Posts Tagged With: Winston Churchill

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 30 Jo Jo 0002 (June 14,2013)

 

 

What Shakespeare should have written:

“First let’s kill all the bankers, the lawyers will then die of starvation.”
Trenz Pruca

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

Hayden arrived from Italy on Sunday, we spent the next two days together. We stayed at the Federal Hotel on Soi 11 so he could be nearer to SWAC and her mother and sister while we decided whether or not we would travel south to Phattalung in order to stay a week at our home there. Unfortunately all the flights and train accommodations were full for the next week so the trip was cancelled. Hayden has spent the last few nights with his old nanny at her house.

**********

I have spent the entire week wrestling with exhaustion and depression, perhaps for no other reason than a lingering cold or some other malady. Whatever it is, I feel like I am transitioning from the world of the merely aging to that of the truly aged.

**********

A few days ago Hayden and I ran into Gary and Pui and their son Gary II too. Gary is a Canadian and Pui is Tai. I have known Pui for almost as long as I have known SWAC. Pui lived with us briefly in SF. I no longer remember if she and Gary met in SF or in Thailand. They own a spa here that provides massage, nail and other cosmetic services. Gary tells me that there are Hockey leagues in Thailand and he plays in a senior league.

***********

This issue of T&T seems to me to be obscenely long and made up mostly of my rants. As usual, most of them range somewhere between bullshit and barely interesting. As I look it over again, the only thing I can recommend as worth reading, beside the amusing story of American family lost in my neighborhood here, is the note containing the long Jared Diamond quote.

I am quite fond of Diamond, the scientist and birder turned historian. Back when I was getting my degree in History we only studied the history of politics and male blood lust. Few if anyone then recognized that Darwin was perhaps a greater historian than scientist. My classmate, that fortunate child Winston Churchill, mentioned that physics, his major, was, after one learned some rudimentary mathematics, only history.

Perhaps that was why I rejected my scholarship advisors pleas that I major in physics also. I wonder what my life would have been like If I were now a 73-year-old ex-physicist living on social security rather than an aged un-employed attorney? But life is like that. First you scream in terror of the light and then you end cringing in fear of the darkness.
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

Soi Arab in Bangkok, between the Sukhumvit 3 a...

Soi Arab in Bangkok, between the Sukhumvit 3 and 5 roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Tourist Family Safely Returned To Thailand After Harrowing Night On Soi 3 — 4 Jun 2013

NANA – An American family of visiting tourists has been safely brought back to Thai soil after being lost for four hours in the lower Sukhumvit area, police reported yesterday.

The Waldens, comprising James, 43, his wife Meredith, 41, and their children Didi, 13, and Zachary, 9, were reported in healthy condition at Bumrungrad Hospital after an examination following their escape from the international territory known colloquially as “soi Arab.”

“It was the most frightening experience of our lives,” said a visibly shaken James. “One minute we’re in Thailand, enjoying our vacation, and then suddenly we’re in some other country full of Middle Eastern people, West Africans, and Indians. It was like something out of a bad science fiction movie.”

According to police, the Waldens accidental departure from Thailand began when they left their hotel, the Landmark, at 8pm to look for what they had been told was a good place for wood-fired pizza. Mistaking soi Loet Sin 2 for what they thought was soi 11, the family walked deep into a dark neighborhood of construction sites.

“Jim insisted we were on the right street but I knew something was wrong right away when we turned the corner and saw all those Indian restaurants,” said Meredith. “It just felt wrong.”

The family then wandered down soi 5 and attempted to enter Gullivers Pub, only to be pushed out by a brawl that was erupting between a drunken pack of British football fans and a hostile group of Israeli backpackers.

“I didn’t see any Thai people, anywhere,” noted Didi.

The Waldens then fled into the Nailert Foodland Plaza, where they became disoriented trying to find their way out again. Exiting a fire escape onto an alleyway, they then worked their way deeper into the warren of sub-sois that led to soi 3/1.

“Everyone around us was African,” said James. “We might as well have been in Africa. And I’ve never seen so many sandal shops in my life.”

After attempting in vain to find anyone who spoke either English or Thai, the Waldens spent 20 minutes working their way through a maze of leather stores, travel agencies, and sheesha pipe exporters, only to emerge on soi 3/1, where they were confronted by a bazaar of Middle Eastern and South Asian restaurants, women in burkhas, and men in robes and turbans.

“Poor Zach was so shocked that he just started shouting out ‘Terrorists! Terrorists!’” said Meredith. “We had to cover his mouth. It was embarrassing. Actually it was scary. People were staring at us, so I just grabbed the kids and went down the nearest alleyway.”

Emerging onto soi 3, the Waldens encountered “about 300” prostitutes of Middle Eastern and Russian origin, whose “huge asses” made it impossible to walk on the pavement towards Sukhumvit. Forced to go the other way, the family tried to ask for directions from one of the Thai vendors selling sex toys on the streetside.

“There were, like, a million vibrators and dildos,” recalled Didi. “That was like all they sold. It was gross.”

Unfortunately, every Thai vendor they encountered turned out to be deaf, and only gestured at the family using hand signs and large Casio calculators. Now completely terrified, the Waldens cut through an Ethiopian restaurant and fled into what appeared to be a large international hotel, the Grace.

“That was the worst place in the world,” said Meredith. “Like a nightmare, like a Twilight Zone episode. Every time we asked for directions it felt like we were interrupting an arms deal.”

The Waldens spent the next 90 minutes lost in the various areas within the Grace, including the bowling alley (“The balls weren’t even round”), the basement coffee shop (“The pit of hell”), and the mirrored casbah disco (“Men dancing with other men, but they were too ugly to be gay.”)

Around midnight the Waldens were finally rescued by a sympathetic transvestite named Pinki, who took them to the street, hailed a taxi, and instructed the driver how to get back to their hotel in Thailand. Once there, the hotel concierge noted their agitated state and called the hospital and the police.

The Waldens are expected to be released today, and have expressed optimism that they can complete their Thai holiday without incident. However, they have been warned to avoid the Nana area, as well as instructed not to enter the Thonglor area without first learning some basic Japanese.

(Thanks to Gary [Pattaya Gary, not Canadian Gary] for this bit of humor.

Alas, this is the pretty much the neighborhood in which I choose live while here in Thailand. Every morning I wander through it on my way to the health club on Soi 11. I eat breakfast at Foodland, check out the newest vibrator models in the sidewalk stands nearby, window shop for the latest designs in rhinestone encrusted sandals and get my haircut at the barbershop in the Grace Hotel. Although it has been years since I have observed the running of the bulls at Gulliver’s, I still find myself at times forced off the sidewalk by the generously hipped ladies of the night making one last morning troll before retiring. And, I’m sure Pinki is the name of that pretty ladyboy who always invites me to enjoy the best massage in Bangkok whenever I walk by.)

2. A Report from the Front Line in the Battle Against Global Warming:

In an effort slow the escalating release into the earths atmosphere of the serious sunlight absorbing gas, methane, in 2003 the government of New Zealand proposed a flatulence tax. It was not adopted because of public protest.

3. Educational innovation:

The Bangkok Post, Thailand’s major english language newspaper, featured an article regarding the pride that the Thai education agencies take in their elementary school program to teach students the proper way to use western style toilets.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

Note: the following continues my series about the four governmental agencies that I had some role in developing.

A. The State of New York’s Mental Health Information Service (1965):

6. Problems and insights.

After attending the morning intake meetings a few times, I recognized two problems that I would have to deal with. The first was that something seemed wrong with the whole psychiatric process and the second was that no one liked a representative of the MHIS being there.

a. the psychiatric process. From the beginning of the development of psychoanalytical theory at the end of the 19th Century with its a priori categorizations of mental processes, an elementary concern hovered over the profession. As one of the more distinguished doctors in the hospital put it, “Essentially, we cannot determine whether we psychiatrists helped the patients at all or whether they got better on their own.”

Only a few years before this, a discovery was made that fundamentally changed how mental illness was to be treated. The administration of certain drugs (among the first was lithium) seemed to miraculously relieve some of the worst manifestations of mental illness, conditions that up until then often were considered incurable.

The use of this therapy was slow to be adopted because no one at that time really knew how the drugs worked. In addition, they often seemed to replace the illness with drug induced torpor. It also was difficult to maintain the pharmaceutical regime with patients who tended to forget or refuse to take their medicines once beyond the control of the hospital. And perhaps most significantly, it shredded the fundamental assumptions of the psychiatric practice without replacing it with alternatives. As for the latter, in essence, pharmacological psychiatry was a serious threat to the growth of the psychiatric treatment industry. Many highly trained individuals felt threatened.

At the intake meetings in a major urban psychiatric hospital this basic problem with psychiatry appeared evident to me, if not in terms of technically understanding it, then at least in terms experiencing elementary discomfort with what I saw.

!n 1965 as it had been for the past 100 years, severe mental illness was most often seen as a disease of the mind expressed in a bewildering array of categories and concepts over which psychiatrists of various schools could endlessly fight, much like economists do today. At least that was an improvement over the claims of demonic possession and moral turpitude that had been the common belief before then.

What was beginning to become clear by the early fifties however was that what was referred to as mental illness was most likely a defect of some sort in the brain and not in the mind, which had always been imagined as something like a soul hovering somewhere between physical reality and somewhere else.

We all know now, for example, that when we see the color red, what we actually see is photons or waves of different frequencies that strike a few nerve endings (usually of three distinct types) then flash through a few nerves connecting the eye to the brain. There the brain integrates all this into a cohesive image we call Red. If something upsets the eye (cataracts), nerve endings (genetic predisposition to color-blindness) or the brain itself (trauma, genetic issues or chemicals and drugs) we may not see red at all. In fact, as certain hallucinogenic drugs have shown, one may “see” almost anything from melting colors and shapes to ghosts and even as has been reported hearing colors as well. Some people are frightened when the brain fails to integrate the signals from the eye, like those experiencing a bad trip on LSD. Others like Monet or El Greco translate it into great art.

In 1965, even before the host of drug therapies became widespread, it was beginning to become clear that in most cases, certainly in the most severe cases of mental illness requiring hospitalization, the brain itself had suffered some trauma, genetic, physical, chemical, or whatever that was causing these symptoms. Environmental or social experiences then mediated how they were expressed or whether they were even expressed at all. In other words, just like with colors, the brains function to integrate the information into a sense of regularity and consistency failed.

Patients vacuumed up off the streets the night before the intake meeting because they appeared incapable of caring for themselves were brought to the hospital’s emergency room. Only the most severely distressed of them were admitted into the hospital wards where the next morning they were brought before the intake panel. After dividing out the elderly and those suffering chemical caused dementia, almost all of those remaining had one thing in common, terror. Some shutdown, others screamed and still others lashed out, but they all were tormented by something beyond their ability to handle it.

Imagine, if you will, walking down the street on the sidewalk and everything disappears into a black pit. Well, that is akin to what the patients experienced. The brain is supposed to provide a person the sense the world is reasonably regular and reliable at least as to the things we normally experience every day. Although we may intellectually know for example that the sidewalk beneath out feet is mostly empty space, our brain integrates our senses and memories and assures us we will not fall through. For whatever reason the patients brains are not presenting them with the underlying experiences of the physical world that we all assume are reliable and they panic.

Of course, with the prevalence of psychopharmacology today we rarely see this occur anymore even in the emergency rooms of major urban hospitals today. If the slightest evidence of this pathology is suspected, even if it manifests itself in early childhood, appropriate drugs are prescribed to correct whatever imbalances exist allowing in many cases healing to occur so that eventually the drugs are no longer needed. Even as it was then with hospitalization as the only therapy, the sooner following evidence of the pathology the patient is treated, the briefer was the time needed for recovery.

In 1965, however, there were more potential patients then there were beds available even with the huge mental hospital complexes that existed in the State of New York.

JOEY’S NEW MYSTERY NOVEL:

ENTER THE DRAGON

Dragon’s Breath:

Vivian: So you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you’re a mess, aren’t you?
Philip Marlowe: I’m not very tall either. Next time I’ll come on stilts wear a white tie and carry a tennis racket.
Vivian: I doubt if even that will help.

Chapter: 18

I was awakened by the screeching doorbell. I had hoped it was Mavis bringing me café latte, donuts and some after dinner sweets. It was not. It was Joe Vu.

“Hiya Boss. You’re gonna be late. You look like hell. Nice place you got here,” he added as he walked by me into the loft.

“Did you bring the coffee and donuts? I can do without the sweets.”

“Huh”

“Never mind.”

Joe puttered around the house while I showered and dressed. We left and got into the car. It was a big black Lincoln.

“We’re downscale today,” I commented.

“Martin is using the Lexus.”

“How many cars does he have?”

“Lots, he collects them.”

“I saw the movie,” he added as we drove away from the curb.

“Movie?”

“Yeah, The Big Sleep, with Bogart and Bacall that you told me to watch. I don’t know about that Bacall, skinny bitch, no tits or ass.”

“They liked them like that then. Skinny ment rich and elegant. Today we still do skinny, but we add the tits and the butts, often fake ones, like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Zaftig is out in the modern world.”

“I couldn’t figure anything out. Who killed the chauffeur and Rogan? And why was everything so dark? I liked the car though.

” Yeah, it was a sweet Plymouth. Nobody knows who killed the chauffeur or Rogan, not the guy that wrote the story, not the director of the movie and certainly not the actors. Life is like that and so is the private investigation business. Sometimes, hell most times, you simply do not know what happened and never will. And, just like in the movie, it probably doesn’t matter.

As for the dark and the shadows, in films and books that’s called noir. It’s French for dark. Dark shadows, dark thoughts and dark deeds. It’s not like real life at all. Everyone likes light in their life. If it gets too dark they go to sleep. Even bad things are usually done in the light, behind closed doors and in secret perhaps, but the lights are usually on.”

“So, I guess it was like the last one you had me watch, there’s nothing in the movie to learn about bring a private eye?”

“No, in this one there is a lot to learn and remember. For example, you’re never hired by people who have to choose between food and you. It’s always someone who has a some spare cash around. They can spend it on you or a new piece of matched luggage. It’s all the same to them. So make sure you get paid. Up front if you can.

The movie also tells you, don’t work at night. Its dangerous. Sometimes you have to work at night. Like when you’re sitting in your car with your camera watching, hoping to catch client’s husband disappearing into the motel. Still, in the world of private detecting or in life itself, nooners are safer or right after work. Late night trysts interfere with your sleep and should be avoided. Always try to charge more for night work.

Also, if your client has a good-looking daughter, sleeping with her makes the job more interesting. And if he has two, and you have to choose, choose the skinny one.

And finally never, ever have dealings with someone named Eddie Mars.”

“You’re very sick, boss. Why the skinny one?”

“I don’t know. It is one of life’s mysteries.”

We arrived at the IHOP at Fisherman’s Wharf where I was to meet Martin Vihn. We spent a good 15 minutes or so looking for a parking space. We found one half way to North Beach. We walked down the boring part of Columbus to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was chilly as it normally is in the mornings near the water. The swimmers from the Dolphin Club, their little shower caps peeking above the frigid waters near Hyde Pier had already completed most of their laps. The tourists, still drowsy, were beginning to arrive hoping to be amazed. The tee-shirt shops and souvenir stands were open and ready. As we turned toward the IHOP, a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge lit up by the morning sunlight gleamed over my left shoulder. There may often be fog in San Francisco, and like everywhere else people die here in mysterious circumstances, but to me noir was only something the City wore to a masquerade.

DAILY FACTOID:

A Golden Age?

montgomery-ward-1

(We who lived through the last half of the 20th Century undoubtedly have experienced one of the world’s greatest golden ages. However, the significance of the productivity multiples listed on the chart above needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The only productivity gains that really matter are in those related to food, energy [energy productivity gains are missing — how much more or less does it cost to travel a mile today than in 1900?] and health services. The food productivity increases are notably less robust than those experienced in the reproduction of Horatio Alger books. Also, almost all the significant gains in all categories listed in the chart occurred after WWII and based upon statistics for the first 14 years of the 21st Century those rates of growth in many areas are diminishing. In the case of food for example, the so called Productivity Multiple since 2000 actually has been decreasing.

Even in health services, despite the great advances in treatment during the past 50 or so years, their costs for similarly effective treatments has increased dramatically in the past few years so that in all too many cases the time-to-earn number is growing. Also with the emergence of antibiotic resistant diseases and a spate of new environmentally based maladies it is still up in the air as to whether the advances in health sciences will continue at the same pace and whether they will be affordable if they do.)

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

screen shot 2013-04-22 at 3.38.42 am

(Contrary to popular belief, at least since the Korean War US Federal Government spending [including welfare and Social Security], like budget deficits and the national debt, generally increased during Republican Administrations [except during the Eisenhower Administration] and usually fell during Democratic ones. The reasons for this vary and are often highly political. For example, during their periods in power Republicans generally lower certain taxes [most often on the wealthy and for rent seeking activities], while increasing governmental expenditures [usually by large increases in defense spending or in expanding direct transfers of federal revenue to states]. This produces a temporary appearance of prosperity, but over the long run the lowering of revenue and the maintenance or increase in expenditures leads inevitably to larger deficits and debts especially during those periods of prosperity when debts and deficits should be reduced.

Democrats, however, inheriting these increased deficits and debts, as well as criticism from the Party that created them that the promised expenditures upon which the Democrats ran for office would further increase those debt obligations, generally begin their administrations attempting to increase revenue [usually from those who benefitted from the other Party’s largess] or by cutting programs, usually those favored by the other Party [like Defense]. Proving once again that Democrats are wusses.

In any event, that’s not the problem. There is plenty of tax money received by the federal government to pay for the ever shrinking share of governmental revenues dedicated to things like defense and other discretionary expenses that the politicians like to fight over. It is the growth of transfer payments and not the shrinking share of revenue dedicated to general federal government operations, that appears at first to be a potentially serious problem.

Three of the largest components of the transfer payment or non-discretionary portion of the federal budget are, Social Security disbursements, transfers to state and local governments and various costs associated with health care.

Since 1970, US real GDP has grown a little more than three times more than it was then. Social Security payments, perhaps the largest component of transfer payments during this same time have increased more or less by the same amount [meaning its percentage of GDP has remained relatively stable].

Transfers to state and local governments on the other hand have exploded from almost nothing in 1965 to become, next to SS and Defense, the largest component of federal spending not included in the discretionary portion of the budget [The red, blue and green lines].

A major source of this huge growth occurred when the Nixon and Reagan Administration packaged many existing federal programs [such as housing and many welfare programs] into automatic transfers of tax revenues back to the states and local governments [this is partially why the poorly run State governments, primarily in the South, receive so much more federal revenue than they contribute in taxes]. This effectively put that money outside of the budget cutting debate, because no elected official likes to cut money received by his state; entitlements, if you will, that allow the state to balance its budget without raising taxes. [That Democrats went along with this dodge to fund state governments from federal revenue, further cements their reputation as the wuss party.]

The last major component of the non-discretionary spending that has grown significantly has been in health care. Independent of the issue of who is covered to receive health care and who is not, it is to try to control these costs that comprise a major goal of Obamacare. It is these cost control provisions and not the coverage provisions that those who can afford to directly oppose the program really most object to. Recall that the medicare drug program passed by the Bush administration was a direct redistribution of taxpayer funds to the drug industry without any cost controls. Obamacare thanks to the efforts of both Republican and Democratic legislators ended some of the most egregious aspects of that legislation.

Republicans are especially hesitant to curtail or eliminate transfer payments to their states [after all this was a tremendous victory for political expediency over policy]. Democrats feel the same way about Social Security. They both, until Obamacare came along, have been reluctant to take on the Health Services industry.)

B. Apologies, Regrets and Humiliations:

For those who pay attention to such things, in the last chapter of Enter The Dragon, Dragon had told Joe Vu to watch To Have and To Have Not. I made a mistake I ment The Big Sleep. Sorry.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

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

TODAY’S CHART:

Chart_on_the_97.5_

(It never ceases to amaze me that I still am inundated by communications from those who, I suspect, decided to disbelieve the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change and search for something, anything, that agrees with their bias usually written by someone with the title of Dr. or Professor before his or her name. I surmise that before distributing the propaganda they never bothered to check to find out if the person is actually an expert in the field or if anyone who is, agrees with him.

One of the most recent missives refers to someone, whose name preceded by Dr. [area of expertise undetermined], who promotes the long discredited claim that vulcanism is responsible for all or most of the elevated carbon found in the earth’s atmosphere today.

The slightest bit of research would reveal that the carbon emitted by every eruption since records have been kept are included in most of the models developed by the scientists upon which the evidence for global warming are based. Did those people who blindly passed on the report without thinking about it actually believe that all the scientists who produced the 50,000 or so peer-reviewed articles confirming climate change just happened to overlook a major carbon source such as volcanos in their calculations?

Now in fairness to all the parties involved in the climate change controversy, I must admit that I have my own conspiracy theory on the matter to promote.

Since the beginning of the 19th Century when accurate meteorological records began to be kept, world population has grown to be more than six times larger than it was then. Today there are six billion more people alive than there were then. Yet the PPM concentration of carbon in the atmosphere [the claimed major factor in global warming.] has increased only by about 50%. Does this mean that had we maintained the population levels of 200 years ago, despite industrialization, the amount of green house gasses in the atmosphere would have remain static and perhaps even decreased? And, if so isn’t birth control the solution now?

If my speculation is accurate, then the mystery is why isn’t the birth control solution at the top of everyone’s agenda? I expect for the environmental community it is because to do so it would threaten to diminish their obsessive focus on industrial regulation. For conservatives it would mean accepting and promoting what to them is morally hateful; birth control, abortion and woman’s liberation. For the business community it means refocusing from supplying existing products to an expanding customer base, to the much more difficult task of creating new wants among existing buyers.

Perhaps it would be appropriate to remind everyone of a quote by the economist Brad DeLong that I included in T&T a few weeks ago:

“Only with the coming of female literacy and artificial means of birth control can a society maintain both a slowly-growing or stable population and a substantial edge in median standard of living over subsistence.” *

And, it is equally appropriate for me to urge once more something I have advocated time and time again here in many T&T posts and in a number of blogs that the sooner the instruments of power in society world-wide are turned over to women, the more likely it is that we can avoid the Armageddon that may be rushing towards us.

* Note: Recent archeological evidence seems to indicate that it is overpopulation within certain pockets of hunter gatherers that led to the discovery of farming and that the resulting agricultural communities suffered a substantial decline in their caloric intake and general health as compared to the hunter gatherers that remained in the area.

According to Jared Diamond:

“There are at least three sets of reasons to explain the findings that agriculture was bad for health. First, hunter-gatherers enjoyed a varied diet, while early farmers obtained most of their food from one or a few starchy crops… Second, because of dependence on a limited number of crops, farmers ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. Finally, the mere fact that agriculture encouraged people to clump together in crowded societies, many of which then carried on trade with other crowded societies, led to the spread of parasites and infectious disease…

Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another curse upon humanity: deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources, like an orchard or a herd of cows: they live off the wild plants and animals they obtain each day. Therefore, there can be no kings, no class of social parasites who grow fat on food seized from others. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non-producing élite set itself above the disease-ridden masses…

Farming could support many more people than hunting, albeit with a poorer quality of life. (Population densities of hunter-gatherers are rarely over on person per ten square miles, while farmers average 100 times that.) Partly, this is because a field planted entirely in edible crops lets one feed far more mouths than a forest with scattered edible plants. Partly, too, it’s because nomadic hunter-gatherers have to keep their children spaced at four-year intervals by infanticide and other means, since a mother must carry her toddler until it’s old enough to keep up with the adults. Because farm women don’t have that burden, they can and often do bear a child every two years…”)

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

DSCN1350

Waiting for the bus.

 

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

CONNECTICUT EXECUTIONS
1600-1699…….12
Sodomy……..4
Witchcraft……7
Murder………1 (Native American)

1700-1799……. 16
Murder………11
Native American…….7 (2 woman)
White…………………4 (2 Women)
Treason…….2
Rape………..2 (Both Black)
Robbery……1

1800-1880…….19
Rape…………3 (All Black)
Murder
Native American….2

1881=1960…….78 (all murder)
Italian……….25
Black…………3
Asian…………2

This supplies a snapshot of America’s racial, ethnic and other obsessions since European colonization. Although it is only one state, I would guess that except for some changes in ethnic composition (e.g. Mexicans in California, American Indians in the upper Mid-west and so on) it provides a fair representation of our national psyche, newcomers or outsiders especially if they were poorer and darker were feared [Indians were looked on as newcomers in that they were new to the vast migrations from Northern Europe and blacks always have been outsiders.]

In a somewhat more positive note since 1800 more white Americans (almost all from the lowest classes) were executed than darker ‘foreign’ (including indians, Southern Europeans, Mexicans and blacks) people. Perhaps this could lead one to the conclusion that we Americans are more willing to kill and demean those who are poorer than we are than for racial, gender or ethnic reasons [and Americans we are, once our particular group passes through the ordeal of greater or lesser discrimination and humiliation imposed upon us by our adopted homeland as Italians did in the 60’s, blacks and Mexicans in increasing numbers are beginning to do today and indians, well, although they are mostly dead, their remnants may also be beginning that long climb to respectability where they can look down on those now just beginning their climb for reminding them from where they came and hating them for fear that the ambitions of this next group threatens their precarious and newly won grasp on respectability.]

Note: It seems the legalized killing in general increased somewhat faster than population.

TODAY’S NEWS FROM AMERICA:

1. The rise and fall of western civilization: Western civilization as we know it arose in the city-states of Greece in about the Sixth Century BC. It reached its apogee during the age of the great Athenian political leader Pericles shortly thereafter. It could be argued that from its beginnings in this small peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean we have witnessed the expansion and incipient decline of Western Civilization. Some would even argue that we have been in decline since Pericles died.

This amazing civilization once again finds itself focused on this tiny bit of land, while the Greeks decide if they have had enough and whether to pull the plug on what they created.

Some have suggested that should they, the Greeks of today, decide to ring down the curtain on Western Civilization, it is because intermarriage with their long time rulers, the Turks, have made them wary of the rational religion of their ancestors. I do not agree. I think they are just pissed at the mess we have made of their invention.

2. The pot calling the kettle something or other: I have been reading in the local newspapers about the federal crackdown on California’s medical marijuana growing and distribution industry for their failure to even comply with the State’s own laws on the subject. This has prompted a frenzy by the less reflective and knowledgable left that this is just another example that Obama is just a Conservative in Liberal’s clothing. In fact, the Obama administration’s announced policy has always been basically to not enforcing federal marijuana laws where the operation is complys with local state law. The federal claim is that these operations being raided clearly violate state law and regulations.

Forgetting for a minute, whether the President’s daily national global concerns even allowed him to be more than peripherally aware of one of his agency’s enforcement of federal law in a state or the reality that the DEA is riddled with extreme right-wing holdovers on the phony war on drugs, all is not as it seems.

Several years ago as my legal career wound down and my self-confidence plummeted and I inevitably (and mostly happily) slid into poverty, I had involved my self with a number of clients (few of whom paid their bills) interested in entering into the burgeoning Medical Marijuana business. At that time the few attorneys who claimed to specialize in the area generally advised their clients on the technicalities of the State process and the vagaries of local and Federal enforcement. They, and I as well, developed form books to assist the would be entrepreneur through the process.

What most of us cautioned our clients about was the clear intention of the law as written to limit the industry to non-profits operating for medical purposes as well as the strict limits on the permitted size of the operation.

Of course as to be expected the fledgling marijuana millionaire was usually only interested in getting around those limitations and developing ever larger, more efficient and profitable growing and distribution companies and reaping some of the huge profits now going outside our borders or to the so-called criminal element, shotgun in hand, guarding their wilderness pot plantations. Some of us attempted to strongly advise them to stifle this ambition since, in terms of Federal enforcement, size matters. Alas, to no avail. They ignored the advice, ignored California’s laws and went big and bold. Thus the Federal crackdown.

Recognizing this addiction by private entrepreneurs to indulge themselves in the ego satisfaction of becoming wealthy plantation owners and the creators of the marijuana version of Sam’s club and its obvious questionable legality and unacceptable risk, I developed an alternative business approach, based upon the compound growth power of fees and financial manipulation.

Instead of going into the marijuana growing and distribution business, I advised my clients and developed the forms and procedures for entering the Medical Marijuana financing and equipment supply business. Briefly it required the prospective grower-distributor, in return for obtaining the financing from the Company, to enter into a contract, much like that used in contemporary franchise operations, requiring them to strictly comply with all laws and regulations and to buy all supplies as well as consulting services from the Company or risk losing their operation. The entrepreneur would then provide the grower-distributor the financing and a turn-key operation including consulting services and contract labor.

POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN CALIFORNIA:

Sometimes it appears to me that my life is little more than a movable feast of self-indulgence. Perhaps it is the times that make me think so. Look at “Facebook” it is marketed as a so-called social media bringing people together. Not so. Facebook seems to me to be little more than “look at me” writ large.

Today I went for lunch with my friend Peter. We were both wearing our yellow Panama style hats. We ate at a little restaurant on Valencia Street in San Francisco where we discussed the humor and pathos of aging. After lunch we walked to a bakery on Guerrero for coffee and pastry. While sitting at the table, Peter told me about the time he lived in South Boston many years ago. He had a neighbor, a tiny aged Litvak man who each day that the sun was out would stand for several hours on the sidewalk outside his apartment to bathe in the warm sun’s rays. He would always wear a hat made from a paper bag, crisp and unwrinkled.

Once a month the little Litvak would stand outside his house until a large black chauffeured limousine would come by and stop. He would get into the back of the limo and they would take off. A few hours later he would return, the chauffeur would hold the door open for him, then remove several bags of groceries from the trunk and follow the little Litvak into his home emerging a few minutes later and after climbing into the front seat, drive off.

I asked Peter if he thought I would look ok with a paper bag for a hat instead of my Panama, at which point a woman sitting at the next table and obviously listening to our conversation leaned over and handed me a paper bag with handles. The bag fit perfectly on top of my head with the handles hanging below my ears. Those that chose to comment said that I looked quite fetching. I still have the bag and intend to take it with me on my return to Thailand.

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

RED STAR

Chapter: Vince in Frenzy:

As he rode up in the elevator to his office on the 24th floor Vince decided he was through with half steps and waiting. He was going to act even if it put him in danger.

As he passed Nina’s desk after leaving the elevator he asked her to have Ray sent to his office.

“He’s not coming in until later today,” she responded. “He sais he was in bed with something, but hopes to be rid of it by early afternoon and will come in then.”

“Well, in that case please get Annabella LaGrande on the line for me.”

His phone rang as soon as he sat down at his desk.

“It is Ms. LaGrande on the line,” announced Nina.

“Annabella, how are you, how’s the jet lag,” Vince asked?

“I am fine. Why are you calling Vince? I have a busy day.”

Feeling bit miffed and a little cowed by Isabella’s brusk way of controlling the situation, Vince nevertheless rallied and said, “I would like you to email me a request for an immediate election for a new firm management committee. I don’t care about the reasons. Make them up yourself.”

There was silence from the other end of the line, then she said, “OK you will have it in a few minutes,” and hung up.

His next call was to Ike. When Ike pitied up the phone he said, “Ike, this is Vince, I’d like you to call the DOJ attorneys handling the Red Star investigation and tell then that I am willing to answer any questions they may have in return for immunity and protection.”

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

a. I didn’t know that:

Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called ‘love’?
A: In France , where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called ‘l’oeuf,’ which is French for ‘egg.’ When tennis was introduced in the US Americans (mis)pronounced it ‘love.’
b. Human “Fingerprints” on Recent Climate Change:

c. Annual English Teachers’ awards for best student metaphors/analogies found in actual student papers:

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Only the nectar was in her heart, not her bladder.

He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
d. Profiles in Presidential Courage:

(Thanks again to Cordt)

e. Wall Street Jargon Explained:

Bull Market:
A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius.

Bear Market:
A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry and the husband gets no sex.

Bear:
What your trade account and wallet will be when you take a flyer on that hot stock tip your secretary gave you.

Bull:
What your broker uses to explain why your mutual funds tanked during the last quarter.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

“Fight boredom at all costs.”
Peter Grenell.

BONUS QUOTE:

“Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal.”
~ Winston Churchill

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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 2 Jo-Jo 0001 (May 19, 2012)

SUPPORT PAIGE SULTZBACH

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

It rained again today. LM equipped me with one of those umbrellas that cleverly fold up every which way until they are small enough carry in your pocket. When opened it becomes a tiny umbrella, not that much larger than a paper parasol in a Mai Tai. It is just about large enough to keep the rain off of my already hat protected head, but too small to prevent the rest of me from becoming drenched.

I have lost over 25 pounds as a result of my diet and exercise regime as well as about two and one half inches from my waist. I have even begun to see little bumps emerge from my body’s subcutaneous fat that I assume are muscles. Either that or I am sicker than I imagined. Nevertheless, when I look into the mirror to observe the changes, my eyes are inevitably drawn to that persistent bane of the aging male, my man boobs. They stare back at me. Those pendulous D-cup protrusions seeming even bigger than ever.

When I searched the internet for exercises that promise to eliminate drooping man boobs like there are for sagging bellies and those draperies of flesh that dangle beneath your upper arm, I was disappointed to find that there are none.

Is this then the way it is with most men; no matter what we do we will still die with, sagging man boobs? At least with older women those derelict appendages arguably had a purpose (perhaps several purposes) at one time, but what have my boobs ever done for me?
B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. We are number one:

Time Magazine reports that the US is the world’s largest exporter of sperm. Hooray for us!

The article goes on to mention that sperm of a growth sector in the American economy, “From just a handful of vials 10 years ago, American sperm exports have grown into a multimillion dollar business.”

Time also reports that in the last decade that Virginia’s Ben Seisler’s frozen sperm has impregnated at least 21 women producing oner 70 offspring. Atta boy Ben! Ben when asked why he did it,  admitted  needing the money for college and added, “I guess I was just dumb.”

Incidentally, Ben is Jewish. Apparently there is a high international demand for Jewish sperm. I do not know why that is or what it means in the greater scheme of things. Should the male children of Ben’s sperm be circumcised? It is times like this when I miss Irwin most. He was my expert in Jewish theology.

Ben’s sperm’s conquests, however, pale in comparison to a donor in Britain who over 30 years has sired more than 1000 children. I do not know if the unnamed Brit is Jewish.

I see a PhD thesis in the making.

2. Don’t cry for me Argentina:

After selling off their national energy company in 1997 during a fit of privatization, the nation found that its oil and gas production was declining, fewer wells being drilled and exploration for new reserves virtually nonexistent. The privatized company, a non-Argentinian conglomerate based in Europe, had prioritized  repatriation of dividends over production, an approach favored and encouraged by the international banking community. In addition the conglomerate valued the Argentinian company not for its production but for its assets since they could be collateralized, borrowed against and gambled with in the derivative market in search of higher returns.

Argentina recently re-nationalized the company they sold off a little over a decade ago in an effort to refocus it on Argentina’s energy needs.

The US, Britain and the EU were furious. Primarily their anger was, not about “free markets,” oil, profits or the bad precedent it may set, but concern over Argentina’s disruption of the chain of securitization anchored in the real world by Argentina’s oil and gas reserves at one end and investment banks in New York and London holding the debt and liabilities of the conglomerate on the other.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

Here in Thailand they have a King. I like the King. As Kings go he is great. Most people here love their King. Many of the country’s leaders claim they love the King and are willing to root out anyone they believe does not love him as much as they claim they do.

The problem is that the King believes things like the environment should be protected, poverty eliminated, aid for individual subsistence farmers, management and maintenance of the flood plains to diminish the scourge of floods  and things like that. He spends a lot of his time going around the country doing those things that he says should be done to better the kingdom and the lives of the people.

Those who claim to love the King the most, love him so much so that they are willing to imprison or even kill people they believe do not love the King as much as they do. I have seen these people all dressed up in their white uniforms whenever there is a televised function for the King.

The problem is, although these people love the King a lot, they do not love much of anything he tells them that they should be doing for the good of the kingdom. In fact, other people in the kingdom who believe what the King tells them and try to do those things he advises are often hunted down by the white uniformed lovers of the King and accused of disrespecting the King.

Now why is that?

Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus...

Jesus calls Levi. From book: The Life of Jesus of Nazareth. Eighty Pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the US we have a similar situation regarding the good gay messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. Many people say they love Him very much.

The problem is Jesus went on and on about things like helping the unfortunate, forgiveness, healing the sick and things like that. He liked women and hung out with them a lot. He did not think they should be punished if they happened to have done things other people did not like, even if it had to do with sex. He even often had a handsome man around him who he called his beloved and they would lay their heads on each others breast. He also said that unbelievers could be better in God’s eyes than believers if they behave kindly toward others. Jesus hated those who used religion to benefit themselves financially. He preached that it is the good things you do, not what you believe that matters to God.

Unfortunately, many of those who claim they love Jesus a lot, also believe that those who like what Jesus said they should do like oh, feed the poor, actually hate Jesus.

This seems to be a common situation among men to claim to love someone for no discernible reason but despise what the object of their adoration tells them to do whenever it benefits someone other than themself.

Yes, this sounds like another screed about conservatives. And yes conservatives tend to behave like this in Thailand, back in Jesus time and even in the US and elsewhere today. And yes, their leaders are often the society’s rich and powerful.

Picture of Jesus with American flag

Picture of Jesus with American flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But liberals have their own problems. Liberals seem to often fall in love with a messiah whose words they agree with. If Jesus were alive today liberals probably would urge Him to run for office. And if He succeeded in getting elected, they would all go home and happily wait for their Messiah to perform His miracles and make everything like they think it should be. When that does not happen, they will become disappointed and would probably go to Him and complain. He would point out that He said that the miracles could happen only if they all changed their ways together and worked at it along with Him. The liberals would not like that and go home. This then would allow those who loved Jesus but not what He told them they should be doing to come in and toss Him into the garbage or worse.

In fact, that was what happened during Jesus time. The liberals, known then as the Apostles and Disciples, urged him to run for King, then when the shit hit the fan they all ran and hid. They only came out again after things quieted down.

Note: Everything written above applies to Men only. Remember, the women did not run and hide. They bravely appeared at the crucifixion and at the tomb despite the danger [and, if I recall correctly, so did the beloved disciple].

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Twentieth Century:

According to historian Mark Largent, more than 63,000 people were forcibly sterilized under eugenics-inspired official state programs in the US between 1907 and 1980. It was a horrifying exercise in genetic engineering. The intent was to strengthen the gene pool and reduce welfare rolls. The victims were usually women, including African-Americans, Asians, Jews, Latinos, Southern Europeans, Native Americans, alcoholics, the disabled, epileptics, illiterates, the mentally ill, petty criminals, the poor, the promiscuous, rape victims and “anyone else who did not resemble the blond and blue-eyed Nordic ideal the eugenics movement glorified,” as Edwin Black noted in his book “War Against the Weak.”

In the 1990s a more humane method of reducing the welfare rolls was instituted by simply ending welfare.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

Do you trust these men?

They run your country. They can put you out of work. They can destroy the country’s economy. Each one has been either caught at or was responsible for actions that has cost the nation and the nation’s taxpayers trillions of dollars and in some cases were illegal or borderline so. They each make more than 50 times the income of the President of the United States. Yet you collectively cannot remove any one of them from their position of almost absolute power. Nor can you use the traditional free market means of expressing dislike or disapproval by not buying their products. This is neither a democracy nor a free market system. They are the enemy.

As Abraham Lincoln said:

“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. The banking powers are more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. They denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw light upon their crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”

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

PHASE THREE

Given corporate control of legislative bodies, enact laws to the benefit of corporate interests. For example, those laws sponsored by weapons manufacturers wherein people may carry concealed weapons and shoot and kill anyone by whom they feel threatened.

Give the running of state prisons over to private corporations whose profits increase with the increase in inmate populations. See to it that a majority of prisoners are African-American.

When possible, treat immigrants as criminals.

Deplete and underfinance a viable system of free public schools and give the education of children over to private for-profit corporations.

Make college education unaffordable.

Inject religious precepts into public policy so as to control women’s bodies.

Enact laws prohibiting collective bargaining. Portray trade unions as un-American.

Enact laws restricting the voting rights of possibly unruly constituencies.

Propagandize against scientific facts that would affect corporate profits. Portray global warming as a conspiracy of scientists.

Having subverted the Constitution and enervated the nation with these measures, portray the federal government as unwieldy, bumbling and shot through with elitist liberals. Create mental states of maladaptive populism among the citizenry to support this view.

C. What thoughtful Republicans think of their party:

“One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
N. Ornstein (a thoughtful Republican) and T. Mann (unfortunately an ill-informed Democrat who probably grew up in San Francisco and was educated at Berkley.)

TODAY’S QUOTES:

“If it is too big to fail, it is too big to manage.”
Trenz Pruca

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their parents fought to obtain”
Thomas Jefferson in an 1802 letter to Secretary of State Albert Gallatin

TODAY’S CHART:


What this chart means is that in the US private, not public, debt has risen to unsustainable levels. Public debt vs GDP has generally fallen under Democratic administrations and risen under the Republicans. When in 2008 (and 1929) the out of control rise in private debt collapsed as it must, public debt rose to compensate for it in an effort to forestall an even greater depression or recession.

Contrary to the beliefs of both Liberal and Conservative economists, neither the rise in public debt nor its reduction will solve the problem although  the liberal inspired temporary rise in public debt was all that kept the nation from collapsing immediately into financial Armageddon.

Until private debts are readjusted by either massive defaults or inflation and the resulting temporary collapse of the nation’s major financial institutions absorbed, we cannot get out of this mess. Increased public spending on infrastructure without an increase in production of goods and services is at best a temporary, and, in my opinion, necessary stop-gap.

Unfortunately, mature economies with stagnant population growth like in Europe or Japan do not require new production; only replacement production for worn out goods. They must live mostly on exports. Although US population continues to rise, so long-term demand may continue to grow for a while, current demand is stagnant. Alas, the US has catabolized its industrial capacity in favor in an orgy of asset securitization and has replaced its industrial economy with a service economy. A service economy regrettably has a limit to how many hamburgers per person can be consumed or insurance policies acquired.

So, what can the average person do about it? Nothing, except to prepare oneself for a relatively low-income existence. In the foreseeable future, those with the least needs will probably do better than those with the most wants.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

TODAY’S SNARK:

Obviously Winston Churchill was equipped with more than just balls [Alternative title: Winnie’s Junk]


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

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3Th. 24 Capt. Coast 0001 (May 14, 2012)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE DREAPER

TODAY FROM THAILAND:

A. POOKIE’S ADVENTURES IN THAILAND:

WINNIE and I

I walked in the blazing heat of the Bangkok sun to the health club today; heels striking the pavement heavily, shoulders hunched, head down checking the sidewalk in hopes of avoiding falling through a hole into one of those inky black and disgustingly dangerous sewers that were at one time canals. My neck jutted out parallel to the ground like that of a turtle or a chicken as I walked. Plodding along, I, as old men often do, ruminated through the parched grasses of memory. I surprised myself by finding I had become fixated on Winston Churchill.

No, not the balding, rotund, cigar smoking, alcoholic, bigot who many believe won World War II single-handedly despite the death of millions of allied soldiers and the unlimited aid of American industrial might, as well as the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of mostly non-white colonial serfs who gave up their lives at the request of the Free French generals in order to liberate a nation most of whose population had settled down happily and comfortably under the tyranny of the SS. No, not him, but Winston Churchill (of some number, I think III) a scion of an American offshoot of the legendary British family who attended Fordham College with me back in the late 1950s and early 60s.

Fordham was a Catholic, Jesuit run university located at a place called Rose Hill in the Bronx at the edge of a large Italian ghetto. Winnie, as he was called, enrolled at this second-rate Catholic university instead of ivy coated halls of Harvard or Yale to which his ancestry and wealth entitled him, because his fanatically Catholic mother insisted that he bide his time under the watchful eyes of the Jesuit order before receiving the rewards due a Churchill.

There was no question in anyones mind, least of all Winnie’s, that he was destined for great things. In addition to his name and heritage, he was clearly one of the five or six smartest students at the university. He also was tall as befitted a child of the nordic-germanic races as opposed to we much shorter celtic and mediterranean types that peopled the campus. He was blond, blue-eyed and handsome in a pretty sort of way. The only blemish on his appearance that I could recall was his blade thin nose that erupted from his face like a knife after slicing through a round of camembert. For someone who came from a race of either bulbous or beak-like probosci, Winnie’s nose simply appeared unimpressive to me. His nostrils were so narrow I wondered how he got enough air through them to survive. I half suspected that he had a bottle of compressed oxygen secreted nearby and would now and then slip out for a nip, like a Bowery denizen would nip at a bottle of Thunderbird encased in a brown paper bag.

However, what mostly set Winnie apart from the rest of us, and if you would have asked me at the time the rest of humanity, was his abiding belief that what was good for Winnie, was… well, all that really mattered. Now this did not mean that Winnie was mean or callous; no not at all. If an old woman walking in front of him on the sidewalk tripped and fell, Winnie would not hesitate to stop and help her up. And in response to the old woman’s expression of thanks, flash his broad smile as though her gratitude was his due. Of course, if the old woman tripped and fell into a puddle of mud, he would most likely walk right by. Wouldn’t anyone?

Anyway, in our senior year, many of us took the LSAT examination required for those of us planning to go on to law school. That year they introduced an additional day of exams directed at testing our general knowledge. When the results came back I scored 800 out of 800 on the general knowledge portion of the exam which was the highest in the school (Winnie was second but far behind me) and obviously no one in the State of New York had gotten higher since that was as high as the scoring system went.

Now I scored so high on this exam not because I was particularly smarter than anyone. I was not. My scores on the other two days or the exam proved this since they were barely adequate to get me into a second-rate law school. No, it was that my reading regime and obsessions with factoids gave me an advantage. That and the fact that this portion of the exam was multiple choice and I firmly believed that anyone that could not get at least 90 percent right on a multiple choice test, even if the test were in a foreign language that you did not understand, was mentally deficient.

Nevertheless, I was sort of pleased with the results. Not pleased enough to tell my mother, but pleased enough to hope some of the young women around campus would hear about it and think that I was interesting enough to date. This was the end of the 50s after all. Alas, it never happened.

As I contemplated my forlorn hope, I received a message from the Dean of Students requesting I come immediately to his office to discuss the results of the LSAT exam. Now, I do not remember how the message was delivered. This was after all before computers and mobile communication. I guess it was the usual method of communication available at the time; another student shouting at me as I walked across campus, “Hey Joe, the Dean wants to talk to you about the LSAT right away.”

So off I went with the hope of some official recognition that would intrigue the girl of my dreams.

Now, it is important to understand Jesuit management as laid down centuries ago by the order’s founder Ignatius of Loyola, a frustrated Basque ex-solder who because of an injury suffered in battle could no longer do what he knew best, kill people, decided to apply his soldierly skills on behalf of the Pope and make war on people’s minds. His management system required that the head guy (it had to be a guy) must be beloved. So his job was to say in public only things that made people happy and made them love him. His second in command had to be the prick and do all the dirty work. It was essential that the prick was deeply loathed by everyone so that the head guy looked even better by comparison.

At Fordham, as far as I knew, the second in command was the Dean of Students (actually I may have his title wrong it may have been the Dean of Discipline, but whatever).The Dean of Students was a prick.

I entered the Dean’s office. Although outside it was a bright spring afternoon the office was gloomy, curtains drawn. A small lamp on the desk provided most of the light. The room was furnished with that dark almost black wood furniture in that gothic style that Catholic religious of the time seemed to like so much. Winnie was there, sitting in a chair off to the side in an elegant upper class slouch, his knife nose pointed towards the ceiling a few feet behind the Dean’s desk. His face absent its usual slightly supercilious smile, his blue eyes blazing with annoyance or anger or something else that I could not guess at.

I took a seat before the Dean. The chair was one or those uncomfortable, tall backed, wooden chairs with twisted columns holding up a cross-piece of dark reddish-brown wood about a foot above my head. The wood slat had a lion’s head carved into it to go with the claws on the base of the chair’s legs. A similar much larger set of claws held up the Dean’s desk.

The Dean a man of average hight, with a round face and eyes that peered out at you through slits. Slits not so much like the epicanthic narrowed eyes of Asians but simply slits through which one could not see the eyes behind, only blackness. He wore a black cassock and a shawl of some sort. He leaned forward and asked in a low nearly inaudible voice, “Do you know your marks on the General Knowledge section of the LSAT exam?”

“Yes, father,” I responded.

“Who do you think you are,” he continued in that same low voice? “I know all about you. You never come to class. You do not complete your assignments. Your grades are barely even mediocre. What right to you have getting a higher mark than those students like Winston here who work so hard?”

Now, Winnie did turn in his assignments and I did not. That is so. But if truth be known, his attendance record was not all that much better than mine.

Anyway, I did not get to say anything, because with a flick of his hand the Dean dismissed me.

“Thank you, father,” I mumbled. I got up, passed Winnie who now had a broad leer on his face and I left the room.

I felt neither good nor bad, neither humiliated or angry, but only concerned about how I was going to go about meeting girls now…. After all I was barely more than a teenager, the Sixties actually did not begin in earnest until at least 1965 and no one really smoked dope except musicians. (to be continued)

NOTE: The above, I am sure you all recognize was written as entertainment. Although the events were as described, Winnie as I knew him then was far more complex and sensitive than I describe him here, as I hope so was I. The Dean of Students, however was a prick and will always be a prick.

As long as I am on the subject, why is it OK to call a man a prick but not OK to call a woman a cunt? Who decides these things anyway? I am sure that in the all girls Catholic schools of the time the nun counterpart to the Dean of Discipline (or Students or whatever) was a cunt and was so referred to as by any student that had run afoul of her.

B. NEWS STRAIGHT OR SLIGHTLY BENT:

1. Add Insult to Infamy:

The alleged escort at the center of the Secret Service scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, gave an exclusive interview to Today on NBC, describing the accused agents, among other things, as “stupid,” “idiots” and as having left “their duty behind.”

The 24-year-old Dania Londono Suarez told NBC that the Secret Service agents seemed accustomed to soliciting women, saying the three men who approached her were not shy, drinking vodka “like it was water” and as having shown off their bodies while they danced.

“I don’t know how Obama had them in his security force,” she added.

(Showing off their bodies while they danced? Don’t you think Obama is carrying this gay thing a little too far?)

2. Stars Fall from the Sky, Dewey LeBoeuf

It was of interest to me to read of the collapse of the mega law firm Dewey LeBoeuf. Dewey LeBoeuf was created out of the merger of long time Wall Street entrenched law firm Dewey Ballantine and the LeBoeuf firm (both firms included the names of a number of other attorneys in their titles as part of the compulsive ego gratification that accompanies the practice of law. Alas, those names are mostly gone from memory now; at least they are from mine.)

When I first got into the law racket about 45 years or so ago, Dewey was among the 4 or 5 most powerful law firms on earth and as such they believed their success depended upon prohibiting women, catholics, jews, black people, anyone who had not graduated from Harvard or Yale Law Schools, and a host of others from joining their partnership ranks. Anyway about 10 to 15 years ago, in addition to allowing some of those undesirables to join them as partners and having their brains beaten in commercially by those previously rejected attorneys who opened their own firms or joined those more amenable to their aspirations, like LeBoeuf, they lemming-like got carried away by the urge to merge or die that was so prevalent at that time and began looking for a match. Eventually they found LeBoeuf who was also trolling the streets.

While I sat on the management committee of Sheppard Mullin, a medium-sized California-based law firm, we were approached by both Dewey and LeBoeuf, each offering to lift up their skirts if we lift up ours. I and several members of the management committee had already decided to expand, but our preferred approach was to seek practice groups or firms with compatible practices in specific markets where we (our existing practice groups) wanted to be. I and I am sure some of the other committee members rejected the urge to merge for size and market weight that most large firms believed would lead them to untold wealth and power.

Anyway we looked into both Dewey and LeBoeuf and concluded that they were, among other things, already in decline. In Dewey’s case because, in part, the arrogance instilled by their previous prominence caused them to reject both practices and people their founders disdained and as a result life and fortune passed them by. LeBoeuf’s situation, if I remember correctly, was their thoughtless pursuit apparent business opportunities that failed to pan out. So, we rebuffed their advances.

Eventually they found each other, merged and did reasonably well at a time when anyone with a shoeshine box could do well and ultimately failed because despite their pretense of infallibility, they refused to recognize that the blind belief in their own talent is no substitute for appreciating that in general the times change us and not us them and the best we can do is adjust or hope we get lucky; and anyone can do that.

PETRILLO’S COMMENTARY:

I previously have written here and in my blog posts, the observation that we are witnessing a basic change in the world’s economic activity, beginning first in the so-called more developed nations.

In the 1700s economic’s as we tend to think of it was based primarily on understanding trade and the incipient industrial advances contributing to its growth. This was the time Adam Smith and his followers attempted to describe what they saw. By the Nineteenth Century industrialization spawned socialism and its reaction as an attempt by the emerging self identified élite calling themselves economists to illustrate the situation as they experienced it. Being addled by their own theories, they still relied on the analysis of Smith et.al. but added “updates” to attempt to preserve the theory and hopefully more accurately describe the situation as they found it. Few if any (Marx excepted) recognized the circumstances were totally new and may have required a completely new theory, analysis and description. After all, trade was no longer the driving force, production and consumption was.

In the Twentieth Century things changed again. The central focus of the “economy” morphed from production and consumption to getting people from here to there in order to produce or consume. It could be argued that the major portion of economic activity throughout most of the century was dependent upon transportation, not as merely the means of moving goods to market but the major driver of economic activity; in effect its purpose. The economists adjusted their old theories steadfastly refusing to recognize the fundamental change of everything.*

We are now facing perhaps another basic upheaval in economic activity. Social media and mobile communications have made transportation less central to ones life. Vehicle miles per person is steadily decreasing.


As a result, economic activity based upon getting people from here to there is also contracting. To a great extent that is what is exacerbating the current economic turmoil (if not its cause). We are entering a new economic age. Once again most economists fail to recognize it.**

* Note: Between the 1960s and about 2010 some commentators have suggested that there may have been another fundamental shift; from a transportation economy to one based upon the exchange of financial instruments. It arose because there appeared not to be enough industrial and transportation projects to sop up all the money that had been created. So, gambling on itself seemed to be a reasonable way to continue choosing winners and losers. This era appears to have been born and now be dying right before our eyes. It may have been either an exceptionally short-lived shift in the world’s economic foundation or merely a transition between two generations. In my opinion it is probably the latter.

** Note: Should this most recent pattern change fail to mitigate the effects of climate change, expect the next so-called “paradigm shift” to focus on remedial actions to limit the effects on the environment from the carbon byproducts and waste produced by the industrial and transportation economies bringing with it a new economic template. Economists at that time will still try to preserve their theories and will tell you that essentially nothing has changed in their analysis. Not only will they be wrong, but they still will not be able to predict anything of any importance to anyone with any greater accuracy than the flipping of a coin.

MOPEY JOE’S MEMORIES:

On the Edge: Stories about the Creation and Early Years of California’s Monumental Coastal Protection Program.

Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA)

Recently I have been involved in a series of email exchanges with Norbert, and environmental scientist Michael Vasey who is writing a paper about the genesis ESHA regulatory policy of the California Coastal Commission that has become so controversial. It has been fascinating watching their meticulous exploration through innumerable documents and interviews exploring almost 40-year-old memories to try to piece together how a concept that was originally ignored ultimately became so prominent a part of the coastal regulatory program.

It should be pointed out however, that at the time the Coastal Plan and the 1976 Coastal Legislation, environmentalism as we have come to know it was in its infancy. Novel ideas and concepts were constantly being thrown around as people struggled with how to deal with the negative environmental and social effects of development.

While preparing the Coastal Plan, the emphasis that had come down to us from previous efforts was to focus on what was uniquely coastal. After all the coastal zone was simply an area designated for special regulation not imposed elsewhere. So for all intents and purposed we tried to identify those “resources” that were essentially coastal. For example, beaches along the ocean could be considered “coastal” along with the dune systems surrounding them. A bunch of sand buried a mile or so inland under some turf generally would not considered a coastal resource. Just because something someone thought was valuable but had not relation to the coastal zone other than location and appeared other places inland would not be considered a coastal resource to be subject to the heightened regulatory regime being imposed along the coast unless one could demonstrate other things that “connected” it uniquely to the coast.

Carrying this out further, simply a natural process or flora or fauna habitat that would be impacted, but existed in abundance elsewhere outside of the coastal zone was not considered in need of unique coastal protection policies no mater how sensitive they may be, unless it could be demonstrated that there was some unique coastal value involved.

Take the buried sand, undoubtedly someone somewhere would for whatever reason want to have the Coastal Commission preserve it from alteration due to development. During the early days we, the Commission staff would require some convincing evidence that there was some unique coastal value involved and not simply something to be used to halt a development proposal.

Similarly some developments were considered dependent upon the Coast, such as ports and marinas and the like. If they were to go anywhere they had to go on the coast and so they were coastal dependent. Other developments did not have to be sited on the coast and could be accommodated inland. So where a non-coastal dependent development would impact coastal resources it could be denied. On the other hand in the case of a coastal dependent development one have to make value judgements between coastal dependent development and natural coastal resources. In most cases with coastal dependent development, at least in the Coastal Plan there was an assumption that, for a number of reasons, they would in most cases ultimately be built. So it was important that in these cases the analysis was not simply mitigation of coastal resource impacts but avoidance of impacts on other resources deemed significant as well.

It could be argued (and it was) during the development of the plan that an extractive resource located in the coastal zone was more or less coastal dependent (the Commission went through contortions in their attempt to bring flexibility into the process, even to the point of adding something called “coastal related” into the analysis).

So with reference to development of the ESHA, it could be argued that off shore oil was coastal dependent (or related) because it had to be extracted in the zone. So also were the necessary associated facilities, pipelines and the like. On the other hand, refineries did not have to be located in the coastal zone. In some cases it may have been less expensive if they were but that was not a necessary determinant. Similarly with power plants, which although at the time there was a strong economic argument for siting them in the Zone they were clearly not considered coastal dependent.

Because everyone was loath to flatly prohibit any particular class of development in the Coastal Plan and the recognition that large industrial facilities like power-plants and refineries have far greater direct and indirect impacts than say housing, the Coastal Plan evolved from identifying coastal resources and fashioning appropriate policies to protect them to developing rules dealing directly with large industrial development. The Coastal Commission staff believed that in those cases the evaluation be more comprehensive; sort of like a coastal oriented EIR. It is thus policies in the Coastal Plan dealing with large industrial projects that Norbert discovered the first glimmerings of ESHA, a concept almost devoid of coastal resource focused analytical content.

THE NAKED MOLE RAT CHRONICLES and JOEY’S MYSTERY NOVEL:

REDACTED

PAPA JOES TALES AND FABLES:

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

TODAY’S FACTOID:

Since John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1961, job growth under Democratic presidents has out-gained that under Republicans by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. During that period, non-government payrolls grew by almost 42 million jobs under Democratic presidents, compared to 24 million when a Republican party member was in power.

Yes, but Bloomberg as everyone knows is a socialist tool and all these jobs went to lazy black people and illegal aliens [and now homosexuals]. As we know from respectable unsigned posts on the internet this has all been orchestrated by Communist Muslim jihadists to take away our guns and liberty and to destroy Christianity.

PEPE’S POTPOURRI:

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

How Wall Street works and why is has become merely a means of massively transferring wealth from the investor (capitalist) to those who control the transactions (parasites).

Hedge Funds:

According to a recent report:

Hedge fund fees are egregious by any measure. The normal 2% management fee and 20% incentive fee have resulted in an enormous transfer of wealth from clients to the hedge fund industry. According to the report pretty much all the profits earned by hedge funds in excess of the risk free rate have been consumed by fees.

The report then points out:

“Hedge funds have garnered 28% of investor profits, although treasury bills averaged 3.2% over this same period so even using their own numbers reveals that in fact fees took 64% of the returns in excess of the risk free rate. This is for the hypothetical, equally weighted portfolio begun in 1994. It also ignores netting — winning hedge funds charge an incentive fee whereas losing managers don’t offer a rebate. By treating the industry as one giant hedge fund it ignores the fact that whenever an investor holds some losing hedge funds his effective incentive fee will be higher than the typical 20% of profits.” (Simon Lack)

In another comment Lack continues: “…in aggregate all the money ever invested in hedge funds would have been better off in treasury bills…”

As far as those unlucky investors whose hedge fund investments performed worse than the hypothetical investor, fees have consumed all the profits.

The chart below shows how much of a hedge fund profits are skimmed off by the funds managers:


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

PHASE TWO

If you’re one of the conservative majority of a refurbished Supreme Court, rule that corporations, no less than human beings, have the right under the First Amendment to express their political point of view. To come to this judgment, do not acknowledge that corporations lack the range of feelings or values that define what it is to be human. That humans can act against their own interest, whereas corporations cannot act otherwise than in their own interest. That the corporation’s only purpose is to produce wealth, regardless of social consequences.

This decision of the court will ensure tremendous infusions of corporate money into the political process and lead to the election in national and state legislatures of majorities of de facto corporate lobbyists.
POOKIE FOR PRESIDENT:

Please see the blog: http://papajoestales.wordpress.com/
TODAY’S QUOTES:

A. Attributed to Carl Sagan:

“They laughed at Galileo. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

B. Green Bay Packers football quarterback Aaron Rogers on what he looks for in his centers and why he really likes Jeff’s butt:

“So those are the two things you look for: butt height and sweating. Jeff’s doing really well in both categories. … Low sweat ratio and solid butt height.”

C. From a submission by Dana in Stickman’s Blog. Stickman’s Blog focuses on the diseased underbelly of Pattaya, the Outskirts of Hell (Sent to me by Gary who lives in the center of it all):

“Thailand has three seasons: rainy, hot, and center-of-the-sun deathstar hot. It is the deathstar season now. Dogs are laying in the middle of the road hoping a car drives over them.”

TODAY’S CHART:

Further evidence that the age of the “Revenge of the Vagina” is upon us. It’s about time.

TODAY’S CARTOON:

When will we realize that if we do not take care of one another, no one will?

TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH:

Pattaya (the Outskirts of Hell) taken from Gary’s window. Another reason to prefer Hell to Paradise.


Categories: April 2012 through June 2012 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and that from re Thai r ment, by 3 Th. November 13, 2010

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s factoid:

1929 May 7Chicago Outfit hit-men Albert Anselmi and John Scalise, two of the men suspected in the murder of North Side Gang leader Dean O’Banion and fellow mob boss Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, the current Unione Siculiana President were all killed during a lavish party held at Al Capone’s residence. The party was a ruse by mob boss Al Capone to lure the three men to their deaths after their plan to gain leadership of the Chicago Outfit by eliminating Capone was uncovered. The men were beaten to death by Capone, who used a baseball bat to commit the murders.

(They fall for the party bit every time.)

Today’s news from Thailand:

1. Flush with new funds (I do not know from where) and increasing popularity in Northeast Thailand, the opposition party (Red Shirts) are preparing for expected victory in the general elections scheduled for sometime next year, when and more importantly if they occur. I guess the following can be anticipated between now and then:
a, The military will redouble its efforts to institutionalize the organizational changes under-weigh within the military high command and within its chief rival the national police.
b. The military will use the remaining States of Emergency (over primarily Red Shirt areas) to destroy their infrastructure and intimidate potential voters.
c. The military will seek to institutionalize their administrative control over the rebellious South.
d. The current government while having no real option but to rely on the military will contribute by continuing their efforts to create legal barriers to the return of ex-prime minister Thaksin and by supporting populist appearing policies in hopes of winning over some voters.
e. Should all this fail and a Red Shirt victory appear possible then, if the military feels confident enough in their power, look for an attempted accommodation with the Red Shirts over budget and personnel issues and failing that suspension of the elections or another coup.

2. In Phnom Penh Cambodia the police have begun arresting “anarchist” cattle who are blocking traffic.

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In

Karen people, rice growing in Doi In (Photo credit: pierre pouliquin)

3. The clashes along the Thai Burma border between Karen rebels and the Burmese army appear to be abating. The conflict seems to have been touched off by a rebel group within the Karen forces who for some reason objected to an agreement between the Burmese government and the Karen leadership to turn over the guarding of the border with Thailand to the Karen forces.

Pookie’s adventures in Thailand:

Today I discovered that I was only about 5 pounds over my target weight. Whether my most recent weight loss has been the result of diet, exercise or due to my recent attack of food poisoning, I do not know.

This morning a went for my usual stroll through “Little Crimea.” The beach culture that I walk through is as alien to me as the surrounding Thai lifestyles and customs. I feel fortunate to be able every morning to experience three distinct societies; Thai through my interaction with the merchants and wait-people at the café where I always feel a bit like I am somehow doing something wrong; European with my discussions with Ian from Scotland ( who has lived here in Thailand for over 30 years) about things like how drunk was Winston Churchill during World War II and finally; The Great Slavic Nation whose mores are as opaque to me as any.

As usual, temporizing has come to my rescue with respect to my trip planning. Until yesterday my schedule was dependent to a considerable degree on the situation with Hayden. Yesterday I discovered that SWAC is depositing him with a family in Washington DC, thereby eliminating any possibility of my seeing him either in the US or in Italy. So, now my plans are to return to the US in mid December, visit with friends and family during the holidays, have my medical check-up and return to Thailand in early January.

Papa Joe’s fables and tales:

THE MASSEUSE’S TALE OF A NIGHT OF RAIN AND AN UMBRELLA.

Recently my masseuse told me that a few nights ago it had been raining heavily in Bangkok. She had retreated to her tiny room and lay upon her bed. Because the roof leaked badly she had opened her tiny umbrella to protect herself from the dripping water. She was unable to sleep. After a while there was a knock at her door and upon opening it she found the homeless woman who lived in the alley by her room standing there dripping wet. She invited her in and they spent the night waiting out the storm together huddled under the umbrella.

“That was very nice of you.” I said.

She looked at me quizzically and said, “She held the umbrella for half the night so that I could get some sleep.”

I guess the moral of this tale is, “When it is raining and the roof leaks and all you have is a small umbrella, charity can keep you dry and help you to get some sleep.”

Mopey Joe’s memories:

TOO MANY JOES (CONT.)

JOE (CONT.)

Joe’s business prospered and not long after the birth of Jack (my father), he along with a distant relative named Biancchi formed a construction company named Petrillo and Biancchi Construction.

Joe ran the operations side and Biancchi who could read and write English was in charge of office matters. The business succeeded beyond all expectations. It became one of the first significant Italian-American construction companies in the United States. They specialized in heavy construction, roads and the like. They built many of the roads in Westchester County as the United State’s vast road building and paving enterprise was just getting under-weigh to accommodate the motor car.

This was also a period of great movement of people from New York City into what they considered the bucolic environment of Westchester County. Petrillo and Biancchi built the infrastructure for the neighborhoods to accommodate these new style immigrants. The move from the City although first seen as  indication of material success soon became a frenzied flight from the real or imagined evils of the City.

Joe built the house on Dante Avenue in Tuckahoe. Today that home would be considered relatively modest in size, but for an immigrant family it was huge. More importantly it was built on Dante Avenue.

Dante Avenue, despite its name, had been off-limits for Italian Americans at that time. On it lived those who for one reason or another could not or would not live in Scarsdale or Bronxville, Jews because they were prohibited by deed and “gentlemen’s agreements” (as were Italians and Blacks), successful WASP businessmen in the area who wanted to live more closely to their businesses and others sensible and independent enough to realize that they could build their largish houses much cheaper in Tuckahoe that in the gold-plated restricted communities around them.

Joe and his family were the first Italian-Americans to move to Dante Avenue. There was little resistance, even if there was some concern, since most of the other residents tended to be somewhat iconoclastic for the time.

By about 1928, with his oldest son approaching nine or so, Joe decided he wanted to enjoy the wealth he had amassed and return to Italy in a style that would have been denied to him had he remained there and not emigrated to the United States. So, he sold his interest in the company to his partner for some cash and notes that could allow him to live back in his native country as almost a minor nobility.

Pepe’s potpourri:

1. The wisdom of Miracle Max:

Miracle Max: [Lifts and drops the arm of the dead Westley] “I’ve seen worse.”
The Princess Bride

2. My newest patron saint, Saint Moses the Black:


Moses was a gang leader in 5th century Egypt (Sort of like the 5th century version of the leader of the local “Hells Angels” or the “Mongols” or the Egyptian Al Capone if you will) and murderer and thief.

One day he was trapped by the authorities. In order to escape capture and avoid almost certain execution, Moses ducked into monastery and claimed sanctuary. Fearing arrest should he leave the precincts of the monastery, Moses wisely became a monk.

Shortly thereafter 4 brigands invaded the church to loot the poor box or something. Our Moses was on duty that night. He caught the thieves, beat them up and dragged them off to face the Abbot.

This thrilled the abbot. He announced to the other monks that Moses had seen the light of God since he only beat the shit out of the thieves and did not kill them.

When the good abbot died, the other monks acclaimed Moses abbot. It seems that at the time defense of the Holy Writ was better served by two fists than pious prayers.

Moses died in his seventies while leading a counter-attack on a local biker gang that had the temerity to assault Moses’ monastery.

Now here is a saint I think I can pray to.

Today’s quote:

When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold, I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty work day clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and, in this graver dress, I enter the courts of the ancients, and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity, reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world.
Niccolo Machiavelli describing his exile in a letter to Francesco Vettori.

Today’s Photo:

Hayden’s friend Leo and his father Gerry.

Categories: October through December 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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