The New Headquarters ... Continued

Following The New Headquarters

July 25-31,2002

Thursday, July 25, 2002 (The Feasts of Saint James the Great and Saint Christopher)


Dear reader, as my phone lines here at River Garden have yet to be DSL'd my logging speed is currently running at just about 36,000 per second (with luck!). So, until I can get up to warp I am going to post photos using my camera's 'Standard' and 'E-Mail" configurations.

So, today is a little test: three pictures will be sent in the 'Standard E-Mail' mode and three, otherwise identical, photos will be sent in the 'Regular' way. [Even Regular is not the highest mode: there is also a "Fine" option. Anyway here goes:

  1. River Garden at 46.9KB ... and 11.8KB
  2. The Peninsula Hotel at 25.3KB ... and 7.24KB
  3. Construction on Bangkok's Sky Train Extension at 42.2KB ... and 10.4KB
  4. Walking path to the Ferry at 44.7KB ... and 11.9KB

It will be interesting to see what 1/4th the power can do ... or not do.

Friday, July 26, 2002 (Feast of Saint Anne)



The Saviour's maternal grandmother.2

For earthquakes it's 0.1 to 7. For hurricanes 1 to 5 covers it all. To readers in San Francisco and Athens the first set can be terribly relevant [but, only after the fact]. Readers in Miami and Taipei ... what about them? For sure, it's just the latter one that grabs their attention; however, they do have the wonderful advantage of being able to watch the barometer fall before deciding whether to pack up and move out.

For asteroids everything changes. Though the same numbers are there ... in this case 0 to 10 ... the playing field is much bigger, as is the cost of the game. The scientists over at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA have developed the Torino scale3 that describes asteroid hazards. Up until a fortnight ago this man's meter had next to no relevance to anyone on the far side of an observatory. Not now!

Most people know that an earth tremor weighted "1" will tinkle the ice cube in their highball glass and that a "7" will pretty much totally destroy anything an architect can design. A category "1" hurricane is just barely worthy of the name; but a "5" will bankrupt most of the "names" over at Lloyds.

But this 'new' Torino scale is a little more of an all-or-nothing situation. A zero means that any particular asteroid has no danger of striking the Earth. A "1" tells us that it merits careful monitoring but the chance of impact is judged to be extremely unlikely (1 in 200,000). A "10" means "certain impact with worldwide devastation".

A little over two weeks ago (July 9th, to be exact) astronomers first sighted 2002NT7. Repent! The End Is Near!It circles around the sun once every 837 days at a steep tilt of 42 degrees compared to the orbit of the Earth. If it hits us it will do so on February 1, 2019.4 With a 1.25-mile girth and a closing speed of 60,000 miles per hour it would be an 8 or more ... germs would survive, but pretty much everything else would be a clean slate.

Today's great mass circulation Thai language Bangkok dailies predict that 2002NT7 will strike the Earth just off the southeast coast of the American state of Florida ... somewhere between Miami and Key Largo.5 If this turns out to be true I will lose some property straightaway.

The same Bangkok paper that mapped 2002NT7s trajectory toward my Florida lot gave equal coverage to the plight of several new Patpong recruits6 who were being coerced by their employer to have nose and boob jobs.

1 He died the same day that President Kennedy was assassinated. Thus, many did not notice his obituary. His exit was made more comfortable with a dose of LSD.

2 Wow! There has been lots of talk about whether Christ had any siblings and/or children (in and/or out of wedlock). But going up the family tree ... well, most of the talk has stopped with Ma and Pa. As even the holiest of holies have not attempted to claim that virginity and immaculate conceptions stretched deep into the B.C. period can we safely assume nieces and nephews?

3 Like Richter, Torino set about attaching small numbers (usually on a logarithmic scale) to really big things. For his effort he was rewarded with his family name being forever attached to the truly awful.

4 A 'day' earlier here in Bangkok?

5 "Key Largo" was one of Humphrey Bogart's most notable films. Next to "Casablanca", it is the one of his that is most ordered from

6 When the up-country high schools 'break' for the summer it's 'harvest time' for the Bangkok brothel recruiters. Only 'of-age' graduates are eligible in this illegal trade. Trucks loaded with toasters, televisions, refrigerators, microwave ovens, etc. go 'north'; busses of girls come 'south'. It's largely a barter system, though money also changes hands.

Saturday, July 27, 2002


Dear reader, today the balance of my journal is unusual ... if not bizarre. Essentially it is my 'reply' to a request for the deletion of my earlier reply to a request because the contents of that particular earlier request/reply tandem exchange were incorporated into one of my earlier journals. Through the use of substituted 'x's' I have, for today, made the original requestor and his employer largely anonymous ... though the detectives among you will have no trouble Googleizing your way into the full cast of characters. I, of course, remain in full glare throughout.

To follow what is happening, dear reader, you might have to jump around a bit. For example, if after you read my first paragraph (directly below my greeting to Axxxxx), you force your eyes to drop to the stuff after the double asterisks (dozens of lines down) before allowing them back to my second sentence (directly below the greeting, plus 1) ... well, it will be helpful.

If this seems all too terribly tedious please click HERE and you'll be taken straightaway to for some diversionary mature viewing....and you can come back here another day.

Dear Axxxxx,

I received your e-mail of July 26, 2002 (a full copy of which is attached below, after the double asterisks [**]).

My guess is that you (or, a friend/relative/associate) typed your name (or, that of the firm) into Google's 'search' line. And up came:

Bangkok in the Heart of Winter, Part III
... Axxxxx. Anxxxxx M. Exxx Rxxxx, Fxxxx, Txxxxxx & Zxxxxxxx 44 Mxxxxxxxxx Street, Suite
4xxxx Sxx Fxxxxxxxx, CX 9xxxx Tel: (4xx) 3xx-5xxx Fax: (4xx) 3xx-8xxx. PS. ... - 28k - Cached - Similar pages

Alas, these incredible search engines (web crawlers) ... upon which we have come to rely so much ... not only cast their nets widely and quickly, but they write with indelible ink. When Google indexed our December, 2001 correspondence it 'cached' it. Essentially, it froze it for all time's sake: 'chiseled in marble', in the words of old timers.

The good part of all this is that your name and address will forever be at the top of Google's list when ... ah, for example ... old school chums try to reach you. The less fortunate bit is that the searcher might suspect that you were (back in December '01) 'trawling the obituaries' for business. You could, of course, laugh it off by pretending that the whole thing was the work of an in-house computer program put together by a former rogue associate; something that robotically sifted the web for instances of 'unrepresented' human suffering, and that your name was just automatically given as the contact.1

But, I am becoming too long-winded. Short of creating another web entry for you ... and having it 'hit' upon by hundreds of cohorts ... I don't know how you can move our December, 2001 correspondence from the top of Google's list.



P.S. What did pique your curiosity about the balloon 'accident'?

1 Perhaps it is just apocryphal, but there is a story about a famous Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who left a standing-order with various LA pizza restaurants to deliver, every night, their best and biggest to the emergency wards of all the local hospitals. Of course, each pizza box had a few of his business cards nestling the toppings. It's said that he was able to trace his business by the various stains left on the incoming cards. How times have changed!

(**) Yes, these are the double asterisks below which your eyes should fall before continuing the read above.

Dear Alf:

In your web page posting, "Bangkok in the Heart of Winter, Part III", you referred to an e-mail I sent you on Dec. 12, 2001, in a footnote. (This footnote is appended below).

I trust that you mean no harm, but I would appreciate it if you would delete all references to my name, email, address, telephone numbers, and law firm name from your web page. Thank you.

Best regards,

- | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | -

4 A couple of years ago I reported (fictitiously) on the crash of a Disney owned balloon in France. My gruesome account had a couple dozen school children burned to crisps by the exploding propane. An accompanying aerial photograph of a rural trash heap suggested that this was all that was left of the balloon and the children. Yes, you guessed it, a California personal injury law firm wrote me an e-mail asking for details:

Subj: 23 children killed in Avallon France
Date: 12/12/2001 9:25:33 AM SE Asia Standard Time

Dear Alf:
Could you give me more information about the Avallon France hot air balloon accident that killed 23 school children.

I will greatly appreciate your prompt reply.

Axxxxx M. Exxxx
Rxxxx, Fxxxx, Txxxxx & Zxxxxxxx
44 Mxxxxxxxxx Street, Suite 4xxx
Sxx Fxxxxxxxx, Cx 9xxxx
Tel: (4xx) 3xx-5xxxx
Fax: (4xx) 3xx-8xxxx

- | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | - | -

PS. Though I personally thought that my account of the Disney balloon disaster sounded very far-fetched ... well, I must have just totally forgotten how terribly exhaustive American law schools can be when teaching their students where to look for fees.

Not wanting to wound the ego of my interlocutor ... and hoping to turn the firm's attention in another direction I wrote back that "... all was well... thanks anyway ... no need to bother yourself" ... etc.).

Dear Axxxxx,

You'll be pleased to know that everything ended on a happy note. All of those 'left behind': the moms, the dads, the little brothers, the big sisters ... even the odd gramps and the one or two real-close 'shirt-tail' kin ... well, they all decided that everything would be forgiven if a few free balloon rides came their way.



Sunday, July 28, 2002



Nazarius and His Friend Celsus

This Jewish convert of St. Peter, with his young friend, wandered all over Italy, even walking on the water on one occasion, when some pagans drove them into the sea. Whenever they came where a martyrdom was taking place, the encouraged the victims, and finally were martyred themselves.

Their bodies lie amid the loveliest mosaics in Ravenna, in a Byzantine chapel which the Empress Galla Placidia had built for them and for herself.

The Fitness Club at The Oriental Hotel (here in Bangkok) has purchased a new treadmill. New TreadmillCalibrated neither in kilometers or miles ... (or any other recognized unit of measurement) ... it is designed to be a compromise that pays 'homage' to the eclectic composition of the hotel's guest registry. It measures speed and distance in units that mirror, proportionally, the preferences of its clientele (historically weighted, but using statistically acceptable polling techniques).

For the unbending or obstreperous guest this unique unit of measurement (the "oriental") can be converted to something closer to home by following the logic found in these four steps:

  1. One kilometer equals .621375 miles. One mile equals 1.609334 kilometers.
  2. 67% of The Oriental hotel's guests prefer metric measurement. 33% of the polled body prefers the King's foot (the English one).
  3. .67 times .621375 equals .416232. .33 times 1.609334 equals .531080.
  4. .416232 plus .531080 equals 1.152455: this being the number by which the indicated speed and distance on the new treadmill must be factored in order to arrive at the figure in either miles or kilometers. The appropriate 'factoring' (the multiplication and/or division of numerators and/or divisors), of course, depends on which unit of measurement the 'calculator' wishes to reach.

Monday, July 29, 2002 (Feasts of Saint Olaf and Saint Theodor)


THOCBDC, no longer 'privy' (geographically) to the French Embassy,3 has taken on a new 'stepchild' of sorts: the construction of BTA's new Skytrain station ... the one on the west side of the Chao Phya River. As with our observation of the French Embassy, we'll keep a watchful eye on the hammering and welding on this far side of the Taksin Bridge. Today's pictures were taken during my walk across the bridge. Tomorrow, through the use of enhanced telephotography, I'll attempt to capture some of the action from my own porch.4

Readers who are nodding can click HERE to see some frontal nude shots of Gift, Ohmy and Amma.

1 The reader is strongly advised to read (or reread) the chapters from THOCBDT that deal with our two-summer-ago visit to the Zeppelin factory and to the Zeppelin museum. Also, not to be missed is this summer's ride in the real thing (over Berlin).

2 A year of so ago The Onion carried an unusually insightful ... [albeit quite tangential to all the mainstream stuff] ... piece on Stein: reflecting not on her thoughts and written work but rather on her raw sex appeal. This is worth a read ... especially for those students who studied under the late Hans Gerth. Though Gerth's written obsession with Max Weber skirted much of Stein, his (Gerth's) classroom lectures often alluded to her.

3 This is really pretty much unimportant now, as the embassy is done ... yes, finished. All the shrubs are in; the pool furniture is in place ... there is nothing new to show.

4 Loyal readers will recall that almost all the coverage of the "French roof job" was shot from Gore Vidal's porch. This proximity allowed the use of nothing stronger than a 'normal' lens.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002


Today's lessons from THE LATIN READER are:

  1. Oatmeal that kills humans at a single stroke, with little warning.
  2. Why young Zelzig was 'skylarking' and didn't hear the approaching train that killed him and his little friends.
  3. How a man swindled a grocer out of milk and butter.
  4. What happened to a factory worker when he got 'sucked' between a whirling industrial belt and a rotating drum: the crushing of bones and the squirting of blood was horrible.

And, dear reader, who are these girls? Will they play an important part in your life in the months to come? One of them is named "Golf". Do you know which one? Why are they showing you their passports? Can you guess? Come on, try!

PS Today the weather was not good for Skytrain watching. I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002 (Feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola)



The bold type screamed "BROWN SHOT CODY"! But, dear faithful reader, this is much more than that: it is "The Tragic Sequel of a Fried Fish and Beer Party in a Negro Tenement." And, read on about the loaf of bread saturated with a murdered man's blood"...

Miss M.L.C. of Middleton, Wisconsin (USA) writes:

"On a recent trip to England I saw the cutest phone booths ... they were all red and had lots of little glass windows in them. Does Thailand also encourage tourism with funny phone booths?"

"Yes, Mary Lou Connery, of 418 North State Street, Apartment 3C, Madison, Wisconsin 54601, it does. Here is a Thai telephone booth that meets your specifications."3

This is a photograph of Watcharee wearing a Bob Hogner original.

1 Did NEWNES make a mistake? The great national encyclopedia of Hungary lists Petofi's given name as Sandor. Further confusion is found by reading further: it says he was killed in battle. Normally, NEWNES is a stickler for details. It is unlike him to use 'died' when the man was 'killed in battle'.

2 Just a few days ago ... on the Feast Day of Saint James the Great ... NEWNES noted that "Doctor Dolfuss, statesman was murdered" ... yes, yes, it was also in 1934. These entries, if true, mean that the murderers of Dolfuss were executed less than a week after the crime. For those rusty on their Austrian history, Englebert Dolfuss was the Austrian Chancellor from 1932 until his assassination in 1934. But the very clever reader will remember that just yesterday NEWNES told us "Dr. Schuschnigg appointed Chancellor of Austria." ... you got it folks, again in 1934.

3 Seasoned readers will recall that THOCBDC has an extensive inventory of Thai telephone booths in its elder journals. THOCBDC also has a fine collection of mature-viewer London telephone kiosk commercial art ... though it's a bit scattered about.

Next: August

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