It’s the end of my world as I know it.

No, it’s not September 11. No, it’s not SARS. But for bicyclists, it’s almost a disaster of equal magnitude. The Kryptonite U-lock, the lock used by any savvy bicyclists (and there are many of us), so dependable that we almost took it for granted . . . has been found to be easily picked with a mere Bic pen.

And with the trick demo’d all over the internet, not to mention the mainstream (gee thanks, SF Chronicle and SJ Mercury), suddenly locking up my slightly pricey bike to an inverted U rack while I run errands for a couple of hours no longer seems safe. Now I really have to think about whether or not I’m going to bike to get somewhere, depending on what I think my parking risk will be. In the meantime, I’m glad I didn’t get rid of my old clunker bike. I’ll be using it again.
Kryptonite is going to announce their plans Wednesday afternoon for retrofitting the locks or rebating owners.

Attack of the Killer Green Papayas
Back in Thailand, kai yang, khao nieow, somtum (grilled chicken, sticky rice and green papaya salad) are thr triumvirate of an Isan (northeastern) Thai meal. They’ve actually been adopted in the rest of Thailand. Paradon’s favourite restaurant in Bangkok is an industrial chic hole-in-the-wall called “Som Tum Noua”. (Noua is someone’s name). Som tum is practically a daily staple.

Now comes news in the Bangkok Post that in Khon Kaen, genetically modified papaya has been found growing on a farm, and some of those GM specimens have cross/spread into neighboring farms. Apparently the original farmer received some contaminated seeds from a government horticultural research station. Papayas from her farm were also sold at local markets.

Imagine, not being able to eat somtum confidence, without fear . . . what if I eat this and my hands mutate into adhesive webs that have me crawling up walls like a jing-jok, or start hearing Carabao in my head? Far fetched, but seriously the potential effects of consuming GMO are so daunting because they are unfathomable and untested. Som tum, green papaya, so ordinary, so prosaic, until now. I’d rather take my chances with fugu.

But without the somtum, gai yang and khao nieow wouldn’t taste as good. Substituting carrot or cucumber is possible, but not the same. The green papaya has more resilience under the pestle (the “tum” of som tum refers to both the pestle and the pounding), and is a blander foil to better absorb the juices of not just the lime, fish sauce, maybe a pinch of salt, two of palm sugar, but the dried shrimp, or even pickled field crabs or mangda (big water bugs found in fields). (Crabs don’t just come in the marine variety. And mangda is also slang for pimp!)

So no two-wheel trips and no somtum. What is our world coming to?


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