September 13-19, 2004
We are back home in Bangkok ... along with our 12th place (out of 14) award (*).
The 4.5 liters of Chivas ... signed in gold by all the players (**) ... was purchased by us at a charity auction (all the monies going to the elephant preservation society). It (the bottle) will remain unopened.
(*) The porcelain elephant with player and mahout.
(**) The Screwless Turkers grabbed the close-up shot By flipping back a few pages you can see the actual signing ceremony.
PS: The fillip is grilled squid ... my favorite.
PPS: My Bangkok letter box had this 'welcome home' message waiting for me; yes, it was from my 'minder'.
This Public Announcement is being updated to remind U.S. citizens of the continuing threat of terrorist actions and anti-American violence against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated April 29, 2004 and expires on March 10, 2005.
The Department of State is deeply concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad, as well as the potential for demonstrations and violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. U.S. citizens are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur at any time. In reaction to the execution of hostages in Iraq, there have been demonstrations and associated violence in the hostages' country of origin. While Americans are generally not the targets in such incidents, U.S. citizens could be caught up in the violence. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.
The Department of State remains concerned by indications that al-Qaida and affiliated groups continue to prepare to strike U.S. interests abroad. Al-Qaida and its associated organizations have struck in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Future al-Qaida attacks could possibly involve non-conventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents as well as conventional weapons of terror, to include explosive devices.
Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, assassinations, hijackings, bombings or kidnappings. These may involve aviation and other transportation and maritime interests. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.
U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. Americans abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens 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, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.
The U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand (Nearest BTS Skytrain station: Phloen Chit)
American Citizen Services Unit Window Hours:
Monday - Friday, 7:30 - 11 AM and 1 - 2 PM
Tel: +66-2-205-4049 - Fax: +66-2-205-4103
U.S. Department of State travel website: http://travel.state.gov
U.S. Embassy Bangkok website: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov
Reader S. B. from Cambridge, England writes:
"I thought you may also wish to see a press cutting from Metro dated today 13th September 2004 - which is a free newspaper given to commuters in London and other Cities within the UK. This is from the London edition."
Thank you, Steve. I am sure that this is one 'underground' clipping that GOOGLE will not be able to find.
So far this week dozens of dozens of articles have been printed about elephant polo; they have ranged (geographically) from the local Thai papers to all the major and minor press rooms of the globe. Even The New York Times featured a spread under its "All The News That's Fit To Print". (*) One wonders how much coverage the event would have had if the Screwless Tuskers had not been in the game.
(*) I think that this is the article that the NYT published ... note its AP source.
But, is it now time to get back to basics??? Corkscrews? Maybe.
Readers of our ICCA trade journal, the Bottle Screw Times, will already know about the corkscrew design contest that is taking place here in Thailand ... though I think that most of our 'farang' readers of the BST ... (do we have any 'others'?) ... have no idea what's it all about. But, a flyer saying pretty much the same thing (in English and in Thai) was handed out to hundreds of engineering and design students here in Thailand. (**)
Anyway, here is one of the lead entries for the big prize; it is entitled "Vegetables":
(**) This (the English version) is what appeared on university campuses all over Bangkok.
THOCBDC is stealing something from an old friend: Don Bull. Don's entry for today's edition of THE DAILY SCREW (The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Daily Newspaper) has a heart tugging tale about how the Screwless Tuskers brought one son and father closer together ... even though this family lived continents away from Hua Hin.
Ishai Nir reports:
I'm driving my 13 year old son to school today, and we're listening to one of "his" radio stations.
After another sequence of sounds claiming to be a song, the DJ asks a trivia question: "In what sport does the Thai team called 'The Screwless Tuskers' compete?" \You can't make stories like this up! As an avid reader of The Daily/Occasional Screw, I was, of course, familiar with Alf Erickson and his team's exploits. So without missing a beat (and ever so casually) I mutter "why, elephant polo, of course".
The look of disbelief on my son's face was replaced by even greater bewilderment when after several wrong guesses from callers the DJ proceeds to announce the answer. Thus one son's belief in the wisdom of his father was preserved for yet another day.
I wish I had a story about how reading The D/O Screw made me rich and famous. However, as any parent of a teenager will attest, earning a little respect is pretty darn good, too!
Editor: To learn more about the Screwless Tuskers see http://www.corkscrew-balloon.com/polo/
A valued reader and a frequent contributor, Derek of Canada (*) , has offered THOCBDC this novel way to open a bottle of wine:
You asked for novel...
Why this works:
The cement in the bucket shores up the sides of the bottle to keep it from shattering when the pressure inside the vessel is increased via the air pumped in. The wine itself will not compress, since liquids do not compress under pressure. The pressure then is confined to the neck, and will force the cork out of the bottle explosively.
* Note: Serving wine may be a challenge.
** Note: Wine will stay chilled an extremely long time if the cement, bucket and wine are chilled as a unit prior to "opening".
(*) If Derek now lives in Thailand he will be eligible for the 10,000 baht award...you know, that thing I discussed on Tuesday.
Unorthodox cork removal schemes, continued.
"Half a dozen years ago ... back when my good friend, Jon Titley, was still fielding a pretty formidable elephant polo team at Tiger Tops ... [Paul, we do have pictures of this, somewhere! Including a priceless shot of Jon defending his goal with a bottle, lying down] ... anyway, Jon pulled off a marvelous bottle decapitation. We'd all been drinking pretty heavily. Champagne was our beverage of choice ... Jon was carrying one of his Gurkha knives, as he usually did when drunk or sober ... it was late ... empties were lying on the floor ... a couple bottles were still on ice ... but, one of the corks on one of the last of Madame Bollinger's finest was being stiff ... Jon would have none of it ... one whack with his knife and the whole fucking cork, with its intact glass collar, went flying into my lap. I still have it." (*)
(*) This was written on February 26, 2001 ... so, it has been almost a decade ago since Jon 'pulled' this cork.
It has been the better part of six months since I have been to Pantip (*) Plaza. If anything, it has grown grander and more spectacular than ever. With a product array a hundred times greater than anything found in CompUSA or Best Buy; and at prices 100% less ... well, yes, dear reader, there is a God. It (actually, 'They') lives on Phetchaburi (**) Road near the Amari Watergate.
For Screwless Tuskers fans, Golf's childhood home can be seen from the rear upstairs parking garage at Pantip. It is the one with the blue hanging thing getting its daily airing. Golf left there when she was eight years old ... hmmmm ... 15 years ago Pantip might have been selling prototype TRS Model 2s and counterfeit 8-Tracks.
(*) This place is spelled differently depending upon who you read and what they wrote at the time; maps, advertisements, guide books, geek magazines, data sections in the BKK English language dailies ... I prefer Pantip; though there are strong forces that insist that an "o" or a "u" is the proper first vowel.
(**) Also subject to spelling vagaries.
A lazy day of reading and watching the boat traffic from my porch overlooking the Chao Phraya River.
In-laws ... the paternal side:
Cuban cigars are available here ... hmmm ... wonder if rum is available:
PS: New Miss America:
Downs models casual wear as part of the pageant.
Downs sings "I'm Afraid This Must Be Love" in the talent competition.
Next: Part II