Posts Tagged With: US politics

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 5 Pops 0007. (August 20, 2018)

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 
POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THE ENCHANTED FOREST:

 

The weekend passed by quickly — mostly waiting for the biopsy on Tuesday. Not having an automobile (it is in the shop having its crumpled fender and other maladies attended too), cuts down on my activities. I had to turn down an assignment from the Scooter gang over the weekend. So, I read and went on walks through the Enchanted Forest. I get all the angst and despair I can handle from social media and television news.

Well, well, — I went for my biopsy yesterday and for the third time during my age of physical deterioration, the doctor, in this case wielding his sonogram, could find no reason for a biopsy. In other words, he could not find a mass in which a malicious deranged cell would hide. I do not know whether or not to be embarrassed after spending a month or so in gloomy speculation and endlessly disclosing my fears to all who would listen — I guess at my age I should not be embarrassed by anything I do anymore. Anyway, I know it is, at best, only a temporary reprieve.

Onward and upward as Terry always advises. Lack of a car limits my mobility and the awful air pollution from the fires restrict my walks and swimming. So, I sit at home, watch Naida work on her memoir, read as much junk as I can, and nap a lot. So goes the winter of my life. It’s not too bad. I could still be sitting around wondering about the results of my medical tests.

This evening was spent watching Janette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy movies. The last movie ended with the Canadian Mountie and the Opera star in an embrace and singing:

You belong to me
I belong to you.

We then rolled up the stairs to bed singing, one with a professionally trained voice and the other with a throat ruined by radiation therapy:

When I’m calling you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh ooh
If you answer too, ooh , etc.

That means that I offer my love to you
To be your own
If you refuse me, I will be blue
And waiting all alone

But, if when you hear
My love call, ringing clear, ooh, etc.
And I hear you’re
Answering a call so dear, ooh, etc.

Then I will know
That our love will be true

What could be better than that?

The next day I swam in the Nepenthe pool. It is my first time swimming in over a month. It felt good. While sitting by the pool a woman got out of her car and started banging on the gate demanding to get into the pool area. Eventually, she somehow got in. She was hugely pregnant. She took off her shoes, then jumped, fully clothed, into the pool, swam its length, got out, picked up her shoes, returned to her car and drove away. I did not realize it was that hot out. Life is wonderfully surprising even when you are doing nothing but staring at the leaves of some trees.

Today I spent the morning watching Doris Day — Gordon MacRae movies. Listening to them sing “Tea for Two” is an experience I rank somewhere between being drowned in a vat of medicinal cannabis or smothered in meringue.

Later I went to the pool and fell asleep in the shade only to be awakened by the sound of ten-year-olds doing flips into the water. I did my laps while trying to determine if I was in a good mood or bad. Gave up and went home.

My sister Maryann and her husband George dropped by on their way back to Mendocino from Nevada City where they were making arrangements for the wedding of their son Brendan to Ashley his intended. A few weeks ago, I discovered that a friend of mine from my childhood who I haven’t seen in almost seventy years, Snookie Salerno, now lives in Nevada City. I have been told he never returns calls from his old friends (Would you return a call to someone who called you Snookie?). He did not return my calls. So I left him a message inviting him to the wedding.

Anyway, I took Mary and George on a walk around the Enchanted Forest and along the banks of the river. Mary seems well recovered from her bout with breast cancer. I am well recovered from my bout of hypochondria.

I did not watch movies of any sort this evening. Instead, I went to bed at 8PM. Tomorrow the automobile comes out of the shop. I am relieved. I now can drive aimlessly about. I like that better than “tea for two.” Check that, it depends on whom I am having tea with and what kind of tea.

Picked up the car. Have not yet driven it aimlessly but have driven it between the shop and the house with great determination to avoid another crushed fender.

The days pass on — driving the scooter gang around, walking through the Enchanted Forest, swimming in the pools, singing show tunes, drinking margaritas, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, petting the dog, crying over Aretha Franklin, watching old movies, laughing at old jokes — the wheel turns on. And then there is this:

“For the past 2,700 years we have been evolving through the ascending Kali Yuga, and this Yuga is coming to an end in 2025. The end of the Yuga will inevitably be followed by cataclysmic earth changes and civilization collapses,…”
Bibhu Dev Misra

This morning when I left the house I ran into one of the TURKEY GANGS right beyond the front door. Yes, the Enchanted Forest is plagued by several TURKEY GANGS. They lounge along the pathways, mumbling threatening sounds and forcing residents to walk around them. They litter the sidewalks and don’t clean up after they leave. They terrorize small children and small dogs. They are huge, hulking, ugly creatures often four feet tall or more. Something needs to be done about them by the HOA. Perhaps once a year say in November we could have a community Thanksgiving Party and eat a few. They are so large they could each feed several families.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, isn’t that the celebration of a group of immigrants saved by the citizens of the area who in turn demonstrated their gratitude by slaughtering their rescuers and taking their land? Instead of Thanksgivings Day shouldn’t the day be called something like Ingratitude Day?
On Saturday morning, we attended then weekly Saturday Morning Coffee put on by the Nepenthe HOA in the Enchanted Forest. The usual group had assembled. I had a lively discussion with the 93-year-old architect about our various maladies. Later the woman that seems to run these things announced she was not going to run the “Sock Hop” in September (don’t ask — I think it is some attempt at replication of an ancient mating ritual that everyone believes existed and they experienced but it didn’t and they only imagined it. Ask yourself, “Did you ever attend a ‘sock Hop?’” And if you did, did you think the experience was such that you would want to replicate it in your old age?). This set off a flurry of whispers. Later I learned that there is a conflict between the Nepenthe HOA and the nine other HOAs over the running of the social events. I did not understand the politics involved but agreed with Naida who leaned over and said to me sotto voce, “It seems pretty silly to argue over who gets the right to volunteer.”

There are three Age of Declines:

The first Age of Decline is now. It is the first time in history that a majority of a generation lived to old age together, declined together and ultimately will die together. As usual for the past 80 years or so, we have, for better or worse, been the pacesetters.

The second type of Age of Decline is the end of an era. In our case, the end of the greatest Golden Age the world has ever seen.

The third version of an Age of Decline is experienced by all of us that live beyond 75 or so years. Not only do our bodies begin to undergo the inevitable physical and mental failures faced by all biologic creatures who have exceeded their use by date, but also our functions in society at large begin to dissipate. Oh yes, some of us keep on working and striving — and good for those of us who do. Others of us can sometimes pass through a brief period where we are consulted (not very seriously) or honored (weekly or monthly visits) by younger relatives or friends. But really for most of us, we ultimately gather in homes for the elderly or periodically meet with other elderly friends where we attempt to create a small replica of the society that we strode through in our past life — much like the members of the Nepenthe morning coffee, complete with its politics, petty annoyances, and amusements. Lucky are those of us who instead fall in love and experience a decline no less painful but much more blissful.

For the second time in a little over a month, I have been attacked by a Russian Bot. Three critical comments from the same person appeared on my Blog, Trenz Pruca’s Journal — https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/. This is unusual because almost no one ever comments on my blog. Two of the comments were general criticisms of my writing competence in two of my blog posts. A criticism I believe fully justified. In the third comment, this time on my blog about Vladimir Putin (https://trenzpruca.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/petrillos-commentary-who-is-vladimir-putin-and-why-is-he-an-enemy-of-the-united-states/. Also, reproduced below.),

He not only objects to my writing style but included an example of how it could be improved by changing my criticism to a justification of Putin’s behavior. I am so proud to have been noticed.

 

 

 

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

 
WHO IS VLADIMIR PUTIN AND WHY IS HE AN ENEMY OF THE UNITED STATES:
It is important to explore the motivations of Vladimir Putin in order to understand much of the actions and policies of the Kremlin in the past few years.

First, as is true with most revolutions, the inevitable reaction reinstitute the structures of the old regime but with new titles (but often the same slogans). In Russia, the new oligarchs, like the Soviet Commissars before them, have decorated their dachas and palaces like the Tsars from whom they have taken them. The old prisons have been reopened and refilled with the enemies of the state. The so-called secret services have been restored and given new names.

The Tsar’s rentier aristocracy was replaced by the industrial Commissars. The Commissars have now been replaced by a financial/commercial oligarchy. True, the Commissars were governmental employees at the time they acquired their wealth and power and the oligarchs are not, but like the landed aristocrats they still owe their wealth to the Tsar in the Kremlin and they cross him at their peril.

Second, Putin is not only the head of the Russian government but the chief and undoubtedly the largest oligarch of them all.

Third, Putin is a Russian, a child of the Rodina, and as such the humiliation of Soviet Russia by the American commercial and military empire is a stain on its honor that any patriot would work tirelessly to remove.

Fourth, he was a low-level bureaucrat in the Soviet secret service (KGB) trained in espionage. As such, one would assume he is more comfortable with the strategies of subversion that those of military conquest.

Finally, he is extremely popular in Russia (and in many other areas of the world). Ninety-six percent of Russians approved of his military initiatives in Ukraine; ninety-five percent believed that America was goading Kiev to persecute ethnic Russians in that country. Ninety-two percent believed the same situation existed in Russian enclaves in the Caucasus, Moldova, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia.

In brief, we have in Vladimir Putin an exceedingly popular, short (he is a tiny but exceptionally athletic man), greedy, subversive nationalist with a special antipathy for the United States.

 

 

 

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

 

‘’ When the long nights would come long ago, the people of this and another village would gather together every night sitting beside the fire or wherever they could find room in the house. Many a device they would resort to shorten the night. The man who had a long tale, or the man who had the shorter tales (eachtraithe), used to be telling them. At that time people used to go earning their pay working in County Limerick, County Tipperary and County Cork, and many a tale they had when they would return, everyone with his own story so that you would not notice the night passing. Often the cock would crow before you would think of going home.”
Leabhar Sheáin Í Chonaill (1948)

 

MEMORIES OF BLASKET ISLAND, IRELAND.

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40 years or so ago, I traveled to Great Blasket Island off the Western Coast of Ireland. This bleak and barren island located off the tip of the Dingle Peninsula housed between 100 to 150 souls until the 1940s when the Irish Government in a fit of uncharacteristic responsibility removed the remaining twenty-two of them and resettled them in other parts of the country. As far as I know, none of the islanders objected to the relocation nor made any attempt to return.

I ferried there from mainland Ireland in one of those tar-covered little leather boats that used to be common in the western part of the country.
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Drying the boats. The village is in the background.

 

I met the ferry-man in the pub that stands on the bluff overlooking Blasket and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. For a few dollars, I persuaded him to row me there. There was no regular motor ferry to the island then but there is now.

Although the passage from the mainland to the islands is no more than a couple of miles, during much of the year when the Island was inhabited, it was too stormy and impassable for the small traditional row boats available at the time to make the crossing. As a result, the residents of Blasket were often marooned and had to live exclusively on what they could glean there on the island.

Even though the sea was relatively calm during my trip, the waves and currents in the straight threw the little boat around quite a bit causing the oarsman to strain at the oars and me to question the rationale for my visit.
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A traditional leather covered boat (a type of coracle) approaching Blasket Island. I took a boat like this on my trip.

 

We landed on a tiny bit of dressed stone surrounded on three sides by large rocks making an anchorage about ten feet or so wide. We tied up to a rusty and corroded iron ring.

I left the ferry-man there with a promise to return in an hour and a half.

In the only habitable place on the lee of the island lay a tiny village in ruins and deserted. I climbed through the ruins and into the abandoned cottage — Peig’s cottage. It was my reason for the trip — to pay homage Peig Sayers.

Peig was an old woman and seanchai (storyteller) who when approached by a representative of the Irish Folklore Commission and asked to write the story of her life on that forlorn island, did so. Much to the surprise of all, it became perhaps the greatest work of Gaelic prose literature.

The Book opens with the words:

I am an old woman now, with one foot in the grave and the other on its edge. I have experienced much ease and much hardship from the day I was born until this very day. Had I known in advance half, or even one-third, of what the future had in store for me, my heart wouldn’t have been as gay or as courageous it was in the beginning of my days.

 

In the evenings the people on the Island would gather in Peig’s cottage to listen to her stories. Seosamh Ó Dálaigh wrote the following about these sessions:

‘I wish I had the ability to describe the scene in Peig Sayers’s home in Dunquin on a winter’s night when the stage was set for the seanchaí’ ‘When the visitors arrived (for all gathered to the Sayers house when Peig was there to listen to her from supper-time till midnight) the chairs were moved back and the circle increased. News was swapped, and the news often gave the lead for the night’s subject, death, fairies, weather, crops.’ All was grist to the mill, the sayings of the dead and the doings of the living, and Peig, as she warmed to her subject, would illustrate it richly from her repertoire of verse, proverb and story…

Great artist and wise woman that she was, Peig would at once switch from gravity to gaiety, for she was a light-hearted woman, and her changes of mood and face were like the changes of running water. As she talked her hands would be working too; a little clap of the palms to cap a phrase, a flash of the thumb over the shoulder to mark a mystery, a hand hushed to mouth for mischief or whispered secrecy. ‘When the fun is at its height it is time to go,’ runs the Irish proverb; and when visitors went each night Peig would draw the ashes over the peat-embers to preserve the fire till morning, reciting her customary prayer: ‘I preserve the fire as Christ preserves all. Brigid at the two ends of the house, and Mary in the centre. The three angels and the three apostles who are highest in the Kingdom of Grace, guiding this house and its contents until day.’

 

Her home there on Blasket was now little more than rocks piled on one another for walls with more rocks added to make the roof (I understand it has been made into lodging for a small hostel now). Peig’s home contained a single room in which she spent most of her life.
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Peig in her cottage.

 

Beyond the village, exposed to the fierce winds off the Atlantic, the island was covered in a thick mat of furze, Irish gorse, and heather, with peat (or bog or turf) beneath. When walking on it, although it supported my weight, it felt as though I was walking on a springy mattress.

There were no trees or bushes to be seen anywhere. I climbed part way down a steep incline towards the cliffs on the island’s north side where the residents would scramble down to pilfer the eggs of the shorebirds that nested there. I did not go further than perhaps 10 feet or so because the cliff quickly became much steeper. It was on those steep cliffs according to Peig that Blasket’s citizens often met their death trying to secure enough food to carry them through the winter storms.
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The North side of Blasket Island and the cliffs.

 

As hard as life was on Blasket, during the Irish persecutions and famines several mainland families settled on the island, “Because life was better there.”
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A Better Life?

 

Perhaps the most astounding thing about Blasket was that Peig was not the only one from there who authored a Gaelic literary classic. Two others, Twenty Years a Growing and The Islandman, were written by Blasket natives also.

How hard was life on Blasket? Tomas O’Crohan in The Islandman wrote the following about his children:

“Ten children were born to us, but they had no good fortune, God help us! The very first of them that we christened was only seven or eight years old when he fell over the cliff and was killed. From that time on they went as quickly as they came. Two died of measles, and every epidemic that came carried off one or other of them. Donal was drowned trying to save the lady off the White Strand. I had another fine lad helping me. Before long I lost him, too.”

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Blasket Island Today.

 

 

 

 

DAILY FACTOIDS:

 

 

In his fascinating book In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power, Alfred McCoy relates some facts about the collapse of the American education system that should give every American concern about what sort of a society we a leaving to our children.

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tested 510,000 fifteen-year-olds in thirty-four developed nations, finding those in Shanghai came first in math, science, and reading, while those in Massachusetts, “A strong-performing U.S. state,” placed seventeenth in reading, twentieth in science, and twenty-seventh in math. The OECD also found that American students “have particular weaknesses in performing mathematics tasks with higher cognitive demands, such as … interpreting mathematical aspects in real-world problems.” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan rued these results as “a picture of educational stagnation.” The National Intelligence Council noted that the country’s educational advantage “has been cut in half in the past 30 years,” meaning that without major investments in schools Americans “will increasingly bring only mediocre skills to the workplace.”

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4973-4975). Haymarket Books.
After leading the world for decades in twenty-five-to thirty-four-year-olds with university degrees, the United States sank to twelfth place in 2012. That same year, the World Economic Forum ranked the United States at a mediocre forty-seventh among 144 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction. Two years later, its position slid to fifty-first.

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4978-4981). Haymarket Books.

A survey of some 150 major American universities in 2010 found that more than half of all graduate students in the sciences were foreigners: 70 percent in electrical engineering, 63 percent in computer science, and 52 percent in materials engineering.

McCoy, Alfred W.. In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power (Dispatch Books) (Kindle Locations 4982-4984).

 

 

 

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 
A. Lou Bronico on Top:

Something I received from my cousin Lou:

Letter to My Boss:

I have enjoyed working here these past several years. You have paid me very well and given me benefits beyond belief. Have 3-4 months off per year and a pension plan that will pay my salary till the day I die and then pay my estate one year salary death bonus and then continue to pay my spouse my salary with increases until he (or she) dies and a health plan that most people can only dream of having i.e. no deductible whatsoever.

Despite this, I plan to take the next 12-18 months to find a new position. During this time I will show up for work when it is convenient for me. In addition, I fully expect to draw my full salary and all the other perks associated with my current job.

Oh yes, if my search for this new job proves fruitless, I will be coming back with no loss in pay or status. Before you say anything, remember that you have no choice in this matter. I can, and I will do this.

Sincerely,

Every Senator or Congressman running for re-election

Are we stupid or what?

 
B. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

 

History: A few truths surrounded by a lot of little lies and one or two big ones.

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

 

“If there is one person a fanatic is predisposed to hate, it’s a moderate who is almost but not completely aligned with their program.”

Stross, Charles. Dark State: A Novel of the Merchant Princes Multiverse (Empire Games) (p. 343). Tom Doherty Associates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S CHART:
FT_17.08.01_debt_interest_420px

 

Two interesting aspects of this chart:

1. In general, it shows that since the Reagan Administration, interest payments on the national debt as a percentage of GDP have generally risen during Republican administrations, while under the Democrats, it has usually fallen.

2. Trump has already sharply increased that percentage from what it was in the last few years of the Obama administration.
The relationship between interest payments on the federal debt and the nations GDP is perhaps the most critical relationship in the debate regarding the appropriate size of the Federal Debt. If the interest payments get too high then a nation generally has to raise taxes, reduce expenditures or modestly inflate the economy (usually by keeping interest rates low during a rising economy ) in order to retain its credit rating.

Raising taxes is problematical because those whose taxes should be raised are the same people who fund the election of those who would vote on the action.

Cutting expenditures has its problems also. There are really only three sources of governmental expenditures large enough to make a difference if cut, defense, social security, and Medicare. Cutting defense is problematical because defense funding also provides much of the income for those paying for the elections of those who would vote on the cuts while cutting the latter two would be unconscionable to anyone but elected Republicans.

Finally, moderate inflation by keeping interest rates low thereby reducing the value of the dollar also runs up against the opposition of those who fund the elections of those who would vote on any such approach. In this case, the creditor community, the banks, etc., who would oppose any approach that would make their loans less valuable in the future.

Until we find an alternative to the media-entertainment-financial control of the political system, the solution to the Republican policy of increasing the debt-payment problem while choosing the worst of the remedies will remain elusive.

 

 

 

 

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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Exodus #6 a Wall Sculpture by Bruce West.

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This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 26 Papa Joe 0004

 

“Patience is a virtue, but waiting is a skill.”
Wight, Will. Of Darkness and Dawn (The Elder Empire: Shadow Book 2). Hidden Gnome Publishing.

 

TODAY FROM AMERICA:

 

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN EL DORADO HILLS:

Naida West commented on the previous issue of T&T:

“Your blog today is marvelous. Every part of it, including the flow. Weltschmertz isn’t listed, but it lives in much that you write and choose to quote. I laughed out loud at many of the sections, Proust and more. “

Thank you, Naida you have always been more kind to me than I deserve.

Actually, as I pointed out to her in response, I always saw myself as cynical and sarcastic with a strong dollop of ennui (a feeling of fatigue and dissatisfaction packaged with a bit of self-indulgent posturing) rather than consumed with the gnawing sadness and world-weariness of Weltschmerz.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

As for angst, not in the least — except for when I read Facebook posts from my more conservative Facebook friends — like those arguing that President Obama lied when he expressed his sadness at another slaughter of our children while they innocently sat learning in school. They, my Facebook friends, seem to believe that despite the fact that the use of guns on American soil by armed Americans have killed more of our citizens than all the terrorists and all the foreigners in all our wars combined, we are somehow safer and more free than we would be if we did not have guns to protect us from the depredations of other gun toting citizens.

Their argument, by the way, seems often to be supported by the claim that in Obama’s Chicago, where relatively strict gun control laws are in effect, a lot of people still die from gunshot wounds, therefor everything he says about ravages of unrestricted gun ownership must be a lie.

The skies above the Golden Hills have cleared following a few days of cloudiness and a smattering of rain and days of unblemished cyan through cerulean from horizon to horizon have returned. The Fall, however, is upon us and the desiccated leaves of the sycamores have begun fluttering to the ground. It is still warm, warm enough to swim which I do assiduously.

My seventy-sixth birthday prompted me to think about epitaphs. The winning one was:
“I came. I saw. I did not like what I was seeing, so I left.”

Some of the also-rans were: “His life had its ups and downs. It gave him indigestion,” “He hated winter,” “I never saw a good reason to get out of bed,” “Some lived their life like there were no tomorrows. To him there were only yesterdays,” “I really did not want to leave. I was only looking for a change of scenery,” “I could have done better, but the stories would not have been as interesting,” “I wanted to leave the world better off than I found it. I never knew why,” “His was always a work in progress,” and, “sometimes, it just doesn’t matter.”

The operation on my left eye went as uneventfully as my first. Unlike during the operation on my right eye two weeks ago, nothing particularly humorous occurred.

I am a bit jealous and annoyed today. The Haystack Show has had more viewers and followers in the few months HRM has been producing it than my five blogs have in the four years or so of their existence. I think it may be time to fold up my tent.

Turkey flocks strut around the neighborhood streets and yards like peacocks strutted the palace grounds of the Raja’s. Of course, our yards are no oriental palace garden and turkeys’ are no peacocks but, a male gobbler in full arousal can still put up quite a display of plumage.
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On Friday after dropping HRM off to school, I drove to Mendocino to spend the weekend with my sister Maryann and her husband George the Mensch. As I left Highway 101 and headed west over the mountains and through Anderson Valley my mind left me and I was barely aware of the drive. I drifted off into writing an essay in my mind entitled “Tu-Tus, the National Football League, and Jaques D’Ambrose’s Package.” Yorkville and Booneville barely registered as I drove through and Philo and Navarro not at all. When I entered the darkness of the Redwood groves consciousness returned. I had always assumed there were only three groves along the highway. It surprised me that I counted, at least, eight before reaching the weedy banks of the Navarro River and the coast. I turned up Coast Highway and wound along the edge of the ocean. I arrived safely at my sisters house a half hour later and, of course, immediately took a nap.

The next day, under an overcast sky, we went for a walk along the bluffs and through the town to the bookstore. Later we went to the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department barbecue where we:

examined the equipment;
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ate ice cream;
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listened to music;
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watched the kids play junior fireman;
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saw a demonstration by fireman demolishing a car;
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met Smokey the bear and,
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had my picture taken with George the Mensch in full gear.
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Later Peter and Barrie Grenell arrived. We walked along the coast and then had drinks out on the deck.
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Still later at dinner, I talked too much.

The following day we visited the magnificent Pacific Star Winery located on PCH just before the mysterious town of Westport and the Lost Coast beyond. The winery sits on the cliff above the surf. If you are ever in the neighborhood, I urge you to visit there, sample the wines and have a picnic beside the ocean. Do not miss sitting awhile in the afternoon sun on Dad’s Bench on the north side of the property above the white spume and the water churning among the rocks. You will not want to leave.

The winery from PCH.
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Our picnic wine poured by the ever vivacious Sally the Winemaker.
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Sitting on Dad’s Bench,
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and enjoying the view.
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That night we held a dinner party for my birthday. It was one of the most enjoyable birthday parties of my life. Making the long four-hour drive to join us were Naida West looking fetching in her 1970s flaring skirt and her husband Bill Geyer looking hale but gaunt after his brush with death. Naida is the author of the magnificent historical California Gold Trilogy.
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Also, Terry Goggin former assemblyman and itinerant businessman arrived in his little maroon Porsche fresh from negotiating an oil and gas deal in Louisiana. He looked dapper in his fedora and leather jacket.
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Stevie Dall and Norbert with his encyclopedic knowledge of almost everything were there also. The Dalls took a break from working day and night preparing the Mendocino LCP amendments to join us.
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Given the intimate knowledge of the last 40 or so years of California politics of the people assembled there, the conversation was fascinating and amusing. The stories ranged from mysterious archeological discoveries in California to the idiosyncrasies and peccadillos of the State’s elected officials.

The next morning after breakfast, I drove back to EDH. I must have taken the long way because this time I counted driving by 15 major redwood groves.

 

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. It is not that a libertarian candidate for the Senate in Florida sacrificed a goat and drank its blood that is newsworthy, but that so many Americans still believe in his party’s platform.
( “I’m glad there’s a goat-sacrificing eugenics guy supported by neo-Nazis running for the US Senate in Florida, because we need more diversity in the upper chamber.” Daily Kos))

2. Recently, I heard that some believe that the government is intentionally altering our weather and causing the drought in California. Why the government would want to do this, other than Hillary’s concern Jerry Brown may enter the presidential primary, remains a mystery. I, however, believe it is because the government is angry on account of the failure of Jade Helm to take over Texas.

3. Politics in the United States has ceased to be a forum for deciding how the nation greets the future, but a production value deficient reality show.

Picture, Hillary (the Blond Dreadnaught) and Bernie (the Green Mountain Socialist) stark naked setting off into the jungle to survive for two weeks on insects and paparazzi while Smiling Joe Biden stands ready to rip off his clothing if one of them falls into a vat of public ennui. Or, Carly (the Grim) and The Donald similarly unattired, climbing onto an oil rig in the Gulf to battle each other in an attempt to secure the endorsement of a ravenous horde of crazed billionaire campaign contributors.

Performance has replaced policy. — And, what a week it has been.

Hillary appeared on the comedy show Saturday Night Live lampooning herself and The Donald for being “politicians.” She also proved that she could sing on key. As a result, her poll numbers rose. I expect to see Bernie appear soon along with Louis C.K at his basement stand-up comedy venue in the Village.

The lesser of the lesser Bushes, with precious little to trade with, gamely traded wit with Colbert.

The Donald continued to bring along his own comedy review wherever he goes and still insisting they love him in Mexico. At one performance, he brought up on to the stage perhaps the only Latina in the audience who squealed and jumped up and down waving an American flag while The Donald told the audience that she was his greatest fan and he had never met her before in his life.

Meanwhile Carly the Grim, admitting she has no sense of humor, nevertheless got into the swing of things by promising her supporters that as President she will do for the nation what she did for Hewlett-Packard and Lucent Technologies.

Rubio (Water Boy), performing his usual impression of a deer caught in the headlights, assured the voters that he may or may not do something about something or other.

Not willing to be outdone by his competitors on the national stage, Ted (The Munster) Cruz promised next week to close down the world, perhaps even the universe — a real show stopper.

Lindsey Graham (the Carolina nonpareil), Senator from South Carolina, gave one of the best stand-up performances of the week. When asked, now that his state is under about 10 feet of water and he was looking for federal disaster relief, why did he, a few years ago, vote against the same relief for other states battered by Hurricane Sandy, he responded that he could not remember. A few days later he wowed the crowd by announcing that he now believes climate change is real.

The Brain Surgeon won the weekly hilarity sweepstakes, however, by joking that the victims of the mass murder in Oregon could have done more than simply getting themselves shot. He suggested that if he were there, he would have told the other students, “Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he cant get us all.” Later in the week, he mentioned that once when he was dining at the Popeye’s Organization he was accosted by a man with the gun. Thinking quickly he responded, “It’s not me you want, it’s the guy over there.” Perhaps we can include pointing to some other guy in the intruder training being taught to school children now. (Remember nuclear war training of 50 years ago when school children were taught to duck under a desk before being immolated in a nuclear attack?) The Brain Surgeon not resting on his laurels followed all this up by quipping that the slaves really had it good. (Did you know according to a study I recall reading somewhere, the highest percentage of psychopaths in any occupation may be among brain surgeons?)

I wonder, shouldn’t we just strip them all naked, drop them in the middle of the Everglades and let them fight their way out through Opa-Locka and downtown Miami, the winner gets the White House? (Vladimir Putin [Vlad the Disrober] asked to join but he was turned down as a professional at stripping naked in public and running around in the woods. He was so upset at the rejection, he decided to bomb Syria. Meanwhile, Merkel’s application languishes while the judges determine if the photographs of her as young woman posing naked at the beach is enough to disqualify her from ever sunbathing again.)

I am convinced that although we might not have a President here, we probably have an Emmy winner.

 

 

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

 

A. Quigley on Top:

We cannot easily force the multi-dimensional complexities of reality and human experience into a single one-dimensional scale, but, if we are willing to excuse the inevitable distortion arising from an effort to do this, we might range human needs from the bottom to the top, on the levels of (1) physical survival; (2) security; (3).economic needs; (4) sex and reproduction; (5) gregarious needs for companionship and love; (6) the need for meaning and purpose; and (7) the need for explanation of the functioning of the universe. This hierarchy undoubtedly reflects the fact that man’s nature itself is a hierarchy, corresponding to his hierarchy of needs, although we usually conceal the hierarchical nature of man by polarizing it into some kind of dualistic system, such as mind and body, or, perhaps, by dividing it into the three levels of body, emotions, and intellect.

The inability of most of us to distinguish between what is necessary and what is important is another example of the way in which one’s immediate personal experience, and especially the narrow and limited character of most personal experience, distorts one’s vision of reality. For necessary things are only important when they are lacking, and are quickly forgotten when they are in adequate supply. Certainly the most basic of human needs are those required for man’s continued physical survival and, of those, the most constantly needed is oxygen. Yet we almost never think of this, simply because it is almost never lacking. Yet cut off our supply of oxygen, even for a few seconds, and oxygen becomes the most important thing in the world. The same is true of the other parameters of our physical survival such as space and time. They are always necessary, but they become important only when we do not have them. This is true, for example, of food and water. It is equally true of security, for security is almost as closely related to mere physical survival as oxygen, food, or water.

The less concrete human needs, such as those for explanation or companionship are, on the other hand, less necessary (at least for mere survival) but are always important, whether we have them or lack them. In fact, the scale of human needs as we have hinted a moment ago, forms a hierarchy seven or eight levels high, ranging from the more concrete to the less con-crete (and thus more abstract) aspects of reality.

In general terms, we might say that the hierarchy of human needs, reflecting the hierarchy of human nature, is also a hierarchy ranging from necessary needs to important needs. The same range seems to reflect the evolutionary development of man, from a merely animal origin, through a gregarious ape-like creature, to the more rational and autonomous creature of human history. In his range of needs, reflecting thus both his past evolution and his complex nature, are a bundle of survivals from that evolutionary process. The same 4 range is also a kind of hierarchy from necessary things (associated more closely with his original animal nature) to important things (associated more closely with his more human nature). In this range the need for security, which is the one that concerns us now, is one of the more fundamental and is, thus, closer to the necessity end of the scale. This means that it is a constant need but is important only when we do not have it (or believe we do not have it).

Two basic facts about human life as we see it being lived everywhere. These are:
(1) Each individual is an independent person with a will of his own and capable of making his own decisions; and
(2) Most human needs can be satisfied only by cooperation with other persons.
The interaction of these two fundamental facts forms the basis for most social problems.

KEY Concept
But there are almost no needs, beyond those for space, time, oxygen, and physiological elimination, which can be satisfied by man in isolation. The great mass of human needs, especially those important ones which make men distinctively human, can be satisfied only through cooperative relationships with other humans. As a consequence, it is imperative that men work out patterns of relationships on a cooperative basis which will minimize the conflicts of individual wills and allow their cooperative needs to be satisfied. From these customary cooperative relationships emerge the organizational features of the community of men which are the fundamental units of social living.
Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

 

B. Xander’s Perceptions:

Could be worse. It could’ve been “Veni vidi VD:” “I came; I saw I had VD.” At least you came, though.

As for me, my life has been a work in progress; it seems, though, that the workers have been on strike a lot of the time.

I’ve always told my kids that I wanted a funny epitaph — you know, something on the order of “I TOLD you guys I was hurting!” or “Guess my home planet couldn’t beam me up in time,” or some such smart-ass things. But they’d look at me and say, “Epitaph??? We’re not burying you — we’re just dumping you on a steep curve in the forest.”

I would either prefer doing the “bake and shake” method of disposal, and Ian and Kristen can decide between themselves who gets stuck with the urn, or if I ever have a spare 10 large (as if THAT is ever going to happen), I’d love to have my ashes turned into a diamond. It would give literal meaning to being the family jewels. But Kristen balked at that, saying she thought it is gross, wearing your dead Dad in a necklace or ring.

That would be one flawed gemstone!

The best idea would be for them to just stick it in my rock collection display with the other pure elements on the shelf dedicated to those — I already have sulfur; carbon in the form of coal, graphite, and diamond (but there’s no such thing as too many diamonds!); bismuth, with its cool skeletal “hopper crystal” form; iron and nickel in the form of a meteorite; gold; copper; mercury; silicon; aluminum (well, foil — ores like bauxite are lumps of dirt); lead; and one or two others I’m sure I’m forgetting.

I won’t have any way of knowing, mind you. But self-delusion can be good sometimes.

 

C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

“You can tell a country or a civilization is in decline when wealth becomes more important than accomplishment, bankers more revered than scholars and children fear for their lives in school.”

 

D. Today’s Poem:

Excerpt from John Ashford’s poem, “Daffy Duck in Hollywood”

Just now a magnetic storm hung in the swatch of sky
Over the Fudds’ garage, reducing it–drastically–
To the aura of a plumbago-blue log cabin on
A Gadsden Purchase commemorative cover.
Suddenly all is Loathing.

 

I agree with Ashford, “Suddenly all is Loathing.”

 

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“You’re wasting your time, and I don’t want you to waste mine. In the clown car that is the Republican Party, she’s the ultimate clown.”
Todd Bartlem, Carly Fiorina’s first husband’s response to a request by the press for an interview.

(Bitter, bitter)

 

Categories: October through December 2015, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. October 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

“Never forget that if you chose to be a teacher, policeman, fireman, soldier, or nurse, it is your own fault you are not rich.”

For that matter, you are also incompetent inefficient government drones, parasitically living off the public payroll. Why don’t you get a real job in the private market flipping hamburgers instead of living on public handouts paid for by our taxes?

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

Parody this: Rick Santorum Republican candidate for president, who opposes abortion for any reason including conception as a result of rape or incest and who also opposes any form of governmental aid for the health and welfare of the children that are born, forcefully advocated for the selective assassination of nuclear scientists from countries such as Russia, North Korea and Iran because they may at some point become a threat to the US.

Santorum considers himself to be one of the most moral men in America today.

Hmm… let’s see, should abortion be legal for Muslim women because their children may become a threat to the US. How about poor women because they are more likely to birth children who grow up to be Democrats and therefore are…?

And how about this:

“I don’t care about that, if that’s what comes, I’ll take that criticism.” Rick Perry, another Republican candidate for President, in an interview with The New York Times, said this about the massively increased economic inequality that would result from his proposed tax plan.

OK, Rick I really don’t care what becomes of you either, as long as you do not become President.

OK it’s not just politicians:

“I, like you, get a little incensed when you think about how much good all of you do, whether its volunteer hours, charitable giving we do, serving clients and customers well.You ought to think a little about that before you start yelling at us.”
Bank of America CEO Bryan Moynihan in response to customer complaints about the bank’s plan to charge $5 a month fee for debit card purchases.

Huh? And do you wonder why the banksters and the other masters of the universe are shocked when people suggest that they may bear some responsibility for the world’s economic crisis? They are idiots, that’s why.

TODAY’S FACTOIDS:

1. The city with the lowest poverty rates in American is the Washington DC metropolitan area.

2. The World’s fastest growing city is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

Thailand: Residents of Bangkok are stocking up on food or leaving the city entirely ahead of impending floodwaters. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the flood water could reach five feet in the city and remain for up to a month, and the government has called for a five-day holiday to allow people to evacuate the city. Inmates from prisons near the city are being moved, and flood refugees being housed in Bangkok’s airport are being moved once again. Worried about hoarding, stores are limiting people to small quantities of rice and eggs. Bottled water is already sold out. The floods—the worst to hit Thailand in half a century—have killed 366 people and left 113,000 in shelters. (See today’s photograph below)

America: Things are looking pretty good for the richest 1 percent of Americans. A new report by the Congressional Budget Office reveals that their after-tax income increased 275 percent in the past 30 years, compared with a 65 percent increase for the top 20 percent and an 18 percent growth in income for the poorest fifth of the population. The report, based on data from the IRS and the US Census Bureau, blames the widening income gap on the decline in government action to redistribute wealth and an unprecedented increase in executive compensation.

America: Good news, I guess, GDP growth has met expectations.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Thailand: According to my friends in Thailand, Gary and Gerry things in BKK have gotten pretty bad and they are deteriorating rapidly as the flooding has struck many parts of the city. People from the inundated areas are pouring into the Pattaya region, that seems to have avoided the worst of the disaster, to buy foodstuffs they cannot get elsewhere. It appears that my decision, based on SWAC’s warning was a sensible one, although I cannot help but to feel some regret that I am missing the experience of immersion, so to speak, in a calamity. On the other hand, I am sure I would only be in the way of those trying to deal with the crises and risk becoming a burden rather than a help.

San Francisco: Today I went to visit my 93-year-old mom accompanied by my grandson Anthony, daughter-in-law Annemarie and her extremely pregnant daughter Christina. My mom appears much recovered from whatever malady she suffered last week that hospitalized her for a few days and even modeled a tutu she may wear on Halloween.


I leave for LA this afternoon and will probably not return to SF until the middle if next week. Happy Halloween to all.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Ike Agonistes (cont.):

As soon as he answered Ike’s call Fat Al launched into a tirade of indignation and accusation that seemed to go one forever. In one form or other is was basically, “Why didn’t you or Vince tell me about this?”

To which, when he could finally join into the onside rant, Ike responded, “Because first neither Vince nor I knew about much of it, and Vince even less than me, and second much of it still is speculation and paranoia.”

“Do you intend to resign the assignment?”

Fat Al ignored the answering the question directly. “I did not sign up to be party to a vendetta. I am not happy being mixed up in some religious lunatics’ plot for world conquest either.”

After a moment’s hesitation he added, “I’ve got to talk about this to Vince.”

“Well, hold off about and hour, if you can, so that I can brief him. I have a few more calls to make to follow-up on a few things. Maybe then we can all get on the phone together and try to figure out what, if anything, we should be doing now. Meanwhile, I do not think, we can rely any more on Russell to provide whatever security Vince needs. What do you suggest?”

After hanging up, Ike called Ray to watch over Vince this evening. Ike could not help but feel like a nanny minding a foolish unruly boy.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:

Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called ‘pygg’. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as ‘pygg banks.’ When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig. And it caught on.
b. What the OCCUPY Movement is all about:

c. Cracked news from “Not the Nation”:

1. BANGKOK – Police have upgraded their security around fat foreigners following the killing of wanted terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden in by US Special Forces in Pakistan. Although there is no specific evidence of a threat against Thailand, the government has urged heightened vigilance for possible revenge attacks on US-based targets such as the American Embassy and really fat white people.

2. BANGKOK – Saturday’s highly publicized “lai nam” ritual, organized by City Hall’s senior members, has been declared a total failure as Water Goddess Ka Kang has openly refused the appeal and sent the following explanatory note:

“Her Holiness The Water Goddess Ka Kang completely and without qualification rejects the appeal from the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority,”

“The Goddess would like to remind the people that for decades, her rivers have been treated as open sewers for their industrial and personal waste, and as a transport highway for carrying their trade. And yet The Goddess’ generosity is rewarded with yet more exploitation and abuse.”

“Your appeal for salvation is that of ants to the child whose flesh it has bitten . And so shall you be trampled beneath the feet of vengeance that has displaced forever-lost innocence.”

“Fuck you, Bangkok. The Water Goddess has spoken.”

d. Real Headlines and ads:

AD: “NORTH AMERICAN MANURE EXPO. EXPERTS FROM WASHINGTON, DC ARE COMING”

WASHINGTON POST HEADLINE: “Internet Addiction Treated Online”

AD: CUPCAKE CACHE “BRING IN YOUR REPORT CARD WITH TWO OR MORE ‘C”S AND GET A FREE CUPCAKE!”

HEADLINE: “WE HATE MATH”/”Four in ten–a majority of Americans”

HEADLINE: “Schools: Neutering Young Brains”

SCHOOL AD: “LOOKING FOR A READIN SPECIALIST”

AD: “A High-Definition TV for your car that allows you to watch TV at speeds up to 85 miles per hour!”

HEADLINE: “WCA spelling bee winers.”

“DEAR ABBY” HEADLINE: “Lingering sadness is a symptom of depression”

CLASSIFIED: “FOR SALE 2001 Ford Taurus. Slightly used in bank robbery. Ready to go!”

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.”
Steve Jobs, in a conversation with Rupert Murdoch.

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by3Th. October 26, 2011

Never forget, it is all your own fault that you are not rich.

(Paraphrase of a statement by Herman Cain, candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States)

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

Is Parody enough?

According to Kansas City-based International House of Prayer founder and evangelist Mike Bickle–who played a major role in the August 6 “The Response” prayer event that served as the de facto kickoff for Rick Perry’s presidential bid–in the near future Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity and move to Israel will be pursued by “hunters” sent by God and can expect to be thrown into “prison camps” and “death camps.”

IHOP Kansas head Bickle says that, “the most famous [heaven-sent] hunter in recent history is a man named Adolf Hitler,” and has claimed that Jews collectively are “under the discipline of God because of… perversion and sin.”

In Mike Bickle’s view, a lucky one-third of the world’s Jewish population to survive the apocalyptic persecution he predicts will “get radically saved and become lovesick worshipers of Jesus.”

Notably, not a single candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, despite their public support for Israel, has specifically rejected Bickle or his views nor have they repudiated the many others and their followers with similar views, much less rejected them with the fervor with which they reject the “socialism” of the “OCCUPY” protests, or for that matter, unemployment insurance or Social Security.

TODAY’S FACTOID:

The world’s population has reached 7 billion this week and expected to reach 10 billion before the end of the century, more than 3 times the population of the earth that existed just 50 years ago. That means that since 1959 world population has increased by 4 billion and by 2050 or so it will have added 7 billion, all since I was 20 years old.

Is it all my fault?

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA AND THAILAND:

Thailand: A few years ago, a Buddhist novice monk, Han Raksachit, was arrested after he released a video tape of himself piercing, bleeding, roasting, chanting and collecting the drippings from a nearly full-term baby’s corpse at Nong Rakam Monastery in Saraburi Province (central Thailand). These drippings, which he called ya sane (lust medicine), he sold to visitors. Although he was forced from the monastery and arrested, he did not serve jail time and was arrested again in 2005 for tricking several women into sexual acts and defrauding them of money in exchange for dubious claims that he could help them attract their true loves. He is serving time now on 23 counts of rape.

You see, although Buddhist are considered non-violent and other worldly, they can still be as despicable as you and me.

More Thailand: (AP) — Workers and volunteers piled sandbags outside buildings in central Bangkok and erected barriers in its subway to ward off possible weekend flooding as high water that devastated parts of central Thailand flowed toward the low-lying metropolis.

Also, latest updates about the flood water surrounding Bangkok include warnings that the water supplies may become contaminated. There has already been a run on bottled water from the big box stores. Also a story about the US Navy pulling anchor and sailing away after the failure to receive a clear signal as to whether their assistance was needed.

See Today’s Photograph below.

America: “Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?”
Republican commentator David Frum

Maybe the Republicans should put up Krugman for their nominee.

Budget Priorities: Determined to avoid spending reductions that would hit troop numbers, aircraft, ships and weapons, Senators Levin (D) and McCain (R) and other lawmakers are urging budget-cutters to scrutinize the military entitlement programs.

Say what! What about cutting military contractors profits, before cutting benefits for those who thought (wrongly it seems) they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of us?

More Budget Priorities: Republicans are objecting to new infrastructure spending because they don’t want the top 1/500 of American taxpayers to pay an average of 1/217 more of their income in taxes.

*If the new infrastructure proposal were enacted, the surtax on millionaires would impact a grand total of 345,532 taxpayers nationwide — or 0.2 percent of American taxpayers.

* If the new infrastructure proposal were enacted, the 0.7 percent surtax would amount to all of $13,457 on average for the millionaires that would pay it. Given that their average income is $2,923,000, this means they would be paying on average an additional 1/217 of their overall income, or just over an additional 0.4 percent. That’s less than one half of one percent.

Of course but for the threat of taxes, they [the 0.2 percent] would on their own expended more than $14,000 each on infrastructure to put their fellow Americans back to work. They would do this because it is right and they are patriots.

Occupy Schmarcupy: Police in Albany NY have defied both the Governor of the State and the Mayor’s orders to remove the “Occupy” protestors stating: “We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble. The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor.”

Oh, Canada: Bank of Canada (The Canadian equivalent of the Fed) head, Mark Carney, in a television interview, acknowledged that the “Occupy” movement is an understandable product of the “increase in inequality’’ — particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest. He added, “If some institutions feel pressure today, it is because they have done too little for too long, rather than because they are being asked to do too much, too soon.”

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Recently I have been looking without success for a soft sided collapsible travel bag for short trips. As a result, I have been carrying a paper shopping bag into which I put my clothing, tooth-brush and the like for short trips. While the semiotics of it leaves something to be desired, the paper shopping bag as practical matter worked quite well. Stevie surprised me by generously buying me the perfect bag. I am quite proud of it. Now as I travel, I no longer look like a homeless derelict but I have ascended in class to that of an aged vagrant.

Norbert and Stevie kindly drove me back from Sacramento. We went to lunch at Pino’s restaurant, Tiramisu, in Belden Alley. We lunched on Sand Dabs Dore. For those unfamiliar with Sand Dabs, many localities have a particular seafood delicacies for which they are noted, sea urchins in Eastern Sicily, Walleye in the upper Midwest, Abalone in coastal northern California, Conch in the Bahamas and Stone Crab in eastern Florida, Crayfish in Louisiana. In San Francisco in addition to Dungeness Crabs, that delicacy is Sand Dabs. It is a bottom dwelling fish that is rarely available in local restaurants except during that season where the waters in and around San Francisco Bay are warm enough to allow them to rise out of the mud to feed and in turn be netted by fishermen. It is served most often either lightly breaded and fried or in a Dore sauce.

The following day, I had lunch with my friend and NY Times best-selling author Sheldon Siegel, who many of you who read “This and that…” know. We met at a financial district restaurant named Harrington’s. Our waitress was from Dublin. When I enquired of her whether or not the restaurant’s hamburgers were as good and those at the place next door that claimed theirs had been voted, “Best Hamburgers in San Francisco,” she assured us that Harrington’s were much better. So, I ordered a hamburger and Sheldon a cheeseburger. We then talked for a while about the state of the publishing industry and the impact of electronic publishing. Sheldon’s new book has been completed and is awaiting resolution of some issues regarding publication. His new book departs from his previous novels that featured Mike Daley and Rosie by introducing all new characters. It takes place in Chicago, where I understand Sheldon grew up. He promised that it will be a real pot boiler.

I have met a number of published fiction authors in my life and found they generally fall into two types: the assholes who are so full of themselves and the reflected glory of their involvement in great art that they either are bitter dyspeptic twits desperate and furious because they had not received the glory and recognition (and remuneration, especially remuneration) that they believed they so justly deserve, and; the professionals who approach their life’s work as we all approach our own, with enjoyment or frustration as they go about it with not too much fuss. Sheldon, however, is one of the few who approach it with undisguised joy.

Lunch was interrupted by a telephone call from SWAC in Thailand. She said she heard that I was planning to return to Thailand next week and urged me not to do so. She claimed that BKK was inundated, the stores emptied and the people eager to evacuate.

Now, it is never a profitable endeavor to struggle over determining th veracity of  communication from SWAC, but it is much more advantageous to determine the motive. It could not be that her presence in BKK at the same time as mine would lead to some discomfort, because we rarely see each other during the few times we inhabit the same continent together. She, however, also mentioned that Joey had called and told her that he had to return to work soon and was urging her return to take care of Hayden.

On the other-hand sometimes she just says things for no reason whatsoever other than the circumstances are not neatly tied up within her frame of reference.

Whatever, I still intend to travel to LA on October 27 and visit with friends but instead of leaving from there to return to BKK I will come back to northern California for another week or two.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Ike Agonistes.

Ike put down the phone following his call to the US attorney’s office, negotiating his client Vince Biondi’s offer to tell all he knew about Red Star to the government investigators. Although Ike knew that Vince knew next to nothing he also knew that Vince was using him, Ike, to deliver a message to those who did know something about that mysterious company. The message was simple, you do not know what, if anything, I know about it, so you have to talk to me to find out. Ike thought this tactic was foolish and worse impetuous. Ike wondered how long it would be before Russell called.

He heaved himself out of his chair and took the small elevator to the hot-house on the roof where he tended his orchids while he waited. About a half an hour later his cell phone rang. It was Russell. Russell always spoke in measured speech, never raising his voice. The only way one could detect Russell’s anger was by how sharply he clipped off the ends of his words. In this phone conversation, his words were sharply clipped indeed.

Finally he said, “I am sorry Russell, I cannot tell you any more than what I told the US Attorney, client confidentiality you know, but I will pass your message on to him.”

After he ended the call, Ike sat in a large wicker chair in the midst of his Orchids and tried to reason through what he knew; to see if he could figure out actually what was going on. He soon gave up. He knew only too well that magical deductions and sudden insight were the mother’s milk of mystery novels, but in the real world, the only way to manage events was to control them by action, even arbitrary action, because once one acts others must react if they want to stay in the game and if they do, then you have grasped control, for whatever that was worth. Obviously, that was precisely what Vince was doing. Unfortunately, unless you had some idea of strength of your adversaries and of your own resources that sort of action is more often than not merely evidence of foolhardy panic. And Vince clearly did not know what or who he was dealing with.

He let out a long sigh and thought, here the game is afoot and I sit idly among my Orchids unable to figure out what best to do or even how to do it.

Finally he decided to join in the game of the blind men and the elephant in hope that if he hit the beast hard enough it would cry out and from the sound he would be able to guess its name. So before calling Vince to relate to him Ike’s conversations with the US Attorney and with Russell, he decided to make a few other calls beginning with one to Fat Al.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:


Q: In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?

A. When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl, Louis, King of France, learned that she loved the Scots game ‘golf.‘ So he had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.
b. What the “OCCUPY”movement is all about:

Are you better off today now that these CEOs have proven to be obviously so much better at their jobs than you are at yours or is it really just all your fault?

c. From God’s Mouth to your ears:

“The bonus system has gone beyond a means of rewarding talent and is now Wall Street’s primary business. Institutions take huge gambles because the short-term returns are a rationale for their rich payouts. But even when the consequences of their risky behavior come back to haunt them, they still pay huge bonuses.”
USA TODAY

Well, perhaps not from God’s mouth, but when USA TODAY criticizes Wall Street, divine intervention must be considered.)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:


(I bet that is something you do not generally see when the Mississippi floods.)

TODAY’S QUOTE:

On his blog [Dan] Savage posted an open letter to Herman Cain:

“Dear Herman,
If being gay is a choice, show us the proof. Choose it. Choose to be gay yourself. Show America how that’s done, Herman, show us how a man can choose to be gay. Suck my dick, Herman. Name the time and the place and I’ll bring my dick and a camera crew and you can suck me off and win the argument.
Very sincerely yours,

Dan Savage”

Is this the right-wing Savage or the left-wing Savage? Are they the same person? Does it matter? They both seem pretty savage to me, even if they are actually the same person.

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. August 28, 2011

POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

2011: Asia accounts for over 60% of the world population with almost 3.8 billion people. China and India together have about 40 percent.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM THAILAND:

1. The Adventures of Thaksin the Terrible: Recently during his trip to Japan that has caused a major political row, the exiled fugitive ex Prime Minister of Thailand and brother of the newly elected Prime Minister announced that he had no immediate plans to return to Thailand. “I want to relax and enjoy my life,” he said. Of his involvement in his sister’s new administration he did however acknowledge, “If they need any advice, they just call me.”

2. Division of Labor in Thailand: If it does not require a uniform or  operation of heavy machinery, it is woman’s work.

3. The New Government Takes Over: Under Thai law a newly elected government cannot officially take over until it has presented its plan for governing to the legislature. Usually this plan is little more than the warmed over platitudes and its presentation as uncontroversial as raising the debt limit has been in the United States. But perhaps taking a page from the Republican Party’s political book that nothing is so inconsequential as to become and opportunity to hold the nation at ransom in an effort to bring down the opposition party, the opposition Democrats used the presentation to turn the initial act of the new government into turmoil. However, unlike the supine Democratic Party in the United States, newly installed Pheu Thai Party, fought back and ultimately terminated debate when things appeared to be getting out of hand. The press was upset.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Upon leaving my apartment and the cul-de-sac on which it sits and continuing my daily morning walk to and from the health club, I often pass by local residents going about their business. Today’s Photograph below shows a group of local children playing, as they do the world over, in the mostly traffic free streets of cul-de-sacs. Ok I admit it is more a dead-end street than the refined little stub streets ending in circles that grace the traditional American subdivision to which the marketing departments of the development industry has given it its Frenchified name, so sue me.

Anyway, the photograph shows a very ornate gate shielding one of the few private homes that still exist in Bangkok’s built up urban areas. To the left of the gate and behind the wall shielding the building are two aviaries containing several large raucous birds. Thais seem to prefer birds as pets to the cats and dogs we so famously coddle in the West.

The cinder-block wall with the green plastic sheet on top at the extreme right of the photograph, shields a dozen or so corrugated metal two-story windowless shacks in which, I guess, live the Cambodian and Burmese workers on  construction of the high-rise condominiums steadily marching down the sois from Sukhumvit. I assume the shacks do not have running water because I noticed that in the compound there are two large cement containers separate from the shacks into which water runs and at which I have seen residents bathing and washing clothing.

In the evening some of the residents stand on the steps to the second floor of the shacks smoking, talking or just looking off into the distance. The little masseuse has warned me not to stare at them as I walk by because it could elicit a challenge.

I always wondered about that when I was growing up in my own US East Coast version of a slum. To look someone in the eyes as you passed usually got you a, “Who you looking at?” challenge forcing you either to apologize, run away or accept the challenge. Why the hell couldn’t you look at someone? I thought looking someone in the eye communicated trustworthiness, honesty or blatant fraud. As Naida describes in her wonderful books the Native Americans of California believed it impolite to look directly at someone when speaking to them, which got a lot of them killed. I guess a lot of cultures, especially among the poor have that taboo.

Anyway when as a young boy or teenager when challenged that way I was always too frightened to simply say something clever in response, concerned it would cause the confrontation to escalate. Apology was out of the question since it usually only encouraged them to become more aggressive. I could not run away for fear of embarrassment and that I would be too slow to make a successful escape. And just standing there seemed stupid. So I usually moved toward my challenger preferring to take my thrashing sooner rather than later. To my surprise more often than not that would cause my antagonist to begin talking and my fear if immediate doom would dissipate. But not always, sometimes I would get my ass kicked.

See, this is what I mean when I said in my previous “This and that…” simply the mundane of ones every day surroundings can lead to splendid voyages of the imagination or pitiful reminisces. Here, I just travelled back in time to the terrors of my youth in the slums of New York and I had not even reached the end of the cul-de-sac or the dead-end, whatever.
PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

This post has gotten too long so I decided to skip this issue of “Red Star”.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. Eponymous laws:

Wike’s law of low odd primes — “If the number of experimental treatments is a low odd prime number, then the experimental design is unbalanced and partially confounded.” (Wike, 1973, pp. 192-193).

Wow! That’s good to know. Thank you.

b. From God‘s Mouth to your ears:

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were three sets of commandments that God supposedly gave to Moses:

A) The first time Moses came down from Mount Sinai with commandments, he merely recited a list (Exodus 20:2-17), which is the version most churches today erroneously call the “Ten Commandments,” although they were not engraved on stone tablets and not called “the ten commandments.”

B) The first set of stone tablets was given to Moses at a subsequent trip up the mountain (Exodus 31:18). In this story, Moses petulantly destroyed those tablets when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:19).

C) So he went back for a replacement. God told Moses: “Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.” (Exodus 34:1) Here is what was on the replacement tablets (from Exodus 34:14-26):

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

Keep this in mind next time you are tempted to boil a goat. This list differs, obviously, from the one in Exodus 20 (was God’s memory faulty?), but it is only this list that is called the “Ten Commandments”: “And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” (Exodus 34:28)

c. Testosterone Chronicles:

Recent psychological studies have shown that threats to ones manhood causes significant anxiety in men. On the other hand these same studies indicate that women couldn’t care less if their gender is threatened.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” 
– Nassim Taleb

 

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Categories: July 2011 through September 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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