Monthly Archives: July 2007

An Overview of Thailand’s Political Situation

Anti-Coup Protester in Thailand  [not my image]

Richard Bernstein’s Letter from Thailand, in yesterday’s IHT, provides an overview of the current political situation in Thailand:

About a week ago, the Thai press reported on a 30-year-old man, apparently not a brilliant one, who, for unexplained reasons, was tormenting an elephant. He hit the animal, according to the newspapers, whereupon the usually placid beast wrapped the man in his trunk, slammed him down, and trampled him to death.

This may be stretching a point, but it seemed to me, visiting Thailand after an absence of a few years, that the elephant-kills-man story is a pretty good metaphor for the delicate state of Thai politics these days, almost a year after an army coup overthrew a democratically elected government that had run afoul of important segments of Thai society.

The ruling coup’s leadership is the elephant in this scheme of things, striving to be a useful beast, indeed making plans to exit the stage as soon as its plans for a constitutional referendum and new elections, all by the end of the year, have been carried out.

But then there are those people angry about military rule and, in some cases, allied to the government of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that was overthrown last September.

They have been trying, in the name of democracy, to get all Thailand sufficiently riled up to attack the elephant.

So far, however, the elephant has trampled them.

Wes Anderson’s New Flick: Set in India

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson, the auteur behind “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” among other films, has made a new movie set for release in September.

It’s called “The Darjeeling Limited,” and it features Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. They play brothers who take a train trip though India. Here’s the trailer.

(Our trip to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur last year piqued my interest in all things India.)

Japanese Rice Art

Japanese Rice Art [not my image]

PinkTentacle.com:

Each year, farmers in the town of Inakadate in Aomori prefecture create works of crop art by growing a little purple and yellow-leafed kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed tsugaru-roman variety. This year’s creation — a pair of grassy reproductions of famous woodblock prints from Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji — has begun to appear (above). It will be visible until the rice is harvested in September.

Related Japanese awesomeness: rolling tires down a ski jump. As DY notes, “Fact: lab coats = SCIENCE.”

Excellent OS X Writing and Project Management App

Scrivener is a remarkably useful Mac-only project management and writing application. I started using it a few months ago, and it’s quickly become a must-have.

First off: if you mostly write memos or simple documents that require strict formatting, then you should stick with Word. But if you’re a Mac user looking for something to help you manage complex writing projects — a novel, a screenplay, a book, or simply a long article — then you should take a look at this application.

For me, Scrivener’s best features, as I go about assembling my writing projects, are: 1) the ability to import and reference multiple documents and Web pages from within the main window; and 2) the split screen feature that allows me to consult two documents at once within that window.

No more toggling between multiple drafts in separate Word documents. No more consulting various Web sites and PDFs and then returning to Word. Everything now lives in one place, and all of my drafts and other materials are organized by folder.

I also really like Scrivener’s look and feel. It’s an OS X application designed and developed by a writer. And the community of users is also lively and passionate.

Here’s a recent Macworld review. And here’s what Merlin at 43 Folders says about Scrivener.

It’s free to download and use for a trial period; 35 smackers and it’s yours for life.

(Cartoon via.)

My Buddy Lands a Deer — A Mile Offshore

My Buddy Chad Boats a Buck [not my image]

My good friend and ex-Washington, DC roommate, Chad C., sends along this incredible story about how he and a pal saved Bambi from a watery death:

The Outdoor News Hound blog says:

Chad Campbell and pal Bo Warren weren’t having much luck trolling for striped bass about a mile offshore on Chesapeake Bay last Saturday. But, despite poor fishing, they were successful catching and boating a good-sized button buck.

In an article appearing on The Bay Net Web site, Campbell wrote that when he and Warren investigated something in the water behind their boat last week, they were amazed to discover it was a swimming—and quite exhausted—whitetail deer.

“He was desperate and barely staying afloat,” Campbell wrote. “I’ve seen deer swim a river or bayou before. When you see that, the first thing you notice is that they are powerful swimmers. Their heads and shoulders are out of the water and they make surprisingly good headway.”

Since the fish weren’t cooperating, the two decided to rope the floundering deer.

“It turns out Bo grew up around cows and was really handy with a bowline. He lassoed the deer on the first try,” Campbell wrote. “(Then) Bo grabbed his neck, I grabbed the flank, and we barreled (him) over backwards into the boat. Before I knew it, Bo was on top of him and had him tied up just like a calf.”

Understanding the importance of catch-and-release deer fishing (especially out of season), the men hightailed it to shore, where they carefully unloaded the weary whitetail, untied its legs and placed it on the beach.

Campbell wrote that they didn’t see the buck get up and run away, but they assumed it took some time for it to recuperate from its long, watery journey.

Amazing stuff. Well done, Chad and Bo.