Posts Tagged With: Red Shirt

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

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

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

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

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

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

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

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

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

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

2. But you do not understand…:

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

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

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

3. it is not over until…:

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

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

4. And it is still not over…:

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

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

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

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

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

5. Finally…:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

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

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

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

B. Tax relief:

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

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

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

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

TODAY’S QUOTES:

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

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

B. by bjou:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. August 6,2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

As I previously pointed out, one of the most difficult part of the parody of running for office is that no matter how outrageous the parody of the far right, it is almost impossible to come up with something that someone would not mistake for the real thing. A case in point, I was contemplating a statement on abortion pointing out that the right may need to reconsider their approach since a prohibition on abortion falls essentially on the non-white poor, because wealthy and middle class whites can always find an abortionist as they always have been able to in the past. This I also pointed out could result in further decline of the population of the white ruling class versus an increase in the darker skinned, ethnic, Democratic voting poor. Ridiculous, no? Well, in his new book, my youthful partner in crime, Pat Buchanan writes in, Chapter 5, “Demographic Winter”:

Pat Buchanan being interviewed in Manchester, NH

“The reason the West is dying is simple: children are no longer so desirable. The child-centered society has been succeeded by the self-centered society. … [H]aving one child … means a more rapid death and disappearance of Western man.”

Perhaps Pat would support a tax credit for child support for any children over two born to families earning more than $200,000 per year. Hmm, I think I will propose it.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. 4004 B.C.,“October 23, at nine o’clock in the morning man was created according to John Lightfoot (1602-1675), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University.

On that day this year, at nine o’clock in the morning, mankind will be 6015 years old. Women are about 15 to 20 minutes younger. Don’t forget to celebrate. Do not worry, I will remind you on the 22nd.

2. 1 Million BC. DNA evidence in 2008 suggested that the black rat originated in South-East Asia about this time and then split into 6 lines, one of which colonized India and the Middle East and then spread to Europe (spreading plague and fear as it travelled).

Several descendants lived in the walls of my home while I was growing up. It is ironic that in my declining years I get to live in the region in which the rat originated. I dream that somehow I can haunt its sleep as it once haunted mine.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Yingluck Shinawatra - World Economic Forum on ...

Yingluck Shinawatra – World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

1. Ms. Prime Minister: The first female Prime Minister in Thai history, Yingluck, has been elected by the legislature. Political news has been marked mostly by rumor as the transition to the new government takes place. In one of her first statements the new prime minister designate has indicated, in a bid to demonstrate her commitment to national reconciliation, that the leaders of the “Red Shirt” protests who make up a sizable minority of her party would not be awarded posts in her first cabinet.

2. The General speaks: Meanwhile, the commanding general of the armed forces continues to make a distinction between the “government” and the “armed forces,” clearly signaling that he considers them separate and equal national institutions, with the army of course being the guardian of the Royal Family and of the nations liberty.

3. Prison frolics: The Bangkok Post disclosed a spate of reports of inmates smuggling cell phones into prison by secreting them in their anus in order to have a means of communicating with their drug suppliers. Recently one turned up when it started ringing while still hidden up the inmates———-/

4. Cultural Diversity: On the subject of cultural diversity, how does one tell if a Thai is lying to you?

Simply ask him or her whether they cheat farang’s (foreigners). If they answer no, they are lying. And they will always answer no because cheating a farang to them is really not cheating.

Statue titled, Monument to Multiculturalism by...

5. Multiculturalism: As long as I am on a multi-cultural riff, what is it about the right-wing conservatives and multiculturalism? What are they afraid of?

Ultimately what anyone who has intimate connection with another culture really learns is that they have as little regard for your cultural shibboleths as you have for theirs. Maybe that’s it, no one likes to know they are insignificant to someone else’s consciousness.

On the other hand, I am not particularly turned on by some liberals rejection of their culture or obsession with its perceived faults. It reminds me of some insecure neurotic going around focused on his or her own inadequacies.

And why do some many people who should know better gush over another cultures obsessions? Hell, no one goes around loving everybody. There are a lot of people I can’t stand and believe that the world, or at least my little piece of it would have been better off had their mother gotten an abortion. And that includes my old college mate Pat Buchanan.

Similarly there are a lot of cultures or cultural adaptations I can’t stand. The goose stepping aspect of German culture for example, and a lot of elements of some Arab cultures.

That goes for my own slice of pizza with pepperoni Italian-American culture as well. For example, I find Jersey Shore revolting, but the Godfather somehow ennobling. Perhaps it is because I could more picture myself like Michael shooting someone in the head, than spending my days in the gym working on my six-pack like the Situation. Also, although I hate to admit it, I find myself more turned on by that bag of nuts played by Diane Keaton, than by the big busted bimbo that shares my nick-name, Pookie. So sue me.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

There seems to be a slight let up in the rains that brought flooding to the north of Thailand. The past few days have been sunny and hot allowing me to swim in the health club pool again.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“Perhaps I should try to explain things,” volunteered the old man.

“Yes, please try,” responded Vince sarcastically.

“As you probably know,” he began. “People like me in government service are hired to keep an eye on threats to the nation.”

“Spy on us you mean.”

“Yes, if you must describe it that way. We are required to analyze and report to the civilian authorities threats to the nation.”

“Who decides these threats? And what does this have to do with me,” said Vincent Biondi, now becoming more agitated and beginning to pace back and forth,

“Ah yes, who decides? That is always the question, isn’t it. Well, we generally try to discern if there is possible violence associated with the perceived threat, foreign influence or fraud. I am sorry but that aspect of the business is not scientific and unfortunately subject to ones political or psychological biases, and that often leads to problems.”

“That’s for sure,” interjected Vince. “So where is this leading us? I have a law firm to run and should get back to doing it instead of speculating on moral abilities of the spy business,”

“Well, we will get to your role in a minute. Some of us in the ah, “business,” see a threat not from foreign enemies but from within our country.”

“Like Communists?”

“Well, sort of, but in this case certain home-grown radical religious groups that appear to have adopted some of the rhetoric and policies of previous enemies of the country for which we fought World War Two.”

“So what? You know, free speech and all of that, even if it is crazy.”

“Yes, it could be a grey area, but we have reason to believe that this one in particular has engaged in violence and other illegal activities to further its cause and that you wittingly or unknowingly have stepped into the middle of their program right up to your neck.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Sowa’s law of standards“Whenever a major organization develops a new system as an official standard for X, the primary result is the widespread adoption of some simpler system as a de facto standard for X.”


(Hooray for common sense.)

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

“Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels, only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

Some esoteric Jewish traditions hold that God is hermaphroditic in nature, and that Adam was originally a hermaphrodite. This is based on a reading of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This theme is developed with great detail in the Kabbalah; For instance see this passage from the Kabbalah Unveiled. Rabbi Samuel-bar-Nachman is quoted by Carpenter as saying, “Adam, when God created him, was a man-woman (androgyne)”. Maimonides (ibid.) is quoted likewise: “Adam and Eve were created together, conjoined by their backs.”

Sounds reasonable to me. But does God still have a beard? If not what do we do with all those pictures and statues?


d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) if you believe that:

“Torture is necessary for the defense of American freedom but the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is not.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

A study conducted in Sweden gave women testosterone boosts in order to foster more risky behavior in them but… nothing.
The study gave rise to a theory that women should perhaps be in more control of global stock markets than men in order to make markets safer.
Source: Nature

What’s wrong with putting them in charge of everything and making the whole world safer?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

We, the free indigenous peoples of Europe, hereby declare a pre-emptive war on all cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites of Western Europe. … We know who you are, where you live and we are coming for you,…We are in the process of flagging every single multiculturalist traitor in Western Europe. You will be punished for your treasonous acts against Europe and Europeans.
Anders Behring Breivik.

My old college acquaintance Pat Buchanan says this is a good thing. Have you hugged a white man today? Have you recently struck a blow against the non-European hordes? We’re watching.

But, but we all came out of Africa by way of the near east…does this mean that…that they might be the actual “indigenous peoples of Europe?” Oh my god!

TODAY’S CHART:


And guess what? The recently announced Debt Ceiling/Debt Reduction deal does none of this. I love democracy.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 23. 2011

English: Map of Pitcairn Islands (rough), Paci...

Map of Pitcairn Islands (rough), Pacific Ocean, own work composed from various mapreferences (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: According to UN estimates Pitcairn Islands is the worlds smallest country in terms of population containing just about 50 citizens.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Coup rumblings or show of force:

Military exercises by about 1000 élite troops are being held in Bangkok ostensibly so that the troops can show their support of the monarchy. In his speech to these troops the commander of the 1st Infantry Division (the troops that put down the Red Shirt protest last year) proclaimed, “All from the 1st Infantry Regiment are the Kings soldiers. Hence, you must be ready to act on commands of your superiors.” He then went on to urge them to have faith in their commanders and strictly obey their orders, and insisted that all soldiers should share the army chief’s stance.

Huh…what about the Kings stance or that of the democratically elected government?

b. Who runs the country:

It should be noted that although the current military high command apparently dominates the existing civilian government in power the opposition United Front for Democracy (UDD) is led by a general. The UDD has just severed its ties with the main opposition party, the Puea Thai (Thaksin and Red Shirt backed party).

Is this an attempt by the General to secure himself a position in the next government whether formed by coup or election?

c. Although it may only be proposed as electioneering propaganda the current ruling party proposes an interesting approach to taxes:

The ruling Democrats have proposed higher consumption taxes as a means of lowering the income gap. Now consumption taxes always have been criticized as a means for the very rich to transfer whatever burden of support for the government they may be asked to bear themselves to the poor, working and middle classes through progressive income taxes, not otherwise avoided by tax reductions on the rich by means of a flattened tax role or simple non progressive roll back of rates. Simply, the wealthiest people in a society spend relatively less of their income on consumable than the rest of us and apply more of it to savings and accumulation of capital. In an effort to defuse this criticism or disguise its impact by arguing that the wealthy would pay more for luxury goods that the rest of the population cannot afford and thereby contribute more funds to the public treasury that they now avoid through deductions applicable mostly to them, like deductions for investments into long-term mutual funds (by the way, providing a greater benefit to the operators of the mutual funds than to the investors who reap the benefits of this largess through fees).* There is however a history of progressive application of consumption fees in Thailand through escalating tax rates for increased electricity use, more costly luxury cars and some environmental pollution fees.

* ( If the mutual funds actually provided a greater rate of return on investment than competing investments then investors would so invest as classical economic market theory predicts. By pushing for this redistribution of tax burden, the financial industry that promoted it actually encourages less competition and efficiency than classical economic market theory demands. It is instructive to note how silent most classical economists in the US, who are primarily paid by the financial industry, remain when faced by violations of their theories in situations like this and in cases of other supply side subsidies, while on the other hand their voices tremble with indignation any proposed rise in the minimum wage.)

d. OK it is about the US and not Thailand, but nevertheless:

Standard and Poor rating agency which along with Moody’s generally considered co-conspirator in the world-wide financial collapse of 2008 for setting their ratings for the benefit of their clients and who went unpunished, have recently threatened to downgrade the US credit rating because of the stalemate in congress over the means to reduce the national debt. Who do you suppose is paying them for their action now?

By the way wouldn’t such a threat to the welfare of the country be classified as treason. If you recall only a short while ago [and perhaps even now] those who advocated a change in the country’s economic system were branded traitors.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I am back in Paradise by the Sea for a few days packing up the apartment in preparation for my trip to the US. I regret having to give up the place, but economic considerations of maintaining an extra residence here during my stay in the US argue against keeping it. I am sure I can find a similar place upon my return.

English: Red shirt in Bangkok.

Red shirt in Bangkok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The little masseuse, a committed and determined red shirt supporter, spends much of her time watching the political debates on television. She attends all the Red Shirt rallies in Bangkok and some times attends the Yellow Shirt ones as well. When I ask her why she attends opposition events and listens so intently to their speeches on television, she says, “I want to understand exactly what they are saying so that I am better prepared.” I feel a little ashamed, I cannot stand watching Faux News.

I offered to take Hayden with me to spend a few days at the sea-shore and save her the burden of arranging for his care. Originally she agreed, then the day that we were to depart, SWAC claimed Hayden had a rash and needed to remain in Bangkok accessible to medical treatment in an emergency, so he could not come with me. The morning following my arrival here, I received a hysterical call from her demanding my return as soon as possible claiming she could not cope with the child and all the other things she had to do. Since I was going to return tomorrow anyway, I promised I would cut short my trip and return tomorrow to help relieve her anxiety.

I have not finalized my arrangements for my trip to the US yet, in part because I still do not know where I will be staying while I am in San Francisco attending to my medical issues.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed because this current issue of “This and that…” has become too damned long.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. The Mac Attack:

“Men act right only upon compulsion; but from the moment that they have the option and liberty to commit wrong with impunity, then they never fail to carry confusion and disorder everywhere. It is this that has caused it to be said that poverty and hunger make men industrious, and that the law makes men good; and if fortunate circumstances cause good to be done without constraint, the law may be dispensed with. But when such happy influence is lacking, then the law immediately becomes necessary.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first 10 Books of Titus Livius, chap.111

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

“Competition in a 100 yard dash lasts about 10 seconds. Competition in the market lasts about the same length of time before someone “tries to game it.

c. Today’s chart (we all are one or at least L3 and 3 mostly):

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Without waiting for Pino’s answer, he slipped into one of those midget high-rises that were not more than twelve stories high, having been built around the same time as the chemical works and having just as quickly fallen into ruin, when not abandoned altogether. For someone approaching from the sea, Vigata rose up like a parody of Manhattan, on a reduced scale.”
Andrea Camilleri, The Shape of Water.

Camilieri’s Vigata is actually Porto Empedocle, a town on the southern shore of Sicily a few miles south-west of Agrigento [Montelusa in Camilleri’s novels.] When I lived in Sicily in the late 1960s, Porto Empedocle had not yet sprouted the high rises or industries referenced in the novels. At that time, the town was home to some of the best sea-food restaurants in the southern part of the island, however.

TODAY’S PHOTOS:

Contemporary Porto Empedocle :

Porto Empedocle

Porto Empedocle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. April 22, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2010: According to a report from the US Department of Justice, the US has the highest incidence of violent crimes in the world. Every year one out of every four persons in the US is a victim of crime. In 2009 an estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes and 133,000 personal thefts were reported against US residents 12 and over. The violent crime rate was 17.1 victimizations per 1000 persons. (American soldiers stationed in some war zones seem safer than the average American in many of their own neighborhoods)

The US also ranks first in the world in the number of privately owned guns (90 million guns in a population of 300 million). An average of 12,000 gun murders per year in also the among highest total of civilian gun deaths in the world. (Thank God for the second amendment, could you imagine what the total carnage would be were Americans stripped of their arms.)

I can only assume his mayhem and slaughter are caused primarily by those non-american hoards illegally flooding across our border, and the liberal coddling of the criminal classes. Either that or we Americans are the most violent barbaric people on the face of the earth.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. More about subs:

The Thai Defense Minister has suggested to the Thai Navy that instead of buying six used submarines from Germany for 7.7 billion baht that they purchase instead two submarines of the same design from Korea for 40 billion baht. The Navy indicates that it will accept the alternative if the submarines are new.

Now if six submarines were necessary to protect the Thai homeland, why would only two, more expensive submarines of the same design, provide the same level of protection?

b. Election insults:

The Thai government has accused 18 opposition Red Shirts of insulting the monarchy, a crime under Thai law. The King in statements over the years has repeatedly stated that he is not above criticism and that criticism can only help him to be a better King. Under Thai law the Thai King has no say on whether or not he believes he has been insulted.

c. More about Songkran:

In Bangkok, home to innumerable sex clubs, nudie bars and the most vibrant sex tourism industry in the world, three teenage girls were fined for obscenity for dancing topless in the street before a crowd of Songkran revelers. It was claimed the girls demeaned the great Songkran festival. The same festival, by the way, celebrated by mass inebriation and indiscriminate assault by water gun.

As a result of the official reaction against lewdness in the streets of the capitol, the culture minister ordered the removal from the ministry’s website a painting by a notable Thai artist of three topless women dressed in ancient Thai costumes welcoming in the new year. The Culture Minister observed “Sometimes art and obscenity overlap” and wryly added, “Perhaps we have to buy bras to cover up [several well known public sculptures] to prevent obscenity.”

Thailand appears to be getting more and more like the US every day.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Since I recommenced posting into my blog the daily number of “hits” have increased dramatically, from about 3 per day to about 20 per day. True, most of the “hits” are advertisements for things like costume jewelry and “Broccoli,” but to those of us with weaker egos, any recognition is acceptable.

I have returned to Bangkok from PbS to resume my baby sitting duties only to discover that a six year old Thai girl has been added to the household at least temporarily. She is the daughter of one of the women who used to work at AVA. SWAC thought that it would be good for Hayden to stay with a friend and bond these last few weeks before being wrenched away into a new environment.

Actually, I find I enjoy having the both of them around. The mischief of one child can often be tiresome and repetitive, but the mischief of two I find endlessly unpredictable and amusing.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 19:

Seamus Arroyo Cohen proved to be a relatively short man built like a bowling ball on legs. Vince could see that it was not simply fat that filled out his trunk. The way he walked and the stability of his mass indicated a relative air of strength, if not fitness. Rising above that rotund mass, seemingly without the aid of a neck, was a rather small head complete with well groomed full head of dark brown hair and a similarly tinted meticulously trimmed full beard. He was wearing an elegant if somewhat dated grey three piece suit. All in all he appeared to Vince to resemble a character out of an Edwardian movie, lacking only the frock coat and walking stick.

He walked briskly over to where Vince was sitting, sat himself down offered his hand and said in a voice no louder than a whisper, “Mr. Biondi, it is a pleasure meeting you.”

“Ah… how did you know it was me,” Vince inquired, startled.

“You are the only one in this particular Starbuck’s that looked like a troubled, big firm lawyer. Besides, there are only three other customers in here, two are women and the third is a young man hunched over his computer, who does not appear to be more than 25 years old. It did not require the deductive reasoning capability of a Sherlock Holmes to ascertain that you were the person I came here to meet. Excuse me for a moment.”

He then gracefully heaved his bulk back out of the chair and went to the counter to order a Grande Cafe Americano.

Vince smiled as he watched this strange, soft spoken man wait patiently for his order.

When he reseated himself at the table with his coffee Vince said, “Thank you, Mr. Cohen, for agreeing to meet on such short notice.”

Please, you can call me ‘Ike.'”

Ike?”

“Yes,” he said in that same soft voice, “at the Department of Justice no one liked calling me Seamus, or Cohen, much less Arroyo, so at first they started calling me Sam. I never liked the name Sam and told them so and for some reason they switched to Ike. I actually liked the name Ike and so Ike I became.”

“Well then, Ike it is. I’m called Vince, most of the time. Let’s get down to business shall we?”

From the ensuing conversation and what he had been able to gather from his conversation with Mike Daily, Ike had been one of the brightest stars in the Department of Justice’s While Collar Crime division in Washington DC, when suddenly he quit, moved out to San Francisco a little over two years ago and bought the victorian that he remodeled it to his tastes. He now spends his time attending to his world renown Korean celadon pottery collection, taking lessons of the Sarod at Ali Akbar Kahn’s institute in Marin County, learning to play the banjo and attempting to grow orchids in a hot house on the top floor of his home. His basement he fitted out into a law office. He did not look for nor accept many cases, only those that interested him. He retained a part time legal secretary (according to Mike a women of unusual beauty and physical endowments) and an intern provided by the local law schools whom he could and would mentor. A Korean man and wife who lived in a unit at the back of the house and provided domestic help.

Vince explained his concerns. He began with the reasons he originally left the firm, why he thought he accepted the offer to return, what he has found here; Sam’s death, his secret room, Charlie’s involvement at the time of Sam’s death and the disappearance of the files, the Red Star matter and the involvement of firm management, the visit from the FBI and his discomfort with the First’s responsiveness to Vince’s inquiry. All and all he told him everything he could think of, except about Isabella. He was not sure why he left her out but he did.

“What I would like to retain you to do Ike, is to represent me primarily on the Red Star matter. We will begin there. I’d like you to review the files and use your knowledge and connections with the DOJ to find out what if anything is going on and then advise me as to what actions I should take.” (continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. For Dr. Seuss’ aficionados upon reaching the age of 70:


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


“Wherever you have supply meeting a demand you will have someone trying to make a profit by making it not so.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.” 
~P.J. O’Rourke

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, bt 3Th. April 13, 2011

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2004. The Journal of the American Psychological Society published a study that found that “Women prefer both the scent of symmetrical men and masculine male faces more during the fertile (late follicular and ovulatory) phases of their menstrual cycles than during their infertile (e.g., luteal) phases. Men’s behavioral displays in social settings may convey signals that affect women’s attraction to men even more strongly.” The Study also found that women preferred men who “displayed social presence and direct intrasexual competitiveness increased on (the woman’s) high-fertility days relative to low-fertility days, but only in a short-term, not a long-term, mating context.”

In other words, during certain periods of the month, when a woman is feeling like she would like some sex, good-looking confident guys have a better chance of a one night stand with her than guys not so good-looking and confident. Who would have thought.

The study also found that during the other times of the month women would consider long-term relationships with the not so good-looking guys as long as they were rich. Wow! Isn’t science grand?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. What does it all mean:

Recently the General in charge of the war against the islamic separatists in the three southernmost districts of the country has proposed combining the three districts into a single semi-autonomous state headed by a strong governor (himself of course) who he maintains would be better able to bring the warring parties together and end the insurgency.

One has to understand that the Thai Army general staff considers the indigenous Red Shirts a greater threat to Thailand than the separatist (often foreign) insurgents in the south. Therefore, they have begun the process of separating that part of the country from the rest, so that they could better concentrate their attention (and forces) on the political threat to the particular military faction currently in ascendency.

b. Context:

To better understand what is occurring now in Thailand I thought it would be helpful to quote from an article in the Bangkok Post written on September 19, 2010, almost 7 months ago:

“The Cost of the 2006 Coup

Since Sept 19, 2006, the military’s budget has almost doubled — going from 85 billion baht at that time to 154 billion baht this year. That number is set to jump to 170 billion next year. There are some 1,100 generals in the army.

‘There has not been such a consolidation of power by a single class of army graduates since the rise of Class 5 led by another coup-maker Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon, in 1991’ (Surachat Bamrungsuk, political science professor, Chulalongkorn U).

Among our neighbors, military power has only reached this level in Burma.

The increased role of the military overtook the space for a civilian government. In fact, the army has actually taken on a new role as political manager.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

English: The roads along the old moat of Chian...

 

This is the week of the Songkran Festival in Thailand where roving bands of happy Thais and vicious farangs spray anyone foolish enough to be out on the streets with water in an effort to encourage, apparently by sympathetic magic, the timely arrival of the Monsoon rains. Given the floods that have recently devastated the country, one would think that they would reconsider the goal of the festival, at least for this year,

Despite my dislike of the festival and the repeated drenching I will experience, I intend to depart for Paradise by the Sea tomorrow and run the gauntlet of the mostly crazed and drunken revelers that will line my route from downtown Pattaya to my condominium.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Chapter 17.

The Vince Biondi character called a hastily arranged meeting of all the characters of the novel, “Red Star,” in the firm’s still mostly under-described conference room. As they began to crowd into the room he noticed that there were even some characters that had not yet been introduced into the book. Since they had not yet been developed they for the most part appeared undefined and ghost like. Nevertheless, in some cases he could make out the type of character they would become. One, standing behind him too close for comfort, he was sure was destined to become a standard issue contract killer.

He decided to begin before everyone had settled into their places.

“I have just spoken to the author,” he said loudly enough to be heard over the din. The room quieted markedly but not completely as some late arrivers were still moving about.

“He wanted me to inform you all of the results of his request to his reviewers and readers as to their interest in  continuation of the novel.” He paused briefly for dramatic effect. “No one, not one of the 40 or so queried indicated any interest in the work. In fact, not even one responded to his inquiry at all”

In the enclosed space of the conference room the noise from collective intake of breath, cries of ‘Oh no’ and the like, the whisperings, and movement of bodies and chairs combined into a roar that Vince knew he could not talk over so he raised his hand for quiet and waited until things settled down enough for him to be heard. “The author wanted me to read to you the following message from him.”

Vince looked down on the piece of paper lying flat on the conference table in front of him, cleared his throat and read:

“As most of you know although it was my fervent desire to complete the novel upon which you have all been engaged (It is my first after all), I am quite resigned to moving on to other things. Although I was eager to get to some of the planned but unwritten expository chapters, I have not the slightest idea how to end the mystery story.

Nevertheless, I am quite aware of the sacrifices that you have made to give me this opportunity to write my first novel. So, before you begin your search for other employment…”

Here Vince hesitated slight;y at  mention of other employment. He knew and the others in the room knew that for most of them, there was no other employment, this was the end of the line, after this there was only oblivion as their characters were thrown back into the character pool and broken up into their constituent parts until reassembled as new characters in a new literary work.

“…I would like to let you know that I remain open to suggestions from you as to how I may be able to mitigate this burden on you all”

Here the message ended and Vince looked up into faces in various stages of definition that looked back at him. He never thought the author was particularly talented. Now he knew he was an asshole also.

He waited….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:
a. 30,000 year development of the art of painting:
1. 30,000 years ago:

2. Contemporary:

b. Insults for every day use that are sure to incite retaliation:

WHEN DID YOU STOP SLEEPING WITH YOUR MOTHER?

c. Yiddish for the beginner (from Wikipedia) (cont.):

fleishig: made with meat.
ganef or gonif: thief, scoundrel.
gelt: money; chocolate coins eaten on Hanukkah.
glitch: a minor malfunction.
golem: a man-made humanoid; an android, Frankenstein monster.
goy: a Gentile, someone not of the Jewish faith or people.
haimish (also heimish): home-like, friendly, folksy.
huck; sometimes “hock,” “huk,” “hak”. Etc.: to bother incessantly, to break, or nag.
kibitz: to offer unwanted advice, e.g., to someone playing cards; to converse idly, hence a kibitzer.
klutz: clumsy person.
kosher: conforming to Jewish dietary laws; (slang) appropriate, legitimate.
kvell: to feel delighted and proud to the point of tears.
kvetch: to complain habitually, gripe; as a noun, a person who always complains.

d. The Mac attack:

“Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is, for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Another one of my favorites I felt worthy of repeating:

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago.
We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes,
it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.
Hit it.”
Blues Brothers

The Very Best of The Blues Brothers

The Very Best of The Blues Brothers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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