The place hasn't changed very much.
Derek put it politely ... something like this: "... Ah, Alf, if you are looking for 'content', perhaps you could tell us how you got into collecting corkscrews and balloons ...".
He said something like that. But, what he was undoubtedly thinking: "Christ, this place is getting so boring ... switch soon or I'm going for the clicker!"1
All right ... this is not Bangkok ... so there is not a lot of room here for raw gore and Patpong flesh. You see, Disney owns most of the place and they try to keep it squeaky clean.2
At best (for today) I can offer some pictures of local girls playing and lounging on or near the beach.
Of course, anything from South Florida would not be complete without a cheesy lawyer ad. This one I found on a bus stop bench ... offering the services to those who might have been inconvenienced by getting the 'runs' on cruise ships, slipped on deck while drunk or perhaps even feel slighted by not being invited to dine at the Captain's table. Catch the toll free 800 number.
Finally, my local Seven 11 (or is it 7 Eleven) provided this week's Weekly World News. The cover story is about two duck hunters who shot an angel out of the sky. Inside, Bat Boy is photographed abandoning a stolen Mini. Most germane is an article about how Heaven is not 'cracked' up to what is advertised: apparently there are no virgins in Heaven ... much less 72 of them.3
1 Paul, how are you coming along with the 'fest article?
2 Surely, some night I'll sneak out and see if US1 is still 'active' in its darker corners.
3 Of course, our seasoned readers will recall that THOCBDC reported last year that Koran scholars concluded that the overly eager Mohammeds should take their Playboy Magazines and tissues with them ... that recent research proved that "white raisins" and not "virgins" would greet these Muslim 'martyrs' who dreamed of early cashing-out their miserable sand-eating life on this Earth for a dozen six-packs of 'still-in-the-box' ladies.
Definitely a niche day!
Everyone who is not an ICCA member might as well leave now.
[Stomp, stomp, stomp...SLAM!]
A little more than twenty-five years ago (September 27 - October 2, 1977) I attended my first ICCA AGM. It was held in London at the Guinness Brewery (Park Royal).
Today I have posted some photographs of that trip. A quarter century has done some damage to the colors ... but, I have tried to help things a little with PhotoShop 7.0TM. Still ...
As the Concorde had just begun servicing London/Washington1 I made the round trip supersonically. Incidentally, on my return trip there were only 9 passengers on board as it was the inaugural Wednesday service for Concorde.
On to corkscrews ... well, actually, on to the people (some of whom are now dead or have gone elsewhere):
On September 27th we had a Chief Correspondent's reception at the Garrick Club ... just off Leicester Square. This followed a viewing of corkscrews at Sotheby's ... in anticipation of the next day's corkscrew auction. Homer Babbidge, a co-founder of the ICCA, was our first Chief Correspondent.
The 28th saw most of us at the Sotheby's auction ... and later that same day Christie's held a reception and a corkscrew viewing ... in anticipation of their own corkscrew auction, which was scheduled for the very next day.
The Christie's auction was on the 29th. Spirited bidding saw items reach dozens of pounds (Sterling).
On the 30th we had the 1977 AGM at the Guinness Brewery ... we were guests of Dr. Bernard Watney (our first Right). Most of the 'reception' photographs were taken here ... obviously the ones of the AGM itself were also taken at the Park Royal facility.
On October 1st most of us went to Portobello Road.
On the 2nd we trained to Bath where we were guests of Richard Dennis at the "Hole-In-The-Wall" restaurant. We coached back to London after a visit to a local winery. The black and white official photograph was taken, I think, at the brewery. The other two group photos ... who knows?
And then it was all over.
1 Initially the Concorde was only allowed to land in the USA at Dulles as New York was worried about noise. Since the Feds owned Dulles it could easily tell the Port Authority of New York to 'stuff it', and that if New York wanted to be a 'village' about the future of air travel, so be it. New York soon changed its mind. Well, maybe it was a bunch of air-huggers who were the NY malcontents; the Port Authority may have been all in favor of the Concorde. I don't really remember.
PS: This is the official photograph of the 1976 ICCA AGM which was held in San Francisco, California. I was not a member in 1976.
Here at THOCBDC we can't please everyone...nor do we usually try. But, in an unusual rapid succession we have received two letters from very unhappy readers. Our 'open' publishing policy ... ah ... suggests ... no, demands that we share them with you ... and ... yes ... appease them ... well, at least a little bit:
Reader Miss P. V. B. from Wendell, Arizona writes:
"'Cheap slut trash' is what I call it! One of those pictures practically had your camera peering up that girl's ass hole ... and the others were just a shameless display of young, firm, well oiled, tan, supple skin. All were in poor taste. Isn't Florida best known for its boats?"
Reader R. (Rocky) L. from Bozeman, Montana writes:
"What sort of pansy ass things are corkscrews? If I can't screw the top off something with my teeth, screw it (Ha Ha). The chicks were OK but how about some serious Russian Mafia yachts. That's the real money stuff ... with acres of those flying bridges under foot you can have all the pussy you want ... and ones fitted with growlers tight enough to suck the cork out of a magnum of 1806 pre-phylloxera Lafite."
As you wish. These private boats are in town for the winter.
PS: For the photo-geeks among our followers: these three photographs of this condominium (as well as the photographs of the boats) were taken with a Nikon Cooolpix 5700 with an optical zoom range of 35 mm to 280 mm1 and a 4 power digital 'piggyback' zoom extender.2 The first picture of the building is at 35 mm; the second at 280 mm; the last at a 4x digital extension of the 280 mm focus. The 5 Mega Pixel capability of the camera definitely enhances quality of the digital zoom enhancement.
1 Digital equivalent: 8.9 mm to 71.2 mm ... 8 optical power.
2 All photographs were taken using the camera's default settings.
I really did get several e-mails from Addicts who enjoyed seeing the photographs of the 1977 ICCA AGM, which was held in London. Bandy, Becker, Bull, Hark, Sharp and Mavis Watney actually wrote me; no ... I promise ... I did not make this up.
Considering this 'applause' to be a mandate to heap much more on your plate I've asked my PhotoShop 7.0TM to tackle my album from 1978. Yes, like with the preceding year's original photographs these prints, too, were showing extreme age-fade.
But, let's start (I am relying on the schedule that was distributed at the time we picked up our welcome packets ... if we deviated from what you read below, well, let's pretend otherwise).
Likewise I am relying on the sequence of the photos in my album to 'date' them. If I have someone doing something 'here' when he was really doing it 'there' ... again, let's change history.
OK, let's really start:
The 1978 ICCA AGM was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from October 31st until November 3rd. According to the pre-meeting mailing from Chief Correspondent, Homer D. Babbidge, the following Addicts had confirmed their attendance:
Plus at least 15 'go-withs'1
The Chief Correspondent's Reception was held at the Board Room of the Pier 66 Hotel on Tuesday evening, the 31st.
The following morning there was a sell/swap session at the Venetian room of the hotel. After a break for lunch the selling and swapping continued until late afternoon. That evening there was a cocktail reception and dinner at the McClennen's house at 724 Isle of Palms.
On the morning of November 2nd we returned to the Venetian Room for what I remember to be the very first ICCA pre-auction viewing of corkscrews. Lunch was held at The Down Under Restaurant; it was hosted by Fromm & Sichel, the distributors of Christian Brothers Wines. In the late afternoon, back at our hotel, Watney and Bandy made 'presentations' about corkscrews.
On the morning of November 3rd the ICCA held its first ever corkscrew auction. Michael Broadbent (of Christie's) was our auctioneer. That afternoon the AGM was held at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club. It was followed by a "Fruit de Mer" buffet dinner at the Club.
1 The term 'go-with' applies to the person (invariably the wife or girl friend) who accompanies the Addict (member). It comes from the expression heard often at antique shops: "does this go-with that" ... as in "does this cup go-with this saucer." Though I am not 100% sure as to who coined the phrase ... as applied to the "go-with's" of members ... I am pretty sure that either Watney or Babbidge said that it came from the mouth of Joni Mattson (the 'go-with' of Addict Jeff Mattson). I believe this to be true. At the 2002 AGM (which I missed) there was some heated discussion about doing away with the term and replacing it with something more politically correct.
PS: This just in from Bangkok; a message to all American ex-pats who live in Thailand:
"There have been reports that a demonstration may take place in front of the Main Entrance of the U.S. Embassy on Wireless Road in Bangkok on Thursday, February 6, at around 10:30 AM. Indications are that up to 200 people may participate. As with all demonstrations, American citizens are asked to avoid the area while the demonstration is in progress. Anyone coming to transact business at the Embassy should be aware that Embassy entrances could be closed on short notice."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
U.S. Embassy Bangkok American Citizen Services Unit:
Window Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 - 11 AM and 1 - 3 PM
Dear readers, I hope you have all seen the border on my home page ... the left hand margin. It was created by my friend Derek. After I wrote him to congratulate him on his artistic skills he replied:
I thought it was in keeping with the three main features of the site: corkscrews & balloons of course, and your interest in photography.
There is the uhhhh ... feminine aspect of it as well, I really really tried to work in a picture of Denise (my fav THOCBDC character) to the border, but it just wouldn't go right.
This is one of the first pics I saw on your site, which I stumbled across searching for something else. Whoever took it is brilliant. I have to say this pic strongly puts me in mind of the Mona Lisa ... and as with that bit of art, the smile is incredibly expressive. Denise's is a bit more "cat who ate the bird," but that's fine with me. The sunlight, the background, everything just conspired to create an amazing photo. Best one on the site in my opinion!
Over the years those of us who have driven tens of thousands of miles on European highways going from one balloon launch city to another have become very familiar with the merchandising in European petrol stations. Unlike American 'stops' ... which are pretty much limited to selling gas, oil, tires and wiper blades ... the European ones are more like supermarkets. Though European car drivers have a tendency to shun things American there is one USA product that they love: great big American trucks. That doesn't mean that there are a lot of them on the road ... because there are not. But, every petrol station from Finland to France sells AMERICAN TRUCKER: the Playboy of the long haul driver. And, the centerfold of AMERICAN TRUCKER two out of five times offers some sexy machine from Kenworth.
Today's offering from THOCBDC is a beautiful Kenworth which I found up at the beach parking lot. If this machine could be had on a German autobahn or a French Autoroute or an Italian Autostrata or a British Motorway ... well, nobody would look at the 'local' iron.
So this one is for Derek (he loves trucks ... but, of course).
For Don Bull I have found a boat; but it will take three pictures to tell him why.1
The next set of three pictures does the same thing2 from a little bridge near my house.
Watcharee is totally bored by all this; she is in her pajamas talking on the phone to Annie.
1 Please refer to the day before yesterday's discussion of my new Nikon's lens capability.
1 Please reread footnote (1).
PS While I was uploading these two stunningly beautiful photographs of the Kenworth truck for today's journal this 'bulletin' from the US Embassy in Bangkok rudely interrupted things:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
February 6, 2003
This supersedes the Worldwide Caution dated November 20, 2002. It is being issued to remind U.S. citizens of the need to remain vigilant due to a heightened threat of terrorist actions that may target civilians, including the possibility of attacks by non-conventional weapons. It also reminds American citizens traveling or living overseas to avoid demonstrations and provides standard preparedness advice. This Worldwide Caution expires on May 4, 2003.
The Department of State reminds Americans that U.S. citizens and interests are at a heightened risk of terrorist attacks, including by groups with links to Al-Qaida. Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to, suicide operations, assassinations or kidnappings. While conventional weapons such as explosive devices pose a more immediate threat in many areas overseas, terrorist use of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents must be considered a growing threat. These individuals and groups have proved that they do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Because security and security awareness have been elevated within the United States, terrorists may target U.S. interests overseas. Private Americans should remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and exercise caution.
Attacks on places of worship and schools, and the murders of private American citizens and other westerners, demonstrate that as security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek softer targets. These may include facilities where Americans or possibly other foreigners are generally known to congregate or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation events or resorts and beaches. Americans should increase their security awareness when they are at such locations, avoid them, or switch to other locations where Americans in large numbers generally do not congregate. There is a possibility that American citizens may be targeted for kidnapping or assassination.
Demonstrations in many parts of the world may have an anti-American character. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn into confrontational situations and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad should avoid demonstrations and take commonsense precautions.
American citizens residing overseas should follow the standard emergency preparedness advice found on the Department's web site at: http://travel.state.gov. A summary of the principal points follows:
U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time for security reasons. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to American citizens. Americans are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest American embassy or consulate.
As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to Americans overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov.
PPS: Seconds before receiving the alert from my Bangkok US embassy CNN "Breaking News" tossed these two bits into my AOL mailbox*:
* We probably would have been more comfortable had we stayed in our apartment in Bangkok. Only the Cambodians are currently pissed at Thailand...and they don't even have an army that could dent the Thai border patrol.
Yikes ... have we jumped from the frying pan into the fire?
Though the weekend is usually a good time for sighting Florida beach bunnies, today was overcast and just a little too chilly for the very 'top drawer' materials to make a 'show'. But, even on the worst of days the spot in front of the Elbo Room is not totally without a little something.
But within minutes of the sun folding up the warmer clothes came back on. Then it was drinks time.
This three stage wide-to-zoom is a bit of a puzzle.
The "Nigerian Scam" ... as it is widely called ... apparently has tempted even those in the highest levels.
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED : HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL FROM: GEORGE WALKER BUSH 202.456.1414 / 202.456.1111 FAX: 202.456.2461 DEAR SIR / MADAM, I AM GEORGE WALKER BUSH, SON OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET NEITHER IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING MAXIMUM CONFIDENCE. I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING OIL FUNDS THAT ARE PRESENTLY TRAPPED IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ. MY PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY FATHER, WHO HAS LONG BEEN ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN THE EXTRACTION OF PETROLEUM IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND BRAVELY SERVED HIS COUNTRY AS DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. IN THE DECADE OF THE NINETEEN-EIGHTIES, MY FATHER, THEN VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ TO REGAIN LOST OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN. THIS UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURE WAS SOON FOLLOWED BY A FALLING OUT WITH HIS IRAQI PARTNER, WHO SOUGHT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL OIL REVENUE SOURCES IN THE NEIGHBORING EMIRATE OF KUWAIT, A WHOLLY-OWNED U.S.-BRITISH SUBSIDIARY. MY FATHER RE-SECURED THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF KUWAIT IN 1991 AT A COST OF SIXTY-ONE BILLION U.S. DOLLARS ($61,000,000,000). OUT OF THAT COST, THIRTY-SIX BILLION DOLLARS ($36,000,000,000) WERE SUPPLIED BY HIS PARTNERS IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHER PERSIAN GULF MONARCHIES, AND SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS ($16,000,000,000) BY GERMAN AND JAPANESE PARTNERS. BUT MY FATHER'S FORMER IRAQI BUSINESS PARTNER REMAINED IN CONTROL OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ITS PETROLEUM RESERVES. MY FAMILY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN FUNDING THE REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND ACQUIRING THE PETROLEUM ASSETS OF HIS COUNTRY, AS COMPENSATION FOR THE COSTS OF REMOVING HIM FROM POWER. UNFORTUNATELY, OUR PARTNERS FROM 1991 ARE NOT WILLING TO SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF THIS NEW VENTURE, WHICH IN ITS UPCOMING PHASE MAY COST THE SUM OF 100 BILLION TO 200 BILLION DOLLARS ($100,000,000,000 - $200,000,000,000), BOTH IN THE INITIAL ACQUISITION AND IN LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT. WITHOUT THE FUNDS FROM OUR 1991 PARTNERS, WE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ACQUIRE THE OIL REVENUE TRAPPED WITHIN IRAQ. THAT IS WHY MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES ARE URGENTLY SEEKING YOUR GRACIOUS ASSISTANCE. OUR DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES IN THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION INCLUDE THE SITTING VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, RICHARD CHENEY, WHO IS AN ORIGINAL PARTNER IN THE IRAQ VENTURE AND FORMER HEAD OF THE HALLIBURTON OIL COMPANY, AND CONDOLEEZA RICE, WHOSE PROFESSIONAL DEDICATION TO THE VENTURE WAS DEMONSTRATED IN THE NAMING OF A CHEVRON OIL TANKER AFTER HER. I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO TRANSFER A SUM EQUALING TEN TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT (10-25 %) OF YOUR YEARLY INCOME TO OUR ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT VENTURE. THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL FUNCTION AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE THAT YOU MAKE THIS TRANSFER BEFORE THE FIFTEENTH (15TH) OF THE MONTH OF APRIL. I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE AND WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY. A BOLD STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED, I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE INFORMED THAT THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO CO-OPERATE IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR INTERMEDIARY REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER DISCUSS THE MATTER. I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT. MY FAMILY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO THE CONTACT NUMBERS BELOW. SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS, GEORGE WALKER BUSH
Next: Part IV