Premature evacuations offend spirits of the place

Here on my eight-floor balcony, watching the sun retire across the river to the west, I can almost hear the waters advancing from Saphan Kwai. Or is that merely the kerfuffle of conflicting rumor? For weeks, here in Phya Thai District, we’ve awaited the floods from the north as they advance with glacial alacrity. One of the many rumors, inconsistently promulgated by government officials, was that we might well be spared altogether.

Ultimately, though, it seems the hi-so spirits of … Read more

Inverse relations and natural law (The Gospel According to Ellie)


Bangkok cinemas, some of them, have taken to offering movies in “4D.” Now the moving images are complemented with smells—certain colorful old cinemas, sadly gone now, were way ahead of them on that front. And you might get rumblings in your seat, though these are often now more in sync with events on the screen that the tremblors from street traffic outside used to be. Other effects include fog and drizzle and stuff they originally built cinemas to shield you … Read more

Cymbalalalazophobia: Things to worry about when the sky isn’t falling

So  just the other morning I suffered something like a flash of cymbalalalazophobia, which is hardly surprising, Sara claims, given my lifestyle.

My recent “Hope in dark times” post elicited the following Facebook query:   Is there an official fear of hi-hat cymbals phobia?

If there weren’t, it stuck me that I had a friend who might be uniquely qualified to coin such an expression. Dr. Anthony Alcock is not only a fine classical scholar, linguist, Egyptologist, jazz & blues … Read more

Home-grown back therapies rool!

Caption: Our adventurer, with his new office chair, just after summiting the roof of his apartment building five times in a row without oxygen.

Breaking news on the old-crockish falling-apart front: I’ve just cured a rogue back, gone bad in the prime o’ me loif and all, by giving my office chair to the guard downstairs in favor of sitting on an exercise ball at my desktop computer, alternating this with standing at my filing cabinet with a laptop on … Read more

Writerly occupational hazards: Ersatz creativity (boozing)

Inebriation is a false Muse. As seductive as they may be, chemical substitutes for true creative intoxication don’t work.

Maybe there are exceptions that prove this rule. Malcolm Lowry, e.g., did much field research for his brilliant novel Under the Volcano, which included a main protagonist who was drinking himself to death. (Lowry, unfortunately, perhaps in his quest for verisimilitude, was himself to go all the way at an early age.) Emulating his own hard-boiled detective protagonists, writer … Read more

Flu season in Bangkok

Jack here.

The fever’s gone. I’m still sick, though. Never mind I’m sitting here like a fool—more like a two-bit hooker, actually—editing a massive, near-sadistically impenetrable document for money, not enough of it.

But let me tell you about my blissful, antihistamine-enhanced sleep last night. A serial dream—it bridged multiple pee breaks—had me much excited at a book idea. I’d decided the combination of the world’s longest palindrome (several long paragraphs) and a brand-new concept of time I’d come up … Read more

Let me explain

There’s a new and especially antibiotic-resistant bug on the loose, threatening to spread worldwide. As though we needed another new epidemic, not to mention all the floods and earthquakes and rising seas and so on. In fact the suspense is killing me, as I await the plagues of toads and suchlike falling from the skies (Exodus 7-12).

But the near-universal spread of the consumerist virus doesn’t get enough press. (Maybe that’s because governments around the world have every … Read more

Blacksmiths & novelists revisited: The Scott Adams Theory of Content Value

Collin’s not the only one comparing professional writers to blacksmiths, these days. Scott Adams, e.g, of “Dilbert” fame, presents his Adams Theory of Content Value: “As our ability to search for media content improves, the economic value of that content will approach zero.”

The fate of the author in the age of digital gizmodery (with apologies to Scott Adams):

Among other things, Adams predicts “that the profession known as ‘author’ will be retired to history in my lifetime, Read more

Some dimensions are darker than others

There are rogues, and there are rogues. There follow reports of close encounters with two very different species of actor in the current Thai political maelstrom:

Hobnobbing with the Ronin.

Squeakish-clean candidate for office.

Useful additions to the many perspectives on the troubles?  Colorful, anyway.… Read more

Message from the future

Leary here. It seems our Jack is going native.

Appearances rool, OK! What Ellie likes to call the Cosmetic Imperative. For example, the women construction workers in Thailand who wear long-sleeved shirts buttoned up and balaclava masks under broad-brimmed bamboo hats — better all sweated up than turned “black” in the sun. Not that you’d ever find Jack working construction, with or without a mask. But it’s same-same if you’re expecting a bit of street violence. You see these things … Read more