Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Daily Report: Galactica, Fettucini and Belgians

I woke up a little late, but got in half a day of work before a lunch of spaghetti, and then I put in a quarter day before calling it quits.

After that, it was out to Foodland for shopping with Pui, and her ex-sister-in-law, Nee, who is vacationing in Pattaya with her Belgian husband, Ethan, for the month. I wound up spending about $125 on groceries again... principally on bottles of vermouth and Absolut Citron (my monthly supply of martini fixin's).

I invited Nee and Ethan over for dinner and made fettucini carbonara for dinner. Then, Ethan (who speaks English well-enough) and I sat down and watched Battlestar Galactica for 3 hours. It was funny, because Ethan started off not liking it too much, but by the end, was really caught up with it. I invited him back tomorrow to watch some more, as it is 15 hours over 5 days this week, so there is another 9 hours to enjoy. However, I rather doubt that he is as enthusiastic about dedicating that kind of time to a television program as I am though.

Da Geek

Battlestar Galactica season 2 marathon on TV all this week from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. That's where I'll be.

National Debt

In the past 6 years, the national debt has gone up $3 trillion from $5.7 trillion to $8.7 trillion. That means in the past 6 years, your government has purchased $10,000 worth of stuff for you that you have not paid for yet. (Republicans sure know how to practice conservative fiscal policy, don't they?) Added to the 30 years of previous deficit spending, you now owe the government of America for approximately $30,000 worth of goods and services that it has purchased for you. (Hope you enjoyed your purchases!)

Hmm. I could have bought a cute little condo in Pattaya for $30,000, but instead I now have $30,000 in taxes that need to be paid. You do too.

Well, the nice option is that you can either pay your bill now, before you die, or you can leave it to your kids to pay. But... oops... that isn't your decision. That decision belongs to the country of China. They have purchased a substantial amount of America's national debt. When they come calling for the return of their capital (plus interest), you will have to open your check book.

(By the way: Cost of the Iraq war... much less than $1 trillion. Almost all of the deficit comes from cutting taxes in the middle of a recession while concurrently raising spending levels.)

Anyway, those of you voting Republican in the upcoming election because you instinctively know that Republicans are the party of the fiscal responsibility and the party of the "pork busters" and the party of the balanced budget, remember what I have written here, and which party was in charge when it all took place.

p.s. Let me give you an idea how much $3 trillion is:
  1. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest company, is worth about $500 billion. The national debt created in just the last 6 years is the equivalent of almost 6 Exxon Mobils.
  2. America's GDP (Gross Domestic Product... or the total value of goods and services produced in America) is $12 trillion. America would have to give every penny it produced to the government for 3 months in order to pay off just the debt that the Republican congress racked up in the past 6 years.
  3. America's tax revenue currently is $4 trillion per year. If the United States government shuts down for the next 9 months, and doesn't spend a penny on a single thing, and only collects taxes, it will be able to pay for all of the unpaid pills that have piled up from the last 6 years.
There. Now, hopefully you have a better grasp about what the "party of small government" and the "party of fiscal responsibility" has been doing with government spending and tax revenue, and why you shouldn't be voting for them.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Daily Report

Today is in a tie for first for the most boring day in my life, along with 1,762 similar previous days.

I woke up, worked half a day, had lunch (SpaghettiO's - the highlight) and a nap, then worked a quarter of a day, watched 2 episodes of Battlestar Galactica (that was nice), and then went to bed.

That's it.

November Surprise

It's actually called the "October Surprise", which is when political parties wait until just before an election (i.e. October) to do something or say something that will influence the voting population. The "Mark Foley scandal" was reputed to be the Democrats October Surprise. Republicans have been accused of raising the "Terror Alert" to orange (or red) in previous Octobers just before the last 2 elections.

This election, it looks like the Republicans actually have a November surprise planned, by getting the Iraq government to delay the reading of the verdict in Saddam Hussein's trial from October 16th up to Novermber 5th... just 2 days before the election. (Well, maybe they needed those extra 2½ weeks to figure out if he is really guilty.)

Actually, the reason the Republicans are doing this (it is hard to assume they aren't) is twofold: One reason is, of course, that watching Saddam's verdict for his crimes is a positive thing for Americans to see. More importantly, however, is the second thing, which is the likelihood that Iraq will erupt into riots and attacks by pro-Saddam fighters still operating in Iraq, which is a negative thing for Americans to see. Therefore, (I'm guessing) the Iraqi government is issuing the verdict (the good thing) before the November 7th election, while trying to get the almost-guaranteed riots and violence (the bad thing) to happen after the election.

I personally think this whole "November Surprise" thing is not that big a deal. The vast majority of Americans have been following Saddam's trial only peripherally, if at all. Hearing him pronounced guilty of all the things we already knew he was guilty of barely ranks as news in my book.

(What would be interesting is if Saddam amazingly is found innocent right before the election. What is more realistic (and more damaging for the Republicans) is that the terrorists fighting in Iraq might not actually go along with the Republicans' plan during this election cycle by waiting 3 days until Wednesday morning to start their rampage. Instead, voters might be going to the polls on Tuesday evening after watching the evening news about "the worst day of bloodshed in Iraq since the war began" or something like that.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Grand Full Day

This morning, myself, Pui, Pot, and Maid Go joined Justin and all of his new batch of (five) students for our monthly trip out to Ko Larn for a day at the beach.

When we got to the beach, however, it was not there. It was a record high tide, and the beach was literally only about 2 meters wide between the surf and the backing jetty. Fotunately, there were places to sit above the jetty, and the water was still warm and pleasant, and my standard order of 1 kilo of steamed crab was yummy as always.

Pui got mildly seasick on the boat ride home and has vowed to never go to the beach again. Go had a great time just sitting outside for a while and doing something fun. Pot... well you know Pot.

After getting back to shore, it was a quick ride back home to shower and then it was off to TQ2 for their annual kid's Halloween party. Pot wore his Batman costume. He wasn't too keen on the mask, and gave it to me. With the stretchy spandex material, I found that I could actually wear the mask myself. Once Pot saw that I was wearing the mask, he realized that it must indeed be a cool thing, and asked for it back.

There was a piñata that the kids beat to a pulp but wouldn't break open. (Eventually Steve just bashed it repeatedly against the stage until it burst.) They played some Halloween movies, and there was obviously lots of candy.

From there, it was out to dinner with Justin and the students for Thai barbeque. Tasty as always. Then, home for a relaxing hour in front of the computer and then off to bed.


Somebody loves me.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Daily Report

I only hit the snooze button on the alarm for about 45 minutes today. That's about average actually.

I got another half day of work in before Pui, Pot and I headed out to lunch with Bob and his wife Ta and baby Gina at Fuji restaurant at Big C. I tried the deep fried bacon and asparagus, which wasn't that good. The deep fried pork thing wasn't very good either. The dumplings were okay though. Stick with the traditional Japanese stuff and you do okay there, I've learned.

After that, we went costume shopping for Pot. There was a Halloween stall set up by the escalators, but all they were selling were big rubber masks and witches hats - kinda sucky selection, especially when you're trying to find something for a 5 year old. One of the salespeople was walking around wearing a rather grotesque mask and did the boogy-boogy-boo thing with Pot, which scared him clean out of the Halloween spirit. He was definitely not interested in a costume after that.

(Which really didn't matter since we couldn't find any at Big C anyway.)

After that, we went to The Party Store (Soi Town In Town off of Center Road), which is a little Mom and Pop operation. There, we found Pot a really nice little 3-piece Batman outfit (trousers, pullover, and a cape/hood/mask combination with pointy ears on top. Pot was still put off about trying on (let alone buying) a costume and mask after the experience at Big C, but I purchased the outfit anyway, as it was litereally the only kid's Halloween costume for sale in Pattaya.

After that, it was home for a long afternoon/evening in front of the television watching Waterworld. (If you're going to waste your time, do it in style, eh?) Pui and Maid Go sat at the kitchen table talking for the evening, while Pot ran around in his Batman mask, scaring the cats, quite happy after all.

Greenwald Rocks

One of my favorite writers is Glenn Greenwald, who authors a blog called "Unclaimed Territory." He puts out huge amounts of well-researched commentary every day, and all of it is worth reading. He is one of the most linked to bloggers on the internet.

I particularly enjoyed today's post about how conservative columnists who used to lavishly praise everything that President Bush did are now coming out and writing sentences that begin with "The problem I have always had with President Bush is..." as if they have always been saying exactly the same thing.

Glenn is the world's best archive archeologist. If you wrote something before that contradicts what you said today, he'll find that and quote it and link to it. (Usually he finds 5 or 6 examples, just to be thorough.) I can think of nothing more enjoyable than a well-written retort to dishonesty.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Daily Report

I was quite proud of myself this morning, waking up at 7:00 a.m. after a night at TQ2 in which I consumed zero alcohol. I was ready for a full day of work!

I sat down and got ready to work, and the internet promptly went down for 2 hours.

Finally, the internet came back up, and then the electricity went out for 1 hour.

Well, anyway, I got in an afternoon of work.

Pot took the van today, barf-free, round trip.

This evening, Stan and Mem, Pui and I, and Pot went to Valencia Spanish restaurant on Tepprasit Road. (About 200 meters past the go-cart track on the right, as you drive away from Jomtien.) Goddamn that's good food. I had the clams in cream sauce appetizer, and the chicken paella. Stan and I shared a monstrous pitcher of sangria.

It's really one of Pattaya's best - yet unknown - restaurants.

Anyway, after that it was back to Stan's house for digestion while watching a documentary on landslides, and then home for an hour or so of relaxation before going to bed.

Great Read

This is a great article on how really bad, how inept, and how corrupt the current congress is. Similar to a previous article written on how bad a president George Bush is, this article goes into great detail using lots of little mind-blowing incidents that we never really knew about to illustrate just how... well... mean our congressional representatives actually are.

(The letter from Randy "Duke" Cunningham to a reporter in Los Angeles filled to overflowing with spelling and punctuation errors is also quite telling about what kind of people we are sending to Washington:
“Each time you print it hurts my family And now I have lost them Along with Everything I have worked for during my 64 years of life,” Cunningham wrote. “I am human not an Animal to keep whiping [sic]. I made some decissions [sic] Ill be sorry for the rest of my life.”
“As truth will come out and you will find out how liablest [sic] you have & will be. Not once did you list the positives. Education Man of the Year…hospital funding, jobs, Hiway [sic] funding, border security, Megans law my bill, Tuna Dolfin [sic] my bill…and every time you wanted an expert on the wars who did you call. No Marcus you write About how I died.”

Sorry... that's a cheap shot at the learning disabled elected officials among us... I should be more sensitive.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Support (Fixing) The War In Iraq

I know, that probably seems stupid, but it is true. Well... let me explain that.

I never supported invading Iraq. My personal opinion before the invasion was that whatever weapons of mass destruction Saddam did have would immediately be spirited out of Iraq to all points of the compass once America attacked him, and it was better to have those WMDs under the control of Saddam rather than out floating around on the open market.

Anyway... we know how that worked out.

So, we went ahead and invaded Iraq, and we fucked up an entire country. We killed bunches of people, inflamed old tribal and religious hatreds, and basically made a grade-A mess of things.

We broke Iraq. Now we own it.

It's our responsibility as Americans to not leave the people of Iraq in the mess that we have put them in. I support fixing our mistake... our war. I would much rather that we had never gone into Iraq in the first place, but now that we are there, it is our job to do our best to try to clean the place up.

When the Democrats take control of Congress next month, I sincerely hope that they understand that America has a responsibility to the people of Iraq to attempt to fix our mess before we leave; that we do our damnedest to leave some modicum of peace and sanity behind. The way to accomplish that peace and sanity may indeed be just picking up and leaving immediately... I don't really know. But if leaving immediately isn't determined to be the best thing to help the Iraqi people, I hope that America doesn't follow that route anyway because it is politically expedient back home.

(It's probably the best thing for our troops: The possibility of the Democrats taking away control of this war from the White House and that idiot Rumsfeld. Hopefully the Democrats are willing to hop in the driver's seat, and steer this p.o.s. clusterf**k that we've gotten ourselves (and the Iraqis) into back on course... and not hit the first available off-ramp instead.)

I'm not a strategist, a politician, or a mideast scholar. I have no idea what to recommend, or what would work. But, I do feel like 1/300 millionth (America's population) of a complete shit for what my country has done to Iraq, and if we do just "cut and run" (or a, ahem, scheduled withdrawal), it won't be the honorable thing to do to the Iraqi people whom we put in this situation.

Anyway, here is my message to the Democrats: The White House and the Republicans created this mess in Iraq by trying to play it safe with the constitutents. The troop levels, the "stay the course" line... this was supposed to be an easy war fought "on the cheap" on the mistaken assumption that that would keep Americans happy. Well, you're going to be stepping up to take charge soon, and I hope that you realize that maybe... just maybe, for a change... Americans are interested in doing the right thing by helping Iraq instead of the easy thing by leaving it in the lurch. Maybe that is why they are voting for you this time around. (And won't it just piss of the Republicans if you guys turn out to be the real geniuses at prosecuting the war on terror?)

Just a thought.

Daily Report

It was another generic day for me, all told. I woke up later than I wanted, but not too late, did less work than I wanted, but not a terribly small amount, took a nap that was longer than it should have been, but not too long, and then messed around on the internet for a while before going out to TQ2 where I had a good time... but not too good.

Pot gets carsick on the school van. Both to and from, he yacked. Considering that he handled 10-hour bus trips to Petchabun, that struck me as a little odd. Then, I found out that he is sitting rear-ward, and the van is zipping and turning and stopping and starting, and add all that together, and Pot's lunch is a projectile candidate.

I found a guy in Pattaya who owns (rents out) 5 Yamaha Morphus scooters. I'm going to test drive one of them eventually. He told me where he buys them used up in Bangkok, and the prices he mentioned were much lower than what the guy on Sukhumvit at Siam Racing Cycles was quoting.

After leaving TQ2 tonight, I stopped by the Sundown Cantina, which is part of the Jasmine Hotel, which is a little hotel down at the end of Soi BJ on Walking Street. It's really rather nicely done up... about as pretty as you can make the standard cement-box row house style of architecture so prevalent here in Thailand.

I'm not going to pass judgement on their tacos because I got them to go, and they were put steaming hot in a to-go box, and by the time I got home with them, they were soggy. The flavor was good though. I'll eat in next time, and will get a better idea of how good they are. (Mexican food and barbeque are definitely the "in-style" foods now in Pattaya.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Sum It Up

It seems that I have about 40 regular visitors to my blog based on the evil snooping device I installed that watches everything you do. (Actually, it's a simple site counter... don't worry.)

Now, if I could just convince each of you to send me 6 cans of SpaghettiOs (with sliced franks, natch), that would allow me almost a year's worth of daily tomatoey yumminess otherwise currently unobtainable here in Thailand.

(Bonus points for shipments of Mountain Dew Code Red.)

Cancel the Code Red request: Pepsi Gold and grenadine make a fairly tasty alternative.

Daily Report

I woke up today feeling like crap after a heavy-duty drinking session at TQ2 last night. I still managed to get in a pretty good half day of work though.

It was Pot's first day at his new school. (It actually started yesterday, but the school didn't have any uniforms that fit him, and so they put in an order for them, and then sent him home for the day... which pissed me off.)

It was out to dinner at Bob's BBQ tonight. It's the only time when Pot is actually expensive: He loves ribs, and he'll go through $5 worth in a flash.

Also, we went next door to Bob's to the Thai traditional outfit store to get ourselves all fitted out for the upcoming Loy Krathong holiday (the only holiday I love to celebrate). Pot and I will be wearing matching blue blazers with gold sabai sashes and gold poofy pants. Pui will be looking fabulous in a blue gown covered with gold ornaments.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hopeful Goodbye to Mr. Kuhl

In my home congressional district , NY-29 (moderately strong Republican), my Congressman, Randy Kuhl, the Republican, is polling behind the Democratic candidate, Eric Massa. (RT Stragies poll, no link provided... Sorry.)

My major complaint against Congressman Kuhl is his support for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which suspends Habeus Corpus (i.e. the simple right to a trial) for people held captive by the American military... the single most aggregious assault on American constitutional and human rights in the last 50 years. (See "Roosevelt, Interment Camps" for next most recent heinous example.)

(See also my in depth analsysis for more info on the suspension of Habeus Corpus, in case you don't know what I'm talking about.)

I've never had a personal gripe against Randy Kuhl, or his local politics... in fact, my mother did a little work on his campaign for state office way back when... but my personal opinion is that anybody who claims to be a conservative and then votes to suspend one of America's most conservative principles of jurisprudence deserves to be tossed out of Congress.

... And yes, that goes for pert' near every other Republican in the joint (and a couple of Democrats) as well.

Sorry, Mr. Kuhl, but your vote against a prisoner's most fundamental human rights was terribly wrong, and you are either exceptionally unintelligent, or you knew you were wrong... but you voted for this bill anyway because that is what the Republican party told you to do. Either way, you forfeited your conservative credentials, and became a Republican-yet-unAmerican lackey.

Whyever the people Steuben Country are voting against you, I believe it should be for this single vote. I can think of no better reason for which to terminate your congressional residency. Shame on you for that vote, sir. If you lose this election, may you reconcile your conscience at a later date — perhaps when you watch the world join me in its condemnation of your terribly ill-informed and ill-intended vote... which — trust me — eventually it will.

Our history books will note your name among those reactionary and fear-filled elected citizens who seemingly forgot the words of Benjamin Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." That, sir, summarizes very well your terrible vote.

In all respect, Mr. Congressman: May your upcoming election loss be a klaxon-like refutation of your vote to suspend Habeus Corpus. May your election loss teach all who follow you in office that the American people — though perhaps slow to awake to the steady ebb of their liberties to some "well-intentioned suzerainty" — will eventually recognize the jig and its moves, and punish those who thought we would dance blithely without thought or reaction.

And, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Finally Got Rid of the Cough

I've finally overcome the cough that I had. What I figured out is that I had a bunch of things causing the cough, and whenever I got rid of one, the others would just pick up the pace a little bit.

First off, I was smoking. Then, the pills I took to quit smoking gave me a cough. Then, I had allergies, and on top of that, a bit of a sinusitis causing postnasal drip and irritation. I have a feeling there is probably something else working in the background as well.

Anyway, I haven't coughed so hard that I retched or passed out in 4 days, so that's progress.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thai Lesson For The Day

I've decided to take a different track with my Thai studies. Now, I find and learn a single words in Thai all at one time. "A single words"? Yes: One word (as we would define it in English) can be pronounced many different ways in Thai, each individual word having several meanings based on whether it used as a noun or a verb.

For example, the common Thai word "soi" actually has many words associated with it in Thai.

If it is ซอย with a long S in the front (as in "s...soi"), as a noun it means "sidestreet", and as a verb it means "to trim"*.

If it is สร้อย with a short S and a high emphasis (as in "soi!"), as a noun it means "necklace", and as a verb, it means "to be sad"**.

If it is สอย with a short S and no emphasis (just plain "soi"), as a noun it is a stick used to get fruit out of a tree, and as a verb, it means "to hem" or "to stitch"***.

Somebody was telling me recently that Thai is listed as one of the hardest languages to learn. Doesn't seem that hard to me: There is only about one percent of the words to memorize that English has. You know "soi" and you know at least 6 different words. Just remember which ones they are, and you are all set.

* Actually it means lane, sidestreet or alley as a noun, and to pare down, snip, trim, shuffle, slice, or mince as a verb.

** Actually it means necklace, chorus, hackles, and rarely woman, or flower as a noun, and to grieve or be sad as a verb.

*** Actually it means to hem, stitch, use, or utilize as a verb.

Friday, October 13, 2006

An Isaan Evening

First, it was out for Thai Barbeque at a nice, upscale joint on Soi OBL. From there, it was off to the intersection of Third and South roads for some good ol' Isaan live music. (We were joined by Bob's wife, Ta, and baby Gina, who danced up a storm.

Discomfort With Ladyboys

(This post was prompted after going to TQ2 tonight, where there was a wet T-shirt contest, and then joking with one of the judges afterwards that one of the girls was actually a "ladyboy" (there were actually none) to which he had a most paranoid, unsettled and negative reaction.)

Everybody who lives in Pattaya for any length of time eventually becomes acquainted with at least one ladyboy. There are so many in this town, it is inevitable. Either they are doing your laundry at their cousin's shop, serving you at KFC, or... yes... apparently even keeping some of you happy in bed.

It's a popular subject among the newly-arrived here in Pattaya: The transgendered. Mostly negative subject matter actually. Guys like this usually immiately snap to talk of anal sex and penises and other crudities which they fixate upon when confronted by these effiminate people among us, as if a ladyboy is nothing more than a walking sexual act. They resort to old, masculine reaffirming pablum about their own behavior and their own penises and their own sense of self worth and how it relies on never, ever, ever getting within 10 feet of somebody who would try to flutter their eyelids and purse their lips and cause a man to (for even a moment) find the "wrong person" attractive.

But, among the residents here, such talk is kind of like telling Pollack jokes: The jokes are funny except that you know that Poles aren't really like that. The expats smile and nod and simply encourage the newbies to stay away from Jenny Star Bar, but privately they are thinking about how they had a blast getting drunk with Pim down at the local convenience store one night, or how great Ning irons their shirts, or how their wife's best friend, Ahm, fixed their front gate without charge, or just the fact that Nok down the road is really just plain pretty... all ladyboys.

The ignorant pass judgement: They judge the ladyboys as being deceitful and warped; they judge the ladyboy's male farang friends as being gay; they judge themselves as being gullible (or even gay) when they find themselves accidentally attracted to a ladyboy. Those who are not ignorant... those who are comfortable with themselves are able to see past the sex and see instead the gender; are able to understand that friendship and companionship are not defined by genitals; and are able to laugh at their own mistakes or misconceptions of gender here in the Land of Smiles.

It's simple: Relax. Nobody in Pattya is going to rape you. Nobody in Pattaya is going to laugh at you if you talk to a ladybody by accident. Nobody in Pattaya is going to laugh at you if you talk to a ladybody on purpose. Nobody in Pattaya is going to assume you are having sex with a ladyboy just because you are friends with a ladyboy. Nobody in Pattaya is going to stop being your friend because you are nice to ladyboys. Nobody in Pattaya will think you are more of a man by belittling those who aren't manly. Nobody in Pattaya will think you are less of a man if you don't.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sweet Nectar of Truthiness

Two different people in as many days have confirmed it:

The Republicans... the so-called "conservative values, church-going" Republicans... They actually think that Christian evangelicals are f**king insane. Everything the Republicans did to pretend to support "family values" was all just a scam, just a vote-getting ploy to sucker the idiotic evangelicals who honestly believed that Republicans were on their side.

It's the ultimate kick in the nuts, isn't it? When the elected officials in Washington whom you believe are "your own folks" actually think that you yourself are genuinely insane? Ouch. You thought they were your only friends.

Well, you've still got Jesus and James Dobson who think you are okay, don't you?

(And: Heh! Talk about yet another piece of wonderful news to help the Republicans maintain their majority in the upcoming elections. Yee gads.)


I've started on my official path back to health by jogging. The complete mess I have made of my body is starkly apparent.

I can do a light jog for about 45 seconds, and then I have to slow down to a slow jog for about 45 seconds, and then a brisk 30 second walk...

And that's it. No more oxygen left.

That's really the whole purpose of these early days of exercising though: To once a day raise my pulse, get my heart working, and get myself gasping for air, with big deep painful, raspy breaths that get the oxygen down deep. Get used to breathing again, and get my lungs out of whatever catatonic, nonfunctional state they are currently in.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm Watching You

I realized that there is no need to be ignorant about how much traffic my blog gets. All I need is a site meter. You know: A little doohickey that counts my visitors.

So now I have one. Every visit is cursorily logged, and I now know everything about you... from where you live, all the way down to your underpants size.


Keith Olbermann defined Habeas Corpus as "the right of anyone who is tossed in prison to appear in court and say, 'Hey. Why am I in prison?'" It's a basic legal right that has been around since... oh... the 12th century or so. The Constitution of the United States says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."

The Military Commissions Act passed by Congress last Friday on pretty much solely Republican support eliminates Habeas Corpus for anybody detained by the military. Forever. Buh-bye. A person can now spend a decade of his life in a military prison and never be allowed to know why.

Oh... the bill also says which bits of torture that the CIA performs aren't really torture after all, allows information gained by (ahem, legal) torture to be admissible as evidence in trials, allows evidence to be used against a defendant that the defendant is not allowed to see, and all other kinds of goodies to help America fight the war on terrorism.

So allow me to sum this up: The American Military can now come along, snatch you up, torture you, and then hold a trial where you (a) do not know what you are charged with, (b) are not able to see the evidence supporting the charges, and (c) are convicted on whatever information you gave to your captors so that you could sit down after having been strung up naked and wet in a 55° cell for 4½ days.

Doesn't that seem unfair to you? Doesn't that seem un-American? Well, at least it is un-American in comparison to the definition of what constituted "American" on September 10, 2001.

The terrorists say they want to destroy America. Do you really think that "destroy" means rubble? Do you think "destroy" means that the borders and the government and the people and the economy cease to exist? No... Of course it doesn't. It means that they want to destroy your way of American thinking, your way of American believing, your way of American feeling, your way of American behaving.

And that's exactly what they did.

Osama bin Laden changed American values. Osama bin Laden changed you and made you into a person whom you would not have approved of before he attacked America. Osama bin Laden made you into somebody who is less American than you were before.

You are less American because you now have morals and values and definitions of liberty which shift depending on whether you would apply them to an American or a foreigner, a Christian or a Muslim, a human or a terrorist. Before, you wouldn't have considered different sets of rights for foreigners, Muslims, or terrorists.

You are less American because you now barter bits and pieces of the Bill of Rights in exchange for a sense of security. Before, you knew that the Bill of Rights was the untouchable foundation of all our freedoms.

You are less American because you now argue semantics and definitions and extenuating circumstances in the face of falling standards of American propriety and decency. Before, you believed American morals were non-negotiable, and evil behavior by Americans was inexcusable.

You are less American because you no longer care if America is the most beloved country on earth, as long as it is the safest. Before, you took pride in being Reagan's "shining city on the hill."

You are less American because you are controlled by fear, anger, angst and anxiety dictated to you by a government and media who survive only by your flock-like mentality and meek-minded, trusting submissiveness to the new, un-American concept of the all-controlling, all-seeing nanny-state. Before, you would never have allowed fear of something as vague and amorphous as "terrorism" to change your opinion regarding the size and role of government in your life.

You are less American because you blindly accepted the Department of Homeland Security and its infringements on personal liberties... as long as they weren't your own.

You are less American because you didn't complain that your government invaded another country based on completely false pretenses and incorrect information about weapons of mass destruction... as long as it was a part of the "global war on terrorism."

You are less American because you weren't shocked upon seeing the sickening photos of torture in Abu Ghraib prison... as long as it was only terrorists they were torturing.

You are less American because you didn't question the government's illegal wiretapping and intelligence gathering practices... as long as it wasn't you they were listening to.

You are less American because you weren't upset over the secret CIA prisons and brutal interrogations of terrorist suspects in distant countries... as long as it was getting America the information it needed.

You are less American because you allowed your government to teach you to be fearful and anxious through endless terror threats, orange levels, shoe bombs, airport threats, liquid explosives, and shady terrorist cells in every city... as long as none of those possibilities ever became reality.

You are less American because you let your government use patriotism as a wedge, and let them claim that opposition to anything and everything they did was "supporting the terrorists"... as long as it wasn't you they were labeling "traitor."

You are less American because you engaged in finger pointing and name calling and blame shifting because your government needed scapegoats for its own failures and pointed you towards the liberals and the peaceniks and the French and taught you to hate... as long as your targets of scorn don't point out that they were right all along.

Finally, you are less American because you don't shout in anger about the deletion of Habeas Corpus from the judicial process so that your military can have an easier time keeping terrorist suspects in jail without trial, without charge, without evidence... as long as you can sleep comfortably.

Well, sleep comfortably then. Rest yourself assured. The terrorists won't be getting to you, will they? You're safe and sound.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


OK. This is a rule that Republicans are learning the hard way: Don't say one thing when there is ample proof that it is B.S.
"The fact is, what Denny Hastert did is something that we haven’t seen done in thirty years in this town in Washington DC, and that is he said to a member of congress, either you go or we’re going to make you go. That happened the moment that Denny Hastert found out about this." — Republican National Committee Chairman, Ken Mehlman.

That's a lie. There is proof.
"When [the instant messages] were released, Congressman Foley resigned. And I’m glad he did. If he had not, I would have demanded his expusion from the House of Representatives." — Dennis Hastert, who claims to have found out about the instant messages "when you and I did."

Well, it could be that it is Denny Hastert who is lyling, and Mehlman is telling the truth. You decide. Or... ah screw it, they're both F.O.S.

You know what I find most amazing is that after 12 years in Congress, and 6 years with untrammeled control of all 3 branches of government, and at least a dozen of their top folks caught up in some form of naughtiness or another, you would think that the Republican leadership would just kick royal ass in covering up, smoothing over, and spinning a problem like it was nobody's business.

Well Democrats, come January 2007, you've got the daddy pants. Here's your chance to get it right for a change.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hasselhoff Rides Again

David Hasselhoff, as everybody knows, aside from Knight Rider and Baywatch stardom, is a popular singer in Germany. Now he's releasing songs in English. This song, Jump In My Car, debuted at #3 on the English charts this week:

He's actually a good singer, with a bit of a David Bowie vibe to his voice. The video is a lot of fun too, as we get to have KITT back for the first time in 20 years.

North Korea's Nuclear Test

Well, first of all, I really didn't believe that North Korea would get a successful nuclear weapon test the first time around. Second of all, I didn't really think that they would actually explode a nuclear weapon for one simple reason:

North Korea only has one friend left in the world, and that is China. China has basically said that the only thing that North Korea could do that would make China rethink its friendship with them is to explode a nuclear weapon. Without China propping it up, North Korea is screwed.

Seems to put the ball squarely in the Chinese government's court, doesn't it?

Obviously South Korea is going to have zero diplomatic relations with NK after this (as compared to barely any prior to this). Japan cut off all contact and financial aid when NK test fired missles this summer. America certainly isn't going to be negotiating soon. Russia never was much of a player. That leaves just China... and China is basically the lifeblood of all things necesary to sustain life in NK, including oil, electricity, food, et cetera.

That leaves just China's reaction to this. It is either going to try to pooh-pooh what happened (which I doubt), or they are going to choke North Korea for a couple of weeks and see how they like being hungry and cold and in the dark. (Well, the North Koreans can always hug their remaining nuclear bombs for warmth, eh?) It seems rather stupid to wait until the very onset of winter to pull this stunt.

Well, who knows? Maybe the North Koreans know in advance what the Chinese are actually going to do in reaction to having exploded a nuclear bomb on the Korean peninsula. Like I said, I find it surprising because this test explosion seems to guarantee one reaction. Maybe the North Koreans know something I don't know. I doubt it though: If history is any indication, they are really just plain stupid.

By the way, a few thoughts: (1) It will be interesting to see what the yield of the bomb was. The Hiroshima bomb was 40 kilotons, which is about 1% of modern day weapons which are in the neigborhood of 4 megatons. (2) I'll bet Denny Hastert is sending roses to Pyongyang for helping everybody to forget about the Foley Case. (3) I'll bet that the first word out of President Bush's mouth tomorrow morning (when he sits down at his cabinet meeting) is "Iran". (4) Heh. I'll bet that's going to be part of every news story tomorrow actually: How Iran is actually only weeks away from exploding a bomb of their own... even though intelligence says it is closer to a decade. That's good news for President Bush if the media run with that line of B.S.

According to one blog, The Today Show spent 90 seconds on North Korea, and then went right back to the Foley scandal. Sorry: As much as I love watching the hypocrites (R-Everywhere) getting char-broiled on TV, what have happened to our priorities?

Actually, has America ever had its priorities straight when it comes to what is news?

Well, the preliminary results are in, and the best guess on the yield of the bomb is under 1 kiloton. I read someplace else that the technology to create a a nuclear bomb that small is extra advanced science (20 kilotons being about the smallest for nuclear beginners), and so therefore the verdict: DUD.

And just because it needs to be said, this should not let NK off the hook. I hope that China finally wakes up and does something about their petulant little pissant neighbor.

Monday Vinnie Blogging

Vinnie brought along the 'rents this week for his regularly scheduled visit to pattayajil.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oh... Nice Try

The Republicans — thinking that my idea of Congressman Foley's page nemisis taking it upon himself to bust Congressman Perv (D-Florida) on his own was too clever by half — have decided to expand on my whole proposal and out-and-out call it a "prank."


Jil: "So you're saying that Congressman Foley didn't encourage the guy to 'measure regularly'? That he didn't have detailed discussions with a 16-year-old Congressional page about masturbation?"

Mr. Strawman: "No, he did... but the page he was writing to wasn't serious about the conversation."

Jil: "So Congressman Foley wasn't serious either?"

Mr. Strawman: "Well, Congressman Foley was serious, but the page he was writing to was pulling a prank on the Congressman by responding to him."

Jil: "Oh. So we should just forget the whole thing because even though Mark Foley wrote sexy stuff to a 16-year-old, and was serious about what he said, the page who he was writing to thought the Congressman was an idiot, right?"

Mr. Strawman: "Yup."

Hmm... Next time I'm trolling for 8-year-olds on the internet and wind up talking to a FBI agent who is pulling a prank on me and thinks I'm an idiot, I'll remember to keep that in mind. Err... That came out wrong.

Well, I'll repeat it again and again: Nobody cares about the sex. Everybody knows what Congressman Foley was doing was "legal" in the... uh... legal sense of the word. What we are all thinking about here is rank hypocrisy, and abuses of power. What we are thinking about is the fact that the "social values party" blatently put political benefit over those social values when they were told that pages' parents were complaining about Foley and chose not to investigate... in order to avoid a political black eye.

Seriously: As far as I am concerned, the most awesome thing any 54-year-old person on earth can have happen is getting a 16-year-old person who is willing to have sex with them. The problem is not in getting it. The problem is not in trying to get it. The problem is not in talking about getting it. The problem is not in dreaming about getting it. The problem is telling everyone else how evil and bad getting it is, telling everybody else that getting it is a sin or a crime, before going out and getting it for yourself.

What's most funny is that this is really the first time the Republicans have had a scandal that is so clearcut... so easy for even the dumbest American to grasp... that there is simply no room to squeeze in any hypocrisy without getting caught, and the Republicans couldn't stop themselves from stuffing it in there anyway... and I mean just assloads of it:

Blame the page? Blame Clinton? Blame Democrats? Blame the media? Blame gay people? Jesus guys. What are you thinking?

Blast From The Past

Well, this song is brand new, but the band, the Scissor Sisters are right out of my New York City club days, when Linna Mink and I never used to miss a Scissor Sisters show. That was before they were famous. They were fun people. (I'm sure they're still fun now, of course.) We used to always catch the Toilet Boys whenever they played also. I used to know Jayne County and Kevin Aviance... but they only knew me as "Oh yeah. How are you?"

All those places... all those people. I can barely remember a single name, but all the faces are still fresh in my memory. I never even really learned the name of the bars and clubs we frequented. "On 3rd Street between Avenue A and B... it's the black door on the South side with the music playing behind it." Or "that place on Washington and 14th." Just enough to get the cab there.

I don't know what has happened to Linna, or — for that matter — anybody else from those days. They all disappeared... just like I did, actually.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bonus Photo

Took this last week... Pot and Pui.

Friday Cat Blogging

Yes... a sleeping photo for a change. I normally try to avoid sleeping photos because they're too easy.


I really don't know the first thing about kids, but Pot must have the shortest attention span of any kid on the planet.

I bought the movie "Cars" for him to watch on Friday night when his friends are over. (He'll be watching it again on Sunday when we go for a second, larger party with his friends. He begged me about 4 times a day to watch the movie for the 3 days leading up to the big night. He practically wet his pants in joy when I finally dropped the DVD into the tray.

20 minutes later? Pot was at my desk, begging me to put Ice Age 2 in. 20 minutes after that? Yup. The Tom & Jerry movie.

Well, anyway, Pot had 2 of his friends over and Pui bought him a cake, although nobody ate any of it. (Thai kids don't have a taste for heavy-duty sweets, which is great unless you've just shelled out $5 for a cake.)

Back again. Finding Nemo.

Man it's going to be fun watching him suffer on Sunday where he can't change out the movie whenever he wants to.

God I Hate That

If anybody were to ask me what I despise most about left wing Americans, it is this: When they use mob rules approaches to stop right wing speakers from appearing at colleges.

I'm sorry, but it's savage, petty behavior, and it's the most harmful thing that the left wing does to liberal causes. I sincerely hope that I see other liberal / libertarian bloggers speak up against these "demonstrations" because belief and conviction in one viewpoint are never reason enough to squelch and quash another viewpoint... especially if you are a liberal.

Waaay Cool

Carrefour is selling Trappiste Roquefort beer for 125 baht per bottle. There's still 22 bottles left if anyone is interested. Also available are Hoegaarten at 95 baht per bottle, and a strawberry lambic for 75 baht per bottle (!!!).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

That Conserliberal Media

Now, I can spin this either way, which one do you like best?

1: The media is so liberally biased that they figure that they can just change reality by reporting it however they see fit. If they say everyone is a Democrat, then automatically the Democrats are in control of everything... and everyone will therefore love Democrats.

2: The media is so conservatively biased that as soon as an "R" politician makes a political screwup, they are immediately changed to a "D" politician. This way, they never have to say bad things about Republicans... and everybody will therefore hate Democrats.

See? You've got "Mark Foley, D-Florida" (the perv) and just below that, "House Speaker Dennis Hastert (D-Illinois)" (the perv coverer-upper). Two rather besieged Republicans labeled with a D? As in Democrat? The same mistake? Twice in a row? Well three times, since Bill O'Reilly (D-Unce) started it. He's such a friggin' liberal.

So there you have it. The liberal media is now saying that everyone (even Republicans) are Democrats. There are no Republicans anymore folks. They've been reported out of existence by the mainstream media. What an astounding feat. If I had known it was that easy to get rid of the Republican party, I would have started just calling every Republican a Democrat as well. I mean, Republican reality can't possibly withstand Democratally biased reporting. Victory!

Good Visa News

The Thai embassy in Vientienne has started (for an extra 1,000 baht) a same-day issuing process for a 90-day tourist visa.

That means that for about $400 all inclusive, I can catch a cab from Pattaya to the new (much closer) airport, hop a 1-hour flight to Vientienne, catch a cab to the Thai embassy, drop off my passport, go have lunch, go pick up my passport, catch a cab back to the airport in Vientienne, catch a plane back to Bangkok, and be back to work all in the same day.

Thailand Business Practices

If you have a TOT (Thailand's Official Telephone?) line in your house, and you want ADSL internet, you have two choices.

Choice 1: You pay TOT $12.50 per month for a 256/512 Kbps line. OR

Choice 2: You go to a company that rents the internet access from TOT (like True Internet), and you pay True Internet $50 per month for a 256/512 Kbps line, plus you pay TOT a user fee of $12.50 per month.

I have to believe that I am the only person retarded enough to still be using True Internet, or otherwise I will lose all faith and hope in the future of humanity.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Good Place for Election Watchers

Electoral-vote.com is one of the web's most popular election tracking sites. Very cool interactive maps and really exceptionally accurate and up-to-date.
Click for www.electoral-vote.comClick for www.electoral-vote.com
Stop back and look at this graphic every day. It is supposed to be self-updating.

One Thing Leads To Another

I took a break from work at about 6:00 p.m. to go with Pui and Pot to Royal Garden Plaza. We had two goals: To plan Pot's birthday party around the cinema schedule, and to buy a pair of jogging shoes for myself. After we got those things taken care of, I wound up buying Pui a camera. (She only wanted a film camera for 1,200 baht... not some digital thing, so it wasn't a big deal.)

While at RGP, I got Bob's weekly text message announcing his Wednesday Night Rib Special, so instead of going straight home, we went off to dinner at about 7:00.

Since Bob's restaurant is quite close to Rick's bar, I figured we could stop by there for a beer before going home, which we did at about 8:00. Mike and Riza were there as well as Rick and Da, and Justin and Rat. After a couple of beers, they announced that they were on their way to Jameson's for dinner, to which Pui and I decided to go along at 9:00. (Yes... a second dinner.)

At Jameson's, we all ate and made merry, drinking ale and eating steak pies and Cockaleekie soup. Finally at 10:30 we called for the check.

It's now 11:00, and my 1-hour shoe-shopping, movie-scheduling trip has come to an end.

Thai Lesson Of The Day

Bow bow! (As in the front of a ship, not the thing in your hair.)

That means "Take it easy!" (Literally: Soft, soft!)

You hear that shouted a lot in my house.

There Goes Another

Maid Go's nephew rode his motorcycle off into oblivion last night. Add him to Pot's (biological) father 6 months ago, and my ex-girlfriend's best friend about 18 months ago.

There should be a equivalent of "MADD" in Thailand to combat the monstrous number of deaths in this country. Call it "MATIOM" Mothers Against Thai Idiots On Motorcycles.

Gray Again

Thailand is an exciting, exotic and fun country to take a vacation... but this is really the place where they invented the off-white matte sky.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that Pattaya has perhaps 60 days per year when the sky is more than 50% blue, and maybe 20 days per year when the sky is 100% blue.

And yes, most of those days fall in the middle of "high season" here... from late November to early February.

I Have To Chuckle

I got a funny comment a couple of posts below: "I won't be reading your blog any more."

This is funny for one reason alone: There are only 2 people who read my blog on a regular basis, and that is my mother and a guy named Franky. They are the only people who matter to me... and (as much as I value their tuning in regularly) even they can take a hike if they don't like what I write. (They know that too: I've told them.)

There may actually be the rare occasion where my readership goes from two to... oh, I don't know... maybe seven people. Does the sudden arrival of 5 new readers set my heart a-flutter? Ha.

I write this blog to: (1) Keep my writing skills up to snuff, (2) keep my mother abreast of what's going on in my life, and (3) entertain myself by pretending I'm a world-famous blogger. When "outsiders" show up and read what I've posted here, it just baffles me, like strangers stopping on the road outside to peer through my living room window. I mean, you're perfectly welcome, but why do you bother?

...and to add comedy to mystery: Go ahead and walk away in a huff after stopping by as if that somehow matters to me.

Hey: I have no idea, to tell the truth. Maybe there are hundreds of people reading this blog every day, and I'm completely unaware. Doesn't really matter though. I'm going to keep posting shit that only a mother could love.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Running Around

Today on my lunch break, Pui and I went with Pot and got him registered at Buripha school. Pot is pretty jazzed about the place, and understands perfectly well that he'll be with new kids, learning a new language, and all that. No problems with the prospect so far. (The school administrators at first didn't believe that Pot was almost 5 years old. He is really miniature, even by Thai standards. Sara, Rick's daughter, at 2½ years, is the same height.)

After that it was off to Siam Racing Motorcycles to see if they could get their hands on a Yamaha Morphous for me. Much to my surprise, they actually had one in their showroom... but it was an older style, used, and was 260,000 baht. I'd rather buy a new one when I get the spare cash.

From there, it was off to McDonald's for lunch. Pot had a hamburger bun and ketchup. Pui had chicken, and I tried the new rice chicken burger (plus the beef patty from Pot's hamburger).

Finally, we all went to Mini Siam... 350 baht for the 3 of us. (349 baht for farangs, 1 baht for Thai adults, and Pot was free.) Pui had a great time looking at all the miniature Thai ruins... although she was a bit let down with the fact that there were no sites from Petchabun in the joint. Pot just liked the toy cars and the airport.

Now, 2½ hours later, my lunch break is over and it is back to work.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Oh, It Gets Better

It turns out that Rep. I-Like-Boys Foley was a well-known... er... e-mail writer among the Republican establishment. (Even the Congressional pages took time to warn the new guys in the program about Congressman Foley.)

The Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert apparently knew about the e-mails last year, and then shortly thereafter went on the House Floor to say "At home, we put the security of our children first and Republicans are doing just that in our nation’s House."

Republican Majority Leader John Boehner also knew about Rep. Foley's predilections for younger boys... and then announced, "House Republicans have approved legislation that protects our children from Internet predators." (That would be the legislation that Rep. Foley actually co-sponsored.)

Back a year ago (it has since been explained to us), the Republicans didn't investigate the charges at the request of the 16-year-old's parents. Hmm. I wonder if that excuse would have done well with the Catholic Church? Hope all the other parents of all the other 16-year-old pages Rep. Foley took a liking to don't mind.

Now of course, now that the whole tale has made it out into the sunlight, the Republicans have to behave like... well... Republicans, and those same guys who heard about this problem a year ago, but decided to ignore it (at the parents request, natch) are now calling for "the full weight of the criminal justice sytem to be brought to bear, because "resigning isn't enough."

Personally, I don't think it should be illegal to talk about sex on the internet with a 16-year-old, if it is perfectly legal to have sex with them in person. However, at the same time, I support stiff penalties for hypocrisy... but that's just me. So, I hope everybody gets what they deserve out of this fiasco.

By the way... just for the record: Apparently this 16-year-old was told (warned) about Rep. Foley's proclivities for boys, and somehow managed to wind up having spicy conversations with him anyway. Since I honestly believe there are no victims in this whole scenario... just people getting (and giving) what's coming to them... I don't mind speculating that there was a little "Let's see if I can get this guy in trouble" on the part of the kid.

Well Mr. Foley, that's what the closet, hypocrisy, and general boneheadedness get you: A one way ticket to political and social oblivion.

(I took out an earlier "idiot" sentence, because it was a poor choice of words that made it sound like I was referring to the kid as well. Sorry... memory hole, please.)

I put this in the comments, but I figured I would add it here so that everyone would read it:

Some people think that the "Let's see if I can get this guy in trouble" comment is some kind of "blame the victim" approach on my part, or a show of my disapproval.

So I will say this here and now, as someone who loves nothing more than to see hypocrites get what's coming to them: If a 16-year-old boy was able to gay-bait a 52-year-old closeted, self-loathing, DOMA-supporting Congressman who had a well-established history of chasing after other 16-year-old boys, then I think that is just the most awesome fxcking thing ever. Whether it was planned or not: Nice job kid.

Apparently Rush Limbaugh reads my blog. Granted, my take was to ponder whether the kid might have taken it upon himself to nail Foley. Ol' Rush, strapping on his tin foil hat, thinks some Democratic operative paid the kid.

Well, what did you expect? That The Great Limbo wouldn't go me one better?

Not Burnt Out... I Promise

I'm taking this weekend off from work.

I put in 12 days straight of full on typing, and what I found was that my wrists and hands were slowly losing their power, and slowly stiffening up, lowering my typing speed by about 10-15% as of Saturday morning.

So my wrists need some time to recharge... even if the rest of me doesn't. Oh well. Another day at the beach is not at all unwelcome.