Posts Tagged With: Songkran

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. May 28, 2011


2011: Here are some points we’ve passed and haven’t looked back (approximate dates):

1979: Peak per-capita gross energy production
1986: Peak grain per capita
1989-1995: Peak wild fish catch
1990: Peak net energy production
2000: Peak fresh water availability
2005: Peak conventional oil production
2011-14: Peak all-liquids (conventional+unconventional oil) production

It’s possible to overshoot a resource base – civilizations have done it time and again – but only temporarily.

The list above is a small subset of what we’ve depleted or are depleting, and many of the critical ones – oil, for instance – have no real substitutes.


A study, conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, found that 70 percent of the finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search competition — also known as the “Junior Nobel Prize” — were the children of immigrants even though only 12 percent of the U.S. population is foreign-born.

According to the report, children of immigrant parents have been increasingly dominant in the fields of math and science. In 2004, for example, researchers found that 60 percent of the top science students in the U.S. and 65 percent of the top math students were born to immigrant families. Findings were based upon data from the Intel Science Talent Search and the 2004 U.S. Math Olympiad.

We need additional restrictions on immigration before we get too smart. I bet these kids believe in evolution. The next thing you know they will be voting for Democrats when they grow up.


The past few days i have stayed close to my room, not because I am unable to travel, but because, i think, i am still feeling sorry for myself.

Anyway, on my daughter Jessica’s birthday recently we were talking on the phone and she reminded me that the time she had performed at the Latin dance club that I wrote about a few days ago was not the only time in her unconventional childhood, that she engaged in an impromptu performance in a bar.

It seems that when she was about 8 years old she was staying with me and a number of friends for a week somewhere in the Sierras. One night we were returning from dinner and many of the roads were flooded from spring run off. The driver of the car, against the loud objections of his wife, drove into  part of the road covered with water and promptly got stuck in the middle in water that covered the tops of the tires and was still climbing. We we scrambled out of the car, waded through the water and retreated to a dingy road house to dry off, warm up and wait for other friends to rescue us.

The bar had a live band playing and my daughter decided to entertain us while we were waiting (and I am sure to distract my friend’s wife who had not yet given up on her verbal assaults on her embarrassed husband). She climbed on to the table and danced for about an hour.

Now I tell you all this now, not simply because I wish to relate a cute tale of my progeny, but because I always thought children grew out of their unself-conscious public performance stage when they were about 5 years old.


There once was a country that viewed itself as a fair and just society. They even called themselves the “Fair and Just Society”. Like most societies they could be divided into three groups of people. One-third of the people had the least amount of the income and wealth of that society, let us say only about 20% of the income and wealth. The second or middle one-third had about what would be the average of that societies wealth and income distributed among them, say 30%. The last group, the wealthiest one-third, had about 50% of the wealth and income of that society.

Let us also assume that at some point the members of the Fair and Just Society agreed among themselves that there are certain things that they all need and should be paid for collectively, like, for example, the common defense, roads, education of the Fair and Just Society’s children and so on. And let us further assume that the members of this Fair and Just Society agreed that these collective expenses should be paid for by each section of society according to their means. The lowest one-third agrees to pay 20%, the middle 30% and the top one-third 50% because they all agreed that would be fair and just.

Now let us assume that all things have worked out reasonably well for our Fair and Just Society and that even the poorest one-third had enough to eat, clothe and shelter themselves and everyone was pretty happy. Then one day, for whatever reason, good cost control, a sudden jump in productivity, the discovery of oil or gold or whatever, the Fair and Just Society finds that they have collected more funds than are needed for their common expenditures (Defense, education, etc.) and decide to ask the people what they should do with it.

Upon hearing this everyone was happy, no one more so than the upper third and their agent who was sent to speak to the representatives of the Fair and Just Society. He told them that because his employers were the upper third in income and wealth they knew more about money than anyone else and that it was very complicated and because of that he recommended that the money be returned to the people in the form of tax relief because then each individual will be able to choose what it wished to spend it on and so they will each benefit individually and the economy would benefit in general by this infusion of money.

Some of the representatives upon hearing this could not fully comprehend why giving to each person to spend as he wishes was better than all the people deciding together on spending it on something that would benefit them all the most. After all they argued, the money still gets back into circulation and the Fair and Just Society gains an asset owned by all the people. And some even thought at least some of it should be held for a “rainy day” when it might be needed. But most of the other representatives agreed that giving the money back to the individuals seemed reasonable and fair. So they asked the representative of the upper third how he suggested that it be done.

“Well,” he says, “I was hoping that you would ask that. Over lunch I prepared this chart.” And he whips out a chart. “What this chart shows” he says, “is that you should give all this money to the upper third because, not only do they know more about money than anyone else, they, having so much of it after all, but also since they do not have to spend in on necessities like food and stuff they will have this excess cash that they will invest in new factories and the like, you know, to make shoes and canned soup.” “And” he continued “they can even take some of that money and, oh say, pay for research or start-ups and increase productivity and things like that.”

When the agent of the upper third finished speaking, the representatives of the Good and Just Society all looked at one another for a moment then broke out laughing. “You cannot be serious,” the chairman said, “no one in their right mind could possibly be so stupid as to believe what you just said. Nevertheless, as a fair and just society we do think that it is fair and just to return it equally to all in accordance with their contributions to the common good, a 10% reduction to the bottom third on their 20% contribution, a 10% reduction to the middle third on their 30% contribution and a 10% reduction to the upper third based upon their contribution.” And with that they all got up and left, still chortling and shaking their heads.

Now because this is a parable, we will assume that in fact an across the board 10% reduction in taxes is fair and just.

Of course we all know that for many reasons an across the board reduction in taxes was not fair and just at all. For example, the lowest one-third would most likely spend it on consumable necessities like food, clothing and shelter since their 10% would not be that much money. Or, as was overheard the agent of the upper one-third telling some of the representatives of the Good and Just Society outside the hearing room. “They will probably just spend it on dope and booze and taking a few days off work.”

The upper one-third on the other hand probably would also spend some of it on dope and booze, but they would still have a lot of money left over. So they will call in their advisors and direct them to take this excess cash and use it to make more. After the advisors leave, the upper third would probably take a puff of their joints, a sip of their Mai Tais and brood about the workers in their factories that did not show up for work that day. Eventually they decide that they would have their secretaries draft letters to the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society complaining about the morals of the lower one-third and a lot of the middle one-third and that in the future any tax cuts should all come to them. That done, they will leave on vacation, using some of the money they received from the Fair and Just Society, because they believed they earned it.

The representatives of the upper third then meet to plan how they will turn this cash into more cash for the upper third and along the way turn themselves into members of the upper one-third.

They reasoned that after all that money spent on dope and booze there would not be enough cash left among the lower two-thirds for the upper third to invest their money to acquire it from the lower two-thirds. Nevertheless, there would be some and so they decide to increase their marketing budgets to persuade the lower two-thirds to spend whatever money they have left on products produced in the factories owned by the upper third. But still the upper third had a lot of money left over from the gift the Fair and Just Society had given them.

“Let’s use that money to buy the assets of the lower two-thirds,” suggests one.

“But the lower third has no assets,” complains another.

“Yes, they do,” states another. “We can buy their future and their freedom. We can give them some of our money to buy more dope and booze and tell them that they can pay us back from their future wages with a sizable profit to the upper third of course, and substantial commissions for us. And then we will tell them that since we have given them so much money and we know all about economic things, we being so rich and so smart, they can trust us to keep them in dope and booze forever. And in return they will agree to vote in the elections for the representatives to the Fair and Just Society as we the agents of the upper third tell them to.”

“As for the middle one-third,” he continued. “Many of them have worked hard and amassed some assets like their houses and their small business, so we will point out to them that because of all their hard work and our knowledge of finance, their assets have appreciated and they would be wasting that value unless they put it to work. Then we will loan them some money in return for the owning their assets if they do not pay us back.”

And they all agreed that was a good plan and they put it into practice.

Now it came to pass that this worked so wonderfully well for a while that the lower two-thirds, although actually poorer, appeared to be living so much better than they had been. As a result, they thought the agents of the upper one-third were much smarter than they were. And also, so much money was flowing into the hands of the agents that they soon began to replace some of the upper one-third.

Then one day there was, of course, not enough things for the upper third to buy because almost all the assets had been purchased and almost all of the futures mortgaged and on top of it they had even more money now with nothing to do. So the agents of the upper third went to the members of the upper third and showed them how instead of making things or buying more assets they could simply gamble all this money on the economy because everything was so good and the agents were so smart things would keep getting better and better and except for a few corrections now and again they would make even more money.

Then a funny thing happened, soon there were fewer members of the upper third who actually made things, they had been replaced by the agents who really did not make anything at all.

Then of course there was what is known as a “correction,” the lower two-thirds had mortgaged all their futures and no longer had the money to buy things. So as the factories closed down the lower two-thirds began to lose their jobs and their homes and businesses.

Some of these people turned to the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society and asked them to do something about it. Unfortunately for the lower two-thirds, the Representatives of the Fair and Just Society had by now all been replaced by the employees of the upper one-third. Nevertheless they agreed to look into their concerns.

“No problem,” they said, “we can make everything better by cutting those things we have been paying for up until now and lowering taxes on the upper one-third so they can invest even more. We can pay for whatever essential community services are left (like protecting the assets of the upper one third) by borrowing from the upper one-third and it all will work out just like it was described in that chart.”

Now we all know that that’s what really happened, but since this is a parable we will assume that everyone actually did believe that the distribution of the money was fair and just and that no one could have possibly foreseen what actually did happen.

So, the representatives of the Fair and Just Society a few months or so after making the fair and just present to the people were surprised to find, that while the income and wealth of the upper one-third grew exponentially, the lower two-thirds barely held their own and their debts to the upper third increased even more rapidly than the upper third’s income.

This being a Fair and Just Society and their representatives, not yet being replaced by the employees of the upper third, understood what that meant for the future of the Fair and Just Society. So, they convened a meeting and called in the upper third and their agents and told them, “We all made a mistake and in order to avoid an economic catastrophe and to preserve the Fair and Just Society, you are all just going to have to give all the money back.”

OK, I will admit maybe that this a fantasy and not a parable. But still…


1. No society, if it hopes to survive, can surrender to an individual, institution or groups of individuals or institutions unbridled and uncontrolled dominance over its economic and political well-being, no matter how apparently beneficial it appears at the time.
2. We are better off as a society to agree to what we want our society look like and act to make it so than to just hope for the best or trust to our individual efforts alone.
3. A fair and just society never ever follows the advice of those with the most to gain financially.
4. A fair and just society resists giving collective funds or advantage to those with the resources to compete for them on their own.
5. There is no magic wand, invisible hand, or strong and brilliant leader that can save us from our folly. If we believe that, then Pogo was right when he said so long ago, “We have met the enemy and he is us“.


My apologies to fans of this series, but this post has simply gotten to long. I promise to include the next chapter in my next post.


a. Chart of the Day:

(Shart unavailable)
b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/

“You must be a Republican if you believe that, the illegal alien who risked everything to better himself economically by coming to America is a criminal, but the bankers and investors on Wall Street that gambled away your pension funds and put your jobs at risk are not.”

c. From god’s mouth to your ears:

What was actually written on Moses’ tablets–The real 10 Commandments:

1) Thou shalt worship no other God.
2) Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.
3) The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep.
4) Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest.
5) Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks.
6) Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord God.
7) Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.
8) Neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left until the morning.
9) The first of the first fruits of thy land shalt thou bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.
10) Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
Exodus 34:14-26

Now I really could support these posted of the grounds of the nation’s courthouses. Remember, avoid bathing your goat in its mother’s milk.
Note: Thank you Cort for this item.


“Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them.”

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Capt. Coast 0001 (April 20, 2012)



The temperature in BKK over the past few days has hovered around the 100 degree mark. Even some of the Thais have begun complaining about it. I did not swim today, the water in the pool has gotten too hot, so I worked out in the air-conditioned gym. There was no one in the gym but me. Even the attendants were nowhere to be found. It was spooky. After a while I began to feel that I was a character in a movie; either a horror movie or some thriller where I find myself running for my life from a band of rogue secret service agents looking for the prostitute who ratted them out and who had taken refuge in the health club sauna. I freaked out, showered quickly and left the building only to find the streets emptier than usual. So I hurried home, turned on the AC and buried myself under the covers in the dark.

Before my exciting jaunt to the health club, I stopped at the barber shop that I like in the Arab section of the city along the route from my apartment to the health club. The barber shop charges $5 for a hair cut, $5 for a shave, $5 for a manicure, $5 for a pedicure, $5 to have the skin on your feet rubbed off and $5 to have your ears cleaned by having a bunch of sharpened metal chopsticks plunged down you ear canal and wiggled about.

The news in Thailand also seems effected by the heat. Princess Lucky Girl, the Prime Minister has left on a visit to Beijing China. It is cooler there. As for the government she left behind, little seems to be going on, as though they all are waiting for something. The only activity seems  the continuing acrimonious but desultory debate over proposals to grant amnesty to Thaksin the Terrible, deposed, fugitive, exiled ex Prime Minister and brother to Princess Lucky Girl the current Prime Minister. Thaksin the Terrible himself recently announced at a gathering of supporters held in Cambodia a few miles from the Thai border that he planned to return to Thailand for his birthday in three months or so. The debate on the matter has gone on so long that even the Thai pundit community and the opposition could barely bestir themselves to comment on it. One interesting note: during the legislative debate on the amnesty proposal, in the middle of a slide show to show something or other about the issue, a pornographic slide appeared. The speaker of the chamber promptly appointed a committee to investigate.

In good news, there has not been a bombing or a flood in a while, although there has been a flurry of earthquakes that rocked the tourist mecca of Phuket. Immediately following the earthquake swarm, the Phuket tourist bureau declared, that there will be no more earthquakes in Phuket and the tourists should feel comfortable to return.

Meanwhile Gary, who fled to Cambodia to escape Songkran, reports that the people in Cambodia seem to like aging western retirees more than the Thais do, as long as you do not tell them you are American.


Still awaiting either inspiration, perspiration or a desperate request.




1. 8300 BC – 1700 – Today

Long-Run Growth: In 8300 BC there were roughly 5 million people in the world—with an average standard of living of about $500/year. In 1700 there were roughly 640 million people in the world—with an average standard of living also of about $500/year. Today there are about seven billion people in the world. Approximately 5 billion of those subsist on an annual income that averages about $500/year ($1-$3 per day). 2 billion people do better than that. In other words all the benefits of industrialization and technological progress of the last 300 years went into growing the total population ten-fold and increasing the wealth of a little less than 1/3 of that population. Or to put it another way, today there are 8 times as many people living at $500 a day than there were in 1700. On the other hand, there are many many more of us today living at more than $500 per day than there were in 1700. Hooray for us. That is progress.
2. 2012

Here is one thing we in the US have not fallen behind other nations. So I ask, why did the secret service have to travel all the way to Columbia? Buy American I say.


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

Where have you gone cowboy?


Please see the blog:

A part of a primer for social studies in our times.

And if your preference is history then how about:


“Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such abominable business.”
~ Albert Einstein

“Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.”
–Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince

“It used to be that crazy people were more-or-less evenly divided between the (northern) Republican Party and the (southern) Democratic Party. Now they are concentrated in the Republican Party. This matters–and is a source of great terror and dismay for the non-crazy Republicans, and for us all.”
Brad DeLong


This is another of those charts that I am not sure I understand what they are getting at. It seems to imply that should we significantly cut the entitlement programs we would have a lot of old and disabled people begging on the streets or competing as best they can with existing low-income workers, driving everyone’s wages down so that younger management types have a better life. What’s wrong with that?



I do not know about you, but I find something unsettling about this photograph. Polar Bears are supposed to float about on pieces of ice in the middle of the ocean, not climb mountains.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 27 Joey 0001 (April 17. 2012)



The Songkran holidays have ended. In other good news, the Good David’s medical tests have been negative. Cordt unfortunately (not for him) is returning to live in Chiang Mai. Hayden called to report to me that although he has been good, SWAC has not.

The water in the health club pool that I reported a week or so ago was delightful has become unpleasantly warm. Nevertheless, today for the first time I have been able to match the effort level I had obtained before I left for the US in January.

The business plan I have been working on with my sister Mary Anne has been put on hold while her company considers her ideas.

Bangkok has become unbearably hot in the afternoons (it is the “mad dog” days after all) so I spend them napping in my apartment, air conditioner on high.

I try to read the english language Thai newspapers every day so I could be up to date on things like politics, business and fashion in the country. I have been disappointed. It seems as though the entire country has decided to spend its afternoons like me, napping. Local politics seem to have gone into a lull ever since it appeared that Thaksin the Terrible, the deposed fugitive exiled ex-Prime Minister and brother to Princess Young and Lucky, the current Prime Minister, and Prodigious Prem, leader of the coup that ousted him, have come to some sort of agreement that Prodigious Prem would suffer no reprisals should Thaksin the Terrible be allowed to return to the country and assume some sort of power.

It seems as though Thailand like the rest of the world is just waiting to see how things turn out since no one seems to have any credible idea of what to do about anything.


1. Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock Texas:
Melissa Borrett, 26, began Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock as a way to make extra money. She charges customers $100 per hour to clean their homes, and at their request, she can do the dusting in lingerie or in the buff, according to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The young entrepreneur started the service in February. Now, just a few months later, she has three other women working for her. The Lubbock Police Department has announced that they are keeping a close eye on Ms Borrett’s enterprise.

I bet the whole town would like to also.

2. Lawrence Deptola Of Utica New York Attempts To Rob Three Banks With A Toilet Plunger.
About a week ago, Utica Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at a Key Bank location. Deptola, plunger in hand, entered the branch and started screaming obscenities, demanding that bank employees put money in a bag. He threatened tellers with the suction-stick, police said.

3. Vampires in Politics:
In 2010, CBS reported that Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey ran a little-known campaign to become America’s first vampire president. As for presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, he’s firmly anti-vampire, according to Washington Monthly. President Obama, meanwhile, at least in one filmmaker’s view, is capable of becoming a vampire hunter.

4. St Stupid’s Day

In case you missed it, on April 1 San Francisco celebrated St. Stupid Day with the annual St Stupid’s Day Parade.

(Graphic unavailable at this time)

I apologize for the chauvinism, but I will take St. Stupid’s Day over Songkran any day.


The Financial Industry continues to believe that gambling with your money and taking a substantial house cut is good for the economy. Many political leaders seem to have become sympathetic to the idea that war in Iran is good for the economy. In the US John Kyle and several other Senators have taken the position that lowering taxes on the wealthy and raising them on the less wealthy is good for the economy. There appears a consensus is building that encouraging global warming by increasing the use of hydrocarbons then later embarking on a “Manhattan Project” style crash program to remove them from the environment can be good for the economy. Limiting availability of health care, it has been argued, is good for the economy. More guns are obviously good for the economy.

With so many things that are good for the economy how come the economy is so bad?


Still in hiding




1. Asia Rising:

2. Public opinion on environmental proposals:

3. What is really newsworthy:

Recently Reuters reported on a study that found 12 percent of men aged 16-24 wanted sex less often.

The world will end soon.


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

Wait, it costs more to drive in Canada? Well, there you are; that just goes to show what socialized medicine does to a nation. In fact, all those high gas cost countries have socialized medicine. Perhaps they are healthier than we are, but we get to drive more. Then again what we save on gasoline we can spend on health care. It all works out.

2. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

A few posts ago I confused Songkran with Songkhla. Songkran is the water festival celebrated in Thailand in April. Songkhla is a city and province in southern Thailand noted for its beaches, large fresh water lake and occasional bombings. I could not keep my songs straight. I am sorry.


Please see the blog:

Pookie believes that separation of church and state does not mean a President of the US should completely ignore  the nations religious leaders opinions. He might wish to consider the following 10 policies suggested by leaders of the Catholic Church while still disagreeing with proposals to impose limitations on personal choice based upon sectarian religious doctrine.

1. War in Iraq. Pope John Paul II was against anyone going to war against Iraq.
2. Health Care. The Conference of Catholic Bishops requires that health care be provided to all Americans.
3. Death Penalty. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty for criminals in almost all situations.
4. Minimum Wage. The US Conference of Bishops has urged that the federal minimum wage be increased, for the working poor.
5. Welfare. The bishops want welfare for all needy families, saying “We reiterate our call for a minimum national welfare benefit that will permit children and their parents to live in dignity.
6. Right to Work.The US bishops say that “the basic rights of workers must be respected–the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions…”.
7. Near East. Catholic bishops demand the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
8. Immigration. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops ripped into Arizona’s law on treatment of immigrants, Cardinal Roger Mahony characterized Arizona’s S.B. 1070 as “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless anti-immigrant law,” saying it is based on “totally flawed reasoning: that immigrants come to our country to rob, plunder, and consume public resources.”
9. Illegal Immigration. The Bishops have urged that illegal immigrants not be treated as criminals and that their contribution to this country be recognized.
10. War with Iran. The US Conference of Bishops has denounced, as has the Pope, the Bush idea of ‘preventive war’, and has come out against an attack on Iran in the absence of a real and present threat of an Iranian assault on the US.



Why is it that Republican politicians seem to always run against “big government,” but grow it the most when they are in power? It must be like Dick Chaney said of the size of the deficit; that it really does not matter when Republicans are in control.



Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 25 Joey0001 (April 14, 2012)



The dread Songkran holiday began today. Although originally a festival welcoming in the new year at which time a person gently poured fragrant water over the Buddha images to cleanse them and bring good luck, it has turned into a loathsome frenzy in which gangs roam the streets drenching each other and the unwary with buckets of water thrown from the backs of pick-up trucks, or expelled at great velocity from hoses and giant water guns. I hate it.

(photo courtesy of Cordt)

Today also was the Little Masseuse’s day off and she wanted to spend it “looking around” at the temples near the royal precinct. She often enjoys her days off just “looking around.” I frequently join her. Sometimes we go to the mall and just, you know, “look around.”

We set off and thought we already were rewarded with the good luck that was to be ours for our pious intent to visit the temples when the driver of the courtesy vehicle for the hotel next to our apartment agreed to drive us the half mile or so to Sukhumvit the main road where we would catch the bus to the Royal Palace area. Alas, the vehicle was a converted Tuk-tuk, those ubiquitous three-wheeled vehicles that patrol the streets of Thailand. It was open on all sides. We had gone no further that about 20 yards when the vehicle became stuck in traffic and was immediately surrounded by hoards of revelers who drenched us with water from just about every possible means of violently propelling a liquid.

Soaking wet, we got on the bus to take us to the temple compounds. As I sat and thought dark thoughts about the crazed revelers I could see filling the streets as we passed, a woman of about LM’s age approached her and began bragging about the two-legged mobile ATM that she had also snagged and asked LM if she did not also think he was handsome. LM insisted that I turn around and look at this handsome American and so I did and saw a tall emaciated bald individual slightly younger than I with sepulchral look and washed out blue eyes to whom I would not apply the word handsome. I thought it somewhat endearing that these two middle-aged Thai women at their age and appearance were so pleased with their ATM’s.

We arrived at the Palace area and stopped at a shrine in the middle of traffic round-about. LM purchased some orange carnation like flowers in a wreath and some joss sticks from a table at the side of the shrine. She laid the flowers at the base of the shrine, poured some water over them from a nearby bucket, lit the joss sticks and dipped her head in prayer. While she prayed, one of the attendants at the table that sold the flowers picked up her floral offering and returned them to the table for resale. I have always marveled at how miraculous it has been that throughout history religions could create flourishing economies out of nothing but belief in the unknown and unknowable.

We then walked over to one of the temple compounds themselves. On the way there I realized that I had left my wallet in the apartment and told LM that whatever we spend today it was going to have to be on her.

We walked on a bit further when suddenly the sole of LM’s shoe fell off so we had to attach it with rubber bands scrounged from those lying on the sidewalk that had been been thrown away. They had previously secured plastic bags in which the sidewalk vendors sold various liquids. LM was obviously frustrated and annoyed and said to me what amounted to “why is it that my ATM has to be so often out of money?” Why indeed? I often ask that question myself.

Upon arriving at the Temple grounds LM purchased some more of the orange flower wreaths and disappeared into a temple building while I waited in front of another building in which a traditional Thai dance accompanied on traditional instruments was in progress. The dancers were dressed in elaborate brocade costumes complete with the tall spiked golden headdress. I guessed that they as well as the musicians were all in their 50’s or more but were proficient enough in bending back their fingers and toes and rolling their eyes to attract a good number of camera wielding tourists eager to preserve their efforts for all eternity in electronic pixels.

We then went to a group of large open sided tents where LM sat me on a park type bench, all wood slatted and wrought iron, and went off on a tour of the flower and sundry tables. I sat facing into the tent. I could see a the backs of a large number of kneeling Thais and through the other side of the tent I could see a construction site.

LM arrived back carrying what could only be described as a small-sized metal pizza dish on which were more of the orange flowers, some other floral bulbs whose name I do not know, some more joss sticks, a bit of brightly colored gauzy material, a few packets containing gold leaf, a bottle of what looked like clarified butter and a larger bottle of something that appeared to be olive oil. She asked me to hold the pizza plate while she took one of the wreaths and some joss sticks and joined the other Thais where she knelt before a low table on the other side of the tent and deposited the flowers, that were immediately gathered up by the attendants. She lit the joss sticks and placed them in receptacles full of sand. They too were quickly gathered up before they had a chance to burn all the way down. I was curious about what they planned to do with half burned joss sticks but was too shy to ask.

LM returned and beckoned to me to follow her. We walked to another building. It was a small temple surrounded by a little plaza encircled by a polished stone balustrade. I was left to lean against the balustrade and guard the pizza dish while she took the rest of the flowers and disappeared into the building.

Looking around me I noticed, in addition to the hundreds of worshippers and piles of empty pizza dishes, a number of objects that looked quite phallic like. On several about waste high platforms, a four or five foot column rose from the center of each. On the top of every one was  a representation of the ubiquitous floral bulb whose name I do not remember and refuse to look up in Wikipedia. Around these poles people were affixing the gold leaf, tying the diaphanous fabric or pouring the clarified butter on them.

When LM returned she joined in pasting her gold foil on several of these phallic like objects. She then wrapped one with her gauzy colored fabric and began to pour some of the clarified butter on to another one of them. She stopped, called me over and asked if I would pour it over the top since I was tall enough to reach. I gladly accepted the assignment and happily began pouring the contents of the bottle over the tip of the glans. Noticing my exuberance LM pulled me away warning me against pouring out the entire contents on just one.

Anyway, after emptying the contents of the bottle on to several of the columns, we abandoned the pizza dish and taking the remaining bottle of what I thought was olive oil went to a pavilion that had a number of lamps burning. Into each LM poured the contents of the bottle until it was empty.

Having completed our temple duties, we decided to return home. But first LM purchased some more flowers. There were not “flowers” as we think of them in the West, composed or brightly colored and delicate petals. They looked more like green patties of play-dough on a stick, embedded with acorns. The image of floral beauty inculcated into our consciousness by the romantic and mostly drugged poets of the 19th Century apparently was not carried over to Thailand. They are also edible, LM mentioned.

And so we set off for home. After a long bus ride, I took a short trip the final half mile to the apartment on the back of a motorbike where this seventy year plus body clutching the play-dough flowers in one hand and straw hat in the other prayed that a gang of Songkran thugs would not attack while I was in such a precarious position. The driver, either understanding my concern or sharing my dislike of the water wars, maneuvered through back alleys and deposited me at my apartment building safe and dry.

So to all of you, I wish you too, a happy Songkran and may the penis of your choice be covered on gold, tightly wrapped in gossamer and bathed in clarified butter.



Have fled from Thailand to escape Songkran.




1. Where or where has the ice gone?

Even if it is disappearing don’t you just love that it is called the Cryosphere. “Look my drink is filled with little bits of cryosphere.”

2. US teens are two and a half times as likely to give birth as compared to teens in Canada, around four times as likely as teens in Germany or Norway, and almost 10 times as likely as teens in Switzerland. Among more developed countries, Russia has the next highest teen birth rate after the United States, but an American teenage girl is still around 25 percent more likely to give birth than her counterpart in Russia.
Read more:


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

a. Let’s begin by shining some light on how political campaigns are really financed.

b. This:

BofA has gone downhill ever since they moved their headquarters from SF to Charlotte. In fact if you asked me, they have been going downhill ever since they changed their name from Bank of Italy. But wait, some guy in Detroit is collecting unemployment and not looking for a job. Just think how much better the US would be if we eliminate unemployment insurance payments so that those cheats are forced to get a job. Maybe BofA is hiring.

2. Could Reagan have won the Republican nomination for President this year?

3. Just clearing my desk top:

A bit of french political humor:

I think one has to be French to enjoy the humor.


Please see the blog:

Pilots are expenses. They are not assets, like planes and computers.”
– American Airlines Vice President during contract negotiations in early 1990s.



1. Something for both sides of the ideological divide to feel superior about.

2. Honoring the “Fairness Doctrine” (besides, alas, it is all too accurate).


1. Spock speaks:

I am positive that Obama would agree also.

2. Wow:

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Joey 0001 (April 12, 2012)



At last the remnant of whatever virus inhabited my lungs has dissipated leaving me free to get on with my normal and rather pedestrian days. I have begun swimming again. The water in the hotel pool, I am pleased to report has been at that perfect temperature for me, not too cold as to be chilling nor too warm to be enervating.

I recently, I had a few drinks with my friend David, often referred to as the Good David or the bad David depending upon how SWAC feels about him at the time. He has left for the US for some medical tests. I wish him well. David along with Cordt, Gary and the Little Masseuse make my time here in Thailand tolerable.

Songkran, the Thai Spring festival of water begins today and continues for a week. It is a time when Thais splash water of one another as a sign of good luck. It has become the tourists favorite festival. As much as I love the Thai Autumn festival of lights, I hate Songkran. While to most Thais it is a time to rejoice in the cleansing power of water, to the farang (western tourist) it has become a blood sport in which to revel in the shock and humiliation of a sneak attack on the unwary with a high power water gun.

Yesterday I received the distressingly sad news that Stevie Dall’s daughter Cynthia died suddenly. About 10 years ago Cindy was an up and coming pop music star. My heart goes out to Stevie and Norbert and the rest of the Dall family.


1. US Election 2012: I guess the 2012 US national election will present the voter with a clear choice between the “Nanny” State and the “Daddy” State.

2. Fair is Fair: A Republican State Senator, head of that State Legislature’s budget committee who receives over $600 per month disability payment himself, has proposed denying state disability payments to others because unlike himself who has a legitimate disability, everyone else receiving disability payments are drunkards and lay-a-bouts.

3. A Cautionary Tale: “The National Review one of America’s leading magazines for conservative intellectuals has recently published an article advising white people to avoid places where there are a lot of black people. In response to the outcry that followed the publication, the magazine fired the writer.

Why is it among conservatives that when something gets screwed up they always fire the worker? Does anyone believe that the writer would have written the article if he did not believe the editor and the publisher would approve it for inclusion in the magazine? In China when something goes wrong in an organization they often execute the managers. In Japan the executives accept blame and are fired.

Don’t you think we could use that here? You know, when bankers are discovered to have made a stupid decision affecting their company or collectively the economy, instead of firing some workers in a fit of belt-tightening and rewarding themselves with bonuses, shouldn’t they be fired instead? It would probably save the bank and the country more money in the long run.

4. Stand Your Ground: Under Florida “Stand Your Ground” law, would a black person dressed in a “hoodie” carrying a concealed weapon be justified in shooting any white person he encounters on the grounds he was in fear for his life?


Still in transition.




1. Hooray we’re number one!

What’s interesting about this chart is that most of these American prisoners are in the pen for violating our “substance abuse laws”(see below). While in the pen they are supported by our tax money (see below) instead of working and paying taxes.

Even though crime rates have decreased by over 25% over the past decade, our prison population continues to increase (note: this trend appears to parallel the increasing “privatization” of our penal system). 68 billion dollars was spent on corrections in the US in 2006. Over 50% of America’s prison population was jailed for non-violent crime; overwhelmingly for marijuana and similar laws. Do either the Republican or Administration budget proposals suggest that some savings here may be appropriate?

2. Notice a trend here?

The United States incarcerates more of its youth than any other country in the world. In the sixteen southern states incarceration of persons 55 years or older increased by 145% (see below and above) from 1997 through 2007 while the national prison population increased by only 8%. Most Departments of Correction report spending more than 10 percent of the annual budget on elderly care.


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

How about a little balance:


2. Good Ideas Department.

3. Another Pookie fail:

While surfing through the web recently I came upon an item about the old Stanhope Hotel located across the street from the Museum of Art in New York City. About 20 years or so ago it had just been converted from a hotel to a hotel which one could buy their suites as an early condo-hotel. I looked into purchasing a suite as a future retirement home there for a while. At that time they were available for about $1.2 million. Simple laziness resulted in my failure to follow-up on my interest. Today the article mentioned that the last of those suites sold recently for $30 million.

4. Pookie’s periodic public service:


Please see the blog:



It looks like the lawyers, lobbyists and consultants are doing ok during this recession. We can all be thankful for that. Think of how bad things would have been had they done as poorly as their clients.



Admit it, with those ears there is an uncanny resemblance to Spock.

Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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


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

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

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


a. More about subs:

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

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

b. Election insults:

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

c. More about Songkran:

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

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

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


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

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

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


Chapter 19:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please, you can call me ‘Ike.'”


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

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

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

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

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


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

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( :

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


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

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

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


1964, November 4: Terry Reilly’s minimalist masterpiece “In C” premiered in San Francisco. Alfred Frankenstein, the San Francisco Chronicle said about listening to it, “At times you feel you have never done anything all your life long but listen to this music and as if that is or ever will be.”

Steve Reich another prominent American composer played the electric piano that night.

Several years later, through my then friends Mel Moss and Rasa Gustitus, I got to know Reilly, the marvelous sitar virtuoso Krishna Bott and many other musicians (Hamza el-Din, Ali Akbar Kahn, and even Peter Grenell) in the vibrant Bay Area music scene that existed during the 1970s and continued until it began to fade at the end of the 80’s. Reich had left the Bay Area and returned to New York before I had arrived in 1970. Reputedly he couldn’t stand California’s descent into hippiedom and mysticism. Besides the job prospects for composers were better on the East Coast.

Many of those same musicians would show up at the cottage in the rear of Mel and Rasa’s home on Jersey Street to jam on the amazing collection of home-made and folk musical instruments Mel had collected and stored there. Sometimes I would join them. The music at times would go on from early afternoon until two or three in the morning. Although, I understand that Reilly attended some of these sessions, I do not recall if I was there at the time he did. Everyone was usually too stoned and into the music making to know, care or remember.


a. Songkran:

The government of Bangkok was among the sponsors of what was reputed to be the world’s biggest water gun fight. Guinness is now checking if Bangkok mêlée has surpassed the size achieved by the current title holder for a similar event previously held in Spain.

b. Insurance:

Insurgents in the southernmost provinces of Thailand have begun setting up their own businesses to help finance the increasing cost of the rebellion. Among their new business ventures are firms that charge other companies doing business it those provinces 3000 baht per month to assure the covered companies that their assets will be immune to damage due to insurgency attacks.

c. Electioneering:

Puea Thai election slogan.



I plan to return from Paradise by the Sea at SWAC’s urgent request that someone (me) needs to attend to Hayden as she and the maid are too busy with their responsibilities at AVA Wine Bar to do so. I expect grief, anguish and conflict when I tell her that I have to return to PbS on Tuesday evening to finish packing in preparation for my trip to the US. She has volunteered to book my flight to SF for me so that I can accompany Hayden and her on their voyage to wherever. I suspect that she will attempt to pry some money out of me as commission for arranging the flight, claiming EVA has raised their prices.

Here in PbS, I continue my morning walks and afternoon swims. This evening, I went down to the pool for my swim and sat on one of the pool side lounges to finish up reading today’s newspaper. Upon finishing, I leaned back and suddenly felt awash with anxiety that I had something to do and I was wasting my time. I realized that I often feel that way, that I must be doing something and not be idle. Luckily for me, doing something included reading and watching television. While contemplating this, I also realized that I was sitting up in the lounge chair and that when I was lying prone, say on a bed, I had no such feelings of anxiety. So I decided, not to take my swim but return to my apartment and lie down. I did so and my anxiety disappeared.


Chapter 18 (cont.)

The First wrinkled his aquiline nose slightly as though he detected a whiff of something that smelled bad. He then spoke. “That is an interesting question and request.” “Hmm… are you sure you want to get in to that,” he asked buying some time?


“Well, then, ah, I will have to look into whether my representation of the partnerships as a whole under those changed circumstances, may affect my obligations to the individual partners, and of course whether or not there is anything in the partnership agreement that may limit that course of action.”

Vince knew that normally such hesitation by any attorney is a prelude to opening negotiations regarding fees, but here he got the distinct feeling that the First appeared ill-disposed to the request. “Well,” he said, “please look into it and let me know what you think by the end of the day, if that is at all possible.” And with that Vince without further ceremony excused himself and left the First’s office.

Convinced that the First was unwilling to antagonize potential future clients represented by his tainted clients, Vince decided to seek other advice. He first called Mike Daly of the firm of Daly and Perez. Although crime of the white-collar variety was not Mikes specialty, he knew Mike and his partner and ex-wife Rosie and followed their careers for a while now. He liked and admired them and trusted their advice.

Mike answered his cell phone on the first ring. After an exchange of greeting and inquiries as to the welfare of their respective families, Vince explained his quandary.

“Vince, since you have been away, Rosie and I closed up our practice and returned to the Public Defender’s office. We were always happiest there. Anyway, as you know that federal corporate stuff is not my field or interest. However, I can recommend that you confer with someone who I think is one of the most brilliant practitioners in the area. But I have to warn you he is quite unusual, and may be too unconventional for a white shoe firm like yours.”

Seamus, Arroyo, Cohen agreed to meet Vince at the Starbucks at the corner of Market Street and Drum Street in downtown San Francisco. It seems that attorney Cohen practiced out of the basement of his home in a large restored Italianate stick Victorian house on Liberty Street in the Mission District.


a. Projected Patterns of Precipitation Changes:

These maps, prepared by the IPCC in 2007, display the anticipated changes in precipitation (in percent) for the period 2090–2099, relative to 1980–1999. The values indicated are multi-model averages (that is, assembled out of many different computer models) for December to February (left) and June to August (right). White areas are where less than 66% of the models agree and stippled areas are where more than 90% of the models agree.
(I assume the white areas indicate a disagreement among the models over gradations and not of trends. If that is so, the maps are even more disturbing. For example in the June to August map the United States is entirely white between two large areas where the models agree to a substantial drop in precipitation from normal. Does this mean the US as a whole is in for increased wetness or increased dryness and the only disagreement is how much? The answers, would, for example, indicate whether the central portion of the US would or would not experience substantial migration.*)
If they accurately predict the future weather patterns pictured, what these maps show is that (as I mentioned in a previous post), precipitation in Northeast North America and Northeast Asia may increase up to 20%, while Southwest North America (from Southern California through Texas and south to Panama) and the Mediterranean basin (Southern Europe and North Africa) and the Near and Middle East will substantially dry up.
These projections signify on a social level , among other things, the probability of significant human migration from the drying regions and increased weather caused catastrophe costs in the areas receiving greater rainfall.
Two things should be noted. The first is the potential expanded cloud cover due to greater precipitation over much of the northern hemisphere may slow and even reverse shrinkage of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheet melt, thus slowing sea water rise. Secondly the highly populated portions of northeastern US and Asia (China, Korea and Japan) may for a while experience the feeling of a cooling trend.

* While a single weather event cannot be generalized into a trend, the recent unprecedented rash of tornadoes throughout the middle of the US, would be consistent with the type of weather events that could be expected within that particular white area on the maps.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( :

“There is no such things as supply and demand because they are both infinitely manipulatable.”


“A wasteland, dominated by these maniacs, these creeps, who were trying to make everyone write this crazy creepy music”
American composer Steve Glass describing the European musical avant-garde he encountered in Paris during his studies there during the 1960s.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. April 15, 2011

Newgrange from air

Newgrange from air (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


3100 – 2900 BCE. Newgrange, Ireland the 250,000 ton passage tomb aligned to the winter solstice, is built. This is a larger stone structure than the early pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England and predates them both by 500 years.

It is a remarkable edifice. I have been there and sat at its center. It is constructed so that no natural light reaches the chamber located precisely at the center of the massive circular structure except briefly at noon on December 21 when it is suddenly bathed in light. [Early stoner nirvana.]


1. Appointed democracy:

Thai law, passed shortly following the overthrow of the Thaksin administration, provides for 73 “Appointed Senators,” intended I imagine to eliminate the possibility that the general electorate of the country would ever be so mislead that they would elect a party unacceptable to the existing powers. As I understand it, several groups of apparent respectability (Academics, State Agencies, NGO’s, Professional Groups and Other) nominate people and from those nominated, a smaller group of generally appointed government officials (Constitution Court, Election Commission, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Supreme Court, Ombudsman and Supreme Administrative Court) selects the appointees.

The appointments have just been announced. Of course the political party most expecting to challenge the current administration would be unhappy if they thought the appointees were stacked against them. And so they are.

2. Of course we will be objective:

A large number of the newly appointed senators, it now turns out are relatives of members of the military general staff and the current administration. In Thailand this is not considered nepotism but common sense. Even that so-called great populist Thaksin has proposed his daughter to be the leader of his Red Shirt party and the next prime minister should they prevail at the polls. Although lacking and prior experience in government, he lauded her as the most qualified.

Several of the new senators, responding to criticism about their appointment, have stated that they are eager to begin work and prove their appointments were not the result of family or political connections. How they intend to do so is unclear.

Resignation would be pretty dramatic proof I would think.


I arrived back at Paradise by the Sea having avoided a drenching by the ravening mobs of Songkran revelers by the simple expedient of having spent a few more baht to hire a taxi to take me door to door.

Now for those of you who have not experienced the joys of Songkran, the Thai spring water festival, the object of the festivities is to drench one another with water in the name of bringing good luck in the new year to the drenchee.


Songkran (Photo credit: Lim CK)

Over the years that I have had the opportunity to observe the festival, I have noticed a definite escalation in weaponry. Gone are the simple water pistols of fond memory, replaced by the participants stalking the streets carrying a dizzying display of AK 47 inspired water machine gun assault weapons. Some so fearsome looking, I am sure they could frighten even the Taliban. Recently, I have noticed, these fearsome weapons are often accompanied by and connected to back packs containing additional canisters of water so that if one ever finds oneself someplace totally lacking in water, say like in a desert, one will not have to fear running out of ammunition.

Now to be fair, most Thais celebrate by good naturally dousing passers-by with water thrown from plastic cup and other containers. Not so with the non-Thai generally western tourist community. They patrol the streets, heavily armed, as though engaged in the grim job of urban warfare.

In addition to the AK 47 replica machine guns, the weapon of choice (and a major escalation in the water arms race) of these dour warriors is a weapon made up of a very large plastic tube, about the size of the largest mailing tube imaginable, with a long plunger at one end. When fully loaded and operated by a relatively strong man, these weapons, in a single shot, can expel enough water with the velocity of a fire hose to sink a small rowboat or knock over a grown man.

Before leaving Bangkok Hayden, aware of the danger I would be exposed to, gave me a water pistol to defend myself. Now dressed in my “Clete Purcell” outfit, Tilly on my head, shorts, sandals, flowered shirt and with my “gun” tucked into my belt, I venture out of my condo briefly to eat at the local café. A photograph of me fully attired is attached below.


The brief silence that followed Vince’s reading of the authors note was broken by one of the grossly ill-defined characters standing at the back of the room who Vince was sure would also eventually become a hired killer should the novel continue, who shouted, “What the hell does that mean?”

The ensuing wall of noise from everyone talking over one another was pierced by Nina’s calm voice as she looked up from her knitting, “Why don’t we just ask him to keep writing for a while?”

“What do you mean?” said Vince over the gradual quieting of the noise as the others in the room strained to hear their conversation.

“Why not simply ask him to keep writing for a while in order to give those of us who can time to find other employment? After all, since no one is reading it anyway it makes no difference to the reader. “

“Why would he do that? What’s in it for him? You really don’t believe that crap about his wanting to do something for us, do you?'” interjected a suddenly energized David Kitchen.

” Well, we could tell him that we had heard that there were responses to his query, but they somehow got lost on the ether. It happens all the time,” she replied calmly, returning to her knitting.

” But during that time characters will be disappearing as they find work elsewhere,” Vince queried.

“This is a mystery novel,” Nina responded calmly while concentrating on her latest stitch, “People get murdered or go missing all the time. After all, even the author admits he doesn’t know how it ends, so the logic of their disappearance to the plot or its resolution makes no difference. Not that it ever does in the mystery novel genre” she added softly.

Everyone in the room stared at Vince in anticipation of his response. Vince in turn look over to the unusually subdued Isabella. She was dressed in her Goth get up and metal piercings but still wore her curly long-haired wig. Her head was bowed as she stared fixedly at the conference table. She did not look up. “Well, no help there,” thought Vince.

After a moment or two hesitation he said, “OK, I will give it a try.”


a. I told you so:

About 30 years ago in a speech I was giving to some political group or another, I predicted that the United States would not elect a black person President until the country was bankrupt. They then could blame it all on him.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims.

“Whitehead and Russell taught us that words have no meaning unless backed by mathematics. In other words, it is all blah, blah, blah unless it has numbers. Goedel then taught us that all mathematics is based on unprovable assumptions. In other words, blah is still blah.”


Another golden oldie:

“To truly understand Mankind,
you must first break down
the words that make up his name:
Mank and Ind.
What do they mean?
It’s a mystery.
And so is Mankind.”
Mick Foley

Français : Mick Foley "Mankind". Cet...

Français : Mick Foley “Mankind”. 



Pookie dressed as Clete Purcell, water pistol in one hand guarding one of the entrances to my apartment, armed, dangerous and looking for trouble.

In my left hand I have my genuine teak back-scratcher given to me by Hayden. I believe it is a necessary accessory to anyone over 70 and overweight. Sort of like a geriatric swagger stick.

Categories: April 2011 through June 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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