On Elephants in Thailand

Those of you that attended our wedding last year, keep those memories safe because Thailand has done what they’ve promised to do for years and are now actively enforcing the “no pachyderms on the street” law.
Well, this is what many people think of the new law:

I just saw the Thai equivalent of COPS where the bad guy – I shit you not – was trying to get away on an elephant. The ele wasn’t so big and I’m sure if this had happened in any other country it would have ended in a barrage of 12 gauge slugs… but there were tons of cameras following the “getaway,” and Thais love elephants so much that they basically let it run wild down the wrong side of a busy Bangkok street at night. It made for good television. In the end, they kind of directed it to a narrower street and into an empty lot, where they presumably gave the handler (AKA the bad guy) a ticket for riding an elephant on the street.
Hey, I’m all for letting the animals live in their natural environment and not exploiting them and all, but you actually have to think about this a little harder than, “Let’s return these 3,000 pound critters to their natural environment so they can be happy and natural!” – THERE AIN”T NO FUCKIN’ FOREST LEFT FOR ALL THE ELEPHANTS, PEOPLE! Besides, being hand fed sugar cane on the dirty city streets of SE Asia beats the hell out of being hunted with AKs and RPGs in an African nature preserve, yo…
…I’m just saying.

Tribute to School of Rice

First of all, let me explain my recent absence from here: I was busy, and now I’m sick.
Moving on:
It’s too bad I took down the School of Rice (which now lives here), because this photo would have fit so well there….

The abomination created by the kid across the street.
Just to let you know, a few weeks ago, the 18″ high rear spoiler somehow got torn off, ripping half the trunk along with it. When it came back from the shop, the original black sticker set was augmented with this bold fashion statement. My only guess is that the owner must have decided to go “VIP” instead of racing style.
To proactively answer a few questions:

  • Yes, the owner is a girl.
  • Yes, she is older than 13.
  • No, she’s not hot.
  • Yes, the car is automatic.
  • Yes, it’s a Lancer (lowest spec).
  • No, it was not featured in Tokyo Drift (although it should have been).

Small commenting change

Due to a huge spam attack yesterday, which took me a while to clean up, I’ve decided to add a small step to commenting – the good news is that it’s very easy for anyone to figure out. You can still comment anonymously and without leaving an email address, but I’m sorry to place any part of the burden created by viagra-selling assholes on my readers… Necessary evil and all that.


This is one of the most disturbing articles on the environment I have read in recent months:

If the temperature and wind aren’t right and the lagoon operators are spraying, people in hog country can’t hang laundry or sit on their porches or mow their lawns. Epidemiological studies show that those who live near hog lagoons suffer from abnormally high levels of depression, tension, anger, fatigue and confusion. “We are used to farm odors,” says one local farmer. “These are not farm odors.” Sometimes the stink literally knocks people down: They walk out of the house to get something in the yard and become so nauseous they collapse. When they retain consciousness, they crawl back into the house.


Smithfield is not just a virtuosic polluter; it is also a theatrical one. Its lagoons are historically prone to failure. In North Carolina alone they have spilled, in a span of four years, 2 million gallons of shit into the Cape Fear River, 1.5 million gallons into its Persimmon Branch, one million gallons into the Trent River and 200,000 gallons into Turkey Creek. In Virginia, Smithfield was fined $12.6 million in 1997 for 6,900 violations of the Clean Water Act — the third-largest civil penalty ever levied under the act by the EPA. It amounted to .035 percent of Smithfield’s annual sales.

(full story here)
On the brighter side of things, yesterday, I saw a pig that grew up in someone’s front yard slaughtered with a sharp knife and sold off in pieces, just like they do everywhere else in the third world. To me this kind of pig actually tastes natural.
(thx M)

Bangkok Bombing Update

The Australian is reporting that the New Years bombings in the capitol were the work of Jemaah Islamiah. Originally the focus of investigation seemed to be on the former (Thaksin’s) regime; now they seem to be coming to the conclusion everyone else came to thirty seconds after the explosions: Muslim separatists from the south (Religion of Peace reprazent!)
Full story here.
I went to a local carnival yesterday (which I hope to write about soon) and was surprised to find so few people in attendance. Asking around this morning, it seems many people are afraid to go to big events now because of bombs. That’s just fucked. I, myself, think there is a 0% chance of that kind of shit happening here, and the fear response is just what the baby killers want… Fuck that.

Shave and a Haircut

I have found "my" new barber shop. I had a hard time finding a good place here at first; I made the mistake of trying beauty salons when really all I wanted was a barber shop. I had the same problem in Japan, and come to think of it, Japan was really horrible in this regard because if you walk into the wrong place, you might end up being there for hours (literally – my longest "stay" in a "fashionable" place was OVER 3 HOURS!). This is because they take service to a ridiculous level and serve you coffee before and maybe after your cut, plus sometimes take up to an hour for a simple hair cut (I once got so angry at the guy for taking so long and being so precise that I waited until he was done and told him to take off another 0.75 millimeters all around)! The funny thing is, a shave and a haircut is about all you can get in Japanese beauty salons.

Here in Thailand you can get a manicure, a pedicure, a massage, a facial pack, etc., etc., and so forth. Interestingly enough, however, you cannot get a handjob from an old lady like you can in Korea (or so I’ve heard).

So like I was saying, I found my new place here. Since it’s a men’s only barber shop, it’s no nonsense and offers none of the extras I mentioned above, but it’s fast. I sit down in one of the two chairs and walk out freshly shorn in fifteen minutes. Nothing new here, I found similar shops in Japan that I frequented. The difference is in the price – I was shocked when I found out. It costs me 40 baht ($1.10 US) for a shave and a haircut in Thailand.


I haven’t read a newspaper since I stepped off the airplane last October, simply because I think it’s an obsolete format for news. As it turns out, not many people I meet around here read the newspaper, either. News around these parts travels by word of mouth, quicker than you might imagine.

The other day I was shocked to hear that a policeman in a nearby town had been beaten to death by a local gang. The cop, who was in his fifties and off duty at the time, had asked a group of around 20 youths to keep it down at a restaurant. They responded by rushing his table and stomping his head, which may or may not have killed him outright. The thing is, they didn’t stop at that. They threw the man into the back of a pickup and sped off down the road. There were witnesses who called the police, but no one could identify the youths or the victim, and the police pursued the issue no further at the time.

One full day later, the family of the victim contacts the police to file a missing person report, and the police put two and two together. They suddenly realize one of their own has been assaulted and is missing, and a search effort is started… The desecrated and bullet-ridden body of the victim is soon discovered dumped over a nearby bridge. It is presumed that the perpetrators, having gone through the victim’s pockets, suddenly realized he was a cop and panicked, dumping the body in an obvious place.


In any other country I’ve been in, this story would have ended in pretty much the same way. The perpetrators would have been hunted down in a massive police effort to avenge one of their brethren. But there’s a Thai twist to all of this. The police are singularly unsuccesful at apprehending even a single suspect out of the 20 or so reported, so the family decides to take things into their own hands, in the only way they know how. They bring the body of the fallen officer to a kind of spirit medium, a ghost talker mystic who not only claims to be able to speak with the fallen, but to be able to influence events in the real world. The seance is performed and the fallen officer is successfully contacted.

The next day, two of the attackers suddenly turn themselves in. The rest are being rounded up by the police, now that they have some place to start.


My mother in law told us this story two days ago. Yesterday, she attended the funeral for the policeman, who turned out to be an old family friend.

This is all very new to me, but none of the Thais who heard this story thought there was anything strange about it.

We are all made of stars

Not much to report here this week except that we had another barbecue today. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this into a weekly thing, just because it kicks so much ass. Among other things, I cut up whole chickens and marinate them in soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ground ginger, and a bit of sugar, then grill them at high temp. This caramelizes the sugar and makes the outside crispy and the inside tender and juicy. Most Thais just do not understand this flavor. That is, they cannot appreciate it because they either say it is salty (which it is on the outside), or does not taste Thai. This makes me sad.


Something that really tripped me out this evening was drinking beer and watching the stars with this farmer dude. I told him he was lucky to be able to see the stars so clearly every night, unlike in the city. He was all like, the stars are there no matter where you travel, right? I told him they are there, but you can’t see them because it’s too bright in the city and the sky isn’t clear like this. Homeboy had no idea what the hell I was talking about. This made me very happy.

permission denied!

So this new anti-spam approach is such that pretty much all automated spam attempts are junked… but in less than a day, I’ve recorded over 20 spams entered by hand just on this blog and my brother’s! The funniest part of this is that none of those spam attempts were published to our blogs; they were automatically held for our approval by the system… Hell yeah!

Take off, you hosers.

Tweaks and Countermeasures

I’m fiddling with software settings in the background here, mostly to alleviate some of the hits our site is taking from comment spam, but also to improve usability on the admin side. If you have any problems with comments or notice anything strange, please let me know.
I have also folded my moblog and the School of Rice blogs into archives here and here to simplify things (since they are no longer updated).
Categories (on the sidebar) have been rearranged, but remain a poor way of finding specific posts. Using the search function is better for that. You can always contact me if you need help finding something; I can usually find specific posts fairly quickly.
I will get around to making this blog a bit easier on the eyes when I have the time (I’m quite tired of seeing this default MT template myself), however, function over form, as they say.
I’ve decided to disable all incoming Trackbacks, too. It was a long time in coming, but truly a pity. Fuck you, spammers.

I saw the sign

As I said in my last post, the cows in my backyard were a sign, and who the hell am I to ignore a sign?

Either God or the cows were telling me to have a barbecue.
So I fired up my brand new GhettoGrill and much meat was consumed, and all was good with the world: T-bones (from NZ, frozen), pork ribs, fresh (still wriggling) prawns, hulihuli chicken (at least as I remember it), and assorted extras, including pumpkin, which as you can see above, I cared little about.
By the way, it was one of the most pleasant evenings I’ve ever experienced here, with a cool (everyone else said “cold”) breeze.

Cows in my backyard update

There are more cows in my backyard!

The sound of bells means the cows have come for a visit.
I haven’t seen them since the last time I wrote about it, mostly because they usually stay on the far side of the irrigation ditch that separates our back wall from a dirt road running parallel to it, about 200 meters away. BTW, I love that old tree in the photo above as I have no idea what kind of tree it is, or even an inkling as to how old it is.
This time, there was a dog herding them around, butI couldn’t get a clear photo of it.

This one came to graze right under my balcony.
This must be a sign.