The Doctor's Consultation:
by Dr. Iain Corness
Insomnia - Is it a problem you can sleep on?
Did you have a bad night? How
many sheep did you count last night? If it were more than one thousand you
may have a problem. If you do have a problem, then you also have plenty of
friends, as the latest reports would suggest that 30 percent of the
population over 40 years old suffers from insomnia, with males slightly more
than females. Maybe the answer is in ringing each other up.
Medically we tend to split insomnia into two groups - Primary or Secondary.
Primary insomnia we say is when you have a problem getting off to sleep, or
for at least one month a problem in maintaining sleep. On top of that, the
insomnia has to cause clinically significant problems in daily social and
Secondary insomnia, as the name suggests, comes after other problems such as
anxiety or depression, drug use (both prescribed and illicit) or related to
other disease states. This group includes all us males over 40 who have to
get up for a pee in the middle of the night. Your prostate is waiting to get
you! Sometimes these people do not complain of insomnia, but rather of
daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
There are those who will tell you that insomnia is a self-limiting problem.
So what if you have a bad night tonight, you will be so tired tomorrow that
you will sleep well and the day after you will be hunky-dory again. However,
this is not really the true picture. For the occasional night, perhaps yes,
but when talking about real insomnia, with a duration of greater than one
month, a very different picture begins to emerge. Insomniacs with symptoms
of greater than one year, for example, have 40 times the chance of being
depressed. That’s enough to make you depressed and lose sleep over it, on
its own! Insomniacs also have more road accidents, go to the doctor more
often, take more alcohol and are definitely sleepier in the daytime, with a
decreased mental performance.
So what should you do about this problem? Well, if it is a Secondary
insomnia, the obvious thing is to do something about the problem causing the
insomnia. A general check-up is a good place to start, with specific
treatment for primary factors like liver disease, depression and anxiety.
And a prostate check is probably not a bad idea either. The PSA test is good
for determining the size of the prostate gland.
For Primary insomnia there are many behavioral therapies that can be tried.
Relaxation therapy, using progressive muscle relaxation techniques,
practiced for two to four weeks can often break the insomnia cycle. Restrict
your “bed” time to six hours a night only. Do this by prolonging the amount
of time you stay up, not by getting up earlier. It may also be necessary to
review some irrational fears about insomnia, such as the idea that you “must
have eight hours of sleep every night” which is not correct. This is called
But of course, there are those who still have problems. Now is the time for
pharmacological intervention, but done under medical supervision. Even in
Thailand, with much available over the counter (OTC), hypnotics are not OTC
and should only be taken as the last resort.
Finally, here are a few good sleeping hints. No coffee or alcohol just
before going to bed. Forget the glass of port before retiral. Put aside some
time to go over nagging problems before you go to bed. Don’t take your
troubles to the bedroom. That includes matrimonial disputes. Don’t sit in
bed to watch TV or read books, do that elsewhere - keep the bedroom for
sleeping. Your daily exercise should be done in the morning, not at night.
And don’t make it a habit to sleep in - set an alarm and get up at the same
time every morning.
Heart to Heart
I think you dismissed Bookworm a bit quickly, Petal, and he wasn’t even
asking for advice in matters of love and its imitations. Surely there’s
a market for Hillary Anthologies. At least, enough of a market for you
to buy a bottle of bubbly with your royalties. (One bottle?) Re-reading
some of the letters from all the troubled souls probably would make you
cry yourself to sleep again. So don’t. That’s what your editor’s for.
Just sign the galley without reading it, then sign the checks as (if?)
they come in. That’s what I always do.
You sound like a very nice man, but “sign the galley (proof)”? What era
are you in? Galley proofs? I haven’t seen one of those since little
Johnny Rasmussen used to write me love letters on the back of them way
back in the days of the linotype machines. Now weren’t they a thing or
two. I’m sure we could share more than one bottle of bubbly (you’re
paying) with reminiscences over those days, Petal.
I also don’t understand “sign the checks”? The checks should be coming
to me, already signed so I can actually start a bank account, rather
than keeping the small silver coins under my pillow. By the way, have
you seen the new two baht coins, lovely feel to them. But I’m hoping to
collect 10 of them so I can get one of those 20 baht notes. I’m sorry
Calico, but if I did an anthology, I would expect the money to be coming
in, not going out!
Hark at the pot calling the kettle black! In friday (sic) 12th’s paper,
you slate poor old Andy the budding brain surgeon for not being able to
spell, then on the same page you answer Harry the Holidaymaker and spell
buses incorrectly - twice. Buses has only two s’s, not three (busses)...
Just be a little careful, Harleycharley old chum, and check your facts
before rushing into print with your six-shooters blazing. Any half way
decent dictionary will indicate that the plural of bus is “buses” or
“busses”. The same half way decent dictionary will also indicate that
the days of the week have capital letters to start the word, so the day
you were striving for was actually “Friday”. However, if you ride a
Harley, I will forgive you. Or should that be a “harley”?
I suffer from a ‘windy bottom’ if you’ll excuse the directness of my
query to you. In the private confines of my own salon at home, this does
not produce a problem, but at the office with the usual loo under the
stairs, and the staff all queuing up after elevenses, it becomes very
embarrassing. The office girls are already looking askance at me, and
some have even begun spraying air-fresh after my visit. Have you any
suggestions that can help?
The answer to your melodious but malodorous problem is not easy, my
Petunia. It sounds (if you’ll excuse the pun) like you may have to take
evasive rather than evacuative action here. Where is the closest large
hotel relative to your office? When in desperation, Hillary has always
found that by striding purposely through the foyer of the nearest hotel
and heading towards the far right corner you will usually find a toilet.
Whilst not in the privacy of your own ‘salon’ as you so nicely put it,
at least no-one knows who is playing the bugle in the next stall. As far
as a long term ‘cure’ is concerned, this is well out of my territory,
but I would recommend you find a copy of the book Le Petomane (long out
of print, so try Amazon dot com) as the author had the same problem as
you, but used it to his advantage to make a large amount of money. He is
quoted as having farted his way to a fortune, so there is a noisy future
ahead for you, my Petal. You will need to have some satin shorts made
with allowance made for exhaust gas escape, but the book has the
description you need.
The other night in the bar we had a discussion whether Thai females are
romantic. I say that they are, but my drinking buddies all say not. They
said that all they are interested in are large amounts of gold, and the
larger the better. Surely there are still some gals out there who
appreciate roses and chocolates (apart from you, Hillary)? I need you to
back me up here, Hillary.
Robert de Roses
Dear Robert de Roses,
Such a lovely name, especially if said in the French way, “Roberr de
Rose”. Of course there are romantic ladies left in Thailand, other than
myself. It sounds to me as if your drinking buddies are looking for
ladies from the wrong watering holes. The professional ladies who come
to the surface with the buffalos in tow are certainly only looking for
gold. That is their business, their profession (and an old one at that).
However, by looking in the universities, offices and even department
stores, you will find ladies who appreciate being appreciated. You are
correct, Robert. Your friends are taking too narrow a sample to base
Camera Class: by
The ultimate photo-kitsch
open letter from Harry Flashman.
There are many ways that photographers try to get their human
subjects to look good. A smile is considered the sign of
enjoyment, and you will often see the erstwhile photographer
attempting to coax a smile from an unwilling subject. “Say
cheese,” is the favorite, as in saying the cheese word, the
teeth are shown. Something close to a cheesy smile, I suppose.
Others photographers who are more risqué will be heard saying
“Say sex!” This usually gets a laugh, rather than a smile, but
at least gets some emotion from a wooden subject.
However, for the photographer who cannot take defeat in the
smiling stakes, Sony has just the cameras for you. Theses little
beauties, the DSC-T70 and DSC-T200 Cyber-shot series, feature
some electro-trickery called ‘face detection technology’. This
is otherwise known in the trade as ‘smile shutter’ technology.
What this does is ensures that the subject is smiling before the
shot can be taken. The ‘smarts’ in the camera look for teeth,
find them and allows the shutter to fire. No teeth – no photo!
Sony’s smile technology joins Japan’s Omron Corp, which
developed “smile check” software that analyses happiness by
facial features like mouth and eye wrinkles or lip separation.
The so-called “Say Cheese” technology has three setting levels
for smiles; it varies from a slight grin to a belly laugh.
In the US, where DSC-T70 and DSC-T200 Cyber-shot series are soon
to be available, they will retail from $350 upwards. It has been
claimed that Sony may have lost its lead to others in audio mp3
players, but in digital cameras they still reign supreme with
innovative cameras and advanced features. The 8 Megapixel
cameras DSC-T70 and DSC-T200 Cyber-shot models are the results
of such innovation, we are led to believe. Or Sony wants us to
Another innovative feature in the camera is it can focus on an
individual from a handful of people in the view finder. By
touching the object with the special pen, the camera will be
able to focus and take the picture of that designated person
Sony Product Development’s Akira Tokuse said if there are
parents and a baby in a group picture, by touching on the image
of the baby, the camera will focus and will only take the
picture once it smiles. Tokuse-San did not elaborate as to what
the camera might do if the baby cries!
For me, this is all a very worrying trend. We are certainly
getting far away from ‘true’ photography. If you want to take a
dramatic black and white of someone sitting on a cliff looking
out over the ocean in contemplation, don’t bring your DSC-T70.
It won’t take it, because the subject isn’t smiling. Sony says
it stops you wasting a shot. Baloney! How can you ‘waste’ a shot
in the digital age? So you’ve just used up part of the memory
stick, but you can delete and overwrite before the next shot.
That is one of the inherent advantages of digital photography.
Of course the next step after “smile technology” is “beauty
technology”. If the subject isn’t looking beautiful, the camera
won’t take the shot. That should certainly cut down on wasted
But the next, and even more frightening step, is that the
electronic smarts will produce a smile for you. Don’t worry if
the subject is scowling, this will be manipulated into a toothy
And the step after that is that the camera will modify the
entire image. Yes, it will automatically give all females a
Pamela Anderson chest, wavy long blonde hair, luxurious
eyelashes and high cheekbones, remove several kilos of excess
weight and a little bit of an electronic face lift at the same
time, using the additional ‘anti-wrinkle’ mode.
Fellow photographers, this has gone too far. Can we try and get
back to real life, despite the digital capture of the images? I
really hope so.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
A Fund to Follow - part 1
Forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but:
economic uncertainty; potential disaster; markets fall off a cliff; how to
make money now but not lose it when it all goes wrong; long/short equity;
which mangers stand out?
Whilst we are ardent followers of MitonOptimal, we do recognise class when
we see it. One relatively new fund to consider is the Turnstone European
Fund, which is managed by Amanda McCracken who has been managing funds for
MBMG since the last century.
The investment objective of this fund is to achieve positive absolute
returns, uncorrelated with equity markets, while protecting against downside
volatility. One of the strategies that Amanda uses is the Long/Short
approach. What are Long/Short Funds? These are funds that combine long
equity holdings and the short sale of stocks along with other instruments to
vary their net exposures depending on their views on the market. The funds
tend to increase their exposures in bull market periods and decrease them
when they feel that the markets will be in decline. By varying exposures in
this fashion, long/short managers have a valuable tool to control their
participation in directional market movements.
The long side of the portfolios is constructed from stocks that are expected
to outperform the market. These stocks will most likely have strong
fundamentals with a good market position, an attractive rate of earning
growth and offer a high return on equity.
An example of a long trade would be Google, the market leader in internet
search engines. Google was floated with a price of $85 per share after a
controversial auction mechanism that set the flotation price. From a
fundamental point of view, the company had a promising valuation with high
margins, strong, 3-digit rates of sales growth and an above-30% return on
equity. At the end of the first day of trading, Google shares were in the
region of $100 per share; indicating that the market was pricing in their
A long/short manager, who could not participate in the IPO, having a bullish
view on Google could have invested $500,000 in the stock on the following
day at a price of $100.33 and could have closed his position just over two
months later at the price of $187.56. This would have been a perfect trade
for the manager’s long side of his portfolio, realising a profit around
$434,000. This would constitute a return of nearly 100% in three months.
On the other hand, the short side of a manager’s portfolio particularly
focuses on the stocks that he maintains a bullish view on. These short ideas
originate from flawed business models, poor balance sheets, and/or
expected/emerging litigation cases acting as negative catalysts.
The negative exposure obtained through taking short positions serves two
different purposes. First of all, the shorted individual stocks identified
through deteriorating fundamentals create an opportunity to provide
additional returns when the markets maintain their bullish sentiment.
Secondly, when there is a general downturn, these short positions in their
entirety will act as a hedge to offset the losses incurred by the long side
of the portfolio.
The short positions are obtained through “borrowing” the stock. The manager
borrows the stock from its broker at an agreed price and then places a sell
order to liquidate it. Putting it more simply, the manager sells a stock
that it does not own. In closing his short position, if the manager could
buy the stock from the market at a lower price than the price the broker
agreed to lend in the first place, he will make a profit.
A short trade could be demonstrated using Microsoft Corporation back in
March 2004. Although Microsoft is a giant software company that dominates
its industry, the bearish sentiment was sparked by a negative catalyst. The
markets started pricing in the news emerging from the European Competition
Commissioner who completed a draft of his decision in the EU’s antitrust
probe against Microsoft Corporation. The expectations were that a negative
decision would lead to having the world’s largest software maker fined as
much as €500 million, a figure around 2% of the company’s annual sales.
A long/short manager, picking up this negative catalyst, taking a short
position by short selling the Microsoft Corporation for an average price of
$28.50 a share from the 23rd to the 26th of January, could have closed his
short position by buying shares from the markets on the 23rd of March at a
low of $24.15 a share to deliver them back to their broker. This would have
led to an 18% profit over 2 months, during a period when the overall
direction of the markets was negative, with the S&P500 index registering a
loss of 5.4% for the same period.
If used wisely, the ability to sell short provides managers with a great
tool to control the market risk that they are exposed to. Successful
long/short managers have been able to deliver double digit absolute returns
over the tough times of 2001 and 2002 by controlling their market exposure.
Coupled with such hedging abilities, the inherent ability to use leverage
gives long/short managers the upper edge compared to the traditional long
Managers may also use leverage in order to have higher exposure to both long
and short positions in order to enhance returns. For instance, the manager
above could have taken short exposure to Microsoft to the extent of 100% of
the amount of his portfolio and long exposure to Google to the extent of
200% of his portfolio. This would have created a 100% net long position (the
same as a traditional fund in terms of delta risk) BUT the return would have
been over 210% instead of just under 100% for the same level of risk.
In reality many long short funds would actually try to achieve the same
level of returns as the traditional fund (in this case just under 100%) but
look to reduce risk (in this case the risk taken by the long short fund that
achieves the same return as the traditional fund, would have only been
around 47% of the risk taken by the traditional fund). Long short, even in
this basic example allows you to take the same risk and more than double
your returns OR achieve the same return but at less than half the amount of
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 Paul Gambles on
Life in Chiang Mai:
by Mark Whitman
Recently, I mentioned a trip to Sri Lanka and southern
India, but I planned it to make sure I was back in Chiang Mai in time for
the EU Film Festival, which will make its annual pilgrimage via Bangkok to
this city, starting on Thursday the 8th of November. No doubt by fellow film
fanatic, the other Mark, will offer you well researched guidance to the
films (see page 20). Even so, a couple of comments from me might help
encourage you to take a chance on films that might be unfamiliar to you (as
most are to me).
If previous years are anything to go by the standard will be high and more
than worth a few baht and a couple of hours a day at the Vista Cinema at
Central Kad Suan Kaew.
The films come with good credentials, including Oscars and Festival prizes
and are offered with English sub-titles so that you need not be conversant
with the dozen languages represented, from Finnish to Greek and German to
Portuguese. Some may have Thai sub-titles as last year. Sadly two major
works will not be coming up from the capital but we can only hope that they
will get commercial exposure as one is by the astonishing Hungarian director
Bela Tarr and the other from Romania was awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes
The opening movie is a drama from Portugal, The Murmuring Coast, made in
2005. It is set in the heady days of the late 1960s during the war of
Independence before the overthrow of the Salazar dictatorship.
By chance the closing night offers a savage portrait of another dictator,
the Ugandan butcher Idi Amin. Called The Last King of Scotland, it is
undoubtedly a highlight of the Festival and contains a mesmerizing
performance by Forest Whitaker, who won an Oscar as best actor for the role
of a lifetime. The story is seen through the eyes of a Scottish doctor who
got sucked into the unenviable job as the madman’s personal physician and
witnessed many of the horrors of the period before escaping. This British
movie is occasionally very graphic and disturbing to watch but never less
Between those films you may enjoy comedy drama from Spain, a fascinating
documentary from Germany and the highly regarded and moving Antonia’s Line
from the Netherlands. Also three movies concerned with childhood. The Queen
of Sheba’s Pearls (Sweden), Little Secrets (Luxembourg) and Mother of Mine
(Finland). I have a personal notion that the French film Demented will prove
of special interest.
So check out further details in the film column and sample as many of the
varied films as your diary will allow. I hope to see or re-see them all.
Three weeks ago I commented on the terrible trade in Burmese rubies and the
750 million dollars they have yielded for that regime and its generals. Gems
dug out by slave labor that are meagerly fed and given drugs, including
heroin, to keep them going. In a few days time there is to be a three day
auction of these blood tinged, blood red stones to help prop up their
Let’s hope that potential buyers stay away and that the price falls. After
all there must be many other precious and semi-precious stones on the market
that come from reputable sources.
I was thinking of these things and of the pain endured by their imprisoned
victims at the dentist the other day. As those skilled dental surgeons went
about their work, made less painful for me by soothing gels and numbing
injections I thought during that unpleasant hour just what it would have
been like if their intention had been to inflict pain. For me the worst of
it was paying the bill. Perhaps we do not appreciate how lucky we are.
And finally a word of praise for the Immigration office, located just past
the Chiang Mai International Airport. A while ago I bemoaned the rather
officious attitude of some of the staff there. Returning in late October I
was perhaps lucky in finding three really helpful officers.
Of course things took a little too long for an impatient farang but they all
seemed efficient and helpful. Was it because two of them were female and
only one was in uniform? What is it about a man in uniform that seems to
puff them up so that they fill it out with self-importance? But even the guy
this time was courteous, if a little stern as though he was doing everybody
a favor rather than providing a service. A service with a smile in most
cases, and why not? It’s one of the things that the Kingdom is most famous
for. Still I do not know one visitor or resident who does not feel that the
immigration rules are too unyielding and heavy handed. Sure rules have to be
made and enforced but it seems that Thailand is often less than welcoming to
the tourists, long term visitors and businessmen who are part of its
lifeblood. A knowledgeable solicitor told me only recently that the excuse
given was ‘national security’. No, she did not understand it either.
Let's Go To The Movies:
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Surf’s Up: US Animation – A laid back, visually stunning animated
movie presented in a witty mockumentary format, complete with virtual crew
and “handheld” cameras. Splendid CGI effects. I think it’s an absolute
charmer – see it!
Captivity: US/Russia Crime/Thriller – A fashion model is kidnapped and held
prisoner by a serial killer, who methodically and imaginatively terrorizes
her. This female degradation torture-porn fantasy is a thoroughly nasty
piece of work, in my opinion. I saw all of it – now you don’t have to.
Gorehounds, however, will delight in the sight of much blood and
acid-scarred flesh, and aficionados will savor the scene in which the
tortured lady is forced to drink a cocktail of pureed eyeballs and entrails.
Rated R in the US for strong violence, torture, pervasive terror, grisly
images, language, and some sexual material. The original posters and
billboards in the Los Angeles area were so grisly and caused so much outrage
that they had to be removed. They’re on display at Major Cineplex, and they
should be ashamed of themselves. Generally negative reviews. Enough to give
torture porn a bad name.
Fighting Beat (Aok 3 Sork 2): Thai Action – The story is about a young boxer
who makes his living fighting in rigged bouts for tourists on Koh Phi Phi.
Eventually, the ancient disciplines of “Fighting Beat” Thai boxing (quick,
reactive, fierce, and deadly) come face to face with the modern day adapted
form of Thai kickboxing. Director: Piti Jaturaphat.
Opapatika: Thai Action/Fantasy – A murky, muddled supernatural action film
revolving around the Opapatika, born fully formed as spirits, demons, or
angels – and some few as humans.
Balls of Fury: US Low Comedy – The film just doesn’t have enough laughs.
It’s too bad, because the potential was certainly there. The film boasts
some fantastic performers, but here they are only amusing. I also was not
enamored of the putative star of the movie, Dan Fogler. I thought him
peculiarly lacking in talent or charisma; perhaps it’s just me. But I like
Christopher Walken, and enjoy his inimitable delivery of dialogue. I just
wish everything were better! Generally negative reviews.
Stardust: UK/US Adventure/Fantasy – Robert De Niro is a flying pirate who
dances and tries to outdo Johnny Depp – a performance not to be missed! It’s
a delightful fairy tale for everyone, funny and romantic, and I thoroughly
enjoyed it. It has enough visual razzle-dazzle, humor, and well-drawn
performances to create a lively, fantastical experience. Michelle Pfeiffer
in particular gives a wild, wicked portrayal as the witchiest of the three
witches. Not at all just for kids. Highly recommended for people who enjoyed
Pirates of the Caribbean and the like. Generally favorable reviews.
The Kingdom: US Drama/Thriller – Jamie Foxx. Terrorism against the US inside
Saudi Arabia, and the FBI tries to export its finesse in fighting terror to
a foreign land. Good, quite exciting, muddy politics. Rated R in the US for
intense sequences of graphic brutal violence, and for language. Mixed or
Black Family (Krobkrua Tua): Thai Ultra-low Comedy – Thai family robs bank
to save farm. Quite popular.
Body #19 (Body Sop 19): Thai Thriller/Horror – Man gets some clues in his
nightmares that lead him to morgue drawer #19, and to gradually unraveling
the mystery of the dead body inside. A first-time effort by director Paween
Purijitpanya that is mostly standard Thai horror with some interesting
twists, slow, sometimes beautifully shot, usually with excellent camera
work, and which has some nice evocations of mood. A director, I think, to
Unlimited Love (Rak Mai Jam): Thai Romance/Drama – Boy loves girl. Girl
dies. Girl comes back as boy. Boy is conflicted.
The Reef (Shark Bait): US Animation – “Absolute carp.” Thai dubbed version
only, and only at Airport Plaza. See Surf’s Up instead.
Thursday, November 8
Lions for Lambs: US Drama/War – A thoughtful, deeply committed film by
Robert Redford dealing with the heaviest issues of our time, with no punches
pulled. With Redford, Tom Cruise, and Meryl Streep. A plea for Americans to
get engaged. Rated R in the US for some war violence and language.
Spiritual World: Thai Horror – A girl is able to see ghosts and contact the
dead, and tries to escape from a mysterious ghost that keeps following her.
Life in the laugh lane:
by Scott Jones
The jokes on us musicians
THE INTERNET! Because of de-grading, politically incorrect material I
received from someone who found it somewhere on the Web, I’m asking the
known world to boycott the Internet im-mediately. This information, although
it may be true, especially concerning a clarinetist (which I was in the
past), is damaging to musicians everywhere. I assume this raft of insults
came from a bank manager or dis-gruntled father, since musicians are
generally loved throughout the world, until they walk into a bank or try to
date your daughter.
My father was a splendid musician and encour-aged me heartily, though I
probably should have lis-tened to my mother. “Mom, I want to grow up and be
a musician!” She replied, “Love, you can’t do both.” Me: “But I’ll study
music in college!” Mom: “Another term for music major is night manager at a
7/11.” They couldn’t keep me away from the piano, even when they moved it
into the basement. My fa-ther didn’t want me playing with myself all day, so
he suggested I learn the clarinet in 7th grade and join the band. At that
time I was overweight, had braces on my teeth filled with red gel so they
wouldn’t lacerate my lips, used greasy Brylcream, which glued my hair down
to my scalp, rendering it absolutely immovable even in a wind tunnel, and
wore glasses that made me look like an insect. The clarinet sealed my doom
as the quintessential nerd. The insensitive Internet says: “Why do people
have an instant aversion to clarinetists?” (It saves time in the long run.)
“What do clarinet players use for birth control?” (Their per-sonalities.)
“Why are a clarinetist and a blind javelin thrower alike?” (They both
instill fear and panic, causing everyone to move out of range.) “How do you
get a clarinet player out of a tree?” (Cut the rope.)
After a few years, I learned that, during the entire history of the world,
not one gorgeous high school girl has ever swooned and snuggled up to a geek
as he squawked romantic hits on his clarinet. I switched to the guitar, and
though an aspiring folksinger may attract a few women, he does not impress
the parents. Nasty Internet says: “What’s the difference between a
folksinger and a pizza?” (A pizza can feed a family of four.) “What do you
do when you run over a folk guitarist?” (Back up.) “What do you call a folk
guitarist who broke up with his girlfriend? (Homeless.) It’s pretty much the
same info regarding trombone players: “How do you decrease wind drag on a
trombonist’s car?” (Take the Domino’s pizza sign off his roof.) What’s the
difference between a dead chicken and a dead trombonist in the road?” (It’s
possible the chicken was on its way to a paying gig.) “How many trombonists
does it take to pave a driveway?” (Seventeen, if you lay them side-by-side.)
The keyboard finally became my focus because I couldn’t set a beer on my
guitar while performing, and thanks to progress in music technology, I can
now play all the sounds of an orchestra or a rock band on my keyboard,
without actually having to be a trombonist or carry a clarinet. “Why do
clarinetists put their instrument cases on the dashboard? (So they can park
in handicapped zones.)
Though the Internet makes little mention of keyboardists, it is particularly
brutal concerning drummers and bass players. “What do you call a beautiful
woman on a drummer’s arm?” (A tattoo.) “What did the drummer get on his IQ
test?” (Saliva.) “How can you tell if the stage is level? (The drummer’s
drool comes out of both sides of his mouth.) “What do you do if you see a
bloody bassist running through your backyard?” (Laugh and shoot again.)
“What’s the perfect weight of a bass player? (One kilo, including the urn.)
“What do you do if a bass player is drowning? (Throw him his amp.)
Since 99% of all people in Thailand play the guitar, sing ancient John
Denver songs and probably have the same problems I did, I imagine that this
advice (from me, not the Internet) applies for musicians here as well. “If
you see a bank manager and a disgruntled father lying in the road, who do
you run over first?” (The bank manager: business before pleasure.)