon as the containers touch the base of the pillars, they release particular substances that put the people to sleep in one minute. A few minutes later, the door opens on the other side, where the elevator is located. The hair of the corpses is cut off, and their teeth are extracted (gold-filled teeth) by specialists (Jews). It has been discovered that Jews were hiding pieces of jewelry, gold, platinum etc., in hollow teeth.

Then the corpses are loaded into elevators and brought up to the first floor, where ten large crematoria are located. (Because fresh corpses burn particularly well, only 50-100 lbs. of coke are needed for the whole process.) The job itself is performed by Jewish prisoners, who never step outside this camp again.

The results of this “resettlement action” to date: 500,000 Jews. Current capacity of the “resettlement action” ovens: 10,000 in 24 hours.

(As I pointed out in an earlier post, it may be that there may have been crueler and greater genocides [e.g. the slaughter of the Native Americans], in none, however, do we have the extent of testimony by the victims themselves and obsessive record keeping by the murderers as we do in this one.

It is this testimony that should remind everyone of the horrors that can flow from hate and irrational fear. [It should be recalled that, until the attack on Pearl Harbor, a majority of Americans had no problem with the rhetoric and policies coming out of the Axis countries that ultimately led to the barbarity reported above.]

It is no defense to denying someone a job, education or medical treatment because of their racial, gender, ethnic or sexual orientation that, unlike what occurred in the 1930s and 40s, it has not yet ended in horrible death. Nevertheless, almost daily I receive emails and other communications or hear political leaders who proudly revel in their belief of the justice and equity of their fear and of their hate. They alas only too often call that hate, American values.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“It was a rare fine night for a stroll down by the docks, the moon plump as a new pillow in an old-fashioned hotel and the undertow in the turning tide swushing its ripples silvery-green and a bird you’ve never heard before chirring its homesick tale of a place you might once have known and most likely now will never see, mid-June and almost midnight and balmy yet, the kind of evening built for a long walk with a woman who likes to take long walks and not say very much, and that little in a murmur you have to strain to catch, her laughter low and throaty, her humour dry and favouring lewd, eyes like smoky mirrors of the vast night sky and in them twinkles that might be stars reflecting or the first sparks of intentions that you’d better fan with soft words and a gentle touch in just the right place or spend the rest of your life and maybe forever wondering what might have been, all for the want of a soft word and a touch gentle and true.”

(This single 183 word long sentence opens the novel Slaughter’s Hound by Declan Burke. It has nothing at all to do with anything else that follows in the novel. That is much like the opening paragraphs of every chapter in his namesake James Lee Burke’s novels about the two male-bonded goodfellows of Iberia Parish in Louisiana that also have nothing to do with whatever follows in the chapter. But, they are beautiful.)

TODAY’S CHART:

nasa-climate-change-e1358345450589

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

972035_10151441431366275_2076552662_n

(These same sentiments, enhanced by the patina of the intellectual rhetoric of the time, were applied with equal vehemence to immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Poland, China and Japan when they first began arriving here in America in large numbers. I wonder if the descendants of those immigrants feel that they and their ancestors were so much dumber then the progeny of those previous immigrants many of whom settled in Appalachia and the deep South and who either made or believed those claims.)

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Joseph 0002 (December 25, 2012 Christmas Day)

 

“We all (in Bangkok) celebrate the birth of a Jewish man, who’s a messenger to the Muslims, God to the Christians and another reason to get drunk for the Buddhists”
Voranai Vanijaka, The Bangkok Post.

I hope you all are enjoying your holidays

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. A brief trip to Paradise by the Sea.

To celebrate my free day, observe the ending of the world and visit Bill’s new venture the “Winchester Gun Club,” a “gentleman’s club in Jomtien Beach, I decided to travel to Paradise by the Sea and spend a few days there. After a not too unpleasant two-hour bus ride, we arrived and tried to find a room at the little guest house that we usually stay in.

Alas, it was the time of the year for the mass migration of Russians from the frozen Steppes south on to the ragged edges of the Indian Ocean. The only similar migration of which I am familiar was the sweeping of the “alters” from the frigid streets of New York and the depositing of them like dice rolled in a street corner craps game upon the burning sands surrounding Biscayne Bay, there to remain until their internment in some recently reclaimed bit of the Everglades.

Even though the area in which the little guest house was located was downscale even by Russian standards (but not so for American expats on Social Security) there were no accommodations available in any of the 50 or so small hotels in the two block area. All that was left were a few tiny windowless rooms usually reserved for short time rentals. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term “short time,” try to think of what activity requires the rental of a hotel room for three hours or less.)

The streets, hotels restaurants, bars and massage parlors in this little neighborhood teemed with Russians; Slavs with their inverted banana ski-jump noses and the denizens of the Caucuses and the Steppes with their grand potato schnozes.

Now some of you have commented on my obsession with probosci of all sort. That infatuation, however, is not engendered by a fondness for my Mediterranean ancestors spread along all sides of that remarkable inland sea who sport some of the most gargantuan and bizarre examples. You probably do not know this, but one of the first physical changes that separated us from our cousins the chimpanzees and bonobos was movement of our nostrils from within the plane of our facial plate outward, to dangle in space at the end of a slightly flexible hunk of cartilage. So when you hear the phrase, “follow your nose,” it does not mean to follow the smell since that sense had diminished greatly from the capabilities exhibited by our simian relatives when we obtained our proboscis, but to follow the ascent of the various permutations of civilization these inquisitive appendages, for better of worse, have gotten us into.

We chose a room in the place I usually stay at. The street level floor is an open shop front with a counter. The proprietor sits behind the counter. She is almost always accompanied by her child who appears stricken with severe birth defects, rendering her immobile and deformed. When not dealing with customers, the woman spends her time rubbing down the child’s limbs, feeding her or speaking or humming something softly into her ear. The woman has a look of intensely deep sorrow. It is beyond anything I have ever seen in Thailand. Everyone else in the country seems to hide their feelings behind either the ever-present smile or a blank emotionless face that leaves one often wondering if anyone is at home. I do not know why I always chose to stay at this particular guest house, but I do.

As I said our room is windowless that means if there is a fire we die. Since the world was going to end in two days anyway, I was willing to take the risk.

The next morning we got up early and went out for our walk along the beach. When we got on to the sand we were greeted by the sight of hundreds’ of exposed boobs, both male and female glistening brightly like bleached bones in the morning sun, destined to glow a bright cherry red when the sun reached it zenith and turn a dark mottled brown like burnt toast when the sun sets that evening over the gulf of Thailand. On a pure tonnage basis, including my own not unsubstantial addition, I reckon that the males have the females on that beach beaten by the proverbial country mile.

As long as I am discussing humanities difference from other simians, I should point out that at about the same time the protuberance made its appearance in the middle of our ancestors faces, perky little sprouts bloomed upon the chests of their pubescent females that contrasted greatly with the determinedly consistent flat chested aspect of our ape cousins. Another advance in the humanity’s march to dominate its environment. Another time, if asked, I will explain the role in the development of civilization of the disappearance of hair from most of our ancestors bodies and the Sophie’s Choice that it presented to the human body louse. (Speaking of Lice, did you know that Napoleon’s army was not destroyed by the Russians but by typhoid bearing lice. It was a lousy way to go)

 

I took a long walk along the water’s edge. The water was as warm as freshly spilled blood. Now and then I would leave the sand and run across the road to look at the condo sale and rental ads in the windows of several of the real-estate agent’s shops that lined Beach Road. I still hoped to return to live there some day.

After the walk, we returned to the room to rest and escape the midday heat. While dozing I dreamily watched a television news program showing a security camera tape of a child, about two years old, playing near the rear wheel of an automobile. Suddenly the car backed up running over the child. It then moved forward running her over again. Shocked, I screamed, ran into the bathroom and started retching. I could hear the television reporters describing the scene as they played the tape over and over again. When I finished retching, I returned to the room and quickly shut off the TV, threw on some clothes, left the room and ran down the steps to get some air. LM ran after me, “Wait,” she said, “Good Luck. Baby lived.” I ignored her. Outside, I walked rapidly back and forth in front of the hotel wondering what kind of culture would show such a thing on television. At least there were no hoards of reporters seeking out the child’s pre-school classmates in order to get exclusive interviews on what they thought about the situation.

I no longer felt like visiting Bill’s new place and after a brief evening walk along the beach, I went to bed and slept badly. Thankfully, my dreams were not about run over little children or even those shot with assault rifles. Instead the blackness of my dreams were filled with giant translucent jellyfish like those that wash up on the beach here in great numbers. They resembled giant oozing glowing boobs that loomed up out of the darkness. They chased me along the beach. I tried to scream when they caught up to me but I couldn’t because they began to smother me, and then of course, I woke up. Interestingly, I did not dream about noses. I probably do not fear them as much.

In the morning, another walk on the beach followed by a van ride back to Bangkok. For the first time in over a decade, I did not feel sad at leaving Paradise by the Beach. I guess that will pass, eventually.

2. Twas the night before Christmas.

It actually began the morning before Christmas. The depression that had been building for a week now crashed in on me and I could hardly move from bed. It simply may be the traditional despondency I (and probably many others) feel during holiday season. I do not know. By midday it had blossomed into full-blown despair. It was not so much that I no longer wanted to wake up in the morning, every morning for as long as could to see how things turn out, but I no longer cared if I ever got out of bed again. Desperation, hopelessness and guilt had gotten to me.

LM wanted to go to the movies. So that afternoon I dragged myself from the apartment and we went to see “Life of Pi” at the theater in the Terminal Twenty-One shopping mall. The movie managed to blow away much of the melancholy I was experiencing. It was not so much because the movie was simply another a feel good film with their usual 5 minute shot of euphoria. Rather it was because, to me, the film seemed to be saying that in life perseverance was all that mattered but even so, all you ended up with are stories. Stories, perhaps meaningful to you and perhaps not, but to others whatever it is that they see in them that makes them feel good is OK. For some reason that cheered me up.

Just before going into the theater, I received a call from Nikki. He said that the man who SWAC decided to spend the holidays with in Vancouver called him distressed by her beating Hayden. Later after I told LM what Nikki had called about, she said, “Why would she do that. Nikki sends her enough money?” I will never understand this culture. Their cupidity is moderated only by their passivity.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Street Sweeping in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Post reports the beginning of a crackdown on foreign prostitutes with the arrest of a number of Kazakstani (or Kyrgyzstani; I am unclear about which) prostitutes working the streets of Bangkok. The police spokesman said that the reason for the crackdown was that prostitution is illegal in Thailand and it posed a threat to the moral fiber of the nation. During the 20 or so years I have been coming to Thailand I have observed a number of crackdowns on “foreign” prostitutes, but never any on domestic Thai ladies and ladyboys of the morning, evening and night. I assume that is because there are no Thai prostitutes. However payment for performances of traditional Thai erotic art still appears to be permitted.

2. The law is the law.

The political party in power, unable to gain amnesty for the deposed, fugitive and exiled Prime Minister Thaksin the Terrible because of the committed opposition by the minority party (which, as far as I can tell has no other issue it really cares about.*) has decided to charge two of the leaders of the opposition party with murder and other crimes. The opposition party understandably has cried foul. Spokesmen for the party in power have said the action has nothing to do with their deposed leader. Anyway he really does not want to come back if there is anyone left who does not want him to.

(*The leader of the of the opposition party, Abhsit the Unready, in commenting on the ruling party’s plans to rewrite the Nation’s constitution said that he did not care what they wrote into the Constitution as link as they did not change that portion that prevents TTT from returning.)

3. Say what?

The Thai military that has governed the country through a succession of coups for most of the last 80 years, has announced they have no interest anymore in the government or the country but only in protecting the honor of the monarchy that they deposed 80 years ago.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

From Harper’s Index:

Percentage of Canadians who believe in global warming : 98

Of Americans who do : 70

Of Republicans : 48

Percentage of Republicans who believe in demonic possession : 68

Percentage of the population of Valencia, Spain, that is currently unemployed : 28

Price of a weeklong prostitution training course offered there since May : $127

Cost of a pair of “all-American” blue jeans designed by Glenn Beck : $129.99

The question this raises is whether someone in Valencia is possessed by demons if they buy Glen Beck’s jeans instead of learning how to get fucked or are they all really Republicans from Canada? Does anyone actually read Harper’s Magazine? How many people even know what it is?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

205105_10151376564753487_480843197_n

The drop in income after 2005 among the 90-95% may have been caused by the collapse of the real estate industry at that time.

B. Fun in the labyrinth or giggles in the heart of darkness (chapter three or four).

I got back to the Mo Chit Skytrain station without too much difficulty and took the train a few stops back to where it meets up with the elevated railway that goes to the airport. I crossed over to the Airport train station and paid my fare. I discovered that I had paid a three dollar fare for the luxury express. I did not know there was such a thing. Normally I would have chosen the lower fare train, but I guess in my hurry I was not paying attention. When the train arrived and I entered the car I was surprised. Normally the rail cars have the usual bench like plastic seats aligned along the walls facing each other. Here they were upholstered airline seats in orderly rows facing forward. As I took my seat and the train started up I was pleased despite my extravagance. I was comfortable and the trip would be much shorter than the local giving me time to get my business done at the airport and return to the Immigration Offices.

Although the existing Skytrain had been built through the center of Bangkok, touching almost all the tourist and commercial areas and had already been extended halfway to the airport, the powers that be, both financial and governmental, decided it would be in their interests to create a separate company and transit line just to service the airport. They would place their stations where the airport line intersected existing mass transit lines . The theory being, I suppose, that the people, in the tourist and commercial areas and the like who wanted to get to the airport by less expensive mass transit would be willing to lug their suitcases on to one mass transit facility, travel for quite some time to the transfer point and then lug their things over to the new line for the final trip to the airport. Everyone was surprised when it didn’t work and the expected ridership failed to occur. Since then there have been the usual marketing campaigns, promoted by marketing mavens who convinced the powers that be that poor marketing was the problem and not any defect in the concept. That has not worked either.

Anyway I took my seat and stared out of my window as we rode high above the city. In an effort to reduce costs, in addition to scrimping on the quality of the stations, the roadway and the rolling stock, a route was chosen that avoided the developed portions of the city. From a point some where not too far from the palace grounds on the river and extenuating almost all the way to the new international airport there extends a relatively undeveloped strip of land about a half a mile wide. I have no idea what urban development dynamics caused this. Through this stretch the airport rail line travelled.

As I looked out my window I could see that in this stretch of land the jungle still existed. Not the jungle one sees in documentaries with thick gnarled trees and multi-storied green terraces, but a marsh jungle of grassland, clumps of thick vegetation with wispy leaved trees and black waters peeping through from beneath it all. In the distance the shining high rises gleamed and the pressed in on the margins. Here and there a collection for shacks of what I have learned are referred to as informal communities appeared. Rusted corrugated roofing covering dwellings and shops made from a variety of urban detritus, Narrow little lanes teeming with people zigzagged through each community. The structures were either built on stilts over the black waters of the marsh, or crowding over remnant canals.

I was enjoying the view and my contemplation when the first attack occurred. Fleas began their relentless assault of stinging bites all over my body. I wanted to run from the train howling, but it was the express, so I had no choice but to sit there. When the train rolled into the airport, I left it quickly. I already had started to feel the little red welts rising all over my body. I thought I must have looked as though I had come down with a case of measles.

At least I had arrived. I consoled myself with the thought that the protagonists of Conrad, Kafka and Coppola who furnished the material for this extended and convoluted metaphor faced worse. (Next – Disgust, loathing and redemption at the Airport.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

“There isn’t bad weather, only wrong clothes…”
Ken Bruen
TODAY’S CHART:

397103_10151179306366275_1555960518_n

Could this mean that Americans hate other Americans more than Muslim terrorists hate Americans?

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0538
Christmas in Thailand

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Joe 0001 (July 18,2012)

 

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Today I am announcing  termination of my candidacy for President of the United States. This section of “This and that…” will also end.

I am ending my campaign because the candidacies of the truly insane have, well,… gone into the toilet, leaving me the difficult task of thinking up parodies rather than simply reproducing the candidates own public statements.

Also, as I have mentioned previously, I am one of the few people who actually likes, Mendacious Mitt. For someone completely lacking a public personality, he has managed to become the medias dream candidate by basically refusing to do things. Some pundits have criticized his refusals as bad strategy, but I, on the other hand, suspect that it may be brilliant.

Imagine if during his acceptance speech after garnering the nomination at the Republican convention he refuses to run for president. The free press coverage would dwarf what he could buy no matter how large the campaign contributions made by those 10 wealthy men into his independent expenditure funds.

This section will be hereafter replaced by:

POOKIE’S PUERILE EPIGRAMS:

1. Consciousness is nothing more than post hoc rationalization.

2. Humans are not rational animals, but rationalizing ones.

3. Consciousness is what one tells oneself to keep away the darkness.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

This weekend I returned to “Paradise by the Sea” (Jomtien Beach) to visit with Bill who was spending a few days in “The Outskirts of Hell” (Pattaya) about two miles from “Paradise by the Sea.” He had just returned from a brief trip to Malaysia scoping out business opportunities there and unwinding somewhere between the gates of paradise and the portals of hell from the rigors of Muslim Puritanism.

I met him and Ray at the “Oval Table” where about a year ago the Geriatric Knights set off on their adventures. Three of the original five Knights were there, Density, Harvey and Giufa. Horace who prefers to be called Jerome we would met up with that evening. Spy was off knight erranting somewhere south of Outremer searching for the Grail or a stray yoni or two which were hard to find where he was at.

We decided to dub Ray into the club (The Rub a Dub Club?). We could not decide on a suitable heraldic name for him. We were stuck between “Omar the Tent Maker” and “Sinbad the Sailor.” I decided to compromise on “Sinbad the Tent Maker.”

Alas, Angelina-Tai, Selma-moo, Princess Oy and the other houri had long ago departed for other caravansaries, and soon so did we.

I checked into the guest house on Jomtien Beach Road Soi 3 where I stayed the last time I was there, napped and waited for LM.

That evening we met Bill, Mike and Ray for dinner at a restaurant on the Walking Street. After dinner we went to a nearby go-go bar where Ray was to meet with the ex-owner to discuss business opportunities in Pattaya. The ex-owners claim to fame was that he managed to sell his failing go-go bar to someone else and now passes himself off as an expert in doing business in Thailand.

The tiny club consisted of a row of booths surrounding a small stage upon which about 10 poles reaching to the ceiling were set. A selection of slightly overweight women, naked from the waist up, one hand on a pole, moved their bodies in a desultory fashion to some over loud 20-year-old rock music while staring boredly at themselves in the mirrors that covered the walls behind the booths. We were the only customers.

We then went to a place called the Windmill a few steps away from the go-go place. Here the joint was packed. It featured various fully naked women performing simulated sex acts and others, equally naked, jumping in and out of Jacuzzis, while various old over-weight men with wallets out were peeling off notes from wads of Thai money and handing it to other naked women whose bodies were pressed against them.

For those who picture the Outskirt’s of Hell as a simply an aging white male sexist paradise you could not be further from the truth. Unlike God, who seems to prefer well muscled male mesomorphs, Lucifer is nothing if not an equal opportunity corrupter. Within the Outskirts of Hell there are alley’s devoted to transsexual (Be all that you can be) clubs, lesbian sex clubs and the standard run of the mill gay bars.

You can also shop for souvenirs and buy the sex enhancement medication of your choice at the many establishments specializing in selling those products. And of course restaurants by the ton located on the land or on boat anchored offshore. Food, sexual indulgence and gross corruption are never too far apart.

After a few minutes of observation, LM and I excused ourselves and returned to the hotel.

The next morning LM and I took the ferry to Koh Larn one of the several islands in the Bay of Thailand located off Pattaya and Jomtien Beach. It contains a small village and several tiny beaches adjacent to which one can enjoy lunch for about twice the price of similar fare on the mainland and stare at the high-rises lining the shore across the straight.

We ate lunch at a tiny place by a beach of strange maroon and lemon yellow stones. We were the only customers. After lunch we returned to Pattaya and continued on back to BKK and our apartment.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

“House Republicans have now voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 33 times. Every time they take this vote, it’s time they could be spending on other issues. Other issues like, for instance, what they would do instead of the Affordable Care Act. But though they’ve found the time to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act on 33 separate occasions, they have voted to replace the Affordable Care Act exactly … never.”
(Ezra Klein)

What is it that one calls those who perform the same futile act over and over again?

Ha, I got you there. The correct answer is Republicans.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND:

1. A Thai comments on his society:

Arglit Boonyai, the highly respected and sometimes brilliant columnist for The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s most respected english daily newspaper recently wrote:

Thailand – and I am trying to be fair here — is as honest as a North Korean press release on famine. We steal, we cheat, we lie, we treat people with a lower social status badly, we’re racist, the list goes on and on. For years we successfully hid all that behind the famous Thai smile and the ‘mai pen rai’ attitude. And by gosh and by golly, most of those suckers fell for it.

2. Thai Beauty:

The most beautiful women in Thailand are men.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

What the hell happened in 1980 to cause this sudden horrendous orgy of incarcerating Americans?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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


As free spending “liberals,” “Occupy” backers should support the Republican approach to Federal financing over the Democratic.

B. Fun with the Mormons:

Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism is a religious practice of baptizing a living person on behalf of an individual who is dead; the living person is acting as the deceased person’s proxy. It has been practiced since 1840 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where it is also called temple baptism because it is performed only in dedicated temples.

In the practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a living person, acting as proxy, is baptized by immersion on behalf of a deceased person of the same gender. The baptism ritual is as follows: after calling the living proxy by name, the person performing the baptism says, “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and on behalf of [full name of deceased person], who is dead, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” The proxy is then immersed briefly in the water. Baptism for the dead is a distinctive ordinance of the church and is based on the belief that baptism is a required ordinance for entry into the Kingdom of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vicariously baptizes people regardless of race, sex, or creed. This includes both victims and perpetrators of genocide. Some Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their supporters have objected to this practice.

This means that black people and gays can become Mormons after they die. Oh, happy day.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

TODAY’S CHART:


Not only is this chart graphically confusing, but misleading. Republicans have never maintained that they are about jobs. They have always maintained they were about economic growth and smaller government. The fact that similar charts on the economic growth and the size of the Federal government would show that during Democratic administrations the economy grew faster and the size of government smaller then during Republican administrations is irrelevant.

What this chart and others like it do show however, is that during the administration of that “Great Satan” to both Republicans and Liberal Democrats, Bill Clinton, by whatever measure of success one chooses, we seem to have done better than under any other President in recent memory, Republican or Democratic .

Let’s bring back “The Big Gut,” (not a typo). Politics was more interesting and fun then. The problem with the current presidential campaign is that neither candidate can be referred to as a, “Happy Warrior.”

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 23 Shadow 0001 (July 13, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Bill Gates and Ray arrived from Pattaya where they had spent the past week scoping out business opportunities. We spent a few hours rummaging through Bangkok’s riotous Chinatown markets, looking for things that could be resold in the US. Some, like decorative mobile phone covers, apparently have a mark-up value ten times greater than the Thai purchase price. Bee, one of the first employees at AVA when Bill, Dick and I opened it some 13 years ago, accompanied us and served as an interpreter.

After leaving AVA Bee married a man from the piedmont region of North Carolina who had a string of carts selling inexpensive jewelry in several shopping centers in North and South Carolina. She had worked for her husband as a buyer in Thailand for a while. She was here in Bangkok visiting family and seeing her daughter off to college in BKK.

Later that evening, Bill, Bee, LM and I had dinner at the “Fish Market” restaurant that we always liked so much. We reminisced.

LM and I went to the movies to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer.” We shouldn’t have.

After a short trip to Malaysia, Bill and Ray returned to Pattaya. I hope to join them for a day or two.

Resurrection:

Today, while walking back to my apartment I discovered the “dead man” I commented on at length a few post ago, lying comatose and spread-eagled at the base of the steps to the Nana Skytrain station, thus reducing my guilt ridden ethical quandary to another example of simple self-indulgence. Had I found the cop I was looking for at the time, while I am sure he would not have laughed in my face, I expect he would have smiled the way Thais do, assured me he would do something about it and after I left, utterly ignored it.

Unless it is some student art project using an embalmed cadaver, obviously he had not died where last I had seem him, although he could actually be dead now, but I think not. As I thought about my inert friend, I suspected that he must be able to raise some money, enough to feed himself and to support his evident alcohol (coconut milk beer?) or drug habit. He probably was not a trust fund baby and I was relatively certain he did not beg. So he must work at something. If so, that raises him from the realm of what some consider pure parasites (trust fund babies and those needing the assistance of others). I reasoned that he probably, stole, defrauded tourists or gleaned from garbage cans, thereby raising enough money to be able to lie insensate in the sun, sort of like the Wall Street barons lying on the beach or by the pools of their estates, equally comatose on the more expensive drugs of their choice; alcohol, cocaine, tranquilizers and steroids.

But wait you say, you cannot compare what they, the Wall Street barons, do with someone who defraud tourists, steals and makes a living off the refuse of others? If you believe that they are not comparable, then I suggest that you plan a stop at your local moral service station and have your ethical dip-stick checked. You are probably running low on your ethical conscience level.

Travel:

My travel Schedule firmed up a bit. I depart BKK for LA July 30. I will be staying with Monty and hopefully spending some time with Ruth, Ben and Greg. I leave LA by train to San José on the 5th of August and see Gates. On the 6th I will arrive in SF and visit with my son and grandchildren as well as my sister and her family. I leave on the 10th with Grenell for some Ragout and Charbono with Sally in the Benioff Zone returning to SF by mid week. After that I hope visit with friends in SF and spend some time with Hayden, the Dalls and Geyers in Sacto. Toward the end of September, I plan to depart for Florida, Washington, New York and Maine, before returning to Thailand by way of Italy.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Trumped:

I recently read where Donald Trump attended my alma mater, Fordham University, but he received no degree. So did “Captain Kangaroo,” but he graduated. I take from this that, “Captain Kangaroo” was smarter than Trump. But everyone already knew that.

2. Do your trust these men:

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.
(Huffington Post-Reuters Report)

3. Non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report on Taxes:

Americans paid the lowest tax rates in 30 years to the federal government in 2009, due in part to tax cuts obtained by President Obama to combat the Great Recession, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.

However the Wall Street Journal points out that the average tax rate for the top 1%—those with average incomes of about $1.2 million—rose to 28.9% from 28.1% a year earlier…

Wow, a whole .2% increase in taxes. How they must be suffering. That explains why they will spend a billion dollars to defeat the man. Clearly the rest of us do not understand the unfairness of it all.

C. OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THAILAND.

1. Perhaps the most amazing talent of the Thais is the ability of Thai women to maneuver flawlessly along the despicably decrepit sidewalks of Bangkok in spiked heels.

2. If it is overcast and rainy, Thais consider it a good day.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Chinese Taoism, cunnilingus is revered as a spiritually fulfilling practice that is believed to enhance longevity

Once again the East gets it right. The older I get… no I am not going there.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Does anyone have any idea what this chart is about?

B. God; one of the guys:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44

Leviticus also seems to say that if guys get it on with guys, they should be put to death. Why would God consider it ok for gay guys to have slaves but not sleep with another guy? I wonder if God thought it was acceptable for guys to sleep with the slaves of either sex, but not with a non-slave of the same sex. I am pretty sure some of the slave-owning patriarchs did, didn’t everyone? Perhaps it was not necessary for slaves to “increase and multiply.”

By the way, did you notice that the sly old God did not prohibit women sleeping with women? Perhaps like most guys He liked to watch.

C. Fun with the Mormons:

The temple garment (or the Garment of the Holy Priesthood, or informally, the garment or garments) in some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, is a set of sacred underclothing worn by adult adherents who have taken part in a ritual ceremony known as washing and anointing ordinance, usually in a temple as part of the Endowment ceremony. Anti-Mormon activists have publicly displayed or defaced temple garments to show their opposition to the LDS Church.

According to generally accepted Mormon doctrine, the marks in the garments are sacred symbols (Buerger 2002, p. 58). One proposed element of the symbolism, according to early Mormon leaders, was a link to the “Compass and the Square,” the symbols of freemasonry (Morgan 1827, pp. 22-23), to which Joseph Smith (creator of Mormonism) had been initiated about seven weeks before his introduction of the Endowment ceremony.

Adherents of this practice consider them to be sacred and may be offended by public discussion of the garments.(Listverse)

I agree. I would not want someone making fun of my underwear.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

This is a cheap shot. People with wealthy parents are not necessarily parasites. He could have lived off his inheritance, instead Mitt chose to increase the “talents” given to him by making sure others had none. That was a cheap shot too. I apologize. I actually am one of the few on either side of the political spectrum who actually likes Mitt. I like the fact that he can continue to smile no matter what he is saying. He reminds me of a polished used car salesman. There I go again. I really am sorry.

Actually neither of men running for the highest office in the land impresses me as strong enough to resist the gathering storm rising up against us and eventually against them. The fabric of an American consensus has been ripped apart on every issue. We no longer (if we ever did) differ on emphasis or direction, but contest every issue raised as if there is no common understanding between us.

Left to their own devices, and not pushed by the needs of politics, from a policy standpoint they, Obama and Romney, probably are not hugely dissimilar (1960s liberal Republicans). However, I suspect that by inclination and by commitment and frankly by choice of party, Obama will prove to be more steadfast.

We are, after all, faced not with a single crisis or even a succession of crises.

We are faced instead with a series of system collapses each making the others more severe. Yet, the resolution of one requires the resolution of the others.

The liquidity crises reflects the collapse of demand and thus in turn eroding the value of the all too abundant liquid assets. Currently the plan is to move the unused assets around from one ginned up speculation to another until something happens that will remove the threat to their value.

The employment crisis represents in part a collapse of resource growth that will not be corrected merely by rebuilding outdated infrastructure. Helpful though that may be, it does not appreciably improve productivity. It only slows its deterioration. It probably cannot be improved anyway, at least not by any options available to us that we know of. Shipping jobs overseas is at best a short term solution.

A war will not be among the answers to the current economic crisis. It will only make it more grievous.

The environment is collapsing in that it no longer is an esthetic/conservation issue corrected by preservation. Nor is it making us sick in ways that can be remedied simply by removing the source danger. Today the environment has begun to turn deadly to individuals, humanity and most life forms. It cannot be resolved by more production furnishing surplus resources that enable us to preserve what is important. Nor is it adequate to remedy the specific activity that makes us sick. These solutions only make it worse.

World comity, which had been steadily increasing since WWII also is in danger of collapse and nations and their internal politics demand that they turn inward and protect themselves from the economic, social and environmental maelström that threatens to engulf them. But while that may be good internal politics it is probably disastrous policy (Germany is a good example. While Merkle’s policies may be good for her re-election, they are disasters for Germany in the long run).

The impacts of coming migrations caused by global warming can at best be delayed in hopes that a long-term solution evolves. But from where is this miracle to come? In almost none of these integrated world wide collapses is there a concerted effort to deal with either the specific collapse or the effects of them upon each other.

On the economy, the approach appears to be to hold on and reduce our efforts and expectations, whether short or long term, and hope something happens like it did once or twice in the past.

On the social level, while a huge number of efforts are underweigh, they are a drop in the bucket from what is required and anyway they tend to address results and not causes.

Dealing with the rapidly evolving homicidal environment is left not to a concerted effort to combat it as though we were in a war but to vague hopes that something will happen at some point in the future that will save us.

If Roosevelt and Churchill listened to those who preached a similar religion then, we all will be speaking German or Japanese today (Except for Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and a host of others (most likely Russians and blacks) who would all be dead).

TODAY’S QUOTE:

1. Charles Bukowski

2. Peter Grenell, July 1 2012 (11 Shadow, 0001)

“… the origin of Hells Kitchen? Before Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, there was Indigestion on Ninth.”

TODAY’S CHART:

What I do not understand about this chart, is that all 100,000 people must die eventually, so what is it that the remaining 999,400 die of? And, If only 600 out of 100,000 die each year then some people must live forever. [Actually what it tells us is simply that at some point in the future there will be a massive die off of the old]

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN LOS ANGELES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: An interlude with Meg:

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

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

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

She laughed, “A little bit of both.”

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

“A little bit of both.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:

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

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

b. Cracked News from “Not the Nation”:

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


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

c. Real Headlines and Ads:

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

HEADLINE: “Federal openness workshop closed to public”

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

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

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

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

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

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

d. What the OCCUPY Movement is all about:

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

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


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


India at night taken from space.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: