Bangkok After Russia

... For Now ... But Actually Not Too Many Weeks Before One Ladyboy Team is Scheduled to Go to Hua Hin to Play Elephant Polo

Following A Brief Stopover in France

June 21-30, 2002

Friday, June 21, 2002

Dearest reader, though we are now back in Bangkok, I want to start my new journal ... "Bangkok After Russia ... For Now ... but Actually Not Too Many Weeks Before One Ladyboy Team is Scheduled to Go to Hua Hin to Play Elephant Polo"1 ... with this very very wide angle photo from St. Petersburg, Russia. This is only fitting because today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Catherine Palace

1 This preliminary working-title may be lenghtened later to include a reference to the non-ladyboy team.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

A rainy night in Bangkok................

Will this Coke ad last the month???????

Finally, "Tits and Ass" ... to sell papers.

Sunday, June 23, 2002 (Midsummer Eve)



Audrey, or Elthelreda1 2
DIED 679

Audrey's father was a king; both her husbands were kings; and her sister and her physician were saints. Her first husband appears to have been willing not to have physical relations with her; the second, perhaps was not willing. In any case, she ran away from him; and only the tide rising around a rock in the sea saved her from his possessive excitement. Eventually he let her go, and married another woman. Left to herself, she founded the cathedral and monastery on the Isle of Ely.

After her death she appeared to a remorseful criminal, and helped him get out of prison.

This morning's Bangkok Post tells of a wedding in Pakistan that went horribly wrong. Please return to Chris's journal for more information on day-to-day life in contemporary Pakistan.

Alternatively, if you wish to see Gift, Ohmy and Amma in the raw ... well, click here for a quick glimpse. Or, for full coverage, go to

Tomorrow, we'll start a new series here at The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com. Entitled THE LATIN READER, it will appeal to the same reader who likes to thumb through the pages of STEELE's great work on Economics.

1 Dear reader, please see the 'holy card' that was designed to ward off evil priests and their altar boys should our CB#3 ever be forced to land on church soil while flying over Italy.

1 Credit should be given to San Porn for her assistance in the creation of the 'holy card'. She, in turn, nods thanks to Wescott for his inspiration. Though nearing retirement, Porn still stands behind the bar at The Super Queen.

Monday, June 24, 2002 (Midsummer Day - The Feast of St. John the Baptist)


Two Bits of News, In Brief (from The Onion):

Name Of Gay Bar Should Have Been Clearer

CHICAGO - After accidentally walking into a gay bar Monday, Jeff Pierce, 23, said the name of the establishment failed to clearly telegraph its orientation. "I can see how Rods sounds gay," Pierce said, "but it's just not as crystal-clear as it could be." Pierce urged the bar's owner to consider changing the name, suggesting The Manhole or Big Throbbing Homo Cocks.

Lottery Loser Angry At Lottery Winner

HARRISBURG, PA - Winona Culvert, a loser in Monday's $113 million Pennsylvania Lottery, expressed anger at Mechanicsburg electrician Clint Furlow, who took home the jackpot after buying a single ticket on a whim. "Who the hell does that asshole think he is?" said Culvert upon seeing the news report of Furlow's victory. "I bought 40 tickets." Culvert added that she needs the prize money far more than Furlow, as she has been on public assistance for the past two years.

In our customary haphazard manner, The House of Corkscrew Balloon Dot Com will continue (on and off) to post clippings from THE LATIN READER: a collection of newspaper cuttings from the last century that were pasted by an anonymous source into a book on Latin verbs, nouns and adjectives by 'Somebody' Harkness.

Previous entries from THE LATIN READER and THE SEARLE PAPERS have included articles about a sparrow that killed a baby AND things even more awful than that. Today we'll look at a man who attempted to cremate himself because he smoked too much; also, we'll peek at a Puget Sound engineer who cut off half of his head and woke up to talk about it. Finally, there's a delicate woman, a helpful neighbor, and a jealous husband.

My friend, Don Bull, has asked that we (THOCBDT) 'run' yet another picture of the three most famous members of the Patpong Corkscrew Club ... hopefully fingering their way through one of his great books on corkscrews. Yes, this one's for you, Don!

Don's Book Enthralls

PS Both The Bangkok Daily News and the Thai Rhat (our great national dailies) covered the same terrible fire2 with differing darkroom techniques. The former pulled their dear old D-76 stained Morton out of his bed and forced him to employ his hatch-machine on the still wet prints ... while the latter allowed the color sheets to go directly from the stop bath to the printer's wheel. But both papers slapped themselves on their reader's porches easily in time for the breakfast read.

1 Because of this battle the International Red Cross came into being (1863). And, in 1864 the first Geneva Convention was signed, giving some protection to combatants.

2 A children's ride in a shopping mall went horribly wrong. An electrical short ... a shower of sparks ... the holocaustal explosion of a wooden kiddy train ... panic ... the inability of firefighters to reach the burning carriage ...

Tuesday, June 25, 2002


The Oriental has erected a new tent for the Sala Rim Naam ... nominally just for the rainy season (May through October), it looks so nice that I hope they keep it up all year.5

My friend, Don Bull, was so pleased with yesterday's photograph of his corkscrew book being fingered by three of the founders of the PCC that he took the time to send me a thank you note. Today, Gift shows us a little more thigh while allowing her thoughtful eyes to drift up from the book's pages.

During the last five weeks I've been a guest at three hotels in which the powerful (or nominal) Security BadgePresidents of three very important countries were under the same roof at the same time as I: Bush of the USA at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, Putin of Russia at the Grand Hotel Europe in Saint Petersburg and Johannes Rau6 of Germany right here at The Oriental in Bangkok. Only in Berlin was the security so tight that not even guests were allowed in the hotel without being 'screened'. In Saint Petersburg I stood about 10 feet away from Putin while he was saying goodnight to his Chinese guests. And tonight, here at The Oriental, I walked right through the official party on my way to the elevator. In neither of the last two cases was I stopped by any security people and asked what was in my really huge and suspicious looking carry-bag. And, in both cases I was dressed as if I did not even belong in the hotel.


"Alf, when was this stuff clipped? I've read a few of your cuttings but I can't figure out the date. Style-wise it smells of the last century." - Fictitious Anon.

"Good point. I'm not sure myself ... but the article about the lunatic in the White House gives us a clue: Grover Cleveland was the US President who the intruder wanted to see."

To the stories (I'll ad lib the headlines and you just 'click' on what you fancy)7:

The Onion leads with two stories from today's America:

Area Man Thinking About Getting One Of Those All-Body Scans

AUGUSTA, GA - Impressed by the technology, Dan Cirillo is thinking about getting an all-body imaging scan, the 45-year-old Augusta man revealed Monday. "Wow, that looks pretty cool," said Cirillo, who saw the device on CBS' 48 Hours. "I'd love to get one of those." Cirillo then wondered aloud whether he could get a scan and a similarly cool watertank-immersion body-fat measurement on the same day.

Sympathy Card Signed By Assistant

KANSAS CITY, MO - A sympathy card from Walters Realty president Bob Merritt to the wife of recently deceased realtor Jim Nolfo was chosen, signed, and mailed by Merritt's personal assistant Monday. "Please know that you are in my thoughts during this difficult time," the assistant wrote on Merritt's behalf. Merritt, who did not see the card at any time during the three hours it spent in the Walters Realty office, did not add, "Let me know if I can help in any way."

1 Must have known Richard.

2 Probably knew Earl.

3 Likely he wound up like Richard and Earl ... assuming Augsburg was a human.

4 Faced with scalping and being burned at the stake he probably envied the quicker exits of Earl, Richard and Augsburg (though 15th century deaths might have been too 'colorful' for even a Custer facing angry redskins).

5 While photographing the tent I was able to also capture the NAN.CAT building in the flattering light from a semi-setting sun. Please note the reflections in the glass. ("Alf, are you just trying to fill space?")

6 Many people, including some Germans, are not aware that Rau is the President of Germany. Granted, in Germany the title "President" does not entitle the title owner to do much more than lead trade delegations to friendly countries.

7 Don't forget! We are building a permanent place for THE LATIN READER; rather like what we have done with the STEELE stuff. And, sophisticated web technology now allows us to link everything together quite nicely.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002


John and Paul
DIED 362

The eunuchs in charge of St. Constantia's household. She left them each a considerable fortune in her will; but after her father's death, Julian the Apostate appropriated it and put the one-time servants to death.


This just in from Don "Mirth" Bull:

Subj: Thai Thigh gift
Date: 6/27/2002 5:27:50 AM SE Asia Standard Time


Thank you for the gift of more thigh!


Don Toasting the PCC

It has been months (it seems) since I have posted a photograph of my immediate neighbor: the French Embassy. Totally restored for the anticipated French victory at the World Cup, it now has little to do.

Meanwhile the overhead (street) wiring in Bangkok is getting much worse. This particularly dense clump may soon turn into a powerful magnetic field. Of course, it could be just a clever decoy by Bangkok Power & Light ... something designed to foil and confuse electricity pirates.2

1 A couple of years ago THOCBDC asked Andy Page to explain the history of the Corn Laws. He did ... I think.

2 Most BKK 'street stalls' are powered by 'siphoned' electricity.

Thursday, June 27, 2002


Almost everyone knows what the 9th Circuit (in a 2 - 1 decision) decided about the God bit in the Pledge.

Citing a concurring opinion in a Supreme Court decision, the 9th Circuit panel said, "The Pledge, as currently codified, is an impermissible government endorsement of religion because it sends a message to unbelievers 'that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.'"

The 1954 insertion of the "under God" phrase, the panel said, was made "to recognize a Supreme Being" and advance religion at a time "when the government was publicly inveighing against atheistic communism."

Folks, here is a little history of the Pledge:


The pledge, written by socialist editor and clergyman Francis Bellamy, debuts September 8 in the juvenile periodical The Youth's Companion. He wants the words to reflect the views of his cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of "Looking Backward" and other socialist utopian novels. It reads: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all."


The words "the flag of the United States of America" are substituted for "my Flag." Fittingly, the change takes place on Flag Day.


The government officially recognizes the Pledge of Allegiance.


Worried that orations used by "godless communists" sound similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, religious leaders lobby lawmakers to insert the words "under God" into the pledge. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing an atomic war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joins the chorus to put God into the pledge. Congress does what he asks, and the revised pledge reads: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Source: The Associated Press and Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.

AOL's chat room enthusiasm would have pleased the guys who flew the September 11th planes into the buildings. Here are the immediate knee-jerk reactions from two quick-off-the-mark AOL contributors. [unedited]

(The first)

Goddamn, these flaming liberals are trying to BANG GOD! Man, no one bangs God! God bangs you, brotha! When you thought you lived in a free coutry, free to dissent, you were wrong! God sent Joe MacArthy after you and BANGED you good! Now again you think you live in a free country that tolerates dissent - wrong! Bush and Ashcroft are gonna come and get'ya, sucka! God has sent Ashcroft to come and BANG you good!

Yep, you frigging liberals don't BANG GOD - it's always the other way around! Just ask John Ashcroft!!

(Second one)

Not even one-hundred years ago, these Judges would have been labeled as traitors and tried in court, and more than likely, sentenced on charges of treason. Had they pulled a maneuver like this one during the fervent times surrounding the Revolutionary War and the founding of this country, they surely would have been hung as traitors. And that's exactly what should be done with these Judges - they should be hung as traitors! It's the same stupidity that was used in the ruling by this shame of a Supreme Court when they unanimously passed a vote stating that GOLF is not a sport. God help us with liberal morons such as this working in institutions capable of wielding and shaping power in such an irresponsible manner (I can assure you not one of these people ever swung a golf club). And now this issue is going straight to them??? The laws surrounding the separation of church and state had more to do with who should and who should not pay taxes to their government (churches excluded) and whether or not certain religious groups would be allowed to influence decision making policy in government. These Judges are obviously a small band of atheistic liberal moron's (most likely Non-Christian Democrats) bastardizing and manipulating the law(s) for their own personal agenda's. The bottom line principals of this country are such that this country was founded by Protestants and Christians, NOT Muslims, Haitians, Jews, Armenians, etc. and as such, if you want to live in this country, you honor the traditions that this country was founded on. If you find these principals to be offensive to you and your children, then leave this country and stop using this country and her resources for your own selfish agenda!! The problem with the politicians in Washington today is that they don't have the courage to stand up for what is right without considering their own silly careers and their wallets first. That's why this country is going down the tubes - and fast! The MAJOR difference between the ideological and political climate that exists with most Politicians today, versus those of OURTRUE Founding Fathers, is that the Founding Fathers were willing to die for their ideological beliefs and the principals of the Constitution. The Politicians in Washington today would never put their lives on the line for the principals of the Constitutional and the beliefs this country was founded on. Today, there is a near majority of Politicians working feverishly behind closed doors in Washington contemplating and debating ways to dismantle, dismiss and dramatically change the Constitutional Principals this Country was founded on. They make a mockery of this Country's Constitution behind closed-door sessions. A not so famous Historian once said, ... "This Country was founded by geniuses, and today it is being run by a bunch of idiots!" ... Sad, but unfortunately, very true.

THOCBDC brings you these two opinions out of a sense of balance (see our earlier swipes at God).

Those happier with looking at "Gift", click here.

Friday, June 28, 2002



Leo II
DIED 683

" ... (housed) bits of bone and cloth and executioners' tools ... "1

The House Of Corkscrew Dot Com today was moved by two human-interest stories: (A) one from Swander, Ohio (in the USA) about woman who was happily (and finally) diagnosed as having her stomach plagued only with gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis, a rare but usually non-fatal fungal disease; and (B) the second, close at home here in Bangkok, about a woman who was stabbed in the hand by a strange man carrying a syringe filled with deadly cobra venom.

SWANDER, OH - George and Maureen McKay's stagnant, passionless 36-year marriage was briefly enlivened recently by Maureen's late-May cancer scare.

"When the doctor told us Maureen had terminal stomach cancer, our priorities instantly changed," said George, 57, who had steadily grown more distant from his wife over the decades. "Suddenly, all that mattered was spending those final days together."

"Last week, we found out the doctor made a misdiagnosis," George continued. "Now, thank God, everything's back to the way it was before."

On May 25, Dr. Ernest Ingersoll, an oncologist at Dreyer General Hospital in nearby Tiffin, told the couple that a malignant mass in Maureen's stomach was Phase 4 stomach cancer. The grave diagnosis temporarily reignited a passion between George and Maureen that the weight of the years had dulled.

"When we got home from the hospital, we both couldn't stop crying," said Maureen, 56, who was later correctly diagnosed with gastrointestinal basidiobolomycosis, a rare but nonfatal fungal disease. "George just held me for hours and hours. I hadn't felt that loved and cared for in years."

According to those who know the couple, this closeness was precisely what has been missing from the McKay marriage.

"Maureen and George weren't what you would call the most romantic couple," next-door neighbor Curtis Curran said. "But when they thought Maureen had cancer, there was an instant change. You could even see it in the way they sat next to each other. Of course, now that they found out Maureen will be fine with treatment, they're back to opposite sides of the room again."

Faced with the grim prospect of cancer, the McKays began to pay attention to "all the little things" that make a marriage special.

"We started to say 'I love you' again, for no reason," Maureen said. "I guess George was afraid it might be the last time he'd get to say it. Thank God, it wasn't. Not that he's said it since we found out the diagnosis was wrong."

In the days following Maureen's initial diagnosis, George would call her from work just to see how her day was going. He also started leaving her little love notes in random spots throughout the house.

"It sure was an emotional three weeks," George said. "We'd stay up all night long, saying things we'd never said to each other and talking about all the things we never got to do together. Now, we've got a whole damn lifetime to do all that stuff with each other."

"Twenty or thirty more years," George added. "Just the two of us."

As soon as Maureen's stomach problems were found to be nonfatal, the couple returned to their normal mode of interaction: icy silence punctuated by the occasional bickering over petty household matters. An added source of tension was Maureen's medical treatments, which prompted fights about everything from who forgot to deposit the check from the insurance company to who was supposed to pick up the medicine from the pharmacy before it closed at 7 p.m.

Still, the couple has their memories of the whirlwind three weeks. One moment in particular sticks out in Maureen's mind. A few days after the misdiagnosis, George presented her with a thick woolen sweater to wear around the house if she felt cold. It had been years since he had bought her a present out of the blue.

"I was so touched that I cried," said Maureen, holding up the unattractive purple-and-green sweater. "Before, I would have made fun of this ugly thing and shoved it in the closet, but instead, I wore it every day. I mean, until I found out I was okay. I haven't worn it since. It's really not my style."

Settling back into their pre-cancer-scare routine, the couple has canceled the vacation they had planned, deciding it would be wiser to put the money toward a new roof on their home.

"Boy, am I glad that's all over," George said. "Now we can get back to being a normal married couple again."

Click here to see our local Cobra Venom Attack story. It made the headlines in the Bangkok Post (along with an above-the-fold picture).

And finally, dear reader, what does this picture mean? Is this the start of something terribly new ... or is it something irrelevant? Only seasoned readers will be able to tell. Stay tuned.

Something New?

1 Leo II did little else.

Saturday, June 29, 2002 (The Feasts of Saint Peter and Paul)


Cassius of Narni
DIED 558

Certainly a great many men and women in various circumstances have needed this bishop's intercession. A Gothic king visited Narni; the holy prelate went forth to meet him. But as he had a very red face, the king thought him a drunkard and made fun of him. Just then one of the royal guards went mad, and the congested old man was able to bring him to his senses immediately, which taught the king not to judge by appearances.


In the same vein as the photograph of the kitchen we have....

Another Mysterious Photo

And, then we have ......

Click to Enlarge Ohmy

1 Obviously his mother checked the liturgical calendar before naming him.

Sunday, June 30, 2002 (David's 41st birthday)1



Peter of Asti

Peter of Asti was a water-diviner. When so many monasteries were being erected in waste places, this obviously entitled him to the highest honours. Nothing is said of his having used a rod, but wherever he began digging the ground, sweet water sprang.

This picture of a small room continues to develop the theme that was started in the kitchen a few days ago.

Another Room

This picture of Gift is just to sell papers.

1 He was born exactly 100 years after the death of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet.

2 Just one year, to the day, before Elizabeth Barrett Browning died.

3 Just one year before David was born.

4 The 'political' reader will note that the Belgian Congo has gone through a number of name changes since its independence. Though "Belgian" has gone for good, "Congo" has gone and come…and even moved.

Next: July

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