Duck shoes

A man may see how this world goes
with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond
justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in
thine ear: change places; and, handy-dandy,
which is the justice, which is the thief?

Lear to Gloucester, Act IV, King Lear (William Shakespeare)

shoes 2 croppedNormally the afternoon storms come when I’m inside the casita, but today I was on the way to the bank as dark gray clouds gathered, the air was heavy with humidity and hot.  It was only a matter of time before the rain came and it caught me a block from the bank.  I did my errands, the rain let up and I went to the Biblioteca for a latte and a piece of chocolate cake.  After finishing the cake and latte I was ready to leave when the real storm came, a half-hour of truly heavy rain.  When I finally made it out to the streets I decided to walk uphill away from my normal route in hopes of avoiding the wide rivers of runoff that were downhill:  it made no difference.  Wherever you tried to cross the street there was a rushing stream a minimum of four feet wide and two to five inches deep.

Mexican Flags

I noticed the first surge of flag displays today.  There were large flags suspended from the police station opposite the jardin and I saw a gentleman – post tormenta (storm) – riding his bicycle adorned with a flag projecting from the handlebar. El Día de la Independencia is 16 September and the anticipation has begun.  The day is a feriado – a paid holiday for workers.

Learning Thai

In anticipation of something, I’m attempting to learn Thai and am brushing up on my Italian.  It;s been said that as we age we should do things outside our normal patterns of learning.  Thai is certainly that for me:  (a) it’s a totally different alphabet, (b) unlike Chinese and Pinyin, its alphabet is not standardized to Roman characters, (c) it’s a tonal language, so meaning for a syllable is derived from whether one provides the syllable with a rising, downward, high, low or middle tone, (d) and, when written, words are not separated by spaces, so one must know the letters to understand the word breaks.  That’s enough to stretch my brain.

The Farley Watch

Last Wednesday Farley and I read Trust No One: Kim Philby and the hazards of mistrust by Malcolm Gladwell that appeared in the New Yorker.  While ostensibly a review of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal (Ben Macintyre) the review asks the question: in the larger picture, does looking for moles cost governments more than – if not quite looking the other way – not actively pursuing the moles that don’t exist?  Do false positives outweigh positive falsehoods?

Philby and his cohorts (known as The Cambridge Five (Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald McLean, Anthony Blount and although several names have been suggested, the fifth person has never been identified) were double agents, providing the Soviets with information from within the British intelligence organizations.  Their exploits later triggered the search for moles within those organizations, a search which may have cost more than its rewards.’

The Philby-era …secret service was prone to false-negative errors. Its mistake was to label as loyal people who were actually traitors.

The Wright model erred on the side of suspicion…[as it] label[s] as suspicious people and events that are actually perfectly normal.

Peter Wright wrote a book titled Spycatcher; however, according to Gladwell, during his entire career at MI5 (the British equivalent of America’s F.B.I.)  Wright never caught any spies.  Gladwell quotes from Peter Wright’s obituary in the Independent

No British intelligence officer other than Kim Philby caused more mayhem within Britain’s secret services and more trouble for British politicians than Peter Wright, former assistant director of M.I.5.

Nothing Has Been Proved (Tennant/Lowe)

Mandy’s in the papers ’cause she tried to go to Spain
She’ll soon be in the dock and in the papers once again
Vicki’s got her story about the mirror and the cane
It may be false, it may be true but nothing has been proved

Stephen’s in his dressing-gown now, breakfasting alone
Too sick to eat, he’s on his feet and to the telephone
The police inspector soothes him with his sympathetic tone
It may be false, it may be true but nothing has been proved

In the house a resignation, guilty faces, every one
Christine’s fallen out with Lucky, Johnny’s got a gun
‘Please please me’ ‘s number one

It’s a scandal, it’s a scandal, such a scandal

Now, Stephen’s in the dock for spending money that was earned
By Christine and the prosecution says that money burned
A hole in Stephen’s pocket, for expensive sins he yearned
It may be false, it may be true but nothing has been proved

In the news the suicide note, in the court an empty space
Even Mandy’s looking worried, Christine’s pale and drawn
‘Please please me’ ‘s number one

It’s a scandal, it’s a scandal, such a scandal

Last night he wrote these words to his friend
‘Sorry about the mess, I’m guilty ’til proved innocent
In the public eye and press’
The funeral’s very quiet because all his friends have fled
They may be false, they may be true, they’ve all got better things to do
They may be false, they may be true but nothing has been proved

Nothing, nothing has been proved
Oh, nothing, nothing
Oh, nothing, nothing
Oh, nothing, nothing
Oh, nothing


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