Where in the World is Alf? (Part VIII)

Following Part VII

March 18-24, 2003

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 (pre-journal)

This is from the 'letters to the editor' page of The Nation (Bangkok):

With war inevitable, the only hope is for America to prevail
Published on Mar 19, 2003

The Iraqi situation has moved beyond diplomacy and war is close at hand unless there are dramatic last-minute developments. The resort to force carries with it many grave uncertainties. No matter what the outcome or duration of the conflict in Iraq itself, radicalisation of Muslim populations will pose severe domestic problems for many countries.

Images of war will affect business confidence, travel and economic activity. The prospect of terrorist retaliations will continue to keep the world on edge and further erode confidence. The United Nations, having failed to muster consensus, would lose even more credibility as an arbiter of world peace. Multilateralism and global institutions are already the first casualties of the looming conflict. The solidarity of the Western alliance, a major factor ensuring relative world stability over the past 50 years, could be further eroded.

The justification for war is less than overwhelming. Many around the world consider a war to be illegitimate, even morally wrong.But a decision to go to war has been made by the United States. We have moved beyond the phase of debating the pros and cons, even the rights and wrongs.

If America were to fail, the consequences will be even more grave. All things considered and if a choice has to be made, I would rather my children grow up in a world dominated by the United States, despite all its flaws, than by any other power or grouping.

There really is no other viable option at this juncture. Although we have genuine concerns, Thailand needs to stand, even silently, with America during this pivotal period of enormous risks. If America, both as a nation and a concept, were to fail, the world would be a more dangerous rather than safer place, in my humble opinion.

Kobsak Chutikul, MP|Vice Chairman

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 (Post-pre-journal)

From the Introduction to Kay Redfield Jamison's NIGHT FALLS FAST:

Night falls fast,
Today is in the past.

Blown from the dark hill hither to my door
Three flakes, then four
Arrive, then many more.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

From The Nation (Bangkok):

A security guard uses a metal detector to examine a van as a policeman stands guard outside the American Embassy in Bangkok yesterday amidst increased tension after the US gave Iraq a 48-hour war ultimatum.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 (pre-journal)

Subj: Embassy pic
Date: 3/19/2003 1:42:44 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: derek.xxxxx@rogers.com
To: corkscrew@aol.com

The embassy guard is using a mirror to look under the van for hidden bombs.

What would be the point of using a metal detector on a van?

Silly journalists. :)

And, from another:

"Alf, your pre-journal is a misnomer. There is no journal that ever follows it; just pictures."

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

"Oh, God ... please, no more cartoons ..."

Fair enough! How about a picture of Cindy, Mark and Watcharee (I'm behind the camera) having dinner up at Beach Place to celebrate the start of the war?

March 19, 2003 (Post-journal)

The US Embassy in Bangkok just stuffed this in my e-mail box:


This Public Announcement is being updated to alert
Americans to an increased potential for anti-American
violence, including terrorist actions against U.S.
citizens, as a result of the military action in Iraq.  The
U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the security
of Americans overseas.  American citizens are reminded that
it is more important than ever to maintain a high level of
vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their
security awareness.  This Worldwide Caution supersedes that
issued on February 6, 2003 and expires on July 20, 2003.

As a result of military action in Iraq, there is a
potential for retaliatory actions to be taken against U.S.
citizens and interests throughout the world.  Public
demonstrations carry the potential for precipitating
violence directed at American citizens, symbols associated
with the United States or other U.S. and western interests.

The threat to U.S. citizens includes the risk of attacks by
terrorist groups.  Terrorist actions may include, but are
not limited to, suicide operations, bombings or
kidnappings.  Possible threats include conventional weapons
such as explosive devices or non-conventional weapons,
including chemical or biological agents.  Terrorists do not
distinguish between official and civilian targets.  These
may include facilities where Americans and other foreigners
congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs,
restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor
recreation events or resorts and beaches.  U.S. citizens
should increase their security awareness at such locations,
avoid them, or switch to other locations where Americans in
large numbers generally do not congregate.

U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened
state of alert and some have drawn down their dependents
and/or personnel.  These facilities may temporarily close
or suspend public services from time to time for security
reasons.  In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates
will make every effort to provide emergency services to
American citizens.  Monitor the local news and maintain
contact with the nearest American embassy or consulate.

As the Department continues to develop information on any
potential security threats to Americans overseas, it shares
credible threat information through its Consular
Information Program documents, available on the Internet at
http://travel.state.gov.  In addition to information on the
Internet, U.S. travelers can get up-to-date information on
security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S.
and outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this list, go to:
U.S. Embassy Bangkok American Citizen Services Unit

Yikes ... another message from the Bangkok embassy:

Armed conflict with Iraq began on March 20, 2003 (Bangkok time).

The Department of State advises American citizens in Thailand to
take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety in the coming
days.  Remain vigilantly aware of surroundings, avoid crowds and
demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all
travel, and ensure travel documents are current.  Listen to news
reports and maintain contact with the U.S. Embassy at 02-205-4200
for a recorded update of developments.  The Embassy will also post
updated information on our website at http://usa.or.th.

U.S. citizens and interests worldwide are at risk of terrorist
attacks, including by groups with links to Al-Qaida.  U.S.
Government facilities are on a heightened state of alert.
Monitor the local news as well as the Department
of State website, http://travel.state.gov, for information concerning
safety and security of American citizens overseas.  The Department
of Homeland Security websites, www.dhs.gov and www.ready.gov, may
also provide useful information.  

American citizens with questions or concerns may telephone the
Embassy at 02-205-4049.  In case of an emergency outside business
hours or during suspension of public services, American citizens may
reach the Embassy duty officer by calling 02-205-4000.  American
citizens may also contact the Department of State, if calling from
outside the United States at 317-472-2328, or, from within the U.S.,
toll-free at 1-888-407-4747.

American citizens in Thailand who have not registered with the
Embassy are urged to do so as soon as possible.  You may register
online through the Embassy website at http://usa.or.th/embassy/acs.htm,
or register in person by coming to the American Citizen Services Unit of
the Consular Section at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok.  American
citizens already registered with the Embassy are urged to update their
registration information.

U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State's consular
information documents, including the Worldwide Caution Public
Announcement located on the Department's internet website at

Thursday, March 20, 2003

From the New York Times:

Friday, March 21, 2003

From The Nation (Bangkok) ... [hope it's wrong!]:

And, from the New York Times:

by Jeff Danziger

Saturday, March 22, 2003

This curious cartoon is from The Nation (Bangkok)...showing Thaksin wrapped in an American flag [Watcharee does not know what it means either]:

But, The New York Times is unambiguous:

by Jeff Danziger

by Bill DeOre

Sunday, March 23, 2003

From The Nation (Bangkok):

PS: From reader Andy Page (England):

Declaration (IV,1), to Prohibit, for the Term of Five Years, the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons, and Other Methods of Similar Nature. The Hague, 29 July 1899.

Andy J.Page

Monday, March 24, 2003

This afternoon AMC offered "Paper Chase" as its movie pick for a rainy weekday. In the movie [during Professor Kingsfield's class on Ks (Contracts)], the case of Carlill vs. The Carbolic Smoke Ball Company was discussed.

THOCBDC is interested in acquiring a genuine "carbolic smoke ball." Yes, there will be a reward.

The Plaintiff and the The Device

Mrs. Carlill appears in the photograph on the right. She was eighty-seven years old when photographed.

A schematic diagram of the Carbolic Smoke Ball appears below.

Fredrick Roe invented the device and applied for patent with the London Patent Office in 1889. According to his application, the device consisted of "hollow ball or receptacle of India Rubber or other suitable elastic material, having an orifice or nozzle provided with a porous or perforated disc or diaphragm consisting of muslin, silk, wire or gauze, perforated sheet metal or the like, through which, when the ball or receptacle is compressed the powder will be forced in a cloud of infinitesimally small particles resembling smoke."

The powder used in the device was carbolic acid.

A.W. Brian Simpson, Leading Cases in the Common Law, 262-264 (1995).

PS: For the lawyers:

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company

Legal Citation:

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company [1893] 1 QB 256; Court of Appeal, 1892 Dec. 6,7, LINDLEY, BOWEN and A. L. SMITH, L.JJ.



On 13th November, 1891, the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, the defendant, placed an advertisement with the Pall Mall Gazette offering a medicinal remedy to a variety of illnesses including, inter alia, influenza which was becoming increasingly prevalent amongst the general population. The remedy came in the form of a small 'smoke ball' which the purchaser would inhale from, three times a day. The wording of the advertisement stated £100 would be paid to any purchaser who, whilst using the ball, contracted influenza and that £1000 had been deposited with the Alliance Bank of Regent Street showing the sincerity of the Company.

On 20th November, E Carlill, the claimant, purchased such a smoke ball and began to use the ball in the fashion suggested for the recommended two weeks and thereafter. On 17th January, 1892, E Carlill was diagnosed as having contracted influenza. Subsequently, she wrote to the Company the following day requesting payment of the £100 she thought was due to her. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, via their solicitors, wrote back to E Carlill stating the decision that no payment would be forthcoming.

E Carlill commenced proceedings on 17th February, 1892. The defendant has served a Defence; an Order for Directions for the Management of the Case was made on 10th August, 1892. Before commencing the disclosure exercise E Carlill has made an offer to try and settle the matter by mediation.


The claimant's position is that the advertisement represented an offer, directed to anyone, to form a contract, acceptance being the act of purchasing the smoke ball and using it in the prescribed way. Thus a valid contract was formed, and a condition of this contract was that £100 would be paid to customers should they contract influenza. Given E Carlill's state of health post 17th January, 1892, she submits the defendant has breached the contract by not forwarding the requisite sum. In essence, the claimant claims £100 plus costs although is aware of the uncertainties of litigation and has expressed a preference for a compromise settlement.


The defendant's position is two-fold. Firstly, that the construction of the wording of the advertisement does not amount to an offer. The words, taken together are sufficiently ambiguous as to represent a "mere puff." Moreover, as the advertisement was not an offer, it follows that it was not a continuing offer as averred by the claimant. Secondly, the defendant states that even if the wording were constructed as amounting to an offer, there was no acceptance of the offer in that such acceptance was not communicated. Merely purchasing the ball could surely not be sufficient acceptance as an act in private would realistically be impossible to disprove. Naturally, the second position reinforces the first in that acceptance could not be given to an offer that had never been made.


The overriding issue is likely to be the construction of the advertisement. Should such a wording be construed as amounting to an offer? Following on, the next issue would be whether such an offer was accepted.

12th February, 1893

Next: Part IX

Search WWW Search corkscrew-balloon.com