Posts Tagged With: Red Shirts

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Shadow 0002 (June 26,2013)

 

“destiny doesn’t do home visits,”
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz . The Prisoner of Heaven (Cemetery of Forgotten Books) (p. 204).

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

Sometimes it feels like Thailand is more a prison than a refuge. I rarely get to talk to anyone anymore beyond necessary exchanges with people in stores and restaurants. LM speaks rudimentary english and I virtually no Thai so I spend most of my day reading bad novels. Some travel might help but I do not that much anymore. It has become too expensive and tiring. I could start hanging out in some of the local bars again. Unfortunately, they have become bad novels themselves. In addition to returning to Thailand for visa reasons, I had expected to spend the time baby-sitting Hayden. Alas, I am competing with the bright lights and excitement of the city and he has found many more ways to entertain himself than hanging out with a wheezy old ex-lawyer.

**********
Almost every morning for the past year or so during my swim at the health club another man did his laps alongside me. He appears to be a few years younger than me. He never smiles. For that matter neither do I. He breast strokes up and down the pool close to one of the sides. I swim more in the middle. He wears sunglasses as he swims. I have on goggles. We swim in silence. After finishing his swim, for the rest of the morning he lies on one of the lounges in the sun. I usually return to the locker room after about a five or ten minute rest. We have never spoken or acknowledged each others presence. I always thought of him as a lonely old man.

About a week ago when I arrived at the pool, I noticed him talking to another man, a guest at the hotel. The guest was accompanied by two Thai women who seemed to wait on him. Overhearing him speaking I guessed this other man was Irish. For about five days, whenever I went to swim, I saw the two of them standing in the water at the shallow end of the pool in animated conversation. My co-swimmer no longer swam his laps. He seemed happy and smiled a lot. Observing this, I thought perhaps that is what I am missing here. I need a friend. Someone to talk to and laugh with.

Bonding with another person may be, next to breathing and eating, a person’s most basic need. Some may think bonding has something to do with sex. You know, here in this case there are two guys happily spending time in each other’s company. Is there some overt or latent sexuality manifesting itself here? Actually, who cares how or with whom someone messages his or her sexual organs (except a few Republican Legislators and a a lot of priests, ministers and mullahs) or for that matter whether or not a person does it at all?

Yesterday he was back swimming laps. His Irish friend had left.

**********

This morning I woke up feeling as good as I have felt since January. It rained very hard last night, washing the ever-present pollution from the air. The air itself was thick and warm like on a pleasant summer day. The walk to the health club added to my sense of well-being. Most of he ladies and ladyboys of the morning I passed as I strolled along smiled and waved at me instead of calling out the irritating “massage?”, “Short Time?”. I expected that my swim itself would exhaust me and along with the coating of my lungs from the pollution as the incessant BKK traffic heated up eventually dampen my mood. By then the heat of the day would have grown too oppressive for life also. I assumed I would eventually stumble exhausted and depressed back to my apartment and crawl into bed.

That did not happen. I still felt good when I left the hotel. I decided to walk to Terminal 21, the seven or so floor shopping center nearby, to get a hard to come by ice cream soda. Each floor of the shopping center is named for a city, like Istanbul, Paris or Tokyo. San Francisco has two floors with a cable car teetering over the escalator and a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the open area between the two floors. The Swenson’s Ice Cream shop is located on one of the SF floors between the aisles designated Jackson and Ashbury.

After downing my drink I walked back home. The extra half mile to Terminal 21 and back did however tire me out. So I took a nap anyway.

**********

I Want to see what now has become my new favorite movie, The Sapphires, a low budget film that takes place in the late 1960’s. It is not great as movies go but it certainly brought tears to these old eyes. I am sure it means more to those like me who experienced that era. And also, I fell in love with Gail (Deborah Mailman) too.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. A murder most foul.
For the past week or so, the discovery of sensational murder and the political speculation surrounding it has gripped the media here in Thailand.

A billionaire (Thai baht) Thai business man was reported to have disappeared. The man had been convicted of and served time for fraud and for promoting ponzi-like schemes. He also was a vocal critic of another convicted felon, the ex-Prime Minister of Thailand who I have referred to in the past as Thaksin the Terrible. Thaksin the Terrible moreover is a fugitive, living in exile and also the brother of the current Prime Minister, Princess LuckyGirl.

Within a day of the billionaire scumbag’s reported disappearance, his driver was arrested. The driver immediately confessed that he murdered the tycoon in order to steal $150,000 that the victim had just withdrawn from his account. In Thai fashion, a massive media event was held starring the confessed killer surrounded by what looked like a thousand cops. The suspect led the hoards of police and trailing reporters and cameramen to the spot where the body was buried. There along with several other men he implicated, he re-enacted the gruesome crime for all the world to see.

As could be expected, the political party out of power led by the military coup installed previous prime minister Abhisit the Unready (and some think the Incapable), members of his party, and the attorney for the deceased scumbag all have suggested that somehow, Thaksin the Terrible, was behind the murder.

Now normally allegations of conspiracy like this I find as believable as Rambo movies. However, there may be more here than meets the eye or perhaps even less. The confessed murderer, obviously someone so dumb as to believe that as the last person to have seen the deceased before he went missing the police somehow would not immediately suspect him, nevertheless had the presence of mind to remove and destroy all the disks in the security cameras. In addition, he carefully arranged for co-conspirators to wait in the car to help him carry the body out of the house and bury it many miles away. Also, how the driver, a slender young man was able to single-handedly subdue and strangle a seemingly fit sixty year old has not been clearly explained. The re-enactment in front of the press was notably unconvincing. Finally, the deceased withdrew the $150,000 from his account only a few hours before he disappeared. No one seems to know why.

2. Voting:

The Thai constitution prohibits Buddhist monks and other religious officials from voting in national elections. It seems like a good idea to me.
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

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

6. Problems and insights.

b. Problems raised by the psychiatric process.

I divided in my mind the patients brought before the intake panel into three categories. The first and by far the largest were the elderly poor suffering severe dementia who were found the night before abandoned and unable to care for themselves. In 1965 these elderly poor were immediately shipped out to spend the remainder of their lives in the massive state hospital complexes. The elderly, given their long term hospitalization, were gradually overwhelming the hospitals abilities to provide beds for treatment of anyone else.

In 1965 also Medicare passed in the Congress and was signed into law. We did not know it then, but ultimately it had a great deal to do with resolving the crisis. Medicare provided funds that allowed these same elderly to now be treated in private medical facilities. It effect Medicare transferred the cost of treating the elderly poor from State and local budgets to the Federal budgets and the care from public to private institutions.

MHIS was not set up to deal with this category of patient. Also, it was extremely rare that a receiving hospital, given the lack of beds, would not discharge an elderly patient still capable of expressing a desire to leave the hospital.

There was little I could do, other that urge the hospital’s social services staff to redouble their efforts to find family members who may wish to undertake care of the patient.

The second category were those patients I chose to call the “uninteresting.” They were those suffering symptoms that made them unresponsive, such as catatonics and those hallucinating visions of Jesus or angels and the like or other obsessive behaviors coupled with communication difficulties such as those caused by language, education or cultural impediments.

The third Category I called the “interesting group.” It was the smallest group.These patients were most often were suffering from some manifestation of a classical psychiatric category (sexual deviation or obsession, use of “crazy” behavior to protect their real crazy behavior [like believing they were someone actually else usually someone famous] and the like). These patients tended to be more educated, articulate and almost inevitably of trans-mountain, middle european, germanic or eastern european descent.

Since the receiving hospital was also a teaching hospital, those chosen to be admitted into that hospital received by far the best treatment and had the highest chance of a quick recovery. Inevitably those chosen to be admitted to the wards in the teaching hospital were from the “interesting group.” And, there was my problem. The quality of treatment was being apportioned, whether intentional or not, on racial, ethnic and other cultural grounds. The poor latinos often manifested their problems through visions of Christ standing at the foot of their bed. With Jesus in the room they rarely had interest in anything else and thus were sent to the state hospitals to be left mostly alone with their savior until he decided he, like the psychiatrists, had more rewarding things to do elsewhere.

Although it was not within the scope of my duties, I made it my goal to sensitize the medical administrative personnel the importance of exposing their students to the full range of pathologies thereby opening the better treatment programs to a broader range of ethnic and social groups. By the time I left the job, I felt satisfied that I had succeeded with this.

Patients in the interesting group were the also ones most likely to object to and request hearings on their incarceration. This prompted me to institute changes in the MHIS operating procedures to encourage more direct communication between MHIS personnel and patients on the wards.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Philip Marlowe: Oh, Eddie, you don’t have anybody watching me, do you? Tailing me in a gray Plymouth coupe, maybe?
Eddie Mars: No, why should I?
Philip Marlowe: Well, I can’t imagine, unless you’re worried about where I am all the time.
Eddie Mars: I don’t like you that well.

Chapter: 19

We arrived at IHOP about 10 minutes late. Martin Vihn had not yet arrived. I took a seat at a booth against the back wall and sat down facing the entrance. Joe slipped into the seat opposite me. A window was on my left through which I watched a man assemble a sidewalk stand. The waitress brought the menus. Joe got right down to studying it. I watched the man struggle with some pipes that held up an awning over his stand while I thought about my upcoming meeting with Vihn. My usual bouts with fear and uncertainty slithered through my mind like minks in heat. The worst part was wondering about what people, like Mavis or Fat Al would say if I was wrong and died. I imagined something like, “What on earth possessed him to take such a risk.” Last night I thought I had good and compelling reasons, but now I realized they were mere rationalizations for whatever was so deeply imbedded in my psyche that impelled me to act as I did.

Nothing new in that, I have become convinced most of the reasons we tell ourselves that we need to do something have little to do with why we do whatever it is we end up doing. They are merely a handy thing, whenever we are successful, to tell ourselves and others. You know, “I knew what I was doing all along.”

Joe brought me out of my musings. “I’m having the Belgian waffles. What about you?”

“I’ll probably have the blueberry short stack and fried eggs. For some reason I always get the same thing when I come here.”

Martin Vihn entered the restaurant followed by two of the young men I had seen before. One was dressed like Joe in tee-shirt and windbreaker. The other had on a dark hoodie. Martin had on a dark blue jacket over a white button down shirt and jeans. He came over to our table.

“Sorry I’m late. Traffic and parking”

Joe slid out from his seat. Said, “I’ll sit with Vinnie and Chang.” He walked over to the table where the other two young men who accompanied Vihn sat. Vu’s arrival prompted a lot of laughing and fist bumping.
Martin nodded to him and sat in the seat Joe vacated. The waitress arrived and we ordered. She then went over to the table where Joe and the others sat.

“Any word from the police on the cause of Clarence’s death?”, he asked.

“The autopsy scheduled for later this morning. The cops are being close-mouthed.”

“How do you think he died?”

“I’m not paid to guess.”

Martin rarely raises his voice but his anger blazed out of his eyes like campfire embers poked with a stick. “I’m paying you and if it is your opinion I want than then it is your opinion I’ll get.”

“He could have been walking along the shore reciting poetry tripped and fallen into the bay and drowned. I doubt whether it makes much or a difference to anyone how he died, even to the murderer, if he was murdered.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I can’t see you shipping drugs or anything else illegal this way. By reputation, you’ve been able to bring thing like that into the States with no problems in the past. There’s too many better ways. Dropping packages into the water offshore at night, trans-shipping through Alaska. Even if you were to do something like this, certainly not through the Port of Oakland. There are other less watched small ports like Eureka and Redwood City. So, I can’t figure you for something like a dope deal in this case. So, I ask myself, although he is such a prick I am sure a lot of people would like him dead, why would anyone involved in this case kill Clarence? Then there is the hiring of me. It can’t be all that important to hire a second rate shamus like me.” I stopped there and stared at him.

Martin’s silence lasted a long time as he stared at me. Our orders arrived before he answered and we began eating. After swallowing his first bite, Martin sat back and said:

“Look, whatever you think I may also be mixed up in, I am also a legitimate business man. I invested in a business to import into America furniture made in south east asia. Now the man who talked me into the investment and was supposed to manage the business is gone along with he merchandise.”

“But even so, two containers of furniture could not have been valuable enough for all your interest, not to mention knocking off Reilly if in fact he was killed.”

“You figured it out already. You’re cheap. I only spent $1000 dollars so far.”

“What about Joe?”

Vihn looked down at the table for a while. “He’s my brother’s son. I care about him. He refuses to go to college and is too interested in the wrong part of the family business. I thought following you around a while would help to get him interested in something else. That was a spur of the moment thing, I’m afraid.

“So you hired me as a babysitter?”

“A thousand dollars a month is pretty cheap for baby sitting these days,”
he said with a smile.

We ate our breakfasts in silence. Over coffee I assured him, I will try to find out how Reilly died and what happened to the furniture.

I then asked, “What’s Lilly’s role in this?”

“She’s my lawyer.”

“Nothing else.”

“It’s none of your business.”

I smiled, got up, collected Joe and left Vihn to pay the check.

On the way back to the car, I called Mavis. Told her that I would come by that afternoon and that we were going to attend Reilly’s wake.

For some reason the thought of Mavis, death and my current role got me ruminating about God and humor, God’s humor to be precise.

Humans are a fascinating species. I am convinced God created us because he or she (I refuse to take sides on the issue of God’s gender — although the Good Humor Man of my youth was always male) found presiding over the rest of the universe dreadfully dull and craved some amusement. While growing up I always thought that God was the Good Humor man. Every afternoon the Good Humor man rang his bells in front of my house. The sound of those bells filled me with hope. Would your God do as much for you?

I was pulled from my reveries by Joe shouting “Boss, boss!’

I stared at him as the world around me came into focus.

“Is there something wrong? You were talking on the phone and then you just stopped staring off at nothing. Are you OK? You thinking about the case? ”

“Yeah. I’m OK. Rule whatever number… in private investigations there are no cases only assignments. And your current assignment is to find us some ice cream and drive me to Crissy Field.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Biblical Family Values:

“Look, I have two daughters, virgins both of them. Let me bring them out to you and you could do what you like with them. But do nothing to these men because they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
11. Genesis 19:8

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Pill v Condom

The pill is almost exclusively a birth control device. A condom is primarily protection against STD. It also protects against conception.

The Pill is used by women to prevent unwanted conception freeing them to enjoy other aspects of their life. A condom allows a man to resist STD and avoid the bother of child support payments.

The Pill liberates women. Condoms do the same for men.

Condoms are sold over the counter in almost every drugstore in America. Women need a doctor’s prescription to buy the Pill.

Certain Republican and conservative legislators have proposed legislation making it more difficult for woman to learn about and to purchase the Pill. There has been no legislation proposed that I know of that requires a man to get a prescription to buy a condom or that prohibits anyone from teaching him how to put on a rubber.

C. What Shakespeare should have written:

“The quality of mercy isn’t worth as much as it used to.”
Trenz Pruca

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Banks always win.

The mere hint that the US Federal Reserve may at some unknown time in the future take actions that may cause a minuscule rise in the interest rates on US federal debt, caused equities markets around the world to crash as investors removed their money for possible reinvestment in the US treasury paper. As a result the exchange rates on many countries plunged in relation to the dollar.

In Thailand the exchange rate increased from 28 baht to the dollar to about 32 to the dollar (almost 10%) putting pressure on the liquidity of the Thai banks. The banks were unperturbed. In retaliation or in order to maintain the lifestyles of its managers, they reduced the amount of money that can be withdrawn at an ATM using an American issued credit or debit card from about $700 per transaction to $350 per transaction and increased the fee for the transaction from $5 per transaction to $6. Thus increasing their fee revenue for a $700 transaction almost 150%.

Of course my more conservative ex-pat friends probably will blame it all on Obama because I surmise they believe Banks being the private guardians of capitalism and free enterprise (their free exercise not yours) can be trusted to voluntarily act in the public interest when not subject to government interference especially when that government is run by a black, non-citizen socialist.

They have a point, not about black, non citizen, socialists but about government interference in this case. If the Bush administration had just let all the banks fail in 2008 and plunge the world into a depression rivaling the crash of 1929, the banks would have gone out of business and much of the financial industry splattered on the cement of Wall Street, leaving the rest of us free to try to figure out how to get most of us back to work and not worry about whether some bankers kid can afford the tuition at Amherst.

Yes, the black, non citizen, socialist ultimately went along with it. Proving thereby not only is he a true American political leader, and ardent Capitalist but a Democrat as well. Alas, he is only half-black.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I read an article once that said that when women have a conversation, they’re communicating on five levels. They follow the conversation that they’re actually having, the conversation that is specifically being avoided, the tone being applied to the overt conversation, the buried conversation that is being covered only in subtext, and finally the other person’s body language. That is, on many levels, astounding to me. I mean, that’s like having a freaking superpower. When I, and most other people with a Y chromosome, have a conversation, we’re having a conversation.”
Butcher, Jim (2012-11-27). Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files (pp. 346-347).
TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN1371

Harley Haystack Hayden (H’s new self chosen name) at the health club pool.

 

Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:
1. Education matters:

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

2. 2011:

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Thai political adventures:

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

2. Floods:

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

3. Christmas:

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

4. The Flying Ladyboys:

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

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

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

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Escape without dignity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1. The impossibility of parody:

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

2. Buddy Roemer on China:

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

1. IQ matters too:

a. Levels:

 

b. Signs you are smarter than average:

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. The defining characteristics of Fascism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

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

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

The first 3 months of the standard Gregorian Calendar :

Graphics not available at this time…..

 

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

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

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

TODAY’S CHART:

Finally something that explains the difference that I can understand.

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

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:


TODAY’S FACEBOOK POST:

Repentance is definitely needed indeed!

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


I hope you all had a Merry Christmas too.

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The US Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost more than $2 billion to repair the damage to the nation’s levees, dams and riverbanks caused by this year’s excessive flooding, a sum that dwarfs $150 million it currently has to make such repairs and that doesn’t account for damage from Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Fair and Balanced Update: In my last post, I speculated about the reason behind the Media assault on the new Administration of Princess LuckyGirl as well as her party’s rapid implementation of some of its policies (especially on amnesty for Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother, the fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible). I guessed it had something to do with possible  military co-option by the new government.

An article in today’s english language press (definitely not on the front page), reported that recent poll results showed an overwhelming majority (over 80%) of Thais opposed another military coup under any circumstances. In a related story, interviews, with a number of members of the military general staff have elicited the opinion from most of them that the previous military coup was a mistake and damaged the Thai economy. In still another associated story, the Yellow Shirts, the citizen group whose protests against the Thaksin associated government brought about the military coup and who strongly supported the Military’s war with Cambodia announced they intended to stay out of politics for a while.

It sounds as though the return of Thaksin the Terrible is imminent and people are beginning to line up to get on his good side.

2. Political Gibberish: Meanwhile, the man himself, Thaksin the Terrible, is spending a leisurely week in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor and recent opponent in a comic war over ownership of a temple in a disputed area along the countries’ border. He is there ostensibly to play golf and give a few lectures to a business conference. The newspapers published a photograph of him hugging “his good friend,” the prime minister of Cambodia, Thailand’s enemy only two months ago. When interviewed by the press during his sojourn and asked whether if he did return to Thailand would he reenter politics and assume the Prime Minister’s job, he responded with a string of political gibberish of which even I could make no sense.

3. Amnesty: It was also announced today, by the governmental agency responsible for making such announcements, that according to Thai law, anyone over 60 years of age convicted of a crime that requires incarceration for less than 3 years qualifies to petition the King for amnesty. Thaksin the Terrible, is 63 years old and has been sentenced to serve two years in prison.

Have we seen this movie before?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Although I remain mostly in bed treating my illness, I still must bustle about to prepare for my return to California on Wednesday, September 24. Regrettably, a lot of what I had hoped to get done before departure will not get done.

The flooding in Thailand moves ever closer to Bangkok and is expected to arrive in the next few days. Bangkok like New Orléans is a city located for the most part below sea level. In the next decade, as a result of rising sea levels and increased precipitation it will face its own city altering catastrophic floods like New Orléans did. But unlike New Orléans, allowed to flood for political reasons, Bangkok being the capital city will struggle to divert the onslaught of the waters through massive public-works projects already under weigh or in planning. Technical exchanges with Holland and other countries to try to address the problem have increased recently.

While the public-works projects will have a beneficial effect on the Thai economy, I am dubious about their efficacy given the area’s geography and the speed and extent of sea level rise and climate change. I would be surprised if by 2050 Bangkok as we know it will even exist. But, alas, I will undoubtedly not be around to experience the accuracy of my prediction.

While lying awake one night unable to sleep due to the aches and miseries associated with my current malady and unwilling to watch another Steven Seagal movie or Thai soap, I turned on my Mac and reread the “This and thats” that I have written over the past few months. Usually when I finish a post and send it out, I generally find myself embarrassed and disgusted with what I imagine is the poor grammar, infantile emotions, self-indulgence, foolish assertions and many other things contained in it. While my rereading of the posts did not disabuse me of those feelings, I have to admit I enjoyed looking through them again. I was especially amused coming across some of my long forgotten obsessions. For those of you who may have actually read them, you have my sympathy.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“What do you mean,” said the Vince character in response to Isabella’s expression of concern?

“Well, the way I see it, it is like your character said when we met at Ike’s house, what we have here is simply a third-rate business screw up, so what’s the big deal?”

“Go on,” Vince encouraged. “I still don’t see what you’re so concerned about.”

“These type of business failures and frauds happen every day, but people don’t go running around committing suicide, killing people or setting up fall guys.”

“Well, maybe the Brethren are publicity shy.”

“Maybe,” she continued. “But their involvement is easily dismissed publicly as only another case of some abused and defrauded investors. No, it is something more, something bigger that if it came out would threaten everything,”

“So, I still don’t see what you’re so upset about. This is a thriller. The author, if he knows what he is doing, would want a conspiracy, the bigger the better.”

“No, no that’s not it,” she exclaimed, her voice rising. “What’s our role, your role?”

“I’m the reluctant but courageous hero who after many harrowing adventures prevails over the forces of darkness,” he responds smugly. “And you, why you’re my doxy,” he adds with a smile and leans forward to peer more closely at his face in the makeup mirror.

“That would work,” she responds derisively, “if you knew something that threatens them, whoever they are, which you don’t. Or they think you know something, which you don’t . Or you could stumble over something which you won’t because everyone knows the only reason you were brought into this novel was to die.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I Didn’t Know That:

During the Middle Ages in Europe, the floor of most homes was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “dirt poor.”

The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing.

As the winter wore on they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a “thresh-hold.”

By the way, this common use of dirt and thresh flooring is also the reason why we in the West, unlike in the East, customarily remain wearing shoes when entering a house.

b. What Adam Smith (considered by some as the “father” of Capitalism) Really Said:

“When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the same kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the same manner.”
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations [Book I, Chapter X, Part II, p. 164].

c. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

“… I believe God was waiting for the biblical government of the Church to come into place under apostles and prophets. But this happened in 2001, when, at least according to my estimates, the Second Apostolic Age began. What more? I now think that in order for us to be able to handle the wealth responsibly, we need to recognize, identify, affirm, and encourage the ministry of the apostles in the six non-Religion mountains. They may or may not want to use the term `apostle’ but they will function in Kingdom-based leadership roles characterized by supernaturally empowered wisdom and authority. We have more work to do here.”
C. Peter Wagner (an ardent Rick Perry supporter), The Reformers Pledge.

Is he implying that  George Bush’s election ushered in the Second Apostolic Age? Why that would make good old George the modern Moses! Poor George, he gets blamed for everything. Hmm, is there somewhere one can go to sign up for one of those apostleships?

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“As for the other six and a half billions of the deficit we did not just spend money; we spent it for something. America got something for what we spent—conservation of human resources through CCC camps and through work relief; conservation of natural resources of water, soil and forest; billions for security and a better life. While many who criticize today were selling America short, we were investing in the future of America.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

The Hamer people in Ethiopia have a formal rite of passage for boys before they can formally marry. They must run naked over a row of cows four times. In the Brazilian Amazon, the Satere-Mawe tribe have a more painful–and dangerous–manhood ritual. Boys must wear a glove woven with bullet ants twenty times.

f. The Trolley Test II:

Let us assume that in the example given in my last post, instead of the option of switching to an alternative track to avoid the trolley killing the five people on the track, you are on a bridge above the track, beside you stands a fat man. You know that the fat man, if he fell on the tracks, would stop the trolley and save the five people. Would you throw him off?

Now right here I must stop and admit I have a problem. Describing this person as a “Fat” man would, because of my liberal leanings force me to hesitate while I examine whether or not my progressive values are offended by the stereotype, causing me, in true liberal fashion, to do nothing resulting in the inevitable death of five people.

Now in order to avoid the sticky emotional problem of physically touching the person you intend to kill, assume the fat man is suspended in a basket above the tracks to be released to fall upon the tracks and stop the Trolley by you pressing a button.

1. Would you press the button now?
2. Would your answer be the same if the person in the basket was:
a. Adolf Hitler (or if you need a person in being, say Moammar Gaddafi),
b. Mother Theresa or Albert Einstein (or, Suu Kyi),
c. Michelle Bachman, (or the Republican of your choice)
d. Barak Obama (or Michael Moore or some other liberal you find obnoxious)
e. A young pregnant woman,
f. A child or,
e. One of your close relatives or friends?
3. Would you throw yourself off that bridge instead of any one of the above?
TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Everything we’re seeing [the current financial crisis] makes sense if you think of the right as representing the interests of rentiers, of creditors who have claims from the past — bonds, loans, cash — as opposed to people actually trying to make a living through producing stuff. Deflation is hell for workers and business owners, but it’s heaven for creditors.”
Kuttner.

BONUS QUOTE:

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda
TODAY’S CHART:

Before and after September 11.


Do you think Osama bin Laden achieved his goal to destroy America’s economic might?

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. September 8,2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2008: The US Federal Reserve in its efforts to stave off a depression during 2008s financial crisis, loaned $1.2 trillion to an assortment of US and foreign banks, an amount “more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the US for the decade through 2010.”

Interestingly, that $1.2 trillion according to Bloomberg, is “about the same amount US homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages.” Nevertheless, it’s the “Wall Street aristocracy,” as Bloomberg labels them in a bit of welcome class warfare, that got the massive bailouts.

Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys, tell them to become bankers instead.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

a. Chief of Police – Musical Chairs: It seems the existing Secretary General of the National Security Council who is due to be replaced by the disgraced Chief of Police, himself superseded by an ex in-law of the fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin the Terrible, is furious at this turn of events. As well he should be since he in turn will be transferred to an “inactive position.” in the office of the new Prime Minister, who herself is the younger sister of Thaksin the Terrible. The inactive position apparently is one in which one gets paid but has nothing to do. The soon to be replaced Secretary General said that he would prefer to be transferred to the position of permanent secretary of another ministry so that he would have something to do beside coming into the office now and then to collect his pay check. Princess LuckyGirl‘s Deputy said that it would be inappropriate for the Secretary General to be transferred into an “active” position in the new government, since before he became Secretary General he was in charge of the agency responsible for putting members of the party of the new government in jail.

Members of the opposition party including Abhsit the Unready, the recently defeated Prime Minister but still head of his party, said it was unfair to hold the Secretary General’s prior position against him since he was, “Only doing his job.”

Princess LuckyGirl, upon hearing about the soon to be transferred ministers threat indicated that she would be open to meeting with him if she could spare the time from her busy schedule of running the country. She added that, in any event transfers of officials are the responsibility of the appropriate cabinet secretaries. The next day the cabinet met and transferred the disgruntled bureaucrat anyway.

It should be noted that the incoming Chief of Police has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Kentucky University in the US.

I hope this now ends this whole sordid business.

b. Red Comedians: Yoswaris Chuklom also known as red comedian Jeng Dokjic was made assistant secretary to the Interior Ministry.

I do not know what this means, but I guess everyone could use a good laugh now and then.

c. Passport follies: The United Kingdom which recently privatized its passport and visa offices world-wide no longer provides passport renewals for its citizens in Thailand and other countries.

Hooray for privatization.

d. Gambling with the story: Given the brouhaha over illegal gambling, one of the recipients of my “This and that…” posts has pointed out that during the period when the predecessor of Princess LuckyGirl‘s party was in power, before it was removed by judicial decision or coup, I do not remember which, the prime minister at the time, who was not Princess LuckyGirl‘s elder brother Thaksin the Terrible (3T) proposed legalization of gambling, (restricting the number of casino’s in BKK to five). He announced that he intends to give the Thai people their right to gamble if it is the last thing he did. Gambling was not legalized. He soon died of cancer.

Rumor has it the casino’s were to be awarded to 3T or friends of 3T or relatives or whatever.

e. Red Villages: The newspapers report that several hundred “red villages,” villages populated by “Red Shirt” members have been created in Northern Thailand.

What does this mean? Are they like new subdivisions? Why would anyone move there?

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The afternoon Monsoon rains still drench the country flooding much of it.

During the Monsoon season, a series of low pressure areas stabilize just north of Thailand and I guess most of South Asia. The lows act on the atmosphere like lower elevation does on water. The warm wet air from the Indian ocean flows over South Asia toward the low pressure areas and drops its moisture as it rises into the mountains. Climate change models conflict as to whether we will see increased rains or movement of the stationary lows producing increasing drought. I suspect seasonal variation simply will be accentuated with more precipitation from the warmer ocean evaporation during the Monsoons and even greater heat and less rainfall during the dry season in the interior.

I continue to plan to come back to the US at the end of this month. It seems that my return through Italy and the East Coast has been cancelled, so I will fly directly from Bangkok to either LA or SF. I have no idea where I will be staying since I have not been made a party to Hayden’s schedule.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Conjecture,” Vince opined. “It is all conjecture. I do not know if I was asked to return because of any perceived abilities I may have or some more nefarious reasons. I have heard both theories. And, while I admit the latter is probably more reasonable, I haven’t the slights idea what the nefarious plot could be — although there have been several bizarre alternatives seriously suggested. For example, does this all have something to do with the reason Sam took his life and his wife died in what to some is a suspicious accident? Or, does it have something to do with “Red Star” or a shadowy group referred to as “The Brethren?”

“Red Star, “interjected The Great One. “That’s the little fraud Sam and the management committee pulled on the rest of the partners, that I and others were furious about and why I tried to get the lot of them thrown out and a new committee elected, but then you came along and simply dispensed with the existing committee. A lot of us believe that you were brought aboard simply to stifle our little rebellion.”

“Do you?”

“Well, to some extent. Not in so many words or even consciously. Let’s face it Vince, you may see yourself as spokesmen for the downtrodden and talk a good game, but no one knows if you have any administrative skills whatsoever. You remind me a bit of Hamlet. You cannot act unless you are sure beyond a doubt.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence. But even Hamlet once he was sure, acted decisively.”

“Yes, and everyone died. That’s what worries me.” She hesitated a moment then continued, “But, Red Star, is there more there than just stealing some profits from the other partners? There’s a rumor that the Federal Government is investigating.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Where did that come from?

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery. If you had to do this to survive you were “PISS POOR,” but worse than that were the really poor folk, who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they “DIDN’T HAVE A POT TO PISS IN” and were the lowest of the low.
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

b. Department of, “I could not resist passing this on”:

It was reported last week by the Military Times that Marines are no longer allowed to fart in Afghanistan, as this is considered very offensive by the Afghan people.

For those of you interested in gaseous digestive residue, attached is one of America’s founding fathers’ take on the matter:

“Permit me then humbly to propose one of that sort for your consideration, and through you, if you approve it, for the serious Enquiry of learned Physicians, Chemists, etc. of this enlightened Age.

“It is universally well known, That in digesting our common Food, there is created or produced in the Bowels of human Creatures, a great Quantity of Wind.

“That the permitting this Air to escape and mix with the Atmosphere, is usually offensive to the Company, from the fetid Smell that accompanies it.

“That all well-bred People therefore, to avoid giving such Offence, forcibly restrain the Efforts of Nature to discharge that Wind.

“That so retained contrary to Nature, it not only gives frequently great present Pain, but occasions future Disease, such as habitual Cholics, Ruptures, Tympanies, &c., often destructive of the Constitution, & sometimes of Life itself.

“Were it not for the odiously Offensive smell accompanying such Escapes, polite People would probably be under no more Restraint in discharging such Wind in Company, than they are spitting, or in blowing their Noses.

“My Prize Question therefore should be, To discover some Drug wholesome and not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the Natural Discharges, of Wind from our Bodies, not only inoffensive, but agreeable as Perfumes.

“That this is not a chimerical Project, and altogether impossible, may appear from these Considerations. That we already have some Knowledge of Means capable of Varying that Smell. He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed. But as there are many to whom an entire Vegetable Diet would be inconvenient, and as a little Quick-Lime thrown into a Jakes will correct the amazing Quantity of fetid air arising from the vast mass of putrid Matter contained in such Places, and render it rather pleasing to the Smell, who knows but that a little Powder of Lime (or some other thing equivalent) taken in our Food, or perhaps a Glass of Limewater drank at Dinner, may have the same Effect on the Air produced in and issuing from our Bowels? This is worth the Experiment.

“Certain it is also that we have the Power of changing by slight Means the Smell of another Discharge, that of our Water. A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour; and a Pill of Turpentine no bigger than a Pea, shall bestow on it the pleasing Smell of Violets. And why should it be thought more impossible in Nature, to find Means of making a Perfume of our Wind than of our Water?

“For the Encouragement of this Enquiry (from the immortal Honour to be reasonably expected by the Inventor), let it be reasonably considered of how small Importance of Mankind, or to how small a Part of Mankind have been useful those Discoveries in Science that have heretofore made Philosophers famous. Are there twenty Men in Europe at this Day, the happier, or even the easier, for any Knowledge they have picked out of Aristotle? What comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a Man who has Whirlwinds in his Bowels? The Knowledge of Newton’s Mutual Attraction of the Particles of Matter, can it afford Ease to him who is racked by their mutual Repulsion, and the cruel Distensions it occasions? The Pleasure arising to a few Philosophers, from seeing, a few Times in their Life, the Threads of Light untwisted, and separated by the Newtonian Prism into seven Colours, can it be compared with the Ease and Comfort every Man living might feel seven times a Day, by discharging freely the Wind from his Bowels? Especially if it be converted into a Perfume: For the Pleasures of one Sense being little inferior to those of another, instead of pleasing the Sight he might delight the Smell of those about him, & make Numbers happy, which to a benevolent Mind must afford infinite Satisfaction. The generous Soul, who now endeavours to find out whether the Friends he entertains like best Claret or Burgundy, Champagne or Madeira, would then enquire also whether they chose Musk or Lilly, Rose or Bergamot, and provide accordingly. And surely such a Liberty of Expressing one’s Scent-iments , and pleasing one another, is of infinitely more Importance to human Happiness than that Liberty of the Press, or of abusing one another, which the English are so ready to fight & die for.

“In short, this Invention, if compleated, would be, as Bacon expresses it, bringing Philosophy home to Men’s Business and Bosoms. And I cannot but conclude, that in Comparison therewith, for universal and continual Utility, the Science of the Philosophers abovementioned, even with the Addition, Gentlemen, of your “Figure quelconque” and the Figures inscribed in it, are, all together, scarcely worth a FARThing.”

Ben Franklin, presentation to the Royal Collage.

c. What Adam Smith really said:

“The government of an exclusive company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any country whatever.”
Adam Smith. The Wealth of Nations Book IV, Chapter VII, Part II, p. 615]

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

“A few years of big profits from risky derivative bets drove Wall Street traders crazy from testosterone poisoning. So it’s not really alpha males who blew up the global economy, it’s just a bunch of guys who overdosed on naturally produced steroids.”
Andrew Leonard, How Testosterone Poisoning Wrecked the Economy, SALON 5/19/2009.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah – only you’re a little more rotten.”
Double Indemnity (1944)

TODAY’S CHART:

Is God punishing Texas? It’s about time.

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

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

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Since 9/11, the expensive and time-consuming screening now routine for passengers at US airport boarding gates has detected plenty of knives, loaded guns and other contraband, but it has never identified a terrorist who was about to board a plane.

Also since 2002, 75 billion dollars per year has been spent on domestic security, setting up sophisticated radio networks, upgrading emergency medical response equipment, installing surveillance cameras and bomb-proof walls, and outfitting airport screeners to detect an ever-evolving list of mobile explosives. Over 32 billion dollars alone have been spent in Homeland Security grants, much on Hollywood-style tactical gear, often with little or no connection between risk and outlay . During that time 14 Americans have died in about three dozen instances of Islāmic extremist terrorist plots targeted at the US, outside war zones — most of them involving one or two home-grown plotters.

So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?

Gay muslims

Gay muslims (Photo credit: hebedesign)

It has been estimated that the number of people worldwide, outside of war zones, killed by Muslim-type terrorists is basically the same number of those who die in a bathtub each year.

Shouldn’t we also spend 75 billion dollars per year to improve bathtub safety? Is someone less dead from a fall in a bathtub than being shot by a Muslim or shot by an irate husband for that matter. Of course if we don’t stop the Muslims they will soon kill us all and take away our freedoms, while bathtubs are just that, bathtubs. But, what about irate husbands?

Hmm, I think if I could choose, my first choice would be to be shot by an irate husband, in second place to die in the bathtub. Clearly my least favorite way to die of the three is to be shot by a Muslim. So I guess there you have it, I support spending 75 billion taxpayer dollars a year to protect me from being shot by a Muslim, but not a penny to protect me from irate husbands or to fix my defective bathtub.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Cabinet meetings: The Bangkok Post reported that Princess Luckygirl, the newly elected Prime Minister of Thailand runs her cabinet meetings like a corporate board meeting. She requires the cabinet ministers to make the presentations themselves and answer questions without assistance of their staff; allows no additions to the agenda  that have not been accepted into the agenda more that 4 hours before the meeting; and once an agenda item is completed, allows no revisiting of the issue. Apparently this has cut cabinet meeting time in half.

2. Chief of Police: The new administration asked the holdover national chief of police  to resign after it was revealed that illegal gambling casinos and other illegal and immoral activities, some actually operated by the police themselves, were occurring in the nation’s capital city, Bangkok right under the nose of the current chief. The discredited police chief is to be punished by appointment as permanent Secretary of the nation’s Tourism Department (sounds reasonable). His replacement is reported to be the ex husband of a cousin to the wife of the deposed fugitive prime minister Thaksin the Terrible. The new appointee’s only experience outside of family politics seems to be as an officer in the police internal affairs unit.

The reaction of the opposition to this has been swift and consists of two salient points. The first, posed in the english language newspapers, claims that it is unfair to fire the existing chief on the assumption that he must have known of the illegal activities since the new administration supervising the police must have known about it also and did nothing about it. Unfortunately for this argument, the new government has actually been in office for only about a week.

The second argument posits that if they are going to replace an experienced officer like the present chief if should be someone with more experience than an ex in law to the deposed Prime Minister. This argument has been put forth by several commentators including the defeated prime minister Abhsit the Unready. Unfortunately for Abhsit, when he appointed the now disgraced (but soon to be rehabilitated as tourism chief), chief of police about a year ago, he was asked what experience his chosen candidate had that recommended him for the post over any other candidate, he acknowledged that he did not know of any.

3. Chief of Police Update: Since I wrote 2 above (yesterday) the Current chief of Police has sent a letter to Prime Minister Princess Luckygirl resigning as police chief and requesting a transfer to the position of, Secretary-general of National Security Council and not as the permanent secretary of the Department of Tourism as I previously reported. (Wow! how’s that for falling on your feet?). In his resignation letter he stated that he was doing this of his own free will and has not been forced to seek the transfer.

Princess Luckygirl’s Deputy, commenting on replacement of the current police chief with deposed fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin the Terrible’s ex-wife’s elder brother (not as I reported above the ex-husband or the wife’s cousin — it is difficult to keep all these family relationships straight) stated, “Police General Wichean (the departing chief) looks like an academic, while a drunk can get sober just by looking at Police General Priewpan (the anointed chief). So who do you think I should use?”
This comment is all the more confusing when one realizes that existing chief is short and stocky, looking like he could stand in for Edward G. Robinson while the anointed one looks like the second coming of Mr. Rogers.

So, what do you think this all means?

 

A kathoey dancing

A kathoey dancing (Photo credit: thaths)

4. DODT Thailand Style: The Defense Ministry is expected to formally change the term for transsexuals and transvestite (Katoey in Thailand) in conscription records from “permanent mental disorder” to “gender identity disorder.” Also, a Thai court recently prohibited applying the term “mental illness” to a Katoey who has not yet had a sex change operation, because the judge reasoned he could still come to his senses and change his mind. After a sex change operation, since a change of heart is proscribed, a Katoey can still be referred to as “mentally ill.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Delayed because the onset of the monsoon rains has flooded Pookie with ennui.

However, I have decided to use this space to introduce the replacement for the next few posts of the “Eponymous Laws” section of “Pepe’s Potpourri” with “Where did that Come From?” a history of some common english phrases and idioms.

I am ending the Eponymous Laws section because I have run out of E-laws for which I had a smarmy, smug response that I self-righteously assumed would amuse everyone as much as they amused me.

The new section was prompted by a listing of interesting, I guess they could be called, etymologies, recently sent to me by one of the recipients of these posts who I sometimes refer to herein as Density. Now and then, I have also received similar items from others, especially Ruth.

Now some may wonder why, if I thought they were so good, I did not simply forward them en-masse instead of dribbling them out one by one over several months. Well, I thought about doing that, but then I recalled that my fiend Cordt sent me a listing of Groucho’s greatest bon-mots that I forwarded on to all and more as one does in this e-mail age, (soon, if it hasn’t already, to be replaced by the social networking age). I realized I was dissatisfied with that and recognized a benefit (slight though it may be) to limited character communication. When one has only to review one item, one must first decide to read it. Then if one so decides and actually reads it one usually attempts to understand it. And if one understands it one must decide whether one agrees with it or not and finally whether one likes it at all.

In the case of a list of items one usually skims them all looking for which one likes the best, making simple entertainment the highest quality recognized.

In other words, I was unhappy with my lesser level of influence over the reader’s attention provided by the list approach.

With that as an introduction, I can now get to the initial item.

But first a word about Groucho. Now I know it may sound unbelievable to many of you but for those under 40 years old, Groucho Marx may be virtually forgotten and I doubt if any of my grand children reading this have any idea who he is.

Well, to me Groucho Marx is the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century.

“Wait a minute,” some of you may exclaim. “Groucho was a comedian, not a philosopher.”

To which, by way of response, I direct your attention the Greeks of classical antiquity. To these progenitors of many “Western” cultural and intellectual beliefs, comedy and tragedy were just two ways of expressing truth. In the radical dualism of which the ancient Greeks were so fond, humanity’s experience was of only two types; either all your hopes and dreams turn to shit or, if you survive, they still are shit but you can laugh at them. There is nothing more in the cards for humanity except terminal boredom.

Before Groucho, the worlds greatest comedian was Machiavelli, who I have sometimes quoted in these posts. Before him, in my opinion the world’s greatest comedian was Socrates. Plato was a fascist jerk and Aristotle a woolly headed liberal.

Now some of you may say whoa,” Aristotle a liberal?” “How can that be, over the years some of the most autocratic people and institutions (like the Catholic Church) relied upon Aristotle to crush the human spirit?

As Leo Rosten said, “A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.” There is nothing so liberal that a few centuries later a conservative could not find useful to beat away challenges to his prerequisites. For example nearly 50 years after Marx, that arch-conservative Lenin saw in Communism something with which he could beat up a group of doddering superstitious autocrats and take over their empire (and while he was at it crushing the inept liberal Mensheviks along the way). Later Stalin had Trotsky killed to make sure Marx received the same treatment that Spencer gave Darwin.

Why do modern conservatives reject Darwinism when Spencer and his “survival of the fittest” did so much to make him their favorite scientist through most of the last century? I guess they found God. He is after all the ultimate survivor. As one supporter of conservative causes has written, “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” and the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax, and opposed the progressive income tax also. This, of course, leads me back to Groucho and his immortal line, “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception.”

On to Density 1.

There is an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which used to have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners were taken to the gallows (after a fair trial of course) to be hanged

The horse-drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ”ONE LAST DRINK.”

If he said YES, it was referred to as ONE FOR THE ROAD.

If he declined, that prisoner was ON THE WAGON.

So there you go… More bleeding history.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Also delayed due to the above mentioned deluge of lethargy.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Where did that come from?

Please see above, “Pookie’s Adventures in Thailand.” For those of you who waded through all that above, I have a bonus story told to me by Ruth Galanter. It comes from Australia, so let’s put some ‘strine’ on the barbie, shall we?

It seems that at some point the inmates of the penal colony that was Australia decided that they wanted to improve their image in the world so that they would no longer appear to be what they were, criminals. They discovered that it was fashionable in certain circles to adopt the appearance of being civilized to cover the rough edges, so to speak. They decided that this was a good idea and they would do so too.

The first thing civilized thing they did was to start killing the aboriginal inhabitants that they were sharing their country with or driving them off the land that they, the civilizers, wanted for themselves. The second civilized thing they did was for a few of them to become as rich as Midas by destroying as much or the land as they could and where necessary killing anyone who stood in the way. The third civilized thing they introduced was gambling venues at which these new rich could flaunt their money. Since gambling casinos were considered immoral at the time, the most civilized gambling activity they could consider was horse racing.

Soon a lot of money was spent to find the fastest horse of them all so that someone could boast that he owned it. At one time that horse was named Favor.

Now, there is a comb or brush used to remove tangles or burrs from a horses coat. It is called a currying comb or brush. Now I assume at the time people were lined up for the chance to brush the famous horse much like groupies lined up at a Rolling Stone concert for a chance to be shagged by Keith Richards. And that’s were we get the expression to “Curry Favor.” ——- No. to brush the horse, not get shagged by Keith Richards, that’s called something else.

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

Remember, if you have to ask, “Who won the class war?” the correct answer is, “Not you.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land — of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations.”
D. James Kennedy, “Changing Of The Guard”

I bet Jimmy never bathed his goat in mother’s milk.

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

Men don’t read fiction — men account for less than 20 percent of all fiction sales.

What is worse in the last decade 1 in 4 people in the US have not read a book at all.

Yes but, LMAO.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Things that Really Matter in 2011 and Beyond (in one person’s view) for Investments and Real Life
Resources running out, putting strong but intermittent pressure on commodity prices
Global warming causing destabilized weather patterns, adding to agricultural price pressures
Declining American educational standards relative to competitors
Extraordinary income disparities and a lack of progress of American hourly wages
Everything else.”
Jeremy Grantham former Chairman and now Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), which has more than US $107 billion in assets under management as of December 2009.

TODAY’S CHART:

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

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

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

“Today’s weather: It did not snow.”

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

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

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

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

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

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are all “other” now:

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

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

2. But you do not understand…:

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

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

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

3. it is not over until…:

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

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

4. And it is still not over…:

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

2010 09 19 red shirt protest bkk 06

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

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

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

5. Finally…:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

A. Bankers in religious history:

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

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

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

B. Tax relief:

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

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

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

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

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

TODAY’S QUOTES:

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

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

B. by bjou:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

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

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 30, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1 Million BC: A homo erectus skull from Daka, Ethiopia, from this time was identified in 2001 as an ancestor to all modern humans.

As Hayden asked me after I tried to explain things like this, “Was this before or after God died?”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

Political quotes of the day:

a. Thaksin the Terrible: The deposed fugitive ex-prime minister, inching ever closed to his Thai homeland, said from his hotel in Japan, “I have no immediate plan to return to my country.”

b. Abhist the Unready: The defeated former Prime Minister of Thailand in speaking about the spread of “red villages”, villages set up by supporters of the current government, declared, “It is not necessary to divide the Thai people in this manner.” Moments later in objecting to the proposed review of the Constitution by the new government he exclaimed, “The group against this may be ready to take to the streets again.”

c. Yingluck, Princess LuckyGirl: The newly elected Prime Minister, sister of Thaksin the Terrible and opponent of Abhist the Unready was heard to mumble, “My Government is determined to rebuild solidarity and national reconciliation.”

She generally says that and little else in answer to any question.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David T...

1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Henry David Thoreau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Henry David Thoreau decided that it would be a good thing to take Horace Greeley‘s advice to, “Go West Young Man.” However, our Henry being the imaginative sort decided that instead of fording rivers, climbing mountains and crossing deserts to get to some fabulous place like California, to confine his westward migration to a few mile walk from his home to his cabin on the shores of a small nearby lake. There he was able to spend his mornings allowing his mind to wander as it will and be back home for lunch. It the afternoon he would return to his not so remote and not so rustic cabin and further indulge himself in the conceit that his perceptions of the natural world around his retreat revealed to his mind and imagination all of the wonders that others experience in old Californy or wherever.

After about a year or so, tiring of the rigors of the remote country life, Henry then took a rowboat trip up the stream affectionately called the Connecticut River and dreamed he was traveling down the Mississippi. Among his other adventures, our Henry travelled for a while in remote Cape Cod where he met a man who had seen George Washington riding his horse and recalled something or other about the attractiveness of George’s leg.

Now I write this, not to make fun of Henry, but as an explanation as to why I have always viewed him as a role model. Day dreams can be adventures too.

My tale of my morning walk to through my Bangkok neighborhood to the health club and back is intended to elicit similar transcendental impressions as old Henry experienced in his New England perambulations. Alas, I am not Henry. I cannot write as well as he, nor are my impressions as…well transcendental. (Henry during his boat trip marveled at the humanity of a man standing on a bridge as his boat passed under, spitting in our Henry’s face.) In fact as often as not, I can find nothing particularly interesting memorable or romantic about what I see, hear or otherwise experience. Sometimes a dirty, boring street is just that, a dirty boring street.

So it is with Today’s Photograph which shows, well, a dirty boring street. It is the street that I turn  on to after leaving my cul-de-sac and before arriving at Soi Nana, the neighborhood main drag. There are two hotels and a cement wall that comprise the visual horizon and little else. The man with the blue shirt standing on the right, (or another similarly attired) is always there, day or night. I haven’t the slightest idea why. Sometimes a motorbike, or taxi or the Boss Suites Tuk-tuk goes by. Now and then a ying (young woman) who works nearby passes, going to or from work; outside of that nothing.

Oh once I saw an injured bird hopping about on the street. I did not touch it since I have an aversion to touching small living things other than dogs and cats and some humans. Large animals I have no aversion to and can be persuaded to touch a horse or even an elephant. Other large animals are ok too except bears. I am pathologically afraid of bears. I did touch one however, once.

I was walking along one of the seedier parts of Istanbul when a couple of Russian Gypsies came along leading a bear on a rope that led to a ring in the bear’s nose. I was allowed, for a price, to pet the bear. I paid and did so. It made me sad. The sight of the creäture who so terrorized my nighttime dreams as the personification of arbitrary and unlimited power reduced to such a state repulsed me. I still have terrifying dreams of ursine ravening. I used to run away as the beast bursts from shadows, but now I turn and apologise for the ring and the rope.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

He sat in a small booth with a tiny table in the darkened dinning room of the outrageously expensive restaurant waiting for the Great One, Arrogant Bella to arrive. He wondered if any of the other diners or any of the wait staff was one of the “agents” that Russel promised would provide him protection. “What a joke,” he thought. He still could not believe Russel’s warning. He wondered is Isabella was on the job too, lurking somewhere outside or in the shadows. It was all so grotesquely absurd he though and began to chuckle to himself when he became aware of Arabella La Grande’s entrance into the restaurant and purposeful stride toward his table. Tall and slender with a gallic nose and short mannish hair just beginning to become dusted with grey, she wore a dark business suit with a skirt and a white ruffled blouse. He began to rise, but she curtly motioned him to remain seating.

“It is good to see you again Vincent,” she said while smartly snapping oped the napkin and placed it on her lap.

“I’m as well as can be expected under the circumstances,” he responded. “How are you, and how is Alec?” Alec being Arabella’s husband.

She looked at him for what seemed like a long time with those expressionless grey eyes of hers and finally said, “I’m fine. He is fine. Everyone is fine. But I am not here to talk about domestic bliss.”

“I expected as much. So why are you here?” Vince said through clenched teeth.

“Ah, good,” she said. “Let’s order first and then get down to it shall we. I am famished.”

“Good idea,” he said, “but if you’re hungry, this is not the place, the portions are too small for even a mouse to feel full.”

She smiled frostily and examined the menu.

After ordering and the arrival of the first glass of wine, he leaned back in his booth and said to her, “So?”

She leaned forward her eyes boring into his. “How are you doing, Vince?”

He cocked an eyebrow.

“No,” she responded to his expression. “I am not interested in you emotional well-being,” she continued with an almost girlish giggle. “How, and more to the point what are you doing with the firm? You know I was the logical choice to succeed Sam.”

She hesitated awaiting his response, but Vince knew this game and remained silent. She continued, “You’re a bright guy Vince, we all know that , but you are neither a manager or leader. Why you? No, one on the management committee is talking. They refer me to David. All David tells me is that, under the circumstances they thought you would do a good job. That’s Bullshit.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Vince interjected.

“Ha,” she laughed. “You know what I mean. Something is going on and I need to know what it is. I have my own career to think of.”
(To be continued)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Zipf’s law — In linguistics, the observation that the frequency of use of the nth most frequently used word in any natural language is approximately inversely proportional to n, or, more simply, that a few words are used very often, but many or most are used rarely. Named after George Kingsley Zipf (1902–1950), whose statistical work research led to the observation.

In other words, all languages end up only with the equivalent to the english word “fuck”. Zipf this George; get a life.

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

“As with most essential freedoms, preventing those who wish to curtail the fundamental rights of others is a more important role of government than encouraging the exercise of those rights. Exercising our rights are our individual jobs, protecting us from those who would abridge our rights is the duty we collectively give to government. If “government is not the guarantor of Freedom then it is a tyranny.

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“Now what do you do? What do all of us do? We get ready to take dominion! We get ready to take dominion! It is all going to be ours–I’m talking about all of it. Everything that you would say is a good part of the secular world. Every means of communication, the news, the television, the radio, the cinema, the arts, the government, the finance–it’s going to be ours! God’s going to give it to His people. We should prepare to reign and rule with Jesus Christ.”
Pat Robertson

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage and Traitors to their Class:

1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

“Let me warn you and let me warn the nation against the smooth evasion that says ‘of course we believe these things. We believe in Social Security, we believe in work for the unemployed, we believe in saving homes, cross our hearts and hope to die. We believe in all these things but we do not like the way the present administration is doing them. Just turn them over to us, we will do all of them, we will do more of them, we will do them better and most important of all, the doing of them will not cost anybody anything,'”

What has changed in 70 years except the scope of the danger?

2. From Warren Buffett, Another Traitor to his Class:

“Let’s just say, Charlie, that you and I agreed that after we left the studio here we were going to go out to a track near here and I was going to get at one end with my car and you were going to get at the other end and there’s this line down the middle and whichever one flinches loses his net worth to the other guy. Do you want to play?
Whether you want to play depends on how crazy you think I am….So what do we do?
Right as the engines start I throw out my steering wheel. Now you believe me, right?
Well, Boehner didn’t throw out the steering wheel, McConnell didn’t throw out the steering wheel, but a group behind them said, “Throw out the steering wheel, Mr. Speaker, and make those people realize that we’re not going to agree to anything unless we get our way.”
And if you have a sane person dealing with somebody that you feel may be insane by that point when they throw out the steering wheel you feel they’re insane.”
e. Testosterone Chronicles:

“Testosterone may therefore underlie a financial variant of the ‘winner’ effect, in which a previous win in the markets leads to… increased (and eventually irrational) risk taking in the next round of trading. This effect, even if confined to a small number of people, could cause financial markets to deviate from the predictions of rational choice theory.”
Taken from a study entitled, “Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking…” by Coates and Herbert.

Participation in high-reward, high-stress occupations like derivatives trading warps your brain chemistry. People with unbalanced brain chemistry make bad decisions. Every time Wall Street bubbles over, it becomes a factory for producing hopped-up-on-steroids madmen who think they are chasing woolly mammoths, but are actually stabbing themselves in the kidneys.

TODAY’S QUOTE :

“…Vicksburg is the key. Here is the Red River, which will supply the Confederacy with cattle and corn to feed their armies. There are the Arkansas and White Rivers which can supply cattle and hogs by the thousand. From Vicksburg these supplies can be distributed by rail all over the Confederacy….Let us get Vicksburg and all that country is ours. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pockets….”
A. Lincoln

Another profile in presidential courage.

BONUS QUOTE :

“I don’t need bodyguards. I’m from the South Bronx.”
Al Pacino

TODAY’S CHART:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Asia accounts for over 60% of the world population with almost 3.8 billion people. China and India together have about 40 percent.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. The Adventures of Thaksin the Terrible: Recently during his trip to Japan that has caused a major political row, the exiled fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand and brother of the newly elected Prime Minister announced that he had no immediate plans to return to Thailand. “I want to relax and enjoy my life,” he said. Of his involvement in his sister’s new administration he did however acknowledge, “If they need any advice, they just call me.”

2. Division of Labor in Thailand: If it does not require a uniform or  operation of heavy machinery, it is woman’s work.

3. The New Government Takes Over: Under Thai law a newly elected government cannot officially take over until it has presented its plan for governing to the legislature. Usually this plan is little more than the warmed over platitudes and its presentation as uncontroversial as raising the debt limit has been in the United States. But perhaps taking a page from the Republican Party’s political book that nothing is so inconsequential as to become and opportunity to hold the nation at ransom in an effort to bring down the opposition party, the opposition Democrats used the presentation to turn the initial act of the new government into turmoil. However, unlike the supine Democratic Party in the United States, newly installed Pheu Thai Party, fought back and ultimately terminated debate when things appeared to be getting out of hand. The press was upset.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Upon leaving my apartment and the cul-de-sac on which it sits and continuing my daily morning walk to and from the health club, I often pass by local residents going about their business. Today’s Photograph below shows a group of local children playing, as they do the world over, in the mostly traffic free streets of cul-de-sacs. Ok I admit it is more a dead-end street than the refined little stub streets ending in circles that grace the traditional American subdivision to which the marketing departments of the development industry has given it its Frenchified name, so sue me.

Anyway, the photograph shows a very ornate gate shielding one of the few private homes that still exist in Bangkok’s built up urban areas. To the left of the gate and behind the wall shielding the building are two aviaries containing several large raucous birds. Thais seem to prefer birds as pets to the cats and dogs we so famously coddle in the West.

The cinder-block wall with the green plastic sheet on top at the extreme right of the photograph, shields a dozen or so corrugated metal two-story windowless shacks in which, I guess, live the Cambodian and Burmese workers on  construction of the high-rise condominiums steadily marching down the sois from Sukhumvit. I assume the shacks do not have running water because I noticed that in the compound there are two large cement containers separate from the shacks into which water runs and at which I have seen residents bathing and washing clothing.

In the evening some of the residents stand on the steps to the second floor of the shacks smoking, talking or just looking off into the distance. The little masseuse has warned me not to stare at them as I walk by because it could elicit a challenge.

I always wondered about that when I was growing up in my own US East Coast version of a slum. To look someone in the eyes as you passed usually got you a, “Who you looking at?” challenge forcing you either to apologize, run away or accept the challenge. Why the hell couldn’t you look at someone? I thought looking someone in the eye communicated trustworthiness, honesty or blatant fraud. As Naida describes in her wonderful books the Native Americans of California believed it impolite to look directly at someone when speaking to them, which got a lot of them killed. I guess a lot of cultures, especially among the poor have that taboo.

Anyway when as a young boy or teenager when challenged that way I was always too frightened to simply say something clever in response, concerned it would cause the confrontation to escalate. Apology was out of the question since it usually only encouraged them to become more aggressive. I could not run away for fear of embarrassment and that I would be too slow to make a successful escape. And just standing there seemed stupid. So I usually moved toward my challenger preferring to take my thrashing sooner rather than later. To my surprise more often than not that would cause my antagonist to begin talking and my fear if immediate doom would dissipate. But not always, sometimes I would get my ass kicked.

See, this is what I mean when I said in my previous “This and that…” simply the mundane of ones every day surroundings can lead to splendid voyages of the imagination or pitiful reminisces. Here, I just travelled back in time to the terrors of my youth in the slums of New York and I had not even reached the end of the cul-de-sac or the dead-end, whatever.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

This post has gotten too long so I decided to skip this issue of “Red Star”.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Wike’s law of low odd primes — “If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.

b. From God‘s Mouth to your ears:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were three sets of commandments that God supposedly gave to Moses:

A) The first time Moses came down from Mount Sinai with commandments, he merely recited a list (Exodus 20:2-17), which is the version most churches today erroneously call the “Ten Commandments,” although they were not engraved on stone tablets and not called “the ten commandments.”

B) The first set of stone tablets was given to Moses at a subsequent trip up the mountain (Exodus 31:18). In this story, Moses petulantly destroyed those tablets when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19).

C) So he went back for a replacement. God told Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:1) Here is what was on the replacement tablets (from Exodus 34:14-26):

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
9) The first of the firstfruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to boil a goat. This list differs, obviously, from the one in Exodus 20 (was God’s memory faulty?), but it is only this list that is called the “Ten Commandments”: “And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Recent psychological studies have shown that threats to ones manhood causes significant anxiety in men. On the other hand these same studies indicate that women couldn’t care less if their gender is threatened.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” 
– Nassim Taleb

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

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. July 14, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Author’s notes:

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

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

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

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

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

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

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


I never critisize.

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

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

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

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

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

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

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

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