Bangkok Enters 2005, Part V

After Part IV

January 26-31, 2005

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Thai company called ThinkNet has just published a CD map of Bangkok. I've been playing with it for just a few hours so I am still learning its bits and pieces.

I am not sure how these four 'cuts' will look on THOCBDC ... but here goes.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 (Feast of Saint John Chrysostom)


Wescott (**):

John Chrysostom
344 - 407

John of the Golden Mouth, one of the four Fathers of the Greek Church, was educated to be a lawyer. Feeling a need of solitude, he spent four years in a monastery and two in a cave, which ruined his health; then he entered the priesthood. He was an incomparable preacher; the crowds that came were so vast and his eloquence so absorbing that he had to instruct them to leave their purses at home, on account of pickpockets. When he was made Patriarch of Constantinople, the disappointment in Antioch was so keen that he had to leave town with a military escort. He found the imperial city unbearably immoral and undertook to reform it, which was the end of his popularity. The loose Empress Eudoxia was his friend at first, but he referred to her in one sermon as Jezebel, in another as Salome; consequently he died in exile. Thirteen folio volumes of his writings have come down to us.

Dear reader, any guesses as to this other stuff?

And, in to which pile, if either, would you like to stick ('click') your fork?

Click for perspective Click for perspective

(*) You new readers may not be familiar with NEWNES. Please GOOGLE us for a history lesson. Somewhere in the bowels of THOCBDC there lies the true grit about NEWNES and the compiler Robert Collison.

(**) Likewise, GOOGLE away with Glenway Wescott, the author of "A Calendar of Saints for Unbelievers".

PS: A more enlarged map ... any guesses?

Friday, January 28, 2005



Fourth Century

The Emperor Constantine's daughter, who recovered from scrofula (*) at the tomb of St. Annes.


Died 444

The great Patriarch of Alexandria, a celebrated theologian. He has always had a bad reputation, for having organized the gang-murder of the learned Hypatia in his church; but resolute modern hagiographers have absolved him.

(*) Tuberculosis (TB) is the oldest documented infectious disease. In the United States, pulmonary TB accounts for most TB cases. Scrofula is the Latin word for brood sow, and it is the term applied to TB of the neck. Cervical TB is usually a result of an infection in the lymph nodes, known as lymphadenitis. Extrapulmonary TB, such as scrofula, is observed most often in individuals who are immunocompromised, who account for up to 50% of these cervical infections.

Scrofula has been known to afflict people since antiquity, and during the Middle Ages, the king's touch was thought to be curative. In modern times, surgery has played a pivotal role in the diagnosis and treatment of scrofula. Over the past several decades, however, surgical intervention has played a decreasing role because it has been fraught with persistent disease and complications. As in pulmonary TB, antituberculous chemotherapy has become the standard of care for scrofula, and newer diagnostic techniques (eg, fine-needle aspiration) have replaced more invasive methods of tissue harvesting.1

1 Author: Michael R Lewis, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

PS: What is otolaryngology? It's:

Pronunciation: o'to-lar-ing-gol'o-je
The combined specialties of diseases of the ear and larynx, including the upper respiratory tract and diseases of the head and neck, tracheobronchial tree, and esophagus. Etymology: oto- + G. [larynx,] + [logos,] study

PPS: Reader David. E. from Brazil writes: "Dad, you are becoming so boring. You need a turn in Sao Paulo."

This combination photo shows a model presenting a creation as part of Cavalera's 2005 Fall/Winter collection show during Sao Paulo Fashion Week, January 25, 2005.

Friday, January 29, 2005

THOCBDC sadly announces the passing of long time reader Ms. Ching-Alvarez of Macau. She was the CEO of "Jonah's Gate", a curious alternative to conventional burials and cremations (and the more adventurous 'sky-burials'). Her last letter to me nicely contrasted the West Texas and the Macau methods for the final send-off. We at THOCBDC hope that her final passage was as smooth as silk.


It was with enormous interest that I read about this new American way of disposing of the last powdery remains of the bereaved. Yes, how very Yank it is to tightly pack it all into the nose cone of a giant Saturn and fire it into the cold dark vacuum of space ... and, right from the great Lone Star state of Texas: the home of your President. But, I want to bring to your attention an ancient (but quite brilliant) way of disposing of the 'loved one' that is more in keeping with the Bible.

Here in Macau ... at Jonah's Gate ... we believe in traditions: holy Christian traditions, mind you. I hope you remember from your Bible study days the story of Jonah ... but, just in case ... Jonah was a Hebrew minor prophet who was called upon by God to preach at Nineveh. On his way there (and the facts do get a bit muddled at this point) Jonah was swallowed by a "Great Fish". [*] For us that's the full stop!

Anyway, here at Jonah's Gate we are able to recreate this ancient and holy way of final disposal. In our own 180,000,000-liter aquarium complex we keep several 'Great Fishes' that have been carefully trained to swallow the entire body of the 'lost one' with one loving gulp.

Once the body is placed in our care it is gently shampooed, shaved and thoroughly enema-ized before being allowed to marinate for 48 hours in a highly fragrant and very slippery oil made from only the finest cod, halibut and seal fat.

Only when our expert staff is convinced that the time is just right will the departed be inserted deeply into the post-throatal area of the 'Great Fish'. This suppositorial technique ensures that the 'Great Fish' will not gag and that there will be no unwelcome regurgitation (an absolute must if family and friends exercise the viewing option).

As the 'Great Fish' has a tremendously long alimentary tract the loved one is guaranteed a gentle glide through almost a hundred meters of ever narrowing but softly pliable and living piping. The mild digestive juices work with remarkable kindness to guarantee that the departed dissolves with the minimum of trauma and disfiguration. Even as the deceased is tapered into the colon area the integrity of the process prohibits any of the mortal excesses usually found in competing memorial decomposition scenarios. Approximately 72 hours into the ... ah, we like to think of it as a "final massage" ... the remains of the loved one are tenderly expelled from the anus of the "Great Fish." A specially designed sieve promises that only the 'residuium' of the departed are captured for the complimentary commemorative retaining vessel.

Your humble sycophant,

Ava Maria Ching-Alvarez
CEO, Jonah's Gate

[*] Children's books talk of a whale. This is foolish nonsense ... for the Bible is clear on this point: Jonah was swallowed whole and unchomped upon by a "Great Fish."

PS: No, this is not something from "Smile! You are on Candid Camera!" Rather, a Crime News lens-man caught these crime scene guys having a chuckle over the remains of a 'jumper' ... after a 15 story drop from Pthana Towers.

PPS: The same magazine captioned this photograph "Two Heads are Better than One".

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Last night Watcharee and I took three of her friends to The Peninsula for dinner.

"That's it?"


Monday, January 31, 2005

Boats as seen from "The Bridge Over the River Chao Phraya":

PS: Bangkok traffic as seen from "The Bridge Over the River Chao Phraya":

PPS: Home as seen from "The Bridge Over the River Chao Phraya":

PPPS: One of the most scary things seen from "The Bridge Over the River Chao Phraya": A Property Zombie from the 1997 collapse.

Next: February

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