Tuesday, September 27, 2005


As I wrote in How I Met the Jungle Princess, I came to Bangkok looking for the life partner I couldn’t find in the US. I had also taken a cruise and looked through parts of Mexico. That might make an interesting article another time.

What I didn’t mention was Dow, The Jungle Princess, wasn’t my first choice in coming to Bangkok.

I have to go back to the beginning.

I had good feelings from the moment I got on the plane. Speaking frankly, good feelings meant not only a positive attitude but an actual excitement in certain erogenous zones. (That’s what you call speaking frankly?) (Hang on. It gets better, or worse, depending on your political party.)

My flight was routed through Tokyo. On landing in Bangkok, I met a Japanese lady who had boarded the plane in Tokyo. She seemed perfect for me. She was 50ish, well dressed, intelligent looking, and her face had been molded by a lifetime of happy thoughts. Most important, she seemed as interested in me as I in her.

I’m talkin’ mutual attraction here. We were practically dry-humping each other in the terminal. (Okay. That’s better. So what happened?)

A lot of stuff interfered.

I was exhausted from more than 20 hours en route. She spoke practically no English. I did learn she was in Bangkok for only 3 days. I couldn’t quite make out what hotel she was staying at. And she had a lady friend with her.

In retrospect, all of that could have been overcome except that I was exhausted. That trumped everything.

Then, two days later I met The Jungle Princess, another lady with a face molded by happy thoughts.

We have been together ever since and I have had a perpetual erection ever since. (Great! That’s what I was waiting for!) (That was for you. I only wish.)

So what was the difference that made it so easy to find a woman here when I struck out elsewhere?

The women here are open. If they are interested in you, they do not hide it.

I have no bullshit line whatever. I am totally unskilled at small talk. I need to know a woman is interested in me before I can approach her. And if the ladies here are interested, there is no mistaking it.

That is the difference.

Monday, September 26, 2005


We get a lot of American TV shows on our Bangkok cable. There are 6 channels that run American movies or TV. Three channels show movies exclusively. The other three air TV shows to varying extents. These shows are all in English with Thai subtitles.

Some shows have been cancelled in the US before they start over here. The Jason Alexander show comes to mind. Some episodes of Drew Carey I’ve seen three or four times since I’ve been here.

There are four sports channels. We get four NFL games a week. Two are announced in Thai and two In English. Usually there are only 2 or 3 baseball games a week. These are announced in English. Just for contrast, on one day there were 12 soccer matches telecast.

Some months ago, Law and Order: Criminal Intent started airing over here. This show has one of the most erratic actors I’ve ever seen. His name is Vincent D’Onofrio and he’s the male lead.

His acting threw me off the first time I saw the show.

“What is this guy doing?” I wondered. He seemed so weird that it distracted me from everything else on the show.

I did not enjoy it.

The next time I watched, my attitude changed completely. Screw the show, this guy is funny. I started watching for his spastic moves. They can come anywhere. In the middle of the sidewalk, he’ll suddenly turn and confront someone.

Sometimes, during an interrogation, he’ll lean back in his chair and glower at the prisoner. He’s trying to decide whose head to drive through the wall, his own or the prisoner’s. He springs forward. I think he’s going for a head-butt. No. He stops a hilarious 3 inches from the prisoner’s face and shouts at him.

Now that’s funny!

I love that show.

Of course I watch D’Onofrio so closely I have no idea what the story line is, but that’s okay.

Here’s a great idea for their final show: D’Onofrio goes into his glowering at the prisoner during interrogation routine. Then he turns around, drops his pants, and gives the prisoner a full-bare-ass-moon.

That would be perfectly in character.

And the best part is, it will almost certainly make the prisoner confess.

It would make me confess, whether I was guilty or not. Anyone would confess.

That would be great television. People would talk about it for years.

What a way to go out.


What’s with these cheapo wild life-animal channels that they’re so in love with crocodiles? Every day it’s crocodiles.

Why are they so in love with those ugly things?

I’ll tell you why.

The films and videos of them are readily available so they’re cheap.

And they should be cheap. You know how hard it is to find a crocodile? You just go to where they hang out and there they are. It’s not like they hide in bushes or climb a tree. No way. They just lay around in plain sight.

I’ve got shots of maybe a hundred crocs on my own, dumb, personal video camera. I’ve even got shots of guys sticking their heads in the crocs’ mouth.

It’s not hard to get the shots. You just go to where they hang out and there they are.

So there you are.

I know everything about crocs that I want to know.

What they don’t show you is that mostly crocs don’t move.

They remind me a lot of Howard Stern’s mother. Her goal is to do one thing every day, no more. That’s pretty much what a croc does. I wonder if she rests on the bottom of ponds.

Yeah, they’re a lot like Howard Stern’s mother.

Tomorrow I’m gonna write about snakes.

I wonder whose mother they’ll remind me of.

I’m gonna go lie down now.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


This is one of the things I think about in between naps.

No two snowflakes exactly alike?

What a bunch of crapola!

Who came up with that one?

I’ve been hearing that since I was a little kid.

Then I started thinking. How the hell do they know that? Did they do some research?
Hell no they didn’t. You know goddamned well they didn’t. Who the hell would research that dumb thing?

What happened was, some pencil-necked geek stood up and said it, and everyone bought into it.

So who’s going to challenge it?

How could you disprove it?

The damn things melt before you can bring them in to prove anything.

So some geek says it and everyone believes it.

Okay, here’s what I’m gonna say: It’s all bullshit. One winter in Wyoming I found two snowflakes that were exactly alike. So doesn’t that disprove that theory?

How can I prove it?

Prove that I didn’t.

It’s the same as what that pencil-necked geek did except he didn’t do any research like I did.

But wait a minute. I’ll go even farther. And this one is based on extensive research: There are no two pieces of popcorn that are exactly alike. This one you can take to the bank.

Unlike that snowflake guy, who just stood up and spouted off, I have spent my life in popcorn research. I have catalogued billions of pieces of popcorn. I can state, unequivocally, there are no two pieces of popcorn exactly alike.

I would offer a million dollar reward to anyone who could disprove that, but, since my life has been spent on popcorn research, I don’t have a million dollars to offer.

Or even a hundred dollars.

But I still challenge you to prove me wrong!

I’m gonna go lie down now.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Bill James, some years ago, came up with the category of Smart Managers and Dumb Managers. It was based primarily on how the managers had adjusted to new technology, meaning the computer age.

Perhaps the first of the smart managers was Casey Stengel. Even before the computer age he started using platooning in ways that had never been seen before.

Bill James even graded the managers within the categories. For one, he rated Joe Torre as the smartest of the dumb managers. That may still be true judging by the way he was using Tony Womack, a below average hitter, in left field this year.

In his defense, he was perhaps using the best of what he had been provided. Since that failed experiment the Yankee lineup has been much improved and so has their won-lost percentage.

Some of the dumb managers have been monumentally dumb. They judge where a player should plat by the way he hits.

“He hits too good for a shortstop. Let’s move him over to third base.”

“He hits too good for a 2nd baseman. Move him to 1st.”

Or if he gets a good hitting middle infielder, the dumb managers figure out ways to negate the find.

“Good,” he says, “then we don’t have to carry a good hitter in right field. We can put a defensive guy out there.” He doesn’t realize it brings the team back to mediocre.

Dumb organizations are just as common as dumb managers.

But sometimes the dumb organization or dumb manager has great success and that knocks all the theories on their collective ass. Take the California/Anaheim/Los Angeles/Orange County Angels. That is an organization that rejects modern thought.

“On Base Percentage? What the hell is that?”

But they won the World Series! Maybe they’re right.

For the last month or more, their peerless manager, Mike Scioscia, has moved Orlando Cabrera into the #2 slot in the batting order.

Why has he done that?

Except for the aging and apparently washed up Steve Finley, Orlando Cabrera has the poorest on-base-percentage of the regulars, which means he is the most likely to make an out and kill a 1st inning rally or any other rally that he might be a party to.

A dumb manager might say, “I moved him up there because he’s a good bunter.”

But it has been proven (on computers) that bunting, giving up an out to move a runner from first to second, is a losing proposition. And besides, Darin Erstad, the man he replaced as the #2 hitter, is reputed to be the better bunter, is faster, and has a much better on-base-percentage.

Was the move made to take advantage of Erstad’s power? No. Cabrera has hit more home runs this season, only one more but that’s more.

But if Scioscia didn’t want Erstad as a #2 hitter, who does he have to replace him besides Cabrera?

That is such a dumb question I could only pose it in a piece about dumbness.

Sitting back there, in the #9 slot, is the prototypical #2 hitter. The 2nd baseman, Adam Kennedy, has the second highest on-base-percentage on the team. Second only to MVP Vladimer Guerrero. He is also an excellent base stealer.

Then why is he batting 9th?

The dumb manager might reply, “He’s my second leadoff man. When the lineup bats around, he’s hitting in front of my leadoff hitter, so we’ve got a good chance of getting one of them on base.”

Well, duh! Excuse me and all that crap! Why not consider your #2 hitter as your 2nd leadoff man?

There is no argument that works against dumbness. Dumbness is a world of its own. Dumbness is like a religion.

But what trumps all of us pencil-neck-geeks is sometimes these dumb guys win it all. Then who can act so f-ing superior?

There are lessons to be learned even from that.

1. Sometimes a dumb manager who is a leader can win it all.

2. Sometimes a smart manager who is a poor leader can win it all.

3. A dumb manager who cannot lead has no chance.

4. A smart manager who can lead may not win it all, but he’s fun to root for.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Conservatives are protesting that the country is being inundated with hidden political messages on TV.

Here’s an example thanks to Drudge.

I guess the problem is there are ads for a coming show about a woman president, except it doesn’t show Geena Davis, who is supposed to star in the show the ad is promoting.

Gee! That’s subtle. I wonder what it means. I am so removed, here in Bangkok, I can’t tell. All I know is what I see on the local cable.

So I surmise that the shows I see here are clever counter-programming for the lady president show.

Let’s see. Will & Grace. The guy is gay. Would the republicans put up a gay guy against a woman? I think not. Even that phrasing would offend them.

2 &1/2 men.

Who, in their right minds, would ever vote for a womanizer to be president?

Right. No one.

All that’s left, on my cable, are a bunch of fat guys on sit-coms. Have you ever seen so many fat guys in your whole life?

Wait a minute.

That’s it!

I see it all now!

It’s a Carl Rove plot.

He’s trying to program us to accept a fat guy as normal.

No, no, no. Not just normal. Someone to approve of. Someone to emulate. Someone better than us.

Holy cow!

He’s going to run a fat guy for president.


You heard it here first.

It’s going to be a woman against a fat guy in 2008!

I’m gonna’ go lie down now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I was just watching, on CNNI, some interviews with returnees to New Orleans. One interview was with an owner of an antique store. The authorities had sealed the store after it had been looted. The owner could only look through a front window to view the carnage inside.

She noticed that some jewelry had been taken from a display case inside.


What are the instructions in hurried evacuations?

Take your valuables.

Doesn’t that mean important papers and jewelry?

Isn’t jewelry, being relatively small, easily transportable?

Isn’t jewelry, being relatively valuable, an important thing to take?

I guess I am a bad person. The first thing that occurred to me was that this store owner was going to con the insurance company.

Yes, I am a bad person.

I desperately need to be spanked.

And walked on with three inch heels.

But that’s another story.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Reporters and the editorial staff at The Bangkok Post panicked yesterday at reports of shifting ownership and a change of editors.

Here is part of a front page story:

Shareholders, politicians warned against editorial interference bids
A group of Bangkok Post and Post Today reporters yesterday stepped up their campaign to assert editorial independence amid concern over GMM Media's bid to take over Post Publishing Plc. More than 20 reporters in black T-shirts with the message ``Bangkok Post ... Post Today ... Not For Sale'' gathered at Government House to kick off the campaign, releasing a statement declaring their newspapers must be free of editorial interference by any major shareholders, be they the Chirathivat family or newcomer GMM Grammy.
Read the paper here.

They have good reason to panic.

Bring an adult in as editor of that paper and all those children would be gone. They all know that.

If there’s a change, they say, they want to be given and explanation.

Here’s an explanation: The current editor sucks and all you children are out of control. They desperately need a responsible hand in there.

If there’s a change, they say, they want to be given a voice in choosing the successor.

The nuts want to control the asylum.

This is not a freedom of the press issue.

This is a responsibility of the press issue.

For a long time The Bangkok Post has been irresponsible.


There are a lot of illegal immigrants living in downtown Bangkok. These are not indigent illegals. They can afford the necessities. The big attraction here is that the necessities are extremely cheap.

A hotel room can be rented for 200 dollars a month. (I will convert all monies to the American dollar for clarity.) I should insert here that Thailand is not Mexico. All facilities I have seen have been clean. Even public toilets are clean.

Meals here cost as little as 50 cents. Ladies are extremely attractive and extremely available.
I suppose there is a drug trade but it is exceedingly dangerous. Minimum sentence for a drug conviction is 25 years. Maximum is death. I advise against messing with drugs.

I have read that police have raided certain clubs and detained foreigners who don’t have passports or up to date visas. That sounds kind of wacky to me. I don’t think it’s wise to carry your passport to some of those clubs. One politician has claimed the police do that to extract bribes. Not so much from the foreigners but from the club owners. I have no personal knowledge of this stuff.

Getting a visa is easy if you have a valid passport. When you deplane at the Bangkok airport you are given a 30 day visa. That’s all there is to it.

There is a fine for overstaying your visa. The fine is $10 a day.

At the end of 30 days the visa can be renewed. There are daily bus trips to the Cambodian border for this express purpose. Five busses a day make this run so you can see it’s a big business. It takes 8 or 9 hours for the round trip. One service advertises an on-board movie, a free drink and a buffet lunch, all included in the $50 fare. It also includes all expenses of the visa renewal. Reservations are required. Both English language newspapers have their ads in their classified sections.

There is no limit to the number of times the visa can be renewed.

My situation was different. I have a Thai wife and own a home here. My visa could be renewed at the immigration office. The office was very crowded but the waits were reasonable and the Thai officials very polite. But the catch was I could only get a 30 extension there. If I wanted a longer extension I had to go to a country with a Thai embassy and get a retirement visa and then return.

So we went to Singapore.

Singapore is one of the more boring places on earth. On the plus side, by studying the layout of the city and its transportation system, you can be successful playing the Sim City computer game. The population even reminded me of the Sims in that game.

When we returned to Bangkok I had a 90 day visa. On the downside, if I traveled, I would have to start at the beginning on my return. So I didn’t travel.

After a year of 90 day visas, I got upgraded to a one year visa. For this one there is a means check. I had to prove a minimum worth and monthly income.

That’s where I am now.

I think I can travel on this visa without having to start over. But I’ll find out for sure before trying it.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I can improve your golf game. I guarantee it! Whether you’re a duffer or a top professional, I can improve your game.

Am I a good golfer?

Hell no.

I consider myself a two handicap. That means I give myself two strokes on every hole.

I once parred 7 holes in a row. That was the highlight on my golf career. But it was on a short course.

In my defense, I didn’t take up the game until my mid-fifties.

So if I’m so bad, how can I improve your game?

Because although I was lousy from the tee and on the fairways, I was excellent on the greens.

I have made many putts of forty feet or more. I have a 10% chance of making a putt from that distance.

The most important thing in putting and the thing I guarantee will improve your game is: NEVER LEAVE A PUTT SHORT.

I had a 10% chance of making a putt from 40 feet, if I reached the hole. If my ball didn’t reach the hole, the percentage went down to zero.

When I watch professionals, even the top players, it surprises me how many times they will leave a putt short.

How to avoid that?

Always try to putt the ball three feet beyond the hole. If your distance is right and you miss the putt, you’ve got an easily makeable putt coming back. Even if you have to 2-putt coming back, you’ll profit in the long run by making some putts that you would have left short.

Give it a try.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


It’s been pouring here, ending, they say, a drought of several years duration. That’s good. I’ve written elsewhere (Rain and Me) how much I like rain and detest droughts.

It finally stopped and I got into our spa to write this. I used to write alongside the pool at the Grand Hotel. Since we got our spa I haven’t been back. Now I sit in our little, bubbling spa (it’s 6’ X 12’) and create while the water warms up.

September is our wettest month which makes it the coolest. Cool here in Bangkok is relative. The coolest I’ve noticed was an overnight low last December of 69. We had a high the other day that only reached 89. Brrr.

When I got into the spa I noticed the water level has risen about 3 inches. We have a metal awning over our patio which evidently leaks a lot more than I thought. We also have a plastic cover over the spa to prevent insect suicides but that must leak a bunch.

The weather here allows spa use the year round. The only firm rule is: No bathing during thunder storms.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


This one will be rambling but I’ve been looking forward to it so it might be interesting.

The DVD of Assassination Tango has just come out. It brought many thoughts to me.

Robert Duvall is the most talented man in America.

He wrote, directed, produced and starred in this gem. (I can’t get over that he did his own singing in Tender Mercies.) In this one, he dances. Some say he’s an excellent dancer. I couldn’t say because the woman carries the partnership in the tango.

But what I could judge were the critics. Almost to a man they did not understand this picture. (They didn’t like it.)

That gives me a feeling of superiority. But it shouldn’t. Most critics suck. (One even made a negative comment about Duvall’s politics in his opening sentence. What an idiot.)

It’s the same old problem with critics. They keep forgetting, or never learned, that “quest” is the engine that drives the machine. The machine here being the story line. First discern the quest and then everything else falls into place.

Duvall’s character is a career assassin. He’s given a job to assassinate a retired Argentine general in Buenos Aires. His QUEST is to do the job and get back to his live-in lady friend’s little girl as soon as possible. Yes, he is a potential child molester. Add that to the fabric.

Credit Duvall. He had the guts to create this unsavory character on paper and then play him on the screen. Critics shudder at another level of interest. “Too much for us to handle, dude.”

As soon as he meets his contacts in Buenos Aires, Duvall starts to smell a rat, and so should the viewer. As the caper is laid out for him, pay attention to when Duvall responds, “interesting,” almost as a throwaway. Those are the points that don’t add up for him. That is some brilliant writing.

He tells them from the beginning that he needs a .222 rifle with scope to do the job. That’s the way he works, he tells them, from above. They assure him that he will have it. In the meantime they give him a tiny .22 revolver, almost a joke gun. He stresses that he wants to do the job and get out. He wants to be gone in two days (this is critical to the QUEST).

They set him up in a small rental room near his target and take him on an inept reconnaissance of the general’s home. The general, they tell him, is out in the country but is due back tomorrow.

Okay, but next day they tell him the general has met with an accident and will be delayed for perhaps two weeks. That is such a shock to Duvall his first reaction is denial. “No,” he says, “that’s not true.”

Then he does exactly what I would do, have done, in sparse accommodations in a third world country. He desperately seeks distractions to escape boredom. Thus he goes back to a tango studio that he had discovered when he first visited his contacts. Here he meets a delightfully non-Hollywood type leading lady, Luciana Pedraza, who is a great tango dancer and teacher. Pedraza, a beginner, does so well in underplaying her part that even Merrill Streep would have trouble equaling her.

After that the movie, for a while, switches back and forth between scenes with the amateurish Argentine contacts, Duvall’s secret preparations, and tango teaching and dancing sequences.

Duvall develops a close, platonic relationship with the fascinating Pedraza. On one occasion they visit a zoo in which Pedraza has become intrigued with a black leopard. The leopard, with its laid back energy, and hidden potential for violence, is a metaphor for Duvall, who is always dressed in black.

We also see his clever preparations. He furtively rents a room, also near his target, which allows unseen comings and goings. He recharges the cartridges in his ‘toy’ gun with powerful powder and suddenly it is a toy no more.

I could go on and completely ruin it for you but suffice it to say that this is a picture worth seeing, not a masterpiece but a gem. The tango stuff is, of course, a conceit of Mr. Duvall. But it’s interesting and he earns our attention with the realism of the rest of the picture. It is a realism reminiscent of the best of John LeCarre which is high praise indeed.

I totally believed the setting and the characters. Duvall’s unassuming, nondescript, aging assassin is a textbook of how an assassin achieves age. A Stallone or Schwarzenegger type is doomed to failure in the real world of people on guard against dangerous adversaries. LeCarre’s George Smiley, as portrayed by Alec Guiness in two marvelous BBC series’, is the perfect model of an undercover operative. Duvall’s characterization fits into that mold precisely.

In LeCarre’s stories, very often a dangerous adversary is picked out at a glance. Usually because they are Russian ex-military and their bearing gives them away.

It all reminded me of an incident in my early days in Viet Nam. I was sent to the central highlands to work among the mountain tribes. In my first month there, with two other Americans, I visited the marketplace in Pleiku. Almost immediately I spotted my first Viet Cong. He was the only one there, in a crowded marketplace, wearing a loose poncho on a sunny day. It wasn’t just that. One look at his eyes told me that this was a serious character. I had seen that look on smugglers on the Iran-Iraq border. I was to see it later in American units that had just come out of the boonies.

The surprising thing to me at the time was that I was the only one who had seemed to notice this dangerous chap in the marketplace. Even worse, he had seen me notice him. Our eyes had met in a mutual recognition.

Then began a little game of maneuver. He edged toward me. I tried to keep people between us. There was no doubt in my mind that he was concealing a weapon under that poncho that he was wearing in clear weather.

This was in June of 1962. There were only a handful of Americans in the highlands. We were more of a curiosity than anything else. That, it turned out, was my Viet Cong’s motive. He was probably seeing his first American and was curious, nothing more.

The point is that, in the real world, it is important that a dangerous man not appear to be dangerous. In order to survive, he must appear unthreatening. That is how Duvall’s character managed to become an aging assassin.

See it. It’s an interesting movie.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Yes there’s been silliness there.

By whom?

By everyone.

First the Israelis allowed, no encouraged, the settlements there. That was bound to be a losing proposition. But it turned out to be losing only for the American taxpayers because it has been they who have had to pay for the resettlement.

The Israelis actually got richer from that transaction. Their economy gets a shot in the arm from the necessary reconstruction plus a lot of surplus monies. Who couldn’t have seen that one coming?

Then the bungling way the Israelis handled the evacuation. Why on earth would they bulldoze the buildings in the settlements they were leaving? Are they insane? Couldn’t they see the immense propaganda weapon that had been handed to them by the American taxpayers?

All they had to do was hand over the settlements intact to the Palestinians as a gesture of generosity, munificence, brotherhood and reconciliation. Then let the world see what the Palestinians, in all their enlightenment, did with the gift. Let the world see how they would respond to a gesture of reconciliation.

Even better, they should have arranged a formal turnover to the Palestinian Authority. How brilliant that would have been. They could have treated the Palestinian Authority as if they were actually a responsible agency. As if they actually had some “authority” in Palestine. What a bungled opportunity that was.

Of course the Palestinian rabble would have come in and burned and looted just as they did where a few buildings were left standing. That is their way. That is all they know. Looting and burning is what they are. But the opportunity to put it on display for all the world to see was missed.

It is all silliness in Gaza.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Notice how closely Islam's inception is associated with war. From 623 to 777, a span of 154 years, there are 83 military conflicts involving the Muslims...and that is just what I have recorded here. Is Islam a religion of peace? Muslims tell me it is. But....

So begins a page titled The Chronology of Early Islam. The dates and battles are listed. The Prophet Muhammad himself led the Muslim army in more than 20 of the battles. Most encyclopedias note that he was a general as well as a religious leader. Many describe him as a ‘brilliant general’ or words to that effect.

Has there ever been another founder of a religion referred to thusly? Has there ever been another religious founder even involved in warfare?

I am no expert, (and I eschew research) but I doubt it. (There is only a handful to choose from after all.)

Do not the two (teaching morality and warfare) seem mutually exclusive?

Somehow I cannot picture Christ or Buddha going around saying, “Believe in my god or I will kill you.”

But that’s pretty much what Muhammad did. He made them an offer they could not refuse. Put me back there and I would have converted in a heartbeat.

“Let’s see. What are my choices? Oh yeah. Love Allah or die. Hey man, I’ve always loved Allah. Allah’s my guy. I’ve just been fakin’ it with them Zoroastrians.”

Some choice.

(I must insert here that far more people have been killed in the name of the Christian religion than have been killed by Muslims. But the Christians have been around longer.)

So Islam, in the beginning was a religion dependent on warfare, based on warfare. Had it not been taken over by navel contemplators, Islam might have ruled the world long ago.

The same thing, (being taken over by navel contemplators) happened to the Christian religion. That period is called The Dark Ages. It came about when most Christian religious leaders decided that all the knowledge necessary for life was contained in the bible. Other knowledge was superfluous. Books were burned and independent thought was shut down.

Islam is now in its dark age. Many, if not most, of its leaders believe that only knowledge the Koran is necessary to live life. Many of their schools teach only that. Much independent thought has been shut down.

Trouble is, they start to look around and see where that has got them. They are so far behind the western world it will take them decades to catch up.

What to Do?

There are only two choices for them:

1. Modernize Islam.

2. Bring the rest of the world down to their level.

Being a religion founded on warfare, the second was their natural choice. A majority of Muslims would favor that, even though many will not own up to it.

Too bad for them and for us. It is a choice they cannot win but it will be a long time before they learn that. Always remember, ignorance is on their side. Hate is on their side. Ignorance and hate are powerful weapons in war.

Also on their side is a lack of understanding in the west. Much of Europe and a large element in The United States do not recognize the problem. We have been doing much less than fighting them with one arm tied behind our back. So far we have been fighting them with two fingers of our left hand.

But even if we were totally mobilized, I don’t think we could defeat them. Their organizations will come and go, springing up here and there. It will be like that game, Whack-a-Mole. But sooner or later, one of them will have that suitcase nuke. Iran will see to that. So it won’t be a fun game.

In the end this is a Muslim problem. Only the Muslims will be able to solve it. They can only solve it by going for choice one above. Still it will take decades.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Mosquitoes here in Bangkok have given me fits, not literarily of course. They are tiny, the smallest I have ever seen. They are nearly silent. Only when they are almost inside my ear have I heard their buzz. And they only seem to pick on me. Thais in the house, in the same room, are not bitten, just me.

Some small precautions have worked somewhat. When I have skin exposed, a fan will make it difficult for them to reach me. When the air conditioner is on, lowering the temp to around 75, it seems to slow them down.

But I have now found the ultimate protection. My diet. I have gradually come accustomed to Thai food, which means very hot food. The more hot Thai food I eat, the more the mosquitoes leave me alone.

That explains a lot.

Monday, September 05, 2005


They could have had the presidency in 2000 if they had played it smart.

Bill Clinton, from 1992 on, did nothing but win. He won three straight; two presidential elections and one impeachment.

On the other hand, his party, on balance, lost every election while he was president and most elections after he left.

In 1992 the Democrats had both houses of congress and a majority of governorships.

When Bill Clinton left office in 2000, they had lost their majority in all three and then went on to lose two presidential elections. That pretty much made it a clean sweep for the Republicans.

They could have turned it all around.


Without arguing the merits of the case, if the Democrats had voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Al Gore would have almost certainly won the 2000 election. Being the incumbent president would surely have swung that tight election his way.

That may seem rather Machiavellian but, never the less, it is true. I thought at the time that the Republicans were shooting themselves in the foot when they impeached Clinton.

Had they won, they would have lost the next election.