Bangkok: AP BS

After Paul ... Before Susan

August 15-22, 2001

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

There is a blank piece of white paper in my typewriter. Paul is back home. Susan has not even started to pack.

According to NEWNES, today (in history) was a day marked by newsworthy battles:

NEWNES also notes that "The Peterboro Massacre" took place in 1819.

Even Wescott's saint of the day had to stomach a battle (one that both he and He lost):

Tharsicius
THIRD CENTURY

During the persecutions of Valerian, this Roman acolyte was taking the last sacrament to some condemned Christians. A heathen crowd gathered around him, curious to know what he was carrying. Lest the wine and wafers be made fun of, he quickly swallowed them, and his perishable body suffered for the imperishable body of God inside it; they stoned and beat him to death.


IN OUR PAGES: 75 YEARS AGO
[from the International Herald Tribune]
1926: Lady Targets

Lady TargetsVIENNA – Women are especially dangerous companions during an electrical storm, a woman contributor wrote to the Vienna newspaper "Neues Wiernar Journal." As her authority for this statement, she cited an unnamed Swiss priest. "After mass had been said one Sunday," she wrote, "I tarried some minutes in the church and got into conversation with the priest. I asked him why he insisted on separating the men from the women during service. He replied: 'It is better so. When lightning strikes a church it always strikes that part in which the greatest number of women are congregated. Women have magnetism for lightning.'"


This morning's Bangkok Post carries a stern warning from the local police: makers of "pirated movie products" should not produce fake versions of the big-budget Thai epic 'Suriyothai'. A police spokesman said that the movie was very important to Thai history and he urged the public to help police crack down on makers of pirate copies. The article made no reference to the American movie, "Pearl Harbor", which has been readily available in Bangkok since the day of its first screening in the USA.

The top dozen floors of what was going to be The Sofitel Hotel are about to be chopped off. Minutes before the prime contractor (an Italian company ... Pisa?) was about to turn the building over to the interior decorators the whole place lurched 5 ½ degrees to the west and the lobby floor became concave.

Again, the Bangkok Daily News had to employ the skill of Morton in its ongoing service to be first at the door of the bereaved.

Strange cables lead from the roof to the ground ... right past my porch.


Thursday, August 16, 2001

Wescott's saints are really looking-glasses. Even though more than half a thousand years have passed since Rock walked the earth his kind are still with us.

Rock
DIED 1337

This rich young Frenchmen had a birthmark in the shape of a star on his chest, and it appeared to have had a great effect on his imagination. Pitying mankind, he became a sort of doctor, a specialist in the plague. When he caught it himself, his dog fed him and an angel nursed him. In pictures he is always lifting up his clothes to show something on his body – it may be a plague spot, it may be his birthmark.

He is a favorite patron of the sick.


NEWNES:

Today's International Herald Tribune reports that Hermann's Zeppelin has started regular service. Zeppelin NT May VisitYesterday the Zeppelin NT, named "Bodensee", began carrying fare-paying passengers on its Lake Constantine route ... a little more than 100 years after the first airship made history with a flight over the same lake. In 1937 the Hindenburg crash in New Jersey brought Zeppelin travel to a rude halt. Readers are encouraged to visit our visit to the Zeppelin factory AND to read about what really might have happened to the Hindenburg.1

The Bangkok Daily News 'captures' a rapist being captured by a ghost. The helpful yellow arrow points to the spot.

The Weekly World News2 splashes its readers with the words of a now-dead oldie.

Who is this girl?


1 Was this 'crash' ... the one that snuffed out the lives of 35 people ... but a crude attempt to boost German pyrotechnic displays?

2 In a month-old July issue that has just now been slipped under my door.


Friday, August 17, 2001 (First Day of the Feast of Saint Emilia Bicchieri)

Wescott fills in the missing bits:

Emilia Bicchieri
THIRTEENTH CENTURY

This girl's mother died when she was a child, and she regarded the Virgin Mary as her mother, and acted accordingly.

NEWNES:

This weekend my two oldest son-in-laws will again participate in the dangerous sport of bicycle racing. According to my daughter, Patty,1 this foolish stunt will take place in Portland, Oregon ... very near to their house. My readers will remember Doctor Sam's recent near death experience when he took his two-wheeler for a training spin just blocks from his home. His battered face is a testimony to the things that can happen even to a doctor of medicine when he allows the fear of lost youth to rule his better judgment. X-ray truckPerhaps this account from our in-house economist, Professor Steele, will be the welcome 'splash of cold water' that brings the man to his senses.

Did this X-Ray give a lethal dose of radiation to 94 men and women of Mexican descent? Or, was it just 58 people who had their child creating organs stripped 'barren' by the troops who man the border bars at America's southern fortifications? Is this page-2 photo from today's International Herald Tribune the same picture that the Weekly World News published way back in July? If so, disturbing journalistic/ethical questions are raised.

Pressed by all the publicity surrounding the opening of the "big-budget Thai epic 'Suriyothai'", Thai customs officials have renewed their effort against 'pirate' software and counterfeit DVDs: goods that have been callously produced without proper authorization from the owners of the copyrighted 'parent' material. Today's Bangkok Daily News captured this action for everyone's early morning read.2


1 A classic homemaker of the 'old-iron' school.

2 No gruesome dismemberments or disembowelments took place during the last 24 hours ... apparently Bangkok suffered no bloody hackings that might have shoved today's front page copyright infringement pictures right out of the way.


Saturday, August 18, 2001 (The Day of Helena, Mother of Constantine the Great)

Malloy's "The Mystery Book of Days" has nothing to say for today. But, yesterday it marked the 19th anniversary of the death of little Azaria Chamberlain:

Keeping with the 17th here is a letter that Julian S. Huxley1 wrote to The Times2 on that day in 1938.3

Sir,

In your issue of July 30 you employed 'rhinoceri' as the plural of rhinoceros. This is surely a barbarism, although on referring to the New Oxford Dictionary I find that to my surprise and regret that it is one of the usages cited.

The plural has given writers of English considerable trouble. Besides rhinoceros, rhinocerons, and the above-mentioned rhinoceri, the N.E.D. quotes rhinocerons, rhinoceroes, rhinocerotes, and rhinocerontes.

Rhinoceroses would appear to be the least objectionable, but even this still has a pedantic sound. Has not the time come when we can discard our etymological prejudices, accept the usage of the ordinary man, and frankly use 'rhinos'? Confusion will not arise, since the slang use of rhino for money is moribund, if not dead.

Zoo for Zoological Gardens has now become accepted usage: I hope we may adopt the same common-sense principle for some of its inmates with embarrassingly long names. In addition to rhino, I would plead for hippo and, with a certain diffidence, for chimp.

Yours faithfully,
Julian S. Huxley
August 17, 1938

No doubt about it; both the Bangkok Post and the Bangkok Daily News will today witness alarming drops in their point-of-purchase sales. Due to a frightening fade in interesting crime both papers were forced to front photos that on a normal day would have never even seen a stop-bath. The Post headlined with a story about shrimp farming abuses while the crime beat over at the News could only come up with a picture of the girl friend of a toll booth robber for its normally blood soaked below-the-fold spot.

Nor does NEWNES give us anything to cheer about:

Who is this girl?


1 Huxley was the Secretary of the Zoological Society of London from 1938 to 1942.

1 The Times, of course, is the Times from London. All others must carry the name of some other city in their banner: e.g., New York Times, St. Petersburg Times, etc.

1 THE FIRST CUCKOO, Letters to The Times 1900–1975, Times Books (London), 1976.


Sunday, August 19, 2001 [Second Month of the Second Trimester of the "Second Coming"]1

There is a new massage shop on the street. At 150 baht for 45 minutes it has started a vicious massage war. New Foot ShopWhere it will lead is uncertain.

This morning's Bangkok Daily News is awash with heartbreak and gore. Thanks to a terrible hotel fire and some other more limited personal tragedies, yesterday's circulation dip may be temporary. But, without Watcharee's translation skills to help me I have to throw the prints on the table without comment.2

Tonight the Queen will visit the hotel. It is very much a black-tie affair. Security will be tight.

While digging about in my reference shelf I found a list of automobiles3 that are named after people. Though Ford, Ferrari and Porsche are pretty obvious, Hillman (William), Opel (Adam), Skoda (Emil) and Vanwall (Tony) are not. On this slow note ... well ...


1 www.clonejesus.com

2 Since the 'inset' gashes are not reflected in the mother photograph there is no way of telling who is the owner of the unfortunate limbs.

3 Geoff Tibballs, THE BEST BOOK OF LISTS, Carlton Books, 1999.


Monday, August 20, 2001 [Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux]1

NEWNES:

When my friend, Paul, flew to Bangkok he 'started' his long journey in Los Angeles; sure, he packed his bags way back in Seattle ... where he lives ... but, out of convenience he spent his last stateside night in an LA airport hotel.

Susan left Fort Lauderdale at 6:45am on Sunday. A little over seven hours later (after one stopover ... Atlanta?) she arrived at LAX, just before 11am Pacific Time. Three and a half hours later she caught TG 775's one-stop service (Narita, Osaka?) for the 19-hour journey to Bangkok.2 Daytime PatpongShe should arrive here in Bangkok at 11:20 tonight.

For the next ten days she will do this journal. This will be a first for her ... and for us. Though Susan has been on several trips [Chateau d'Oex, elephant polo, London ... and, a few years ago, even Bangkok]3, she has never had to carry the full pen. Yes, a special treat awaits all of you.

Yesterday afternoon I went shopping in Patpong for pirated movies. By day Patpong is a depressing place; the signs that look so inviting at night look awful without darkness. And, only a few vendors trickle in before sunset ... mostly with benign items that don't shy away from the light. Even then, most of the activity centers on getting the place ready for the night crowd.4 Another new Internet shop has just opened: the Patpong Internet, just across the street from the Super Queen (Porn's place). Apparently, it too is open only at night.

Here (as promised) is Wescott on Saint Bernard:

Bernard
1091 – 1153

The Doctor Mellifluous, as he is called – one of whose emblems is a beehive – seems indeed the princeliest of the princes of religion: by birth, by incomparable talent, and by temporal power. When he was little more than a boy, one of his noble uncles and four of his brothers imitated his renunciation of the world, and so it went to the very end: women hid their men, men hid their friends, as if he had been a tragic courtisan.

At twenty-three he entered the new Cistercian abbey of Citeaux; a year later, he founded his own abbey, Clairvaux; in a place called the Vale of Wormwood, or, if you prefer, Absinthe Valley; in due time established seventy other houses here and there; and was the uncrowned king of the supposedly civilized world, the oracle of Christendom. He personally organized the second crusade, boasting that in all Europe he had left only one husband for every seven wives. It was a calamitous adventure; and if he himself had not stayed at home prudently, he might not have been able to blame the mysterious ways of providence, the sins of the individual crusaders, and this and that, for what happened.

Like St. Francis, he despised the intellect and its virtuosi in and around the universities, humiliating and indeed mutilating scholasticism in the person of Pierre Ablard.

He himself was puzzled by his facility in working wonders, saying that he knew himself to be neither a holy man nor a charlatan. Thirty-six miracles took place on one day, while he was recruiting for his crusade.

Once, when he was in poor health, the Virgin let him suck from her breast.


Dear reader, last night I went over to the Spa after dinner. You will be pleased to know that the beautiful Noo is even more beautiful than ever.


1 Originally destined as a footnote, I thought better of him. Prejudice toward his name was my knee-jerk reaction ... also, a lot of space in Wescott meant much 'retyping'. But, like me (I?), do read him! Please.

2 With a combined flight mileage (2,352 plus 8,306) of 10,658.

3 Readers will never forget her presence aboard the almost ill-fated corkscrew balloon when it was trapped above the clouds ... her concern about sorting her freshly shot negatives from our charred and mangled remains gave us all a good laugh during those near twilight moments. And, the photograph of her applying lipstick while playing elephant polo added a much-needed serious note to our otherwise frivolous and vacant sport.

4 I am constantly amazed by Bangkok's wiring. It a way it is an art form in itself. Incidentally, according to the company that supplies Bangkok with its electric power, 10% of the generated electricity never finds its way to paying customers. It is siphoned off by users who employ all sorts of clever ways to get it to their light bulbs and TV sets without having to worry about paying for it. These photographs clearly show how easy it is to tap into a line for a personal trickle. Some long distance users tack together hundreds of feet of extension cords ... cords that parallel city curbs for blocks and blocks ... before finally vacating their volts into a dim light or a flickering Sony. And, dear reader, this stuff is 240; not the meek and mild 120 that Americans use.


Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Susan is still sleeping.

She is in a room right across the aisle from the room that Paul had when he was here.

This is a picture of her room ... taken from a camera close to the mini-bar. The girl standing near the foot of the bed is Watcharee. A 'welcome' gift is lying on the bed.

This is the view from Susan's window.

Susan will take up the journal soon. Real soon.1


1 I hope.


BULLETIN

Susan has gone to the Spa for a "Jet Lag Massage" ... then she is off to the pool for a little watery-dip and a much needed ice cold pick-me-up "drinky-poo". After that we shall hear from her. She promises! In the mean time, The Bangkok Daily News rushes us with some fresh prints from its darkroom: a happy-snap of a mommy giving birth to a new one in the back seat of a cop car ... and a not-so-happy-snap of someone being fished out of a hole. The one being fished out of a hole must have a mangled head as the space where his head should be is all covered with dots. His crotch area is in even worse shape: a big blue (totally opaque) square covers everything even slightly 'groinish'. Another sad picture in our lovable daily rag has a couple of folks looking at someone who has either been shot to pieces or stabbed all over the place ... with the dotted area covering up some gushed out brains.

P.S. Something else seen from my porch.


Wednesday, August 22, 2001

We are still waiting, Susan!1

... tap ... tap ... tap ...

Meanwhile ... today’s Bangkok Post reports that a former Oriental Hotel pianist makes a dubious career change.


1 Seen last night getting a foot massage at White Shirts.


Up next: Susan's Journal

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