Monday, October 31, 2005

Chrome Pole Report Updated

I talked to Alan, one of the owners of Coyotee, tonight about the dance contest, and he was talking quite positively about the event — the parts which occurred after I left.

So therefore, I postulated correctly that after separating the wheat from the chaff, and the possibility of winning became more apparent, the girls got more wanton and nasty. (Bob, one of the judges confirmed some exceptionally hot girl-on-girl action as well.)

Therefore: What I said stands for the dance contests early on... but stick around or show up late (if you think you can get a seat) for the final rounds of the next Coyotee dance contest if you want to see the raunchy fun.

I'm Never Wrong

I told you what would happen if Harriet Miers withdrew from the nomination process: President Bush would nominte a right-wing whacko.

That's exactly what happened.

School's In Session

I have a few rules for Took: The first rule is that although she doesn't need to work, she can't sit around the house all day being bored. (You would think this wouldn't need to be a rule, but after several Thai girlfriends, I find it necessary to make it.) Corollary to that is the rule that she cannot just go out all day and hang out with her friends doing nothing. (Again, from experience with prior girlfriends.) Therefore, I gave Took two and/or options: One would be to go to English school, and the other would be to do a job that is fun or tham boon (merit making) such as volunteer work.

So, Took is going to go study English at AUA English School. She went today to take the placement test, and scored at level 7 out of 15... which is quite high. She's giddy... as a schoolgirl. She called me up so excited.

That's all I really ask for too: That the things I do for Took cause her happiness and excitement.

That's Awkward

I send about 2 or 3 text messages on my phone every day. For the last week, people have not been receiving the text messages I sent to them. Apparently, there was a glitch with my phone. Suddenly, today, that glitch worked itself out, and about a dozen several-day-old text messages sent themselves in rapid succession, spurring a slew of phone calls from confused friends.

Chrome Pole Report

Coyotee Gogo had a dance contest last night.

I compare all dance contests to the first dance contest I ever went to: A Nanapong contest at Electric Blue between the 5 prettiest girls from each of 2 Bangkok gogo bars and each of 2 Pattaya gogo bars. There was no mistaking it was a special event with much fanfare, and a heightened level of excitement and intensity among both the dancers and the crowd.

The performance of the girls was over the top and frenzied, each girl vying for the judges attention, and doing their best to titillate, excite, and even shock the crowd. It wasn't just the suggestion of sex, or even the simulated act. Everything from fingers and beer bottles to sausages from the buffet table found their way into the act... and into the girls.

In other words, there was no mistaking this for an ordinary night of gogo dancing.

Such was not the case with recent dance contests I have been to... both at Diamond A Gogo and last night's contest at Coyotee. I won't say it wasn't enjoyable — because it was, as all nights out in Pattaya's gogo bars tend to be. However, words like "special", "amazing", and "off-the-wall" are words that, for me, conjure up images of dissappearing sausages, not the Pattaya standard of beautiful naked girls dancing on a stage.

The girls are principally to blame. For them, it was business as usual: Get up on stage, strip, and gossip with each other in between smiling blankly off into the distance while masturbating the chrome pole and assuming the supposedly erotic positions that they have mechanically assumed thousands of times before.

I think that the worst part was a complete lack of personality among the majority of the girls. After having, just the night previous, seen ladyboy beauty queens proudly and gracefully work the stage... the sight of congenitally meek Thai girls gallumping onto the stage, shoulders hunched foward, hair hanging down to obscure everything but the tip of their nose and the centermost aspect of an ashamed smile when their name was announced was an exercise in extremes.

After this initial introduction of the contestants, the evening proceeded just as every other evening of gogo dancing proceeds... albeit with higher turnover of girls on the stage. Groups of 4 dancers would come up, one song would play with the girls fully bikinied, and then another song would play with the girls fully nude. There was no increased sense of duty to excite the crowd among the dancers, and no increased sense of duty among the crowd to encourage them to do so.

Coyotee has quite a number of beautiful girls, and having them up on stage naked is a treat. But the fact remains that they are up on stage naked every night of the week. The dance contest did nothing to improve on every other night in the bar.

Now, I will admit, I left early... about halfway through the first round. Perhaps, as the evening wore on, and the number of girls was whittled down to a few final contestants, a sense of purpose may have emerged from the humdrum that I saw. If it did, then obviously what I write here is only true for the time that I was there.

Also, I like the premise that a dance contest is about bars, not girls. I would love to see Coyotee girls go up against girls from Diamond, Living Dolls Showcase, and Misty's. That would be a competition. Having only one bar presenting its girls, and having judges pick the prettiest/sexiest girl from that population... well, once again, that is a function that every man performs every night when he goes into a gogo bar: Pick the prettiest and take home the winner.

So, all in all, a fun evening... just like every other.

Final Update on Miss International Queen 2005

I found this page on Mimi Marks, from Chicago, who was crowned Miss International Queen 2005 here in Pattaya on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of that page.)

I think it bears repeating: This is one beautiful lady, but I believe her main attribute (and the reason she was chosen over other competitors) is her ability to promote the Miss International Queen pagaent on American (and European?) soil.

I'm going to withdraw any gripes I may have conveyed earlier about the "most beautiful" transsexual (Miss Korea) not winning because I remembered this: The purpose of the pagaent. The pagaent was billed as an event to promote GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender) issues and to promote tourism in Pattaya. That being the case, the judges made the correct decision. Mimi Marks is the best-suited competitor to aid the purpose of the pagaent.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Well That Didn't Last Long

In the span of about 2 hours, the kitties had been shooting birds in a barrel, and had felled 3 of them in a permanent fashion, and several more were winged. All of them traumatized. Since this all happened after sunset, and there was a bright porch floodlight nearby, it could be that the birds were crashing endlessly into the cage, but I doubt it.

Regardless, obviously the environment is deadly to the birds and they would have all been gone within a day, so all of the surviving little song birds were released. One of the winged birds unfortunately didn't make it past the cats lurking in the periphery, and two big tookeh lizards were waiting by the floodlight which is the path the freed birds were flying... but I don't think the lizards caught any birds.

I did keep the lovebirds though... since they seem to have a nesting instinct, and went up into the safety of the little enclosure in the roof to set up shop.

All in all though, a grand debacle, and I'm bummed out at having caued more death and suffering among the avian population.

New Maid New Birds

Oo... or is his name Ooo?.. is my pool boy. He noticed that the dishes were piling up in the kitchen and asked if I needed a new maid, as he would volunteer his girlfriend for the job if I did.

Thus, Porn (but pronounced "pawn") came to start work today. Oo will also be working for me cleaning up my yard once a week. Porn will be moving into the garage apartment tomorrow, I believe.

Khun Wolf, my bird, died... from neglect, I'm afraid. I feel horrible: I filled up his big water dish last week thinking that it would last... oh hell... I don't know... longer than it did obviously. The bird died of dehydration.

Thus, I went to the pet store today and bought 20 little song birds and 2 love birds and put them in the cage. The make quite a nice twittering... although they are driving the cats bonkers. I've had to run out every 5 minutes to smack one or more of them who has clawed their way up the side of the cage, and will probably have to continue to do so until they are trained not to do it.
Obviously I've learned my lesson, and will be monitoring my new friends' water and food status a little more closely.

Miss International Queen 2005

The pagaent just finished, and it was a letdown on a whole lotta ways.

First, the Tiffany Show always puts on a show that is polished and perfect. The Miss Tiffany Universe pagaent, which chooses Thailand's prettiest ladyboy (the common and not-at-all-insulting word for transsexuals in Thailand) each year is wonderfuly choreographed and always goes off without a hitch. The Miss International Queen pagaent was hardly perfect, with miscues, mistakes, and lots of people standing around on the stage looking confused.

Second, was the results. First, the top 10: All 4 American representatives got into the final ten. This is a beauty contest, so I will be blunt: One of the Americans was —as far as American drag queens go — below average in appearance. Half of the drag queens in America are prettier. Another one of the Americans, although pretty in the face, had a body that was better suited for an NFL wide receiver than a bikini. You want muscles? Sheesh. A third American girl was actually Thai, but raised in America. Quite pretty, but I would have picked 3 or 4 other contestants for the top 10 before her. The fourth American, see below.

Yes: The winner. It wasn't Miss Korea. It was the blonde-haired Miss USA. Once again, I'll be blunt: Incredible smile. Exceptionally beautiful face. Big blonde Texas-style hair. But you could see her age in her face (Early-30-something, I would guess), and she was easily a size 8. That's up against porcelin-skinned, size zero, 19-year-old Miss Korea and Miss Thailand, and Britney Spears lookalike, Miss Brazil. (Granted, Miss Brazil's question-answer was horrible, and that knocked her out of the running, but how did Miss USA beat out Miss Korea?)

Well, I have my own theory about that: I think that the Tiffany's people decided that if the Miss International Queen pagaent was going to really take off, they needed an American (non-Asian) to represent the show for the next year, speaking English, communicating how great the show is, et cetera. I think that Miss USA was chosen because she could best further the renown of the pagaent. I will say that all my personal gripes aside, she certainly carried herself like a beauty queen, and I do agree with the fact that she can only help the success of the pagaent in the future.

Anyway, here come the photos. Sorry for their quality as camera phones are not designed for perfect photos.

The opening number by the Tiffany's cast... a song celebrating Pattaya. After the final results are announced. All the contestants and judges up on stage.
The 3 finalists: Miss Thailand, 2nd Runner-up is on the left. Miss Korea, 1st Runner-up is on the right. Miss USA, Miss International Queen 2005, is in the middle.Anyway, there was lots of press there, and I saw reporters from lots of different TV stations from around the world. The show was broadcast live in Thailand on one of the major TV networks. Miss Thailand (the female one) was there, and Thailand's version of Matt Lauer was the emcee.

Well, even with all my complaints, I still had a great time nonetheless, and hope that next years event is even more successful.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Took and I went out shopping today. I bought all the fixins for Jil's Fettucini Carbonara (bacon cream sauce, if you didn't know). Then, it was home to prepare it.

As always, it came out just right.

So we sat down at the dining room table for lunch. Took ate 2 bites of the fettucini and then picked up her plate and went into the kitchen. Yeah... it is a little bland for Thai tastes. She went to add some pepper or a bit of chili powder... right?

She came back to the table with the pasta covered in ketchup.

Sulu Is Gay

Actually, oddly enough, after getting my gaydar (straight people have it too, you know... you just probably never have had it fine-tuned by hanging out for years in Greenwich Village) switched over to the Asian frequency with all the gayboys running around Pattaya, I watched a Star Trek movie and thought he might be.

Anyway, good for George Takei. Took him long enough.

Out For Dinner

It was out to Bob's for Friday All-You-Can Eat Fish Fry.

The Tiffany's "International Queen 2005" show is divided into 2 days. I have tickets for tomorrow (Saturday) night's show... where they crown the winner. The talent portion was tonight. Lolo, the Tiffany Show's principal dancer, called me and told me that since tonight's show wasn't sold out, I could have 2 free tickets, so Took and I went. Fifth row, mid-far left.

There is a reason why the talent show didn't sell out: Talent is not these ladies strong suit, mostly consisting of lip synching. However, Miss Japan did have an amazing female soprano voice, and Miss Germany did a great little schtick were she came out DRAB (dressed as a boy) and then quite astoundingly and instantly transformed into female onstage. Miss Brazil is a Britney Spears wannabe, and was pretty popular. Miss USA (1 of 4 Americans), however, won doing "What A Feeling" from Flashdance with acrobatics, back flips, and splits in high heels.

The highlight of the evening for me though was just getting to see all of the contestants. Most of the transsexuals at least qualify as "quite attractive", and several of them are beautiful. I said earlier that Miss Thailand 2004 (Miss International Queen 2004) had a beauty that would be difficult to beat. I am glad to be wrong: Miss Korea is the clear winner of this year's contestants. No sense even holding the contest tomorrow night really.

So: After the show was a photo op. Hence: Photos... taken on my camera phone.

Left to Right: One of the judges. One of the Miss USA's (several from USA), another Miss USA, Miss Brazil, Miss Phillippines (several from the Phillippines as well), Miss Thailand (only 1 Miss Thailand is allowed to compete), and Miss Malasia.

Left to Right: Miss Indonesia, Miss Japan (2 contestants from Japan), Miss Korea (tomorrow's winner), Miss Germany, another Miss Phillippines, and... Miss I-can't-remember in the top hat. That's two-thirds of the 18 contestants. There was a Miss Laos, another Miss USA, another Miss Japan, and 2 more Miss Phillippines. This is only the second year that they have held the constest, and in that one year, they have doubled the number of countries competing.

Oh... and I'll throw this picture in: On the drive home, I got stuck in traffic behind this guy. I snapped his picture when he was turning around to get to a parking space.

He and his buddy in a brand new Ferrari, which I didn't get a picture of, were out in Pattaya for the evening. Some of us have a pretty good life here in Pattaya. Others of us have juuust a little more.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Well At Least Somebody Is Benefitting

ExxonMobil had profits of nearly $10 billion this quarter.

The United States consumes about 36.5 billion gallons of gasoline per quarter.

ExxonMobil has about 20% of all gasoline sales in the United States.

So here's the math:

20% of 36.5 billion gallons equals 7.3 billion gallons.
$10 billion divided by 7.3 billion gallons equals:

$1.36 profit for Exxon for each gallon you buy. Not bad, eh?

What... you didn't think that those higher gas prices were going to effect the oil companies did you? Silly rabbit. They passed all that along to you... and then a little more as well.

Here's some more math:

You buy 20 gallons per week for 50 weeks... that's 1,000 gallons of gas.

Are you going to give Exxon Mobil $1,360 in profit this year?

Can I make a suggestion?
$229... on sale.

Icy Jil

The pool in my house is easily the coldest pool in Pattaya. I'm just really clueless as to how the water could be colder than the coolest nighttime temperatures in Pattaya. I haven't measured it yet, but I am guessing the temperature is about 74º. I tried getting in today, and simply couldn't do it.

Well, come April, when it is 102º in the shade, I'll be loving life.

Friday Cat Blogging

Ying Yang

I'm disocvering the reason that most bloggers have Friday Cat Blogging photos of sleeping kitties, as opposed to action kitties: I simply don't have the reaction time or patience to bring you action kitty photos.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination.

Apparently she didn't pass the far right wing's "litmus test" on Roe v. Wade. You know: The litmus test that the far right wing says should never be used to determine eligibility for the Supreme Court.

Now President Bush is going to nominate somebody who will give Jerry Falwell an erection.

Well, at least I cannot blame the Democrats for messing this up. It all happened on the right side of the aisle.

Out For Lunch

Took and I went out today for lunch at Bob's. We both had the pulled pork sandwich. I have no idea what "pulled" is, but it was unmistakably pork.

After that, it was next door to windowshop at Pattaya's largest motorcycle dealer. I can get a Yamaha Nouvo with automatic transmission, factory-customized paint, parts, and even tinted glass for under $2,000. (The version on the left is the standard version.) When I mean customized, I mean pretty much every part that is visible. (All the customizing is not that expensive either. That's the thing about these little runabouts: They are laughably inexpensive to get parts for. Replacing all of the body panels (everything that is red in the photo) with a custom funky graphic design is $150... and that is probably 10 times more expensive than the next most expensive customization.) Anyway, I'm going in tomorrow to put a down payment in. The bike will take a month to put together.

After that, it was off to Pattaya's temple for prayers. Took missed them yesterday. While Took was rattling joss sticks and wai'ing the Buddha, I was engaged in conversation by what had to have been one of the most senior monks in Pattaya. Unfortunately, I could not understand a word the gentlemonk was saying, and Took had to come by (on her way between stations) to translate for me. It turned out (as I learned after) that, aside from aged mumbling through only 4 brown teeth, the oldster was from Rayong (about 30 miles south of Pattaya), which has it's own twist on the Thai language. Although he was trying to speak proper Thai to me, his accent (and toothless condition) was killing me.

Da Flip. Da Flop.

It's amazing how all of the right wing bloggers and columnists are out right now defending Scooter Libby and Karl Rove in this Valerie Plame Affair.

To quote the righties: "What? The best the liberals can come up with is perjury or obstruction of justice? Puh-leeze." (Remember, "Perjury is just a technicality," according to Senator Hutchinson)

Remember, these are the same people that, oh, back in 1998 were clamoring for Clinton's impeachment... because?

Perjury and obstruction of justice (and little else, I might add).

The leftie blogosphere has been having a field day. Every right-winger who has gone out to babble about the talking points du jour for the Republican party is immediately accosted with their own quotes from 1998 about Clinton's perjury and obstruction of justice... which pretty much tend to say the exact opposite thing.

(Not that the lefties aren't a little guilty of flip-flopping: We scoffed at perjury back with Clinton but think it is a pretty big deal now, but that is because we were directly linking it with the crime: Blowjob versus exposing a CIA operative. We liberals tend to think that the president lying about a hummer isn't that big a deal, which is kind of shallow-value in and of itself... but I never said we liberals were always more moral than the conservatives... just currently and for the forseeable future.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Well, it looks like Roe v. Wade will be safe for a long time to come, thanks to President George W. Bush, and his get-the-smoke-coming-out-of-the-ears-of-the-wackadoo-right Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers:
"Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers said in a speech more than a decade ago that "self-determination" should guide decisions about abortion and school prayer and that in cases where scientific facts are disputed and religious beliefs vary, "government should not act."

In a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system. "The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," she said. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

Oh God, please don't let this lady step down from the nomination.

I have to say, October of 2005 has been the greatest month for those of us who love to watch Republicans do political faceplants. I mean jeez! And it's only going to get better! How excited am I? How often do you see me use exclamation points?

For God's Sake Don't Shop at Walmart

I knew they were bastards... but this is astounding:

Walmart memo about reducing benefit costs:
To discourage unhealthy job applicants, [the memo] suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."...
"It will be far easier to attract and retain a healthier work force than it will be to change behavior in an existing one," the memo said. "These moves would also dissuade unhealthy people from coming to work at Wal-Mart."

Other interesting tidbits about what kind of company you are supporting when you shop at this place:

46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid.

Please... whenever and wherever you can, always shop at "Mom & Pop" retailers. Spend a few extra bucks, and keep small business alive. You know where they are: The place in your city that used to be such a pleasant place to walk? Downtown perhaps? Would you like to see downtown steamrolled and replaced with a Walmart? Would you like to see the owners and employees of the bakery, Cohns & Sons, Bath Plumbing and Hardware, and all the other businesses become $6 per hour uninsured wage slaves walking around in red smocks with smiley faces printed on them? No? Then go downtown and give them your business... always.

That's My Bud

My coworker...
My source of all Thai knowledge...
A great author (buy his book)...
One of my best friends...
And now just a guy who wants to remind us all...

Cheers to Steve Rosse.
Cheers to his hometown newspaper for putting him on the front page.
Steve Rosse of Iowa City changes the numbers on a gravestone he made outside of his home, 612 Woodside Place, after the death toll for U.S. soldiers in Iraq rose to 2,000 on Tuesday. Press-Citizen / Matthew Holst

p.s. Did you know that more American soldiers have been killed or wounded fighting for Iraq's independence than were killed our wounded fighting for America's own independence in the Revolutionary War? It's true: 10,623 total casualties in 1776, 15,220 so far in Iraq.

Tiffany's Miss International Queen Show

This coming Saturday is the Tiffany Show's "Miss International Queen" beauty pagent, to find the world's most beautiful transsexual. (Or at least from among those who are willing to shell out the airfare to Thailand.) Last year's winner, whose beauty is unlikely to be topped for years to come, is found on the right (photo stolen from the pagent website... thank you), and a link to her pagent contestant page is here.

I'll be going with Took. It's going to be a star-studded event broadcast throughout Thailand live on one of the major networks. Rangsima has told me she is going as well, as her daughter is a friend of the son of the owner of Tiffany's.

I just finished posting this when my word of the day arrived by e-mail and I thought it was fitting:

virago \vuh-RAH-go; vuh-RAY-go\, noun: 1. A woman of extraordinary stature, strength, and courage. 2. A woman regarded as loud, scolding, ill-tempered, quarrelsome, or overbearing.

Virago comes from Latin virago, "a man-like woman, a female warrior, a heroine" from vir, "a man."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Great Quote

Lewis Black, on the Daily Show...
"In the Catholic Church, homosexuality cannot be cured, but pedophila can be cured... by a transfer to another diocese."

Read This... Seriously

Connie Mack, head of President Bush's tax reform panel interviewed in the New York Times...
  • [NY Times:] Well, the U.S. government has to get money from somewhere. As a two-term former Republican senator from Florida, where do you suggest we get
    money from?
  • [Connie Mack:] What money?
  • The money to run this country.
  • We'll borrow it.
  • I never understand where all this money comes from.
  • When the president says we need another $200 billion for Katrina repairs, does he just go and borrow it from the Saudis? In a sense, we do. Maybe the Chinese.
  • Is that fair to our children? If we keep borrowing at this level, won't the Arabs or the Chinese eventually own this country?
  • I am not worried about that. We are a huge country producing enormous assets day in and day out. We have great strength, and we have always adjusted to difficulties that faced us, and we will continue to do so.
Now, c'mon... isn't that the least bit scary?

Once again, I would like to remind 50.2% of the American yada yada yada.

Do you remember hearing something like this on the news, oh..., about a month ago?

"...nominees deserve an up or down vote...."
"...liberals derailing the nomination process..."
"...there shouldn't be a litmus test..."
"...respect the President's prerogative..."

Yes... that was the right wing wackadoos last month, talking about last month's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts.

This month's? Heheh. ... A little different outlook.

They're not quite so interested in the not-so-conservative Miers getting that "fair hearing" they were clamoring for when John Roberts was the nominee, are they?

And they accused Kerry of flip-flopping? Sheesh.

Major Changes

Toom, my maid, is gone. Her leaving came about from her having made a choice to tell Wanjan things about me that she knew she shouldn't have, and ruined our relationship. That sent me into a rage that exploded in front of Toom, and her son who was visiting from out of town.

I'm an exceptionally even-keeled person, and it takes a lot to get me fully angry, and people who know me would consider me chai yen to a fault. That is why when I do go nuclear, it's like a completely different person, and it's an exceptionally scary thing. I wasn't going to fire Toom, but she quit for fear of her life.

That's the last I'm going to discuss the matter.

The New Lady

So the new arrival in the house is Took, from Chantaburi... whose nose has inspired a post or two on this blog. She's a Catholic school graduate, and speaks great English. We hit it off instantly, and she's now spending most of her time over here. I'm not quite in a full-blown write-it-all-down mood at the moment as I have to get to work, but I'll be writing lots more about Took as time goes on.

So welcome Took to my life and my blog. She's a new protagonist in this story.


Thailand (and Pattaya to some extent) is attempting some sort of major moral cleanup effort in order to draw more tourists who are not primarily interested in visiting gogo bars. Pattaya seems especially focused on drawing in more busloads of Chineese and Korean tourists.

Across the street from Bob's is a large 3-story building. There are always 4 or 5 big tourist busses parked outside, Chinese tourists filing in and out. As soon as one group of 200 or 300 tourists leaves, another one arrives... three or four shifts per night.

What goes on in this building? It's a fuck show... one of half a dozen around the city. Surprise: Chinese toursists are coming to Pattaya see people screw each other. Now, unlike the farangs who are actually coming to screw, just watching is apparently a government-approved activity based on the ever-present police traffic guard in the parking lot helping those big busses in and out of Pattaya South Road's traffic.

I don't know which is funnier: That the Thai government thinks that they can convince tourists that their country isn't one giant brothel, while guiding those same tourists by the hand to ranchy full-on sex shows, or the fact that those Chinese tourists we farangs thought seemed like such uptight folks are actually just as much interested in (and supportive of) Thailand's sex industry as we are.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What Is and What Isn't a Crime

Republican mouthpiece, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson:

"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars."

She's talking about the Executive Branch revealing the name of a CIA operative as a way of "getting back" at that CIA operative's husband for saying bad things about the White House, and then the same people who did the revealing getting up in front of an investigatory body and lying about what they did.

Just in case you didn't know: Revealing the name of an undercover CIA operative is treason. Doing it during a time of war usually carries the death penalty. Lying about the who/when/where/why of the treason? According to Republicans, that's just a mere "perjury technicality."

I would like to remind 50.2% of the American population: You voted for a politcal party that thinks that lying about treason committed in a political smear campaign is not a "real" crime.

p.s. Read Alec Baldwin's opinion piece on the same statement.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Holiday Weekend

October 23rd is Chulalongkorn Day in Thailand. Chulalongkorn was Rama (King) V, reigning from 1868 to 1910, and is Thailand's favorite and most important king (not including Bhumibol, the current king, Rama IX). Chulalongkorn is credited with modernizing Thailand... reforming the government, developing infrastructure and education, and keeping Thailand an independent nation when all of its neighbors were falling prey to colonial powers.

A great man, for sure... but damn: His holiday creates traffic in Pattaya that defies belief.

Confusing the Thais

I had lunch at Bob's BBQ today.

I decided to play a joke on the staff. When I got my bill, I put a 20-baht note in the black leather book thingy that all restaurants use. (My bill was 600 baht.) The waitress didn't see what I had done and took the book back to the cashier. Everyone had been talking back by the register, but it suddenly got very quiet.

After about 2 or 3 minutes, I turned around, and everybody was huddled around the cash register talking. I realized that the joke wasn't really sinking in. Instead, I had created a crisis: (1) Should somebody come back to the table and accuse me of having made a mistake, or (2) should somebody go tell Bob that I had made a mistake. What would they be accused of? They were surrounded by pitfalls no matter what they did.

I turned around and said "Phom tham tha lohk." ("I was playing a joke.") The staff appeared relieved, but not particularly amused, brought back the bill, and I gave them the proper amount of money.

Comedy versus culture. Hit or miss.

Happy Daddy

Bob and Baby Jeanna. (Bob is on the left.)

Little White Supremecist Snots


Cute Teeniebopper White Supremecist Twins Have Hit Record.


Now, unlike most Americans, I admit to being a racist... but I am not a white supremecist. I believe that everything that contributes positively and interestingly to who you are is something to be embraced: Gender, nationality, profession, education, philosophy, heritage, and yes... race. I love racial diversity and the beauty I find in different racial features.

AND... that is all that race is: Appearance. I admit to being a racist because I define racism as appreciating and celebrating the varieties of human appearance brought about by ancestry... my own and everybody elses. I admit to being a racist, because I think the world would be an awfully ugly place without the beauty of Asians, Africans, Indians, Arabs, or Europeans... or the hundreds of racial subdivisions within those groups... to look at. My sentiment is the exact opposite of what Warren Beatty said in Bulworth: "Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody 'til they're all the same color." When I walk down the street in my town, I want to have as many interesting races around as possible. I don't want them bred out of existence.

Racial supremecists dislike people who don't look like them, and furthermore attribute negative traits to people who don't share their appearance. That's evil. If you want to say that you don't find anybody but white people attractive, I won't argue with you: If that is your racial perception of beauty, I'll consider it narrow-minded but valid. However, if you want to say that you don't find anybody but white people intelligent, or law-abiding, or worthy of living in your neighborhood, well then you are not worthy of calling yourself "human" in my book.

The other day, I mentioned the Chantaburi nose. There is a perfect example. Now that Chantaburi is not a remote outpost of Thailand, separated from everyone else by jungle, the people of Chantaburi are moving around more, and more people are moving to Chantaburi. In 4 or 5 generations, that handsome Chantaburi nose is going to become hard to find, and well... I think that's a bad thing.

I was thinking about it, and I guess in order to be a racist, you have to treat people differently because of their appearance. Maybe if I put my mind to it, I could come up with positive examples of treating people differently based on their appearance, but probably not. I mean, I treat Thai people differently than caucasians, but that is based on culture, not appearance. So although all of the sentiments above hold true for me, I guess that they don't make me "racist" as I had attempted to redefine it. Oh well... no biggie.

Icky Day

The sky is a solid matte white, muting the light and giving the world a dull outline. A crisp breeze soaking with chilled humidity is gusting . The weather display on my blog here says it is 79º... but it feels cold to me.

I guess that high season is finally here. Cool.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

My Own Horn Says Beep

Tomorrow marks my 1000th day working for my company. In that short time, I have become one of the fastest transcriptionists on earth.

I asked my team leader what she would define as "exceptionally fast", and she said that she's known transcriptionists who hit 400 lines per hour quite often... "consistently, but not constantly." She has like 20 years of experience, so I think I can take her word for it.

Well, I average constantly 500 lines per hour.

That's an average speed of 108 words per minute of hematology/oncology reports and numerical lab data for 60 solid minutes.

I've broken 600 lines per hour several times. I think that the fastest that I can hope for is to maintain an average speed of 600 lines per hour. That's my ultimate goal. In order to transcribe faster than that, I would have to increase the speed of the dictation up to a speaking speed that would make mis-hearing words quite likely. (I'm already listening to dictations at faster than 100% speed.)

Now, as always, I have to figure out how I can sit down and type at that speed for more than 4 or 5 hours a day.

Pattaya Humor

Headline from this week's Pattaya Mail:

Mayor makes a clean sweep by removing service girls from beach
‘Prostitutes are destroying Pattaya’s image’ says mayor.

Just Because It Bears Repeating

Thanks to DailyKos for reminding me that some things need to be kept in the forefront of our memories...
Later, on the evening of [September] 12th, [2001,] I left the Video Conferencing Center and there, wandering alone around the Situation Room, was the President. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. "Look," he told us, "I know you have a lot to do and all...but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way..."

I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. "But, Mr. President, al Qaeda did this."

"I know, I know, but... see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred..."

"Absolutely, we will look...again." I was trying to be more respectful, more responsive. "But, you know, we have looked several times for state sponsorship of al Qaeda and not found any real linkages to Iraq. Iran plays a little, as does Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, Yemen."

"Look into Iraq, Saddam," the President said testily and left us.

--From Against All Enemies by Richard A. Clarke (Free Press)

One More Reason to Ruin My Diet

A few weeks ago, Bob mentioned that he was experimenting with frying fish. I told him that he should have a Friday-night fish fry. Over several evenings at his place, Bob had me taste test various fish, various frying techniques, various homemade tartar sauces... I liked them all, but managed to make some recommendations. These all came together last night for Bob's first ever all-you-can-eat 295-baht Friday Night Fish Fry.

Ex Executive From My Profession

It was pretty crowded when I got to Bob's for dinner, so Alan and Eric (friends from TQ2) invited me to sit with them. Eric is from Pittsburgh and is semi-retired here but has a restaurant back in the States. He is also part owner of a go-go bar.

When I told Eric that I actually sort of work in Pittsburgh, since most of the medical transcription that I do comes from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Alan was quite surprised. It turns out that Alan was the founder/creator of MedScribe, which was eventually purchased and subsumed and became the core part of MedQuist, which is my company's number one medical transcription competitor. We talked quite a bit about transcribing.

Alan now has lived in Thailand for 8 years or so, and is a stakeholder in the Happy Group, which includes Pattaya's 4 most successful go-go bars. He's also a real estate investment genius, shooting down my belief that making money buying and selling high-end property in Pattaya can't possibly be a money-making proposition.

Alan is building a monster insane biggie house up in Pattaya's nosebleed section. It's so high up that the top floor is going to have 360-degree views over all of Chonburi. He has a website for his house at Alan will be able to claim that he is closer to God with his new house than anyone else in Pattaya. Hell yes... I'm jealous. I want a nosebleed too.

Word of Caution Jeanne

New site rule... especially for my mother, since she is a loyal reader. Since I've started going out so much, and having actual fun partaking in the go-go nightlife, I figure I'll write about it. (There is no sense giving up all those brain cells to Smirnoff the party gnome, and his dog Tonic, without putting down in writing what I do manage to remember the next day, right?) Therefore, I hereby dub my rated-R posts regarding booze-fueled caroms up and down Walking Street as "Chrome Pole Reports". My mother, and other readers, when they see those words, can blithely skip the vulgarities that will follow.

Chrome Pole Report

After gorging myself sideways on fried fish, Alan, Eric and I went to the Beach Club (part of the Happy Group), where the girls dance on mirror-surfaced tables without wearing knickers. Really though: How many times in life do you get familiar with your date's vagina before you even see her face? Well, by face, I mean nostrils, since craning your neck up to see who owns what is being shown below gives you a view of a chin, some hair, and 2 big nostrils.

Well, truth be told, once they get down to an eye-to-eye level, the girls at Beach Club aren't bad to look at for the most part... which is nice until you find out that it's a total crapshoot that they are willing to be barfined. You see, the girls get tips... or at least their hoy gets tips... for dancing. They make a considerable amount of money without ever having to leave the bar and their friends, to go have some fat farang's sweat dripping on them for 45 minutes.

I'm a realist, so I don't blame the girls... but if you are in Pattaya to do more than stare at it, then by all means start off at the Beach Club, and invite a girl home. Just don't be surprised if you need to head to another bar to get lucky when she turns you down.

Well, after the Beach Club, it was off to Carousel, where the girls go round and round on a rotating stage. From 8:00 to 10:00, all drinks in the bar are 50 baht... which is really damn good considering that most Walking Street beverages are plus/minus 100 baht. They had some cute girls there, but not too many. However, as I said, the drinks were right, and we went through 3 rounds. Definitely mark Carousel down for its happy hour happiness. Bob showed up from the restaurant right as we were leaving, making us a party of 4.

Lessee... with the 2 margaritas at Bob's, 2 beers at Beach Club, and 3 drinks at Carousel, that put me at 7 drinks. Okay... whew. One more bar and I'm done.

So, therefore it was off to Champion A-Go-Go, where the girls dance bottomless... hairless too. (Hairless seems to be the new style for girls in Pattaya... which I don't mind.) I go to Champion quite a bit because it is always a bit on the wild side. They must put something in the air conditioners that gets girls a little crazy, because every time I go there, I see something that makes me say, "Only in Pattaya, man." The girls in Champion are okay... with a couple of real cuties. We stayed for one drink, and I was about done.

But... Everyone else kept walking, and went to the Coyote Bar... another of the Happy Group bars. Well, OK... one more bar. Hanging out with the boss at his own bar is always cool. So we went there and looked at the show girls up on the rotating stage... first nude and covered in oil, then in silver outfits with masks, then in Asian kimono-type outfits, and then in soapsuds. We had another 2 drinks, and Alan and I talked about ways to rearrange the bar a little bit to make it "flow" better.

At this point, Eric called it a night, and after 10 drinks, I was about ready too... but no: "We're going to Classroom, you with us?" Doh. Yes... of course I'm with you. I'm sheeple.

So off we went to Classroom. Had 1 drink. Quite a few pretty girls there. Rotating stage too. Bob fell by the wayside at this point, leaving just me and Alan.

"I'm off to Diamond A-Go-Go. You with me?" Doh. Two more drinks.

"I'm off to Casino Club. You with me?" Doh.

Actually the Casino Club is another particularly interesting bar. It's not a go-go bar, but it is. The girls there wear mostly cutoff jeans and tanktops, and mill around and socialize as much as they dance... but the interesting part is, they are gorgeous! I mean, top Thai model gorgeous. Why? Because they are all "agency girls" brought down from Bangkok on 1-month rotations. Dancers mostly... but all top shelf girls. They cannot be barfined, and cannot leave the bar, but apparently after work they are free to couple up with customers... as long as you are willing to stick around until 3:00 a.m. and as long as the Miss Thailand contender is willing to roll around with your old wrinkled self. Best of luck.

Anyway, 2 more drinks. I finally had to call it quits. Alan, trooper that he is, was showing no signs of slowing up when I left. Based on the look in his eye, and the smiling hottie sitting on his lap, he was going to be there until 3:00 a.m.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

I'm assuming that with a brain the size of a grape, Khun Wolf doesn't have enough sense to realize that he is quite safe from harm inside his cage. The question is, does the bird have enough brain to be traumatized by constant attacks from the kitties?

With a brain the size of a walnut, it is readily apparent that the kitties do not have enough sense to realize that Khun Wolf is unassailable inside his cage... they do keep trying from time to time.

Well, such is the way of the wild.

New Greenery

I'm curious as to whether or not this is a good deal... no... Of course I know it's a good deal. I'm interested in just how good a deal it is. Anybody back home in the U.S. who would know, in general, has to comment on what this would cost.

I picked up this 8-foot tall fern, with hand-painted ceramic pot included, yesterday from the nursery. Cost: $35, including delivery. I think I did pretty well.

I'm becoming a big fan of plants around the house... and I'm going to start spending more on them. What's cool is that the nursery will come by and take care of my plants as well for like $5 a week.

Why They Are Mad

The Senate Judiciary Committee is super-extra angry at Harriet Miers for handing in a form questionnaire that basically said, "F-you." It included lots of single-word answers, and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont called it "incomplete and insulting." It was so poorly done that they are telling her to fill it out again. How bad was it? Look at what she wrote for her work history:

State Bar of Texas

1991-1994 President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President
Date unknown: Director, Fact Finding Committee
Date unknown: Chair, Goals and Implementation Committee
Date unknown: Vice Chair, State Bar Antitrust Section Council
Date unknown: Chair and Vice Chair, Legal Services
Date unknown: Member, Administration of Justice Committee
Date unknown: Member, Directors Orientation Committee
Date unknown: Member, General Counsel Advisory Committee
Date unknown: Member, State Bar Litigation Section Council
Date unknown: Councilmember, Women in the Law Section

Think about that: This is the job application to the Supreme Court and she wrote that down.

(I've heard told that she even made a major constitutional law gaffe in another one of her answers... but I haven't seen it yet.)

Like I said, given the other (next) far-right-wing nominee that President Bush is going to be putting up for consideration, I really can't see any option for the Democrats other than to confirm this lady... but at the same time, lordy lordy she's a terrible nominee. She's the Timmy of nominees.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


But it fits my expectations so well.

Thanks to Pandagon for the photo.

Two Giants In The Ring

Bill O'Reilly (America's top right-wing pundit) went on John Stewart's (America's top left-wing pundit) Daily Show, and fun was had by all.

Best line was had by John Stewart on Bill O'Reilly's accusation that The Daily Show makes fun of tragedies: "Yes, it's true we add insult to injury... but you add the injury."

Anyhoo... watch the video.

The Chantaburi Nose

This is a brief recap of Thai history:

Centuries ago, way way up in northeastern Laos, a king had 7 sons. To 6 of those sons, he gave each 20 families, and sent them to the southwest and told them to set up their own principalities, be fruitful, multiply, and send back some money from time to time.

About a hundred years later, one of the sons' great grandsons, with his city now having grown quite large from the original 20 families, had 7 sons. To 6 of those sons, he gave 20 families, and sent them to the southwest and told them to set up their own principalities, et cetera, et cetera.

This was repeated over and over, with the same 20 families mixing and matching and then having 20 new families drawn from their number.

Back in those days... heck, even up to 75 years ago... trekking 20 miles through the Lao/Thai jungle wasn't something that people did on a whim. Therefore, people tended to stay where they were born. Also, the Thai community consciousness kept Thai people close to home and family as well. In other words, there was very little migration that wasn't of the "king's son with 20 families" variety.

Anyway, all the way down at the end of the line of these principalities, is Chantaburi. By the time the 20 Thai families arrived here, they had been intermixing and interbreeding for generations among the 20 families from 20 families from 20 families, et cetera.

So because of the homogeneity of the original stock families, you can recognize a person is instantly from Chontaburi by the profile of their nose. I've met 3 completely unrelated people from Chontaburi, and sure enough, in profile, they could all be brothers/sisters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

See? It is Serious.

I've only been following the Valerie Plame Leak Thingy© sporadically. However, it is quite clear that historically, it could be one of the bigger stories of this decade...

The Vice President may resign. He may go to prison. His chief of staff may go to prison. Karl Rove as well. In the grand scheme of things, that's pretty historic stuff, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In Case Anybody Is Wondering


How is that Possible?

How can President Bush have a 39% job approval rating overall, but have an 85% job approval rating among Republicans? He is at 8% among Democrats. I mean think about what a completely different worldview is required betwixt the different camps. This post isn't about commenting on how bad President Bush is, but how little Republicans seem to grasp that fact.

One third of Americans are Democrats.
One third of Americans are Independents.
One third of Americans are Republicans.
One third of Americans approve of the President.

See? The only people on earth who like President Bush are registered Republicans. Period.

It just strikes me as very spooky that in order to be a Republican, you have to think and believe things completely opposite to non-Republicans. It's so cultish that it gives me the heebie jeebies.

My favorite subject of study is that of cultish behavior; of otherwise perfectly sane people thinking and believing in very odd ways in order to keep their vision of faith/hope/truth alive. Whether it is religion, conspiracies, history, science, or politics... it fascinates me. This is such a great example.

Sign Of The Times

I've been reading story after story about secret conference calls and back-of-hand assurances to high-level right-wing wackadoos that Harriet Miers is actually Pro-Life. However, nobody — especially Ms. Miers or President Bush — will step up and confirm that that is the case publically.

Thus, the one thing that conservatives trumpet as their cause célèbre among themselves is the one thing they can't risk "the masses" finding out about a Supreme Court nominee. So risky in fact that they will settle for as little as a Pro-Life wink and nod from the nominee (or, actually, wink and nod from friends of friends of the nominee) as the best assurance that they can hope for at this point in history. Ms. Miers may even get up and tell the congressional confirmation committee that she is against overturning Roe v. Wade... and all the conservatives will do is say, "Well, of course she had to say that. She wouldn't get confirmed otherwise. We have assurances however."

This, more than anything else, I think, is (much like nationwide gay marriage with liberals) proof that at least for the forseeable future (15-20 years?) the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice debate is settled and will not be under threat of change until then. (And by then, today's liberal will be tomorrow's conservative, so that's that.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Little Annoyances

The washing machine gave out. It sat idle for more than a year, hopped right to duty when asked, performed admirably, and them promptly died 3 days later. The Whirlpool people came to look at it. I heard some banging. Then, they packed the washer into their pickup truck and left. Apparently it will cost $55 to fix.

The water in the apartment out front went out. Mr. Green found (and I have no idea how he found) a switch buried in about 6 inches of dirt, over by the wall, that was turned off. Now, the house and the apartment run on 2 different water supplies, and I think that the switch that Mr. Green found just lets the apartment run off the house's water supply and that the problem is only circumvented... not fixed. Green and Toom OTOH, are quite certain that they saw the security guard in the yard quite close to where the underground switch was found, and he was the source of the problem.

But they love conspiracies and plots, whereas I'm more pragmatic.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

First Shindig at the New House

Had a little get-together at my house today. Reeza's Mike and Reeza came. Steve, his 2 boys, and their nanny came. Bob, his wife, baby Gina, and a couple of his restaurant staff came as well. I supplied a case of beer, and Bob supplied a pile of hotdogs, sandwiches, and even threw together a couple dozen jalapeno poppers. It was the height of pleasant.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


(Feel free to toss George around with your mouse if he gets stuck.)

Flowers Galore


So the first thing I promised myself when I moved into a house with a yard was that I was going to dress it up nicely. Flowers are cheap in Thailand and labor is even cheaper.

So, I went to the nursery, hired three guys for the day, purchased about 250 full-grown flowers of various colors plus about 1000 pounds of poo-dirt, and $200 later, I'm bontaniJil.


(This is just the major bed... about half of what was done, all told. Included in the cost was actually digging up the turf, tilling the soil underneath, and putting down the poo-dirt. And they did about half of the job in the rain.)


I get a daily e-mail from the whackadoo American Family Association... mainly for laughs. It worked well today.
Finally, a mainstream media person has dared to tell the truth about the ACLU. He needs to be thanked!

On his program on October 12, Bill O'Reilly...
In case you didn't know, Bill O'Reilly is to mainstream media what Marilyn Manson is to mainstream music. Yes, 13-year-old pimply-faced teenagers and whackadoo Christian fundamentalists both have very warped ideas of how the rest of the world perceives their heroes.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Yes, this is a 102-inch plasma TV.

Yes, it will cost more than a Rolls Royce.

Yes, I will own one some day.


Apparently I have quite an impressive neck... as in the muscles in it are made of steel. This is according to Pattaya's chiropractor, Dr. Pack. (He's a farang from Oklahoma.) My neck is always sore from working, so I go to him from time to time for a session. ($14 or so... not bad.) Anyway, I lay down on my back, and he grabbed my head and said, "now relax." I did.

He gave a tug, and nothing happened. I actually think Dr. Pack hurt himself the way he reacted, walking out of his office shaking his head, and then back in. Kind of like punching a brick wall or something.

"OK... you obviously have a strong neck from sitting at work all the time. Let's try that again."

He did. Crrrack. Ahh.

More Wildlife

The size is sort of amazing... about 5 inches... but what really confounds me is how it got up past Khun Wolf to sit on top of his birdhouse.

Friday Cat Blogging

The best part is... but you can't see it... is that both of their little paws were twitching like they were sharing a really cool dream.

Good Point

A lot of people are saying that the Democrats should vote to confirm Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. I agree.

Look at it this way: You have 2 choices. You can vote for (A) the lady who was a senior partner for a law firm who contributed to Hillary Clinton's campaign, is probably a lesbian (or at least oddly celibate), is possibly (almost likely) against overturning Roe v. Wade, and to the best of my knowledge, has never experienced the Stigmata nor speaking in tongues.

...or you can vote for (B) any of the other right wing wackos that President Bush woulda/coulda/shoulda nominated in order to not piss off all the evangelical Christians who are the only people left still planning on voting Republican next election.

Harriet Miers was — will be — President Bush's last attempt at playing to the middle ground, and he got a hard shot to the nads for his troubles... from both sides. Don't expect any more platitudes from that man.

Floating Men

A couple of guys just floated past my yard, entire bodies visible above the 8-foot wall.

Then, I realized they were sitting on elephants.

Welcome to Thailand.


They must be doing laps. Fortunately had the camera phone handy this time:

Two Percent


This is the most amazing number ever. Why is it amazing? It's a real, honest-to-god NBC / Wall Street Journal poll number.

It's the percentage of black people who approve of the job President Bush is doing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Visa Run

Out to the border again to keep my visa current. Ya know, I went 14 months without doing a visa run, and nobody seemed to care. At the end of it all, I just bought a plane ticket to Siem Reap, got to the airport and said "som nom na" to the immigration officials. They said "som nom na" back, charged me $500, and everybody was happy. Doing it the right way, with monthly visa runs for 14 months, it would have cost me $800 and 112 hours of my time. Sigh. Sometimes it's wrong to be right.

p.s. The photo above is the actual border crossing of Banlaem... a earthen bridge over a small river / large stream. Behind me on the Thailand side are a couple of wrought-iron fences on wheels that the local kids roll out of the way when cars come through. Ahead of me is Cambodia which opens into a little parking lot with small casinos on either side, and then a small plastic fence facing onto a small wooden town. I've never been further than that, so I cannot tell you what lies beyond, though I hear it is dragons.


Whoever told President Bush that it was a good idea to tell the press that one of the reasons he nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court was because of her Christian beliefs was an idiot. I'm actually inclined to believe that the President ad-libbed it himself since nobody else in the White House is stupid enough to tell him to say such a thing.

Well, Scott McClellan, White House press secretary, couldn't run fast enough to get in front of the cameras and say, "Oh no, no, no. He didn't mean to say that. He just mentioned how it is a part of who she is. He never thought about her religion for a moment when he nominated her. Really really really, cross my heart and hope to die."

Why? Because the last thing the president wants to do is make his nomination of this lady unconstitutional by claiming that she passed some kind of test for religious qualification in order to get the nomination.

President Bush may not be an 80-I.Q. retard, but getting elected to President, having been president for 5 years, and then allowing such a rudimentary tenet of our government's process "slip his mind" means he really is at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to scholars of government.

Well hey, at least President Bush didn't go out there and say, "I nominated her because she isn't a Muslim."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wanjan (Monday)

Miss Monday came to visit from Bangkok today. Our first play date. She arrived in early afternoon while I was still working. After that, we had cocktails by the pool, went swimming, and from there it was out to Casa Pascal for dinner. The food wasn't that good, but we had a great time talking.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


The cats are loving life. Phibun has captured and killed a gecko and has now been playing with the corpse for the last hour, thinking it is still very much alive, batting it hither and thither, throwing it in the air, and somersalting along with it. Pramoj is out on the short wall overlooking the lawn, getting ready for a romp in the grass, from the looks of things. I can't see Pridi anywhere... he's probably off someplace in the bushes looking for a plaything of his own.

... no, there he is: Getting ready to try to attack Khun Wolf's cage. Every time the cats get near, that bird makes a sound like a car alarm.

Well I Can't Say Otherwise

Once again in Bob's. This time I'm sitting with Coach... an old fellow with thinning white hair and leathery skin who, just by looking at him, I know he could be 104 years old, he could still kick the crap out of me. He writes a weekly column for the Bangkok Post called Coach's Corner about American football. (I'd give you the link, but Bangkok Post wants registered users only, which sucks. Feel free to hunt for the column on your own if you're really interested.)

Between himself and Bill (Fukui San), a sportscaster himself, they know more about sports than any other 2 people you will run into in regular company. They will fall into a detailed discussion about game 4 of the 1989 World Series. Coach will throw out trivia questions too: "Name all the sports teams whose names don't end in 'S'."

"Manchester United," I say. Coach tells me I'm no longer allowed to participate.

After a discussion on the rule regarding end-zone celebrating, Coach asks, "Who was the first person to ever spike a football?"

Everybody looks at him funny.

"Actually, that would be me," he says.

He used to play professional football in the Canadian Football League (before going on to coach the University of Memphis, and then a Coca Cola executive), and apparently, according to him, back in the late 60s, he spiked a football after scoring a touchdown for the first time, and it took off from there.

Well, I can't say otherwise.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Why I Love My Job

The one line I used to pull out at every job interview — and it always seemed to knock people's socks off —was, "You know, I have a saying: How much you enjoy your job has nothing to do with what you see when you look down at your desk, but what you see when you look up from your desk." (Interviewers would look like I'd just said the most important thing that any job applicant has ever said.)

So, anyway, based on the above... how much do I love my job?

(I don't think the interviewers back in Manhattan skyscrapers imagined that this was what I had in mind.)

Why I Hate My Job

The worst part about my job is that there is never an hour in the day when there isn't work that I could be doing. If I wanted to, I could literally work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only reason I stop working is because I have reached a point where nonwork takes precedence over work.

It's always a ratio or percentage though: Sometimes I'm 80% interested in work, and 20% interested in nonwork. That's when I'm working. When it passes from 51% / 49% work-to-nonwork to 49% / 51%, that's when working stops.

However, why I hate my job is because I don't reach a 0% interest in work very often: I know that I could be... should be... getting some work done in the back of my mind. So, enjoying free time is always — even when planned days or weeks in advance —an exercise of trying to keep work from creeping into the periphery of my mind.

Lickety Split

The DSL internet in the new house is a flash... at least compared to the dialup I was using before. Dictations that used to take 4-5 minutes to download now take 20-30 seconds.

I base my speed desires on whether or not I get impatient waiting for stuff to download, and as things stand now, 99% of the stuff I download I don't have to wait more than a few seconds for. (Server response time, being in Thailand, contacting American sites, does not factor into my figuring, since no internet technology between my home and my ISP can improve on how fast packet requests make it halfway around the world, and how fast the requests are responded to by the server at the other end.) Therefore, as cool as it would be to get the megabit internet service for $80 per month, I can't say that I would have any reasonable expectation of using the entire bandwidth very often.

The New Digs Part 2

Well, I'm now completely out of the old house and into the new house... but hardly moved in. My stuff is scattered everywhere... just hasn't found its' place yet. Give it a couple of days.
I'm so tired from the move though. Sweated myself stupid, and ran my sodium levels down to the point where I probably should have gone to the hospital. Instead, I went to TQ2 where I ate 2 bags of beef jerky: At least as good as an IV drip.

Well, here's some teaser photos to start things off... day and night.


Okay... here are some more photos, now that I've had my coffee.

My new office is the brightest and sunniest yet... and the warm breeze that comes in from the ocean through the door on the left and out the window on the right is perfect. Here is a view of the kitchen...
Dining room / Living room...
Second view...
Looking out to the front patio... garage and apartment in the background there.
Living room, looking from the stairs...
I even got myself another Khun Wolf to sit out front and make obnoxious noises...
Most amazing part though is that all 3 cats, halfway through the move, figured out what was going on, hopped the wall on their own, and were actually all settled in before we were even an hour into the move. I don't know if they heard our voices over here, or what... but no problems at all.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

People That Live In Thailand Don't...

You would be genuinely suprised at how many people put off, miss appointments for, or simply forgo treatment for their cancer because of their jobs.

Seriously. This lady just skipped a week of chemotherapy because she was too busy at work.

Fully Furnished

The house I'm moving to is "fully furnished" as in every room has furniture. But, in my opinion, I would just say that the house "has furniture".

Fortunately, the guy who is moving into the house I am in currently stopped by today to take another look at the house, more or less so that he could figure out where he was going to put all of the tons of furniture he would be bringing with him.

Well, after all was said and done, he has basically given me pretty much every stick of furniture in the house. So now I have 4 living room sets, (he's keeping the dining room set,) 5 or 6 beds, tons of extra tables and little bits and pieces.

So now, suffice it to say, my new house is going to be chock full of furniture... big time. Cool.

Aww... And I Was Having So Much Fun

The Senate passed a bill that "puts a limit" on what torture techniques the American military can use. (i.e. This is a bill that says shattering someone's kneecaps with an aluminum baseball bat is no longer allowed.)

The vote passed, 90-9. Guess what party the 9 senators who like shattered kneecaps belong to?

Guess which American president said he will veto any bill that says shattering prisoners' kneecaps is a bad thing?

Once again, I would like to remind 50.2% of the American population: You voted for a party who elects senators who like it when our military shatters prisoners' kneecaps.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Dude... I Know You

On the rare occasion I meet a famous person, I usually do my best to just ignore them... or appreciate them from a distance. I feel that if I can't walk up and say something that would make them stop in their tracks and say, "Wow... thanks for saying that," I figure it's not worth bothering. Fans must come up and talk to famous people all the time, starting pointless conversations that they have had dozens of times since breakfast.

However, when I meet someone that is famous but nobody knows is famous, but I know who he is... well, that'll get me going.

Bill is a guy who hangs out at Bob's. He's in town from Tokyo. We got talking tonight and I found out that he does voice work in Japan. "Oh... so you speak great Japanese." "Nope. I just do English work. You know The Food Network?" "Sure! I love Iron Chef. It's one of my favorite programs." "Well there you go. I do the voice of Kenji Fukui."

Kenji Fukui is the principal commentator... the "man in the middle" in Kitchen Stadium, answering to "Fukui-san", sending his on-the-scene reports back to the booth, as it were. Anybody who watches the show will immediately know who I'm referring to. If you're watching the show for the first time, well he does all the commentary at the beginning of the show, the voice of the person who sounds like he is closest to the action, and the signature phrase right at the end, "Whose cuisine reigns supreme???"

Well, I had no problem talking about... gushing about... Bill's work. One of the reasons Iron Chef is so enjoyable is the voiceovers. The complete Americanization of the commentary, and it was my utter delight to find out that most of that comes directly from Bill's mind - that he never listens to what the real Kenji Fukui is saying, but he makes up his own commentary. (He says that Kenji, translated into English, is a terrible bore.)

Really, anybody that watches Iron Chef with any regularity knows that the reason why the program is so popular in America is that it is 5-Star cooking savoir faire crossed with NFL playback commentary... commentary that is thought up by a guy who happens to be the guy sitting across from me at Bob's Bar-Be-Que.

Friday Cat Blogging

Actually, every day is cat blogging day: When I look down from my monitor, it's a better-than-even chance that this is what I see. (And yes, I really can type around them lying there.)

You're Goin' Down Boy

OK... think about this for a minute.

1. Massive quantities of water used to leak out of my pool each day: Hundreds of gallons straight into the ground.

2. This means that underneath and around my pool was a giant wet spot. Hundreds of gallons per day into the solid ground... we're talking a space probably half the size of a football field maybe 20 or 30 feet in depth.

3. Every day, a hundred more gallons entered the space, which means that most likely a hundred gallons also flowed out... to somewhere... really doesn't matter where.

4. We fixed that problem... no more water is flowing into the space.

5. The space is still emptying though... to somewhere... really doesn't matter where.

6. What matters though is that it is emptying, and what does something leave behind when it empties? Empty space, duh.

7. Now my house is creaking and groaning. Wonder why?

Man, I'm so glad I rent and don't own.

Thai Lit 101

I was reading the blog of a Thai Girl who put a link on her site to one of Thailand's great tales, the story of Phra Abhai Mani. (Which is the story of Prince Phra Abhai Mani and his brother.) This was her way of surreptitiously telling me that I haven't been reading nearly enough Thai literature and should get on the ball.

I mean, I'm not a complete cultural loser: I know my language. I know Thai history better than most Thai people apparently. I know the basics of Buddhism. But no... I haven't done Thai literature yet. Shame on me.

Well, truth be told, I really haven't done any American or European literature either: I'm all about history books, politics, and geography. (Yes... who knew I'd grow up to be so boring and pedantic?)

But, even I know Tom Sawyer, The Grapes of Wrath, and Hamlet... and Phra Abhai Mani is all of those to Thai people. (Although my maid couldn't remember the name of Phra Abhai Mani's brother, so maybe its' renown isn't as extant as I was lead to believe... but still.)

Anyway, it's a fun, fantastical story that so far basically is Captain Kirk, Thai style: Phra Abhai Mani goes zipping from one fantastical place to another, meets some alien babe like a giantess or a mermaid, bangs her, and then moves on to the next girl. (He loves each one though. Thai people call this "chai mee lai horng" or "his heart has many rooms." So does Hugh Heffner's mansion buddy.) He's also got a flute that works like the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, which is cool.

Anyway, as good as it is, it is probably much better in the original Thai since it was an epic poem of sorts. However, the last thing I want to try to do at this point in time is have the powerful tide of my brain meet with the jagged rocks of written Thai. Why do I say that, you ask?

What's worse, Thai language just drops vowels, as in "Oh, you know what vowel goes there, you silly thing... just spit it out!"

But that's just for starters. When they do put vowels in, the vowels will be after (as per usual), above, below, or even before the consonant they follow.

Then, as a final bit of confusion, if a sentence starts with a vowel, just put "Ch" in front keep it simple, OK?

No wonder Thai people have such a tough time with subtitles at movies. Imagine that flashing up on the screen for 3 seconds. Read it! Quick!