Bangkok for the Change of Seasons,
Part IV

Between Part III and Part V

October 12-15, 2000

Thursday, October 12, 2000

NEWNES, this day, reminds us that even some of the greatest names in industry can be lost through mergers and acquisitions:

He started as 'Sperry' ... later he met 'Rand,'1 and for decades the name of Sperry-Rand was an industry force. Then the man of rifle fame (Remington) nudged him aside and it was Remington-Rand. Perhaps, it was the other way around. Anyway, now all are gone.2

1 'Rand' is found nowhere in NEWNES.

2 The Onion's Business Section covered the 'final' merger in its 1/1/2000 edition.


UNITED NATIONS - In a multimedia press conference held Friday at the U.N., top executives from the world's three remaining corporations announced a final merger, OmniCorpuniting the planet's financial resources under the newly created OmniCorp.

Under the terms of the record $9.2 quadrillion merger, the Global Tetrahedron Conglomerate gains controlling shares of its two final competitors, Time-WarTurABCDis-SonylumbiaAT&T and GM-LockheedZweibSKGBank, creating what company spokespersons called "an unstoppable juggernaut wielding unparalleled wealth and power."

As a cost-saving measure, dealmakers also negotiated the absorption of all world governments into OmniCorp, making the corporate behemoth the sole ruler of mankind.

"We stand at the close of a century of progress and at a dawn of a new millennium," said OmniCorp spokesperson Ed Rohl. "One hundred years ago, the average working Joe was at the mercy of the big corporate trusts. Now, as a new century looms, we can celebrate just how far we have come."

Key members of OmniCorp's board of directors, including Walt Disney, were cryogenically unfrozen and revived by a team of shadow-government technicians. They are expected to assume overlord duties as early as Thursday.

Others on NEWNES' list:

NEWNES brings us another strange 'event' ... leaving us to guess about what went horribly wrong in Delft:

Is there a connection, however slight, between the killing of painter Fabritius and this explosion? More help is needed.

Yesterday, I also asked for help ... about King John's 'baggage' and how it apparently got lost in 'The Wash.' Both Andy Page and Paul Fjelstad rushed into research. Page's reply is brief enough for in-text inclusion ... Paul's warrants a footnote. Though both conclude that 'The Wash' is water, neither has come up with anything about 'baggage.' Perhaps, NEWNES meant 'baggage' in the everyday sense of the word ... that there is not some arcane medieval significance in its usage. However, this confusion about what is really meant by NEWNES' entry has now broadened itself to include 'lost.' What did the man mean when he said the baggage was 'lost?'

Anyway, Page said:

"The Wash is an inlet tween East Anglia and Lincolnshire!

"From Memory They were crossing Wash and Baggage got swept overboard!"

Paul can be found in (3).

3 I'm trying to find out more about this King John's baggage thing. My Encarta encyclopedia notes that he died on October 19, 1216, at Newark in Nottinghamshire, while battling the barons over the fallout from his forced signing of the Magna Carta the year before. Perhaps he died of grief over his lost baggage?

Aha! Here's an important clue, from the same source:

"Wash, The: inlet of the North Sea, eastern England. The river ports of Boston and King's Lynn are situated on The Wash, which is a shallow, estuarine area 35 km (22 mi) long and 24 km (15 mi) wide. The inlet is also a popular fishing ground, with the Nene, Ouse, Welland, and Witham rivers flowing into it. A large acreage of the marshy banks of The Wash has been reclaimed and put to agricultural use."

Britannica says:

"Wash, The: shallow bay of the North Sea, 15 mi (24 km) long and 12 mi wide, between the counties of Lincolnshire and Norfolk, England. It once extended as far inland as Peterborough and Cambridge but was largely filled in by silt, brought chiefly by rivers but partly washed in by coastal currents. Land was reclaimed by artificial drainage at several points, and seawalls were built to protect the low coastal lands. At low tide the river waters reach the sea through shallow creeks between banks of sand and mud. The two main channels, Boston and Lynn deeps, provide anchorage for small vessels trading to Boston and King's Lynn."

The "baggage" thing remains a puzzle, however. Perhaps it's literal, but there is no mention of the event in Encarta or Britannica (or in a couple of appropriate books that I've checked).

Wescott allows us to wonder why these two boys are thought of so highly in Italy:

Amico and Amelio

Amico and Amelio, or Amyas and Amylion, were two French boys who met in Italy and loved each other dearly. Having been baptized by the pope, they returned to France and lived in the court of Charlemagne. Amico caught leprosy, and Amelio had a vision according to which, if he cut his children's heads off and sprinkled his friend's body with the blood, he would get well. Amelio then followed the heavenly instructions; Amico did get well; and the children were restored to life - no one knows how - but they always had a red scar around their necks. The extreme friends died together in battle, and in the vicinity of Milan they are honoured as holy martyrs - no one knows why.

This morning's Bangkok Post carried this on its front page:


Dubai - A 20-year-old Yemeni bride has been stung to death by a scorpion that a jealous older wife hid in the younger woman's wig, Middle East news agencies reported yesterday.

Reports from Taiz, in south Yemen, said the creature was hidden in the hairpiece with the help of a hairdresser. The bride felt the stings as she was dressing to be taken to her future husband's house, but the coiffeur told her the pain came from hair pins. Doctors said she died of 24 stings.

Far less poison was enough to be fatal, they said. - dpa

For the moment the researchers at Neuilly-sur-Seine have turned their eyes toward Peking:

[from the International Herald Tribune]
1900: Peking Loot

WASHINGTON - General Chaffee cables to the War Department from Peking that Li-Hung-Chang, representing the Chinese Provisional Government at Tientsin, has asked for the return of the loot, valued at $278,000, captured by the American troops when the Imperial Treasury was destroyed. The dispatch has been referred to the State Department. The officials there do not believe the loot will be handed over now, but no doubt it will be credited to China in the final settlement.

1950: China in Korea?

HONGKONG - Best-qualified experts here believe the danger of Chinese Reds entering the Korean war is now very slim or non-existent. So far Peking propaganda has been conditioning the Chinese public for intervention, but it is believed this line can shift. Observers who have followed Peking's output through the summer maintain it has given far more importance to the Korean-Manchurian border than to the 38th Parallel. Any commitment to defend the 38th Parallel has been avoided, though the commitments to defend Manchuria have not.

Friday, October 13, 2000

Did October 13th fall on a Friday in 1812, 1815, 1825 and/or 1905? How about 1890?

And, in:

IHT NewsFor the members of the 'Fell and Rock Climbing Club' 1923 may or may not have had such an October 13th. This was the day that it handed over to the National Trust 3,000 acres in the Lake District.

I am so glad that I live in Bangkok! While headlines in the world's press bring gloom to the breakfast table in Ramallah (ISRAEL LAUNCHES POWERFUL RETALIATORY RAIDS), Washington (U.S. DESTROYER IS ATTACKED) and London (OIL PRICES SURGE), my little Bangkok Post brings our locals only mild fret:


Lampang - A fuel truck hit an elephant, overturned and burst into flames late on Wednesday evening.

The driver and a passenger were killed while the elephant survived, but is injured, police said yesterday.

Post NewsThe accident was reported near the 33km mark on the Lampang-Chiang Mai road, 7km from the Elephant Conservation Centre.

The animal had apparently come down from the hills and was crossing the road when it saw the truck and started to back up.

The truck hit the elephant, skidded off the road and exploded. Rescuers took more than three hours to extinguish the blaze.

Direk Buasri, 33, the driver, and Saengduen Lamsung, 26, were burned to death and the elephant reportedly suffered a broken leg.

The truck was heading to Mae Hong Son.

Police said they had checked with the conservation center and been told no elephant was missing.

Reports said the elephant, which left droppings and blood at the accident scene, had fled into tambon Muang Yao in Hang Chat district.

Police said they were looking for the animal and its owner would be liable for the damage the beast had caused.

[from the International Herald Tribune]
1925: Smoking Rights

BOSTON - Femininity has broken down one more barrier and women will hereafter be admitted to social functions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on absolute and equal smoking terms with men. A faculty committee issued a ban on smoking by girls who attend school dances and the student body was displeased. So President Harmon yielded to the modern trend and ruled that the dears may puff away without restraint when they are guests of the college.

In Thailand, MK Restaurants operates a chain of wildly successful SUKI places. Last night, Watcharee and I ate at one of these fast food outlets ... Menu!the one on Silom Road, just off Patpong. Resembling Mongolian fire-pot cuisine, tray upon tray of stuff is added to an in-table pot of simmering water. How many trays (and what kind of stuff goes onto each tray) is entirely up to you. The menu is short on words, but long on pictures. It can make you cross-eyed just looking at it. Watcharee did the ordering, the adding and the cooking.

Being given something is always easier than working for it ... sainthood being no exception. In fact, Wescott clearly proves that 'earning' the halo is always best avoided when possible. Stubbornly reading from the scriptures [while an involuntary tenant in some 4th century torture-chamber] surely gave Euplius a lock on October 11th. But, Edward's backing up through the crowd during a robbery of the treasury, and his bit of good luck in parting with a ring to the right beggar, was a mighty fine way to capture October 13th ... even though there is always a one in seven chance that it'll fall on a Friday.

Edward the Confessor
1004 - 1066

Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England instead of his older brother on account of something St. Dunstan prophesied. He abolished a tax called the Dane-Gelt because he saw a devil dancing on the money when it was brought in; and he looked on mildly while a young man robbed the treasury, explaining afterwards that a robber's need must be greater than that of the royal household.

He met St. John the Divine disguised as a beggar, and gave him a ring; a quarter of a century later, the heavenly favourite sent it back to him by two pilgrims, with word that the time had come for him to leave his throne and come be with him forever.

He built, or rebuilt, Westminster Abbey.

Dear reader, yesterday after worrying you over the meaning King John's 'baggage', I asked for your help in sorting through a curious coincidence: was there a connection between the horrific explosion at Delft and the killing of Carel Fabritius? Both events took place on the same day in 1654. By itself that is not enough to appoint a special prosecutor ... but, NEWNES tells us that Fabritius was a painter, and a painter in the Rembrandt school. So, if first there was just smoke; now there is an ember, if not a full fire.

So, I safely asked:

"Is there a connection, however slight, between the killing of painter Fabritius and this explosion? More help is needed."

Paul's research was quick and conclusive:

"There is!"

"Delft lies along the canalized Schie River between Rotterdam and The Hague. It was severely damaged by the explosion of a powder magazine in 1654.

"Carel Fabritius was a Dutch Baroque painter of portraits, genre, and narrative subjects whose concern with light and space influenced the stylistic development of the mid-17th-century school of Delft. In the early 1640s Carel Fabritius studied under Rembrandt and became one of his most significant and successful pupils. From about 1650 onward he worked in Delft and in 1652 entered the painters' guild there. He died of injuries received when the Delft powder magazine exploded; the same explosion is thought to have destroyed many of his paintings."

Andy, more off the cuff, 'seconds' it:

"The Dutch seem good at this sort of thing ......

"Was it Eindhoven this year that had a few blocks flattened by a fireworks store exploding?

"Yup, the painter was killed in said earlier explosion of 1654!"

But, returning to King John and his lost 'baggage,' Andy allows another pen to do it in more detail:

"In 1216 John marched through the eastern rebel territories. The barons even asked France for help and Prince Louis landed in England and had himself proclaimed King. John relieved his loyal town of Lincoln in September and marched on Kings Lynn. While crossing the Wellstream which flowed into the Wash, his baggage train got lost in the mists and swallowed by quicksand. His royal jewels and treasures were lost. In October 1216, John died in Newark and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. He had caught dysentery in the Fens and died at 49 years old. He was the first king in the 150 years since 1066 to be born and buried in England."

Saturday, October 14, 2000

Fortunatus of Todi
DIED 537
The Bishop of Todi was exceedingly expert at casting out devils, ridding the sufferer of a greater quantity of them at a time than any other psychiatrist or saint of his day.

NEWNES again teases us with dates:

[from the International Herald Tribune]
1925: Predictions

According to Neo-Malthusians, the world can only support 5,200,000,000 persons. That number will be reached in a hundred years. Previously, overpopulation was not only solved by war but by pestilence and famine as well. Today, modern medicine has practically conquered pestilence and better government the world over is conquering famine. The only solution, therefore, is war or birth control. This body asserts that Germany's over-population was the principle cause of the Great War. New territory also is needed by Japan, where the population has more than doubled in the last fifty years.

Three snippets in this morning's Bangkok Post are worth repeating:


Frankfurt - German motorists have been told to stop making rude gestures at traffic cameras or they could be charged with offending the police.

A Bavarian court has ruled that a driver who held up his middle finger while passing a camera was addressing the police rather than the equipment itself, said the German auto association, Automobile Club Europe.

The motorist had argued he did not think the camera was switched on.

"But the video footage proves the opposite, showing the defendant looking at the video camera, raising his left arm and holding out his middle finger close to the windscreen," ACE said.

Germany has no speed restrictions on many of its motorways but rigorously enforces limits on other roads. - Reuters


London - Cocaine-crazy thieves tried to snort a bag of powder they found in an English housewife's living room - not realizing it was the ashes of her dead dog, according to a British press report yesterday. The burglars thought they had hit the jackpot when they saw the powder marked "Charlie" - slang for cocaine - in a dainty ceramic pot on pet-lover Dee Blyth's mantelpiece, said the report in The Sun. But they were unaware the pot was an urn and the "drugs" really remains of her beloved Newfoundland Charlie, who died in 1997. A police constable called to investigate the break-in at Chadwell Heath, England, fell about laughing when he saw the burglars had arranged the ashes in cocaine-style lines. Dpa


Moscow - A German museum purchased one of the 10 remaining "Concordsky," a Soviet version of the Western supersonic jetliner, the aircraft makers said on Thursday. The Tupolev Tu-144, nicknamed Concordsky for its resemblance to the Franco-British Concorde, was the first ever sold to a foreign buyer, Tupolev spokesman Sergei Rayevsky said. He declined to say how much was paid for the plane but the Kommersant newspaper reported the price was $500,000. "This is the first time a foreign buyer has ever bought a Tu-144," he said. "Even if this plane is not airworthy, it still has great historic and scientific value." Reuters

Alone, this trio of Cummings-Wasserman, force-fed, planar-suctioned diesels is an impressive base of brute Wetzlar engineered power. Coupled with VonHausen over-pumped, auto-fuel dumps and Klidermann sliding ram starters, Noo in the Wildthere is no overestimating the amount of electric power than can be surged into the back-up power lines that feed into The Oriental Hotel's secondary entrance grid.

It was while standing in awe before this cathedral to raw power that I sighted her. Rarely, if ever, is a Noo ever seen when she is not in her non-mating silver gray plumage. Even more unusual is to find her out of her native Spa. Nocturnal in her habits, the mornings usually find her asleep; when the sun reaches its zenith the Noo begins to stir. Little is known of her life outside of the Spa.

Returning to the efforts of the fourth estate: the front page of this morning's Daily News probably went a long way in shortening the amount of time people spent at their Bangkok breakfast table. Crime beat photographer Somchai's burnt-corpse crotch-shot undoubtedly froze a lot of boiled-rice filled spoons in mid-flight. Apparently, the par-grilled victim resisted something from someone ... the paper didn't think the details were all that important.

Sunday, October 15, 2000

Humans came and went on this day in history. NEWNES liked the comings and goings of ...

... all of whom came.

... save for him. He went. Do you remember? The street in front of LeParc Hotel in Paris is named after him.

Staying with NEWNES:

Only time will tell if this fifties event will remain on the 'tickler-list':

Wescott gives us further proof that the 'earned' path to sainthood is for fools:

Dominic Loricatus
995 - 1060

The parents of Dominic of the Iron Cuirass bribed a bishop to ordain him. He never got over his remorse at having made so inauspicious a start toward spiritual perfection, and wore the cuirass or coat of mail next to his skin to keep himself uncomfortable about it. His strength was such that he could discharge a whole century of penance in a week, on his own back or the backs of his sinful people, the rate of three thousand lashes for a year.

While the Bangkok Post treated its breakfast readers with colorful Sunday Comics for the Kiddies, tales of up-country housekeeping for Mom and, for Pop, a really good in-depth analysis of what is going on in the Middle East ... and, even a challenging crossword puzzle for Junior and some fun Scrabble Grams for little Sis ... yes, while our wholesome little Bangkok Post family was snuggling up for a good Sunday read ... yes, just down the road another (darker?) family was starting its morning with another dead-crotch shot.

The Daily News, ever anxious to hit the widest possible audience, easily squeezed sex, demolition derby, prayer, pop stars, and looting rioters ... and, yes ... More on the Dead Crotchthat now-ubiquitous dead-crotch shot onto its front page ... and, all of it in color.

Today's crime-beat photographer informatively captured an official finger, just as it pointed out what appears to be a dead person's ass. Also swept into his film was a mixed bag of last effects: an empty beer bottle, rolls of toilet paper, a phone, some magazines and a few bits of clothing. The ever-present picture insert shows what appears to be some form of 'official' photograph of a man (presumably the dead one); near the right edge are the traces of a rubber stamp ... the letters "CHAL.." can be seen.

It's a rainy day in Bangkok. Watcharee is 'up-country' visiting her family; she left early this morning but I expect her back in time for dinner. Ciao, the Oriental's Italian restaurant officially reopens for season tomorrow night ... but, there is a pre-opening tonight. I hope that we can make it.

Next: Part Five

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