Posts Tagged With: The Princess Bride

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 6 2010

thailand wooden image

thailand wooden image (Photo credit: FriskoDude)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Today is the King of Thailand‘s birthday. Recently he was awarded three patents for his own inventions bringing the total number of patents held by the King to 10. The Bangkok Post referred to him as “The Inventor King”.

2.The former Swiss ambassador to China recently paid $40,000 for a replica of Venus de Milo made from Panda dung.

3. About a year ago the Thai military accepted delivery from and American company of a lighter than air ship for reconnaissance work in the deep South:

The airship and the associated systems never worked.
No repair manual accompanied the purchase.
The Thai military did not buy the complete system, specifically the system that allowed the airship to communicate with the ground.
Recently the US company that supplied the airship closed up shop.

The members of the military procurement committee that approved the purchase now fear possible punishment.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Earlier this week I was taking my morning walk along the strand. It was a bright sunny morning and I was feeling very good, much better than my 71 years usually allows me to feel. As I left the sand to return home, I noticed an old man sitting on a bench with his walker near by. His face was deeply lined and spotted with stubble and he was overweight, quite decrepit and wheezing. Nevertheless, he happily would call out to passers-by and engage them in conversation. He did so with me.

Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA - Statue ...

Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA – Statue of founder William Marsh Rice with Lovett Hall in background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He told me he originally was from Texas on the outskirts of Houston and was staying here at Paradise by the Sea with his son. We exchanged a few stories, he about his time in SF after returning from serving in Viet Nam and I about visiting my daughter while she attended Rice University in Houston. I then asked, “How old are you, old-timer?”

“Sixty- eight,” he replied.

My emotions suddenly closed down. I could not access my thoughts or feelings; embarrassment, pity for him or me, foreboding or something else? Every time I tried to examine my reaction it was as though a door was suddenly closed and I was left with was a vague sense of fear of finding what was behind it.

A day or so later, when leaving my apartment for another beach walk, at the end of the driveway leading to the condo complex, I saw him again. He had fallen and was lying on the ground, his walker tipped over beside him. I rushed over to him and with the aid of two security guards we were able to pick him up and restore his to his walker.

“Out racing again this morning,” I commented jokingly?

He laughed.

I noticed that he had scraped his right elbow and it was bleeding, so I asked it he needed additional help.

No,” he said, “I can make it back home by myself. I have suffered worse falls than this in my life.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

Count Rugen: “Your princess is quite a winning creature. A trifle simple, perhaps. Her appeal is undeniable.”
Prince Humperdinck: “I know, the people are quite taken with her. It’s odd, but when I hired Vizzini to have her murdered on our engagement day, I thought that was clever. But it’s going to be so much more moving when I strangle her on our wedding night.”

b. Today’s Cognitive Bias:

Illusion of asymmetric insight – people perceive their knowledge of their peers to surpass their peers’ knowledge of them.

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Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 3, 2010

TODAY’S FACTOID:

In 1950, there were 83 cities with populations exceeding one million; by 2007, this number had risen to 468.

Hmmm…. that is more than a five-fold rise. During this same period the total number of people on the earth only tripled. If things keep going at this rate, we will soon have more cities of over one million than we have people.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

During my weekly massage, my masseuse likes to watch the Thai soap operas on television while she administers the various pains and pleasures of her therapy.

Now, as I am sure we all know, soaps are a window into the dark, twisted soul of a society, so it is with Thai soap operas.

To me they all appear to tell the same stories and contain the same characters. There is the beautiful innocent heroine and the equally beautiful though not so innocent young woman. You can usually tell them apart by their eyebrows. The innocent heroine’s eyebrows are somewhat rounded, while her evil counterpart’s are straighter. They are accompanied by two equally attractive young men, one good and the other not so good. These four then are supported by a cast of actors and actresses of varying ages often playing family members of the protagonists. There are also one or two comic characters, usually played by ladyboys.

Although the stories are generally all the same, their location varies. I have seen Thai soaps set in the homes of the rich, and others in the homes of the poor living beside a klong somewhere. I have also seen them set in grocery stores, health clubs and farms. Some occur in modern times others in old Siam and still others are set in times of magic or in some guerilla campaign somewhere.

Anyway, this particular day the masseuse was watching a soap in which the straight browed beauty dressed all in black, carried a sword and had just done unspeakable things to a group of poor people locked in cages.

Viewing this through my western acclimated eyes that sees everything as a conflict between good and evil, no matter the atrocities performed by either side, I commented, “She must be the bad girl.”

To which my masseuse responded, “Good or bad, it makes no difference. She is beautiful and everyone cares about her and what she does. If she were not so beautiful no one would give a damn at all about her or anything she does.”

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

FURTHER TALES OF BABA GIUFA

Dolores Park, San Francisco, California

Dolores Park, San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now Baba Giufa’s guru business prospered and he eventually moved into a large house near Dolores Park in San Francisco where he lived with his acolytes whom he called his Dharmanoids. Now the Dharmanoids consisted of eight young women, the skinny, bearded long-haired inquisitive young man named Babu Beardo who handled the business side of the operation and a heavy-set silent man named Edgar.

The largest room of the house had brightly polished dark wood floors and a great number of cushions strewn about on which the Dharmanoids, visitors and worshipers sat. The only furniture in the room was a large comfortable overstuffed chair in which only Baba Giufa sat. He sat on the chair because he hated sitting on the floor. He considered it very uncomfortable.

Here he sat, smoking his chillum, listening to music from india or by Bob Dylan and enjoying the smell of incense. Here he also greeted visitors and instructed the Dharmanoids and worshipers. He called this room his Shamrock.

One day one of the worshippers asked Baba Giufa, “Since most other religious leaders call their places of worship their ashram, temple or church, why do you call yours ‘Shamrock'”?

To which Baba Giufa responded, “The Shamrock is a plant with three equally sized and shaped leaves.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Wisdom from the Princess Bride:

Inigo Montoya: “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is to marry Humperdink in little less then half an hour so all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape, after I kill count Rugen.”
Westley: “That doesn’t leave much time for dilly-dally.”

b. Today’s Featured Cognitive Bias:

Authority bias – the tendency to value an ambiguous stimulus (e.g., an art performance) according to the opinion of someone who is seen as an authority on the topic.

c. Yiddish for the beginner (from Wikipedia) (cont.):

fleishig: made with meat.
ganef or gonif: thief, scoundrel.
gelt: money; chocolate coins eaten on Hanukkah.
glitch: a minor malfunction.
golem: a man-made humanoid; an android, Frankenstein monster.
goy: a Gentile, someone not of the Jewish faith or people.
haimish (also heimish): home-like, friendly, folksy.
huck; sometimes “hock”, “huk”, “hak”. etc.: to bother incessantly, to break, or nag.
kibitz: to offer unwanted advice, e.g. to someone playing cards; to converse idly, hence a kibitzer.
klutz: clumsy person.
kosher: conforming to Jewish dietary laws; (slang) appropriate, legitimate.
kvell: to feel delighted and proud to the point of tears.
kvetch: to complain habitually, gripe; as a noun, a person who always complains.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The people are rich when the money does not go out of their country, when they are content with what their country produces, and when money is constantly brought into their country by those who want the products of their industry, which they supply to foreign countries.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Thoughts of a Statesman.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 27, 2010

St John Zachary blue plaque

St John Zachary blue plaque (Photo credit: sleepymyf)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

15th century. In the parish of St John Zachary in London there was a church service of a very remarkable kind. It provided a brothel exclusively for priests and friars …

No doubt the women selected for this place felt that they had a special vocation.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

TRAVEL PLANS

I am scheduled to arrive in SF on the evening of December 15th and depart on the 6th of January. I plan to remain in SF for most of that time with short trips to LA and Sacramento. I hope to visit with most of you during that time.

PAPA JOE’S TALES AND FABLES:

A TALE OF PERPLEXED CONSCIOUSNESS

“Well here I am. Where am I?”

“You are here,”

“I am? Who are you?”

“I am you, who else could I be?”

“OK, is this all there is?”

“Well some think so. They think everything else is just your imagination. They call it many things, but I like Monism best.”

“A bit lonely isn’t it?”

“Yes, that’s why most of us believe there is you and there is everything else. We like to call that Dualism. There are some who have been toying around with three, but none of them seem  able to understand it, so they are always fighting about it'”

“OK so how do I know about this other? It seems a bit hard to figure out .”

“Reason”

“What the hell is that?”

“It is what you use when you think about the other.”

“Wait a minute, now we have me, the other and reason. Sounds a lot like those crazy people.”

“Well maybe, but we think we can make it better. Some guy named Pythagoras suggested replacing reason with mathematic, you know, number. We already have one, two and three and somehow one way or another they seem to encompass everything.”

“Well OK. but I still am not convinced. When I look at the other, everything seems like it is moving around. How do I know what’s going on?”

“Essence.”

“Say what?”

“Essence, everything has an essence, that is what it is and what you see is the essence of the other.”

“Sounds like bullshit to me”.

We have the answer.'”

“Who are you?”

“We are the Liebnitz-Newton Siamese twins and by using numbers we can stop things from moving around so that you can know where they are, where they come from and where they are going. We call it the calculus.”

“That’s great. We now have, me, the other and number, which is sort of like the holy spirit and with the use of the holy spirit I can find out whats going on over there with the other.”

“Uh, not so fast.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Einstein and I have discovered through number that what is over-there depends on what you are doing over here”.

“Crap! Let’s see if I got this right, according to number what goes on over-there is contingent on what I am doing here. Doesn’t this sound a bit like old-time Monism? There is me and then there is that that depends on me”.

“Well no, there is still the other but it is relative.”

OK , I will keep that in mind. Can I go about my business now?”

“Excuse me, my name is Planck and I think there is something else you should know before heading off. According to number, that business with the calculus that lets you know where things are and the like, well it to not be quite accurate. You see things in the other are here and there but not in between.”

“We seem to be going backwards”.

“I am afraid I have even more bad news”.

“OK, hit me with it. Who are you by the way? ”

“I’m called Heisenberg, and according to number you really cannot know about the other because every time you try to, you change the other”.

“Aren’t we back to where we started? And doesn’t that mean…?”

“Yes, everything is possible and nothing is also”.

“Oh my”

“Hi, my name is Goedel and you really need to know this. You know that mathematics and number thing you worked all this out with. Well you made it all up. You see it all depends on the assumptions you choose”.

“Crap and worse, I am really back to where I started, I feel like I am deaf, dumb and blind without arms or legs crawling face down through a sea of mud”

“Don’t worry about it. We are working on something that will make everything work out. Its called ‘Strings'”.

“Strings, first we have one, then two and then maybe three and when they did not work out we now have strings. What the fuck are strings and what number are they?”

“Well we don’t really know what they are but we do know that they are not one two or three, but precisely seven, or ten or eleven or another number. We don’t know that either, but we are working at it and you will just have to be patient for a while.”

“Hmmm. OK, what do I do in the mean time?”

“What you always do, fight a few wars, foul your nest, bugger your neighbor and things like that”

“Well all right, but hurry up, I don’t think I have much time.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

THANKSGIVING DINNER

In the afternoon Thanksgiving Day, I went to a place called Kinnerie, a bar frequented primarily by Americans. The dinner was free. There I met with two friends of mine, David (whose name has been changed by SWAC from “Our David” as we used to refer to him to “Bad David”) and Gary. The place had about one hundred men lined up for the free food. I guess it was a little like the Thai version of St. Anthony’s Mission (Homeless men – free food).Unfortunately the Turkey ran out about 3/4 of the way. Luckily we knew Carmine the owner and he gave David some turkey he was saving in the kitchen for the local police. Carmine by the way is from SF.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. The Princess Bride:

Inigo Montoya: “I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There’s not a lot of money in revenge.”

b. From God’s lips to your ears:

“As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property.”
Leviticus 25:44
TODAY’S QUOTE:

Italiano: Statua di Niccolò Machiavelli, opera...

Italiano: Statua di Niccolò Machiavelli, opera di Lorenzo Bartolini, sita a Firenze sulla facciata esterna degli Uffizi. Fotografata da Frieda (dillo a Ubi) il 18 settembre 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Now, in a well-ordered republic, it should never be necessary to resort to extra-constitutional measures. . . . ”
Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius, Book I, Chapter XXXIV.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 25, 2012

Panting Charlie

Panting Charlie (Photo credit: Seven Morris)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1300s: Glowing eyes and nocturnal behavior of the cat was interpreted by the Church as clear proof of the hapless feline’s diabolic affinity. Wholesale trapping and burning of cats allowed free rein to the spread of the flea-carrying rat causing decimation of Europe’s population by the plague.

(When they realized their mistake the Church stopped the killing of cats under their auspices. Recently the Pope indicated the condoms are ok in some circumstances thereby recognizing that human life is at least as important as a cat’s.)

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Recently while searching the web for two of my all time favorite movies, the Warriors and The Wanders, I came across a site dedicated to the New York City and Chicago teen age gangs of the late 1950’s, including map’s of the rival gangs’ turf.

Cover of "The Warriors"

Cover of The Warriors

Based on Xenophon’s history of the Greek mercenary army, betrayed by the Persians who had to fight their way through 100s of miles of hostile Persian territory to get home, the Warriors, betrayed at a gang conference in the Bronx have to fight their way along the subway from Gun Hill Road in the Bronx and through Manhattan in order to return to their home in Coney Island.

The Wanderers, although very little about it is realistic, presented the most realistic view of the gangs and gang life of the time that I knew and experienced. The movie referenced actual gangs that I had some passing relationship with, The Fordham Baldies, The Golden Guineas, and the Irish Lords.

The Golden Guineas were sort of the mob farm team and the Fordham Baldies the most feared gang in the North Bronx (they were not bald as portrayed in the movie).

I lived outside of the City and although we had our own gangs and relationships with some of the Bronx gangs we were no match for them in size or reputation.

I belonged to two gangs that I can remember, the Skull Gang, the gang my childhood friends evolved into when we passed into puberty. It was mostly social and something to call ourselves. It was a mixed group, italians, blacks and irish boys who had grown up together.

I also belonged to a gang from Mount Vernon, a somewhat more serious group. We called ourselves the Capris if you can believe it. Our “uniform” was teal bowling shirts with black velvet vertical stripes. This was a zip-gun, switch blade, tire chain wielding gang, unlike the unarmed, unwarlike Skulls who just hung out on the corner. I was consigliere since I refused to carry a weapon (fear mostly), was not known as a particularly adept fighter but I was considered the most knowledgable member of the gang.

I also associated with one or two minor gangs from the north Bronx. but I do not recall their names. I was a “war” advisor with them.

I also had a friendship with the leader of a major gang from Fordham Road called the University Avenue Gang. I could not find them on the site, so they may also have had another name. The leader’s name was “Bambi.” The gang was a mixed gang, Bambi was Italian and many of the gang members were Irish.

One evening Bambi helped in saving me and several friends from a severe beating. It seems that “One Punch Sammy Santoro” the legendary tough guy from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers had, a running conflict with Frank Santaliquito from Tuckahoe. It seems Santoro once beat up Frank for some reason. As a result, Frank spent the next two years in the Gym bulking up and training in boxing and hand to hand combat. Frank who had been a tall handsome slender young man, had in those two years turned himself into and ugly brutish looking mountain of a man. He had let the word out that he was looking to even the score.

One evening two friends of mine (Charlie DeVito and Frank Plastini) and I were at a large fast food place with pin-ball machines that teenagers used to like to go to and hang out.  Located on Central Avenue in Yonkers( I cannot remember its name), it was generally considered neutral territory.

One Punch Sammy Santoro and about seven or eight of his hangers-on came in and saw us there. Someone mentioned to them that we were from Tuckahoe. Sammy assumed we were associated with Santaliquito who lived in Tuckahoe also. As a result he prepared to punish us as a message to Frank. As they started toward us, another friend of ours, Chickie Muscalino showed up and sized up what was happening. Chickie went to the same High School as Charlie and I. He  knew One Punch well and was respected by everyone because in addition to being big and strong he was affable. He intervened trying to persuade Sammy not to harm us since we were not associated with Santaliquito.

Unknown to me, in another room of the place, Bambi and several members of his gang had come up from the Bronx to play the pin ball machines. He also realized that I was in trouble and came up to me to assure me that he had my back if things got out of hand.

Despite the huge load of testosterone in the air, Chickie’s persuasiveness along with Bambi’s presence calmed One Punch down and we were allowed to leave unmolested.

Sometime after this confrontation Sammy and Frank met up again and despite all his training and commitment, Frank was beaten again as badly as the first time they had met.

On the way back home for some reason we stopped at another place along Central Avenue. As we returned to our car our we found our way blocked by a group of about six teenagers led by a kid who had some sort of beef with Charlie. So with Frank and I behind him Charlie advanced to meet the other gang leader in the center of the parking lot. Frank who had not ridden with Charlie and I before, I could see was trembling. I, on the other hand, assumed that we would lose and I would be beaten up. So I was busy searching the area for somewhere to hide in the hope that I could stave off the inevitable long enough for the police or something else to intervene.

As usual in situations like this violence rarely occurs as the parties swap hormonal indicators. We called it “bluffing.” Charlie walked up to his opposition and before the other could speak said “OK start fighting or start talking.” That was enough to encourage the other kid to back down. After a bit more back and forth talking and face-saving, we left and returned home.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

The Grandson: “Murdered by pirates is good…”

b. From God’s mouth to your ears:

“Stay away from the strange woman, who flatters with her words … a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart … and lies in wait at every corner …”
Proverbs 7

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Affairs of great importance shall not be transacted without the vote of the people, with whom rests the power to appoint magistrates, to condemn citizens, and to enact laws. Laws subsequently passed always take preference over former ones.”
Roman Law of the Twelve Tables. (Table XI, Law 1.)

 

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 22. 2012

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C., USA on February 3, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1984 to 1992. Rieti Italy (located near very close to Roccantica mentioned in a previous email). American basketball player Joe Bryant played for Rieti in the Italian professional basketball league. His son Kobe Bryant, now an NBA player, attended school there and as a result speaks fluent Italian to this day.
TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

The Thai army plans to step up monitoring soldiers’ mobile and fixed-line phones and internet activity to “keep tabs on acts of lèse majesté” for any trace of insult to the [royal] institutions well as to see if anyone was leaking army secrets to anti-government red shirt operatives.

New regulations include prohibiting  soldiers  bringing mobile phones to meetings and restricting the use the use of PowerPoint presentations.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Following my trip to the immigration office to get my re-entry permit, I decided to walk along the beach the three kilometers back to my apartment . As I walked I realized I may be going native, not Thai native but Farang native. I walk barefoot on the sand, something I long swore never to do and I wear the dreaded short pants. I also realized that since living here at Paradise by the Sea, I have begun to exercise regularly, eat heathy foods for the most part (occasional Pizza and peanut butter and jelly sandwiched excepted), get massaged once a week, have my room cleaned and keep my mind active and hold most of my worries at bay, all on Social Security. Nevertheless, I have begun to feel that sense of unease that I always feel when things seem to be going more or less right.

English: The view from the top of the ski jump...

English: The view from the top of the ski jump at the Olympic ski jump venue in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Taken by Reywas92 on April 6, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess the metaphor for my life is something like that old Wide World of Sports commercial, “The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat.” I picture my self, skis over my shoulder, trudging to the bunny slope, pissed off that I am here in the cold doing this, probably because someone has goaded me into it. I happen upon the steps to the ski jump. Curious about what it looks like from the top, I mount the steps, strap on my skis and stand at the edge of the jump looking down and realize my mistake. Unable to decide between my fear and the shame and hassle of climbing back down the stairs I suddenly feel the pressure of a hand on my back and hear the voice of the starter, “Hey buddy, shit or get off the pot.”

Out of sheer embarrassment I launch myself down the ramp and feel the wind bite against my face as I descend. I hit the end of the jump perfectly and spring off into space. I lean far over the ends of my skis. Loose bits of clothing pressed back by the wind stand straight up behind me as though stiffened with super glue.

I land flawlessly, hear the cheering. Then removing my skis and seeing my future as a famous ski jumper full of wine, women, money, drugs and what have you, I run back up the steps, climb to the top and this time without encouragement launch myself again.

Three quarters of the way down, I fall on my ass, tumble a few times and smash over the edge of the jump landing below in a heap of fractured bones and broken dreams.

I awake in the hospital, realizing my ski jumping career is over, so I call the nurse for a booster shot of morphine and drift into a haze where I see myself walking along a beach searching for the perfect wave, the seventy year old surfer dude, with bleached blond spiked hair…Yes “to sleep perchance to dream”, Ay there’s the little nubbin, perhaps if I rub it hard enough my lingam will rise….

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. From the Princess Bride:

Fezzik: “I fight gangs for local charities and stuff.”

b. – Traditional Viking Battle Song

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
where the midnight sun and the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
to fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!
On we sweep with threshing oar,
our only goal will be the western shore!

(What are the circumstances in your life that would prompt you to shout out, “Valhalla, I am coming!”?)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, By 3Th. November 8. 2010

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons....

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons. Note the Roman numeral date “MCMIV” at the bottom of the gold medal seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1994, Crayola produced a 16-pack of crayons that released realistic fragrances when used. In 1995, Crayola changed 13 of 16 scents because of complaints received by parents that some of the crayons smelled good enough to eat, like the Cherry, Chocolate, & Blueberry scented crayons. Eventually the 13 crayons with food scents were retired in favor of non-food scents.

Today’s news from Thailand:

Although an international travel magazine lists Bangkok as the best city in the world for tourists, the Thai travel industry continues to lag its rivals in Asia in tourism growth. Spokesmen for the Thai travel industry blame this state of affairs on “political instability” and the current rash of floods.

This all goes to prove Petrillo’s Rule Number 4 for interpreting the news, “a spokesman for any interest will always claim bad news for the interest he represents on someone else.”

The associated Rule Number 6 is, “One can be assured that the media will present the information obtained pursuant to Rule 4 as an “informed source” and never an “opinionated” or “interested” one.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE TALE OF THE RAISING OF THE LINGAM

One day in the late 70’s or early 80’s while sitting around with a friend drinking wine and smoking some dope and discussing mystics, rimpoches, gurus and yogas we had known which is what we aging hippies often did in the late seventies or eighties, my friend who I shall call Peter, told me the following tale:

During the Sixties Peter worked for an American NGO in india. At that time many of the young American guru groupies who frequented the Sub-continent during these times, travelled through the country like locusts. They were usually stoned, broke , homeless, diseased and smelly. Noe and then, some of them would end up camping out in one of the rooms in Peter’s home for a while, bathe, eat some food get a little healthier and move on.

After his stay in India Peter settled down in San Francisco, which was at that time also often the disembarkation point for those returning from their Indian adventures, One day, as could be expected, one of Peter’s previous boarders showed up at his house in not much better shape than Peter had last seen him and again after a few days he moved on.

Now it came to pass, as they say, that about a decade later Peter had the occasion to visit Boston for a few days. His friends, with whom he was staying while in Boston, invited him to a party in the prestigious Beacon Hill neighborhood being thrown in honor of a spiritual teacher and mystic that was all the rage at the time.

It goes without saying that when he arrived at the party Peter discovered the guest of honor, dressed now all in white linen, with long clean hair in a pony tail and a well trimmed beard was his one time guest. The Guru,, recognizing Peter grasped him in a warm embrace. Peter could only ask the obvious “What happened?”

The maharishi as he was now known took Peter aside and told him the following:

After leaving SF and crossing the country by begging on the street corners of many of the nations best cities, he found himself broke, hungry and homeless in Boston with winter coming on and was desperate.

So, he went to the supermarket and with the little money he caged that day, bought some rice. Next he scoured some of the empty lots of Boston for a rock of just the right size and shape. When he found it, he took it and the rice to a local park and between the roots of the tree dug a hole. In the hole he first placed the rice and then on top of the rice he stood up the columnar shaped rock, narrower pointed end up and covered it all with dirt that he carefully patted down so the ground looked natural and undisturbed.

Later that day he went around to as many people that he could, both those that he knew and those that he did not and announced that as a result of his stay in India and years of meditation, he had gained the ability to make the sacred lingam rise from the earth and that at a certain time the next day at the park he would demonstrate his power.

That next day he went into the park. At the appointed time he fell to his knees and began chanting and repeatedly bowing until his head touched the ground. He chanted and chanted, and bowed and bowed each time he bowed he sprinkled a little water. After a while, some on the onlookers became impatient while passers-by stopped to see what was going on.

Suddenly cracks appeared in the ground between the roots of the tree. He continued to chant, bow and sprinkle. Soon the pointed tip of the lingam appeared pushing through the earth. It continued to rise majestically until it stood fully tumescent in the sunlight.

“And that” concluded the swami, “was how it all began”.

Peter could not help himself but to ask, “And what do you make of all that?”

The master thought for a moment and replied, “If you do not use the proper rice your lingam won’t rise.”

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

I thank all those who have commented on my quandary regarding my travel plans. The almost unanimous response seems to be “go for it”.

That being the case, what do I do with my condo? Keep it available for my return? But that would be costly. Give it up? But traveling with even the little amount of junk I have collected here is too much. Sub-lease it?

Mopey Joe’s Memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe was 17 when he arrived in America with his family. They settled in a little town about sixteen miles north of New York City called Tuckahoe, where somehow his father was able to buy or rent a modest house on Midland Avenue.

Joe’s father (probably named James) I barely remember and his mother I remember as a little wizened, shriveled old woman no more that four feet five inches tall. Their house’s smell always reminded me of old people, slightly musty,garlic and spices.

Joe never learned to read or write and barely learned to speak English his entire life.

His first job in America was as a teamster loading and driving a horse-drawn wagon. About a year after his arrival, Joe was loading his wagon with a co-worker, Joe on the wagon lifting the cargo raised to him by the co-worker. For some reason the co-worker called him a “filthy guinea”. Joe climbed off his wagon and killed him. The stories vary as to whether Joe killed him with his hands or with a knife and whether the victim was black or white.

In any event, Joe fled to Pennsylvania. Why Pennsylvania? I do not know. Maybe at that time it was a better place for fugitives than New Jersey.

After about 6 to 9 months his parents persuaded him to return. They retained a well-known Irish-american defense lawyer. who later became a long serving judge. to defend him. Joe pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge. This is one of the reasons I suspect the victim was black. If it had been a white man he probably would have to plead to no less than murder 2 since at the time the only thing lower on the social scale than the italian immigrant was a black man (In modern times, the Italians have been replaced in by Latinos). Anyway, Joe served his time and was released in about a year.

Upon his return, he found that as a felon and an illiterate he could not get a job. He began walking along the sides of the railroad tracks that ran through the village picking up the bits and pieces of coal that fell off the coal tenders of the steam locomotives as they went by the Tuckahoe station. When he had picked up enough coal he would go from door to door in the village selling the coal at a low price to the residents for heat. After several months of this he amassed enough capital to open up a business selling coal, oil and kerosene. The business prospered.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: “Have fun stormin’ da castle.”
The Princess Bride.

2. Today’s very last album cover (I promise):

I am almost at a loss for words. This is either a satire or an insult to balding men, men with scraggly beards, hairy white men, white men, men with hairy belly-buttons as well as the women who love them. It is also an insult to homosexuals, flute players, baseball players, musicians of all kinds, nudists, copy writers and graphic artists. Also, he looks to me a lot like Nicholas Cage.

Today’s quote:

“A battle that you win cancels any other bad action of yours. In the same way, by losing one, all the good things worked by you before become vain.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Art of War.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. November 5, 2010

Today’s factoid:

According to Wikipedia there are over 1300 separate religions and denominations in the world today of which almost 500 are Christian. Almost every one of these religions believe that they are the one true faith ordained by God. They each also support a number of individuals whose livelihood depends upon them persuading the rest of the members of the faith that is so.

Papa Joe’s news of the day:

In Australia an NGO created to combat discrimination in employment of Aborigines, rejected the job application of an Aborigine woman because her skin was not dark enough.

Petrillo’s dyspeptic guide for the unwary traveller in Thailand:

Dangerous and costly places for the tourist in Thailand:

Just about anywhere you really, really want to go.
Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

AT THE PHARMACY

English: Songthaew on Jomtien Beach Road, Patt...

English: Songthaew on Jomtien Beach Road, Pattaya, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When last we saw Pookie he was sitting on a curb on a busy street in Jomtien Beach hunched over vomiting uncontrollably waiting and hoping to die. Passers by stopped to offer assistance. A few asked if he was drunk or hung over and two asked if he wanted them to call an ambulance. Pookie was unable to raise his head and reply to any of them and so after a while they went on their way.

The pharmacist, a short balding man with a long pony tail and a Fu Manchu mustache began to care for him. First by providing some water and tissue and wiping the puke and mucus from Pookie’s face until he was able to do it himself and by trying to sooth him by explaining that he was probably suffering an attack food poisoning and he had some medicine that should help. Then he got Pookie to swallow a tablespoon of thick milky liquid that seemed to slow the vomiting. Finally, Pookie was able to force down some pills the pharmacist provided.

Pookie had no idea how long he crouched there unable to move, but eventually the vomiting stopped and still later he found that he could move his body a bit.

He raised himself up using his walking stick and stumbled into the pharmacy where he sat on a chair buried his head in his arms and rested on a table for quite some time. Maybe he dozed off.

After a while he felt a little better, instead of wishing for the release of death, he obsessed on the need to be home lying in his bed.

He raised his head.The pharmacist came over and patiently explained  administration of the medicines that he had assembled to treat the poisoning.

He called a moped driver to take Pookie back to the condo. Pookie got on the back convinced that he would become dizzy and fall off the back of the vehicle into traffic or even worse that he would vomit on top of the drivers head. Neither occurred and he got back to his apartment, fell strait-away into bed and slept until the following morning waking only to take his medicines.

Mopey Joe’s memories:

A CASE OF THE JOES

Giuseppe, (often shortened to Pepe or Pepino), translates from the Italian to the English as Joseph. Joe or Joey are the English nick names usually associated with Joseph. There were a lot of Joes in my family. There was Joe, Big Joe and Little Joe, Uncle Joe, Joe the Minister and Joey. I was Joey.

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring ...

19th century map of Southern Italy, featuring the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and the islands of Sardinia and Malta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Southern Italian tradition one named the first son after the paternal grandfather hence my name, Joe. The second son was named after the father. My father’s name was Giacomo, James in English although for most of his life he was called Jack or Blackie. My brother’s name of course is James. My grandfathers younger brother’s name was also James. My uncle’s name, the second born of my grandfather was Joe.The maternal grandfather only got the second name of the first-born son. My middle name is Eugene. That is the name of my mother’s father. Maybe his name was also bestowed on the third son. I do not know, I only have one brother.

How they name female children in Southern Italy I do not know either. Probably they name the eldest Maria. My sister is named Mary. My mothers eldest sister’s name was Maria. Her brother was named Joe (the minister). My grandfathers eldest sister was named Mary. On the other hand my fathers only sister was named Marcella. Go figure.

This could have made family gatherings even more confusing than they were. However, another Southern Italian tradition came to the rescue. Boys were given nick-names. Thankfully we used the names described above, otherwise I could have been named “Joe the Meatball” or some such like the mobsters in the movies. Girls did not have nicknames as far as I know.

This tradition, like all traditions of immigrants to the United States of America that were considered odd wes discarded by the first generation in our efforts to assimilate . Those traditions that remained were either, culinary (pizza and pasta), docile, like religious festivals, adaptable, like the supposed emotionalism of the Italian or heroic, like glorification of italian gangsters. So be it. I named my children Jason and Jessica like everyone else at the time. I doubt that they are even translatable into Italian. My relatives in Italy refer to them as Yason and Yessica.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe
The Princess Bride.

2. Today’s album cover:

(Your guess is as good as mine.)

Today’s quote:

“Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is, for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good.”
Niccolo Machiavelli,“Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius”

Italiano: Copertina originale della prima stam...

Italiano: Copertina originale della prima stampa del testo di Nicolo Machiavelli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 15, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1934. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast with its capital city in Birobitzhan with Yiddish as its official language was formed in the Russian Far East. In 2007 the First Birobitzahn International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture, was held.

Today’s news from Thailand:

The following item recently appeared in the Bangkok Post. It is not about Thailand but I hope you enjoy it anyway:

SYDNEY: an Australian woman was convicted of manslaughter yesterday after burning her abusive husband to death during an attempt to set fire to his penis.

Rajini Narayan, 46 said she set out to “purify” her husbands genitals but threw petrol on his back and set it alight when he sneered at her plan and called her a “fat, dumb bitch.”

“He was my hero, the man of my life, the love of my life”
she told the Adelaide court earlier.

“I was going to purify his penis, leave a mark there and he would remain with me. He would be mine.”

Narayan had told a neighbor she wanted to disfigure her husband’s penis so that no other woman would want him, after suspecting him of having an affair, prosecutors said.

The fire also burned down the family home.

Today’s chart:


http://www.good.is/post/americans-are-horribly-misinformed-about-who-has-money/?ref=nf

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER VI – A NOT SO BURIED TREASURE

After departing Ayutthaya we trundled across the remainder of the Central Lowlands and entered a small town called Batong. Here we planned to stop at a restaurant that Gun Girl said Is one or her favorites in all of Thailand.

We got off the main road and passed through several interconnected alleyways and arrived at a place called “Banmai Resort”. There had been no signs advertising the place that I saw anywhere during our drive through the town . Nevertheless, when we did arrive at the resort there were several large ones announcing that you indeed had arrived. It was difficult to assess from the outside what we arrived at since the entrance just beyond a wide spot in the alley, gave no indication of what existed inside and the signs were no help either, being written in Thai.

We entered into a large wide hall. On each side of the hall stood many glass fronted exhibition cases containing collections of dolls of all sorts and a huge variety of antique packaging of everything from laundry detergent to canned soup and a lot of other things besides.

The hall eventually ended in something like a small covered plaza that marked the connection between what seemed like several large old wooden buildings, giving the place a look and feel of a large open barn. In these buildings, each going off in a different direction, there appeared to be several places to eat, some quite large and some quite small and one containing only a single table. Some had separate kitchens and some not. On my right a raised room appeared containing a large sofa on which sat life-sized models of the “Blues Brothers”. Another restaurant extending off to the right seemed to be closed but the staff looked like they were preparing for a later opening.

In front of me, life-sized figures of Colonel Sanders and Marilyn Monroe stood on each side of the entrance to a large room stuffed full of curios like in an old antique shop.

What I saw all around me, crammed into every space appeared to me to be one of the largest collection of curios and Bric-a-brac I had ever seen. I felt as though I stumbled on the place that collections of, nick-knacks, tchotchke (Yiddish), Gotsadella (Southern Italian mispronunciation of the italian word for “dust catcher”) kitsch, and junk of all sort, go to die.

As many of you know, all my life I collected strange and useless things (all gone now, lost or given away) and pursued the purchase of such curios assiduously. I always searched out folk art museums and museums of strange obsessions wherever I travelled. But, I had rarely seen anything quite like the vastness and range of examples of useless human endeavor that I saw all around me today.

There were the obligatory collection of Betty Boop dolls, glassware of all sorts including commemorative drinking glasses, things made out of wood out of plastic, out of metal and just about every the substance imaginable, toys, metal trucks, trains and airplanes, photographs, old soda bottles in old bottle crates, perfume containers, a complete collection of Japanese nymphet figurines, movie posters, post cards, old condom packaging and on and on. Even a few antique foosball games and pinball machines appeared here and there among the clutter.

We all sat down at one of the larger eating places overlooking the swollen and flooded river flowing past the buildings. I wolfed down my meal and spent the rest of the time walking around in wonder examining the displays while my companions ate at a more leisurely pace and rested a bit to recover from the day’s travel.

I tried to identify if there were collections of memorabilia they may have missed. At first I thought they had failed to include a supply of those devotional lucky penises that the Thais like so much, but found a number of them tucked away in a display case in one of the back rooms. They had literally hundreds of commemorative plates. But, I could not find one of Jack Kennedy.

In 1968 while I was living in Italy, there was at the time a small industry in commemorative plates and figurines containing the images of both Kennedy and Pope John XIII together. I collected almost all of them – but, alas even that is now long gone. Anyway I could not find any examples in this hoard.

I tried to see if there were things I had acquired that they did not. I could not find a collection of walking sticks, but I was sure they had them somewhere.

Anyway, eventually Gun Girl decided the time had come to leave and I reluctantly followed her and her companions back into the automobile. We drove off into the darkness and the rain to find the place where we intended to spend the night.

Today’s Quote:

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
– The Princess Bride.

Note:

Today I begin my 71st year of life. I wish all of you live lives as interesting to you as mine has been to me so far. Then again, maybe not.

Ciao…

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 14, 2010

Today’s factoid:

1982, Sicilian mafioso Filippo Marchese is killed. He was in charge of what became known as the Room Of Death, a small apartment along the Piazza Sant Erasmo Road. Victims who stood in the way of the Corleonesi of Totò Riina during the Second Mafia War were lured there to be murdered, usually by being garroted. Their bodies were either dissolved in acid or chopped up and dumped out at sea. Marchese was also garroted and dissolved in acid like so many of his own victims. He was so elusive that the authorities did not learn of his death until the late 1980s through an informant.

Today’s Petrillo comment:

Please review the attached important announcement.

Regarding my last post, some of you have commented that they prefer reading the travelogues. Others of you like my Historical riffs and observation on local customs best. Most of you who have commented say that they like the “Today’s factoid” while they could do without “Today’s Quote” (this surprises me since I rather enjoy the discovery of the “bon mot”).

A number of you have found my recitations of political or social opinion or observations about my body and those of others and the like, an acquired taste. Ruth has called them my “epistles”. Others of you have called them “weird” (a comment I alas have received quite often). Irwin, in his satirical survey a few weeks back that I shared with you requested, “keep me off the list that contains gross descriptions of politicians, Thai food, the man on the street, and fat german female tourists, fully clothed or (worse) semi-nude.”

I fell a little like the media mogul juggling his lineup of shows so that he can make even more money than he needs in order to use it to corrupt the political process. I on the other hand do this for fun although, I must admit, I would love to be able to corrupt the political process too.

And so, until oh maybe the next post, I shall move my travelogue back to the front page. But, I intend to keep the titles and chapter headings which I have grown to like.

“Today’s quote”, will drop to the end just before “Ciao” and any attachments.

My epistles will now be relegated to attachments, however they will hereafter be entitled, Pookie’s Epistle to the “Thai email list” number X + __. This now being the first will be numbered X + 1.

Pookie’s continuing adventures in Thailand:

NOWHERE AND BACK AGAIN

CHAPTER V: BEWILDERED IN AYUTTHAYA

The next morning I left my room and went down to the lobby to have coffee and to wait for the others. I assumed I would be waiting for a while since they had gone night-clubbing last night and did not return until about four in the morning.

It had rained last night and the busy street in front of the motel was flooded with water deep enough to entirely cover the tires of an ordinary car.

As I drank my coffee, I watched as the different vehicles drove or at times were pushed through the water. The motor bikes were especially interesting. Some of the riders would ride or walk their bikes through the water drenching their trousers or dresses. Others however would motor through the water happily perched on their seat, the soles of their feet gaily resting on the handlebars. Every now and then a motor bike would be swamped by the wake thrown off by the by the large buses rushing to wherever, as though there were no flood.

Eventually my companions awakened, we bid good-by to Lek and started off bleary eyed to cross the central.lowlands once again.

We reached Ayutthaya a little after midday and drove into the city.

Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand or Siam as it was then called from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth centuries when it was overthrown and destroyed by the invading Burmese. It was more or less governed as an absolute monarchy where much of the population lived in a form of serfhood or slavery. The kings in addition to their political status were also the religious leaders of the country, a lot like the Renaissance Popes in the Papal States. A number of the kings saw their monkish life to be at least as, if not more important than the affairs of state. Coupled with the fact that there lacked clear rules for succession when the old king died, the kingdom was often in a state of turmoil as one general or another or one royal prince or another rebelled and as often as not usurped the throne.

Nevertheless, the kingdom lasted for over 400 years as the dominant force in all or South East Asia (more than twice as long as the United States) until it was overthrown. During its heyday, it controlled in one way or another, in addition to the territory of modern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and much of Burma.

At one time during the Seventeenth Century the city of Ayutthaya was reputed to be the largest city in the world with about one million inhabitants. Now all that is left are the red brick ruins of the royal precincts standing like Ozymandias (See today’s attachment) as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of fame and power.

We drove around for a while looking for something, up and down the same back roads, past the same corners, calls were made, maps consulted, pedestrians interrogated. When I inquired as to what was going on, I was told that a friend of ours, Jo-Jo, who used to work at AVA now lived in this city with her husband and child.

Eventually it seemed we found what we were looking for in the center of the ruins of the old Siamese capital. We pulled to the curb and waited, then drove off and returned to the same spot by a different route. We waited again for about a minute than drove off again, taking a third route and returning again to the same spot for the same minute or so and then drove off again, this time not returning but proceeding back onto the highway and continuing our transect of the lowlands.

I did not ask what all the driving and stopping was about deciding that sometimes it is more interesting not knowing something than knowing it.

Today’s quote:

Buttercup: “We’ll never survive!”
Westley: “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– The Princess Bride

Today’s attachment:

OZYMANDIAS

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818)

If one wants to compare good poetry with the not so good compare Shelly’s poem above with the one below both published a month apart and covering the exact same subject.

In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

—Horace Smith.

Of course, with a name like Percy Bysshe Shelly one would have to grow up to be a poet,… or a serial killer. Someone named Horace Smith on the other hand probably became an accountant.

Ciao…

Today’s bonus attachment:

As a proud father, I send this along to you. It is the best birthday present I could imagine.

Tauscher Letter

_________________________________________________

Comments regarding the Post:

From Ruth Galanter:

Very cool about Jessica!
Remind me what ISN stands for.

My response:

International Security and Nonproliferation Bureau.

What makes me especially proud is not only the quality of the report, but that it sets the standard to be followed for all countries that are signatories to the Biological Weapons Non-proliferation Treaty. As far as I can tell, it is only through the amassing of these CBM reports can the provisions of the Treaty be implemented.

As a collateral benefit of the report, the institutions, resources and mechanisms mentioned in it are also applicable to the response to natural occurring plagues and epidemics.

One of the important although unmentioned impacts of the report is that it represents one of the few times that the multiple agencies in the national security (including international agencies) field have worked cooperatively with one another and with ,private and academic laboratories and scientists to produce something like this. I would guess that as long as the people involved remain in their positions with their current institutions, the promise of continued cooperation in times of crises may become a reality.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment by 3Th. February 5, 2011

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. ~Aristotle

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1958: The 64-color assortment of Crayola crayons—with a built-in sharpener—debuts.


TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

For the past week or so the news in Thailand has focused on the so-called conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over 4.5 hecters of land on which sits an ancient Khmer temple declared by the UN to be an international historical site. The ardent nationalist wing of the ruling coalition has called for war with Cambodia is necessary in order to preserve the Honor of Thailand and the King. They, the nationalists, of course have totally ignored the conflict in the south of Thailand where three whole provinces threaten to secede from the country.

The reason for this bit of selected blindness has more to do with the potential upcoming election than the country’s honor. It is in the long cherished and more often than not successful political ploy of the extreme right to manufacture a crisis attributed to a non-existent foreign threat in order to scare the general public to supporting their candidates. We witnessed it in the most recent US elections in which the threat of invasion by hordes of illegal Mexicans played so heavily in the election debate. Of course, after the election, the threat disappears almost as though electing the right people itself solved the problem. The Mexicans may still be coming but it is no longer as great a problem because the right people are there to protect us.

Anyway all this turmoil has spawned talk of a military coup which of course the military does not deny, if the good of the country requires. (Translation, if the Red Shirts may win the election or the current government appeases the opposition too much in order to win reelection, the military will act to carry out their duty to protect King and country.)

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

In my previous email I indicated my creeping ennui and the risk it implied for me to do something foolish to banish it. Well, of course right on time, things changed. First SWAC proposed that I leave Paradise by the Sea and relocate to an apartment in Bangkok that she would provide me rent free in which Hayden and I would live so that I could act as Hayden’s part-time tutor and nanny during his next semester in school. Since that appeared to be something at least as foolish as falling in love, I decided to look into it.

The apartment in question turns out to be in a building slated to be torn down within a year or so. It is as large (three bedroom three bath) as it is run down. On the other hand it is almost across the street from Hayden’s new school and in walking distance of Nana Plaza (If Pattaya sits on the outskirts of hell, Nana Plaza is what one finds within after passing through hell’s gates.)

Hayden’s school appears to be one of the better bi-lingual schools in BKK.

Of course, I must assume that this is all a trick. Sort of like Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football. (I suspect this is all a ruse to get back some sheets she alleges that I improperly took from the Chiang Mai house several months ago.) Nevertheless, just like CB since I do not know for sure what the trick is this time, I will probably try kicking the football again. In order to protect myself, I have retained my residence in Paradise by the Sea.

Another incipient change in my life resulted from my annual check-up this past week. It appears that in order to forestall spending the remainder of my life hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine, I require an operation. The cost of the operation here although much less than it would be in the US is still prohibitive given that I have no medical insurance here, so I will have to return to the US to take advantage of medicare. I am hoping I can delay my return until spring when I had planned to return anyway. Tests this coming week will let me know if that is possible.

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

In my last chapter, I mentioned a new character, Charlie Bowman. I had no idea who he was until I wrote him in. Now I have to figure out if he has any role to play at all. He could have been just about anybody. Imagine if I chose David or even Vince’s new secretary as Stephanie Coign’s “good friend”. Wholly cat-scat, what a concept, a story where the characters are interchangeable.

So far the only action in my attempted novel has been Sam’s death. I have to liven things up soon. Maybe Vince punches someone, or he is punched by someone, probably the latter. Elmore Leonard described his writing style as “…leaving out what the reader usually skips over”. I have been leaving out a lot, to no avail. One would think that given everything he has learned so far that Vince should simply quit and go back to retirement in Thailand. Usually Leonard’s main character has something special about him, he had done something or had failed miserably. Vince, I am afraid is an “almost man”. Whatever he does seems to be almost but not quite good enough, so he probably will not quit and stumble along simply trying to find out what he had gotten himself into. He has neither the balls nor the good sense to leave when things look so bad.

I should try writing some stories about “Vince ‘Mr. Almost’ Vicino”. A person like most of us who almost succeeds or almost fails or almost lives.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Sayings from ‘The Princess Bride.’

Alas, it appears that I have come to the end of the quotes from The Princess Bride, so I will leave you with one of the last lines in the movie:

Grandpa: [reading to his grandson] Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The end.

b. Today’s cognitive bias:

Just-world phenomenon – the tendency to rationalize an inexplicable injustice by searching for things that the victim might have done to deserve it.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, ‘Stop! Don’t do it!’
‘Why shouldn’t I?’ he said.
I said, ‘Well, there’s so much to live for!’
He said, ‘Like what?’
I said, ‘Well…are you religious or atheist?’
He said, ‘Religious.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?’
He said, ‘Christian.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?’
He said, ‘Protestant.’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?’
He said, ‘Baptist!’
I said, ‘Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist church of god or Baptist church of the lord?’
He said, ‘Baptist church of god!’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you original Baptist church of god, or are you reformed Baptist church of god?’
He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god!’
I said, ‘Me too! Are you reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?’
He said, ‘Reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!’
I said, ‘Die, heretic scum,’ and pushed him off.
~Emo Phillips

Categories: January 2011 through March 2011 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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