Wednesday, January 31, 2007


(Warning: Spoiler in the text below.)

Movies reach me late here in Bangkok unless I’m interested enough to watch the first run in a theatre. In three years here I’ve gone to a theatre 3 times. Once for King Kong which was a bomb. Then two hits, The Pink Panther and War of the Worlds.

Gladiator is just now appearing on Thai TV. No amount of hype could have lured me to a theatre for that one. The whole theme, if you’ll pardon the expression, sounded gay. And sword fights bore me. One exception was Val Kilmer’s first sword fight in Troy. That was unique and interesting, especially with all the build-up. It was also probably very close to the real thing.

I digress.

Gladiator was pretty interesting though and carried me along. Russell Crowe was convincing. It was, in general, a Class A, half-naked-man, flick until it hit a road block. The road block was how to kill off Caesar and gain Crowe his revenge.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the discussion of that story-line took place. Here is how I imagine it might have gone:

The MoneyMan says, “We have to have Caesar killed in front of the whole populace of Rome. That would be satisfying. That’s the money shot. That will give us a great ending.”

The Writer/Director (a composite for my purpose here) asks, “How can we manage that?”

MM: “Put him in the Coloseum with Crowe in front of everybody. That would be great.

W/D: “But how do we get the emperor to do that? Crowe is the greatest gladiator in the empire. He kills several at a time. He kills lions one on one.”

MM: “Caesar gets jealous of Crowe’s fame and decides to challenge him. Something like that. You guys can figure it out. Just write it.”

W/D: “But we’ve made Caesar to be a coward up to here. He kills people by poison. He’s kind of,” (shows a limp wrist), “you know, weak.’

MM (Standing up, challenging): “There’s prejudice in this room against gay people?”

W/D: “No, no. We’re just saying it’s out of character. It’s not in keeping with all the film we’ve shot so far.”

MM: “Well so what? He changes. People change. Now he challenges Crowe and fights him in the Coliseum.”

W/D: “I don’t know.’

MM: “Well if you can’t do it, I’ll get someone who can.”

W/D (Reluctantly): “We can do it. We just don’t want the picture to look stupid.”

MM: “There’s no such thing as a stupid movie. There are only stupid audiences.”

Well, that’s my view of what may have happened. But what do I know? It went on to win 5 Oscars including best picture.

Monday, January 29, 2007


According to the press release, this is the man who led the Kazakhstan ice hockey to the 52-1 victory over Thailand. His name wasn't given. By a strange coincidence, he also fits the description of the man who stole an 8 metric ton coin from a display in downtown Bangkok. Posted by Picasa


The movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, has been banned in Thailand. That‘s too bad. I had put it on my must see list. Only a couple of pictures a year get on that list. The rest I wait for them to appear on TV, but if this one is banned, it won’t even make it to TV here. Perhaps someday. I have a hunch smuggled/pirated copies might already be for sale here in Bangkok. But that won’t do me any good. No sir. I’m not going to break the law.

In a totally unrelated story, the Kazakhstan ice hockey team beat the Thai national team 52 to 1. You can read about it *HERE*.

In another totally unrelated story, an 8 metric ton coin was stolen from a cultural display in Bangkok. You can read about it *HERE*. We’re advised to look for a man with a bulging pocket.

In still another totally unrelated story, the temperature got down to 65 degrees last night in Bangkok.

I wonder if the world is coming to an end.


Profiling? If you see someone who looks kinda like one of these guys and he appears to be carrying a bomb, you might get a little suspicious. But maybe not. Posted by Picasa


I’m an old white guy with a beard. If a bunch of old white guys with beards started killing people I would be pissed off. It would mean that people would start looking at me with fisheye stares. It would mean that I would be subjected to suspicion and searches even though I hadn’t done anything wrong. That would really piss me off.

But I would be pissed off at those old white guys with beards who brought all that heat down on me. I would go to the Old White Guys With Beards meetings and tell those guys to cut out that shit because they’re screwing it up for all of us. I would try to infiltrate their gang or movement and try to find who is doing the stuff and drop a dime on him.

Isn’t that logical? Isn’t that what a normal person would do? Someone makes trouble for you so you go after whoever instigated that trouble?

Well that’s not the way it works today.

There was a rash of blacks killing cab drivers in New York City. What did blacks do? They complained that cab drivers weren’t picking them up. Well, duh. To hell with Political Correctness, that’s about as dumb as you can get. If there was any effort in the black community to stop and apprehend the killers, it wasn’t reported. There was even a dumb law passed that penalized cab drivers for not picking up their potential assassins. Brilliant! That only proves that people are a thousand times smarter than governments. People are better at doing profiling than any government rules.

Since the bombs went off in Bangkok, security has increased on the subway. But before the bombs, I always eyeballed my fellow passengers. Was I looking for a suspicious Buddhist? Or perhaps a shady Confucian? Or maybe a lady in a wheel chair? Who ever heard of a Buddhist terrorist? Of course, I was only looking for Muslim appearing people who might be toting a bomb. Who the hell else but Muslims would be toting a bomb?

So, I would hope, if I were a Muslim instead of an old white guy with a beard, and my fellows were going around killing people and bringing heat down on me and mine, I would have the balls to infiltrate their gang or movement and try to find out who is doing that crap and drop a dime on him.

I damn sure wouldn’t blame the rest of the world for treating me with suspicion.

But that’s just my view from the safety of being an old white guy with a beard.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


That's our young lady in the center. This was taken at our recent Christmas-New Year's celebration. Someone put makeup on her. That's another first. Posted by Picasa


Yeah, that’s right, our littlest one has been touched by the “Grow Up Now” fairy and has crossed that threshold. No, she didn’t get a tattoo or body piercing. Those are joys we still have to look forward to. How proud we will be when they happen. What did happen was she changed her favorite treat from roasted cashews to chocolate. There you go. What more evidence could you want that she’s become a woman?

We’re so pleased.

The only drawback to our complete delight is that she’s taken a week to eat an 8oz package of M and M’s. That is worrying me. It’s just not normal. I don’t think it will be a reflection of her sexual preference. After all, Rosie O’Donnell would probably ingest it all in one bite, wrapping and all.

I guess she’s just easing into womanhood.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


What? Dance with you? And you can't do the Texas two-step? Get lost! Posted by Picasa


I had a tumultuous relationship with my first wife. We were married three times and divorced three times. Crazy, huh? We always got married in a fever. We were what you might call ‘sexually compatible.’ In other words, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Sometimes we’d live, or at least sleep, together in between marriages. She was perfect for me. I’d be with her still but she chose not to have it that way.

She never bored me because I never knew who she was going to be at any time. You know that Chinese curse, “May your life be interesting?” Well I suppose you could curse someone with, “May you live with an interesting woman.”

During one of our periods of divorce I worked at a civil engineering firm in Orange County running a survey crew. The title for that is Party Chief. One of the other chiefs kept after me to go to a western bar he frequented with his fiancé. “You’ll meet lots of great looking women there,” he assured me.

I drove by the place often. They had famous western entertainers there which they advertised on their billboard.

This other chief and I had never socialized but we had worked together a few times and he seemed okay so I finally decided to give it a shot. What the hell, I might get lucky.

I found him and his girl friend at a table and joined them. Right away I knew I was in trouble. From the way he had been talking, I had the impression that he and his friend were well known there and would bring female type people to our table to meet me. That didn’t happen. There were plenty of great looking women there. Most of them were out on the floor doing this western dance they call the Texas two-step. None came near out table. He didn’t appear to know anyone.

I stared at him. He gestured with his eyes around the room. Trying to tell me, I guess, “There they are, go get ‘em. I did my job. The rest is up to you.” What an asshole! I looked at his girlfriend. She averted her eyes.

Trouble was, everyone there was a cowboy or cowgirl wannabe. It was like a cult and the worship consisted of this dumb dance called the Texas two-step. The size of your dick didn’t matter or whether of not you were good looking. All that mattered was that dumb, primitive dance. If you could do it, you were in, or at least had a chance of getting in. If you couldn’t do it, forget about it.

Well I couldn’t do it. I looked carefully around the room to see if there were any women who might be beginners like me. No luck. I had been sandbagged. What was I supposed to do, go ask some hot chick to teach me to dance? Yeah, right.

I hung around for a couple of drinks to be polite and then split.

Next day I heard that this other chief, my ‘host’ for that evening, told our boss how I couldn’t score despite having all those beautiful girls around. What a creep.

There were some repercussions. His fiancé split with him. It may have had something to do with that evening. I hope it did.

No, I never did learn to do the Texas two-step. But for all you lonely guys out there, it’s a great way to meet good looking chicks. Weird perhaps, but good looking. There’s nothing wrong with weird.

Friday, January 26, 2007


This is an aisle in one of our local super-markets. On display is nothing but water. It's a large store so maybe they ran out of products to show. This is not typical of Thai markets. But it looked so odd I had to get a picture. Posted by Picasa



I’m starting to understand this a little more although I still understand very little in total. This is in today’s Bloomberg on line:

The Thai baht gained the most among world currencies today, surging 1.8 percent to 33.5 per dollar, the strongest since 1997. The currency rose because recent measures to curb speculation in the baht reduced its supply among overseas investors, central bank Governor Tarisa Watanagase said.
So now there is a two tier exchange rate on the baht. The exchange rate quoted at - Universal Currency Converter Results is the international rate. Meanwhile, the local papers are quoting the in-country rate. That rate is being kept weaker by government rules and sometimes differs by 3% or more from the international rate.

What a strange situation. It’s kind of a reverse black market in money. Usually, at least in places I’ve been, cheap money is bought on the outside and smuggled in. That’s how a normal black market works. Here in Thailand, the money dealers would want to smuggle baht out. And probably do.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


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Yvonne De Carlo died a few days ago. Her death reminded me of the huge changes that have occurred in American and western culture since my youth. My youth took place in the 1940s in San Francisco.

In that era getting a picture of a naked lady was rare. A boyhood friend told me he found a nudist magazine which he managed to keep hidden for years. I was never so lucky.

Porn? A couple of times I saw these little eight page, black and white, comic books that showed cartoon characters ‘getting it on.’ They had to be passed on and returned to the owner. That was the limit of porn, although I had heard stories that more existed somewhere.

Archie comic books were popular because you could see the outline of Betty’s and Veronica’s bodies through their clothing. Wild, huh? The movie magazines always had the sexiest pictures. I got a picture of Doris Day in a tight swim suit. I kept it a long time.

But the best was Yvonne De Carlo. She was the most daring. There was one picture in which she appeared to be nude under a sheer nightgown. That was a keeper.

I mention all this because if you hadn’t lived it you probably wouldn’t believe it. The differences today are absolutely enormous. To think that such changes in the availability of soft and hard core porn will not have an effect on everyday life is delusional. I am not preaching anything. I take no position that this is good or bad. What I do say is that these enormous changes are being ignored as possible cause and effect of other changes in western lifestyle.

I wrote a piece called Sex in America last November in which I describe how researchers into diminishing testosterone in men did not even think about the increased availability of porn as a cause. They confessed to being clueless.

Here’s an article from the Denver Post about how Americans spend more time with the computer that their spouses.

Here’s a study about lower birth rates.

Here’s a story from the N Y Times about more women living without husbands than with.

It’s all pretty interesting. I wonder if there’s any connection.


This is another shot of the celebration at our local Bangkok grammar school. I though it was great Posted by Picasa


When I was very young, I would make fun of people whom I considered to be less intelligent by saying they were incapable of introspection. Now, as Sinatra would say, in the twilight of my years, the joke is on me. I’m the one who never really practiced introspection. I understand very little about myself.

Friends from school days describe me as the class clown. That is the truth. But was it a need for attention, boredom, or an inability to concentrate that made me that? Maybe it was all three. I never thought about it.

I had some strange attitudes when playing sports. I once scored a touchdown from the three yard line. But the hole in the line I ran through was so big anyone could have done it. So the touchdown was a let down. Anyone could have scored it. I didn’t feel good for the team, I only felt disappointed that I hadn’t done anything special.

In another football game our team was winning so easily I lost interest. Here’s the weird part, I honestly wanted to go to our coach and ask him if it would be okay if I played for the other team. I didn’t do it, but I wanted to. It would have been a lot more challenging for me. Maybe I wanted to be the best player on a poor team rather than just another player on a good team. I don’t know.

Playing center field at a critical point in a very important baseball game, a ball was hit on a line between me and the left fielder. I knew that by making a maximum effort I had a chance to catch that ball. But I also knew that I was the only one in the park who would have thought I had a chance. I was so afraid of trying and failing I didn’t try. I turned to chase the ball down in outfield and we lost the game. Needless to say, that memory has haunted me.

Maybe someone can explain me to me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


This is a portion of our friend's work mentioned in the story below Posted by Picasa


This has left me depressed and I seldom get depressed. He was the chef half of a little mom and pop storefront restaurant close to us. In my lifetime, he had cooked more meals for me than anyone not living in my household or camp. His specialty was barbecued chicken with roasted garlic bits. I sometimes got that to takeout seven times a week.

He tried to teach me Thai words and phrases but I am much too old to absorb another language. I am at the stage of struggling to hang on to my English vocabulary. He, instead, was picking up English words and phrases from me. He was smiling proud of that accomplishment.

Word of his death reached me first thing in the morning via the Maid News Network. That is a usually dependable news source. It had reported an additional bombing during our recent spree that even the authorities hadn’t known about until later. I was shocked at the news of his death. He was a charming man of about 35.

Using our little electronic translator I asked “suicide?” Yes, I was told. He had jumped off the top of the four story building where they lived and worked.

Later the Maid News Network corrected the story. In the new version he had been sleep-walking when he fell to his death.

That sounded odd. Then another version came that told of a family argument that got violent. That was the final version. It is all very sad.

I was in their cafeteria style restaurant only the morning before. I thought it was strange that very little food was out at 7:15 in morning. That is usually their peak hour. Only the barbecued chicken was ready. Never mind. I took my chicken and left, thinking no more of it until hearing of his death the next morning.

It is all very sad.


 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I wrote a piece a year and a half ago titled Changing Money. It covered all the angles I knew of in order to get the best exchange rate around the world. Recent problems here in Thailand cause me to add to the instructions.

I try to live here in Bangkok on pension income from the United States which means the exchange rate is important to me. Unfortunately the exchange rate has been in a downward spiral for some time. It has gone from a high of around 42, I think, sometime last year to below 36 to the dollar. Most of that is due to weakness in the dollar I’ve been told.

No matter the cause, it’s a huge hit to me. It has caused me to watch the reported exchange rate to try to catch it on an upswing. The other day all three of my sources reported the rate to be over 36 so I went to my friendly neighborhood ATM to do a furtive withdrawal. I got robbed! No, not by thieves but by the exchange rate. It was way below what had been reported. I checked my internet source, - The Universal Currency Converter ®. Sure enough, the rate had dropped nearly 3% in the time it took to go to the machine.

Lesson: The reported rate is worthless. Just today, the Bangkok Post is reporting a current rate of 34.75 which, they say, is down 1.23 baht from yesterday. The Nation reports a current rate of 35.93 which, they say, is up 0.88 baht from yesterday. The Currency Converter, referenced above, states the current rate is 35.18. Which do you believe?

You can’t believe any of them. But here is a simple way to see if the current rate is for you or against you. Always hang on to your ATM receipts. On the bottom, if it’s a good ATM, it will give a current balance shown in Thai money. Before you deal the next time, check your balance first. Your balance will show what way the exchange rate has gone since your last transaction in the only way that matters, which is how much money you have left.

Friday, January 19, 2007


 Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 12, 2007



I decided to post a comment on The Dilbert Blog after all. Over there at least I get read. I posted the last portion of my essay with a slight change:

First of all, to challenge on the basis of studies is ludicrous. I am in the Woody Allen school on that one. He once went into the future (in one of his movies) and discovered that junk food had been found to be the most healthy. New studies come out every day. Once when I made dentist visits only months apart, they had changed the recommended stroke in brushing teeth. This at the latter part of the twentieth century when people, I suppose, had been brushing for centuries.

My opinion on things like this is to stick with what got us here. I call it the cave man test. Man has been on earth for a couple of hundred thousand years. Would we have survived if we had been vegans? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Would an individual vegan have survived? A scene in the cave comes to mind.

“Sorry Bruce, we couldn’t find any fruits or berries. All we got was this 200 pound deer.”

“But I wanted nuts. You couldn’t find any nuts?”

“Sorry buddy, I guess you’ll just have to go hungry.”

“I guess so.”

No, I don’t think so. Vegetarians didn’t get us here so why should that suddenly be the best thing for us
Wonder of wonders, there came a response:

just wanted to post a fact recalled from Anthro classes in "cave men" types subsisted largely (more than 80%) on gathered foods--nuts, fruits, berries--i.e. things that didn't bite back. Meat was dangerous to catch, dangerous to eat (without refrigeration or if not properly cooked) and rarely caught. Cartoon images of carnivorous cave men brought to us by Gary Larson or images of the Flintstones are purely entertainment, not science on which to base an argument against vegetarianism. So, if cave folks surviving long enough to breed and thus eventually lead to our existence is an argument posted in favor of meat-eating (at least it's an argument posted by several folks here) noting it was actually an 80% vegetarian diet--seems relevant.

Posted by: Dana January 12, 2007 at 08:24 AM

So here is my response to that:

This is for Dana. Here we go with another study called a “fact.” You can cherry pick and find all kinds of “facts” about life 200,000 years ago.

On the other hand, what’s wrong with a 20% meat diet? A beef stew might have more that that but a hero sandwich or a pizza or spaghetti and meat balls would have less than 20%. My favorite Thai-made pasta sauce contains 20% beef, and then you plop it on the pasta.

20% meat sounds pretty healthy to me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


NEWSFLASH: We have just learned that the bandit elephants were wearing hippo disguises Posted by Picasa


This is from today’s Bangkok Post:

Elephants stop, loot trucks on dark road


Chachoengsao _ The chief of Khao Ang Rue Nai wants the road through the wildlife sanctuary closed at night after a herd of elephants held up and looted a string of cargo trucks. About midnight last Saturday a herd of 20 elephants blocked route No.3259 (the Ban Nong Kog-Ban Wang Nam Phon road) holding up 10 trucks, Yoo Senatham said.

They tipped some vehicles on their side, spilling the cargoes on the road so their young could eat, and gorged on sugarcane and tapioca.

There’s not much I can add to that. I don’t suppose that can only happen in Thailand but I’ve never heard of it happening anywhere else.


QUESTION: If you are what you eat I wonder what she's been eating. Posted by Picasa


I have an interesting test when a debate comes up about what would be good for the health of mankind. I call it the cave test. How would the theory work back in the days of the caveman? I got in trouble with an instructor once in a psychology course by using that test. He was passionate about the care and feeding of mongoloids. He spent much of his time among people with Down syndrome. I asked him, from a scientific viewpoint, how he thought those people would fare in the days of the caveman. Not too well, he had to admit. I made a point and an enemy. I am not a people person, I am a mankind person.

There was an interesting discussion on The Dilbert Blog the other day. Scott Adams, the author, is a vegetarian. Here is some of what he wrote:

Some people who commented went so far as to assert that we NEED meat in our diets to be healthy. This is a popular view among meat-eaters.

Vegetarians believe that there is no science to support the belief that we NEED meat (not counting the B12 and Omega-3 supplements). And not counting any studies that were funded by the meat industry.

So let’s throw down.

Meat eaters, show me the links to studies supporting the view that eating meat in moderation is healthier than eating no meat.

Vegetarians, show us your links proving that a proper vegetarian diet is the healthiest.

I don’t like to post comment on his blog, it would be lost among the 300 other comments. I have too much regard for my comments, rightly or wrongly, to have them adrift among all those others. Besides, I have too much to say.

First of all, to challenge on the basis of studies is ludicrous. I am in the Woody Allen school on that one. He once went into the future (in one of his movies) and discovered that junk food had been found to be the most healthy. New studies come out every day. Once when I made dentist visits only months apart, they had changed the recommended stroke in brushing teeth. This at the latter part of the twentieth century when people, I suppose, had been brushing for centuries.

My opinion on things like this is to stick with what got us here. Man has been on earth for a couple of hundred thousand years. Would we have survived if we had been vegans? Maybe, but I don’t think so. Would an individual vegan have survived? A scene in the cave comes to mind.

“Sorry Bruce, We couldn’t find any fruits or berries. All we got was this 200 pound deer.”

“But I wanted nuts. You couldn’t find any nuts?”

“Sorry buddy, I guess you’ll just have to go hungry.”

“I guess so.”

No, I don’t think so. Vegetarians didn’t get us here so why should that suddenly be the best thing for us?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


When you look like this it's time to stop drinking. Posted by Picasa


I like to start these things off with little anecdotes. They are things that have stuck in my mind for years so I assume they might be of general interest and provide a lesson to ease your way through life. Okay that’s bullshit. I’m only trying for attention. It hasn‘t worked so far. For this subject I have two anecdotes.

Way back, before TV, Gary Moore and Jimmy Durante had a successful radio show. When it came to an end, Gary told Jimmy he planned to take a year off. “Don’t do it,” Jimmy advised him, “they’ll forget you.” Jimmy knew what he was talking about.

Years later, Toni Grant pioneered call-in radio psychiatry. At the height of her career, with stations nationwide, she married and decided to take some time off. That was it for her. She tried to come back but she had been forgotten. What a pity. She was a positive genius at what she had been doing. Her successor is a nit-picking nit by comparison.

I was in a position to listen to her show every day. Some were nothing short of amazing. Among the many things she passed along was something like this: Most alcoholics never quit drinking voluntarily, they quit because their bodies can no longer stand it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not now nor have I ever been an alcoholic. I have been a heavy, consistent, persistent drinker. That is not an alcoholic. But I have had to cut back considerably. The first thing to go was getting half smashed before breakfast. I used to love drinking vodka or gin straight from the bottle on an empty stomach. That was my morning fruit juice. (I never did that on a work day.) Let me also say in my defense, my wife of 17 years testified at marriage counseling that she had never seen me drunk. So there.

The next thing I had to cut back on was drinking in the evening. It started to give me indigestion and that kept me awake. That had to go. So then my drinking hours were from 9 to 4, nothing before and nothing after. My current wife wanted me to cut back on that. Why do women want to change men after marriage while men only want women not to change? Neither succeeds. That’s one of life’s mysteries.

Now I am down to one stiff belt a day. The surprising thing is I don’t miss it much. I don’t want to say I’m drunk on life. That sounds too much like dementia.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Harvesting body parts? Here's a crop you can look over. Posted by Picasa


Harvesting body parts. Am I the only one who gets an image of Mexican field hands swarming over a body for the harvest? I probably am.

This subject has been in the news. For a long time I have felt guilty about not carrying one of those cards that allow the “harvesting” of my body parts when the time is deemed to be right by someone important. I should have done it because it is the right and noble thing to do. Anyone can tell you that I am nothing if not right and noble. I’m truly ashamed that I never did it when I had the chance.

Now I find it’s too late. I’m too old. They have an age limit on that harvesting business. I’m using vital organs that no one else would want.

Should I protest or celebrate?

On the one hand it’s age discrimination. On the other hand, those freelance harvesters who go about finding involuntary subjects will have to ignore me. I’m free of them.

Or am I? Those freelance guys might be like used car salesmen. “This kidney is old but it’s hardly been used. The guy almost never pissed.” “Look how hard his heart is. It’ll be good for years.”

Maybe if I could get some slick doctor here in Bangkok to put an expiration date on my body parts. That might discourage them.

How would they know until they yanked the organ out?

These are things I worry about.

The only thing worse than having your body parts harvested is having it done illegally.

Monday, January 08, 2007


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I was once part of a military occupation. It was the occupation of Japan. I was even awarded a medal to prove it. They didn’t give me the medal. They almost never do that. They just put it on my service record that if I went out and bought it for myself and then wore it, it would be okay.

Cheap bastards.

Anyway, while I was protecting the Japanese from themselves, I was assigned to guard duty in a little empty theatre. The cleaning guy was an ex-Japanese soldier. I deduced that because of his age and because his clothing was almost a total uniform.

The guy finished his chores and went to an upright piano. He hit a couple of keys, turned to me and asked. “Okay?”

“Sure,” I said, “go ahead.”

He hit a couple more keys and asked again, “okay?”

“Yes,” I said, “you can play.
Again he hit some keys and asked, “Okay?”

It finally got through to me that “okay” was the limit of his English, so I said, “Okay.” He played happily. Poorly but happily.

I am a very slow learner in some areas. Even now, when I take a taxi ride in Bangkok, it’s hard for me to remember that international word. My instinct is to say, “Yes,” Correct,” or “That’s right,” when the only word that works is, “Okay.”

It is the international word.


Rosie is dressed for her deathmatch with The Donald. Posted by Picasa


Rosie and The Donald. Two sweet lovable people. how could abyone not be enchanted by them? Posted by Picasa



I remember seeing a claymation show titled Celebrity Deathmatch. (In looking it up on Wikipedia I found it is still active.) It is a parody television show spoofing professional wrestling that pits celebrities against each other in the ring, almost always ending in a gruesome death of the celebrity who lost the match. Wouldn’t it be great to have a real life match between Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump? There, my friends, would be the match of the century. No matter what happened in the rest of this 21st century, nothing could top that.

The way they insult each other over live mikes is exactly the way pro rasslers carry on before their matches. The only thing missing is the hoarse, manly voices, although Rosie is closer than “The Donald.”

To call Rosie “trailer trash” insults me. I am what most people would call trailer trash, having lived in a mobile home park for 8 years and being trashy. But while I may have met a few like Rosie, most of the residents were more like English aristocrats in comparison.

The Donald surprised me. Why would he respond? I guess he yearns for any publicity, no matter how base.

Wouldn’t it be great if they had a match and Rosie tore him to pieces and ate him?

My money’s on her.

Friday, January 05, 2007


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Thursday, January 04, 2007


This is an open letter to Scott Adams:

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think what a loss it was that Walt Kelly died so young. How could that happen to such a sweet man? That alone should be evidence that there is no god. It is all random and when you die that’s the end. For anyone shocked by this get ready, there also isn’t a Santa Claus. Wait! There’s worse coming! The Virgin Mary wasn’t a virgin!

I digress.

Back to Walt Kelly. His Pogo comic strip was a work of art, both visual and narrative. Some of the names he gave his characters were literally unforgettable. There were Sis Boom Bah and Sam Handwich to name two. Sam Handwich was a chicken who drank from the fountain of youth and regressed back to an egg and then was taunted by his son. “Hah! Old Pa!” You probably have to see it.

A while after Kelly’s death his strip was resurrected by people who could draw the thing perfectly but couldn’t come close to capturing his humor. The second coming was soon gone. Some (most) comic strips can survive without being very funny but not that one.

Which brings me to you, Scott Adams. Your Dilbert strip is close to the spirit of Walt Kelly. I mean that as a great compliment. I wish you would get together with those guys who could copy the drawings so well and provide them with content. You could make it a joint venture. Or just get the rights and hire your own artists. Wouldn’t it be great to have Pogo back? I know you could pull it off.


Walter Guest



Hi Walter,

Thanks for thinking of me, but I never cared for Pogo. It's just a
taste sort of thing. So I wouldn't want to associate with it.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Mamie Van Doren does hard time in prison Posted by Picasa



The US has more people in jail than any other country in the world. The US has the highest percentage of its population in jail than any other country in the world.

Don’t believe it? This is from an article in Reuters:

A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people is the highest, followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offenses."

You can read the entire article *HERE*.

The US has 2 ½ times more prisoners than the “repressive” Russians and ¾ of a million more that the Chinese. The US has 7 times the incarceration rate of most industrialized countries.


In a related story, the Taliban is making a strong comeback if Afghanistan. How are these related? Because it is America’s stupid “War on Drugs” that has brought on these horrific results. “Stupid” might seem a harsh adjective but “ill-advised” and “short sighted” fall far short of the mark considering the results achieved.

Afghanistan is a tribal/village culture. The tribe/village farms lands that they have farmed for centuries. There are no small farms. It is all virtually owned by the tribal chief. The tribe’s loyalty is totally to the chief. Their main crop is opium. Other crops might allow the village to subsist but opium brings riches to the tribal chief which trickle down to the tribe.

Now here come the stupid Americans who have totally failed to win the “War on Drugs” in their own country. They have decided they can win it by eradicating drugs in a foreign country and they do this by attacking (spraying) tribal farmlands. The stupid Americans are surprised that they raise the ire of the village/tribe that they attack without provocation. The Taliban is coming back! Big surprise.

Do they want to fight in Afghanistan forever? If they keep up what they are doing that’s exactly what will happen.

The worst part about it is that the drug problem in Afghanistan and the rest of the world is magnified because the Americans are unable to cope with it at home. They jail their own citizens at historical rates but it does no good and does incalculable harm.

What’s the solution? The US must decriminalize drugs. Trouble is the first politician to support that will be attacked from all sides, especially the drug dealers. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry both in dealing and fighting the dealers. It will be political suicide but it has to be done and it is inevitable.

In the meantime my opinion of the people that support the current ‘War on Drugs” is: WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS.

AFTERTHOUGHT: In the interest of full disclosure, I am not now nor have I ever been a drug user or dealer.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Photo from Posted by Picasa


Eight bombs went off (and one defused) in the city and one in a northwest suburb. The toll is 3 dead and nearly 40 wounded. The location of the bombs followed an interesting pattern. One was at what could be called the southeastern part of downtown (Seacon Square). From there, six others were set a mile or more apart in an arc or crescent design ending in the northwest part of the busiest part of Bangkok. Three of the bombs did not follow this pattern. You can see this on the map *HERE*.

No one has stepped forward to take “credit.” The military government, now in control, is blaming the previous administration. There is some evidence, however, that it was Muslim extremists. I must say there should be no surprise. Considering the Muslim problem in the south of Thailand, I have looked for suspicious characters every time I go downtown.

The US government, along with many others, has issued a travel advisory suggesting avoiding Thailand. That, along with the new harsher visa requirements put in place by the Thai government, might be a serious problem for the economy here.

The Thai baht increased in strength by nearly 3% immediately after, which seems counter-intuitive.

In case anyone was wondering, none of the bombs was closer than 15 miles to me. I found out about it from CNN, which did a fast and fine job of reporting.

AFTERTHOUGHT: This bombing incident strikes me as a training exercise. I would expect more and better.

To put it in perspective, more than 275 were killed on Thai highways over the New Year holiday