Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Overheard at A.I.T.

Official: What do you do for a living?

Supplicant: I'm a private equity banker.

Official: Where will your wife live in the USA? We will need to see some documentation, maybe a utility bill in your name with the address or something like that.

Supplicant: Actually, I live with my parents.


In defense of this guy, I heard the CEO of Bear Stearns just moved back home with his Mom too.  And his Mom won't give him an advance on his allowance until all the chores are done.

p.s. The Burger King next to AIT served an awful meal this time. I'm thinking of skipping it in the future. Any suggestions for lunch?


Yesterday was definately one of the more enjoyable football Sunday's in a few years!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finga's Pie

Season's Greetings

The inlaws came to my house Christmas Eve. I knew they were bringing the turkeybird. I went to Jason's, Capitian'ns (yumahu) and Sinnon. Getting vegetables, looking for cranberry jelly, and stove top stuffing.

After failing I hit Finga's for this 480nt$ eight inch apple pie. It was tasty, but pricey. Then to a supermarket for wine, vodka, lime mix.

The odd thing was that I wanted Bailey's, vanilla ice cream and apple pie. I got carried away with having Christmas day off.
The pie was gone quickly. The leftover bird bits went in the steamer, on a plate with veggies and a little gravy. J-hole once mentioned the steam cooking. The steam really rejuvenates the meal. Why did i ever put meat in a microwave?Today I am gonna attempt Turkey Soup.Don't worry I won't be posting pics.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Puntland Prez: Red A Fodder

I see that this week the Chinese have sent destroyers into the waters off the Horn of Africa to protect their shipping interests from pirates.

Much of the piracy is based in Somalia and Puntland. (govt site)

Now I'm sure this would have been mentioned at some point if I were still around Taichung so here's the Red A fodder part (and in some oddly perverted way, I actually kinda miss his malicious digs at Canada) - enjoy!

The president of Puntland, Mohamud Muse Hersi ran a gas station and raised a family in Ottawa between 1979 and the mid 1990s.

I am picturing palm rubbing and grin-giggling.

CBC story - Former Ottawa gas station operator rules home state of Somali pirates

He has repeatedly denied profiting from Puntland piracy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Transporter 5

Where do they get that crap?

Shoe phone..

Uranium Savages


Sorry I lost that Uranium Savages tape and your cowboy hat (though I still claim you never gave that to me.)

To make up for it, please find this link to the Uranium Savages web page, complete with downloadable MP3s...

You want to go to discoteque?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Red A Family Christmas Tree

Complete with weird kid-shaped black hole.

Even Christmas Tree lights cannot escape it!

Info Month Expo - Taichung

Petra and I made it out to the expo last Sunday. We left without purchasing anything, which was good because there were so many people there and so crowded I had more than the usual trouble of trying to think. There were computers, cell phones, office equipment, televisions, games, software and more. Jordan's Language School had a booth with their dragon mascot and his co-host, a young Taiwanese woman with an eardrum-piercing,screechy-high, rah-rah voice, putting on an English demonstration in Chinese. The National Palace Museum's booth featured some truly neat-o software. Petra and I played with it for a while and as we were leaving the booth I asked her why she was not considering getting it. She said that it was part of their web site and we didn't have to buy it. Great. But it was not part of their web site and it was indeed software. I only found this out two days later.

This is leaving the expo. It was at the old Shui Nan Airport and on arrival you turned off of Da Ya Road, wound around a minute on a small lane and emerged on the taxiway. As the group of cars and scooters I was following hit the taxiway, we all broke into a high-speed picket line formation and floored it the 1 kilometer to the expo building. I considered it a highlight.

These guys are wearing boxes, clacking little, plastic megaphones to call attention to their printer leasing company. My wife says companies like this are popular right now.

Outside the expo building was a mini-night market complete with games. This vendor caught our eye. Fried shrimp or oyster xiao long bao ( usually meat-filled steamed buns). You can see the buns at the bottom left, before they go into the deep fryer vat. Should have just had them like that. The bun turned out not to be very suitable for deep-frying. While the filing - we had the shrimp - was okay, the bun itself tasted like a big,hot, greasy glob of Bazooka bubble gum.

I am holding champagne milk tea. I am wearing the proper expression for one who has just drank some. If you are wondering, it tastes like creamy bubble gum and cyan.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas lights

Is your house on fire, Clark?
No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.

Happy Holidays:)

would you believe?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Old Alert

Wow, for the first time in a while (perhaps ever) I feel old today. Let me explain. Christmas is just around the corner and as I now work in an office I'm to participate in a Secret Santa. So of course me being a bit of a joker was discussing the gift exchange with one of my younger colleague's (22 + attractive) trying to mislead her. i told her I had Kenny (who is African American) and that I had decided to buy him the new Guns and Roses CD. The flaw in my thinking was she had never heard of Guns and Roses and therefore took my suggestion seriously (which I thought was clearly sarcastic) and mentioned to one of my co-workers that I had pulled Kenny's name from the hat.
This girl in turn said she also had Kenny causing panic throughout the office that somehow someone had made the devastating mistake of putting two of the same names in the hat. Anyways, I'm sure all of this is getting very confusing but can you believe........someone on this earth has never heard of Guns and Roses.

I asked my colleague when she was born and she said 1986. I believe Appetite for Destruction was released in 87. Now I feel old.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ponce de LeSmith

Chaon has recently declared war on us here at Nihowdy. Wow, nothing like an overweight, undersexed 7 foot goofball lining up his A&A pieces to take us down in a moment of Jihad. The interesting thing about his little pissing contest? In order to be a successful jihad, isn't it imperative that he die in the name of his atheism? And if he does indeed die in this endeavor, does that mean his wife is on the market for other lovers of ninja lesbians, like this ninja bunny?

*I must confess, I'm with him on the Tonka posts, but if we mention we're tired of them Willie will post more just out of spite. So keep posting Big John, they're really fascinating.

Hope Dashed

Well, I posted a couple of weeks ago about Obama and how neat the evening of his election was here in Missoula, MT. I didn't vote for Obama (and certainly not McCain) because I feel he is second coming of Clinton, that he will kowtow to industry, and that he will basically shoot the progressive movement in the foot. The right has become so adept at defining anything left of Rush Limbaugh as liberal propaganda that we have started believing them. A brief look at Obama's cabinet:

Sec. of State: Hillary. Pro Iraq war, no meaningful foreign policy experience, friend to India at a time when an even hand is needed, voted for the latest round of wire tapping and the "Patriot" act and has stated speaking with foreign leaders we do not agree with is a bad idea. You're right Hillary, let's just bomb them instead.

Sec of Defense: Gates. Not much to add here, it's pretty clear where he is coming from.

Sec. of Education: Duncan. A beleiver in test taking and no child left behind (interesting considering Obama said he'd do away with the law during the campaign). enemy to teacher's unions everywhere.

Sec. of Interior: Salazar. I cannot begin to describe how awful this pick is. Supported the ultimate science hater gale norton, voted for ranching subsidies on public lands, threatened to sue fish and wildlife for putting prarie dogs on the endangered list, voted against fuel efficiency standards for cars, voted to end offshore drilling restrictions, and the list goes on. Agency Capture Continues in Interior should be the headline.

Sec. of Treasury: Geithner. What the F...? Looks like treasury will continue in the same direction it has been going under Paulson. I understand the need for institutional knowledge, but this department has been a disaster and Geithner has been standing right there the whole time (allbeit from just outside).

Sec. of HHS: Daschle. Couldn't do Hillary Care in the 90s, why will this be any different?

HUD: Donovan. Honestly don't know much about him, so no complaints yet.

AG: Holder. Marc Rich, really? To be honest, I kind of like this pick. Tough on corruption, big on curbing executive power, will speak his mind and stand up to Obama if he thinks he is legally wrong and not show Obama how to get around a law he doesn't like -- all in all we could have Gonzalez back, right?

Commerce: Richardson. Clinton retread, again, don't get me started on this corrupt son of a bitch.

Agriculture: Vilsack. I'm not sure people realize how important this position is, being as it controls food standards, national forest leasing, farm subsidy policy, etc. He is an agribusiness hack and a huge supporter of "biofuel," whatever the hell that means. Disgusting choice.

Energy: Chu. A nobel laurete and believer in science! Yeah!

Homeland Security: Napolitino. No idea whatsoever what these people do. Seems like your main job is as a public administrator, making sure people get what they need when they need it and ensuring the intelligence agencies aren't getting so jealous of each other they withhold information.

So there you have it, a cabinet defined as "liberal" for all the world to see. Yet the only liberal policies they espouse are biofuel, which is stupid in theory and practice, protectionism, which is stupid in theory and practice, and universal health care. Maybe science is a liberal idea now, I'm not sure. I'm also not sure where this revolution of change is coming from given the people Obama has chosen. Other than Chu, Holder and possibly Napolitino, I wouldn't vote for any of these people to be dog catcher. Looks like four more years of Clintonian center right (which is better than Bush far right) and that's just poo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mess with the Taiwanese

I'm back in Taiwan now, and just successfully messed with my wife's head again.

Every time I'm in China, I try to learn a new phrase that is used there but not in Taiwan.

Then when I get back, I start using it continuously to the annoyance of my KMT-voting but slightly anti-China wife.

This time the two phrases were:

"Da4 Guai3" and "Xiao3 Guai3" literally Big Turn=Left Turn and Little Turn=Right Turn

The trick is you have to casually use these phrases as if they were completely normal Chinese - and, why, yes they are. Then when your Taiwanese counterpart acts flustered, you repeat them louder and louder. What? Don't you understand Chinese? Ha ha ha!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Griz v. Spiders

A special shout out to Dean-O, alias Mr. Bean, whose Richmond Spiders defeated Northern Iowa to advance to the finals of the FCS for the first time. They will be joined in Chattanooga, TN by the Montana Grizzlies for all the marbles. Some friends and I were contemplating the drive, but being as we have an afternoon final the day before, it just wasn't happening.

In other news, the temperature is holding steady at -7F today (about -22C), just cold enough for the old nose hairs to freeze up* after two seconds outdoors. Fortunately, I and a couple of friends spent the day in some hot springs (photo below) about an hour out of town. One is returning to Japan soon and wanted one last American experience. I was happy to oblige.

*this is also known as "ice snot"

一中街 / Yi Chong Street

Taichung's Yi Chong (or I Chong, how do you Romanize it?) Street is very popular with students, young people and wives who want their husbands to go someplace other than establishments providing frosty, adult beverages. It is actually one or two main streets with many alleys feeding off of it and gazillions of people feeding themselves and the vendors. Action is busiest on the weekends and holidays and that is when my wife told me that we were going. We were looking for Christmas gifts. We found none. I'm sure there are things there I would buy - 90% of my students' accessories come from there or the Feng Jia area. However, this was truly a 人山人海 situation (people mountain people sea: huge crowds of people). Final score: Other people - 0, Me - 4. I got four sets of matchboxes with classic themes: Elvis, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood, old Chinese adverts and Chinese Huangmei opera films.

I also met these guys. College students giving out hugs. Their goal was 10,000. Get a hug and sign your name. I got one from each of the seven pictured but don't know if that counts for seven or just one, me. Anyhoo, they were very nice and spoke English very well and confidently. That was a nice experience.

My continuing quest for good dumplings was not as nice though. I tried the first soup dumpling stand that I came upon. 5 dumplings for $20 NT. Dumplings, yes, soup...no. Well, you get what you pay for, so I tried a different stand nearby selling the same amount for $25 NT.

Me: Do your soup dumplings have any soup in them?

Unhappy Girl Helper: ( Nothing is said. Just looks at me like a tree full of owls.)

Me: Excuse me. Do your dumplings have soup in them?

UGH: ( Still nothing said but her expression changes to one of disgust and amazement at my stupidity - dismazement. She then slowly points to each character on the sign indicating that this is a soup dumpling stand, nodding her head slowly at each character, hoping round-eye can understand and order or go away. I'm gonna send the Hug Squad over here and order her a double.)

Me: I know this is a soup dumpling stand, that's why I'm here. But I just came from that one there and there was no soup in his dumplings. What about yours?

UGH: ..........Boss!

Boss: What's the problem!

Me: No problem. I just want to know if your dumplings have soup in them. That's all.

Boss: What do you mean? Of course! You want them or not? ( Hug Squad, where are you?)

Me: Yeah. And give me a spoon, please.

Boss: What do you need a spoon for?

Me: Uh...nothing, I guess.

I guessed right. Nothing. After carefully making a little hole in each of the dumplings to let the soup drain into the clear plastic bag, that is what I ended up with. Not even one drop. Well, I'm going to pay a little more and go back to the soup-friendly dumpling places I know of

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Tonka XVII issue, vol 16

One 4 the road...........

New York Mets win doubleheader

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Y I W Y i w u

Did You Know?

  • The smallest commercial aircraft flying out of YIW, CN is a 737 with 166 seats.
  • There are 7 nonstop flights per week departing from YIW, CN.
  • YIW, CN has 21 medium sized aircraft departing each week.
  • The largest aircraft flying out of YIW, CN is a 737 with 166 seats.

KAOS in Control

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two Things

1. If I am ever in charge of a US company who sends overseas vendors Excel Files to fill in for pricing, etc., I will make the forms fit A4 size. I bet you can even buy that in America. 8.5 x 11" is annoying as hell.

2. 10 hours in van with customer wasting my time while they think about using the competitors we are visiting. You know, the ones we set up meetings with and planned out when we could have been doing our own products.  This is not a good time to claim that our QC service % is too high and that we really don't do anything. I was ready to walk away. He claimed I was "threatening him." WTF? You think its not a valuable service so I say, fine, I won't do it. That is not a threat but a promise, in fact. Does he think people should work for free?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Five dives, food, accommodation and transportation from Taichung to Green Island. Lots of fun!!, 8000nt.
Six days later I went to China medical to get my left ear sorted. After testing my options were A) A needle and meds. B) Meds, wait two weeks and then a needle if necessary.
I choose option (A). After the doc used a syringe to extract the fluid from my middle ear my hearing instantly returned.
Over the next ten days the eardrum was cloudy and occasionally clear. Now it is A-one.
This is the second time I have had fluid trapped in my middle ear. I was careful to take my time and equalize, on my way up and down.

On my next dive trip how can I prevent this "Barotrauma"? My ear doc agreed with my suggestion for decongestants. But I think we may have had a minor communication issue. Any suggestions?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Air shows

I'll b ur wing man......

Dead Cowboy

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Phasors on stun

A B C on gun control

Set fazors on stun.........

Kisses For KAOS

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tech will not be going to a BCS bowl game despite being ranked #7 by the BCS. The BCS guarantees a meeting of #1 and #2, but for the remaining four BCS bowls, conference champs get bids. So, we have #13 Cincinnati and #18 B.C. in the Orange Bowl. Tech will be in the Cotton Bowl against Ole Miss, which is not in the BCS Top 25 (they are 22 in the AP, though). Tech will get to play in Dallas, which will make it much more convenient for fans to attend. But why not match us up with #8, Penn State? The BCS goes to lots of trouble to pair up their numbers 1 and 2, why not do it for the rest of the Top Ten? Yes, I am a Tech partisan, but I would rather see Tech play in a bowl commensurate with their ranking than getting a handout. I would feel like they just hadn't earned it. Teams that had finished in the Top Ten should get the benefits of exposure from being in a BCS bowl game. Only Tech and #9 Boise State will not be in a BCS game. Boise will be in the Humanitarian Bowl.

On the brighter side, Tech has offered Coach Leach a new contract proposal including a raise and 3-year extension, running through 2013. With Washington and Auburn apparently looking elsewhere for coaches, this is good news. Especially when considering that Coach Leach loves the Hub City, wants to stay, wants a fair contract and didn't want to wait until the season was over to work out a deal. Well, AD Gerald Myers got it to him, though maybe not as quickly as a lot of Tech fans would have liked.

Equally bright, potentially brighter, cleaner and more sanitary, is the news of Tech researcher, Seshadri Ramkumar, who supervises the Nonwovens and Advanced Materials Laboratory at Texas Tech, who has developed a decontamination wipe designed by researchers at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University which has proven itself the best for cleaning up chemical warfare agents and toxic chemicals.

The evaluation of the nonwoven dry wipe product, called Fibertect was performed as part of a study by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory using mustard gas and other toxic chemicals. Researchers found that the Texas Tech-created product out-performed 30 different decontamination materials, including materials currently used in military decontamination kits.

The Tech Athletic Department has a rush order in for a gross of cases to decontaminate the football uniforms after getting the kee-rap beat out of them in Norman.

But...Fibertect? Come on! I've never drunk Taterade or Gamerade, but I have drunk Gatorade. This is a no-brainer. It's gotta be FiberTech, dammit!

But even Fibertect is better than the captioning of the picture in the wipe link.


上海 波霸
(shàng hǎi bō bà)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Random Sentences put in an Incohesive Post

Kevlar is discussing politics? Maybe he can become the next Usher of the Black Rod (thus supplanting crazy Kenny).

Steven Harper is what we thought he was!!!

Went to Vegas over Thanksgiving Holiday....and surprisingly came back with more than I went with. I managed to hit four dueces on the flop of Triple Play poker, paying out about 1G (on a four dollar bet). That paid for the trip with room to spare. Looks like a good Xmas for the nieces and nephews.

Speaking of which...the boycott is ending early. Nobody else in the family is making the pilgrimage to Texas, meaning have my mother endure a long, lonely holiday or sucking up my pride and covering for my siblings (who covered me for ten years while I was overseas). Think I may parlay it into a trip to the Florida Keys, we shall see.

Finals blow ass. And if anyone ever thinks of forming a partnership here in the States, one word of advice: get someone else to do your taxes. Subchapter K (which covers Partnerships, LLCs and S corps) is without question the most confounding area of hell imaginable. Pass through entities suck. After taking a class specifically in the field of Partnership Tax for the past four months, I'm no further along in my understanding of it than I was after my simple Business Organization class. Final next Wednesday, updates to follow. Maybe I'll even post a question for our eager readers.

Steve Avery is in big trouble for using the term "sloppy seconds" in relation to his ex-girl's relationship with a current member of the Calgary Flames. Really? This is a suspendable offense in this day and age? How did this even get out? Did someone from the Flame locker room go running to the league saying "he called that sweet little blonde sloppy seconds, the big meany!" I understand Avery is a prick, a gnat and all kinds of bad things, but suspended? The interesting thing was that when Zidane headbutted that dude for badmouthing his sister, everyone was on the Italian's side saying "get over it, it's sports." Memo to Calgary: GET OVER IT.

And finally, how dumb is Plaxico Burress?


Parliament prorogued.

Canadian coalition crisis explained to Americans. (or anyone else thinking WTF?)

Michaelle Jean's role.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Coalition Government

The Torries (G.O.P) received the largest percentage of the Canadian vote 40%. Their elected leader Steven Harper became the prime minister in October. The other three parties are upset with some "Camel straw-back tactics" and propose to take their combined total of the votes 60% ,and start a new government.
Holy Crap! The Bloc, separatists get a nice slice of pie. The NDP (commies) get 25%. The Liberals support their green man, Mr.Dion to become the new PM.
Exciting movements and race and gender were not an issue. Well the Torries were accused of attacking the rights of women. We don't have a "race card", we have a cultural anti-french card, but that is only because they want to break-up with us. Then again those threats have gotten them a lot of federal dollars.
Are the ministers going to pull us together or tear us apart?
"Opposition parties blasted the Tories for... using tumultuous times to try to push through ideologically-driven measures they said attacked women and public servants". ?? Economic issues??
Hmm public servants, what like public school teachers, or postal workers... Well not exactly Canada has 200 departments of bureaucrats and perhaps those offices are feeling the "Crunch of industry business failure, albeit through the long faces and paper cuts and noisy telephones".
There are a total of 308 seats. The Torries fell short of the 155 needed to have a majority government, able to efficiently push bills thru the house. With 77 Liberal MPs and 37 New Democrats, plus the support of 49 Bloc members(60 %) the three parties have more seats than the 143 held by the Tories. .

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Which of the following could you buy for a buck?

Mr. Bean's ride - Bought from Bread, and with several various tape enhancements, still performing at peak condition.

Say hello to Andrew. He and his twin brother, Adam, are my students at my house on Fridays. He is sporting a paper New York Yankees cap that he made himself. He also created the scorpanzee. It's like pretty much his favorite animal.

Southern Command Security - Bao Bao on duty.

兆溱豐 - Dumplings

I like dumplings. Steamed dumplings are obviously superior to boiled dumplings in every way. Pot stickers are especially good when you can get them with a slightly crispy skin. There are also broth filled dumplings called Tang Bao as well as a bigger steamed dumplings called 小籠包 (xiao3 long2 bao1). Taipei has the most famous 小籠湯 shop in Taiwan, 鼎 泰 豐 (ding3 tai4 feng1) and my wife got a chance last month to eat at both Taipei locations.

This was convenient for me because I had come across a similar style shop in Taichung, 兆溱豐 (zhao4 qin2 feng1). There are now two in Taichung - one on Wen Shin South road (map) and one in the Dong Hai area. We visited the Wen Shin shop. The story goes that a "master chef" from the Taipei dumpling store came to Taichung and opened his own "McDougal's." With my wife having eaten at the two Taipei locations, I thought she would be able to give me a good comparison of the two. So, off we went.

We were ushered through the first floor which has the kitchen, a shrine to some gods as well as a shrine to the master chef himself. Seated on the second floor looking at the menu, we met our first problem. Traditionally, Tang Bao are smaller dumplings with more broth than the bigger 小籠包. However the menu listed 小籠包 and 小籠湯包 (soup-filled). What? Weren't they all soup-filled? After questioning the waiter and not understanding him, they had to show us pictures so we could understand. Turns out that this place has their own nomenclature. The former was indeed the big, soup-filled dumpling that we wanted. The latter were smaller, no-soup, steamed dumplings that came with a bowl of soup to let you combine the two. Here are some good photos of the 小籠包 ( the first 3 food pics).

The dumplings were very good. My wife thinks they are about as good as the Taipei joint, and most of the Taiwanese bloggers that I've read concur. The prices are a tad cheaper than Taipei, but still, one steamer with 10 dumplings is $150 NT. The rest of the food was nothing special, though my wife thought their chicken soup was also very good.

On the negative side we have their service. When seated, we made up the third table on the second floor - one for each of the servers 5 feet away. They, however, were caught up in the task of filling cups with tea - either for guests who were not yet there or they thought we all wanted forty cups of tea apiece. Their attention did not improve. Additionally, they had a poor selection of side dishes. Most restaurants have an array of side dishes on small plates. When I went to look at their selection I had this conversation with the same waiter who had baffled me and my wife earlier:

Me: You don't have much of a selection, do you?

Server: Oh no! We have a lot! Look!

Me: They're all tofu dishes.

Server: But we have lots (of dishes).

Me: You have lots of plates but only dried tofu or tofu strips.

Server: See! We have lots.

Well, the dumplings were good, and I learned the best way to eat them. I had always just plopped the whole thing in my mouth and chowed down. My wife corrected me. You should first bite a tiny hole in the dumpling skin and let the broth pour into your soup spoon and drink that first. Then you eat the dumpling with ginger strips and vinegar. Definitely the way to do it. Their broth was great. I had been missing out on the chance to enjoy the broth independent of the dumpling for years. Be sure to eat while still hot before it cools and is absorbed into the filling.

We decided we would go back, but only for the 小籠包.

Friday, November 28, 2008

D o n g g u a n

2 weeks after "National Week" holiday......


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Worldmapper.com has about 600 maps.

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.

The top one shows the distribution of Muslims.

The one on the bottom highlights alcohol consumption.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All the Economic Stimulus I Need

Ignore the egg tart. Ignore the other fried shit and the obligatory icy beverage.
That pentagram-shaped puppy right there in the middle is a Szechuan Beef Wrap.
And its pretty damned tasty. For KFC food.
Its really some bastard form of Mexican food, because it comes in a toasted tortilla.
For a long time I have silently thought that China's KFC was far better than Taiwan's KFC.
Now that Ma is president and the Szechuan Beef Wrap is on sale I can finally speak openly of this.
Did I mention this food is Pentagram Shaped?

"36-38-36, that's how you...stuff a wild fair-air-ee!"

I have been holding off on finishing and publishing this post mainly because of laziness, but also because the story is constantly changing. The Taiwan government decided on a stimulus package for the economy last week. $3,600 NT for every Taiwanese citizen, regardless of age. They have decided upon a shotgun stimulation: the $3,600 will be distributed in the form of vouchers, not cash. Use it or lose it.

Originally the vouchers could only be used at retailers, hypermarts and restaurants with business licenses. It only took the sight of a few Mom and Poppers, Street Vendors and Night Marketeers wearing their ball caps and shoulders draped with a rolled towel to prompt them to reconsider. Not that it mattered that much. They still could have received the vouchers as payment. They would not have been able to cash them, but would be able to use them to purchase other things. Even the druggies were prepared. The China Post states that pushers will give $3,000 cash for the $3,600 of vouchers or $3,000 worth of their drug of choice.

Who is eligible? Who knows? What time is it now? My Li Zhang (precinct boss) didn't know. The papers say citizens and those on the authorized household registry are eligible. I am on the registry but not a citizen. Do I get them? Best not to leave it to chance. I have regularly paid my taxes and should get a seat on the (watered-down, black pepper) Taiwanese gravy train. At the very least I think that I should get a mandatory "Thank you" from every citizen unemployed and/or under the age of 18.

How to ensure it? Simple. Protest, threaten, complain. I'm pretty sure that in Taiwan, it's illegal, or at least culturally taboo, to protest without a movement name. During the pre-game to last year's presidential election, there was only one group that Ma Ying-jeou didn't promise scads of money to, or threaten to sleep over at your house for two weeks. That would be students. The current Wild Strawberry Movement protesting the Assembly Law and the police response to the citizens' protest of Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin’s (陳雲林) visit hasn't got a lot of reaction from President Mark Ma as of yet ( Note to students: Go talk to a taxi driver). Fortunately, we are not students now. However, there was one successful "Wild" movement before: the Wild Lily Movement of the 1990's.

So, taking taking the success of the Lilies and in honor of our original base of command in Taichung, I am dubbing this the Wild Fairies Movement. The name alone guarantees success. Either President Ma will don a feather boa and hightail it down to Taichung Park for an after hours "Long Stay" to show his empathy or the legislature will start burning enough incense and paper money to melt Hoth and drown all the Wampas in order to avoid the wrath of the disgruntled deities.

On Saturday, the opposition DPP, dropped their...opposition to the voucher plan and upped the ante. They now want vouchers worth $3,800 - and they want it paid out in cash. [ Aside: Read and appreciate The China Post's renowned "staff's" take down of the DPP's spinelessness. Me very love The China Post - Me very hate Blogger's blockquote function.]

Instead of criticizing the administration of the ruling Kuomintang for creating greater debts for children and further generations, DPP lawmakers now decide to take a free ride on the popular program by coming up with new plans to demonstrate the DPP is much more generous when handing out money to the people. (China Post)

(Me again.) Not positive that it will be enough to secure the esteem of voters, some in the DPP have proposed a tax rebate of $6,000 to each person who has paid income taxes last year, and $4,000 for those who did not. Welcome to Survivor: Hooker Island. Lotsa floosies peddlin' their wares, and you are the john. The only one.

Note: This was started last Friday. As of now, all citizens, temporary (ARC) and permanent (PRC) residents that are listed in the household registry can receive the vouchers. It looks like it will stay at $3,600. They can be used in most places - traditional markets, vendors, moms and pops included. Even though it looks like I will get to sop up some of the gravy, I urge those tax-paying residents who do not have a Taiwanese spouse to carry the Fairy banner and demand yours. Next week, I fully expect to be ciphering my dog's voucher into our budget.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Q i n g d a o

27 days b4 the BIG "O".......
Kinda pales in comparison 2 where we r now?

123 main st.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chinese Andy Rooney

China�s Andy Rooney Has Some Funny Opinions About How Great The Chinese Government Is

These actors are either hoping nobody gets sarcasm in China or they don't visit the Motherland often.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Uni-President Lions of Taiwan lost to the Seibu Lions of Japan yesterday in the finals of the Asia Cup. They lost 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth. The Asia Cup is a tournament of the league champs from Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China. They were not even expected to make it to the finals, but did so with a nice 10-4 stomping of the SK Wyverns of Korea. So here are two of my favorite Chinese baseball phrases:

Three up, three down: 三 上 三 下 ( san1 shang4 san1 xia4)

Swing and a miss: 揮 棒 落 空 ( hui1 bang4 luo4 kong1)

Pop at Southern Command told me that the runner who scored the game winning run should have been called out on strikes, ending the inning. Replays showed this to be correct. He then told me the ump was Korean. So here is one more baseball phrase commonly heard, this time in Taiwanese.

Thou hast on excrement 'pon thine eyes ( saved for use on umpires): Li ba zhu hou sai gou diou
I will not attempt to assign tone markers. Ask you Taiwanese buddy how to say it.

下 一 項
Johnny Neihu said in last Saturday's column that " Many have become so disillusioned with our new leader that they have begun shortening his title from Ma zongtong (馬總統, “President Ma”) to matong (馬統), a homonym for “toilet.”
I said the same back in March. Why does it take so long for Taiwanese to come up with good catch-phrases and slogans? When a foreigner is beating you to the punch it is time to re-asses the efficacy of 抗議 to the millionth power. I would have given 壓 扁 阿扁 ( ㄧㄚ ㄅㄧㄢˇㄚ ㄅㄧㄢˇ) - Flatten Ah-Bian to anyone in 2004 for a few Gold Medals.
下 一 項
Why is there so much road construction going on? Anyone? Anyone? Well according the flyer posted outside my house by the Chinese Taichung City Government, it is to install broadband cable as part of Taiwan's program to... here, I'll let them say it: The “M-Taiwan Program” hopes to build Taiwan a “Brave New Mobile World”. It enables people to access multiple ICTs anytime, anywhere — it promises a better M-life.
December is also Information Month in Taiwan. There will be expos in Taipei, Taichung, Kaoshuing and Tainan. Actually the Info Month is from September 29th in Taipei to January 13th in Tainan. Dates for Taichung are December 12-17 at the old Taichung Airport at Shui Nan. Here is the main page with links for all four cities and here is a link with a map and times for Taichung. My Chinese teacher says usually you can only get marginally better prices but the freebies are worth the trip.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hokkien words in Indonesian

Here are some words in Indonesian that come from Hokkien (Taiwanese) roots:

mihun/bihun = rice noodles
sabun = soap
kecoa (pronounced kechoa) = cockroach
diam-diam = shut up

I find the word for cockroach the most interesting. Like they didn't have a word for that bug before the Chinese immigrants arrived? Weird.

Indonesian is one of the most fascinating languages because it has so many borrowed words and roots in it. The classic example is the word for "man"

orang = man or person, coming from the indigenous root.
manusia = mankind, coming from Sanskrit when Hinduism influenced Indonesia
insan = individual, from Arabic with the coming of Islam.

Then they have the loan words from Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and English.

All in a phonetic language with no tenses and extremely logical grammar.

Okay, I hope that was interesting for somebody. I didn't know about some of those Hokkien root words until today and thought I would share.

Now, as the Taiwanese say, "Bye bye"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Tonka XVI issue, vol 15

Paving our way 2 a better 2morrow...

shoe phones?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

S M L 2

Room, patio and lake :)

cone of silence...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Single Malt Health Care

Scotch Whisky and Prescriptions...


Friday, November 07, 2008

So I was reading the Taipei Times

and they had an article about a DPP politician warning Ma andthe KMT about how bad the Communists are.



So, in 2008, the left-leaning party in Taiwan must warn the historically extremely anti-communist KMT about the dangers of communism.

I have only two characters to say:


Construction Hell

They are building a pedestrian footbridge across the canal near my house.

This footbridge will serve no purpose, because it will connect a small row of townhouses to a few apartment buildings.

There is already a perfectly fine bridge about 50 meters away that would get pedestrians to the store or park faster than the footbridge would.

I guess kids can go stand on it and drop things into the canal.

That is not worth the week of jackhammers, the cuttting down of fine shade tress to make space for the bridge, the blocking of the sidewalk, and I really have to mention this again: JACKHAMMERS. SUPER LOUD, SUPER BIG JACKHAMMERS. Just started today, so I am sure they will be working all week-end.

And this helps the neighborhood chief show he cares and gets him re-elected.

Cleaning out my notebook

Two Theories

Many have heard Warren Buffet's quote from a 2004 letter to the shareholders, "They (investors) should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."

But have you heard of the Lean Goose Theory (瘦鵝理論)? This comes from Wang Yung-Ching (王永慶), founder of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), who passed away in October. During World War II, a young Wang would buy less expensive, hungry, lean geese and use discarded vegetable scraps and and broken bits of rice kernels to feed them. By using what was not wanted at the time and waiting patiently, he was able to produce stronger and heavier geese than the better looking geese who were less motivated to continue to grow. This was to be one of his guiding principles as he became Taiwan's first mega-tycoon and the God of Management.


I wanted to write extensively about the Tech game but instead used my time watching every clip and reading every article I could find about the game. D-Wayne and I decided to watch it live and cheer on Tech at an Internet cafe. Imagine my surprise as I was waiting outside for him to see him pull up wearing an orange t-shirt. However, I countered his unintentional bad mojo with my Tech hat, socks, shirt and boxers. My nervousness and 4 cups of "breakfast" had me shaking like Charo on the casting couch for 4 hours. And then, it was over. We shed our past of coming up short, of not being able to finish. Not this time. We won this game and regardless of what happens next, Tech has cleared a very large psychological barrier.

My favorite off-the-field action came courtesy of a Longhorn alum, Matthew McConaughey. The shot of his expression while walking down the sidelines to the exit was priceless and also cemented his position as the biggest (non-paid) celebrity to leave Lubbock disappointed.


To President-elect Obama. I don't support all of any president's policies but I always support our president. For what's next, two words (please turn universal translator to Bidenese): Welcome Back, Carter.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bits and Pieces

First off, congrats to John and his boys. It was a remarkable game on so many levels. That UT was even in the game in the game in the fourth quarter was unbelievable. TTech outplayed them and deserved victory. I think McCoy will be dreaming of #93 in his kitchen for a long time.

Second off, congrats to Obama and all my friends who voted for him. You have been given a unique opportunity -- don't fritter it away like Clinton did. Redefine what mainstream America is and I just may come back to the fold of the Democratic Party for the first time since 1992. You can start by doing away with the Clintonian measure Don't Ask, Don't Tell and proceed to challenge our nation to lead the way in renewable energy like JFK did with the space program. We are happy to work toward a common goal, we just have to believe in it.

Thirdly, Denise Juneau was elected to be in charge of Public Schools in Montana. Why is this important? Because she will be the ONLY Native American Woman to hold statewide office in the nation. Her opponent referred to her as "that Indian girl" in radio ads and consistently tried to belittle her as incompetent because she had only worked in the Indian Education for All program here in Montana. Yeah, those Harvard grads are notoriously incompetent, especially her Uncle Ray Cross...

Finally, I'm not gonna lie. I shed a few tears tonight. Watching the scene unfold was beautiful, even if I didn't vote for Obama. As they panned the streets of NY, Chicago, and Oakland and showed so many faces eager to be led, looking forward with hope, and ready to accept Obama's challenge, I was moved. Not just in reflecting upon from where we've come, but also into looking at where we are going. Sappy? Sure, I can accept that. Maybe for those of you not currently in the United States it was easier to look with a more lucid eye. For me, that eye was blurry.

It is...



I would suggest taking a nice long vacation, now. Or a staycation, because he probably doesn't want to see another plane or bus for a while.

By the way, if you bought this T-Shirt, it spells his name wrong in Chinese. (see below.)

UPDATE: I had a suspicion about 奧巴馬 and sure enough, this is how the Hong Kong papers transliterate Obama's name. The mainland Chinese also use the same transliteration 奥巴马.

Y i w u

middle of BFE.......


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It just popped up!

"IT" eats and speaks, Surprise!! Other than that the article was good.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pumpkin Carving at my House

This pumpkin was then cooked with those tiny white fish that look like maggots. Bu-la-hee.