We are Legion, or the Ts have already won.

– NOTICE OF BAGGAGE INSPECTION –

To protect you and your fellow passengers, the XSA is required by law to steal your wife’s panties and confiscate your house keys so you can’t get in when you arrive home from your 26 hour flight at midnight inspect all checked baggage. Your bag was among those selected for physical inspection (possibly because it contained used women’s undergarments).

During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited or tantalizing items. At the completion of the inspection, many of the contents were returned to your bag (albeit not in the orderly or sensible fashion in which they were originally packed). Also, we forgot to completely zip up the outside pockets so that stuff was falling out of it when it reached the baggage carousel. In addition, we forgot to replace the suitcase straps… Our bad!

If the XSA officer was unable to open your bag for inspection because it was locked, the officer may have been forced to break the crappy die-cast metal locks meant to keep out petty thieves and perverts on your bag. Our bad! We routinely invest in million dollar x-ray porn machines, but can’t afford a bent paper clip! XSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however, XSA is not liable for damage to your locks resulting from this necessary security precaution (because if we wanted to be accountable for our actions, we wouldn’t work for the government!).

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

Tasty Links for the New Year

In no particular order:

Smoke Screening
Charles Mann is shown by Bruce Schneier just what a joke our airport security has become and makes a case that “the continuing expenditure on security may actually have made the United States less safe.”

The disposable academic: Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time
Summary: Way more supply than demand, doctors.

List of animals with fraudulent diplomas
Surprisingly, this is not an alternate title for the previous link.

Best wedding photos ever
A full viewing of Shaun of the Dead would have made it the best wedding reception ever.

The Magna Carta Essay
Before the internet taught us that there’s no such thing as copyright or intellectual property, just how the hell did students finish their assignments?

Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III
A “tongue-in-cheek alternative reading of the Star Wars saga”(link and quote from Kev)

“…credible and meaningful in foreign cultures.”

The university where I teach, Rajabhat Maha Sarakham, used to be a teacher’s training college. My uni is just one Rajabhat institute of about 40 spread all over Thailand, that were turned into universities by the king with something called the Rajabhat Act in 1995. Therefore, when we clean up, move, or renovate offices and I see asset tags with “teacher’s college” or the like, I know I’ve found something at least 17 years old, and sometimes much older.

The last time somebody cleaned out a storage room on the 3rd floor, above my office on the 2nd floor, a bunch of cool old stuff was put out to be thrown away. I’ve started documenting what I’ve saved, and this is one of my coolest finds:

 

I’d never even heard of the United States Information Agency before, and I can only assume that “U.S. Information Service” was an alternative name for the agency.

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Now if I can only find a working 16mm film projector!

Things I replaced on our car over summer vacation

You may understand part of the pain and frustration we experienced if you can recognize the complete set of gaskets and ferrofluid engine mounts (replaced with solid urethane mounts). Yes, the whole front end of our Cefiro A33 (USDM: Infiniti i30) was taken apart and put together again. It runs really sweet now, except for a noisy power steering pump, another set of wheel bearings, some paint bubbling up on the roof, etc., etc., and so forth…. And my car, the 40 year old Kujira Crown, will be totally done sometime this year, hopefully (that’s a story in itself; not enough space or patience to cover it here).

Spraying insecticide, again

When I ventured out this morning to buy the kid’s breakfast, sticky rice and barbecued pork skewers (which have gone up in price universally to 5 baht per skewer — they were still 3 baht at some places up until a couple months ago), I drove though a fog hovering in the neighborhood behind ours. Even with the windows closed, I got a whiff of Raid and realized they were fumigating the area again. I hurriedly went to buy the food — in an yet unsprayed area — and rushed back home.

Nam said she’d just heard a pickup driving around blasting a message from the local government, so that meant they were coming to spray at our house, too. It was just past 7:30, about an hour before we usually take Max to school near our house, and Mina to her school near Nam’s university. But the spray man was coming, so we had to get them out. I got them dressed while Nam packed their bags, then I got them in the car and strapped them in their seats. I got the car running and pulled it out onto the street in front of the house, pointed away from the direction they were coming. Nam came running out with the bags, got in the car and pulled away… I stood there watching them leave in my boxers, and exactly one minute later heard the sound of insect doom:

 

BooksThailand.com

A few weeks ago, my bathroom reading materials had dwindled down to the point of having to reread some old favorites. Then, while browsing a Thai-related forum, I spotted a banner for booksthailand.com. They are apparently a used bookstore on Koh Chang that have started selling online.

Long story short, they are my new go-to place for books here in Thailand. They accept PayPal or bank transfers and the prices are very reasonable considering the price of new English language books here.

They are currently running a “buy 3 get 1 free” promotion that I used for my first order. I paid via PayPal and quickly got an email from one of the staff stating that one of the books I’d ordered was out of stock… So when I had time, I chose another instead. Then, they hustled to get the delivery out before the long holiday starting the next day. In short, the service was excellent.

Now, to top it off, I’ve won two free books in their latest monthly competition! (I’m so sad I have so little time to read these days.)

In short, if you are living in Thailand and have a need for books, you should definitely try them out.

Hapax legomenon of the day (with def)

Bamafutication: Claiming that the commander-in-chief had “nothing to do” with a military operation targeting the most wanted man in the world.

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You’re just angry you missed the Apprentice.

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UPDATE: Out of many, this is the best.