Posts Tagged With: Sam Spade

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Jo Jo 0002 (May 23, 2013)

Happy Birthday Jessica

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

The past few days have seen the rains return to BKK. I do not know if we have tipped over into the rainy season yet or if this is just a temporary respite from the heat and the pollution. In any event, the pollution and the blazing heat have diminished, replaced with stifling humidity. As a result, except for my daily trip to the pool, I still spend most of my days huddled by the AC in my apartment reading. I have completed reading all 14 novels in the Dresden Files series that have been written so far. The author promises to write at least seven more.

We now know that Mab the Fairy Queen of the Winter Court of the Sidhe is not insane even though she had her daughter Maeve murdered. We also know the name of the being behind all the trouble that occurred in the previous 13 books. His name is Nemesis, although to call him that pisses him off so everyone prefers to call him the Adversary. Why that does not piss him off as much, I have no idea. We still do not know what is under the Cowl. Harry Dresden, the Wizard, did get laid again. Although he was willing, he was effectively raped by Mab since there was nothing he could do about it. The coupling itself, through what in the magic of fairyland passes for social media, was witnessed by all the residents of both the Summer and Winter Queendoms of the Sidhe.

*****

I really do not know what has been going on with me for the past few weeks. Whatever physical or emotional problems I had experienced since my hospitalization have been gone ever since my jet lag lifted a few weeks ago. Yet, since then I have done little but swim in the mornings and read straight through the day until I turn out the light at about 11pm to sleep. One day, I decided to break from reading and so I went to see a movie. That’s it. I feel like I should be doing something — almost anything. I even put off my trip to the beach for a week. I do not feel depressed. If fact just the opposite. Nevertheless I exhibit all the symptoms of depression except depression itself.

Since I finished the Dresden Tales I have returned to Bruen, Nesbro, Declan Burke and the Foreworld Tales. Every day I try to write a few sentences in This and that… but little else. Maybe I will do something next week. Time is getting short.

*****

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

In the Autumn of 2011, when the new Thai government came into power, it implemented a campaign promise to create a national health program that provides all Thais with health services for about one dollar US per visit. The program was conceived by the administrator of a hospital that had managed to develop and carry out the medical delivery systems in his hospital to such a high degree of efficiency that it allowed the hospital to charge the patient only a little more than that. The program passed in the first few hours of the new administration. A quasi-independent board was set up to administer it.

The hospital administrator that developed the program was appointed to head the new entity. I has proven wildly successful, much to the chagrin of the pharmaceutical industry (mostly foreign corporations) because unlike Obamacare in the US which in a compromise with the industry did not allow Medicare to freely choose the lowest cost supplier by forcing them to compete on price, the Thai program did. It was very successful in bringing down costs.

The Administrator of the Thai program has recently proposed to manufacture generic drugs in general use not patent protected in order to further reduce costs. That apparently was the last straw. Under pressure from the foreign pharmaceutical companies, the government sacked the administrator and turned the entire program over to administration by local political leaders.

 

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they’re gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

Chapter 15:

Most people believe that when faced with danger humans react in two ways, fight or flee. Actually there is a third way. I call it the bunny rabbit approach — freeze and be eaten. Unfortunately for me, I have found that the third option seems to be the default setting on my survival instinct. So, when I saw Fat Face sitting there in the car smiling at me my first impulse was to close my eyes and cringe. But, after a moment I realized that there was at least ten feet of sidewalk between me and the car in which he was sitting I relaxed a bit and after checking up and down the street I said”

“Where’s the Prince of Wales?”

“Huh” Fat Freddie responded. His smile disappearing.

“Your fat friend Gordie.”

“Uh…why don’t you get in the car here and you can give me your report,” he said obviously not getting my clever allusion to a scene in a fifty year old movie about Beau Brummel staring Stewart Granger (but for “Scaramouche” his greatest role).

“I thought you were going to call,” said I.

“Too busy. but I have time now.”

“Well,” I said. “There’s nothing to report. I still don’t know what happened to Holland. And I’m not getting into your car. You’re in the wrong area of the city for trolling. Try Land’s End.”

Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my kidney either I was passing a stone or something hard was pushed into my back. A large hand then gripped my upper arm followed by a gravelly voice saying, “get in the car.”

It finally got to me. My fear was replaced by indignation at being forced to play a supporting role a third-rate gangster flick. Said:

“It talks. Is this the point when I say, is that a gun sticking into my back or are you just happy to see me. There’s a big difference between sitting in a car choking on Porky’s body oder and getting shot in the street. You’re not going to do it so let’s knock off amateur hour. Or to put it another way, go fuck yourself.”

Before I could do anything else or Fat Freddie could respond, I heard,

“Let’m go muthafucka.”

The grip on my arm loosened and I turned around. There was Joe Vu with his gun against Frank Fat’s neck.

“Fuck,” I screamed. “Are you all crazy?. Joe put the fucking gun away. No one’s shooting anyone. Were in the middle of a San Francisco Street. You Porky Two get back in the car.”

“It’s OK Bart,” the rotund one driving the car called out. “Get in the car.”

“Bart! Did you just call him Bart? Am I living in a Trivial Pursuits wet dream? He’s not a kid with yellow skin so that must make you Brett.”

Fat Tony or rather Bilious Bart walked to the car and got in. I realized that they actually did remind me of the aged and obese Garner and the guy that never made it in the movies. They smiled waved and drove off.

“I thought you were in trouble boss,” said Joe Vu slipping his gun back into his pocket.

I did not say anything as we walked back to our car but then thought I would screw with him a bit. Said,

“You think Martin hired them?”

“Nah,” he said as he walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. “If he wanted to hurt you he’d have you hire his cousin as your student.”

I stared at him then got into the car. Said,

“You know, I think it’s all a game.”

“What do you mean boss.”

“Why me. Why hire me. I’m a no account PI. if anyone were really serious they would hire a real agency. This towns full of detectives. I don’t think either Martin, or Mavis or for that matter Lilly care all that much about either Reilly or Holland. The Tons of Fun were probably just toying with me.”

“Why do you do that boss?”

“What?”

“Make fun fat people like that.”

“Fat guys, blond beauty contest winners, politicians and Vietnamese sidekicks are still fair game. The PC police haven’t gotten to them yet.”

At that moment both our phones started ringing at the same time. It was Mavis on mine. She said,

“What did you do with Lilly?”

“She called you huh? Was she upset?

“Not really. Said she might take us up on a threesome. But that’s not why I called. After Lilly hung up, I went back to my painting. I like to listen to the radio news — for some reason music distracts me when I paint. Anyway, they just reported that Clarence Reilly was found floating near one of the piers at the bottom of the Golden Gate Bridge.”

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

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

2. The New York State Mental Health Hospital System in 1965:

During the Middle Ages in Europe at about the time that market towns began to flourish, the good burghers of those villages recognized that, in addition to criminals such as thieves and pick-pockets, disruptive individuals disturbing the peace were not good for business and so they were rounded up and one way or another punished. In addition to the normal drunk and disorderly, included among the breakers of the peace were those that in a future more civilized time were to be called the mentally ill; those whose physical behavior made them incapable of fending for themselves or those who defended themselves from the horrors of their own mind by adopting behaviors that were shockingly odd to those around them. Many of the latter were driven from the towns into the countryside or executed as witches or heretics.

Eventually the difference between the common criminal and the mentally ill began to be recognized and separate jails and prisons were constructed to house the latter. As these insane asylums as they began to be known grew in both size and number, periodic attempts were made to treat those in the asylums somewhat more humanely than they had been. Places like Charenton in Paris, although considered one of the most “humane,” inflicted all sorts of tortures on their inmates in efforts to “cure” them. Those were the enlightened places. In most asylums the cost of long-term care generally were contained by maintaining a high mortality rate.

In the middle of the Nineteenth Century with the coming of the Industrial revolution, the newly emergent upper middle class discovered to their horror that their newfound wealth did not shield them from being stricken with mental illness any less often than the poor (but, probably a good deal less often than the hugely inbred royalty of the time). Unlike the poor, however, who for example upon becoming too depressed to work would end up starving or incarcerated, many members of the middle class (except for the male primary bread winners) could lie in bed for as much as weeks at a time until the humors or vapors or whatever passed. And, these new industrialists had the wherewithal to hire care givers for their distressed family members.

As a result, as it was to be expected, individuals claiming expertise in nervous disorders clustered wherever there was money to be made. This was mostly a good thing because it got some people to think about what could be done with these types of illnesses and a few of them even began to look into what was going on with the patients in the asylums; if not for humanitarian reasons, then at least as experimental subjects.

During the later part of that century and the first two decades of the next, in central Europe a group of these practitioners attempted to piece together a scholarly synthesis of the conditions they had been hired to treat. Psychoanalysis was born and a revolution in treatment followed. They were wrong of course. They assumed that there was a defect in the mind that could be corrected by behavioral and environmental strategies such as actually talking to the patient in a way calculated to instill in the patient the belief that the analyst was really interested in the patients condition.

It was more a religion then a science in that, although it appeared to be on some level empirically descriptive, it was neither quantified nor particularly verifiable. (Some of the early associations of these practitioners even had rules that discouraged experimentation and often threw out any practitioner who did not precisely follow the association’s approved method of treatment.) Due, however, to its lavish use of metaphor and its complex description of human motivation, it did produce great art.

Also, the long-term interaction of the practitioner with the patient required by psychoanalysis and the subtle behavioral modification that were encouraged seemed to have had a mitigating effect on the severity and duration of the patient’s condition, much like bed rest has on a cold. It also was lucrative enough to attract the best and the brightest into the profession. This perhaps was its lasting impact because as a general rule the more people looking at a problem for whatever reason, the more likely you will find someone who actually figures out what to do about it.

By the middle of the Twentieth Century, due in part to the influx of specialists from Central Europe fleeing the horrors of that time and its incredible wealth, New York City became the center of the universe for psychiatric care. It was a time of great ferment and turmoil in the subject area. This concentration of money and expertise overflowed into the hospital system housing the mentally ill in New York State. Huge hospitals often containing the latest technology were built. Some of these hospital complexes were so large that in terms of population and land areas covered by buildings they could rank as small cities.

The patients in several large state run hospitals in a particular area would be sent there primarily from a central receiving hospital. Often the receiving hospital was associated with a medical school teaching hospital with a psychiatric treatment emphasis.

Police and family members would bring to the emergency rooms throughout the day and night individuals who appeared to be suffering no observable trauma or biological disease but who were clearly unable to care for themselves for some reason. After processing through the emergency room most were released and only the most disturbed were admitted to the wards.

By the following morning they each would be interviewed by the chief psychiatric resident at a meeting attended by other members of the hospitals medical and psychiatric staff as well as the institutions social service and administrative staff who would then decide whether to readmit them to the wards of the teaching hospital for a short-term stay, send them on to the appropriate state hospital for long-term care or release them.

One could be involuntarily incarcerated for mental illness, drug dependency and alcoholism. One had certain rights for a hearing regarding incarceration. But, what patient would ever know what those rights were? There was also a belief in a history of callous indifference to the welfare of the patients once they were admitted. Hence the Mental Health Information Service was created to remedy these concerns and to bring to the patients some semblance of understanding of their legal rights to both freedom as well as adequate medical treatment.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Tales of Inhumanity:

7th May 1943, The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto (Part III).

A young woman writes:

“The Germans usually attacked us at night. Now they are expanding their attacks to the daytime as well. We must maintain absolute silence on our bunks so that the enemy will not discover us.

I am going out into the street. The streets – Mila, Zamenhof, Kurza, Nalewki, Lubecki – all are on fire. Workshops, apartments, stores, entire houses are burning. The ghetto is nothing more than a sea of flames.

A very strong wind is blowing, which fans the fire and carries the sparks from the burning houses to those that have not yet caught fire.

The fire destroys everything. The sight is horrifying, shocking. The fire spreads so quickly that people cannot escape from the buildings and they perish tragically. People with bundles run from house to house, from street to street. There is no salvation; no one knows where to hide. They search in desperation but there is no deliverance, no refuge, death rules everything.

The walls of the ghetto are surrounded. No one goes out and no one comes in. Clothing is burning on people’s bodies. Screams of pain, sobbing. Everyone wants to be saved, everyone tries to save his own life.

People are choking from the smoke. All are begging for help. Most of them, almost all of them, cry out to God: “God, show your power, have mercy on us.” God is as silent as a Sphinx and does not answer. And you, the nations, why are you silent? Don’t you see that they want to annihilate us? Why are you silent?

Despite the danger, Jews are running through the streets just to save their lives. Everything is engulfed in fire. It looks like the end of the world has come. “Save yourselves if you can!” The situation is horrifying, terrible. Everyone wants to be saved. Hell has come to earth. Dante’s Inferno – it cannot be believed and it cannot be described.

A new day is beginning. With the new day, there is a deathly silence. People are in their corners without food or water. A cemetery in flames. The sound of metal falling and of burning walls collapsing is heard.

The ghetto is burning for the fourth day. All we see are chimneys standing and the frames of the houses that burned down. In the first moment, this spectacle arouses a shudder of horror: yes, this is the work of Hitler’s vandals, who hope that the entire world will look this way. There is no doubt that they will not succeed in this.

In our thoughts, we return to the past. We’ve lost many things. The only thing left to us is our hiding place. Of course, it is not a safe place.

We live the day, the hour, the moment.”

A few days later the following report was filed by Juergen Stroop:

“180 Jews, bandits and sub-humans, were destroyed. The former Jewish quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence. The large-scale action was terminated at 20:15 hours by blowing up the Warsaw Synagogue…. Total number of Jews dealt with 56,065, including both Jews caught and Jews whose extermination can be proved…. Apart from 8 buildings (police barracks, hospital, and accommodations for housing working-parties) the former Ghetto is completely destroyed. Only the dividing walls are left standing where no explosions were carried out.”

B. Races do not exist, but Racism does:

Why Racism is Foolish from the Perspective of Modern Genetics.

“If you ask for your DNA profile today from a company that specialized in “DNA ancestry” what you will get is essentially a picture of the “origin” of the different segments on your chromosome, so you’ll see that this segment over here (which is known to code for the following 10 genes) is African, while that segment next to it (which is known to code for the following 16 genes) is Native American. This is the obvious consequences of crossing-over, of course.

Making this fact so obvious, so front-and-center has very interesting consequences. Most importantly, it makes it clear that while one can speak of “African genes” or “Northern European genes”, one cannot extrapolate from that to an “African person”, at least not in the context of the Americas where four hundred years of random interbreeding has occurred.

All one can mean by “African person” is a less careful way of saying “person whose appearance genes are African”. It was expected that there would be substantial clustering and correlation between genes but, again in the Americas, this turns out largely not to be the case, so you may have African appearance genes, but that does not translate into an especially high probability that you have African blood genes or liver protein genes or (if you insist on that sort of thing) African sport and neuro-anatomy genes. And vice versa — you may look as Euro as they come, but chances are there was at least one African somewhere in the past ten generations or so, and that African left his/her genes in you — not as a diluted out “1024th of the blood” but as very definite stretches of DNA coding for very definite proteins.

You may insist on your whiteness all you like, but when genomic medicine becomes real, and the test reveals that you carry the African version of oncoprotein 134A, are you going to demand that you be given the “Euro” version of your cancer drug, the one that attacks oncoprotein 134B?”
Maynard Handley http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/05/dana-golstein-attention-jason-richwine-youre-not-the-first-guy-to-wrongly-believe-immigrants-are-dumb.html#more

(Sigh, yet they still however will deny they are racists even though they believe, Mexicans are stupid, African-Americans shiftless, Arabs homicidal and Barak Obama is a Communist from Kenya.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. A message from Al:

6683_529487887094092_2007033411_n

(The next time you are out having coffee with your ‘frens’ and are busily engaged with your smart phone, remember it is probably already too late to do anything about Albert’s warning…. or to put it another way, welcome to our generation.

Recently I had lunch with a young woman acquaintance of mine. She spent most of our time together showing me all the wonderful applications on her iPhone. I was doubly jealous. Jealous that I did not have a cool iPhone with thousands of applications and jealous that she found the damned phone more interesting than me.)

B. Freedom:

“Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them…and those who feel no need to control themselves.”
by Sirenus

TODAY’S CHART:

obama-budget-1.png

(What this chart means is that after Hillary Clinton becomes President in 2016, she may find herself ranked as among the greatest Presidents in the nation’s history for having the ability to lower taxes and raise social expenditures while cutting the deficit and running a fiscal surplus, all because of the provisions contained in Barak Obama’s current budget. I am sure the Republicans will fight to the death to prevent this.)

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

falsebalance-1

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN1245

The Duck Pond in Summer.

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 JoJo 0002 (May 17, 2013)

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I went to the Thai immigration office to get my one-year retirement visa renewed
The Little Masseuse kindly accompanied me to handle negotiations with the various transportation entities we were required to maneuver in order to get to and from the immigration office. She patiently sat outside the offices waiting for me to complete the process.

It was a much less traumatic experience than my previous visit. It took only about three hours or so.

Alas, after I had acquired the requisite stamps and paid the various fees I left, completely forgetting LM was there waiting for me. I was half-way home when I received a call from her inquiring how much longer the visa extension process would take.

How does one simply forget another human being? What level of self-absorption does it take to do that?

Somewhere in a past T&T I wrote of the three stages of a man’s old age: First you forget to zip it up, then you forget to zip it down, then you die.

I know I have passed through stage one. The periodic sense of cool breezes where there should be none reminds me of that. Alas, it appears that stage two is approaching much faster than I would like.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

You go girl II:

Today Thai television showed a surveillance video of the inside of an elevator. In the elevator stood a small girl or young woman dressed in a pink jacket. A light blue backpack was strapped to her back. The doors opened and a man much larger than the girl and dressed in dark clothing entered. As soon as the doors closed, he grabbed the girl and threw her against the back wall of the elevator. The girl then proceeded to beat the living shit out of him. By the time the elevator doors opened again the guy was lying in a foetal position on the floor of the elevator in a pool of his own blood.

(I have never seen or for that matter imagined a response to a surprise physical assault so sudden, focused, implacable and merciless as that little girl’s.

I wonder if the video was real. It had the blurry aspect of those type of surveillance videos. The girl seemed to move with the speed and power of one of those spandex attired superheroes. What would one call an elfin sized female superhero with a pink jacket and a powder blue backpack?

Speaking of superheroes in tights, when I left the American Embassy a few days ago its exterior walls had been covered in murals painted by local school children in one of those attempts by the State Department to achieve some sort of ambiguous rapport with the locals. The theme of the murals appeared to be the painter’s image of America. In the center of the exhibit was one panel containing a life-sized representation of Captain America in a red white and blue unitard leaping to defend truth justice and the American way complete with a little round shield, blazing red lipstick and huge almost frighteningly large breasts. America the beautiful…We should only hope.)

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Wilmer Cook: Keep on riding me and they’re gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

Chapter 15:

(Alas, this issue of T&T has grown so long that I felt adding an another 1000 words or so would be excessive. We will pick up again on the Dragon’s unwilling adventures in the next post.)
MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

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

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

1. Introduction:

It was 1965, the high point for those of us flooding out from the nations colleges and universities who, in response to JFK’s challenge to “ask what you can do for your country,” believed that their idealism could correct past injustices and create a brighter future. It was a few years yet before that idealism began to dissolve in the miasma of self-indulgence brought on by the counter-culture. It was six years before future Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart‘s infamous memorandum called for the creation of a massive parasite community, a greater assembly of non-productive individuals than ever contemplated by any religion or governmental bureaucracy, made up of attorneys, economists, consultants and lobbyists dedicated to redistributing wealth from the productive elements of society, rich and poor alike, into their ever insatiable maw. It was still a few years before that dark avatar of amorality, Richard Nixon recognized that combining the worst aspects of the American South with the worst of the North and West was the road to iniquitous power. It was a little more than a decade before, in response to Stewart’s siren call, America’s youth in great numbers abandoned the study of science, engineering and even the debatable civilizing influence of the liberal arts and flocked to devour the intricacies of business, finance and law in the vain hope of raising themselves individually above the society in which they lived. By the mid-1980s the wellspring of JFK’s challenge had died leaving behind only a greater or lesser will to defend what had been accomplished and a vague periodic enthusiasm for restitution on behalf of the victim of the month. But that was later. Then we were certain we would make a difference.

In 1964, the New York State Legislature created the Mental Health Information Service to rectify the perceived festering sore that was New Yorks vast mental hospital system and bureaucracy. I had recently graduated from law school and to play a role in creating program to implement the law fascinated me. A few weeks before this I had participated in a three day testing program at NYU to determine my aptitude for various professional alternatives I may wish to pursue. The tests indicated that I was best suited for either conducting an orchestra or becoming a social worker. Since I had no musical abilities that I knew of but having recently been admitted to the NY Bar, the appearance of the hiring notice seemed fortuitous.
(To be continued)

DAILY FACTOID:

February 3, 1959: The Day the Music Died.

Monument at the crash site of the airplane car...

Monument at the crash site of the airplane carrying Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens; “The Day the Music Died” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not all the music died that day. Waylon Jennings who was also on the tour did not take the flight having given up his seat in favor of “The Big Bopper” who had the flu. Tommy Allsop lost a coin toss to Richie Valens for the last seat on the plane.

Dion Dimucci, the Dion of Dion and the Belmonts fame, did not board the ill fated charter aircraft that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper because he refused to pay the $36 fee.

(I knew Dion. He lived in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx, a heavily Italian area of NYC. I could see him doing that. Liked his music though.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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(It should be pointed out the seven countries with the lowest child poverty rates identified by the gold bars are all countries that some have accused of being highly socialistic. These seven countries however are not included in that group of countries experiencing current economic difficulties that these same people attribute to the debts accumulated from their socialistic policies even though in fact those difficulties are almost exclusively due to their lassie faire approach to the unbridled greed of their banking and financial industries.)

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Lee

(A man’s man does not have to be 100% dick.)

C. More Evidence that Economics is a Religion and not a Science:

chart-1

The above chart represents the responses of a large group of economists to the question about the efficacy of current economic policy. It demonstrates what I and many other people have been saying and what many others believe, that economists do not know that they are doing and to bestow upon their area of study the title of a “science” whether modified by the word “social” or not is ludicrous. In fact, to me the predictive power of their field of study is not appreciatively greater than divination of the future from goat entrails. It has all the indicia of a religion. One might just as well flip a coin as ask an economist for advice on what policies to pursue to achieve a healthy national economy.

D. Interesting site:

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/05/the-washington-super-whale-hedge-fundies-the-federal-reserve-and-bernanke-hatred.html#more

The above cited article by Brad DeLong is in my opinion the clearest and most understandable analysis of the financial crisis initiated by Citibank’s London hedge fund trader and of the nature of hedge funds in general. It also highlights why, conspiracy mavens aside, the Federal Reserve system was a pretty good idea.

But perhaps the most interesting thing to me and not discussed at all, was that the supervisor of the rogue trader who, upon realizing that the trader’s approach could either leave Citibank perhaps the most overwhelmingly wealthy entity on earth or bankrupt, chose to take the current loss in order assure preservation of the bank rather than risk it on the potential of becoming richer than Croesus, was a woman.

Would the exclusively male traders and managers at Lehman Brothers have made the same choice? Obviously not.

E. Tales of Inhumanity:

7th May 1943, The ‘end of the world’ approaches in the Warsaw Ghetto (Part II).

A young woman writes:

“Wham! Boom! The enemy is shooting machine guns and throwing grenades into the bunker. The bunker is partially covered with an avalanche of rubble. The people inside are acting courageously. With complete serenity, they look death in the face.

In silence, we honour the death of the people who are burning in the flames. The Germans are shooting every Jew that they find or taking and burning the bodies on the bonfire in the community courtyard at 19 Zamenhof Street. Hitler’s devotees, his dedicated servants and hangmen, who obey their leader’s orders, execute everything in accordance with the order which states that in 1945 there will not be a single Jew left in Europe.

Today, silence reigned for a long time. We lay on the bunks until late in the evening after four days of hunger. Everyone was satisfied because we ate something and went to sleep in a better mood. The appearance of these people, whose cheeks were already sunken, improved, their eyes brightened and a spark of life was once again discernible within them. Now everyone believes that he will be able to hold on.

Surprisingly, we have light again, the electricity is back. Maybe the sun will also shine for us. It’s really about time. We are cut off from the entire world, helpless and relying only on our own powers. No one talks about rescue. We are extending our existence with great effort.

Our lives are extremely threatened now, the danger is constant. The living standard is very low. The people are half-naked, dressed in rags, running around morosely on the stone floor. They can’t live and they can’t die.

I am amazed that in such conditions we have succeeded in surviving for three weeks. We know very well what kind of action this is because they announced it in advance. This is the extermination of Warsaw Jewry and, afterwards, our end.”

TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. Sophokles – Antigone:

Antigone: No matter—Death longs for the same rites for all.
Creon: Never the same for the patriot and the traitor.
Antigone: Who, Creon, who on earth can say the ones below don’t find this pure and uncorrupt?
Creon: Never. Once an enemy, never a friend, not even after death.
Antigone: I was born to join in love, not hate—that is my nature.
Creon: Go down below and love, if love you must—love the dead! While I’m alive, no woman is going to lord it over me.
(From Brad DeLong’s Journal)

(See Pepe’s Potpourri D. above. The rogue trader’s manager that put preservation of the organization above untold wealth was fired. Little has changed in 3000 years. We men still behave like Creon. That is why I wrote some time ago:

“For at least 10,000 years or so virtually every political system, economic system and religion on earth has been designed by men for men. There is no natural or divine law that requires any of these structures to be designed in the way that they have been. During those same 10,000 years every justification of those structures have been developed by men to benefit men.”)

B. Do you agree with this?

“Not all Republicans are racists, but most racists are Republicans.”
Anonymous.

TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0904

Silver and Blue

 

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 28 Joey 0002 (April 17, 2013)

 

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

I have been back in El Dorado Hills for a few days now. It is that time of the year when the weather fluctuates wildly; a few days of sunny warmth like early summer followed by a few days of the dying winter’s cloudy cold. Little happens here. Or more accurately my life is fairly regular with little emotional involvement in what goes on around me.

I assume there are as many strange and interesting things going on here behind the doors of the quiet homes in the various subdivisions as anywhere else. But for the most part they do not spill over into the streets as they often do in cities; to lie there and fester and sometimes spread like a disease. And, as perhaps unfortunately so often the case entertain those like me for whom voyeurism is a profession. So, instead I have to entertain myself with simple things to keep from going mad with boredom.

For example, right outside the window of the cafe where I am sitting having breakfast there is a small fountain in the center of which a few jets of water shoot gaily into the air. The water then falls back on itself creating pillars of snowy white water. The morning sun strikes these liquid pillars creating an ever-changing mixture of shades, textures and shapes. So I stare at is much like I would stare into a fire in a fireplace until I pull away because I feel like an idiot for having so little to do that I have to stare at a puddle of water for amusement.

To fill in the time, I have taken to obsessive reading, filling up my kindle library with about 40 books in the last six weeks. Alas, I seem to have become addicted to stories featuring magic; you know, wizards and things like that. When I cannot sleep I curl up for hours with my computer reading about potions, werewolves and stuff. I am so ashamed. Damn you Harry Potter!

I did not feel up to traveling to SF last weekend but will try to make it next weekend since it will be my last before leaving for Thailand.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “You don’t have to trust me as long as you can persuade me to trust you.”

Chapter 12:

The next morning at 9:30 I waited in front of the Utah Hotel on Fourth Street for the delinquent to pick me up. I replayed in my mind last night’s adventures with Mavis. The jungle’s mystery has disappeared replaced with the familiarity of the hunter returning to the clearing he calls home with a dead monkey draped over his back. In between hunts I told her about my day with Martin Vihn and Joe Vu. She claimed that she had never met Martin Vihn, but that one day someone who seemed to fit the description of Vu dropped by the Tattoo parlor to pick up Holland. She was never told where they were going. Vu hung around the shop for a while while Holland got ready. He joked with her about getting a jungle themed tattoo. She observed that Holland seemed nervous and obsequious around Vu which she thought was strange given how much younger Vu was and how immaturely he behaved.

I asked her again what she assumed they were up to in the business. She said that, as she understood it, they intended to import household furniture from South East Asia made from wood grown in the area. The furniture was designed as a modern version of traditional South East Asian furniture; sort of like the Vietnamese version of Scandinavian Design. Reilly was supposed to have contacts with large retailers in the US and elsewhere. The initial shipment, to be used as models, arrived about a week ago.

That was all she really knew about it she insisted. I still did not believe her, but I did not know why.

Joe Vu arrived right on time. As I got into the Lexus and he said “Where to boss?”

“One Embarcadero Center”

“What’s there boss?”

“Lilly Park…where there is money to be made there are always lawyers around.”

During the drive I probed Vu regarding the furniture import business. He pretty much confirmed Mavis’ story. I did learn however that Martin Vihn had an interest along with his younger brother in a large warehouse in Redwood City where the furniture was to be stored. I asked him when the furniture was due to arrive.

He said, “It arrived a week ago boss.”

“Well, what happened to it?”

“That’s the question Martin would like to ask Reilly after we find him.”

Given the fact that I was so focused on extricating myself from the clutches of my various clients with my fees intact that I failed grasp this essential bit of obvious information, I realized that it may be time I take things more seriously. Up until now I had assumed that Reilly or Holland or both had simply scampered off with the smuggled goods (dope or now that I think of it, precious stones) or the money from their sale. But to disappear a couple of containers full of furniture first seemed pretty extreme. Why?

Unable to proceed further on that tack, out of simple curiosity I asked Vu if Martin Vihn was born in Viet Nam. He explained that Martin and was born in Vietnam but was brought here as a baby after the fall of Saigon by his father, a high-placed General in the South Vietnamese Army. The family was large and well placed in both the South and among the Viet Cong.

I asked if he were born here also.

Vu: “No Boss, Martin sponsored me when I was eleven.” Added, “My family were the ones that kicked your ass.”

Me: “excuse me”

Vu: “The Cong man. My father was a general too. A Viet Cong General. He would tell me a lot of stories about the war for independence.”

Me: “That must have been interesting.”

Vu: “Yeah… every day both before and after school my father made me and my older brothers practice in case the The Americans returned or the Chinese invaded.”

Me: “What did you practice?”

He looked at me and smiled. “Killing and hiding, what the hell do you think we were learning – – Communist bullshit?” And then he burst out laughing.

We arrived at the Embarcadero Center complex.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.”
Al Pacino

TODAY’S CHART:

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(Note: it should be pointed out that the above chart, if it is accurate, describes only the $650 billion Department of Defense budget. The total US defense budget in 2010 actually may total about $1.3 trillion, about double the expenditures in the DoD budget alone.

(Note: Graphic unavailable at this time)

These expenditures are greater than almost all the military outlays for all the other countries of the world combined. Is it so unreasonable to believe that at least 10% of those expenditures and wasted and inefficient? If so and they are eliminated it would end the current budget deficit and we still would be able to continue to spend more on defense than everyone else.)

TODAY”S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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White on Blue.

 

Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 21 Joey 0002 (April 9, 2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BERKELEY:

The medical procedure to remove the filter inserted in my vein to catch loose clots turned into something of a farce. Arriving at the hospital at 7:30 AM, I was soon stripped of clothing, interviewed at length by hospital security regarding valuables and poked and prodded for various tests. About an hour and a half later following questions from the nurse regarding medications and subsequent discussions with the operating doctor and my primary care physician it was determined that the operating doctor’s instructions to both me and my regular doctor were wrong and that I had to stop taking the meds for at least 24 hours. So I left and returned to my sister’s house.

At 10 AM the next day, the appointment time given to me by the treating physician, I arrived at the hospital and sat in the waiting room for about two hours. No one could explain why I had to wait.

Finally I went through the same various tests and procedures I had gone through the day before. This time for some reason they could not find a working vein for extracting blood for my blood work and for attaching the IV’s. So they explored. At least seven times they inserted the needles into my body and rooted around to find some blood.

The operation itself was anti-climatic taking all of about one minute to dope me up, slice into my neck and remove the filter.

Following the operation, the anesthesiologist showed me the filter. It was about an inch long and equally wide and looked a lot like a metallic spider. She pointed out a clot imbedded among the tines. She also said the she was certain she had seen me before. I assured her that that was unlikely.

Against the doctors orders, I decided to drive directly back to Sacramento. So I picked up Hayden and our luggage at my sister’s house and left.

During the drive I explained to Hayden that he had to make sure I did not fall asleep due to any residual effects of the anesthesia. So we played “What am I thinking.” A game I learned from the Dalls as something they used on long drives to divert their children. At one point, during a lull in the game I mentioned to H. that talking was a good thing to do to keep me awake.

He said:

“In that case, there is something you should know about me. I am really an alien from Cluton sent here by my parents. That is why I act like I do. I have three hearts and five stomaches one of which is dedicated exclusively to digesting fish smoothies. I also have three butts one of which I lost during the Butt Wars which we lost and is why my parents sent me here to earth. I am filled with ‘joy bubbles’ which allow me to float in air or water if I want. You should also know that music makes me crazy.”

With that he turned on the radio to a music station and acted…well crazy until finally and thankfully he shut the radio off.

Who knew?

(A few days later I learned about a television show, Marvin Marvin, about a boy also from Cluton who lives with an American family. Hayden tells me Marvin is his best friend and they arrived from Cluton together.)

Hayden made me promise I would tell no one of his confession because if they learned he was an alien they would send him back to Cluton. I figured that the well-known discretion exhibited by readers of “This and that…” would permit them to fall within the class of no one.

We arrived at the house in El Dorado Hills at about 9PM. I turned the Clutonian over to Dick and put myself to bed.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

A Thai Comments on his Society:

Arglit Boonyai, the highly respected and sometimes brilliant columnist for The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s most widely read english language daily newspaper wrote some time ago:

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

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: Everybody has something to conceal.

Chapter Eleven:

While my minder and putative student, the ex-delinquent Joe Vu, drove us off toward the library, I leaned back in my seat and tried to think. As is often the case the first thoughts to enter my mind were about money. In two days I collected almost $5000 dollars for little more effort than taking a shot to the jaw and having to change my clothing.

My second thought was about sex. In most cases it was usually the first. I did not know why it wasn’t that now. It certainly was not Mavis’ fault. The tattooed lady, my client, brought with her a perversity in the bedroom that one usually had to pay for. Still I wondered how much I was going to end up paying anyway.

Finally I got around to the case. What did I know about Holland and Reilly? They were hooked up in something, drugs still remained the most probable, along with Vihn, Mavis and God knows who else. They were missing and a lot of people were looking for them.

People look for other people for three reasons, money, sex or guilt. I don’t think any of the seekers here are feeling particularly guilty about the missing individuals. As for sex, Mavis seems quite able to satisfy herself and does not appear to be the jealous type. And, unless Reilly was shtupping his wife or girlfriend, Martin Vihn’s interest in him on that score made no sense unless he was a finocchio in heat – which I doubt. Whoever was running the Elephant Boys could have had a thing for Mark; extreme but still possible but highly unlikely given everything else that has gone on.

That leaves money. Someone has it and someone else wants it. Extortion seems possible but remote. So that means either Reilly or Holland have the money or information that leads to money and Mavis, Martin Vihn and the mysterious third party think they should have all or part of it. Nothing earth-shattering there or even useful.

I clearly will not get from either Mavis or Martin Vihn much about what the deal that somehow went bad and started all this was all about.

And what about the Two Ton Twins? Who were they working for?

Was someone else involved in the deal or somehow learned of it. On the other hand, maybe Reilly was the Tubby Tots boss and in hiding while for some reason looking for Holland.

Of course none of this really mattered. I was confident Reilly would show up whenever he finished with whatever else he was doing. I could rely on that. Vihn however scared me.

I knew I had to look good to my minder Joe Vu since he will report anything I do to Martin Vihn. That was annoying but probably not too difficult. If I just rooted around a lot and looked like I was working on finding Reilly I figured I could skate by. But what can I do to look like I was doing something? The only person in this mess that I knew about who I had not spoken to was Lilly Park. Meeting with her I decided would be something that would show Vihn I was on the job.

I did not worry about the long-term commitment I made to Vihn. I guessed once Reilly was found Marty would probably not want to continue to keep me on the tab at $1000 a month. Still it was good pay even if it was from a gangster. At least I thought he was a gangster. Even if he were a gangster he couldn’t be much worse that the so-called captain’s of industry that were my ex-law firm’s clients.

I turned to my smiling driver and said, “Joe?”

Joe: “Yeah boss – you finished doing number two now?

Me: “Huh?

Joe: “You know, the thinking thing.”

Me again: “Oh, yeah…uh…Not yet. But I’d like to know – what does Marty do for a living?”

Joe: “Never let him know you called him Marty. He hates that name.”

Me: “I’ll remember that. So what business is Martin Vihn in”

Joe: “You don’t want to know boss. Let’s just say he is in the import-export business.”

Me: “Are drugs part of that import-export business?”

Joe: “You don’t need to know that boss. Is this part of detecting?”

Me: “It is always good to know something about your client.”

Joe: “Believe me you know enough boss. Do you carry a gun? Detectives carry guns don’t they?”

Me surprised: “Not all do. I hate guns. Don’t carry one.”

Joe: “That’s OK.” He then reached over, opened the glove compartment and pulled out a black automatic pistol. “I have one just in case.” He waved it around.

Me shouting: “Shit! Put that back. You could hurt someone.” In fact, the only person I worried about being shot was me. I was always somewhat equivocal about gun control; not really caring who shot who or why – except kids of course. But I figured if a gun was discharged in my vicinity inevitably I would be the one shot. So I was willing to support gun control – not that I did anything about it except sign sidewalk petitions when I had nothing better to do and if there was a good-looking woman pushing the petitions.

Joe laughing: “OK boss.” He put the thing back into the glove compartment. “What are we looking for at the library?”

He had me there. Going to he library was the first thing that came into my mind to say in order to look like I was doing something. I had no idea where to begin looking for Reilly . Said, “I need to use their computers and reference library to begin tracking down Reilly.” That was the best I could come up with. What I really needed somewhere private to call Mavis. I could have gone home but I had no intention of letting Vu know where I lived.

When we arrived at the library I told Vu to drop me off, find a place to park and meet me in the reference room. That would get rid of him for a while and I could call Mavis without him listening in. Maybe I also could slip out of the place without him finding me.

I got out of the car and went into the building.

The new Main Branch of the San Francisco Public library was built about a decade or so ago and touted as one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the world. What that ment was that except for rooms dedicated to each of the more politically sophisticated interest groups at the time it was notably deficient in books on display. These were mostly locked away in stacks in the cavernous basements of the building, available to order. Like most of those who ardently supported the building of the library, I had never been in it. I had no idea where the reference room was located or even if there was one.

As soon as I got into the building I called Mavis and reprised my telephone call to her of yesterday without the shouting. I was in a library after all.

She said: “Oh yeah, Vihn. I forgot about him.”

Me, voice rising: “Forgot about him?”

Mavis: “Listen honey, I am in the middle of doing a customers back. He wants a jungle scene like mine and I’m in the middle of it. He grabbed my ass so I’m hiding a penis in the bushes.” She giggled. Continued: “We’ll talk more about it tonight. See ya, sweetie.” and she hung up.

I stood there looking at the phone when I heard, “Find what you’re looking for boss?”

Answered: “Uh… no. Let’s go.”

On the way to where he parked the car, I turned to Vu, said, “Look I’m exhausted. It’s late and I’m going home. I need to do more thinking. We’ll start again early tomorrow. I’ll walk from here.”

“No need boss, I’ll drive you.”

Clearly he was not going to let me get away that easy.

I directed him to the Utah Hotel on Fourth and Bryant. It was a low-cost single room occupancy hotel with an interesting bar on the ground floor. Told him I rented a long-term suite on the top floor. It was two blocks from my loft.

During the ride I asked him if he knew Lily Park. He indicated that she was one of Vihn’s attorney’s. Then he spent some time describing her looks and her body and explaining what he would do with the latter if he were given a chance to do so.

I said: “Was Martin Vihn fucking her?”

Joe: “I don’t know. All the ladies seem to like him. But he’s pretty cool about that.”

Me: “Is he gay?”

Joe laughing: “Fuck man you can get us both killed for even thinking that.”

When we arrived in front of the hotel, Vu turned to me and asked in all seriousness, “Is there anything I should be studying to learn about the detective business?”

I was taken aback. Thought as quickly as I could, said, “When you get home, go on line and watch the movie “The Maltese Falcon.” The version starring Humphrey Bogart. You ever seen it?”

“No,” but I heard of the Bogart guy, same as the old guys say when you slop up a blunt.”

“Yeah. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. Meet me here at 9:30”

I got out of the car and walked into the hotel, waited a few minutes, went back out, checked to see that he had left and having satisfied myself that he had, walked home down Fourth Street.

DAILY FACTOID:

2012: 132 people provided over 60% of all the money contributed to political PAC’s in the US that year. That is only 0.000042 percent of the nation’s population.

(I strongly doubt any one of those 132 people gave that money without expecting something in return.

If you’re a politician, and you spend between 30 and 70 percent of your time begging for funds for the next election cycle, as American politicians do … who you gonna call? What are you going to offer them for their money?

There are 535 elected officials in Congress. They in effect work for those 132 people even though we, the rest of the 300 or so million Americans, pay their salaries.)
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

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(What does it say about a society that accepts that some fortunate few would become even richer while the rest of that society becomes poorer?)

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

Review of Blood Sport, by Robert F. Jones, a re-issue of one of the greatest “mens” coming of age novels ever written:

“The best look at life as a man and the best description of (necessary?) madness ever put in print, there’s simply nothing like this book, nothing nowhere, nohow. R.F. Jones wrote a ‘lost’ masterpiece back in the 70s and I am SO glad to see it back in print. I can start giving it to the weak and the strong again, it’s good for what ails all of ’em. This saga of a man and his son’s journey up the Hassayampa river, complete with exotic mixed grill, tourist traps and deadfalls, madness, mau-maus and Ratnose qualifies as a defining point in Mens Fiction of the latter 20th century. Let me repeat that, this is fiction for Men. No one get their politically correct undies in a wad, that was just a fair warning, the last you’ll get around here. Anybody whining after that was said, Ratnose throws to the dogs. The point is, you’re on your own up the Hassayampa, and that’s a big hint. Come on along, anybody interested, you’ll figure out whether you need something you ain’t got soon enough. The bunch of yez, load your pockets with ammo and jerky, check the knife in your boot and start steppin’. See what’s waiting for you up the river. Something different waiting for everyone, a vision quest that will end or it won’t, maybe just a new assessment of your foodchain pecking order. The Hassayampa giveth and it taketh away. You’ll see what I mean, just look at the flotsam floating by, mastadons and marlin, atlatls and motorbikes. You’re checking your backtrail? Then you’re as ready as you’ll ever be. What’re you waiting on? The water’s just fine. It told me so it’s own self.”

(Anyone interested in learning what lies at the dark heart of maleness should read this book. Anyone who wants to understand why I believe it is time for men to step aside and women take over should read this book. The Hassayampa has been covered over and turned into a parking lot. The male myth is dead. Ratnose has retreated to where the gods of Olympus now dwell. No longer will men look into his eyes and duel with fly rods for the souls of their sons.)

C. Tales of Inhumanity.

Samuel Zylberstein:

“They packed 120 people into a boxcar designed for 20 people or 10 horses. The doors were slid shut and sealed, the windows boarded up and covered with barbed wire. We stood crammed inside the closed box, each person glued to the next, forming a single mass. We could not raise our hands or make the slightest movement.

Terrible scenes took place in the cars between people who had been condemned to death, people who had lost their wits. Everyone tried pushing through to the door or window to find a crack, just to get a gulp of air. Some were sobbing, others fainted, but there was no room for them to fall. Their bodies simply stayed in place, pressed between our own.

All desperate cries and sobs were in vain. No help was coming; no help could come. Human feelings disappeared; we were no longer human. The stronger tried to break away to climb over the heads of the others, to win a little space so they could see outside.
Some were shouting, “I have to look outside! I have to see where they’re taking me! I know this road. I’m not going to the gas chamber! I’m going to jump from the train! Live or die by a bullet! No gas for me! It’s the strongest who’ll survive!”

The engines pulled slowly as the train rolled on toward the victims’ doom. The cars were guarded on both sides. Ukrainians were lying on the roof. Sometime during the night people standing by the cracks in the window claimed they were taking us to Treblinka. The prisoners began to panic.

Someone pried up a board and a few people tried to jump from the train, but unfortunately no one managed to escape. The murderers kept the entire route lit with spotlights, so they’d be sure not to miss anyone who attempted to get away. A friend of mine who was in the car asked me to hold his coat while he jumped and then throw the coat after him. I watched him: No sooner had he jumped than he was hit. His coat was riddled by bullets as well.
Every time someone jumped, all the Ukrainians up and down the train started shooting at once. Occasionally the train would stop and start again, leaving behind a trail of corpses.

In the middle of the night they started shooting into the cars through the windows. The lucky ones were hit and killed. They were free. We could no longer stand it – the crowding, the stench, the unbeatable thirst; we were covered with sweat and blood, the blood of our brothers.

We did what we could to gain a little calm during our last hours. Our limbs had grown stiff we couldn’t straighten our arms. Our brothers’ blood was on our clothes; we couldn‘t wipe it of and had to use our teeth to tear the garments off one another’s body. Then we stood naked inside the crowded, stinking car. The thirst was indescribable; we tried using our tongues to wet each others lips.
Toward dawn our car became less crowded: about 40 people were already dead, most killed by Ukrainian bullets fired through the walls. We tried to clean up so as not to trample their bodies. Now we were a little more “comfortable,” at least able to sit down on the blood-covered floor, but with every passing kilometer our fear and despair grew.

A panic broke out when we reached Malkinia: “Listenl They’re going to run us straight from the cars to the gas chambers! O God, O God, where are you!”

What they saw through the cracks took the last hope away from those who still had any illusions. People tore their hair, scratched at their faces, and broke their fingernails. That’s what the last minutes are like before a gruesome death in the gas chamber.
But ten men in our car could count themselves happy; ten jews were treated kindly by fate. “Now is the time, comrades,” said Dr. Mantel. “We have a little more room.” Ten young healthy people sat together on the blood-stained floor. They kissed one another, said their farewells, and then swallowed a dose of cyanide.

One minute later nine more bodies were lying in the car. The tenth was not affected; his dose must have been insufficient. Oh, you happy people! You no longer have to suffer, no longer have to bear the terrible hell that we must face. They can poison you with gas and burn you all they want, but you will be numb to the suffering.

Everyone envied those nine souls.

Of 120 people locked inside the car, 37 were still alive when the train arrived at the platform.”
(Excerpted from Brad DeLong’s Journal.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

POOKIE’S PUERILE EPIGRAMS:

1. Consciousness is nothing more than post hoc rationalization.

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

3. Consciousness is whatever one tells oneself to keep away the darkness.
TODAY’S CHART:

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TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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The Duck Pond in El Dorado Hills

Categories: April 1213 through June 1213 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 9 Joey 0002 (March 29 2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN MENDOCINO:

Off to Mendocino. During the drive from Sacramento to San Francisco to pick up my grand-daughter Amanda and her mom Hiromi, I tuned into the local university classical music station to listen to a 1977 NY Metropolitan Opera performance of that old Verdi warhorse, La Forza del Destino, sung by the aging Leontyne Price and the young Placido Domingo. A few days before, I was listening to the same station while driving Hayden to school in the morning. As we approached the school, he insisted I turn off the music, which I did assuming he found my choice of music distasteful. During the stations introduction before the opera presentation, I asked him if he wanted me to change the station or turn off the radio since he did not enjoy the same type of music as I. “Oh, no,” he said. “It’s not that at all. I was afraid that some of the bullies at school would hear the music when I opened the car door and make fun of me for listening to old people’s music.” Then for the next hour he entertained me by singing along with the performers every part of the opera, especially mimicking Ms Price’s lirico spinto soprano – sometimes note for note including vibrato.

We picked up Hiromi and Amanda and drove to Mendocino. During the next three hours or so, the soothing sounds of Verdi were replaced by the incessant screams of eight year olds.

The following morning after searching for and finding a letterbox in the local Mendocino graveyard we left for Westport and the Pacific Star Winery for a picnic.

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Hayden and Remo find the letterbox.

Once there we spend a glorious afternoon at the western edge of the continent drinking wine and picnicking with the beautiful, irrepressible and mysterious (she no doubt is a woman with a past) Sally, the owner of the winery about whom I have written in previous T&T issues.

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Sally and Pookie

Later while in the Winery’s shop Sally leaned over to my sister and said, “Watch this. They fall for it every time.” She then turned to me who was trying on hats and said, “You look very attractive in that hat.” I bought the hat.

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Me in my new hat posing with Etta and Sundance.

Then we spent a few hours at the north-end of Ten Mile Beach watching the kids run around like crazy.

The next day we whiled away the afternoon at the beach below the Mendocino bluffs at the end of Big River. I sat on a seven-foot diameter redwood trunk that lay on the beach and watched the children play on the driftwood strewn sand where the river met the ocean. Over 40 years ago when I first laid eyes on Mendocino, the beach housed a counterculture encampment. I recalled the sweet smell of marijuana smoke, the sounds of guitars and long-haired girls in tie-die dresses dancing barefoot in the sand. All gone now, replaced by a few homeless campers being rousted by the Park Police.

The next day my sister, Hiromi and Amanda left leaving George, Hayden and I to spend the remainder of the week doing guy things – like enjoying long periods of silence broken now and then by grunts and the periodic passing of wind.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “Then the trick from my angle is to make my play strong enough to tie you up, but not make you mad enough to bump me off against your better judgment.”

Chapter Nine:

One would think that by now I would have thought of some snappy answers to these questions but I hadn’t. Said, “I’m a private investigator hired to try to find him.”

More silence and staring. Finally, “Who hired you?”

I decided to skip repeating yesterday’s patter that had gotten me nowhere. Answered, “His girl friend.” I did not mention the Rotund Brothers since it would require too much explanation.

I expected to hear, “Fucking Mavis” in response but instead got more silence and staring as he apparently struggled with the obvious next question. “What have you found out so far?”

“Nothing, except there seems to be a lot of people looking for him.”

Quickly, “Who – besides the girlfriend?”

“Two fat guys I ran into yesterday who beat the shit out of me – which I hope you and your friends won’t do today.”

“We’ll see. They do that?” he motioned with his chin toward the now colorful bruise on mine. “Doesn’t seem like much of a shit kicking.”

“Well it didn’t happen to you.”

“Nor will it ever.” he responded, then ordered “come with me.” He walked to the door in the wall and opened it. Having no discernible options and curious whether we were about to share some bizarre asian peeing ritual in the garage toilet or if the room behind the door served another purpose, I followed.

The room behind the door turned out to contain a tiny office, not a toilet. A small old wooden desk extended from one wall almost to the opposite leaving barely enough room for someone to shimmy past. The walls were covered in peeling paint the color of which seemed to be late septic tank. A three-year old calendar hung on one wall and a number of business cards were taped to another. The only other furniture in the room was a rickety bentwood chair in front of the desk and a 1940’s era wooden swivel chair behind it. In the latter sat the aging asian man who, upon our arrival promptly got up slid around the edge of the desk and in a half bow with eyes cast down to the floor scurried past us and out the door.

My host replaced the old man. As he was sitting down I said, “they usually call me Dragon,” and slid one of my business cards along the top of the desk. He did not pick it up but instead stared at it as though it contained an explosive. He then looked back at me and said, “Do you know Clarence Reilly?”

This surprised me somewhat. Answered, “Somewhat. When I was with Carter and James I handled some matters for him. I’ve been to his house now and then.” I did not tell him those visits usually ended up with us sitting on the floor of his living-room smoking dope while he lectured me of the ethical superiority of eastern religions even though on his day job he had no hesitation fucking over women and orphans to make a buck. He had a Thai wife, Thai nanny and three half-Thai kids. Things Thai were about the only thing we had in common. That and the compulsion to screw over the weak and defenseless in our day jobs. At least I hated chanting and the smell of incense.

“That’s a big firm,” he said. “So you’re a lawyer also. What…”

I finished his question for him. “What made me leave and become an itinerant Shamus?”

His stone-faced expression did not alter in response to my witless attempt at wit. “Yes,” he said.

“I wanted to associate with a better class of people. Like you, whoever you are.”

The slightest of smiles. “My name Mr. Dragon is Martin Vihn. You seem a bit old to start on a new career.”

“Dragon will do. Fifty-four is the new forty-four, soon to be the new thirty-four. In society’s eyes I am getting younger. If I live long enough I’ll become a teenager again.”

No reaction. “Did the men you, uh, met yesterday tell you what they were looking for.”

I hated breeching a client’s confidence, but hell they threatened me with a gun and now I’m sitting opposite someone who was probably a gangster and could do me at least as much harm as the Fat Boys. “No, just Holland. I’m pretty sure they were working for someone else though.”

“Oh,” with interest. “Who?”

“I have no idea. They were talking to someone on the phone who seemed to be giving them orders.”

He stared at me in silence for a very long time, then looked down at his hands clenched together on the desk. Finally he looked up at me and said, “What do you charge for detective work?”

I thought, “Shit not again.” Said, “Three hundred dollars a day. One week minimum. One half up front, plus expenses.” Added, “You should be aware, I have found out next to nothing so far about the whereabouts of Mark Holland.”

“Who said anything about Holland? He’s nobody. I want you to find Clarence Reilly.”

I laughed. I didn’t think he was serious. “Reilly’s a bit of a local big shot. He shouldn’t be that hard to find. Have you tried calling him on his phone or visiting his office or even his house.”

No reaction here either. “In fact we did,” he responded.

Now I thought that he might be serious. Said, “He’s missing?” No response. I took that for a yes. “How long?”

“Two Days”

“He’s probably fucking his secretary and will turn up in a few days.”

“The secretary’s at work. Do you want the job or not” he said getting up?

Having in the last two days already been hired by Mavis Corcoran and whomever was directing the Tons of Fun to find Holland Reilly’s partner in whatever it was that they had been up to and failing, I thought another $1000 to fail at finding Reilly himself was a pretty good deal provided I could avoid getting slapped around again. Besides this guy scared me too much to say no to. “Uh, OK. I’ll need some information however.”

Again the stare. I was getting a little annoyed about it.

“What information?” he said finally and began to come around the desk.

“What sort of business were you engaged in?”

“Import-export.”

It was like pulling teeth, “What were you importing or exporting?”

“Furniture. Joe will tell you all you need to know.” With that he walked out the door. I got up and followed. I thought, “Joe?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

5-26-11tax-f2

B. Testosterone Chronicles or Women with Balls (Eleanor Roosevelt had them):

LIVEBLOGGING WORLD WAR II: MARCH 19, 1943 (From Brad DeLong’s Journal)

WASHINGTON, Thursday—I wonder whether you agree with the statement I made yesterday, that we cannot overcome difficulties unless we recognize them. In talking to some Russians once, I was struck by the fact that they kept insisting that everything in their country was perfect. It seemed to me, at the time, as rather childish and adolescent, but forgiveable in a young country trying a new experiment. In us, a mature democracy, it would seem to me unforgivable to deny the existence of unpleasant facts.

A certain gentleman in Congress seems to have forgotten that groups of sharecroppers attracted the attention of the whole country not so very long ago, because they were living along the highways and their living conditions were as bad as bad could be. This gentleman thinks it odd that a group of people are willing to back a union which will try to improve conditions for these people, and that acknowledges the fact of the conditions under which sharecroppers in the United States of America have had to live in certain parts of our country.

Perhaps the gentleman in question, who mentions only three people on this committee, would like to have it also recorded that there are a few others members of this committee—among them Bishop Edward L. Parsons, Governor Saltonstall of Massachusetts, Mr. Raymond Gram Swing and Mr. William Allen White. Perhaps this gentleman in Congrees [originally: Congress] would like to hear the stories that some of the these sharecroppers tell, not just the poor Negroes, but some of his own white people. I hardly think he would approve of these conditions.

Since they exist, I think we had better set ourselves to correcting them. That is the mature way to approach all undesirable situations. Of course, if he approves of them, then I can well understand that he does not wish to have them mentioned.

Hitler’s propagandists can make far greater use of things that are wrong and which we do not try to correct, than they can when we try to improve conditions. This member of Congress is evidently not reading some of the things which the German propagandists have said about situations which have occurred in this country, at least he makes no mention of them.
Eleanor Roosevelt

(God bless you Mrs. Roosevelt.)
C. Apologies, Regrets, Humiliations and Announcements:

We have been joined today by Reed Holderman one of the more effective members of that little band who actually acted to preserve California’s Coast rather than just talking about it.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“What the [repeated] bad predictions [from economists, politicians, and lobbyists] tell us is that we are, in effect, dealing with priests who demand human sacrifices to appease their angry gods — but who actually have no insight whatsoever into what those gods actually want, and are simply projecting their own preferences on to the alleged mind of the market.”
Paul Krugman: The Market Speaks
TODAY’S CHART:

Countriesbyfertilityrate.svg

Countries by Fertility Rate.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

544335_552426571445879_1150368989_n

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0824
More Spring in the Foothills…

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 JOEY 0002 (March 23,2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Spring has fully enveloped the foothills. There was a break in the warming weather during SWAC’s visit last week and the temperatures turned briefly back to winter cold. I know co-incidence is not causation but sometimes it makes me feel better to believe it is.

Gained a new story; During the World Baseball Championships at Pac Bell Park, Bill Gates (the original) mentioned that he spent 30 years as a baseball umpire working his way up to Major League Rookie League Umpire before leaving for less socially responsible endeavors such as law and politics.

I am looking forward to spending a week at my sister’s place in Mendocino.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Sam Spade: “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.”

Chapter: Eight.

I hate motorcycles almost as much as I hate riding on the back of one. Nevertheless I climbed on to the large Harley and embraced my leather-clad tattooed lady from behind. As we roared off I dealt with my fear by clutching her tightly as close to her breasts as decency allowed, closing my eyes and replaying in my mind the morning’s exploration of Mavis’ jungle – meeting wide-eyed cobras and shriveling before the black depths of the tigers mouth.

She dropped me off at Eleventh and Folsom about a block from the automobile Smog Check shop I intended to visit. I watched her drive off in the general direction on downtown.

Eleventh and Folsom is the center of one of the City’s seedier night-club venues where ownership of the various clubs often mysteriously change from month to month. It is also the site of the legendary Folsom Street Fair where once a year one can observe leather clad nearly naked men and a few woman copulate on the sidewalks.

I walked down Eleventh to the shop. I was not concerned about what I would do when I get there since I already decided I would do whatever it took to assure that my visit failed. I did however wrestle with how I would explain my lack of progress to the Tons of Fun if they called this evening. I settled on the expedient of not answering the phone.

There was a small sign posted on the building identifying it as an official smog check testing station. Two large garage doors opened into a dark interior. I entered the building a few feet and waited for my eyes to adjust. I had no intention of going further inside. I wanted to leave myself room to run, just in case I met up with someone with an attitude similar to the Blimp Brothers.

I saw two men who appeared to work there standing next to an automobile lift. There were no cars in the place. I deduced they worked on automobiles because they were dressed in overalls and covered in greasy grime from their boots to the tips of their heads. I could not make out their ethnic group through the grime. I guessed they were either Latinos or Asians or perhaps even aliens from out of space. Standing in the shadows they appeared mostly as dark blobs.

Asked, “Do either of you know where I can find Matt Holland?” That seemed direct enough to elicit an answer in the negative enabling me to leave and go back home, hang out for a while, maybe take a nap and then call Mavis to give her the bad news and invite her over for the evening.

Neither answered for a while, but both stared at me. Finally one said, “Owner return Half Hour.” Obviously english was not his first language. Which language was his first I had no idea. “OK,” I said. “I will come back.”

I turned saw a pizza place across the street. Decided I was hungry and needed to replenish the energy I had expended during the mornings romp with Mavis. Turned back and said, “I’m going to get a pizza.” I noticed one of the employees disappearing through a door along one side of the garage. I guessed it opened into either an office or the bathroom.

While devouring a slice of pepperoni pizza and downing a coke, I saw a late model silver-blue automobile enter the garage. Since it was a late model, I assumed it was not a customer. I left the pizza joint, walked across the street and into the garage. An older asian man was speaking with the two workers. He turned when I entered, approached me and without offering a greeting or hand shake said, “You are asking about Mr. Holland?” I had barely answered in the affirmative before he continued, “Just a moment, I will return shortly,” and he abruptly turned and went through same door the worker had gone through previously.

I cooled my heels and passed on an embarrassed smile to the employees. They did not respond. After about ten minutes of this I became annoyed and started to walk toward the door the older gentlemen had disappeared into. I stopped when two automobiles screeched to a halt by the garage entrance. One was a silver Mercedes and the other a black Lexis. Three young men got out of the Mercedes and two exited the Lexus.

They stood together in a bunch staring at me. They were dressed somewhat alike. Dark trousers, four of them wearing plain white tee-shirts and one, who looked to be about 16 years old, in a black tee with “Iron Maiden” graphics emblazoned on it. Three of the others wore dark windbreakers over their tees. Except for the teenager they all appeared to be in their early twenties save for the individual who appeared to be the leader. He seemed to be in his late 30’s, sporting a pencil thin mustache. He wore a sport jacket over his tee that now that I looked closer appeared to be silk and not the cotton worn by the others.

“Fucking Mavis,” I thought not for the first time, as the same torrent of sweat I experienced upon meeting the Two Jolly Fat Boys yesterday inundated my clothing. I however clenched my sphincter determined to not shit my pants today. I stupidly left no way to run. At least there were no guns evident and they had not begun to slap me around–yet.

The older one walked up to me and stared into my eyes for what seemed to me was an inordinate amount of time and intensity for someone who I had not yet met.

He then said, in a voice that was strangely gravelly and high-pitched at the same time, “Who are you and what’s your interest in Holland?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

482544_10151303929551275_763680631_n

B. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

Due to popular demand, (actually, only one person requested the omitted sections of the previous chapter of “Enter the Dragon,”) I have decided to include it here. While you may think that the request of one person is not a ringing endorsement. Nevertheless, when one extrapolates the readership of T&T to say the entire population of the US, one would have about 15 million people clamoring for it. Of course, that would mean probably up to 250 million who did not give a shit and 30 million were disgusted at the very thought of reading it.

I have chosen to place it here toward the end of this issue of T&T because most of you will not read this far and those who may be offended by its prurience, infantile obsessions and mediocrity, I imagine, would have given up by now anyway.

Chapter Seven, the missing portion:

By the time I had mounted the steps up to the sleeping platform, she had already removed her boots and was unbuckling her belt. Uncertain whether I should embrace her so that we could passionately strip each other of our clothing and fall into bed like they do in the movies, I hesitated. Since I was already mostly naked, it felt somewhat unfair. So I just stood there like an old salami in the butchers window. Having nothing better to do, I shifted my weight from foot to foot while I watched.

She was wearing a slip like top similar to the one she wore yesterday except today it was a deep rose color. Bikini panties of the same color as her top revealed more than they concealed. I still was disappointed, however. I expected or at least hoped for thongs.

Her leather pants were pretty tight so she struggled, pulling first on one side and then the other to maneuver them over her hips and buttocks. Despite her skinny frame and relatively modest breasts her hips and ass were fuller than I imagined.

The tattoo jungle theme continued along her legs. It extended less down her left leg then her right which gave her the appearance of wearing a tight bias cut dress.

Her bending over to push the pants down to her ankles decided for me that it was time to move in. I approached her with my arms extended, fingers itching to caress almost any part of her body. Without looking up at me she forestalled my amorous approach by grabbing on to my outstretched hand in order to balance herself while she pulled her pants over her feet and tossed them into the corner. That accomplished, she stood up facing me and said, “Take off those horrid ugly shorts.”

I did and we fell on to the bed.

I decided to begin at the center of things, with her navel, which as I lifted lifted her shirt appeared to form an eddy or a whirlpool in the middle of a lake around which several tropical animals loitered, drinking the water or looking about for predators. Behind them the jungle foliage rose with tiny brightly colored birds and arboreal mammals shyly peeking out. As I approached the swelling curves of the breasts, I noticed the coils of a snake circling the left one. I lifted the shirt and traced with my lips the coils until they ended at the nipple balanced like the rattle on a rattlesnake. “Oh, that must have hurt,” I thought until oblivion replaced thought as I greedily satisfied my oral fixation, an artifact of, I suppose, my mother’s objection to breast feeding. While so occupied, I continued to push up the slip up toward her shoulder exposing more of the snake.

“Holy shit,” I squealed as I jumped up on my knees. There at her shoulder rose the head of a cobra with giant eyes staring directly at the nipple I was just so happily caressing with my lips.

“You have a fucking snake staring at me.”

“Oh, that’s just Roger.”

“Roger! You have a tattooed snake with a name?”

“You’ll get used to it.”

And so I did.

The remainder of the morning was spent in an orgasm competition that she won 5 to 2. At least I assume her screaming and calling on the deity represented what it was intended to represent. With men one has some physical evidence that something just happened that was delightful even if they can not precisely recall how it felt. With woman you have to take their word for it.

In between bouts, during that period of self-congratulation, itchy guilt and incipient resentment when spent participants grope and pat each other to demonstrate a continuing connection even though all they really want is to be left alone, I obsessed on things that still bothered me. Like the lie about the black-eye. Who was directing the Tweedledee and Tweedledum and why? What the fuck was this all about anyway? But, at about the time I began to feel the stirrings urging me to prepare for the next bout, I dismissed them all convinced that I was not going to follow-up on anything anyway.

By about noon, having thoroughly and repeatedly explored each others ventral cavities, I turned her over searching for new opportunities for adventure. The jungle labyrinth continued in even greater profusion, rising up her neck and disappearing into her hair. Complex scenes of various perspectives and festooned with multicolored birds and reptiles and sinuous slinking mammals entwined with the overwhelmingly green foliage covered her back.

The jungle rose on to the mounds of he buttocks like a devouring fungus forming itself into a aboreous cave about her dorsal cleft growing darker as one penetrated deeper into it. A few iridescent eyes peeking out from the foliage. At its deepest and darkest point the glistening eyes of a tiger stared out at me, its mouth open with fangs like a half-open portcullis guarding the castle entrance.

“What the fuck,” I said jumping up and shriveling. “You’re nuts.”

“Oh that” she responded.

“Yes That. I suppose it’s got a name too.”

“No,” she laughed, “Mark the artist said ‘anyone can have the rest of you but your ass is mine.’

OK, I admit I was speechless at her response, also disgusted and disinclined to proceed further. Said, “look I have things to do” and turned and tromped off toward the bathroom. She jumped up and followed. Said, “you’re going to visit Mark’s shop?”

I had forgotten all about my promise. One I had no intention of keeping. Said, “Yeah,” anyway.

She followed me into the shower. Final score six to three. I still lost.

Decided I was experiencing the next best thing to love: hopeless obsession, terminal stupidity and lust. I felt I probably would do anything and everything for her despite the tattoos – except for anything too painful – OK, I admit, probably even a little bit of pain or even the threat of it would have given me second thoughts about my commitment.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The treasure captured outside Europe by undisguised looting, enslavement and murder, floated back to the mother-country and were there turned into capital.”
— Marx, Capital, Vol. 1 Ch. 32.

TODAY’S CHARTS:

1. Population growth:

Population_curve.svg

2. Temperature rise:

Carbon-Final

(Hockey stick graphs like this, in biology, usually signify the imminent death of the organism.)


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN0832_2

Spring comes to El Dorado Hills.

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Cold Tits 0002 (February 26, 2013)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

It is not yet March and the delicate blooms on the decorative fruit trees are already in flower.

We were driving through the subdivision to or from the house, I mentioned to Hayden how pleased I was that he had gotten A’s on his mathematics and spelling exams. He rolled down the window and shouted out, “Now hear this everyone, I got A’s on my mathematics and spelling exams. Pookie is proud. In your face.” Should I worry?

Hayden’s eighth birthday is in two weeks. Preparing for a child’s birthday party is as stressful as deciding whether to accept a blindfold before being shot by a firing squad.

I used to have people to handle this. Their job description was usually “wife.” They in turn generally subcontracted it all out anyway.

 
JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film)

The Maltese Falcon (1941 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’shaughnessey, we believed your 200 dollars. I mean you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it alright. (Sam Spade)”
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Chapter 5:

The voice on the phone said, “It’s Mavis.”

That’s as far as she got. I do not know how long I screamed into the phone nor do I recall precisely what I said. Essentially it was more or less $350 is not enough money to justify getting the shit kicked out of me. That simple idea was wrapped in many gender inappropriate words and many more that were inappropriate for any living thing with more consciousness than a virus. When I paused briefly for a breath she said, “Oh my God!” That stopped me right there. Who still says “oh my god?”

“I never thought…I’m so sorry… I’m coming right over. What’s your address?”

I gave her my address. She hung up. Thought, “What did I just do?” I never ever give anyone the address of my loft. Never since the day I came back from Cafe Americano with the blond financial-analyst intern and opened the door to find my wife standing there with the photographer. The divorce decree took everything, even the artwork on the walls and my furniture. She left me the loft. Said she was not taking it because she wanted me to remember that day every time I walked into the place.

I thought about selling it, but I knew I couldn’t. So I kept it and furnished it with things from Ikea and Goodwill.

Thought again, what if Mavis sent someone to hurt me? I couldn’t call her back and tell her to forget the address. I was fucked. When I had calmed down, I reasoned that maybe I was just horny. I guess guys get horny after getting beat up. But with Mavis? I’m not sure I found her all that attractive. Then again I my tastes in women have always been tinged with desperation.

I threw the napkin, now empty of ice into the sink. I had stopped bleeding at least. Went into the bathroom. Took off my clothes and tossed them into a corner to lie on the pile of clothing I had thrown into the same place all week. Went into the shower. Spent a long time under the hottest water I could stand. Tried to keep it from touching my wound. Failed. It burned like hell.

Got out of the shower, dried off, rooted around in the discard pile until I found a grey sweat shirt I had worn about three days ago that did not smell too bad. Found some khaki pants that were not too wrinkled and soiled. Carried them up to the sleeping platform and looked for clean underwear. Found only a maroon pair of boxer shorts with large white polka dots that were clean and a pair of white cotton briefs. Decided on the polka dots, the briefs were too embarrassing. Took some Tylenol.

I had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang. It was the same grinding sound as Ann’s door bell. I had intended to replace it but never got around to it since just about the only visitors I get now are pizza delivery people.

I buzzed open the door to the building. A few moments later I opened the door to the loft. She was dressed in black leather from the soles of her feet to her neck, a black motorcycle helmet held in one hand and a plastic bag dangling from the other. Flung both encumbered arms around me. Said, “Oh poor you.”

I tried to avoid any part of her touching my wound while hugging back as long as I could. She untangled herself, walked to the table unburdened herself of the bag and the helmet. As she removed her leather jacket and hung it over the back of a chair she said, “come here and sit down. I got some things from the drug store.”

I sat. She was wearing a loose blue sleeveless shirt. Both exposed arms were covered with jungle scenes, green foliage and various animals peeking out of the undergrowth. The jungle extended to cover her clearly visible side-boobs. A large snake seemed to be coiled around her right boob. She was bra-less. There was not that much there needing support other than the snake.

“God you look awful,” she said and she embarked on cleaning and wrapping my jaw. “I’m so sorry. I never expected something like this would happen. I don’t care about finding him. Not if it means someone is going to get hurt.”

I wanted to tell her I had enough and that I quit. Said instead, “It’s gone too far. It’s personal.” Immediately regretted saying it realizing I said it only to impress her.

Followed it up “What exactly did you expect,” as I cringed from something she had applied to the wound.

“Sorry,” she repeated. This time about the most recent pain she had caused me. “I knew he was mixed up in something. Nothing dangerous. I just was worried.”

I could feel the anger overwhelming my voyeuristic pleasure at both the view and her ministrations. “Bullshit. One doesn’t have thugs searching for one’s boyfriend and not know anything.” I grabbed her wrist before she put something else that hurt into the cut. Said, “Tell me everything or get the fuck out. I will find out on my own.” I squeezed harder on her wrist. Thought it made my words more dramatic and forceful.

She pulled away, sat down in one of the other chairs, stared at me a moment then looked off somewhere above my left shoulder.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

The Guns of Chicago:

I, as I expect many of you, have been inundated with harangues this past month or so regarding the horrific firearm assault and death rate in Chicago which, it has been claimed, has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. I assume these communications are intended to convince the reader that gun control does not work and may somehow even increase gun assaults. They also often point out that President Obama is from Chicago which I think whoever writes up these things believes proves that he intends to take away your guns and give them to black people. Strangely enough, two days ago I read a right-wing blog post that suggested just that.

Almost all peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject indicate that the more guns in a society, the more gun violence. (Perhaps one of the best repository for these studies can be found at the Harvard School of Public Health [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html]) As a general epistemological rule, where there is a local anomaly [high gun deaths and stringent gun control] that appears inconsistent with the general rule [fewer guns = less gun violence] one does not automatically assume either that the specific is the new generalization or that the generalization is invalid. One should first see if the specific case presented has something that distinguishes it from other situations.

In the case of Chicago it has many distinguishing factors. For example, it should be compared with other similar cities before applying any conclusions covering cities and non-cities alike. Cities often have higher raw crime numbers than rural areas because of population and proximity. While most studies show the Midwest to be significantly freer from assault threat than the South, the urban areas of both I would suspect would show higher raw numbers than the rural parts do. Among the differences between Chicago and similar urban areas is that the current escalation in violence commenced about four years ago with the breakout of a gang war. Blame it on Obama if you must, but the state of gun control laws probably has little to do with it.

Note: if as some have suggested gun control laws are a prelude to Nazism, shouldn’t the Chicago police by now have donned brown shirts and cleared the streets of the freedom loving gun carrying population shooting everyone up? Even more appropriate, shouldn’t we categorize these gang members shooting up their competitors as freedom loving people defending their Second Amendment rights?]

 
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Chart-Government-SPending

This chart shows government debt as a percentage of GDP. In general the debt ratio declines during Democratic federal administrations. It has declined the most rapidly in recent history during the Obama administration. Republicans disagree with this chart, not because it is inaccurate but primarily for the reason mentioned in TODAY’S QUOTE below.

B. Tales of inhumanity:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours, and a good many Indians escaped. I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children were on their knees, begging for their lives of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing — when one succeeded in hitting the squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife and cut the throats of both children and then killed herself. … They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.”

Capt. Silas Soule was at Sand Creek on November 29, 1864 the day Col. John Chivington and 700 volunteers attacked the peaceful Cheyenne-Arapahoe village on the Colorado Plains killing 150 of them. Soule refused to fight that day and wrote a letter about the massacre from which the portion quoted above was taken.

After the battle, the soldiers cut off the breasts of the women and the scrotums of the men to make into tobacco pouches that they then traded at the fort where they were stationed on their return.

Soule later testified against Chivington and was murdered soon after.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“There are two types of Republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.”
by frankzappatista

 

TODAY’S CHART:

by-2017-users-in-asia-will-collectively-consume-more-data

Perhaps one of the more significant charts of the year. It indicates an almost exponential near-term growth in mobile communications and data traffic. If mobile communication and data availability represents an increase in individual opportunity for success, we are looking for at least a short-term balancing of the current negative trends in the world’s economy.

On the other hand, if this chart is attempting to imply a shift in data growth and thereby power, it is as misleading as hell. From the chart one would assume that data growth and power is inevitably shifting towards what they describe as Asia-Pacific.

First, the chart itself except for MEA, does not indicate any significant percentage shift among the regions. The relationships seem to have more to do with population growth and market maturity than anything else.

More importantly the choices of regions identified is as bizarre as it is erroneous and misleading. Europe is as much a part of Asia as any other part of that massive continent. If the reason for excluding Europe from the rest of Asia is not geographic but for other historical and sociological reasons, then lumping the rest of Asia together makes no sense.

By whatever measures one choses to use (historical, economic, cultural of political) Eurasia more or less can be divided into the following regions:

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE- Europe east of Urals)
The Near and Middle East (NME — NME is not part of Africa)
Central Asia (CA–The “Stans” plus Siberia)
South Asia (SA– India, Bangladesh, Ceylon and the Himalayan countries.)
South East Asia (SEA)
East Asia (EA–Primarily China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.)

To estimate approximate current population distribution:

CEE–700 million +
NME–450 million +
CA–300 million + or –
SA– 1.4 billion +
SEA — 650 million + or-
EA– 1.5 billion +

Although it is a gross overgeneralization, if one were to estimate their relative rates of population growth and their rate of DTG not directly related to technological changes then I would guess we have:

CEE –Stable Population — DTG primarily due to technology.
NME– Fairly Rapid Population Growth– DTG lagging due to politics.
CA–Rapid Population Growth– DTG potential huge but lagging.
SA– Population Growth slowing– DTG still room for expansion.
SEA– Population slowly growing–DTG significant.
EA– Stable Population– DTG primarily due to technology.

With the above changes in the chart one would be better able to use it guess who is winning or losing the data game and where someone can make the most money.

 

TODAY’S CARTOON:

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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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The Manneken Pis of Mendocino

 

Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 6 Cold Tits 0002 (February 20,2013)

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

A. Update:

I wish to thank all of you who have inquired and expressed concern about my health these past few weeks. I appreciate it very much.

Some of you have asked me to update the status of my health. While I am happy to make an amusing story out of it, reporting on it makes me uncomfortable. To no little extent that discomfort is because I know that some of those reading this have suffered through much worse than I have. It is sufficient to report that today I feel better than I did yesterday and that I expect, at least for tomorrow, I will feel better than I do today. After that who knows.

On the other hand, I have no qualms about inflicting on you my rumination about what I see when I now look at myself in the mirror. I have never fully understood why, despite my militant self-centeredness, I have never liked looking at myself in the mirror. Perhaps it was because what I saw reminded me what little I had to be self-centered about.

A few days ago I happened to glance into the mirror and saw an old man looking back at me. Not the aging white male I saw a few weeks ago who struggled to slow the inevitable dimming of his mental and physical abilities, who hoped to see how whatever it was that interested him turned out and, who eagerly looked forward to doing something more, even if whatever it was was still hidden. Instead this old man looking back at me knew that the inevitable was already happening and all that can be done is to make it less uncomfortable, that whatever he wanted to see turn out, he probably would not, even if he lived for another 30 years. And, the urge to do something had been replaced with the all-encompassing satisfaction that comes from sitting on a park bench with his eyes closed and feeling the warm sun on his face.

B. A mysterious box:

Despite the lingering effects of the bad cold I had been experiencing, Hayden and I traveled with Stevie and Norbert to spend President’s day weekend in Mendocino with my sister MaryAnn and her husband George. Hayden and I stayed in the converted water tower on their property that we called “The Castle.”

Every morning he and I would get up earlier that the others and walk along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean watching the dawn sunlight march across the fields. On the second morning while walking through a wind-twisted mass of cypress trees that we called the “Hobbit Forest,” Hayden, as seven-year old boys often do, suddenly thrust his hand deeply on to a hollow log adjacent to the path upon which we were walking. Picturing poisonous spiders and snakes poised to chomp on his fingers, I demanded he get his hand out right away. As with most seven-year old boys, he ignored me and continued to root around until he pulled out a plastic box. Assuming it was part of a load of garbage someone had stashed in the tree, I told him to put it back before he become infected with whatever germs the refuse harbored. Instead he showed the box to me. Since it was translucent, I could see a written piece of paper mentioning an internet site called “Letterboxes North America.” The box, in addition to the note, contained a stamp with the word “live” on it, a small ink pad, a pen and a notebook with several pages of stamps and various messages. Believing it to be a clever example of guerrilla marketing for a craftsmen in nearby Fort Brag, I had him return the box to where he found it.

On the way back from our walk H. insisted we retrieve the box and take it back to the house; which we did and woke up Maryann and George to show them our treasure. Ultimately, through the wonders of the internet, we learned that we had stumbled on a cache placed there by a member of a loose association of people world-wide who hide these boxes so that other people can find them.

Apparently this all started 160 years ago in Dartmoor England where a gentleman hiking the moors thereabouts finished a bottle of whatever he was drinking and rather than simply discarding it, put a message in it and hid it in a tree. Other people who found the bottle and the message began to put their own messages in the bottle, including self-addressed post cards. Other bottles began appearing in various places around the moor and then ultimately world-wide. There is now even a web-site for the US.

We spent the next two days delightedly joining in, naming ourselves Team Haystack in honor of Hayden and searching out another box hidden by someone named, “Casper Ukulele” who had hidden a box under the stairs at the Casper Community Center.

DSCN0792

Hayden finds the letterbox.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s breath:

“Yes,’ Spade growled. ‘And when you’re slapped you’ll take it and like it.’ He released Cairo’s wrist and with a thick open hand struck the side of his face three times savagely.
Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Chapter 4:

I slunk down into the back seat of the taxi, my computer clutched to my chest as though it contained my soul. All I could see out the windows were the tops of the buildings going by and a glimpse now and then of the sky.

I was conflicted. On the one hand I made my monthly nut, and was now sitting here in the taxi with $1350 more than I had about an hour or so ago. On the other-hand, I was still shaking and in pain from my injured jaw. The money seemed inadequate recompense to being slapped around and threatened with death.

As usual when I am conflicted, frightened or riding in the back of a taxi trying to hide in the car’s transmission, I resort to bathing my consciousness in the soothing balm of fantasy: In this case Sam Spade fantasy, since I had thought about him briefly just before entering the building where I got my ass kicked. The Bogart Spade, not the little shit Segal who played Spade’s son in “The Black Bird.”

I admit I also liked Ricardo Cortez who played Sam in the first film. I especially liked the pre-code scene of the naked blond Bebe Daniels splashing about in the bath-tub while Sam tried to get rid of Iva Archer his murdered partner’s wife who he was also doing on the side.

I think Bebe Daniels as Bridget O’Shaughnessey was a lot better looking than Mary Astor. On the other hand, as a result of the censors, the pre-code exposed nipples of the boy-breasts favored by the stars of the depression era were replaced in the forties and fifties by inflated melons pressing against the straining fabric hiding their nips. This provided a whole generation of adolescent males with guilt-ridden bathroom diversions until in the sixties when Playboy showed us we could have both exposed nipples and bazungas with which to occupy our prime fantasy time.

Bogart-Spade would never let himself be slapped around like I was. Once he graduated from bad-guy supporting roles where I recall him at one time being slapped around by Edward G. Robinson, to leading man, I do not think Bogart ever got slapped around again. Usually he was doing the slapping. Which was a good trick for a skinny smart-mouth to pull off.

I’m sure Bogart would never shit his pants either. I could see that idiot Segal doing so. I pictured Bogart on the can wearing a white sleeveless undershirt, a fedora perched on his head, a cigarette hanging from his lip, one eye closed from the smoke, reading the San Francisco Chronicle. His pressed white cotton boxers riding on his knees, not dropped to bunch-up around his ankles and drag on the floor. Another thing, I am sure Bogart was never constipated. He would sit there as smooth and untroubled as can be, as though he had just swallowed a bottle of mineral oil.

Bogart was a man’s man. While filming “The African Queen” while all the other cast members suffered from dysentery, Bogart remained more or less healthy because he only drank whiskey. Like many men’s men, Bogart’s drinking and smoking resulted in him dying of cancer at the relatively young age of 57. That’s how you can tell a man’s man. After they breed, they kill themselves with booze, tobacco, guns or STD. You can always tell if you are in man’s country. If there are a lot of old men around, you know the whole society has gone pussy. Alas, I only smoke weed, am afraid of guns, use a condom and I throw-up if I am forced to drink Chardonnay. I believe I am doomed to spend the rest of my life hiding out on the floor of a taxi. I feel a lot more like Joel Cairo than Sam Spade.

Now that little dick Segal, he definitely was not a man’s man. He is still alive at 79. He always looked constipated, especially in that dud of a movie, The Black Bird. I pictured him leaning forward grunting; his face red with effort, crumpled blue boxers bunched around his sagging black socks and scuffed dark oxfords. He wasn’t even wearing an undershirt. UGH!

My reverie drifted away as it began to dawn on me that, in my terror and shame, I spent the last ten minutes of my life hiding from my panic and humiliation among images of grown men taking a shit. As the black hole of depression yawned wide below me into which should I fall I was convinced I would never emerge, I heard a voice calling me back from the brink.

“We’re here pal.”

It was the pal part that got to me. I realized for the first time that the driver of the taxi was white. My sense of reality was shredded completely. I threw him some money and ran into the building hoping the comfort of home would offer some protection from my impending physical and moral dissolution.

About twenty years ago, it an effort to gentrify SOMA, some enterprising developers bought up a few abandoned warehouses, turned them into lofts and sold them mostly to downtown businessmen for hideaways. I bought into the whole idea. It was great for a while.

As I opened the door, my cell phone vibrated against my hip. It had the same effect on me that the sounds flowing from the towers of Notre Dame had on the citizens of Paris when Quasimodo swung from the bells to taunt them.

DAILY FACTOID:

Recently:

“Max Planck comes up with an equation that works. In order to do so he has to make a “purely formal assumption.” And it is only half a decade later that Einstein realizes that the little h that appears in Max Planck’s equation is not a formal assumption or an “artifact” but instead tells us what is perhaps the most important thing about the guts of the universe.

For half a decade the first equation of quantum theory was there. But nobody knew how to read it.

It is this “what if we took this equation seriously?” factor that is, to my mind at least, the spookiest thing about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics. Take the h in Max Planck’s equation seriously, and you have the quantum principle–something that was not in Planck’s brain when he wrote the equation down. Take seriously the symmetry in Maxwell’s equations between the force generated when you move a magnet near a wire and the force and the force generated when you move a wire near a magnet, and you have Special Relativity–something that was not in Maxwell’s brain when he wrote down the equation. Take Newton’s gravitational force law’s equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass seriously and you have General Relativity–something never in Newton’s mind. And take the mathematical pathology at r = 2M in the Schwarzchild metric for the space-time metric around a point mass seriously, and you have black holes and event horizons.”
Brad De Long

One of the clearer expositions of how the “mathematics” of science actually works in practice. In other words, sometimes mathematicians and physicists have no idea what their equations really mean at the time they formulate them. That is what is truly freaky about mathematics when applied to physical phenomena. It works even when we do not know it.

Another example is that of Kepler when he proposed the three laws of motion among heavenly bodies that began modern mathematical physics. He believed he was “proving” God created harmonic relations among heavenly bodies. It was Newton years later who realized what Kepler actually proved was how and why things moved in nature. Go figure.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

state_tax_by_income_level

State taxes are usually regressive. The poor and the middle class pay substantially more than the rich. That is part of the reason why, even if we include the more progressive federal income tax, the rich often pay less in taxes overall as a share of total income than the poor. That is also why, no matter what the so-called “proper” role of government may be or how small we make government, the rich still pay less of their income and substantially less of their wealth to support those expenditures than do the poor and middle classes [the 99%].

A point about income and wealth with reference to rich and poor or what we now call the “middle class.” In fact today in America it can be said that if you are not rich you are poor. The differences among those poor is between those that suffer from want and those that do not. Politics in the US in the early part of the Twenty-first Century can be described as based upon how many of those poor who do not suffer want [the middle class] can be persuaded that they are better off taking from those poor in want than from the rich [it certainly is easier].

Taxes, in the US at least, fall almost exclusively on income. The disparity between the rich and those not so rich is significantly greater in terms of wealth than in income, yet on this they are taxed hardly at all. In fact even a minor flat tax on wealth would rapidly eliminate any deficit concerns one may have no matter ones feelings regarding the “proper” size of government [It would also force the wealthy to convert, non productive wealth to productive income producing assets]. In fact, not only is wealth generally not taxed in the US but income from wealth [e.g. dividends and capital gains] are generally taxed at a significantly lesser rate than income from labor or work. The effect of this is to increase the value of wealth and lower the value of labor.

The only major taxes that can be considered to apply to wealth are “property” taxes and “excise” taxes on luxury purchases. As for property taxes, in many jurisdictions they do not exist or are at best nominal. In California thanks to Proposition 13 they are rigged to favor large landowners [generally the wealthy].

Keep in mind, even if we were to all agree that the proper role of government was restricted to just defense and public safety, the current tax system is destined to inevitably lead to you losing your job and becoming poorer and a few [along with those they deem necessary for their happiness] having it all. These few fortunate people used to be called “royalty.” Today as a result of political semantic shell games they may be called something like “job creators.” Soon enough, one’s ability to enter the world of this economic élite will be as rare as a Thirteenth Century serf becoming the Duke of Gloucester.

B. Republican Chronicles:

1. What Republicans used to think about Labor Day:

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Before the Republican Party went insane.

2. What Republicans think about their own Party:

“When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.”
Barry Goldwater

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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Burger was a conservative Republican.

TODAY’S CHART:

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I know most of you have wondered about this. Although no animal can run at the top speed indicated for more that a few minutes (if that much), only humans can run at as much as 1/3 top speed almost indefinitely. In other words, almost every land based animal on earth can, in the long run, be run down by humans.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

A. Portrait of a painting:

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B. Portrait of my sister:

photo

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Categories: January 2013 through March 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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