5 Months, 16 Days, still sober.
What Mobi did
On Wednesday I finished my blog in mid afternoon and feeling a bit peckish, I drove around to the Frogger to have one of their delicious pork pies and check out the talent. On this particular occasion I seemed to have hit the jackpot. I was the one and only customer and the place was jam packed with gorgeous young ladies, all looking as sexy as I have ever seen them, in their micro minis and shorty shorts.
To cut a long story short, it wasn’t long before I had the entire establishment of lovelies eating out of my hand – well drinking out of their ladies’ drink glasses, to be more precise. So there were hookers to the left of me, whores to the right and even the odd BJ specialist underneath my bar stool as we all whiled away the afternoon together in perfect harmony.
My mate Bill turned up after an hour or so and reclaimed his ‘turn’ Pat, who I wasn’t averse to letting go, purely in the interests of spreading the minge cost around a bit
Even whore mongers have been known to eventually get bored with all this overindulgence in paradise, so by around 7 pm I paid up my not inconsiderable bar tab and drove around the lake to meet up with Rick who had just returned to Pattaya with his lovely wife.
Rick’s wife wanted to have a look at my new Samsung Tab and immediately asked me why I had a Thai dictionary on the Home page. I explained to her that even the fluent, Thai speaking Mobi didn’t know the Thai words for everything and that I needed it when discussing some particularly complex philosophical subject with whatever hooker happened to be sitting on my lap. She nodded sagely at me, as if all had suddenly been revealed about the nature and character of her husband’s new found friend.
Yesterday, I stayed home all day, getting thoroughly bogged down with trying to do new things on my Tablet, and having a long debate with a moderator in Thai Visa on whether I am allowed to debate the pros and cons of AA. The final result is that I will not be allowed to discuss this subject, as the moderator on the relevant forum is a passionate AA supporter and will not permit anyone to dare question whether or not this organisation is really effective.
Needless to say I am appalled by this dictatorial attitude and will, in due course, be making my feelings on this matter known to the world at large and to Thai Visa in particular. This organisation has become an overblown cash-cow for a few fortunate, unprofessional individuals and is run by a bunch of amateurs who simply impose their own prejudices and opinions, trampling on differing viewpoints and free speech. I predict that this dictatorial organisation will eventually come a cropper, quite possibly a victim of the internet police’s draconian web blocking policy. They are too big, too rich and too influential and it is owned and run by farangs – a recipe for disaster in this fair land, in my opinion.
So by the time I had finished with all this nonsense it was late and I was in no mood to write a blog. It has, however set me thinking about my efforts to post a daily blog and as those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I have decided to cut back a little on my posting frequency. For a trial period, I will try to post on alternate days.
Each daily blog posting, from start to finish – which includes a fair amount of time choosing, sorting and posting photos; proof reading and editing the text using WordPress’s cumbersome and cranky editing software – can take me anything from 3 – 5 hours to write, edit and post. I receive no reward for all this effort, except the satisfaction of having accomplished something .
On my spare days, I will renew my efforts to get back into my novel which has been long neglected.
BMW: To be, or not to BM
I have been having continual problems with my 3 year old BMW 320D for the past few months. The ‘on board’ computer screen and the stereo keep going off and on, frequently accompanied by loud knocking noises in the roof. The problem even occurred when the car was parked and the engine switched off! Talk about a machine having a life of its own!!!
I took the car to the BMW dealer at Chonburi on two separate occasions to have the problem fixed. On both occasions they kept the car in for several days in order to locate the problem and ‘reset the computer’. This involved me in much inconvenience as I had to hire a car whilst mine was in the shop, find someone to accompany me to Chonburi, as well as having to sit around the show room all day as the car was never ready for collection at the promised time.
On both occasions, the fault seemed to have been fixed for a while, but after a week or so it would return with a vengeance. I was reluctant to spend more time and money returning the car to the shop as by then, I had no confidence that anyone there could fix the problem and I was even seriously considering putting my car up for sale.
In desperation, I sent an email to BMW head office in Bangkok, and to my surprise, within 2 days the Chonburi dealer service manager called me and to cut a long story short, they drove down to the ‘Darkside’ and decided that the problem was a faulty computer cable. They made a temporary fix and advised me the part was on order and they would call me to arrange a convenient time to come and replace it. This all happened about 3 weeks ago, and whilst for a few days the car ran trouble free, the fault soon resurfaced and now the on-board screen and stereo cuts out several times, every time I take the car out. It is almost un-drivable.
Ten days ago they called me to advise that the part had now arrived and they would call again soon to arrange installation. Then total silence for ten days, during which time, the problem has got worse and worse. So this morning I shot off another email to Bangkok and with ten minutes the farang owner of the Chonburi dealership was on the phone to me, enquiring what going on. I told him the story and he checked with his people and confirmed that the part was in stock. He said they would be at my house in 2 hours to install it. The reason why they hadn’t call me before this, was not explained.
They have just arrived at my door as I write, so I will report back if this is really the end of my little saga.
But why does it take two emails to head office before anything gets done– and this is concerning a 3 million Baht, so-called, up-market car, which is still under full, unlimited warranty.
I admit that during the past 3 years, have had great fun with my very fast car, and have driven it all over Thailand. But frankly, with all the hassles I have had with it – and this is by no means the first hassle – its just not worth it. Next time I buy a car I think I’ll go Japanese.
I like their female human models so maybe I’ll like their auto models.☺
Here’s a little selection of the comments received in the past week. As ever, Big Skippy has pride of place. Firstly, he wrote this little missive when I dared to suggest that The Yanks weren’t as proportionally generous as some other countries, as far as their government’s aid to the third world was concerned:
“Wow, another softball served up for my early morning read:
Too bad these figures don’t include some of the military expenditures used to support NATO, bases in Japan, South Korea, etc. – a nice charitable benefit to these governments which has allowed many countries to make nominal outlays for their defence budget. I’m with Ron Paul on this one – close all US overseas bases and let the freeloaders start taking care of themselves!
Anyway, put that point aside and focus on how your point is yet another example of your inductive reasoning, as you focus only on half the picture – governmental aid. The U.S. unfortunately has a terribly convoluted income tax system riddled with thousands of deductions – one of them being charitable deductions. Thus, there is more of an incentive for “private” charitable contributions than you see in most other countries. As a result, you also have the US coming out near the top of the philanthropy charts on the World Giving Index (and yes, ahead of the UK) when you look at private AND governmental giving, even when adjusted on a per capita basis. Here’s a nice quote from yet another esteemed UK publication, the guardian:
“The UK came eighth on the index and finished joint third, alongside Thailand, in terms of giving money, with 73% of the population having donated to charity. However its former colonial possessions – Australia, New Zealand and the United States – were far more charitable. In Europe only Ireland, Switzerland and Holland fared better.”
Tell me, are there equivalents in the UK on the same scale of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Andrew Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc. establishing foundations (Carnegie’s just turned 100 years old) committing their wealth to philanthropy?”
And here is Mobi’s reply, hopefully, a little more succinct
Wow – just as I expected, a few words from Mobi produces a veritable ‘forest’ of internet psychobabble from my favourite Yankee reader.
Your arguments might be far more effective if you were more succinct and tried to keep to the point. Bullet points often work much better than long rambling embellishments and irrelevant deviations from my basic arguments, as they only serve to obscure and confuse the impartial observer.
(For example, when I dared to suggest there may have been a few screw-ups in the Navy Seals mission to take out Bin Laden, you counter with the Brit’s failures in the 2nd World War. Then, in another comment, you compare America’s military defeat in Vietnam to Britain’s agreed, strategic withdrawal from Basra. I could go on and on…..)
Anyway, I will show you what I mean about bullet points
• ‘Inductive reasoning’: That’s got to be a joke. If I am guilty of inductive reasoning, (and I openly admit I am not going spend all day researching and re-validating each and every point I make in my blog – it would be a 24 hour job), then you are more than guilty of obfuscation, misleading digressions and a propensity to introduce spurious new arguments that have absolutely no relevance to the subject under discussion.
• Military aid and foreign military bases; What on earth has this got to do with charitable giving to the poor, sick and starving in the third world? You cannot justify your country’s failure to ‘step up to the charitable plate’ by arguing that you waste all your countless billions in weapons of war. One of the most spurious and irrelevant arguments I have read, even from you, Skippy.
• Charitable giving by individuals: I specifically wrote about the amount of aid donated by governments as a percentage of their GDP. It has long been known that America is way down the league in this regard. I couldn’t give too hoots about your convoluted income tax system and how much individual citizens give. That is another matter entirely. But seeing as you brought it up; yes the Yanks in today’s Opra culture are certainly mugs for a good sob story, and pour untold millions into questionable charities, much of which never reaches the people it was intended to help. Haiti is a good recent example of this.
Now for a new comment by someone called ‘the way it was’
“You just used to be more fun when you were drinking … and it WILL all go pair shape. If things fuck up with Noo or when you have a family issue when back in the UK …. you’ll have a drink BUT it doesn’t matter.
You’re still stuck in the AA mode of sober day counting, one of the worst things about AA. It’s the whole “doomed to failure” aspect of the AA, one sip and you’re a start again loser. So what if you get angry and get drunk. The fact you have to start from zero is more likely to send you on a complete bender. If you do drink again, be more productive and positive and count your sober days and your drunk days. Works for me daddio.
I remain sober for a few months at a time then something kicks me off and I get drunk for a few days. As long as I have months sober compared to a few days or even week on a bender I know I’m not doing too much damage.
I want to remain sober but I’m not going to beat myself up over a relapse. I usually have a great deal of fun when I’m drunk, I’m just a dude of a certain age and I know I can’t drink like I used too.”
I believe you mean well but I think you are completely wrong.
I know what you mean by the AA obsession of ‘day counting’ and I agree it can be an albatross around your neck and it probably has been so for me in the past. However, this time around, my last drink was on 31st December, and it is actually quite an incentive for me to look back at this easily memorable date and keep it as a notable watershed in my life. It seems to be work for me.
However, the main reason the duration of my sobriety is always at the top of my blog is because it is a device to keep my readers, more than me, aware of my daily progress along my path to long term sobriety. My blog is first and foremost about my alcoholism and my struggles in my life to tackle this addiction, so I believe it is a relevant daily fact to publish for my readers. I do not go through my life continuously reminding myself how many months, weeks, days and even hours I have been sober, although I have met such people in AA. It rarely enters my mind. However I think significant milestones, such as 30 days, 3 months, six months and hopefully 1 year, are always worthy of mention and celebration.
I actually disagree with you that the occasional lapse will not hurt. This maybe the case for you, and we have to accept that not all alcoholics are the same. I spent many years believing as you do, that the odd lapse doesn’t really matter and that a few days or weeks on a bender is no big deal. I now know that for me, it is a big deal.
Whatever I think of AA in general, I still think that their advice to ‘never take that first drink’, is good advice. I have tried just taking a single drink or a few drinks, over and over again and have even gone through long periods when, like you, I could drink for a while and then stay sober for a while. But in the end, sooner or later, I would be back to drinking every day, destroying my health and pissing my life away. I know this as sure as eggs are eggs and for this alcoholic, my research is over, and I know exactly where I stand.
It’s a bit like when I gave up smoking. The longer I stayed ‘smoke-free’ the less likely I was to ever have another cigarette. This wasn’t just because the craving for a smoke became less and less, but it was also because I thought how foolish I would be to throw away everything I had achieved, at considerable mental anguish and effort, just to satisfy a momentary craving. I feel the same about my sobriety – why throw away everything I have accomplished in the past 5 ½ months, just because I am feeling a bit upset, angry or in emotional turmoil? I know now that I can get through it without resorting to a drink, and later, when my state of mind has returned to normality, I feel all the better and mentally stronger for it. I may still be a pretty poor specimen of a human being, but at least I can say that I have maintained my sobriety – not a lot, but something to be proud of for this disreputable old soak.
By the way, it may not seem like it, but in general, I am far happier and more contented than I have been in years. I have the odd day when I fell pretty down – but don’t we all? I am off anti-depressant medication for the first time in years, I have little or no emotional hang ups and I enjoy a good night’s sleep. I am cared for by a gorgeous little lady who never – ever – gives me a hard time.
I am sorry that my drunken misadventures are a thing of the past and that I am no longer as entertaining as I once was.
But will still try do my best….☺
Now back to Skippy and his dream- world view of what happened to his wonderful country in Vietnam.
Here’s what he said:
Well, I can tell you that as an American who grew up there during the 80′s that Vietnam is definitely not seared so deeply into the American consciousness. That was true through Carter’s term, but once Ronnie Reagan took over it was more or less a distant memory. As a university student in the late 80′s it was studied dispassionately (and far more attention was focused on places like Nicaragua and South Africa).
You might think the Brits in Basra analogy as not being apt, but surely you’d have to agree that the rout of the French in Vietnam was far more akin to Dunkirk than the U.S.’s gradual withdraw from the place.
Hmm, Skippy, here, with acknowledgements to Wikipedia, is a flavour of what actually happened….
The rapidity with which the South Vietnamese position collapsed in 1975 was surprising to most American and South Vietnamese observers, and probably to the North Vietnamese and their allies as well. For instance, a memo prepared by the CIA and Army Intelligence and published on 5 March indicated that South Vietnam could hold through the current dry season—i.e. at least until 1976. These predictions proved to be grievously in error. Even as that memo was being released, General Dũng was preparing a major offensive in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, which began on 10 March and led to the capture of Buon Me Thuot. The ARVN began a disorderly and costly retreat, hoping to redeploy its forces and hold the southern part of South Vietnam, perhaps an enclave south of the 13th parallel.
By April 8, the North Vietnamese Politburo, which in March had recommended caution to Dung, cabled him to demand “unremitting vigour in the attack all the way to the heart of Saigon.” On April 14, they renamed the campaign the “Ho Chi Minh campaign,” after revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, in the hopes of wrapping it up before his birthday on May 19. Meanwhile, South Vietnam failed to garner any significant increase in military aid from the United States, snuffing President Nguyen Van Thieu’s hopes for renewed American support.
On April 9 PAVN forces reached Xuan Loc, the last line of defence before Saigon, where the ARVN 18th Division made a last stand and held the city through fierce fighting for several days. The PAVN finally overran Xuan Loc on April 20 and on April 21 President Thiệu resigned in a tearful televised announcement in which he denounced the United States for failing to come to the aid of the South. The North Vietnamese front line was now just 26 miles (42 km) from downtown Saigon. The victory at Xuan Loc, which had drawn many South Vietnamese troops away from the Mekong Delta area, opened the way for PAVN to encircle Saigon, and they soon did so, moving 100,000 troops in position around the city by April 27. With the ARVN having many fewer defenders, the fate of the city was effectively sealed.
The Pentagon sought to evacuate as fast as possible, to avoid the risk of casualties or other accidents. The U.S Ambassador to South Vietnam, Graham Martin, Martin drew the ire of many in the Pentagon by wishing to keep the evacuation process as quiet and orderly as possible. His desire for this was to prevent total chaos and to deflect the real possibility of South Vietnamese turning against Americans, and to keep all-out bloodshed from occurring.
(President) Ford approved a plan between the extremes in which all but 1,250 Americans—few enough to be removed in a single day’s helicopter airlift—would be evacuated quickly; the remaining 1,250 would leave only when the airport was threatened. In between, as many Vietnamese refugees as possible would be flown out.
Meanwhile, Martin began (in his words) “playing fast and loose with exit visas” to allow any and all who wished to leave Saigon to depart by any means available in the early days. Without the Pentagon’s knowledge, Martin and Deputy Chief of Mission Wolfgang Lehmann had already begun allowing thousands of South Vietnamese nationals to depart.
The evacuation of Saigon also had to compete for resources with the imminent evacuation of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, which fell on 17 April.
I was in Bangkok at the time, and well recall the chaos and nightmare of the final days when Saigon fell and the Yanks were desperately airlifting people from the embassy roof.
In this humble writer’s opinion, a comparison with ‘Dunkirk’ is more than appropriate for any number of reasons, but to try and drag the British withdrawal from Basra into the equation shows you in your true, anti-Brit colours. It really is laughable.
Now to the question of whether the Vietnam debacle still seared into the American psyche?
Marvin L Kalb is an American journalist. Kalb was the Shorenstein Centre’s Founding Director and Edward R. Murrow Professor of Press and Public Policy (1987–1999). The Shorenstein Centre and the Kennedy School are part of Harvard University. He is currently a James Clark Welling Fellow at The George Washington University. Kalb spent 30 years as an award-winning reporter for CBS News and NBC News and was the last newsman recruited by Edward R. Murrow to join CBS News. His work at CBS landed him on Richard Nixon’s “enemies list”. At NBC, he served as chief Diplomatic Correspondent and host of Meet the Press. During many years of Kalb’s tenures at CBS and NBC, his brother Bernard worked alongside him.
So I hope you will agree that Kalb has some pretty impressive credentials.
Kalb has recently published a book entitled: ‘Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama’ which he co-wrote with his daughter, Deborah Kalb, who is also no intellectual slouch.
In this book, Kalb presents an important history of presidential decision-making on one crucial issue: In light of the Vietnam debacle, under what circumstances should the United States go to war? The father-daughter journalist team spent five years interviewing hundreds of officials from every administration and researching in presidential libraries and archives and divulges insight and information never before published.
In his review of this book, Ted Koppel, anchor of ABC’s Nightline for 25 years said:
“Vietnam continues to be an albatross, circling the White House. In a compelling and totally accessible book, the Kalbs, (father and daughter), show how profoundly America’s defeat in Vietnam has affected one US administration after another, over the course of the past 36 years. If you wonder whether Vietnam still matters, it does. Read this book and discover why and how.”
BUTT….BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!!!