Thai Days: the Koh Tao murders

September 29, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is saddened by the murders of two young British tourists on Koh Tao. I hate it when tourists get killed – they fly here, make excited, perhaps nervous, preparations pre-departure, and they want to have a holiday, see new things, meet new people, try new food, they want adventure, and then in the Koh Tao case they get murdered. Koh Tao is not a big island. Finding the culprits is exposing police incompetence. Utterly useless! The government has sent in the army. Hundreds of people have been DNA tested and there are promises of arrests but no arrests. It’s an ugly affair. Bangkok Post’s Sunday supplement, Spectrum magazine, ran a rather gruesome article focusing on police incompetence. Yes, incompetence. But more than that, indifference. Corruption. Nepotism. There is no help if you fall here. From local people possibly. But not from the police. These young Brits fell. Perhaps the army will sort this out. I send my sympathy to the families of their children. And I hope the army gets the killers. The police are an unlikely prospect.

Kate Nash & Leona Lewis Donate Bunny Selfies to #BeCrueltyFree Campaign to End Cosmetics Animal Testing

September 28, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s blog is delighted to hear and read that world rabbit day is gathering steam. It proves that as a species we are capable of very strange behavior. We, too, have a rabbit. Ugly little bunny. If a python ate him I would not shed a tear. Hugging him? I think not. Shakespeare is a rabbit not a partner for life. I like rabbits but I would much rather have a Komodo dragon. I wouldn’t hug him, obviously. But I’d like him around. He might really help out – one dog, one cat, one rabbit. This may sound inhumane but I’d like to sit on my stoep with a cocktail in my fist, biltong at my elbow and a very large Komodo dragon lounging, and well fed, at my feet.

Cheers from Bangkok!

Hugh

From: Wendy Higgins [mailto:whiggins@hsi.org]
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2014 3:00 PM
To: Paxton, Hugh
Subject: Kate Nash & Leona Lewis Donate Bunny Selfies to #BeCrueltyFree Campaign to End Cosmetics Animal Testing

Kate Nash & Leona Lewis Donate Bunny Selfies to #BeCrueltyFree Campaign to End Cosmetics Animal Testing

Stars’ bunnies, Fluffy and Melrose, get active for #InternationalRabbitDay

LONDON (27 Sept. 2014)—Award-winning British singer-songwriters Kate Nash and Leona Lewis have joined with bunny lovers from all over the world to say, ‘Bunnies are for cuddling, not cosmetics testing” on International Rabbit Day (Sept 27). The stars donated bunny selfies in support of Humane Society International’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign for a worldwide end to cosmetics testing on rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other animals.

Kate tweeted a photo of herself with Fluffy: "My bunny Fluffy is my best friend. I love her so much, and I’d never let anyone hurt her. It’s so sad to think that there are thousands of rabbits just as lovely as Fluffy, trembling in laboratories as chemicals are dripped in their eyes to test cosmetics. Bunnies are for cuddling, not cruel cosmetics testing. That’s why Fluffy and I support HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign. Let’s end testing cosmetics on animals once and for all!”

Leona tweeted a selfie of herself and Melrose sharing a kiss: “I want bunnies to #BeCrueltyFree with @HSIGlobal let’s end cosmetics cruelty!” The Glassheart singer also recently posted an article on her Lee-Loy Blog about her desire to see a global end to cosmetics animal testing.

Leona’s blog reads: “Ending animal testing is also about getting laws changed, Bills introduced, advancing cutting-edge science, lobbying politicians and grabbing some serious face time in the beauty brand board room to get things changed. And for that you need kick-ass campaigners who know what they’re talking about. Our favourite bunny-hugging beauty crusaders are the #BeCrueltyFree campaign from Humane Society International.”

Rabbits are commonly used to test cosmetics alongside smaller animals such as mice. In skin and eye irritation tests first developed in the 1940s, rabbits are held in full body restraints so that chemicals can be dripped in their eyes or spread on their shaved skin. These tests are notoriously unreliable as well as cruel.

The European Union, Norway, Israel and India have all banned animal testing for cosmetics, and bans are being considered in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Taiwan, and the United States. The #BeCrueltyFree campaign has been a driving force behind much of this global progress.

Hundreds of cruelty-free companies around the world such as LUSH, Lippy Girl and Barry M, produce safe products without animal testing. They do so by using existing ingredients combined with available state-of-the-art non-animal tests.

Say NO to cosmetics cruelty – sign the #BeCrueltyFreepledge.

END

Media contact:

Wendy Higgins: +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at hsi.org/becrueltyfree.

Desert Nude another try

September 28, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog suggests that if you like photography, deserts and naked women this is definitely worth a look!

desert-nude-namibia-march2015-lores.pdf

Thai Days: Schedule of Yoga classes

September 27, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s blog suggests that if you in Bangkok and fancy a few free yoga classes this is where to go!

From: Indian Cultural Centre Bangkok [mailto:dokbua.iccbkk@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2014 5:03 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Schedule of Yoga classes

Schedule of Yoga classes

From 1st October 2014 There will be 3 classes in a week.
Wednesday 5.00 – 6.00 pm by Mr.Sanjiv Chaturvedi
Thursday 6.00 – 7.00 pm by Mr.Rahul Autade
Saturday 3.00 – 4.00 pm by Mr.Rahul Autade
Registration fee 50 Baht
Tuition fee per month 200 Baht for 3 classes in a week

Andre’s View: British Humour

September 25, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is issuing a public health warning to anybody who is politically correct. Do not read Andre’s latest submission.

Brilliant British Humour

British Humour

A big earthquake with the strength of 8.1 on the Richter scale hits the Middle East .

Two million Muslims die and over a million are injured.

Iraq , Iran and Syria are totally ruined and the governments don’t know where to start with providinghelp to rebuild.

The rest of the world is in shock.

The USA is sending troops to help keep the peace.

Saudi Arabia is sending oil.

Latin American countries are sending clothing.

New Zealand and Australia are sending sheep, cattle and food crops.

The Asian countries are sending labour to assist in rebuilding the infrastructure.

Canada is sending medical teams and supplies.

GREAT BRITAIN , not to be outdone, is sending two million replacement Muslims.

God Bless GREAT BRITAIN , damn those Brits are smart!!

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: The Blackout Society, Part 3

September 24, 2014 by

This from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Hugh Paxton’s Blog loves their choice of illustrations! And I’m about to risk the Bangkok traffic to grab a copy of their latest book!

From: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child [mailto:dougandlinc@prestonchild.com]
To: paxton.bkk@gmail.com
Subject: The Blackout Society, Part 3

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The Blackout Society III

It was almost ten thirty by the time Laura Hayward closed the book containing ‘The Monkey’s Paw,’ the ghost story she had chosen as her offering to the impromptu Blackout Society, and put the volume aside.

For a moment, nobody spoke. The only sound was the continued rumbling of thunder outside the securely locked windows of the library.

Finally, D’Agosta stirred. Mrs. Trask had just brought him the can of beer he’d wanted all along–still cold from the icebox, despite the fact the electricity was out all over Manhattan. He took a grateful sip. "God, what a yarn. You mean to say that his very last wish was to…?" He fell silent. The rest of the company exchanged glances.

The silence was interrupted by the ring of Pendergast’s cell phone, which played a few bars of C. P. E. Bach’s Solfeggietto in C minor. From the shadows on the far side of the fire, the FBI agent stirred in his wing chair, removed the phone from his suit jacket, and answered. He listened a moment. "Understood. Thank you."

"That was a friend of mine downtown," he said as he put the phone away. "It seems that the killer has just escaped a most artfully arranged ambush. I’m told this blackout, with the resulting confusion, is to blame."

"Where did this happen?" Corrie Swanson asked.

"Just north of Columbus Circle. By the monument to the USS Maine."

"But his last reported location was Bryant Park," Margo Green said, shifting restlessly in her chair. "That means he’s headed north. Coming our way."

For a moment, nobody spoke. In silence, Mrs. Trask entered the library and replaced a few of the guttering candles.

"Indeed," Pendergast said, eyeing the Les Baer .45 he had placed on a table beside him.

Constance smoothed down her dress, "It seems we would be wise to remain here and continue this little exercise of ours. I shall choose the next story."

All eyes turned towards her. This promised to be good.

"I’ve always been partial to the ghost stories of M. R. James," she continued. "His antiquarian tastes suit my own, and I approve of the way he lulls readers into his clutches with reserved, measured introductions… only to slip in the knife at the very last minute."

Pendergast took a sip of sherry and indicated his approval with a faint smile.

Constance rose, picked up a taper, and went to the nearest wall of bookshelves. Hunting along it a moment, she removed a slim volume bound in green cloth and returned to her seat on the couch. "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary," she told the group. "Published in 1904."

She turned to the title page. "So many excellent stories," she murmured. "It’s hard to choose. Here’s one of my favorites: ‘The Mezzotint.’"

"What’s a mezzotint?" asked D’Agosta.

"It’s a type of engraving, used to make prints in the 19th century," said Constance.

As the others waited in the hushed room, Constance curled up on the sofa, legs tucked beneath her, turned the pages of the book until she found the story, and began to read:

The Mezzotint

Some time ago I believe I had the pleasure of telling you the story of an adventure which happened to a friend of mine by the name of Dennistoun, during his pursuit of objects of art for the museum at Cambridge…

For the continuation of the story, please click here

A few BLUE LABYRINTH links we recommend

To preorder a double-signed copy of Blue Labyrinth at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore

The Nook Book free preview–the first 11 chapters of Blue Labyrinth

The iBook free preview–the first 11 chapters of Blue Labyrinth

The Kindle free preview–the first 11 chapters of Blue Labyrinth

And finally, this eerie and disturbing video

***

Blue Labyrinth, the latest novel in the Pendergast series, will be published

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

***

Painting by Caspar David Friedrich, The Tree of Crows, 1822, Musée du Louvre, Paris
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Islamic State/ISIS

September 24, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog dislikes IS/ISIS for numerous reasons.

1. They keep crucifying people, burying them alive, sawing their heads off and causing terror and refugee stampedes.

2. Their press releases suck.

Let’s have a look at their latest press release. For starters it is 11 pages long! What nincompoop thought that up! A press release should be short, sharp and to the point! Not a rambling rant!

Excerpts from the IS press release. Brace yourselves! It is excruciatingly bad.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian or a Canadian – including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah and kill him.”

The grammar is doubtful at best. The logical flow lamentable. And it’s too wordy.

Let us see what else lies in store.

“Kill the unbeliever whether he is civilian or military.”

Short, punchy. But sexist. Lots of women are unbelievers. Surely they have the right to be included in the death list?

Instructions on execution were included.

“Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him.”

There was quite a lot more about slitting throats. Apparently the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is specially recommended.

Again far too wordy! And this “throw him down from a high place” is incongruous when placed with “run him over with your car.” High place is Koran. Running people over with cars? A more recent development. Just doesn’t work.

“O America, O allies of America and O crusaders, know that the matter is is more dangerous than you have imagined and greater than you have envisioned. We have warned you that you that today we are in a new era, an era where the State, its soldiers and its sons are leaders not slaves.”

Repetition! And this slavery business? What’s that about?

The statement ventures into history with pitiful results.

“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses and enslave your women by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.”

ISIS in Europe? In Rome? What’s the plot? Ban pizzas and carbonara?

No! The plan is revealed as more sophisticated and long reaching!

“If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”

OK! Enough! This press release (in poor English, French and Hebrew) has obviously been composed by somebody who wants to kill me, you, my daughter, my wife, all your friends, the Pope, and everybody else. That should keep him and his Islamic State rather busy! A lot of work to do!

But one thing struck me about this that I found interesting. He referred to Barack Obama as “a mule of the Jews.”

That is typical and unimaginative. Here’s the point. He called Secretary of State an “uncircumcised old geezer.”

Old geezer? That is pure London slang. This revolting press release was officially released by ISIS spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani. But it has been written by a British national who didn’t do very well at school.

My verdict? Drones. Lots of drones! These people want a war. Let’s kill them. They are a blight. A plague.

Cheers!

Hugh

The Existential Skunk

September 24, 2014 by

“I stink therefore I am.”

These wise and very existential words also apply to my ghastly dog. And my socks.

Thai Days: Fruit bats

September 24, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog likes a good news story. Here it comes. Our baby fruit bat, Tod, didn’t make it despite our best efforts and that was sad but yesterday evening I saw fruit bats flapping over the tamarind trees. Big healthy fruit bats. So despite Tod’s absence our dusk skies here are still full of life and interest. And in Tod’s brief life he inadvertently acted as an ambassador for bats in general. At first people (both Thai and ex-pats) regarded him with horror but after getting to know him they forgot their fear, first felt pity and then affection. I wasn’t the only person watching the bats fly over the tamarinds yesterday and wishing them well.

September 23, 2014 by

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is pleased to report that the military government remains a force for stability. Everything’s stable apart from my household. But that has remained the same for quite some time. For as long as I can remember, actually.

I might order a couple of soldiers to enforce clearing my daughter’s room of all this damn LEGO and they can shoot my dog, Buggly, if they want. But it’s like the police. When you want one you can’t find him!

Finding a soldier here is equally difficult!

Thailand may have a junta but it really is not a visitor’s concern. You come here and you probably won’t even see a soldier. Or if you do see one you can take a selfie. Everybody seems to do that. Me and myself and a soldier. Every girl loves a man in uniform or so the saying goes. The soldiers are getting used to it.

This regime is a positive influence in Thailand. It has ousted corrupt politicians, it has cleared the streets that were clogged by protesters for months, it has brought equanimity back. Some Red Shirts still snarl and bark but they have no bite. They are over. And I’m glad of that. They were unruly peasant thugs – a Khmer Rouge in the making run by a criminal billionaire in exile to evade his prison sentence for corruption.

Thailand remains a wonderful country to visit!

Hugh in Bangkok


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