Bangkok When the Leaves Turn, Part VI

Between Part V and Part VII

October 26-31, 2001

Friday, October 26, 2001

Yesterday,1 because of the massive job cuts at Sears (see above) I was unable to bring you Wescott's 25th:

Chyrsanthus and Daria
DIED ABOUT 283

Chrysanthus, or Grisante,2 was a senator's son, and when he became a Christian, the senator sent him a heathen beauty, Daria, to seduce him. But the appeal of religion overcame nature, and Daria did not lie with him until the very end of the story in a sand-pit, while they were being stoned.

For today Wescott gives us two through which we can find blind faith:

Quadragesimus
SIXTH CENTURY

Quadragesimus brought a dead man back to life, but was shy about it. His excited wife laughed and cried and would gladly have made it the talk of the town. 'Keep it quiet,' he said. 'If anyone makes inquiries, say we had nothing to do with it Our Lord did it for His own amusement.'

 

Bonaventura of Potenza
THIRTEENTH CENTURY

Bonaventura Levagna was a poor tailor's son who did wonders during the plague in Naples. He had so submissive a nature that when he was being buried, and the priest said, perhaps facetiously, 'Into the tomb with you,' his dead body obeyed.

Of late, dark clouds have been hanging over Bangkok. This has postponed the opening of the al fresco Ciao Restaurant, here on The Oriental side of the Chao Phya River. It has also caused guests at the now 'topless'3 Sala Rim Naam to run for cover when the unexpected rains attack at dinner time.4

While looking at my log-history for yesterday I noticed that a great deal of attention was paid to one particular photograph of a nearly naked Patpong pole dancer. 'She' ... and, I use the inverted comma here because my old friend, Porn (from my Super Queen days) said that 'she' is a ladyboy ... anyway, 'she' is a regular performer at one of the clubs operated by the King's group; one of the most entrepreneurial holding companies in the greater Patpong entertainment area.

NEWNES:


1 Yesterday also saw the anniversary of the death (in 1957) of mob hit man Albert "the Executioner" Anastasia. While sitting in a barber's chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City two men, with faces hidden by scarves, came up behind him and shot him five times, killing him instantly. The killers are believed to be "Crazy Joey" Gallo and his equally nutty brother. - Malloy

2 Not to be confused with the other Grisante ... that deeply-troubled, long-brooding, job-dissatisfied figure ... who quite unwittingly, gave 'birth' to a terrible replicating virus; one that has haunted men's minds ever since day zero.

3 'Before' and 'after' still-footage graphically shows how vulnerable diners now are to the terrible whims of the Thai rain-gods. And, in some never-before seen video [424k MPEG] the city skyline is rendered coal black by her awful storms.

4 Noi, and an unnamed Sala Rim Naam server are concerned that things might get worse before they get better. Mock fear and mock nonchalance perhaps hide something else.


Saturday, October 27, 2001

This morning I got three envelopes in the mail; each with an issue of the World Weekly News ... all dated between September 18th and October 2nd.

[America Media, Inc., 5401 N.W. Broken Sound Boulevard, Boca Raton, FL 33487-3589, Employee Lounge -- September 11, 2001 ... sometime after 8AM]

"Holy Fuck! Stop the presses!"

They lay scattered on card tables; some lying half opened on drink stained sofas; still others on the floor ... but, the whole hodgepodge was roughly strewn just a stride or two away from an ancient, wheezing, clanking icebox size coin-operated coffee machine that still took dimes. Almost out of ear-range was an always-on Sony Trinitron. They were all the 'current' issues1 of the Weekly World News, The Sun, The National Enquirer and The Star.

Ace Reporter, Cliff Linedecker2 had been working on a story about Timothy McVeigh's involvement in the strange salmonella poisoning of wheelchair-bound children at the annual (2002) White House Easter Egg hunt.3 His knee-jerk expletive to the sight of bodies leaping from WTC One also jerked old Ed Anger's pen from its yellow pad.

"By Jiminy ... what are you hissy-fitting about now ... you sound madder than Sitting Bull in a Standing Room Only crowd?"

Icon WWN columnist Anger had been busily honing a zinger for his weekly "My America" slam; for this issue the 'Native American busybodies' were his target.4 Looking up at the burning trade towers on the aging Sony, Anger wondered aloud how this "thing in New York" could be squeezed into his publisher's already crammed pipeline.

"Can't," they agreed. And, so they went back to work.5

NEWNES reminds us of the good old days when men of God earned their due:

From the House of Si Quey, a photograph of a severed leg (deeply slashed) and a raggedly chopped off arm.

Finally, from Mambo, a close up of a very ugly ladyman.

This afternoon Mike and Marg McNair arrived at The Oriental. Do you remember them? From a Butterfield and Robinson walking trip several years ago ... the Scottish boat trip with Annie ... and last year's Chateau d'Oex. Anyway, they are here for just one night ... they are passing through on their way to Saigon. Tune in tomorrow for pictures.


1 Up to, but just shy of, the Halloween issue.

2 Remember, C-B.com was among the first to honor Linedecker's prescient reportage of the Ritter 111's involvement in the summertime '01 execution of McVeigh. His visionary camera work had captured the death mask even before death had done its work.

3 This being a follow-up story to Linedecker's earlier expose of the CIA's covert 'rescue' of McVeigh just seconds before he was to be fatally syringed for the bombing deaths of hundreds at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

4 Incidentally, as I write this, a brisk discussion about doing away with Little League baseball names and mascots with 'Injun' names is going on over at BKRM; a privately funded Internet discussion group with roots dating back to the childhood days of CompuServe.

5 Other niche publications found little difficulty in working the September 11 angle into their monthlies. For example, "Pit & Quarry" easily saw implications for its crushed stone, sand and gravel trade readers [Its editor wondered whether concrete rubble from the World Trade Center would be recycled]. "Cheese Market News" fretted over lower Manhattan bridge closures ["Milk is so perishable"]. "Convenience Store News" worried about harassment of Seven-11 nightshift workers who looked too Middle Eastern ["Indians Victims of Backlash", its headline read].


Sunday, October 28, 2001 (Feasts of SS. Simon and Jude)

NEWNES:

Wescott raises some interesting questions about Jude's identity and integrity. Whether Jude was given to telling tall tales ... or, more likely, that the heirs of his body were on a rolling 'con' ... well, church scholars have been pretty mum about this. The man closest to the scene ... at least, the one with the power to compel some straight answers ... the Emperor Domitian, largely wrote the whole family off as being fools.

Jude
FIRST CENTURY

The tradition is that Jude was either one of Our Lord's brothers2 or one of the Christmas shepherds. His grandchildren were very proud of their descent, and the Emperor Domitian had them brought before him, to ascertain how far the pretensions of this new royal family went. When he saw their farmer's muscles and calloused hands, when he heard that they owned only thirty-nine acres of land, and that the kingdom in question was to be all spiritual, he despised them as harmless simpletons, and let them go a judgment somewhat more amiable than perspicacious.

Last night Watcharee and I took Mike and Marg (and their friend, Tom Bertelsen) to Harmonique for dinner. Afterwards we went over to White Shirts for the obligatory reflexology. This morning Mike and Marg are flying Air Vietnam to Saigon; Tom, after one more night in Bangkok, will return to California.


1 A sad anniversary for members of the Scandinavian Corkscrew Club. In happier times our members can be seen 'playing' with CB3.

2 Former US president Bill Clinton was also 'tormented' by embarrassing brothers popping up at awkward times. Bill and Roger were never close as youths (having different fathers [or, is it mothers?] will usually do that). And, there is little evidence that Our Lord and Jude were childhood pals (and, with Mary claiming virginity up-and-down, right-and-left when it came to the baby Jesus ... well, little Jude might have been passed off as nine months of stomach gas).


PS This afternoon, my neighbor - the French Embassy - was 'attacked' by a vicious storm. I was able to capture the action on film ... both still and movie [336k MPEG].

PPS Seconds after lashing the French, the storm turned and unleashed its rage against the little Sala Rim Naam [486k.mpg].

PPPS Over at Si Quey's Place there lies a man who was shot in the throat.


Monday, October 29, 2001

Wescott turns up a 'Karen Carpenter' kind of case that predates Columbus' discovery of America:

Benvenuta
THIRTEENTH CENTURY

An ardent ascetic who mistreated herself to the point of death. Her friends carried her to St. Dominic's tomb in Bologna; the presence of the bitter Spaniard's great body calmed her; but when she got home she began to lead an impossible life again, and soon died of it.

NEWNES:


1 NEWNES notes that the Suez Canal attack began on October 29, 1956.


PS An unusual Si Quey offering: innards.


Tuesday, October 30, 2001

The awning is coming down on my side! Such optimism! When the Sala Rim Naam side did it just the other day ... well, the place was punished with gales the likes of which had not been seen in years. But, The Oriental side has no choice; the great festive holiday, Loy Krathong, is less than 24 hours away (see tomorrow for details). Since everything is built around the full moon of the 11th lunar month, anything that blocks the view of the moon would be unthinkable. Incidentally, in keeping with generally accepted Thai assembly/disassembly principles, the workers charged with unbolting the frame set about their task with the minimum of bothersome safety harnesses, etc.

NEWNES:

ALIMAX is totally gone. Nothing remains. Done. Finished. No more. Period.

Wescott:

Narcissus
SECOND CENTURY

Narcissus was elected bishop at the age of eighty, and promptly accused of an odious vice or crime; three men swore to it, afterwards admitting that they had lied. In spite of this rehabilitation, the old man was so shocked to learn that such things could happen that he hid from the world for several years, and did not resume his bishopric until three short-lived successors had held it.

Dear reader, yesterday I 'missed' Malloy's entry. It was about ... well, here it is; better late than not at all1:


This is the season that is generally accepted by most corkscrew clubs as the best time of the year to get together. Usually these clumps of collectors do not overlap each other. Close together in time? Sometimes. Right on top of one another? Never. Too close together in time and place? Well ... 2.

The first, and still the premiere, corkscrew collector club in the world is the ICCA.3 But, the largest of the corkscrew collector clubs is the CCCC.4 Both of these groups are meeting this week: the latter in Atlanta and the former in Miami Beach. Patpong Corkscrew ClubYet, there are some others: a small Nordic-centric Scandinavian group that prefers the spring for its gatherings, a minuscule cultist Mid-Atlantic quasi-guild founded by the recluse Don Bull that may have never actually met ... and, now, the Patpong Corkscrew Collectors Club (www.PatpongCorkscrewClub.Com) which will soon have its very first meeting here in Bangkok.

The Patpong Corkscrew Club will fill a vacancy ... in fact, several vacancies: it will be the first one to be founded in Patpong, one of the three main entertainment zones of Bangkok; its members will be largely made up of 'go-withs'5; there will be no dues to pay, no 'best-sixes'6 to send around; nor will there be any need for the members to actually own any corkscrews or to even recognize the more arcane qualities of the corkscrew.7

Right now, my 'border collies' are sniffing around the normally well-stocked potential membership pools: the Super Queen, the Kangaroo Club, the King's Corner and other Patpong bars.


Morton's work for this morning's cover of the Bangkok Daily News was exhaustive.


1 Anyway, Malloy has no entries at all for today, the 30th.

2 This is a real can of worms. The Miami Beach meeting of the ICCA may not be a safe place to be this year: anthrax in the Wyndham's air conditioning and container ships with nukes at the Port of Miami might be the least of the worries. Watch out for items (6), (13) and (14) on the November 7th Agenda.

3 International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts, founded in 1974.

4 Canadian Corkscrew Collectors Club; which really isn't all that Canadian anymore. It probably came into existence because the ICCA stingily kept its enrollment cap at 50 members.

5 "Go-withs": something (someone) that (who) goes with something (someone) else. Traditionally, 'go-withs' have been female.

6 "Best-Sixes" are photographs of the best six corkscrews that a collector has found (or has pretended to find) sometime in the past.

7 Opening bottles is a given.


Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - HALLOWE'EN1

NEWNES:

It's 'trick or treat' time!

What if Islamic fundamentalists attacked the horizons surrounding The Oriental? Using nuclear weapons?

What if they only attacked the shrubs and bushes of a familiar nearby full-service apartment building? Using powerful shears?


1 Coincidentally, Loy Krathong this year falls on Halloween. "Perhaps the loveliest of Thai festivals, Loy Krathong honors the water spirits through the launching of little candlelit boats, or krathongs, in ponds and waterways all over the country. This occurs on the night of the full moon in the 11th lunar month, usually November, when the rivers and canals are at their highest." THAILAND, A Traveler's Companion.

2 Contemporary theologian, Chuck Palahniuk, in his own examination of Jesus' place in any century (See "CHOKE"), allows his protagonist, Victor Mancini, to rhetorically ask (while removing the wax from a friend's clogged ear):

"Do you think Jesus automatically knew he was Jesus from the start, or did his mom or somebody tell him and he grew into it? Just supposing Jesus Christ had to practice being the Son of God to get any good at it. What if Jesus spent all his growing up getting things wrong before he ever got a single miracle right? How is it we don't read about Jesus' failed first attempts or how he didn't really crank out the big miracles until he was over thirty? How about if Jesus got started by just doing nice things for people, you know, helping old ladies cross the street or telling people when they'd left their headlights on? Well, not that exactly, but you get the idea. How about if Jesus spent years working up to the big loaves-and-the-fishes thing? I mean, that Lazarus deal is probably something he'd have to build up to, right? Maybe, maybe even Jesus didn't believe in himself at first. Maybe miracles are like talent, and you have to start with the small stuff. I don't mean like Jesus did card tricks, but just not hurting people would be a good start."


Next: Part VII

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