Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mad Cow Madness

If you watch the news here, you get to see Taiwanese politicians hysterically demanding American beef be taken off the shelves because of a second case of Mad Cow disease in the USA.

Now, just to review, there have been two confirmed cases of Mad Cow in the USA. This is out of 70 millions cows or so, with 388,000 animals tested in the last year.

One cow was from Canada. The other was a cow that was born before the new feeding regulations were put in place in 1997, and was found before it could be made into dog food, literally.

Even if the cow was slaughtered, the current procedure keeps meat for human consumption from being in contact with the brains and spinal cord, which are the dangerous parts to eat. Many victims in the UK got sick from such cross contamination from traditional butchers.

Now, a few questions for Taiwanese consumers:

1. How safe are Taiwanese slaughterhouses? It's completely reasonable to be concerned about food safety, but what's the point of obsessing over American beef if your own meats aren't safe?

2. Since traditional butchery practices could be a major cause for Mad Cow in people, what has the Taiwanese government done to modernize these practices in Taiwan? (snicker, snicker.)

3. Here in Taiwan, when you can't finish that dish of pig's brain, what does the restaurant do with the scraps?

Of course, Taiwan should be careful and consider all actions, but hysteria and the use of this for political gain (such as bringing the cameras with you when you decide to launch a diatribe at the appplicable government office) are not helpful.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist. I also could not tell the difference between the Aussie beef and the American beef at McDonald's. Mea Culpa.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

*********BREAKING NEWS*********

Dothead Paul has flown to India to work out the details on possible husbands for his sister (as in arranging a marriage). Now I have met Paul's sister and she is hot, really hot. Is there not one man in Edmonton man enough for her? Not one Canadianer ready to step up to the plate with this Indian-Canadian beauty? To be quite honest, I was shocked to discover this, because as I said, she is hot and there were only like three hot girls in all of Alberta last time I was there. Edmontonians, please, don't make me come across the border and kick your collective ass. Go to the bar in Edmonton, pick out the looker, and it will probably be her. Take her on a date, and see what the future might bring...

Donde Esta?

Where have Stoney and J-Hole gone? It's like getting updates from the moon over there in North America, land of low technology apparently. Did J-Hole make his connection? Did Ivo throw up on any hot stewardesses (excuse me, flight attendants)? Will the whole tribe of Indians make it to Newva Brunswick? Are American girls still fat? The suspense is killing us boys, let us know.

Kid Blogging Monday

Feeding Fiona
Originally uploaded by haruntaichung.
Yeah, she only eats American potatoes now. I guess she will have champagne tastes. Luckily, the rich doctor she marries will have no problems with that, and of course will allow me use of his lodge in Lucern.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Am I becoming a rightie?

Or has the left completely disassociated itself from reality? I am no libertarian, and I am certainly for the government taking whatever land it needs to complete necessary development (highways, railroads and hospitals come to mind) to better the community. Eminent domain, as detailed in the fifth ammendment, certainly allows for the confiscation of land for public use. However, the court's recent decision, penned by Stevens, allowing for a local government to take over private land and then mete it out to private development for the betterment of the community reeks of two things. First, people will be losing their homes while some corporation or rich bastard makes money (presumably hand over fist with new beach front property in this case). This hurts, but does not seem to be a solid legal avenue to persue. After all, the aforementioned highways and railroads certainly help to line the pockets of somebody. It is the second thing, unmentioned in the several reviews of this decision I have looked at, that scares me the most. Can we spell graft? Citycouncilmen and women now hold the keys to takeover in their hands. As Justice O'Conner notes on page 34 of the link above, the expansion of the government's definition of public use is both absurd and uncheckable. With the sole litmus test being whether or not the takeover will benefit the communityat large, a vague area opens, one surely to be exploited. Certainly tearing down three houses to build a park would benefit my community, how about yours? Shame on the liberal justices, shame on Kennedy for joining them, and shame on me for believing the left had the desire to defend the little man. Perhaps they are becoming like the Canadian left, opening the government to any mafia style graft they can squeeze through...

If any reader made it through all that nonsense I just wrote, congratulations. I am aware that few care about these things, but man the government irks me...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Summer's Coming Attractions

Ni Howdy will be bringing you plenty of Sizzling Summer Action!

  • Trekking in Central Asia - link is not safe for work.
  • Barbecue - Texas Style!
  • Witness the birth of the rare and exotic Homo Sapiens Gillis
  • Frat Rush at University of Southerly Montana
  • The Plight of Itinerant Fiddlehead Pluckers in New Brunswick
  • D.U.G.'s First Post - Are the rumors true that he will come out of the closet?
  • ChaonWatch - devoted to truth in gaming, no matter what the cost to Karl's Ego.
  • Frenchie's Amazing Race - Can he escape Taiwan and make it to Vietnam?
  • PJ's Koh Tao Report - Yeah Baby!
And of course all the usual Taiwan stuff.
UPDATED: If anyone finds a link objectionable (except AmCham Jack who finds monkeys objectionable), please let me know and I will kill the link. DISCLAIMER: Links only added after a certain person complained that only Garret got a link.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Canadian Club (and not the good kind.)

Personal Ads
Originally uploaded by haruntaichung.
Karl's got some link to a survey from (do they deserve a link? naw) about whether we should have some sort of new international organization in Taichung.

Apparently it will be "a Taichung chapter of the Canadian
Society in Taiwan with an international flavour."

A few problems with this concept:

A)They seem to want "an annual membership fee of NT$2,000 or less" which I really can't see paying myself, and I damn well can't see many Canadians paying at all.

B) The personal ads like the one on the right show you what kind of paragons of civic virtue are coming to Taiwan lately. Click to enlarge. Xenon Epsylon2....hmm he's had a classical "greek" college education and if you read his profile he's a "nice" guy.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the Canadian Society of Taiwan. Now they aren't the Illuminati or the Gnomes of Zurich, but surely they beat the Gold Fish Fanciers? Confused?

Karl, I call your PJ quote,

"I am so sick and tired of sexually frustrated white women."

and raise you mine,

"If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it really fall?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And now, the end is near

John, Kevin, Elliot and I just got through manhandling a 120cm x 90cm x 60cm fish tank, lugging the thing down three flights of stairs, onto a truck, and into Ryan's house. Needless to say, we are all beat. My house now looks like Liberia, and I have a lot of cleaning to do, but it's a start.

In other news, the weekend games report goes something like this (since some six foot six monkey won't report unless it contributes to the legend he has created in his own mind):

  • On Friday night, Bread opened a six pack of whoop ass on the boys, prompting him to say thank you for treating him so kindly on his final night of hosting. Ponce (that's Chaon to the uninformed) got destroyed and mutilated, but pretended to be so drunk that he forgot how much he really lost.
  • On Saturday, Ponce teamed with Michael in A&A, only to lose to the benevolent and kind Malv, proving the theory that one old fart is better than two old farts any day.
  • On Sunday, that same Ponce told that same Malv that he was a fool for moving his queen out so early, then proceeded to watch as Malv check mated him three moves later. Game Time: about three sips of Budweiser.

Fellow bloggers, please keep me posted of the REAL game reports while I am in America. Getting news only from Chaon would be like reading the Guardian over and over again for the rest of my life -- a good read, so long as you don't care about facts...

1/3 of Americans now pay no income tax

I am interested in hearing any and all comments on this.

Personally, I think if we made each citizen pay a symbolic minimum tax of say US$ 50, it would not only bring in trillions of dollars in revenue, it would also be fairer. But then again, I may be a real scrooge to think our progressive tax system might be getting too progressive if 32% of tax filers pay ZERO federal income tax. (42.5 million X US$ 50 = 2 trillion dollars and change.)

Of course, they could all be evil Republican millionaires who benefited from Bush's tax cuts. Or wealthy Democrat scions who have their huge fortunes invested in tax-exempt municipal bonds.

But somehow I doubt those categories add up to 32% of America's taxable populace, though admittedly, I wasn't there for the internet boom.

From the original report, you can see various break-downs. (44% are single without children, which went against my guess that these would all be single mothers.) So, even if we implement this symbolic tax only on the single without kids category we could still reap 900 billion dollars in revenue, though I'm sure Miller Brewing and the local weed dealer would be out some sales.

For the record, I do pay federal income taxes, and I have worked at Taco Bell for US$ 3.35 an hour. I did get to wash the plastic bell on the roof a couple times, though. Job satisfaction baby!

AmCham gets it (half) right

July 4th approaches. Independence Day. That's what the government and every person I've met calls it. And then I came to Taiwan. I was surprised to see banners proclaiming America Day at Independence Day celebrations. I have bitched and moaned to Amcham Jack and his predecessor about this. I was told that we live in Taiwan. Okay. Lots of people in Taiwan are Taiwanese. Still following you. It would be easier for them to understand something big and familiar like America Day rather than big, scary and more-difficult-to-say Independence Day. Wrong. Extrapolating two major tenets of language learning theory, we can see how wrong and counterproductive this thinking is. Firstly, most all leading theorists will tell you that you never teach incorrect forms or speech. Despite your good intentions, the learner will retain this and it will inhibit proper learning and acquisition. And at this point, most Taiwanese are in the infantile acquisition stage with regards to American history and culture. I am not using infantile as a pejorative. Young learners will acquire rapidly and thoroughly. Give the Taiwanese the same opportunity.

Secondly, input is best understood if the level is just above the learner's own level. Input either drastically above or below the learner's level results in no learning at all. Therefore we strive for the input +1 idea. Input that is just above the learner's level that forces them to make the cognitive leap and acquire that knowledge and make it truly his/her own. So, let's call Independence Day what it is and not impair their understanding. It's really a no-brainer.

Well, AmCham Jack listened. No more America Day on AmCham's website. And, I hope they didn't already print up the banners. Now, on to the part they didn't get right.

Hey kids! Step on up! Come on over! Bring your father's ATM card! It's the celebration-formerly-known-as-America-Day-Independence-Day p-aarrty!

All right! Let's throw the football......through Starbucks window? Ah, crap. RUN!

Now, now, not to worry. Hustle on over here for the potato sack race down the winding stairs. Survivors Winners will each get a genuine Medical Toys neck brace. Bondage never felt so good!

1-2-3 Not it! Hey Billy you're it! Let's play tag.....YOUR HEAD ON THE BRICK CORNER? Yuck.

Need to kick back and relax? You're in the right place. Lie back on Tiger City's own therapeutic granite and treat yourself to the fabled Taiwanese Million-foot Massage!

Billy. How ya feeling? Let's toss some horseshoes......AROUND THAT CHICK'S NECK? Ah, shiii.......Wait....She LIKES it! COOOL!

Tiger City, and even worse, Soho Street have never been the proper venues for an Independence Day celebration. I've been given two reasons for this. One is fireworks and the other is money. Yes, fireworks are a large part of the celebration. However, they are only the culmination of an entire day of events. Surely the hours spent getting to this point are more important than the fireworks. We should be showing the people how and why we celebrate. Hell, everyone knows we can blow stuff up real good anyway. Money. Yeah, money is good, but we celebrate that almost every other day. The June 26 Swelter For The Shelter will come off just by donations and sharing. The AmCham board has some pretty big honchos with deep pockets. Have 'em pull their hands out and shell out. Or, just ask some of us teachers and lower-tier sort. We'd show up and pull it off. Speaking of showing up, when is the last time you've seen any AmCham member besides AmCham Jack and Habecker at any of these events? I think AmCham Taichung, which is a non-profit organization, would be better served if more of its members got off their asses and demonstrated their care and concern for the community in which they live. Get a grill and some grub. Go to the park. Eat, drink, play some music, throw the ball around and invite some of the locals over to join you. Much better.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


So this is what Americans are all about? Yikes, maybe I should find another country to live in next year. Of course, I reckon the first post modern hippie I meet in Montana may suffer the same consequences if I have a sock puppet handy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

One last poker night

Event: Poker Night
Location: Brett's House
When: This Friday night, 9:00
Theme: Take a Chair Home Night
Parameters: Anybody arriving after ten o'clock will be held in contempt and fined five hundred NT. Anybody supporting fundamentalist Islam or fundamentalist Christianity will be welcome to indulge in some sin. House will dictate when people will leave, no exceptions. Iron Cross will be played, often. Brett must win.

If you are comfortable with these parameters, please leave a comment and join in the fun. If you think they are a little too prickish, don't. If you are wondering what I am talking about, sorry. If you don't know what poker is, come join us. This will be the last poker night at my place, though A.J. will be hosting next week. After that, do what you want to do, I am out of here...

The Onion gets this one right!

Though to be perfectly fair, a Taiwanese factory who made housewares back in "the Day" claimed that these would be thrown away after one use - maybe my family is descended from Nova Scotian amateur carpenters, but I don't think we'd throw them away after one use.

Also, in my google search I found about a million kinds of corn on the cob holders. Aren't these ones cute? I know I already own several sets, but at 1.99 for a 4 pack , I can't resist buying a set.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Get Your Beef Today!

Strongly advised: Purchasing U.S. Beef, today
Strongly expected: Taiwan slapping more import bans on it
Strongly grateful: Heading back to America this summer

If these tests prove positive, enjoy the Aussie beef boys, nothing like a kangaroo for dinner.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Taiwan's New Pension Plan

In July, Taiwanese workers will get a new kind of pension. Previously you had to work for the same company for 25 years to get a pension.

Now, you can apparently opt-in to a pension plan that is transportable. I am not clear on the details, because I couldn't find anything in the Taipei Times archives, but I will bet this plan is defined contribution (anyone with a defined benefit plan should consider it a lucky break nowadays.) Found a link. Sounds like you only get interest - no investment options.

More information here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Basic Human Needs
June 26
Dong Xing Park

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Scalia and Kennedy Agree

And state's lose more ground under the current administration. Republicans speak up for God's sake, where are you when we need you? I don't want to get into the nitty gritty of the decision, nor in the administration's persuit of justice under John Ashcroft. What I want to know is if Justice Scalia, a true champion of the immutable Constitution, smoked the confiscated dope when he realized he was siding with Stevens, Ginsberg, Kennedy, and Breyer against Thomas and Rehnquist. Perhaps there is hope for this court after all. Of course the irony comes in the form of Stevens writing the Court's opinion. The dissent was penned by O'Conner, most likely because Rhenquist was too stoned after the chemo.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Alternate Weekend Report

Sounds like I missed a good night of live music. Thanks Bread for the reporting.

In alternate weekend news, you can see results of Axis and Allies at Chaon's place. He also reviews the live music and chilli.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Grooveyard / Baked Beans Review

Well, last night's show went off somehow. Not sure what they did to get around the fire regulations (oh wait, this is Taiwan, nevermind) or where all those white people came from, but the overall feeling in the room was positive. The venue itself could have done with a few less tables to open the dance floor up a bit and some more air conditioning to cool off the patrons a lot. However, the sound was good and the intimacy level was great.

The band, Baked Beans, proved up to the challenge of entertaining a bunch of drunk white people, even with a hobbled Pete on drums. The tunes were mostly country standards (e.g. The Gambler), pepped up Johhny Cash covers (e.g. Don't Take Your Guns to Town), some crooner country (e.g. Walkin' After Midnight) and some bluegrass staples (e.g. Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms). Perhaps the best tune they performed came as a surprise, a rockin' version of Randy Travis' Better Class of Losers. After Steve got the base turned down, the foot stomping could be heard in earnest and smiles were seen on the face of most everyone present.

Good luck to Patrick and Roger as they begin their new journey at the Grooveyard.

Friday, June 03, 2005

New Dig in Town

Tonight Australian Roger and Newfie Patrick are opening up a new live music venue above Frog I. Assuming readers still remember where that is, the party kicks off about 9:30 with an acoustic set by Nick and some yokel, followed by Baked Beans (country/bluegrass), and then some other, more rocking types. Get your boots on and get out!

Poker is cancelled.

Clarification not correction. We never have the need for that here. As I mentioned earlier, I said there will be lots of food and music on June 26. There Will be lots of food and YOU will bring it. PJ said to bring enough for, uh I forgot how many people he said, but I do remember it being about the same as the amount of meals he's willing to serve on any given day. So, let's say 6-7.

Faces of Death meets Taiwan

At the 7-11 counter I always peruse the Next magazine cover. Front cover is always breasts, breasts, and pop stars secretly dating. If you flip to the "rear" cover, you'll find murder, corruption, or scandal. This week, they have a grainy shot of a monkey being decapitated for someone's dining pleasure. You can see the page in the thumbnail here, but I suspect this page changes a lot, so no guarantee.

The in brief story on-line is here. Since I am illiterate immigrant to Taiwan, I'll have to wait to get the true dirt on this story. I thought only Cantonese ate this kind of stuff.

Yeah, and someone just told me this is sick and they don't want to hear about it. Sorry.


In case the monkey eating doesn't interest you, here's the link to the Breasts, Breasts, Celebrity dating page. Running down the list:

1. Big S and Little S, the famous sister singers. Looks like Big S is strangling Little S. My wife informs me that Little S has had a lot of plastic surgery.
2. Lin Zhi-Lin, a famous model. What do you thinks she is famous for?
3. Skip
4. Some chick in a Kimono smoking. In China.
5. Nice white suit.
6. Mathew Lien (CANADIAN) crossing the street with a Chinese girl. Is this guy famous in Canada? Oh, it looks like the caption says he spent the night with her. Must have been a great night!

Brit Paul turns 35!

A moment from the Hot Tea PJ

As a special guest reporter for the PJ Gazette, I am required to inform any interested party that the day in the park (June 26th) is bring your own bbq and 1,000 NT to support the Indian orphans. If the 1,000 NT seems a bit high, then you need to get a raise (or give whatever you can). If you don't need bbq, then you don't have to bring any.

Also from PJ's, Brit Paul was Kirknapped last night and thus stumbled to his own birthday party a bit late. Murph brought cake, Jimmy brought Rosie, and Yuri brought a cute little bandana upon his head (which sent Jim's Gaydar off). There was even an appearance by Sean the Cactus Farmer. Anyhow, it was good times (for a Brit birthday party) and everybody stayed awake until 10:30! Here's hoping the year treats you well Paul.

And one final note, the hometown Bulls dropped a heartbreaker to the Satanic Mafia ( the Elephants), 4-3. Jhang Jia-hao was thrown out stealing second in the eighth and Zheng Tai-Xiang's replacement at the hot corner (whose name I don't know), bogeyed a routine grounder, then compounded the mistake by overthrowing first base, allowing the winning run to score in the top of the ninth. A tough break to be sure, but this is the CPBL and we learned to deal with these kinds of things a long time ago. The Bulls are now 1/2 a game up on the Whales with only a few games left before the end of the first half. Get your whistles out and catch a game, I've linked the June schedule for any interested parties.

Bush and Mbecki meet

Perhaps they just wanted to discuss minority hiring, firing and relocation. Could be they wanted to chide each other's allies (Mugabe? Niyazov?). Maybe they simply wanted to exchange war stories and such. One thing is for sure, however. As soon as Bush mentioned genocide in Darfur, they agreed to have another meeting to discuss the problem.

Why J-Hole should move to Gitmo

First, this post is about the American "gulag" at Guantanamo Bay, so I need to make a little statement about not condoning torture, Koran flushing, lap dances, or brutal beatings.

Secondly, I'm going to set off Karl's woo-dar by linking to an N.R.O. article, so please all inclined, start the salinization process...can you taste the two pounds of rock salt yet? OKAY.

“Americans are very kind people,” one English-challenged detainee said in the March 4 paper. “If people say there is mistreatment in Cuba with the detainees, those type speaking are wrong, they treat us like a Muslim not a detainee.”
“I’m in good health and have good facilities of eating, drinking, living, and playing,” remarked another. “The food is good, the bedrooms are clean and the health care is very good.”

In a February 16 Gitmo dispatch, an American Forces Press Service report described the treatment of Camp Delta’s roughly 520 detainees from about 40 nations. Troublemakers wear prison-style orange jumpsuits and mainly are confined to rudimentary accommodations. But those who follow camp rules wear white outfits and exercise seven to nine hours daily, often playing soccer and volleyball. In quieter moments, “chess, checkers and playing cards are the most requested items,” Rhem wrote. As for reading, “A security official explained Agatha Christie books in Arabic are very popular and that camp officials are working to get copies of Harry Potter books in Arabic.”
Doesn't this seem a whole lot like a typical J-Hole vacation of Beach, Books, and Beer? Minus the beer of course. I'm not sure I wouldn't take this offer even if I was a hardened jihadi - figure that you are already in an American prison surrounded by Godless communist Cuban forces, I might just say it's God's will that I read Harry Potter in Arabic.

WAIT! I think that's proof of torture in itself.

and now I humbly submit to the many people who will explain to me how this is totally incorrect, that our forces by nature must flush Korans 24/7 and torture those poor, poor Saudi innocents who went to Afghanistan in October 2001 only to work for Islamic charity.

and I promise not to talk about the Afghan kid who after being in Gitmo said he wanted to grow up to be a US Marine. That HAS to be the Stockholm syndrome for sure.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Two factoids from this week's Economist. (Which means I just saved you some money cuz that's about it for interest.)

A higher proportion of Americans say they would be willing to vote for an openly gay presidential candidate (59%) than an openly atheist one (49%).
"He may be a fudge packer, but at least he knows he's going to hell!"

And of course, by mathematical principle, we can determine Karl would win 29% of the vote.

Second factoid: Now, I knew about Frog Gigging but apparently there is also Noodling. Another link here in case you only believe ESPN. I think I'll stick to indoor shrimp fishing.

p.s. If Karl has ever noodled before (and that's not entirely impossible with his secret red-neck heritage) I'll give him 10% more votes in "Deliverance" country.