Posts Tagged With: Sergio Leone

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. April 6, 2011


April 2011: Article published in the New Scientist asserts “Masturbation calms restless leg syndrome.

The article explains: “Too much of it will make you go blind — or so you might have been told. But for some, masturbation might have a real clinical benefit: it can ease restless leg syndrome (RLS). The insight could provide sweet relief for the 7 to 10 per cent of people in the US and Europe who suffer from the condition.”

The article continues: “While the proverbial five-knuckle shuffle has already been shown to protect men against prostate cancer and ease hay fever, researchers have yet to discover any detrimental side effects to the visual system.”

Will it, however, encourage restless hand syndrome? I love science.


a. The Love Peace party:

English: BANGKOK. President Putin with Thai Pr...

English: BANGKOK. President Putin with Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Русский: БАНГКОК. С Премьер-министром Таиланда Таксином Чинаватом. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A police captain and former interior minister under Thaksin formed a new party (called Love Peace party) to contest the next election. He appears backed by a number Red Shirt party (Pheu Thai) leaders as well as prominent ex-police generals. It seems he is also supported by a number of large Thai-chinese business families. His platform appears founded on the dictum that a democracy marked by political factions is no democracy (a very military point of view).

b. Sunny Skies:

As the south of Thailand cleans up from the distraction of the last weeks floods and landslides, the weather in Bangkok has shrugged off the recent cold spell and overcast skies and returned to its more normal condition, hot and sunny .

c. To coup or not to coup:

In response to repeated rumors in the press that a military coup is in the offing a Thai general warned, “Stop linking the armed forces [to the coup rumors}. Don’t ever separate the military from the people.”

Sounds like a coup is coming, in the name of “the people” obviously)


The past few days have been anything but adventuresome. I have stayed close to the apartment and temporarily abandoned my normal exercise regime. I felt either fatigued or depressed, so I slept a lot.


Recently I finished James Lee Burke‘s most recent novel. Burke is one of my favorite mystery writers. His series of novels featuring Dave Roebechaux is set in the swamps and bayous of Cajun Louisiana east of Lake Charles. The weather, terrain and history of that part of the US allows Burke to indulge his ability to weld atmosphere and description into paragraphs of mystical beauty. In between the poetry his stories concern Dave, an ex-NOPD cop, ex-alcoholic with a couple of ex-wives murdered as a result of his and his best friend, the whale like, elephantine( with a genetic predisposition to dressing badly*) Clete, another ex-NOPDcop and practicing alcoholic as they inflict pain and mayhem on the miscreants in their neighborhood during their homo-erotic adventures (Although there is not the slightest evidence of anything more between Dave and Clete than extreme example of male bonding, they do end up this particular novel in each others arms under somewhat ambiguous circumstances).

NOPD badge

NOPD badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


(* I have to confess that ever since I started wearing short pants and flowered shirts, my sartorial resemblance to Clete is uncanny [including the grossly protruding belly.] I however do not wear pork-pie hats, although like Clete at times I sport a Tilly.)

Now, violent vigilantism by anyone, especially members of the police force, should set my liberal addled mind trembling with disgust. But as usual with American tales of this type, I understand it is intended as a parable of good vs evil and all manner of bloody destruction is acceptable as long as good (or at least order) triumphs.

I recall when I was a kid living with my grandmother, watching stories on television of Hopalong Cassidy (Black Clothing, pearl buttons, white hat [never falls off] clean-shaven) and other cowboys (White hats [rarely falling off], generally lighter clothing, pearl buttons, impeccably groomed) including my favorite the skinny, diminutive but athletic Bob Steele (jeans and a dark shirt, white hat [falls off a lot], no pearl buttons, clean-shaved) dispatch the bad guys (Black clothing Black Hats no pearl buttons, usually unshaved). My grandmother, an italian immigrant would watch the mayhem for a while and comment in her broken english, “I don’t think you should be watching that. It is all about people killing one another. Children should not be seeing that.”

“Grandma” I would respond. “It’s only make-believe. Anyway it is about the good guys beating the bad guys. That’s good, isn’t it?”

“I don’t see how someone who kills someone else can be a good person” she would respond and walk off shaking her head.

Much of American literature and cinema has always featured this moral melodrama centered on killing for a good purpose (remember, in American hands the mystery novel original tales about the solving of a crime by generally pacifistic individuals using reason morphed into parables of brutality and revenge). It was in the 70’s however that Sergio Leone‘s Spaghetti Westerns showed what other cultures saw in the American moral parable, a homicidal maniac killing at random incidentally benefits people with whom the audience sympathize. The bad guys tend to appear even uglier than their predecessors and as badly shaven, the Hero (Clint) unshaven, poorly dressed (but he still looks cool) and much more handsome that the bad guys (he rarely loses his hat).

While dealing with the ambiguity of my emotions during the reading of the novel, I suddenly realized something that I had never considered before, Dave and Clete were the quintessential proletarian heroes abandoned by the progressive community during the sixties and seventies. (I bet you never thought that I could turn what I have written so far into a political screed. But, since I so clearly identify with Dave and Clete’s unapologetic obsessive compulsive personalities what more can you expect?))

Our working class heroes (OK Clete is a small businessman, but working class nonetheless. He still would prefer to be a cop), have a deep-seated mistrust of big business, big crime, big government, big religion and anybody in authority. They picture themselves as locked in a battle with them that, despite the occasional success, they will ultimately always lose. On the other hand they profess all the conservative moral verities of the working class, family, a kind of elemental piety, disdain for those who refuse to work to better themselves. Rough economic liberals as they may have been they saw the progressives of the sixties and seventies with their interest group politics as the work of bored suburban housewives and the spoiled children of the upper classes , lacking any real experience and understanding of poverty, pitting the poor against the poor on behalf of those in power all in the name of equality and nature while pissing on all those symbols, hard work, religion and the like that they, the poor and the working class required for solace in their sense of hopelessness. To the working class the admittedly mostly male virtues of being left alone to work, take care of their families and make their own way (and yes, get drunk and beat their wives) unhindered by the malicious machinations of the rich and powerful coupled with their cynicism that those so advantaged either cared for or benefited anyone but themselves, equality was the last thing they wanted.


Chapter 16

Vince heard his cell phone ring. It was sitting on the table next to his bed. He left the bathroom,picked up the phone, threw himself on the bed and answered.

“Hello, how are you feeling?”

It was Isabella with her sexy, husky voice.

“Oh hi, OK I guess. I still have a head ache. How are you?”

Fine. I was just checking in to make sure you’re all-right.”

“Thanks. By the way I am not sure what happened last night happened quite the way you told me. I couldn’t hit the guy as hard as you told me. A punch to someone head as hard as that one appeared to be would probably have broken my hand or at least bruised it and yet my hand is unmarked.”

“Well, I couldn’t see too clearly,” she said sounding a bit annoyed. “Your body was in the way. Maybe you used some martial arts move or something. What else could have happened? You don’t think I could have done it, do you.”

“Hmmm… What I know about Martial arts, is… well nothing. You don’t think this was a result of what we were discussing at dinner, do you?”

“Its possible. We both will have to be careful.”

“I think I should go to the police.”

“No,” she said hurriedly. “We do not know for sure. It most likely was just an attempted mugging and frankly I am not particularly enthusiastic about getting involved with the police at this time.”

“Hmm…” he said, “I’ll get back to you in a few hours.”

He closed the phone, lay back in the bed and began to review what had transpired these past few weeks in an effort to make some sense out of it,


a. Today’s Chart:

What response this chart really should evoke is not “Ain’t it Awful”or “Whose at fault”, but distress that given the fact that people tend to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains, those that most benefited from the largess of the past will fight harder to preserve their gains than those who had failed to share in the treasure will fight for their cut of societies beneficence [ and they have more money ]. Unless there is some external event [e.g., revolution, economic or social collapse] alas the rich will get richer and the poor, poorer. Be prepared.

b. Prehistoric art:

c. Today’s cognitive bias:

Campbell’s Law – The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.

What this means is that, for example, the more that the above Today’s Chart is used to base social decisions upon the less likely it is that the poor will alleviate their condition.


“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”

1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe at 39, a...

1848 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe at 39, a year before his death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

~Edgar Allen Poe

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

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