Posts Tagged With: Trenz Pruca

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 1 Cold Tits 0004 (February 14 2015)

 

“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Happy Birthday, Amanda and Hiromi.

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

The skies are overcast and the first rains in Northern California in over a month are forecast. It has gotten colder also. February is the most unpleasant of months.

Happily, because of HRM’s mother’s imminent arrival and her plans to stay for about six weeks, I will be free to leave the Golden Hills and travel a bit. Where should I go? Mendocino? I probably will for a while. LA? Where would I stay? Camping in the Sierras? Too cold and too uncomfortable at my age. I could spend a month in Thailand, but it might be too expensive for me right now. I’ll probably end up staying here and watch the moss grow on the north side of my body.
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The rains have driven me inside the house, no swimming or walks, no dinners at restaurants, no movies except those on television, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts and things like that. The old Technicolor films look great on our new giant curved screen TV. It does not improve either the scripts or the acting, however.

The winds have been severe in Northern California these past two days. Here in EDH, Hayden could not sleep one night fearing that one of the trees in the yard would be toppled on to the house. In Mendocino, the winds blew down a tree crushing the water tank and out-buildings at my sister’s house.
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Driven indoors by the rains and tired of bad movies and worse novels, I decided to curl up with a little Spinoza. Spinoza’s first name is either Bento as his Portuguese family named him or Baruch as the Dutch Jewish community referred to him or Benedictus as Christians called him. He lived in the mid-Seventeenth Century at the start of the Enlightenment. Many consider him along with Bacon, Descartes and Locke one of its founders. To me at least, I think Spinoza and Francis of Assisi, are two of the few Saints produced in the 1200 years of western historical tradition (a small list that includes Groucho Marx, Hildegard of Bingen and Maria Callas). Although they may appear to many to be polar opposites, one rational the other transcendental; one believed in the avoidance of pain; and the other welcomed it; one thought this life is all one has to live and the other welcomed an afterlife, they have many similarities.

They both believed God and Nature were one and that to live a moral life we should behave frugally, and treat generously ourselves, humanity and nature. They also believed acceptance of ritual whether religious or social, although they may be necessary for one to live comfortably in one’s culture, are often independent of and at times inimical to a moral, kind and generous life. Spinoza refused to accept that the rituals of his Jewish culture were synonymous with rational thought and morality and so willingly suffered excommunication (cherem) from the society he loved. Francis, who rejected the materialism of his society as inconsistent with his ecstatic morality, also separated himself from those he loved.

If Francis is the patron saint of the environment, Spinoza most certainly could be considered the patron saint of science.

Spinoza Factoids: On the Chair’s table in the Dutch Parliament, Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus is one of three books, thought to be most representative of the beliefs and ethics of the Dutch people; the other two are the Bible and the Quran.

In the early Star Trek episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the antagonist, Gary Mitchell is seen reading Spinoza and the dialogue implies that Captain Kirk also may have read him as part of his studies at Star-fleet Academy (which may be the reason why to me Kirk always appeared a bit constipated. On the other hand I am sure Captain Picard read Spinoza and he was better off for it.)
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Alas, since the winds and rains of last week have blown down a large tree destroying the water tanks and out-buildings at my sister’s home in Mendocino, they are now living in a rented room nearby. It looks like I will not be visiting with them for the next few weeks unless they need me to help clear the damage. George is deeply involved with the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department and is full of stories about the life and times of volunteer fire and rescue people in a small town on the remote edge of the continent.
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The sun and the clear blue skies have returned over EDH. Because of the recent rains, the golden hills are no longer gold but are now green. I have resumed spending my days swimming and moping about.
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Pookie at the pool
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I spoke to the little masseuse by telephone. She has retired from her job as a masseuse at the health center. Unfortunately, her pension only pays her $60 a month, so she spends her nights knitting and her days trying to sell the wool scarves and caps she makes along the streets of BKK. Wasn’t there a song about a young girl who sold flowers on the sidewalk? Here we have an old woman trying to sell wool scarves in the tropics. Her greatest fear is not that she may fail in her commercial endeavors and perhaps become homeless, but that she will do so alone.
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A large egret has replaced the great blue heron as a sometime visitor to the duck pond.
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Overall today, February 13 has been a pretty pleasant day for me. It is also the first day of Lupercalia and the feast day of Absalom Jones and Beatrice of Ornacieux.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

“…we are dealing with a fundamental truth of all social life, including all organized power systems or organized force: any organization functions effectively only against organizations which operate in terms similar to itself, yet, in the final analysis, every organization functions only when it can influence or control the moment-to-moment lives of concrete individuals. It is, in fact, impossible for any organization to do this except to the extent that the society as a mass of people tacitly accepts and supports, not only the legitimacy of what is being done in any case, but the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.”
Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

I suspect that here in the US, at least in so far as government is concerned, we have begun to question both “…the legitimacy of what is being done…” and, “…the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.” At the same time and perhaps in part its cause, it seems as though in America and Europe at least, society increasingly is dominated by banking institutions and corporations and not government. If so, then the fracturing of society into large private entities that control the livelihood of individuals who make up those organizations appears not only to be a possibility but well advanced. If so, then government will be reduced only to providing that thin level of security that the banking and corporate entities are unwilling or unable to supply themselves.

This structure of society, the privatization of the community and its culture have historically always been the hallmarks of what we call, “Dark Ages.” The European Dark Ages (600AD to 1000AD) the pre-classical dark ages in the Mediterranean basin and the Near-East (1100BC to 600BC) and just about all others that we know about are identified by the breakdown of cohesive societies with an organizing principle that includes an overall governing system that we have come to define as a State and its replacement with predominately private entities. This stateless system, usually accompanied by a decades and often centuries-long depression, results in the disappearance or at least significant reduction in non-immediately productive activities such as education, art, and science and their replacement with a rigorous focus on the rudimentary development of technological improvements to production, especially of luxury and military items. It also often signals a rise in religious fanaticism.

We are seeing, in the US at this time, wealth shifting (and also in a way shrinking) from individuals as a whole to these private entities and those who control them while investments in basic education, arts, and science decrease. On the other hand, investments are still being made, at least temporarily, to expand the productivity of existing technology especially of luxury and military hardware. Alas, this also may collapse when the sources of unearned wealth dry up. In the past this point occurred when climatic conditions or political ones ceased to allow the acquisition of cheap resources by the society; that is when conquest and resource theft of less powerful societies became too costly, or the productivity of these societies grew too low to make acquisition of their resources worthwhile.

DAILY FACTOIDS:

300BC — The school of Epicurus was the only school in Athens that admitted women and slaves.

1919 — Adolf Hitler became member 555 of the German Workers Party, the predecessor of the Nazi Party. (In fact, he was actually only the 55th member. For propaganda purposes at the time, the Party wanted the membership to appear larger.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

A. So that’s how it happened:
threeguesses

B. Testosterone Chronicles:

The most important issue facing the world today is the liberation of women and their movement into positions of power in all significant institutions. Without that, issues like climate change, war and poverty will in all likelihood not be effectively addressed in our time.

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

“Speech to a man is not an invitation to a dialog as it is with women but the declaration, in a simple laconic statement, of their world view at the moment as uncontested fact — even if no one else either agrees or has any idea what he is talking about.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than have syntax. Or semicolons. I use a whole lot of half-assed semicolons; there was one of them just now; that was a semicolon after “semicolons,” and another one after “now.”

And another thing. Ernest Hemingway would have died rather than get old. And he did. He shot himself. A short sentence. Anything rather than a long sentence, a life sentence. Death sentences are short and very, very manly. Life sentences aren’t. They go on and on, all full of syntax and qualifying clauses and confusing references and getting old.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

TODAY’S CHART:

language family tree_cropped
I love this graphic.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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A Rainbow in the Lake at Town Center

 

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Categories: January through March 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 4 Pookie 0003 (November 19, 2014)

“Most wealthy individuals are scoundrels. Only very few admit it and they usually are already in jail.”

Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

While I nursed the remnants of my bronchitis, Nikki took over entertaining HRM. He left on Tuesday morning. Happily I am feeling better since my cough has, for the most part, disappeared.

The last days of autumn have come to the Golden Foothills. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn from deep red to brown. A carpet of fallen leaves covers everything not yet cleared by leaf blowers.

While on my daily walk, I observed the large Blue Heron that usually stays on the far side of the Duck Pond standing on the near side beside the path on which I was walking. As I got close it unlimbered its huge wings, took flight and slowly flapped back across the pond to its usual post. It was quite beautiful.

B. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN ITALY

1. A brief stay in Rome

I returned to Rome for two days before continuing on the Milan where I would catch the plane back to the US. I checked back in to the pensione on Via San Basilio, the place where they played Gregorian Chant at breakfast.
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Via San Basilio just off the Via Veneto

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My spartan room

During my time here with my sister a week ago, she indicated her wish to visit St Maria Maggiore Cathedral one of the four major Basilicas of Rome. Unfortunately, we were unable to get to it during our short stay, so I decided to visit it and take some photographs for her.

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The façade

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The interior

Despite its history and artistic significance, it is not my favorite of the basilicas. I prefer the Lateran Basilica for its dark and gloomy appearance and equally dark and gloomy history.
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The Lateran

The following day I took the train to Milan.
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The old walls by the train station.

2. Milano for a day

After a three-hour train ride I arrived in Milan and took a bus to Busto where Nikki lives. The next day we had lunch in Milan with Marco Gigi’s son at Gambero Rosso (The Red Shrimp) where we enjoyed a splendid risotto. After that, we went to see the restored “Last Supper,” that Nikki had never seen.

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Pookie in Milan

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The “Red Shrimp” restaurant (Gambero Rosso)
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Nikki, Marco and I at lunch

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The Church next to the refectory containing Last Supper. (Dome designed by Bramante)

The next morning after breakfast we flew off to the US.

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Our breakfast place in Busto

Traveling by plane with Nikki has its benefits. We get assistance through customs and passport control, help in making connections and better seats. The most unpleasant part of the trip was the huge delays on the Bay Bridge in SF at midnight.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

The Little Car that did.

England

In 1959 Britain’s Trojan Cars Ltd under license from Germany’s Heinkel Flugzuegwerke began selling the Heinkel’s bubble car as the Trojan 200. The car had three wheels and weighed a little over 1000 pounds. It had a one-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled engine that produced a grand total of 9 horse power that could push the vehicle to a top speed of a little more than 50 miles per hour over level ground. Portions of the automobile were constructed from surplus WWII airplane parts.

In 1968 I was living in London with my two and a half-year old son Jason and decided it was time to visit my relatives in Sicily. No one from my side of the family had visited there since 1928 when three of the four siblings of my maternal grandparents emigrated to America. So, one rainy and foggy London morning I, with my son and my luggage, walked to a nearby used car dealer and bought a Trojan 200. I bought it not because I thought about whether it was suitable for the trip, but because I liked the way it looked and it was cheap.
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The Trojan 200

I immediately piled my son, the one suitcase that held my worldly goods and a huge supply of disposable diapers into the vehicle and took off in what I had hoped would prove be the general direction of Sicily.

The first problem we faced was that the British drive on the right side of the road and I exited the used car lot directly into a busy one-way street in the opposite direction of traffic. There was not enough time to panic (as I am sure I would have preferred) so, I maneuvered my way through screeching tires and blaring horns until I reached a place where I could move on to the proper lane.

The second was escaping from the maze that is London in the general direction of Dover where I was reasonably confident I could find a ferry that would transport us to the continent. By keeping the River Thames on the right side of me, I was able to make my way to the edge of the city where I located signs pointing the way to the coast.

We soon found ourselves driving along a pleasant rural road heading toward our goal when suddenly the car stopped cold. I tried to suppress my worry by attending first to changing my son’s diaper and carefully depositing the used one behind a nearby bush. (In 1968 I had not yet become environmentally conscious or for that matter socially responsible.) We then went for a short walk to observe the visual pleasures of the English countryside. Upon our return, I placed my son back in the car, went to the rear of the vehicle and opened the cover to the engine. There I saw staring back at me a grimy little thing that seemed too small to propel a toy wagon much less an automobile.

My working thesis was that by staring at it long enough I would either be able to figure out what was wrong or frighten it sufficiently to scare it into operating again. After a few long minutes, it was clear the first option was not going to work, so I closed the cover, returned to the cab and turned the key to start the engine. I do not recall whether or not I was surprised but the engine started right up and we soon found ourselves back on the road to our destination.

Throughout the rest of the trip this mysterious stoppage would occur now and then. Rather than worrying, it gave my son and I the opportunity to commune together on beauties of whatever countryside we were passing through at the time.

Not too long after, we arrived at Dover or Folkestone or wherever the ferries docked. I originally wanted to take one of the hovercraft that had been newly introduced but the fare was too expensive. So, we parked in the cavernous hold of one of the regular ferries and immediately went up to the top floor and sat ourselves in front by the big glass window.

The sun had just parted the clouds leaving us in glorious sunshine. We chattered happily to each other and bounced up and down on our seats as the boat sped across the silver water towards the dark line of the continent on the horizon before us. (To be continued)

PEPE’S POTPURRI:

Arrogance and Futility in Action:

Recently I sent a series of four letters to the editor that were published in The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s premier English language newspaper. They pro-ported to advise the government on how they should draft their new Constitution. The following was the first:

“To the editor of the Bangkok Post:

Regarding the current struggle in Thailand to draft a new constitution, and having drafted and administered many laws, rules and regulations myself, I respectfully suggest the drafters consider the following policies formulated several years ago by professor Carroll Quigley of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Bill Clinton in his acceptance of the Presidential nomination said this of Professor Quigley:

‘As a teenager, I heard John Kennedy’s summons to citizenship. And then, as a student at Georgetown I heard that call clarified by a professor named Carroll Quigley, who said to us that America was the greatest nation in history because our people had always believed in two things: that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.’

Among Professor Quigley’s fundamental requirements for any constitutional democracy are the preservation of a right to dissent and the protection of minority rights. Dissent I will take up in a later letter but as for minority rights Quigley states:

‘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 essential half of this definition then, is the second half, minority rights. What that means is that a minority has those rights which enable it to work within the system and to build itself up to be a majority and replace the governing majority. Moderate deviations from majority rule do not usually undermine democracy. In fact, absolute democracy does not really exist at the nation-state level. For example, a modest poll tax as a qualification for voting would be an infringement on the principle of majority rule but restrictions on the suffrage would have to go pretty far before they really abrogated democracy. On the other hand relatively slight restrictions on minority rights — the freedoms of speech, assembly, and other rights — would rapidly erode democracy.’

Thus any constitution whatever democratic variations it may take toward franchise, must provide a strong list of those rights reserved to the individual, such as freedom of expression, and assembly as well as security of their person and in their home. These and all similar individual rights should be clearly spelled out in the document.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“I used to tell my students that the important thing in any election is the nomination. And when you come to the election itself, it doesn’t matter who votes, what’s important is who didn’t vote. Elections in the United States are increasingly decided by people who didn’t vote because they’re turned off for various reasons.”
Carroll Quigley

TODAY’S CARTOON:
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Categories: October through December 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. December 2, 2011

Historically, Populism like most mass movements scours up both the worst and the best in a society as it scrapes across its depths. It is prompted by a deep mistrust of a community’s most powerful individuals and institutions who, its adherents believe, have misused and mishandled the trust they had been granted, violated the social contract if you will. As the indefatigable realist Machiavelli pointed out; on the broad areas of public policy the general populace is almost always more reliable than the élite.
Trenz Pruca

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

1.


2. Ann Coulter to a gathering of gay conservatives:

“Marriage is not a civil right — you’re not black.”

1. is written by Borowitz to mock Gingrich’s post Clintonian* morality, 2. is not a joke.

*Shouldn’t we be thankful to Bill Clinton for his successful efforts to liberate adulterous politicians so that they are now free to come out of the closet and unashamedly run for political office?

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. First Century AD:

a. Early terrorists, known as Sicarii or “dagger-men” were an extremist group that opposed Roman leadership over the Jews and wanted to take back Jerusalem. The Sicarii were famous for using small daggers and stealth tactics to murder their enemies in crowded places before slipping away.

b. Most men and women in Ancient Rome wore a basic undergarment called a tunic, which they belted at the waist. The length and design of the tunic distinguished the wearer’s social status. Elite Romans wore longer tunics with stripes, whereas slaves and manual laborers generally wore tunics that came above the knee and allowed freer movement. Only male citizens were allowed to wear the togas. These draped over the body on top of the tunic.

c. Only about 75% of babies in the first century AD survived their first year; half of all children died before the age of 10. It was also up to the father to decide whether or not the family would keep a newborn baby. If the baby was deformed or the family could not afford to keep it, the baby would be abandoned in the street where someone might take it in as a slave or servant.

2. September 1986 (Who is our enemy?):

James Atwood, an American with strong CIA links and Gerhard Mertins, a former senior Nazi officer and arms trader company executive, supplied weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Iran-Contra was the highly controversial and illegal arrangement whereby the US sold weapons to Iran – then run by the hard-line Islāmic regime of Ayatollah Khomeini and subject to a global arms embargo — and used the proceeds to fund right-wing Nicaraguan rebels who were fighting to overthrow the left-wing Sandinista government.

Ah, the wonders of outsourcing; do we really want to privatize National Defense?

3. Japan Inc. How they do it:

A 92-year-old japanese blue chip company falsified financial statements for two decades, possibly with  cooperation from auditors, to hide over $1 billion in losses, which weren’t uncovered until the company’s first-ever foreign CEO took a second look at the accounting.

Is that how it is done on Wall Street too?

4. Einsatzgruppen Operational Situation Reports #156:
“A major Jewish action took place on November 23, 1941, after the Jewish population, on the previous day, had been requested by means of posters to assemble. In all, 1,538 Jews were shot. Their clothing was handed over to the mayor of Poltava who gave special priority to ethnic Germans when distributing it.”

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND AND AMERICA:

1. To pee or not to pee:

The Nation, the tabloid option of the two main english language newspapers in Thailand noted that during Prime Minister Princess Lucky Girl’s absence due to an attack of food poisoning, a cabinet meeting was held chaired by the First Deputy Prime Minister. When the First Deputy Prime Minister stepped out to take a pee (as reported), he handed the gavel over to Cheeky Chalerm until his return. Since Cheeky Chalerm is the Third Deputy Prime Minister, the Thai and English language media erupted with rumor and speculation as to why the First Deputy Prime Minister did not pass the gavel to the Second Deputy Prime Minister who also attended the Cabinet meeting. The weight of opinion is that it signifies Cheeky Chalerm‘s move against his competitors (and no I do not know how many deputy prime ministers there are in the Thai Government).

I have it on good authority that Obama does not allow pee breaks during Cabinet meetings, thereby pissing [so to speak] everyone off and shortening the meetings considerably.

2. A hero by any other name:

The media in Thailand has tried to focus attention on some of the many heroes who acted with valor during the recent crisis. Recently they zeroed in on a policeman who had waded through the rising waters pushing a small boat containing a matronly woman until it reached a place that allowed the woman to step out on to dry land. When the woman offered a gratuity to the policeman he refused. Even when she tried to leave the money behind in the boat the policeman surreptitiously slipped the tip back into the woman’s purse.

Now I applaud the cop who did his duty and undoubtedly deserves commendation as do many others who behaved selflessly during this crisis. However I simply wish to note that it appears the press in this case may be implying that in Thailand a policeman refusing a gratuity truly is a newsworthy event. It would be as newsworthy as a Wall Street investment banker refusing his fee because the investors in the instruments he was peddling lost their money.

3. Good US economic news for a change:

ADP JOBS REPORT SMASHES EXPECTATIONS AT 206K: Analysts were expecting 130K new jobs, but instead ADP just reported that there were 206K new private payrolls added in November. Also the previous month was revised up from 110K to 130K. Combine that with the big global coördinated intervention among the world’s central banks, and you’ve got the brew for a gigantic rally today. S&P futures are up 2.7%…

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Having finally shook the effects of jet lag, one day, I set out to accomplish a number of things. Due to my absence from the country, I had forgotten the rule that in Thailand a westerner can accomplish no more than one significant thing per day (if that much). I had planned to visit the Italian consulate to obtain the visa application forms for the Little Masseuse, do some banking at the Bangkok Bank branch near the health club on Sukhumvit Soi 11 and have a long lunch with a very attractive young woman.

Actually the attractive young lady is my most recent wife of five tears or so. Although we had not seen each other for well over a year, we have spoken over the phone now and then. Before leaving on my most recent trip to the US, she called to croon about her affection for me and how much she wanted to get together with me again and asked me to bring her back a bottle of DKNY perfume. Now you need to understand that when I first met her she was a beautiful 18-year-old and when I last saw her 10 years or so later she was a beautiful 28-year-old woman. 10 years or so ago, I was a relatively vigorous old man with some financial resources. Now a decade later, I am a very old man, virtually penniless and well I guess you could call it, performance deficient.

So I thought why would this still attractive woman want to get back with me again? This is Thailand after all, my age and physical capabilities are irrelevant but my absence of financial resources and prospects are an insurmountable obstacle. So what is she after? Being a muslim married to an infidel and burdened with an illegitimate child, I assume her remarriage prospects among men of her faith is nil. It could be she wants to use her marriage to me as a way to emigrate to the US, but that seems far-fetched. She has several times these past two years suggested we meet but whenever we agree to do so, at the last-minute she cancels or doesn’t show up.

Nevertheless when two days ago she telephoned and asked to meet, curiosity, as always, got the better of good sense and so I agreed to have lunch with her.

Before setting out for the bank, I called to confirm. She said she was too ill.

When I got to the bank I found it did not open until 11AM so I waited. It took about an hour to transact my simple business resulting in me being unable to get to the consulate before it closed for the day. So, satisfied at having accomplished my one thing for the day, I headed back to my apartment for a nap.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Editor’s note: Now I know you are wondering what has Isabella’s shorts all in a knot and eager to know if Vince scores, but I am afraid this edition of “This and that…” has gotten too long so you will just have to wait a few days.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Differences between Americans and Western Europeans (according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project (via Patrick.net))

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

1.

Image unavailable at this time.

2. See c. below.

3. The Occupy protestors are forcibly suppressed while:

Banks have illegally foreclosed on nearly 5,000 military members according to the US Comptroller of the Currency.

I get it, the Bankers have jobs while the protestors supposedly do not.–No? Then because the Bankers wears suits? Cologne? Are true American Patriots?

c. Excerpts from Bill Moyer’s (America’s last true patriot) speech to Citizens United:

“…on August 23, 1971, a corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell – a board member of the death-dealing tobacco giant Philip Morris and a future Justice of the United States Supreme Court – sent a confidential memorandum to his friends at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down. ”

Let’s recall the context: [By 1971 as a result of citizen activism and resulting legislation by both parties] Big Business was being forced to clean up its act. It was bad enough to corporate interests that Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had sustained its momentum through Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. Suddenly this young lawyer named Ralph Nader arrived on the scene, arousing consumers with articles, speeches, and above all, an expose of the automobile industry, Unsafe at Any Speed. Young activists flocked to work with him on health, environmental, and economic concerns. Congress was moved to act. Even Republicans signed on. In l970 President Richard Nixon put his signature on the National Environmental Policy Act and named a White House Council to promote environmental quality. A few months later millions of Americans turned out for Earth Day. Nixon then agreed to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress acted swiftly to pass tough new amendments to the Clean Air Act and the EPA announced the first air pollution standards. There were new regulations directed at lead paint and pesticides. Corporations were no longer getting away with murder.

And Lewis Powell was shocked — shocked! — at what he called “an attack on the American free enterprise system.” Not just from a few “extremists of the left,” he said, but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including the media, politicians, and leading intellectuals. Fight back, and fight back hard, he urged his compatriots. Build a movement. Set speakers loose across the country. Take on prominent institutions of public opinion — especially the universities, the media, and the courts. Keep television programs under “constant surveillance.” And above all, recognize that political power must be “assiduously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination” and “without embarrassment.”

Powell imagined the US Chamber of Commerce as a council of war. Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” they should create new think tanks, legal foundations, and front groups of every stripe. It would take years, but these groups could, he said, be aligned into a united front (that) would only come about through “careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

You have to admit it was a brilliant strategy. Although Powell may not have seen it at the time, he was pointing America toward plutocracy, where political power is derived from the wealthy and controlled by the wealthy to protect their wealth. As the only countervailing power to private greed and power, democracy could no longer be tolerated.

While Nader’s recruitment of citizens to champion democracy was open for all to see — depended, in fact, on public participation – Powell’s memo was for certain eyes only, those with the means and will to answer his call to arms. The public wouldn’t learn of the memo until after Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court and the enterprising reporter Jack Anderson obtained a copy, writing that it may have been the reason for Powell’s appointment.”

d. How To Talk Like A Republican (the new American Lexicon):

From Frank Luntz Republican Party consultant in a memorandum to Party leaders and regulars:

Although all lawyers have a lot to apologize for, from my experience the ordinary citizen has far more to fear from the “Corporate Lawyer” than the “Personal Injury Lawyer,” but then Corporate Lawyers probably on the whole vote and contribute much more to the Republican Party than to the Democrats.

e. Strange Apocalypses:

STRANGELETS

Quantum mechanics contains lots of frightening possibilities. Among them is a particle called a strangelet that can transform any other particle into a copy of itself. In just a few hours, a small chunk of these could turn a planet into a featureless mass of strangelets. Everything that planet was would be no more.

Danger sign: Everything around you starts cooking, releasing heat.

f. Department of abasement, apology and correction:

I have mentioned that at times I have received criticisms of some things I may have posted here. I also mentioned that I receive many, many emails containing things I do not agree with and even find their content objectionable (but not the porn – that’s a man thing). I would like to make clear that I am not signaling in any way those posts should stop. God no, I enjoy each one. I also find that they encourage me and provide me with content. In addition, I find, as anyone should, that criticism is sometimes beneficial, . While I may not agree with the comments they often highlight gaps or seeming bias in my thinking. So please keep them coming.

g. Testosterone Chronicles:

Sex adds years to your life. Researchers at Queens University in Belfast followed about 1,000 middle-aged men over 10 years and found that males with a high frequency of orgasms lived twice as long as those who did not experience pleasure.

I love science.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“we want a virgin to do a hooker’s job.”
Lori Klein, an Arizona State Senator and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s Arizona state chairman defending her candidate.

TODAY’S CHART:

Is it because the continuation of the Payroll Tax Cut benefits the rich so little that the GOP opposes it, or is it just because Obama supports it? Oh, in case some believe that the GOP opposition to continuing the tax cut is because of its budgetary implications, forget it. Continuation of the Bush Tax cut for those in the highest income bracket (the very wealthy) has a much greater impact on the budget deficit.

TODAY’S MAP:


TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


TODAY’S POSTER:

TODAY’S CARTOON:

Categories: October 2011 through December 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by, 3TH. August 24, 2011

“It’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Warren Buffett

TODAY’S FACTOID:

It now costs the US $694,000 to keep each service member in Afghanistan, up from $667,000 in 2009. In Iraq, the cost has gone from $512,000 in 2007 to $802,000 this year.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/money-spent-in-afghanistan-could-buy-at-home-2011-8#ixzz1VGSYFTUR


George Bush could be considered the American version of Leonid Brezhnev, in that he attempted to fight a war without asking the country’s power élite to share in its costs and ignored evidence of unbridled war profiteering. About a decade after its misadventure in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union collapsed. Could it happen here?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND :

1. The Decline of the Dollar. The precipitous decline of the dollar against the Thai Baht continues. It has affected me personally in that my income has diminished between 15 to 20 percent since I first arrived here to begin my retirement 18 months ago. Where I previously used to be able to save enough to travel, I can no longer do so. As a result, alas, I have been compelled to explore income augmentation strategies (in other words, god forbid, a job or some facsimile thereof).

2. Grounds for another Coup: The government has vowed to press ahead with its plan to amend the coup-sponsored Constitution, raising concerns about possible renewed political confrontation since the existing Constitution was imposed by the military following the coup that remover the current Prime Minister’s brother from power.

3. Gold: High gold prices have prompted many Burmese migrant workers in Thailand to sell gold they brought with them from their home country, hoping for a handsome profit, but the gold shops here say the Burmese gold is of low purity.

4. Farangs: There are over 100,000 resident Westerners in Thailand, according to research by Robert Howard from the University of New South Wales. They come mainly from Britain, Germany, the US, the Netherlands, France, Canada and Australia. Most live in areas with large numbers of expats, such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and other tourist centers such as Pattaya, Phuket, Koh Samui and Hua Hin.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

We who grew up in western culture often consider concentration and focus as more of less synonymous. To others they are not so. Meditation, for example, can be considered an exercise to separate concentration from focus. In the jungle, surrounded by the cacophony of green and brown shapes, light and shadow that presses chaotically on ones senses, indigenous hunters learn to unfocus their eyes so that the visual chaos is replaced with a sensitivity to non rhythmic movement in the foliage that generally signifies the passage of thigh energy protein.

On the other hand, navigating the chaos of the urban jungle tends to tightly focus us on what we expect to see, for example, the sidewalk checking for imperfections that may trip us or in Bangkok for holes that may drop us into the fetid canals that run beneath. Or,we look for signs or symbols that tell us that things are available that we may or may not be interested in acquiring. The separation between the edge of the sidewalk tells us to be aware and alter our focus so that we can avoid those things that move fast enough to harm us.

Other things, we either miss or ignore.

When I look at a photograph of the street, movement that would have occupied my attention as I walk along, ceases, replaced by the visual complexity that I usually ignore as I pass by.

With all that nonsense out-of-the-way, let me begin a description of my typical day as I search for meaning or at least entertainment.

After rising and in some cases eating breakfast in my room, I pick up the shoulder bag containing my exercise clothing and what ever and leave my apartment making sure I attach the various security devices to the door knob. I take the elevator down to the ground floor and exit the building on to the cul-de-sac. I have attached a photograph below looking back at my cul-de-sac. My building is on the right. I know it is not much to look at, but it is my neighborhood and I have a certain affection for it even if I have never spoken to anyone I have seen around there, nor have any idea who they are or what they do.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Horace Jerome, sat sipping his espresso at a corner table of a restaurant at the edge of San Francisco’s North Beach. The place was created by a well known Hollywood director in order to push the slightly better than mediocre wines produced from the Napa Valley vineyard he had bought with the proceeds of his more successful films.

Harry as he preferred to be called contemplated the note he had been reading from that began, ” We need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. “The wages of sin is death,” as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Aaronson’s distinction or Do waterfalls play chess? and other stories:

“After a brief introduction to complexity theory (Section 2), Aaronson turns his attention to one of the main cornerstones of this field, which is also one the points that are usually criticized: the relevance of polynomial time, as opposed to exponential time. Here he argues that this distinction is at least as interesting as the distinction between computable and uncomputable. Section 3.3 contains an interesting question that can be answered using a complexity-theoretic argument: why would we call 243112609 − 1 (together with a proof of its primality) a “known” prime, while “the first prime large than 243112609 − 1” feels somehow “unknown”?”

Why indeed? I also agree that the distinction is at least as interesting, perhaps even more so. What do you think? What is it that this could be a “main cornerstone” of? I love math even more than I love science.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“In Science, a physical theory that is logically consistent may be considered truth only until falsified. In Economics, a sociological theory that is logically inconsistent is often considered true even when falsified.”

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

Reverend Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point and a Rick Perry insider:

held gays responsible for the Holocaust and likened them to domestic terrorists and Nazis who are intent on committing “virtual genocide” against the military, and asserts that “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office”; said “we have feminized the Medal of Honor” by awarding it to a soldier who saved his fellow combatants rather than killing enemies; demanded all immigrants “convert to Christianity” and renounce their religions; asserted that Muslims have “no fundamental First Amendment claims” and should be banned from building mosques and deported from the US, adding that Muslims are inherently stupid as a result of inbreeding;
claimed African-American women “rut like rabbits” due to welfare and that Native Americans are “morally disqualified” from living in America because they didn’t convert to Christianity and were consequently cursed by God with alcoholism and poverty; said that the anti-Muslim manifesto of the right-wing Christian terrorist who killed dozens in Norway was “accurate.”

d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

“To balance our budget in 1933 or 1934 or 1935 would have been a crime against the American people. To do so we should either have had to make a capital levy that would have been confiscatory, or we should have had to set our face against human suffering with callous indifference. When Americans suffered, we refused to pass by on the other side. Humanity came first.

No one lightly lays a burden on the income of a Nation. But this vicious tightening circle of our declining national income simply had to be broken. The bankers and the industrialists of the Nation cried aloud that private business was powerless to break it. They turned, as they had a right to turn, to the Government. We accepted the final responsibility of Government, after all else had failed, to spend money when no one else had money left to spend.

I adopted, therefore, the other alternative. I cast aside a do nothing or a wait-and-see policy.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt 1936

f. Testosterone Chronicles:

Recent psychological studies indicate that to men manhood is a precarious social status, both an elusive and tenuous social milestone, difficult to achieve, and once earned,  easily lost.
In one empirical test where participants were asked about the degree to which the transitions from boyhood to manhood and girlhood to womanhood were the result of social or biological milestones, women indicated no significant differences among the attributions to the transition to womanhood, but male participants were significantly more likely to attribute  transition from boyhood to manhood to social causes than to biological causes.

In other words, women took a look at themselves and were reasonably certain they were women, men were not so sure until someone told them so.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Three wise men — are you serious? “
~Author Unknown

CLASSIC BONUS QUOTE:

“The world is a ball of dung and we are the worms that live in it and eat each other. The one who eats all the others wins — but he is still the last living worm in a lump of shit.”
Tad Williams, Shadowrise.

TODAY’S CHART:


It is interesting to note that whenever a graphed curve on a chart used to reflect a complex biological or social system achieves a slope rising almost straight up, it usually signals an imminent collapse.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 11, 2011

“We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”
Franklin Roosevelt, 1936

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1991 Sep 19: Frozen Fritz as he was later called, a well-preserved prehistoric corpse dated to about 3.300 BC, was discovered by German hikers Erica and Helmut Simon. He was found in a glacier on the Hauslabjoch Pass, about 100 yards from Austria in northern Italy.

The corpse was kept at the Univ. of Innsbruck for study. In 1998 analysis indicated that the Frozen Fritz the Ice Man had internal parasites and carried the woody fruit of a tree fungus as a remedy. Tattoos on the body were also found  placed over areas of active arthritis. A flint arrow was also found in his back. In 2007 forensic researchers said he died either from hitting his head on a rock when he passed out or because an attacker hit him in the head.

I ask myself, what is it that was so interesting in Italy that a man with an arrow in his back, internal parasites and arthritis would climb over mountains and wander about on a glacier. It seems fishy to me. Perhaps he was in search of a bronze age version of a medical spa and a massage.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

The new Prime Minister of Thailand has just released the list of the names of the 35 or so people who would make up her cabinet. While the list contains a few family members and political associates of the her brother, the deposed and exiled Prime Minister Thaksin, it also includes a good number of relative unknowns and people from outside the government, prompting the complaint from several senior members of the civil service they could not see how the new government could work well with them since they (the civil servants) did not know many of the appointees and had not worked with them before.

This criticism of the new cabinet, that they do not have adequate experience, has been picked up by the english language press. It rings a little hollow when one realizes to choose “experienced”ministers would mean choosing ministers with either connections with the old Thaksin administration or the recently defeated administration.

Every afternoon about this time(4pm) it begins to rain heavily for an hour of two.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I, at times, find myself reminded of some of the images that I came across in Naida West’s wonderful historical trilogy that I have mentioned and recommended here before. Recently the image has been “Indian Mary’s” vision of the “Americanos” as a flock of blackbirds (crows), who together sweep across the sky here and there apparently in unison and without goal, but when they land to feed, it is each bird for himself often pecking violently at ones cohorts in their madness for personal satiation. Then, almost without warning, they take off again in unison. To Indian Mary it represented both their strength and the horror in it.

I wonder if that is not an apt metaphor for our American culture. If so, it is no wonder that we can be admired and feared at the same time.

Recently at the hotel in which my health club is located, a Thai governmental ministry held a three-day symposium for selected high school students from all over Thailand on sex education and safe sex. It really was quite impressive. Here is a photograph of the sign used to mark the event:

 

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Big Flo sat at his usual table in the back of the chic restaurant located on the street level of the McWerter Building called “Alice and Zooey’s,” featuring New York-California fusion cuisine (Gourmet bagels, organic cream cheese and local free range lox). He had just returned from his interview at the Department of Justice in the Federal Building at Civic Center. Sitting with him was Stavos Kaplan, his friend and a named partner of the law firm that that shares the building with his company (Stavos mom was Greek and named his sister Helena). It was well after lunch and there were no other customers and the staff was busy setting up for the dinner trade. Big Flo and Stavos were investors in Alice and Zooey’s along with the chef, Wilson Asomuaga and a few others including Damon Morley. Big Flo was drinking a double espresso coffee and Stavos had his usual milk, untouched in front of him.

Big Flo had just finished briefing Stavos about the DoJ meeting which consisted in the DoJ bullying Big Flo with threats of prosecution in the Red Star matter based upon secret evidence that they refused to disclose. His attorney Kitchen, who big Flo considered a bit of an idiot, spent most of his time shouting back at the DoJ people and making his own threats. The meeting ended with the DoJ promising to bring the case to the Grand Jury. Later Kitchen claimed the meeting was a victory because he believer the Feds as he called them do not use Grand Juries for indictments where they feel they have enough evidence for conviction.

This did not make Big Flo feel any better since he felt that he was only an investor in Red Star and knew next to nothing about its operations and all this talk of indictments and Grand Juries began to unnerve him. So, he asked Stavos to meet him and talk him through it. Stavos’ already on retainer to several of McWerter’s companies of course would be on the clock as they call it. This did not bother Big Flo since Stavos was one of the few people he was in awe of.

After patiently listening to Big Flo unburden himself for a while, Stavos angrily broke in on his monologue, “Flo, why the hell are these guys at McKenzie Reed doing still representing you. They are under investigation just like you and are into this mess up to their necks?”

“I know,” Big Flo admitted, “but they represented the Company and the investors up until now. I guess I just wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“That’s not your job, its theirs to point out any conflicts.”

“Will your firm take over and represent me? I need your help.”

“Well, if not us, I’ll find the best attorney I can. Let me get back to you on that tomorrow after I make a few calls.”

“How the hell did you get roped into this secret society or what was it ‘Prayer Group’ business?”

“I guess I thought it would be good for business contacts. You know how that goes.”

“Yeah, I guess. They probably have none of my co-religionists as members?”

“No, they told me that the Jews have their own prayer group.”

Back in his office, Stavos immediately put in a call to his favorite PI. If his firm agrees to represent Big Flo, they would need a good investigator. Fat Al answered the telephone on the first ring.
PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Szemerényi’s law — A Proto-Indo-European phonological rule, named after Hungarian linguist Oswald Szemerényi, according to which word-final clusters of vowels (V), resonants (R) and of either */s/ or */h₂/ are simplified by dropping the word-final fricative (*/h₂/ was phonetically itself probably a back fricative), with compensatory lengthening of the preceding vowel.

I never could have guessed. Fricative you Ollie! By the way, is that how you got your last name?

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“As with most fundamental freedoms, preventing those who wish to abridge the fundamental rights of others is a more important role of government than encouraging the exercise of those rights. Exercising our rights are our individual jobs, protecting us from those who would abridge our rights is the duty we collectively give to government. If government is not the guarantor of Freedom then it is a tyranny.”

c. The Tea Party 70 years ago:

In August 1941, Burton Wheeler US Senator from Montana… announced that he would direct his Senate Committee to investigate “interventionists” in the motion picture industry. Most studio heads, he would soon be surprised to learn, were Jews.

Another member of the Committee, Gerald Nye, a conservative Republican US Senator from North Dakota accused Hollywood of attempting to “drug the reason of the American people,“ and “rouse war fever.“ For some reason he was particularly hostile to Warner Brothers.

Wheeler questioned why so many foreign-born were allowed to shape American opinion, causing Roosevelt to observe that the Bible, too, had been written “by mostly foreign-born and Jewish people.”

But the movie industry knew how to fight back. It retained Wendell Willkie, the Republican party’s 1940 presidential candidate, as counsel. He soon ridiculed Wheeler’s Committee into silence.

Where is Wendell Wilkie when we need him?

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

Is this trick photography or is Shaq really that big? The woman is said to be 5’3″ tall.

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The concerts you enjoy together,
Neighbors you annoy together,
Children you destroy together,
That keeps a marriage intact.”
—Stephen Sondheim

INSTEAD OF TODAY’S CHART, TODAY’S COMMENTARY:

From Jeremy Grantham who is rapidly becoming my favorite commentator:

“So now (July 30), the U.S. – with a dysfunctional Congress – has to decide between two of the ugliest choices seen in a long time. Should they cut government expenditures and therefore cut aggregate demand at a time of a critically weak economy on the cusp, perhaps, of a double dip? Or should they do nothing and allow a technical default, compromising the integrity of the dollar and sending a powerful signal to the world that the U.S., at least for now, is not a serious country and is probably past its prime. Ouch!

Nobly trying to resolve this impasse, a small chunk of Republicans has seized the mantle of blackmailers and turned out to be very good at it. Certainly too good for President No-Show. Come to think of it, the choice was between technical default and looking like a Banana Republic and technical blackmail and looking like a Banana Republic! Just different bananas perhaps?”

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 8, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

an image of mayan calendar on cosumel island' ...

3,300 BC: The beginning date of the Mayan calendar.

December 21, 2012: The ending date of the Mayan calendar.

Note: The first year of the Jewish calendar was 3,761 BC, and according to some Christian Fundamentalists, the end is just around the corner, probably on the day of Obama’s reelection.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Sensibly, the Thai press and political leaders appear to be ignoring the downgrade of the US debt, preferring instead to concentrate on the election of Thailand’s first female Prime Minister. I agree with them. It is probably more significant. I have read somewhere that the debt imbroglio in the US congress would never have occurred if the Congress was 75% women instead of 75% men. I agree with that also.

2. The Thai press is still generally reporting only on opinions that if the minimum wage is raised to $10 per day the economy will collapse. Now understand what they are warning about. In complete violation of classical and neoclassical economic theory,if they are correct about the impact of raising the minimum wage, the capitalist economy then appears unable to respond to a change in circumstances. It is incapable of replacing a minor rise in wages (If would raise the monthly base salary for workers to that of China) with increased productivity. The US with a base monthly salary of more than ten times that remains competitive in many areas and would be in many more except for the financial subsidies in the US to encourage off shoring of production and the financial subsidies offered by the countries in which they are locating to relocate there. Businesses, according to theory, are supposed to be able to adapt to changes in the cost of supplies. It is more difficult, no well neigh impossible, to adjust to a drop in demand except by downsizing. And, that is what is happening in the US economy now.

3. The fear of conflict between the government and the military, primarily over job security for the current general staff, remains perhaps the primary concern regarding  longevity of the new administration. No one, least of all the military general staff, believes the new administration could survive a conflict with the armed forces. Yet, it is the total independence of the military from civilian control that has riled Thai politics for generations and has stifled even the slightest of governmental, social and economic reforms. While the circumstances have had little impact on the general growth of the Thai economy, except to court periodic collapse, it has failed to deal with anyones expectations leading to social dissatisfaction. Sounds a little like the US doesn’t it.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Every afternoon now, the rains come. It cools the air and relieves some of the worst of the particulate pollution in the city, but it has also brought significant flooding to much of the country.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

For those of a more lascivious bent, Papa Joe has begun the retelling of the tales of “The Geriatric Knights of the Oval Table.”

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

“Ike, did you bring me over here just to listen to this paranoid drivel” Vince shouted? “Secret organizations, vague threats, what crap!”

“Please Vince let him finish. I think you will have a better understanding of what is happening.”

Vince exhaled and looked back over to the old man.

“Yes,” the old man said. “Perhaps it is better if I explain, why you partners wanted you to take over management of the firm. You see, we believe that this group, we will call them the “Brethren,” since that is how they refer to themselves, set up “Red Star” as an operation to funnel money to them to further their goals. A defense auditor discovered some anomalies in their reports.”

“I have heard all about these so called anomalies. It is nothing more that the normal disagreements between the government and a contractor and should be, and I believe it is being handled by the attorneys for both sides. I know nothing about it and still do not understand why I am here.”

“Yes,” continued the old man his eyes hardening. “At first we believed that you were somehow involved, but Ms. Yeung believes that you may not be and have been brought back to take the fall for everything if it comes to that.”

“Unbelievable!” exclaimed Vince. “Why would you be telling me this? How do you know I am not a conspirator in this ridiculous conspiracy you have imagined? I have met Ms Yeung two or three times, what could she know?”

“Yes, umm,” the old man continued. “Both Mr Cohen and Ms. Yeung, who I respect greatly, believe you are not directly involved, but that is not really what brought us here today. You see you are becoming a danger to the success of our investigation.

“Ha, how so, I have avoided the ‘Red Star’ investigation like a plague?”

Yes, as I said we believe you will be blamed as the mastermind and our investigation will be thwarted, again.”

“Bullshit, I will deny everything.” Vince hesitated for a moment. “I guess, I should thank you for at least warning me. I am confident I can deny any accusations.”

“Yes, I am sure you probably can, but it will be more difficult if the incriminating evidence is documentary.”

“Even so, I am sure I could refute it if that is the case.”

“Ah yes, I am sure you could, but unfortunately not very well if you are dead.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Sturgeon’s law“Nothing is always absolutely so.”
Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon (1918–1985).

Absolutely not true.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“Why would anyone be morally bound or wish to be morally bound to a civil society that does not share the goal that its citizens deserve a fair distribution of wealth, income and power? If the civil society is not dedicated to that end what else could it possibly be dedicated to? What is freedom, to those without wealth, income or power?”
c. Fort’s insight:

“I think we’re property.

I should say we belong to something:

That once upon a time, this earth was No-man’s Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possession, but that now it’s owned by something:

That something owns this earth—all others warned off.

I suspect that, after all, we’re useful—that among contesting claimants, adjustment has occurred, or that something now has a legal right to us, by force, or by having paid out analogues of beads for us to former, more primitive, owners of us—all others warned off—that all this has been known, perhaps for ages, to certain ones upon this earth, a cult or order, members of which function like bellwethers to the rest of us, or as superior slaves or overseers, directing us in accordance with instructions received—from Somewhere else—in our mysterious usefulness.”
1919 Charles Fort…

OMG! Could God be nothing more than an absentee landowner and we are all renters? This clears everything up. The universe is just capitalism writ large and its basic moral law is the sanctity of contracts?

d. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/)if you believe that:

“Bullies are manly but peacemakers are not.”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”
Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Steven Weinberg

TODAY’S CHART:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 2, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1) 2011: 734 out of every 100,000 people are behind bars in the US — far and away the highest number in the world. Russia and South Africa are our nearest competitors.

Hooray for us! We’re number one.

2) 2011: for those interested in an analysis on who won and who lost in the Debt Ceiling crisis resolution:

Republican ‘Wins’:

GOP achieved a debt limit increase that requires almost dollar-for-dollar spending cuts ($2.4 trillion).

• Revenues aren’t part of the first step in the two-step process.

• Republicans get to keep up the appearance that they are fighting for a balanced budget amendment (but it won’t ultimately pass — the enforcement clause of the deal sees to that).

White House/Democrat Wins:

• Spending cuts ($2.4 trillion over 10 years) are a little more than half of what was originally on the table.

• Nearly 40% ($350 billion) of the initial $900 billion in cuts comes from the defense budget. The remaining $550 billion over 10 years results from caps on discretionary spending (not itemized cuts), so expect the President and Dems to fight to spread those losses out to places where they’ll have the least impact.

• Of primary importance to Obama’s base, all entitlement benefits and many programs for the poor are exempt from current cuts and the trigger cuts.

• The “triggers,” or fail-safe plans, heavily favor Democrats. If the bi-partisan commission fails to agree to a balanced plan — or Congress fails to pass a balanced plan — the Defense budget alone will take half the spending cuts ($600-750 billion). This trigger gives Democrats significant leverage.

• The process is gimmicky and allows Congress symbolic votes of disapproval, but essentially the agreement will raise the debt ceiling through 2012, one of Obama’s biggest sticking points — meant to settle financial markets and to avoid repeating this charade before the election.

• Did you notice that repealing the health insurance individual mandate – Boehner’s big last-minute sticking point — is no longer part of the deal? Don’t think that wasn’t a hard-won battle.

Apparently, as is usual in politics, all is not as it appears.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

I usually find in my daily copy of the Bangkok Posta steady stream of

English: All Seasons Place, Bangkok, Thailand ...

All Seasons Place, Bangkok, Thailand with China Recoures Building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

humorous anecdotes. Either my sense of amusement has deteriorated along with my mental faculties or the nation is holding its breath for some reason.

1) National Security: The General in charge of National Security Council stated in a recent speech: “In the past, national was all about military and defense affairs.” He continues, “…national security must be extended…[to]…people’s well being, human dignity, public harmony and national prestige.” He goes on to state that the monarchy is part of the country’s prestige and has come under attack from political players during the past few years, and “The public must return security to the institution.”

I take it from this comment, that it may be a not so subtle warning to the new government, that the military remains ready to undertake another coup under tguise of protecting the Monarchy, if they should attempt to do something that the military finds to be not in their interests.

2) Family Values: A recent column in the english language newspaper in Thailand points out that in the newly elected Thai legislature over 10% of the successful candidates have close relatives who were either also elected to the legislature or are high governmental officials. I would guess if one added relatives high in the national security forces the percentage could approach 100%.

For those who think the US is above this, if one would add family members who are members of congressional staffs, the nepotism in American politics is probably equivalent to Thailand’s.

3) Weird: In the Sunday magazine section of the Bangkok Post in was reported that a past Thai Prime Minister was Weird. No, not strange but actually Weird. Apparently when he was born, this individual’s father noticed that his ears were located entirely below the line of his eyes and exclaimed, “This is weird,” or something like that. In Thai culture, a childs father gives the child a first name (actually nickname) usually based upon some physical feature (e.g. Daeng (red) or Nok (bird)), so Weird it was. Anyway, Weird as he was fondly known grew up to become a general in the army and one of the leaders in the coup that forced Thailand’s change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one. During WWII, Weird played footsie with the Japanese, hoping to ride on the coattails of their conquests. As the war was coming to a close and the Japanese did not look like winners, he was overthrown by a civilian led government.

This did not deter Weird, two years later he switched sides to become and ardent supporter of the Monarchy and with the generous assistance of his military cohorts, swept back into power.

Weird is noted for having introduced into Thailand such innovations as; having all Thai’s sing the National Anthem twice a day, and declaring Pad Thai the Thai national dish.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

I have just returned from my brief visit to “Paradise by the Sea Two Miles from the Outskirts of Hell.” I went there to meet with Vittorio and his Thai wife Anita who were spending a few days of their Thailand holidays at the beach.

Since I have given up my apartment in Paradise by the Sea for a while, I settled for low-cost budget accommodations nearby in a place interestingly called “Low Cost Budget Hotel.” My room was small and windowless but had A/C and a separate fan, hot water and a surprisingly comfortable bed.

I took Vittorio to the BBQ at Kinneree or, for those of you who recall, to the Oval Table that was the meeting place of the Geriatric Knights. It was sausage BBQ day. Given that my current diet has been quite light on meat and the variety of sausages inviting, I managed to eat too many too quickly and gave myself a massive case of indigestion that, of course assumed was the onset of a heart attack. After stumbling around for a while, receiving neither sympathy nor assistance, I flopped down of one of the red sofa’s that rest in one of the darker corners of the place and awaited my demise.

Eventually one of the hostesses noticed my distress and brought me some cold towels for my head, loosened my belt and lightly massaged my aching tummy. As I began to feel slightly better, she suggested a far older cure that surprisingly worked quite well.

Later as the sun was setting, Vittorio and I walked the mile or so along the beach front between Kinneree and our respective hotels.

Fear strikes the ex-pat community: Recently, there have been a spate of stories in the Outskirts of Hell (and in Bangkok) of men being given knock-out drops by young ladies they meet and take to their hotel rooms or apartments. The next morning they wake up having lost everything of value they may have had that the lady could stuff on her person or in her purse. The police seem disinterested, viewing these complaints from aging white men in what I imagine is not so different from the way a cop in Arizona views a Mexican complaining of an immigration scam.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

See: http://paptajoesfables.wordpress.com/

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Delayed until it is determined if my ennui is terminal.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Segal’s law“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.”

Steven Segal doesn’t wear a watch. Is that is why see he beats people up and makes bad movies?

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“The outsourcing of governmental services is the road to tyranny.”

c. Are Men Needed:

In my blog (See, Trenz Pruca’s Journal ) I have suggested that perhaps men are the source of much of the threat to our species survival (See also, Testosterone Chronicles below) and proposed that they should be reduced in number and replaced in all things by women. Science is now discovering that possibly nature also recognizes that women may no longer need men:

“According to researchers at Oxford University, hermaphroditism and self-mating among cottony cushion scales [Icerya purchasi] is leading to the disappearance of male members of the species.”

I guess if I had a “cottony cushion,” I’d try self-mating too.

According to NewScientist: “A battle of the sexes is also occurring among African bat bugs, which…, turn transsexual to avoid stabbing penises.”

Well, wouldn’t you?

d. From God’s Mouth to Your Ears:

Clarence Darrow once wrote:

“And Joshua; you remember about Joshua. He was a great general. Very righteous and he was killing a lot of people and he hadn’t quite finished the job and so he turned to the mountain top and said to the sun, “Stand still till I finish this job,” and it stood still.”

e. Testosterone Chronicles:

A study from Royal Society of Biological Sciences The Royal Society of Biological Sciences in Britain showed data that men who have children also have less testosterone in samples of their saliva than men who don’t have children.

They no longer can afford to.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. July 25, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

1. 2011: More people live in Greater Tokyo than in all of Canada.

2. 2009: In the US, there were 7.2 million people in prison and under official supervision like probation — a larger population than the state of Washington.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. Norway. A correspondent of mine forwarded the following interesting email he received from an acquaintance in Norway(7/24/11 3PM BKK) who had obtained some information from one of his Norwegian colleagues who has a high-ranking Norwegian Police friend:

“All of the weapons and bullets were hidden on the island several weeks prior to this event that was two years in the planning!

The culprit was a member of a Nazi group albeit a low key one without a Police record but was known to the Police.

The bomb was a diversionary tactic to enable the shooter to cause as much killing as possible while all Police resources were deployed elsewhere. It was a summer camp for Labour party youth with the intent to kill possible future Labour party ministers and Government officials.”

If true, it sounds like a lot of work for only one man to carry out.

2. Today:  A third military helicopter crashed along the Thai-Burmese border bringing the death toll to 17.

3. Current:The Thai Prime Minister candidate Yingluck has denied that her brother, the exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin and her family are choosing the members of her cabinet stating, “…just you wait and see my Cabinet first.”

4. Current: The recently defeated Democratic Party has not won a Thai national election in 19 years. Nevertheless, it governed the country for a majority of that time having been installed by several military coups and a court decision.
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

1. It has been raining fairly constantly in BKK for the past two days. My only adventures have been walking to and from my apartment to either the health club or to my usual local eating/internet places. While it may be true that a short walk in BKK can be adventuresome indeed, there is little that bears telling except that the rain has driven the ladies and ladyboys of the mornings, afternoons and evenings off the sidewalks and into the doorways.

2. I have not yet received word of the arrival of my Italian hosts, Vittorio and Anita in Thailand. Probably just as well given the rain, although I found that when it is raining in BKK it is often sunny at Paradise by the Sea.

3. Did I mention that in addition to a bout of recurring depression I am becoming bored? I am happy that I am lazy and despise the discomfort of wet clothes or I would consider running out into the rain and doing something for which I would later feel embarrassed.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

Ike leaned forward, carefully placed his tea-cup on the law table, leaned back into his chair and said slowly, “I thought it was time that we all got on the same page here.”

“If you knew these people,” Vince sputtered, “you were required to disclose that to me when I hired you to represent me and the firm. They represent the government in its investigation.”

Ah, yes,” said Ike quietly. “First, as you recall, I was retained to represent you and not the firm. They are represented by competent counsel. You asked, me to look into the matter on your behalf, and I did. I believe my brief to represent you included setting up this meeting. You are not yet ‘a person of interest’ in the investigation but we all fear that you soon may be and perhaps even more.”

Isabella and Mr. Jessel sat placidly on the sofa watching him as though they fully expected this exchange between Ike and him.

That he personally may become further involved in the Red Star investigation than he already was, rattled Vince. “OK, but if you knew these people, you were supposed to disclose it to me. And why all this secrecy?”

“As too your question regarding the secrecy, it is because both your guests and I believe that your office and phones have been compromised, and not just by the government.”

I don’t believe it. How do you know that?”

“We will get to that in a moment. But I believe I need to clarify your mistaken assumption about my prior knowledge of my guests with reference to your interests. I had never met either Ms. Yeung or Mr Jessel before you retained me, although of course I was aware of some Ms. Yeung’s exploits. You, if you recall never mentioned either name to me during our conversations. I only learned of Ms. Yeung’s involvement from the irrepressible Ray. I was not sure if it was the same Isabella Yeung that I had heard about, so I telephoned her. That led to subsequent discussions with both her and Mr. Jessel and ultimately this meeting.”

He stopped speaking. Vince sat there in silence for a few moments, looked over at Isabella and the old man calmly staring back at him. He imagined a slight smile playing at her lips. This annoyed him greatly, thinking she was amused at his expense and he could feel his temper rising.

“All right,” he finally said exhaling in a vain attempt to relieve the tension rising in him. “Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Sayre’s law“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the stakes at issue.” By way of corollary, the law adds: “That is why academic politics are so bitter.”


I thought that was the definition of Politics.

b. Trenz Pruca’s Aphorisms, Apothegms, Epigrams and Maxims ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/):

“There is no such thing as a free market. There is always a transaction cost.”

c. You must be a Republican ( http:/trenzpruca.wordpress.com/) if you believe that:

“Providing affordable healthcare for children and all Americans is a governmental interference with the private market but subsidies to defense contractors are not.”

d. Testosterone Chronicles:

“Elevated testosterone causes men to behave antisocially.”
Source: Testosterone Administration Decreases Generosity in the Ultimatum Game.

Who would have thought?

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Don’t be so humble–you are not that great.”
—Golda Meir

BONUS QUOTE:

“To divide fairly among the people the obligation to pay for these benefits has been a major part of our struggle to maintain Democracy in America. Ever since 1776, that struggle has been between two forces; on the one hand there has been a vast majority of citizens who believe the benefits of democracy should be extended and who are willing to pay their fair share to extend them. And on the other hand, there has been a small but powerful group which has fought the extension of these benefits because they did not want to pay a fair share of their cost. That was the lineup in seventeen hundred and seventy-six and it’s the lineup today. And I am confident that once more, in nineteen thirty-six democracy in taxation will win. Here is my principle, and I think it’s yours too; Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt.

TODAY’S CHART:

Categories: July 2011 through September 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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