Vol. VI No. 18 - Tuesday
June 26, - July 2, 2007
Dining Out & Entertainment
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Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Bangkok International Film Festival

Let's Go To The Movies

Life in the laugh lane

Your Health & Happiness

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

Getting fitter the (relatively) easy way

I have spent many column inches (oops, showing my age - column centimetres) over the past few years writing about how to avoid debilitating diseases and how to make sure your cholesterol stays low and similar concepts, and the advisability of annual check-ups. All these articles have been designed to make sure you stay as healthy as possible. However, this does not mean to say you are then “fit”.
Every so often it does become necessary to take stock of your physical self, and I am no different. The possession of medical degrees and diplomas does not automatically mean you have been given the secret of eternal youth (or life), more’s the pity.
In the quest for the holy grail of fitness, I have recently lost some weight. This has been intentional, as I was getting a little “paunchy” - the result of some regular beer intake (aided and abetted by one only Kim Fletcher of Jameson’s - though the final responsibility I must take myself)! I now take alcohol less than three days a week, with the intervening days on the soda water. My weight is now 78 kg and the belly has disappeared dramatically. But this does not mean to say I am “fit”. It just means that I am no longer overweight.
One of my old mates has taken to going to the gymnasium three times a week. His muscles are definitely stronger, but his exercise regime does not make him generally fit. It just makes him stronger. There’s a big difference.
Another old mate, Alan, is one of those fitness “fanatics” (in my book) who walks for an hour every morning. He is fit. He radiates fitness (damn him) and has been on at me for some time to join him on these early morning marches. I have steadfastly refused, mainly because I do not have the luxury of a spare hour every morning, and I do not intend getting up before the sun does and marching with a miners helmet on complete with built in headlight.
So what do you do in these circumstances? Well, I remembered a very old book I had on the bookshelves - The 5 BX and 10 BX plan. You remember it too, I am sure. It was all the rage twenty odd years ago (when I was fit). Strange that you buy these things when you don’t need them! However, I still had my copy, now discoloured and frayed around the edges (like me). This book promised to get you fit at the expense of 11 minutes a day. That was more like it. 11 minutes I have, 60 I do not have.
Re-reading the slim volume, I marvelled at the simplicity of it all. There was a graduated scale of different exercises, designed to keep the muscles in trim, as well as giving the heart a little exercise as well. The varying levels began from one called D minus, which I found to be very easily attained, even at my age. As you get fitter, you progress through the alphabet to A plus - but still carrying out the regimen in 11 minutes.
I had thought that when I did the parachute jump, that was the last on my list of “must do’s” but I was incorrect. I have been enjoying life so much that I have added “live to be 100” to the list (at my wife’s insistence, I should add. I have assured her that I will indeed attain the century, or die in the attempt!). This does mean, however, that I want to be able to get around and continue to “do things” at that age. I will need to be fit. It is not too late for me - or for you. Think about it.

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
Dear old Pater is having a little difficulty with camp followers when he pops out for his early evening whirdle! In fact, he doesn’t like to walk along the prom, prom, prom when the big bass ladyboys go bom, bom, bom! Suggestions for safer whirdling welcome, Hillary.
Dear Mistersingha,
Dear oh dearie me! I had high hopes that you and twins and Pater had all escaped to Laos, where you had been arrested for plotting to attempt the overthrow of the Dominican Republic. But alas! Here you are again. I am pleased to see that Pater is still well enough to whirdle, though last time I saw him, he was herpling very badly. However, safer whirdling for the old git could be difficult. Have you thought about a live-in nanny?
Dear Hillary
Following up on your reply to Lefty last week, whose girlfriend made regular jaunts to Bangkok dressed in white, to supposedly visit a temple. As you say temple visits are the norm with Thais with a deep religious faith, but why can’t they visit their local temple? Why in this case was it necessary to travel to Bangkok? This happens extensively in Isaan where I live. The locals regularly borrow money to travel 50-100 kms to just another temple, their reasoning is “the monks are better”. Surely a monk is a monk and a temple is a temple. They are after all only “middlemen” between the believer and Buddha!
Dear Babababor,
What a wonderfully crazy name you have chosen for yourself, or did someone else give it to you, Petal? Where is your sense of adventure? Have you never gone somewhere different, just for the sheer joy of “change”? Or do you always go to the same shopping center, the same day of the week and buy the same things? It makes no difference whether the reason being given is that the “monks are better” - that’s just a line of thought being given to the non-understanding farang. It’s too hard to explain otherwise. By the way, the monk is not the middleman between the believer and Buddha, the monk is the agent through whose direction the believer can try to attempt to attain a state of grace. Big difference, you should study Buddhism a little more.

Dear Hillary,
You have the most interesting group of people who write to you with all their problems and I must say you do try to answer them, though sometimes you do get a little tetchy, Hillary. So please don’t be too quick with my problem, eh? I have met this really spunky chick, and before you even say anything, yes she does work in a beer bar. So I know all the traps and all the rest of the good advice that you give out each week. What I want to know is do have you any idea how many of these girls make good wives? Do they all eventually run off with the house and all the rest of it? Have you any good stats on all this stuff? Or does anybody have them? The books you recommend like Private Dancer all show the bad side, but what I need to know is the good side, and I don’t believe they are all bad. Have you the real numbers, O wise Hillary?
The Enquirer
Dear Enquirer,
That’s not the National Enquirer is it? If it is, I want a big fat syndication fee, Petal. Hey, you are asking the impossible. How many of the ladies of the night turn out to be great wives, compared to how many turn into money collectors? That is impossible to keep track of, and you know it, but the reason you are wanting to find out is because you are just hoping that your “spunky chick” is one of what you call one of the “good” ones. Look, my Petal, here are some real facts - the ladies of the night are not in that (dare I say it) ‘profession’ because someone forced them into it. They chose to work in the bar, and what you have to ask yourself (and you already know the answer) is just why did they choose it? Was it to make more money than they could as a housemaid (since the majority have not finished their schooling, and cannot get better jobs), or was it because they thought they might meet a nice man who will take them away from all this penile servitude (pun intended, Petal)? If it was for either of those reasons, the chances of these girls happily settling down with a foreign husband is not really that high, is it? Now here is where the ‘wild card’ comes in. As in all female-male relationships a certain chemistry can occur between the woman and the man that makes all further decisions defy logic. Let’s call it ‘love’ for the want of a better name. That has to occur for both parties, Petal, not just one. Under those circumstances, a ‘good’ marriage ‘can’ eventuate. Note, I did not say ‘will’, Petal. Statistics on marital breakdown, into martial breakup, is around 50 percent for marriages in the west, you know the marriages made in heaven between two people from the same society, with no cultural disparities (sorry I’m using big words, but it’s a big words day). Take your chances, Enquirer, but keep your eyes open!

Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Using shadow for mystery

When you first start in photography there is a tendency to want to show all the detail that is in front of the camera lens. The best way, the novice feels, is to do this is to flood the picture with light. Be that sunlight or from the super-Mecablitz flash or whatever. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to show shape, form or evoke an air of mystery.
Undoubtedly the subject will now be well lit, but you have also removed shape and form from the photograph. You see, the way to convey shape is by showing the shadow the object casts. No shadow and it looks flat. Incorporate shadow and “Hey Presto!” you have invented 3D.
Shadow has another benefit - it gives an air of mystery to any picture. Dark shadows allow the viewer to imagine what is being hidden. Your photograph “hints” at something and the viewer’s mind does the rest from there. This is used in ‘glamour’ photography (as opposed to pornography, by the way).
Here is an exercise for this weekend. Let’s put some shadows into your photographs. Let’s do a portrait to incorporate shadow. And let’s do this indoors and without flash guns or any fancy equipment, and get a ‘professional’ look to the outcome, no matter what kind of camera you own.
Find the largest window in your house or condominium and put a chair about one meter away from it. The chair should be parallel to the window, not facing it.
Place your sitter in the chair and position another chair facing the sitter. This one is yours, as you will take the photo sitting down. Reason? This way you keep the camera at the same level as your subject’s face and you will get a more pleasing portrait. If you photograph from a position below the subject you tend to give them “piggy” nostrils and it shortens the look of the nose. In a country where ‘big noses’ are considered desirable, this is not the effect wanted.
Now, make sure that your auto flash is turned off. This is important with point and shooters that can fire off as soon as light levels are lower than usual. Look through the viewfinder and position yourself so that the sitter’s face is almost filling the frame. Notice that the side of the face away from the window light source is now in shadow. If you have the ability to meter from the lit side of the face, then do so. But if not, just blast off a couple of frames on auto and let the camera do the worrying.
Now here is a super trick to do if you have an SLR. Turn the film speed dial from the ASA of the film you are using to the next highest film speed. For example, if you are shooting 100 ASA go to 200 ASA. If you have used 200 ASA then bump it up to 400 ASA. What you are doing is effectively reducing the amount of light falling on to the film by 50 percent. This way you should “fool” the camera’s meter and make sure you get some good shadows.
You should also slightly angle the sitter’s chair so that one shoulder is closer to the camera and get the subject to turn their head to face the camera again. Try angling in both directions so you will get a choice of shots.
Another variation to try is to place a thin voile net over the window, or draw any transparent curtains. This will soften the light and is particularly effective when taking shots of women. Again go through the variations, including the change of ASA rate.
For a portrait study such as this it is worth using a complete roll of film, or many digital shots. Remember that you are not doing 36 identical shots - you are making variations in pose, lighting and exposure. There are also facial expressions to change - laughing, smiling, serious or sad. It is very easy to end up with 36 different shots.
Try it, you will be amazed at the professional result.

Money Matters:  Graham Macdonald MBMG International Ltd.

If U.S. Equities are doing so well why is the U.S. Economy struggling? Part 1

Despite the fact that the Dow Jones 30 and S&P500 have both broken records recently and have surpassed their previous highs, there are still worries about the US economy.
Why is this? Well, one thing is the way things are calculated. Without doubt, the US real US GDP has been slowing down significantly so far this year even thought the major indices have been on the up and up and companies continue to report good growth in earnings and revenues.
This weird situation is, as stated above, down to the way that things are figured out. However, there are other things to consider as well. To begin with GDP is usually measured in real terms (i.e. volume) but on top of this headline inflation of around three percent must be added to work out what the revenue growth actually is.
Also, one has to consider the fact that the Dow and S&P have a completely different mix of companies that have seen a better growth than the rest of the economy; for example, the S&P is heavily weighted to energy and technology whilst at the same time having little to do with government and housing. This means that they have benefited from the surge in equities and also having nothing to do with the property problems that have been so prevalent - especially recently. Finally, the revenues from US operations that have an international arm have expanded greatly over the last couple of years but these are excluded from the GDP.
Many forecasters predict that the S&P will continue to do well - even when inflation has been taken into account. However, they also predict that things will not be as good for the US equity market over the coming year BUT that IF there is good growth on a global scale then the continuing weakness of the USD should help overseas sales to remain good and compensate the poor performance of the US economy.
Let’s look at this in more detail. The problems mentioned above can be further exacerbated by the differences between macro-economic and micro-economic outlooks. With regards to the former, at least as far as the equity markets are concerned, information can occasionally give conflicting reports about the latter’s outlook for a company and its shares. This can be seen by what happened a year ago. Even though US growth suffered from a major slowdown, the S&P500 showed a revenue growth that stayed at nearly 12% for the rest of the year. Hardly the situation that leads to a cataclysmic meltdown. So, why are the macro people worried and the micro analysts seemingly unperturbed by what is going on? Well, as mentioned previously, the main thing is the definition of what makes up the statistics. Long term readers of this column will know that one of my favourite quotes is that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics”. However, we do have to start somewhere.
Let’s study what goes into the figures that make up these statistics and who defines what. A reasonable definition of company revenue is total worldwide sales based in USD. However, GDP is shown as only value added and not revenue. For instance, a company that sells a computer for USD1,000 with USD500 of components from suppliers would only create USD500 of value added. Also, a large supply chain will give a lot more sales than value added will do. Another thing is inflation needs to be added to real GDP, which shows the volume of activity in an economy, when being compared to revenue. Finally, GDP is based on production and not turnover so that any accumulation in inventory counts for GDP but not company revenues.
Along with this it must be remembered that GDP only refers to items produced in the USA. Therefore, if anything has been produced for an American company overseas it is not included in GDP but it is for that company’s revenue stream. So, whilst a large company in the Dow or S&P may be seen to be doing well the USA is not.
The GDP is derived from ALL the companies in the US whilst the S&P500 is taken from only a small range of companies that are not a full representation of ALL the business and industry that goes to make up an economy. The Dow and S&P also discard companies that are not doing well - GDP does not have this luxury.
This can be seen from how to compare the figures over the last three years. The US Government says that Real GDP is just over 3% per annum whereas the S&P shows it to slightly over 10% p.a. The 7% difference comes from inflation, international sales, industry mix and other factors including inventory changes, index selection favouritism, etc. The latter accounts for less than one percent but let’s take a look at the others.
Inflation - the indices revenue growth is derived from actual revenues whereas real GDP is from the output of the economy. Thus the higher the rate of inflation is then the bigger the difference there is between the two sets of statistics.
International Sales - Companies from the US are taking advantage of excellent growth outside of the US which helps revenue and a weak dollar, which means that revenues from overseas are worth more in USD when brought back to the USA. Non-USA sales have grown by over 13% per annum over the last five years and now account for more than 33% of the sales for the companies in the S&P that report them.
Industry mix - There is not an equal split of business in the major indices. Certain industries will not be as prevalent as others. For example, manufacturing will have a much larger slice of the market than an industry such as waste services. Different performances in different economic sectors can lead to a large misrepresentation of figures when given as growth measured by the markets and by the economy. Over the last couple of years this can be best seen by how the energy companies have had a positive effect and the property ones have had exactly the opposite effect.
To be continued…

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]

Life in Chiang Mai: by Mark Whitman

Not having been in Thailand for rather too long, I’m not up to date on what progress is being made on repairs to the airport at Bangkok. But the new terminus at Heathrow is in the news in London and the photographs make it look stunning. Enormous, with huge space above the shopping malls and equipped to handle an extra 30 million passengers a year. And there are to be only 700 seats for would be passengers. Sound familiar?
There was a wonderful piece in The Independent. They asked readers to suggest collective nouns to sum up various jobs and professions and the results were far from flattering, especially for estate agents, politicians and journalists. Here is a small selection: A gazump of estate agents won, and among the runners up was an exaggeration, a shadiness, a rapacity and my special favourites a slick and a slither.
As for journalists we fared little better. A jabber won the day, followed by others including a snoop, a gutter, a sozzle, a jaundice and a wittering. Our members of parliament did just as badly and who knows that too might fund an echo here with a waffle of MPs. Along with mendacity, a backhander (what price Thailand?), a malady and blather. And whilst in Thailand, what about the collective noun for the ubiquitous 4x4 drivers? The winner was a guzzle, followed by a choke, an insolence, a bombast, a smog and my favourite a carbonation.
Unsurprisingly, I am asked by friends in England what the Thais ‘think about Iraq? I find it difficult to answer since firstly they have none of the guilt that is shared by many in the west and secondly they are after all a nation comparatively untouched by war. America has been almost continually at war since the very early ‘40s (except for 1945-’51) and in Britain this week they are still banging on about the Falklands War of 25 years ago as though this were something to celebrate. I simply say that most concern expressed comes from ex-pats living in Chiang Mai rather than from Thais who have such a calm acceptance of so many things.
And we have cause to be anxious since every day some new horror in unveiled such as atrocities committed by British and American soldiers. The latest news story is one that comes under the category of ‘You couldn’t make it up’. A British resident whose family still lives in north London has been in that concentration camp at Guantanamo for some four years. Now Jamil Barum is set for release, never having been charged and seemingly not guilty of any crime. Naturally he wants to return to Britain to join his family and not be returned to Jordan. The reason the Home Office is giving for not allowing him back is that he has forfeited his right to return since he has been out of the country too long. How about other collective nouns for politicians? A wriggle, a shyst, a disdain?

Bangkok International Film Festival

Asian films to take center stage

For the first time, the focus of this year’s Bangkok International Film Festival will be on Asian movies.
Asian films would make up more than 50 per cent of this year’s festival, which runs from July 19 to 29, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said.
The move is in response to the popularity of Asian films in Thailand and abroad.
The added movie genres such as horror and romantic comedies had garnered large followings, and some Asian movies had also been remade into major Hollywood productions.
The TAT said more than 100 films from some 30 countries would be screened at the festival, which was initially scheduled for January, but postponed due to the unavailability of theatres.
Chief Officer of the festival, Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, said this year’s festival was shaping up very well, despite its budget being cut in half.
He said: “It (the budget cut) definitely won’t have an impact on the festival.
“We had allowed for the budget cut. We will get good films, you can be sure of that.”
He said this year’s event would be a “streamlined festival”. He added: “The focus will be on quality films, which is really the heart of any film festival.
“This year, our main focus will be to provide movie-loving audiences with the films they’ve been waiting to see.”
The festival, which is in its fifth edition, will comprise four main segments: film screenings, workshops and seminars, the film mart, and the awards ceremony and gala dinner.
The film mart is expected to do brisk business in the acquisition of Asian films for theatrical release overseas.
The seminars and workshops will educate the public on new developments in movie-making and highlight important pioneers and periods in local cinema.
Some of the awards to be given out include the Kinnaree Award for the best film in the festival as selected by a panel of international jurors, New Voices Award for first-time directors and ASEAN Films Award for the best film from ASEAN.
TAT said an ASEAN category would be unique to the festival, and would be made up of 10 films from countries that included Malaysia and Indonesia – while the short film competition was a new addition to this year’s festival.
The World Cinema section includes about 20 movies from countries such as Germany, France, Denmark and the UK, while the Asian Cinema section is expected to comprise nearly 30 films from across the region.
The Thai Panorama section would be made up of 12 newly released films, the NTO said.
The films will be screened at Central World with the film mart held at Siam Paragon from July 23 to 25.
While earlier editions had been organized with an American-based partner, this year’s festival is being organized by a group of Thai organizations, namely, TAT, Central World, SF Cinema and the Association of Thai Film Federations.

Let's Go To The Movies: Mark Gernpy

Ploy: Thai Drama – From director Pen-ek Ratanaruang.
An assured piece of mature filmmaking examining a marriage seven years on. Essentially a lucid dream, Ploy takes place in that odd in-between state when you cannot be sure whether you are sleeping or awake, and there are seemingly sure pointers that lead you to believe both. While things appear straightforward in the early stages of the film, it soon becomes clear that some sequences are in fact the dreams by some characters about the others, and the lines between what is real and what is imagined becomes deeply blurred. Thus, Ploy isn’t really a film about what is, so much as what might be: about the different paths a relationship might take. All paths are equally valid, all are equally likely, and it is up to you to decide which to follow and label truth, and which to label fantasy.
Don’t miss this. Thai cinema isn’t this good very often.
Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer: US Sci-Fi/Fantasy – We continue our examination of the Marvel cosmology: Did you know there exists today a leftover God from the universe that just preceded this one? His name is Galactus, and he is the only survivor of that time before current time.
And these are not the only two universes; there are many. Our current universe is the “mainstream Marvel continuity,” sometimes known as Earth-616. The universe of the Transformers, coming June 28, is Earth-120185. The universe where the Nazis won WWII is Earth-597.
According to Marvel, Galactus must eat energy – entire worlds – in order to survive, and eat voraciously. He sends his herald, the Silver Surfer, to discover and prepare new worlds to devour. Wherever Silver Surfer goes, total destruction soon follows.
Why does the Silver Surfer serve Galactus and prepare planets for doom? Because as long as he does, Galactus will spare his own planet, and along with it the one woman he truly loves.
The creator of the whole series of Marvel comic book classics is Stan Lee, the major force in comics since 1950. He has a cameo in the movie: he’s the scruffy obnoxious fellow trying to crash the wedding.
One final bit of cosmology: Why does the Silver Surfer use a surfboard of all things?! Answer: the series’ artist, Jack Kirby, was “tired of drawing spaceships!”
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: US Action/Fantasy – More you couldn’t ask for – an over-abundance of spectacle and fun, fashioned with immense imagination. Depp is a delight; line of the week: “Shoot him, cut out his tongue, and shoot his tongue.” (After seven minutes of ending credits, a scene ten years later shows how one of the plot lines . . . oops, you better see for yourself!)
Ocean’s Thirteen: US Crime/Comedy – Casino heist caper. A delightful patchwork of plot-holes laced together with fantastic fabrications. Much fun.
Rakna 24 Hours: Thai Romance/Comedy – Romance threatened because boy has two widely different personalities, which he chooses randomly for the day each morning. Starring Thai singing star “Film.”
Teng Nong Khon Ma Ha Hear: Thai Comedy – Starring two popular Thai comedians. Of little pitch and moment for farangs, but number one at the Thailand box office every week since June 1st.
Sick Nurses (Suay Laak Sai): Thai Horror – Whimpering, simpering, and screaming young nubile nurses get killed in imaginative ways. Sick and sickening, I can attest. Strictly for those who adore awful Thai horror films.
Scheduled for Thursday, June 28
Transformers: US Action/Sci-Fi – Dueling alien races, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, bring their battle to Earth, and earth to the brink of extinction. From Marvel comics.
My Wife is a Gangster 3: Korea Action/Comedy – A female crime boss hides out in Korea to escape from triad bosses out for her hide. An amiable comedy for Korean film fans.

Life in the laugh lane: by Scott Jones

Selling My Soul 101

Alan Alda, John Lithgow, Mary Higgins Clark, many other celebrities and authors and I signed our new books at the gigantic Book Expo in New York last week. They had to sit in massive rooms behind tables and long lines of bored fans who paid for the autographs, while I was free to autograph anywhere for free, including on the bus to New Jersey where I was staying. Two women with sacks of books, still wearing their convention name tags in case they forgot who they were, asked which book excited me the most. I said, “Mine, of course” and gave them an autographed book with the condition that they’d email to tell me if it rocked or it sucked.
The Book Expo (or BEA, perhaps named after my Aunt Bea in Fargo, North Dakota, who has read several books) is an intimate gathering of 40,000 people at the Javits Convention Center, about 1,000 major publishers, subsidiary publishers, internet publishers, self-publishers, distributors, printers, agents, publicists and literary sluts, about 9,000 book store owners or employees trick-or-treating for free stuff and about 30,000 struggling authors hawking, begging and groveling with their two chapter drafts of the next great American novel.
I was very optimistic after selling one book on the plane to a publisher from Switzerland. (Though he specializes in scholarly psychiatric works relating to Freud and Jung, I’m hoping he may round out his catalog by including one book by an author who is clinically insane.) I arrived early to see friends and prepare for the Writer’s Conference (for which I prepaid $200) that began the day before the BEA. At 3:40 p.m., while in New Jersey, perusing the internet, I realized the Writer’s Conference had started that very day at 8:00 a.m., and if I survived the traffic into the city, I could catch the last two minutes of the conference. Feeling like I possessed the brain power of an amoeba, I bused in the next morning to try to get a refund, then attend the BEA, however, the convention floor didn’t open until the next day, so I was now the official village idiot of New York: a day late and a day early at the same time. Carrying a backpack full of books that weighed a little less than a pregnant water buffalo, I wandered the streets for hours to test my new chromium-cobalt steel hip replacement I got three months ago in India. The hip performed painlessly like steel should, but my barely-used legs and feet became throbbing waste material and I could barely walk the next day at the convention. (I’m going back to India to get metal legs and feet.)
In the book biz, competition is fierce and I need distribution with sufficient marketing so more people know about my book than my Aunt Bea. Random House Publishing introduces about 60 titles every two weeks. Every year some 200,000 new titles hit the shelves: that’s 23 books per hour, 365/24/7. The convention program had 126 pages of autographing schedules with eight authors per page. Why would anyone care about Life in the Laugh Lane with books like these? (I did not change one word of these titles.) Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots; Passing Gas and Getting Paid for It; EEEEE EEE EEEE (perhaps a sequel to his novel DDDD DDD DDDD); three books destined to be best-sellers in Thailand: Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach, Woof! A Gay Man’s Guide to Dogs and Identifying the Wackos in Your Life (which actually had picture of me in it); and Don’t Know Much About Anything, “the latest addition in the million-copy selling series.”
My most humbling moment? While limping down the aisles, a woman dragged me into her booth and said, “Would you like an autographed book? Here’s the author. She’s nine and working on her second book. She wrote this one when she was seven.” Seven. To be even with her, I’ll have to publish my book 50 years ago.
Instead of trying to sort out this entire industry, I learned I may need a literary agent. On my last walk through the halls with my last book in hand, I finally met one, from New York, who seemed somewhat interested after flipping through my book and laughing at the photos. (I imagined she’d say: “This has potential, but it needs editing. Let’s just take out all the words.”) After telling her that all the profits go to Children’s Garden orphanage in Thailand, she said, “I hate kids.” I may just have to sell them door-to-door, along with cosmetics, cleaning fluids and that other guy’s book, Passing Gas and Getting Paid for It.

Your Health & Happiness: Thailand chosen for high blood pressure, diabetes project

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that Thailand, China, and India as leading countries appropriate for launching pilot projects to combat high blood pressure and diabetes.
Deputy public health minister Dr. Vallop Thainuea said that the WHO sees Thailand’s potential to contain the diseases.
He said that ten million Thais currently have high blood pressure but only one third know they have the condition, while three million Thai people have diabetes, but only half recognize they have the disease.
Both illnesses can lead to other complications, which require costly medical treatment, Dr. Vallop said.
The Public Health Ministry will supply blood pressure monitors and blood glucose meters to public health volunteers to perform health check-ups for local residents over 35 years old in August, he said.
The project is aimed at screening 10 million patients to receive medical treatment.
The ministry will also offer training for 800,000 health volunteers across the country in July and August.
Public relations campaigns will be implemented to urge Thai people to adopt healthy lifestyle to prevent obesity, which can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, he added.
According to the public health ministry, 30 per cent of children in urban areas and 20 per cent of children in remote areas are overweight, higher than 10 per cent and four per cent respectively in 1989. (TNA)

The one-minute TB test coming soon

The nanotechnology center of Srinakharinwirot University’s Faculty of Medicine is developing a new technology to make the result of a tuberculosis test known within one minute, according to a senior executive of the faculty.
Assoc. Prof. Kosum Chansiri, deputy dean in charge of administration, said that the centre is studying the possibility of applying bio-censors in diagnosing some serious infectious diseases including tuberculosis, dengue, elephantiasis and HIV-AIDS.
Ms. Kosum said that the center is close to success in applying the equipment in diagnosing mycobacterium tuberculosis within one minute.
Bio-censoring equipment is used in medical, agro-industrial, military and environmental sectors. Success in the new diagnosis technique will be a breakthrough because equipment for the diagnosis of tuberculosis is not yet available in Thailand, she said.
At present, the most widely used methods were culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), both of which are time consuming and were unable to determine accurately if the strain of the mycobacterium tuberculosis was resistant to any kinds of drug.
The success of the Srinakharinwirot research may lead to applications of bio-censors in diagnosing other diseases.
The center resulted from cooperation between the university’s faculties of medicine and engineering. (TNA)

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