Posts Tagged With: Visa

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 17 Joe 0007. (August 5, 2018)

Happy Birthday, Brendan!
Happy Birthday, Katie!



The imagination and inner force of Shakespeare’s villains stopped short at ten or so cadavers, because they had no ideology…. It is thanks to ideology that it fell to the lot of the twentieth century to experience villainy on the scale of millions.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn







Medical Misadventures and Physician Follies; The Scooter Gang Together Again and; Ennui in the Enchanted Forest.


It has been only three days since my return, jet lag lingers on and worries about my health persist, but hey, I’m home and that’s a start.

As the trip back slowly recedes and disappears from memory, I try to think of the high points that I can write about but, except for tasting with Nikki the various after dinner drinks and chocolates served to First-class passengers on Alitalia’s flight between Milan and New York, nothing comes to mind — except, perhaps, hearing “A Hard Rains a-Gonna Fall” and a rousing version of “Try a Little Tenderness,” on the planes audio.

It was good to see Naida again and hear the soothing whispers at night and the sighs of pleasure and feel the handles of home drifting back into my hands.

I guess I should begin by telling about my latest health worries since at my age they have the ability to crowd out a lot of life’s greatest pleasures. It may develop into a saga, maudlin or boring, tragic or comic, who knows.

I came home with a numbness of the skin on my throat along with pain underneath. Yesterday some swelling appeared also.

Today, I visited with my primary care physician, a man not ranked too highly in his profession by either his peers or his patients. At the appointment, he was giddy with anticipation of his pending retirement from the practice of medicine within the next two months and insisted on spending some time with me discussing the travel options available to him in retirement before getting to the purpose of my visit. Following my description of my symptoms and a lot of feeling around my neck and some hmms and ahhs, he said that he thought it could be a blockage in a vein or artery and prescribed a sonogram and a chest x-ray. This, of course, did not alleviate my anxiety because if the blockage is caused by a clot of some kind and is lodged in my vein then it is an arrow aimed at my heart and if in an artery then it is aimed at my brain — the choice between a potential myocardial infarction or a stroke seems to be not much of a choice at all. But what else can I do but go through the tests and wait for my appointment with my oncologist next week and hope that, in the meantime, I do not keel over and collapse somewhere along the overgrown paths that I walk on in the evenings beside the river?

I apologize for writing about my health so much but when we reach this age it is often the most exciting and interesting thing we have going — an adventure, but not one where “no one has gone before” but one where everyone has gone before who has gone before. It may be boring for you, but it is new for me. It’s a lot like being that person early in a horror movie who decides to walk down the dark hallway alone or like waiting for Freddy Kruger to show up for dinner. You can either laugh or scream. I prefer laughing although a good scream now and then can do wonders for your peace of mind.

The next day, I was X-rayed and sonogramed. They showed that neither vein nor artery was clogged. So by the end of the day, I was back where I was before walking into my doctor’s office — with a pain in the neck and lost in hypochondriaville. I now wait a week more before my oncologist can see me and after feeling around my neck and a lot of hmms and ahhs send me off to be probed by large expensive machines tended by smiling people dressed in blue or green outfits and looking a little like the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

Walked the dog to the dog park this evening. There are three benches in the dog park each about as far away from the other as can be and still be in the dog park. There were two other people at the park with their dogs curled at their feet. They sat on two of the benches, I sat on the third bench with Boo-boo who promptly curled up at my feet. We sat there unmoving. Time passed, a lot of time. Then one person got up, hooked the leash onto the collar of his dog and slowly left the park. We remaining two and our dogs sat there, silently, in the dusk, until the other person finally got up and left with his dog. I waited until it was almost dark. Then, Boo-boo and I also left and went home. It all felt like an Edward Hopper painting as a slow-motion uTube video. Ennui at the dog park — life in the second decade of the 21st Century.

Naida is off to the California State Fair presiding over the booth featuring California authors with books to sell. The temperature is expected to hit 104 to 105 degrees in this part of the Great Valley. I remain home with the dog, pecking away at my computer and now and then listlessly reading various blogs on economics and dozing off when the words blur and their significance sounds in my mind more like the buzzing of mosquitos than packets of meaning.

Not so good a night though — crumpled part of the fender on the car trying to get into the garage after dinner, followed by scary nightmares that even frightened Naida. Perhaps, I am unraveling. The next day was not so good either. There are just some days like that. But, as the time grows shorter, I certainly can use fewer of them. Perhaps, those are the days to catch up on my sleep.

Anyway, HRM called me to drive him to the skate park. So at about 3:30 that afternoon, I took off for The Golden Hills in my car with the crumpled fender.

The boys were waiting alone at the house. Dick was at work and SWAC, who only within the past few weeks had criticized him for leaving HRM alone as a latch-key kid, was gone to rummage around at the mall. So, I picked him up and drove him and his friend Jake to the Citrus Heights Skateboard Park where some sort of competition had been planned. There they were to wait for Dick to pick them up and take them home.

During the ride, they excitedly told me about their adventures so far this summer. It seems this was the first vacation that had impressed upon them the possibilities and joys of life. They have a few years yet before being introduced to its sorrows.

They talked about their plans to buy two vans after they graduate high school and drive them around the world living off the proceeds of their professional scooter careers and a uTube video program they would produce about their adventures. I said, “It sounds like the Sixties all over again.” They asked, “What’s that?”

It is difficult to comprehend — no, more likely, accept — that to these children The Summer of Love is as far in the distant past as World War I was to those flower children gathered on old Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York on that warm summer afternoon in 1969 — as far distant as “Over There” is from “Bad Moon Rising.”

Imagine, I and those of my generation have lived a full one-tenth of the time that has passed since the Fourth Crusade and the final destruction of what little remained of classical Europe; one-tenth of the time since Genghis Kahn released his hoards to plunder and subdue almost one-quarter of the globe; one-tenth of the time that has passed since the reluctant King John signed the Magna Carter and Marco Polo returned from his journeys to the FarEast. Either we of my generation have lived long or human history has been far briefer than we imagined.

For the next few days, little or nothing happened that raised itself above the gray morass of a deteriorating memory. We ate lunch at a nice little outdoor restaurant where I had an east-African hamburger (chopped-meat mixed with yams and African spices), watched a Tarzan movie on TV where the actor playing the lost earl was so unmemorable that his name was not even listed in the credits and the chimp hammed up all the best parts and I spent a lot of time fingering the emerging lump in my neck and worrying.

One day, I walked the dog along the levee in the blistering heat and the silence. Eventually, we turned back into the cooler tree-shaded paths of the Enchanted Forrest until we came to the small swimming pool shaded by the tall pines and redwoods that I like so much. There we sat by the water in the stillness but for the barely perceptible splashing of the woman swimming laps and the whispers of the breeze through the trees. I waited there until dusk then walked back home. That night, I slept well.

It has been several days since I have written here — not because I have been busy with things to do or adventures and not because life has become so boring that my consciousness has shut down in response, but because just moping around seemed to be as energetic as I could manage.

On Monday, I drove Naida to the State Fairgrounds to close out the California Authors exhibit. It was fun. There were a few other authors there packing up their books while hoards of workmen trundle about taking down the various exhibits.

Later, HRM called and to take Jake and him to the mall. The day seemed to be looking up so I put a turkey feather I had found lying on the ground in the Enchanted Forrest into my hat band and left for the Golden Hills. I looked jauntily idiotic.
Jauntily Idiotic

I arrived at the house ready to push on but they first had to watch “Sponge Bob” on the TV and finish eating a pizza for lunch. I waited and watched the idiotic animated sessile metazoan his moronic Asteroidea buddy and his dyspeptic sepiida co-worker cavort across the TV screen until the homo-sapiens sapiens adolescents had finished their pizza. We then piled into the car with the crumpled fender and left to pick up the third member of the Scooter Gang, Graham.

The Scooter Gang, HRH, Jake and Graham (Tyson, the fourth member, was busy playing X-box games) asked me to drive them to the mall in Roseville so that they could shop for backpacks for school and some other things that I tuned out in disinterest. At the mall, I sat at the coffee-shop and played on my computer while they shopped. After not too long they gave up, having purchased nothing but some sour tasting candy. They then asked me to drive them to someplace near Denio’s where Jake was to be paid by someone for a paintball gun he had sold in order to finance his purchase of a bicycle. It all seemed fishy to me. The street was in one of the more down-scale parts of Roseville which is saying a lot since up-scale Roseville does not seem to exist. They told me to wait while they went in search of the house of the person owing Jake the money. After a few minutes, they returned with Jake clutching a $100 bill. Do you think I was an unwitting accomplice in some sort of illegal juvenile caper?

A few days later, I met with my Oncologist. After telling him my symptoms and him feeling around my neck, voicing a few hmms and ahhs, and shoving a long tube through my nose and down my throat, I said, “So tell me doctor, am I a dead man walking or will you have to tear out my throat to save my life?” He seemed to be taken aback a bit by that and when it turned out that his office had misplaced the CAT scan I had taken in May upon which he made his previous diagnosis that I was in remission, he began to stutter, explaining that he does not think there is a problem, since everything looks ok inside my throat, but to be on the safe side I should have another CAT scan and biopsy “as soon as possible” to be sure. I then mentioned my numbness on the left side of my face and asked how that affected his diagnosis. He explained that there is a nerve which could be impacted by the so-called “slight swelling” on my neck causing such an effect. I suspect he was guessing.

The next night, I went to the sleep clinic he prescribed when I was still in remission. I do not know why he prescribed it. At the clinic, they wired me all up. I was placed in a room with a double bed that would not be out of place in a Motel 6 except that it lacked a television. They put something around my nose they said would pump air into my lungs but I had to keep my mouth closed or the air would escape and they would have to replace the nose thing with a mask that covered my nose and mouth. Every so often during the night the technician would come into the room and jiggle the wires and things that they had attached to me. I did not sleep well.

Pookie Wired.

Two days later I had a CT scan followed by a surprisingly enjoyable dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Roseville. Next week comes the biopsy. I now realize getting old is not so different than being a soldier in war or an explorer in a dark jungle somewhere, every step may be your last. It’s all very exciting if you are one of those who finds shitting in one’s pants an adventure. Some people find all this terror something to approach with grim heroism, others prefer screaming all the way down. I am beginning to get bored and more than a little bit annoyed.






Modern California: Created on a Sacramento YMCA Basketball Court?


Naida while going through some of the effects of her late husband Bill Geyer came across an old yellow legal pad on which he described his days in Sacramento in the early 1960s. At that time, for the first time in its history, California had begun it’s transition from basically a one party (Republican) State to a two-party State and eventually again to the one-party State (Democratic) that it is now. It was the time when California’s government went from a rural part-time legislature to a full-time legislature with professional committee staff that became a model for the nation. It was also the time when California changed from a generally poorly governed rural-dominated state of little account in national politics to a to a producer of presidents, political leaders, and public policy. Pat Brown had just become Governor and was beginning, with the assistance of the newly elected Speaker of the House Jess Unruh, transforming the State into an economic, social, intellectual and political powerhouse that arguably changed the world.

In the beginning, about 1959 or so, the UC Berkley Political Science Department Internship Program was requested to provide interns to staff newly formed legislative committees in Sacramento. Republican Party Membership was a premium since everyone in the program except for Kirk West, Naida’s husband at the time, was either a Democrat or a Socialist. Among those chosen for this initial attempt to professionalize and depoliticize the legislative committee consultant system were three unusually tall young men and close friends, the aforementioned Kirk West, who was to go on to become the Secretary of Resources and later Deputy Director of Finance in the Reagan Administration and architect of his approach to financing governmental operations; Bill Geyer, a very moderate Republican and Naida’s second husband, creator of California’s Williamson Act that not only preserved much of California’s precious farmland from being plundered and buried beneath the dreams of rapacious developers and local politicians and a godsend to farmers wishing to continue farming in the face of escalating taxes and sprawling urban development; and, Gene Pochman, a confirmed Socialist, the guiding force behind the the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and eventually longtime member of the Berkley City Council and professor of government at the University. All three despite their diverse political ideologies were excited to find themselves at their young ages someplace where they could, through government, beneficially affect the welfare of the citizens of the State.

The three friends, being unusually tall and athletic (all above 6’3” in height) shortly after their arrival in the State Capitol began playing basketball at the local YMCA in order to enjoy the camaraderie of athletics so important to young men and to keep in shape. Looking for others to play with them and perhaps make up a team with which they could challenge other groups of like-minded young men, they were soon joined by an unlikely duo consisting of the legendary Jess Unruh, soon to be the powerful, dynamic and transformational Speaker of California’s Assembly and his chief of staff Larry Margolis, two short exceedingly overweight and definitely unathletic men who for some reason believed the exercise would benefit them and, if vigorous enough, even drain a few pounds off of their far too corpulent bodies.

For most of the transformational years of the Brown Governorship and Unruh speakership, these five unlikely friends (and friends they became) met weekly for their “exercise,” and also socially and professionally discussing the political and social issues of the day. At times, assisted by Unruh, one of another of the three young men were placed into critical positions of influence in guiding the transformation of the State of California into a nation in all but name.








1529AD — Occultist Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa publishes Declamatio de nobilitate et praecellentia foeminei sexus, “Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex”, a book pronouncing the theological and moral superiority of women.






A. Charlie Stross on Top:

Happy 21st Century!

Here’s the shape of a 21st century I don’t want to see. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s the one we’re going to get unless we’re very lucky.

Shorter version is: there will be much dying: even more so than during the worst conflicts of the 20th century. But rather than conventional wars (“nation vs nation”) it’ll be “us vs them”, where “us” and “them” will be defined by whichever dehumanized enemy your network filter bubble points you at—Orwell was ahead of the game with the Two Minute Hate, something with which all of us who use social media are now uncomfortably, intimately, familiar.

People will die in large numbers, but it will happen out of sight. It’ll be “soft genocide” or “malign neglect”, and the victims will be the climate change refugees who are kept out of sight by virtual walls. On land there may be fences and minefields and debatable ground dominated by gangs, and at sea there may be drone-patrolled waters where refugees can be encouraged to sink and drown out of sight of the denizens of their destination countries. This much we already see. But the exterminatory policies will continue at home in the destination zones as well, and that’s the new innovation that is gradually coming online. There will be no death camps in this shiny new extermination system. Rather, death by starvation and exposure will be inflicted by the operation of deliberately broken social security systems (see also universal credit), deportation of anyone who can be portrayed as an un-citizen (the Windrush scandal is an early prototype of this mechanism), and removal of the right to use money (via electronic fund transfers, once cash is phased out) from those deemed undesirable by an extrapolation of today’s Hostile Environment Policy and its equivalents.

You don’t need to build concentration camps with barbed wire fences and guards if you can turn your entire society into a machine-mediated panopticon with automated penalties for non-compliance.

The Nazis had to leave their offices in order to round people up and brutalize or murder them. They had to travel to the Wannsee Conference to hammer out how to implement Generalplan Ost. Tomorrow’s genocides will be decentralized and algorithmically tweaked, quite possibly executed without human intervention.
Charlie Stross


B. Tuckahoe Joe’s Blog of the Week:

I have highlighted Brad DeLong’s blog “Grasping Reality with at Least Three Hands” ( ) several times in Blog of the Week, mostly because he always seems to troll the media for fascinating bits of thoughtful commentary. This time, however, he refers his readers to the draft of his new book “TYRANNIES: AN IN-TAKE FROM “SLOUCHING TOWARDS UTOPIA?: AN ECONOMIC HISTORY OF THE LONG 20TH CENTURY,” and welcomes their comments and suggestions. The “Long 20th Century,” he postulates began in 1870 and ended in 2016. He argues that unlike prior centuries where conflicts and material advances were generated by a multitude of causes, the “Long 20th Century” was marked primarily by conflicts of economic ideology. While I find a lot about his argument to be questionable, his recitation of the unprecedented carnage of human lives that resulted from these ideological disputes is spot on.

Twentieth-Century governments and their soldiers have killed perhaps forty million people in war: either soldiers (most of them unlucky enough to have been drafted into the mass armies of the twentieth century) or civilians killed in the course of what could be called military operations.

But wars have caused only about a fifth of this century’s violent death toll.

Governments and their police have killed perhaps one hundred and sixty million people in time of peace: class enemies, race enemies, political enemies, economic enemies, imagined enemies. You name them, governments have killed them on a scale that could not previously have been imagined. If the twentieth century has seen the growth of material wealth on a previously-inconceivable scale, it has also seen human slaughter at a previously-unimaginable rate

Call those political leaders whose followers and supporters have slaughtered more than ten million of their fellow humans “members of the Ten-Million Club.” All pre-twentieth century history may (but may not) have seen two members of the Ten-Million Club: Genghis Khan, ruler of the twelfth century Mongols, launcher of bloody invasions of Central Asia and China, and founder of China’s Yuan Dynasty; and Hong Xiuquan, the mid-nineteenth-century Chinese intellectual whose visions convinced him that he was Jesus Christ’s younger brother and who launched the Taiping Rebellion that turned south-central China into a slaughterhouse for decades. Others do not make the list. Napoleon does not make it, and neither does Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar.

By contrast the twentieth century has seen five or six people join the Ten Million Club: Adolf Hitler, Chiang Kaishek, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Tojo Hideki. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao have credentials that make them charter members of the Thirty Million Club as well—and perhaps the Fifty Million Club. A regime whose hands are as bloody as those of the 1965-1998 Suharto regime in Indonesia—with perhaps 450,000 communists, suspected communists, and others in the wrong place at the wrong time dead at its creation in 1965, and perhaps 150,000 inhabitants of East Timor dead since the Indonesian annexation in the mid-1970s—barely makes the twentieth century’s top twenty list of civilian-massacring regimes.



C. Trenz Pruca’s Observations:

Yesterday is only an uncertain memory and tomorrow just a guess. Today is all we have to hold on to and I am not so sure about that either.

D. Today’s Poem:

“A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest dark forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Bob Dylan.









[The silence] was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.

Rothfuss, Patrick. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle Book 1) (p. 662). DAW.

Categories: July through September 2018, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. April 30, 2010

Today I left my condo early to go the Thai immigration office to apply for my one year retirement visa. The morning was one of those mornings that break as hot as midday.

I arrived at the immigration office bathed in sweat from the heat and the anxiety. So much sweat was pouring off of me that the application form I was filling out turned into the wrinkled tissue paper and I imagined that I would be soon deported because of it. But no, I think I received approval of my application. At least there was enough shuffling of paper and stamping of stamps to offer me some assurance. The stamping of the documents created a sort of hypnotic rhythm while I sat there slack-jawed and confused. You know, pick up a stamp, smash it on an ink pad, pound it onto the document, drop it on to the desk, pick up a different stamp and so on. While all this stamping was going on, I noticed that not only was each desk equipped with a great number of different stamps, they also had ink pads in four different colors, black, blue, red and orange. I marveled at the training they must have received to be able to select the correct stamp, color, document and page all while maintaining what could only have been the agency required official rhythm. I also noticed that these were not ordinary bureaucrats, my immigration officer’s desk tag identified him as Sergeant Major so and so of the Royal Thai Police Force who following his stamping and so on sent me on to the desk of a dour woman identified as Captain so and so of the Royal Thai Police Force who appeared to me to repeat the Sergeant Major’s shuffling of my papers and stamping of my documents.

Anyway, I paid my fee and it soon was over. The Captain nodded to me and I left, somewhat relieved but no more informed about what had just happened. As I returned to my condo I thought of what it must have been like for the uneducated peasants of southern and eastern Europe at the turn of the century or the latino immigrants of today presented with the mysterious immigration process in a foreign language. At least I have had umpteen million years of schooling and a full career in administrative law to shelter my confusion behind bemusement. No wonder why they turn to coyotes and the like or are willing to take a chance as an illegal.

They have coyotes here. Usually ex-pats trying to augment their meager pensions by offering to assist the new comer through the process. Their experience being that they have gone through the process one more time than you. Well, at least here we do not have to fear being shut up into unventilated trucks or if we are a woman, raped at some remote border crossing.

All I can say is if one is going to deal with immigration in any country it would be a good thing to have gotten as much education, and experience as possible.

Consider Victor Laszlo in Casablanca, what would have happened if he were just a hungarian laborer instead of an anti nazi communist or hungarian, anti-Semitic nationalist (it was never quite clear to me which) journalist. As it was everyone was stumbling over one another to get him his “letters of transit” except of course the Nazis’ and Rick. In Ricks case he saw the LOT’s as an opportunity for another night in Paris with Ingrid, instead all he got was a night in the desert with Claude Rains.




In lobby of condo. Need to work on publications. Got to pee.

10 AM

At Cafe le Mar. wi-fi down. Weather great. Spirits medium.

5:00 PM

Tai called at about 2 PM. Said she wanted to come to Pattaya on Sunday. Said she had to leave Aslon with mother then come here. Said she will tell me everything, all the truth when she get’s here. Asked if I still wanted her to come. Tempted to say no but smell a story in it. Suspect she thinks she can get money from me for Aslon, promising to return with him and leave. It would not be me not to play it out. I wonder, is it loneliness that makes me not cut and run, curiosity, guilt. I do not know.

Paid the rent and maid service. Will go to Pattaya to meet Bill and others for dinner.

Began work on Jessica’s Birthday Dream and completed first draft of Kos diary #2.

11 PM

Returned from night out with Gates and Gary. Dinner at “tables.” Thought I saw Tranny model from the tranny sites. Went to Windmill Club. Pretty raunchy, then to _______. Raunchy also. then I left and came home.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This and that from re Thai r ment. April 29, 2010

The day before yesterday I went to Bangkok to get a verification of income form from the US consulate so that I can update my current 90 day so-called Type “O” non immigrant visa to a one year retirement visa. Yes, the unending ex-pat visa hassles continue.

Anyway, I stayed the night in a guest house not too far from the Consulate and in the morning set off to do get the document needed. As I walked down the street, I could not help to notice that there were knots of bored soldiers and police, stationed every 100 yards or so along each side of the main road. The overpasses were filled with more soldiers armed with machine guns. The police and soldiers did not mix nor as I could see even spoke to each other. The police were lightly armed mostly with side arms and wore their regular daily brown uniforms designed for a certain amount of comfort in the heat. The soldiers on the other hand were very heavily armed and in full battle dress with what looked like plastic shin and thigh guards attached. Most soldiers carried an assault weapon, a shotgun and various side arms to go along with bandoliers and, bulging pockets and packs that I guess contained additional ammunition. The soldiers were all dressed in their jungle camouflage outfits. I could not really understand that. There is no jungle in Bangkok. Instead of camouflage it seemed more like an advertisement. If they wanted camouflage for Bangkok, the fatigues should have been grey decorated with images of dead rats and broken pavement.

Anyway, I took the Skytrain, Bangkok’s elevated inter-urban train system to where the main road called Sukhumvit is crossed by Wireless Road on which the American Consulate is located. As I left the train, I saw the barricades erected by the protesters (the Red Shirts) closing off vehicular traffic on Sukhumvit (but not the Skytrain). There were no red shirts in sight since I guess in was too early for the working press to get into position.

The barricades were very picturesque, all prickly with sharpened bamboo stakes sticking out in every direction (even back towards the red shirt area). They looked menacing but flimsy and were weighted down by old automobile tires. It was obvious that despite their apparent menace, they could be breached by one man on a bicycle or better yet anyone with a match. The Barricades did not however close off the street entirely, the edges by the buildings, lacking good angles for press photography were not defended.

Wireless road, which the American Embassy grounds straddles, appears to be the boundary between the areas controlled by each side. The Ambassadorial Residence site is within the area of the city controlled by the Red Shirts and the Consulate is across the street on the side controlled by the government, symbolizing the ambivalence of the American government’s position on the mess.

Anyway, I finished my business and returned to Jomtien Beach. I later learned that shortly after I left there was a contretemps over something the press was unsure about, resulting in the death of a soldier (I would not be surprised if it were from heat prostration) and injury to 18 protesters. Sorry I missed it.



SUNDAY APRIL 25, 2010 2 PM.

Reviewed the comments to the Kos diary and was thrilled at the positive response. Responded to as many comments as I could. Waiting for Lek to get back to me regarding dinner tonight.

5 PM

Lek busy with customer tonight. went for 10 min. Swim called Gates arranged to meet him at P-72 at 8 PM. I am going to try to nap.


Met up with Gates, Roy. Gary and Mike at P-72. Had dinner. Went to a Go-Go Bar (name ??). Left. Had slight altercation with songtheuw driver re cigar. Got off before stop to avoid further contretemps. Walked to bar near condo (Name ??). Had coke. Spoke with bar girl Cat. May try her next week. Went home. Did accounts. Not good.
Go to bed…

MONDAY APRIL 26 2010 1:30 AM

Cannot sleep. Coughing and mind racing. Decided to eat some yogurt to sooth my throat and to write a new “This and that…”

Will compose it here and transfer to email tomorrow.

A lot has gone on since I last wrote to you all, but nothing that makes a story.

I have lost almost 20 pounds since I left the US. That means either I am eating a lot less or I am exercising more or I have come down with some horrible wasting sickness. I hope to lose about 10 more pounds before beginning a more vigorous exercise regime than my 10 to 20 minutes swimming a day. Maybe I will start lifting weights. On the other hand, probably not.

Yesterday I published my first piece in a political blog. I was very excited. The blog is the one that Bill O’Rielly called the most evil in the nation. He seems to believe the contributors to the blog are those same people who used to attend demonstrations criticizing and ridiculing the President. Of course that would be the blog I would attempt to write for first. Actually it is all quite simple you just sign up and write away.

Nevertheless despite the simplicity, I found trying to write the first piece daunting, fearing that whatever I submitted would be ridiculed. After writing and erasing a number of attempts at composing a miserable little three or four paragraph comment, I gave up. To divert myself from my frustration, I started rummaging through the few documents that I had brought with me from the US after disposing of everything else I own. In addition to two diaries from the 1960’s containing some horrid poetry and the musings of an evil, self-absorbed pissants, I came across something entitled “The Fred Harris Campaign Handbook”, perhaps the last copy in existence. For those who are too young or who may have missed it, Fred was very briefly, a candidate for the presidency of the United States on the democratic ticket during the 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns. Fred campaigned as the populist candidate of the little people of America.

I was his issues chairman for the California Primary, and as such prepared the Handbook organized by issue containing Fred’s writings or speeches on each topic so that campaign workers could respond in the candidate’s own words to inquiries about where Fred stood on an issue. As it turned out the Handbook was never needed because Fred never made it to the California primary in 1976 where we were convinced that he would clinch the nomination and I would be up for an appointment as Secretary of State, Attorney General or a nomination to the Supreme Court or at least an indictment. No, Fred lost big time in the New Hampshire primary and was forced to drop out of the race for lack of money. When asked by the press what happened Fred responded, “Well I guess the little people were too short to reach the lever by my name”. (For those of you too young to know, before the invention of fire voting machines required a voter to pull down a little lever by the candidate’s name in order to record the vote)

Anyway, I thought since I was not confident in my own words, I would use Fred’s and add my own witty comments and insights to elucidate and relate Fred’s thoughts to the current political situation. That worked quite well and I submitted the piece and was quite pleased to see it published.

I was even more pleased when the next day, there were a number of positive comments on my submission and nary a negative. One articulate gentlemen’s comment contained only the word “awesome.”

Almost immediately my pleasure passed when I realized that I had to write a follow-up and that just had become much more difficult. It was like when I was much younger and did a little bit of acting on the stage, if the audience liked my performance, I could not go on the following night unless I was pushed onto the stage because I was paralyzed with fear that I would not be able to repeat the previous night’s performance.

Anyway, what ever happened to Fred? Well he dutifully campaigned for Jimmy Carter in California. Fred and his wife La donna spent election night at my house in San Francisco and when Carter accepted Ford’s concession I looked at Fred and could see that the light had gone out of his eyes in despair over the ending of his political career. Either that or he was dead drunk and about to pass out. Come to think of it, it was probably the latter since I seem to recall that the next morning we found Fred asleep in my back yard.

History is great. They should start teaching it again in High School.

MONDAY APRIL 26, 2010 10 PM

Went to Central to meet Marty the visa hustler. Grew up in Brewster NY. Charges 10,000 baht plus fees. Too high.
I need to get BanK Verification from BKKB. Make CopY of Passport, bank statement. Need 4 passport photographs. Go to BKK to get income certification from US consulate. Got Bank verification. Could not find place for copies of passport photos.

Went to meet Lek at entrance to Central. received a call from Tai that she was coming to live with me and bringing the baby. Told her I was going the BKK tomorrow for visa issues and will bring her back with me. She wanted to know if baby’s 20,000 baht/mo could be covered. I said yes. Met with Lek for dinner. I really would prefer her now to Tai .
Met with Gates, Gary and Roy. Gary left a message for Marty offering 10,000 baht for visa including fees. They ate and I came home. Called Tai and worked on new budget.


Tai called at about 8 AM. Gates called to tell me Visa deal ok. Went to Breakfast. Tai called again. Made arrangements to meet in BKK. Got to bus station. Called Tai, no answer. Got on bus, called Tai, no answer. Got off bus at Ekamai, called Tai, no answer. Got on skytrain to Asoke. Got off called Tai, no answer. Went to Honey Hotel, no rooms. Went to eat in HH cafe, called Tai, no answer. Got room in guest house near by. Got docs copied. Came to my room. Got naked. Lay on bed wrote this.

7 PM

Napped. Woke up. Peed. Called Tai, no answer. Wrote this.

9:30 PM

Tai called about an hour ago. Said he phone was not working. I told her I did not believe her. Strained conversation. I told her that I will go to consulate as early as possible tomorrow and expected to return to Pattaya in early afternoon. She seemed surprised at that and when I asked her if she had packed yet, she said only a little that I interpreted as none at all. I said that I will call her after I finish with my visa business, will her phone be working? She said she had charged it. I asked about transportation. She said, by taxi. I asked how much. She said 1800 baht, she did not know, she did not make arrangements yet. I told her I would like it to be cheaper. More strained talk and we hung up. I do not think that this will work out.

Am being eaten alive by bed bugs.


Cannot sleep again. Mind keeps going over Tai situation.


At Starbucks. Still cannot figure out how to connect to internet.

9:30 AM

In different Starbucks. Had Bkfst. in prior Starbucks. Took Skytrain to Wireless Road. Went to Consulate. Got proof of income statement. Saw barricades on Sukhumvit. All prickly with sharpened bamboo and tires to hold it gown. Lots of soldiers in jungle camouflage. Called Tai 5 times this morning, no answer. Will walk to Nana take Skytrain to Ekamai and return to BKK. Will withdraw 20,000 baht from bank to pay Rent and cleaning costs. Then to home.

5 PM

Home. Showered. Did accounts. Called LL. Pay rent 12 noon tomorrow.

Categories: April 2010 through June 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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