May 27-31, 2004
The Htoo brothers are back in the local news! And guess who has made it to the foreground of this newsworthy above-the-fold color shot in The Nation? Yes, Luther! He was never the shy one. Johnny is in the background, as usual.
You can't remember Luther and Johnny ... the cigar smoking twins from Burma who 'inspired' God's Army? OK, take a quick click at this.
And, if you still need a bit of refreshing there is a link on that page that will eventually take you back to the 'rise' of the Htoo twins.
Enough of the past. Yesterday's The Nation (Bangkok) brought us all fully up to date on both of these kids; apparently Luther has married a Karen woman named 'Paw' and they now have a son, 'So Thor'. And, both Luther and his brother, Johnny, have taken up the guitar ... though apparently Johnny still misses the gun battles of yore.
Luther now wants to study music, become a musician and make records. With a good agent ... who knows what we could see. (*)
But, Johnny still aches for the plight of the Karen people; his left hand is tattooed with dark green Karen words that say, "A child was born from his mother's womb with blood and when he dies he will go with blood."
Unfortunately, Luther still smokes.
(*) "Alf, do NOT suggest 'Hooting With The Htoos'."
Historians will want to explore the bowels of this before reading much further. These seasoned THOCBDC readers will easily remember The Riverside Sofitel Hotel: the hotel that never was.
Newbies, as well, will want to tour the innards of the place (and read about its history) before looking at this morning's Business section of The Nation (Bangkok).
Check our coverage from October 3, 2000 and November 12, 2001.
OK! After God only knows how many years, it looks like the place will eventually become a functioning hotel: part of the Hilton group ... well, at least it will be managed by Hilton. The actual owners are a US property fund and a Hong Kong developer. Do any of these three groups know that the building is haunted? AND, do any of them know that The Patpong Corkscrew Club has a prior claim on the building?
PS: The penultimate paragraph ... which I have highlighted ... from today's editorial in The Nation (Bangkok) contains the basics for the trivia question of the day: "What is the correlation between lower than expected SAT scores and burning bodies?"
EDITORIAL I: Stricter rules needed for cremation
Published on May 28, 2004
The chemicals released during funeral rites harm the environment
In predominantly Buddhist Thailand, cremation is considered a step in the process of preparing the dead to be memorialised by the family. Following in the footsteps of the Lord Buddha, who insisted that his body be cremated, the majority of people in this country - with the exception of Muslims, Christians and some people of Chinese descent - are cremated after they die. Cremation is widely seen as a sensible option because it is simple and does not involve securing a costly plot at a cemetery. The body of the deceased is reduced through extreme heat in the cremation chamber to fragments of bone which are then further reduced to small particles and placed in urns, commemorative walls at Buddhist temples or simply scattered in a funerary ceremony.
Most large Buddhist temples in urban areas operate gas- or oil-fired crematoria while small temples upcountry continue to conduct cremation in open spaces with a wood fire. Cremation often is touted as being less wasteful and thus more ecologically friendly than burial. Cemetery operators face environmental issues such as water use, pesticide use and possible contamination of surrounding water resources. But many crematoria and most cremation sites do emit some environmentally harmful particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride and mercury. Modern crematoriums have filtering equipment to reduce harmful emissions to a manageable level, but older facilities generally do not.
Government agencies responsible for environmental standards have been reluctant to impose more stringent emission requirements on these facilities because such a move would force most Buddhist temples to upgrade their crematoria or cremation methods, which would cost a lot of money. Such a move would add to the cost of cremation and would likely be unpopular among the public. But it is time the government start a public awareness campaign with a view to gradually upgrade crematoria and cremation sites, which contribute in no small way to the country's worsening air pollution, most of which is blamed on industry and vehicular emissions. However, gaseous mercury, one of the many by-products of cremation, poses an obvious threat to the environment.
The hard fact is that the cremation of people with amalgam fillings creates toxic emissions and mercury gas. Mercury from amalgam fillings becomes gas during cremation. In Sweden, it is estimated that 200 kilograms of mercury from crematoria entered the atmosphere each year before tougher regulations were introduced requiring mercury filters to be installed on cremation facilities. The amount of mercury in the mouth of a person with fillings is on average 2.5 grams, enough to contaminate five 12.5-rai lakes to the extent that dangerous levels were found in fish, according to a study in Switzerland.
In Thailand, a much bigger country with a population of 64 million - where 400,000 people die each year and most of them are cremated - the environmental impacts have been allowed to accumulate for too long, perhaps approaching the point where they could unleash devastating effects. The time for action is now.
Thai Buddhist killed, terror link
Saturday, May 29, 2004 Posted: 2:57 AM EDT (0657 GMT)
BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- An elderly Buddhist man has been found decapitated in troubled southern Thailand and his attackers left a note suggesting the murder was linked to recent unrest, police said.
Residents found the head of a murdered rubber worker lying on a road two hours before dawn on Saturday, police Lieutenant Suwit Phusathit, in the province of Narathiwat bordering Malaysia, told Reuters.
"His killer or killers left a note saying 'If you still arrest innocent Malays, we will also kill innocent Buddhists,"' the officer said.
The body of the 67-year-old man was left in a rubber plantation about 60 meters (200 feet) away.
Suwit said police were investigating to decide if the gruesome murder stemmed from recent violence in the Muslim south.
"It is possible the killer might want to exploit the recent events to hide some personal motive, or he might really want to instigate tension between Muslims and Buddhists," Suwit said.
More than 200 people have been killed since January in bloody violence in southern Thailand.
Tension in the region started on January 4 when dozens of suspected Muslim militants raided an army camp to steal almost 400 guns.
The unrest exploded into major bloodshed on April 28 when police and soldiers stormed an Islamic mosque in the nearby province of Pattani and killed 108 Muslims holding out there.
PS: Watcharee's cousin visited us tonight.
PPS: So did the cousin's baby:
I have taken the day off.
Happy Birthday, Christy!
This, from the Landover Baptist Church:
Are Our Troops Doing Enough to Torture Unsaved Iraqis?
Sermon By Brother Harry Hardwick
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, by this time, you've all had a chance to study the photos of those naked Iraqi men we have hanging up in Fellowship Hall. Seeing those prisoners being tortured and made to act like a pack of pyramid-loving homos by American troops shook me to the core. And as always, I turned to the warm embrace of the all-knowing Lord to make sense of what I saw. And do you know what? Jesus gave me an epiphany (that means a personal broadcast from the Savior's lips to my ears, for those of you sitting up in the balcony). Friends, I've got to tell you, a revelation struck me with blinding clarity: if we had only bombed the Allah-loving daylights out of that whole blasted country when we had a chance, there never would have been any still-living Iraqis to take any photographs of! That would have put a stop to the communist traitors at the liberal media shoving unpleasant photographs under our noses simply to besmirch our fine men and women in uniform! Friends, The Lord Jesus filled my angry head with beautiful, calming daydreams of how wonderful life would have been had we dropped just enough nukes on Iraq to collaterally wipe out the Middle East – except for Israel, which would be protected by Star Wars technology, which, I was told by Mr. Cheney while fly fishing, is already in place thanks to the secret diversion of a trillion health and education budget dollars. We, of course, want to save Israel for the Lord to delight in burning and killing after the Rapture. I hear some of you grumbling, but remember: we can't have all the fun.
Just think, my friends, we would have rid ourselves of most of the towel-heads and a large number of Christ-killers (Jews, that is, not Romans – the Italian government, after all, supported our Godly President. So, I mean Christ-killers as portrayed in the Gibson flick and Paul's epistles, not in the unreliable contradictions of secular history). But, no. We had to go do the politically correct thing and limit casualties to a measly 7,000 Iraqi civilians rather than the millions of Muslims we could have sent back to Satan with a single MX missile.
Friends, I don't know if you all realize this, but the good Lord has given us the technology to kill folks without destroying His precious oil fields. And that's important, when you consider the fact that those turban-wearing, moon-worshipping, dirt people have the second largest supply of oil in the world. I see from your faces that some of you petrochemical folks in the Gold Tither pews know where I am going with this! With a reason for the war on the table, we could have flattened Babylon and been looking at a long, steaming summer full of cheap gas instead of unseemly court martials, which are just like catnip to America-hating pansies.
Well, now we're stuck, because we let most of them survive. Now they're over there lollygagging in Saddam's gulag, prancing about shamelessly without a stitch of clothing. We're forced to allow them to do disgusting things like shimmy-shagging their uncircumcised willies in front of that sweet, innocent little hillbilly girl, Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who was so embarrassed she had to laugh just to relieve the tension.Yet, with amazing restraint in the face of such debauchery, we have kept prison deaths in a negligible range of under a thousand. But still, these Sand Negroes complain. Just like their ungrateful cousins, the real McCoy Negroes in Birmingham, used to complain when my dear, departed friend Eugene "Bull" Connor, out of Christian kindness, used city fire hydrant water – free of charge – to give them coloreds something most of them needed a whole lot more than a right to vote – a shower.
Well, honestly folks, we brought this whole mess on ourselves by sugarcoating the reasons we're over there. My wife will tell you, I love our President, almost as much as I love Jesus, but that boy was so hell bent on outdoing his daddy by getting reelected, he kowtowed to popular sentiment and came up with a phony but politically palatable reason for the invasion of Iraq – weapons of mass destruction. Of course, since we knew Iraq didn't have those things, we had no choice but to try to torture the Iraqi captives into admitting that WMD was there (since they certainly wouldn't have played along absent a few welts, bruises and sore rectums). Yet, even with a concerted effort at coercion fashioned after the Mary Worshipers' useful model employed successfully by Mr. Torquemada, we still couldn't get the American public to believe there were WMDs. You can pull a torture hood over an Iraqi prisonor, but you can't pull the wool over the eyes of even the least educated American media watchers because folks who watch Fox News know you can't believe a dang word an Arab says, tortured or otherwise.
So, now we're left with the fallback position – we overthrew a so-called sovereign nation and tortured its people because its government tortured its people. You see, it violates our sense of honor and fair play for folks to torture their own people and we won't tolerate it And now that we are forced to kowtow at the socialistic shrine of the so-called "human rights" horsepucky of those pinkos at Amnesty International and whatnot, -- beating, torturing, raping, assaulting, burning, molesting, branding, stripping and humiliating the people we took time out of our busy days to liberate is no longer viewed as just a positive and necessary part of getting a job done; it is cast as something negative by the weak-kneed Henny Pennies in the Kerry-worshiping media.
Yes, folks, as if you didn't know it already, our country has become ridiculously liberal. We put such innocuous liberal intelligentsia concepts as so-called "freedom" and so-called "dignity" -- some of you out there are spitting and laughing, but this is serious business -- above fundamental Biblical principles like God's command that we slaughter those with different religious beliefs – killing every man, woman and child -- in any country we conquer that has a different mystical power figure in charge, (with the exception, perhaps, of those tantalizing virgins we wish to enslave as our own). In fact, if we decline to kill heathens, we run the risk of God slaughtering us, as He has done to so many in the past.
Our President and his Biblical brothers, Pat and Jerry (not to be confused with their liberal nemeses Ben and Jerry), have correctly noted that Dubya is merely enforcing God's will. After all, God, the Father, having never watched Dr. Phil, is a manly and unapologetically vindictive deity, who kills those who don't follow His will at the drop of a turban. He engages in acts of violence that make the current Iraqi situation look like a debutante cotillion. Drowning, burning, starving, stabbing with a sword, blinding, breaking people into pieces, breaking knees and legs – in fact, every body part from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, slaughtering pregnant women's unborn children, and the dreaded inflicting of hemorrhoids are but a few of God's favorite methods of torture. By comparison, our soldiers are hesitant amateurs. Urinating on a prisoner doesn't hold a candle to making your creations drink their own urine and bake human excrement into their bread. Having dogs intimidate prisoners doesn't come close to having dogs actually devour people who rub you the wrong way. And sodomizing someone with a foreign object isn't nearly as painful as making them so sick, their bowels actually fall out of their bodies where they can be sodomized at leisure long after the victim has left the room.
Those Arabiacs should be glad God sent American soldiers as proxies to do his bidding instead of going in there and whipping their butts, Himself. God, having created man long before 12-step programs, is a boldly jealous and vengeful divinity who has promised certain demise of anyone who doesn't constantly compliment Him, instead focusing their attention on other, more Geneva Convention compliant deities. God has promised that, "All of the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy" (Zephaniah 3:8). God will kill so many nonbelievers that there will be no place large enough to bury them all. If a nation, like Iraq, does not believe in Him, He "will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation," laughing at the heathens as He kills them. Even in the New Testament, God promised to kill those who don't flatter Him, eventually hurling them into a "lake of fire" where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Our brave soldiers' minimal torture can only serve to prepare these heathens for the far greater abuse they will face come Judgment Day, when horse-like locusts with human heads, women's hair, lion's teeth and scorpion's tails will sting them for five months before they are burned to death.
So, what's all the hullabaloo about? Our soldiers are inflicting but a fraction of the torment God has promised on these Godless heathens, come Judgment Day. By alienating the godless nations of the world from America, permitting corporate degradation of the environment because the Lord gave us this Earth to use up as quickly as we can before He gets back, threatening economic depression with tax cuts for those who matter and with no other hocus-pocus secular economic plan in the works, President Bush is bringing us even closer to the glorious apocalypse that will immediately precede every person in this room's rapture and Judgment Day for non-Baptists. Our soldiers are just getting a head-start on inflicting the horrors promised by God in the Book of Revelation. Let us praise them for their Biblical insight. And if we raise our voices in criticism of their efforts, let it be only to chide them for being so darnblasted timid! Next time they get out those dog leashes, they will ask, "What would Jesus do?" and those naked Iraqi suckers will find themselves yanked across a steaming pile of their own godless excrement! Praise Jesus!
Though Americans, from sea to shining sea, might have been firing up their Weber Turbo Grill Masters today ... most Thais were busy catching the finals in the Thai boxing 'feather-weight' championships. Though not on regular cable, I was able to catch it at the Lone Star (or, some other 'western' theme name) on the 4th floor of Robinsons.
PS from Paul the web guy:
It's Memorial Day in the USA, and flesh is being seared in back yard Webers throughout the land. This reminds me of the utility of Adolph's Instant Meat Tenderizer. (By the way, it's not just handy on steak; it also has other ingenious seasoning uses! Plus, its label provides inspirational instructions for the soul.)
Anyway, thinking of the meat tenderizer brought to mind "that other Adolph," and the unearthing of his bunker in Berlin back in 1999. I think Robin, Stephani, and I passed near this place as we walked around the city during our ballooning adventure in Berlin two years and one week ago, but we didn't see any evidence lying around at that time.
According to a BBC article describing the bunker's unearthing, some dispute remains as to whether Adolph H. poisoned himself or shot himself or did both in his little bunker. Despite the prevalence of the poisoning theory, a pistol he supposedly used was offered at auction a few years ago.
We do know that the ex-President of Iraq had a handgun with him in his bunker; that pistol now rests in a trophy case in a side room off the Oval Office ... yes, the same side room where a certain girl in a blue dress served our previous head of state.