The Doctor's Consultation:
by Dr. Iain Corness
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
and how to pacify it
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or
IBS since we like acronyms, is an interesting condition. It is not a
disease, and in fact tests for abnormalities come back reported as
‘negative’. Does this mean that IBS isn’t really in the bowel, but all ‘in
the brain’? Unfortunately, there is a school of thought in medicine that
says that if all the tests come back negative, the condition is not real,
only imagined. This is however totally wrong. There are many conditions for
which we did not know (or had not developed) the right tests. Until the last
couple of decades, we did not have a definitive test for HIV – but the
people had the ailment, even though we couldn’t identify it. We doctors must
never forget to treat the patient, not the test results. (I thank my eldest
son, Dr. Jonathan Corness, for that sage little homily.)
Getting back to IBS, I repeat that it is not a disease, but can be a very
debilitating condition, characterized by some of the following (but not
necessarily all) symptoms: cramping pain in the stomach area, painful
diarrhea or constipation (now that’s confusing), mucus in the stool, swollen
or bloated belly, increased gas and the feeling that you are unable to
totally empty your bowel.
If IBS is not a disease, what is it? It is a functional disorder, which
means that the bowel doesn’t work as it should. What appears to happen is
that the nerves (called Auerbach’s Plexus from memory) and the muscles of
the bowel are extra-sensitive. For example, the muscles may contract too
much when you eat. These contractions can cause cramping and diarrhoea or
rapid bowel movement during, or shortly after, a meal. Or the nerves can be
overly sensitive to the dilating of the bowel (because of gas, for example).
Cramping or pain can be the result.
Any condition that does not have some nice finger-pointing in the right
direction test result is then too often put into the ‘psychosomatic’
pigeonhole. “It’s caused by stress,” say the non-medical ‘experts’. In
actual fact, emotional stress will not cause anyone to develop IBS. However,
if you already have IBS, stress can trigger the symptoms, just as it can for
a myriad of medical conditions. Stress does not cause the problem, but it
can make it appear worse. In fact, the bowel can overreact to all sorts of
things, including food, exercise, and hormones (women with IBS get more
problems around the time of their menses).
Food and drinks that tend to cause symptoms include milk products,
chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and fatty items. In some
cases, even eating a large meal will trigger symptoms.
Another complicating factor is that the symptoms of IBS can also mimic other
gastro-intestinal problems, which is why in the ‘work-up’ there may be a
barium enema or lower GI (gastro-intestinal) series. Barium is a thick
liquid that makes the bowel show up on X-ray. Another examination is a
colonoscopy. This is where the doctor inserts the ‘black snake’ into your
bowel via the anus and can look through the small camera on the tip.
Although there is no ‘magic bullet’ to cure someone of IBS, there is
treatment that will help. This includes dietary changes, anti-spasmodic
medicine and stress relief if you are a highly stressed person. As a
starter, fiber (found in bran, bread, cereal, beans, fruit, and vegetables)
reduces IBS symptoms - especially constipation, because it makes stool soft
and easier to pass, but you have to identify the ‘triggers’. (And it ain’t
Roy Rogers for those old enough to remember the celluloid hero!)
Heart to Heart
I always enjoy your column and have found that your advice is usually
spot on in most cases. However your latest piece of wisdom is probably
the best you’ve done to date where you said to the guy looking for a
wife, “If you want to buy some cheese, then you don’t find it in a
hardware shop. Can I be any more plain than that?” No Hillary you cannot
be more plain than that. As you point out, the good time girls are great
for a good time, when you’re here on holidays, but if you’re here for
the long haul, then you need someone prepared for the long haul as well.
I found mine, and it wasn’t in the hardware shop either! Keep up the
good work, Hillary. I reckon your advice should be given to all young
bucks at the Suvarnabhumi airport. It would probably produce a slump in
the gold shops though!
The Long Hauler
Dear Long Hauler,
Thank you for the nice words, my Petal, makes me goosey all over. Like
champagne does. You obviously found your long haul mate and are happy.
There are plenty of happy marriages out there, but of course they don’t
need to write in for advice, so people only get to read about the
disasters and imagine that all marriages to Thai women end in failure.
The failure rate of first marriages in the western countries is around
50 percent, so no society can claim itself to be superior to another.
Keep on hauling, and thank you again.
Do you know where I can get my favorite shoes soled and heeled? These
are a pair of snakeskin leather shoes that are now starting to look a
little tired and need a rebuild. But I don’t want to go anywhere, just
in case they ruin them. Any ideas?
Dear Snake Eyes,
You don’t give me much to work on, Petal. Where are you living? Your
email does not say. There are plenty of shoe repair shops, or even small
sidewalk operators, in the major cities in Thailand, be that Chiang Mai,
Bangkok or Pattaya. However, since it sounds as if these were bespoke
shoes, why not go back to the shop that made them for you? I’m sure
they’d be happy to rejuvenate the shoes for you. Resuscitating the snake
could take a little longer.
I went to take some photographs in one of the up-market food courts in
one of the local shopping centers, so that I could show my friends back
home. After I had taken about three shots I was told by a security
guard, “No photo!” I asked him why, but he could not speak any English
other than “No photo!” Then up came the floor manager who did have some
English, and she said “Not allowed!” No reasons were given. Do you know
why this was so, Hillary?
There can be many reasons that the food court could get a trifle tetchy,
Petal. They might think that you are from a competitor, trying to steal
their good ideas, though one food court is pretty much the same as
another, I have found. Only the décor and the prices are different. The
food is the same. You might also be working for another shopping center.
Another reason could be the fact that the nationalities of some of the
cooks could be non-Thai. Aliens generally don’t like to be photographed
(even ET was photo shy). But don’t worry, you managed to escape with
your three shots. That’s probably enough to show the folks back home.
I am sure that you must make up some of the letters in your column
because surely people are not that silly. What I want to know is just
how do you dream them up? Do you study other agony aunt columns or what?
Do you get your inspiration from real life? Tell me and I promise not to
tell a single solitary soul.
Are you suggesting Hillary makes up this drivel? Sorry, Poppet, Hillary
couldn’t possibly make up letters as silly as yours. So you think people
aren’t that silly – well think again - you just joined them, my little
turtle dove. By the way, other aunties get their inspiration from me.
I’m an inspirational kind of person.
My step daughter is coming to stay with us for a few days. Over the
years she has not been at all friendly towards me and takes whatever she
can wheedle out of her mother. I am sure that this will be no different
than in previous years and she will spend her time finding new and more
inventive ways of getting into my wife’s purse. Do you think I should
warn my wife, or confront the daughter?
I don’t think your wife or your stepdaughter has the problem, but you
obviously do. Leave your wife to deal with her daughter as she sees fit.
Don’t be meddlesome, just try to be a little more accommodating. You
have already admitted it’s just for a few days. Leave the pair of them
alone and they’ll work out their relationship, and in the long run, does
it matter what your wife gives her daughter? Loosen up, Petal.
Camera Class: by
Promote yourself – get a portfolio
At least once a month I get asked if I could take a photo of
someone’s wedding, or a golf tournament, or a charity event, or
someone’s daughter or take a shot of some products to be sold on
the internet. At least once a month I turn down these requests,
and then answer, “And no, I’m sorry, I don’t know of anyone else
who might be able to do it for you.”
All this means is that there is scope for some enterprising
young photographer to make a little money on the side. The
clients are out there with a need that is not being met. So is
Up till now you have been an amateur, with no paid assignments
that you can show to prospective clients. You may not have
photographed products for an internet catalogue, or someone’s
daughter as a portrait, or shot a golf tournament. But it isn’t
really too difficult. If you are a keen amateur then you’ve got
the photographic eye, you just need some experience.
At this stage, clients will still not be beating a path to your
door, where you wait, camera in hand and flash all primed and
ready. What you have to do, while waiting for the path-beating
clients, is get yourself a portfolio. Something you can show to
clients. A mini ‘showcase’ of your talents.
Back in the pre-digital days, we all produced portfolios with
individual transparencies mounted on heavy card. The trannies
were a minimum of 6x6 cm, and 5x4 inch were even better. You
lugged a portable light box around that you plugged into the
power supply in the client’s office. Showing your wares was a
Not so any more. In the digital era, it’s a breeze. You store
your good shots in your computer in Photoshop or whatever, and
when showing your work, you just email suitable samples to the
clients. Well, those people you hope will be clients!
So what should you have in your electronic ‘virtual’ portfolio?
Go back to my opening paragraph where I stated “photo of
someone’s wedding, or a golf tournament, or a charity event, or
someone’s daughter or take a shot of some products to be sold on
the internet”. That is a reasonable start. I’d also throw in a
couple of food shots, as there are always restaurants looking
for someone clever enough to make their food look appetizing.
So how do you go about getting these shots, when nobody has
given you a commission yet? Again this is simple. You pretend to
yourself that you have been asked to cover a golf tournament, so
you put together your shot list which would include golfers
teeing off, putting, someone in a bunker, a ball beside the pin
in the hole, a nice shot of a pretty caddy. Starting to get the
idea? By the way, nobody will complain about you being there,
especially if you offer to send them a couple of shots. And, you
never know, they might ask you to do some more – that is how I
got my first commission.
Now offer to do a wedding at no charge. OK, so you just used up
a Saturday afternoon, but you now have some more portfolio
items. And I will wager that someone at the wedding will want to
buy some shots from you as well. Do the same with some food
photographs and product shots, and you are on the way to putting
together a working portfolio.
Now some of you will be saying, “But I don’t know the best way
to shoot food, or product, or weddings or whatever,” but this is
no giant hassle either. There are more ‘how to’ photographic
books published than just about anything else, other than cook
books and personal advancement. This how you learn. Countless
thousands of photographers have learned the same way. You read,
you try for yourself and you review your results. It actually
does not take long. Once you can produce consistent results, you
are almost there.
The final steps? Display your photographs in a gallery, and
advertise in this newspaper. Then they will ring you, instead of
Best of luck in your new career.
Money Matters: Graham
Macdonald MBMG International Ltd.
Doom and Gloom?
From time to time we’re accused of being too gloomy and
continuously preaching Doom and Gloom. We resent this slightly in that we
try to highlight the negative and positive aspects of
what’s happening in the world - it’s just that at the moment there’s far
more negative stuff that we feel the need to write about because the outlook
for equities is in general so rocky and equities have a disproportionate
impact on the economy and most people’s investments. If sometimes we get
evangelical about the 5 asset class message, it’s because of the fact that
while some sectors are bad, there’s always some good news somewhere. For
sometime now, commodities have been an area that have afforded
opportunities. In part this is because the supply and demand curve for many
commodities has skewed the traditional backwardation effect (the fact that
in real terms commodities tend to get cheaper over time because extraction,
refining and production methods become more efficient). It’s also a feature
of the fact that as physical, deliverable items commodities have to be
traded in a way that creates massive disparities in the market allowing for
exploitation of these over and above any increase in the price of the
underlying commodity itself.
However, today we’ll just look at the first aspect - the upward pressure on
commodity prices. Jim Rogers - founder of the Rogers International
Commodities Index, co-manager of the Quantum Hedge Fund with George Soros
when it was launched in 1973 (every $1,000 invested at launch was worth $3mn
by 1998, when Rogers left to ride his motorbike around the world and set up
his own commodity funds), world expert on commodities and author of “Hot
Commodities”, “The Investment Biker” and “Adventure Capitalist”, widely
regarded as one of the best analysts and asset allocators in the World -
believes that the rise of China (all US-based analysts are still obsessed
with trying to estimate the point at which China will become the world’s
number 2 economy whereas many non-US-based analysts are looking beyond
that!!) and the change in the status of the US Dollar as a reserve currency
is having a profound impact on global demand. Jim Rogers has for some time
stated that the bull market for stock and bond markets is over and that
investors should get into the long-term bull market in commodities which
will extend to 2014-2022.
Recently, he repeated these views to the Credit Suisse Asian Investment
Conference in a keynote speech yesterday. Rogers’ research indicates that
the shortest commodity bull market has lasted for 15 years while the longest
was 23 years. The commodity fund index set up by Rogers on August 1, 1998
has increased by 243% since then, whereas the S&P index over the same period
has risen 43%, with a strong negative correlation to equities - whenever
commodities are in the ascendancy stocks and bonds are in decline, and vice
versa. Rogers believes that the big bull market for bonds was in the 1980s
and 1990s and peaked out in 2003 and has been treading water around the peak
since then preparatory to an impending long decline - We’re not sure how the
conference will ultimately respond to Rogers’ exhortations - “I would urge
all of you to go home and sell all your bonds. I know some of you are bond
managers - I would go home and look for another job,”.
Not that equity investors or mangers should feel any more comfortable - at
least in the West. Rogers believes that application of time tested criteria
(P/e ratios, dividend yields, price to book ratios) shows that Western stock
markets were overvalued, similar to the 1970s with big trading ranges. Stock
pickers might be able to exploit this successfully, but anyone brought upon
buying and holding is likely to be in for a prolonged period of
disappointment; as Rogers says about stockpicking “most people are not very
good at this. They need to have a secular bull market when markets are
rising all the time to make a lot of money,”.
Rogers believes that commodities are neglected as an investment class,
because of a lack of information and understanding - he feels that this is
reminiscent of attitudes towards stocks and mutual funds some 30 years ago
(today there are 70,000 mutual funds available to the public to invest in
stocks and bonds compared with fewer than 50 commodity funds).
Rogers then turned his attention to China and to the Greenback - changes in
global demand for commodities are taking place against a backdrop of the
rise of China and the change in the status of the US Dollar as the world’s
reserve currency - “It is amazing how many people do not understand the rise
of China - China is the next great country in the world......I know they
tell you that they call themselves communists in China - but I tell you they
are among the world’s best capitalists right now,”. As a result of this
structural change, increased demand for commodities, particularly oil, will
emanate from both China and India - China’s per capita consumption of oil is
a fourteenth of that of the US and one tenth that of South Korea and Japan.
Set against this increased demand, many of the world’s major oilfields are
in decline. Demand is increasing and supply is tightening; prices are
destined to rise.
But what of impending US recession? - the shift from the US being a creditor
nation in 1987 to being the biggest debtor nation in history with debts of
$13 trillion will also have major repercussions for global demand - “What is
terrifying to me is that our foreign debt increases at the rate of one
trillion every 15 months.” As a result of this, Rogers believes that Asian
countries, now among the world’s biggest creditors, will start to dump
Dollars and instead buy real assets such as oil, gold and other commodities.
Who are we to argue?
The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be
reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept
any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any
responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not
taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please
contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected]
Films on DVD for Rental in
Chiang Mai: Mr. I. Dewcritique
Directed by Clive Gordon, 2006
on in any class of film studies I have taught, there comes the moment when I
pause and ask what the significance of that particular shot or detail is,
and the students look at me as if I am slightly deranged. We tend to watch
films as if they are spontaneous and treat things on the screen as if they
are details of ordinary life. People who start seeing significance in the
telephone numbers and car license plates around them are regarded as
disturbed, but in the case of films, which people have spent a couple of
years meticulously planning, discussing, arranging, filming and editing,
details do count and are not accidental. Someone took a conscious decision
about everything, and the initials of John Connor, the future savior of
mankind in The Terminator, are significant; the names of characters in The
Matrix are worth thinking about; the car number plate in Psycho [ANL 790-
anal behaviour] is deliberate, and the pictures on the wall in the motel
have been chosen very carefully to supply extra information. Of course, the
amount of symbolism and intricate detail varies from film to film. Some
people have little patience for such things; others love the challenges.
When I picked up Cargo I imagined from the cover design that I was going to
watch a horror movie, possibly something like Ghost Ship. As I took in the
details I soon realised this was a false impression. The director has made a
number of serious films about Africa [Lost Boys], the writer has worked on
serious movies such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley, and the actors also
have art house reputations [Daniel Bruhl of Goodbye Lenin and Lavender
Ladies; Gary Lewis of Billy Elliot]. Cargo was likely to be more like
Thailand’s Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Invisible Waves.
The basic plot is simple enough. Chris, a young German with a liking for
adventure, is stranded in an African port and becomes a stowaway on a
battered cargo ship, The Gull, in order to get back to Europe. He is
discovered and put to work on the ship, which is carrying cocoa and
illegally exported birds. The crew members are strange and unfriendly.
Events become increasingly puzzling and violent. Knives and sharp blades
seem to proliferate across the screen. Chris has an infuriating desire to
see things it would be wiser he kept away from. The skipper, Captain
Brookes, becomes ever more enigmatic. Tragedy ensues and the film ends
rather than closes, but leaving one with the expectation that Brookes will
scuttle the ship and go down with it. A lot of loose ends are left untied
and possibly untie-able. If that sort of thing annoys you, this is not a
film you will enjoy.
If, however, you enjoy getting your teeth into symbols and mysteries and
arguing about a film for some hours after watching it, there is plenty of
meat here. Start with the names. Chris[t-opher] and the Baptist are clear
enough. The captain asks Chris why he is risking his life for people he does
not know. Chris stays in the cabin of the dead son. There are images of
Chris with out-stretched arms. There is a pieta scene near the end when the
birds [Holy Spirit?] are released. An earlier ship was called ‘Rebecca’ and
there’s a character called Abrahim [more father-son sacrifice there]. The
Brookes was the name of the boat portrayed in the famous picture of an
overloaded slave ship, an image which helped persuade the British to abolish
slave trading in 1807, an event whose bicentennial this European film is
clearly intended to celebrate. The horrors of the Middle Passage, possibly
even the Zong massacre, are in the film-makers’ minds. Joseph Conrad and
Billy Budd hover in the background too. There are plenty of things I have
not sorted out yet: why cabin 9? Subira is Swahili for patience- but is
there more to it than that- are there hints of Salome or Sophia? This is a
film to avoid or ponder.
Let's Go To The Movies:
4th Floor Airport Plaza
Telephone: 053 283-939
Movie times can change daily.
Vista – Kadsuankaew
4th Floor Kadsuankaew
Telephone: 053 894-415
Times usually remain the same for entire week.
Vista – 12 Huaykaew
Across from Kadsuankaew
Telephone: 053 404-374
Times usually remain the same for entire week.
Spider-Man 3: US Action/Adventure – This very expensive blockbuster opened
on May 1 in about 80% of the available screens in town. It may have cost
more to make than any film in Hollywood history. Some published reports have
placed the budget at above $300 million. It is in the process of breaking
all box-office records.
I did not find it particularly compelling, except for the Sandman, and felt
there was something ungainly and cumbersome about it, as if its plot
elements were the product of competing contractors who never saw the need to
cooperate on a coherent final product. But if you like this sort of thing,
you should like it very much. Mixed or average reviews: 60/62 out of 100.
Pan’s Labyrinth: (Spanish/Subtitled in Thai and English) Mexico/Spain/US
Fantasy/Thriller – At Vista/12 Huaykaew only. Not to be missed. You owe it
to yourself to experience this film, but do not take your young children to
see it unless you want them to be scarred for life. There are deeply
frightening creatures in the film: the Pale Man, with his removable eyes in
the palms of his hands; the giant toad with his unspeakable vomit; and the
Mandrake root, the “plant that dreamed of being human.” And Pan himself is a
nightmare come to life. But the most frightening of all is the Captain, the
human being in the film who has lost all vestiges of his humanity. Rated R
in the US for graphic violence, language. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 98/85
out of 100.
28 Weeks Later: UK Horror – This follow-up to the wildly successful 28 Days
Later picks up six months after the “rage” virus has annihilated the British
Isles, which are now occupied by American troops, to bring peace and
stability to the region, much as they do in Iraq. I found it a thoughtful
and chilling movie, not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.
Brutal and almost exhaustingly terrifying, as any respectable zombie movie
should be. But there is an admirable freshness to it, both in its ideas and
in its techniques. Rated R in the US for strong violence and gore, language
and some sexuality/nudity. Generally favorable reviews: 79/65 out of 100.
Shooter: US Action/Drama – With Mark Wahlberg. For an action movie and
thriller, excellent! Very nicely acted by Wahlberg as a marksman involved
with a Presidential assassination. Good dialogue and plot. Rated R in the US
for strong graphic violence, some language. Mixed or average reviews: 53/56
out of 100.
Next: US Action /Sci-Fi – Nicholas Cage stars as a magician with the ability
to see two minutes into the future. Terrific action movie with nice twisted
plot. I thought it was a pure delight, but most people didn’t. Mixed or
average reviews: 42/46 out of 100.
Me…Myself (Khor Hai Rak Jong Jaroen): Thai Drama/Romance – Of interest for
Ananda Everingham, who gives a fascinating and subtle performance as an
amnesiac who falls for a young woman without remembering his true identity
as a gay cabaret singer. Director: Pongpat Wachirabunjong.
Bus Lane (May-Na-Rok): Thai Comedy – Songkran on a hijacked bus. Worth
seeing. The preview really did a disservice by making the film look truly
awful, showing nothing of its charm: All you remember was the image of a
girl continuously farting. Actually, some very nice things happen in the
movie: good moments, interesting observations, and it ends sweetly.
Director: Kittikorn Laiwsirikun.
Train of the Dead (Ghost Train)/Rod Fai Phee: Thai Horror – Five Thai
teenagers do bad things and end up on a spooky train to Hell. There are some
great posters for the movie; I suggest you look at them rather than the
movie itself. Seems the director, Sukum Maetawanitch, is practicing his
considerable skills here for better films down the line.
Epic Movie: US Comedy – Uses characters from recent hit movies and subverts
them with inane dialog, fart jokes, and a lot of urine. Dreadful, but some
in the Thai audience laughed a lot. Reviews: Extreme dislike or disgust:
17/22 out of 100.
Scheduled for Thursday, May 24
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: US Action/Fantasy – I imagine you
know what to expect from this: more of the same. If you liked the previous
two episodes, you should like this one too.
Life in the laugh lane:
Waling on Wales
England harassed my Welsh ancestors as much as my British friends make fun
of me, I understand why my relatives left the United Kingdom. Unfortunately,
they ended up in a town and state that all of America ridicules—Fargo, North
Dakota—the letters of which can be rearranged to spell “a good, hot, rank
I had no choice in being born half-Welsh—in the United States of America,
which rearranged spells: 1) “An armistice? To us, defeat!” 2) “Fat, roasted,
meat cuisine.” 3) “Oi! France made its statue.” 4) “A fantastic idea? Sure,
to me!” My mother’s maiden name was Jones, supposedly the Welsh name for
John. Darlene Jones married Ken Jones and my friends will never believe they
weren’t closely related, probably brother and sister. I wish my mother had
popped me during a trip to Canada, or maybe neighboring Minnesota, which at
least produced a Vice-president who lost miserably in his bid for the
Presidency because of bad hair, oversize ears and too many gums when he
smiled, a recent governor who was a former professional wrestler and, just
last year, in the wake of 9/11 and Bush’s current War On Terrorists And
Random People Who Aren’t Bright White, elected the first Muslim
representative in America, rather remarkable for a bunch of large, blonde,
Scandinavian Lutherans. North Dakota has only produced one semi-famous
baseball player—Roger Maris, one semi-famous singer—Peggy Lee and several
prize-winning cows—Bessie, Bossy and Beulah, though these may be the names
of their large, blonde Scandinavian owners. It’s often hard to tell them
apart, because, like the cows, the owners appear to have five stomachs.
What’s the difference between a champion cow and its owner? Two choices: 1)
about two kilos; or 2) lipstick.
Even though I’ve left America for good, my relentless British mates continue
their not-so-subtle jokes about my sordid heritage. While standing with four
Brits, in a vain attempt to salvage my reputation, I plead, “But I’m
half-Welsh!” Like a well-crafted, movie scene, as if they’d carefully
practiced this synchronized maneuver, each of my friends silently take a
giant step away from me. Is Wales that bad?
The Internet told me this negative British opinion started in 1847 with the
English-speaking commissioners’ official report on their educational system,
then largely conducted in Welsh. They concluded the natives were “dirty,
ignorant, lazy, drunk, superstitious, lying and cheating because they were
nonconformists and spoke Welsh.” (Sounds like Bush’s image of Iraq.) My
knowledge of Wales was originally slim: it’s the birthplace of gold-chained,
famous-to-aging-housewives, big-voiced Tom Jones and has the town with the
longest name in the world that, unlike my home town, must be difficult to
chant at sporting events: “Go get ‘em, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogery
chwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! (Fargo was much simpler: “Go, Fargo, far,
go far, go far, go!”) With this many consonants and four “l’s” in a row,
their language may have developed in pubs after several hundred pints of ale
and sessions of slurred singing. I also learned these grim facts: “Jones”
means “an addiction to a drug, especially heroin.” “Welsh” means “to cheat
or swindle by failing to pay a debt,” perhaps causing “wales” that are
“large welts raised on the skin by the lash of a whip.”
When I finally visited Wales, I really only remember castles, more castles
and food that tasted like ground-up castles, perhaps the worst I have ever
experienced. In London, dining is an anticipated event with delicious
cuisine from around the world, though not from England. In Wales, I’d say,
“Let’s try to find something with some flavor.” I did love the ale and
consumed great quantities while trying to forget I’d have to eat again. I
don’t remember anything about the capitol city of Cardiff except it was
called Cardiff. Most people were reasonably friendly, not overly, okay, they
seemed a bit distant, but maybe they could tell I was from Fargo.
Conclusion? Who cares? Make fun of me. I do. Final facts?
Llanfairpwellgwy...etcetera means “St. Mary’s Church in the hollow of white
hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the red
cave,” but the longest name is actually in Thailand:
amornphimarnavatarnsathitsakkattiyavisanu kamprasit, which means
“Bangkok...whatever.” Fargo means nothing, but its right across the river
from Moorhead and everyone knows what that means.