No iMac for me, no sirree.

I’m not going to buy the iMac. (See my earlier post 26 July: “Make yourself feel better and save $200,000 to boot“.)

I recognize the syndrome. The world is going to hell all around me, and I haven’t won any literary prizes this week. My girl don’t love me and my chickens all ran away, not to mention my cotton won’t grow (© Mad Max iMac McGinty), and I sit here singing the blues and wondering … Read more

Samui: So what’s new?

I saw a letter to the editor in yesterday’s *Bangkok Post* that raised the question of whether exploration oil drilling could do any more harm to Samui’s natural environment than mass tourism has already accomplished. Same old story, wherever you go–the same scenes that are being “spoiled” for the old hand, are  often “just wonderful, so natural!” to the first-time visitor.

Here’s a take I did on this notion years ago (first photo from www.phuket-trips.com):

The silence boomed. At … Read more

Balloon glasses & Buddhist Lent

Khao Phansa—roughly, “Buddhist Lent,” also known as the Rains Retreat, a time of spiritual renewal—began yesterday.

Sara came home late from a post-workday shopping excursion with Ms. Kook, her chief mentor in all things consumerist. They went to Siam Paragon Center, where many items were “70-80 percent off.” And what did she buy? A bunch of leaded crystal balloon glasses from the Czech Republic.

“Just look at all the money I saved,” she says, with a knowing … Read more

A grown man recognizes silliness when he sees it

I made the mistake of going into an iStudio shop yesterday and sitting in front of a lesser version of this Uber-computer I could buy for half price, which is so sophisticated the iStudio staff not only didn’t have one, they found it hard to believe that Apple had let one escape into the wild. Never mind, even the lesser version, with its acres of screen space, the entire computer built into the monitor’s frame, already had me thinking.

But … Read more

Make yourself feel better & save $200,000 to boot

We’re afflicted, here in Bangkok, by an atmosphere of foreboding. The messy events of April-May might appear to be behind us. But this surface calm, in some ways, resembles a moonlit pool on a still night. You’d never suspect this pool is full of big sharks just waiting to erupt in a frenzy. All they need is for someone to toss them a nice chunk of something bloody. Yesterday’s bomb was the mere slice of a dorsal fin, a wee … Read more

Bright side to Gulf oil spill?

Okay, so it’s a stretch. But one has to think, given current sensibilities with respect to offshore oil drilling, Rak Aao Thai Network Group  couldn’t have found a better time to protest oil exploration in the vicinity of Thailand’s third-largest tourist island.

Come July 31st, we can look forward to aerial coverage—with possible surprises for aerial viewers—of a 35,000-strong human chain standing hand-in-hand on the 52-kilometre road that encircles Koh Samui. Better still, we can hike on down … Read more

Hypotheses and certainties

Hypothesis: Education should aim at producing critical thinkers, citizens who can choose intelligently between competing claims regarding our proper ends and means as individuals and communities.

Really critical thinkers are in relatively short supply in any country. In Thailand, some would argue, there’s an actual cultural bias against critical thought. Questioning the way things are can easily become confrontational, and thus bad form. Impolite.  Such a taboo might explain why even today a lot of teachers react badly to … Read more

Vuvuzelas: The Haiku

It’s my turn to compliment Jack on a nice turn of phrase, one I’m now going to adapt to yet another haiku, which, as anybody can tell you, is easier than writing a novel.

Summer sun-swollen

Dead horse abuzz with blowflies

Conjures the World Cup.

Not beautiful,” is Sara’s opinion. She could be right. But, hey. There are already enough haiku-ish conventions without some rule it’s also got to be beautiful.

The illustration is from David M. Hart’s webpage, Read more

‘Mobs’: Cacophony in C major and A minor

S. Tsow, whom we all recognize as a canny businessman, says the vuvuzela craze will end with this year’s World Cup series.

Ms. Mu (“Pig”), on the other hand, who knows more about “biznet” than Rockefeller and Trump combined, says that is not so. Mainstream support for her claim is to be found in news reports (e.g. this one, and this one) regarding Chinese vuvuzela manufacturers, who are moving millions of these

items, and who plan, before they Read more

With any luck

My friend Chris says thanks for publicizing his superyacht app for iPhones, and I can take a cut for every app sold. Of course these items are free, so arguably I’m on to not such a good thing.

In fact, I’m already scoring so many zeroes as a writer, if I start racking up even more of the buggers as a purveyor of apps, I don’t know what I’ll do with all the absence of wherewithal piling up everywhere. Read more