July 1-17, 2002
This nobleman of Auvergne ran away from home rather than marry a senator's daughter whom his father had chosen. Otherwise he was of an imperturbable meekness. When Bishop of Clermont, a man hit him on the head, and he never stirred or made a sound, which so impressed the aggressor that he quite forgot that he was angry.
Gal brought up his nephew, St. Gregory, the historian.
Dear impatient reader, we are getting much closer to that moment when those pictures from the previous few days will make sense. You know, the ones of bare rooms.
"This is getting boring! Can I see a different photograph ... perhaps one showing off one or more of my corkscrew books in a favorable light?" - Don Bull
1 The Darwin Awards for 2002! They are finally out again. You all know about the Darwin Awards. It's an annual honor given to the person who did the gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. This year's winner:
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. The lab finally figured out what it was and what had happened. It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off - actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long and straight stretch of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!
The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the prominent scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds. The driver, and soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become insignificant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron nearly reached mach I, attaining a ground speed of approximately 420 mph.
2 A battle believed by many to have been enjoyed by God.
PS. I have been informed by my friend and webmaster, Paul Fjelstad (see below), that this particular Darwin Award (for the dead driver of the car that took off like a bullet ... see note 1, supra) has been coming up every year. This does make it suspect. But, THOCBDC prints what it likes ... the truth be damned!
Subj: RE: July 1, journal
Date: 7/2/2002 11:38:06 PM SE Asia Standard Time
"(1) The Darwin Awards for 2002!"
Alf, this Impala comes around every year ...
It's official! Watcharee and I are going to move from the Gore Vidal Suite to larger quarters: a three bedroom apartment just a few blocks away from The Oriental. As you can see, the view from our 'new' window is not that much different from the view a hundred meters upriver ... only the angles prove we're not where we once were.
The Visitation of Mary to Her Cousin Elizabeth
When St. John, the unborn forerunner, in his mother's womb, sensed the presence of his Master in the Virgin's womb he trembled for joy.1
Not every tragedy at 9/11 was black and gray and gloomy. There is one girl in New York that will always have a good story to tell at a cocktail party. In time even the guy may find some humor in it (but, for sure, he wouldn't go back in time and change things).
FLASH: Derek has installed a new engine in his car.
1 Pediatricians and theologians have long debated over whether this 'trembling' was just the plain old normal 'kicking' that every prospective mother feels, OR, was it something more.
2 Troubling (to some) though this might be, the NRA was not an American invention.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these no-talent, unemployed, Miller High Life sluggin' clowns to me. I lift my lamp beside The Boneyard."1
The Onion reports:
Gore Begins Training For 2004 Election In Remote Mountain Cabin
MCCALL, ID - Determined to rebound from his 2000 election defeat, Al Gore has sequestered himself in a remote mountain cabin to train for his 2004 rematch with George W. Bush. "Gotta get in shape," said Gore, running up a hill with a log strapped to his back. "Gonna beat him this time." Gore, who is almost back down to his campaigning weight of 245, then worked on his debate reflexes by chasing chickens around a pen.
Twixt 'Gore' and 'Garden'
OK ... finally ... here it is ... as seen from the bridge AND as seen from The Peninsula Hotel.
A legendary Syrian Gardner. One evening two strangers accepted his hospitality, and, during dinner inquired where Phocas, the Christian gardener, lived: their mission was to put him to death. Phocas promised to give them instructions the next morning. During the night he dug a grave among his flower-beds, and at dawn led them to it, telling who he was. Indebted to him for food and the night's lodging, charmed by his gentleness, they would have preferred not to kill him; but he insisted on its being done.
He is the patron of gardens and gardeners, and helps in case of snake-bite.
1 Masthead of The Boneyard, The University of Connecticut's Women's Basketball web site ... and the literary home of the 2002 Women's National Champs!
The LATIN READER needs an update:
Who are these girls?
1 Some conspiracy theorists believe that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson consummated their suicide pact on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
2 Other conspiracy theorists believe that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson killed each other in a duel over one or the other's slur on the signature of John Hancock.
3 Her 'fetch ness' during her long-of-tooth years has been discussed in depth by The Onion (and reprinted here).
Good Grief! Watcharee and I can actually see Gore Vidal from our new apartment ... both during the day and at night!
Tomorrow we are going to see what happens to fornicators when they go to a Buddhist Hell.
A noble disciple of St. Peter who went as a missionary to the Etruscan cities to become the first Bishop of Fiesole. The Emperor Domitian put him to the torture; and he was more faithful amid the play of fire and boiling oil and butchers' tools2 than his master had been when tried by a servant-girl's mere mockery.
In Thailand becoming a monk is a family affair.3
And, from this morning's International Herald Tribune:
A sculpture made with the artist Marc Quinn's frozen blood and owned by one of Britain's most famous art collectors may have thawed. Press reports have given conflicting accounts about the fate of "Self" - a cast of Quinn's head in his own frozen blood. The Guardian reported a rumor that it had been stored among the frozen peas in the home freezer of the gallery owner, Charles Saatchi, and that builders working on the kitchen had unplugged the appliance. The frozen cast, for which Saatchi reputedly paid $23,000 in 1991, was part of the controversial 1997 exhibition "Sensation" at the Royal Academy. The Saatchi Gallery in London withheld comment.
1 Irrelevant in Thailand.
2 Wescott was fond of putting a nice spin on torture: "amid the play of fire and boiling oil and butchers' tools ...." It is easy to imagine him relishing the pictures from Hell.
3 Can you find Watcharee in any of the photos?
Good Grief! We can see our new apartment from up here at Gore Vidal!
This afternoon I found an undeveloped roll of 'film' in my camera. It dates from the 'monking ceremony' of the other day:
Elder monk at 'ordination'
Novice on the way
Latest views of new house in Ayutthaya
Watcharee and her mom on the porch
1 The observant reader knows that this man played an important role in guiding at least two of the journals here at THOCBDC. (See our 2001 tour of the Zeppelin factory, guided by Wolfgang von Zeppelin, and our 2002 Zeppelin flight over Berlin.)
Yikes! This place is a mess ... we have to get out of here!
"Perks" at the new place. Can you guess?
Is this a model, or the real thing?
Who are these people?
NEWNES tells us that today (in 1886) Field-Marshal Lord Gort was born.
I'm in a terrible hurry ... bye.
We have a winner in yesterday's contest! Yes, the whole way from the American state of Virginia (home of many former US presidents), our Grand Prize Winner is:
Subj: Perks at the new place
Date: 7/11/2002 5:18:07 AM SE Asia Standard Time
>> Mystery Perks: What Are These Amenities?
Hot Tub and Sauna?
Fountain of Holy Water and a Confessional
The sun is setting on the Gore Vidal suite.
Moving in ... slowly ... room by room - piece by piece.
Over the weekend we were lucky to have two of Watcharee's friends ("Yupin" and "Golf") help us with the move. To celebrate the half-way point we took them to dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel (our new immediate neighbor).
By the way, "Golf" would have made a wonderful Screwless Tusker! Maybe next year.
PS Here is an angled shot of our new building.
Oh my God! Have I just moved the mess ... "lock-stock-and-barrel" ... from one office to the other?
"Of course not, Alf, you'll sort it all out when you have the time."
"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones." - Machiavelli, "The Prince"