Back Home in Bangkok, Part III

Following Part II

August 7-16, 2003

Thursday, August 7, 2003 (pre-journal) [Second Day of the Feast of the Transfiguration]

NEWNES (Remember him?):

George Bush is coming to Bangkok!

It is all part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit which will be held here at the end of October.

Part of the festivities will include a royal barge procession; 50 barges will participate in the 'sail' from Wasukri pier to Wat Arun Ratchawararam, which is near the Apec auditorium.

To make sure that things run smoothly there will be several dress rehearsals. In order to help defray the costs the Thai government is proposing to sell tickets to the rehearsals. The choicest tickets will allow people to sit where the world leaders will, at the end of the day, view the 'real life' procession.

George Bush's 'seat' will sell for 300,000 Thai Bhat (about $7,143). Seats of the other dignitaries will go for considerably less.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Today we drove up to Ayuthaya to show Stephani and Robin our 'up-country' house by the river.

This house was actually hand-built by Watcharee's stepfather, a master carpenter. The last two times that we visited the house ... at least on these pages ... the place was still under construction. Now, it is pretty much finished.

Living Room

Another reason why we made the visit today was to see the benediction of the new 'spirit houses'. These are homes for the spirits that would otherwise take up a less than welcome residence in one or more of our own rooms.

After having lunch, Watcharee paddled us across the river to Grandmother's house.

PS: While in Ayuthaya we visited the school where Watcharee studied as a child.

Living Room

Friday, August 8, 2003 (pre journal)


Last night, from out of my window: was it an exploding boat ... or just fireworks?

Friday, August 8, 2003 (a post-pre journal)

This list ... and the links that relate to this list (those destined for earlier Beloit freshmen classes) ... was swiped by THOCBDC, either directly from Beloit College's home page OR from a site that did the initial swiping [or, we got 'sloppy seconds' from a prior 'swipeor']. Whatever, THOCBDC is either a 'swipeor' of the first order or subsequent BFS (bona fide swipeor).

2003 College Freshmen - Things They Never Heard Of*

Feeling Old Yet?

Each year, the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of the year's incoming freshmen. Here's this year's list.

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1984.

  1. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
  2. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
  3. Black Monday, 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.
  4. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.
  5. There has been only one Pope.
  6. They were 12 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.
  7. They have never feared a nuclear war.
  8. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  9. Tienamen Square means nothing to them.
  10. Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
  11. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.
  12. They have never owned a record player.
  13. They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
  14. They may have never heard of an 8-track.
  15. The compact disc was introduced when they were one-year-old.
  16. As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 37 cents.
  17. They have always had an answering machine.
  18. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black and white TV.
  19. They have always had cable.
  20. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA was.
  21. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
  22. They don't know what a cloth baby diaper is.
  23. They have no idea that there was a commercial featuring the line, "I've fallen and I can't get up."
  24. They were born the year that Walkman were introduced by Sony.
  25. Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.
  26. Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
  27. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
  28. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
  29. They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
  30. They have never seen Larry Bird play.
  31. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
  32. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII and the Civil War.
  33. They have no idea Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
  34. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
  35. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
  36. They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. was.
  37. To them, Michael Jackson has always been white.
  38. McDonalds food never came in Styrofoam containers.
  39. There has always been MTV.
  40. They learned what Sex is and isn't, from Bill Clinton.

For what earlier Beloit College freshmen saw please see: our 2002 report and our 2000 report.

You may have to ferret about on the pages to find the lists themselves as they were built into my 'dailies'; they were not stand-alone items. But, the peripheral reading matter is also fun; so don't completely skip it.

* Dear reader, I've had to asterisk this list due to the chance that it might be a fake. THOCBDC only swipes the genuine stuff. But, in the interest of...ah, what? Laziness? Yes! We are going ahead with the show. If Beloit College comes up with the genuine thing in September THOCBDC will run it along with the fake; perhaps as a contest to see which one is more clever.

A note from the webmaster:

While this list "sounded wrong" to me right away, it took me a few minutes to figure out why.

Initially, it didn't seem to be done "well enough." I wouldn't expect Beloit to repeat entries or have grammatical and spelling errors. The main thing, though, isn't that ... or that it isn't clever enough.

The problem is the viewpoint of the entries. The real Beloit lists speak in terms of what has happened during the students' lives; this fake list focuses on insulting the students ... which is not the sort of thing Beloit would do to its incoming students!

Most of the entries say "they don't know" or "they have no idea" or "they can't imagine" ... which is never the way the list has been formulated before. It doesn't make sense: These kids are young and haven't lived through certain things, but that doesn't mean they're ignorant of the past or too stupid to believe that things were ever different! They simply weren't there, and so it's not within the realm of their personal experience ... and that is how the real list expresses its snippets.

PS: Today was Golf's 23rd birthday (she is on the far left). We took her and Pom to Harmonique for dinner. For those readers who only come here every once in a while, Golf will be one of the four players on the Screwless Tuskers (*): our elephant polo team that will compete in Hua Hin, Thailand next month.

* The ladyboy auxiliary to the Screwy Tuskers.

Saturday, August 9, 2003 (pre journal) [Lisa's Birthday]


We have a new Coke ad. The Coca Cola billboard across the river from us is sporting something different: a pitch for Coke that is unusually ephemeral.

"Jesus, Alf! Are you just playing with your telephoto lens?"

* THOCBDC safely speculates that this page will be the only result of a search by GOOGLE when "Adoniram Judson" is entered on the query line.

PS to (*): Holy shit, there were 81 pages of Adoniram Judson sites when I GOOGLEed him; with each one having at least a dozen menu choices.

PPS to (*): The most GOOGLEed reference to Judson starts off with this about the man:

"Adoniram Judson was born on the 9th August 1788, the son of a stern and humourless Congregationalist minister, in Malden, Massachusetts, USA. He showed early in his life that he was a brilliant child. However, during his time at what is know known as Brown's College he was greatly influenced by the Deistic beliefs of a close friend called Jacob Eames. On his return home he announced to his shocked parents his rejection of Christianity and left for New York to take up a career as a playwright. This turned out to be a mistake, and sickened and disappointed he found himself alone at an inn. There was only one room left on that rainy night, and that was next door to a dying man. After a fitful night he was brought to his senses by the reality of death and returned home to his parents, but they were still unable to help him or to answer his intellectual reservations. However it was arranged for him to enter Andover Theological Seminary as a special student, and here, after several months that he finally overcame his reservations and dedicated his life to the Lord."

Saturday, August 9, 2003 [Lisa's Birthday]

The Screwless Tuskers had their first team meeting this afternoon here at River Garden.

They are:

Songpol Laohawiwattanachia ("Golf")

Chermarn Saengprasit ("Tok Tak")

Phruts Phungsai ("Beige")

Chaichana Sutyos ("Army")

Sunday, August 10, 2003 (St. Lawrence's Day)

Since returning to Bangkok we have been neglectful of the local press. THOCBDC has not looked, even once, at any of the great Thai language dailies (whether they be broadsheets, tabloids or pulps).

From the Thai Rat: a man chokes to death while being force-fed a live rat.

From the Thai Daily News: a bloody dead woman with someone's helpful white-gloved hand pointing toward the entrance wound. Obviously, it's Morton's day off from the darkroom.

Finally, some local 'cheesecake' from one of the weeklies:

But being the Sabbath, THOCBDC should now turn its attention to the House of God (HOG). In today's sermon Pastor Deacon Fred of The Landover Baptist Church in Freehold, Iowa lashes out at America's neighbors to the north (*).

* Derek and Joe! Not to worry; Iowa is far from mainstream America.

Monday, August 11, 2003


Mambo ... it pretty much speaks for itself! THOCBDC has been taking its guests to Mambo for years (even long before its corporate headquarters moved from FLL to BKK) *. Last night Stephani and Robin had 4th row seats for the show ... though after all the 'flames' had left the stage Robin declined to have his photo taken with any of the stars.

* Readers can click to see past performances not only at the Mambo (August 2001 and October 2001 ... but also at its 'sister' the Calypso (March 2000 and July 2000).

PS: My Canadian friend, Derek, did not take umbrage at the remarks by Pastor Deacon Fred. He added that most Canadians just gave the old boy the high finger.

Subj: Response for the minister  
Date: 8/11/2003 7:37:22 AM SE Asia Standard Time 

No worries Alf, I think this about sums up the feeling
of the average Canadian for the esteemed Reverend...


Tuesday, August 12, 2003 (pre-journal)

Some Thai fruit for breakfast? We found these in the early morning market.

Thai Breakfast Fruit

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 (Old Lammas Day)

Did I forget August 12th? Or, did I manage a pre-journal before the 'bug' hit me? Two bugs, actually: one in my main computer and the other in my head. (*)

Anyway, according to NEWNES, yesterday was "Grouse Shooting Begins" day. And the usual cast of characters had birthdays, died or did something noteworthy on the 12th.

On Monday I took Stephani and Robin to visit Wat Po, the home of the Reclining Buddha. We also stopped at Wat Trimit to see the 5.5 ton solid gold Buddha.

As I am feeling fragile today the 'period' after this sentence will be the last one for the day.

* The bug that chilled my Windows probably came from a 'friendly' e-mail. It planted a little pop-up sign that warned me that it was going to shut down my Sony in about 60 seconds. Sure enough, after its little clocked 'ticked' past zero my machine said "bye."

The other bug also struck yesterday ... I hope it s not SARS.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

[Until my machine is back to working at full speed 'this' will be lite.]

It is forbidden to pet the heads of the brass elephants at the Royal Palace. I don't know why.

PS: Since most of my contemporary photos are helplessly stuck on my 'stricken' XP engine ... leaving just ancient glass negatives on this old but reliable ME machine ... I think that, just for the fun of it, I'll throw up a random sepia plate or an old Kodacolor negative at the end of the daily show, at least until I can get back into my proper film library.

Any guesses on this one?

Friday, August 15, 2003 (Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

In a relatively 'negative' way ... I guess that best describes it ... our old PCC friends, Ohmy, Gift and Amma (*) have obligingly ... (and, coincidentally ... given today's feast) ... bared those parts of their own pelvises that The V. Mary kept hidden from her own husband ... well, at least she was only silly about this strange taboo until after her first Kid made it out. (**)

Speaking of the PCC, it's about that time of the year when we should be thinking about our AGM. When I visited King's Castle on Monday night not a single one of our Club members was at the 'poles'. It could be that all three of them had the night 'off' ... or, that they have moved on in life.

* THOCBDC is still working with a terribly limited photo stock, thanks to the 'worm'.

** Her subsequent children all benefited from the normal conception process.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Sleeves and sleeves of old negatives; that's what I have to work with until this damn worm is driven out, But, tomorrow should be more 'positive'. Hey, Don, do you see your books ... by her feet?

Besides, I'm fighting a personal virus, too. I went to a Thai doctor today and he put me on some medicine that just makes me sleepy ... and boring.

Next: Part IV

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