Posts Tagged With: Thai massage

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 13 Joe 0004 (July 31, 2015)

 

“You will never be the world. Other people will do as they will do and you will have to determine what you will do about that. That is your business.”
Cherryh, C. J. Tracker: A Foreigner Novel (Foreigner series) (p. 206). DAW.

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. A NIGHT IN AMMAN JORDAN:

I decided to fly to Bangkok on Royal Jordanian Airlines with a long stop-over in Amman because of the frisson of excitement in flying near a war zone, the price and the long layover that I thought would allow me to spend a few hours in the city, having dinner and viewing some of the sights. When I arrived the complications of finding my way through the airport, customs and transportation forced me to give up that plan. However, behind transfer desk a man informed told me that the airline allowed me to spend the layover at the local Marriott for free including a meal. “No tips,” he added. I surmised that that was an invitation for baksheesh discussions.

The hotel was about three or four miles from the airport and stood alone in the desert. The sun was still shining and I could see what I thought was the outskirts of Amman on the horizon. Everything else was low sand dunes traversed by a couple of roads. The desert had a slight floral scent that differed from the woody scent of the deserts in the American southwest. I had a first class room, a good meal a shower and a welcome sleep. I even enjoyed the baksheesh negotiations.

I took no photographs, alas. However knowing that some of you prefer the pictures to the writing, I have included a photo of Dubai from the air. Dubai was my alternative layover to Amman. I’m happy with my choice.
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Perhaps on my next trip, I will spend an extra day or two in Amman and visit Petra — another bucket list item.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

My last few posts were more or less a travelogue in two to three sentence bites. No matter how I tried to alter the chronology or slip in irrelevant stories, the travel through a place or between places remained foremost.

Bangkok, however, is my home (at least one of them for the time being), and no matter how exotic it may or may not be, the place becomes mere background to my daily experiences. I eat, sleep, exercise and so on. Every now and then as I go about my day something I see or experience interests me, but rarely temples, art or ceremonies.
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For example, I took HRM to the Aquarium in the basement of the Paragon Shopping Center.
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Another day we went to a snow park.
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A few days ago I met at Donut World with the old sailor and his friend an economist for coffee, donuts, and talk. The economist had just had his prostate removed. We, despite the camaraderie, looked at each other through the frightened hollow eyes of those who finally realize the last roundup is near to hand.

The old sailor has been a professional deep sea diver, a sailor, a treasure hunter and perhaps a pirate. He keeps two dead bodies in his locker at the health club (at least their ashes which he, at the deceased’s request, spreads in their favorite bars and houses of ill repute around the world). HRM spent a pleasant morning looking at photographs of the old sailors career.

I have two new shirts now. One primarily white I consider my day and formal summer outfit. The other, a Tommy Bahama design given to me by Nikki who bought it in China, is my night and formal winter attire.
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I live by one of Bangkok’s major tourist attractions, Nana Plaza. At lot of things go on there that the government denies
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This is a photograph of Soi Nana. I live at the other end of the street. Nana Plaza is on the left.
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Looking in the opposite direction across Sukhumvit Road is Arab Town.
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It looks a lot like Soi Nana until you get close. A lot of Bangkok is like that.
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Sometimes I vary my walk to the Health Club by going down an alley.
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The health club has a new manager. He comes from Australia. He promises to make the place one of the premier health clubs in the city. In the meantime for the past three weeks, he cannot make up his mind as to whether members are to be allotted one or two towels per day.

On most days, I have breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Foodland and then walk through the dark little alley to the health club. The alley now has a bar catering to Africans. It is loud and cramped. Not to be outdone the Burmese bar next door has turned up the volume of the music. Everyone is dancing as I try to squeeze through the gyrating bodies and grasping hands.
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When one is living in a place and retired like me, almost anything that breaks the routine I can find interesting. Today we spent five hours at a local university dental school mostly observing the wonderfully bizarre procedures that needed to be completed before I could have my teeth cleaned. After that, we had a foot massage. I then went back to the apartment and took a nap.
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At the university pointing at something.

Tomorrow I go to Paradise by the Sea one mile from the Outskirts of Hell for a reunion of the Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table at a place called Heaven or maybe not since Heaven was busted by the Thai cops a few weeks ago.

We stayed where we usually stay at a small hotel called “Bamboo” because of the bamboo plants in front of the place that have overgrown their planter pots. It was started a few years ago by a German Gay couple and seems to be the best-maintained hotel on the block. The Little Masseuse (now retired) managed to negotiate the price down from $30 a night to 20 by pleading that I was not a rich old American, but a poor sick old man. As proof, she argued that I must be poor for hanging out with an unattractive sixty plus year old lady like her instead of a beautiful 30-year-old. She still thought it was too much to pay for a room and urged my to stay at a place $8 cheaper where you had to sleep on the floor. I told her my current penury is not such that I must descend to that level of discomfort. She believes paying more than $1.50 for dinner is irresponsible.
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That night the Good/Bad David, Bill G., a young attorney from Bill’s firm who had never visited Thailand before, Dennis and I strolled along the Walking Street in the Outskirts of Hell where we ran into HRM, his mom, her latest financier, and their driver. I took HRM to the Muay Thai fights a little way along the street where one of his favorite fighters was performing.
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HRM scores a punch and a kick on the champion.

After seeing off HRM and his entourage, Bill and his crew and I visited one of his GoGo bars on Soi Six. I left early leaving the others enjoying themselves. I felt too depressed at my age and circumstances to get into the swing of things and was embarrassed. I need to up my dosage of happy pills.
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During the mornings at daybreak, we walk along the beach for exercise and to observe all the dead things and sodden plastic flotsam that littered the beach before the beach chair concessionaires swept the detritus back into the gulf. Many young Thais frolicked along the shore taking pictures of one another or jumping fully clothed into the waves. Thais prefer the beach before or after the sun makes it only suitable for western tourists to be out.
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Later we toured some of the competitors to Dennis and Bill’s clubs — not very exciting. If you are in the Pattaya-Jomtien Beach area, however, I urge you to visit “Heaven” at Soi 11 Kasetsin, Cosy Beach Pratamnak. Tell Tina who will greet you, that I sent you. The other place you may want to visit is Winchester. It is owned by Bill and Dennis.

One evening David, LM (now retired) and I had a pretty good pizza and cannelloni at an Italian restaurant in the Jomtien Complex that is also the gay area of Jomtien Beach. It is called “Da Nicola.” The owners were from the area of Sicily my family comes from. When they learned my family comes from Canicatti, they promptly declared that the best wine in Sicily comes from there.

Upon returning to Bangkok and resuming my life there, I saw that the dark alley containing the bars that I walk through after breakfast on my way to the Health Club has been mostly torn down. It was explained to me that it was done to make it better. I could not help but notice the section removed was the portion containing the bars catering to Africans and Burmese.
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One day the Thais celebrated the Prince’s birthday. Over the years, the much married royal seemed to be universally loathed. Rumors of the murder of his many mistresses and overall behavior abounded among the population of the country. But with the impending death of the much beloved King, the Prince’s birthday was a useful moment to rehabilitate him with a televised ceremony fit for a god which he did not attend but instead was represented by a 10 story photograph before which the great and near-great of the country sung his praises and lit an immense number of candles. In my apartment LM (now retired) lit a cantle and stood in front of the television reverently holding it in her hands for the entire hour-long ceremony.
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Dick arrived and HRM and I accompanied him to visit the aviary in the hotel that also encompasses the health club.
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And so my trip slowly cam to an end. A movie with HRM and LM (now retired), a delightful lunch with Gary, swimming almost every day, lots of naps and finally the struggle to pack and get to the airport.
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C. WHAT I THINK ABOUT WHEN I AM BORED:

I am a great supporter of gay marriage or marriage between members of the same sex even if they are not gay. I believe it is superior to so-called traditional marriage. Think about it. A woman and a man get married often because after a few days of passion they believe their affection will last forever and that this qualifies them to have and raise the next generation. What usually happens in short order, however, is they begin arguing over just about everything including how to raise the kids, while the kids usually have no idea why they are squabbling since most kids find their ordinary days just fine. In about 50% of the cases the loving parents divorce (or even worse not) and the kid grows fucked up anyway.

In my case, my parents argued all the time. I never could figure out why most of the time. After they argued, my father would get drunk for a while and my mom would find a reason to hit me with a wooden spoon (I was Italian-American after all). I think that is the cause of my problems with women. I always looked for a woman who could cook like my mother, wash and clean and now and then beat me with a wooden spoon. I could manage to connect with women quite willing to beat me with a symbolic wooden spoon, but they usually balked at the cooking and cleaning.

But I digress. Gay marriages need not run into this problem as much as traditional marriages do. After all, what’s marriage but a contract that sets out the economic rights and duties of the parties. This is important especially for those rich enough to afford a prenup but too stupid to get one.

Some believe marriage is necessary to procreate and raise children. In this age of rent a womb and the purchase of the hot semen of the body type and mental acuity of choice, procreation seems more a question of cost than who one procreates with.

I’ve always been wary of designer progeny. For example, imagine a bright guy with a lot of money but lacking in physical prowess and comely features. In the hopes that his children will be beautiful, athletic and bright, he searches for a zaftig beautiful woman athlete empty headed enough to marry him. But, it is probably just as likely the kids will be a scrawny idiot as anything else. It would be the same with the brilliant woman captain of industry who beds the ripped pool boy only to find that his mind was also ripped with muscle instead of neurons.

But I digress again. You see, men and women living together can never understand each other. They are like a separate species who in the long run irritate each other to the detriment of their children. That’s probably why so many of us are fucked-up.

Assume two guys, they do not even have to be gay but they are best buds, like the Thunder Buddies, Ted and John. They like to hang out together on the sofa watching football drinking beer, farting, and scratching their crotch. One day they decide to get married to each other in order to take advantage of retirement or death benefits and also raise some kids produced through some rent a womb internet site. They probably happily live together farting and scratching, rarely fighting while teaching their kids to joyfully fart, scratch and watch football. Or, on the gay queen end of the spectrum, the couple could raise their kids gleefully painting their toenails and applying perfect mascara or whatever else it is they are into.

As for two women marrying, even Thelma and Louise when they drove off that cliff could have benefited by a marriage license should one of them have survived the fall. Two women who marry could rent a stud and raise their children to paint their toenails and apply perfect mascara or whatever. Or on the bull dike end of the spectrum teach them to fart, scratch their crotch and watch football on television. They all probably will be content and so will the kids.

Of course, then we will be raising two types of people, those who like to paint their toenails and apply perfect mascara and those who like to fart and scratch their crotch. Unfortunately, I fear soon someone will start a new religion, or go on Fox News and argue it is bad for the nation that one group of happy tykes likes mascara and painted toenails and another farting and scratching and that marriage should be limited to one parent who likes one and another who likes the other so that the children can receive the full experience of being human.
D. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

The recent drought in Thailand has wrought havoc with the nations rice crop prompting the country’s Prime Minister to suggest the distressed farmers rely less on water-dependent crops like rice and plant more profitable crops that use less water, like a herb that he heard promotes male virility.

I few weeks later, this same worthy announced farmers were to be cut off from government controlled water supplies in favor of urban uses. He also announced the drought will end next month and the farmers who are not growing male virility herbs can again begin growing food for the nation. He later recommended that those who have water voluntarily share it with those who do not. He almost sounds like he is running for the US Republican Presidential nomination. I should be more careful, statements like the last one could get me arrested here.

Recently Wikileaks reported that Thailand was among the countries who purchased eavesdropping equipment allowing it to spy on its citizens. This same unelected but self-described democratically popular leader denied the report but added, that the nation’s citizens and others have nothing to fear if they are not doing something illegal. Something illegal includes criticism of the nations leaders or their actions.

The proposed new Thai Constitution would make it illegal and unconstitutional for legislators and the public to object to any project included in any five-year development plan established and adopted by a commission of non-elected political appointees.

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Frank Capra, the famous Italian-American movie director, during WWII, directed a number of propaganda films for the United States Military under the general title of “Why we Fight.” Shortly after the war, he directed, on behalf of the US Signal Corps a short movie entitled, “Your Job in Germany,” in which he cautions American Servicemen about fraternization with the German populace in violation of international agreements among the victorious allies.

Now, I am not here to apologize for Capra’s rampant misguided conservatism or the “bitter and angry” anti-German tenor of the film, but given the recent events regarding the German government’s aggressive and implacable attitude on behalf of the German banking establishment against the ordinary people of Greece, even to the point of violating the fundamental doctrine of neo-liberal economics that both sides of a commercial agreement should bear the risks without governmental interference, perhaps another look at the film is warranted.

Capra, in the film, reminds us of Germany’s repeated aggressions — first in 1870 under “Otto von Bismarck,” then in 1914 under “Kaiser Wilhelm II,” and finally in 1939 under “Adolf Hitler.” Each time before the aggression commenced he points out through extensive flashbacks and newsreels the German people were portrayed as industrious, fun-loving, dancing and singing and full of good cheer. Well, once again the German people are happy and perhaps are singing and dancing also.

Capra was clearly wrong in attributing to the people as a whole responsibility for repeatedly following the siren call of their ruling classes, whether Junker, Nazi or modern Banker. Clearly those ruling classes appear to have learned by now that the road to lebensraum may not lie through the barrel of a gun but perhaps more effectively through one-sided agreements, enforced by non-elected international bureaucrats where the non-German, the non-Banker and the poor bear all the risks flowing from the failure of a commercial contract.

Arguments have been made that in the previous cases had the other great powers (or even one other) resisted the slide into a shooting war much pain and suffering could have been avoided. Alas, once again the shortsightedness of big power politics (for example, the US worry about Russia requires it to weigh allowing Germany free rein in Europe against the risk of losing their support for US policies confronting supposed Russia aggression) may only make things worse — until it is too late.

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. Quigley on Top:

“I define democracy as majority rule and minority rights. Of these the second is more important than the first. There are many despotisms which have majority rule. Hitler held plebiscites in which he obtained over 92 percent of the vote, and most of the people who were qualified to vote did vote. I think that in China today a majority of the people support the government, but China is certainly not a democracy.”
THE MYTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
Carroll Quigley presentation to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces on August 17, 1972.

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

“It sickens and infuriates me to see the cynical hypocrisy of conservatives. And yesterday I heard that Social Security Disability payments could be cut 19% by the GOP-controlled Congress. The funding will run out next year, and there is an impasse between Democrats and the GOP. Obama has been all too willing to cave in on such negotiations, but if the 10.9 million people who will lose on average $190 a month — this, for people like me who HAVE no other income, no means of other support, and no ability to do so — if this happens right before the 2016 elections, the GOP could end up like the Whig Party . . . in the political graveyard with other assholes, like the Know Nothings (which the GOP should be called!).”

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

1. Government protection of investors.

“Government shielding of investors wealth from full liability for the actions of a corporation violates a fundamental tenet of neo-liberal economic theory and makes almost everything it rationalizes invalid. Until investors in commercial enterprises are forced to protect their wealth through the purchase of insurance as they did before the government created the state enterprises we call corporations, neo-liberal economic analysis is substantially flawed.”

2. Political Correctness.

“I think political correctness has gone too far. After all. what could be offensive about calling Jesus Christ a gay fish monger?”

D. Today’s Poem:

Endless daze, sweaty nights

Long night until morning,
Dream breasted, shadow stalked.
Arid lips salt sweated.
Laughter dreams and horror
Dawn faded long ago.
Dreamless sleep’s dark nightmare
Now haunts our withered days.

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:
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Categories: July through September 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 3 Shadow 0003 (June 22, 2014)

 

“When we were young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at that which we will soon no longer have.

Symmetry is a beautiful thing.”
Giufa

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOAN JACKSON

 

 

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN BANGKOK:

1. Last days at Paradise by the Sea:

On the border between “Paradise by the Sea” and “The Outskirts of Hell” there stood an isolated building among some empty lots. On the side of the building there was a sign affixed that read, “Heaven.” It was the day before I was to leave Paradise by the Sea and return to Bangkok. The Good/Bad David had brought me there. The entrance to Heaven wound through a dark passageway containing large vases with slightly wilting flowers. Gold drapes hung on the wall. It looked like the entrance to a mortuary. I guess that could be considered fitting.

Once inside the place was much more plush. It appeared a lot like a 1960’s piano bar in Las Vegas. I liked it. It was a vast improvement over my image of what Heaven would be like.

We were led by the hostess to a small dark room at back of the building in the center of which stood a solid black oval table.

Now some of you may recall that a few years ago I published, for your enjoyment, a few stories supposedly written by Giufa that sad-faced reprobate and chronicler of the “Forlorn Order of the Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table” (FOGNOT). The stories focused on the adventures of five Geriatric Knights who assembled in a place called The Kennel (where old dogs go to die) around another oval table, that one made of faux marble and gilt . I will not describe here what occurred that afternoon in Heaven around the coal-black oval table. I leave that job instead to the cynical, licentious and wholly untrustworthy Giufa, should he ever get around to it.
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Baba Giufa as a child.

I shall only add that about six hours later the Good/Bad David, Peter a man who I had been told dealt in precious metals and I left Heaven. The three of us climbed into a tricked-out, four door, short bed, pick-up truck. They drove me back to my hotel where I immediately fell asleep. The next day after a pleasant lunch with David and his friends, I boarded a bus and returned to Bangkok.

2. Back in Bangkok:

a. Monsoons:

The monsoon season in South Asia officially began on June 1. Since then angry clouds have filled the Bangkok skies. Very little rain has fallen in the city, generally only enough to make the already dangerous sidewalks slimy and slippery. With the blooming of el Nino in the Pacific this summer, chances are South Asia and Southeast Asia will experience a relatively dry year. On the other hand, Southern California should be wetter than it has been these last few years. Oh, the price of anchovies and sardines probably will rise also.

b. Pookie has a night out:

Having had it spending my afternoons and evenings in my apartment because of the curfew and the skies threatening rain that rarely comes, I decided to treat myself to a night out on the town. For me a night of the town has become simply finding a place to nurse a beer and watch the goings on. So one night I put on a clean shirt and stepped out from my building into the steaming hot air of BKK.

I ate dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants, an open front place that takes up the bottom floor of a cheap rooming house on Soi Nana. There I ordered my usual sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice and a coke from the six-foot tall ladyboy who looked like an NFL linebacker with boobs and a cute pink bow in his hair. I watched an American movie on the overhead TV while I ate.

After dinner I walked up Soi Nana searching for a bar in which I could enjoy my beer. Now for those who have not been there, bars along Soi Nana are for the most part open front affairs with young women outside calling out to you to join them just like the sirens called out to Ulysses. But this old sea dog ignored them because he had his sights set on the bright lights of Nana Plaza.

Nana Plaza bills itself as the World’s Largest Adult Playground. It is situated only a few blocks from my apartment. Although for reasons of age, fear of STD and a general aversion to the hard sell I do not avail myself of the services offered at many of the establishments, nevertheless now and then I like to sit at one of the bars with my beer and watch.

Nana Plaza itself is a three-story or so U-shaped building with a large open space in the center. The building houses a number of Go-Go bars, Lady Boy bars and Beauty Salons to service the performers. In the center open area are a number of regular bars open to the sky.

I sat in one of them bought a beer and paid the hostess to not sit with me and try to cage drinks. The sounds of the music coming from the venues and the exuberance of the neon lights makes everyone feel a bit jittery, like they just snorted some cocaine. I sat there nursed my beer and observed.

The women and barkers standing outside the venues desperately attempted to entice each passersby to enter their place. The Ladyboys being men despite the makeup and potential genetic quirks, were more physically aggressive, sometimes surrounding the tourist like a pack of wolves. In one case even demonstrating specifically what she had to offer.

After I finished my beer, I walked home feeling had accomplished something.
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Nana Plaza at night
C. Massage:

A few days ago the Little Masseuse invited me to join her in getting a foot massage at a place she liked.

Contrary to what some may believe not every massage parlor in Thailand is a front for prostitution. Massage is a national pastime in Thailand. I have been in small villages in the country where it seemed like everyone was massaging everyone else, sort of like a band of simians removing lice from one another’s fur.

Thai massage itself is based on pressure points and a little rapid stretching of certain muscles and tendons. For the most part it was developed in the county’s temples, especially Wat Po adjacent to the Royal Palace. Students still go there for instruction.

Most legitimate massage establishments offer Thai massage, a deep tissue rubbing massage, foot massages (reflexology) and a few specialties like facial massages and the like. Often the place will offer only Thai massage or only foot massages.

Most of the illegal (prostitution is illegal in Thailand in order to augment police salaries) sexual oriented massage parlors are located around the various tourist areas of larger cities or at resort areas.

One can figure out if it is a legitimate if:

1. it is located outside of a tourist area,
2. It looks down scale
3. the posted prices are cheaper
4. the women and men offering the massages are older and do not look like fashion models between gigs.

If you are still uncertain, ask a Thai woman you can trust (one that is not receiving a kickback from the massage parlor). For most of the women I know, the massage is the thing. Anything else is purely incidental. If you ask a man however, it’s all in the incidentals.

One of the best massages I ever experienced was in Hat Yai. The King of Thailand had set up a program for blind people to learn massage. At the place in Hat Yai, both men had been blinded in acid attacks. A sighted women in the shop acted as cashier and assisted the masseur in locating the supplies they needed. It was obvious that the masseur had studied more that simple Thai massage, perhaps even formal anatomy. He played the muscles in my body like Ray Charles played the piano.

The massage parlor the Little Masseuse and I were going to was located just off Soi 19 behind Terminal 21. It was situated above a place called Mama’s Pizza just across the street from Mama’s Taqueria. (I do not know if there is a Mama’s Pad Thai, or Schnitzel or Borscht in Bangkok, but I have not been everywhere yet. Come to think of it, a fast food place called Mama’s Pad Thai, Schnitzel and Borscht would probably cause quite a stir in the culinary world).

Anyway we climbed up three flights on a rickety outdoor stairway to the small shop. It provided only foot massages at $4 an hour, a price considerably cheaper than most other places in the area. There were about 15 or so young men and a few women masseuses and 10 overstuffed chairs and ottomans. The massages were very good.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Human trafficking:

The english language newspapers in Bangkok were all aflutter over the report that the US had ranked Thailand among the worst countries for human trafficking. The responses from Thai government spokesmen ranged from outright denial that the problem exists to shock that the US would criticize an ally.

Human trafficking may actually be the worlds oldest profession. A recent study maintained that humans (usually children) were used as one of the systems of account for debt before the invention of coinage. Failure to timely repay the loan would force the pledged child into bondage.

Two personal stories:

How it was in Issan

When she was about 13 years old a woman doctor showed up at the home of the Little Masseuse in rural Thailand. The doctor purchased her from her parents to work in the Doctor’s infirmary in BKK cleaning the instruments and the office. She was given a bed in a tiny room to sleep in. After about two years the inevitable happened. LM was asleep in her room when she was awakened by someone rubbing her body. The Doctor’s husband had crawled into the bed with her. She screamed and cried and woke up everyone in the house. The next morning the Doctor told her that the would have to leave that day and return to her family in Issan.

How it was in Sicily

When she was 7 years old my mother’s father died leaving her and her three older siblings orphans and a significant estate. The oldest child was only 16 and a woman so it was felt that it was not appropriate for her to manage the estate. Her bachelor uncle stepped forward and agreed to marry her promising to take care of the three younger children. On almost the day after the wedding the uncle placed the three children on a boat to America having sold them to three families in the US to work as domestic help. My mother spent the next few years chained to her bed at night so she could not run away until her older brother reached eighteen left his keeper and took my mom and her sister to live with him.

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOID:

Around 600 BC: The scribes assembling the Hebrew Bible included the Law of Jubilee in Leviticus. The law stipulated that all debts would be automatically cancelled “in the Sabbath year” (that is, after seven years had passed), and that all who languished in bondage owing to such debts would be released.

“And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.”
Leviticus 25:8-13

I think forgiving all debts every seven years is a great idea. It is strange that there are those who claim the Leviticus’ supposed prohibition of homosexuality is the unchanging word of God, yet the forgiveness of all debts every seven years somehow is no longer applicable. Who is it that decides what God really meant and when he was only kidding?

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

They want a capitalism with the simple balance that, The Father of Laissez Faire Capitalism, Adam Smith indicated was required for it to work. For example:

“Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labor above their actual rate… It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms….

by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens.”

And:

“In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.

Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

On regulations:

”When the regulation, therefore, is in support of the workman, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters.”

On fairness:

“The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than that proportion.”

Finally denouncing vast differences in wealth and income, Smith praised a fellow economist’s tax proposal:

“To remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.”

It has always been a wonder to me why those who praise Capitalism so highly, hate it so much.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.”
Victor Hugo: Les Miserables.

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
m-emotional
My initial feeling is that somehow the colors are reversed.

 
GOODNIGHT AGENT 355 WHOEVER YOU WERE——

 

Categories: April through June 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 22 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 10, 2012)

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Since it rained in Bangkok last week, the skies have been somewhat overcast and the temperature cooler (but see B.1 below).

I continue to spend my mornings at the health club and my afternoons in my apartment playing with my computer. My exercise effort and reduced my food intake has a resulted in my weight dropping to a level I have not experienced for over a decade. Good for me!

Alas, LM mentioned that the hotel management may close down the health club and consolidate its massage services into the Hotel Spa. The exercise facilities and lockers will be available then only for hotel guests. The reason they are considering this is that health club membership has fallen off greatly as members leave for the newer health club facilities in other hotels. The only part of the business that seems to be growing is the club’s increasing popularity with middle age and older women seeking massages with happy endings from the male masseurs working there. Surprisingly, and annoyingly for LM, many of the remaining elderly male members (not a joke) as well as the increasing number of Muslim hotel guests seek out their happy endings with the masseurs as well.

Recently I learned that Hayden would not be going to spend the summer in San Diego with the man he does not like. This man, by the way, is in effect a federal government policeman. At one time he served in the US embassy in BKK and along with his coworkers was known to be a frequent customer of similar services to those the notorious Secret Service officers were alleged to have bought in Cartagena.

During a trial in the US regarding an American citizen residing in SE Asia who may have violated US law, the principle evidence was supplied by a translator with whom it is alleged the arresting officer, our man from San Diego and previously BKK, was having an affair at the time. The conviction has been appealed because of this gross indiscretion.

It seems, our man from San Diego, had refused to agree to return Hayden to his mother after the summer was over so she decided not to send him there. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I do not know. But in any case, Hayden may spend most of his vacation in the south of Thailand or in Italy or in the US while his mother spends it in the north of Thailand or somewhere he is not.

In any event, I may be returning to the US in early June, or I may be going to Italy or I may stay here.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Heat wave and stuff:

The Bangkok Post reported that the average daily temperature in Bangkok during April was over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Bangkok also has one of the lowest ratios of green space per resident in the world; Three square meters per person versus thirty-nine square meters per person average in the rest of the world’s major cities.

Thus it is in Bangkok that not only are you uncomfortable because it is hot, but you cannot breathe as well; nor does one have shade trees to walk under.

2. Indonesia; leading the way?

By 2014, Indonesia plans to ban exports of raw minerals in order to encourage local processing to add value and thereby redistribute the benefits of the country’s natural resources from foreigners to Indonesians.

I actually like this approach. Why shouldn’t countries (the US included) prohibit export of certain raw materials? It simply means that those with the money have to build factories in those countries producing the raw materials, thereby creating more higher paying jobs for its citizens.

3. China comes back down to earth:

In December, in one of my “This and that…” posts, I predicted that China’s economy would stumble during the early part of 2012. A recent HSBC survey shows manufacturing in China has contracted in April for the sixth straight month.

Hooray for me!

4. Lese Majesté:

Recently a 60-year-old man, affectionately referred to as “Uncle SMS” who a year ago had been jailed for 20 years for violating Thailand’s Lese Majesté law that prohibits anyone from insulting the Royal Family died of liver cancer. According to news reports he had been convicted for sending four SMS messages from his mobile phone to a government official that were deemed in violation of Lese Majesté laws. I have never seen copies of the messages but from reports it appears they were neither threatening nor directly critical of the monarchical institution. Uncle SMS claimed he had never sent the messages and that someone else had sent them after stealing his phone number. Uncle SMS requested bail 8 times and was rebuffed. Despite the fact that his tumor was obvious, the judge in denying bail opined that the accusations were serious and his illness not life threatening.

It should be noted that the King himself has said that Lese Majeste laws are unnecessary and that only through criticism from citizens could he know if he were doing a good job or not. Those who claim they most love the King and respect the Monarchy, however, refused to pay any attention to his request, as they also refuse to pay any attention to any of his requests if they clash with their political or financial goals. But they nevertheless, love and respect him with all their might. God help those who do not love and respect him as well as they do.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Who hid the Capitalist?

Capitalism arose when some people (eventually called Capitalists) joined together to pool their money to invest in a usually short-term enterprise like backing a trading venture to send lower cost goods somewhere where someone was willing to pay a lot more for them. Later they invested in things like brick factories and coal mines. Capitalists risked their invested money (and more if they had to pay off the debts of the venture should it fail) unless they were able to buy insurance.

This then was what originally we called Capitalism.

Government had little or nothing to do with the system except to keep general order. For example, you did not want people breaking into the coffee houses where these transactions were taking place shooting the capitalists and taking their money. This governmental activity, since government had to do it anyway to protect the king and his ascendency, did not cost much and taxes were relatively low.

Then an interesting thing happened. Governments of the time (usually Kings) saw a good way to raise money for things they wanted to do (like own the world) without increasing taxes. (Governments do this all the time and usually in the long run they get in trouble for it.) They told those people with money to invest, that if they invested it into a company called a “public corporation” set up by the government to carry out a specific task (e.g. Take someone else’s land establish colonies and import slaves to do the work) they will not be liable for any more money than the money they invest.

Corporations were not people. They were creations of the State. This was a prime example of government intruding into operation of the market by capping risk so that investors into corporations had a government created advantage over other capitalists. Investors into corporations were therefore not capitalists per se but could be called something like “corporatists.” (Why don’t Libertarians call for abolishment of the most fundamental intrusion of government into the so-called free market, limitation of financial risk represented by the corporate form?)

Corporatism is not Capitalism.

Another thing; people with money often did not wish to risk it in an investment where there was a chance that it could be lost. Instead, they found other people who needed the money and were willing to give the person with money something they owned of equal value that he then held until the money was returned. The person with money charged for the transaction. The transaction fee eventually was called interest, the man with the money the lender or the creditor and the man who needed the money, the debtor.

For a number of reasons, most of them bad, the lenders got the governments of the time to agree to use their swords and later guns to force the debtor to pay his debts and thereby freeing the lender from the difficulty of transferring and storing the debtors goods as well as the risk inherent in selling it should the debtor not repay the loan on time. But, the lender still charged interest for the less costly and risky transaction. What it ment was that the lender was able to transfer a significant amount of the cost of the transaction on to the general government and still keep the profits, arguing that the taxes (paid by everyone, but which the lenders usually strenuously objected to) charged by government made up for it. The enforcement of debt obligations, courts and the like added to the expense of general government.

The bond or the debt market is not capitalism and its denizens on Wall Street and elsewhere are not capitalists. If they were then they should not be asking government to shield them from risk (or at least they should be willing to pay their taxes).

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES,THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Removed for revision and reflection.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

The Federal Reserve was a Republican idea.
Social Security is solvent through 2038.
God is a particle.
George W. Bush held hands with the King of Saudi Arabia.
Evolution is real.
Since 1980 Republican administrations increased the national debt more than Democrats have.
The Earth is 4.54 billion years old.
Fox News is owned by an Australian and has a Saudi prince as a major investor.
Jesus was a Jew.
The current corporate tax rate is the lowest in 60 years
In 2011, the US became a net exporter of oil products — for the first time since 1949 — earning record profits for oil companies yet Americans pay almost $4 or more for a gallon of gas.
In Venezuela people pay less for fuel than for bottled water.
In Turkmenistan drivers are entitled to 120 gallons of free gasoline per month.
In Bahrain, which has almost no oil, the price of gasoline is $.78 per gallon.
Venezuela, Turkmenistan and Bahrain, as well as most other countries with low gasoline prices own their oil companies.

Therefore private oil companies are good for the environment. They keep gasoline prices high and thereby discourage driving, producing less CO2 resulting in lowering the greenhouse gasses and reducing the effects of climate change. Did you ever wonder why ownership of oil production by the Saudi government is not considered socialism by most conservatives but in Venezuela’s case it is?

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

1. It is time to return to the good old days when the US led the world in high wage work.

2. Perhaps it also is time our executives should get paid salaries similar to those paid to executives in countries whose corporate executives are eating our lunch?

What is even more amazing is that these same executives whose companies are steadily losing market share to more frugal executive paying foreign corporations often blame their relatively poor performance on US government interference while at the same time warning the rest of us to be wary of adopting the “socialist” policies existing in the countries whose corporate executives manage to compete for market share better than they do.

B. E.L. Doctorow: “Primer on Unexceptionalism.”

TO achieve unexceptionalism, the political ideal that would render the United States indistinguishable from the impoverished, traditionally undemocratic, brutal or catatonic countries of the world, do the following:

PHASE ONE

If you’re a justice of the Supreme Court, ignore the first sacrament of a democracy and suspend the counting of ballots in a presidential election. Appoint the candidate of your choice as president.

If you’re the newly anointed president, react to a terrorist attack by invading a nonterrorist country. Despite the loss or disablement of untold numbers of lives, manage your war so that its results will be indeterminate.

Using the state of war as justification, order secret surveillance of American citizens, data mine their phone calls and e-mail, make business, medical and public library records available to government agencies, perform illegal warrantless searches of homes and offices.

Take to torturing terrorism suspects, here or abroad, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Unilaterally abrogate the Convention Against Torture as well as the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Commit to indeterminate detention without trial those you decide are enemies. For good measure, trust that legislative supporters will eventually apply this policy as well to American citizens.

Suspend progressive taxation so that the wealthiest pay less proportionately than the middle class. See to it that the wealth of the country accumulates to a small fraction of the population so that the gap between rich and poor widens exponentially.

By cutting taxes and raising wartime expenditures, deplete the national treasury so that Congress and state and municipal legislatures cut back on domestic services, ensuring that there will be less money for the education of the young, for government health programs, for the care of veterans, for the maintenance of roads and bridges, for free public libraries, and so forth.

Deregulate the banking industry so as to create a severe recession in which enormous numbers of people lose their homes and jobs.

Before you leave office add to the Supreme Court justices like the ones who awarded you the presidency.

C. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

Although I do not feel like apologizing for anything today, I feel I must say something about why I believe, “This and that…” has recently become so boring to me and I assume to you. Perhaps it is due to the enervating effect of the heat wave since I returned. On the other hand my sadness for leaving behind Hayden and my friends and family who have been so kind and understanding to me may have affected me more that I realized. Or, it may be with the effective end of the Republican presidential nomination, I have become disappointed with the disappearance of God’s (that practical joker in the sky) chosen candidate for lunatic of the month. (Now, I certainly have my problems with Mitt, but give him credit for defeating all of God’s own candidates.) It may also be the ennui settling in as the realization that, “This and that…” is coming to its end. But, for whatever the reason, I apologize.

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

(Graphics unavailable at this time)
The map on the left shows the counties that voted strongly Republican in 2008 the purple mixed Republican and Democratic and the blue Democratic. The map on the right shows the same information but adjusted for population size. I guess it is safe to assume from these maps that Democrats prefer to be near water and where there are a lot of other people while Republicans seem not to like water and prefer to be left alone.

Pookie should appeal to all Americans, he likes cities but not people too much. He likes to swim but prefers to drink things other than plain water.
TODAY’S QUOTES:

1. “The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
~Robert Kennedy

3. “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

5. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
~Abraham Lincoln

TODAY’S CHART:

 

If you do not think it can happen again, look at the results in the Greek election. The Greek unemployment rate has approached 25 percent and the Nazi Party in the recent election has garnered almost 10 percent of the vote to for the first time in 65 years win seats in a european national legislature.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Gary’s photograph of Pattaya Bay

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

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