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Posts posted by StoneSoup

  1. Well, the USS Titanic, despite the gaping hole in its side, just pulled a hard right rudder and circled back around, and roared back into the iceberg at flank speed. Amazing. An epic job destruction machine was just unleashed upon the American population. It will be interesting to see how things look in about another six months. 8% employment will look like the "good old days". Ah, well, I'm already 12 years ex-patriated, with all of my holdings in the USA liquidated as of 2008. I pick up my new 10-year passport tomorrow. 'Not much personal skin that game any more.



  2. I predict 320+ EV for Mitt Romney.


    BO has been the most incompetent, the laziest, and the most divisive US Pesident that I have ever observed. There is just no way to dress that up. The Titanic just isn't going to circle back around and strike the iceberg a second time.


    Then again, I haven't set foot back in my native USA since August 2002 - so I might be a bit out of touch with the American mindset these days. I mean - the American baarbarians still use the Imperial measurement system, for crying out loud.

  3. This all cuts to the issue about what sense does it make to search for "dangerous objects." Objects are inanimate - and not particularly aggressive. What can be dangerous is a person.


    "There are no dangerous objects - there are just dangerous men."


    A dangerous man can take many innocuous objects and use them as weapons. The point of a ballpoint pen held against your jugular vein presents a fairly convincing threat. A shoelace with wooden pegs tied to the two ends makes a fairly effective garrotte. Etc., etc.


    The lame "security theater" on display worldwide is basically just a jobs program for low-potential dullards.


    I will make it a point to touch on the image projected by the MRT Police Force - not to be confused with the contract guards who perform security theater. The MRT police strike me as just about the last people in Thailand with whom I would want to tangle. I do not know from where they find these guys - but the all look alert, intelligent, physically fit, and - fairly dangerous.




  4. I particularly liked the attention to detail:


    "The derby will take place in National Stadium next month, which will be modified into an open, dirt-track arena compete with lethal obstacles including twelve buried landmines, horizontal steel spikes protruding from the walls at driver-head level, and a 4-meter deep pool of boiling water.


    Additionally, mortar shells and balloons filled with concentrated hydrofluoric acid will be lobbed at random into the arena by family members of the deceased victims."



    As Borat would say "What a country!!!!!"



  5. The Robin Hood is on Sukhumvit so I suspect you might be referring to the Royal Oak which is on 33/1 along with all the Japanese businesses?



    If you exit Robin Hood and stand on the entrance platform - you are actually facing the angle of the intersection of Sukhumvit and Soi 33/1. If you take a hard right off the entrance platform you will be walking down Soi 33/1, walking parallel to one wall of the Robin Hood. Once you pass the end of the Robin Hood wall, there are two very narrow Japanese restaurant entrances - both seem to be about a half shop-width wide. You then come to a triple-wide retail store selling "ball sports" items - with a plaster soccer ball "logo" above the facade. That is where the Dubliner will reportedly set up shop.


    I am a regular at the Royal Oak.




  6. They will be opening in a space on Soi 33/1 that presently houses some sort of ball sports shop - with a soccer ball motif showing above the front facade. Basically, from Robin Hood pub, go past two narrow Japanese restaurants, and the next space - three shop-houses wide - is where they will next appear.


    Or - at least that is what I have been told by a very sharp Thai lady who is director of a company located a few doors farther down on Soi 33/1.




  7. Well, this evening I had one of the few US $100 solo dinners that I have ever consumed. I paid a first visit to the El Gaucho Argentinian Steak House on Sukhumvit Soi 19 - pretty much adjacent to Terminal 21 - and sharing the building with the City Lodge Hotel that has been at the same place for twenty years or more.


    I went early - around 5:30 pm - because I had a meeting on Soi 33/1 at 6:30 pm.


    There is an outdoor veranda - pleasant enough, depending on the weather. Upon entering the restaurant proper, the ground floor is very small - just a wide sit-down bar, and a meat counter (you can evidently purchase fresh meats to take out). There is the a stairway to the second level.


    The second level is very stylish - very open, with very high ceiling. There are several distinctive "zones" with different seating arrangements. I sat at an elevated two-person table overlooking Soi 19 - 'very nice view through huge plate glass windows.


    One VERY unusual thing about this restaurant is that there appeared to be no Thai service staff whatsoever. I spoke to Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, and several Slovakian severs. I literally saw no Thais. Unusual. The servers were very attentive, very pleasant, and very well trained.


    They gave me a brochure-style menu, a separate beverage menu, a separate wine list menu, and a single page "seasonal specials" page. The specials page was all about US certified Black Angus Beef. The regular menu offered US beef, and also Wagyu beef.


    The beef is offered in various weights, starting at 250 grams, and going up to 1,000 grams. They offer both US prime, and US choice beef - as well as the Wagyu. Prices ranged from about 1,150 baht for the smallest choice beef cut, up to about 5,000+ baht for the largest Wagyu cut.


    I ordered a 350 gram US Black Angus Prime filet mignon - I think it was 1,960 baht. Now - here is a mildly bizarre thing: I chose the 350 gram Black Angus Prime filet mignon off the "regular" menu - at 1,960 baht. On the "seasonal menu" card, the 350 gram Black Angus Prime filet mignon was 2,560 baht. EXACT same description. I asked my Slovak server what the difference was. He was at a complete loss for words - and obviously a bit uncomfortable. He mumbled something about the "seasonal menu" - but his comment was just marking time. Realizing that he was not the one who came up with the prices, I did not press the issue. I just told him that I wanted the 350 gram filet mignon off the standard menu - at that price - and not off the specials menu. And - when the bill was presented later - I was charged for the correct selection. I also ordered a side salad, and a lobster and crab meat bisque soup. They automatically brought a piping hot, right from the oven, small loaf of bread with herb butter and relish on the side. For drinks, I ordered a "nam soda" - and ultimately two small bottles of Hoegaarden beer.


    My total bill came to 3,100 baht and change - including a 10% service fee, and VAT.


    I ordered my steak cooked medium. It was about 5 cm thick, and quite large - I have to think more than 350 grams. I would judge the actual delivered result to be medium rare, on the rare side. But - it was tender and delicious. I would have to say it was the best steak I've had in Bangkok - living here 12 years. My previous "best steaks in Bangkok" were at the Madison Grill at the old Regent Hotel, and the steaks at Bradman's on Soi 23, back about 2008-2009 (before they changed meat suppliers).


    In serving me, they placed a quite hot plate in front of me first, and then transferred the steak from a metal broiling dish/plate to my plate. The steak had very open-textured grain to it - something I have not seen in about 15 years - it was loose and tender - aged very well, and perfectly grill-charred.


    I really liked the place. But - there is no way that I can afford to eat there, except once in a blue moon (which was last week!). I cannot see getting out of there for much less than about 2,000 baht. And - if you want, you can easily spend 7,000 or 8,000 baht for a premium meal.




  8. In Thailand, populist policies are apt to remain in force for a long time as the government encourages domestic consumption politicians seek to buy votes from the underclasses by running up unsustainable debt promising them "lots of free candy" with no consequences, and with no ability to pay for the goodies.



    There, fixed that......




  9. There was a fire at the FICO Place building about six months go, and that building is completely closed now. It is located at Google Maps coordinates 13.739411,100.561905


    All businesses in that building were forced to relocate.




  10. The Lesson


    Every time I see Thais treating animist rituals (such as sai sin, or san phra phum) as if they have something to do with Buddhism, I scratch my head and try to figure out how such practices managed to persist across cultures.


    This little parable seems to explain Thailand spot on.




  11. Back in the late '80's, customers of mine in Detroit used to take me across the bridge into Windsor, Ontario, to a large strip club that had the best line-up I have ever seen anywhere - bar none. Asians, South Americans, Russians - all dressed in "catch-me, fuck-me" scraps of clothing, superbly made up. 'Put any club I'd ever been in before in USA and Europe to shame.


    'Tough luck ahead, Canuks. No rest for the wicked......





  12. 'Believe the Park Hotel is on Sukhumvit Soi 7 - roughly opposite the Biergarden. I stayed there once in 2000. 'Pretty much a shithole. But - functional as a shagging station. As I recall, the whole place had an atmosphere of dampness and mildew - they don't have enough customers turning over to create circulation, so the whole place was sort of deteriorating. This was 12 years ago - and I doubt that they have made any improvements since.




  13. A foreigner whom I trust, and who has very good insight into the political situation here (and who is fluent in Thai) has suggested to me that for the first time in his long tenure in Thailand, there are now four different factions jockeying for position. According to him, the PT/Reds are not monolithic - they are split among two factions. My friend's "back on the napkin" assessment of the four factions:


    1. TS + 40% of the government (from N and NE) + Half the UDD/Redshirts + Police


    2. 10% of the Army + PAD/Yellows + Dems + 25% government (with support of [Let's not got there - KS])


    3. 60% of the Army + 20% of government + Half the Redshirts - led by retired Army


    4. 30% of Army (including all/most the Spec Opns) + 15% of government - led by retired Spec Ops + Retired AF


    He said that the first three groups are all just out to plunder from the trough. Group #4 is the only group that "supports legal transfer and are a strong professional grouping that want a law-abiding, fair system, for all good people", as he put it.


    He think that Group 2 is becoming sidelined and irrelevant - even though they are making a lot of noise. He thinks that Group 4 holds the real balance of power, and is working to "peel away" more altruistic elements from Groups 1 and 3.


    If he is on the right track, it will be interesting to see how things play out. The concept that there would be a Group 3, not in bed with Group 1, would in particular surprise me.





  14. Ramadan starts 19 July - and the airlines that bring all the Middle-Eastern visitors here - on something like a US $99 round trip fare - require them to return back home before Ramadan to get that rate.


    So - this place will continue to crawl with black burkas for another two weeks - and then most of them will all vanish at once.




  15. I think "looking back" isn't going to work much longer, even if "back" is just 30-60 days ago. Effective next week, rents at NEP go up a minimum of 200%. That is going to have all kind of ripple effects. I have heard that leading players at NEP are seeking to form a cartel to simultaneously boost drink prices, under the theory of "It is insane to allow punters from the Western World to sit in a bar surrounded by beautiful naked girls while nursing a beer that costs less than US $4". My source suggested that 200 baht beers were being discussed - and that the NEP ringleaders were tying to get leading Cowboy bar owners to sign on.


    I suspect that they may be about to kill the golden goose, due to greed.


    Myself, I have a completely different criteria than most, for selecting my hunting grounds. First, I will no longer even go west of Soi Asoke anymore. I'm sick to death of the sidewalk congestion caused by the sidewalk vendors and the street-side bars. I'm also fed up with the fat Arabs and their broods, the rough-looking Africans, and the Indians, all moving at crawl along the vendor-clogged footpaths. If I have to go into that area, I walk in the street, dodging the four-legged rats.


    Next - I'm a beer drinker, but I'm really picky about what I drink. I have no interest in any beer brewed in Thailand. If forced, I go with Chang Export - but even that beer is not widely available in go-gos. The only go-gos that have beers that I will drink are at Cowboy - German Weizen bier at few places (including Tilac and Longgun), Hoegaarden bottles at Baccara, and the fair selection of Belgian Beers at Cactus Club. Rarely, I'll go for a Chang Export, upstairs at Dollhouse. And - that's it. Within my orbit, as just described, I wouldn't go with 75% of the girls if they paid me - they really are a pretty lame bunch. But - I can amuse myself by watching the few good lookers/dancers. I'm not big on actually bar-fining anyone - domestic considerations, financial considerations, and the rather quaint notion that I am really not inclined to pursue the effort unless I REALLY like the girl - and that just doesn't happen very often. I can't take a girl to "my" own home, and short-time hotels are depressing. I have occasionally gone with girls who invited me to their apartment - and I am well-acquainted with the upstairs room at Cactus Club.


    So - I think that the Sukhumvit scene is in for some rather big changes over the next 30-90 days. NEP will see a startling upgrade in ambiance - along with a doubling of prices. Will that work? I dunno. I sort of doubt it - except maybe for the Japanese.


    Ramadan 2012 runs from 19 July until 18 August - so at least the Arab legion should be pulling out by about the 18th of July.




  16. I wonder how many mongers saw the headline, and chuckled to themselves:


    Coming soon - to Ratchaprasong



    The best case of "allusional mis-step" that I ever saw in the Thai press meant nothing to me until an Aussie friend picked himself off the floor after laughing himself half to death, and explained. This was in relation to some real news item about something happening to a wombat at a Thai zoo. The article - which obviously contained some "background" info that had been provided by an Aussie adviser - included a line to the effect:


    "A wombat is a small mammal that eats roots and leaves....."


    For non-Ausies, in Aussie slang, "a wombat" refers to an "insensitive" guy who visits a girl and just "eats her food, then roots her, and then leaves".




  17. What it is like in a Nigerian traffic jam Trafic Hell On Earth



    "...It was long after dark on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, outside Lagos, and traffic had barely moved in five hours. Through the rear window of our Land Cruiser taxi, I could make out an apocalyptic scene: six lanes of buses, 18-wheelers, fuel tankers, and sedans, wedged bumper-to-bumper in both directions. Curses and horn blasts pierced the diesel exhaust–choked air. Brakes screeched as vehicles inched forward. I lay down in the backseat, trying to get some sleep. Moments later, I felt a thump, and the car rocked violently back and forth.


    “These crazy men—they steal the headlights!†my driver exclaimed. Crowbar-wielding thieves were prowling the traffic jam, preying on captive motorists. “Don’t get out the car,†the driver warned...."

  18. A mere 12.


    The guy who developed that list must have been a righteous wanker.


    No mention of:


    Soi Cowboy



    Eden Club

    Lockhart Street

    Orchard Tower

    Combat Zone (Taipei)


    Angeles City

    Reeperbahn - St. Pauli

    Colon, Panama


    Moonlight Bunny Ranch

    Hay Street - Kalgoorlie


    and a thousand other delights .......

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