Sunday, August 09, 2020

Kung Fu masters getting beat up



My YouTube feed recommendations are frequently a look into bizarre corners of the internet. I think it is YouTube's algorithm struggling to make sense out of my search patterns. Anyway, for some reason recently I've been getting all sorts of videos of obviously fraudulent Kung Fu masters getting the snot beat out of them by MMA fighters.

The above video by serpentza gives background on what that's all about. If you watch any of the Kung Fu master's videos they are obviously staged. Why they would then be stupid enough to get in a ring with an actual fighter is a head scratcher. Serpentza explains that it is the outgrowth of Chinese nationalism  that can't abide a western fighting style being superior to Chinese martial arts. It's all very strange.

By the way, serpentza's videos about China are pretty good. He is not a fan of the CCP. His YouTube page is worth browsing.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Romance magazine covers

Click any image to enlarge
These are romance magazine covers from the early and mid 20th century. It is striking that so few of them feature couples or men, mainly they are just portraits of stylish looking women. These examples, and those after the jump, are from Magazine Art's Romance and Confession Magazine collection. There are more at the link.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Brute force

Illustration from Hysteria and Certain Allied Conditions
(click image to enlarge)

Based on the data, there seems to be no relationship between lockdowns and lives saved. That’s remarkable, given that we know for sure that lockdowns have destroyed economies the world over.


Every epidemic model being flung around in March built in the assumption that lockdowns would control the virus. In the early days, it was about preserving hospital capacity. Later it became a general principle: slow the spread. The methods were the same in nearly every country. Ban large gatherings. Close schools. Shutter businesses. Enforce stay-home orders. Mandate human separation. Masks. Travel restrictions.

Nothing like this has been tried in the whole history of humanity, certainly not on this scale. You might suppose, then, there was absolute certainty that there would be a causal relationship between lockdowns and the trajectory of the virus. Just as the FDA doesn’t approve a drug unless it is proven to be safe and effective, one might suppose the same would be true for a policy that shattered every routine and trampled human rights in the name of disease mitigation.

Surely! It turns out that this is not the case. It was pure speculation that lockdowns would suppress this virus, and that speculation was based on a hubristic presumption of the awesome power and intelligence of government managers.

For five months, governments all over the world have been freaking out, ordering people around to do this and that, passing mandate after mandate, and yet there is no evidence that any of it matters to the virus.

Already in mid-April questions arose...

-The Virus Doesn’t Care about Your Policies by Jeffrey A. Tucker
 

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Drone flight through the Grand Palais



The Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées is a historic exhibition hall in Paris. It features extensive glass domed ceilings and elaborate ironwork.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Space themed playing cards

Click any image to enlarge
In 1964 General Dynamics Astronautics released a space themed deck of playing cards. As material with the deck explained:
"These space cards tell a story – the story of America’s man-in-space programs. The hearts deal with the human element, the clubs portray the sciences, the spades show products and the diamonds depict modern aerospace management without which the other three elements could not be successful." 
 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Off with his head

Click any image to enlarge 
The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said, without even looking around. - Lewis Carrol
In the case of these pictures, it is not the monarch yelling off with his head, rather it is the crowd beheading the monarch. The monarch being Louis XVI of France. In the current affairs of the 18th century some people saw his execution as a travesty, some saw it as retribution.

These images, and those after the jump are from the Public Domain Review's article, "A Slight Freshness on the Neck": Prints Depicting the Execution of Louis XVI (ca. 1793). There are more images at the link.

 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Starting a ship's engine



Engine room departure preparation for a large 180,000 ton DWT bulk carrier. The noise level is incredible. I wonder how hot it it gets in that engine room?
 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

O-Negative (time to wrap things up)

Prim, Foon, Art, Peun, and Chompoo in happier times
Episode 26 of the Thai TV show O-Negative (Episode 25) is the final episode and thus the end of my self-inflicted recapping chore. As I mentioned earlier, Asian TV shows, rather than being designed to go on for as many seasons as possible like U.S. shows, have a set number of episodes with a defined beginning and end. The climax of a show is frequently in the second to last episode, with the finale episode used to wrap things up.

We start with Peun in the waiting room after Foon tossed him out of her hospital room in the previous episode. You may recall that Peun had just seen a husband pushing his wife and newborn baby past in a wheelchair which had thrown him into a frenzy of emoting.

He is still misty-eyed when Foon's parents come out of her room. They say that she cried herself to sleep. He starts apologizing for creating this whole mess. Again, I've got to say, not to take anything away from Peun's sketchy behavior, but Foon's mind-bendingly awful driving skills are the main cause of this latest mess. At any rate, Foon's parents are surprisingly understanding. They tell him nobody wanted it to happen.

We next see Peun in the hospital cafeteria. He is sitting at a table with a pack of Dentyne Spearmint Ice Gum on the table in front of him. He's no doubt chewing it because, as Brittney I from Scottdale Pennsylvania assures us, it has a "great long lasting mint flavor for great taste and fresh breath! The price is reasonable and it is sold many places!"

Well, enough with the product placement. Chompoo soon arrives at Peun's table with two trays of food. She tells Peun not to give up, that Foon will forgive him eventually. Chompoo, I thought you were Foon's friend, but now you're encouraging that bounder Peun to keep chasing her? Shame, shame, shame! To her credit she does tell Peun to go home and leave Foon alone for a while. Chompoo tells him that she'll watch Foon and call him if anything changes.

Foon goes berserk and ends up on the floor
Later we see Chompoo relieving Foon's parents from their bedside vigil, saying she'll watch Foon. When they're gone Foon wants to sit up. She asks Chompoo about Prim, because she still wants to apologize to Prim for slapping her. Chompoo tells her Prim was at the hospital earlier, but left when she heard Foon was OK. She adds that Prim has disappeared; that she quit her job, put her house up for rent and won't answer her phone.

When Foon hears that she starts getting agitated, sobbing that she wants to find Prim to apologize. She starts tearing our her intravenous tubes and what-not and, having gotten completely hysterical, tries to get out of bed. Foon ends up sprawled on the floor. Poor Chompoo, from the start of the abortion talk to now, she's been stuck trying to keep Foon from twirling out of control.

Art and Prim in his small loft apartment
We jump to Art's loft in Paris the morning after Prim had discovered the old love letter Art had written to her but never sent. He's taking pictures of the roof tops visible from the windows. Now knowing Art's feelings towards her, when Prim comes out of the bathroom she is subdued and awkward, not sure how to act around him. When Art takes her picture she is so nervous she can barely manage a smile. She answers his questions with only a single word.

After they get the key to her room they go to eat and do more sight seeing. Prim is relaxing a little, but she intensely watches Art. You can see the wheels turning in her head as she tries to figure out, in light of that the old love letter, what Art is thinking now.

On the subway he gives Prim a guidebook. Inside it, being used as a bookmark, is a laminated Bangkok/Kanchanaburi train ticket. She realizes that Art keeping the ticket must mean that he is holding onto the memory of their school break trip. With that realization things get awkward between them again.

Amidst the tourists at the Eiffel Tower
They do more sight seeing and eventually end up at the Eiffel Tower. Prim is a bit more relaxed by then. She asks Art to take a picture of the two of them with the tower in the background. He sets up his tripod and, in a crowd of fellow tourists doing the same, he takes a picture of the two of them. Prim manages a nice smile.

We return to Bangkok for a brief interlude where we see Peun sitting in the backyard with his parents. Peun is telling them that he doesn't know how to get Foon to forgive him. Oh, quit whining Peun, I'm sure it's not a big deal, all you did was knock her up and then dump her to go chasing after Prim. Why would she ever hold a grudge over that?

His dad asks him if he loves her and Peun says he does. This prompts his mom to give Peun an engagement ring they bought for him. She tells him to give it to Foon to show his commitment. I figured the parents would intervene with these two nitwitted love-birds. I wonder if Foon's parents are in on it as well?

We jump back to Art and Prim who are taking pictures on the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Prim is smiling again and Art asks her if she's feeling better. She asks him what he means and he points out that she's been acting oddly. He tells her he often comes to the bridge when he feels down. That seeing the people and decorations cheer him up, but that he thinks it is still best to get to the bottom of a problem when you're bothered.

Prim considers that for a bit, and then directly asks Art if he likes her. Again, in Asian dramas saying you like somebody is tantamount to saying you have feelings for them. It is Art's turn to be taken aback. He asks her why she suddenly asked him that and she confesses to reading the postcard in which he said he loved her. She says that after she read it she didn't know how to act around him.

She had came to Paris to see him, but the postcard was from a long time ago and he may feel differently now. She directly asks him again how he feels about her. He tries to deflect by asking her how she feels about him, but she  pulls the 'I asked you first' gambit.

Art then delivers the longest monologue of the show. He says he has had feelings for her since their freshman year. He kept those feelings to himself because Peun liked her as well and he didn't feel it was his place to interfere as Peun and she grew closer. He says, "all I could do was hope that as time passes, my feelings toward you would fade." However, his feelings remained the same and eventually, no matter how he rationalized it, in the end he couldn't bear it and that's why he moved to France.

Art continues by saying that if he could turn back time he would have never attended that university so that they would have never met. All he could do in the end was try to be the best friend he could be to each of his friends. Prim had listened intently as he told her his feelings, but she said nothing, Finally, he asks her what she thinks. She says, "I just wish I knew better. You are one of my most precious friends. Please give me some time, Art. I still haven't made up my mind."

Foon's parents agree to unload her onto Peun
We cut to Peun at Foon's house talking to her parents. He must have gone to them to ask their permission to marry Foon because the scene starts with Foon's mom saying they have no objection, but the final decision is up to Foon. Her father glares at Peun and adds, "don't you dare hurt her again." I don't know, considering the amount of times Foon's dad ignored Foon as she was hysterically blubbering away in her room it is a little hard to take his concern seriously by this point. However, Peun does take him seriously and he promises to do his best to win Foon back.

We follow with a montage of Foon convalescing. Peun tries to give her water to drink, but she turns her head away and Chompoo needs to take over. Peun helps her get up and she glares at him. Her parents are in the hospital room visiting and her mom feeds her. Chompoo helps her return from the bathroom. Days pass and soon enough Foon is strong enough to wash her face with some Garnier Pure Active Matcha Detox  Pollution & Oil Deep Cleaning Foam. Whew, good to see her back on her feet and healthy enough to do some product placement.

Next Foon is seen sitting on the edge of her hospital bed with her parents and Chompoo in the room as well. Peun enters with a wheel chair. Foon gives him a dirty look and asks her mom to get a nurse to push the wheel chair. Chompoo takes over the wheelchair duties instead and asks Foon why she won't talk to Peun who has been tending to her so faithfully. Foon answers that they've been through this before, that she doesn't want to talk to Peun.

Peun makes a promise he'll never be able to keep
We cut to Foon painting in her home studio. In walks Peun. What? In spite of their daughter clearly saying over and over again that she wants nothing to do with him her parents let him in the house? So much for it's Foon's decision. Anyway, he tells her that he knows she doesn't want to talk to him so he'll just silently stay at her side. Oh this poor girl, with this doofus hanging around 24/7 she's probably wishing for the happier days of Ong-art pestering her.

There are shots of him hovering around her when she's leaving her house and going to a doctor's appointment with her. Then we see him, Foon and Foon's parents all eating dinner together. He puts items of food on her plate which she shoves aside. He also peals a shrimp for her. Good Lord, she can't even eat in peace? On a scale of 1 to 10, Peun pegs the Creepy-Stalker meter at 15.

The four move from the dining room to the living room. Poor Foon is sitting there looking miserable as always. Peun excuses himself to leave. When he says goodbye Foon ignores him. However, as he leaves Foon walks to the door and asks him if he is tired. He says no, he'll keep pestering her to make her love him again (I may have paraphrased that). However, this time, instead of telling him to get lost, she tells him to get home safely. Oh no! After weeks of being held hostage it looks like Foon has succumbed to Stockholm syndrome. Her parents look absolutely delighted. I guess they're glad at the chance to marry their daughter off before she creates another scandal.

Chompoo has important news
When we next see Peun and Foon they are in her home studio. I guess they are back to being on good terms with each other. Chompoo calls and says she wants to get together with them at Go's bar that night. For some reason that isn't clear to me Foon hesitates, but Chompoo talks her into going because she says she has some important news to share.

As an aside I love the décor of the room she calls from. The newspaper wallpaper, hipster furniture, red toy truck and green couch with the matching stuffed doll is a sight to behold. Hard to imagine her parents decorating like that, I wonder if it supposed to be Go's place? But why is she wearing her shoes inside a house? Gah -- if I'm worried about that then I've spent entirely too much time rewatching this show while recapping it.

When they get to the bar that night Go has plates of food out for what turns out to be a farewell party. Go is closing the bar because he he wants to move on and do more important things with his life. At least, that's what he claims. We've seen plenty of scenes of the bar were it is... how shall we say this politely... lacking customers, so I have my own theory as to why he's pulling the plug on the place.

This gets Foon remembering happier times in Go's bar. In particular she remembers the time, at one of her many birthday parties, where Chompoo recited a schmaltzy 'friendship' poem. After Chompoo's poetry reading Prim had said she would like to see the storage room of the place turned into an art gallery with monthly poetry readings. Foon gets inspired and, to the surprise of everybody, tells Go she'll buy his bar when he sells it.

We have a montage of Foon, Peun and Chompoo working on converting the bar to a gallery while Prim is hanging around Paris. Chompoo is messaging Prim about Foon's project. She tells her Foon wants to open it up on her birthday and wishes that Prim and Art could be there, because they are both missed.

She gets no reply until one day Prim surprises her by messaging, "Chompoo, I'm fine." Chompoo wonders where she is and Prim will only say, "you only need to know that I am fine." She says she is happy about the gallery but she doubts she'll be coming back. Prim is actually with Art when she messages Chompoo. Curiously, while she says she doubts she'll return to Bangkok soon, Art has been on his phone looking at Paris to Bangkok plane tickets.

We jump back to the gallery where Peun enters with a picture he would like Foon to display. Foon says she will if it is good enough. It is entertaining how the show always implies that Peun isn't really a very good artist. At any rate, he shows it to Foon and it is nothing but a college of pictures of her. Foon is deeply touched by this and the waterworks turn on. Seesh, these people are a pack of crybabies. Peun then apologizes, for about the eight billionth time, for being a complete douche nozzle. He then tells her he loves her, she tells him that she loves him. They hug.

Chompoo butts into Peun's proposal
Finally we get to the day of the grand opening of O Gallery. When Peun arrives he tells her he has something to give her. She wonders what it is, since he already gave her the collage as her present. He reaches into his suitcoat pocket and pulls out the box with the engagement ring, that his mother bought, and commences the world's most lackadaisical proposal. Hilariously, before he can even get a word in edgewise Chompoo, upon seeing the ring, starts hopping around celebrating the wedding to be. Once Chompoo calms down Peun puts the ring on Foon's finger. He never actually asks her to marry him, and she never says yes, but they hug so I guess it's a done deal.

As they're hugging Chompoo starts making fake gagging noises and complaining about their public display of affection. When they separate Chompoo gives Foon a box she's been holding as another present. Foon thanks her, but Chompoo say that it isn't from her, it is from Prim. Foon is surprised. Chompoo tells her she has been in contact with Prim for some time, but kept it a secret per Prim's wishes.

Inside the box is a note and a package, The note reads, "Happy birthday, Foon. I'm so happy that you made my gallery dream come true. It's a shame that I can't go back to congratulate you. But I want you to know that I was never angry at you." Needless to say a veritable downpour of Foon tears starts.

Prim's message to Foon
Foon then opens the package. It is a picture of Prim and Art together in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Chompoo is shocked, neither Prim nor Art had told her that they were together. We cut to a flashback of Prim reading the group message from Chompoo that said Foon needed blood. We see that it was Prim who donated the blood that was used for the transfusion.

When we return to the present Foon is sobbing in joy that Prim isn't angry at her anymore. Chompoo blathers a bunch of pabulum, both on the sound track and directly to Foon, that love keeps O Group's friendship strong. Well yea, when they're guzzling beer at Go's rather than cheating on each other and lying through their teeth about it, I suppose that's true.

We jump back to Paris. Early in the show Art had repeatedly tried to sneak pictures of Prim who he was infatuated with. In this scene Prim has the camera and she tries to sneak a picture of Art. They are both all smiles. Aside from that, Prim and Art's relationship is left ambiguous.

The show ends with Foon and Peun back on the ferry after donating blood. Chompoo calls, and they're all planning to go to the airport to meet Art and Prim who are flying back to Bangkok for a visit. We flash back to the kids on the day when, as freshman, they had donated blood and formed O Group on that same ferry. We see more of their conversation from that day, where they express their hopes and expectations that they will be friends forever.

Closing thoughts

When I first decided to do these posts I had meant to talk about goofy East Asian (Chinese, Taiwanese and/or Korean) dramas as my Shelter in Place recapping chore. I chose a Thai drama pretty much on a lark. I had never watched a Thai show before. When I started the recapping it I didn't even know if the show was a comedy, a soap opera, or something else. I guess now I would call it a sort of slice of life with many triangulated romantic shenanigans tossed in.

The story structure seemed very loose and its progression threw me from time to time. For example, I thought Foon keeping her romance secret in the beginning would be because her rich parents wouldn't approve of middle class Peun, but that was not the case at all. As the story unfolded, I could never figure out if the oddness in its telling was because it was a 90 minute movie stretched over 26 episodes, or if I was just missing Thai story telling conventions, or if it was just some clunky script writing. Probably it was a bit of all three.

Would I recommend it? If you've read the recaps you know most of what happened, but I think it would still be an interesting watch, even if only for a few episodes. My somewhat crappy screen grabs, along with showing the characters and some funny captions ("screw these balloons"), tried to show the show's sets and locations. It was filmed much nicer than my screen grabs show. The houses, rooms, temples, work places, street vendor stands and so forth gave a wonderful feel to the show. It was definitely a peek into a different world.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my Shelter in Place recap. I probably will eventually review some Korean/Chinese shows, but they will be just reviews and not such detailed recaps.   

Back to the beginning 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Midway from the Japanese perspective



Above is a video that nicely details the conditions that drove Japanese tactical decisions during the Battle of Midway. It ends with the sinking of 3 Japanese carriers by American dive bombers. Unfortunately, his promised Part II never got posted, so break off before the Japanese counter-strike and the eventual loss of their 4th carrier. Still, in the part we can watch the Japanese situation is explained very well.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The tomb of Ramesses VI

Click any image to enlarge
These are screencaps from a 3D virtual tour of the tomb of Ramesses VI. You can follow the link to take the tour. You control your movements in the tomb and what you're looking at as you traverse it. It's an interesting look into a pharaoh's resting place in the Valley of the Kings. I wonder what the effect was when it was lit by torches?

The tomb is from the 12th century BC. During Ramesses VI's reign the southern reaches of Egypt experienced some turmoil, control of Canaan (Palestine) was gradually lost and the economy suffered a downturn. Not the happiest of times.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Thursday, July 09, 2020

O-Negative (the kids go berserk, each in their own way)


Episode 25 of the Thai TV show O-Negative (Episode 24) starts at the point where Foon tells Peun that she's pregnant. There is a lot of stuff packed into this episode, so this will be a long recap.

I've started this post with a video of แค่เธอรักฉัน (Just You Love Me) which is the main theme song of the show. This version, sung by Tata Young, was used in the movie the show is based on. The clips in it are from the movie, I found it interesting to see the scenes with different actors. From the repeated viewings I've done of the episodes to write these recaps, that song has been seared into my brain, so you may as well have to hear it as well.

Anyway, after Foon tells Peun she's pregnant he stands there shocked, not saying anything as he absorbs the news. She leaves him and returns to her house where her parents are concerned about her because of her earlier tantrum. When she comes home she ignores their questions and goes into her room where she sits on the floor and breaks down crying again. With the amount of blubbering she's been doing I'm starting to get worried she'll dehydrate. Be sure to drink plenty of water Foon.

At least Daddy Peun's advice isn't so stupid this time around
Elsewhere, Peun is sitting in his back yard with his mom and dad. He has told them about Foon's pregnancy and says that he is pathetic and it is all his fault. He'll get no argument from us over that. He adds that he has no idea what to do. His dad tells him that he'll need to marry her because he got her pregnant.

Peun tells him it isn't so simple, that Foon won't agree to marry him. Both his dad and mom tell him it is too soon to know if she'll marry him or not. They tell him that both he and Foon need to calm down before they can really make that decision. Peun's dad also says he can talk to Foon's parents about a marriage. Actually, I think that's the route things would probably go, but Peun tells his father it is too soon for that.

His mother reminds him, "whatever happens between you two your child has done nothing wrong and has all the rights to be born into this world." Abortion is largely illegal in Thailand, a fact which will hang over much of what happens this episode.

We cut to that night, where we have a brief scene of Prim sitting on the back deck of her house and looking at a picture of her mother. She remembers her mom's advice that she should make friends first and then worry about dating.

I guess Art hasn't met a nice French girl
We then cut to an Art sighting. Heh, I almost forgot about him. He's wandering around Paris taking pictures of this and that. His voice over is the text of a postcard he is writing to O Group. He tells them he's doing fine. He won an amateur photography contest and received €3,000 for the victory. His pictures are also hanging in a galley and he's encouraged by his progress. Winters is coming, it is getting colder and he sometimes gets lonely. He hopes they can someday come to visit him.

When he is done writing the postcard he reaches into a box and pulls out an older postcard. It looks like the same type of card the vendor on the Bangkok/Kanchanaburi train sold. It is addressed to Prim, but was never sent.

We next see Prim outside of her house. She is looking at the postcard Art sent to O Group, She stands next to a taxi with a suitcase. She turns and looks wistfully over her shoulder back at her house. With the soundtrack dramatically blaring away, she gets in the cab and it drives off.

Foon asks Chompoo for a favor
We cut to Chompoo in her parent's Chinese pharmacy. She gets a call from Foon. When Chompoo answers it she's upset over last night's fight between Foon and Prim. She's also mad at Foon for not answering her earlier calls. Foon oddly replies, "nothing will happen anymore." Chompoo asks what's wrong and Foon asks for a pill. What pill Chompoo wonders. Foon wants an abortion pill.

Concerned, Chompoo goes over to Foon's house to talk to her. She doesn't bring an abortion pill, so Foon says she'll buy it elsewhere. Chompoo says nobody will sell her the pill. When Chompoo asks how long Foon has been pregnant she says three months.

Three months! The interlude on the beach was three months ago? So all this drama with Foon, Prim and Peun has been going on that long? The time-line in this stretch of the story is pretty wonky. Some of it may just be Thai story telling conventions, but I suspect part of it is because the producers of the show had to stretch a 104 minute long movie into 26 hour long episodes, and things that worked when they were compressed stood out a little more in the longer treatment.

Anyway, back to Chompoo and Foon. Chompoo continues to argue against Foon getting an abortion saying, "the baby has done nothing wrong. Why do you want to kill it?" Foon says she doesn't want to trouble her friend. Chompoo points out that Peun is a boyfriend and not just a friend. Foon corrects her, saying it is about a friend, that it is about Prim.

Prim? Oh right, Prim and Foon are supposed to be best friends. Chompoo continues to plead with Foon to not get an abortion, but Foon is convinced that, right or wrong, it is the only way to solve the problem.

Prim plots to hit the road
We then jump to a scene of Prim giving Ms. Duang the keys to her house and telling her to rent it. So, Prim is actually leaving Bangkok altogether. Ms. Duang asks Prim why she is doing this. Prim says it is for her friends. Ms. Duang guesses it is so Prim can visit her friends, but Prim replies, "for the sake of her friends."

About this point it begins to dawn on me that this sequence -- running all the way back to the arguments of the previous episode -- is about Prim and Foon's friendship falling apart more than anything. That's why Peun has avoided any real condemnation for his dirtball antics. Starting with the hazing in Episode 1, this show has repeatedly stressed the importance of group friendship above all else. Art, Peun, Foon and Prim orbiting each other romantically has caused O Group to fall apart.

That said, part of the problem with the show is it has never quite sold the notion that these kids are really such great friends. Aside from the time they came together to help Prim when she went crazy and started tending to her ghost mom, they mainly interacted by either sneaking around flirting with each other, telling lies, or occasionally all getting together to knock back beers at Go's bar. They seem more like acquaintances than close friends.

We cut to Foon's home studio where Peun is sitting and waiting for her. I wonder why he is so sweaty when I realize all the moisture is actually from tears streaming down his face. Seesh Peun, pull yourself together. He tries to call Foon and gets no answer. Feh, such heart string pulling isn't going to work on me. If he knew Prim was in a taxi headed to the airport he'd be after her so fast he'd create a sonic boom.

Chompoo frantically tries to stop Foon
We cut to Foon's car pulling up to a clinic. Inside Chompoo is absolutely frantic as she tries to talk Foon out of getting an abortion. She pleads, "please don't do this. You're committing a sin. The baby is innocent." Still, Foon is adamant. When Foon gets out of the car Chompoo continues to beg, she reminds Foon that what she is doing is illegal. In the end none of Chompoo's appeals work. Foon enters the clinic.

Chompoo is near hysterical. All she can think of is to call Peun to see if he can help and intervene with Foon. I've got to say that Goy Arachaporn Pokinpakorn, the actress who plays Chompoo, did a fine job of showing Chompoo sinking ever deeper into panic and desperation in these scenes. Then again, in spite of being largely the comic relief in the show, I think she's arguably been the best actor of the ensemble.

Foon faces her decision
In the clinic Foon is told to change into some other clothes for the operation. As she sits down in the chair the soundtrack switches to an a capella version of the theme song. We have a montage where we see Peun racing trying to make it to the clinic in time, Chompoo is distraught outside of the clinic, and Prim in the backseat of the taxi. As the doctor injects Foon with a local sedative she flashes back to happier times in earlier episodes. Then, as the doctor picks up the scalpel and forceps, we fade to black.

When we return Foon comes out of the clinic and hugs the tearful Chompoo. Foon says to Chompoo, "I'm sorry. I couldn't do it. I'm sorry." Upon hearing that, Chompoo goes from being upset to being ecstatic. She tells Foon that she did good, and promises to help raise the baby.

Foon then tells Chompoo she wants to apologize to Prim. Peun just misses them at the clinic as they leave to find Prim. In the car Foon tries to call Prim but gets no answer. At the same time Peun calls Chompoo. She doesn't answer and when Foon asks who it was calling Chompoo lies and says it was an unknown number.

However, Peun calls again and Foon sees his picture as the caller ID on the phone. Foon gets mad when she sees who is calling. Chompoo tells her she called Peun because she didn't know what else to do to try to stop Foon. Chompoo then tries to get Foon to talk to Foon, but that infuriates Foon even more who grabs the phone to turn it off. The two struggle over the phone. Uh... you might want to watch the road Foon.  

Remember kids - don't text and drive
As the girls fight over the phone a truck enters from a side road. Tires squeal. The girls scream. There is a crash.

When Chompoo comes to Foon is draped over the driver's wheel. After a brief shot of Prim in the taxi looking at her plane ticket to Paris, we join Chompoo who is riding in an ambulance with the badly injured Foon who is unconscious, in a neck brace, and covered with blood.

Foon gets rushed to the Samrong General Hospital. Peun arrives as they take Foon out of the ambulance and wheel her into the emergency room. The doctors and nurses do all matter of emergency medical things, sticking tubes in her and what-not, as Chompoo and Peun watch in tears.

We jump to the airport where Prim is standing in front of the arrivals/departures board. She gets a group message from Chompoo saying that there is an urgent need for O-negative blood donors. She claims the blood type is rare. Wait a second - rare? When, all the way back in Episode 2, they formed the O Group because they all had that blood type Art mocked the idea because it was such a common blood type. He even joked that everybody else on the ferry probably also had it.

However, in looking it up O-negative blood is rather rare at about 7% of the population. I guess the error was in the earlier scene. Anyway, in her message Chompoo goes on to say it is for Foon, who is in the ICU.

Foon's hat trick: no driver's license, texting while driving and no seatbelt
We cut to the waiting room at the hospital. Chompoo, Peun and Foon's parents are there. As they nervously wait a nurse walks by with the blood supply that Foon needs. Shortly after Prim arrives. After checking on Foon's condition, Prim is concerned about Chompoo's injuries. Chompoo has a bandage on her forehead. I notice it is in the same place as the bandage she got in Episode 3 after Art clobbered her. She tells Prim that she's OK, but that Foon wasn't wearing a seatbelt which is why she got injured more seriously.

Later we see Prim take out her airplane ticket and throw it in the garbage. She missed her flight coming back to see how Foon and Chompoo were.

Even later they are all in the waiting room again. Peun walks over and sits down next to Prim. He starts going on about how it is all his fault and that he caused it all. I hate to defend Peun, but Foon's astoundingly crappy driving had something to do with it as well. He then asks Prim what he should do, because he messed up everything. Prim responds, "you have to make everything right then." Sadly, she doesn't follow that up with a couple of knuckle sandwiches.

At that point the doctor comes out and says Foon has made it safely through whatever medical procedures they did. Foon's parents, Chompoo and Peun all rush into Foon's room. Prim stays back at the door. Foon's rich parents must be paying top dollar for her care, because I notice the nurses took the extra effort to apply makeup to Foon. It is important that one look their best while cutely convalescing.

Peun blabbers to barely conscious Foon that it is all his fault and that he now loves her. Prim, with a single tear rolling down her cheek, quietly says to herself, "I'm leaving, Foon." She turns and walks away.

Prim finds Art in Paris
We move to Paris where Art has just finished drawing a portrait for a tourist. Another customer arrives. When he looks up he is surprised to see it is Prim. He wonders how she found him. She says she remembered him saying he liked to draw at that spot, so she came to it to search for him. Yea, that sounds plausible.

He wonders who she came with and she tells him she came alone. He asks if she is on a vacation and she says no. He asks her what she's planning to do and she confesses she doesn't know. He closes his stand to take Prim sightseeing. First they go to his studio to drop off her luggage. It is a small loft he shares with the Thai photographer he works with. He again asks her what her plans are and she says she doesn't know, that she just wants to forget. He doesn't press her for an explanation.

He takes her to the Place Vendôme. He asks her if the others know she came to visit him. She tells him no, that she only told Ms. Duang about her trip. Art guesses that something happened. She only will tell him, "yes, sort of." He presses her to tell him what happened. Prim replies that she doesn't know where to start. He says, "what if you start with the climax? The climax that would absolutely shock me." She tells him Foon had a miscarriage. Art is shocked by that news. He wonders who the father is, guessing it was Ong-art. Prim tells him no, it was Peun.

It's raining by the time Art walks Prim to the room she's staying at. When they get there Art starts to leave, but sees that she's just standing at the door. He ask her why and she says she didn't get in touch with the landlord in time to get the key, so she'll just wait for somebody to go in or come out so she can get in. Art tells her that Paris isn't like Bangkok. That it's a security door and nobody will leave her in without a key. They decide she'll have to spend the night in Art's loft.

Maybe Mamma Foon will be the one that clocks Peun to shut him up
Back at the hospital Foon wakes up. Peun notices and immediately rushes over to her and starts bombarding her with apologies and asks her for forgiveness. She simply says, "no." He then goes off on how, during his time at her side in the hospital, he has gone through self-reflection and realized that he loves her and wants to be with her. She screams, "I don't want to hear it!" You and me both sister.

He keeps groveling and she keeps saying "get out." Finally, she musters enough strength to pull her hand free from his grasp and take a swing at him. Her parents step between them and tell Peun to leave as she cries, "Get him out. Get him out." He finally takes the none too subtle hint and leaves.

Peun is sitting in the hall of the hospital when the director of the show really lathers on the schmaltz. As Peun is sitting there a fellow rolls out his wife in a wheelchair. She's a new mom holding a baby. Peun emotes up a storm.

Meanwhile, back in the hospital room Foon's mom is telling her, "the baby is not with you anymore." This is the first Foon has heard of the miscarriage and all she can say is, "Nobody wants to be with me, mom" as she slowly disintegrates.

In Paris Prim and Art are walking back to his studio. Prim, not used to the Paris weather, is cold. He takes off his coat and puts it around her shoulders. Underneath it he's wearing the t-shirt she had bought him. When they get back to his studio she comments that she never saw him wear it before. He says he wears it all the time, just not when she's around.

Later he's fallen asleep and she's still awake. Let's see... Prim had a twelve hour flight from Bangkok, wandered around Paris looking for Art, went sightseeing with him, got locked out of her room and returned to his loft late at night. Does this girl ever sleep?

Anyway, she looks at his pictures and his books. She finds a box with postcards in it. Most of them are to postcards that were sent to Art. She smiles because he kept them. Then she finds the postcard which she recognizes is from the Bangkok/Kanchanaburi train.

She turns it over and sees that it is addressed to her. In the card he tells her that, aside from Peun, she was only the second person he ever brought to his house. He doesn't have many friends.
He apologizes for bossing her around, saying he didn't really know how to act, and that he didn't want her to get bored. He says he hopes she'll visit again.

He goes on to say, "Actually, I want you to move in and stay here with me. I just want to see your smile when I wake up." He talks about what happy moments these were and ends by saying, "these are the moments that I get to learn what it is like to love someone more than just a friend."  Prim is taken aback, realizing she is reading a love letter to her that Art wrote to himself, never really meaning to send.

[Episode 26]

The scales fall from Prim's oblivious eyes

Monday, July 06, 2020

The fumes of yesterday's debauch



The above video is about garum, an ancient Roman fish sauce that was a popular condiment. It is an entertaining and informative video by Max Miller of TastingHistory. In it, along with making a batch of garum, he talks about its history and reputation in ancient Rome.

In the below video he uses garum to make steamed mussels using a recipe from Apicius De Re Coquinaria (English translation), a 4th Century Roman cookbook.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Lopsided democracy and the 4th of July

Below is an old post of mine, originally put up on July 4th of 2010. As I write in the end of the post:
Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive.
This Fourth of July I watch the statues coming down, the forced division into groups, and the attempts to reduce public discourse to one opinion and all I see is an ancient and reactionary way of ordering society. The lords in their manors and the serfs in their fields. It has been done time and time again. Me, I prefer Jefferson's "all men are created equal... "



Above is the song Dimonkransa sung by Myra Andrade of the Cape Verde Islands. Cape Verde received their independence from Portugal on July 5th, 1975. The liberation movement was led by the socialist African Party of Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV). Andrade's father was a member of it, and in fact she was born in Cuba.

Upon independence Cape Verde was a single party government, but in 1990 at a party congress the PAICV approved the introduction of multiparty democracy. In the election that followed the opposition fared well, and Cape Verde has evolved into a stable multi-party democracy.

However, this is not a post about her politics, nor the sort of third world socialism that bubbles through the undeveloped world. It seems to me there is a deeper strata, a bedrock so to speak, which lies under the languid melancholy of her lyrics.

It was said that democracy,
Lopsided democracy,
It was said that democracy
Was like a hidden treasure,
But now that it has been found.
We have all opened our eyes
And each one, relying on his judgment,
Confidently declared that what was round was in fact square,
And went to work, with a great many theories,
To prove that he was right.


(lyrics from the version she sung on her first album Navega)

Andrade is ill at ease with democracy, but for social rather than political reasons. Early in the song she calls it 'lopsided democracy' and as its lyrics unfold her complaint is that each person, not matter how foolish they are (and she clearly thinks many if not most of them are fools), now express a cacophony of opinions and arguments that bury the truth. 

She ends the song singing of English businessman and listing names from Cape Verde's past, some who have been elevated and some who she fears are being forgotten, and expresses distress at this reordering of authority. 

Stripped to its bone, the song is about a lost elite. Andrade is expressing nostalgia for a short-lived one party rule and for an escape from European domination. Of course it is her party that should rule and she now makes her home in Paris. Perhaps it is she that is lopsided, rather than all of the happy fools she mocks?

The time will come when old Náxu’s opinions
Will not be held in higher esteem than those of a babe in arms.
People will come together and cry: enough!
   

Americans forget how revolutionary we are. Jefferson's "all men are created equal..." is both intoxicating and destructive. It is a hell of a thing not to have to step into the gutter to clear the side walk for a swaggering aristocrat. Andrade is intimidated by and dismissive of people who have opened their eyes, and each one, relied on their own judgment, but a free man knows better.

As for coming together and crying "enough"? That is exactly what our 4th of July celebrates. Happy 4th of July to you all.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

O-Negative (the love triangle turns pear shaped)

Caught red handed
Episode 24 of the Thai TV show O-Negative (Episode 23) is a tear jerker so be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy. In fact, so many tears were squirting out of my eyes as I wrote this recap that I ended up shorting out three keyboards, but that's another story.

We pick up where we left off the previous episode. Giggling, Foon and Peun enter the house holding hands to find Prim sitting at the table. She saw them in flagrante delicto, but they're not sure what she saw. Peun, as you might expect, is in a bit of a panic over what Prim may know. They have a conversation where all three dance around the subject.

They start drinking and Prim asks Foon and Peun if they are already drunk. They say no. When Foon goes to get them more beer Prim directly again asks Peun if he is drunk. When he says no she says, "That's great. Otherwise you might not be able to control your actions." I imagine Peun kicked himself once he realized the corner he had painted himself into.

Foon doesn't share Peun's worries about Prim
The next morning Foon gets up and is cleaning when Peun wakes up. They sit down to talk and Peun is worried that Prim saw the two of them playing hide the salami the night before. Foon doesn't care if she did, but Peun keeps going on about how it would be bad if Prim saw them. Well, it would crimp his two-timing, that's for sure.

Foon asks him, "Who would it be bad for? You or Prim?" Peun, enormous weasel that he is, tries to claim he's just worried that Foon's reputation will be hurt in Prim's eyes. Foon says she doesn't care, pointing out that they are a couple after all, and couples do have sex with each other. Finally, Foon starts getting angry over his waffling and concern over what Prim thinks. Peun ends up apologizing, hugging and kissing her as he reiterates that they are indeed a couple.

We see Prim waking up, She's fighting back tears when Foon enters. Prim says she's hungover and Foon adds that she's never seen Prim get so drunk. Foon gets Prim some hangover medicine. Prim doesn't want to stay another night, she says she wants to get back home and rest for work Monday.

Foon leaves and washes her face. I only mention that because I must not skip advertisers' product placement efforts. They paid good money for them after all. Anyway, this time, as she has done several times earlier in the show, Prim uses some Garnier Skin Naturals Pure Active Neem Face Wash to clean her face. If you don't know, its soap-free formula, enriched with Neem Leaf Extract and tea-tree oil, helps prevent pimples through 3 purifying actions fights bacteria, fights pollution and removes oil so your skin feels clean, fresh and looks clearer. I now return you to your regularly scheduled recap.

Next, the three are loading up their car to return to Bangkok. Needless to say, the trip back is awkward. Prim is in the back and Peun is sleeping in the passenger seat. Foon starts caressing Peun's leg and saying he is probably exhausted from last night. Now that Peun said he was her boyfriend, she is marking her territory with a vengeance. Prim looks like she would rather be anywhere else.

After they drop Prim off Peun wants Foon to just drop him off at her house. She wonders if he is still thinking about Prim, and we all know that he is. She insists on taking him to his house.

My guess -- because you're the village idiot of this show
As soon as she drives away after dropping him off at his place he pulls out his phone and tries to call Prim. She doesn't answer. He continues to call and message her, telling her his by now familiar lines --  that he just needs to talk to her, that he maybe made a mistake, and the rest of his usual whining. He even goes to her house at one point. He gets no reply from her at all.

The next morning Foon hops onto group chat and invites them all to Go's because she has an announcement she wants to make. Chompoo is all for that, Prim defers to the rest of the group and Peun, covered in flop sweat, tries to ignore the message. However, Foon calls him to get an answer. He spews some BS about having a late class. Class? I thought he graduated. He adds that maybe Chompoo and Prim won't even come. Foon ignores his evasions and says she'll meet him that afternoon after class and they can go together.

We see Peun in front of a class teaching. Wait, they leave some schmuck with only a BA degree teach a college class? Ms. Pat, the attractive painting teacher is in back watching him, so I guess he's student teaching. Still, he seems a bit under qualified to be teaching at the college. At any rate, when his class ends he whips out his phone and starts bombarding Prim with messages that she ignores.

Later Foon arrives on campus to meet Peun and comes across Ms. Pat who tells her he left some time ago. Irked, Foon tries to call him with no luck. Meanwhile, he's outside of Prim's workplace. When Prim doesn't answer his calls he calls Chompoo and pesters her to pester Prim for him. Chompoo starts to dial in to the fact that something strange is going on with her friends. As that's happening we cut to Peun's house where Foon is sitting with his mother waiting for Peun to come home.

So, Prim is dodging Peun while Peun is dodging Foon and Foon is wondering why her boyfriend is avoiding her. Peun eventually comes home and Foon confronts him. He lies that he didn't hear his phone ringing and apologizes. She tells him to knock it off with the insincere apologies and tell her what is going on. He tells her that he is confused. Yea Peun, we know that, in other news the sun rises in the east.

Foon guesses that he went to see Prim and starts physically pummeling him with little, girly punches. He restrains her and tells her that yes, he's an asshole. Tell us something we don't know Peun. Foon hauls off and slaps Peun hard enough to give him as nose bleed. Much better Foon, Art would be proud. She then calls herself a fool for believing him and storms out.

We jump to Chompoo's house. Prim is hiding there. Chompoo knows something is up with her, Peun and Foon, but she doesn't know what. Just as Prim is about to tell her Foon calls and wants to meet with Prim. As Prim and Chompoo drive to the meeting Prims tells Chompoo what happened. She says she doesn't even want to talk to Peun anymore.

These two might want to be yelling at Peun instead
When they got to her house Foon is sloppy drunk. Prim asks Foon what she wants to say to her. Foon asks Prim if she knows that Peun is trying to get in touch with her. Prim says she does, but that she doesn't want to talk to Peun. Foon gets in her face and asks, "Why? Are you afraid you can't control yourself?" Call me crazy if you must, but I think that's a question Foon would be better off asking Peun.

Understandably, Prim gets angry and asks Foon why she's saying things like that. Foon starts ranting that she knows Peun loves Prim and that Prim loves Peun. Chompoo is having to hold Foon's elbow to restrain her from closing in even more on Prim. Prim says it is not like that at all, that she is ignoring Peun to try to get him to give up and go away.

Foon, who is so drunk that she is visibly staggering, then announces that she and Peun are a couple now. Prim, trying to extract herself from Foon's raving, congratulates her. However, Foon gets even more wound up and decides she'll rub Prim's face in it even more. She tells Prim she knows that Prim already knew, because she knows Prim saw her getting noodled by Peun on the beach.

Prim snaps back at her, "Why in the hell did you bring that up?" Foon is completely off the rails by this point and she starts yelling that she's always loved Peun, and that she was still with Peun when he was seeing Prim. She gets more accusatory. Prim, who's quite upset because of Foon's onslaught, counters by saying she didn't know any of this was going on between Foon and Peun, and that she would have never gotten involved with Peun had she known.

Finally Foon starts running out of gas. As she does she begins to realize that she's been way out of line with Prim. She apologizes, and says that she is drunk. Prim has had enough of it and says she is leaving. In a nice touch, showing how pathetic and miserable Foon is at this point, she asks Prim as she leaves, "If he calls you, tell him to call me back."

I think that ship sailed already
We move to Chompoo's house, where Prim is still hiding. Oddly, the two girls aren't discussing various means of surgically enhancing Peun's chances of getting a job as a harem guard. Instead, Prim is wondering if she is a horrible person and if she's lost Foon as a friend. Seems to me like there would be a little more anger directed Peun's way, but he isn't mentioned at all.

Speaking of Peun, he's at his house drinking beer when his parents come into the room. They're wondering what was up with Foon's earlier visit. His dad asks Peun if something is on his mind and Peun responds, after a long pause and a swig of beer, that he slept with one of his friends. His mom, who's looked a little disgusted the entire time, asks him if it was Foon. He says yes and she asks him, "don't you like Prim more?"  He says yes and wonders how she knew. Well Peun, not everybody is as oblivious as that group of knuckleheads you hang around with.

Peun admits this mess is all his fault and asks his dad what he should do. His dad then gives Peun what seems to me to be some pretty crappy advice. He says that Peun needs to choose, not necessarily between the two girls, but rather that Peun should chose what is important to him and follow his heart. Uh... no offense Daddy Peun, but Peun being a self-centered twit and only following his heart is the main cause of this mess.

We then have a rather long montage that cuts between Prim, Foon and Peun sitting in their rooms and blubbering their eyes out. It gets a bit silly because the shots keep getting more and more dramatic until they are all sprawled out in abject misery.

Several days pass and we end up in Foon's house, where she is sitting in the midst of birthday decorations, balloons and trays full of snacks. What's missing is any guests to her party. Foon has a tear rolling down her cheek as she remembers the happier birthday parties from previous episodes.

Foon gets really, really mad at some balloons
By the time her trip down memory lane is complete she is sobbing uncontrollably. Her parents come in and ask, "are your friends not here yet, Foon?" Well, that might explain the mystery of your daughter bawling her eyes out in an empty room. Their question launches Foon into a tantrum. She starts running around and knocking the trays of snacks over while yelling that nobody loves her and her friends all hate her. She then storms out of the room.

We jump to the campus where Foon and Chompoo are helping students decorate a stage. They had intended to go to Foon's birthday party together and realize it is late. Prim says Chompoo should go and Prim will finish up and follow. Man, Chompoo is going to be pissed when she gets to the party and finds out Foon whacked all the cookies onto the floor.

While Prim is cleaning up Peun pulls up on his scooter. She's picking up some paint cans when he runs over to help her. Prim asks him what he is doing there instead of going to Foon's house for her birthday. Peun says he wants to talk to her first. She turns and walks away from him, he follows her and grabs her hands. He tells her he loves her. She tells him, "You can't do this anymore."

She asks him if he even knows what he's doing. He says he doesn't know. He's just, as per his father's stupid advice, following his heart without a thought in his head. She tells him he is making things worse and pulls away from him. Could things get any worse?

Well, of course they could. Foon pulls up in her car. Meanwhile Peun is demonstrating an absolutely Ong-art level of not being able to take a hint by chasing after Prim as she walks away again. He grabs her and starts kissing her. After a bit she pulls away and he again tells her he loves her. She replies, "You can't love me anymore. This is what you must do. You must love Foon." Whelp Peun, I would say you've been friend-zoned with a vengeance.

 Although Foon couldn't hear what they said, she has been watching all of this. She finally snaps and starts flashing her headlights and beeping her car horn. She gets out of her car and runs up to the two and she really lays into Prim, accusing her of forgetting her birthday to make-out with Peun. Prim tries to tell her it isn't like that, but she doesn't get too far before Foon slaps her.

Foon keeps screaming at Prim for forgetting her birthday when Prim, her face covered in tears, says, "How can I forget your birthday? Your birthday is on the same day that my mom died. How could I ever forget that?" Game. Set. Match.

Prim storms off and Peun calls after her. Foon then lays into Peun, telling him to chase after Prim because he loves her so much. He asks her what's wrong with her and she asks him why he said he would be her boyfriend if he was just going to keep chasing Prim. Fair question, and the first time either girl called Peun on his actions. He says nothing and she starts banging on him asking him to answer her question.

Finally he launches into one of his long-winded weaselly apologies. She cuts him off and simply says, "I'm pregnant."

[Episode 25]

If its a girl Peun will probably want to name her Prim

Monday, June 29, 2020

A small battle



This is a video of a small naval encounter and its aftermath. In December 1944 the US submarine Bergall engaged the Japanese heavy cruiser Myōkō and its destroyer escort the Ushio. cruiser and the submarine were both damaged, but neither was lost. Often the small details of history are lost, but they are none-the-less interesting.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

French poster art

Click any image to enlarge
These are French posters circa 1900. These examples, and those after the jump, are from the The Masters of the Poster collection of the New York Public Library. There are many more examples at the link.