Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Texas Hill Country Vacation

Part of my recently completed vacation included a several-day visit to my relatives' ranch near Medina, Texas. This is the same place I visited in 2005 with my wife when my young cousin took down that wild pig. This time, my wife stayed in Taiwan to complete her studies to become a teacher of Chinese. This was compensated by my brother and family making their first visit to the Big Foot Ranch.

The Big Foot is "not really a ranch. It's only 490 acres, John Wesley," as my Uncle Don would tell me again and again. Well, maybe not, but it's plenty big for me. My Aunt and Uncle's place looks out over the hills from about 900 ft. above the valley where my cousin Lance and his family live in their house. The top left picture is from their perch with the hills and clouds behind us. Down the hill to the right lives Kinky Friedman ( "Sometimes I think he just likes to be a nut" - Uncle Don) at his Utopia Animal Rescue Shelter and to the left a couple of miles down the road is Emily Robison ( "Who?" - Uncle Don) of the Dixie Chicks. Down the other side of the hill, hittable with a well thrown rock, is Escondida, the retreat created by Bob Phillips of Texas Country Reporter fame ( "Wasn't much better than a trailer park a year ago." - Uncle Don).

For a "real" ranch, we had to go to my cousin Lance's year-old property, Rattlesnake Springs. Complete with it's own spring which feeds several lakes and ponds on the ranch, it has it's own Hill Country-style mansion with guest houses, servants' quarters, laundry, canteen, supply house - all with living quarters in them. There was even a cement pond, and yes, Jed, Granny, Jethro and Elly May were all represented. Plenty of fish and wildlife. Several herds of black buck, white tail, and Pierre David - that mule-looking thing on the right with a big rack - all roam around freely. A 400 acre section of the ranch has already been sold off. Camel Bluff was once a Confederate Civil War camp ( Actually, most people know the whole ranch area as Prison Canyon, but Lance thought Rattlesnake Springs might draw a few more buyers.) and got its name when at the end of the war the Confederates drove the remaining camels over a high cliff, killing them and leaving their remains. The camels came to Camp Verde, Texas, as part of an army experiment with alternate pack animals.

The majority of the ranch remains intact, awaiting a buyer. While I cannot state the price, I can say that if I were an A-list actor, I would need Spielberg to sign me for a couple.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I want my F r i t o s ...................
IJ, pls. bring me back some Frito's, but don't leave them w/Wayne Wanye. Cauz some how he got the munchies and ate all mine:(

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Spot the error in this scam letter

From the desk of:
Dr. Cho Lee,
Bank of china,
Republic of China

I am Dr. Cho Lee, Bank Manager of Bank of China, Shenzhen Branch, China. I have urgent and very confidential business proposition for you. A British Oil consultant/contractor with the Chinese Solid Minerals Corporation, mr Raymond Beck made a numbered time (Fixed) Deposit for twelve calendar months, valued at Thirty Million US dollars in my branch. Upon maturity, I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a month, we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, the Chinese Solid Minerals Corporation, that Mr. Raymond Beck died in a plane crash along with his wife Mrs Doreen Beck in Egypt Air Flight 990, 1999 air crash...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Pineapple Gang-Taichung Chapter

The Pineapple Gang had their bi-monthly meeting at the Sun Moon Lake Clubhouse recently.

Was a leisurely drive up the mountains, with a stop in Puli for lunch. BTW, Sun Moon Lake was brutal. The powers that be decided to lower the level of the lake by about 15 feet, exposing previously unseen mud. A Saturday night in July and the place was practically deserted. We took advantage of the quiet to enjoy a few brews and some other refreshments on the waterfront, which wasn't so bad. Then off to the finest, cheapest love motel in the village (thanks to our fearless leader, Danger Dave). With pink decor in one room and purple in the other, it made for fine accomodations. If you ever have the chance to stay there, don't. Although it did feature a scratched up tv and a fine view of the boulevard, it wasn't enough to make up for the lack of a balcony.


Mr. Multicultural 2007

黑人 (Black Person) Toothpaste and 白人 (White Person) Toothbrush

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side...

Okay, I'll stop there.

Spreadin the brotherin seed..............

Headin to Lunch fellas ............

P V G P u D o n g

Did you know?
PVG has 77 flights departing per week for short haul destinations.
There are over 964 international flights per week from PVG.
The shortest flight out of PVG is 92 miles.
The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of PVG is a M80 with 143 seats.

Over 39 air carriers serving this location.

And they seem to cancel that dang 92 mile flight the most........

That's the Ningbo flight:)

S H A H o n g q i a o

Did you know?
There are over 1,658 domestic flights per week from SHA.
The shortest flight out of SHA is 95 miles.
The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of SHA is a EMB with 18 seats.
There are 9 airlines operating out of SHA.
Actually there are now 10 air carriers operating out of SHA........
Damn erroneous website!

T A O Q i n g d a o

Did you know?
The largest aircraft flying out of TAO is a 330 with 296 seats.
There are 14 airlines operating out of TAO.
There are 39 nonstop flights per week departing from TAO.
There are over 65 long haul flights per week from TAO.

Believe it or not....... 20 air carriers serve this location.

M Z G M a K u n g A b

Did you know?
Over 28,540 passengers can travel out of MZG every week.
There are 115 flights per week flying on small aircraft from MZG.
MZG connects with 5 cities nonstop.
There are 5 nonstop flights per week departing from MZG.

Insane #'s for only 4 air carriers servings this location..........

R M Q T a i c h u n g

Did you know?
The largest aircraft flying out of RMQ is a 100 with 108 seats.
The shortest flight out of RMQ is 65 miles.
The longest flight from RMQ is 1,304 miles.
There are over 14 international flights per week from RMQ.

Only 3 airlines servings this airport.......... and 1 of them is called "Unknown".

Only in Taiwan:)

D F W D a l l a s / F t W o r t h I n t e r n a t i o n a l

Did you know?
There are over 5,619 domestic flights per week from DFW.
The largest aircraft flying out of DFW is a 777 with 328 seats.
There are over 474 international flights per week from DFW.
Over 681,154 passengers can travel out of DFW every week.

And 2 think only 21 carriers servings this little por dunk plac.................

S F O S a n F r a n c i s c o I n t e r n a t i o n a l

Did you know?
There are 861 flights per week flying on small aircraft from SFO.
The longest flight from SFO is 7,421 miles.
There are over 432 international flights per week from SFO.
The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of SFO is a EM2 with 30 seats.

Only 35 air carriers to choose from....... Enjoy IJ:)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The NAACP "buried" the N-word yesterday. Also interred was an H-word - not homo or head cheese but ho. On closer inspection it looks more like a Scorpion King partial burial with wiggle room left for later extraction. The way I read it, only our (African American) women are covered by this. So the H-word is still in play for Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics and Africa African Americans. The Whor-word is still available for all

Summer Reading Recommendations

For J-Hole, I think this book is a must read.

Especially the chapter on how to make a sweat lodge.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's that time of the year again...

You know, the season when we read about Canada's claim over the Northwest Passage and Hans Island. The Northwest Passage is apparently going to revolutionize shipping:
As global warming melts the passage – which now is only navigable during a slim window in the summer – the waters are exposing unexplored resources such as oil, fishing stocks and minerals, and becoming an attractive shipping route. Commercial ships can shave off some 2,480 miles from Europe to Asia compared with current routes through the Panama Canal.
But wait, two can play at this game! The Europeans have come up with the Northeast Passage!
With the earth growing warmer and the arctic ice cover rapidly melting, the seas above the Eurasian continent are becoming increasingly accessible to shipping. This potential sea lane, historically referred to as the Northeast Passage, may soon compete favorably with traditional northern-- hemisphere "shortcuts" as the Suez and Panama canals.
I seriously doubt that much international shipping is going to use either of the routes, though the Russians supposedly do use their route for some domestic shipments.

Now, on to the more interesting Denmark / Canada spat:
Denmark sent a letter of protest to Ottawa, while Canadians and Danes took out competing Google ads, each proclaiming sovereignty over the rock 680 miles south of the North Pole.
I wonder if those ads are still dueling?

The Hans Island Liberation Front

Radio Free Hans Island

Free Hans Island

Hans Island Belongs to Canada (with biggest Canadian flag I have ever seen on a website.)

Looks like Canada won the google war, as only one of the non-news sites is pro-Danish.

Anyways, Nihowdy (or me to be specific) had many posts on Hans Island in 2005, and we got some traffic from that coverage...mainly Danish nationalists angry at our pro-Canada stance. Or was it the other way around?

I can tell you right now that just reading about Arctic islands makes me want to turn up the A/C and imagine lying on the beach next to the historic Northwest Passage enjoying a pinacolada.

Update: Denmark apparently also has a tiff with the UK over some island called Rockall. The Rockall Times covers the arguments, though these won't apply to the case of Hans Island as Canada doesn't have any nuclear bombs.

Failed attempt # 1

Following advice given by my wife, mom and pastor, I decided I would commit one day to not being judgemental, condemning or just all-around nasty. It would be My Day of Living Nicely.

I would try to see the positive side of things and watch my mouth, even when no one was around to hear. I would rely heavily on dangits, shoots and if things were too egregious, I would resort to the strongest of curses ever uttered by my beloved grandmother, Mimi - Foot! For Mimi, who I never heard curse properly, this was the equivalent of a year's worth of F-bombs.

I picked Sunday as the day. It should be easy. Go to church (usually no problem there), lunch with some families from church and then relax at the coffee shop while browsing online. Acutely aware of just how easy it is to stumble upon contentious claptrap online, I limited myself to three sites: ESPN, my bank (non-contentious while I still have money) and a video of the Police from one of the Save Everything Now For Free concerts.

I love the Police and figured I could find a video of them without having to listen to any host waste my time and his breath cheer leading for the earth. Risky but doable. It was the Police! In college I went to see them consecutive weekends in Dallas and Austin. I overcame bottles of MadDog 20/20 and ice skating / falling amid pre-teens weaving around me in Dallas and a deer on my front fender in Austin to see them. A blarney-free video should be a piece of cake.

And it was, at first. I chose Message in a Bottle. It started well. Sting was hitting the high notes with about a 90% efficiency rating. There was an extra guy on guitar, John Mayer, but he wasn't hogging the stage so it was all right. And then, it wasn't. Who's that guy sneaking up behind Sting?

"Mr. Kanye West, everybody!" Huh? What? Isn't he some sort of rap guy? Please God, no! No! Oh, dangit! And by dangit I mean dammit. This is a song, not a spoken-word mouth-fart! Come on, no! Yes.

Not being a rap aficionado, I'm not positive about this, but I thought rappers relied on rhyme and an acute vernacular. Not Mr. West. No rhyming. He was struggling just to reach for assonance ( heavy stress on the first syllable) - bottle, tomorrow, follow.

Ugh. He's jumping around like he's on an exercise infomercial, mortally piercing the music with bon mots such as Huh! Huh!, Yeah! Yeah!, Hey! Hey! and Care! Care! It's like listening to two completely different radio stations at the same time.

Why the hell doesn't Sting do something! This is their song! Hell, he's gone after his own bandmates - musicians - for less. Why doesn't he kick his ass? Or at least Tantrically bore his ass to death?

The coffee shop has been replaced by a bar with a 100 drafts on tap. Kanye West, you blew My Day of Living Nicely. Foot you.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Summer Events Schedule

Looking for something to do this summer? Here are a few events for everyone.

  • Roswell UFO Festival - July 5th-8th in, well, Roswell, NM. They will have speakers, authors, family-friendly activities and possibly an alien abduction. There will also be live entertainment as War and The Alan Parsons Project utilize some of that alien technology to headline a concert.
  • Testicle Festival - August 1st-5th, 22 miles east of Missoula, Montana, on I-90, Exit 126. Note: This event has been targeted by the Montana Highway Patrol as a probable location for deployment of its new 40-ft long DUI Wagon, featuring the Intoxilyzer 8000 and "other conveniences normally found only at police stations."
  • World Championship of American Football - July 7th-15th, Kawasaki, Japan. Six teams will compete - Sweden, France, Germany, Korea, Japan and the U.S., including a 340lb. German and a DE from the University of Montana Grizzlies, Dustin Dlouhy. Sorry, not available on J-Sports (no relation).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Heavy Metal

Apologies to Pimp for missing THE last PIMPED OUT Crome Relic show. Scott made me feel real bad the other night at Fu Bar. Actually, Kevlar and I both missed the show but he didn't give a shit. He was spellbound talking to this girl who kept talking about her breasts. She said she won a T-shirt and then tore it off her body later when someone spilled a drink on it. At this point I think Kev managed a grunt between drags off his smoke. She continued on and mentioned that that was when she noticed 2 or 3 video cameras in the room. Funny how the cameras come out when babes get naked. Anyway, someone should throw up some video of Pimp's last performance, you know, for posterity. Or at least some clips of the one woman wet T-shirt contest.

"Crome Relic may play again, but never again with Ryan!(Pimp!) You guys suck!" - Scott, guitarist extraordinaire.

So, in an effort to atone for my non-metal viewing ass, here's part I of Heavy Metal Refugees from VBS.TV - Iraqi Metalheads Acrassicauda in Syria...

"In 2003, just after the US toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, Vice magazine published an article on the only heavy metal band in Iraq, Acrassicauda. The Baghdad-based band was formed in the last few years of Saddam’s rule and aside from the typical problems every band has, they also had to deal with the stigma of playing dark western music in an Islamic state under Baath party rule, while coming out of a decade of war, sanctions, and poverty."

NiHowdy misses Canada Day, July 4

But we will be ready for massive Bastille Day coverage. En francais, si'l vous plait!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ozzy Osbourne to help Taiwan in U.N. membership quest

Is this good or bad?

CthonicC's website...

I guess its Goths meet Kiss meet the temple gods.

Question: I believe that when China took over Taiwan's seat at the UN, Taiwan was offered its own seat at the UN (but not a Security Council seat) but one of the Chiangs refused this. Maybe J-hole can stop posting about Israeli-French relations to let me know if that's true or not.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Prior to the 6 Day War, Abba Eban made a visit to Charles de Gaulle to reaffirm France's continued support of Israel should hostilities arise. He did not receive it. Rather, de Gaulle, trying to place France as the leading arbiter in East / West relations, stated he was not about to jeopardize the good relations he had established with the Arab countries

"merely because public opinion felt some superficial sympathy
for Israel as a small country with an unhappy history."

Also prior to the war, Prime Minister Harold Wilson on LBJ's plan to send an international flotilla past the blockade at the Straits of Tiran -

" I believe that ther are enough countries in the world
with the sense to realize that world peace is more important even that trying to
go on working through an impotent UN, and with the guts to stand up and be
counted...Who knows, perhaps even France might agree?"

Hank Hill trying to free Peggy and Luanne from a college cult -
"This is a job for meat."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Amcham poltroonery

The following was originally posted on June 21, 2005, in response to Taichung Amcham's "America Day" celebration. Nothing has changed except for the name. It is now Taichung Amcham/Muchachos International America Day. These guys are a non-profit organization, and evidently doomed to stay that way.

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.