Back to Bangkok, Part III

Between Part II and Part IV

November 1-11, 2002

Friday, November 1, 2002 (All Saints' Day)1

Today's Canon 'auto-stitch' looks away from the setting sun toward the east side of the Chao Phya River. The picture was taken from The Peninsula Hotel.


1 Not to be confused with All Souls' Day which is tomorrow.

2 The British shilling was equal to one-twentieth of a pound or twelve pence. Thus a year's license cost the radio listener about half a pound a year in the 1920s. When television was introduced in the 1950s the fees went up so high that it became worthwhile for the government to patrol the streets with "TV detector" vans. If it detected a TV being operated in a house that did not carry a license the owners were killed. Monty Python has a skit involving a "Cat detector" van; it looked for unlicensed cats. Incidentally, the number 12 was (is) popular in pre-calculator Britain because it could be divided usefully by more numbers than any other: 2, 3, 4 and 6. The number 10 was handy only with 2 and 5. For that reason we had (have) 12 pence and 12 inches...not to mention 12 ounces.

Saturday, November 2, 2002 (All Souls' Day)

This morning's IHT featured (on the "Culture" page) an article entitled "The Wide World of Competitive Eating". It's quite long so I won't attempt to copy it.1 Right here I only want to quote two perspectives on the 'sport.'2 Though the Granddaddy of the games is Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest which is held in Coney Island, parochial eating competitions have involved reindeer sausage, conch fritters and chicken wings and other foods with a regional pull.

But the event which prompted today's IHT coverage was the Pelmeni (a Russian meat dumpling) Eating Championship that was held in the ballroom of the Atlantic Oceana nightclub in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.3

James Taylor, the publisher of Shocked and Amazed, a newsletter for people in the sideshow business said, "The operative philosophy of a carnival show is that there are only three ways to get people to come: with sex, with morbid curiosity, or by getting the living heck scared out of you. And I think eating disorders disguised as eating contests would certainly qualify for satisfying morbid curiosities."

For 'shrinks' competitive eaters are troubling specimens. Kelley Brownell, a professor of psychology at Yale, called eating in such a quantity merely an extension of America's toxic environment: "There is too much food available, too much of the time, at too low a cost, and it's pushed too heavily." Brownell went on to add that the modern eating contest is "a freak show in a domain that's relevant of all of our lives."

PS Of course, the Erickson/Samsee kitchen is a chapel of food moderation.


1 But what our editor decides about either 'linkage' or 'personal cache vaulting' somewhere deep in the bowels of THOCBDC is purely an editorial matter. Indeed, perhaps he will even find additional related material from a previous journal ...

2 The International Competitive Eating Society believes that competitive eating be recognized as an athletic event: "Sport is about the refinement of a skill, like throwing a basketball ... competitive eating is about capacity, the speed with which you can eat and the speed of your hands." The only strict rule is that the competitor may not vomit while the clock is ticking.

3 During the "Soviet era" Russian émigrés congregated at the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn. It was known as "Little Nevsky Prospect." Incidentally, 'today's' event was won by a Russian: Oleg Zhornitskiy; he maxed out at 274 pelemini in six minutes.

4 Her unfortunately timed "Let them eat cake!" led to her beheading.

Sunday, November 3, 2002

I spent the significant part of today at the Apple Computer Show at the Shangri La Hotel.

Toys and convention girls were the highlights.

Toys Convention Girls

Tuesday, November 4, 2002

Twenty-four years ago Watcharee's paternal grand father and father 'passed away' within twenty-four hours of each other. Their deaths were not related to each other in any way.

These pictures (including one of Watcharee when she was four) were given to her by one of her aunts just a few days ago. The temple where the final ceremony was held ... and where the burning took place at the crematorium ... are very near her mother's home in Ayutthaya. We have been there several times.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

I had a busy day with my lawyers so I was only able cull a few bits from the press: The Onion. It will have to do. Yes, it will just have to do.1

Daytime-Talk-Show Mixup Leads To 1,000-Pound-Man Makeover
NEW YORK - In a mix-up Ricki Lake producers called "deeply regrettable," 1,000-pound Willard Hoskins, 37, was removed from his Paramus, NJ, home by forklift and transported to the posh Richard Stein Salon on Madison Avenue for a thorough beauty makeover Monday. "Let's see Willard's stunning new look!" Lake told the studio audience as Hoskins was wheeled out in a sequined black garment made from two king-size bed sheets to the accompaniment of throbbing disco music. "Wow, you look great!" The episode is believed to be daytime television's worst mix-up since Maury Povich sent a group of disfigured children to boot camp in 1999.

Adam Sandler Fans Disappointed By Intelligent, Nuanced Performance
LOS ANGELES - Adam Sandler fans across the nation expressed deep disappointment in the new film Punch-Drunk Love, which features an intelligent, nuanced lead performance by the comedian. "He didn't even do his funny high-pitched 'retardo guy' voice," said college student Bradley Sanderson, 19, after seeing the critically lauded film Tuesday. "And what was with all that textured, multi-dimensional character-development shit?" Similarly let down was fan Bob Trotta: "I didn't pay $9 to see Adam Sandler wrestle with some psychological crisis. He could have at least put a trash-can lid on his head and gone, 'I'm Crazy Trash Head! Gimme some candy!' How hard would that have been?"

Visible Panty Line Discussed Like It's Cancer
ABILENE, TX - During a trip to the mall Monday, Melissa Gilham and Tiffany Cornell discussed a fellow mall patron's visible panty line as if it were cancer. "Oh my God, look at that," a deeply shaken Gilham told Cornell outside Suncoast Video, where the panty line was first sighted. "Somebody really needs to sit her down and have a talk about that. Doesn't she have any friends?" Added Cornell: "Maybe we could chip in and buy her a thong." The pair's horror deepened when they faintly made out the panties' flower print through the woman's white pants.

Plan 'L' Switched To
BEREA, KY - Plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K having failed, David Zenger resorted to "Plan L" in his efforts to move an air conditioner from the garage to the house Tuesday. "Okay, here we go," Zenger said to himself. "If I wrap the air conditioner in bubble wrap and then balance it on a basketball, I can spin-roll it into the house." Previous failed attempts to move the air conditioner involved a pair of bungee cords, a bag of marbles, and a bottle of Crisco cooking oil.

Woman Mad Boyfriend Not Jealous She Danced With Other Guy
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - Deborah Raskin, 20, became angry Saturday when boyfriend Kris Barros failed to become jealous over her dancing with another guy. "She was being all quiet and staring at the wall, and she wouldn't tell me what it was all about," Barros said shortly after leaving the party. "Finally, I realized, shit, I was supposed to get all mad and make some big scene because she danced with that one dude before." Barros promised Raskin that he would make more of an effort to be jealous in the future.

1 Though I was able to pull up several snaps of Mr. Creosote and his big last meal (including the famous "Just one small little wafer, Mr. Creosote.") ... from Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life."

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Today is dedicated to the security guards at River Garden: ... the men who are charged with blocking incoming bullets with their own bodies ... throwing themselves onto tossed hand grenades ... taking plunging bayonets into their own guts. For these proud men "tenant protection" is their life ... and death.

River Garden Security Guards

Thursday, November 7, 2002 (Guy Fawkes Day plus one)

Search engines are wonderful machines ... anything in the paper libraries, even the best of them, really seem to ride behind the fumes of these darting Ferraris of the Internet. But unless you are careful with your search language even the best of the robots ... and, yes, these things are merely robots ... might lead you down strange lanes.

While looking to see if there was any evidence that Jesus was the inspiration in Guy Fawkes' botched job to blow up Parliament I came across this several pages into my research:

Click to enter password

If you don't have a username or password, write to to request one.

Friday, November 8, 2002

The principal 'market' street in front of our apartment house is usually pretty busy from noon until close to midnight. Most of the shops sell 'things'1 to 'farangs' (foreigners from the west) and food to local people.2

Three of the massage shops on the same street are totally legitimate. A couple more offer special services. These two girls work in the best of the legitimate shops: White Shirts. Though they look little and weak they have incredibly strong hands.

Last night Watcharee's best friend (Pom) and her nephew/niece (Golf) came over for dinner. Golf wants to be a model when he/she gets out of college.

Test for frequent readers: Can you place this picture?

1 A lot of 'knock-offs' and up-country souvenirs stock the shelves. As we aren't too close to the big counterfeit markets there is not much police presence here.

2 Most locals eat 'out' as it is cheaper than living in an apartment with kitchen facilities. Many times Watcharee picks up our dinner in one of these food stalls and freshens it in our kitchen. She ALWAYS buys her breakfast there; since I can't stomach a whole fish for my morning meal I reach for Kelloggs and NoDoz.

PS. One more time, Golf!

Saturday, November 9, 2002

Yesterday's challenge to our frequent readers (to identify a picture) had a pitifully unwanted response ... mere knee-jerk replies. Though there were hundreds of correct identifications (a tiny, albeit untidy, cut from the building site at the French Embassy), only Don Bull (founding member #2 of the Patpong Corkscrew Club) came up with a worthy answer.1

Subj: Re: What is this?
Date: 11/9/2002 10:32:04 AM SE Asia Standard Time

Building the International Space Station.

Being a weekend, the great Thai dailies were packed with crime and staged cheesecake ... and an accidental glimpse of a bit of exposed underwear, worn by a girl with her back to the camera (the girl appears to be talking to the police about an unrelated matter).

The only other interesting thing of the day was a flood.

1 Mr. Bull, at his own web site (, constantly teases his own viewers to guess whether the item in play (usually something photographed at a weird angle) is ... for example, a curtain rod or a diaphragm inserter; a light fixture or an armpit warmer; a piece of sandpaper or a skin defoliator ... etc. (See these examples from August 17 and October 22 of this year.)

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Happy Birthday, Alex

Monday, November 11, 2002 (Martinmas)


Corkscrew enthusiasts are encouraged not to turn the dial too far from ... negotiations with foreign powers are approaching the critical stage. Should things go as expected ... well, the growth of CNN and the fall of the Berlin wall will pale by comparison. As will Gulliver's travels to the land of the little people. No! We just can't say anything more at the moment. Sorry!

Meanwhile life and death goes on here in Bangkok ... with death making the cover stories.

Both of these photos of Watcharee were taken at our Skytrain station; one with flash, the other without.

1 A tip of the hat to Annie, Christopher, Cam, Lisa, Bryan, Patty, Sam, Ellie, the newest one (whose name escapes me for the moment), Christy (-ie), Bernie, Paul, Laurie and all the others who rang in the day with a BBQ.

Next: Part IV

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