Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Let's Go To The Movies

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

Cardiac unit diet - fast weight loss?

I have published this “diet” before, and those who have stuck it out claim that the weight loss is spectacular. It is not strictly a “diet”; it is more correctly a “weight loss” program.
I first got wind of this program after I noticed a friend of mine had dropped some weight. “Fifteen kilos in two months,” was his proud reply. He had done this by following a “diet” - and one that had obviously worked! This is put forward as a seven day diet, and although I am not always in favor of ‘crash’ diets, this one does merit some study. It is reputedly from Sacred Heart Memorial Hospital and is used in their cardiac care unit for overweight patients to lose weight prior to surgery.
It states the first no-no’s as being bread, alcohol, soft drinks, fried food or oil. Agree totally, though probably half of you have already decided it’s too hard!
After that there is a concoction called Fat-Burning Soup (FBS) which you make up and keep in the fridge. You gobble FBS any time you feel hungry and have as much as you want. You are also advised to drink plenty of water suggesting 6-8 glasses a day along with tea, coffee, skim milk, unsweetened juice or cranberry juice.
The physiology of hunger works that when the stomach is empty, messages are sent to the brain to send down food. Fill the belly with non-fattening food and the hunger pangs will be less, but the weight does not go on.
Here is the recipe for the Fat-Burning Soup:
4 cloves garlic
2 large cans crushed tomatoes (810gms)
2 large cans beef consommé
1 packet vegetable packet soup
1 bunch spring onions
1 bunch celery
2 cans French beans (or fresh)
2 green capsicum
1 kg carrots
10 cups water
Chop all veggies into small pieces. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes stirring well and then simmer until veggies are tender. Add water if necessary to make a thinner soup.
Now the other downside to dieting is food boredom. A week of FBS, water and cranberry juice will sap the resolve of most overweight people, so what this diet does is allow you to add different items on a daily basis. Here are the suggestions.
Day 1, any fruit except bananas. Eat only soup and fruit today.
Day 2, all vegetables. Eat as much as you like of fresh, raw or canned vegetables. Try to eat green leafy vegetables. Stay away from dry beans, peas, and corn. Eat vegetables along with soup. At dinner reward yourself with a jacket potato and butter.
Day 3, eat all the soup, fruit and veggies you want today. Don’t have the jacket potato today. If you have not cheated you should have lost approx 3 kg. (If that is so, it is an amazing loss in three days - but keep going anyway!)
Day 4, bananas and skim milk. Eat at least 3 large bananas and drink as much skim milk as you can today. Eat as much soup as you want. Bananas are high in calories and carbohydrates, as is the milk but you will need the potassium and carbohydrates today.
Day 5, beef and tomatoes. You may have 600 gm of beef or chicken (no skin) and as many as 6 tomatoes. Eat soup at least once.
Day 6, beef and vegetables. Eat to your hearts content of beef and veggies. You can even have 2-3 steaks (grilled) if you like with leafy green vegetables. No baked potato. Be sure to eat soup at least once.
Day 7, brown rice, vegetables, fruit juice. Be sure to eat well and eat as much soup as you can.
By the end of day 7, if you have not cheated, you should have lost 7 kg. The theory is good, but I caution against losing too much, too soon.
If your weight loss needs are greater than 7 kg, then continue for another week, but I do not recommend much further than two weeks at one time, and do not repeat the program within three months.

 

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
You mentioned the misspelling of a word in my previous missive. I was told many years ago by my wise mother that excellent spelling capability was not a proud-worthy accomplishment, as it merely illustrated the writer’s lack of imagination and ability for original thought. Anyway, it only proves you have a better “spell checker” on your PC. So, Madam, having proved an indisputable point I move on.
Now, my mother. She was a formidable, solidly built rather robust lady of 120 kilos, with the stentorian voice of a sergeant major and bred from a long line of cavalry officers. How the procreation process was managed with her is hard to conceive. I can image my father, a short softly spoken puny type of man, standing there and my mother issuing instructions in a horse parade ground fashion - “That man, come to attention. Get mounted. Advance. Proceed at a trot. Now gallop. Charge!! Halt. Retreat. Dismount. DissssMISS.”
But I digress. Volunteers to monitor the aforementioned next door lady’s disgusting exhibitionism are no longer required as I have perfected a telescopic, magnifying periscope and can now lie on my pallet keeping tabs. Will report any further developments. As I do not understand your reference to a sprained wrist, can you please explain?
Puritanical Parishioner

Dear PP,
Now I see the cause of all your problems, Petal. My old friend Ziggy (Freud) would explain it better than me, but your punctuation (which I labored over and corrected) is if anything, worse than your spelling. This is because of repressed maternal urges. Do you still have your childhood rocking horse? I suspect that you do, admit it, my little equine voyeur. Mother would put you over the horse before administering punishment to your rump with her leather riding crop, didn’t she! When did you start hating your horse? Or start wearing leather? I should feel sorry for you, left with all these infantile dilemmas, but help is at hand. Have you tried psychotherapy? Don’t worry about the wrist, you’ve got much greater problems than this column can cover. I think you should read Freud’s story about Little Hans, a young boy who was the subject of an early but extensive study of castration anxiety, and the Oedipus complex by Freud. Hans’ neurosis took the shape of a phobia of horses (Equinophobia). Do you have that too, Petal? Probably do after your traumatic childhood. Freud wrote a summary of his treatment of Little Hans, in 1909, in a paper entitled “Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy.” There you are, some bed time reading, instead of nocturnal spying! In the meantime, double the dose of your tablets, they are not working well enough.


Dear Hillary,
Who is this Puritanical Parishioner? If that’s what’s roaming around down south, makes me glad I’m in Chiang Mai. We’ve got enough weird people up here, without loonies like him.
Chiang Mai Champion

Dear CMC,
He’s started something, hasn’t he? However, this week’s letter has shown us the real reason behind it all. A classical Oedipus complex, with a horse thrown in for good measure. Don’t worry, after he gets his oats regularly, he’ll be fine.


Dear Hillary,
I have a real problem, which I hope you can help me with. Even if you can’t, then just by publishing this letter it may help, because the people who are producing this problem do not seem to know it exists but I know they read your column! Let me explain, dear Hillary. Everyone I know around me seems to have no idea of what time is about. Meetings that are supposed to last for two hours drag on for three because the people in the meeting can’t get there on time. You make an appointment to go to lunch or dinner and the other person shows up an hour late. You go to an appointment and get there on time to find the person you are meeting hasn’t come back to the office yet because they were late for the earlier meeting they were going to. If I did precious little all day it would be fine, but I have plenty of things to do and sitting twiddling my thumbs isn’t one of them. What do you suggest Hillary?
Tempus Fugit

Dear Tempus Fugit,
You have my sympathies. Watches are cheap and plentiful in this country, but the ability to actually tell the time seems to have been lost by many of the locals. I used to have a friend who was woefully late everywhere. After putting up with his terminal tardiness I invited him to dinner at a restaurant at 7.30. When he had not shown up by 7.45 I ordered my meal and by the time he arrived, full of apologies as usual at 8.30, I had finished my meal. I left him the “Check Bin” and went home immediately. He has never been late since. What I suggest is that when appointments are made you stress the fact that you will be on time and will wait 15 minutes only - and do it! But lots of luck, Petal!


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Painterly photographs

Ducks by Ernie Kuehnelt

Take a look at the photo of the two ducks this week. It was taken in Sri Lanka by a very enthusiastic amateur Ernie Kuehnelt. The final image is intriguing, with the tree in the right of the picture actually being a reflection, and the upper left of the photograph looking like an oil painting.
So was this something done by Photoshop? A tricky “painting” filter? Or what? The simple answer is that Ernie took this photograph after looking critically through the viewfinder. The site was beside a lake. The greenery is the far bank, reflected in the water, whilst the tree branches in the foreground were actually over his head and also reflected in the water (look at the black bird, correct way up at the top right hand corner, and upside down in the reflected image).

Woman by Man Ray
Now Ernie did not go to this lake with this picture in his mind, he went there to photograph the general scene and then saw the ducks in nature. However, when looking at the ducks he also found that there was always a black bird associated with them. His next thought was to get both the ducks and the black bird together, and while composing the shot noticed the reflections of the far bank were being altered by the ripples in the water producing a painterly effect. Around three frames further on, he managed to get ducks, black bird, reflections and the tree to produce this wonderfully evocative image.
The message here is to keep filming if you can see that something is evolving. With digital photography you don’t have to factor in the cost of developing and processing. Digital photography gives you “free” images, so throw away the old ‘film’ thinking and keep improving the image. So many times I have seen photographers take one shot and then move on, losing the opportunity to capture something really good.
True story, I was running classes for amateurs many years ago in my studio. One chap wanted to produce a surreal image, so we produced a set where a bed was placed on its side and fixed to a side wall, making it appear, however, as if it were standing on the floor. A model stood beside it, but on the real horizontal floor, which was then made to look like the side wall, complete with a window frame set in it. This took several hours to make and the amateur photographer was very impressed with this surreal Rene Magritte style of scene. When you looked at it, was the bed on its side, or was the woman floating above the bed? All sorts of psychological conundrums emanated from this.
The chap loaded his camera and took one shot. Yes, one miserable frame! He then said, “Could we do another one using tables and chairs?”
Man Ray was an early surrealist photographer, and the second photograph this week is one of Man Ray’s favorite models. Here he has taken a negative and reversed it several times resulting in whites that are black and blacks that are white. However, the way it is viewed, the hair is defying gravity. Is she falling, or is the hair being blown upwards? Photography that makes the viewer think, and think again, the trade mark of the surrealists.
It is a fairly easy one to produce yourself, even by turning the camera upside down, you will get images that seem to be ‘strange’ in some way when you turn the final image the correct way up.
There is so much more to photography than one frame per subject!


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

False Promises - then and now, part 1

Continued concerns regarding the credit crisis and recession continue to run amok. The Dow put in its record high of 14,164.53 back on October 9, 2007. Recently, it has been down well below 7,500. This is a reduction of nearly fifty percent in less than two years.
For some perspective on the magnitude of the current bear market, the attached chart illustrates that, at this stage, the current correction has been by far the most severe correction in the post-World War II era and the second most severe correction since 1900. The only correction that was down more at this stage was the correction that began in 1929.

Given that more and more people are saying they see light at the end of the trouble, let’s visit that time with famous ‘Crash’ quotes:
- “We will not have any more crashes in our time.” - John Maynard Keynes in 1927
- “I cannot help but raise a dissenting voice to statements that we are living in a fool’s paradise, and that prosperity in this country must necessarily diminish and recede in the near future.” - E. H. H. Simmons, President, New York Stock Exchange, January 12, 1928
- “There will be no interruption of our permanent prosperity.” - Myron E. Forbes, President, Pierce Arrow Motor Car Co., January 12, 1928
- “No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquility and contentment ... and the highest record of years of prosperity. In the foreign field there is peace, the goodwill which comes from mutual understanding.” - Calvin Coolidge December 4, 1928
- “There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” - Irving Fisher, leading U.S. economist New York Times, Sept. 5, 1929
- “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. I do not feel there will be soon if ever a 50 or 60 point break from present levels, such as (bears) have predicted. I expect to see the stock market a good deal higher within a few months.” - Irving Fisher, Ph.D. in economics, Oct. 17, 1929
- “This crash is not going to have much effect on business.” - Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago, October 24, 1929
- “There will be no repetition of the break of yesterday... I have no fear of another comparable decline.” - Arthur W. Loasby, President of the Equitable Trust Company, quoted in the New York Times, Friday, October 25, 1929
- “We feel that fundamentally Wall Street is sound, and that for people who can afford to pay for them outright, good stocks are cheap at these prices.” - Goodbody and Company market-letter quoted in the New York Times, Friday, October 25, 1929
- “This is the time to buy stocks. This is the time to recall the words of the late J. P. Morgan... that any man who is bearish on America will go broke. Within a few days there is likely to be a bear panic rather than a bull panic. Many of the low prices as a result of this hysterical selling are not likely to be reached again in many years.” - R. W. McNeel, market analyst, as quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, October 30, 1929
- “Buying of sound, seasoned issues now will not be regretted.” - E. A. Pearce market letter quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, October 30, 1929
- “Some pretty intelligent people are now buying stocks... Unless we are to have a panic - which no one seriously believes, stocks have hit bottom.” - R. W. McNeal, financial analyst in October 1929
- “The decline is in paper values, not in tangible goods and services... America is now in the eighth year of prosperity as commercially defined. The former great periods of prosperity in America averaged eleven years. On this basis we now have three more years to go before the tailspin.” - Stuart Chase, American economist and author, NY Herald Tribune, November 1, 1929
All of this sound familiar? Please note that the Dow did not bottom out until mid-1932. Maybe we should look back further in history: “The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt.” - Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), 55 BC.
Continued next week…

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 [email protected]


Life in Chiang Mai: by Mark Whitman

How far is too far?

How Hollywood would have dealt with the junta

Back in the seventies, when you and I were young, Hollywood dealt with one of its periodic crises by lapsing into a new permissiveness and an era of violence nurtured by the previous decade. The likes of Peckinpah and the ‘slow-mo’ visual techniques had bullets flying like hail stones and wild bunches, gooks and gangsters as well as innocent victims being riddled and flailing around like Petruschka or any conventional puppet. If they had not already tried it with no success Stravinsky would have been employed for the soundtrack. As it was, Bonnie and Clyde writhed to other sounds.
And the C.I.A. were often some sort of heroes – at least in the movies – not torturers (except in documentaries about South America, but they did not represent mainstream movies). Guys were sent on missions to take out the baddies, with ‘extreme prejudice’ by the C.I.A. in gruff form, possibly even by Gene Hackman. It was decided in the interest of the world (i.e. the U.S.A.) that dictators of various kinds should be ‘toppled’.

But real life was not really like that, was it? Certainly it isn’t in 2009, with a new broom around. The U.N. and the U.S.A. don’t send out undercover assassins to deal with poppy growers, drug barons or fascist generals. Undercover assassins don’t move up river to strongholds (well, Rambo did but nobody watched) and dispose of or kidnap aged leaders who are holding people – possibly a whole country – to ransom, including its legitimate leader.
No, Hollywood has always been a factory, which manufactured fantasy. In fact, an important book written by the inimitably named Hortense Powdermaker was called ‘Hollywood – the Dream Factory’. It is a place of wish fulfillment and fond imaginings of what might have been. A colourful fantasy world, paradoxically once depicted in black and white.
These idle musings were prompted by a headline in this very paper, which caught my eye a day or two after I returned from the U.K. It asked (or rather stated in the very question), ‘Has the Junta Gone Too Far?’ How far is too far? Like the clichéd piece of string, it has no discernable end.
The simple answer is yes, they have gone too far. Way too far. They overstepped any boundary of civilized behaviour decades ago and in recent years (notably over the Saffron Revolution, the response to Cyclone Nargis and the ongoing treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi) have acted with a contempt which beggars all belief.
Thirty five years ago Clint, Richard Burton or whoever would have buckled up (just as their predecessors saddled up) after rounding up a motley crew of British, American and various other character actors and dirty fighters, and been dropped behind enemy lines. They’d have blown up the castle, the fortress or any number of fortified million dollar houses to dispose of aged dictators, free the ill treated prisoners and bring back the hero. Simple stuff in a complicated world.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, we condone sanctions, send ineffectual emissaries to kick their heels in luxury hotels and allow our Ambassadors to be humiliated as they try to gain access to a show trial for the elected leader of a country. A country which has all the possibilities of a wonderful future but which is instead being driven into the ground by its self appointed leaders.
Right now, the tragic farce of a trial with a known outcome and a murky background (do we really believe that visitor arrived unaided?) further shames the junta and us, the unwilling spectators.
Impotence is an unforgiving condition. But that is what we endure. The effect of our actions, overtures and posturings is precisely nil. All it does is enrage the creatures locked in their luxury compounds, as though we were showering them with paper darts. Rebukes to rabid dogs are drowned out by their snarls, and threats to cut off their supply of raw meat are equally pointless, whilst their greedy supporters in China, India, Japan and even Canada, fill their bowls in return for energy, rubies and jade. Weasel words and bleating hearts are drowned out.
In the days of a by-gone Hollywood, our good guys would have put a silencer on the rifle and a bullet through the so-called brain of the rabid leader and given the rest of them their brisk deserts as the oppressed and ill – trained army joined the peasants. Fantasy. Not something that can even be contemplated. Unthinkable for a variety of reasons (even, it seemed, whilst the cyclone offered the chance of ‘legitimate’ action). But sometimes, especially recently, I wake up dreaming of the bad old, good old days of Hollywood.


Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai
Drag Me to Hell:
US, Horror/ Thriller – Terrific!  Director Sam Raimi started out making perversely entertaining horror fare like the Evil Dead movies before directing blockbusters like Spider-Man.  Well, he’s back, and in outstanding B-movie form.  Get into your horror-film frame of mind, and go for a lot of laughs and chills.  Alison Lohman stars as a loan officer who becomes the victim of a curse, with evil spirits on her trail and certain damnation in her future – unless she can break the spell.  Drag Me to Hell is a wickedly good time: blood-curdlingly scary and ghoulishly funny, it’s also taut and timely.  The best-reviewed horror film in years.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Note: The Vista version is dubbed into Thai, with no English subtitles; in English at Airport Plaza.
Blood: The Last Vampire:
Hong Kong/ Japan, Action/ Horror – A thoroughly disgusting mess of violence and killing.  A remake of the 2000 movie of the same name about a vampire who is part of a covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in Japan and who is inserted into a military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon is disguise.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody stylized violence.  In English, mostly.
I think this film is depraved in its depiction of the “beauty” of killing – the graceful spumes of blood, lovingly photographed in slow motion; the languorous way that severed limbs and chopped heads slowly curve to earth.  I consider it a shameful and perverted use of the potentialities of cinema, and serves only to brutalize the people who come to see it.  Constant watching of films like this immures people against empathy with anguish and death.  I would be happy to see this film and its ilk prohibited from ever being seen anywhere, and all those remotely connected with its creation jailed. 
A Frozen Flower:
Korea, Drama/ History/ Romance – A visually stunning and stirring historical movie set during the last days of Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (late 14th Century), detailing the long homosexual love relationship between the king and his chief bodyguard, played by Korea’s two top male stars.  Definitely not for everyone, as in addition to much beautiful costuming, there is a lot of uncostumed sex, mostly heterosexual – and I mean a lot of it!  By my count, demonstrates all but two of the 64 commonly accepted Kama Sutra positions, and that includes the one in a library using military tactics texts.  As far as I can see, none of this has been censored or cut in any way by our paternalistic Thai censors.
The film has been a huge hit in Korea.  It’s basically a melodrama, with scenes of epic grandeur, and I found it exciting and a thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing movie.  I recommend it, but hurry, as it will probably end its run tomorrow.  In Korean, with English and Thai subtitles.  At Airport Plaza only.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins:
US/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – In this new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as a man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators.  If you’ve seen any of the other three installments of this series, you know what to expect: Plenty of chases, explosions, and great effects.  Mixed or average reviews.
Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian:
  USA/ Canada, Action/ Comedy – If you liked the first adventure, you’re sure to like this one even more – bigger, better, and with fantastic special effects.  After a wacky night at the New York Museum of Natural History, the perpetually hapless Larry (Ben Stiller) must infiltrate the Smithsonian after some of his resurrected friends were shipped to Washington for storage.  He finds himself in the middle of a vast conflict between many of the museum’s most noteworthy historical figures.  Mixed or average reviews.
Angels & Demons
: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery – A tight, taut thriller.  The team behind the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code returns as Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who once again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance their goals.  Mixed or average reviews.
Scheduled for June 11
Up:
US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Family – Everyone’s current favorite!  An animated fantasy adventure about a 78-year-old balloon salesman (voiced by Ed Asner) who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America.  He discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: 8-year-old Russell.  Also starring Christopher Plummer, and a speech-assisted dog.  Another masterful work of art from Pixar – an exciting, hilarious, and heartfelt adventure, impeccably crafted and told with wit and depth.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

Imagine you are sitting in fourth seat. Everyone passes and it is up to you to decide whether or not to open. Do you bid or do you pass with the hand below? 

S: KJ98

H: AK109

D: 9854

C: 10 

Many bridge players are familiar with the rule of eleven and the rule of twenty. The rule of fifteen is less well known. It applies when you are trying to decide whether to open in fourth seat after three passes. It states that, if your points plus the number of spades in your hand add up to fifteen, then open. It may sound a bit arbitrary, but makes sense. If you are light on points, then you should hold something in spades, because, if you open, then either the opponents or your partner are likely to bid spades at some point (it being the boss suit). If you cannot either frustrate your opponents or support your partner in spades, then you will probably end up with a negative score. This hand was played recently in the Wednesday duplicate game in Chiang Mai, well directed by Martin Bagnall. There were three tables and the hand was passed out at two of them. Only at one table, where the bidder used the rule of fifteen, was this hand opened. The bidding was brief (note that the hands have been rotated so that declarer is South in the diagram below). East-West were vulnerable and East dealt. 

East      South     West      North

P           P              P              1D

P           1H           All pass

North passed South’s 1H bid because South was a previously passed hand and North’s hand only just met the requirements of the rule of fifteen. So 1H was the final contract. This was the full deal: 

                       S: KJ98

                       H: AK109

                       D: 9854

                       C: 10         

S: AQ65                           S: 4

H: 65                                H: QJ

D: K632                           D: QJ107

C: J63                               C: K98542

                       S: 10732

                       H: 87432

                       D: A

                       C: AQ7      

A low club was led to the king and ace. Trumps were pulled in two rounds and a diamond led to the ace. Then the ten of spades was led towards board and ducked all round. A second spade was taken by the ace, but this was the first and last trick for the defence (the only way for the defence to make a second trick is an opening lead of the ace of spades and a spade continuation, ruffed by East). Now declarer’s hand is good (the low club can be ruffed on board and the queen of spades is marked with West). As the cards lie, N-S can easily make game and may well make small slam, all on a deal which most players passed out!
Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club – the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai. We welcome new players. For information on the Club please contact Chris Hedges at: [email protected] If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]