Seven Wonders of the World

The new Seven Wonders of the World was announced on 07/07/07 in Lisbon, Portugal. These modern marvels replaced the ancient septet via an internet poll managed by a filmmaker.

The Bangkok Post later listed the modern Ancient Wonders.

Millions of people were the jury as opposed to Philon of Byzantium choosing the first seven. One man with one vote picked what existed in his world ie the Mare Nostrum or Mediterranean Sea.

Only the Pyramid remained out of the original Magnificent Seven. The rest have vanished from the face of the Earth.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt had been built to guide ships through the labyrinth of sandbars that created havoc for merchants attempting to reach the port of Alexandria in Egypt. The Lighthouse, or Pharos of Alexandria, was the only ancient wonder to have served a practical purpose. Built between 299 and 79 BC, the lighthouse stood some 166 metres above the city’s western harbour and was financed by the Greek merchant Sostratus who wanted to help ensure the safety of shipping traffic. Polished bronze mirrors were specially devised to reflect sunlight out to sea during daytime, and fires were lit to serve as a beacon for lost ships at night. The tower stood relatively intact until a series of earthquakes and gradual deterioration from natural elements caused the structure to collapse and eventually be dismantled for its stones.

The Temple of Artemis stood as the most magnificent accomplishment of Greek civilisation and Hellenistic culture, built as a tribute to Artemis – the Greek goddess of the hunt, mistress of Nature, protector of wild beasts and the sister of Apollo. The Temple of Artemis was located in Ephesus, the richest seaport in Asia Minor. It once consisted of 127 marble columns each standing 20 metres tall. First built in the 6th century BC, the temple was destroyed by fire 200 years later and then rebuilt under the supervision of Alexander the Great.

The great temple was eventually destroyed successively by invading Gothic hordes, earthquakes, and plunderers. Today, only a solitary column remains of this once-glorious structure.

The Statue of Zeus was commissioned in 438 BC by the Council of Olympia in reverence for Zeus, the ruler and most powerful of the Olympian gods. The great statue was the work of the Athenian sculptor Phidias and was constructed inside the Parthenon, the great temple overlooking the city. According to Phelon of Byzantium, this was the most inspiring of all the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue of Zeus was later destroyed along with its temple after an earthquake in 170 BC.

The Colossus of Rhodes stood 32 metres high on a marble plinth built to revere the Sun God Helios who supposedly helped Rhodes to ward off Demetrius of Macedonia. Constructed by the engineer Chares of Lindos, the Colossus of Rhodes was completed after 10 years of meticulous work so that the legs would sustain the enormous weight of the giant statue’s balls. Unfortunately, in 227 BC, an earthquake caused the Colossus to crack at the knee and set it in motion so that it collapsed into pieces.

Even so, the statue was so admired that it was left lying in huge fragments for over 900 years until its valuable parts were brought to Syria.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon had been built in 7th century BC in the middle of the arid Mesopotamian desert, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were testimony to one man’s ability to, against all the laws of nature, create a botanical oasis of beauty amid a bleak desert landscape. King Nebuchadnezzar created the gardens as a sign of esteem for his wife Semiramis, who, legend has it, longed for the forests and roses of her homeland. The gardens were terraced and surrounded by the city walls with a moat to repel invading armies. There remains doubt, however, amongst historians and archaeologists as to whether this lost paradise ever existed, given that excavations at Babylon have left no definitive trace of this mythical oasis.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was dedicated to King Mausolus of Caria by his grieving wife, Queen Artemisia, as a memorial to their great love. According to Plinius the Mausoleum once stood 50 metres high and was surrounded by 36 columns, standing atop a marble pedestal at the intersection of the two main streets of Halicarnassus.

The Mausoleum stood relatively intact until 1522 AD, when it was ordered destroyed as an example of pagan art. Just another reason why I hate the Church.

The Pyramids of Egypt are only surviving wonder of the ancient world, the pyramids at Giza, were the phenomenal achievement of Egyptian construction and engineering. Built between 2600 and 2500 BC, the three pyramids at Giza encompass more than 5 million limestone blocks which were painstakingly transported via timber sleds and by being rolled over the top of logs.

As cranes were as yet unheard of, each block had to be dragged via ramps up to its designated place. According to Herodot, the largest of the three pyramids, known as the Great Pyramid, about 146 metres high took 20 years to complete and served as the tomb for the Egyptian Pharoah Khufu. The pyramids represented the link between heaven and earth and were a signal to Horus, God of the World.

sic gloria mundi transit or all glory flees this world.

ps All that Bible crap about the Jews being slaves was bullshit.

As for the modern wonders, I voted for the Alhambra, Stonehenge, Timbuktoo, Chichen Itza, Taj Mahal, Sophia Hagia, and the Easter Island Statues, the last because my late Cousin, David Barry and I called ourselves the Easter Island Head people.

We never decided who had the bigger head.

Him or me.

Unfortunately there were no write-in spaces for Sophie’s Phnom Penh.

It was a wonder of wickedness.

And home for the wicked.

Stonehenge in Bangkok

New Englanders are relatively starved of archaeological ruins other than frost-heaved stone walls from vanished farms snaking through the woods or the smooth walls of the Quincy Quarries. Not one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was on our side of the Atlantic nor from Africa or the Far East graced list either thanks to the Eurocentricity of the 19th Century’s tomb raiders.

My seven wonders of the world are the Potala in Lhasa, the funereal Ghats of Varanasi, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, the Chartes Cathedral, the moon-lit combs atop Tikal’s pyramids in Guatemala, and Sophie’s Bar in Phnom Penh.

Antiquity and size are not prerequisites for my wonders, however Stonehenge certainly qualifies since archaeologists have uncovered a vast network of Neolithic villages on Salisbury Plain in England suggesting that the earthworks were part of a much larger religious complex.

British authorities have roped off the stone circle from the public.

Previously you could drive up to them in the middle of the night to party with drunken lager louts around a fire. Football fans probably attempted a form of cow tipping with the 4000 year-old monoliths, forcing the squares to ban any contact with the great Circle.

Bangkok has its own Stonehenge in the Hopewell Project.

The government spent billions of baht for a commuter rail system.

Not one length of rail was laid on the concrete pillars.

Hundreds of years from now future inhabitants of the world will wonder about the Hopewell Project’s purpose.

Same as anyone driving past them today.

Was it a road to nowhere or Thailand’s attempt to rival Stonehenge.

I’ve been to Stonehenge once.

With my friend AJ on a Neolithic tour of the Salisbury Plain.

Avesbury Circle, Stonehenge, and then the Silbury Mound.

Archaeologists have argued over whether the Druids, ETs, the devil, Merlin, or drunks with time on their hands built the massive monuments. As a descendant of Celtic blood I prefer the Druid theory.

On my visit I intended to strip naked in the circles, however both the Avesbury and Stonehenge were swarmed by tourists.

The Silbury Hill rises rises over the treeless plain. No one else was on the mound. AJ and I climbed 130 feet to the top, where my friend explained the hill had been built by thousands of workers over scores of years in different periods dating back over 4000 years.

It was older than Stonehenge, although not as old as than me even on mornings after I’ve drunk a lot.

The day was sunny.

AJ and I stripped naked.

We vowed not to believe in gods.

Neither of us avoided looking at the other’s body, because straight men shouldn’t be naked together within arm’s length.

We faced the four points of the compass.

AJ had a bigger belly than me.

He glanced below my waist.

I turned to the north without a comment.

I have no problem with betting naked with gay men. They have no interest in my body. My penis is never big in public, which is why Michelangelo’s DAVID should also be a Wonder of the World.

Firstly no one talks about the nudity or that the giant statue’s penis is as as small as mine after a cold bath.

And there’s no chance I’ll get naked at the Hopewell ruins, so I’ll have to wait another 4000 years until they deserve such an expose. Thankfully by that time I will be dust in the wind and any thoughts about naked men atop the Silbury Hill will be forgotten too.

sic transit gloria.

Eating On The Run

No animal eat on the run.

Not lions, tigers, or bears.

Cows, sheep, and goats meandered as they grazed, but only humans walk and eat at the same time and most of those achieving this dubious goal are Americans.

Every day I see people on the go holding hands with a cup of coffee or else stuffing their faces with a bagel. I was probably guilty of the same sin in inetiquette prior, but have cut down the occasions to the rare scarfing down a slice of pizza, when I have to be someplace.

Even I’m not perfect.

We are what we eat and even more so how we eat.

Fast food makes for fast eating and fast eating makes for fat people.

Sleeping Tiger

British actress Patricia Laffan starred as Nero’s wife Poppaea.

The director required her to sit with a leopard during a lavish dinner sequence.

Big cats are notorious fickle with their favor, but she shows no sign of fear.

Neither did I at Nong Nooch Gardens with a junkie tiger.

He didn’t even bother to snarl and laid his massive head on my lap to nod out in peace.

Good tiger.

They are really quite sweet on a full stomach.

Unlike Patricia Laffen in 1954′s DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS, where she plays a latex dominatrix without mercy.

I like hanging with the Noog Nooch Tiger better.

Do You Like Gladiator Movies?

The movie GLADIATOR was released in 2000. My friends and I gay maitre de greeted us and and asked where we had been.

“We saw GLADIATOR.”

Joe made a face and hissed, “I saw it. I didn’t like it.”

“Why not” asked my ex-lover Ms. Carolina. She loved Russell Crowe.

“Because there were no queers.”

“You mean like Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier in SPARTACUS?”

“Exactly.”

“Jude Law was a little swishy in the movie.”

“Not enough to notice.”

“You mean like Steve Reeves.”

“Exactly.” Joe nearly swooned with delight. “He was who the strange men meant when they asked me if I liked gladiator movies.”

“Someone actually asked you that?”

“More than once and the answer was always yes.”

Joe attended to a group of bankers at the entrance and Ms. Carolina whispered, “Now I understand what Peter Graves meant in AIRPLANE.”

“No one ever asked me that?”

“I guess you weren’t as luck as Joe.”

Not many gladiator movies were made after 2000.

Certainly nothing like BEN HUR.

The other evening I was bored and watched QUO VADIS or where are you going in Latin.

The movie featured Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov and a cast of thousands.

The producer Sam Zimbalist chose art director Edward C. Carfagno to recreate Rome and all its glory and this film swished like silk curtains in the wind.

Peter Ustinov camped out Nero as a mad violet poet with ringlets.

The writer, actor, diplomat, and family man ( he had four kids ) allowed none of his scenes in QUO VADI to pass with flaming high and bright.

His wife resembled a drag queen.

They both dressed like they were going to the Gay Pride March.

Ustinov was a genius, because Rome was actually very puritan.

Nero’s friends fell under his thrall.

Noble Romans were straight, but with a taste for brutality.

Christians were infecting the empire.

Peter looked like the Old Testament God.

The Romans knew where to put troublemakers.

The Colosseum.

Man versus beast.

Thumbs down.

Do I like gladiator movies?

Yes.

I prefer to spare life.

It is not a sign of weakness.