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

What is it like to have an MRI?

I watched a TV show the other evening. Set in the US, it revolved around a Dr. House, apparently a drug addicted know-it-all medico, who shot a corpse and then carried out an MRI and blew up the machine with the shrapnel from the bullet. Total fanciful nonsense. There is no Dr. House practicing in my hospital, I hasten to say.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is one of the battery of diagnostic examinations that can be done. The procedure is similar to an X-Ray, in the fact that the end result shows the internal structures of the body with a test that produces very clear pictures - but without the use of X-rays. MRI uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce these images.
Some folk are a little apprehensive about these tests, but the risks to the average person are negligible (as long as Dr House isn’t treating you). MRI uses magnetic fields, rather than radio-active imaging. However, the magnetic field is very strong. Walk into the examination room and the MRI can wipe the details from the magnetic strip encoding on your credit card (this may be a good thing)!
People who have had heart surgery and people with the following medical devices can be safely examined with MRI: surgical clips or sutures, artificial joints, staples, cardiac valve replacements (except the Starr-Edwards metallic ball/cage), disconnected medication pumps, vena cava filters or brain shunt tubes for hydrocephalus. Corpses with bullets in the brain are not in that list.
However, there are some conditions may make an MRI examination inadvisable. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: heart pacemaker, cerebral aneurysm clip (metal clip on a blood vessel in the brain), pregnancy during the first three months (we are just being super cautious here), implanted insulin pump (for treatment of diabetes), narcotics pump (for pain medication), or implanted nerve stimulators (“TENS”) for back pain, metal in the eye or eye socket, cochlear (ear) implant for hearing impairment, or implanted spine stabilization rods.
MRI is also different from X-Rays in what it can pick up. The MRI can detect tumors, infection, and other types of tissue disease or damage. It can also help diagnose conditions that affect blood flow. Tissues and organs that contain water provide the most detailed MRI pictures, while bones and other hard materials in the body do not show up well on MRI pictures, as opposed to X-Rays which do show bone well but not soft tissue. For these reasons, MRI is most useful for detecting conditions that increase the amount of fluid in a tissue, such as an infection, tumors, and internal bleeding.
I think most people are familiar with the standard X-Ray procedure, stand there, breathe in, hold it, now breathe out routine, but MRIs are a little different. These are done with you lying there and inserted into the MRI scanner, which is like a tunnel. Those people who are claustrophobic can have a little problem here, as the MRI “tunnel” is very tight.
During the procedure, which can take up to an hour, you can hear the operator talking to you, and he or she can hear your reply, but you still will feel rather isolated in your magnetic tunnel. You can also hear (and feel) muffled thumps and groans that come from the tube, which can be somewhat unsettling.
In some cases a contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to enhance the images of certain structures which may help evaluate blood flow, detect some types of tumors, and locate areas of inflammation. The contrast material is injected via a vein, and the MRI operator will advise you when this is being injected. You may feel a warmth or even tingling feeling as this is happening, but this is not worrisome.
The radiologist then reviews the pictures produced and will advise you of the outcome. I hope it will be good news!.

 

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
A friend who lived down the road from me has been working on his house for as long as I’ve been here and that is about 2 1/2 years. His father moved from the UK a couple of years ago, bought a house and died within a couple of months. The house went to my friend who immediately put it in his Thai wife’s name. Seems reasonable except he didn’t get any sort of lease agreement so as far as it goes the houses are hers. She booted his butt out and had the houses for sale. Last summer the father’s house was on the market for 2.7 million baht. She just sold it for 1.55 million baht. Down and dirty and she’s got the money. He’s got fond memories of a house that was once his, he thought. My friend has since obtained a solicitor/lawyer and is putting a stop to the sale of the house he was working on. He doesn’t know at the moment if there is anything he can do about dad’s house but it doesn’t look good. After the death of dad, Paul’s mercenary wife asked him to sign something that was in Thai. The trusting fellah did and it is probably not a good thing for him.
That’s it in a nut shell and should serve as an example to all expats to get a binding agreement in a language they understand to prevent such happenings in the future. It seems to happen quite often and stupid expat guys should be warned and warned again and again. Get it in writing. Don’t trust the sweet young thing. Even if she is a sweet young thing if something happened to her, her family would swoop in and scoop up the place.
If you know someone (in this situation) kindly mention the story and see if there is some interest. I’d be glad to help my friend and any naive expat/ATM.
The Advisor

Dear Advisor,
While this certainly does happen in Thailand, just as you have written, it also happens in the Western world, without the cover of a foreign language agreement or contract. With 50 percent of marriages in the West ending up in divorce, and divorce settlements never being equitable, your advice on being careful is good for everyone. However, getting a “binding agreement” in English in Thailand is difficult. Thai is the only legal language in this country. While it is impossible for a foreigner to own land in his or her own name, it is still possible for a foreigner to protect his land holding by legal means, as any reputable real estate agent could have told your friend.

Dear Hillary,
I am a regular tourist to Thailand and enjoy my holidays each year, other than one thing - the sight of old, fat British and American men walking down the street hanging on to sweet young Thai girls, who are young enough to be their granddaughters. They think everyone is envious of them as they parade their “trophy” for everyone to see. It isn’t envy, but disgust as far as I am concerned. Don’t they realize just how this looks? And why do these girls even think about going anywhere with these gross men? Haven’t they got any shame or self respect? I don’t see this type of behavior in the US. Why should these men do it here? Or is this the only reason they come to Thailand in the first place? I am quite happy to be seen with my elderly partner, who is of a similar age to myself. Why aren’t these men happy to be seen the same way?
Disgusted

Dear Disgusted,
I think you may be judging the men rather unfairly, my Petal. It is not the one-sided situation as you have described, but more of a mutually beneficial association. Be they British, American or even German and other European places, where do they get any female company in their own countries? The simple answer is they don’t - other than maybe striking it lucky in a “Grab a granny” night held once a week at the local dance hall. The situation here is quite different, as they can “Grab a Gorgeous” from the local Thai dancing halls (recognized by the chrome poles) which are open every day and stocked with gorgeous young things, very willing to be led by the hand. That is, provided the rental fees have been decided upon. You see, the association is the subject of a financial agreement. For a set sum, the “trophy” agrees to befriend and look after the fat, older gentleman, a situation that cannot happen in the country they have left. So for the two people involved, it is a win-win scenario. It only falls down when the male in the partnership starts to believe that his gorgeous young thing is actually in love with him, and not his money. This is the well known walking ATM, with the letter above as an example. However, I do believe that you should be perhaps a little less judgmental when looking at the old men and their young ladies. I am sure you would be upset at people judging your association, without knowing what the real situation is.


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Become a professional flasher

For many photographers, even keen amateurs, the flash remains something of an enigma. We know how it works, but applying that to the kind of photograph we want can be perplexing. Today, I hope to de-mystify this problem.
Just about every camera these days comes with its own built-in flash. Technical terms ‘guide numbers’ don’t seem to matter any more. The camera does it all for you. But there is always a downside to just letting the camera do all the work. And that is you get what the camera thinks you want - not what you might want.
Take shooting indoors at night (always a good time to use extra lighting), but you still want some of the background to show up. Shooting people at a party is a good example. You want more than just ‘heads’, you want to show the venue as well.
To do this is tricky, but there are several ways. You can use more than one flash (sometimes called ‘slaves’) and they fire when they detect the flash burst from the primary flash, or you can even link them all up with flash cables triggered by the shutter on the camera. You set the slaves to light up the background, while the main flash illuminates the subject. That’s Option One.
Option Two is to use a tripod and the time exposure setting to record the background and then manually pop the main flash to record the subject in the foreground. Difficult, but possible.
Option Three is the simplest. Set the camera’s aperture to around f5.6 and the shutter speed to 1/15th of a second. You can even hand-hold at this slow shutter speed, as long as you lean on something. The slow shutter and wide open aperture gives enough light to get the background to show up, and the flash burst is enough to record the subject. Try it. Works!
Of course, to do this you have to take the camera out of Auto mode and into manual. In fact, if you want to try something, tonight shoot the family at 1/8th, 1/15th and a 1/30th with the f5.6 aperture and see the differences you will get. The subject will be OK in each, as the lighting for the foreground depends only on the flash power, while the background depends on the ambient light, and the longer the shutter is held open, the more background details you will get.
Another trick you can do with any camera that has a flash, be that built in or screwed to the top of it, is to throw color at your subject. The important item of equipment is colored cellophane paper (sometimes called ‘gels’ in the industry). Put a blue gel over the flash head and you will get a very ‘cold’ photograph, especially if you are taking pictures of people. Conversely, put an orange gel over the flash and you will get a wonderfully warm person in the foreground.
For an even wilder result, if you can take the flash off the camera, shoot the subject side lit with a coloured gel over the major flash. Experiment with blue, red, green, orange, yellow - we are not looking to reproduce reality here, we (that’s you) are trying to produce an artistic effect.
Most keen amateur photographers will have heard of the term “Fill-in Flash”. This refers to a reduced output flash burst, used to lighten shadows in harsh daylight, or to illuminate the front of a back-lit subject.
With many of the modern cameras, fill-in flash is simple, because the camera is programmed to do this automatically. However, with manual flash guns, “softly” is the word. You must reduce the output of the flash so it will gently lighten the shadows and not “blow out” the subject details like a searchlight. The trick is to either diffuse the flash with tracing paper or a handkerchief and do not adjust the camera settings, or reduce the flash power setting by two aperture stops below that indicated by the camera. In other words, set the camera lens on f11 and the flash on f5.6. Simple! Try some of these tricks this weekend.


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

How did we get into the mess that the world is in to today? And how will we get out again?
Princeton historian, Sean Wilentz, believes, “Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.”
Tim Price of PFP recently wrote, “Perhaps the biggest danger is to assume in a crisis, that politicians are not in a position to help anybody, other than themselves.”
However bad the last POTUS may have been, it is doubtful that he caused the current crisis single-handedly. More significantly, it is even more doubtful that President Obama can do much to solve it. Price believes that in a better world, we should all be taught more at school: “What we know as fractional reserve banking equates to letting banks keep a tiny fraction of their deposits (their depositors’ money, one should perhaps add) in order to lend out the remainder for profit (theirs, not the depositors’). Simultaneously, they retain the obligation to redeem all depositors immediately upon demand.”
Price then reminds us of the words of late US economist, Murray Rothbard. That is that, basically, “Banks are inherently bankrupt because they issue far more warehouse receipts to cash (nowadays in the form of deposits redeemable in cash on demand) than they have cash available. Hence, they are always vulnerable to bank runs. These runs are not like any other business failures, because they simply consist of depositors claiming their own rightful property, which the banks do not have. Inherent bankruptcy, then, is an essential feature of any fractional reserve banking system.”
Or as another economist, Frank Graham wrote over 10 years ago, “The attempt of the banks to realize the inconsistent aims of lending cash and still to represent that cash is available on demand is even more preposterous than eating one’s cake and counting on it for future consumption … a delusion dependent upon the right not being unduly exercised.”
Almost 50 years ago, Rothbard added to the view that bailing out the banking system if and when the system started to fail, would only make matters worse. “Any interference with their comeuppance via bank runs will establish banks as a specifically privileged group, not obligated to pay their debts, which will lead to later inflations, credit expansions and depressions.” The last 50 years have seen various local interventions to failing banks, which have led to an entire flawed system. Further intervention now would, according to Rothbard, only extend and amplify the problems.
“If government wishes to see a depression ended as quickly as possible, and the economy returned to normal prosperity, what course should it adopt? The first and clearest injunction is: don’t interfere with the market’s adjustment process. The more the government intervenes to delay the market’s adjustment, the longer and more gruelling the depression will be, and the more difficult will be the road to complete recovery. Government hampering aggravates and perpetuates the depression. Yet, government depression policy has always aggravated the very evils it has loudly tried to cure. If, in fact, we list logically the various ways that government could hamper market adjustment, we will find that we have precisely listed the favourite “anti-depression” arsenal of government policy.
Thus, here are the ways the adjustment process can be hobbled:
1) Prevent or delay liquidation, lend money to shaky businesses, call on banks to lend further, etc.
2) Inflate further. Further inflation blocks the necessary fall in prices, thus delaying adjustment and prolonging depression. Further credit expansion creates more bad investments, which, in their turn, will have to be liquidated in some later depression. A government “easy-money” policy prevents the market’s return to the necessary higher interest rates.
3) Keep wage rates up. Artificial maintenance of wage rates in a depression insures permanent mass unemployment. Furthermore, in a deflation, when prices are falling, keeping the same rate of money wages means that real wage rates have been pushed higher. In the face of falling business demand, this greatly aggravates the unemployment problem.
4) Keep prices up. Keeping prices above their free-market levels will create unsalable surpluses and prevent a return to prosperity.
5) Stimulate consumption and discourage saving. We have seen that more saving and less consumption would speed recovery; more consumption and less saving aggravate the shortage of saved-capital even further. Any increase of taxes and government spending will discourage saving and investment and stimulate consumption, since government spending is all consumption. Any increase in the relative size of government in the economy shifts the societal consumption-investment ratio in favour of consumption and prolongs the depression.
6) Subsidize unemployment…”
You don’t have to agree with every one of Rothbard’s claims to accept the general argument. We’re not nearly as eloquent as Rothbard was or Tim Price is, but to our simple way of looking at things, we don’t see how you can fix a crisis caused by too much debt by adding more debt. Somewhere, sometime, someone is going to want their money back.
US taxpayer’s money alone that has been committed to the banking crisis now exceeds USD8 trillion. If you add in the other loans this comes up to USD13 trillion and then if you also add in the other non-earning commitments of the US Government like welfare, Medicare, pensions, etc., the total debt of the US Government is USD23.8 trillion. Which means that every man, woman and child in the country owes USD80,000. Now, if you consider that the GDP per capital is USD44,500 where the hell is the rest going to come from? Just out of interest, the UK total exceeds GBP1 trillion - or GBP35,000 per taxpayer.
If you accept that a bad banking system got us into the mess where we now find ourselves, you might want to at least question whether a prescription for a lot more of the same is any kind of likely cure. The obvious answer is that it is not. In fact, some would argue that we have not even entered the tunnel yet, never mind looking for light at the end of it.

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

‘MUST HAVES’

Ten things I’d hate to be without in Chiang Mai

Mulling over the many reasons for living in Chiang Mai, the main ones are inevitably personal or ‘important’. Relationships, friends, ‘work’, climate, the food, location/environs, size of the city, the local economy and, of course, the locals. But there are lots of small amenities, places, events which combine to be equally important and give the daily or yearly cycle special meaning. So here is a little, ‘dektette’ of things that I would hate to be without. The list is alphabetical, personal and obviously incomplete. Additions warmly welcomed.
1.ALLIANCE FRANCAISE. This library, meeting house and screening room is housed in the building of the Honorary French Consulate, across the road from the Chedi Hotel. Each Friday evening, at 8p.m., they screen a classic or sometimes newer French movie with English subtitles, with a nominal charge of 30 baht. The coming season is of films by Francois Truffaut and whilst I must admit that he is far from a favourite director, the screening of his feature debut, Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) on September 4, is a must. The first film about the 14-year-old Doinel (he followed the character later) was made with passion and compassion and remains one of the finest movies about a youngster ever made.
2. AUA. The two buildings in the middle of ‘walking street’ house the language school and, directly opposite, the library and performance hall. As an organization it is a little po-faced and prim but the library is a decent one, (400 baht to join and take your passport with you), the school arguably the best in the city and the hall has decent acoustics. The presentation of the occasional play and frequent concerts is of inestimable value and deserves our support. The library also loans out ‘videos’, but I have never used this facility, (see below).
3. BACK STREET BOOKS. As everybody knows, one of the abundant joys of Chiang Mai is the number of second hand bookshops, (which may account for the lack of a decent shop with new books on sale), mainly centred around the Thapae Gate area. Lost Books and others are always worth a visit but the best of the lot is Back Street Books, opposite the main Gecko store. This is large and intelligently stocked, (some have far too many of the same authors and numerous copies of the same book), and the knowledgeable Irish owner really knows his vast stock. A browser’s and buyer’s delight.
4. COFFEE and TEA SHOPS. An addict of these could fill the rest of the page with names and locations, but from me just three regulars. The ubiquitous Wa Wee shops are among the best and this means you are supporting national produce. The recently opened Mokador, opposite Wat Pra Singh, is certainly the most chic bar in town and offers not just very good coffee but a smart ambience and rather expensive breakfasts. Still my favourite is the Black Canyon on the second floor of Central, Kad Suan Kaew. The staff are unfailingly pleasant and the coffee and most other offerings good. Seating outside lets you watch the comings and goings around the shopping area. Inside the actual shop, windows face out on the steps and road. You miss nothing!
5. THE CHIANG MAI YOUTH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA and WIND BAND. The revival of this full scale orchestra and band was a leap of faith, which has paid off handsomely and will- hopefully – become, during the next four or five years, an important cultural and tourist attraction. The first few performances had their problems and there was far too much talk and rather lack-lustre presentation and production. It was also obvious that the Band members played more confidently than their ‘string’ partners. They have made great progress and the most recent concerts, held within two weeks of each other, were the best yet. The Wind Band’s concert of contemporary music was memorable, although the classical event showed how much improved the Orchestra is. Both concerts held at the rather cavernous Kad were highlights of 2009. Sadly they were not as well attended as they deserved. More soon, please.
6. CMU ART GALLERY, the adjoining concert hall and the Saturday evening Open Space screenings. This large art gallery has a permanent collection and arranges regular exhibitions, often two or three at a time in the large space. Admission is free, closed Mondays. The concert hall is one of the best venues in town and often features music and dance, mainly Asian. Some of the best events in Chiang Mai are held there. On an upper floor there are films screened, (free admission, though a contribution for running costs is welcomed), under the title Open Space, beginning at 7p.m. These are often unusual movies, sometimes avant garde, occasionally mini seasons of a director or a theme and invariably of interest. A must for film buffs who bemoan the lack of worthwhile films in the commercial venues.
7. DVD and MUSIC SHOP. Situated not far from the CMU gallery, (turn right at the end of Nimmenhaemenda into Suthep Road and first left at the lights – it’s just on the corner). This has a wonderful selection of movies, (and, I believe, music videos) including some recent features. The real joy though is in the ‘back catalogue’, most importantly the foreign language films. So here, along with some of the recent rubbish, you can sort through westerns by John Ford and Anthony Mann, comedies and gangster movies by George Cukor and Howard Hawks. You will also find master works by Bresson and Dreyer and recent works by Haneke and the Dardenne Brothers, (surely the best film makers currently working in Europe). Hundreds upon hundreds of good or great movies, for rent over a period of a week or so, (some have a restricted time period, if very new). The most economical way to rent is to pay down a set amount and work through it over a period of time. Nice staff too and you can browse the covers or get their printed list of foreign films.
8. The E.U. FILM FESTIVAL. This has been going on for quite a few years now and is held at Vista Cinemas in Central. The date has already been announced for 2009 and it will open on November 5th, unusually before the same event is held in Bangkok. At the moment no titles are announced, (keep an eye on my film colleague’s column in October), but it runs for about ten days and usually comprises some 15 or more films from a cross section of European countries. All the films will be new to Thailand and recently made. They invariably have English sub titles and occasionally Thai. Seat prices last year were a nominal 70 baht and happily to say attendance was better than previously. Let’s hope the trend continues and the stay at home farangs venture in to town for a change.
9. FRESH ORANGE and Fruit Stall – opposite the entrance to Nakornping Condo. I have deliberately not listed restaurants, bars and other venues but along with the odd coffee shop this is an essential part – for me – of everyday living. There are plenty of these little stands around town but this one happens to be only ten minutes walk from by home. The juice is freshly squeezed and they usually have a choice of unpeeled fruit on sale. Nearby stalls have the prepared fruits. It’s an easy way to get one or two of the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables that we are bidden to eat every day.
10. PAYAP UNIVERSITY musical events. Well, where to start? Only by saying last but by no means least in this list is the presentation of diverse musical offerings throughout the year by Payap. From the many student recitals through to Bennett Lerner’s extended ‘festivals’, (the celebration of Faure continues in October), and the visiting performers from Bangkok and abroad, this all-embracing musical feast is the main source of music in the City. Events have ranged from the inspiring programme of new music presented by a New York group, through to last week’s celebration of Asian music. The concerts are usually held out at the campus off Super Highway or at the campus opposite the McCormack Hospital. The one reviewed in this week’s Mail celebrated 35 years of the University’s existence in its present form. Here’s to the next 35!


Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai
Inglourious Basterds
: US/ Germany, Action/ Adventure/ War – Quentin Tarantino’s exceptionally bloody tale of Jewish-American troops on the hunt for Nazi scalps in World War II France, starring Brad Pitt and an amazing Christoph Waltz in a truly fine performance.  A must-see movie, though I’m uncomfortable with the fact that I’m recommending a film that carries violence to such extremes.  But it’s just that I find the filmmaking skill so mind-blowing.  Never have I felt such a deliciously slow and inexorable building of tension in a scene, and such studied control over all the aspects of a scene.  Will forever change how war movies are filmed, and a milestone in film.
Rated R in the US for strong graphic violence, language, and brief sexuality.  In Thailand it’s rated “18+” under the new ratings system which went into effect August 11.  “18+” is an advisory rating that suggests viewers should be 18 or older to see the movie.  Early reviews: Generally favorable.
Buppha Rahtree 3.2: Rahtree’s Revenge
: Thai, Horror/ Romance – Continues the romantic-horror story of the revengeful ghost of Buppha and her love struck cartoonist, played by Mario Maurer of Love of Siam fame.  An exceptionally bloody and confusing horror flick, and one of those where most of the work of scaring the audience is done by the soundtrack’s spooky music and sound effects.  Rated “18+” in Thailand under the new ratings system.  Has the dubious honor of being the first Thai film to be rated under the long-awaited Thai movie-rating law.
Orphan:
US/ Canada/ Germany, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – This is a dandy little horror film which I thoroughly enjoyed!  A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.  Rated R in the US for disturbing violent content, some sexuality, and language.  Mixed or average reviews.  If you enjoy a good spooky horror film now and then, I recommend this one.  It’s quite well done.
Trail of the Panda:
China, Family – A Disney live action film directed by Chinese director Yu Zhong about a panda cub that is separated from its mother and subsequently rescued by an orphaned boy after going through a series of hardships and dangers in the forest.
The film was shot in the wilderness of Wolong, Sichuan, the area that was destroyed during the massive earthquake of May 2008, as the film crew was shooting, trapping some 28 crew members, including the director, in the mountains for four days.  The magnitude 8.0 quake left more than 80,000 people dead or missing, and 370,000 injured.  Also lost was the 10-year-old female panda playing Pang Pang’s mother in the film; she died in the quake, leaving three orphans.
Made in conjunction with China’s Wolong Panda Reservation, the movie is a plea for understanding of pandas and for preserving their existence.  The parents of Lin Ping, the new Chiang Mai Zoo panda cub born May 27, are from this panda center.
The story is sweet and the film is charming with several things to recommend it – the very winning 11-year-old boy who stars, the loving shots of the countryside, the animal photography – overall it’s a good film for families with kids.  And the social and political implications of the fact of the movie are of interest as well; pandas are a part of the culture of Chiang Mai now, as are our relations with China due to the panda loans (China still owns the pandas we have, even the new cub).
Jija - Raging Phoenix:
Thai, Action/ Romance – Martial arts film starring the amazing girl from the film Chocolate, Jija Yanin, a true female action icon, who here combines her startling fight skills with a love story and break dancing.  A rather odd mix of a film and a real confusion, but it should please martial arts fans.  Watch it only when you’re really in the mood for seeing startling martial arts images in a disconnected pattern.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra:
US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Another action-adventure film based on toys, very much like Transformers: Nonsensical mayhem, and very loud, but stylish.  Generally negative reviews.
Scheduled for August 27
Bandslam
: US, Comedy/ Music – Probably the only film ever with a character named “Sa5m.” (The “5” is silent; it’s a sign of her independence.)  A new kid in town assembles a rock band to compete against the best in the biggest event of the year, a battle of the bands.
My Ex / Fan Kao:
Thai Horror/ Romance – Ken is a heartthrob actor with a bad boy reputation of loving beautiful girls and then dumping them.  After his marriage, one of his ex-girlfriends comes back from the grave to exact revenge.


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

I received a request to run the column about this famous deal again, so here it is. Imagine you are sitting East with the massive hand below. South deals and opens three spades. The bidding continues as below:            

S: AKQ

H: AKQ

D: AKQJ

C: KJ9

 

South   West      North     East (you)

3S         P              P              Dbl

4C         P              5C           Dbl

6C         P              7C           Dbl

Redbl   P              P              ? 

What are you thinking at this point? Maybe you think the opponents are out of their  minds and you are looking forward to gaining a huge number of points. What you should be thinking is that someone fixed the cards, for you have been dealt a hand famous from the days of whist, 200 years ago. It cost the Duke of Cumberland 20,000 British pounds—a large fortune 200 years ago. The Duke’s opponents at whist wagered that, with the East hand above (or a slight variation of it—sources differ) and clubs as trumps, the Duke would not take a single trick. Unwisely, he took the wager. Declarer can always take thirteen tricks, no matter how the defence plays. This was the full deal: 

                           S: -

                           H: 5432

                           D: 5432

                           C: 65432       

S: J10                                        S: AKQ

H: J109876                               H: AKQ

D: 109876                                 D: AKQJ

C: -                                            C: KJ9

                           S: 98765432

                           H: -

                           D: -

                           C: AQ1087     

Say West leads a diamond or a heart and declarer trumps. Declarer then ruffs a spade in dummy and returns a club finessing East. Next comes another spade ruff and another club finesse. A third spade ruff in dummy sets up declarer’s spades. He returns to hand by ruffing a heart or diamond and pulls the last trump with his ace. His hand is now good. Another routine six point redoubled grand slam!
Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes new players. For information on the Club go to the web site at www.bridgeclubchiangmai .com or contact Chris Hedges at:  oga. [email protected] If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]